Hello Helen - Tell us a bit about yourself: What do you do and how old are your children and what happens with your kids when you are at work?
I have a 16 month old son who is a total character. I don't have any official childcare and we live in France, yet I work in England. I travel to and from England and as my work takes me all over the country my Mum or in laws meet me where I am filming and have a couple of days with my son. It's a logistical feat and unpredictable but I love my job and I love my son. It's hard at times but I think you get out of life what you put in.
1. One word to describe how being a WoMo makes you feel?
2. What’s the funniest experience you have had juggling kids and work?
I once breast fed in a production meeting at BBC Sport. My male colleagues were brilliant actually they didn’t bat an eyelid but it’s an open plan office so there were a few sideways looks when people walked past me on their way to the canteen.
3. What is the one piece of advice you could offer another WoMo?
Don’t try to justify yourself to other people. Every family is different and no one knows what happens behind closed doors so no one can pass comment!! I wish we were all more confident about our choices!! Back yourself and know you made the right decision for you and your family!
4. What’s the least amount of sleep you’ve gone to work on and how did you cope?
Three hours. I am regularly fuelled by caffeine and Tangfastics!
5. What have you learned about yourself as a WoMo?
It’s ok to say no to things. I turn down work, dinners, nights out that I would have felt obliged to go to pre child. Now I often have to say no because we have no childcare but the fear of missing out is much worse than missing out. I get so much more out of playing with my baby boy and getting an early night with a book. So sad but so true.
6. If you had a working mother’s anthem or mantra, what would it be?
One hour at a time. Every aspect of my life is hugely unpredictable, there’s no point worrying about what may or may not happen at the end of the week. A lot can happen between Monday and Friday in my life.
7. What is your guilty pleasure to combat WoMo guilt the best?
I am still searching for a way to banish the guilt!! I commute from France with my baby so I guess I make up for chunks at work with extended play dates on the beach. I always feel guilty for working but I am definitely a better mum in that when I get back to him I put hundred percent into games and play dates for instance.
8. Would you rather be dealing with a tantrum or presenting in a board meeting?
A tantrum. Anything is better than being in a board room. I have more patience for my son when he is kicking off than a colleague. He doesn’t know any better. Adults do.
9. If you asked your child / children what your job is, what would they say?
I am pretty sure he thinks I fly planes. I am always at an airport.
10. What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you became a WoMo?
Organisation is your friend and nannys aren’t a bad idea. I have always been determined to do this myself and I don’t have any childcare other than when I can get my Mum or Mum in law to be off work. I am pretty relaxed but if I got more organised my life would be easier!
11. To date, what has been your best WoMo achievement?
Going to Rio to work on the Olympics and not losing my mind. I’ve only ever had two nights away from him so 19 nights was tough but I actually remembered who I was pre baby. I even washed my hair most days!! I justified it in my own head my having a couple of months off before and month off after. As I said earlier though there’s no need to justify it though he had quality time with his grandparents and daddy and I came back refreshed!
12. What do you want to teach your kids about working mothers?
Working mums bring so much to the table: empathy, efficiency, perspective and passion – they could be doing something more rewarding at home after all!! I just home my children realise that and I hope they encourage flexi hours or mums to feel valued at work rather than be made to feel a hindrance.
Big thanks to Helen Skelton - our featured WoMo. For more from Helen follow her on Twitter or Instagram. As always, thanks to author Clare Bennett too for providing our 12 "Meet the WoMos" interview questions.