Welcome to The Juggle: A new blog series where Pepa talks to inspirational mothers all around the world, delving into family life and what it means to be a working parent today, discussing family traditions and how to cope when life sometimes gets too much.
This week we chat to Ginnie Chadwyck-Healey; Sunday Telegraph columnist, Fashion Consultant & Presenter. As a mum of three, Ginnie has had to find the perfect balance between work and home life and has faced many challenges on the way.
Hi Ginnie, please tell us about your family!
I’m married to Ollie who is my absolute rock and together we have three children; Nancy who is six, Maggie who’s four and our youngest Walter who is just one!
How did life change when you became a mother (apart from the obvious)?
I can remember sitting back and thinking 'wow, I cannot do anything EVER AGAIN without first thinking about my baby.' It was a huge shock for me but you're also so in love with this tiny thing it absolutely made sense. Another huge change was of course the work/children juggle which I really did find challenging, more so because I work for myself. With no team, no assistant and no IT support, it can sometimes feel like a whole other child, but I wouldn't change it for the world.
How do you define your parenting style?
I love a list and I love writing things down – without this I’d be lost because I feel like I’m running around at about 70mph the whole day. (I'm even writing this at 10.15pm at night whilst everyone is asleep). This is why I have so much to thank Ollie for. He is calm, he cooks and he even reads the school emails - whereas I only skim read them. I don't think I could be married to someone who didn't have a fully active role in parenting. There are three of them and two of us. We are outnumbered but together we’re a team.
Are there any fun family traditions you have created?
A new tradition would be eating together as a family more. Now that Walter can happily sit in his high-chair at the end of the table, we love sitting together as a big group – it’s made us realise how grown up the children feel eating with us. So now every Sunday at o'clock, we all sit together and eat tea, and I sit there and wish we could do it every day. We also walk a lot as a family, and we did get in the habit of having hot chocolate and freshly baked chocolate soda bread on top of our favourite hill in Berkshire where we live. This made for some idyllic family memories even in the midst of a pandemic.
How do you juggle career and children – what are your three pillars for keeping it all together?
Ask for help, learn to say no (I know I’m bad at this) and don't over analyse the parenting thing.
I can become anxious so easily so I’m slowly learning not to worry if my child isn't keen to follow the crowd, or that my son who was born just before lockdown has no friends yet and has never been to a playgroup. I just try to tell myself ‘they will always have their parents to look out for them and guide them and we are pretty normal, happy, conscientious parents with a very supportive wider family - we will always be enough.’
What are the rituals that keep you grounded?
Genuinely, my work with clients keeps me grounded. I’m lucky to be able to speak to real women daily with real hang ups asking me for advice - I absolutely love it getting to understand what makes them tick and what their worries are. I love being able to help them feel more confident and happier generally whilst still learning a lot from them.
I also really enjoy my work with SmartWorks, they’re a charity with a fashion and mentoring focus that helps women get back into the work place - it really couldn't be a better fit for someone who has spent so long in the fashion magazine world where the word 'grounded' is not one you will hear often.
How do you carve out time for yourself?
A weekend newspaper supplement (which is probably read on a Tuesday night by the time I get to it) and a hot bath is my dream. I also love my HITT, my Zoe Warren Yoga and my barre work. During Lockdown I also found myself dreaming of going on a silent retreat…
What pieces of wisdom are key to pass on to your children?
VALUE YOURSELF AND OTHERS WILL VALUE YOU. I definitely learnt this when I left British Vogue - stepping away from a big brand was a real leap of faith for me. Most of all, I just keep reminding my children to 'be kind'. Not that they aren't, but I think it's so important to always mention how proud I am that they look after friends in the playground, or their new class mate who's unsure of how the school day runs... It’s so simple and yet it applies to us all, at every stage of life.
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