Home Business Equality at Home is the essential yet unrecognised piece for women to have a real chance of focusing and prioritising their much-loved and well earned career success. 
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Equality at Home is the essential yet unrecognised piece for women to have a real chance of focusing and prioritising their much-loved and well earned career success. 

by uma

Steph Douglas, Founder and CEO of Don’t Buy her Flowers says; “We talk a lot about equality at work but really I think we also need to take a few steps back and talk more about equality at home. I encourage everyone to have honest conversations with your partner about what you need to make it all work for everyone, equally. 

Steph Douglas founded Don’t Buy Her Flowers in 2014, leaving her brand marketing role, to pursue an idea she had following the birth of her children. The company has gone from £400k+ turnover pre-pandemic to a turnover of over £2.5 million last year. With all of the success, also comes the reality that home life doesn’t stop, in fact it often becomes more pressured and the cracks more amplified the busier our working life becomes.

Here she shares what she knows and has learned from having difficult conversations at home to make work, well, work! And maybe even thrive.

You can’t do everything you did before you started a business or got that big promotion. Something’s gotta give in the responsibility stakes:

About a year in, after some ‘I cannot do this!’ outbursts, I realised I couldn’t do everything I did before and run a business on top. My husband is more than capable of doing the online food shop, and there’s no reason why something like booking the kids after school clubs should be ‘my’ job. Like many couples we’d slipped in to these more traditional roles where I took on far more of the domestic load, because it’s all we’ve known and seen, and it’s taken some difficult, but I’d say essential work to challenge those roles for both of us. We want to feel like a team – we entered into all of this together – and this definitely helps. I have also lowered expectations; the house might be a tip, we might be eating beans on toast for tea, but you can’t just ‘do’ more – we both work full time and there isn’t an infinite amount of time in the day.

We have to be honest about the invisible load and be open to difficult conversations to help even it out:

We recently conducted a survey with the Don’t Buy her Flowers community, and the results were astounding, yet sadly not surprising, around the responsibilities that fall to women. A survey revealed that 92% of women are the main person responsible for gifting in their and their partners’ family. This sounds like one simple task but if you look at this and also think through all the other small yet ongoing tasks that tend to fall to women – these don’t go away when our careers also become more demanding. Some households and partnerships may have balanced this and made sure the load and important tasks that are important to a happy family life are taken care of equally – but I really believe to achieve this, it takes work and honesty in our home life and with our family and partners. 

We must stop assuming the women in the team will do the tea run, the birthday collections and take the notes in meetings, and get men on the School WhatsApp

This sounds archaic but it is absolutely true. Think back to your last few roles and think about how the birthday collection runs were divided up and who more often offers to make everyone a cuppa. And if men aren’t on the school WhatsApp, and don’t know about the spelling test, PE kit required or dress up day, of course they won’t be involved in ensuring these things happen. We have to start rewriting the patterns and this starts with honest conversations and a big shift in ‘the way it’s always been done’ at home.

For more information on Steph or Don’t Buy Her Flowers please visit dontbuyherflowers.com

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