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Power of the Parent 7: 7: **BONUS** Lucy Critchley, Virtual Assistant

Power of the Parent 7: 7: **BONUS** Lucy Critchley, Virtual Assistant

Here’s a sneaky bonus episode from season one of the Power of the Parent podcast for you!This week I speak to Lucy Critchley VA. Lucy is my podcast producer and all round good egg. In this episode we talk about maternity allowance, starting a business with a 5 month old and of course, self care.

I asked Lucy if she’d come on because I was reflecting about the power of making things happen – nobody is going to be a bigger cheerleader for you than YOU – I wanted to start a podcast for ages but I wasn’t championing myself.

Along came Lucy who absolutely had my back and showed me how to believe in the message I wanted to share with the world. If you’d like to find out more about Lucy, check out her website here.

If you’d like to get in touch, please email me on hello@power-of-the-parent.com or you can find me on Instagram @power.of.the.parent. You can also visit my website power-of-the-parent.com.

If you’ve enjoyed this episode please rate and subscribe and tell all your friends so they can listen too. We’ll see you soon for season two!

Episode Transcript

Charlotte Speak  0:12  

Hello and welcome to Power of the Parent, the podcast. I’m your host, Charlotte Speak. I’m a level seven CMI accredited coach, a Strengthscope Master Practitioner, Mental Health First Aider and talent consultant. And I’m also the face behind Power of the Parent. In this podcast, I’ll be speaking to parents in the workplace. Some of them are in traditionally employed roles, others are running their own businesses. And we’re having conversations about life in general, insights about being a parent and having a career and exploring the strengths that parenting has awoken for people. We will talk about things like the value that they’re bringing to the workplace, as well as my guests very generously sharing their personal stories and anecdotes about everything life can throw at us. Welcome to this bonus episode of Power of the Parent, the podcast. I am so excited to tell you that I am joined today by the amazing Lucy Critchley of Lucy Critchley of VA fame, Lucy after an illustrious career in TV and broadcasting set up by herself, but has had some incredible growth over the last year. She has established her VA business and has a growing team. And I am very grateful to be able to work with Lucy. She is the absolute brains behind Power of the Parent, the podcast. I was chatting with Lucy about guests and I had this lightbulb moment where I thought we need to hear from the person that’s helped me make this happen for something that I had faffed over for such a long time. But Lucy’s incredible style and way of being with her clients finally actually got me to do the podcast. And I would love to share this platform with her and for you to all be able to meet her and get to know her a little bit better. So thank you for joining me, Lucy.

Lucy Critchley  2:01  

Thank you. That’s so nice.

Charlotte Speak  2:03  

So we’re chatting on Zoom. And we’ve actually never met in person, although we’ve done lots of work together over this last year, although we are meeting up soon, I think. So you made that transition from employed life into self employed, the VA world, which seems to have grown a lot over the last year. Tell us a bit about how it’s been for you. 

Lucy Critchley  2:29  

Yeah, it’s been a bit of a nuts thing, really. I mean, I was always kind of when I worked in TV and audio I was freelance, but I was sort of like, in that funny area of freelance where I had, like, decent contracts. So I was bouncing around from contract to contract really, they would be like, sort of the very minimum a couple of weeks, but then they would go up to like a year somewhere. So I was kind of usually, I would stay in the same place for a couple of years, but change to different productions and things. And then when I had my daughter and I realised quite quickly to be honest, that I didn’t really want to go back to working in TV and audio production. But mostly because the other parents that I knew that already worked in that industry were exhausted. They were, you know, amazing at their jobs, but they would end up working longer hours, but in less time. So you know, if they were contracted like three days a week, they might still end up working on a fourth or fifth day answering calls and emails and stuff, and then not being financially rewarded for the fact that they’re giving up that time that you know, but so that kind of spurred me on. And then the sort of work that I was doing as a production coordinator, I think lended itself really nicely to the VA world. And it’s something that I had considered for such a long time. I remember being in the car with my husband, and I was having a bit of a wobble about what I wanted to do next, the contract was ending, I was like do I want to stay on? Do I want to look for something else? And I said oh, I’ve seen this job online. And actually, it was Holly Curry, who we both know, I was like this sounds amazing. Do you think I could do that, and then he was like duh. And then it just sort of it was like one of those things that sort of went back of my mind. And I sort of didn’t have the guts to do it, you know, sort of as quickly as the thought had come into my head. And then when COVID happened, as horrible as it’s been in the sense of not being able to see friends and family and having a newborn and you know, not being able to go out and like show her off and things and obviously all the other worldwide sadness that it’s involved. You know, it sort of gave me that like, well if I don’t do it now, when am I actually ever gonna do it? And then it just sort of went from there really and it really took off in a way that I hadn’t thought that it would. And I’ve just met so many brilliant, nice people who are interesting and interested. And it’s just, I just wish I’d done it sooner, really.

Charlotte Speak  5:14  

What do you think did eventually push you to doing it because that phrase, I wish I’d done it sooner, if I had a pound for every time a penny, if I had a penny for every time, I’d said that, or I worked with clients that had said that or have friends or family, I probably wouldn’t need to work. I mean, there is an abundance of things out there that hold us back. And some of them will be incredibly personal. But what are some of the things that like, what finally gave you that push to do it?

Lucy Critchley  5:42  

I’m sure you know all about this. But the sort of maternity pay for a freelancer is peanuts and [light word to use for it.] Yes, absolutely. And so what I was doing when I was working, was working at a production company, and then freelancing somewhere else at the same time, while I was pregnant, and was exhausted, but I had to do it, because I needed to have some kind of savings pot, I mean, kind of like to keep things nice and fair in our house. And I hate the thought of not being able to do my bit. So I wanted to make sure I had a nice bank of money. And then I had Edie 4 weeks early. And like I said, COVID hit, and I just went a bit like, I don’t know, I don’t know what the word is. But I just had this moment of like, I need to do something else. And I needed that like, that external thing that was like, this is my thing to do. Because I couldn’t take her anywhere, we’ve been to the park a lot. And I just needed that brain space for me to give me something to work on that wasn’t being a mum, she was only five months old, when I launched my business, a sort of a combination of the factors around maternity allowance, being rubbish. And also like, needing to like, exercise that side of my brain that I just didn’t want to sort of get to a point where I was like, God, like, what do I want to do? And then, you know, I think I am a special  case, though, because I don’t know many other people who would want to launch a business when they’ve got a five month old. But I did it. And I feel like if I was talking to anybody else, I’d be like, what are you doing that for, like enjoy your time. But I think having literally nothing else going on, apart from having a baby. It sort of led me to like, oh, now is the chance, if that makes sense. And my husband was like, because he works in sports broadcasting, so a lot of his work just stopped. So we had the time to be able to do it. And it meant that, as a lot of dads don’t get, it meant he got a lot of time with Edie. And so we just kind of managed it between us. And I just did it.

Charlotte Speak  8:14  

I mean, you’ve made that sound like so simple, which I suppose in a way, although like the logistics of it, and the fact that you have had Edie very much in the background, this has been one of those classic build it while she naps type business. [100%] So I’m sure that it’s had its ups and downs, but at the heart of it. It’s a very simple message, isn’t it? I think, and I don’t want to kind of fill your mouth with words, but you figured out what you would be great at and what that therefore looks like as a career. How do you actually get somebody to pay you for the stuff that you’re going to be great at? And what does that mean as a business? And then you’ve established that business? And like I said at the beginning, it’s grown so much for you over the last year. And I know that as well as Jack being your husband, he’s also he’s doing some stuff behind the scenes at Lucy Critchley VA isn’t he? And that’s, I suppose that’s the heart of it, isn’t it. It’s about figuring out what works for you as a family and, you know, fully appreciate that it doesn’t always happen like that for lots of people. But if you’re in a situation where you you need to and I think what’s, what is actually refreshing about this conversation is that you’re not talking to somebody, I don’t mean to diminish anybody else’s story, but from a financial perspective, this this was born out of no, I need to earn money as well and it needs to work. So I suppose you’ve got a few different vested interests there to make sure actually you’ve got bills to pay, a tiny mouth to feed and something that works for you, both you and Jack.

Lucy Critchley  8:17  

Yeah, I mean, going back to the naptime thing, like my first lot of like, quote ‘brand photography’ was taken in our living room when Edie napped. Like I had three outfits and my makeup bag, and I was just like, you know, sitting at the table, fake reading a book or whatever, but he had to take those pictures, you know, there was no other way around it. I felt like I just had to do it. And it had to happen. And I’m a bit like that when I get something in my head. I’m like, right, we’re doing it now. And maybe that’s why it works. But Jack works with me now and he’s part of the team, which is really exciting. In fact, he’s editing a podcast for a client, as we’re recording this, which is nice. And also, you know, with the financial thing, the way I grew up, if I’m really honest, was that money was quite tight. And I’ve always sort of had that mindset of like, needing to do my own thing and pave my own way and pay my own way. The thought of like, not really working or not having that money in the bank, even though I did have savings. I was just like, I don’t like this, because of how it was when I was a kid. You know, we had to really work hard, ever since I was old enough to have a job, I had a job. When you’re sort of career orientated and then you have to stop. Well, for me anyway, I was kind of like, oh, now what do I do? That’s kind of one of the things that kept me going, I think.

Charlotte Speak  11:27  

And I didn’t realise that Edie had been four weeks early. Were you still kind of doing the two freelance jobs at that point?

Lucy Critchley  11:35  

I had preeclampsia. So yeah, so just to add it all on. But I had preeclampsia and I finished working about three or four weeks before she arrived. So she was originally due on the ninth of January. But she came on the 12th of December, which is the day before my birthday, which is lovely. But it was one of those things where I’d have to go into hospital say two or three times a week to be monitored and stuff, I’d have loads of blood pressure medication that I had like one or two kind of overnight stays. And I think actually in terms of talking to other people who have had preeclampsia, they’ve been in hospital for weeks and weeks and weeks. But luckily for me, it wasn’t the case. So one, I think it must have been on the 10th or the 11th of December, they asked me to stay in. I was a bit like, oh I don’t really want to, and it was the day before the election. So I was like, well, I’ll stay but I need to go home and vote. But I never got to because the next morning they said are you’re gonna have your baby today. So it was kind of as quick as that, really. We didn’t have anything ready for her, like her room wasn’t ready. We didn’t have many clothes for her. Because she was so small. She was like 4lb 14oz. I mean, to me, she felt massive, because she’s like, my kid, right? But even now people look like I said she is tiny, but I just think, this is my, like, massive kid now. And that’s just kind of how it is. You know, I think we just kind of took it in stride and, and got on with it. Because that’s what we had to do. 

Charlotte Speak  13:25  

Are you and Jack the calmest people ever?

Lucy Critchley  13:29  

I don’t know, maybe. I think we’re very methodical, I say we’re, I think I’m very methodical. And I sort of trusted the process, I think. And often, like my mind will kind of get ahead of me and I’ll be like, what if this happens, and what if this happens in r-r-r? But I don’t know. I don’t I don’t know what it was. But when I was pregnant, it was just like, it’s gonna be fine. It’s got to be fine. It has to be fine. And that’s just what I kept telling myself and, you know, touch wood, so far everything’s been that way. But yeah, it was a bit of a nuts start to her life. And then I think I finished work probably, yeah. 3 or 4 weeks before she landed.

Charlotte Speak  14:26  

Oh my goodness. That’s a decent turnaround, particularly like right at the end for you kind of there and then all of a sudden, no she’s coming today.

Lucy Critchley  14:36  

Yeah. The doctor was on her rounds and said, oh, your baby’s coming out. As matter of fact, as that and then we just had to go with it. So I mean, out she popped.

Charlotte Speak  14:54  

You’ve definitely given the shortened version of a story there, out she popped. I’m pretty sure that isn’t quite how it happened.

Lucy Critchley  14:59  

It wasn’t quite as quick but I had a caesarean because as well as all that stuff she was breech.

Charlotte Speak  15:06  

She was making you work for this arrival. Wasn’t she?

Lucy Critchley  15:09  

I know, wasn’t she just, but it was really funny because we were, I mean, that’s another part of the story. We were booked in to do everything at LGI, had like the tour of all the birthing suites and did all the stuff. And then that morning when the doctor said, your baby’s coming today? We needed to be in transitional care, because she was early and small. So then they said, oh, but we don’t have any beds here. So you have to go to Jimmy’s. Which is the other side of Leeds and we were sort of like, well, okay, right. I don’t really want to, but okay. And I said we’ll just drive over because like Jack had arrived to visit. And they said, oh, no, you need to come in an ambulance. And I was like, I don’t need to do that. I’m fine. I had to go on a stretcher. It was too much, really. I felt so embarrassed isn’t the word, but I just felt like I was I don’t know, like they were taking the mick like I didn’t need to be, you know, in the little bed thing that they took me in. But we got there. And I got all set up for the caesarean. And I just felt this like movement here, sort of underneath my ribs. And it was her moving and putting her head down. So I mean, she was a sass pot from day one. But when they did the caesarean, and her head was engaged and she was like, ready, but she wasn’t like half an hour before that. It’s like she knew, isn’t it? I just still can’t get my head around it.

Charlotte Speak  16:46  

Wow. I mean, yeah, the timing of that as well. Wow. So you have throughout this conversation kind of talked about different strengths and things that you bring, how much of that was there before you had Edie and how much of it do you think has been kind of made even more for you, since you’ve become a parent?

Lucy Critchley  17:10  

I think some of it was there because of work and having to be so organised because I would send crews out across the country across the world, and have to organise flights and vaccinations and visas and all this kind of stuff for people to go. I mean, we sent people to Kenya, I’ve sent people across to like Azerbaijan, and like all over the world, and there’s an element of organisation that comes with that, that I think you have to have a certain type of brain to do, because some people just don’t have that. And I think it’s a good thing if you are that way, because obviously I would, because that’s how I am. But I think since having Edie that’s kind of like, doubled up almost because there’s so much to think about isn’t there when you’ve got kids, and it’s like nap times and schedules, and especially at the beginning, you know, like bottles and like what we’re going to do this afternoon and you know, all that sort of stuff, it really like gets your brain thinking I need to have a plan because, you know, when you’re sat in for the afternoon, and your kid just wants to go out, you know, there’s, you need to have something in mind, don’t you? Like let’s go and do this. And I think it’s taught me a lot about being resilient and getting by on very little sleep sometimes. And just you know, I think also though, your heart just opens up, doesn’t it? And I think I’ve always been quite empathetic and understanding and I really pride myself on, like, knowing people, if that makes sense. And I feel since having Edie, that’s just kind of, because now I could understand what it’s like when people have got kids, and they don’t. And you know how certain things would make you feel because that’s how we felt or how I felt. And I think it’s just been really nice, actually, to sort of consider just what a difference like she’s made to our lives really.

Charlotte Speak  19:26  

I’m sure she’ll listen back on this one day and be like, ah, you’re welcome mum.

Lucy Critchley  19:31  

She’ll be like shut up.

Charlotte Speak  19:35  

I would be really interested to hear, I know it’s hard to kind of distil down, but what’s been the best thing about setting up your VA business?

Lucy Critchley  19:46  

Oh, gosh, I mean, I think he’s just been meeting people. You know, I’ve met so many brilliant people. Since sort of setting my business up through social media, through like some networking bits and bobs that I’ve done. And it’s just been really nice because people get what you do. And if they don’t, they’re really willing to like, listen and be like, oh, maybe I need some of that. Which is just, it’s been a real, like, oh, this is the thing. I did, a while ago, we did a course that was about finding your thing. And it just kind of like it really cemented that this was what I should be focusing on. And it really made me think about the fact that now I am doing it, it sort of feels like it’s proven its point, if that makes sense?

Charlotte Speak  20:46  

Yeah, definitely does. On the opposite side of that, what has been because you know, I’m all about managing the imbalance. What’s been the hardest thing if you could pick one?

Lucy Critchley  20:58  

Well, I mean, there were obviously those moments where you have to pick what your priority is going to be in that moment. Is it going to be a trip to the park? Or is it going to be writing a newsletter for somebody, you know, and working out actually, when you decide to do the fun thing, rather than the work thing, when actually can you fit it in? And that kind of juggle, because often, like at the moment, Edie goes to nursery, and we split the days that she’s not at nursery between us, so the other person gets a chance to work. It’s lovely, because it means that we get like a day each with her and we get to do really fun stuff. But then there are some times where I think, oh, wouldn’t it be nice to go and do things as a family? Then in that case, one of us might decide that we’re going to do something slightly different that day, but it can be tough to figure out how to balance it when like, maybe your heart is like, oh, I really want to go to that, to the farm. But then some days, you’re like, actually, no. [I’m tapped out.] You know, having the house to yourself on it. There’s no one else in, it is a dream, isn’t it? So I think it is just working out what is your priority at that moment? And then having that conversation with yourself of like, okay, well, if this is what I’m going to do, I need to make sure I could go and do the other thing later, or how do I work out with my time? Because you know, I suppose the reason I set this up is to have that flexible lifestyle, because working in TV and audio, you don’t get it so, or at least I didn’t get it. And I want to kind of make sure that I’m actually embodying the reason that I set my business up in the first place, you know, to have that flexible nature to it. So I think sometimes it’s sticking to those boundaries that I’ve set myself as well. But that can be tricky. But it’s all part of it, I think.

Charlotte Speak  21:12  

It seems to me to be one of the biggest topics for people who end up working for themselves, which I think sometimes can be hailed as a bit of a catch all. And that’s what you’re meant to do after you’ve started a family. But some of the biggest challenges come around the whole time side of things. And actually, the amount of times that you do end up working when other people aren’t. And that might mean evenings, it might mean weekends, or during the week, if you’re, you know, whatever your family setup is, and it’s so different and unique for each of us. And I think it’s sometimes a bit of that hustle culture, isn’t it ? We are led to believe that we can earn six figures overnight after having been set up for a week, all that kind of jazz, I’m gonna say. I’m sure that is somebody’s truth and I’m sure that that does happen. But it certainly isn’t the majority, I don’t think and I think it often does come down to that boundary conversation, which you know, I love talking about boundaries, not because I’m a perfectionist at them, or that I’ve got mine sorted all the time. I definitely haven’t. But they are so important for your own kind of mental well being but also to protect the relationships that you’ve got around you as well.

Lucy Critchley  24:32  

Yeah, exactly. And I think like you say, some people just want to be out there and earn all the money that they can and while that’s brilliant, I feel like there’s a lot of stuff on social media around like, oh, I had a 10k month and I did this and I did that but that doesn’t include the money that you spent to get that 10k month and it just often to me feels very cult like and makes me feel quite uncomfortable, because I think some people would see that and think, oh, well if I just buy this course, then I’m going to be, you know, earning over 100 grand this year and while, you know, maybe that could be a possibility. It’s not necessarily going to be like, oh, now I’ve got this course I’m a millionaire. You know, that’s not how it works, is it? So I think for me, the best thing about having this business is that I can make it work for how I want it to. But that isn’t to say that sometimes the boundaries that I sort of have in mind or have in place, don’t slip, because I think, you know, I’ve got to get this job done. Or, oh, I’ll just do this while Edie’s in the bath, or I’ll do this while Jack’s doing bedtime or something. And then actually, like, that could have been my time to just like, chill out for a bit or start making dinner or, you know, do some nice things. And I think it’s tricky, isn’t it because you want to, you want to get the work done. And you want to do a really good job, and you want people to be happy with the work that you’re doing. But then also you have to consider the impact that it has on you and your well being.

Charlotte Speak  26:13  

Definitely, I’ve just had a week off for a half term. And I deleted my, well, you know that I did this, I deleted my email app. And I was all kind of ready, raring to put it back on this morning, and I haven’t and I’m not going to.

Lucy Critchley  26:30  

Oh, that’s exciting.

Charlotte Speak  26:33  

Yeah, I think that I will stick to it. I do think that I will, because I hadn’t realised but I think I was addicted to my email, to checking my email. More so than social media. I heard somebody else say that either on a podcast or on a post or something. I can’t remember who it was. I really need to figure out who it was because I need to thank them. Whoever said it, when they said it, I was like, oh, my God, so am I. I can very easily back away from Instagram, or just pop in like once a day for 10 minutes or something, it hasn’t always been the case. But at the moment, I’m okay with like, I don’t do the pointless scroll. But email was a totally different kettle of fish. And it definitely stemmed from the business side of things that I don’t want to miss an email, what if somebody needs me? What if an amazing piece of work comes in, and I’m not able to respond? But actually having not looked at it for a week? I did have a look on Friday but that was for one specific thing and I didn’t look on my phone. It was because I was setting up recording a podcast with somebody. And so that was my laptop and I was in and out, didn’t look at anything else. And it didn’t feel tempting to look, but I think it was the biggest lightbulb for me was the realisation about how bad, and I do use that word bad very intentionally, that it was just a total distraction.

Lucy Critchley  28:10  

That’s fascinating, isn’t it? I have some clients who say like, I check my emails between 9 and 9:30 on the days that I’m working, and that’s it until the next day or whatever. So if you need an urgent reply, just give me a ring or whatever. But I just think well, I’ve sent my reply and for me, it’s never that urgent. You know, I never think about kind of, I don’t know, messaging somebody at like, four o’clock when I’m working or something and say like, by the way, I need this from you because it can wait, you know, if I need it, I can hang on till they’re working the next morning, sort of thing. And I think if that’s a boundary that you want to put in place, why not? You know, like you put on your email footers about working flexibly, like you don’t expect an instant reply from somebody. And I think often maybe this is from working in sort of more corporate, you know, TV and audio environments, often if you did email somebody at eight o’clock at night, because you were just doing that email at that time, you would get a reply. And it’s like, oh, actually, I didn’t want to get into a conversation with you. I’m just sending this so I’ve sent it sort of thing. But since setting up my business one thing that I have learned and I don’t know how it took me so long to figure this out, but I can schedule emails to go out the next morning, which has been an absolute game changer for me. So if I do end up having to work on a night, which the minute is is quite infrequent, which is really nice, I can schedule it to be sent at, you know, eight o’clock the next morning and then it’s like out of my head and into the ether, it’ll be delivered to that person at a more palatable time. If that makes sense.

Charlotte Speak  30:07  

I totally identify with that. And I do the same thing. And I always know if I’ve had an email from you that’s been scheduled because it’s because it defaults, doesn’t it, until eight o’clock, we both use Gmail, don’t we? [Yeah.] So I know that when I’ve got ones from you, I’m like, she was scheduling.

Lucy Critchley  30:24  

I was, and I’m so pleased with myself for doing it. Because there was a time where I just wouldn’t, where I would reply. And then if that other person replied, I would reply, and then it would be like, late at night, I’d just think, we don’t need to be having this conversation now but I feel obligated to be responding. So I think scheduling, it just eliminates all of that, which is a dream. I love it.

Charlotte Speak  30:52  

I absolutely love it. And I always feel like a pro when I’ve seen that you’ve done it or like I think you’ve done it even if you haven’t? Well, Lucy does that, I do that too. I’m getting something right. So this kind of actually segues me into one of the questions that I have been asking every guest, and that is around what you do to look after yourself. Call that self care, looking after your well being, whatever resonates for you, but what does it look like for you?

Lucy Critchley  31:25  

I mean, sometimes I think I’m utterly tragic at switching off. I don’t know, I don’t know what it is. But sometimes that’s just how I am. And I sort of accept that that is part of my personality. But there’s a couple of things that I do like to do. And at the minute, one of them is watering the garden on a night. So usually, before Edie has her tea, we’ll all go into the garden, and she’ll mess about and play, and I get to water the plants. And there’s something really relaxing about it. I mean, we used to obviously, we would do it, like you know, in the summer anyway, but last year, she was in a little tiny carrier while I did it. And now this year, she’s running about the garden, which is just gorgeous. And so yeah, I like to do that. And sometimes, if we don’t have time I do it when she’s asleep, which is even nicer if I’m really honest. And, you know, pop a podcast on, and I’m away. So I like to do that. And I like to look after myself in the sense that I have to go get my hair cut regularly. And even things down to like making sure, because I wear glasses, so like making sure I’ve had eye tests done properly. And I think it’s important because especially now, Edie likes to try and yank them off my face. So, you know, I want to make sure that I’m okay because then I’m better to make sure that she’s okay. So yeah, things like that. And then I just really like to watch Netflix. And so at the moment, my husband works from home, and he works a night shift. So he works 8pm till 2am, which you know, I mean, it is what it is, but it means that he works downstairs in our living room. So three nights a week, I’m kind of relegated to going to bed early. Which on the first day at first I was like, I don’t want to go to bed at eight o’clock. But to be honest, it’s been quite nice because I can just go up and I can read or I can watch some Netflix or I can have a cup of tea and I can just have that bit of time where it’s just me. So, yeah, I think that’s my self care.

Charlotte Speak  33:49  

I love that list. I’m with you on all of it, I think especially watching the garden.

Lucy Critchley  33:55  

It’s so nice. 

Charlotte Speak  33:57  

If you were to go back and talk to the Lucy that was becoming a parent a little bit earlier than she planned in December 2019. What piece of reassurance would you give yourself?

Lucy Critchley  34:12  

Gosh, I think I would just say that it’s okay. And that it will be fine. And that the internet doesn’t have all the answers. There’s so many nights where I was like my baby is doing this, is this okay? I then ended up on Mumsnet forums and just feel so utterly out of my depth. But you know I think also it probably boils down to just trust your instincts a bit. Because she was early we had to do like three hourly feeds, which was hardcore. So it was one of us would be on the night shift and one of us would be on the day and you know, that kind of thing. I think it was kind of eventually we were like, she’s fine. I don’t need to be doing this anymore. But because we haven’t done it before, we were like, do we need to ask somebody? The hospital were, you know, like she needs feeds every three hours, and you need to need it to like, write it down on a list and all this kind of stuff. And then, you know, a couple of weeks in, it was one untenable, really. And she was doing okay, sleep wise as well. So I think it’s that moment of like, oh, no, like, we have to do this now. Or we have to make the decisions. And, you know, we made that decision, and it was the right one. But I think it was kind of tricky, at first to kind of trust that instinct. And whereas now knowing what I know, it’s like, oh, I should have just maybe relaxed into it a little bit more. But it’s easier said than done when you haven’t been a parent previously.

Charlotte Speak  34:39  

Yeah, there’s a lot to be said, for hindsight, isn’t there? [Yeah.] I’m going to be quoting you. And I’ve just written down when you said the internet doesn’t have all the answers. That is, yeah, Lucy Critchley. And then finally, what are your hopes for parents in the workplace kind of now and in the future?

Lucy Critchley  36:27  

I think it kind of boils down to what I was saying about, you know, working, being contracted three days, but working four or five, I think it’s that like, I would hope that employers, especially now with everything that’s gone on the past year and a bit, that employers would be able to kind of see that. And kind of appreciate when staff are going above and beyond outside of their working hours. And, you know, whether that’s overtime pay, or whether that’s time in lieu, or like, just I don’t know, some kind of like appreciation, I think, for you know, going above and beyond, because I think ultimately, setting up my own business has taught me that when I’m not working or when a client’s not working. Like, I’m not gonna hear from them until they are working. But I think when you’re on a contract, or where you are staff somewhere, there’s that expectation, I feel that you will just respond or you will do that job. Because that is, you know, you have to. I think there’s just that, like, I don’t know, almost like a fear of like, well, if I don’t do it, then someone’s gonna be annoyed at me or blah, blah, but you know, like, if you’re not working, then you’re not working are you? Yeah, I don’t quite know what I’m trying to say. But something along those lines of like, I think respect as well around people’s working times and boundaries again, and just kind of when you do work that extra time, are you doing that thing that you are doing on your day off? Then, you know, but it’s in some way recognised.

Charlotte Speak  38:21  

I think I know what you say and it comes down to sometimes we just kind of get taken for granted that going the extra mile is just assumed and corporates talk about discretionary effort all the time, don’t they? But that runs out at a point and for somebody to continue with that discretionary effort. It has to be two way. And yeah, I mean, what that two way looks like is different for everybody. But it’s knowing the value that people are adding to your business, isn’t it and being appreciated for that? 

Lucy Critchley  38:55  

Yeah, exactly. There are things that obviously happen on the days that you aren’t working, for example. But if you potentially are expected to involve yourself in that, I think you should be valued and respected. But there’s, it’s tricky. And I don’t I don’t know if there is that magical one word answer or, you know, but I think I think it’s quite one of that sort of thing is a reason that people leave industries, isn’t it because they can’t do that when they’ve got kids at home, and they’ve got other priorities or even not kids, but they want they have to have to use that other time to be doing something else. And I just think that needs to be valued when it does happen.

Charlotte Speak  39:47  

Definitely, a total supporter of that. Thank you so much for joining me. It has been brilliant. And I hope that everybody listening has got a bit more insight into who Lucy Critchley is, that she absolutely is the VA extraordinaire with her incredible specialism in podcasts. So if people want to come and find out more about you and your business, where do we find you?

Lucy Critchley  40:14  

The best place would be to look at my website, which is lucycritchley-va.com. Or I’m on Instagram @lucycritchley.va

Charlotte Speak  40:25  

Well, and I know from a very good source that this will be in the show notes as well, so people can actually go and click on those links can’t they? [Absolutely.] Thank you so much. It has been an absolute pleasure. And I’m so pleased to be closing season one of Power of the Parent , the podcast with my very own Lucy Critchley. I mean, I know you’re not mine. Like I know, I’ve got to share you. But you know what I mean? It’s been a pleasure. Thank you so much for getting this all started. Because as I’ve said several times now, I really was faffing with it and figuring out what I wanted to do and what it was going to be about and the level of simplicity and process that you’ve put behind it was exactly what I needed. And you are one of the most patient people I’ve ever met.

Lucy Critchley  41:18  

Thank you, that’s so nice. Oh, well, I’m just glad that you asked me to help.

Charlotte Speak  41:26  

Well, thank you and over and out until season two. Thank you everybody that has listened and sent just gorgeous messages of support. Now you know how we make it all happen. Thanks very much for tuning in to Power of the Parent, the podcast. I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you did, please rate, review and subscribe. And if you could tell all your friends about the podcast that would be wonderful. If you’d like to get in touch you can find me on Instagram. Just search Power of the Parent. See you next time.

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