Welcome to this weeks Meet the Working Mum Interview. Today we meet two mums, Catherine Merritt and Emma Costello, the brains behind the real ‘bag for life’ Mecolife.
Mecolife is waterproof, durable, easy to fold away and recyclable. This might sound like a check list for the common carrier but it actually describes a new, sustainable, stylish tote.
An intro and a little bit about you, your family and where you live.
We are two mothers to five girls based in Berkshire; although a large part of Emma’s heart remains in Cornwall and Devon where she grew up. We have exceptionally busy day jobs – Catherine works in the financial sector as a risk manager and Emma runs her own business consultancy – and long-suffering husbands who did nothing more than rase their eyebrows when we first mentioned our ideas for mecolife to them. We don’t seem to know when to stop either. Emma’s second daughter is only two months old and Catherine is embarking on a house extension project!
What do you do for a job? Is it what you have always wanted to do?
Catherine’s eye for detail means she is perfectly placed within the financial sector; its her job to spot issues before they even arise. Emma has always worked in marketing, with a fondness for music, film and fashion brands but has always harboured the desire to actually create produce herself rather than promoting other people’s
What was your motivation to return to work?
I’m not sure either of us really stopped; we just chose to work in new, more flexible areas to ensure we had time for our families too.
How many hours do you work a week?
Catherine’s risk role is currently full time, while with a 2 month old Emma limits herself to a day a week in London. This gives her time to have a cup of tea in peace so we fit in our mecolife work around these other commitments as and when we can.
Do you have to travel far from where you live to where you work?
Catherine’s commute is an hour. Emma spends two hours each way for her London clients so tends to leave the house at dawn and get back at bedtime.
If you use public transport what do you do to pass the time on your commute?
Both of us make sure we prioritise mecolife during those times when we are travelling to ensure we communicate with one another regularly and stay on top of our to-dos.
What do you do for childcare? Does this work for you?
Catherine has a great mum on hand to help out, while Emma has a brilliant childminder who is extremely flexible and used to her unpredictability!
What does your morning routine look like? What do you do to get you all out of the house on time?
Our husbands are in charge here. Getting the kids to school on their way to work while we can make sure everyone has what’s needed for the day. Both Catherine’s and Emma’s husbands are right there next to them, when it comes to planning their family schedules.
What do you like about being a working mum?
The example we are setting to our daughters, not just working, but being mumtrepreneurs doing what we love.
What don’t you like about being a working mum?
The feeling that you never get either role 100% right and there’s always more you could do.
What would you change? Hours you work, commute you have to make etc.
Emma would like to have more clients closer to home and Catherine’s all for some slightly earlier finishes in the week!
What three tips would you pass onto a mum about to start back at work?
Plan – Make sure you are organised for the week before it starts; from packed lunches to office meetings.
Make sure you have a back up if you are running late, even if it’s just another mum you can call in a crisis when your train’s delayed and you know you are going to miss pickup.
Learn to lose the guilt – working mums feel guilty most of he time and we shouldn’t.
For fun show us a picture of your work handbag.
Photos of our mum bags are below. Afraid Emma’s s a bit glam as she is very fussy about clearing it out daily!
Thank you so much for taking part in the Meet the Mum interview series Catherine and Emma. All I can say is wow, you cram a lot into your weeks but it does show with hard work and determination what you can achieve.
If you would like to be featured in my Meet the Working Mum series send an email to:- firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.