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How does she do it? We step into the shoes of 5 beauty industry power players to see how they manage career with kids, stay stress-free and find that elusive work-life balance...
Does your pursuit of the perfect work-life balance often leaving you feeling overstretched, overtired and guilty say around, 99.99% of the time? You’re not alone. While we’re currently in the midst of the height of feminism and an age where having it all is not as far-fetched a concept as previously thought, the increasing number of pressures on us to be the perfect employee, mum and wife can leave us feeling, well, pretty imperfect to be honest.
We could all do with some advice and inspiration when it comes to finding a good work-life balance, so we asked 5 successful mums in the beauty industry how they keep sane and stress-free amidst the chaos. If you’re struggling to keep your head above water, don’t fret, we’re all in the same boat so make sure to not be too hard on yourself - being a superwoman isn’t easy.
“I know everyone says this, but my kids are my first priority so whenever I think of my day, I think of the times that I need to block out that are sacred to me in terms of them, i.e. taking them to school in the mornings and dinnertime. I try to organise my schedule around that and try to be really strict with it. Occasionally I can’t, but 80% of time I try to stick to that plan. Children need that continuity, rhythm and structure and if they can rely on those times when I take them to school and in the evenings, that’s really helpful.
I also keep my phone downstairs when I get back in the evening and I don’t take it upstairs or take it to the table during dinner as then I’m too tempted to check it or take a photo. I always try to keep it at a distance. I saw a great quote between a father and his son recently where the father said, 'You need to put your Gameboy away' and then the son said, 'But you play on your Gameboy all the time,' referring to his Blackberry. I think it’s important to practice what you preach.”
Calgary Avansino, lifestyle expert and Contributing Editor for British Vogue, is working with Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts to explore how modern day values have evolved our perceptions of success. Find out more about the Crowne Plaza Evaluating Success report and check out Calgary’s top tips for success by visiting crowneplaza.com/youfirst. Follow Calgary Avansino on Twitter via @CalgaryAvansino.
“Firstly I don’t think there is a working mother alive who thinks they have it exactly right! You can only strive to do the juggle to the best of your ability.
Secondly, it’s important to be pragmatic and get things into perspective. So their spag bol isn’t organic or they're an hour late going to bed. Or you have to miss a networking event because it clashes with sports day. If you are a great mum/hard worker, your children/colleagues will remember that (hopefully).
Thirdly, get help! Sacrifice those new Marant boots for a cleaner. Life changing.
Fourth. Sleep. As much as you can. If you are going to cajole a toddler out of their favourite flammable outfit due to inclement weather (here I use my experience on celebrity cover shoots) whilst prepping for a presentation, then you are going to need a fully functioning brain.”
“Being a working mum with a commute from Oxfordshire isn't easy BUT I love being a mum and I love being the editor at GTG so I try very hard to make it work. The fact that I work from home once to twice a week means I get to see the kids more and it keeps me happy - plus having fields outside the front door is an amazing brain release. Other than that, to-do lists! The notes section on my phone is one of the most used things on there...every time I think of something to do I tap it in and delete it when I've done it.
It's important for me to eat healthily, but I don't get home that early, so I buy fresh food that I can throw together in minutes - salad, omelettes, fish and veggies, that sort of thing. With regards to the kids, I wash all their school clothes at the weekend and do an online food delivery so I know when I'm working there's less home stuff to do. Other than that I have a very good husband who helps with kiddie everything - I wouldn't be able to do what I do without his help.”
Image: Juliette Neel
“So, how do I manage ‘work-life-balance’? Here’s the thing. I don’t manage it at all. I just let it happen. There’s no balance; it’s just life, with work thrown in and for much of the time, as I surf along from one clamouring priority to the next, the whole thing feels like one great big glorious mess - a bubbling stew which sometimes erupts and overspills but usually turns out alright.
What’s in that stew? Three teenagers (one at uni, one doing A-levels, one doing GCSEs); one (saintly) husband, one dog and a ‘portfolio career’ that mostly involves journalism and my skincare brand Good Things. Oh, and a strong desire to have some fun along the way and plenty of family holidays, even if the laptop has to come too.
The children can see the point of Good Things (products! You can use them! They make your skin great!) but are baffled by the rest of my ‘job’ where ‘meetings’ often involve hair appointments and parties count as work, as does sitting at my desk playing with makeup (I work from home, which saves hours on commuting and means I’m always there for emergency pick-ups from school, to provide meals, or to be a basketball partner). I think they know that they come first. Everything else just falls into place.”
“This is doubly hard for me as I don’t have a routine. Often I have to work within 24 hours’ notice - I can work 10 days on the trot or do two red carpets instead a week so I never know what’s in store. I have alarms on my phone left, right and centre - I’d say that I’m quite chaotically organised. I’m not anal about it simply because things change so much and if I put things into boxes every week, I’d get angry as it never works out like that. I thrive on chaos and I think that’s why it works. With children, it makes life so much richer and balanced. It helps when you love your job and it doesn’t seem like a chore, rather a passion of mine - it’s like escapism and mixes different energies.
To switch off I like to read, watch box sets on Netflix and just be in a calm and quiet environment. I don’t get a huge amount of downtime though. Working in the beauty business, people often think I have facials and things like that all the time, but I actually end up painting my nails in the cab to work!
Right now, I have about four different coloured biros on my hands. I love a list, but as I have a 3 year old, lists go out the window for now! You just wing it and mostly it works out and sometimes it doesn’t, you just have to deal with it, but you can’t worry too much about what ifs - it’s a waste of energy.
I think as women we’re amazing, it’s just brilliant what we can do. We should say that to ourselves more often. We’re like swans: calm on the surface but paddling like Hell underneath!”
August 3rd 2021