A Working Mum's Guide

All Woman

For the month of May your AW Fashion team will be chronicling the career women out to excel at their demanding jobs while taking care of business on the home front. Ahead of Mother's Day, our first stop this week is Digicel's steel-latticed headquarters on the downtown Kingston waterfront where we asked nine super-busy telecoms execs to reveal their five foolproof steps in successfully juggling both work and familial commitments. Here's what they had to say...

Lesley Miller, Senior Product Manager, Digicel Business, one daughter Alexis Miller, 1 yr 11 mths

1 Plan - Never underestimate the benefit of planning. I write down everything.

2 Do not be afraid to take advantage of the technology that is available — I use my phone to answer emails while I am waiting at a doctor's appointment and my laptop for e-banking, this helps me to spend more time with my family.

3 Family Focus - When I'm at home my family is my number 1 focus.

4 Time Management - Juggling work and family appointments can sometimes clash, so I keep my smartphone calendar on hand to record important dates.

5 Great Support System

Camille Wint, Change Implementation Manager, Customer Care — Mother of two — daughter Caylia Whilby, 9, and son Aiden Whilby, 2

1 Place high value on special occasions... I try not to miss special events

2 My kids are my little "interns"... I include my children in almost everything I do.

3 Pay attention to what they love: It's great that my kids mirror my sense of adventure! Our weekends are therefore always fully booked.

4 I schedule "Me Time" at least once per week — With this time I may choose to go to the movies, dinner or simply have drinks with my friends.

5 Never take sides! With two children with different preferences and personalities, things like movie choices, who gets to ride in the front seat of the car, and which night is 'movie night', become epic battles that require the skills of a master negotiator to satisfy both of mommy's little angels.

Monique McLeod, Marketing Executive. One daughter, Niara McLeod, 3 yrs

1 I try to include my daughter in as many things as possible as this really helps us to bond.

2 Go to bed together, read or make up a story, sing a song, pray, create your personal routine, let your child know that they are safe and God will always protect them.

3 Set aside at least an hour each day for some kind of fun activities.

4 Time management is key as this helps me to make time for myself.

5 I ensure that work and everyone else around me know that family comes first for me. This is a standard that I've set, so when I say I can't make it to an event because of family, then that decision is respected.

Aileen Corrigan, Group Head of Brand & Marketing Communications. Mother of Cormack Corrigan, 4, and Abbey Corrigan, 6

1 Read to your kids — it starts a great conversation which leads to me finding out what's going on in their day

2 Hug them every morning and tell them you love them

3 Listen to your gut , it always knows what's best

4 Take time for you, a happy mummy makes a better mummy — inside and outside of work too

5 Your colleagues are your support system and a family away from home. Lean on them when you need to.

Nadia Nivens-Jarrett, Senior Advertising Manager and Brand Manager, Marketing. Mother to one son - Justin Jarrett, age: 6 mths 3 weeks

1 Family first — whether you have a manageable schedule or a million things on your to-do list, meetings, and work deadlines — your family should always be priority one.

2 Make time for yourself

3 Ask for help

4 Plan, Plan, Plan — I cannot emphasise enough the need to plan ahead or else even routine activities can become overwhelming.

5 "Expect the Unexpected" — Balancing motherhood and work is so unpredictable that I have accepted that no two days will be the same.

Tricia Foreman, Procurement Category Manager. Mother of daughter, Chloe Foreman, 9, and son, Chad Powell, 18

1 Always plan ahead and prepare for the following day — this includes tomorrow's breakfast menu (and make sure there's consensus from the little ones to avoid "I'm not eating that" arguments in the mornings.

2 Make sure you have a good support system — Thank God for Daddy and Grandma.

3 Make allowances for family time.

Michelle Watkis-Robinson, Head of Sales, Government, Digicel Business. Mother of 2 — Mark Anthony Todd, 13, and Marissa Robinson, 2

1 Place Jesus at the centre of the family.

2 100% dedication to children while balancing work life.

3 Create lifelong memories through support. Ensure you attend all special events/activities with the kids — be it football games, cricket games, swimming, church or fun day etc.

4 Set aside a specific family day. For me, we must eat as a family every Sunday,

5 All vacations are done as a family

Angella Blair, Project Assistant, Digicel Foundation. Mother of daughter Leila Morris, 8 mths

1 I try to accomplish most of my tasks throughout the day so that I can maximise my time at home with Leila.

2 Any available time I get throughout the day (during lunch breaks, heading back to the office from a meeting etc.) I try to stop for at least 5 minutes just to spend time with her.

3 I literally take my daughter any and everywhere on the weekends.

4 Good help is always important! I have an awesome caretaker who truly loves Leila; so I am never worried about leaving her in the mornings or even overnight.

5 Have a great relationship with your manager and always communicate.

Toyin King, Senior Business Administrator. Mother of 1 son — Tyreek King, 13

1 Encourage open communication with your children and focus on the things that matter to them.

2 A good support system is critical — managing work and parenting is a shared responsibility.

3 Family time: Prioritise family vacations — this allows you to truly bond and create memories together

4 Separate work and home: Ensure that work ends when you are at home, that way, you are present for your child

5 Look after self: Take time out for yourself from time to time

Special thanks to Digicel PR guru Jacqueline Burrell-Clarke, herself a fab mother of two.





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