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Deciding to become a mother is an exciting moment in life – but it can also be a time of difficult decisions. How will you be able to balance motherhood, work, family life… and be successful at all of them? One member of the Femibion Global team, Natalie Noeller, who has a two-year-old son, shares her top tips for mothers who have young children.
Natalie and Ralph
Avoid stress by planning as much as possible. Book business trips well in advance to avoid last minute childcare stress and communicate to your partner and family well in advance all help needed. I do my weekly food shop ideally online or in my lunch break so I don’t have to waste precious evenings rushing to go food shopping and causing stress. I also recommend to pack everything you can the night before – so kids’ stuff for daycare, plan outfits and get have shoes and bags ready by the door. This means you are less likely to be late or forget something important!
I have quite a long commute and drop my son off at daycare en-route to work so early meetings are stressful for me. I either call in from home and then drive to the office or work from home during these early calls with Asia, to avoid extra stress and still fit in early calls with colleagues. I even presented some slides in the carpark of the daycare on an early morning call – but nobody would have guessed. Try not to stress and always look for a practical solution. This is something motherhood has taught me, if you are flexible and can compromise, this is always a solution. I am lucky my company has a great flexibility and working model which really helps working parents like myself.
Natalie and Ralph at office
As I get great flexibility and trust from my boss I am also flexible back to the company in return. Travelling on a Sunday, working evenings, getting home late from business trips is no issue for me. I rarely have evening plans so once my son is in bed I will be the team member happy to pick up any urgent work that needs to be actioned. I am very grateful for the company’s flexibility so in return am completely open and flexible as well when working.
My husband picks up our son from daycare so I don’t have to stress and rush to leave the office. This makes a massive difference for me and my daily working life being able to finish my work, then go home and enjoy my evening. It is also important to give yourself some “me time” as well – my husband is happy to look after our son if I want to go out for the evening to catch up with friends or get a beauty treatment.
Enjoy the time off with your family and not have to spend all evenings and weekends cleaning. This is important to me to plan fun “quality” time in the evenings and weekends, not just stressing doing household chores. Working at home on Fridays helps so I can pick my son up from daycare and get chores done during my lunch break.
I have a very supportive boss and team who are very flexible and help me on a day to day basis and do not make me feel “guilty”. Appreciate your team members and don’t feel scared to reach out for help or look for a new solution if something doesn’t work for you. All my colleagues know Ralph and love him, which is nice. He also gets to see where Mummy “works” and loves coming to meet people in and out of the office.
Long gone are the days of presentism in today’s modern working world. It is very hard to juggle work and family and to achieve a have a balance. I often feel guilty for not being at home and then feeling guilty for not being at work. Don’t try and do too much on both fronts, be realistic and tell people up front what your working schedule is like and push back and agree upfront your availability. The same with your family. If people know your schedule in advance and you plan well in advance, ensuring you have a good balance shouldn’t be a problem. I love being at work and enjoy and appreciate the time in the office with my colleagues so you shouldn’t feel bad to want to work.
As my husband is self-employed he is quite flexible and often travels with me on business trips. I am realistic and know he can’t come on all trips, so during a recent trip to Kenya it was very hard to be away from my family for 4 days. However, I love travelling and want to give Ralph as many travelling experiences as possible during his childhood and don’t want to see travelling for business as a negative thing. He loves visiting new cities and meeting colleagues and I am very happy to have him involved in my work! It’s a perfect balance.
This was the hardest part of returning to work from maternity leave. I didn’t allow enough time for the daycare onboarding (8 weeks in Germany!) so going back to work when Ralph wasn’t in daycare was tough. My husband was looking after him and then he did the onboarding, which I would have loved to do. Once kids start daycare, be prepared for them to get sick A LOT and for you to get everything they get too! I am not a sickly person and never had a sick day in ten years of working but was got sick 3 times in 4 months. Thank goodness for flexible working and home office! My recommendation would be to make sure your child starts day care at least two months before you go back to work to allow sufficient time for onboarding and time for both you and your child’s immune system to adjust!
One of the many skills I have learnt since being a mother is more being more decisive and not thinking for so long about decisions. You simply don’t have the time to spend debating a decision and every day is a new challenge. So, if something isn’t working out with your job and you don’t get the balance, don’t be afraid to change it and speak to your boss – perhaps lower your working hours or work from home more? Don’t forget to acknowledge your skills learning during maternity leave as well. I believe 100% motherhood is a qualification to be proud of. I am very proud to be part of the Femibion MumPlus campaign and will be adding the MumPlus badge to my LinkedIn profile!