Leona is a working mum and previously attended one of our Mumager Ramp Up Workshops. We catch up with her to find out how she is getting on, and what she took from the programme.
Can you share a bit about yourself Leona
I’m a graduate entry doctor specialising in Paediatrics. I have two busy little boys (3 and 6 years old) who keep me on my toes but give great hugs and a supportive husband who is happy to share the load.
Many working parents say they find it stressful balancing work and home. What have you found most challenging?
The challenge to balance both work and home was something I shouted from the rooftops before finding Mumager! It’s definitely a challenge because you can only be in one place at a time – yet sometimes both need you. For me the difficulty was in balancing extracurricular work demands (prepping for exams, attending conferences) with home life. I felt I had given plenty to my job and couldn’t justify giving up more family time to career advancement. The conundrum however was that I couldn’t advance if I didn’t do these things! Going to work to mind other sick children, while my own kids were poorly at home – that’s always tough because you feel like you’re not prioritizing their needs.
You’ve previously attended a Mumager workshop – what did you take away from the course?
Attending the workshop gave my career a new lease of life. I genuinely thought about abandoning ship until the kids were older but the team at Mumager changed that. You’re given permission to have a good old whinge about how difficult things are – then they swoop in with all these wonderful ideas to improve the situation. They wave this magic wand and help you banish ‘Working Mom Guilt’ – it literally lifted a weight off my shoulders. As a pretty useless emotion, it’s frightening how obstructive (and destructive) guilt it can be. They teach you how to assess your situation, line up options on how to improve it and most importantly, remind you that decisions are reversible. If the new ‘routine’ doesn’t work, guess what – you can try something else. Also learning to simplify your life and developing awareness that you can’t be everything to everyone all the time.
What advice would you give to other mums, or parents returning to work?
- Prioritize – learn to triage your life! Is this important or can it wait?
- Ask for help – they can’t say yes if they’re never asked!
- Reward yourself – pick some milestones and celebrate when you reach them.
- Don’t feel guilty – your child won’t think you’ve abandoned them I promise!
- Try to keep work and home life separate so both get the attention they deserve.
- Remember you’ve worked hard to get where you are, you’re not going to regress by taking some time out and don’t fall prey to ‘the only way is up’ mantra. Moving laterally on the career ladder is still movement, and if it gives you some breathing space to enjoy the early years with your kids, then go for it!