I’m originally from Australia but grew up with a Scottish father and Irish mother so since I was young I saw myself moving to the UK. When I was 23 I bought myself a one way ticket. I had no money, and I only knew one person in London, but I managed to find my way to a flat above a curry house on Brick Lane. I met my husband, Tom, and some of my closest friends in that dirty, mouse infested flat.

Tom and I now have two children, three-year-old Hazel, and two-year-old Beatrix. When I first arrived in the UK I worked for the BBC before moving into the games industry. Then seven years ago I got a job at The Mill, a content creation company with a long history in high-end visual effects. I am now their Head of Talent. I love working there. It’s a company full of very bright and driven people who care passionately about what they do. It’s infectious and inspiring. I work across our offices in London, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York which can be challenging given the different time zones. Because of that I often end up working in the evening once the girls are asleep.  

I work three days a week so I am kind of in a constant state of anxiety that I’m not doing enough at home, or in the office, and the guilt can be awful. I don’t think I juggle life that well at all. I don’t mean that in a self-deprecating way, but some weeks I feel as though I barely scrape by. 

I don’t believe in work-life balance. I just try my best to keep all the plates spinning and hope that no one gets hurt in the process

My husband works in the games industry as a producer so has very demanding hours. That said, we are very equal in our parenting. We manage to get occasional babysitting from uncles, friends and my husband’s parents so we can go out together. It seems odd to both go out at the same time, after getting so used to taking it in turns.

I tend to wake up whenever the girls wake up, and at the moment that is anything from 5am to 7am. That’s unless I’m not already camped out on the floor next to one of their beds having been unable to escape at 4am. Some mornings I hide in the bedroom until I’m summoned to help get them ready for the mad rush out the door. A shower on my own is a luxury! It’s hectic and noisy most mornings, and I usually leave with some sort of porridge or snot smeared across my clothes, only to notice it when I’m sitting in a meeting with a group of immaculately dressed people. My cycle to work is very calm, to the point that when I arrive at the office I quite often have no memory of how I got there. I’m not sure how safe it is to be in such a meditative state while cycling on London roads. 

We have never really followed any kind of routine other than bedtime. After a long day it’s good to get the girls into bed so I can work / drink wine / get a moments peace. When they were babies I would get myself tied into these ridiculous superstitious rituals to try and ensure more than three consecutive hours sleep. These days it’s all about not letting Bea escape from her room while I’m trying to get Hazel to sleep (singing Edelweiss). I do this by tying a bra between two doors, MacGyver style, so she can’t get out. 

We’re big travellers so haven’t let the thought of screaming children on a long haul flight hold us back

I don’t believe in work-life balance. I just try my best to keep all the plates spinning and hope that no one gets hurt in the process. I’ve not met a single parent who has it all figured out. Things do get hard at times but there is always a light bulb moment just around the corner that makes it all totally worth it. Hazel made up a new dance called Rock and Roll ballet last week, I’ve never been so proud. I’m also very lucky to be surrounded by wonderful friends who listen to me moan all the time so that helps.

Tolerance is something that being a mother has taught me. I wasn’t particularly judgmental before, but now I wouldn’t dare question anyone’s parenting or lifestyle choices. Whatever gets you through the day is my motto. I have a whole new appreciation for women, how incredible, resilient and interesting they are. I’ve met so many great women since becoming a parent and it heartens me to see how supportive and loving we can all be. I’ve also learnt that sleep deprivation makes you crazy, my mind has gone to some dark places at 3am in the morning. 

The way Tom and I spend time together hasn’t really changed an awful lot since having children, apart from it all being in the daytime hours.  We see our friends and family mostly, cook food, chat, dance, go to the pub, the park. We spend a lot of time in pubs and parks. We live reasonably cheaply, apart from childcare and holidays. We’re big travellers so haven’t let the thought of screaming children on a long haul flight hold us back. Don’t get me wrong, we haven’t got magic children, and the flights can be hard, but you get to the destination and forget about the horror, until you realise you need to go back.

I don’t have a lot of spare time which I’m led to believe is normal, at least I hope it is. But one of my lovely friends recently told me that I need to allow myself more ‘me time’, so in a bid to something for myself I’ve signed up for a 10km swim down the River Dart. I’ve done one training session in preparation. I may drown.  

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