Hi Sophie, 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 cofounder of Gordon & Eden – a Digital & Technology Executive Search firm. We place leadership teams in start-ups and corporates including Facebook, Asos and HSBC. I have a 13 month old and I’m due with my 2nd in September so 2 under 2 will be quite busy :) I have a lovely nanny for three and a half days a week and my wonderful parents look after my son for two half days a 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 recently had my son's first year jabs and was also in my first trimester of my second pregnancy. I got dropped at the tube station after we had been to the Doctor and as soon as I got out of the car I realised I left my phone and keys in it which I needed for work. I chased the car down the road but it had long gone. I quickly thought sh*t and then went into thinking mode and walked to our local estate agents on the high street and asked to use their phone to call my nanny in the car to come back to where I was. And then I found my keys in my pocket. I nearly cried but laughed instead.
3. What is the one piece of advice you could offer another WoMo?
After over a year I have finally learnt to stop listening to the noise and judgement around me. As mums we all try and do the best we can and for some reason as soon as you become pregnant everyone seems to think it’s their place to give you advice and opinions when you haven’t asked for them.
I went back to work when my son was just over three months old and then soon after I stopped for a couple of weeks again as he had to have a kidney operation. I was fairly hormonal and emotional to say the least and I was amazed by how many people made comments about how sad it was I had to go to work or what a shame it was I didn’t breastfeed. At that point I let it bother me and I constantly felt guilty. Im now in a place where I don’t hear those comments and if I had one piece of advice to others its do your thing and be proud of who you are as you’re doing the best you can and that’s all we can do!
4. What’s the least amount of sleep you’ve gone to work on and how did you cope?
Probably about two hours but ironically this was when I was pregnant and had such bad insomnia. I slept so badly when I was pregnant and it’s a cliché but you just learn to cope with feeling tired all the time.
5. What have you learned about yourself as a WoMo?
I'm a lot more relaxed about certain things than I thought I would be. I guess I just don’t have the headspace to worry about everything!
6. If you had a working mother’s anthem or mantra, what would it be?
Take a deep breath. Its all going to be ok.
7. What is your guilty pleasure to combat WoMo guilt the best?
Taxis. These have always been my guilty pleasure. I’ve tried to ensure I still do all the things that used to make me happy and not lose my pre baby identity.
8. Would you rather be dealing with a tantrum or presenting in a board meeting?
Depends on the client ;)
9. If you asked your child / children what your job is, what would they say (exact quotation if possible)?
My son can't talk yet and I try really hard to not work when I’m around him so I’m not sure he would have a clue what I do!
10. What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you became a WoMo?
That it is really hard and for me the desire to be around my son all the time hasn’t gone I have just learnt to manage it. There are good weeks and bad weeks. But I actually think that’s the same if you are a stay at home mum or a working mum.
11. To date, what has been your best WoMo achievement?
I won the biggest project of my career when I had a five month old and it was a pretty amazing moment. My company, Gordon & Eden, also won the Natwest Boost award for the Start Up Category at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards when Rafi was 10 months old which also made me really proud.
12. What do you want to teach your kids about working mothers?
That you can be an amazing mum and have a great career and these things aren’t mutually exclusive. That you can be a woman and make the same choices that men make. That you can do something that you love and be an inspirational role model to your children and show them what hard work, grit and determination can result in.
I also want to teach them that you can be an amazing stay at home mum though too. Both women are good role models and I think that’s where we need to get to as a society – we all need to support each other and build each other up. I have friends who work and friends who don’t and I think each and every one of them are amazing mums and have a huge amount to teach and give to their children. Its time we created an environment where both avenues are championed and supported.