Hi Lucile, 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 a management consultant for big banks by day, and a life coach by night. I am passionate about change and transformations, and when I don’t help large organisations go through it, I support individuals go on their own journeys. Lately I have been focusing on helping working parents achieve a balance that allows them to thrive at home and at work. My kids are almost three years old (Charlie) and nine months old (Paloma). Charlie goes to the nursery at the moment for a couple of days per week, and when I go back after the end of my maternity leave, I think we will do a combination of nanny and nursery. Whatever doesn’t cost a whole new mortgage basically, and allows us time to work.
1. One word to describe how being a WoMo makes you feel?
Superhero! It feels pretty good. I feel like I have it all - the thing I do for them, for me, for us.
2. What’s the funniest experience you have had juggling kids and work?
Beside having a ton of babies related things constantly falling out of my handbag at work? Maybe describing poo consistency on the phone in the open space.
3. What is the one piece of advice you could offer another WoMo?
Cut yourself some slack. And when it looks like you’re out of options and cannot find the right balance between work and family, ask yourself: “If I had this nailed, what would it look like?”. You’re bound to come up with ideas.
4. What’s the least amount of sleep you’ve gone to work on and how did you cope?
Three hours, and that day might as well have been sponsored by Cafe Nero, as they were almost feeding me coffee on a drip.
5. What have you learned about yourself as a WoMo?
I’m much more patient than I thought I could ever be, and I have learned to use my assertiveness to progress my career. Funnily enough being a mum has made me much more daring. Asking for a raise, a promotion or a new job is nothing compared to having to negotiate with a toddler at three in the morning. Seriously.
6. If you had a working mother’s anthem or mantra, what would it be?
It would be “whatever works”. There is no perfect or unique way to parent, and this applies to careers too. The beauty of it all is to find our own ways and tricks and set-ups for it to work just fine. And what works now might not work tomorrow. We need to be flexible with time frames too.
7. What is your guilty pleasure to combat WoMo guilt the best?
Chocolate first (Kinder Chocolate to be precise, classy lady that I am), and then a reminder that a happy mummy is a good mummy. I’m more patient when I’ve had time with adults. There, I’ve said it!
8. Would you rather be dealing with a tantrum or presenting in a board meeting?
I’ve never felt the urge to punch a whole or shout my head off during a board meeting. Guess which I’d pick.
9. If you asked your child / children what your job is, what would they say (exact quotation if possible)?
My mum doesn’t even know what I do! Charlie would probably say “Maman works with her friends in an office”, and Paloma would utter “babababa” (you did ask for exact quotation!).
10. What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you became a WoMo?
That people don’t expect me to be 200% in terms of presence or energy levels in the first few weeks/months. I put a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself when I started back after mat leave, and it wasn’t good in the short term. At home we had to reset the “start” button and find a routine that allowed us all time in the morning, and I had to come to term with the idea that “full time face time” was a thing of the past and that this was OK.
11. To date, what has been your best WoMo achievement?
Creating an entirely new role in my old company for me to come back into, to successfully deliver in this new role, and getting promoted a few months after coming back. When I feel like my confidence drops, I look back and remind myself that upon coming back to work, I managed to progress my career, complete my professional coaching diploma AND not completely loose all my cool at home!
12. What do you want to teach your kids about working mothers?
I want to teach them that it’s possible to pursue a career, whatever it looks like, and to also have a family. I want to teach them that there are many ways to make it work, and that their education is worth it. I want them to feel empowered to decide what’s best for them: whether it is to stay at home, or to go back to work. And also that, they might do both at different stages in their lives.