It’s the question on every working mum’s lips, it’s something that is whispered among mumpreneur wannabes…when it comes to career and motherhood, how can we juggle the two and make it work? Can it be done? Or is it just a total load of tosh? Well today I have Hannah Feldman, the co-founder of the Kidadl app, – to share her top tips on making career and motherhood work.
How important is making and sticking to a plan in striving to achieve the balance?
A plan certainly takes you a long way – as long as it is a realistic one! Try to understand what you can deliver in the time you have and then stick resolutely to the tasks you set yourself. Avoid, where possible, the “noise” from emails, phone calls and so on. If you can silence any notifications during focused periods of work you’re winning. Otherwise you’ll be in touch with everyone but your to-do list won’t be shrinking!
What are your tips for finding balance between profession and parenthood?
Being at peace first and foremost with your truth. With what makes you tick and what you need to accomplish in the life you have been given. Once you accept yourself as you are, not as who you “ought” to be you start to realise that “balance” is the wrong way to look at it. You will not spend your days with carefully appropriated pockets of time that are evenly distributed.
Instead there will be days when family life is all-consuming, and others when work takes that mantle. The pendulum swings both ways – sometimes daily, weekly or monthly (even hourly!) and the most important thing to keep in check is your own health and well-being and to continually re-focus to check your chosen path still works for you.
What are your tips for letting go of the guilt?
Again it’s about owning your truth. If you’ve been put on this earth for a reason and you know what that reason is, and it just happens to be something in addition to raising a family that’s who YOU are. Guilt about your career should not come from a position of conviction. It’s also a wasted emotion as it will drain you of energy and focus. If you’re going to do it then own it!
If in doubt then reflect upon why you’re doing what you’re doing – how does it make you feel, what are your goals, what is your destination? Focus on all the positive reasons for why you’re on this path and don’t dwell on something that will only eat you up and thwart you.
Absolutely imperative. I’ve had a childcare crisis recently and it has thrown everything off kilter. My advice is get structured help where possible and don’t rely on ad hoc care as it’s beyond difficult build a meaningful business when you don’t have clear units of “working” time ahead of you each week.
What role does being organised have to play and what are your top tips for staying organised?
Organisation is crucial, at levels you would perhaps cringe at in your child-free years! Key tips include getting a fridge planner for all family meals, shopping lists and social plans each week so everyone has it for reference. Also sending a calendar invite to your partner for all extra-curricular events and activities (even if they’re not invited) so you know exactly who is going to be where and when and can plan around it. Online shopping is a must too at our house
Do you carve out special family time for bonding and what strategies do you involve for
Absolutely. It’s crucial for us to get out as a family away from the distractions of day to day life. I created the Kidadl app as I wanted a better way to discover amazing outings that were relevant to my kids and it’s amazing that we now get to use it every weekend! We like to head outdoors, explore museums and generally dust down the cobwebs after a busy week. Getting out enables us to bond and enjoy time together – when I’m at home I’m too fixated on the endless list of chores to be in that zone!
How about finding the time to nurture the relationship with your partner?
We try to have a date night every couple of weeks where we get out of the house and actually spend some meaningful time together chatting over a meal without the kids. We also aim to get away for a cheeky weekend for our respective birthdays each year and ask the family to help with childcare. Life can be so full on when you’re balancing family and a career and if you don’t schedule quality time together it’s unlikely to happen.
Balancing a career and motherhood is busy….how and when do you make time for yourself?
In all honesty that has been a bugbear of mine for the past year or so. There hasn’t really been any as I’ve had a baby and a startup business concurrently. It sounds silly but now I look at my commute as “my” hour and use it to listen to podcasts that inspire and revitalise me, or meditate rather than staring into the ether. The aim for 2018 is to try and claw some more time for myself by doing yoga classes which should give me an hour to detach. Everyone needs me time!
Anything else you’d like to share?
Mindset it the most important thing. If you believe you can, or believe you can’t – you’re right! Remember it all starts from within.
Hannah Feldman is the co-founder of Kidadl, the app to discover and book the most amazing family events and activities across London, tailored to the ages and interests of your kids. You can download the Kidadl app and subscribe to Kidadl’s weekly newsletter at www.kidadl.com.
Want to read more on this subject? Check out my post on whether women can really have it all.
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