Ah, to be asked to write an opinion piece – surely the pinnacle of one’s career, especially on the subject of female leadership and the juggle that is parenting and career.

Us working mums tend to fall into two camps: the very loud, super vocal and the silent suffering, soldier-on types. I have not a quiet bone in my body, but I have a real fear of being a broken record – sometimes I imagine I can hear the eye rolls when I mention yet again how much extra coordination I actually manage.

However, as I have navigated my 20+ year career, I have learned a few tricks for running my day job as Sales Director at Taboola and also have a decent family balance. 

1) Know your energy levels and be unapologetic about them

My best and most concentrated work is between 6 and 7 AM. I don’t really know how or when this happened – probably years of waking up with one kid or another at 5 AM. But here we are. Equally my colleagues and clients are hard-pushed to get a response from me in the evening.

2) Give up the guilt 

I have not exercised in months – no time. Can’t fit it in. I know, I know… but I would rather power through and get what needs to be done out of the way quickly so I can put a load of washing on.

Some days, things don’t go to plan. So what if the homework was not turned in, and an email was responded to a day later, and the dog didn’t go for a walk today? Everything is ok and will be ok tomorrow.

3) Don’t over-commit

I am an extrovert and my  instinct is to always say yes to things, so not over-committing is a real challenge for me. Over time, however, I’ve learned that it’s crucial for setting expectations and avoiding letting people down both personally and professionally. 

If what I value most is drinks with my best friend on a Saturday night, a Thursday evening industry function needs to be weighed up. In my job, entertaining, drinking and general late nights are sometimes required, and I’ve had to accept that I sometimes miss things, both at work and at home. 

Give up on spontaneity: last minute is out, massive advanced warning is in.

4) Be honest and ruthless in your flexibility

As a parent, I have to arrange my working life around certain non-negotiables, planned and unplanned. There are days when I have to leave my desk early so I can get to football practice, and these days, school strikes are almost routine. 

To work around this, when I am at my desk, I’m giving it 150% – even if it means I can’t afford to stand around in the canteen to chat. I communicate my schedule and routine to my team, and they know what to expect from me and when.  

5) Find your tribe and know your tribe will change 

Finding work allies is hard, as you are no longer free for after work drinks on a whim. My work tribe now are nearly all parents. They get it, and we can lean on each other. 

Recently, I founded the Taboola Families employee resource group, which is working to support parents and families at the company.  Now, we have a dedicated structure around promoting policy, education, social and motivational needs. Sometimes it’s as simple as pointing out that a 6pm mixer will not suit everyone.

6) Cry – don’t hold it all in

As I carry more and as my body has changed, I have given in to a wee cry now and then – and,  My God, it helps. Sometimes when work is overwhelming or frustrating or you have just had a row with the Son/Husband/Mother, it’s great to go for a walk and let it out before returning to the calmness of work. I think the strength of women leaders is in their emotion, so I do not hide it.

When all is said and done,  being a female leader in modern ad tech, and balancing that with a family, comes down to 3 things: being empathetic, speaking your truths, and increasingly – saying No.