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The Briefing

It Takes a Village

It Takes a Village Banner

by Caroline Murphy


On AIKEN’s second monthly blog, Caroline dives into an inspiring events schedule and stepping outside your comfort zone.

March is set to be a busy month, with International Women’s Day, St Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day and the clocks springing forward on the 26th which will see those wonderful longer evenings making a comeback. I love this time of year although the clock going forward always fills me with that slight sense of dread given how it can impact the little people’s bedtime routines.

Maybe it’s just me but since becoming a parent (over 10 years ago now!) I have become used to the constant pull and sway of emotions that different days and seasons throughout the year can bring. Mother’s Day for example is always lovely, but I can’t help thinking about my friends who are not yet mums and are aching to be, those who have lost a parent and those who are in the middle, trying to juggle it all while keeping everyone around them fed and watered and with a smile on their face as they do it.

As one of my colleagues awaits the imminent arrival of their first baby, I am excited for them and those early new born days. There is no written parent handbook telling you how to have it all and to say I have been winging it for the last 10 years is a bit of an understatement. Since I returned to work towards the end of last year, I have relished the opportunity to be just me again, to get back out there and so far so good. Don’t get me wrong mornings are hectic and not every day goes as planned between sickness and childcare but thankfully with a flexible team around me I have been able to manage it…so far! I am lucky that I have a strong support network both at home and in the office and there is no doubt that flexibility is key to holding it all together.

My first client call when I came back from maternity leave was aptly with Women in Business, a fantastic network of women and resources that are there to help you at all stages in your career. Over the past few months I have attended a number of events including the Women in Tech Conference, a Diversity Mark round table and the fantastic Women in Business Awards where over 400 women filled the Crowne Plaza to celebrate their achievements across all sectors of industry cumulating in Businesswoman of the Year.

However what has resonated with me most from attending these events and various conversations round the table is that everyone is in the same boat, just trying to do the best they can at home and at work while staying afloat and being the best wife, partner, friend, sister, daughter that they can be. Trying to do it all can bring a huge amount of pressure and stress but there is help out there, networks and groups that will support you so that you don’t feel that the sometimes overwhelming mental load is going to totally take over. Now that in–person events and face–to–face is thankfully becoming the norm again, I would encourage anyone returning to work whether from Maternity leave, a career break or just starting out to attend an event or conference even if it means stepping outside your comfort zone and going alone. And for anyone in my shoes with a 10, 7 and 1 year old, the phrases ‘it takes a village’ and ‘it’s only a phase’ are two that I personally swear by!