Today our co-founder Nicole Osborne will share her take on it and how she juggles motherhood with pursuing a career. She has a son in infant school and went back to work when he was one.
Everyone makes different choices when it comes to juggling parenthood with pursuing a professional career. And there is no right or wrong approach – just individual choices. In my case I always knew I wanted to go back to work as I loved being a marketing director.
My life before becoming a parent
Looking back, I was always very ambitious. Coming from Former Eastern Germany meant that ‘working hard’ was drilled into me.
When the Berlin Wall came down 30 years ago, both of my parents lost their jobs and set up their own businesses.
They went bankrupt and got divorced. But despite all this they left me feeling eager to do well in my career and instilled in me a self-belief that I could do anything if I put my mind to it.
And I did. In all the jobs I had, I put myself forward for being promoted, and requested pay increases. At the peak of my corporate career I was interviewed for the position of MD at 6 months pregnant (but this is another blog altogether!)
I threw myself into my career. Getting into marketing and progressing to director level was not always easy. I worked late when I had to, put up with some not-so-good bosses (don’t we all at some stage) and I volunteered for new challenges.
I enjoyed international business trips and managing teams, exploring new markets and overseeing sizable budgets. And I was happy with my life-work balance.
My life after becoming a parent
I was still ambitious.
But the priorities in my life had changed.
It had taken me a long time to become a mum so I wanted to be able to see my son more than a board level Marketing Director job would allow me to.
So I took voluntary redundancy. But boy was I infuriated when I realised just how few flexible roles were available at senior marketing level.
I’d had so many years of training to be a marketer, made it to Chartered status and I didn’t see why I would settle for a more junior position because I needed an ounce of flexibility as a working parent.
My imposter syndrome was at an all time high – redundancy can make you feel that way. But I decided to go it alone, to mixed reactions from my friends and family, after all I was leaving an £80K job behind.
Filled by frustration about the lack of flexibility I saw no alternatives, as I couldn’t stay late for urgent projects. Any working parent will know that you can stay late, but only if you have childcare in place, and most of us need to rush back to get to nursery or after school club on time.
And moreover I didn’t want to rush from one meeting to the next to arrive home exhausted. So I took the plunge and I never regretted it.
How we help social media managers build a business they love
Fast forward 4 years and I feel so passionate about helping working parents make more money in the limited time we have.
I often find that we’re so grateful that we have flexible work, which enables us to work around our families, that we forget to appreciate that in turn we’re offering companies a huge amount of flexibility and expertise.
Many smaller businesses couldn’t afford someone with 20 years’ marketing experience on a full-time basis, but they can afford to bring in a senior digital marketer for contract work.
Becoming part of Go With The Pro for me was to offer social media managers who are often working parents shortcuts to recognising what holds them back and the resources to build their brand to charge their worth.
One of my favourite parts is meeting new members during our welcome call and then helping them keep on track during weekly group coaching calls.
When I meet our new members during 1:1 welcome calls, we explore this:
- Do they utilise all of their experience to date to position themselves? Confidence is often as issue. I’ve met women who never mentioned they had been working in advertising for blue chip companies before becoming a mum. Or that they had started out in digital marketing when it all began. When we charge, people pay us for all our experience, not just part of our skill set.
- What they are hoping to achieve and how membership can help them to get there at their own pace. We know joining a membership can be overwhelming when you’re not used to it, so we guide them through a route to success where they can easily progress when they are ready.
- What are their barriers and how we can start removing them to help them beat overwhelm.
- Their current clients and identify if they’re charging their worth.
Charging your worth is relative. But I’ve seen social media managers who barely work for the minimum wage. That fills me with sadness and a passion to do something to empower them.
When I went back to work, I faced £10 an hour childcare costs, so that made me put up my prices instantly regardless of how confident I felt inside. I now teach masterclasses for our community on how to charge your worth and set your prices.
So, can we have it all?
Naively I thought we could. Nowadays I know that it’s all about knowing our own priorities.
Yes, I could have returned to full-time work after becoming a mum. Essentially I realised that my own happiness at work was closely interlinked with how happy I was with my senior teams. And once you’ve found a great boss, they’re likely to move eventually. It’s not always easy being your own boss but at least you can take charge of your own destiny.
Next week I’ll be attending my son’s school play, and it feels so good to arrange my work appointments around it. I don’t have to ask anyone.