Hello Amy, 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 a freelance journalist, writer and PR consultant. Mum to Theadora (Teddy) who’s two and a half. I work mostly from home; Teddy goes to nursery twice a week and the rest of the time I slot work in to early mornings, nap times and evenings.
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 got stuck for childcare on the day of a client’s AGM and they very kindly said ‘bring her along!’ So off I headed to Brighton with a one-year-old in tow crossing my fingers that she’d drop off to sleep before the board meeting. Of course that was the one day Teddy refused to nap - and instead took a shine to one of the directors insisting on sitting on his knee while we reviewed annual figures and debated the direction of the company!
3. What is the one piece of advice you could offer another WoMo?
Focus on the here and now. If you’re with your child, be with them 100% and try and switch off from work emails and deadlines. And if you’re working, try and do it in a space away from the kids where you can concentrate and give it your all. That’s been an important lesson for me over the last two years – working from home it was tempting to jump on the laptop while Teddy’s playing or say yes to a tight deadline even if I hadn’t got childcare sorted. Now I’m strict in setting the boundaries.
4. What’s the least amount of sleep you’ve gone to work on and how did you cope?
I remember responding to emails and getting involved in work discussions on Whatsapp when Teddy was having her mammoth midnight feeds! Some of my clients are based in Australia so I am guilty of taking a peek at the inbox to see what writing briefs have come through in their working day if we have a restless night with little one. I’m sure I cope like most WOMOs – copious caffeine the next day!
5. What have you learned about yourself as a WoMo?
That I work well under pressure. I was used to pressure when I worked in PR agencies but just before having Teddy I was working full time from home and would sometimes procrastinate before a big writing job and take my time getting started. Now that I have set deadlines (nursery sessions, a two-hour nap slot, afternoon at the grandparents) I’m back in the zone of maximising every minute and I work so much more efficiently.
6. If you had a working mother’s anthem or mantra, what would it be?
Embrace the life hacks! Setting the alarm earlier to do a quick HIIT workout in the mornings, hiring a cleaner, batch cooking family meals at the weekends, calendar-blocking time to stay on top of my business accounts… I’m always looking for ways to streamline my day and make work and Mum duties a little easier.
7. What is your guilty pleasure to combat WoMo guilt the best?
Doing a nice long yoga class, finding a good coffee shop for a cappuccino and a scroll through Instagram, and pottering around interiors shops.
8. Would you rather be dealing with a tantrum or presenting in a board meeting?
Probably presenting in a board meeting – I’m yet to come up with a sure-fire strategy for dealing with tantrums!
9. If you asked your child / children what your job is, what would they say?
‘Playing Happy Mrs Chicken on her computer’ (WoMos with Peppa Pig fans will know what I’m talking about)
10. What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you became a WoMo?
That as a mother, a little bit of breathing space is healthy. My Mum was a single parent in an era without flexible working and she spend my childhood stretched to the limit juggling long hours in the office with childminders and after school clubs. When I had Teddy I felt so lucky to have a career that I could slot around her, but looking back on the first year in particular I didn’t prioritise time for myself or time with my husband enough. If I had another child I would ask for help from family and arrange childcare for some personal time, not just to cover work commitments.
11. To date, what has been your best WoMo achievement?
Growing the consumer copywriting side of my business; an area I’ve loved since working for a fashion and lifestyle PR agency in Sydney. I’ve been working hard to win clients in this area and have just completed a dream project writing web copy and brand assets for an emerging fashion designer. Becoming a Mum seems to have really fired up my creativity.
12. What do you want to teach your kids about working mothers?
I’d love Teddy to view working mothers as role models, women who are raising little people while continuing to kick goals on the career front. And it would be great if she understood the importance of a lie-in (anything past 7am would be wonderful) for Mummy and Daddy after a hectic week!