As a 16 year old, when I worked as a reporter for the local newspaper over the summer holidays, I knew I wanted to work in journalism and had plans for a big career.
When I was doing my A Levels, as a result of my work, a new local newspaper gave me a weekly column, Lisa’s Blackboard, where I talked about what was happening in the town’s schools. I absolutely loved it and have a strong memory of standing at a friend’s doorstep on the way to the pub and his dad shouting “David, Lisa Blackboard is here!” (such a shame the paper went bump, due to lack of advertising support, I just went back to Lisa where David’s dad was concerned, haha!).
I landed my first proper journalist job after uni and I’d got my career mapped out. I loved virtually every second I worked for that newspaper (and often wish I’d stayed there forever!)
Through being a journalist, I started working closely with PR people and realised I could actually combine my love and passion of writing with my interest in business (and get paid more for the pleasure!) if I moved into the world or public relations. And so my plans for a big PR career was born…
At the risk of this becoming a CV, I’ll cut the story short by saying I worked myself up the PR ladder through various well respected agencies, working for big clients and getting amazing experience along the way, and I enjoyed the in-house PR manager position I held for a five years.
Aaaand then I got pregnant. Oh. Little did I know that was going to end in me saying “Cheerio career!”
Within a few hours of having Poppy, I was determined I was going to be selling the horse and giving up work. I was born to be a mummy and be a mummy is what I was going to do.
(I didn’t entirely do just that – the horse died and I started up my own PR and copywriting business, but I am way more of a stay at home mum than a career girl).
Apart from now, five years on, and hundreds of sleepless nights and endless worries about personal and child-related issues later, I find myself hankering after that career that I once had.
Don’t get me wrong, having children was always what I wanted and I’m so lucky to have two healthy, beautiful girls and I’m incredibly fortunate that the career path I chose has allowed me to set up my own copywriting and PR consultancy, working the hours and days I choose; I don’t miss sports day or parents evening and I’m there every day for school drop off and pick up. I know I’m lucky.
But, right now, I’m as far as I can go. There is no promotion to chase or responsibility for staff.
I’m on LinkedIn and recently I’ve seen people I used to work with – both same level as me and on the rung below me – have forged themselves amazing careers. Two women in particular have super impressive positions with great companies. Obviously, they’ve had to work hard for it and I definitely do not begrudge them, but if I’m honest.. I’m going to say it… I feel a bit jealous.
While I’ve been messing about with nappies and writing press releases for vegan products or kids festival, they’ve had an absolute meteoric career rise. They’ve not had to worry about babies not sleeping through, how to live with silent reflux or whether that stain in the new lounge carpet is going to come out – instead, they’ve been going to meetings, strategising and drinking hot bloody coffee.
It’s my choice to be a full time mummy of course and, as I say, I’m so blessed. I just think with Mr J’s work future looking good and my old colleagues doing so fantastically well for themselves, I feel as though I’m treading water or losing ground career wise, while barely coping as mummy.
I know as parents, we all go through some stages of resentment and guilt, no matter whether you’re working full time, part time or not at all. I just hope this little wobble won’t be around for much longer.