I started my career in PR just over 10 years ago and it has been a whirlwind from start to finish. I progressed quickly and I worked incredibly hard. Early on in my career, when I worked in London, I could end up doing 12 hour days, staying later in the office well after everyone had gone home for the day, and even then the last thing I would do before sleep was check my emails.
I never really did it to impress my boss or please anyone, or even to get to the next promotion – rather I did it because I just loved it. Personally I believe that there is never a dull day in PR and even less chance of there being a dull day if you throw yourself head first into everything. So that’s just what I did. And I relished every day, even the shitty ones.
OK admission time… I’m sad to say I am a slave to my phone and my emails. I’m always checking in, even when on holiday or unwell. But it just makes me feel better if I do. I am a massive control freak, and for me, dealing with the email/ issue/ client then and there gives me back that sense of control I strive for.
My clients and my team are my babies and mean the world to me. And even though I work for someone else (i.e. part of an agency), I always put the same amount of love into the business as I would do my own business.
So you can imagine what was going through my mind when, after I had got over the initial shock and delight of finding out that I was pregnant, I realised that I was going to have to take some time off and hand those babies over, probably to someone I didn’t know.
Telling my boss was the easy part, she has always supported me and was delighted for me. I knew it wasn’t going to be tricky trying to impress her over the next few months, but rather it was about how I stepped up to the challenge of letting go and dealing with my own personal demons.
Letting go… wow, well that’s seriously tough for someone like me. I know millions of women go off on maternity leave daily and they all seem to do it with ease, so why was I finding things so hard? Am I the only one feeling like this!?
I knew this was a battle in my own mind and something I was going to have to conquer all by myself. I tried reading up about it, but aside from the usual information from HR around mat leave and a few articles about women making sure they didn’t work too hard in the last trimester, I just couldn’t find anyone else talking about this issue. Was I all alone? So being in comms, and being a control freak, I decided to take matters into my own hands and write about it myself. And that’s why we are here really and why my blog started. So I hope you enjoy the posts to come. Why not share your story with me too and let’s make this more of a mainstream issue.
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I can totally relate to the control freak part. I am checking my emails during vacation, I can’t let go even when I am sick with 39C fever.
It’s tough but it is a skill to teach yourself to stop doing it. It won’t happen overnight amd won’t change your personality.
10 years ago when my baby was born I planed to go back to work immediately afte ah oh very “generous” unpaid American maternity leave of 6 weeks. It’s a topic for another story itself. I really through I was a key player and I really did not want to pass my accounts to anyone else in the office. I do recall that first day when my baby made his first debut. Honestly, I was so overwhelmed with lots of feelings that my job became the last I was thinking about. By no means I say it will happen to you too, Holly. But it might… I also had to make a decision to quit that job due to family needs. That was a lot more difficult than just go on maternity leave. I got a postpartum depression, and I think partially it was because of my career “end”. I put it in quotation because it was actually a true beginning.
In 7 months I found a new job that paid me literally twice more with massive ($$) clients…10 min away from my house. By then I sorted out the homedaycare for my little one, started going to the gym amd had a 15 min on “me” time. I finally figured out how to fit that screaming ball into my life and not to lose myself. I learnt how to take a shower and eat too. Yes, that! And one thing I knew for fact: I did not want any help besides my husband. This is it. I had to figure my life out on my own (control freak indeed). What advise can I give from my experience is to try to put things in prospective. As much as you would like to believe that no one will do your job as well as you are, everyone is replaceable. But no one can replace you for your child. Listen to your body and respect what it tries to tell you. If you need a “me” time you must get it. 5, 10, 15 min.., does not matter. And gym! My God, gym after 7-12 month is a must for your mind!
I believe in you like I believe in myself, 😉💝
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