I live in Walthamstow with my husband, Dan, and my daughter, Mazzy, and have done for about two years now. It’s very family orientated which I resisted a bit when we first moved here, but I got over myself and I really like it now. It’s far enough out of London that you can escape the hectic pace, but it’s not too far for work, getting into town for a night out, and going to museums and exhibitions.
Before I had Mazzy I worked full time at KK Outlet, a gallery and communications agency based in East London. I’d always wanted to work in magazines though, so in 2013 I decided to start Riposte. I guess I was looking for a new challenge, and it has since turned out to be more than a challenge! These days I work two days at KK Outlet, one day on Riposte, and then I manage running the magazine in pockets of time around looking after Mazzy. It’s a bit all over the place if I’m totally honest, and I don’t really have a routine as such, but it is what it is.
I work in very short and condensed spurts, so when I do work I have to be really focussed. This is fine for a time, but not good when I need to think about longer term plans. I usually spend about a month thinking about the next issue – partnerships, events etc – and then spend the rest of the time making it happen. It’s not perfect and I’d love to have more time to sit back and take my time, to meet more people face to face, strategise more, and raise more money, but whenever I feel myself getting frustrated I think about Mazzy. She’ll not be this little forever and I’m super lucky to be in a situation where I can do both.
When we think about the future of feminism we need to be radical and talk about the whole working week template for everyone
We manage the childcare between us, and Dan has Mazzy when I’m working. I know it’s a real luxury and not something everyone has the flexibility to do. We can only do it as Dan has his own business. I could go on a real rant about the whole working system but I think the core of gender inequality lies at the current 9-5 (or longer), five days a week working system and how we think about childcare. It’s an outdated industrial Victorian model that we’re still subscribing to and it doesn’t work for modern families. And anyway, why the fuck do we all need to be working so much? It’s been proven that people aren’t productive for eight hours of every day so why do we need to be in an office for all of that time? I believe when we think about the future of feminism we need to be radical and talk about the whole working week template for everyone, not just about a few more weeks of paternity leave for dads, or some extra free nursery hours.
I love making Riposte. I really believe in it, and that belief ultimately pushes me to carry on working on it. But I have started to let go if things don’t get done. My emails are pretty much a mess (they have become the bane of my life) and I only really respond to urgent things now. I do what I can get done and whatever I miss I try to let go of, and not feel bad about, otherwise I’d be working until 12 every night.
I do think it’s really important to keep an eye on how much time you spend working and how much time you spend doing things you actually really enjoy. I realised a while ago that I was doing a lot of things but I wasn’t actually enjoying any of it. I was on autopilot, firing off emails, making things happen, taking Mazzy to playgroups and looking at my phone the whole time. I was busy and it was bullshit. I was really self-involved and too focussed on one thing.
I’m by no means any more sorted now, and sometimes you do just need to get your head down and sort things out, but I think it’s really, really important to do nothing, have fun, chill out, and have time when you’re not working towards “achieving” something. It’s also worth remembering that ultimately nothing is that important. Is it going to matter in a year? Probably not, so it’s not worth stressing over. I’m trying to stay more on a even keel rather than let myself be swung by the ups and downs.
I try and get out as much as possible with Mazzy – toddler groups, seeing friends, going to a museum or the park. If we had a garden I don’t think I’d feel the need to get out as much, but in a way it’s a good kick up the arse to do something. Then we have our end of day routine – dinner at 5pm, bath at 6pm, bed at 7pm, and then beer or wine for me at 7.05pm.
I need a lot of sleep so I try not to be in bed any later than 10pm otherwise I’m shattered the next day. I’ve been trying to read an hour before bed – I don’t always do it but I’m basically trying not to be working right up until I go to bed. I was sleeping really badly because I was really stressed and that’s ridiculous – again nothing is worth getting so stressed about.
For now things are a lot more simple and streamlined than they used to be. The weekends are spent hanging out with Dan and Mazzy, seeing friends, and sometimes family if they’re in London. Mazzy’s soul purpose in life is to have fun. If she can make the most mundane thing into a game she will, and that is the best lesson anyone can learn and I really hope she doesn’t lose that. It’s funny, since I became a mother I’ve been surprised at my capacity for love. I love that little girl more than I can stand sometimes.
To get the latest issue of Riposte visit ripostemagazine.com/issues
And for info about the upcoming Riposte Presents event, Beats Working, visit here