Kids and Careers: Words of a Working Mum - Robyn Plaice
Robyn Plaice is a Senior Scientist at CelluComp. Robyn shares her journey from becoming a mum to carving out her dream career.
I have been fortunate to have experienced being a working mum and a stay at home mum. While being a working mum has its advantages like extra money and independence, it can limit the amount of time spent with your child.
Between time spent at school and work I have found it really important to maximise the time we have together.
It is really important to get your work/home life balance correct, I try (I don't always succeed) to leave work at work. I want my son to get all my attention when I am at home but I think it is important for him to see me enjoying my work and to impart to him a good work ethic.
There is an expectation in our society that you have to be the perfect mother, to look perfect and be successful which is a lot to live up to and I think makes lots of mothers (working or not) feel guilty for not meeting these expectations.
Trying to juggle everything means very little sleep. Seriously though I would not be able to cope without my support network. My Fiancée, my family and friends all help. I am also very fortunate to have great bosses who understand the pressures of having a young family.
I disagree that women have to give up their careers when having a family, actually I built my career after having my son.
I had my son young and so had not really started down a career path, I had a job but not one I could see myself in for the rest of my life. When he was three I left my job, moved to the other side of the country and started university as a single mum. It was very challenging but rewarding and I now manage my own research team.
If I could give my younger self a piece of advice, I'd say trust you instincts. I remember when I was pregnant and when my son was born, everyone had an opinion on how to bring up children, all of which normally conflicted. It is really stressful having everyone telling you the correct way to raise your child and you end up feeling helpless and a bad mother. I firmly believe you need to trust you instincts and listen to your child, relax and stop listening to everyone else's opinion!
I have been very fortunate to work for a company that holds everyone as equal and so I have never really had to battle for equality. I do however think that men should receive the same parental 'benefits' that woman do, it is a very old fashioned view that only women are care givers.