Hi Lydia, 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 the Global Head of Strategic Partnerships and lead benefit auctioneer for Christie’s Auction House, and author of The Most Powerful Woman in the Room is You. I have three children – 6, 4, & 2. My husband and I drop our two oldest children off in the morning at school and our little one stays with our nanny during the day. Every afternoon is a little different with after school activities and pick up.
1. One word to describe how being a WoMo makes you feel?
Being a WoMo makes me feel fulfilled. I love being a mother to my three children, and I also love having a job that is interesting and dynamic.
2. What’s the funniest experience you have had juggling kids and work?
Where do I begin? Every day has so many laughable moments - I really try to take it all in stride and keep a sense of humor even when things inevitably go wrong. Recently I was taking my daughter to school when she mentioned that she didn’t think she had school that day. It was a Tuesday in the middle of October so there was no reason that she wouldn’t have school. Right? I should mention that she is in kindergarten so there is a fine line between truth and wishful thinking. When we walked up to the school it was clear that we were the only ones there. As we turned to walk away, the head of school walked up behind us and smiled sympathetically “we have teacher training today” to which my daughter responded, “I told her and told her but she just didn’t listen”.
3. What is the one piece of advice you could offer another WoMo?
Stop thinking about what you are not doing, and give yourself credit for everything you are doing.
4. What’s the least amount of sleep you’ve gone to work on and how did you cope?
I wasn’t a great sleeper when I was a child. I learned not to worry about sleep; that I would eventually fall asleep whenever I was tired. I know the hardest part about having babies for a lot of people is the lack of sleep, but I just tried not focus on it. There were definitely days when I had 2 or 3 hours of sleep – either when the babies were little or someone was sick, but I just reminded myself that if I was tired I could always sleep that night. I also believe that naps are crucial during those early days with the baby so on the weekends I would make sure to take a nap in the middle of the day whenever the baby went down for a nap.
5. What have you learned about yourself as a WoMo?
I am a best WoMo when I am prepared – when I have oversight into what is coming in the weeks ahead for work and my kid’s lives. The logistics of managing a work schedule, our home schedule, our home life and the school schedule can be completely overwhelming so I try to give myself a solid hour or two before the start of a week to make sure that I am on top of everything, and set myself up for success.
6. If you had a working mother’s anthem or mantra, what would it be?
Just take it one day at a time, and reach out to your friends whenever you need help – both physical and mental. My friends are my greatest resource and I seek their advice, guidance and opinions all of the time. I know that everyone thinks that they have to do it on their own, but it is a lot more fun if you are all in it together.
7. What is your guilty pleasure to combat WoMo guilt the best?
Spending time with my friends. I surround myself with positive, inspiring friends and lean on them when I need help.
8. Would you rather be dealing with a tantrum or presenting in a board meeting?
If you had asked me with my first child, I would say board meeting. But now that I have my third child, tantrums are just part of the job of being a mom as much as giving a presentation is part of my job at work. Neither bother me, though one tends to involve less tears and yelling (not always).
9. If you asked your children what your job is, what would they say?
“Mommy wrote a book. It’s pink. Mommy is an auctioneer. She bangs down her gavel”
10. What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you became a WoMo?
I wish I had the perspective on parenting with my first child that I have with my third child. Don’t sweat the small stuff, give yourself a break. If they are walking around in a mismatched pair of socks and a tutu just let them do it. I was boarding a flight by myself with all three kids when my little one was only four months old. All three kids were crying as I was trying to get the overhead luggage into the bin. A flight attendant came up to me, kindly helped me with bag and said “I have three kids too – they are grown. I promise that it gets easier. No day will ever be as hard as today”. Whenever I am having a tough day where it feels overwhelming I repeat that mantra over and over.
11. To date, what has been your best WoMo achievement?
Writing a book while working a full-time job and raising three children. It might be hard to top!
12. What do you want to teach your kids about working mothers?
I want to show them that they have the choice to do whatever they want in life. If they can dream it, they can do it.