When Alexander was 3 weeks old, I was asked if I could pop by and give a lecture on my career as a writer/director at the Northern Film School/Leeds Metropolitan University. Despite being pretty sleep deprived and foggy headed, I agreed. You see overall I felt great-I was buzzing from the birth and physically and emotionally strong enough to go in for a couple of hours.
The university felt it was important I spoke to the students at the start of their course so it was essential I visited then. And I’m glad I did, yes I was tired afterwards but I found it to be a really rewarding and fun experience.
The students seemed captivated by my work and showed great passion and interest in the film industry. I felt relaxed knowing my mum had the baby and Oliver was at nursery and I relished in the opportunity to not only hopefully inspire about a hundred freshers but be reminded of my love for writing and directing.
I was desperate to get back to Alexander of course but I felt proud I was able to motivate others so soon after the baby’s birth. The students were pretty shocked when I said I was off to see my newborn at the end of the talk. Must be because I look so young! Hehe!
I’ve since returned to lecture again, a few weeks later, where students pitched film ideas to me and I offered feedback to help them before they progress to shooting some of their short films. I know I couldn’t have done this the first time around with Oliver (now 2 and 8 months), as recovery from an emergency section took a long time and I didn’t have the support I do now that I live near my family. It was really empowering to feel so strong so soon after Alexander’s birth.
I adore teaching and have been a lecturer since gaining my MA aged 22- my first teaching job was returning to Goldsmiths, University of London where I studied, to give a lecture on shooting my grad film a few months after graduation, which led to years of teaching everything from English GCSE to Post Grad courses in Screenwriting and Directing in between writing and directing gigs.
I love testing my own knowledge and learning as much from my students as they learn from me. I hope to always teach. I am currently on my ‘freelance maternity leave’-I call it that because I can dip in and out of short jobs when I feel I can and have help in order to, working around the kids and it’s great to still feel connected to my work and career goals.
Ultimately it makes me, personally a better mother. I have long periods devoted solely to the children before fulfilling my commitments on screenwriting and directing projects, that work for my family. I realise how lucky I am to be able to combine both worlds and juggle my career with motherhood.
I think the key to my success at getting work is that I stay in touch with my contacts both in the teaching and media world so if a visiting lecturing spot arises or a directing job comes up, employers are reminded of me. I also use social media to network such as Linkedin along with facebook and twitter.
So do you juggle motherhood and work and how do you find it?
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