Since my orientation into this crazy place called motherhood I've engaged with some amazing women, Mums who all have a different story to tell about their journey before and after motherhood, and into the future. They have kindly agreed to share with me their story, thoughts and advice about navigating this new season of life.
Over the next two months I'll be sharing their stories with you in the hope that by showcasing this community of amazing women I can help to make valuable connections on some common ground and that we can share any lessons we've learned along the way with one another. Please join me in welcoming Lucy Dickens and congratulating her on her new little arrival Harry.
Lucy Dickens is a mother of a three year old daughter Lilly and eight week old son Harry. She is passionate about supporting professional women to combine motherhood and a career. In her own career, Lucy is a senior associate and business administrator at Perth law firm Birman & Ride. She also co-hosts The Juggle Podcast, sharing practical advice and strategies for managing the juggle between a satisfying career and a fulfilling family life.
Hi Lucy! Tell me, what did you do before you became a Mum?
Thanks for having me Kristin! Before I became a Mum I was a lawyer working full time at a small Perth law firm. I still work at the same firm on a part-time/flexible basis, but my work has become much more specialised. As I now spend less time at work, I focus my time on my specialist skills and try to contribute in ways that others can’t. This means delegating work that can be done by someone else to free my time up to focus on management and legal service design.
Has that change in your approach to working surprised you at all?
I think I have probably grown professionally far quicker than if I was still working full time, primarily because I am now so much more focused and picky with the work that I do. I won’t do a job that someone else should do just because I’m there.
I also became much more confident and assertive at work after having my daughter and that surprised me somewhat. Again, I think this was because I had less time to spend at work and wasn’t interested in pandering to other people, but also because my values and priorities changed – it didn’t matter if I didn’t please people as there were other things in my life that were more important (i.e. my daughter!).
What does a typical day in the Dickens home look like?
At the moment we don’t really have a 'typical' day as my son is only eight weeks old. But, before he was born, a work day would look like this:
Wake up about 6am. Lilly is the alarm clock and I get up when she wakes. We play together while my husband makes everyone breakfast. I like slow mornings so we take our time. We shower and get ready for work. I drop Lilly at my mums or if my husband is home then they drop me at the station for work.
I work about 9(ish) to 4-4:30(ish) so I can be home in time for family dinner and bed/bath. My husband cooks so I come home to dinner made most days which is lovely.
After dinner I give Lilly a bath and my husband cleans the kitchen, then we both read Lilly a bed time story and I lie with her until she is asleep.
Once she is asleep I sometimes do a bit more work, work on The Juggle Podcast or waste time on social media.
Now Harry is born I am taking each day as it comes, but I am trying to keep some structure and make some work/development related plans for myself on the days when Lilly is at my mums or my husband is home with her.
We recently did a Podcast episode about how we are adjusting to our family of four, focused on finding the right support as a parent - you know those people who just 'get it.' I've found it is important for me to have a plan otherwise I end up spending all my time on housework/home-related things and don’t do anything for myself!
Right now I am on maternity leave from work. I don’t know how long I’ll take off yet. I love motherhood and it really has been the making of me, but I struggle with being “on” as Mum without having work or something else to keep my brain busy. I have a few professional development projects that I want to work on for myself and I don’t really make the time for these things while I am working, so I plan to use my leave to do this.
If we had a time machine, what would you tell pre-Mum Lucy?
I would tell her that life would be better than ok. I was so anxious about what life would look like and who we’d become once we had children, but life is better than it has ever been before and I think we are better people too.
I think the best part of being a mum is watching my children grow, learn and develop their own unique personalities. I also love the personal challenge and growth that motherhood brings. Each stage of parenting has new challenges, new learnings and new blessings. There is always something exciting around the corner to make me question everything I thought I knew!
Having a new bub can be tough, how do you prioritise self-care?
I’m good at telling other people to do this but not so great at doing it myself. I do see working as a form of taking care of myself. I love what I do and it does help me to feel balanced.
I have started walking for 30 mins each day. I've scheduled it in and have actually been making it happen and I'm really enjoying it.
Any final tips for Mums embarking on a similar journey?
My mantra is – “everything is a phase”. The difficult times always pass so try not to let them bring you down. Right now Lilly is getting up at 4am and wants to wear pyjamas every day – it’s just a phase!! Unfortunately, this means that the sweet, precious moments may also be a phase – they won’t want us to cuddle them to sleep forever – so we have to make the most of it!
My other piece of advice is to work out what is important to you and to live that life, not someone else’s version of it. I mean that across every area of life – do you and don’t apologise for it!
You can find Lucy over at The Juggle Podcast, in the Juggle Community on Facebook or Instagram. Managing the Juggle aims to share strategies from jugglers, employers and thought leaders to help women have a satisfying career and a fulfilling family life.
If you would like to share your story about before you became a Mum and your journey to now I would love to hear from you. Head on over on my Instagram or Facebook comments, or email me at email@example.com
This post is a part of the Before She Was A Mum Series.