Hello Caroline, 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 the founder of activewear retailer Active in Style and the Co-Founder of men’s activewear retailer The Active Man. My children are four and a half and 18 months old. I work 3 days a week in our office and on these days my Mum does two days and my husband who also works for our businesses does 1 day. The other two days I work during nap times!
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?
We launched our website on Friday 11th January 2013 and my daughter was born on Monday 14th January. The developers were late finishing the website and my daughter was 10 days overdue. I like to think she was waiting until it went live to help me – once it was live she decided to come out! I was in the hospital and had to coordinate my mum and sister to go and pack the orders that were coming in. It was a crazy time.
3. What is the one piece of advice you could offer another WoMo?
Try and schedule a small amount of time into your week for ‘you time’. It may only be half an hour but its yours to do what you want with – no work, no children, just you and your thoughts or what ever you want to do. For me this keeps me sane each week. The juggle of work commitments plus family, play dates, household management can be all consuming. This small window each week allows me to breathe and refocus – its invaluable to me.
4. What’s the least amount of sleep you’ve gone to work on and how did you cope?
We recently had an important pitch meeting during our latest fund raise round. The night before, my son, who was going through an 18 month sleep regression of waking up two or three times a night, was awake from 1am until 5am. I felt like a zombie during the meeting having only had a few hours sleep for the past few nights and am not quite sure what I said or did but we got through it.
5. What have you learned about yourself as a WoMo?
How to be pushed to your limits and still find a way through.
6. If you had a working mother’s anthem or mantra, what would it be?
You got this - although most times it doesn't feel like I have, this is what I tell myself when work is stressful, the kids are testing my patience and the combination of both is overwhelming. I'll find myself giving myself a little pep talk at the start of the week and saying 'You got this'. It puts a spring in my step and provides a clearer outlook.
7. What is your guilty pleasure to combat WoMo guilt the best?
I love having special time with each of my children particularly my older daughter. We have one on one time every so often where we’ll go and eat cake or go to the cinema. This way I can give her my full attention and it encourages her to talk more about what she’s doing at school etc.
8. Would you rather be dealing with a tantrum or presenting in a board meeting?
It is far easier to present a board meeting because you can prepare for it and most of the time you are dealing with rational people. Tantrums erupt unexpectedly and the child is in an irrational state which makes it more difficult to deal with. On the flipside though, tantrums are usually much shorter.
9. If you asked your child / children what your job is, what would they say?
“Mummy’s job is working on the computer, sending messages and selling clothes.” Sienna
10. What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you became a WoMo?
How torturous sleep deprivation is! I’ve never experienced anything like it.
11. To date, what has been your best WoMo achievement?
I’ve launched two businesses and had two children in under 5 years. It’s been a struggle at times but its so rewarding seeing them both grow together.
12. What do you want to teach your kids about working mothers?
That they are doing the best they can for their families and themselves.