It's one of the hardest decision she's ever had to make but radio presenter and mum-of-two Sarah Cawood explains why she can’t continue as a working mum


I love The Apprentice‘s Karren Brady. I genuinely think that she is a woman’s woman. She manages to be powerful without seeming to be a bitch and she also manages to Have It All – that elusive thing that so few of us mums seem to be able to achieve. Well, certainly not me…

Earlier this month she said something that really struck a chord – she said that women who stay at home to care for their children should not be considered to be doing ‘menial work’.

This might seem odd coming from a mum, like me, who works full time (on the Heart East Anglia breakfast show) but read to the end and you will see why I am Karren Brady‘s newest and biggest cheerleader.

I have been struggling myself trying to get the work/life balance right and, up until now, I hadn’t managed to crack it. Then a few months ago, I hit a very large, tall, stony wall that I didn’t seem to be able to get over, under or around.

I have missed so much of my children growing up this year: I missed my son Hunter’s second birthday, I have missed virtually the whole of the first year of my daughter Autumn’s life (I started this job when she was only 11 weeks old) but the thing that I feel the most guilty about is that by the time I get home to my children in the afternoon, I am too knackered to do anything with them.

They do all the fun stuff with our nanny and then arrive home to a grumpy, snappy and tired mother who has little or no patience to deal with toddler tantrums. I’m not proud of the way I have treated my babies on occasion when I have been overtired.

I knew something had to give, and that something was going to be my career.

The night I hit that wall and made my decision, I posted what would be my most liked and commented on Facebook status update ever.

This was it:

Right, deep breath
I have had an incredible career and I feel very lucky to have been a part of some wonderful television over the years so it made me very sad to see the jobs dwindling a few years ago but I tried to stay positive and to find other ways to make a living. Then I was offered an amazing opportunity at Heart and even though there were some huge challenges to overcome when I took the job, I felt sure that I could do it and carve myself out a new career as on air talent.
I tried, I really did but after nearly a year of a 120 mile round trip commute and relentless 4am starts that leave me too tired to do anything with my poor babies, I’ve reached a bit of a watershed.
It’s time to let go of my media career (and truth be known, it left me a long time ago). It’s time to be brave and step into a brand new world.
So I’m going home. And that’s where you’ll find me from January.
My name is Sarah Cawood, and I’m a Stay At Home Mum.

(I apologise in advance for the mind numbingly boring status updates and I promise I’ll try and keep the baby photos to a minimum.)

Even reading those words back now makes me feel weepy and emotional. It’s been very hard to let go of being the Career Girl: I have worked since I was 19 years old and felt defined by my career (and more recently, my lack of one).

I am still trying to untangle my identity with my career and convince myself that I am NOT defined by whether or not I am on the TV or radio. So far, I am a bit of a work in progress. So when I saw Karren Brady‘s interview, I felt galvanised by her words. It is by no means menial work and SAHMs should be as supported and celebrated as those mums who choose to get back into the workforce.

Raising good, well mannered, kind and lovely children is an important job and should never be trivialised. Don’t forget that behind every Obama, every Churchill and every Hillary Clinton there was a parent, just trying to raise a good kid.

Who knows, maybe I will stay at home and raise a child that changes the world too.

* Listen to Sarah on Heart East Anglia’s breakfast show 6am – 10am

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