I was very pleased to sponsor the Business Mother Award as part of the Successful Women in Business Awards, won by Anna Gidman.
For me in particular, with my experience running my own business, and being a Mum, it has even more relevance. It’s something I have been doing for nearly 30 years, and it’s something I am very proud of!
Oh, and did I mention running the home too? Unless your partner is one of the rare breed, who would know where to find the hoover, write a shopping list or cook, I’m sure you know what I mean!!
Women have always worked, mostly quietly, behind the scenes whilst running the home and bringing up the children single handedly. I am reminded of the Mark Twain quote “Behind every successful man, there is a woman” the quote continues “And behind every unsuccessful man there are two” but we won’t go into that one just now! In my experience there is no right or wrong way to balance these demanding tasks; it must be what works for you and your family.
My personal experience is: I went back to work when Daniel, the youngest of my two boys, was six months old (he’s 26 this year!) so I had to employ a nanny and a cleaner. I didn’t initially want to, but to be honest, this worked well. My children spent their time in familiar surroundings, had their usual routine and their nanny was very much part of the family. I certainly don’t believe they missed out in any way; maybe I should ask them what they think. I’m sure they would agree.
I believed then and still do now, that this worked well for all involved.
When Caitlin, the oldest of my two girls was born, nearly 15 years ago, after much thought, I decided the time was right to stop working and stay at home with her, which I did with both her and my second daughter. Demands on my work commitment had changed. Again based on the circumstances at that time it, was the right decision.
This was until we started IT Support 365 in 2008. This time I wanted the business to fit around the girls. As a result I worked mainly from home, and, with the latest developments in technology, this was much easier.
Latterly, with more networking breakfasts and business events to attend things have got more demanding and it’s not unheard of for Evie, my youngest, to be handed over at a friend’s house at 6:30 am, cereal box in hand! I have to admit to having forgotten to take her to school on more than one occasion – it’s that moment when you arrive at the office and glance in your rear-view mirror to see a cheeky smiling face – of course, it’s too much to ask for her to point out when I’ve just driven past her school!!
I have never had any doubts about bringing the girls into the office when I need to. They even came with me to the solicitor on one occasion to discuss our new office lease (that cost me a Prezzo meal!) while they are often with me on visits to the accountant. I am an old hand at ‘working on the run’ and am afraid I was that parent at swimming lessons glued to her email!
My advice is to focus on your priorities. Focus on what’s important to you. Don’t sweat the small stuff either at home or work – you’ll make yourself ill if you continually strive for perfection. Pick your battles, let things go, and DON’T feel guilty, BE PROUD – you’re amazing!