Hey Claire - tell us a bit about yourself: What do you do, how old are your children and what happens with your kids when you are at work?
I was born in Johannesburg and brought up in Wakefield where I live today. I was the runner up of series four of 'The Apprentice' where Lord Sugar dubber me a 'Rottweiler' for my tenacious approach and mind-set of never giving up! I climbed the FMCG ladder and today run my own business 'School Speakers' and have co-founded 'Girls Out Loud' a social enterprise working with teenage girls 11 to 18 years old. I with work the media as a journalist/radio presenter in addition to working with the government on projects helping young people onto the career ladder and more women into business.
I have a daughter Eva born in 2012.
1. One word to describe how being a WoMo makes you feel?
Exhausted and challenged
2. What’s the funniest experience you have had juggling kids and work?
I have the funniest experiences with my office manager on a weekly basis, usually me trying to be in 3 places at once (I’m so organised that I reorganise the organised & muddle it up) and my daughter Eva joining in the conversation too.
3. What is the one piece of advice you could offer another WoMo?
Two words: Be Organised. Give yourself a ten-minute break a day. 10 minutes a day in the context of 24 hrs is nothing and can keep you sane. Sometimes things can become overwhelming.
4. What’s the least amount of sleep you’ve gone to work on and how did you cope?
When Eva was little there were many nights I had no sleep (she had terrible reflux for 2 years) and would watch the sun rising thinking work soon – then I would get a shower, drink copious amounts of Yorkshire Tea and get on with it. I learnt not to make big decisions when I was really tired and that sleep really is a treasured commodity.
5. What have you learned about yourself as a WoMo?
Patience, tolerance and I amaze myself sometimes how much I can fit into a day – multi tasking to the max.
6. If you had a working mother’s anthem or mantra, what would it be?
Where there’s a will there's a way.
7. What is your guilty pleasure to combat WoMo guilt the best?
I don’t feel guilty being a WoMo. By working hard and having a career I am a great role model for my daughter. Being my own boss means that I have the autonomy to collect Eva from school when I wish and be a ‘full time mum’ in Eva’s eyes.
8. Would you rather be dealing with a tantrum or presenting in a board meeting?
Presenting to a board meeting any day – they actually want to hear what you’re saying!
9. If you asked your child / children what your job is, what would they say (exact quotation if possible)?
Eva age 4 ‘Going into big boys and girls schools and making them better’.
10. What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you became a WoMo?
Nothing, I think to an extent ignorance is bliss when it comes to becoming a WoMo. If you knew all the gory details first hand would anyone actually want to sign up?!
11. To date, what has been your best WoMo achievement?
Having a happy, healthy child alongside a successful business.
12. What do you want to teach your kids about working mothers?
For Eva working mothers stand for independence, believe in your dreams, follow your passion, work hard and that nothing is impossible. They also say ‘I don’t want to be late’ several times a day!
Big thanks to Claire - our featured WoMo, and thanks to author Clare Bennett for providing our 12 "Meet the WoMos" interview questions.