3 Successful Women Share The Most Important Lesson They Learned As A Mother

@brooketestoni

In the UK, Mother’s Day is almost upon us. It’s time to celebrate being a woman, a mother, and getting stuff done. Even if it’s not Mother’s Day where you are, we know that mother’s give great advice, and there’s always time to celebrate other women and their success, so we sat down with three women who are smashing their goals and dominating their industry to get some advice on being a career girl, pushing yourself, getting things done and becoming the best version of yourself. If you need some (late) mother’s day gift advice, we’ve got you covered here.

Prepare to be inspired by these women and the biggest lessons they’ve learned in their careers:

KATIE UNDERWOOD 

“KNOW YOUR WORTH”

@mrskunderwoo

Katie Underwood is a working mum of three kids aged six, three, and one. She runs her own PR business specializing in the hospitality industry (kunderwoo), and she also runs a restaurant and street food business (@steakandhonour) with her husband.

“The biggest lesson I’ve learned in my working life is definitely to ‘Know your worth.’ Family life gives you real perspective and indispensable time management skills. Juggling a lot of balls – family life and work – doesn’t mean we have to settle.  Believe you can achieve great things and demand to be taken seriously – and paid accordingly!

That means accepting opportunities without second-guessing yourself. Insisting on the long-term value of your work, even if at first it doesn’t add up, or if your partner has to take time off to support your endeavors. In the end, you can only do so much: let go of the menial tasks and don’t beat yourself up about them. In my case, it’s the housework. My household would fall apart if it wasn’t for my husband shouldering all of the responsibility to keep things tidy.

That’s where surrounding yourself with generous, supportive people is really key. Whether that’s a partner or a network of positive, ambitious women, you’re going to need help both personally and professionally. Confidence is born out of supportive networks. So cut out the negative voices from your life, whether external or from within, and recognize your worth.

Balancing your career and personal life is a continual process of negotiation. We don’t always get it right, but in my case as a freelancer, work ebbs and flows. With three small children, building my business is an investment into all of our futures. If you hold in your mind the bigger picture and your long-term goals, you will set fair prices for the value of your time, and feel pretty resilient against challenges, as well as criticism.”

EMMA COPELAND

PUT YOURSELF FIRST 

@lucastarmum

Emma is a single mother of one boy Luca (@Lucastarmum). She started her career in Fashion PR, working for luxury fashion brands before taking time off to become a stay at home mum. Now she is back working full-time in PR and has decided to put herself and her career first. 

“I worked in fashion PR throughout my twenties. I worked hard and played hard, never wanted children as I loved clean houses and white furniture. Basically, I was the Carrie Bradshaw among my friends who had kids.

One day I decided to quit my job and move to the country, and Luca came soon after. I was thirty-two when I had him and my whole attitude changed that day. I chose not to work to balance my work life with Luca, and it was awful.

I felt like I had no money and no independence. I was miserable (and skint) but I loved spending every day with my baby, and being there 24/7 was important. The happiness I got from my child every day was immense. But I didn’t go anywhere for pretty much three years without my baby. I had two nights away on a girls weekend and apart from that, I had no break. It was exhausting. Luca is four now, and I’m learning to put myself first.

I got myself a full-time job back in PR, and now I’m a single working mum. My life is more stressful than ever, it’s very challenging having to do school runs and commutes, and work a pretty stressful job. It’s not too late, and now it’s my time to put myself first.

I think my serious advice to women would be to make sure you and your partner are both on the same page! If your relationship is broke – a baby won’t fix it. And just remember to put yourself first, and look after yourself.”

VANESSA VOEGELE-DOWNING

IF YOU ENJOY IT, DO IT

@themodeledit

Vanessa is a model and fashion blogger (@themodeledit) with three girls (who are following in her footsteps). Following a successful career in her youth, Vanessa has pursued modeling again and been featured in magazines like Vogue. Pursuing her dreams and passions while nurturing her own children is her biggest achievement.

“I remember my first ‘career’ as a model, I had a ball. I flew all over the world from Tokyo to Vienna. I remember sitting on a plane from Germany and we always got champagne on these flights, and the air hostess handed me, as usual, a glass of champagne. I remember thinking it was so boring, I just wanted a glass of water. Of course, now I would take the champagne. I think my advice would be if you enjoy it do it. Look around, there are so many choices out there that you’re not told about in school. Say yes to anything, just give it a go. If you don’t intern and don’t say yes to things, there’ll be twenty others who will.

I loved modeling, I used to say it was really hard work. But until I had children I didn’t know what hard work was. My advice would be, don’t rush, have a good time and enjoy it while you can. I was lucky in that I did a bit of work while the kids were young because I was freelancing. Without a game plan it all worked out, I mean the good thing about going freelance is that you have that flexibility, of course, you don’t have a salary if you don’t turn up so there’s that.

Being freelance allowed me to spend time with the children and I was lucky that if I was ever not available a friend of mine had a nanny that I could use, I never had a full-time nanny. You just have to work around it. I remember an editorial trip to Vienna where I said I could only go if my husband came with the children. I prioritized my children and I could afford to because I didn’t have any massive modeling goals anymore, I was satisfied with my career.

Now my youngest is eighteen and has finished school I’m feeling that work/life balance again. I let my career lie a bit because I wanted to do the school runs, and I wanted to be at the school gates and sports days. I didn’t really balance. I shut the door a bit, but I’ve opened it again now, and I slightly dodged that whole juggling section of work/life balance.

@themodeledit

Some women are better mothers for walking out the door and saying “See you at the end of the day”, and talking to actual adults and feeling sane, and having family time in the evenings and at the weekends. It’s all about deciding, you know you want to go to boot camp but you might actually have to go and feed the ducks instead. I have friends who say that going back to work made being a mother easier, and it’s brave because we all collectively have a paranoia about our children. I remember with my first I was like ‘Don’t touch her, wash your hands, have you been smoking? Put her down.’

After kids you experience ecstasy and joy at any little things, you’re emotional. Your senses are heightened and you get so upset, they really put life in perspective. I was so sick when I was pregnant, I could smell a cigarette from miles away, but they do put life into perspective. I would say life gets better with age because you’re more in control, although I have such fantastic memories. I’m a happy, positive person and I’ve tried to you know, establish a baseline of happiness over the last few years.

I think the way I did it, just enjoying every opportunity and not having a game plan to balance it all worked well, and now I’m incredibly lucky that I get paid to work with my girls. My children are so easy, I’m not stressed and I’m massively proud of them. It’s a buzz to be paid to model with my children and actually, it’s another opportunity for us to share the world together.”

GOOD THINGS

…come to those who sign up for our emails

@brooketestoni

In the UK, Mother’s Day is almost upon us. It’s time to celebrate being a woman, a mother, and getting stuff done. Even if it’s not Mother’s Day where you are, we know that mother’s give great advice, and there’s always time to celebrate other women and their success, so we sat down with three women who are smashing their goals and dominating their industry to get some advice on being a career girl, pushing yourself, getting things done and becoming the best version of yourself. If you need some (late) mother’s day gift advice, we’ve got you covered here.

Prepare to be inspired by these women and the biggest lessons they’ve learned in their careers:

KATIE UNDERWOOD 

“KNOW YOUR WORTH”

@mrskunderwoo

Katie Underwood is a working mum of three kids aged six, three, and one. She runs her own PR business specializing in the hospitality industry (kunderwoo), and she also runs a restaurant and street food business (@steakandhonour) with her husband.

“The biggest lesson I’ve learned in my working life is definitely to ‘Know your worth.’ Family life gives you real perspective and indispensable time management skills. Juggling a lot of balls – family life and work – doesn’t mean we have to settle.  Believe you can achieve great things and demand to be taken seriously – and paid accordingly!

That means accepting opportunities without second-guessing yourself. Insisting on the long-term value of your work, even if at first it doesn’t add up, or if your partner has to take time off to support your endeavors. In the end, you can only do so much: let go of the menial tasks and don’t beat yourself up about them. In my case, it’s the housework. My household would fall apart if it wasn’t for my husband shouldering all of the responsibility to keep things tidy.

@mrskunderwoo

That’s where surrounding yourself with generous, supportive people is really key. Whether that’s a partner or a network of positive, ambitious women, you’re going to need help both personally and professionally. Confidence is born out of supportive networks. So cut out the negative voices from your life, whether external or from within, and recognize your worth.

Balancing your career and personal life is a continual process of negotiation. We don’t always get it right, but in my case as a freelancer, work ebbs and flows. With three small children, building my business is an investment into all of our futures. If you hold in your mind the bigger picture and your long-term goals, you will set fair prices for the value of your time, and feel pretty resilient against challenges, as well as criticism.”

EMMA COPELAND

PUT YOURSELF FIRST 

@lucastarmum

Emma is a single mother of one boy Luca (@Lucastarmum). She started her career in Fashion PR, working for luxury fashion brands before taking time off to become a stay at home mum. Now she is back working full-time in PR and has decided to put herself and her career first. 

“I worked in fashion PR throughout my twenties. I worked hard and played hard, never wanted children as I loved clean houses and white furniture. Basically, I was the Carrie Bradshaw among my friends who had kids.

@lucastarmum

One day I decided to quit my job and move to the country, and Luca came soon after. I was thirty-two when I had him and my whole attitude changed that day. I chose not to work to balance my work life with Luca, and it was awful.

I felt like I had no money and no independence. I was miserable (and skint) but I loved spending every day with my baby, and being there 24/7 was important. The happiness I got from my child every day was immense. But I didn’t go anywhere for pretty much three years without my baby. I had two nights away on a girls weekend and apart from that, I had no break. It was exhausting. Luca is four now, and I’m learning to put myself first.

I got myself a full-time job back in PR, and now I’m a single working mum. My life is more stressful than ever, it’s very challenging having to do school runs and commutes, and work a pretty stressful job. It’s not too late, and now it’s my time to put myself first.

I think my serious advice to women would be to make sure you and your partner are both on the same page! If your relationship is broke – a baby won’t fix it. And just remember to put yourself first, and look after yourself.”

VANESSA VOEGELE-DOWNING

IF YOU ENJOY IT, DO IT

@themodeledit

Vanessa is a model and fashion blogger (@themodeledit) with three girls (who are following in her footsteps). Following a successful career in her youth, Vanessa has pursued modeling again and been featured in magazines like Vogue. Pursuing her dreams and passions while nurturing her own children is her biggest achievement.

“I remember my first ‘career’ as a model, I had a ball. I flew all over the world from Tokyo to Vienna. I remember sitting on a plane from Germany and we always got champagne on these flights, and the air hostess handed me, as usual, a glass of champagne. I remember thinking it was so boring, I just wanted a glass of water. Of course, now I would take the champagne. I think my advice would be if you enjoy it do it. Look around, there are so many choices out there that you’re not told about in school. Say yes to anything, just give it a go. If you don’t intern and don’t say yes to things, there’ll be twenty others who will.

@themodeledit

I loved modeling, I used to say it was really hard work. But until I had children I didn’t know what hard work was. My advice would be, don’t rush, have a good time and enjoy it while you can. I was lucky in that I did a bit of work while the kids were young because I was freelancing. Without a game plan it all worked out, I mean the good thing about going freelance is that you have that flexibility, of course, you don’t have a salary if you don’t turn up so there’s that.

Being freelance allowed me to spend time with the children and I was lucky that if I was ever not available a friend of mine had a nanny that I could use, I never had a full-time nanny. You just have to work around it. I remember an editorial trip to Vienna where I said I could only go if my husband came with the children. I prioritized my children and I could afford to because I didn’t have any massive modeling goals anymore, I was satisfied with my career.

Now my youngest is eighteen and has finished school I’m feeling that work/life balance again. I let my career lie a bit because I wanted to do the school runs, and I wanted to be at the school gates and sports days. I didn’t really balance. I shut the door a bit, but I’ve opened it again now, and I slightly dodged that whole juggling section of work/life balance.

@themodeledit

Some women are better mothers for walking out the door and saying “See you at the end of the day”, and talking to actual adults and feeling sane, and having family time in the evenings and at the weekends. It’s all about deciding, you know you want to go to boot camp but you might actually have to go and feed the ducks instead. I have friends who say that going back to work made being a mother easier, and it’s brave because we all collectively have a paranoia about our children. I remember with my first I was like ‘Don’t touch her, wash your hands, have you been smoking? Put her down.’

After kids you experience ecstasy and joy at any little things, you’re emotional. Your senses are heightened and you get so upset, they really put life in perspective. I was so sick when I was pregnant, I could smell a cigarette from miles away, but they do put life into perspective. I would say life gets better with age because you’re more in control, although I have such fantastic memories. I’m a happy, positive person and I’ve tried to you know, establish a baseline of happiness over the last few years.

I think the way I did it, just enjoying every opportunity and not having a game plan to balance it all worked well, and now I’m incredibly lucky that I get paid to work with my girls. My children are so easy, I’m not stressed and I’m massively proud of them. It’s a buzz to be paid to model with my children and actually, it’s another opportunity for us to share the world together.”

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