I asked podcast guest, accomplished editor and journalist, mum and friend Jess Spiring to download some wisdom for us on how to get promoted, still be a present mum and not get chored to death below. It really is my dream to have clever, diligent working parents (who took career breaks as Jess did) telling their stories on the site rather than it being my solo voice. Borrowing from her time in the fashion world (dep ed of Grazia) she so generously gives us inspo for keeping it all in balance.
1) Learn to live with imposter syndrome.
You, me, your boss, Teresa May, we never fully inhabit the roles we’re in. How often do you look at your children and think ‘who do these belong to? I can’t possibly be expected to tend to them. For. The. Rest. Of. Their. Lives. I’m still a child myself!’
Like parenting, there is no qualification, great review, medal, badge, promotion that will help you own your reality. It’s the doing of it that qualifies you. Many careers are the same. So if you want to be an artist? Start creating something and you are. Fancy writing a novel? A single page of prose is all it takes to call yourself a writer. And don’t let imposter syndrome hold you back in the corporate world either.
Ask for more money, fewer hours, a better title and back it up with all the reasons you should be getting more.
Drown out that voice in your head that tells you you’re faking it. We’re all faking it.
2) You have more resources than you think.
If there’s something you want professionally or personally, I’m willing to bet you could give me a handful of reasons why you can’t achieve them. But what if instead of looking at what’s standing in your way, you cast about for resources that could take you even a nano-step closer to your goal? I’d stake my first born than you already have contacts, ideas, friends in high places, hell even a dose of blind luck that you could leverage.
Whether you believe in god, the universe, karma or L Ron blinking Hubbard, life has a funny way of giving you what you need, when you need it. You just need to take those bloody ‘can’t blinkers’ off and see what resources you already have. I know this with every fibre of my being, that
3) Ask the damn question.
I love the menfolk. I really do. But they defs have a chip missing. The chip that sees the washing basket overflowing, that the milk is almost gone, that you’re running on empty. I’ve lost count of the times my OH has said to me, ‘if you need help, you just have to ask’. Except I don’t, do I? I go straight back to assuming he can read my mind. The key, I’ve found is to be direct. No apologizing, bargaining or hand ringing. I simply say, ‘I have these 99 chores to do, could you manage a couple?’ Or, ‘I’m going to pilates at 10, OK?’ Unnervingly simple, but surprisingly effective.
4) It’s not all about you (except that it is).
I’ve debated about adding this to your towering to-do list, but here’s the thing. Every Thursday morning I volunteer with a charity for older people. My role involves everything from fundraising, to pouring the tea after bingo. So far so worthy. But I’ve realized that this three hour window of service is one of the absolute highlights of my week. It never fails to nourish me, or get me out of a rage, or go home with a giant dose of gratitude.
I’ve had therapy. It wasn’t as effective as volunteering.
Teach your kids to make breakfast.
When she was about five, Matilda, our eldest started going downstairs at the crack of dawn to make herself cereal and a cup of milk. The upshot was, we got to lie-in at the weekend. We’d get an extra few hours sleep, read, hell even occasionally have sex. It gave us back our weekend mornings. Sod teaching them times tables, prioritise a self-serve breakfast and Netflix navigation. Catch Jess Spiring’s podcast for Comeback Girl here.