Helen Gration Working Mum Interview

Posted: Sunday March 12 2017

By: Abbie Coleman

Helen Gration - I worked for  BBC Network News in London, where I met my husband, BBC Look North’s Harry Gration, and later became a Mum to our amazing twin boys. I soon realised that I was on a voyage of discovery as much as they were, and I wanted the very best for them.

Helen Gration Working Mum Interview

Helen Gration – Managing Director, Home to Home Nursery Company, Yorkshire Montessori Training Centre Regional Chair (Yorkshire & Humberside) Board of Trustees, National Day Nurseries Association

What were/are the biggest challenges you faced going back in to the work place after children?

My personal dilemma was feeling confident about leaving the boys at 6 months, so I could return to the BBC to run an event I had left in mid-prep! The boys were settled and so was I, although I felt like working too. To be honest, I felt I could have run up Everest if anyone had asked me, because becoming a Mum had woken up a real drive in me. Work didn’t worry me – it was the new emotions of leaving the boys that filled my heart and head. Away from them, my mind was still on them!

How do you achieve your work life balance of career woman and mother?

Carefully and with more consideration than ever before! For me, a routine was necessary and was the solution. I had twins and they had been premature. So, I’d had longer than most before stretches between feeds become more of the norm. Once their body-weight had increased sufficiently, I could start thinking about a routine. The boys seemed to know what I hoped to do as they were soon settled and asleep by 7pm and (usually) went round the clock.

Until they were beyond 5 years, I had the evening to work and utilised every minute. Even now, I work during school hours and stop once the boys are through with their day. Then they have me as ‘mum’ (with an odd email/phone call interfering!) until they are in bed. Then I start again. It’s a hard slog sometimes and some very late nights followed by early starts. But it works for them and for me. Breaks and holidays are essential!

If you could give your past self one piece of advice about being a working mother what would it be?

Do not worry that sleep will never be as it was! You will cope on the whole. Can I generalise?… Men are useless at this and get grumpy. Working mums just get better and better organised. But (if I can squeeze in a related piece of advice) construct more help around you than you think you need – extra babysitters if family do not live near are very useful.

Have your career goals and aspirations altered since becoming a working mother from that prior to your children?

I have always worked to the absolute top performance level, and set myself the highest of standards. That has not changed at all. I have new career goals and aspirations which have only come about because I became a mum, but I still push myself to achieve the best I can.

What are your future goals in your career path in the next few years, what do you hope to achieve?

I will expand my business further and I hope to work on some creative ideas I had before children! I’m also learning to play the piano, having given up the flute oh so many years ago! We’ll see how that goes….

 If you had the power to change one thing in the business market for working mothers, what would you change?

I would change the way we employ people who are working mothers, so that job-share, or a change of working style meant that we did not lose some really great women because the challenge of working hours conflicted with raising a family, fitting in school concerts, finding that school hours did not quite fit picking up after a late meeting. There are better ways of collaborating with good female employees.

What question would you wish to ask our next working mother who takes this short interview

Have you any tips for saving time in general day-to-day life?

mmb magazine working mother interviews

Helen Gration