Recently I have felt more inclined to express my personal experience of being a mother, architect and director of a practice and how I make it work;
My focal points are the challenges I face, what I find most rewarding and what I would advise other mothers and anyone considering having a child whilst being an architect.
To be honest I didn't start university thinking: “How am I going have a career and a baby?” Do most women?
You could say I was naive but maybe it was a blessing. There was not so much talk then about the ‘challenges’ women faced in the profession but more about the ratio of men/women, which is shifting and why these conversations are so prevalent.
Motherhood was so far down my list. My main focus was to become an architect. That remained my primary goal over the next 10 years.
I became part of the team at GTA in its 3rd year, a diverse and micro sized practice with a high proportion of women... FYI, that still remains the case.
Upon joining the team my goal was to learn as much as I could about every stage to enable me to become a really good architect. Thankfully, I was given the support and ability to do so.
I think that was the best thing I did looking back early in my career. I was dedicated and focused on the projects I was involved in.
My advice to others would be to try and do the same. Once you are part of a team that has a successful project you start to build good relationships with other consultants and clients.
This is something that can't be taken away from you or easily obtained.
What’s more, I have an extremely good support system at work and at home and they understand my schedule and constraints, which aids in making balancing personal and professional life a little easier.
I do however have mum guilt and work guilt. Children are unpredictable so your life is dictated by them at times and that cannot be controlled.
I find being and architect and a mother extremely rewarding. I am so grateful for my naive state of mind. Women are individuals as well as mothers, being a mother shouldn't stop us from pursuing careers that we enjoy and have worked hard to achieve, if that is our desire!