Imagine having 4 children between the ages of 10 and 20. Now imagine combining motherhood with a successful career as Global Head of Diversity at one of the world’s biggest banks. Sounds exhausting doesn’t it? And yes, it is but it is also rewarding and fulfilling. Parental Choice asked Carolanne Minashi, who works at UBS, how she manages to successfully combine motherhood and career. Her tips were very helpful, in particular on how she refuses to succumb to working mum guilt. Something we could all learn to do. “My life is busy – really really busy but also brilliant, challenging and full of blessings.
Together with my Husband Mark, we have 4 children – two boys aged 20 and 17 and two girls 15 and 10. I have been a working Mum now for over 20 years and having now delivered my oldest safely to the gates of University, feel a sense of relief and satisfaction that I made it through the Mummy Track maze (well with one at least!).
In the spirit of Sisterhood sharing – here are a few things I learned along the way – my top ten tips for making it work and staying sane at the same time.
- View Home, Work and Childcare as an ecosystem that enables your whole life. It’s not about three equal and balanced parts, it’s about energy flowing between the three when, and where, it’s most needed. When work is particularly busy, home and childcare have to flex to support it. When its crunch-time at home ie School Transition, illness or Parents evenings work and childcare have to flex.
- Partnership with your Partner – taking it in turns to do the pick-ups, cover the work event, be the person who goes to the Doctors visits. Where it goes wrong is when all those responsibilities fall on one person (usually Mum).
- Lists are a Mums Best Friend – I make lists for everything. When I am at my most organised I have done a menu plan, made a proper shopping list of what we need and have a list of what needs to get done at the weekend. When it all unravels is when I get home to hungry people, nothing is in the fridge (or what is there will take too long to cook) and we have all run out of loo paper!
- Prioritise the things that really matter (to you). I don’t think my kids care who irons their school uniform or hoovers their bedroom floor, but they do care that I am there cheering them on at Rugby matches, and school plays. I have spent late hours making elaborate tiny scrolls from the Tooth Fairy and if I’m travelling I grab my husbands iPhone, shut myself in the bathroom and dictate a bed time story via the voice record function – these are the memories I have chosen to create for my family, do what feels right for you.
- Refuse to feel guilty. I have spent nearly 20 years listening to Mums at the School Gate feeling guilty that they gave up a career to look after the kids, I have spent the same 20 years listening to Mums at work describing feeling guilty that they are at work and not at home. I REFUSE to join them. Working is my choice, if you don’t like it make a different choice. There are no sacrifices – just choices and trade-offs. It’s my choice to work full-time and the trade-off is that I am not so involved at the School Gate or included in the inner circle of Yummy Mummies. The impact is that I don’t necessarily know about the test everyone else is cramming for, or the school politics (which on reflection might be an upside!). My choice is to leave work before 6 and not work at weekends, the trade-off is that I often feel overwhelmed by the volume of work I have to get through and always feel slightly out of control. The impact is that sometimes things fall between the cracks.
- Have a clear sense of what contribution your job is making, what you are good at and where you want to develop. I feel passionately about enabling women to blend work and family but it doesn’t end there – it’s not just having a job and keeping it, but having a job and growing it. Understand what your next opportunity might be, talk to your Boss, reach out to senior colleagues for mentoring advice, be sincerely open to feedback on how you can develop. Challenge your own limiting beliefs. Have the courage to have conversations about pay and your market worth.
- Embrace Technology – when I started work, nobody could give you any work unless you were actually there. Nowadays they can give you work wherever you are, but by the same token you can ‘do’ work from wherever you are. Technology has freed me from being tied to the office 100% of the time, it allows me to work from home (which I do one day a week). Technology has also freed up productivity pockets that would otherwise have been dead time – so commuting/travelling time can be more useful and I can manage things ‘on the run’.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. One of my favourite mantras is ‘Perfect is the enemy of Progress’, this applies equally to work and home. Perfecting the art of ‘good enough’ is a life time study, but really – I will never have a perfectly tidy house, nor will I ever have a perfectly completed email inbox.
- Be truly present – taken from the Mindfulness genre, I am learning to give my current activity 100% of my attention. That means when I am at work I am absorbed in my tasks and meetings. At home I am focused on home – not scanning my blackberry or half-paying attention to the stories of the day.
- Finally, never buy a pair of shoes you can’t run in. Because no matter how senior, or apparently sophisticated you appear to be – there will always be a time when you need to run for the train, bus or that School Play!
Thank you to Carolanne for her top ten tips on how to combine motherhood and career. To read more from Carolanne and her views on combining motherhood and a career, please see the following links: