Somewhere (online) for parents to come first thing and read an enlightening, funny, motivating, shocking or thought-provoking article.

Annie Ridout

Annie Ridout

I was working as the in-house copywriter for a tech startup when I found out I was pregnant. I was delighted: I had the perfect job, soon I'd be a mum - and everything would be wonderful. Only, it didn't work out like that. I lost that job when I left to give birth, and found myself with a beautiful baby, who I loved dearly, but no job. Once my maternity pay had run out, I was stumped. Should I get a job, but be separated from my baby? Or be a full-time mum, but forgo the career I'd been building for myself?

A few months later, I found a solution. I'd set up a digital magazine for parents who, like me, were up early in the morning with young kids and couldn't find fresh content to read. Articles that related to their life as new parents, but weren't limited to parenting. Pieces about morning routines, and living your best life. Interviews that asked the questions they were too embarassed to ask in real-life (eg. about sex after a baby). And so I compiled two months' worth of content, while my daughter napped, and launched in September 2015. In the first month, I had 15k people on my website. There was clearly space for a parenting website like this. An honest look at parenting from all angles. 

It has continued to grow, along with a social media community. We have brilliantly honest conversations about all things parenting: postnatal bodies, breastfeeding (or not), balancing work and family, anxiety during pregnancy, sleep - or lack thereof. The Early Hour - and its associated social platforms - now reaches over 100,000 parents each month. It inspired one woman to move her family to Sweden. Another decided to seek medical help for postnatal depression, after reading an article on the website. It's a non-judgmental platform for parents to tell their stories, and read about other parents' experiences. It offers topical pieces on mornings, sleep, wellbeing, work life and family. We welcome people who want kids, who have them and who can't have them. The 'parenting' conversation is vast; there's so much to be discussed. That's why The Early Hour needs to continue to grow.

Alongside running The Early Hour, I'm a freelance journalist (the Guardian, Red Magazine, Stylist, Metro), copywriter and my first non-fiction book 'The Freelance Mum' will be published by 4th Estate in January 2019. My daughter is now three, and I have a one-year-old son, too. I want to prove that it's possible to grow a brilliant business and have a fulfilling career while looking after your kids. I'm around in the mornings, for the pick-ups, for tea-time and baths. I put them to bed every night. I'm present, and engaged with my kids - but also with my career as a writer, editor and entrepreneur.