Alex Fulton

Children: 1 1/2

Industry: Market Research

How would you best describe yourself?

I think the best way to describe me is as an extroverted introvert, who has undertones of perfectionism, an intense sense of loyalty and justice, with a tendency towards leadership, but who has had to learn - and continues to learn - how to balance all of those qualities.

I’m a Mum to a toddler, with another one on the way. I’m someone who is married to an extraordinary man, and someone who can count her closest friends on one hand and considers that to be an extraordinary blessing.

I love the stage of life I’m in so much, and spend a lot of my time being incredibly grateful for that.

How has becoming a parent changed your perception of work and career and what surprised you the most?

While previously I’ve been focussed on wanting to climb the ranks in my industry, now, my main focus is wanting to do my job well, enjoy what I’m doing, and to enjoy my colleagues. I want to feel as though my work is meaningful and fulfilling, that my kids see me contributing to our life and livelihood outside of the home, but that I’m not ruled by my job. It’s important to me that I establish and enforce boundaries with my work, and that I don’t feel guilty about that (I’m still working on that!!).

What advice would you give your younger self about starting a family?

There will never be a good time. There will never be a perfect moment. Just do it. Do it when it’s right for you and then work everything else out.

The most valuable thing you will have in returning to work isn’t a workplace that offers the most leave, but to have a manager who gets it, and who wants to support you meaningfully through the whole process from pregnancy, to mat leave, to returning to work, and flexible arrangements. THAT is what will make the world of difference. Seek that out.

What has been your biggest challenge so far across the stages of pregnancy/leave/returning to work?  How have you overcome this?

Feeling anxious. Feeling as though I have to control as many variables in my daughters life and routine as possible. This was definitely influenced by a tough first few months, particularly with bad sleep, but it taught me to control the things I can, and put into place reasonable measures that made me feel better about the situation.

My mothers group has also been instrumental in helping me learn to breathe through various situations, and be ok with things not being in my control!

Also, relying on my husband and making sure we share the load has been essential. Not feeling guilty for saying “I need you to be home on time to help with dinner, bath, bed because I’ve had a tough few days”. He’s also been fantastic at encouraging me to take time for myself and with my people.

What strategies/initiatives do you use to help you manage the juggle of being a Working Mumma and family?

Baths don’t need to happen every night. If it means you get an extra 20 minutes of sitting reading a book and having cuddles - it’s worth it. Making sure my bosses knew that the agreed-upon early starts and early finishes were non-negotiable to me so that my daughter could still get to bed on time was essential. She’s a slave to her sleep routine, which means we are too, so I made sure we adjusted our schedules to make that work.

We also plan our menu down to the day each week thinking about which nights we need a quick and easy meal.

And communication with my bosses and colleagues. I am really good at always making sure my colleagues know when I am, and when I am not available. It’s meant we don’t have too many unreasonable requests!