Libby Hakim left her career in law in order to have great flexibility and still challenge herself professionally by going into business as a copywriter and feature writer. Mums know how busy it can get, from the time you’re holding your little ones in a nursing chair to when they are older and you’re taking them for play dates - the workload just never seems to stop! Read on to see how Libby handles the delicate balancing act of being a working mum:
Name: Libby Hakim
Libby Hakim Copywriter
Tell us a bit about yourself and your child/children….
I’m a Sydney-based freelance copywriter, ex-lawyer and mum of 2 girls aged 4 and 6 years.
What is the name of your business/blog and what does your work entail?
About 6 months ago, I left a 15-year career in law and went into business as a copywriter and feature writer. I’d been juggling the two careers for a couple of years, though in the beginning the writing was just a hobby. It eventually grew to a sideline income and now it’s my sole source of income – Libby Hakim Copywriter.
I write website copy for professionals and small businesses and digital content for big companies and brands, including SAI Global, PEXA, NIB, Choice Home Loans, Thomson Reuters, Robert Half and Vero. Given my background in law, about half of my work is law-related. At the moment, I’m working with a law firm to update their precedent suite following their re-branding. A small (but much-loved) part of my workload is writing feature articles for newspapers and magazines. I generally write about health, careers and lifestyle topics.
What made you decide to be both a mum and a career woman?
It wasn’t really something I thought about. Learning and progressing in my career is something that has always been important to me and is part of who I am. And I wanted to be a mum. Luckily, I live in a time and a place where it’s acceptable to do both.
What challenges do you face balancing both roles and how do you overcome them?
Many more than I anticipated before I had children.
Challenge 1: Guilt
I sometimes feel guilty when I have to work and my children are wanting me or if I’m feeling distracted about work when I’m with them. I deal with this by reminding myself that I’ve made many changes to my work to be with them more.
Challenge 2: Mixed feelings
Despite the guilt about not being with my children sometimes, I also feel frustrated at times that I can’t spend more time on my work. I’m very driven and love learning and progressing in my career. To deal with this constant tension, I cut myself some slack sometimes. If I’m missing my kids, I take the afternoon off to be with them. If I’m feeling like I need to push some work out, I’ll set up a game or DVD for the girls and spend an hour on work.
Challenge 3: Exhaustion
I think this is a challenge for all parents, regardless of whether they work or not. I’m trying to overcome this by focusing on the simple things, like getting enough sleep, eating nutritious food and walking for exercise.
Challenge 4: Finding flexibility that lets you continue to grow
I had a flexible job as a lawyer. This was great – for a while. I wasn’t able to progress in my position given my part-time status, unfortunately. And finding another part-time role related to my expertise proved extremely difficult. I found it a huge challenge to see my career flatline because I chose flexibility. I overcame this, eventually, by starting my own business. I’m absolutely loving the challenge and flexibility of working for myself.
What is one tip you have for unwinding after a stressful day?
Disconnect – don’t check social media or emails. Instead, spend some time outside. Even just ten minutes pottering in the garden or watching the afternoon sun works wonders for me. And the kids love it too. Simple!
What is one fun weekend activity that your family enjoys together?
We love seeing a movie together or going to the beach.
What is one time-saving parenting tip you can recommend?
Online grocery shopping – I wouldn’t survive without it.
What benefits do you think there are to being a career mum?
Many benefits for both career and home life. I’m a more satisfied and happy mum because I can work and feel rewarded and challenged by my job. There’s the financial benefit, too. From a career perspective, becoming a mum helped me work out what I really wanted to do and gave me the confidence and motivation to make a career change. I’ve always been an organised and efficient worker, but I think becoming a mum has amped up those strengths, too. I’m also happy that my girls will grow up seeing that it’s possible and rewarding to do both – if that’s what they choose.
Lastly, what do you do to ensure you maintain a strong bond with your child/children, despite having numerous responsibilities?
I changed my working life so I could get more control over the juggle. Moving to freelance work means I can more easily attend school events, be there for school drop offs and all the other routine things. I also make sure we do lots of the simple things they enjoy, like going to the park or Storytime sessions at our local library.
Libby is the perfect example of a mum who has managed to progress professionally, while still maintaining a career flexible enough that she can be there completely for her kids. What an inspiration!