Hello Stacey, 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 Co-Founder of Mode Search, a Boutique search firm specialising in Fashion and Lifestyle Brands. I have a 19 month old daughter called Ava. Our childcare is a real mix. We use a Nanny a few days a week, alongside being lucky enough to have support from our family for the rest of the week.
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 arrived just in the nick of time to a meeting after a morning of obstacles (sick baby, no hot water and TFL problems), to realised I had my top on back to front just before meeting with a potential new client. I work in fashion so there was only one thing I could do… enter the room with confidence, worked the outfit like I was on a catwalk starting a new trend. I’m not sure If it went unnoticed or the client took pity on the mum who got dressed in the dark. Needless to say, I won the business.
3. What is the one piece of advice you could offer another WoMo?
Don’t be afraid to try different forms of childcare and find what works best for you and your child. When I first returned to work Ava was cared for by a local nursery alongside family and now we use a nanny several days a week. We prefer the one to one care she gets and have enjoyed watching a special relationship develop between them.
4. What’s the least amount of sleep you’ve gone to work on and how did you cope?
The least amount of sleep before a full working day was around 4 hours as Ava was struggling to sleep from teething. I coped with copious amounts of Starbucks coffee and carbohydrates throughout the day. It works every time.
5. What have you learned about yourself as a WoMo?
Since having a child I have learned a number of things about myself. Firstly I can operate surprisingly well on very limited sleep (as I believe is common for most WoMo’s). Secondly, how important it is for me to be a role model to my little girl as she growing up and thirdly I can rustle up an edible meal from a bare cupboard when I’ve not had time to go food shopping.
6. If you had a working mother’s anthem or mantra, what would it be?
Remember, you’re doing a good job! There’s so many days where you question yourself. Believe and know you are doing the best you can.
7. What is your guilty pleasure to combat WoMo guilt the best?
Sitting on the train and listen to embarrassing music from my youth whilst catching up on social media.
8. Would you rather be dealing with a tantrum or presenting in a board meeting?
Always a boardroom meeting. It far easier to reason with a room for of peers than a 19 month old who wants to draw on the sofa.
9. If you asked your child / children what your job is, what would they say (exact quotation if possible)?
As Ava’s speech is currently limited to a handful of words such as ‘Iggle Piggle’, ‘Purple’ and ‘Cake’ I’m not sure she could quite convey what mummy does for a living. But as she grows and is old enough to understand, I’d like to think she would say ‘Helping people achieve their goals’.
10. What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you became a WoMo?
For months I felt guilty when dropping Ava at childcare and would get very emotional. I wish I’d know that I would learn to cope better with time. Those first few drops were so hard, I just couldn’t see it improving. I was lucky enough to have some fellow more experienced WoMo’s support.
11. To date, what has been your best WoMo achievement?
My biggest achievement since becoming a WoMo is becoming a business owner and not allowing it to impact on my time spent with Ava. I would rather live on fewer hours sleep than eat into our precious time in the evening that we share together.
12. What do you want to teach your kids about working mothers?
Again when Ava is old enough to understand, I’d like to teach her that being a working mum is something to be respected and admired, not frowned upon. If you’re going to be a working mum it’s important that the time spent away from your children has meaning and helps you create your individual identity. I am a hard working, ambitious woman who enjoys socialising with friends, fine dining and nagging her husband whilst also being a loving mum to Ava. Being a mum isn’t the only thing that should define you, it should add another dimension to your life.
Stacey co-founded her business with WoMo Helen. Read her interview here!