Finding the best way to balance your career with your home life remains one of life’s great challenges. As a working Mum it seems there are never ending pressures to try and achieve that balance whilst still having a career you love and excel in.
Having returned to Edelman from maternity leave for the first time four years ago, I like to think I have a good idea of how to make it work now. I didn’t then. A particularly poignant moment for me was asking a senior female exec how she had managed it, to be told “It is very tough. It is very, very tough and don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t!” I felt a huge sense of relief that it wasn’t just me who found this life hard. Being a parent was not going to hold my career back.
Attending the opening evening of the London Women of the World event I knew there would be some formidable women, but perhaps none as formidable as Germany’s Minister for Defense, Dr. Ursula von der Leyen. I was awe-struck. Not only is she the Minister for Defense, but a medical doctor and mother of seven. She reminded me just how much Mums can do when they find the balance that works for them.
Dr von der Leyen talked about the partnership she and her husband have; letting go a little at home and the importance of not turning her husband into a second class Mum, but allowing him to be a first class Dad. She told us how refreshing the support was that she received when working in California with a young family. We’re lucky as I believe we have this support at Edelman now.
Through the last four years I have found that balance is key. I have to be strict on what is work-time and what is family-time, but also being flexible when needed is vital to being a great parent and having a career that works for me and Edelman. Tina Brown spoke to us at Edelman today and reinforced how the support of a partner, family and friends is key to achieving an effective balance.
I left the Women of the World event buzzing. The Dagenham Girls, Meryl Streep, Vian Dakhil, so many inspiring women and some of them Mums. Being a parent shouldn’t hold you back in the workplace, instead it offers you an extra dimension that many of your colleagues don’t have.