Hello Laura, tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do and what happens with your children when you are working?
My name is Laura Willis and I am the founder of Shine Offline. We launched a couple of years ago on the back of my own burn out and work with businesses to help their people get a healthier and more balanced handle on their relationship with their digital technology in our 24/7 connected world.
I am self-employed and when not out running sessions, speaking at conferences and meeting clients work from home.
My kids are Sadie (5) and Donny (18 months)
When I’m working they are at school followed by childminder/afterschool club and Daddy care and at the childminder respectively
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?
Leaving my husband to speak at a conference in Ireland when he had a tummy bug and Sadie was only 18 months old. It wasn’t funny at the time but he got through it – he’s a legend – and we look back and laugh now
3. What is the one piece of advice you could offer another WoMo?
Be kind to yourself. Life is full on and fast and it often feels like you have no time for “you” so if you can slow down and look after number 1 – we need to fit our own oxygen masks before fitting everyone else’s!
4. What’s the least amount of sleep you’ve gone to work on and how did you cope?
Around 4 hours. Donny woke at 4.38 like clock work for nearly a year and the business was in a really busy period for a lot of that. I would often introduce myself saying I was feeling very jetlagged but not because I’d just come from Heathrow but because I had a wakeful baby at home. Being honest about it set me at ease and definitely created a warm atmosphere in the room as a lot of people have been through similar!
5. What have you learned about yourself as a WoMo?
I find it hard to slow down and need to pause and take breaks.
6. If you had a working mother’s anthem or mantra, what would it be?
Tomorrow is another day – do your best today with what you’ve got
7. What is your guilty pleasure to combat WoMo guilt the best?
Taking half an hour to go out on my bike to shower my head and give me space to breath and reflect
8. Would you rather be dealing with a tantrum or presenting in a board meeting?
9. If you asked your children what your job is, what would they say (exact quotation if possible)?
You talk to people about their phones
10. What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you became a WoMo?
How tiring life becomes and how pulled and guilty you can often feeling doing everything to the level that you want
11. To date, what has been your best WoMo achievement?
Delivering a keynote address about healthy smartphone management at the Three Mobile Retail roadshow to 500 people who sell mobile phones for a living when Donny was just 7 months old and still waking at 4.38
12. What do you want to teach your kids about working mothers?
Women are amazing and they have so much to offer. When you become a mum it opens up a completely new, magical part of yourself and its so good to use this in the company of people in the working world. And when Mummy isn’t with you she always misses you