Laura Godfrey juggles three jobs and two children and has made organisation an art form. Mandy Garner talks to her about how she does it all.
Laura Godfrey is highly organised. She has to be. She juggles three jobs and two children. Izzy, aged 3, goes to nursery and Alex, aged 5, is at school. Laura’s main job is as an osteopath which she has been doing since before the children were born. Her other jobs involve office administration for her in-laws’ translation agency [www.arblimited.com] and doing the books for her brother’s estate agency in St John’s Wood [www.hanover-residential.co.uk].
Laura, 37, used to work for a pharmaceutical company, but decided to become an osteopath when she met her husband Phil. She worked on the reception desk of his osteopathy practice while studying at university for five years, but now says it has all proved worth it since it is a job that fits very well around children. She and her husband work together in their practice which is a mile from her North London home [www.backinhealth.co.uk]. She works four mornings a week. She does the work for the translation agency and property company in the evenings. “I wanted to get more involved in the translation agency,” she says. “I knew it would be a lot of work, but figured once the kids were both at school I would have time to fit it in. I knew I would be looking for things to do,” she says. Her dad was an accountant so she says she had a head for figures and she was trained to use Sage business software. At first it was very time consuming inputting all the data, but now it is just a case of maintaining it so the job is manageable.
Out of control
Laura says she tries not to stress out and always puts the kids first. However, despite being very organised, she says that since her daughter came along she has been feeling “ever so slightly out of control with my life”. “One to two is such a big jump,” she says.
Two mornings a week she goes in early and her husband does the school/nursery run. In term time, she does an extra morning a week and on a Saturday — her mother in law looks after the children. Her sister lives nearby and her children are at the same school as Alex so she sometimes picks him up.
Alex and Izzy were adopted and Laura took just six weeks’ off with each. Before they were two, Laura and her husband alternated their work patterns so they didn’t have to resort to childcare, but from two they both went into nursery. Next year Izzy starts school and Laura thinks that will make things easier. She thinks the children are well adapted to her work. “They understand that I work and have done so from an early age so it is normal for them,” she says. She picks up Izzy from nursery at 1.15pm and says from then till the children’s bedtime is essentially their time. They do a full range of activities and clubs.
A new person
Laura says that she thinks it would be more difficult for her not to work. “I think I would go nuts,” she says. “I can be stressed and exhausted when I get to work , but 99% of the time when I finish work I am like a new person.” She says she admires friends who are full-time mums, but thinks it is really tough. Many of her friends were in high-flying jobs and had to give up because the demands of their jobs didn’t fit with children. She is lucky because her job is adaptable. “I can choose my hours and could see patients at home if I wanted to.”
She did have an au pair for a short time, but didn’t like having someone else in her home all the time. She now has a cleaner who comes regularly. She does her food shopping four or five times a week on the way to work and cooks every day. She is so organised that she has actually timed how long it takes to empty the dishwasher [two minutes] so she can’t moan about it taking up precious time. She spends half of every evening getting ready for the next day, doing lunches, getting clothes ready and setting out the breakfast. She writes everything down on a calendar on the wall and splits it into mornings, afternoons and evenings with a special column for things like birthdays, but says most of the time she does things as soon as she is asked rather than putting them on a to do list. She says she very much lives by the motto that ‘if you want something done, ask a busy person’. She thrives on busyness. “If I have nothing to do I get irritable,” she says. “I have to be busy. I wouldn’t have taken on extra work if not. I’ve got a bit too much at the moment, but in a year’s time it will all fit into place.”