Ah, the elusive life/work balance.
We hear about it, we all want it, but is it really possible to achieve? The answer is yes, but you need to set yourself realistic goals and expectations.
I’ll let you into a little secret; those people who appear to have everything? They don’t. They’ve just learned to delegate and prioritise so they can do all the important things really well.
Rosie Nixon is one of those people who’s figured out the delicate balance: after working her way up through the ranks of some of the UK’s most glamorous glossies (Red, Glamour, Grazia), Rosie joined the team at Hello! magazine eight years ago, and was recently promoted to editor-in-chief.
And if heading up one of the country’s most iconic publications, and schmoozing with the world’s biggest celebrities, wasn’t challenging enough, Rosie also has two young sons, Heath, 2.5, and Rex, 10 months.
Oh, and did I mention she also wrote a novel? That’s right. An actual entire novel, in her ‘spare’ time. She made notes on her iPhone while she caught the Tube to work; she tapped out ideas while lying in bed, and in the back of taxis, finally finishing ‘THE STYLIST’ while on maternity leave.
This addictive fiction centres around fashion boutique worker Amber Green, who’s thrust into the glitzy world of celebrity when she’s mistakenly offered a job as assistant to infamous, jet-setting ‘stylist to the stars’ Mona Armstrong. Her life becomes a whirlwind of red carpets, dazzling designer gowns, and neurotic starlets, but is it all as glamorous as it seems?
Well, you’ll have to read it to find out, won’t you?
You can order Rosie’s debut novel The Stylist, (HQ, £7.99) from Amazon, but if you get in quickly you can snap it up for just £4.00 (while you’re at it, why not pre-order her follow up novel, The Stylist Takes Manhattan, due out next year).
While you’re waiting for your book to arrive, check out Rosie’s fabulous advice for ‘having it all’:
FIVE TOP TIPS FOR WORKING MUMS
• Don’t expect things to go well at the beginning. Adjusting to a new routine is hard for everyone – mum and children alike. Leaving the house or nursery when your little one is in tears is tough all round, and no matter how lovely the nursery, or how capable the carer, you’re going to feel guilty at first. But the truth is little ones are super resilient and adaptable – as are us mums – and once the new routine kicks in, you’ll all find your groove. Whether going back to work is a necessity or something you need to do to retain a sense of self, hang in there, it will get easier. Promise.
• Stop trying to do everything. On those mornings where it feels like everything has gone to pot, remember that the important things are: everyone’s alive, fed and loved. That’s what counts. So if your child has the worst World Book Day costume in the year, or you forgot to bring a special toy for the show and tell? SO WHAT! Everyone got out of the door and to where they are meant to be looking vaguely human, and that’s a major achievement in itself. Pat yourself on the back.
• Put your phone away. Yes I know those words are hard to hear – and I need to take a hefty leaf out of my own book here – but when you get home from work, put that device out of sight and be present for your children. Physically put it in the kitchen drawer. Emails can wait an hour or so until you’ve had some play time and bath and bedtime is done. If you’re home, be home in every sense.
• Involve children in your work life where possible. I took my toddler son to see my office at HELLO! magazine just before I came back to work after my second maternity leave because I’d been talking so much about ‘work’, I realised he had no concept of what that actually meant. He loved getting the train in with me, meeting colleagues in the office – who treated him like Royalty – and sitting at my desk. And we still talk about that day. It makes it easier for him to relate to what I’m doing when I leave the house in the morning and is something I’m going to endeavour to do every now and again, when possible. Don’t feel that your two worlds of work and home can never meet – bring them together, just as you juggle work emails at home, when the kids are asleep.
• Ignore the Mrs Perfect ‘alpha’ mum. You know that mum at the nursery or school gate who gives you an icy stare and always looks like a supermodel – polished, fashionable, in control and just, perfect, at 8.30am every morning? Don’t compare yourself to her. Other mums can be a great source of information and confidence – as well as the exact opposite – so surround yourself with like-minded and supportive mum friends.