How far we’ve come…

As we celebrate the 100th year anniversary of the Suffragettes, as a woman and working mother, I applaud how far we have come.

100 years later, you can’t open a newspaper or scroll through social media without women speaking up, no longer afraid to have a voice.

In this past year, we have seen the #MeToo campaign crack open some of the most powerful and male dominated industries in the world. The gender pay gap is still debated regularly. We have even seen the rise of the ‘mummy bloggers’, who are normalising, discussing openly previously taboo subjects like PND, breastfeeding, and how it is ok not to be perfect.

I can’t help but be proud to be a part of this movement where women are speaking up regularly and making a difference – and having two little girls who are witnessing this and will experience the changes as a result makes it even more special.

But I can’t help that this is all tip of the iceberg – we fought for the vote and the right to be treated equal – but whilst pay is one thing, it still doesn’t take away from the fact that as the mother, you are number one carer, therefore all things aren’t necessarily ever going to be equal.

*Regardless of how helpful your husband is – it often falls to Mum to be the one running about like a blue-arsed fly, booking doctors’ appointments, mopping up puke, before marching into the office in your M&S suit and high heels and pretending like it hadn’t happened for 8 hours of the day. It’s Mum who is there through it all and its Mum, who thinks she needs to be bloody superwoman by going out to work. It’s socially accepted for Mum’s to be the one who is called by nursery or school first if the child is ill, and bosses almost expect the mother to be the one who must drop everything and fetch their child.

(*NB: a generalised reference mainly directed at me and not applicable to everyone).

A few years back when my first baby was a blob (not being rude – she was a pooing and milk sucking blob). I raved about having your cake and eating it too. By that I mean managing to be a full time corporate working Mum. I merrily dropped my child at nursery, dried mine and her tears, and went on to be a very busy and important PR person for a technology company. I managed a team of 4 people, juggled Global and European decision makers, spent days in meetings about meetings and all the while managing to juggle night feeds, ear infections, baking birthday cakes, potty training and the changing emotions of a toddler.

We got there, it worked and whilst I possibly wasn’t the most stable mentally, heavily reliant on wine, with family normally getting the brunt of how badly my day at work had gone, things where OK.

Not great, joyful, or amazing… OK.

Then came baby number 2. The plan remained the same. I returned to work after 8 months maternity leave. So again, same hamster wheel – nursery drop offs, negotiating the school traffic, I returned to work and was back managing my team as before.

Only this time it was different.

The 5 days into 4, where killer – negotiating bedtime with tired grumpy toddlers, sorting out food for tired grumpy adults, before jumping on meetings with folks in the US was exhausting.

Of course, it didn’t stop there, negotiating night feeds, night terrors and lying on the floor waiting for the puking to stop, does wear you down.

Looking back, if I tried to do something outside work and home, it ended up impacting me more, so we stopped our Friday play dates because I was knackered, and I only went out socially once a month (luckily the friends that are still about are understanding).

So why should you care dear reader? Because after much deliberation and for the sake of mine and the families, mental health I quit the high-flying job. Don’t get me wrong I loved my job in PR I just know I couldn’t and didn’t want to spin 100 plates anymore. Or feeling the see-saw of guilt, that I often felt when I was 100% focused on work, meant that undoubtedly something in my home life slipped and vice versa.

I’m by no means a lightweight, but as my children are growing – walking, talking, becoming independent little souls – I realise I don’t want to miss it, especially as my eldest starts school September this year.

So back to the big picture, is working yourself to death and a tiny bit crazy – the reason why all those women 100 years ago stuck their neck out for us? The freedom they sought was surely more about being treated equally – how is doing everything – and driving yourself mental in the process what they fought for? And when is society going to actually recognise that there are often two parents in the frame – so a more balanced view all round could be what is required here?

As for me, I was able to take stock and really look at what was going to make me and my family happy. So, I have set up on my own and have never been happier. Sure, there is still nursery runs to be negotiated, and I am still working – but the difference is I am working on my terms, being paid what I want to be paid.

After 20 years in the PR business, leaving a corporate environment was the best thing for me (and I am not saying this suit everyone – it just so happens to suit me) the balance in our family life has massively shifted. Hubby is more hands on because I am asking him for help, I get to pick and choose who I work with, and for how long.

The stress I wore as an accessory around my neck has gone, and generally we are all much happier as there is only one day a week they get rushed into their shoes, and not five…

Sarah LloydAbout the author

Sarah Lloyd is a conscientious, creative, award winning and highly professional individual who has developed a successful career in PR and marketing over the past 20 years. Held a variety of public relations/communications roles across a range of sectors, each assigned with increasing levels of responsibility and leadership, culminating in her current role as owner of IndigoSoulPR. A resourceful and adaptable individual, possessing a natural and intuitive ability to understand what clients are wanting from their PR. Working on an array of clients on adhoc projects to build awareness of their brands and products. Specialisms include brand strategy, agency management, media relations, copy editing and event management.

Mummy to Lucy and Amy, passionate about work life balance, mental health and is a Reiki and Crystal Healer.

About IndigoSoulPR

IndigoSoulPR is an intuitive boutique public relations consultancy dedicated to our clients’ success, image and reputation. I have over 20 years of experience in corporate and agency PR and social media. Much of my career has been in technology / blue chip companies where information moves fast, and attention is hard to get. Regardless of what industry your business is in, the ethos is essentially the same: once we know who your audience is, we can work together to inspire and attract them. My goal is to effectively communicate my client’s products / services through the power of social media and public relations.

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