Welcome to Meet the Working Mum Interview. Today we meet Natalie Trice. Natalie works as a freelancer at Natalie Trice Communications
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.
After years of city life, we moved to Devon in July 2016 and live in a little village on the south coast and love it. I have two sons who are 8 and 10, two dogs (sisters) who are 1 and 4 and have been married to Oliver for 11 years this December. Oh, we have tortoise called Doug who thankfully, is very low maintenance.
I love Jimmy Choos and have had a thing about bags for as long as I can remember. My ideal morning is walking on the beach with the dogs, stopping off for a skinny flat white at The Clipper in Shaldon before heading back to my desk and writing.
What do you do for a job? Is it what you have always wanted to do?
I have worked in media for over twenty years and while my primary career is in PR, I am also an author, writer and have a small charitable trust, DDH UK. I like to be busy! As well as building my business, I have a two book deal with my publisher, Nell James, following the success of Cast Life, a book for parents of children with hip dysplasia, a condition my younger son has and one that we found very little information about or help for when he was diagnosed eight years ago.
I didn’t ever have a plan for my life and fell into PR when I return from a stint of teaching English in Tokyo after graduating. I worked for brands including Animal Planet, Cartoon Network, CNN, Epson, HP and Discovery Channel and today I run Natalie Trice Communications after freelancing for the past 11 years. My dream is to write novels, by the sea in Fowey…..we all need a dream, but for now I am very happy with my life and treasure every day.
What was your motivation to return to work?
At the heart of the matter, I like working. I had some great experience and knew that I wanted to keep a little bit of me and my career, as well as having my family. I have a busy brain and big ambitions but also wanted my sons to see that while mummy loves them, she isn’t just here to do the school run and cook tea.
How many hours do you work a week?
My work is pretty flexible and because I am freelance it can really vary. If I’m not working on client projects, I will spend time writing blog posts and my next book as well as planning social media campaigns and new business drives. I always take the boys to school and pick them up and try to get to pretty much every sports fixture and assembly and if they are sick, I am here to look after them and that’s why I love being my own boss.
Do you have to travel far from where you live to where you work?
My office is next to the kitchen and most of work is remote, so no commute for me.
If you use public transport what do you do to pass the time on your commute?
I don’t use public transport anymore but when I did I would use the time to read and people watch – two of my most favourite things.
What do you do for childcare? Does this work for you?
My sons are now both at fulltime school but in the early days we had a nanny and that worked well for me and them. I like routine and structure and I wanted the boys to be in their own home, sleep in their own cots for naps and to feel settled and secure, which they did. In the holidays I tend to work in the mornings and they are good at entertaining themselves then we go out and have fun on the beach in the afternoons.
What does your morning routine look like? What do you do to get you all out of the house on time?
In the week I get up at 6.45, have a shower and watch BBC Breakfast while drinking a coffee before starting the mammoth task of waking the boys up. They get dressed, eventually, eat, drink, take their vitamins then it’s face washing and teeth cleaning before jumping in the car for the 15-minute drive to school.
What do you like about being a working mum?
I like having that outside focus along with determination and drive. As I have already said, I really enjoy my work and while I sometimes get nervous about a big project or new client deadline, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have my career as well as my family.
What don’t you like about being a working mum?
The blurred lines between ‘work work’ and mummy work can be hard as not everything you do is realised or appreciated. I think that if we were to keep a timesheet for all the work we do – cook, cleaner, taxi driver, PA, personal shopper, HR manager, travel agent, peace keeper, night shifter – it would be interesting to see the paid salary that would equate to. Being a mum is the most rewarding job in the world, but it is also a balance and there is a huge amount of self-sacrifice. That said the beaming smile at school pick up is worth every sleepless night and dodgy stain on your clothes that you don’t see until it’s too late and I wouldn’t change any of it.
What would you change? Hours you work, commute you have to make etc.
I think as a freelancer there is a certain amount of uncertainty about your work and income but that is the choice I make and it comes with benefits, so there really isn’t anything I would change.
What three tips would you pass onto a mum about to start back at work?
Be organised, find the right childcare for you and leave the mummy guilt at the door. What I do know, especially having a child who has had a lot of surgery, is that a happy mummy who can take a little bit of time out, is much better than a miserable one and you need to look after you as well as everyone else.
For fun show us a picture of your work handbag.
I love bags and have quite a few, so I tend to use a different one each day. What I always take out with me is my iPhone, sunglasses, Kate Spade diary, purse, perfume and lipstick. You can bet if you look in any of my bags there will also be a packet of tissues, a Lego figure, a couple of sweets and some pennies. Could be a few crumbs too!
Thank you so much for taking part in the Meet the Mum interview series Natalie. It looks like you have managed to find a great balance that suits your family.
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