Hi Emily, 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 Head of HR & Talent for the Urban Outfitters Inc group in Europe. My son, Rafe, is 4 yrs old (5 in April) and when I am at work he is at school with the help of a childminder! Before school he was at 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?
Rafe has learnt to pick up his toy phone and tell me to be quiet as he is ‘on a call’…. funny and guilt-making at the same time! At least he will know how to juggle kids and work when he gets older!
3. What is the one piece of advice you could offer another WoMo?
Believe in yourself. You are still you, you are still capable, you are still needed and you are still AMAZING. Your personal choices are personal, they are not related to work unless you want them to be.
4. What’s the least amount of sleep you’ve gone to work on and how did you cope?
4 hours. I don’t drink caffeine so coped through eating healthy, keeping focused and clearing out the end of my day to leave on time! Thing is, Rafe has always been a great sleeper so 4 hours sleep is work-related not kid-related. Just because we are parents doesn’t mean we are tired because of them.
5. What have you learned about yourself as a WoMo?
That I can juggle, that I can balance, that I can manage the guilt, that it is okay to still have ambition, that I am a good role model for Rafe and that I am still me…. still the person I was before Rafe.
6. If you had a working mother’s anthem or mantra, what would it be?
Do it your way; no way is the ‘right’ way.
7. What is your guilty pleasure to combat WoMo guilt the best?
The gym! Guilty pleasure because of the time it takes…. I keep this one thing for me alone. It helps me feel energised and gives me that time out I need to reset. Being energised and having clarity of mind makes my time with Rafe so much better!
8. Would you rather be dealing with a tantrum or presenting in a board meeting?
Both! I am right down the middle on my love for both major areas of my life. The important point is that learning to deal with the tantrum will make you better in the presentation for the board; being a WoMo helps you learn so much more about yourself and your ability… it gets you to the depths you would have not got to before.
9. If you asked your child / children what your job is, what would they say (exact quotation if possible)?
'Make phone calls & do things on your computer’ – if only it was that simple!
10. What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you became a WoMo?
That children give you the perspective that you could never have before.. it’s a blessing and should be seen as one. After a long tough day (and missing bed time again) coming home and watching Rafe sleeping helps me make sense of it all.
11. To date, what has been your best WoMo achievement?
Breast feeding up until 11.5 months when I came back to work after 14 weeks… it was of the upmost importance to me to do it and looking back now I have no idea how I ran around at work, pumped and got the milk to and from work, home and nursery!
12. What do you want to teach your kids about working mothers?
WoMos are things of inspiration… let these women be the ones that motivate you, make you more resilient and empower you to believe that anything is possible for anyone with hard work.