I'm 37 years old and have two children: William (2) and Annie (8 months). I've been in advertising/marketing since university and have progressed very quickly throughout my career. After having William, I definitely leaned back. I thought I couldn't do both my career and parenting if I didn't slow my pace. I spent another year bored at work and then went on maternity leave with Annie; I almost felt I had lost my momentum.
While on maternity leave, I was approached by a woman I had worked with over 10 years earlier. She had always been an inspirational figure in my career and a mentor. She asked if I'd be interested in coming back to the agency she had founded, this time in the role of Managing Director.
It was only six weeks after Annie was born, so I freaked out. How could I take on such a big job while parenting two kids under the age of two? How could I do either role justice? I very nearly didn't accept the job. In fact I was on path to accepting a much smaller role, believing that limiting myself would help me achieve a better balance.
It was my husband (my rock) who convinced me to lean in. He convinced me that if anyone could do it, we could. He told me he would support me fully and that he knew I'd thrive and excel.
I took the job and went back to work when Annie was seven months old. I'm five weeks into the position and I can't lie: it has been a baptism by fire as I learn how to juggle my two roles. I started reading Lean In on day one of my new job and can honestly say it got me through the first tough couple of weeks. It gave me great tips that I followed as I realized my old ways of perfectionism needed to change. "Done is better than perfect" is a fantastic piece of practical advice. Already I can see I have made the right decision. I'm settling in well and know I'm going to love the challenge.
I know there will be weeks when it all feels like too much to juggle and other weeks when I feel on top of the world. I don't think it's about "having it all"... it's more whether you can accept the muddle of working life as a mum of two young kids. I'll update in a year as to how things progress but at five weeks in, I'm proud of myself for leaning in.