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The Working Mom: Eimear Kearney

Time management! It’s something that seems to evade every working mom; both at home and in work. Eimear Kearney decided to study Project Management in DBS (where she also works) as she knew that she needed to organise her time more. We caught up with her to find out how she balances everything.

Tell me a bit about your background (education, career)

I grew up in Dublin, and went to university in Limerick, to study Business and Marketing.  I was passionate about marketing from an early age and always knew that I would work in the area. However, working with young people is also something that interested me, I considered going down the teaching route until I actually found a marketing role within the education sector a few years ago – it seemed like the perfect fit for me. 

Did having children change how you felt about your career? How so?

Definitely – I work for DBS, which is an independent college. Since having my daughter I feel so passionately that young people should get the opportunity to pursue any career path they wish. If you want to do Psychology, there is a way; you don’t necessarily have to achieve maximum points in your Leaving Cert. Since returning to work after maternity leave, I am even more determined to educate people about the possibilities available to them. 

What changes did you make to make your career work for you? 

I have had to become extremely organised – and I thought I was an organised person before. I am the kind of person who has my shopping list on an Excel sheet! However, I am so time poor now, I struggled initially with the balance between work and home. I undertook a course recently with DBX (the online offering from DBS) in Project Management, and I found it really helped me to prioritise and organise myself and my projects during the working day. 

How did you feel when making these changes?

Relief! I really struggled for the first few months, and doing the course helped me put things in perspective work-wise. The course was relatively short, only 12 weeks, and I was able to do it from the comfort of home. It was a weekly class, which required active participation, and we had two assessments to pass the course. Doing it at home made it so easy – I even got my highlights done one week while I was doing the class, I don’t think anyone noticed the mesh foils! 

Did you receive support from your employer at the time?

Yes, my boss was really supportive of me doing the course, as she knew it would help me in my marketing role at the college. 

How did your partner support you through this time?

My husband is a Construction Manager, so his days are long and absolutely hectic. However, he was totally on board with me doing the course, he knows how important it is for me to feel like I am doing my best, and so Wednesday night’s became his time to do dinner, tidy up and get our daughter to bed – it was nice to have an excuse not to lift a finger once a week! 

What worked and what didn’t work along the way?

I’ve always found it hard to ask for help, I think I saw it as a weakness, but it’s not, and actually being able to delegate is a critical part of my job. I simply cannot cover everything myself and have to allow myself to hand over some tasks. Having done the Project Management course, I feel much more in control of the overall goals and am happy to allow other people to take control of some of the day-to-day tasks. 

Considering your happiness levels before making a switch to now - how have they improved/decreased?

I am in a much better place than I was when I first went back to work after having my daughter. Life was totally frenzied for the first few months, I was stressed out about everything and being unproductive as a result, so really I was going around in circles. I’ve learnt to chill out more, which has been key. 

How do you rate your work/life balance?

I think I have a nice balance at this point. I really feel like I’ve come so far in the past few months, in terms of learning to separate work and life.  I am able to walk out of work and forget about it until I return the next day, and I think that is so important, because the time I was spending with my daughter was being spent thinking about work, and that is not fair to her.  I’ve made a self-imposed rule that I am not allowed to check my work email over the weekend, it’s hard but worth it. 

What 3 bits of advice would you give to other working moms?

  1. Make time for yourself. Life is hectic, between work and parenting, and it is so important to make ‘me time’ for yourself – even if it just hiding out in a room on your own reading a book. 
  2. Stop feeling guilty. Every single working mom I know feels guilty for going out to work, but at the end of the day we are doing this for our children, to make a better life for them – I’m sure they will appreciate it in time! 
  3. Take pride in yourself - you are your child’s hero. I don’t think us moms celebrate ourselves enough, and we should, we certainly work hard enough for it!  
Would you like to be featured on The Working Mom? Send an email to mairead.cahalan@eumom.ie and tell us a little bit about your career, how you manage to balance your work and life balance and let us know if you've made any drastic changes to facilitate your family and career.

About the Author

Lucy Earley works as an editor in the beauty and pharmacy-retail industries. She's a delighted recent convert to the maternal side with the birth of her daughter, Lara, in August 2014.

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