Early motherhood was not easy for 31-year-old Ruth Herd. She battled with postnatal depression for a year before she was diagnosed and her nap-hating baby could be very demanding. However, here she tells us how she overcame all of it and (literally) landed her dream job!
“I was recently making another futile attempt to bring some order to the chaos that is the spare room (AKA the place where unwanted things go to die) and I stumbled across a notebook. It was one of the many beautiful notebooks that I buy, scribble three pages in, and then discard because I ‘ruined’ them by trying to use them for something that turned out not to be the Next Great Novel.
Then in the grand tradition of all procrastinators, I immediately ceased any productive activity and started to flip through, wondering which half-baked short story or impossible to-do list had consigned this particular unfortunate to life imprisonment in my desk drawer.
Would it be “Ways to Make 2012 My Best Year Ever”?; the ever realistic: “Things I Will Not Do Anymore”? Or yet another draft of the opening to the novel that had been rattling around in my head for just long enough for somebody else to go and get the same idea, actually take the time to finish it and win the bloody Specsavers Book of the Year?
In actual fact, it was another list. Perhaps one might more accurately have called it a Dreamer’s Manifesto; a seemingly impossible list of demands. It was entitled, simply: “My Dream Job.”
I couldn’t remember writing it. Since having my gorgeous son, Eric, in 2013, I haven’t had quite so much time to sit around lazily imagining my ideal future. The future is here. Somehow, I am suddenly a 31-year-old woman with a husband, a baby and a mortgage, and it’s exactly as they always told me it would be: busy, chaotic, and knackering, with never a spare moment for navel gazing, (unless it’s catching a brief glimpse of my baby-belly in the mirror and wondering when exactly my stomach started to frown).
Yet, inexplicably, there it was: the job I HAVE NOW, staring me in the face.
Work from home so I can be with my kids. V IMPORTANT. But want kids to see me achieving, so they know women can… have good careers.
Set my own hours so I can be there for kids. (Can you tell I was pretty damn broody when I wrote this?) Yet, somehow work with a team??
Want to be able to help people, and do good in the world.
Autonomy, but also guidance… do those two things contradict each other?
Better earning potential. Want to be free of financial worries, at least one day!
It ends with a big question mark and no answers.
I knew I wasn’t fulfilled by my pre-baby office job; I knew I wanted to be at home with my (as yet imaginary) children, but I couldn’t think of a single role that might fulfil even half my wish-list.
When Eric came along in July 2013, the first six months were a wonderful blur of sleepless days and semi-sleepless nights. He napped like crap, I was a bundle of anxieties, and I ended up being diagnosed with Postnatal Depression, soon after his first birthday. But I loved being a stay-at-home mum so I handed my notice in to work without much of a backward glance.
Yet, I couldn’t shake the idea that I was meant to do something with my newfound freedom (you know, aside from raise the next generation, which is obviously just a little hobby I’ve got going on the side).
I became obsessed with those articles – like the ones on this very website! – about people whose new life as parents somehow led them to their dream career. I still had no idea what my dream career could possibly be, but I knew I wanted to be one of those women! So, two days after I quit my job, I was idly Googling and found myself signing up as an independent consultant with Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic, on a bit of a whim.
I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Yet, somehow, it happened. Ten months later, I look at that list and realise it: I am in my perfect job!
Now, I work for myself. I am at home all day with my son, and have gotten to see every single one of his firsts for myself (except the first time he rolled over and off the sofa bed, while I was out of the room fetching the wipes – but I did get to enjoy his first trip to A&E!)
I have a great home and family life; I set my own hours; I work with a brilliant team full of inspirational women (and a good few guys!) who help and support me every day, and in turn, I get to help people – whether that be a customer with a skin problem, or someone like me searching for a fulfilling new direction. Because anybody can do what I do, and all are welcome.
Since joining, my team has grown by thirteen wonderful women, and I get to work with them every day to help them achieve their own goals, large or small. I’m working for a company with an impeccable record for ethics, and one which takes great pride in rewarding its consultants, and making us feel valued. I work for myself, but not by myself, as I get support and free training every step of the way. I’m not earning megabucks just yet, but in five years’ time, I fully expect to be earning far more than I ever thought I could. And, best of all, I’ll be there for all the rest of my son’s firsts: the sports days, the sick days, the first kisses and first heartbreaks. I won’t have to miss a moment of it, but at the same time, I won’t be missing a moment of MY own life, either.
There isn’t room here to really tell you everything about why I love about my job, but if you would like to think about the opportunity for yourself, please do feel free contact me through either my website or my Facebook page.”
In honour of World Sleep Day, Ruth is giving away a (now sold out!) Beauty Sleep Organic Spa Collection – containing the award-winning Beauty Sleep Concentrate, Beauty Sleep Body Butter and exclusive Beauty Sleep Bath Milk. Simply like and enter on her Facebook page or website. #sleepdaycomp!
* Closing date March 15st 2015. Only one entry per person. Winner will be selected at random.
Has parenthood inspired you to achieve something great? Whether you have overcome an illness, set up a business, fulfilled ambitions or survived a sleep thief against the odds, then I would love to hear your story! Please get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me on Facebook.