I started eight73 consulting in 2013. It was a month before I became a wife, and 15 months before I became a mum. For that first year, my business was my baby. It was pretty all-consuming, physically and mentally, and the responsibility I felt to keep the business alive was at times intense.
I was torn between spending time developing the business through approaching new potential clients, while also investing in nurturing the partnerships I’d already secured, and of course delivering to the work I had on. There were never enough hours in the day and I constantly felt like I was chasing my tail.
And then, in May 2014, just as my business was really starting to hit its straps with consistent work from strong partnerships I’d developed, and a steady pipeline of referrals, I had a baby, a real baby. A real life human being who’s sole survival depended on me. I had to think and act for Archie all day and all night, on top of running a business.
I remember wondering how it was all going to pan out.
I remember feeling overwhelmed with responsibility for both the business and the baby.
I remember hearing people say you can’t have it all.
And, this is the clincher, I remember thinking, yeah, actually, I think you can. To some extent, anyway.
I wasn’t prepared to give away either of my loves, so that was when I decided to make being a working mum work. I wanted a solution where I could do both, and I’m proud that I found it.
For me, the solution, in 2014, had 2 parts to it:
I realised pretty quickly that to do my best work as a consultant and as a mum, I needed the luxury of focus and full concentration. It didn’t work for me to be responding to emails while rocking Archie in the bouncer. Or having a serious phone conversation while spoon feeding. So I put in place some firm boundaries that separated my time – days as a mum where I embraced everything an infant is and does, and days as a business women where I thrived on the mental stimulation and adult interaction. I stopped working from home and started leasing office space. I added a sentence to my email signature stating my hours of work and I changed my voicemail to reflect the same thing.
5 years on, this model is still working for me. I have my work hat on two set days a week and my mum hat on three days a week, with a degree of flexibility to interchange the days as the situation calls for it.
As my family has grown with the addition of Hugo in August 2015 and Otis in October 2017, I have brought on additional consultants, Erin and Stacey, who joined eight73 consulting with the same dedication, motivation and hard working ethos that Nicki and I have. And we’re all mums.
I’ve never shied away from the fact that I am a mum, a part-timer. In fact, it’s usually the first thing I say to a prospective new client, because I really think being a mum is an asset, and one that my clients actually benefit from. Being a mum has refined my skills in patience, tolerance, prioritising, multitasking, communication, diplomacy, negotiation etc etc the list goes on.
So I’m proud to sing it from the rooftops.
Honestly, it’s not career suicide to be a working mum – it’s an opportunity to find balance.
And I really do feel like I have it all.
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