Being a Mother doesn’t need to Scupper your Career Plans

Kim Palmer is the founder of Clementine – an app by women, for women who want to feel more confident, sleep better and wave goodbye to the stresses of daily life. Kim juggles this with a career as a strategy director for Wunderman, a digital agency in London, and family life with her hubby and two little boys.

Let me start by saying that I don’t believe in ‘Supermum’ or the idea that women can ‘have it all’. In fact, I really don’t like it when people say to me: “How do you do it all?” or “Wow, you’re superwoman!” The reality, when you really look at my life, is so far from this. I’m dropping balls left, right and centre – daily. But I’m consciously dropping them, because I’ve now worked out that I can’t do everything.

It took becoming a mum for me to realise that something has to give: I can’t be everything to everyone, while also looking after myself, because I will burn out. I’ll have a meltdown. Use whatever catastrophic metaphor you like: that’s what will happen. However, as well as absolutely loving my role as a mother – to my three-year-old son, Louis, and my second baby; who’s due any day – I do love my career.

So, rather than leaving my career behind when I became a mum, I decided to look at what motherhood gave me, and to use these skills to further my career. I’ve become more proficient at time management, negotiation, looking after my own wellbeing, caring for others, and being open about the struggles. All of these skills are invaluable for my strategy director role at Wunderman marketing agency.

But what I also learned on maternity leave was that I need to sometimes slow down. I had something of a mental breakdown during my first pregnancy. It was horrific. However, I found a way out through hypnotherapy and this led to me building an app, called Clementine, which helps other women to be more confident, get better sleep and feel less stressed. The Guardian voted it one of seven apps every woman should own.

Now, this might sound like I’m doing a lot. But it’s all on my terms. I work a four-day week at the agency, Fridays are for Clementine and the weekend is for my family. How I spend my evenings depends on how I’m feeling: I might work, or I might have a long, hot, bubble bath and read my book. I put myself first, with my family, and everything else second. This new approach, of thinking about my own wellbeing before my role in the workplace, is what’s saving me.

It’s entirely possible to have kids and to have a full career. I feel devoted to my family, but also to my day job and to my business. It’s possible to juggle these three aspects of my life because I’ve learned what my limits are. Last month, I won the Women of Tomorrow Awards. What I’d like to see is mothers, like me, feeling empowered at home and at work, but also looking after themselves.

If you’d like a confidence boost, better sleep or to feel generally calmer, check out Clementine App.


SharpLifeBeing a Mother doesn’t need to Scupper your Career Plans

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