The career-woman-turned-mum who has cracked the code for life

This interview is part of my series Leaning In.  My aim is to shine a spotlight on successful women who are ‘leaning in’ to their careers.  By sharing the stories of other women, I hope to help change the focus from what we can’t do to what we can do and to encourage other women to be ambitious in the pursuit of their goals.

If you are or know an inspirational woman who would like to take part, please contact me.

Tamsin Kate Simounds describes herself as ‘mum to scrumptious and oh so energetic ten month old Flynn, wife to Daniel, foodie, passionate supporter of working mums and mums in business, nutrition and wellness coach in training, working toward my second triathlon for ‘fun’… and as you can see lover of living a full life!’  You can tell from this alone that Tamsin leads a busy life!

I came across Tamsin’s blog How She Does It when I was looking to register the domain name myself!  I was excited to find that Tamsin has very similar values to me and somewhat of a similar background too.  Tamsin had her son Flynn in March 2016 and says that since then she has cracked her code for living her life to the fullest. She strives to define herself by who she is rather than what she does.

Let’s find out How She Does It!

What is your job and what does your work schedule look like?

I’m an Area Manager and Sonographer for a medical imaging company and run a blog and business supporting working mothers and business women to live a balanced and fulfilling life. My work schedule is currently flexible and I work mainly from home. This presents its own challenges as my son is not yet in childcare and I need to schedule my working hours around his naps (as well as house work!).

It’s important to me to be fully present when I’m with him and fully focused on my work when I’m working but this isn’t always easy. In the coming months I will transition back to working in the office as well as at home and Flynn will be in child care for two days per week.

Have your career goals changed since you had children?

I remain career focused and believe that I have gained strength and experience as a mum that will serve me well in my career. After spending months negotiating with an apparently starving mini toddler who wants nothing I have to offer and refuses to let me hold the spoon but can’t get anything in his mouth, dealing with adults should be easy right?!

As a female leader I now believe it is my responsibility to show women in my field that it’s not necessary to pull back from their careers when it comes time to have children and that it is ok to gain control and say no when required to find a balance that works for them.

I have a second focus and passion now in How She Does It, which has broadened my perspective and understanding of the needs and thought processes of my staff and colleagues.

What were the biggest challenges you faced when returning to work after having children?

Finding a balance that worked for me. I listened a lot to the expectations and opinions of others to the point where I started my motherhood journey terrified of what was to come and afraid of what I’d have to give up.

I also struggle working from home to switch on and off of work mode. I have no one telling me my knock on/ knock off time and I need to be very disciplined with myself so that I can remain focused on what I’m doing. Before I learnt to do this I spent a lot of time feeling guilty about not working when I was with Flynn and about not being with Flynn when I was working.

Have you faced discrimination in the workplace as a result of being a parent?

I’ve been lucky to have a very supportive and flexible management team at work. The biggest discrimination I’ve faced is colleagues telling me what I would and wouldn’t be able to/ want to do once having children. I needed to choose to take control myself and let that go.

Do you agree with Sheryl Sandberg’s idea that women need to ‘sit at the table’ and ‘lean in’? If so, how do you implement her ideas yourself? 

I do agree with this. I have witnessed many women pull back from their careers before even falling pregnant, in anticipation of what was to come. I myself have ‘leaned in’ to my career and as a result I now have experience and options as to how I make my career work. I don’t believe women should feel pressured in to leaning in or stepping back but I believe that they should be educated and supported in knowing that there are options.

Do you believe we can ‘have it all’?

I believe having it all is a bit of a myth. We can’t have the best of everything, something always has to give. What I believe is that it is absolutely possible to achieve my own version of balance that leaves me feeling fulfilled and able to lead a life lived to its full potential. It requires living life with a positive outlook, purpose and intent. I have an understanding that I can’t have it all but I do have choices, and I can make the ones that balance my life in a way that works for me.

How do you achieve balance between parenting and your career?

I make sure that I am fully present in whatever I’m doing, if I’m at work (or working at home) I focus on that. If I’m not working my focus is on my family and my own wellbeing.

What do you enjoy the most about being a working parent?

Having variety in my life, something to focus on for myself and the ability to open my mind and have adult conversation. It has been beneficial to my mental health to have something other than parenting to focus on. As a parent there is a high percentage of time that I am not in control, where as at work I have some time when I am in control and have a degree of routine.

What aspect of being a working parent do you find the most difficult?

Initially it was guilt, always thinking I should be doing something else. Now it is making adjustments to find my ideal balance.

What is one piece of advice you would give to mothers wanting to lean in?

Sit down and take the time to work out what you really want your life to look like. Realise that you have options and keep your mind open. Don’t make assumptions as to what you will and won’t be able to do and stop listening to the opinions of others. Discuss your goals with your workplace, it’s likely they’ll be surprisingly supportive and you will find a solution that can work for both of you.

What book or blog would you recommend to working parents?

How She Does It 😉 Focused on breaking down barriers to success, celebrating successful women and sharing their secrets to achieving their goals and living life to it’s full potential. It’s about tapping in to the best version of yourself and living a vibrant, healthy life with a feeling of balance and fulfilment through all circumstances. I’d love to hear from you!

HSDI-FINAL

If you want to find out more about Tamsin or see how she can support you, you can find her at How She Does It, or Facebook and Instagram.

Follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to hear about the next Women Leaning In interview.


21 COMMENTS

  1. Sue Parke | 18th Jan 17

    Awesome post. When I was pregnant with my daughter I was asked to mutually agree to part ways. It wasn’t until then when I decided to change careers, or really lean in so to speak and finally do what I wanted. Now I’m a fitness instructor and personal trainer, and although I don’t work FT and it doesn’t make me rich, I’m able to do it around my daughter and I feel like it’s a balance that works for me and my family. I’m going to check out the book suggestion too!

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 18th Jan 17

      Thanks Sue. It sounds spot on to me – balance and time with family are much more important than being rich! The suggestion is Tamsin’s blog, yes! Check her out!

  2. Jessi | 18th Jan 17

    awesome post. I am about to go back to working full time very soon and I am a little sad about leaving my 4 month old in daycare. Part of me misses being in the working world and part of me just wants to stay home. It really is all about finding that balance.

  3. Kate | 18th Jan 17

    This is a great post, I like the emphasis on deciding what you want your future to look like and not letting the expectations of others define it for you!

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 18th Jan 17

      I agree Kate. I don’t know why we let other people’s expectations impact us so much. They aren’t living our lives!

  4. Susan | 18th Jan 17

    My son is just over 2 years old, and I went back to work just before he turned a year old, and I’m still battling the working mom guilt. This post was so helpful to read. I couldn’t agree more about “being present” especially when you’re with your family. I think my time working made me focus on being present so much more. I struggle with defining what I need for balance, and Tamsin’s words helped put a lot in perspective for me!

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 18th Jan 17

      Thanks for your lovely comment Susan. I’m sure Tamsin will be so happy that her words have helped you. I hate mum guilt, I hope you manage to come to terms with it. Remember, you’re doing your best for your family and that’s all you can do! x

  5. Sophia | 18th Jan 17

    Wow she does sound like a busy women, but she has a great work life balance.

  6. Suchitra | 19th Jan 17

    This is my first time on your blog and I am really enjoying the different content areas.
    Leaning In is such an important idea and I do believe women need to have a seat at the table, not just a seat but an actively participating role as well. Tamsin seems to have figured her own balance out and isn’t that what we all want? Great post. #stayclassymama

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 19th Jan 17

      Thanks for your lovely comment Suchitra. I’m glad you can relate. Hope to see you again!

  7. Topfivemum | 19th Jan 17

    what a brilliant post and you’ve made me think about my own opinions about leaning in as well as finding balance when I’m due to go back to work in April after my second maternity leave (I went back full time last time). And I think it’s this: I want to lean in when I’m in the office. I don’t want that to leach over to my time with my family. It’s up to me to make sure people at work are clear of my boundaries. I think sometimes we’re so eager to demonstrate that we CAN do it all, that we end up taking on too much. Thanks for sharing and giving me some food for thought. #SharingtheBlogLove

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 19th Jan 17

      You’re right about family time. It’s important to me too to make sure I’m present for family time and not constantly working or worrying about work. Setting the boundaries is important – we need to speak up and be honest. I’m glad I gave you something to think about ????

  8. Selena, The Rambler | 19th Jan 17

    Great post! It’s always great reading the story of how other moms get life done. =) #sharingthebloglove

  9. Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons | 20th Jan 17

    This is such an inspiring post. I love what Tamsin said about finding an understanding that you can’t have it all but you do have choices, and that it’s all about finding the right balance for you. I’m still working on the right balance for me I think. My career has taken a back seat the last couple of years and I’d like to start trying to prioritise it a bit more, while also carving out the family time I want. Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  10. Louise -Mummy Miller | 20th Jan 17

    I love the idea of this series and can’t wait to read more! It’s definitely important to find a good balance that works for you and your family #SharingtheBlogLove

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 21st Jan 17

      Thanks Louise! Let me know when you’re settled in at work and It will be your turn to tell us all how it’s done ????

  11. Sarah Aslett | 21st Jan 17

    Very interesting post and an absolutely fab idea for a blog series! I’ve written a lot on my blog about the discrimination I experienced pre and post maternity leave, at a place I thankfully no longer work. I think we are getting there and we will get there but it will take time to change things #stayclassymama

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 22nd Jan 17

      Thanks Sarah. I’ve read a few of your posts about discrimination actually. I’m glad you no longer work there too! Let me know if you’d like to share your story on this series.

  12. Laura - Dear Bear and Beany | 23rd Jan 17

    This was lovely to read. The main thing for me at the moment is balance! I need to get that balance right and I am failing at the moment. I need to work out how I can have a bit more time to restart my career, whilst giving me girls everything that they need. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove x

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 24th Jan 17

      Thanks for your comment Laura. Best of luck, it can definitely be a challenge. You’ll get there x

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