Maxine is the owner of Digital Bon Bons, a digital marketing consultancy helping family brands and parent focused businesses feel confident reaching their audience online. She lives in Kent with her husband, daughter Ava, two cats and a snake. Maxine is a self-confessed film buff so it’s no surprised that she loves to go to the cinema to catch the new releases – although I happen to know some of her favourites are up there in the classics hall of fame! She also loves going round vintage and antique shops for quirky home bits and being on a beach with a good book listening to the waves.
What impact has being a working parent had on you?
I think when I first went back to work after having Ava it was an adjustment, but I also found that my priorities had shifted, what I felt mattered didn’t matter as much as being a family and the usual work stresses and strife that I would normally bring home I didn’t. My outlook of what I valued and what was important had changed and actually I found this made me a better person at work. I felt calmer, more organised and really cherished being back in the work place and having my own something. Since being my own boss I do have the flexibility now to make being a working parent work for me and my family much more and I feel this has had a great positive impact on me and our family life, which I love.
Did you always know what you wanted life after having children to look like?
Yes, I think we did. When we decided to try for a family my husband and I were very clear about our approach to what family life would mean to us and from the beginning we always said that we’re on the journey together and our new addition is now hopping on in the car and joining us, they’re not leading it, they’re joining our adventure and we continue it as a three and we’ve stuck by that and for us, it works. I feel we have the balance we want between family life, life as individuals, as a couple and as individual parents to Ava too so we all connected relationships and a function as a team.
What’s the best thing that parenting has taught you?
It’s funny because prior to Ava I used to be a really big worrier and often not very relaxed ( I still have my moments) but when I found out I was pregnant it was like all of that evaporated and I felt my most calm I have ever been. I felt the most comfortable I had ever felt and that was weird in itself because I was growing a human and about to become a parent – which is life changing. Even once she had arrived and we found out she was Ava it was like everything felt right and I felt right in my own skin and the calm continued. It’s the most bizarre thing I have ever experienced, but it was like she was saying to me “don’t worry, I’ve got you and you’re going to be alright mamma”. So I definitely think it’s taught me to go easy on myself, that no everything has got to be perfect, I’m going to be late to stuff, I won’t always remember important dates like I used to because my mind is filled up with new things now and to take that pressure off myself. Just to enjoy everything that’s going on and don’t sweat the small stuff, there’s bigger battles that need your energy.
What happens when work and home collide? How do you cope?
I think when I was doing the business on top of my 9-5 work and home collided a lot because they had to, I only had home time to work on it so it was hard work trying to find a balance that worked between me coming in from one job, getting on the computer for an hour, then being downstairs ready for her smiley face to come in from nursery, be with her, then either do bedtime or cook the dinner depending on who did what that evening and then back up at the desk. I coped because my husband was incredibly supportive and he would always do extra baths, extra bedtimes, extra cooking on top of what he was already doing if I needed more time, an extra evening and this was a huge help. He was also tough with me when he saw I was pushing myself too hard and recognised that I needed a break and I needed to take some time out and you need that because otherwise every aspect of life blurs and soon you are doing any of it very well.
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give yourself when you began juggling kids and working?
I think I am learning all the time, especially now being my own boss and in control of my work life as I think its easier to blur the lines when you work for yourself and you can work too much instead of being present and taking advantage of the reasons why you work for yourself in the first place. So I would definitely go back and say to myself – you are in control, you decide what you do and when and don’t be too hard on yourself. I say this daily now because it’s so important not to forget. Work is work and being with my daughter is everything – I want to be present for her.
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