Hello Helen, 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 am the co-founder of Mode Search Ltd, a boutique search firm specialising in the fashion, luxury and lifestyle sectors on an international basis. www.modesearch.co.uk
I have a 18 month old son called Jude and he is at nursery 4 days per week, my partner and I take it in turns to do the drop off and pick up depending on our schedules. We initially had a nanny when I returned to work but when Jude turned 1 he started nursery.
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?
This was actually pre-Jude making an appearance but it was negotiating an offer between a candidate and client while i was in labour. Everyone thought I was crazy but being a bit of a control freak I had to make sure it was dealt with, the candidate accepted and Jude arrived an hour later!
3. what is the one piece of advice you could offer another WoMo?
Make sure that your partner respects your career and that you share the responsibilities of parenthood equally. it takes a lot of juggling with the help of family and friends stepping in on occasions!
4. What’s the least amount of sleep you’ve gone to work on and how did you cope?
2-3 hours and this has happened quite a few times over the last year, I think like most other WoMos a lot of coffee is the best way of dealing with it but I do think you get used to functioning with very little sleep.
5. what have you learned about yourself as a WoMo?
That I am quite organised and good at multitasking!
6. If you had a working mother’s anthem or mantra, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to say no to things, your time is precious as a WoMo and I really value my evenings and doing fun things at weekends with Jude when I work all week.
7. What is your guilty pleasure to combat WoMo guilt the best?
Escaping the house for an hour long Thai massage in peace and quiet – heaven !
8. Would you rather be dealing with a tantrum or presenting in a board meeting?
Presenting in a board meeting for sure. Tantrums with a toddler are not fun – especially in the middle of Gatwick airport like a recent one Jude had!
9. If you asked your child what your job is, what would they say?
Jude is still saying only couple of words so if I asked him this at the moment he would likely say car or tractor .
10. What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you became a WoMo?
To try not to listen to everyone’s advice on what you should and should not do about going back to work after having a baby. Everyone has their own path in life and you have to go with what is right for you. I went back after 6 months and some people thought that was awful of me and too soon but I am glad I did as it really helped me make some important decisions about my career and my future.
11. To date, what has been your best WoMo achievement?
Setting up my business with fellow WoMo and my co founder Stacey McCarthy not long after having our babies. I think becoming a mother ignites a fire and certain level of bravery in you and definitely made me more determined to firstly make it happen and secondly make it a success!
12. What do you want to teach your kids about working mothers?
That if you focus and work hard enough you can achieve anything. I want Jude to look up to both me and his dad equally, admire our work ethic and have the confidence in himself to also follow his dreams, whatever they may be!
Helen co-founded her business with WoMo Stacey. Read her interview here!