Hi Jenny, 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 Head of Marketing and Partnerships for Toby Marsh Creative, a brand and design company. I worked with Toby at another company before he founded TMC, so he has known me pre-baby which I think helped me when I started back at work after having my daughter Sienna. I felt I had a lot to prove when I started back at work, not just to Toby but to myself. The first few months I doubted my ability to work and be a mother but working in a team of talented and driven people inspires me to want to be the best WoMo I can be.
My daughter is 18 months old and she attends nursery three days a week while I am at work. It took her a month or so to settle in and even when she moved to a new class a few months ago we had to go through the whole settling period again, which can make leaving her and going to work hard. However, she now loves it and I see the benefits of her being able to interact with other children and doing activities that I wouldn’t perhaps do with her. I’m lucky in that my husband is very supportive of my job and so on the days that I have to work late he will always pick Sienna up from nursery; it’s a team effort. I also have a great family - parents, parents-in-laws, sister-in-laws - who look after Sienna when I have meetings on the days she isn’t at nursery. It’s true what they say, it really does takes a village to raise a child.
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 was working from home and on a Skype call with clients in Geneva. Although I made sure that Sienna had every toy she owns to try and keep her occupied it just didn’t work. She wanted to be part of the call, she kept popping up and saying ‘Hiya’ while I tried to keep a professional face on while trying to distract her. The clients were very good about it but in the end I had to switch my sound off so they couldn’t hear her.
3. What is the one piece of advice you could offer another WoMo?
There is no right or wrong way to make it work for you. I have friends who are mothers who don’t work, some that just work part time and others who work 5 days a week - they are all brilliant mothers and women. It’s about finding a balance that works for you and your family. Sometimes that balance is hard to find and there is no getting away from the guilty that comes with working but you need to remember to look at the big picture - if working makes you happy then your children will be happy.
4. What’s the least amount of sleep you’ve gone to work on and how did you cope?
Thankfully my little girl is a good sleeper however when I first went back to work and she started nursery she got every illness going around, every week she was poorly with some sort of bug, even ending up in hospital at one point and so there were often times where I had gone into work after being up with her in the night and only having a few hours sleep. When there are things to get done you just power through and get it done. As someone who has always needed 8 hours sleep, I have surprised myself since having a child about what I can achieve on a small amount of sleep.
5. What have you learned about yourself as a WoMo?
I’m more organised than I thought I could be. I can fit more in my day than I ever thought I could. I considered myself a good mum when I wasn’t working but working gives me a sense of self and because of that I think I am a better mother; it also means I really treasure and love the time I spend with Sienna.
6. If you had a working mother’s anthem or mantra, what would it be?
Motherhood is not easy but it will always be worth it.
7. What is your guilty pleasure to combat WoMo guilt the best?
Date night with my husband or drinks and dinner with my girlfriends. My close group of friends are a mix of mums and non-mums and I love spending an evening with them and a few bottles of wine! I can share with them any guilt I may be feeling and they help put it in perspective.
8. Would you rather be dealing with a tantrum or presenting in a board meeting?
My daughter is 18 months old and in the last month has started having full on tantrums so I would have to say, since I am still learning the best ways in which to deal with a tantrum that I would feel much more in my comfort zone presenting in a board meeting!
9. If you asked your child / children what your job is, what would they say?
She has a limited vocab at the moment and I’m not sure she has a real understanding of where I go when I go to work, although she often visits the office. But if she could answer the question I am sure she would just say my job is being mummy!
10. What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you became a WoMo?
That the successful WoMos who make it look easy work bloody hard to make it look like that!
11. To date, what has been your best WoMo achievement?
This is hard to answer as there are lot of little successes that I am proud of at work but often it’s just the simple things of getting to the end of the week having achieved what needed to be achieved both at work and at home.
12. What do you want to teach your kid about working mothers?
That being a parent doesn’t mean that we lose all aspirations and dreams after we have kids. Whether it is work related or not, it is OK to have goals you want to reach outside of being a parent.