EW Mini – Autumn/Winter 2020 Issue – Download Now

We have come a long way since the day where new mothers had to stay home as their sole role, yet now there can be the challenge to try and balance it all. It’s not easy, and at times you can feel the “mum guilt” but putting yourself first on occasion can do wonders for your home life, and inspire the little ones to see no boundaries in what they can achieve themselves. We speak to three high-powered mothers from the region and beyond who have made it their career to make the balance tip in their favour.

Valerie Messika Founder and Artistic Director of Messika Jewelry, living in Paris

valerie messika motherhood career balance working mums uae

How has your career mindset changed since having children?

My happiness in my career has come from the perfect balance between my family and work life, managing the time for both is extremely important to me. I’m a full-time businesswoman but also a mum. Each day is completely different. I multitask on so many things, both work and personal life at the same time.

How did it feel going back to work?

As a CEO and artistic director I never really left my job for time off as I continued to remain updated with all things Messika. I love my job and feel honoured to have the career that I do, but I also make sure to enjoy every moment of my children.   

 

There are momentous career moments that are missed, for example, I couldn’t be at the opening of my flagship store on rue Saint-Honoré because I was giving birth to my second daughter that day. However, I am so lucky I have the career and family life that I do.

What do you do to set boundaries between work and family?

Messika Paris is at foremost a family business, so work and family are closely linked. My job is about my family story and Messika showcases the origins of how my family created the brand. We are an extremely strong and close family unit, that gets involved in all things work. I couldn’t imagine my everyday-life without them.

During those moments of madness, how do you find calm and balance?

I am lucky to be well surrounded by my family, which is very important for me. Taking a moment to spend some time outdoors, relaxing in fresh air either by myself or with my daughters is the perfect way to find calm.

Do you have any rituals or mindfulness practices for personal wellbeing?

I have a personal fitness coach and I do yoga. I also use an app for meditation. Individual wellbeing, as well as the wellbeing of everyone working within Messika Paris, is extremely important to me.

What do you hope your children will take away from seeing their mum build a career?

As a woman and CEO, I want to pass down this competence, drive, and feeling of empowerment. You need to work hard to fulfil your dream. I try to pass down my passion to my girls. My daughters are still young, they don’t know exactly what we do but they understand that we work on amazing creations.

What have you learnt about yourself as a mother and a career woman since having children?

I have learnt that being a mum who has made her work her passion will make my daughters want to succeed themselves and find their own passion. They will be guided by the same inner flame and drive when they grow up. It is important to have an amazing balance of both, but it is also good to never put pressure on yourself to have this perfect balance constantly – doing your best and putting your passion and love into your family and career is key.

Clare Holbrook, Communications Manager at Estée Lauder, living in Dubai

motherhood career balance working mums uae

How has your career mindset changed since having children?

I work to provide for my baby but also to give myself some sanity. Once I got this into my head I went back to enjoying my work because I felt the purpose again. My life had changed, every tiny particle of it and that scared me initially, there was so much to juggle, the working mum guilt mixed with the desire to still be on my A-game. I had to rejig what that meant to survive! What I figured out was once I accepted that things weren’t going to go back to what they were I was more comfortable with what it was. My life is different, not completely unrecognisable, but different. Ambition and motherhood can go hand in hand you just need to learn to give yourself a break, you’re doing the best you can.

How did it feel going back to work?

Bone-shaking anxiety!

What do you do to set boundaries between work and family?

I’m not sure how good I am at this but when I leave work my full attention is on my son and the family time we have before it’s bedtime. Whatever comes in from work after I leave office I hop back online after he’s asleep. It can wait but those precious little moments at bath time or quiet time reading his favourite book won’t. I tell myself to always be present in whatever situation I am in so I get the most out of it. When I work I give it my all, when I’m with my son I give him everything I can.

How do you tackle “mum guilt”?

I won’t lie, it is hard. I think if I’m going to leave my son every day then I want to have an impact and ensure the work I do really matters, that one day he’ll be proud of what his mum achieved. During those moments of madness, how do you nd calm and balance? I honestly just tell myself I can do it. If my mum could bring up 3 children alone and still hold down a career then goodness, I’ve got this too. Self-belief, being your own cheerleader, taking it one day at a time. I can only do so much and I know that now.

Do you have any rituals or mindfulness practices for personal wellbeing?

Not straight o the back but I realised that a happy mother is what my child needs so I do take time to focus on me too. I don’t have space in the day to go to classes so I love the Melissa Wood Health app; I can do a quick Pilates or meditation session in 20 minutes and feel great afterwards.

What do you hope your son will take away from seeing their mum build a career?

I hope he’s proud. I hope it teaches him to aim high, that he can achieve anything he sets his mind on. I hope he understands that he won’t win at everything and that’s okay, there will be setbacks and that’s okay too. But set goals, work hard, be a dreamer, enjoy life to its fullest.

What have you learnt about yourself as a mother and a career woman since having children?

I can honestly say that having my son is the best thing that has ever happened to me but it also terrified me at the beginning. Life won’t be the same but that’s growth and that’s the beauty of it.

Latifa Al Gurg Founder of Twisted Roots, living in Dubai

motherhood career balance working mums uae

How has your career mindset changed since having children?

I had my first child straight out of university and so I have only had the experience of having both a career and raising children at the same time. However, I think this has made me always think of both as parts of a whole package and that you need to design your life in a way with the proper support system to be able to make sure that it’s mostly manageable.

How did it feel going back to work?

I took a break from working outside my home from between having my second child to when the third child went to school. I was going into a brand new industry, so it was a leap of faith and I was nervous. However, my family was always there to provide me with the support needed and I think that gave me the confidence to stick it through.

What do you do to set boundaries between work and family?

I don’t set hard boundaries. It’s all about communication, and that’s in all directions. Be it if I have to miss a school pick up once in a while, then I support my kids with their work or set aside some time to just be with them.

During those moments of madness, how do you nd calm and balance?

I tend to fall back on systematic problem-solving in most situations. So, taking the time to identify what is creating the madness, and then breaking down the tasks into achievable ones to get through it.

Do you have any rituals or mindfulness practices for personal wellbeing?

I practice yoga regularly, and I also enjoy guided meditations.

What do you hope your children will take away from seeing their mum build a career?

Dedication and drawing your path, no matter what it looks like.

What have you learnt about yourself as a mother and a career woman since having children?

That I love systemising everything, but more importantly that reflection and taking time to actively be in the present always provide endless inspiration and renewed energy.

EW Mini – Autumn/Winter 2020 Issue – Download Now

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Images: Supplied