Friday, 27 April 2012

Monthly Feature : Marvellous Mum

In the third feature of the series 'Marvellous Mums', we meet working mum, running mum and general all round fabulous mum; Sara Willcocks.  It is extra good luck for me that she is also one of my oldest and most wonderful friends, having known each other since Primary School.  Sara has a job that many of us would dream of Campaigns Manager / PR Consultant for the wonderful charity Young Epilepsy, which often sees her mingling with the Stars. 

Not only has Sara a high profile job but she is also an amazing wife and mother and here she tells us why she loves her fast paced life as a working mum.

Tell us a little bit about your family?

My family is small but perfectly formed! Not quite the 2.4, we are one mummy (that’s me clearly!); one daddy (aka hubby number one!) and our beautiful, five year old daughter, Jessie May.

Tell us a little bit about your career?

I am by trade a PR consultant, having been fortunate enough to get onto this particular ladder after leaving college before finishing my A-levels. I’d go as far to say that I stumbled upon after realising I wasn’t very good at the previous two roles within a PR company: accounts and administration! I can’t think of a career that I could be any more suited to as it allows me to partake in the two things I love doing most: talking and writing!!

I’m currently working in the charity sector – a dual role for two charities. I am the Campaigns Manager for a national charity dedicated to children and young people living with epilepsy. My job is diverse and incredibly busy, but can often be lots of fun. PR is still a big feature in my role, but I also have a fundraising target, and I manage our celebrity and ambassador relationships. 

I also work with a smaller charity called GRACE, which supports women in Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire who are diagnosed with gynaecological cancers. I got involved with the charity after my mum died from cervical cancer, so it has a very special place in my heart.

What are the high points of being a working mum?

For me being a working mum was a choice I made. I was lucky to have the option, although my desire to work was part driven by my need to maintain my independence. I needed to know that I could – if needed –support both my daughter and myself.  This was very important to me and it still is.  That aside, I really do enjoy working – although I do sometimes have off days - and I don’t think my personality is suited to being at home full time.  I crave adult conversation and activity too much.

I would argue that it has also greatly benefitted Jessie, who attended nursery while I worked and, as a result, is a sociable, confident and bright little girl. She loves other children and has great friends, hobbies and a brilliant social life.   This will have long lasting benefits on her as she goes through life.

I know for certain that Jessie is a happy and secure little girl. She has no doubts that she is the most important person in mummy and daddy’s lives and I’m pretty sure she sees our work as just a means to an end.

What are the downsides of being a working mum?

There’s a well known saying often quoted in reference to working parents (mainly us mums!): “you can’t have it all”. I’ve never 100% agreed with this because I believe it largely depends on your own personal definition of what ‘having it all’ really means. For me, being a working mum is about compromise and something always needs to give. There is always a sacrifice and I’d be lying to myself if I said otherwise. Something always has to give.

Jessie is my absolute number one priority and I try to balance my work life by making sure I’m there to drop her off at her classroom every day, rather than sending her to breakfast club, and I try to make sure I pick her up early as often as I can too. I refuse to miss special assemblies or school events/concerts; fully participate on the PTA; and we have play dates with other kids and their mums all the time.

Do you think being a working mum benefits your family lifestyle, or would you trade it to be a SAHM?

It definitely benefits our lifestyle. Having a dual income allows us to do nice things and takes away some of the financial stresses that many families are faced with today. If I didn’t work there would be a lot of pressure on my husband’s income.  In truth, no I wouldn’t trade it in. I would make the decision to work over again, although probably just part time.

Is your household laid back, or manic?

A bit of both: we have chilled days and manic days. Work days are crazy and getting out the front door on time is like a job in itself. I’m constantly up against the clock, needing to get to school on time, needing to not be too late for work (and often failing!), and then getting back for pick up. Our weekends, however, are mostly laid-back and very family focused.

What are your favourite type of family days? (eg - duvet days, days out etc)

We love going out to do things as a family, but my favourite time is definitely our duvet days! And Jessie agrees with me. We love nothing more than snuggling up together –literally under our ‘snuggle blanket’ and watching movies; listening to the rain or – our latest initiative – playing Top Trumps! Because the weeks are so busy, weekends are really important to all three of us. We make sure we eat together and, from the moment we get in on a Friday evening, we are on wind down. Homework is banned! Quite often we’ll have camping expeditions in our living room: not the most comfortable night’s sleep, but it’s good fun and Jessie loves it – especially if we put the fire on and have a ‘midnight feast’.

Finally, why is it Marvellous being a Mum?

Being a mum is quite simply the best and most rewarding thing in the world.  I was literally taken aback when I discovered firsthand the full strength of the love that a parent feels.  Of course we all have days of despair, but nothing beats getting to know the wonderful little person you and your plus one brought into the world: helping them make their own journey and discoveries along the way.  I couldn’t be prouder of our little girl – she is the marvellous one!

If you want to find out more about the Charity Young Epilepsy, check out the website here.  You can raise money for Young Epilepsy by Taking The Purple Pledge, for details clikc here.


  1. I am not sure why the font / layout of this post has gone awry, I have been in and corrected it all three times and each time it reverts it back!

    1. Wish I could help you with some ideas to correct it but I am foxed too!

  2. I really nice guest post by someone who is confident and assured by her parenting choices and what was right for her.

  3. Having the priviledge of knowing Ms W personally I can say that 'confident and assured' is a very good description of her character all round. As well as loving, generous and damn right hilarious! Has been an honour to feature her.


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