Nicola de Burlet is Head of PR at Kenneth Green Associates. She has a son, aged 4½, and two step sons.
Planning is the key to making the work/kids balance work. You have to set boundaries and stick to them, otherwise things have a habit of creeping up on you.
I coped pretty well going back to work after maternity leave. I only took four months because we had a mortgage and bills. I’m actually not that good at staying at home, so I was happy to get back to the routine. I’d missed the office banter and getting out and about.
Take a deep breath, stick on a pair of heels, get a big coffee and get on with it. That’s my tip for mums about to go back to work. And leave the nursery quickly. Their tears stop the minute you walk out the door and they get distracted by toys and new friends.
The best thing about being a working mum is getting the best of both worlds. You get to have grown up conversations, earn your own money, have lots to chat about with your husband when you get home and are able to do fab things with your kids on the weekends and in the holidays!
Take a deep breath, stick on a pair of heels, get a big coffee and get on with it
Being a parent has made me more focussed. There are a lot of plates spinning, my time is precious and I need to make the most of every second, even if that means looking at an ant on a leaf for five minutes or jumping into a puddle for 20. It’s also made me more determined than ever to be a success. For my son.
I once wore a pasta necklace my son had made to a beauty industry launch. I meant to take it off once I’d dropped him at school, but in the rush, forgot. I constantly have funny moments: a handbag full of cars or robots which make funny noises at inopportune moments, Bob the Builder stickers finding their way onto my clothes... It’s a conversation point.
Working while being pregnant was tough. I was amazed at the blatant disregard for pregnant women. I rarely got a seat on the tube and people never look where they are going so I was always getting bumped into. I felt quite vulnerable at times.
Planning ahead was key to finding the right childcare. A neighbour who already had kids told me to start looking for childminders and apply for nursery spaces before the birth, otherwise I’d never have realised. I found a lovely childminder who became like a surrogate grandmother to my son.
Flat shoes are a working mum must. You’re going to be doing a lot of fast walking and running. Oh and a massive handbag – keep a collapsible shopping bag in it, you’ll need it for last minute milk, nappies and ready meal purchases on your way home.
The thing I find most frustrating is lack of time. And employers who don’t understand the value of flexible working: nowadays with the technology at our disposal, your office is with you.
Motherhood rocks! My son is hugely entertaining and comes out with hilarious comments. He’s starting to be his own little person and do things for himself. I’m amazed by him every single day.