Debbie with daughters Roxy and Ruby

I run a fashion PR and events agency called IPR. I worked at Paul Smith, and then Diesel, before I left to go freelance. I set up IPR by accident, really. I’m Managing Director and work four days a week. After the birth of my second daughter, Ruby, I took five months off but came back three days a week at first, then four, so I eased myself back in… I felt bad about going back to work but because I’m in charge of my time (to a certain extent); it means that I can be flexible with my hours and work around my needs and the girls, too.

I go to the office Monday to Thursday and work from home on a Friday. I’m very lucky as my mum comes and stays every Wednesday and helps out the two days either side. We also have an au pair to help do things like take Roxy to school, or look after Ruby some of the time. She also helps do dinner and bath time. My husband, Ed, works from home so he is around if any extra help is needed, or if Roxy needs collecting as we try to do that much as possible ourselves.

Ed also goes to work at his mum’s every Monday and takes Ruby with him which means she gets to see her other Grandma. I hold my hat up to mums who work full-time and don’t have the kind of support that I do, as even with all of that I’m still exhausted!

I usually wake around 7.15am and handover Ruby to the au pair; while the girls are being fed and dressed I get ready for work. I then help get them out of the door so Roxy is on time for school and then I’ll jump on the bus to work. This is when I start doing my emails. We live in Highbury and my office is in Shoreditch so my commute is pretty easy. I tend to get into the office at around 10am, unless I have a breakfast meeting with a journalist or client. I try to come home as early as I can most nights so I can do bath and bed-time, then I’ll do some more work form home once the girls are in bed. I try to be in bed by 10pm, which is good, but I usually get woken up by Ruby at 11.30pm, it’s a killer.

Roxy is at school now. Before she started she was a nightmare when it came to going to bed but now it’s dinner for both at 5.30pm, baths at 6pm and then Ruby in bed by 7pm, and Roxy in bed by 7.30pm if we’re lucky. Roxy is a really fussy eater so recently I started to get her into cooking as a way of helping to broaden her tastes. She’s got really into it and and was recently accepted into the (very exclusive) after-school cookery club. Proud mum moment!

I love my job and running the agency. There’s a lot of staff and client management to deal with, and then writing strategy for clients, new business and agency planning. It does get quite stressful at times, but generally I love it. I have a great team, and great roster of clients and brands that I like to work with. It’s really rewarding seeing a campaign or concept gain the right amount of press, or social coverage, and see that the client is happy.

I’ve always got at least four big projects on the go and about six smaller ones which means I’m dealing with A LOT of emails each day. I hate not responding to people, even if it’s an intern applying for a job or somebody with a ridiculous request, so I’ll always make sure that they’ve been responded to.

Having a holiday on the horizon is always helpful. We’ve just come back from two weeks in Mexico. The trip gave me quality time with the girls, Ed, and my parents, as they came too. Of course holidays with kids aren’t that relaxing; making sure they’re not getting burnt, the fact that one of them wants to swim (usually when you’ve just sat down) or one of them wants to do, or has done, a poo (again when you’ve just sat down). In a way going back to work after the holiday was like a rest!

When I have some spare time I try to do some yoga, or a boxing class (usually in my lunch break at work) and I also love cooking. If I have a window I’ll try and get a manicure, massage or facial in. And with the family, I really enjoy family days out together and going to theatre, but my favourite thing to do (if I’m really honest!) is to lie on the sofa with the girls having a cuddle and watching movies, or Puffin Rock, it’s so therapeutic.

Since I’ve become a mum the things that I used to worry about don’t matter anymore. As long as the girls are safe and happy that’s all that matters to me. I’ve also learnt that the people you see with kids – in the street, on aeroplanes, in restaurants – they, like me, may look like they know what they’re doing, but in fact we’re pretty much all winging it.

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