Hello Mia, 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 a HR Manager with an absolute passion for enabling people to be the best they can be. I have a daughter, Hazel Maria, who is 7 years old. Hazel has been in nursery since she was a 1 year old and now she is at school, she attends breakfast clubs and after school clubs most days. My husband, Pete, works a slightly compressed week so he can drop off and pick up Hazel at normal school hours on a Friday.
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?
Multiple! Honestly, usually down to my husband and I poorly communicating – walking away from conversations with completely different ideas of what each of us is doing (can anyone else relate to this?!) The most recent embarrassment was the time I had to return the school pants to the Headmistress – this was a communication error surrounding the packing of Hazel’s swimming bag. Thankfully, the Headmistress laughed with (at?) me. Other communication errors include arriving at the school 2 hours early at the end of term, resulting in us spending a precious half day in Sainsburys, killing time. Then there was Hazel’s first day in Year 1 where I forgot to buy her new shoes over the Summer, so she spent the first few days in trainers, and last but not least, the time I drove home from nursery, distracted by work, and forgot to pick her up. Better stop there…
3. What is the one piece of advice you could offer another WoMo?
When others appear to have it all together, nothing is as it seems. The fact that you care about being a good mum makes you a good mum.
4. What’s the least amount of sleep you’ve gone to work on and how did you cope?
Daddy is the fun one (apparently) but when Hazel is ill it’s all about mummy. I’ve easily worked on very little to zero sleep. I am lucky that this doesn’t happen often, and I cope by being realistic about when I can achieve that day and reaching for the coffee.
5. What have you learned about yourself as a WoMo?
Resiliency and organisation. I need a whiteboard in my kitchen as, to quote my daughter, my ‘memory box is broken’. I learnt very late on to accept help from friends and family, my biggest lesson has been that it’s ok to ask.
6. If you had a working mother’s anthem or mantra, what would it be?
‘Wake up now or sleepwalk into death’. This comment, from Ruby Wax’s book ‘A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled’, had a lasting effect. When I have time with Hazel, it helps me remember to focus my attention on her, and enjoy every moment. She is growing up fast.
7. What is your guilty pleasure to combat WoMo guilt the best?
I eat Hazel’s chocolate and sweets when she’s asleep. I know, I know, I’m going to hell …
8. Would you rather be dealing with a tantrum or presenting in a board meeting?
I’ve seen toys thrown out of the pram in both scenarios, I’ll take the child every time!
9. If you asked your children what your job is, what would they say?
I did ask: ‘talking on the phone – very important calls’. I laughed as I heard my own voice say ‘very important calls’ in my head. Funny how Hazel mimics my language!
10. What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you became a WoMo?
That I did not really know the meaning of the words: ‘tired’ or ‘busy’. Also that it would be good to take some of the advice I give others.
11. To date, what has been your best WoMo achievement?
Graduating with a MBA when Hazel was 2 years old. As I was walking off the stage at my graduation ceremony, Hazel yelled ‘hello mummy’ from the audience – a great moment, thankfully captured on video (helps with the broken memory box).
12. What do you want to teach your kids about working mothers?
I teach my daughter that she can do anything she puts her mind to. When she grows up and has children of her own, I will remind her that when she has to return the school pants, the world will still turn!