Working for yourself after you've had a baby

It’s true what they say – having a baby can be a life-changing experience. Afterwards, you may not want to, or even be able to, go back to your old job. It might pay to look at the alternatives.

Working for yourself

So you like the idea of being your own boss – going freelance, maybe doing a bit of consulting or just making a bit of money on the side by childminding for your friends or selling a few things?

Whichever it is, you’re basically talking about becoming self-employed, which comes with its own pros and cons.


  • Fitting work around your family, maybe choosing to work in the early mornings or evenings instead of the usual nine to five.
  • Gaining time by not commuting/travelling to work.
  • Deciding who you work for as well as what work you take on.
  • If you are paying National Insurance contributions as self-employed or have your own company, and earn at least the minimum amount (£112 a week in 2016-17), you will be building up at least some State Pension.


  • Losing the financial security of a regular job, especially at the beginning when you’re getting established.
  • Paying your own National Insurance contributions and Income Tax if your earnings are high enough.
  • Providing for your own private pension, now that you don’t have an employer to pay into it. This takes a lot of discipline, and you will have to try and make up for the fact you won’t have an employer who contributes, but don’t let that put you off saving for retirement.
  • Not knowing exactly how much (or little) you’ll be bringing in, which can make budgeting tricky.
  • Childcare is unlikely to be as flexible as you are – you’ll probably find that to keep your childcare place, you’ll need to pay for it even when you don’t have any work or money coming in.
  • Unless you’re a whizz with numbers, you’ll probably need an accountant or bookkeeper to help with your tax.

What’s next?

Starting up your own business

Case study

“Working from home is great, but on the days when the boys are not at nursery, it’s difficult for them to appreciate that mummy is ‘working’. It usually means days playing games, and long nights working!” – Alison

If you fancy going the whole hog, you could start up your own business.

There’s lots of help and advice available for those who do, but it isn’t something to be entered into lightly.

Ask anyone who’s made a success of it and they’ll tell you that starting a business takes a lot of hard graft and long hours.

And while the rewards can also be great, you should think carefully about it, as with a new baby in tow, the level of commitment – and stress – won’t be for everyone.