Christine Hope, one of our seven expert retailer columnists, tells us about the joys of having time off from her business.

Since July 7 I have been on maternity leave from my “business baby” Hopes of Longtown, but I knew it was going to be fine without me.

They have been coping extremely well in my absence, so the key question now is, am I really needed?

On July 25, a beautiful baby girl Nola Marion Morel started our little family, and with the joys of motherhood and the fog of feeding and worrying whether she is OK, any previous concerns of “I bet they forget this” and “Mr X can be tricky to deal with” easily slipped out of my mind as I enjoyed my new role as a mum.

The team was newly formed when I left and, admittedly, they had a few issues, but nothing that couldn’t be resolved. They have been coping extremely well in my absence, so the key question now is, am I really needed?

Most mums and dads, I’m sure, don’t like leaving the workplace, but to find out that the training and confidence you have in your business partner and team is correct and that they can mange without you, hasn’t come as a shock. It does, however, beg the question: what was I doing wrong in the past? And the best question yet, what will I do when I go back?

The simple answer is when I go back I will continue to manage the business to maximise profits, minimise waste and bring in new opportunities. But I’ll be working half the hours. It means it will be different and I shouldn’t be surprised if Nola or I have a few teething problems as I get used to my changing new roles.