From taking over Children’s Oasis Nursery to running Kids Inc. - all while nurturing a large family, a successful marriage and a fitness obsession – Charlotte manages to accomplish twice as much as the average person in her week.
But all this is no mean feat, and this busy mum has a strict strategy for making it work. Intrigued as to how she does it? Here’s her advice on tackling busy family life and building a career head on.
1. Don’t think about trying to find a balance. Balancing implies equal amounts and separate weights always competing to stay equal. Being a mum and a career woman is not about balancing, it’s about adding and complementing. Being a mum has helped me become a better person and made me a better leader in business, which has in turn made me a better mum. I also think complementing rather than balancing is a better way to set up your roles as husband and wife. Child care is not equally balanced between me and my husband, because we don’t bring equal things – we bring different things that are complementary to each other to make a better whole.
2. Be clear on your family values, mission and vision. Discuss your shared values as a couple and agree them together. Agree on how you want to raise your children, how you want to make important choices about family, your relationship and career. Decide where you’re going to sweat and where you’re not going to sweat. Know what you value and work together towards a common goal, raising your children intentionally.
3. Drop the guilt. That guilty feeling is one of the most common experiences of working mums, which leads them to question whether they have made the right choice to pursue a dual career. Drop the guilt. Don’t aim for perfection. Map out a plan of where you will spend your time and your energy – sit down and do it in a spreadsheet. Make an informed decision about where you will be and when, and then don’t feel guilty doing what you have decided to do. And if it’s not working, change it.
4. Say it, visualise it, write it down and it will happen. When last year I was struggling to feel content in my work at a big multinational and I was considering one million different options, I decided to get some personal business cards printed with my email and phone number on. Where you usually put the job role I put all the things that I do every day – mum, wife, Crossfitter, and at the end I added entrepreneur – five months later it became true and I bought Kidz Inc and Children’s Oasis Nursery!
Above: Charlotte with her family
Tips for success:
- Be clear on your big rocks (across your life work, relationships, family).
- Focus on the big things – those that make a difference.
- Prioritise – deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do. Write it all down.
- Be clear on your values and priorities.
- Cut down on TV - people ask me how I have time to read so much. I don’t watch the TV, ever, not even sat on a 24-hour flight to Australia from London!
- I never go to bed after 10pm.
- People ask me how I have such a good figure after so many children: I don’t drink and I don’t eat bad food – I’m clear on what I eat but I’m clearer on what I won’t eat.
- Make choices, and then stick to them!
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Photography by Stefan Lindeque