Lauren Roberts is mum to a 19-month-old boy and also works for Skype, managing a website for teachers. She has set up a co-working place for mums in South West London in the UK and also organises a series of talks to help connect other mums in the area where she lives.
Tell us a bit about you as a mum…
I have a 19-month-old ball of energy called Leo. He is really starting to show his personality now. We have started taking him for trips to the zoos and farms and love to watch his reaction to the animals. Whilst I love spending time with him, I also appreciate time apart when I can do my own thing.
Tell us about your current job…
I am a work-at-home mum, though you’ll often find me working in cafes or at a local Co-Working club I’ve set up (more on that below!). I work remotely for Skype managing a website for teachers (skypeintheclassroom.com) – I love that I can work flexible hours but found it really hard being at home alone all day and balancing everything between mum duties and getting work done in a productive way (so many distractions at home!)
How easy have you found being a working mum?
I would say it’s the hardest thing I’ve done. I was lucky because I’m a contractor, and my job allowed me to start back part time at 2.5 days a week and gradually build it up. I think this helped me make the transition- those first few months were still hard though- balancing the demands of work often on little sleep and dealing with the worry of Leo being ill or missing me.
How have you found trying to balance being a mum with your current role?
In many ways, my flexible hours have allowed me to create a great balance where I was able to see Leo for at least some time during the day each day for the first 6 months I was working. The downside of my role is that most of my team are based over in the US and are eight hours behind so that means there is a need to be working in the evenings and it can be stressful to get that done as well as deal with dinner time, bath time and bedtime. My husband tends to work quite long hours so can’t always take over. At the moment, Leo is in care 3 days a week plus a day with grandparents as I’m setting up this new venture called Mumming which is a co-working club for Work From Home mums, both with an -in-person element and a virtual online club coming soon. It’s a little ironic that one of the goals of Mumming is for mums to get a better work-life fit, and in setting up, I’m temporarily tipping the scales a bit to spend more time working, but it’s something I’m really passionate about and think that by putting in time now, I’m growing something that will not only help me but also other Work From Home mums. I hope also Leo will be proud that his Mum is making some small difference in the world. Cheesy as it sounds, I do want to instil in him that you must be the change you want to see in the world.
What has kept you going throughout your journey so far?
Honestly, chats with other mums where I found we were feeling the same way- the feeling like you’re going mad working at home alone all day, the feeling of how hard it is- being a slightly older mum and having got used to our nice double income no kids lifestyle before we had Leo! I strongly feel we need to be more open about motherhood and teach the next generation that being a parent doesn’t have to look a certain way- we all do things differently, and it’s OK not to be OK. It’s OK to ask for help. It’s OK for your house to be a mess. I love being part of female-centric communities – I have always sought this out, and I hope to create something special with Mumming for the new generation of parents who don’t accept things the way they are just because that’s the way they are.
What advice would you offer anyone who is about to return to work after having a child?
Be kind to yourself and remember you are still the same person you were before. Now you also have a super power of having grown a small human. Expect to feel a bit ropey the first few months as you are figuring out the right balance and setting up a routine that works for you. I’m a year in and still making tweaks to make it work better for me.
What’s the best piece of advice someone gave you about combining motherhood with a job?
Never feel bad for choosing your children over a deadline.
Anything else you would like our members to know about you?
If you’re a work-from-home mum seeking to join a community of fun entrepreneurial mums please do check out our website and join the newsletter to hear about virtual and in-person co-working meetings!
I am also excited that Nicola J Rowley, the founder of the Working Mum Association will be giving a talk for Mumming in Twickenham on Thursday 16th May. The talk is designed so mums can bring along their babies/toddlers/kids. Toys and soft flooring are provided and we also have a masseuse giving mini back/neck rubs! We will be talking about returning to work and how you can harness the good old mum guilt to make it work for you. Tickets are £12 per adult and areavailable here