The latest in my inspirational parents series comes from a fellow Worcestershire mum.
Izzie has twin girls who have now grown up and flown the nest for university. She worked for the NHS for 26 years and just a few years ago, she took the incredibly brave step of leaving her career to pursue her passion.
She is now a professional writer and makes a living doing what she loves full time. What a fantastic example of what can happen if you follow your dreams.
Izzie blogs at The World According to Izzie. It’s one of my favourite blogs because each post is so engaging and easy to read.
So here is Izzie and her answers to my notoriously difficult questions.
1. Tell me about the most unexpected change to you as a person or to your life since becoming a parent?
I’ve learnt a lot about myself since becoming a parent. I guess it’s easy to think that a new addition to the family won’t change a single thing in your life, but once a baby arrives, you develop a fierce need to protect and nurture. I’ve learnt that I’m capable of so much more than I ever imagined and my daughters’ needs have always come first, regardless of what’s going on in my life.
2. What has been the biggest challenge you have faced since having children?
Lack of time! I always felt as though I was doing everything badly when the girls were small and that I never quite managed to juggle everything required of me. Now that my daughters are all grown-up and away from home for most of the year, I miss their company and the mayhem of life together as a family.
3. What do you regard as your greatest achievement?
Apart from my gorgeous daughters, obviously, I’d have to say that writing full-time for a living is my greatest achievement. I left my career after 26 years with the NHS in 2012, and have never looked back.
4. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. What hasn’t killed you?
That’s an easy one. For me, it was going back to work full-time when the girls were just three months old. In addition to working full-time, I also covered a lot of on-call and there were nights when I ‘survived’ on less than two hours sleep. On bad days, I probably couldn’t have told you what day of the week it was. Somehow, we all emerged from the experience, unscathed.
5. Who inspires you?
My Gran, who’s 95 years of age and sadly, no longer in the best of health, has been an inspiration. As the eldest child in a large family she was expected to bring up younger siblings and she worked from the age of fourteen. Gran’s always had a ‘can- do’ attitude, where nothing was too much trouble. Until recently, she had a great outlook on life, a wicked sense of humour and a feisty attitude, despite her advancing years.
6. I have just invented a time machine (and you thought you’d achieved something great). You can now go backwards or forwards to any point in time and deliver any message to any person, what’s your message?
I think I’d go back and tell myself as a teenager to pursue a career in writing from the outset. Although I loved working for the NHS, I’ve always wondered how life might have turned out differently if I’d opted for journalism instead.
7. You have the opportunity to influence the entrepreneurs of the future. What life changing invention would you like to see on the drawing board?
Wow. That’s a tough question! Someone really needs to invent a self-cleaning house that also keeps itself tidy. Think of all the time we’d save for more important things.
8. I have waved a magic wand and all of your responsibilities have been taken care of for 24 hours. What are you going to do?
I love the idea of time off for good behaviour but when it comes down to it, I can never sit still and do nothing. I’d probably write for several hours and maybe meet a friend for lunch. In the evening I’d go to a concert with my husband. We have quite varied tastes in music, so Paolo Nutini or Aerosmith would be perfect.
9. How can women best be empowered to properly balance a career and a family life?
I think having a partner who’s happy to assume equal responsibility for the children and running the home is a godsend. Add to that, a network of close friends and family who are willing to help out in any crisis and hopefully all options are covered. From experience I’ve learnt that it’s impossible to balance family life and a career without a fail-safe plan of action.
10. You’re off for a girl’s night out tonight. Where will you go, what will you drink and what will be the topic of conversation?
There would be dancing and Pimms and maybe a bottle of Prosecco (or two). The topic of conversation would start innocently enough with talk of children, partners, holidays, work etc. And, as the evening progressed, there would be a lot of laughter as we find everything hilarious and so much clearer after a couple of glasses of wine.