The Story of The Working Mom Initiative.

by Lyndsay Arsenault
17 March 2021
This is the story behind The Working Mom Initiative. Where we started, and how we got here. It's about learning to trust the process and a lesson in why we never give up on our dreams.

A Working Mother’s Perspective.

The Big Idea.

I remember the exact moment that the idea for The Working Mom Initiative came to me. I was having lunch across the street from where I was working. I was with my four best girlfriends, 1 of them visiting from out of town. We hadn’t had a chance to all sit together in seven years. Motherhood presents a time crunch challenge like nothing else – and we were all mothers now. The only free time I had that week – was my lunch break, so we choose to squeeze in a visit. I was having a fantastic time, enjoying the precious moment. I was silently watching the clock tick on my phone. Lunch break was ending. Anxiety crept in.

I remember walking back to work in a hurry and trying to be back at work precisely an hour after leaving. Working Mom’s don’t take extended lunch breaks. I sat down at my desk, only to open my email inbox, and it was empty. I had no work to do. Working Mom’s are incredibly efficient at time management and getting stuff done. Something was bothering me – there was absolutely no reason I couldn’t have extended our lunch break. I sat around for the first time, very uncomfortable in the reality of my corporate job. If the work is done – then why do I need to sit here? There is so much else I could be doing. I could be with my friends, my kids – I could be tackling the pile of laundry that never seems to end.

There had to be a better way to work. This was my ‘lightbulb’ moment.

I began researching flexible work opportunities in Canada – only to come up empty-handed. Flashing back to my time working abroad in Dubai – two of the jobs I held in Dubai – I found through a group for working moms looking for flexible work. Hmm? Perhaps there is a hole in the market. I didn’t understand how Canada could be so far behind on assisting mothers in the workplace.

Becoming the entrepreneur I was meant to be – off to a bumpy start.

I had always dreamt of becoming an entrepreneur. I was the little girl with the lemonade stand in the middle of the woods with no customers. Instantly, I knew this was my opportunity – that it was my purpose to take on corporate and help other mothers stand up for what they need in the workplace. This was a BIG project and I was terrified. It would require me to step way outside of my comfort zone and become who I was meant to be.

Almost instantly, my soul began to reject my corporate job – I had found my passion in entrepreneurship. Sitting idle at work made me so stressed out, it was a uncomfortable feeling beyond anything I had ever felt before. Before long, I was out on stress leave – no longer able to tolerate corporate culture.

October 2018 – This was when I was able to dive deep into research on The Working Mom Initiative and develop the concept. It started as a boutique recruitment concept. I was scared to evolve and grow into the entrepreneur I was meant to be. I was so nervous, I misspelled the name of my company on the corporate registration papers. How could I do this? when I made so many mistakes.

More Roadblocks.

After my stress leave ended – I decided to quit my corporate job – unless they were willing to create flexible work accommodation for me. They declined, and I worked out my 1 month notice period to the best of my ability. On the last day of my notice period – I was offered a flexible position, 20 hours a week of my choosing. I accepted. This was my chance to prove that you don’t need to work 40 hours a week to contribute to the workplace. That same week I found out I was pregnant with my daughter – and everything came to a pause. Pregnancy was not kind to me. I fought months of migraines, nausea and sleep deprivation. It was not the time to start a business. I continued working flexibly.

I went on maternity leave in June of 2019, and welcomed my daughter in August of 2019. Trying to start a business during the newborn phase – I mean, let’s be real. It was still not the time to start a business. This was a time of bonding with my daughter.

The Covid-19 Challenge.

In January of 2020, I was finally able to get back to work. I began networking, started seeing immediate traction and interest in the product. I was started to gain ground and was getting closer to finding funding. The feedback received in the market proved that this was more than a boutique recruitment concept.

In March, 2020 – Covid-19 sent us all into lockdown. It seemed like all of that progress was lost. Suddenly, the burden of care and the expectations on working moms became a topic of discussion internationally. Remote and Flexible work discussions were trending everywhere, we all adapted as a society. The future of work is flexible – it has to be in a pandemic. It is also a terrifying time to be a baby entrepreneur. I was forced to walk away from my ‘flexible job’ in the middle of summer as it was no longer flexible enough. My marriage ended. I became a single working mother.

Entrepreneurs are born under pressure.

It was still very clear that this company needed to exist in the world. There was just way too many working mothers struggling to find the right work. In July 2020 I partnered with Jennifer MacHattie to pivot The Working Mom Initiative into a talent marketplace and we secured funding to develop our MVP (minimum viable product.) In October 2020, we welcomed Jennifer Enahoro to the team to manage and engage with the community.

In December 2020, I was selected as one of the top 100 momtrepreneurs in Canada and participated in The Total Mom Pitch. The Working Mom Initiative was gaining traction and attention. The first iteration of our platform is in development.

Building a network of family-friendly, flexible employers.

Fast forward to now – March 2021. I’m proud to officially launch www.hireamom.ca by The Working Mom Initiative. The Working Mom Initiative is designed as a platform talent marketplace, it will grow organically into a network of working moms and employers working together for a better future of work. A marketplace that connects working moms to flexible work with family-friendly companies. The leap into entrepreneurship didn’t exactly follow a straight path for me, but here we are. This has been a tremendous learning experience, growth opportunity, and I can’t wait to see how else we grow. The Working Mom Initiative is committed to creating a more family-friendly, flexible future of work. Are you ready join us?

We work with employers to create a more family-friendly, flexible future of work. When we support mothers in the workplace – we all win. We can’t wait to show you the benefits of flexible work. We work with candidates that need flexible work. Are you ready to meet them? Email: lyndsay@hireamom.ca to get started!