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Amanda Weafer-Cook, 38, of Ingleby Barwick, has three children, Nathan, 14, Rio, 12, and 15-month-old Flynn. Her partner is Karl Scott.

"I had been working for a marketing company and my maternity leave was coming to an end when I started thinking about what I was going back to and how much pressure I would be under," she says.

"I had always wanted to be my own boss and I started to think how good it would feel to put all that energy into my own business.

"I spoke to my sister, Tracie Garry-Madden, who has four children and was working. We felt we could make a go of it so we started Girls Just Want To Have Fun Teesside Ltd, a franchise that organises pamper parties for girls aged four to 14.

"It was a great step forward for myself and my sister as we can work round the children and run it from home."

DAWN Robinson, 31, and husband Barry, of Marton, have a ten-month-old daughter Holly.

"I work as a teaching assistant with special needs children in a primary school. I knew I had to go back to work. Luckily for me, a girl I worked with also went on maternity leave at the same time so we went through everything together.

"Coming back to work was made easier because I have a very caring family; both my mum and my husband's mum will look after Holly.

"There were points when I thought that's it, I am not going back, but I knew I had to.

"On the first day I cried all the way down The Parkway.

"I wasn't worried about going back to work because I was going back to something I had done for so long and a place I had been for so long."

PAMELA Elliott, 37, is managing director of Ebac. She and Richard Petty, of Barnard Castle, have a four-month-old son, James.

"Nobody can prepare you for having a baby, people talk about it but no one can prepare you for the things that happen or the emotions you feel. This little person comes along and totally rules your life.

"Ebac is a family business and we have two projects that drew me back in earlier than I would have liked.

"The plan was always that I would return in January, which would be six months leave but I ended up having only two and a half months. I did feel a kind of guilt that I should be with James.

"I realised you have got to do what is right for you and what you feel comfortable with, that way you are happier and so is your baby."
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Title Annotation:Family Life
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Article Type:Interview
Date:Nov 28, 2005
Words:448
Previous Article:Family agonies with Claire Silvers in association with SureStart.
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