The Paediatrician And Mumpreneur
Thankyou to Mojomums who kindly published an article on me; http://mojomums.co.uk/profile-of-a-working-mum-the-paediatrician-and-mumpreneur/
(Thankyou to Russ Jackson for giving up his time to take this photo, http://www.russjacksonphotography.co.uk)
Name: Dr Ella Rachamim
Number of children: Three under the age of 3, including twins
Job title: Paediatrician and director of Be Ready to Parent
Being the sole employee of my new business offering practical parenting tips to parents and parents to be means I do everything! I spend time developing courses and training, running antenatal classes for singletons and twins and teaching postnatal workshops, responding to emails, administration and bookings, dealing with advertising and marketing through social media and physically putting the company out there. Networking with other mumpreneurs – a term I only recently got acquainted with – takes a large bite of my time. Thankfully some of this networking can take place with kids in tow at my house or a local play area, working with other mums who are juggling childcare too.
A large part of my work in setting up was also to build up a list of health and childcare professionals and companies who are sound and sensible that I would be happy using and recommending. This has been challenging but also a big achievement – I want to be able to take away the conflicting advice and give parents contact details of knowledgeable and experienced professionals who can help. I now work with a fantastic team of people including a babycare consultant, Janne Harrison, who helps me run the Training days and is also my sounding board for everything, a midwife, a breastfeeding counsellor, a women’s physiotherapist and more who all teach on the antenatal courses. The diversity and range of experiences they bring make my courses quite unique.
On top of the business side of things I am very involved in my local twins group and help with the running of the playgroup, new parents coffee mornings and social events.
I have no salaried hours, except the odd training sessions I do for Safe and Sound, who run first aid courses. The training days I run through Be Ready to Parent are once a month on a weekend so far. Then all the admin and other stuff is fitted around nap times (I am not looking forward to my son cutting his nap out; he is probably ready but I am not!) and evenings into the wee hours of the morning. It can be 6 hours a day in total – and mostly goodwill and for free!
Having children has made me a better Paediatrician – there are some things you just can’t know until you are a parent yourself.
I struggle to fit things around my current arrangements. Before Be Ready to Parent started up my childcare arrangements seemed to work well with my Mother’s Help coming 3 afternoons a week from 3-7pm and my son in preschool 2 mornings and going to my parents for one night and a day. However, since the business has got going and is sometimes all-consuming I have realised I need more help in the mornings rather than after 3pm, when dinner, bath and bed for all 3 looms ever closer. I haven’t figured out how to make this switch yet though but something needs to change as working till 1am most days has got to stop!
What I love about work:
I wanted to spend more time with my little ones, 3 under 3 years old. I wanted to watch them grow and hear their funny phrases and see their tumbles. For all these reasons, I just wasn’t ready to go back to being an NHS Paediatrician with the shift work and unsociable hours. The School of Paediatrics has been amazing and I am grateful for their kindness in letting me have a long career break but I know I have to go back. I am lucky in that I can work 3 days a week within the NHS without any problem but I am just loving being a stay at home mum and feel strongly that I am not ready to give that up quite yet. I love the fact that what I am doing is relevant, empowering and every day is different. It’s exciting and I really enjoy being my own boss with no-one telling me about waiting times and targets I need to meet. It is in my time on my agenda.
What I find difficult is:
Certainly my husband does not get enough of my time and it is very easy to let your relationship slip and take a back seat. He is tolerant but also needs his wife-time! It’s a work in progress – help and advice always welcome!?
I also worry about my medical career – where is this all going? Is the business going to work? Will it work with clinical practice or will it be too much to try to combine?
All the usual worries of a highly driven doctor who has jumped off the conveyor belt of a vocational job and discovered a huge and exciting world outside of the wonderful but institutionalising NHS!
My working life would be easier if…
1. I had more rooms! One for a study and one for an Au Pair! We don’t have space for an Au Pair which would make things much easier. We also don’t have a study so my work is downstairs with the kids lovingly around me and being interrupted by the endearing chatter of my Mother’s Help! My first step this week was to put a table and laptop upstairs in our bedroom for some quiet work space and time – let’s see how that makes a difference for a start. I am after all a full-time mum before anything else and want to remain so for the foreseeable future.
2. I knew where my career was heading.
3. I could go back to medicine but on my terms.
Work/mum life balance:
I feel like I have 2 full-time jobs simultaneously. The business is fairly new so I haven’t worked out my balance yet. I don’t know what I would do without my parents though, especially my step-dad who is brilliant with the kids and can look after them all on his own from dusk to dawn. But if he went back to work (he was made redundant so has been off work recently) I would be really stuck.
How having children has changed the work I do:
It has made me a better Paediatrician for sure – I can honestly say that some things you just can’t know until you are a parent yourself and this has made me far more empathetic and supportive of new parents. I have come to realise that a lot of paediatrics is basic parenting and yet we get no teaching on this at all.
We wanted children so much that we feel so blessed to have 3 beautiful and healthy kids and appreciate our time with them every day. Having had postnatal depression I am even more thankful that they are happy and loving and secure in themselves and in their relationship with me. This has also shaped my way of thinking, enlightened me to a world outside the NHS, given me an understanding of what others go through beyond what I could have ever learnt from a book and essentially led the way to me starting up my own business, and re-shaping my future.
Fantasy job / If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be…
Running a children’s clinic in Africa. When I worked in The Gambia and other parts of Africa it was hard to make the decision to come back to set up home and start a family. I wanted both lives but soon realised I couldn’t have them the way I wanted. I got quite close – I married a South African doctor! But I chose a husband, family and children and have absolutely no regrets. One day when they are older I hope to go back to Africa with them though.
One of my consultants said to me, “take time with your kids Ella, you never get that time back.” I am following that advice and enjoying every day. I want to also make a real difference in the world – and although for the moment not in Africa – I strive to make a difference locally by running antenatal courses and training days that fill a gap between what is currently being taught and what really needs to be taught. My whole ethos is empowering new parents with knowledge, support and confidence in their own parenting.