The lovely Nicky Raby has written a guest post with her top tips for surviving as a working mother, which, clever thing that she is, she’s linked in with the BABY range of This Mama Does cards! Because, let’s face it, WINE O’CLOCK isn’t always the answer (though it helps).
I recently completed the ’20 facts you may not know about me’ tag on Instagram… You can find many random 90s facts over @nickyraby including my meeting with all 5 Spice girls and East 17 (two separate occasions!), my love of dance and sofa naps and my blend of geek and rebel.
Of course becoming a mum had to be in there. It has changed everything for the better apart from sleep – Christina you will know about this!
I have always had a creative, portfolio career; actor, writer, coach and speaker and now mama. I love my work and as a freelancer continued working in the early months; albeit from my sofa and very little. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this and certainly don’t wear it as a badge of honour.
In my coaching work I help other women to find their own version of success and design their week so it suits them and their family. This could be not returning to their previous career, starting a business or doing more of what they love.
I know working for yourself can seem like the ultimate. You don’t have a boss. You choose your own hours. You create your own schedule.
There is a brilliant rise of mums who are starting their own business – I love watching you on Instagram.
However because many of us want to create excellent things in the world and be seen as professional, there can be a slight gloss that may be disconcerting to those who are just starting out.
Believe me, we all find it tough sometimes so hopefully you will find some comfort in the following.
Love this face
You love your child/your children. Oh yes. You could weep. You have never known love like it. But if you are running a business you will need some time that you are child free. There is a lovely fantasy that you will write your novel whilst your baby sleeps on a sheepskin. Even in the early days, my baby wanted to be fiddling, not kicking back. When I have only one thing to focus on I work much smarter. It is surprising what you can do in an hour. I know childcare can be a tricky chap to fathom; how much, how often, from what age, so start with what you can to make work right now.
Up all night
Yep. I have a child that isn’t an amazing sleeper. It is manageable but I have aged about ten years in 18 months. Sometimes you won’t be that effective in your work if you haven’t had a great sleep. I used to plough on through and have a word with myself but now if I need a nap I take one. Just half an hour can make all the difference. I feel guilty if I am not doing stuff (a whole other blog post) and worry about falling behind but I know I am not superwoman; less is often more.
Shit just happened
As much as you plan for most eventualities, it is likely at some point something will catch you out. If shit does happen, stop, breathe, take a moment. Be transparent, be honest, have integrity and take the next right action. When something goes wrong or pops up unexpectedly we can blame ourselves in not a particularly pleasant way. Don’t doubt everything. Figure out what you would do next time. Find the solution. Move forward. Have a wine.
Or whatever your tipple. I can’t have gin as I puked on it once at a house party in someone’s parents’ en suite. I can still smell it mixed with Doritos! 🙂 Lovely. Gin, chocolate, Percy Pigs…whatever it is, go for it.
Sponsored by coffee
Early mornings, late nights and a baby who may want to sleep on your head can leave you feeling exhausted. The kettle is on for most of the day in this house and also I make sure I eat properly and I don’t just mean actually finding time to make meals. I mean fresh, nutritious ingredients that are going to fuel my body. This doesn’t have to be extreme and spending half the night making your own granola but just doing the basics – fruit, veg etc and drinking loads of water.
Nap time rules
We are down to one nap and it is fairly predictably – 1pm-3pm (this the most predictable part of his sleep routine so please don’t think I am being smug!) I make sure I plan my tasks for this time. My general rule is stuff that requires undivided attention. I don’t tend to book clients in unless I know I have childcare but this time is mega concentrated. Replying to comments on Instagram can be done with one eye on a climbing child but business strategy or a client email needs a little more headspace.
I wish I could share with you my tried and tested perfect formula but this is still something I am very much working on. Whatever time you can get, take it. Enjoy it. No guilt required. Whatever floats your boat, do it. I thought me time would be getting massages pre baby but often I like to go to events (granted where there is wine) where I can meet like minded women. My work and social life do align nicely.
We are out
Time with you partner or the important people in your life is essential. We went out as a couple last night just for two hours. We had burgers and chips. We talked, we laughed, we said stuff out loud and remembered who we were as a couple.
Look what I made
It’s all worth it. Yes, it may be tough sometimes but try and make sure you are catching the beautiful moments. They pass so quickly. Also remember what you are teaching your child by taking action, by going for it and not letting your dreams become a ‘I was going to do x,y,z but didn’t’. It is so important our children, aka the future, dream big and believe change is possible.
Nicky is giving a £30 discount on her Strategy Sessions if you book before the end of April and quote This Mama Does.