Interview with Claire Norrish

Inspiring Mamas who have made it work.

Strolling around with my now 2 kids, I have noticed myself looking at other mothers I have known for a while or new ones I encounter or just see through researching online and I find myself asking the same questions. 'How do they do it?',  'When does she have time to...',  'I wonder if she manages to look after her own wellbeing', 'Does she have help?' ...

Welcome to the start of a new selection of interviews with women to get to the heart of their innovative, creative and successful careers as well as juggling motherhood and their own wellbeing.

Sharing some of their trade secrets, I hope to help empower other mums and women to have the same balance.  If not balance then an attempt to create some kind of flow between motherhood, creating an impressive work portfolio and wellbeing.

My first interview is with a woman who I have had the pleasure of working with for 3 years now and she has been responsible for generating some of the most awesome Press for me.  Independent publicist and founder of Claire Norrish PR specialises in health and wellbeing luxury brands, expert and non-fiction books  Read my interview with her to discover how she has managed to grow her own business whilst growing her son at the same time... 

who are you?  Claire Norrish (am about to reach a big scary landmark birthday so currently 49 forever)

who are your kids?   One son, Jordan Issa John age 17 and named after an African Chief in Malawi (his former home)

what’s your profession?   Independent publicist

what’s the hardest thing about juggling motherhood with work?  I made a decision 15 years ago to work independently from home so that I could be around for my son.  This meant I could always pick him up from school in the early years and be there for him.  Even now at the age of 17 I still work from home and love it when he comes back from college for lunch in the middle of the day. My work can be really full-on and intense though sometimes as I do PR for a lot of high profile health and wellbeing books for Ebury Publishing so sometimes it’s hard as I get so involved a campaign that I find it hard to get away from my home office.  Before I know it it’s dinner time and whoops I haven’t organised food!

what’s the most rewarding aspect of working for yourself?  Being able to see my son's lovely face the minute he get’s home and the flexibility of being able to occasionally do things that involve him during the day - as a Mum as I can literally work on the hoof providing I’ve got my iPhone with me.

tell me about the moment you decided you were going back to work after he was born, were you happy about it?  Because of the freelance aspect I was really happy to as I genuinely love my work.

Would you feel fulfilled being a stay at home mum if you had the opportunity to be so?  Looking back to when he was really young I am not sure that I would want to - I prefer to have a mix of motherhood and work

how do you feel about messages that are out there to mothers, juggling everything and trying to look good too?  Stay healthy, be kind to yourself and don’t set the bar too high.  I think there is a lot of pressure on new mums these days via social media to be doing all the ‘right’ things - Instagram although informative and interesting as a creative forum can also be a place that breeds anxiety to new Mums who are constantly bombarded with images of women ‘having it all’ and juggling careers/motherhood/social life/exercise and more.  The bottom line is that the early years of being a mum are such a small window time-wise and they whizz by so fast -  cherish that time, enjoy it and don’t worry about what other people think!

 what’s your wellbeing focused around?  I’ve done yoga for years and recently gone back to Ashtanga as I really like it’s energy. I think the trick with exercise it to keep changing it. So for example last year I was cycling everywhere for a few months and now I’m just doing 20 minute runs 3/4 times a week.  Love dipping into Pilates as well whenever I have time.  Plus doggie walking of course and dancing at parties!

how do you manage your stress?  I try not to get stressed but of course it creeps in every now and then. I would love to study meditation and learn more about it, as I know it’s amazing for managing stress.  I thought Andy Boddicombe’s app Headspace was brilliant when it came out a while back and we have a Buddhist Centre close to where I live that I keep meaning to go to to investigate meditation. I did PR for a great book by the Psychologist Dr Kelly McGonigal called the Upside Of Stress - and found out that actually the right kind of stress can be actually quite good for you - keeps you on our toes if you know what I mean.

any pearls of wisdom for other new mums or working mums out there?    Dont’ be afraid to divide your time as you see best and don’t feel pressurised to go the extra mile career-wise.  Just do as much at work as your lifestyle allows and know that your time as a mum is precious and you can never get those early years back with your child so give your employers boundaries and be firm about what you can and can’t deliver.