Meet the WoMos: Shazia

Hi Shazia, tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do , how old are your children and what happens with your kids when you are at work?

I am the co-founder of Third Door, the UK’s first coworking space and flexible nursery. I have three children who are aged 11, 9 and 6. They go to primary school whilst I am working. My husband drops them off at school and I usually do the pick-up. If we need longer days, we can use the school's flexible breakfast and after-school clubs which are perfect for our ad-hoc childcare needs.

1. One word to describe how being a WoMo makes you feel?

Confident

2. What’s the funniest experience you have had juggling kids and work?

Honestly… I remember more the stressful times!

3. What is the one piece of advice you could offer another WoMo?

Don't sweat the small stuff and don't allow yourself to suffer from #mumguilt.

4. What’s the least amount of sleep you’ve gone to work on and how did you cope?

When we launched Third Door, not only was it a brand new concept, but launching the business alongside having a two and a half year old and a nursing six month-old, meant for many a sleepless night. I survived on very little sleep working late into the night and waking up early. Pure adrenaline and drive got me through during that time. The way I worked in those early days was never going to be sustainable long term, but it was worth it. Luckily my working patterns are very different now and more in line with the work life harmony we strive to offer for our members at Third Door.

5. What have you learned about yourself as a WoMo?

Being a WoMo has given me confidence and asserted my identity as being ‘more than a mum’. I am raising three beautiful children who find it normal for both parents to be working and sharing their load at home as well.

6. If you had a working mother’s anthem or mantra, what would it be?

Your children will grow up one day, so don't put your requirements second to their needs. A confident caring mother with her own interests will ensure for more interesting conversations as your children get older and will be an inspiration for them.

7. What is your guilty pleasure to combat WoMo guilt the best?

I don't suffer WoMo guilt. I am proud to be a working mum and to help others do the same.

8. Would you rather be dealing with a tantrum or presenting in a board meeting?

Neither ideally ☺

9. If you asked your children what your job is, what would they say?

Henna 6 yo: Your job is to help people and sit in a chair and work on a computer and to keep children safe.

Isak 9 yo: You are the boss of this coworking and nursery, helping parents work upstairs and their children are in the nursery downstairs and you manage the staff and help everyone.

Esha'al 11yo: It's interesting and unique, you started a coworking and nursery and manage it and are the boss and it's very fancy!

10. What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you became a WoMo?

Looking after yourself - physically and mentally will allow you to be the best version of yourself in all the roles you play - mother, wife, working woman and as an inspiration to your children.

11. To date, what has been your best WoMo achievement?

Without a doubt launching Third Door, making it profitable and spending quality time with my children as they have got older. I am proud to be working to reduce the parenthood penalty for parents across the UK through Third Door and the work I do as a Policy Committee member for the Women’s Equality Party.

12. What do you want to teach your kids about working mothers?

I want them to know that being a working mother is just as normal as being a working father.

A bit more on Shazia…

Shazia is the founder and Director of Third Door, the UK’s first family-friendly coworking space with an onsite Ofsted registered Nursery. Third Door was specifically created in 2010 to meet the changing needs of working parents and is built around the passionate belief that it is possible to excel in your work and still spend quality time with your children. With a background in consumer research for the BBC and Nokia, Shazia has developed her business model over the past nine years Third Door has been in business, to remain responsive to changing needs. This has included getting her own EYTS childcare qualification to help understand the needs of her childcare team. Her model is seen to be the first hybrid business of its kind and a global leader in its field. Shazia is a member of the Women’s Equality Party, and Movement Builder for their Equal Parenting and Caregiving policy. Most importantly, Shazia is mum to three children who have been the inspiration for Third Door. Most recently Shazia has joined the newly formed board of Pregnant then Screwed.