Welcome to Meet the Working Mum Interview. Today we meet Clare Mackenney. Clare works in Marketing and is currently working for her family business. She also blogs over at Flip Flops or Wellies.
If you have missed any of the previous interviews, or if you are new to this series, check out all the other Meet the Working Mum’s.
An intro and a little bit about you, your family and where you live.
I am Clare and I live in East Devon near Axminster. I was born here but moved away for Uni and work, only to return in my 30’s after a stint travelling. Two weeks after moving back to East Devon I met my now husband Steve. So that settled it, I was here to stay! We now have two daughters aged 11 and 12.
What do you do for a job? Is it what you have always wanted to do?
I’ve come full circle with my work which is now marketing. My family own a caravan park and I always worked there when I was growing up; in the office, the shop, the cafe and lots of cleaning! I studied Business Management at University and wanted to go into marketing, but the graduate competition was so strong I initially ended up in a more general managerial role. Amazingly that took me to Australia for a year. I then worked for Parcelforce Worldwide in their Business to Business team based in Milton Keynes and took a Diploma in Marketing. When I finally moved back to Devon after travelling I had a few different jobs before we started a family. When my daughter was about 9 months old I found part time work in a marketing agency which was interesting, at the time making use of a very good local nursery in Axminster. Once number two came along I found a job closer to home two days a week running the marketing for a large butchers. My daughter was 6 months old and I ended up there for 10 years! It also made sense to take advantage of the flexibility of working part time for the family business, so I have gradually done more and more for that. I now run the marketing and do all the book keeping accounts for our caravan park, Andrewshayes Holiday Park, as well as last year starting a blog.
What was your motivation to return to work?
To be honest it never occurred to me not to go back to work. I did not want to let my skills and knowledge base drop after all the work and studying I had already done. Also I have always enjoyed the sociable people side of work and knew that it was in my nature to be keeping busy. It also seemed like a good excuse to avoid the housework!
How many hours do you work a week?
As I am effectively self employed it is quite varied and flexible. In a busy week I might do 35 hours but then the next only 15. I can easily be swayed with the call of coffee and cake somewhere!
Do you have to travel far from where you live to where you work?
We recently completed a barn conversion at the caravan park (it used to be a farm) so now I have 200 meters to walk to work!
What do you do for childcare? Does this work for you?
We have turned a corner now both girls are at secondary school life is a lot easier! I know they can look after themselves if needs be. We also now live very close to my parents so they are on hand if needed.
What does your morning routine look like? What do you do to get you all out of the house on time?
The alarm goes off at 7am. A cup of tea is my priority (whoever makes it downstairs first gets that job and lets the dog out!). One daughter is up, dressed, hair brushed, getting her own breakfast and lunch, completely organised. The other surfaces bleary eyed and heads off to school grabbing a glass of juice as she heads out the door, usually panicking about a forgotten book or PE kit at the last minute! Despite my better judgement I usually end up making her lunch. My husband and I take it in turns to drive them to school, we have to leave by 8.15 at the latest.
What do you like about being a working mum?
What don’t you like about being a working mum?
Now the children are at school during the day there is not really any excuse not to work. The main thing that suffers is I am pretty bad at doing any housework and do not cook as much as I would like to. Also I would actually like to have more time to go to a yoga class or go to the gym during the day, even start a photography course. There is time in the evenings but I prefer to be home with the girls while they still want there.
What would you change? Hours you work, commute you have to make etc.
What three tips would you pass onto a mum about to start back at work?
1) Just do it – for your own personal sense of self. If you only break even with childcare it’s still worth it. Being you, valued for what you can do and not just known as “mum” I think is really important. If you have skills it keeps them up to date, but really anything to get you out talking to grownups and not discussing bowel movements and lunch boxes! It does not need to be a full time job, just a few hours and you will benefit from it.
2) Do not feel guilty leaving them with someone else, they will be fine!
3) Be as organised as you can (like our Jo who has lots of top tips for you!) and try to share the work load. I have learnt that husbands really are quite capable especially if given very clear instructions!
For fun show us a picture of your work handbag.
Luckily I’m past the stage of carrying too much kids clutter around in a bag and working from home means I usually just leave the house with my phone and a purse!
Thank you so much for taking part in the Meet the Mum interview series Clare. I totally agree about finding the time to socialise with adults, it is so easy to just be all about the children and forget about yourself.
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