Our Meet Team Happity blog series lifts the lid on how we do #workthatworks, showing just what a team of mothers working around their children can achieve – without the 9 to 5.
Liv’s story, Marketing Executive at Happity
Liv is married with two boys, Sam, three, and Eddie, 18 months, and lives in Chislehurst
Before I had kids… Ben and I rented in central London and thoroughly enjoyed London life, as well as exploring the world through frequent holidays. We then decided to plan for our future and moved to leafy Chislehurst, bought our first home and our two lovely boys followed shortly after.
I went back to work after taking a year off following Sam’s birth, and working life after kids was certainly an eye-opener. Everyone was up at 6am for a 7.15am nursery drop off, it was then a mad dash to the station and a speed-walk to the office. I was often one of the first to leave the office and if trains were delayed or cancelled this led to very stressful moments collecting Sam after 6pm. It was a long day for Sam. I was rushing everywhere all the time and we just didn’t seem to have the quality of life we wanted as a family.
‘I was rushing everywhere all the time and we just didn’t seem to have the quality of life we wanted as a family’
I had successfully negotiated returning for four days a week and I had a lot of autonomy in my role; however, this just didn’t seem flexible enough when I came to return again after I had Eddie. Although Ben has always worked long hours during the week in London, we took the decision that I would spend more time with the boys in these younger years. Also, faced with the enormous nursery fees for both boys, we thought there had to be a better way. I walked away in early 2017.
I started working for Happity… in February 2017. Sara and I met through Mums in Tech, a fantastic coding school for mums with childcare onsite! I did a coding course when I was on my second maternity leave with Eddie, as I was looking to up-skill and keep my brain ticking over. I approached Sara at an alumni event after hearing her presentation on Happity and asking if anyone wanted to help. I didn’t know where it would lead, but I knew I had to say ‘yes’. I was looking to learn, grow and develop and was seeking a new direction in my life while still being able to spend quality time with my kids.
‘I was looking to learn, grow and develop and was seeking a new direction in my life while still being able to spend quality time with my kids.’
I wake up at… 6am. The day doesn’t start until Ben and I have a cup of tea in our hand. It’s a moment of calm and sets us all up for the day! I then shower, get dressed, pulling on my jeans and T-shirt (to save me having to think too much in the mornings) and Ben leaves the house at 7am. On nursery days I leave at 7.45am to drop the boys off (three mornings a week), otherwise I’ll have breakfast with the boys around 7.30am.
My typical day involves…. On Happity days, after I’ve dropped the boys at nursery, I run round my house doing all my household chores making beds, doing washing, tidying up and drinking more caffeine before I log on around 9.30am. I’ll then work until 1pm and pick the boys up. Some days I have a babysitter who picks them up for me, so work will then stop at 2pm. I try and work during the day as I’m more productive in the mornings, however I do log back on in the evenings depending on the deadlines. Currently I work on marketing for Happity, which involves anything from writing email copy, sending out mass emails, analysing email stats, organising competitions, following up and gaining feedback with class providers through to brainstorming strategy.
On non-Happity days I like to go on playdates to the park or woods or to a friend’s house. If we hang out at home I always have great intentions of being ‘super crafty’, however this usually extends to colouring, painting or cooking together. We also love soft play for those rainy days as it’s guaranteed to tire them out!
Why I love Happity… Creating a truly flexible and remote working environment for parents is at the heart of Sara’s vision for Happity. Being able to set my own hours and not having to commute is an incredible freedom, enabling me to be really productive working around family life. I wanted to work in an environment where I felt inspired and would continue to develop as a person, and being part of Happity has certainly enabled me to grow.
‘Being able to set my own hours and not having to commute is an incredible freedom, enabling me to be really productive working around my family life’
Happity offers parents a key tool to help shape their days with young kids and feel more in control (for a little while anyway), and I feel very proud to be part of a business that’s really making a difference to people’s lives. There’s also a great camaraderie with the Happity Team. We all have families to juggle and there’s an unspoken understanding about flexibility.
‘Creating a truly flexible and remote working environment for parents is at the heart of Sara’s vision for Happity’
The biggest challenges of combining work with motherhood are… Work sometimes overlaps with time with my kids and I do feel guilty not always being present when I’m with Sam and Eddie. At the same time, I believe it’s OK to ignore your kids a little bit. I think it’s good for them to know that the world doesn’t just revolve around them and encourages them to use their imaginations. I spend lots of time purely having fun with my kids so any guilt I feel is only in passing moments. I also regularly adjust when I don’t feel as though I have the right balance — for example, making time for dates with my husband has been very important. Dating dropped off our radar for a while (two years if I’m honest) and we now try to go out once a month and often during the daytime too. Daytime dates are so underrated!
‘I also regularly adjust when I don’t feel as though I have the right balance’
One thing that makes my life easier: Amazon Prime membership. I could not survive without their next-day delivery service, as well as Amazon Prime movies and TV. Also, being quite organised helps!
As a family we… love to get out and explore. As we’re up early, 6am at weekends too (groan), we’re usually out of the house by 8.30am. Whitstable and Godstone Farm are firm favourites and we always like a National Trust visit! We also love meeting up with friends and family and just hanging out, drinking and eating together. However busy our weekends are we always try tohave a 5pm family dinner together on a Sunday — it’s a family tradition we hope to always keep!
What keeps me sane… Getting the kids in bed by 7.30pm so my evenings belong to me and my husband! Seeing my best friends (in person or FaceTime will do) chatting and laughing — they are my soul food! I love puzzles; they really chill me out and I definitely don’t do them enough. I’m also an audiobook and podcast lover. I couldn’t live without info on the go!
‘Seeing my best friends chatting and laughing keeps me sane — they are my soul food!’
My guilty pleasure… I love a Netflix boxset — House of Cards and Ozark are particular favourites currently. I’m also a chocoholic. I mildly freak out if we run out and I’ll choose Cadbury’s over posh chocs any day! I do also love a glass or two of wine.
How I make it work… I have to be super-organised, which can be a little tedious sometimes, but I know my family works best when we all know what we’re doing ahead of each day, from the day trip through to each meal. Outfits are all laid out the night before (Ben does his own!) and bags are all packed and waiting in the hallway. Chaos descends on our house if we have no plans for the day ahead.
‘I have to be super-organised, which can be a little tedious, but I know my family works best when we all know what we’re doing ahead of each day’
My Happity Hero: My favourite toddler class is Boppin’ Bunnies. I went to the class originally when I just had Sam. I really didn’t know any nursery rhymes when I had Sam so this class was a life-saver teaching us songs and actions, which we then sang at home together (and still do today, two-and-a-half years later). It was amazing to have a regular class to go to with my NCT friend and her little boy. We’d always go back to her place afterwards for lunch and I have just so many happy memories of our Wednesdays together. When Eddie came along, Sam was only 18 months so I was still keen to get out of the house and took both boys to a mixed-age class together. I knew the format of the class and how friendly all the staff were and for me it was amazing to find a space where Sam and Eddie could play together. Music is big in our household, so thank you Boppin’ Bunnies, as it all started there!
Happity is a web platform making it easy to find local baby and toddler classes. Built by a team of mums, for parents everywhere.