Hannah O’Donnell, founder of Straight Up PR, shares 4 lessons she's learned from being a working Mum...
Here’s the thing, I don’t believe in work-life/motherhood balance – it’s a false ideal. It’s all about work-life/motherhood integration – and once you accept this then that’s when you’ll start to see why working Mums really have it all.
Lesson no 1: keep perspective & roll with it.
As a mum of two (Beau is 1 and Frankie is almost 3) and owner of health and wellness agency Straight Up PR – I get it, the juggle is real but I would also have it no other way. A perfect example of this, aside from the up all night with a sick baby and still having to front up to a new business meeting (and work) the next day, because we’ve all been there, is when I was in the middle of an important new business phone meeting and my usually routine baby decides to wake and scream down the house, but so conveniently my phone
just happens to drop out and I lose connection. Yep, I just hung up mid-sentence.
The point of the story is this, we can manage to do both, and we do – but as Mums when our babies need us they are our first priority always, and we realise this even more in their times of need. So yes, I thought I managed to get my baby to sleep and do the business call but as soon as that wasn’t working and my baby needed me – I knew where I had to be and that was with him.
Lesson no 2: prioritise health.
We all know that our health is important and without it our kids suffer too, but we also know how hard it is to commit to a class time as it’s probably on the day that you choose to do this that our babies decide again that they won’t sleep or need to be fed or you might just not have the energy to get out of the house. And that’s okay too. I think we just need to accept that this will happen and not be too hard on ourselves, instead opting to go for a walk that day or do a workout from home.
Lesson no 3: be present with your kids & your digital time. Don’t detox either.
As for digital detoxes, I don’t believe in them. For me, I like to be on top of my emails and available if my team or clients need me, however I do see great value in limiting the time I’m on my phone and especially in front of my kids. I’ve started to notice Frankie showing signs of obsession and anxiety if I don’t let her look at my phone – asking to look at “pictures” or “check the weather” or “send an email” – all things she’s seen me do. So, although I will never completely detox from digital, I do try to only be on my phone / computer when the kids are asleep or not in eye-shot of what I’m doing.
Lesson no 4: model behaviours you want your children to develop.
Communication is key. We are in the business of communicating so why leave it at work. One of my most favourite parts of my day is when I put Frankie to bed at night and we ask each other “how was your day?” to which she often replies with a giggle “my day was great, I went to work today” – it’s our little joke. This is usually how my response starts and she’s just being funny. But this is important, I love that she knows that I go to work some days but I always come home to her. She loves to come into the office and see where I work and meet the girls (her aunties – she’s blessed to have so many amazing aunties). I think it’s healthy
for my kids to see that I enjoy work, as so much of what we do as parents creates our children’s understanding of normal.
Now, if you get the power of work-life/motherhood integration I believe that this is the key to our success as a mum and business women.
We're all capable of it. We just can't be so hard on ourselves, accept that there will be hard days where it all just doesn’t go to plan but know that that’s okay. There will be other days where we will be killing it too.
Because really, let’s face it. Us working Mums really do have it all.
More About Hannah
Hannah O’Donnell is the Founder and Managing Director of Straight Up PR, a health, fitness & lifestyle agency known for its impactful campaigns & straight up approach to PR. With
her infectious energy, strong industry knowledge and unique business attributes, Hannah
established Straight Up PR in 2013 after following her intuition and creating an agency that filled a gap in the market.
Hannah’s vision was to bring to life an agency that specialised in health and wellbeing, and was a little different in how they operated. Hannah has created a culture that exudes authenticity, and prioritises the fostering of relationships and building of communities – the essence of what PR is all about.
Connect with Hannah on Instagram @hannah_o_donnell / @straightup_pr OR online