We return to our series of working mummy interviews. This week we interview Michaela Oliver who manages to juggle a full time job, a new business and her family. Read on to hear how she manages to juggle her life/work balance.
Tell us about you
I am Michaela Oliver, 36. I work full time as an account manager /marketing manager for a training provider. We have set up babychoes in our spare time – not easy with a toddler! Fortunately I live in the same town as my office so I can walk to work and spend more time at home in the morning than a lot of working parents.
Tell us about your family
I am married to Phil and we have a little girl Poppy was 2 in August. We also have a cat Alfie, which if Poppy were to be believed, eats all her food including tomatoes and strawberries! We live in Steyning, just outside of Brighton.
How do you fit in work with the family?
I returned to work when my little girl was 3 months old, leaving her in full time care of her daddy. She has been going to nursery one day a week since she was 1, and more often more recently so that Phil can work on the babychoes business. We don’t like to send her too often, but hopefully it will all be worth it.
Tell us about your life/work balance?
We are lucky as I work locally so all get to eat breakfast together in the morning, and I am always home by 6. I am in charge of bath time and putting her to bed. In the early days I was popping home at lunchtime to breastfeed, but that seems a long time ago now. Setting up babychoes eats in to all our spare time, and we have to try hard at weekends to make sure we have good quality family time together. We manage it – most of the time!
What are the challenges to being a working mum?
I go through phases. Some times I forget life has ever been any different. There are times though when I feel I am missing out and feel like campaigning for better benefits so I wouldn’t have to work full time. Some of the other European countries have it much better than us. Working full time means I miss out on the mummy groups and can feel a bit isolated. It’s also hard to leave for working the morning when Poppy is saying ‘ mummy stay with me’. The biggest challenge through is tiredness, and trying to not complain about it. I am the only person at work with a young child so Fridays in the office can be strange listening to everyone’s weekend plans – which are very different to mine!
How do you cope with these challenges?
Better sometimes than others. I just have to work a little harder at keeping in touch with the mummy network. My biggest concern is not being able to pick Poppy up at school and feeling excluded, so I have 2 years to focus on changing our circumstances to make this happen – hence our new business start up.
If you could give mums a couple of tips on coping as a working mum what would it be?
Try to smile as much as you can and keep optimistic. I collapsed at work twice last year with anxiety and it’s really not worth it. A job is important but it really is only a job at the end of the day. It’s your family that matter. And if it’s not working for you then put a plan in place to help shape the future.
What do you plan ahead?
I’m rubbish at planning ahead. I think if I were at home we’d be more organized (sorry husband!)
What is your favourite plan ahead family meal?
We don’t eat together – 6’oclock is just too early for us. The family favourite is spag bol – we just eat our later.
What is your favourite book?
My favourite book is The Alchemist, but I’m more likely to read Peppa Pig books these days.
Whats your favourite family holiday destination?
Anywhere with a swimming pool, park and soft play area! We’ve taken to borrowing the in-laws caravan for family fun in Devon.
Tell us about your best family day out destination
We love to go to farms and look at the animals (and buy cakes from the farm shop). If they have a bouncy castle or a bouncy pillow then the day is complete.
What’s your favorite family film?
We haven’t got in to family films yet. But life has been made much easier since the arrival of the Peppa Pig DVD. I am a fan of Peppa Pig and Ben & Holly’s Magic Kingdom.
Tell us about your company?
Baby choes are the first baby shoes to be designed to captivate babies and stimulate their senses.
Thanks Michaela for sharing your story. We take our hats off to you. Your shoes look great and we wish you all the best for your business and your family. Thanks for taking part. The Baby Gurus