Running in Manolos

PUBLISHED: 18:41 08 March 2015 | UPDATED: 18:41 08 March 2015




During those youthful years of being fully prepped for a board meeting, looking polished and feeling poised, did you ever think for a second you could run the 100m in the spirit of Usain Bolt wearing four-inch heels?

By Elaine Price

OR fend off a flying bowl of Rice Krispies with a backhand worthy of Andy Murray? And yet this seems to be the norm when small people come along. But do we crumble into a milk-soaked heap and give up on the world? Of course not; because we know the power of a wet-wipe and better still, we know the power of a working mother.

We also know far too well that trying to be that image of perfection akin to your former life is far more of a challenge, but it has to be said the mothers of West Essex never give up. Things will never ever go according to plan any more so adapting is the name of the game.

There seems to be some belief in the male world that we will just wake up one day and know exactly what to do. And somehow we do seem to dodge the onslaught of curve-balls that are thrown at us. One of my first was the bumble-bee incident. It was bumble bee day at nursery (don’t ask) and as such small person was required to attend resembling said insect. Of course in the chaos that accompanies a nursery drop then getting to work on time I forgot. But then so did small person so all was fine until she saw Sophie in full regalia of yellow net skirt, striped bodice…and wings. Tears do not describe the reaction. Sophie’s dad laughed.

Me: ‘OK, how much for the wings?’

Sophie’s dad: ‘If you can convince her, they’re yours’ (accompanying wry smile)

How difficult can this be? I have Haribos for heaven’s sake. But have you ever tried to extract wings from a child? Let’s just say ‘touch the wings feel the teeth’ came into play and I retreated like a wounded bunny.

But defeated I was not. It is truly amazing what a yellow T-shirt and a couple of strips of black duct tape can do in an emergency. I knew there was a reason for Blue Peter and ladies this is what we do: we adapt, and as such our contribution to the workplace actually accelerates.

Anyone who tells you it’s not possible to contribute on the same level as your childless peers is talking nonsense. In fact, a study by a major US bank revealed that you are actually more productive and over the course of a 30-year career, it found that mothers outperformed women without children at pretty much every stage of the game.

So no more drowning yourself in guilt at missing one teeny-weeny deadline because your little one was sick; or yawned throughout a conference call due to sleep deprivation. Wear your working mother title (and Manolos) with pride. You are adaptable, the ultimate problem solver, and you’ve earned it.

To work or not to work

It seems odd though that the title ‘working mum’ is only every applied to mums that work, which would seem obvious. But don’t all mums work? Regardless of whether you’re on the board of a FTSE 100 company with a couple of under-fives to nurture along the way, or a stay-at-home mother of four each with a different hobby (naturally), the premise is the same: we all need a qualification in keeping those proverbial plates spinning.

But for some the allure of the workplace still beckons and we wanted a greater insight into what makes the West Essex working mum tick not that we want to steal their tips on managing it all successfully or anything like that; well maybe just a couple.

Anouska Woods, jewellery designer to the stars, is a mother to two very stylish boys and runs a very successful business with a considerable celebrity client base. For her running in Manolos is par for the course, she told us, ‘Launching Anouska Woods London was a challenge and even more so with two children who were under seven at the time. However it’s now seven years on and I have no regrets, I really could not be happier!

Juggling my business and being a mum has meant a lot of precision time-management over the years, plus a very helpful husband too! One thing that has always prevailed is that my kids come first. My average working day begins at 9am once the school run is done, then finishes at the all-important 2.50pm when its school run time again.

The great thing about my job is that my kids love what I do and I can include them as much as possible, from teaching them about PR to getting them involved in design and production. Of course the part they enjoy most is the red carpet events when they get to meet their favourite stars!

I truly love being part of such a creative industry and seeing my brand reach international status has been a dream come true. What began as an idea has evolved into a reality that fits perfectly around being a mum.’

Raising the bar

Debbie Jones has a similar dilemma with her work-life balance. Her husband is co-owner of the stylish Seasons Bar in Woodford Green and as such, Debbie’s ‘shift’ can continue long into the night. She does not, however, shirk her responsibilities on the school run (and this I can vouch for personally).

Rather than dwell on the seemingly impossible juggling act, Debbie sees the opportunity as a positive in that her role allows her to combine work with a social life. ‘I’m very lucky to have three wonderful young children but it can obviously be very hectic with three different school pick-ups, after school clubs, and running our home.’ She explained, adding ‘That’s why I love to have the balance of helping with our family business together with the social side of a wine bar.

Organising events and parties, menu planning and new menu launches is great fun and we all feel we deserve our glass of wine with the company of good friends to round off the day.

See Anouska’s designs

Look out for the new menu at Seasons Bar

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