Genevieve Georget is a writer, a photographer and a mother of two children. She also runs her own blog. Recently one of her amazing articles went viral and had over 100,000 shares on social media. In fact Facebook temporarily shut down her account while they investigated the upsurge in traffic. Her writing in real, raw and passionate and reflects the life, thoughts and feelings of many working mothers around the world.
- You are a writer, mum of two and work a full time blog. You recently had one of your wonderful posts go viral on social media with over 100,000 shares. Now your dream of being a full-time writer looks like it will become a reality for you. What advice would you give to other working mums who have a passion but limited time or resources to chase the dream?
I often think that passion is the only thing necessary to chase a dream. Life can look very different when you have small children at home and the ability to focus on any single task at any given time can be one of the most challenging things about parenting. Productivity was not an easy thing to come by when my children were young. But passion often prevails. In the dark hours of the night…the early hours of the morning…the tired hours in between. I tried as often as possible to wake up at least an hour before my children did just in order to have some time to myself before their feet hit the floor. I would have my coffee in peace and spend a bit of time writing as the sun came up. When it comes to both time and resources…I only just used whatever I had…it’s all you can really do. The amount of energy I had to give to writing was dependent on the various stages my children were at. It’s hard to make cohesive sentences when you haven’t slept in weeks!! But the desire was always there…and the desire was often enough for me to create the time somewhere.
- Writing and blogging are common activities for mums, amongst others. Do you ever worry about what you are putting out there? You are very honest and raw and that is what seems to have captured the attention of the world. Does being a mum hold you back from any topics or areas to protect your family or your children’s innocence?
This is a question that I get asked a lot, given the vulnerable nature of my writing. I have always written as though I was just writing in a journal…to myself…for myself. I found it safe and sincere and in doing so, found my most authentic voice. Having said that though, after going viral, I did go through a short period of time when I became acutely aware of the fact that I suddenly had an “audience” and I felt more hesitant to publish new work. Fortunately, I was blessed with a wonderful circle of family and friends that supported me through the tidal wave of what was happening and thankfully, after giving myself a little bit of space, I was able to come back and write the way I always had. I tend not to hold back too much because I have found that it’s in those more honest and vulnerable moments that we end up connecting with others the most. Through the cracks and frailties versus the polished perfection. Holding back for my family’s protection hasn’t been much of an issue so far. But I believe that it’s one of those things that we will constantly re-evaluate as our children get older and as the scope of my career changes.
- Do you think that becoming a mother has helped you to become this amazing writer? Did you have the same skill, compassion and honesty before you had children or has that experience led you to where you are today.
Writing is something that I have been doing my whole life but becoming a mother has definitely helped to shape my voice and drive my words. Becoming a parent has been the most emotional thing I’ve ever experienced and it brought feeling to my writing that wasn’t there before. Honestly, I found writing to be the only way I could cope with the spectrum of emotions I was experiencing and as a result, it brought a degree of vulnerability and purity to everything else I wrote as well.
- As a working mother, what lessons do you hope that you are teaching your child?
My biggest fear about becoming a parent was that I would lose myself entirely to it. I was scared of not knowing who I was outside of being a mother…and it was so important for me to maintain my creative and individual self along the way; to write…to do photography…to read books that I love. I would love my children to learn that it never has to be matter of “one of the other”. Sometimes, various roles in our life will demand more from us for periods of time…but I would like them to learn that they never have to give up one for the other. It often involves change and sacrifice and learning as life evolves…but pursuing what you love in life is always worth the effort.
- Do you or have you ever experienced working mother’s guilt? If so then how did you or do you deal with it?
I have, absolutely, experienced working mother’s guilt!!! I have been blessed to have a career that enabled me to be home with my children while they were little and it has given me immense flexibility as a working parent. But even that comes with deadlines that need to be met and times of heavier workloads. As a photographer, I spend entire seasons away from my children on the weekends in exchange for that flexibility and the guilt of that can be hard. But surrounding yourself with other people who are honest and compassionate and supportive helps to get through those times. They help to remind you that we all feel that way sometimes and that we’re all doing the very best that we can. In those more demanding times, I also try to make extra effort to be fully emotionally present when I am home…so that the time we are having together isn’t spent being distracted.
- They say that it takes a village to raise a child. What support networks do you have in place, both in your family life and your business life that enable you to achieve all that you do?
It does take a village to raise a child…but I believe that it also takes a village to raise parents…and I believe you need to choose that village very carefully. The reality is that not everyone is going to support the choices you’ve made and I believe that the only way to survive it at all is to surround yourself with people who do support you and believe in you. It may seem like common sense, but it was surprising to me early on when I would share my struggles with certain people that I just assumed would support me…only to find that their own expectations were actually becoming part of the problem. I’m extremely fortunate that my husband 100% supports my career goals and helps in any way that he can. Most of my closest friends are also people who share many of the same circumstances and perspectives; self-employed, creative, parents. I think it’s also important that those people be lovingly honest; people who tell you when you’re pushing too hard and need a break; people who genuinely care for your well-being; people who will remind you why you started it all in the first place.
- Working a full-time job, running your own website, bringing up a young family and managing all the attention that has come from your recent online success must put huge demands on your time and energy. What do you do to look after yourself? Are there any “non-negotiable” parts of your day, week or month where you commit the time to self-care?
I’m the first to admit that balance can be a real struggle for me…it was never “easy” to juggle a career and young children at the same time. But there also came a time when I came to believe that balance was a bit of a myth…this unattainable ideal that felt just out of reach. Balance – like success – is something that might look different for everyone. While my days may not all be balanced…it doesn’t mean that life isn’t. Once I realized this, I began to have a bit more patience and grace with myself. I began to understand that this season of my life was just that: a season. I understood that my children wouldn’t always be so small and that, in due time – as they got older and began school - my days and my time would change with it. As an only child, time alone has always been very necessary for me to recharge my batteries…and time alone is one the last things you get as a parent!! So, when I had both kids home with me full-time, I took one night a week as a “date” night for myself. This was non-negotiable. Sometimes it would involve getting dressed up with friends for a night out…other times it would be me in my pajamas while eating cheesecake in bed! Whatever it was though…it wasn’t allowed to involve being a mother or a business owner! I also ran almost every day. The time to myself, outside, with my music, was the perfect cure to any stressful day. Now that both of my children are in school, life is a bit easier to manage and I am able to get more work done during the day instead of only during nap times and after bed. My goal, on any given day, is simply to step away from all of my work when the kids get home and the rest of our night is spent together as a family. We have dinner all together every night and we all read together every single night before bed. Those two things are a constant in our days. What’s absolutely non-negotiable right now is my time with my husband. He has given a lot of his own time and energy to help me pursue a very unconventional life that I happen to love…and spending time with him to reconnect is so, so important to me. We try to get away without the kids at least once a year (and have been doing so since they were both born) and regardless of how chaotic our lives become…we always connect for a while every night. It has made a huge impact on the stability of our marriage throughout all the change we have gone through over the last six years.
- What advice would you give to mothers considering a career change?
The only advice I can really offer for mothers who might like to change careers is to have tenacity. To keep going even when it feels like it’s not going to happen. And spend time around people who will raise you up and give you the drive to keep at it…people who will believe in you during moments when you don’t believe in yourself. Change is always a bit scary…even good change…so it’s important to be surrounded with people who can keep you grounded and help you soar, all at the same time. I spent years writing on a blog that had all of a dozen readers (at best!)…but I was writing. And that’s all it ever was for years and years until eventually, a tipping point came in which it became more than that.
- Have you faced any negative comments or judgement from others when they find out that you are a working mum with young children? If so then how do you deal with it? Why do you think that parents can often be so quick to make harsh judgements about others who have chosen to walk a different path from them?
There has definitely been criticisms and judgment from other people about along the way, and it’s not always easy to take. People can be especially sensitive when it comes to issues of parenting and tend to be extremely passionate about their parenting beliefs. I’ve come to learn though that everyone’s road is different and, by no means, does that make it wrong. I don’t need everyone to agree with the path I’m taking…I just need it to work for my family…since we are the ones taking it together. I often wonder if we tend to have such strong opinions because we want to validate our decisions?? I’ve had a hundred different moments over the course of the last six years when I’ve wondered if I made the right choice…if I could have done things better? But the reality is that maintaining my creative, working self makes me a happier person…which, in turn, makes me happier wife and mother.
- Many women suffer from a loss of confidence in themselves whilst they are away from the workplace on parental leave. One of the big worries is that they will not be able to do either their family or their career the justice they deserve if they try to manage both at the same time. As a successful working mum, what would your advice to mums in this position be?
I have absolutely struggled with moments when I don’t feel like I’m being a good mother or a career woman. Moments in which I’ve felt like I was falling short of both. But I truly think it comes down to grace…to perspective…to patience. With yourself…your circumstances…your dreams. Of course, some days are going to be better than others…but that’s going to be true regardless of what you’re doing. I think it’s also important to be careful how you define “successful”, because that’s going to mean something different to everyone…and if you’re allowing it to be defined by someone else’s standards…you’re likely always going to feel as though it’s out of reach.