Hi Amanda, 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’m Amanda, I’m HR Director for a quantitative hedge fund in London. I have three children – Kitty (8), Zander (5) and Charlie (3) – and we are all lucky enough to have full time Daddy Day Care, Ian (age classified), in charge at home.
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?
Having to negotiate over the phone with a 3 year old whose father is saying he can’t have chocolate / television / sweeties and who simply won’t take no for an answer, while my colleagues marvel at my complete lack of negotiation skills.
3. What is the one piece of advice you could offer another WoMo?
Guilt is pointless – either you have to work or you want to work, so get over it and get on with making the most of having two interesting lives.
4. What’s the least amount of sleep you’ve gone to work on and how did you cope?
A few hours…. I can function pretty well on limited sleep after a night out, but being woken at 2am from a deep sleep by a wailing child is far harder to deal with. You just cope, don’t you? I don’t think there’s a secret weapon other than absolute determination not to be the weakest link!
5. What have you learned about yourself as a WoMo?
I’m a lot less patient than I thought I was. And a great deal more controlling. I’m learning to let things go, but I find it really hard! Girlfriends are super-important in my life (obviously), but as a WoMo, I think I lean more heavily on them. And I’ve learned a lot about other people too – the majority of people without children simply cannot understand what it’s like to juggle children and work, so don’t expect them to.
6. If you had a working mother’s anthem or mantra, what would it be?
Chin up, worry less, life is good.
7. What is your guilty pleasure to combat WoMo guilt the best?
Nope, no guilt… but my guilty pleasure to get a bit of me-time (which is the rarest commodity!) is nights out with my girlfriends. “Wine night” as my daughter calls it!
8. Would you rather be dealing with a tantrum or presenting in a board meeting?
Both have their challenges, but I am generally more patient with the grown-up tantrums than I am with the small-person tantrums with their complete absence of logic and rational behaviour.
9. If you asked your child / children what your job is, what would they say (exact quotation if possible)?
“Mummy is like my headmistress at school – she makes sure people have fun playtimes, enjoy their work, learn lots, have full tummies and she tells them off if they’re naughty”
10. What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you became a WoMo?
I found having children has presented a real opportunity to self-improve. Each time I’ve returned to work from maternity leave, I’ve reinvented myself – that amount of time out gives you a fresh perspective and an ability to morph into something bigger and better. I would have had kids earlier if I’d realised, as I thought it would damage my career, not enhance it.
11. To date, what has been your best WoMo achievement?
Sometimes, just getting out of bed in the morning is an achievement, but for me the biggest has to be restoring our house in Italy from complete tumbledown wreck to this: www.posabile.com. It’s the perfect get-away for families and I absolutely love it there – it’s a real haven for us to get away from the chaos of everyday life. That, and surviving a five week trip backpacking around Costa Rica and Nicaragua with 7, 4 and 2 year old children in tow.
12. What do you want to teach your kids about working mothers?
I think the concept of “work” is undergoing such a seismic shift that by the time my kids grow up they’ll think it’s really funny that people ever worked a 9-6 job in an office. The main thing is to do something you enjoy where you are always learning. Going to a job you hate every day is a complete waste of a life.