It’s the final post on Inspiration Week. Thank you so much to all of the amazing women who have shared their stories.
This afternoon I’m joined by Gillian.
Gillian Crawshaw blogs over at A Baby on Board about London life as a new mum, covering everything from baby clothes to beauty products. She lives with her two year old daughter Eliza and husband Alex in south London. A freelance digital PR consultant and writer, Gillian also edits the parenting community TalkMum.
Becoming a parent changes a lot of things – 7am is a lie-in, you never leave the house without at least ten nappies and lots of time is spent covered in Peppa Pig stickers – but I didn’t realise when I found out I was pregnant just how much it was going to change so many aspects of my life. And in November 2013, as my daughter approached her first birthday, I found myself clicking the send button on an email that was going to significantly change my working life; I resigned from my pre-baby job.
I’ve worked in PR for various London agencies since my mid-20s, and specialised in the digital sector for over six years. PR agency life has lots of good parts – fantastic colleagues, interesting clients, and quite a few free lunches – but there’s also large, at times unmanageable workloads, late nights and a lot of stress. There was no let up of any of this during my pregnancy and I was relieved to finally finish for maternity leave.
Once we’d had the baby, my attention was completely focused on looking after her (and, of course, finding the best places to meet my NCT friends for cake). But towards the end of my year off, the thought of going back to my old job was like a storm cloud, threatening to cast dark shadows on my new life.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to work; I did. But I wanted to be able to work part time so I could still look after my daughter as much as possible, and not be stressed about work and constantly fielding calls and checking my phone at the park on my days off. My daughter was now my absolute priority, and my old job was in no way compatible with my new role as a mother. So it was, in the end, an easy decision to resign.
I decided to turn freelance and it has completely revolutionised my work life, for the better. I now work mainly from home with some days in the office. I work for 2-3 days a week and decide my own hours and workload – with a focus on digital PR and community management, for parenting-focused clients and projects. It’s also enabled me to dedicate more time to my blog, A Baby on Board, and undertake a lot more freelance writing opportunities.
It’s been over a year since I started my new work life, and I’ve never once looked back. I genuinely love what I do now, for the first time in years I have proper work life balance, and I never get that awful Sunday night pit-of-the-stomach feeling of cold dread. There are some downsides – I miss the office banter, it’s pretty boring making my own lunch every day, and you don’t get a Christmas party – but these are tiny compared to the positives, and the amazing impact that it’s had on my life, and more importantly, that of my daughter.