A new business has been launched by a former Yorkshire-based criminal lawyer with the aim of helping parents, women especially, get back into work following parental leave.
Lauren Peacock, who worked on thousands of private and public sector cases during her 12-year law career, established Little Sleep Stars earlier this year.
Working with clients via web-based video-conferencing, the business provides bespoke sleep plans for parents; including professionals who may be held back from returning to work, as a result of their child’s challenging sleeping patterns.
Since the launch, she’s supported over 100 families in the UK, Europe and the Middle East to improve their sleep situation – and also names Mamas and Papas as a client.
Inspiration came from Ms Peacock’s own experience of being a new mum. Eleven months after the birth of her son, and still averaging just five hours of broken sleep per night, she didn’t feel comfortable returning to the high-pressured environment of the courtroom.
“Returning to work after maternity leave can be a difficult time for mums – women tend to take the lion’s share of parental leave and the change is often felt pretty acutely by both mum and baby,” she said.
“Of course, children adapt, but there can be a transition period where their sleep can be affected in the short-term, and it is common for night-waking to increase. It’s therefore particularly hard for mums who are trying to find their feet back in the work environment.
“Often, they don’t want to ask for allowances from their employer, but simultaneously are so tired, physically and emotionally, that they struggle to perform at the level they did before their maternity leave.”
Ms Peacock believes it’s one of the main reasons that some mothers choose not to return to work after having a child.
“There are some parents who don’t want to go back at all, but for those who choose not to return because they’re worried about juggling the pressures of their work and a child, it’s important for them to realise that it is in fact possible, and that it’s okay to ask for specialist help – beyond that of a friend or family member,” she said.
Ms Peacock also supports corporate clients that are committed to retaining, enabling and developing members of staff who are parents, providing sleep workshops and talks as part of wider returners’ programmes.
“The impact of parents not returning to work on businesses is huge,” she said. “It means they lose highly-trained, experienced professionals, who can be difficult and costly to replace.”