Hello Lottie - Tell us a bit about you. What do you do, how old are your children and what happens with your kids when you are at work?
Lottie Goldstone – 38 years old. Best-selling author of children’s books and a full time Solicitor Advocate with Higher Rights of Audience specialising in all contentious matters for a prestigious law firm. Currently writing a chick lit novel. Co-Director of a plant nursery business with my husband & my son. Sits on Board of Directors at Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Accredited Mediator. Member of MENSA and ACTAPS.
William – 4 years old
Sophie – 12 weeks old
William has just started school (previous to that he was in full time nursery from 9 months old) and Sophie is currently with me all the time as I am feeding her. Grandparents step in when I need to go and do a book signing or to a meeting for a few hours but otherwise she is in my office in her bouncy chair and I am chatting away to her – bouncing ideas off her.
1. One word to describe how being a WoMo makes you feel?
Epic. I want a cape.
2. What’s the funniest experience you have had juggling kids and work?
There are many…. From potty training William whilst on the phone to a key client, failing miserably resulting in it going all over the floor; to going into labour at a book signing in front of 200 children, to taking William in to the office at the weekend (then aged 2 years old) when we had a big case on and he decided to remove all the keys from the secure drawers at everyone’s desks and hide them. I had no idea about this until Monday morning. Two years later and they are still missing…. Then there was suffering from a bout of morning sickness all down my black suit just before a meeting (I had eaten two bananas incidentally so you can imagine the mess). There was also the time when recently I went up to London for a meeting with the kids in tow and whilst trying to discreetly feed Sophie under a blanket, William decided to whip it off as he was worried Sophie couldn’t breathe. He refused to give it back and the whole of a packed commuter train had to put up with my boobs on show whilst trying to feed Sophie and negotiate with a 4 year old. One time my colleague and I were stuck in a mediation in London until gone midnight and I had to phone my husband (in Gloucestershire) to pick us up as public transport no longer running at that time. I knew he had to leave for work at 5am so I couldn’t stay over as William was at home. So he scooped up a very sleepy William and drove all the way to collect us. Fortunately William slept the whole way there and back.
3. What is the one piece of advice you could offer another WoMo?
Listen to your gut feeling. It will tell you whether you need to be putting in more time at work or more time with kids. It helps you understand what you need to do rather than what you want to do.
4. What’s the least amount of sleep you’ve gone to work on and how did you cope?
I have always been poor at sleeping as I have got too much going on in my head. Switching off is the hardest thing for me to do. I will ‘live while I’m alive and sleep while I’m dead’ to quote the famous Greek philosopher – Jon Bon Jovi ;).
5. What have you learned about yourself as a WoMo?
That if you put your mind to it ANYTHING is possible. With the assistance of lists, many many lists. I actually have a book of lists. Daily to do lists, monthly and yearly goals. When you are a seasoned WoMo you will graduate to a book of lists :).
6. If you had a working mother’s anthem or mantra, what would it be?
Say yes and work out how later then just get it done. Time waits for no (wo)man. We need a special handshake. When I see another WoMo our eyes lock and briefly there is a moment of complete empathy. I will drop everything to help another WoMo as much as I can.
7. What is your guilty pleasure to combat WoMo guilt the best?
Phone off and ride my horse with Wills on his pony. Or a bike ride together or picnic by the river.
8. Would you rather be dealing with a tantrum or presenting in a board meeting?
Is this people having tantrums at work? As adult tantrums are very common just a little more subtle (sometimes). If you are referring to child tantrum or board meeting – then anyone can present the board meeting providing they have the right information but only I can deal with my children when they are having tantrums.
9. If you asked your child / children what your job is, what would they say (exact quotation if possible)?
William: ‘You are a ‘Solickiter’ at the windmill (I work in Green Park near the wind turbine) and you write books. And you look after me all the time and the plants.’
Sophie: ‘Gurgle, coo, hic, gurgle’ Then the ‘more boob’ face.
10. What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you became a WoMo?
How incredibly difficult it is to keep everyone happy. Upsetting everyone is really easy! It is rewarding though, you will feel whole but torn.
11. To date, what has been your best WoMo achievement?
I had just had Sophie via c-section and I discharged myself early to be there for William at his taster day at his big school. I didn’t want to let him down. I think that WoMo juggling skills need to be celebrated– we should join a circus. And our ability to function on zero sleep.
12. What do you want to teach your kids about working mothers?
That everything a WoMo does is for their children. They are my driving force. It is the ultimate definition of unconditional love. We are away from them to provide for them when we would rather be with them. I want to teach my children that regardless of gender money is out there to be made and it is up to them to go out there and make it. A good education will give you choices and options but no one owes you a living.