Andrea Mara

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Andrea Mara

What is Imposter Syndrome and how do you shush that voice?

“We want you to be branch manager.” I hung up the phone, those out-of-the-blue words still ringing in my ears. It was 2006, and my department was being outsourced to another financial services company. And now apparently they needed a branch manager. I was thrilled – for a whole millisecond.

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Breathing In All The Spaces

I promised myself (not just an in-the-air promise – an actual written down promise) that the next time I had a lull, I’d take a morning for myself. And here I am – almost all current deadlines met, book edits on the way but not here yet – doing just

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What I Don’t Miss About Life Before Kids

What do you miss about life before kids? That was the question in an online discussion I read recently. Sleep. Free-time. Me-time. Money. Nights out. Lying-in. Tea that’s not gone cold. Peeing alone. Not in any kind of “I wish I never had kids because I miss that hot tea so much” way. Just a list of

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Changing Culture and Sliding Doors

Watching an episode of Mad Men recently, I found myself feeling every inch of what was taking place on screen. It wasn’t about drinking Bourbon in the office and it wasn’t about everyday sexism – it was about an office move. (For anyone who is still watching Mad Men, there are

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The Life-Changing Magic of Freelancing

A year ago today, I walked out of my beloved office for the last time, switching from a 17 year career in financial services to the unknown world of freelance writing from home. I say ‘beloved’ without a hint of sarcasm – I loved my office very much. It was a

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The Work Wardrobe Has Come Full Circle

For seventeen years, I had an office uniform. Not a real uniform – just one that met the dress code of a typical office. For the first few years, the self-imposed uniform was mostly black-trousers-and-something, though I occasionally changed it up with grey trousers – just to add a splash of colour. My

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Seven Ways to Pretend to be Busy at Work

He’s the busiest person in the office. Most of us know this person. He is always too busy to stop and talk. He must be important, because nobody could be that busy all the time and not be important. And whatever you do, don’t ask him to take on anything else –

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Hello again and on to phase 2

So after four months of night-time working and day-time mammying, last week everything changed. For the first time, all three kids are in school and preschool, and I can work in the mornings. It’s surreal to be at home when they’re not here, and it’s a little bit lonely to think they’re

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Diary of an Out-of-Office Mum

Day 1 not in the office – Tuesday May 5th  The kids were off school today, and it was a very normal day. I’ve had dozens of days like this, when I’ve taken annual leave during school holidays, and this didn’t feel too different. No big “shock” moment. That’s good. We

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Facing the Real Bosses

I wrote this a few weeks ago, right after I told the kids that I was finishing up in my job: I’ve just had a very grown-up conversation with two relatively small girls. It’s one I’ve been dreading – the “I’m going to be staying home from work from now

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The secret life of a working mum

I’m writing this from my small boy’s bedroom floor, and when he finally goes to sleep, I’ll grab something to eat, probably standing at the counter, making a school lunch and checking e-mails at the same time. Then I’ll bake a cake for the school cake-sale. OK, there’s no cake-sale.

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Tea Meets Dress

I had my fortnightly spill-on-the-desk incident today, only instead of the usual full cup of water, it was a full cup of tea. And not just on the desk, but all over my chair too, and the floor, and my notebook, and my dress. In the middle of the day,

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Rescue Me!

Back in 2003, I switched jobs at work, and took on something that was way out of my comfort zone. One of those “feel the fear and do it anyway” moments, where the outcome is supposed to be life-changing and wonderful and so, so worth it. I had imaginary conversations

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The Slow-it-Down Day

Walking back to the car after the school run, I called to Sam to hurry up, then caught myself, realising that for once, there was no reason to hurry. It was 9am. We had just dropped Clara and Emmie to school. And both were invited on playdates after school –

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Aiming Low and Being Present

I really like a good list. And ticking things off lists. And sometimes adding things I’ve already done so that I can tick them off. The satisfying swoosh. Tick, tick, tick. And I like new year’s resolutions. But only ones that I a) really genuinely want to achieve and b)

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Parenting 5-year-old style

One day last week, Clara looked a little sad coming out of school. The kind of sad face most of us see from time to time – the one that makes you think “Please let this be because she didn’t like her sandwiches and not that she’s decided she hates

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Reasons to drink pretend champagne

I wasn’t going to write anything about this week, but I’m sitting here drinking champagne (the not-champagne type), and that seems like a reason to write it down (or maybe it’s the bubbles talking) As work-life balance goes, this week has been rather one-sided. Work has been busy and difficult. The

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Office Mum stories – Sara Delmer

“…while being at home with your kids is great…it isn’t easy, you don’t get a break, you can barely get a chance to pee in peace! It is very rewarding in other ways but it is in no way glamorous” This week I meet Sara Delmer who is a twenty-eight

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The Rules

Drink eight glasses of water a day. Take the stairs. Put the phone away when the kids are around. Be on time for work. Be on time leaving work. Pay attention during homework time. Eat five servings of fruit and veg a day. Don’t let the kids watch too much TV. Get seven

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