14/08/2014 12:58 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

So You Think Mums Who Work From Home Are Little Housewives Earning Pin Money With Their Play Businesses? Think Again...


Dear Terry,

I noticed your delightful comment on your website, the UK Small(minded) Business Directory, last week:

Please note: This is a serious website for serious men with serious businesses. If you are just a little housewife running a little play business from home earning some pin money whilst your other half is out earning a living - please don't register your latest hobby business here.
Regards, Terry

I just wanted to thank you, Terry, for your frankness and honesty. We mums working from home know that many people look down their noses at us, but it's not often that this view is expressed in such a refreshingly open way.

I gather that you have since claimed this comment was a joke, or a spoof – whatever the truth of this, you must be commended for raising awareness. We all need reminding that there are so many, many, small-minded idiots out there. We need to be on our guard.

I also wanted to thank you for giving me the opportunity to remember how many little housewives have started successful businesses from home.


Anita Roddick founded the Body Shop as a way of supporting herself and her daughters. You might have heard of it. I believe it did rather well. Julie Deane started the Cambridge Satchel Company from her kitchen table with just £600 – it's now a multi-million pound global brand. Rachel Berliner launched Amy's Kitchen out of her own home when her daughter was a baby – the business grew into a $270 million empire. But, of course, they were just playing at being businesswomen. Think how much more successful these businesses would have been, had they been run by men!

Any mother who works from home will know that it's hard to be taken seriously, especially by "serious men" like you, Terry. After all, we're not really committed to our jobs, are we? Not if we want to look after our children as well? It's not like we put in a 12-hour shift caring for small children and then work long into the night. Oh, hang on, we do.

We work when we can, in intensely productive bursts, because we have to. We work at weekends. We work in the evenings. We work at nap times. Sometimes, we work with a baby sitting on our knee. Sometimes we get up before the children wake so we can squeeze in an extra hour. Smartphones mean we are always on call, even while we're at a toddler group or cooking (sometimes burning) the dinner. We don't get lunch breaks, and we drink our coffee cold.

We work because we need to – whether we need the money, or we need the stimulation, or we need to maintain a career so that when the children grow up we have something for ourselves, or for all these reasons.

It's not something I'd expect a "serious man" like you to understand, Terry. After all, you're out there earning a living, hunter-gathering, presumably killing sabre-toothed tigers and dragging them back to your little wife in her cave.

But while we're talking, Terry, some friends of mine would like to have a word as well. Lisa Brace, who has two young children and runs PR business Focus Media from home, says: "Parents at home, which can of course be men as well as women, who work as well as looking after the children, should be applauded for running businesses from home in whatever field they have chosen. Not derided and discriminated against.

"To be described as 'just a housewife' who is earning 'pin money' whilst my husband does the actual providing belittles everything women have fought for. I run a PR business from home, it is not a hobby, it's something which I work hard at and am proud of."

Lisa isn't the only one who'd like to bend your ear. Sara Dodd, a biochemist who set up her own company Yay! Bags, says: "If that's what he thinks of business people, then he probably shouldn't be running a business site and I would certainly not bother with him. I did what I thought was best for my child. Maybe if he had been brought up properly he would show people proper respect!"

I note, Terry, that you fancy yourself as an SEO specialist, so I do wonder whether this was a pathetic attempt to create linkbait and increase your website hits. If so, I've got some advice for you from my kitchen table. Seach Engine Optimisation without content and conversions is meaningless, and hits are no use if you've destroyed the image of your product. Perhaps you need the help of one of the many women out there running successful media businesses from their homes.

It's been lovely chatting, Terry. I hope you've found our discussion illuminating. I'd just like to thank you once again for reminding us that the caveman is alive and well.

Best wishes,


Jenny asked Terry to respond. He didn't directly, but he did publish this response online, claiming his post was a 'spoof':

"In a forum I frequent somebody asked for a review of their new website. It was suggested that the website may be seen as a bit sexist. The owner of the website said this was deliberate as 99Slideshow-84878%