Juggling-Honest Mum

How do you do it? 

Do you find you’re asked that a lot too?

As in how do you work and raise a young family? The context being you’re some kind of superwoman or something?!

It’s a strange question really and one I’m certain men are rarely asked, however hands on they are.

How do you work and run a young family as a father?

How do you meet deadlines and raise kids?

Said no one to a man ever (probably).

Let’s face it, the assumption (and often the reality) remains that the family domain is primarily the mother’s responsibility so undoubtedly, it’s a common question or remark, yet it infers someone or something must be lacking or missing out as you, the woman, goes out to work.

Not to mention being unfair on Stay at Home Dads.

When we get to the crux of it, the context of the questioning is pretty anti-feminist and shoddy really (society/media’s fault and the inequality of the workforce for mothers are to blame rather than the enquirer)…

And I don’t blame those asking because the juggle is hard and it’s mostly kind enquiries meant in a flattering way, yet like many, MANY other women out there, day in, day out, we simply just get on with things. We bring home the bacon along with our partners (or not for some) while raising well rounded children whom we love more than anything.

Look, I know who I am- I have CRAZY energy levels like my parents still possess, I write prolifically and I can juggle like a mama ninja or a mum boss or not a superhero at all, just a woman who wants to work who also happens to have kids.

I’m a go-getter, a plate spinner, a mother and a shaker, a hustler baby, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE WHAT I DO!

I’m a full time, award nominated blogger and mum of two boys, Oliver, nearly, 5 and Alexander 2. Life is busy, fun and varied, sometimes stressful but NEVER boring.

My boys couldn’t be more loved, I have a husband who raises my kids equally with me and a family close by-my Mum and Dad who help me hugely and my eldest is in school.

Most of all I NEED and WANT to work. It makes me happy, stimulated and fulfilled.

I was a busy TV and film director pre-kids and I felt (ironically) direction-less and lost when I was on maternity leave with my first…I wanted to use my brain and feel like me again but wasn’t ready physically or emotionally to get back to filmmaking.

I grew up with parents who worked tremendously hard to give us a fantastic start in life-my Mum, a former University lecturer and my father, a businessman who met at university, set up their now, group of award winning restaurants when I was two and the importance of academia and hard work was drummed into me from a young age.

This does not mean I judge SAHM’s, in fact they have my up-most respect. I know theirs is the hardest job of all. Truly.

Some of my best friends are SAHM’s so I’m familiar with both sides and they too know that being a full time mum just isn’t for me. It doesn’t make me happy. I live for my kids and I do what I do for them as much as myself but I certainly don’t feel guilty about following my dreams.

Happy parents equals happy kids.

We have so much quality time and working from home means when my Mum is here looking after Alexander (or a lady who helps me- Beverly who comes 3 mornings a week), I see him more than I would out in an office and what’s more, my kitchen office is a child-friendly open environment.

What I love about professional blogging in particular is it allows me to run my blogs as magazines, earn the same living as I made as a director (without 12 hour days on set) and yet still pick my kids up from school, have dinner together as a family and do bedtime with my husband.

My kids also get incredible perks from my job, staying at 5 * hotels, clothes in return for reviews, days out at child theme parks (picture taken at Diggerland yesterday) and eating free at some of the finest and most child-friendly restaurants the UK has to offer.

Yes I have to catch up on work on an evening but from 9pm all digital devices bar Netflix are switched off and Peter and I set about binging on Suits until midnight.

Our imperfect lives are pretty perfect from where I’m standing, make that lounging on a sofa drooling over Harvey Spector (kidding Pete)!

Yes some days I fail at child-rearing- and my job, I forgot Harvest Assembly which made me a little sad the other week, I got ‘fancy dress day’ mixed up and my kid nearly turned up to school as Batman (swiftly prevented when we clocked the neighbouring children in their school uniform)… And yes I’ve had to work till the early hours a few times over the last few months to make deadlines but on the whole, we’re one happy, very LOUD, little family.

I suppose work/family life is really down to two things: compromise and balance and that means understanding that sometimes you have to compromise on the balance bit!

I think the key is finding what works for you and your family. To try your best not judge, to support one another, and to realise that having it all means not having everything all of the time.

Most parents just ‘do it’ because we learn to get on with it, we get used to the endless juggle because whether you work or not, that’s what parenthood is, a never ending ball juggling ‘when is it wine o’clock’, game with high odds and great loves and never enough sleep (or wine)… and when it comes down to it, we’re all just simply, trying our best.

So how do you do it?

Would love to hear your thoughts…

Linking up to Mama and More‘s All About You.


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How Do You Do It-The Most Common Question Asked of Working Mums - Honest Mum


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50 Responses

  1. Joy

    This is such an inspiring post and one I needed to read. I wasn’t happy with the direction my career was heading and after I decided not to return to work after maternity leave, iv been sad. I applaud sahm but it’s just not for me. I like working not just for the money. But I have come to realise that I can’t have it all even though I want it. I envy the fact that you are able to do it all so well done!!

    • honestmum

      Thanks Joy, I can only do it thanks to the support I have though and I know first hand how hard it can be without parents, friends and affordable childcare when we lived out of Leeds x

  2. Michelle Reeves (bodfortea)

    Another inspiring post from you lovely lady! It raised an interesting question for me – am I a SAHM or a WAHM? I get up at 5am to write for my blog and my clients, fit more work around naps and again at bedtime if hubbie is out. Like you my kitchen is my office (my old study is now the littlest one’s nursery) and I love that I can use blogging to contribute to our family while still being here for my children when they need me. It’s hard work, I don’t have the wonderful childcare option that you are so lucky to have but somehow it works, at least most of the time. When it doesn’t I crash and burn but I pick myself up and get on with it again.

    And like you I feel happy and fulfilled (and yes, excited even) by using my brain and switching between my ‘mascaline and feminine energies’ (to quote the amazing Marie Forleo – thank you for turning me on to her!). At the end of the day like you say we’re all doing the best we can, keeping those plates spinning, and most importantly enjoying life while we’re at it!

  3. Franglaise Mummy

    How funny! I blogged the other day about the never-ending battle between SAHMs and Working Mums, saying that it really is a case of what works for each mum/family is the best way. I’ve been SAHM, working mum and WAHM and all have worked and not worked for me at different times in my life.And I massively agree that a happy mum = a good mum. Great post 🙂 x

  4. Susan Mann

    An interesting and honest post. I am really struggling with the work, life, kids, blog balance and feel like I’m constantly chasing my tail. It’s nice to hear how others do it x

    • honestmum

      Hi Susan, sorry to hear that and think we all feel that way too, never enough time but important to be kind to ourselves and also to switch off, watched Marie Forleo’s film on doing just that today, really inspiring x

  5. Jess Paterson

    I get asked this loads – but not as much as my mum, who has six kids! The answer is the same – like you say – you just get on with it! And the husbands are lucky we do! Good for you making a fantastic career for yourself that allows you to see loads of your lovely children.xx

  6. Ally

    You left me this post to read after thinking (understandably) I made a comment about feminists. I absolutely adore what you do and am all for feminism in the manner you seem to do it; you’re a mum,in employment, you do it all. And yet instead of looking down your nose at those who haven’t achieved as much you still give moral support. Now THAT is a feminist! Your blog is as fantastic as you are, I only hope I gain your confidence to get out there as much as you have one day x

    • honestmum

      Oh fab thanks so much Ally, means a lot to me, I think feminists get bad press but to me it means equality, celebrating and championing other women and ourselves (as well as men of course)! Thanks for your lovely words, I hope you do too, I think we all go through confidence dips and it can be so hard to find it after kids, I know I struggled after a traumatic birth with my first son, be kind to yourself, things can take time, thanks again x

  7. HPMcQ

    actually my husband does get asked it too, maybe the only one mind!

    i think mainly because i travel a fair amount with work, so our juggling does get fairly complex at times, however it never really feels that way because we manage the juggling together.

    but as you said, both Mr HPMcQ and I work full time, but we both absolutely love what we do and we both thrive on the challenges that our work and parenting give to our lives.

    what works for one family may not work for another at all and that’s the key thing to remember, stop comparing!

    • honestmum

      Thanks and how fab your husband does, sure a lot do but not half as many as women, love your words, it is so important to do what you love and I agree, comparing is futile, every person and circumstance is different and valid x

  8. Catherine Burgess

    I love that so many bloggers are opening up this debate at the moment. I’m starting a new series tomorrow called ‘Balancing Act’ to put the spotlight on the variety of families and our ways of organising our little bubbles after maternity leave. It would be great if you popped over to check it out!

    • honestmum

      Sounds like a brilliant series Catherine, I’ve been writing about this balancing act since I started my blog as it’s such a big part of all our lives isn’t it. I will check out your feature for sure, thanks for your comment!

  9. Maria

    Well said, Vicki! Especially the bit about supporting and judging. Some forget so much how difficult it is to balance (or compromising on the balance, as you said) and instead get so caught up on the judging of it all. It’s easy to point and stare, but much harder to empathize and put oneself in another’s shoes. Thank you for sharing this. Your points were profound and definitely eye-opening.

    • honestmum

      Oh thanks Maria for your lovely words, so glad this resonated with you, I’m all about ending the judgement and pushing for empahty while celebrating achievements, it’s not easy to work and raise a family but when we stop being so hard on ourselves (and generally not personally speaking, to one another), it’s definitely achievable xx

  10. Katie @mummydaddyme

    A great positive post Vikki, it is hard to juggle occasional and some days I feel like I am completely failing but then other days it goes just right! I love working from home, and while I am not always the most organised person, I love the challenges it brings. I wouldn’t change it for the world. x

  11. Sophie Lovett

    I too get the ‘how do you do it?’ question an awful lot – and I reckon the key has to be loving what it is that you do! It’s amazing the reserves of energy you can find when you’re truly passionate about something. I suppose officially I’m a SAHM, but having written two novels since Arthur was born nearly two years ago I definitely feel like I’m working! But I can’t really justify childcare whilst my writing isn’t yet earning anything… And even if it was I’m not sure I’d want Arthur to be anywhere else than with me… So yes – it’s just a matter of getting on with it. And it’s amazing how time expands to fit in all the things I want to do! xx

  12. Mel

    I love your style, hun! Your positive attitude and love of what you do is communicative. It is a shame you missed the harvest assembly, but there will be another one next year and I am sure Oliver happily sang all the songs during a VIP performance at home! I once took my little man to school with just an eye-patch on (he was also wearing jeans and a T-shirt!) to realise that all the other parents had taken Pirate day really (really!) seriously, with full make-up and beautiful dresses for the girls, impressive pirate gear for the boys… but you know what? Crevette didn’t care. x

  13. Katy Acquaye-Tonge

    Thanks for sharing this post Vicki! It’s wonderful to hear you speak so confidently and unapologetically about your choices and about what brings you happiness! Yours words will inspire many, they have certainly inspired me 🙂 #AllAboutYou

    • honestmum

      Thank you so much, you inspire me too. You’ve hit it on the head there, I’m not sorry I do a job I love and I really believe we must all banish the guilt, thanks for a lovely comment x

  14. Katrina @ Beau Twins

    Superb post lovely lady and you are a Supermum FACT. Flying the flag for all hard working mums and rocking amazing outfits, hair and you are beautiful inside and out to boot! Mwah xxx

  15. Potty Mouthed Mummy

    So true that only women seem to be asked these questions. I couldn’t agree more that happy parents are good parents. We all (mothers AND fathers) must choose the jobs, roles that suit our family life to make our families as happy as they can be xx

  16. Samantha Rickelton

    Such a great post – people constantly ask me how I do it and I do find this a little tedious – the simple answer is, we just get on with it and I like to be busy, living life to the full (plus I have a few sneaky short cuts such as only ironing once every 6 weeks and the kids have school dinners so I don’t have to worry about packed lunches) #Allaboutyou

    • honestmum

      Love that shortcut, my mum does my ironing or my cleaning lady which helps hugely, so glad the post resonated with you x

    • honestmum

      Hehe, a lot of support from family and my husband of course and a whole lot of passion. I’m sure I felt the same as you pre kids too but you do just find the time and energy x

  17. Fiona @ Free Range Chick

    My goodness Vicki, how do I do it? Ha! I am currently not doing it AT ALL! I’ve had a major slump in blog activity and work activity, largely due to horrendous sleeping habits of my kids and a major lack of childcare. What I would usually do in the evenings has not been happening at all in the last few weeks. And it has been getting me down no end. I’m forever trying to remedy situations and make the best of it, but when you know you’re not running to your optimal potential, it can be terribly frustrating! You, on the other hand, do a fantastic job and are reaping the rewards of your hard work. Always love reading (o: xxx

  18. Katie / Pouting In Heels

    Another brilliant post Vicki! I was literally nodding my head the whole way through and mentally high fiving you throughout girlfriend! It’s so hard isn’t it?

    You’re right it’s not a question that is ever posed at men which is wrong however the fact still remains that us women have to get good at juggling at everything if we want to still have interesting and successful careers. It’s wrong but that’s how it is. There is no way I could have done what I do now and split being a hands on mum with having a brilliant and fulfilling career if I was still in employment and the thought of having a family was one of the very reasons why I decided to go freelance years ago.

    Yes, we all just ‘get on with it’ however I do think we should give ourselves a big bloody pat on the back whilst doing so, because it is tough at times! I’m so proud of you and all the women (and men) I know who are doing their best day in, day out for their families AND for themselves. Funnily enough, today, a podcast business interview I did about finding the ‘perfect’ work / life balance as a parent has gone live. Timing ey?

    Here’s the link if you fancy a listen: http://www.excellence-expected.com/episode11/

    Brilliant post as ever lovely lady. Just brilliant 🙂 xxx

    • honestmum

      Thanks so much for your comment honey,you are so right, I’m all about banishing guilt and celebrating our achievements, goals and needs. Will check out podcast when back from London, can’t wait xx

  19. Babes about Town

    ‘Sometimes you have to compromise on the balance bit.’ Word. So on point with this post as always Vicki! I was having this discussion the other day with some lovely PRs who wondered how I manage to squeeze it all in. I told them partly it’s because my online life is surrounded by some rocking Mothers and Shakers who constantly inspire me by their willingness to go for their dreams, whatever shape those dreams take. And of course you’re right up there as one of my biggest inspirations lady. BTW I definitely think the boys should go to school dressed as Batman, who cares if it’s the wrong day? Keep shaking it up 🙂 xoxo

    • honestmum

      Haha love you Uju, you are one of my biggest inspirations, my guru and sister. Blogging rocks and you are so right, somehow we find a way to keep following our dreams x

  20. Ebabee

    Very well said Vicki. There is no such thing as a perfectly balanced life – it just doesn’t exist. We all do what we can to manage all that we have on our plates and sometimes we drop a few plates! I too need stimulation and therefore I blog and now have a shop but I want to be able to do pick-ups/drop off and generally be around for A. A full time office job is no more for me. And so right that men never get asked about balance even though many dads like Richard are very, very hands on at home!

    • honestmum

      So true huh and this incredible world of blogging and e commerce means it’s all there for us. It still requires the hard work as we know but it makes raising children easier than before x

  21. Hannah Mums' Days

    Another fabulous post, Vicki, I absolutely love this and all the tricky topics you touched on. You’re so right, and I think we must be cut from the same cloth because I need and want to work, and blogging is such a fabulous way to enjoy family life as well as being challenged mentally. I am hoping to interview Myleen Klass this week and one of the questions circling in my head was going to be around how does she manage her incredibly successful career around family life – I need to be sure NOT to come across wrong though! So I might just avoid that topic all together, because, let’s face it, the answer is likely to be one much like yours and mine, we just get on with it! Thanks again for covering such an interesting subject that I’d not put a lot of thought into!! Got my brain cogs wherring as usual! xxx

    • honestmum

      Thanks so much Hannah, no you should ask her, just frame it from your personal experience that you need and want to work and are often asked how you juggle it and what her response is to that or something-do ask it and what a great opportunity, hugely admire Myleene and you, we need to keep rocking it lady and being proud of our needs, wants and goals in life x

  22. Mama and More aka Zaz

    Vicki, this may well be one of my favourite ever posts of yours. You are so right, and have written about this passionately and empathetically. Of course men never get asked the question about how they juggle working and fatherhood (although I like to ask just to get them thinking!), but juggle it they do – my husband rarely misses bedtime unless he is travelling, and I have to admit I felt a sense of mild panic not being in control of the childcare arrangements for my surprise birthday weekend! I’m a semi-SAHM right now, in that I do bits of work from home, and have been a FTWM out of the house and it is hard work, but the stimulation you get from doing something you love is unbeatable, and our brains need that challenge too. Brilliant post! Xxx

    • honestmum

      Thanks so much, so glad it resonated with you, knew it would, I feel the same, the joy of doing what I love is so crucial to my happiness as a parent, thanks for your touching comment x

  23. Vanessa MissPocketMoney

    I too lead an incredibly manic life but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I have 3 boys that I adore and to be able to lead my entrepreneurial life but still take my boys to school and pick them up most days, be there for sports day, assemblies and plays is a dream come true. But a dream that I have made happen. Life is all about balance, and that you find from within. Its about creating opportunities, enjoying moments and living life to the full.


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