Janice Davey

This is my sister and everyday inspiration! Growing up, Janice had so much passion, focus and determination for learning, something she shares with her daughters, colleagues and customers. Her no-nonsense attitude has helped to break down barriers in a male-dominated industry.  As a champion of WeAreWorkingMums here is her story…

Janice Davey, Program Manager at PerkinElmer and Mum to 2 children aged 4 & 2.

Tell me about what you do?
Large scale project management for providing Scientific Services and Asset management to the Pharmaceutical and Academic industry

Tell me a bit about your routine?
I work mostly from home but I can also spend quite a bit of time travelling as my customer base is the whole of Europe. I wouldn’t be able to do this job without the support of my husband who is self-employed and works from home. I supposedly work part time of 4 days a week but in reality, as most part-timers know you squeeze 5 days of work into that. I do however make sure that my Friday off is mine and everyone I work with knows and understands that. I try to make sure that my time off is spent building memories and having quality 1-1 time with the girls.

Once the camping season starts we try to get away from everything as much as possible. I love camping with the kids, no tv, phones etc.

It does sometimes feel as though you have zero downtime as you go from work to kids to work again. I don’t really have a routine but I do prepare, so school bags are packed the night before, washing is done whenever I get 5mins. I also get the kids involved in shopping and cooking.

What is work/life balance to you?
Watching my kids grow and be in their lives whilst succeeding and performing at work in order to live comfortably and hopefully be an inspiration to them.

Are you able to work flexibly?
Yes, having an understanding boss is very much required.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
More employers need to realise that working mums can provide as much input to a company as anybody and provide the flexibility in order to do that.

In the UK what could society/government/companies do better to help working parents?
The 30 hours “free” should be split out from an earlier age. If they want to get parents back into the workforce, providing free childcare should be from once maternity finishes. Spending the majority of your wage for someone else to look after your child creates terrible stresses on families.

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Lisa McAlinden

Our first split maternity story! I also love how Lisa uses her leadership skills to make sure everyone in her team leaves work on time, a benefit not just for parents and carers.

Lisa McAlinden, Head of Knitwear Design (Currently on MAT leave) and Mum to 2 children 2~1/2 and 11 weeks old.

Tell me about what you do?
I work in the fashion industry for a fast paced supplier to most of the UK high street. I specialise in knitwear managing a small team of talented designers bringing the very latest trends to the masses.

Tell me a bit about your routine?
For our first child we took advantage of split maternity leave so myself and my partner James did 6 months each. As the main breadwinner I had to get back to work ASAP, James made it easy for me to get back into work as I knew our baby wasn’t with a stranger she was being taken care of by her Daddy.
After the year I went down to 4 days, James 3 days and nursery 2 days.
Without James I couldn’t have gone back with the same drive as I had before as in my industry you can be hot property one day then in the firing line the next so you have to keep exceeding at all times. Moving to 4 days really felt like the right balance of work and having quality time although 4 days means often fitting 5 days work into 4 so you have to be super organised.

What is work/life balance to you?
Work is the place where I’m not a Mum. I’m me, I have my own identity and I need it to stay sane. I love working and I’m lucky to do something I’m passionate about getting to be creative on a daily basis the balance comes when I get quality time with my family without being tired from working all week so that extra day makes all the difference.

Are you able to work flexibly?
My job is pretty full on so the 4 days is as flexible as is possible.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I think there is an unfair perception that if someone is a Mum or new Mum they can’t do jobs as well as someone who doesn’t have children. This simply isn’t true working Mums want it all and they can have it. I found I was often more efficient at work on days where I needed to leave on time. Sometimes people stay late because they haven’t been as focused in the working day. I often say to my team that if you can’t achieve what you need to in the working day then there is something wrong. We look at our ways of working often and see how we can be more efficient as working too many hours doesn’t make you fresh for the next day.

In the UK what could society/government/companies do better to help working parents?
Child care support from 1 year old I feel that if I hadn’t gone back to work I would have become irrelevant in the workplace too many mothers are forced to choose staying at home over their career due to cost. So by the time they can go back it’s harder for them to maintain the same level and often they can be overlooked.

Yvonne Boateng

I had the pleasure of working with Yvonne before I left LinkedIn and its great to hear they are champions of flexibleworking!

Yvonne Boateng, Client Solutions Manager at LinkedIn and Mum to a 17 month old son.

Tell me about what you do?
I partner with clients to plan and deliver successful digital campaigns.

Tell me a bit about your routine?
It can be quite tough sometimes. I wake up before my 17 month old son, get ready for work, and by which time, my son is awake. I drop off my son and make my way to work. I then also pick up my son at the end of the day. My husband is currently studying for his CIMA qualification, which means he wakes up early to get a study session in, and also has study classes some evenings. Whenever I need to get into work early or stay back late, my husband does the rounds.

What is work/life balance to you?
I haven’t quite figured it out and it’s still sometimes a challenge. My role has changed at work, it’s almost like a new job, so I find myself doing some extra work after the baby goes to bed.

Are you able to work flexibly?
Yes, anytime I need to.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I’m still searching for the secret to great work/life balance so any tips and tricks are welcome!

In the UK what could society/government/companies do better to help working parents?
In an ideal world, we would have a 3 day weekend! I’d like to see a travel card discount for working parents who need to travel into work. Just something to help relief parents.

Laura Brennan-Kersey

Everyone is looking for work/life balance especially parents, read Laura’s story on her journey from Bank Manager to Childminder.

I’m self-employed as a childminder. But before I had children I was a bank manager. I realised very soon after my eldest was born that I wouldn’t be able to return to that line of work if I wanted any sort of quality time with my child, so I went for a real career change. For me being a working mum meant finding the “right work” to spend my time with my children while also receiving an income, and now I actually couldn’t ever imagine going back to the bank. I love my new career and the work-life balance that goes with it.

Claire Alderdice

You can still #dreambig and be a mother, thanks for the inspiration Claire 🙌

I’m a textile designer and launched my own brand of interior products & accessories in 2015, called Claire ∆lderdice Textiles. Shortly after showcasing my first collection I became pregnant with my first child, 18-month-old Aurelia. As our family is growing (with number 2 on the way), I’ve been growing my business at a slow and steady pace to fit in around raising a young family.

I’m so grateful to be able to work in a way that maintains a healthy work-life balance, and with such limited time in the week to focus on my business I find myself much less of a procrastinator than usual! Whilst running your own business is indeed a full-time affair, and I check my emails and manage orders daily, I spend just 1-2 afternoons a week in the glorious haven of my studio, dreaming up new product ranges, planning and doing any (dreaded) admin!

I’m from N. Ireland, where all my family still live – I miss them heaps so make regular trips back to the homeland. But when back in my adopted home of Bedfordshire my lovely mother-in-law helps to look after Aurelia on the days I need to work. It can sometimes be tricky arranging meetings around childcare, especially as my husband works full time, but often attends business meetings with me – but so far we manage to make it work. In general, however, I can be very flexible as Aurelia is so young.

I have big dreams for the future of my business, which can be frustrating at times when it’s growing so slowly, but then I remember that this special time with my family and serving them will go so quickly, and God-willing, I will be able to accelerate at the right time.

clairealderdice.com

Cleo Lam

Getting back into work after any stretch can be daunting so signing up for a course like Digital Mums combines learning with a community. Meet Cleo, who’s the gel in our peer group! Read Cleo’s story and don’t forget to support her campaign, Once Upon a Book to encourage children to love reading forever!

I had a career as an Art Historian in my twenties, then went into Medical Management. A much longed for child finally arrived & we felt lucky that I was able to be a stay at home parent, as it’s what I’d known myself & always envisaged. I’m a strong believer that a happy mum is a happy child and there is no one ‘best’ option. It was tough at times with a husband who works & travels a lot but I’m glad I did it & as a family it suited us. The challenge of course, now school allows me more time, is not only getting back into the workforce, but doing so flexibly! Balance is now the watchword and I’m very hopeful that this is what a career in Social Media Management thanks to Digital Mums will give me & my family.

Victoria Jobson

I feel so humbled reading Victoria story below she lists so many benefits of being a working parent…

I am a registered mental health nurse.

I work with later life clients on an acute assessment and treatment inpatient ward. In a mental health unit. I work part time 22.5 hours a week.

I realise how precious time is and make my days off count with my toddler son on weekdays when we are off.

I think it is tiring and hard work working then being a mum with all the expectations, however, I also believe that work provides a purpose and an achievement that is good for my well being.

As well as providing financial income it demonstrates and role models to my son that work is important and that teamwork matters. That we all have a purpose and skills we can offer others.

It means that we are as a family not always stressed about being able to afford things and I have the rest of the days I don’t work to have time with my son and husband when he is not at work.

It is important to have time somewhere for myself and even if that’s to do jobs at home etc. We don’t have grandparent childcare support, however, I do now have one day a week whereby I am not at work and my son is in preschool, this is so valuable. Plus to maintain friendships where possible my old friends and newer friends inc mummy friends.

Overall if I’m fed up and ever near to feeling sorry for self .. work always puts my woes into perspective as there are always others in a worse position and I get great reward from working in part of a team and giving to others.

Being mum is my best ever job. However one day my son will no longer need me as much as he does now so I still have my career identity to keep me mentally challenged and stimulated.

Victoria Jobson
RMN
Mother to son 3.5 years