As a producer, presenter, mother and the founder of online magazine Mumazine, Sam Mann knows more than most about juggling a lot of plates. Splitting her time between her life as a mum and some quite frankly awesome work assignments including interviewing Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt, and chasing the Kardashians around Paris (yes, really!), Sam, who’ll be on ‘Royal Baby watch for E! News’ news month, tells us how she does it…
How did you end up founding Mumazine?
Mumazine was conceived just over 2 years ago. I was a new mum and was consumed with all things to do with babies and parenting. I love writing, editing and filming so it was really as a way of combining all three and also have some flexibility in my working hours.
You’re also a producer and a presenter, how do you manage to fit it all in?
I love having a varied job as it really helps to keep me enthusiastic. I have a great support network for my 4 year-old daughter April so when work comes along there is always someone who will step in and make my life as easy as possible. It also helps that April is super well behaved (I’m very lucky) so her grandparents love having her.
How many days a week do you work?
It’s pretty varied. Mumazine takes up a few hours every day, but is pretty flexible. I do a live show via Google Hangout for Tesco. It’s part of their Eat Happy Project and I really love it as it’s teaching children where the food they eat comes from. That goes out every fortnight. The producing and presenting work comes up whenever.
Talk us through an average day in your week….
Each day is pretty different but generally…
I get up and get April dressed and fed. I’ll either have a play with April or crack on with a few emails and do some writing. I drop April at nursery just after midday and then have a 3 hour window to make calls, email and write. If I am on top of things I’ll fit in a run or gym session. After I pick April up its dinner duty, bath time and bed etc. My day when I’m working is so different to a normal mummy day for me – that’s what I love.
How do you approach childcare?
As my working life is very varied it’s crucial I have lots of people who I trust who can step in at late notice. Grandparents and my sister are all on hand which makes it pretty easy. April is at nursery each afternoon at the moment. It actually makes it a bit harder now she has to be somewhere each day. Before, when I had to work April would stay with her grandparents and there wouldn’t be any need for them to get her anywhere at a specific time.
Do you have a set routine to your weekends or is it more go-with-the-flow?
We are very much go-with-the-flow-ers. I am terrible at planning anything in advance. We still manage to have a great time whatever we end up doing though.
Having moved to the Midlands, do you notice any differences between raising children in the capital and outside of London?
I loved living in London when April was small. There are classes and groups everywhere. I also made the most of the stunning parks. Now we live in Solihull which is very family orientated. The pace of life is slower too. We love it here.
Do you think you’ve achieved a good work/life balance? If so, how do you think you’ve managed it?
I feel so lucky to be doing what I do for a living and up until now it has worked perfectly with being a hands on mum. I get to spend lots of quality time with my daughter and when I take time away from her to work it’s always fun so I never begrudge having to work. I have read a lot and spoken a lot to people who say it’s impossible to strike the right balance between work and motherhood but fingers crossed I feel I have managed it.
What’s the best thing about being a working mum?
I feel I get the best of both worlds. I haven’t had to give up what I do, which I love and I get to spend lots of quality time with my daughter. She will be off to full time school in Sept and at that point I can put my foot back on the gas.
What’s the hardest thing about being a working mum?
There have been very rare occasions where everything has come in at once and I have spent quite a few days working away and I have really missed April.
How do you find time for your relationship?
Date nights are very important and it’s great to get them booked in in advance so you have something to look forward to. It’s also important to make the most of the time between your little one’s bedtime and yours – dinner, a movie, a massage…
Do you manage to carve out much ‘me’ time for yourself?
I do get a fair amount of me time. I grab it where I can – I get a manicure, work out and catch up with my friends. I think it’s really important as it makes me a better mum.
What would you change, if you could, about your current set up?
At the risk of sounding smug, I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s all going smoothly at the moment. Mind you, if there’s a lottery win going spare, I wouldn’t say no!
If you could give any advice to someone looking to juggle work and family, what would it be?
Juggling is so much easier if you are doing a job you enjoy. It’s important not to be too hard on yourself when you feel you are not on top of things. And ask for and take whatever help is offered, it makes life so much easier.