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Gaby Logan, TV sports presenter

Working mums

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“I hate to say it, but he’s sleeping really well…” – Lesson number one – don’t say it! Today Helen reminds us all of some golden parenting rules…

What an idiot I am.  I said OUT LOUD that my baby was sleeping really well.  You would think I would have learned now that I am on baby number three, that babies have supersonic hearing and a total understanding of the English language, from birth.  And that they are the world regulators when it comes to anyone – especially their parents – being smug in any way, shape or form.

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Sounds a bit scary doesn’t it? But fear not! Being a Mum Ultrapreneur doesn’t mean you have to dress permanently in an uncomfortably tight pinstripe suit, nor does it mean farming your kids out to a nanny 14 hours a day while you attend Very Important Networking Lunches.

Being a Mum Ultrapreneur just means you are a businesswoman who happens also to be a parent, and that somehow you manage to combine the two without having a nervous breakdown. And if that sounds like an impossible task, then this new book from Susan Odev and Mark Weeks could be just what you need.

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Having a third baby whilst deeply, obsessively involved in running your own business.  It was always going to be interesting.  I feel bad using the same word as I would to describe my lovely newborn, but Cuddledry is unavoidably also ‘my baby’, nurtured from embryonic to newborn, toddlerdom, and now perhaps emerging into the pre-school phase.  I couldn’t know how I would feel about it all once my real baby arrived.  Would I lose interest in work and want to focus entirely on motherhood?  Would I be able to juggle both?  Or would I be itching to work and frustrated at not being able to?  I have to confess I feared I would be the last of those three options.

But I am delighted to find myself, four weeks into his little life, totally infatuated with him just as I was with my first baby.  I stare at him and delight at tiny changes in his expression, and marvel at how he seems to GROW dramatically overnight.  My six year old daughter keeps saying, ‘Mummy I just can’t belieeeeeve he’s ours!’ and I feel just the same.

And so far (she says nervously) I have also been able to keep an eye on work, and do a little when he sleeps and the bigger ones are at school.  The obsession certainly remains, but I find now it keeps me sane.  I have realised that work is something that keeps me being ME, as well as mummy, and I enjoy and value that.  So the hours I can do, the emails I send, gives me a sense of being in some vague sort of control of my life (albeit the truth is clearly that a very small person is in fact entirely in charge).  My control freakery is fulfilled and I feel a great sense of satisfaction that I am able to contribute to the running of the business.

Whilst I have nothing but admiration for my friends who are full time mums, for me personally I can see now my work makes me a better mummy.  I can relax into parenting and go properly goo goo gaa gaa over my baby, accepting the unpredictability of it all, because I can pour my fussy organised side into my work where it actually has some value.

So stuff the daft ‘working mum guilt’ thing.  Running a business, or working in whatever role you are in, can in my view make you a better parent.  It lets you have some sense of order in your life, so that family time can be the lovely chaos it should be.  My older kids can happily smear play doh all over the place and our new baby can be erratic as he likes, cos mummy has sent a few emails and she feels nicely smug and self satisfied as a result.

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