Introducing my next interview with Marketing Director and Scorpio, Amber Isaacs. Amber is part of the core team at TOKYObay, a family business that creates designer watches and accessories. Dory, Amber's Mother, founded the business with her friend Jun from Tokyo in 1991. They both had a similar aesthetic with Dory bringing more of a fashion element and Jun's experience in product design. Using Jun's contact with Japanese manufacturers, they began designing a watch line among other product lines (sunglasses and clocks) that integrated both their backgrounds and expertise. Interested to hear how Amber experiences her balance in life now that her daughter Olive is 7 years old, I asked her about her journey of motherhood, whilst being the integral element to her family's livelihood and creative craft.
What’s the hardest thing about juggling motherhood with work? I think for me the challenges have changed as Olive gets older. When she was a lot younger I struggled with the guilt of leaving her as it felt at times I was choosing work over her. As she gets older it’s more about being present and transitioning from work brain to being a mum again.
what’s the most rewarding? Being able to put my creative efforts into something where I feel accomplished…this inevitably spills over into how I am as a mother.
how do you typically split your time? I normally am in at work by 8:30/9am and work till 3:30pm when I go to get her from school. My parents live here in SF so I have an amazing support with my mum picking Olive up a couple days a week and bringing her back to our place. This allows me to have a couple full 8 hour days to stay a bit later if I need. It also gives my mum some extra time to hang with Olive.
tell me about the moment you decided you were going back to work after she was born I chose to (and was lucky enough to be able to) stay home with Olive until she was 2 years old so was totally ready to get back into working. As my background in London was in fashion PR, my parents asked me if I would like to help out TOKYObay part time and it seemed like the perfect way to dip my toe back into it while having flexibility. As Olive got older, I gradually added more hours and my job morphed into marketing and creative, helping to promote & streamline the brand's look and feel.
Would you feel fulfilled being a stay at home mum if you had the opportunity to be so? Right now in my life I don't think i would be. I get so much energy from being challenged in a work environment and the exchange with like-minded people. I would miss that. I also think it allows me to be a better mum as long as I'm not spreading myself too thin when trying to balance both. I think for me, my fire gets fed by being with Olive but also doing a variety of things outside of being a mum.
how do you feel about messages that are out there to mothers? I think it's very hard not to play the comparison game. There is a lot out there around successful, beautiful, stylish women that make it look effortless but I think there is always more to the story. Everyone has their struggles and insecurities. I think women generally put way too much pressure on themselves. There are now so many different ways we are bombarded with information & images of what others are doing that it can be hard to rationalise through the noise. I would love to see more honest commentary out there with how women manage their day to day between motherhood and work...and not just the dirty diapers and lack of sleep but the struggles emotionally, how it affects their relationships with partners and with friends.
what’s your wellbeing focused around? Running, meeting up with friends and lazy weekends with the fam.
how do you maintain a sense of wellbeing whilst devoting your time to your kids? I think it's a balance of making sure you carve out specific times in the week for alone time and integrating a wellbeing into your home life. Olive and I will stretch together , dance and cook meals which all tie into my idea of well being.
how do you manage your stress? Probably not as well as I'd like! Running and exercise help me a lot to stay calmer and balanced.
any pearls of wisdom for other new mums or working mums out there? Try to quiet the 'mom guilt' if you can by giving yourself permission to do things you like doing. Ask for help if you need it!
what drives you? Trying to be a person I think Olive would be proud of.
how has becoming a mother changed you if at all? I feel more rooted, grounded than I've ever felt. The small stuff just doesn't affect me like it used to. I can get ready in less than half the time I used to! Also I feel like I have more patience and empathy towards people in general.
biggest lesson learnt? My mum is amazing! I finally truly understand what she had to juggle to raise my sister and I while building her business.