presenting for the BBC

In front of the camera for the BBC above but I’m usually behind!

I’m writing this from my Aunt’s house in Manchester as I embark on the next few days without my little boy as I attend film and commercial meetings before returning next week to shoot the ads. You see ‘Mummy’s got to go to work now’. Yes it will help us financially but more so, I want to go and work. I need to. I love my job, it’s the most challenging, unbelievably fun career in the world. I’m sure of it.

I get to go and ‘play’ in my job as a filmmaker for OK maybe 12 hour days when we are shooting but I LOVE IT. I love the buzz of being on set, of honing my vision to create films, music videos, ads or promos. I love working in a team, I love driving the piece, being the captain of the ship, I love the responsibility and how creative and dynamic it can be.

Now I love my child more than any of the above, more than my job and more than anything or anyone. He is my number 1 but I’m going to say something a little controversial here…I was getting a little bored on maternity leave. I was getting a bored of Cbeebies (and it’s a brilliant channel), I was getting a little bit bored of the routine, of not knowing when I’d get back to work, I was getting bored of forgetting who I was. I now and have always needed mental and intellectual stimulation and I feel I need to talk and do things that don’t always involve or relate to my child. Is that wrong?

Fundamentally to be happy I need the balance between my child and work. I know there will be times when the balance tips either way and that’s fine but if I can have it all, I’d like to, thanks. There are so few female directors and there are many reasons for this: gender inequality, lack of role models, the fact it’s seen as a volatile career (which it is), women struggling in juggling children with the long hours but I am determined to do what I love and raise a happy and healthy child in the process.

The perks of being freelance means I can do a job and have time off until the next one comes along and I can pick my gigs. This was the case before baby-very few constantly work in the business. The other bonus is flexibility when editing. The shoots are long days but most edits are on my own schedule so can work well around Baby O. Plus I want to do this for him too, there would be nothing better than seeing him proud of my work. He already loves my music videos. You can watch them here.

Women shouldn’t feel guilty in wanting to work and raise a family. My Mum felt the same when I was a toddler-she wanted to get back to lecturing. Now I have nothing against women who choose to be full time parents, in fact I take my hat off to them and admire them-raising a family is the hardest and most challenging job of all and is much harder than going to work, whatever you do- and I am lucky I can get back to work because I have family near to help and support me. Without them it wouldn’t be so easy.

I’ve worked very hard as a filmmaker before baby, and believe me there were times on aforementioned maternity leave, without sleep, with uncontrollable hormones that I couldn’t comprehend ever getting back on set. Shit I couldn’t even comprehend getting to the local shop-but now he’s 1 I’m ready. My first job back is on a set of a set of fashion commercials/virals which is very exciting. It’s the first time I am working for a commercial’s agency and directing virals of this kind (big budget) and I’m ‘pumped’ and this time not with milk.

I’ve made short films, tv docs, web dramas, music videos and promos but not commercials before so it’s a new challenge. The commercials industry seemed a little closed shop in London-without commercials on your reel you couldn’t get in (bit of a catch 22 there) but up North the people from Del Monte (OK the ad people) liked my reel and even pronounced me ‘over qualified’ for the job. Now it’s time to get this show on the road!

Meanwhile it’s my first night away from the monkey as he’s affectionately known and I miss him like crazy. His smile, his laugh, his kisses like no other. I need and want to get back on set but no one said it was going to be easy.

Photograph credit Vanessa Scott-Thompson, ©Vicki Psarias-Broadbent.

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11 Responses

  1. Lesley Bown

    I love this post, I’ve been back at work for 5 months after son no.3 and loving it. After taking my full year off with this baby, my job is better than ever. With this baby I don’t feel guily about working, and I feel proud of myself that I have gone back to work after each baby (well, financially I have to). I believe that mothers can have work/life balance whether its part-time, working on / off or full-time with quality time at the weekends. Well done for going back to a job that I know from other mothers who work in the TV industry is really hard to do once they’ve had children. Hope the job went well. xx

    Reply
    • honestmum

      @Lesley So glad you enjoyed the post and well done you for loving your job. I agree mothers can have balance if they choose to go back to work and you are testament to that. Thank you for your lovely comment. @Bangs-well this post was down to you and your support. You are an inspiration x

      Reply
  2. Bangs and a Bun

    So glad you wrote this. I’m not a mother myself but I’m sure plenty of mothers can relate. I think women are made to feel guilty for wanting it all (or indeed for not wanting children at all and focusing on a career). Either way, you were YOU for 20 odd years before you had your child and I think it’s an unfair and unrealistic expectation that women should put aside all else and only focus on motherhood. We live in an age where we can have it all and women before us fought long and hard to make it that way. There is absolutely nothing wrong with making the choice to not go back to work either, but the fantastic thing is that we finally have that choice, to be able to fulfil all sides of ourselves as best we can.

    Well done for writing this my lovely – I think there are so many women out there who feel the same but feel a sense of shame in expressing it, as though it means they love their children any less.

    xxx

    Reply
  3. Minty

    Here flippin here! I too am in the rare category of people who love their job and I too looked forward to going back. You know what the best thing is? That smile and hug when I pick her up from the childminder cause we’ve missed eachother so much! Keep on keeping on girl! xYou’re doing fabx xx

    Reply
  4. tamsyn

    hiya vicki, jst read your blog. i have to say i in fact do the reverse, and take my hat of to you. i cannot understand how people work and have kids. i am one hundred percent a stay at home mum, and next year i have to get my head round going back to work after nearly 8 years of being at home!!!! that is NOT to say i do nothing…i never stop! but that’s me, i am having to go back to work, no choice, money, 4 kids=eats lots…but i am nearly sent rocking into corners at the thought. we are polar opposites, and thoroughly enjoyed reading it from the other’s point of view. your job sounds absolutely FABULOUS!! and maybe if i was going to be going back to that, i would be feeling different…but then again…??!

    lots of love, tamsyn x

    Reply
  5. Not a Notting Hill Mum

    Hope you enjoy going back to work. Totally understand you wanting and needing to do that. It’s a tough industry for both sexes I think in its volatility, but I think the inequality really kicks in once you have kids. I juggled my two young children and my TV career fairly successfully for five years but I had a staff job and a nanny 8 til 8! I got time off in lieu instead of money for overtime so get to spend some weekdays with my kids. It was hard – but doable.
    Now I’m freelance it’s a whole different ballgame. Last minute childcare arrangements, relying on favours on the school run, spending your free time looking for work, sending emails, making phone calls etc when you feel you should be playing with your preschool child – no-one else is doing it cos there’s no nanny just you and you are trying to do too many things at once. BUT they do get older and if you want a career which you do you can ride out the storm. My best advice would be when you are between jobs do loads of favours for friends with kids, pick them up , have them on playdates ( I know baby o is a bit young!) but help everyone out. Then when you suddenly get a job you will feel able to ask favours in return! Good luck xxx

    Reply
    • honestmum

      @Not a Notting Hill Mum thanks for the advice, I will be taking it and great to hear you successfully juggled a tv career and children. There are compromises to be made here and there but ultimately I know for me, I need to work to be a good Mum. @Polish Mama and @tamsyn a stay at home mum (why it is called that as you are running around and not doing a lot of staying -anyway) is truly the hardest job of all and I take my hat (and shoes) off to you both. Good luck with going back to work Tamsyn, really hope you enjoy it-scary at first (it is the same for me) but I’m sure after a few days things will feel easier and you’ll wonder why you were so worried. @Minty great to hear from you and other mother’s who relate-I was a little worried at the reaction I’d get from this post and it’s been brilliant from SAHM’s equally as those who are eager to return to work. Thanks for all these lovely comments x

      Reply
  6. Sharcasm

    Well written and very poignant Vee. I imagine it’s a very tough decision when you’re a new mum to decide when’s the right time to go back and work again. But I believe that balancing work and a baby definitely leads to long term fulfillment and there is nothing controversial about admitting you were getting a little bored. We all know you are such a super mum and love O to bits, but obviously you want to nurture your talent as a filmmaker/director as well. I think O can be very proud of his mummy, not only being there for him but also being such an accomplished director. He’ll have something to look up to and to feel inspired by. It may not always be easy to juggle both but well worth it and you’ve got amazing support from your family. So you go girl!! Sx

    Reply
  7. servet

    You are too talented NOT to go go back to work.I am writing this as a a mother of 3 and proud grandmother of 1,who did (and still does) have to work, and look after the family. My advice is to keep a balance between work and being a mother. Do not become a workaholic (it is very easy to do), as time spent with your little one is priceless. Playing games, making cakes, going for walks etc are the things children will remember. Tidying up can be done after they are in bed.

    Reply
    • honestmum

      @servet thank you for your lovely email and advice, I will cherish it. You are right about walks and baking and I intend to do that for Oliver and the great thing about freelancing is I will get lots of breaks in between jobs to spend time with my gorgeous boy. @sharcasm thank you for your lovely words. I love being with O but day in and day out I felt and feel I need to use my brain and my skills (which I am constantly trying to improve on) as a director. Thank you for your support.

      Reply

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