I met Lorinda ( aka Lolly ) just briefly in 2012. We lost touch, until our paths crossed again a year ago as I contacted Lorinda to write a blog on www.abirdwithafrenchfry.com about one of my new children projects I was working on at the time.
Boy! am I glad to have gotten to know Lorinda, she gives the best hugs EVER! and is one of the sweetest and most genuine people I have had the pleasure to meet.
We talk to Lorinda for our JFM's Maltese Working Mums Interview and find out how she juggles work, family and life all together.
Name and Surname: Lorinda Mamo
Relationship Status: Married
Children: One 3-year old son
Work Status: Freelance and Part-Time work from home
Lorinda was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and moved to Malta with her family in her early 20’s. Most of her academic background is based in sciences, but her heart has always been in design and creativity. In 2006, her and her husband started their own creative design studio. She started her blog in 2012, when she found out she was pregnant.
She is passionate about creativity and all things design; especially baby and kid related. She loves to write, her husband’s pasta dishes and her son’s cuddles. She enjoys sewing and a good book. And every day she tries to be as Happy as a Bird with a French Fry, because it’s just that simple.
Tell us something about yourself. Anything.
I am obsessed with stationery- mostly notebooks and planners. I could eat sushi every day and I am addicted to chia seeds - I put them on everything. I am happiest spending time with my family. I absolutely love everything in design and I quickly become passionate about any project I am working on. I enjoy exercising my creativity wherever I can. I confess to being a hopeless romantic. I am a cancer survivor, and raising a child with a rare syndrome and chronic kidney disease.
How do you and your son, spend time together?
We like to read books, visit the nearby playground, and go for walks. More recently our adventures take us anywhere there is a construction site in operation, or even just to gawk at the enormous yellow machines parked in the street.
When and why did you choose to go back to work?
Initially, I had tried to continue working after my son was born, since I could easily work from home. When my son was born with the rare Prune Belly Syndrome and Chronic Kidney Disease, it was very difficult for me to focus on anything except caring for him. When he was stable, and I decided it would be a good time to get back to doing some work, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. While I went through my chemotherapy and treatments, my son also ended up going several serious and life threatening surgeries. My son has been relatively stable since then, I have completed my treatment and have been clear for one year. As soon as we were both ‘better’ I wanted to start working, and start filling my life with things other than blood tests, treatments and hospitals.
What is your childcare situation, and how do you live with the arrangement?
When I need to work outside of home, my son has 2 sets of loving grandparents that are very happy to take care of him. It’s a good situation for me as I am not away much and I often try to set hours around his treatments.
How did you go from Full-time to Part-time/ Reduced hours?
I previously co-owned a creative design and advertising company (Design Chronicle Studios) with my husband where I worked long hours. The decision to go from full-time to part-time hours was made closer to the end of my pregnancy, and then more so, after my son was born.
What are your greatest professional strengths and achievements?
I need to be highly organised with my work. I only do jobs and projects I feel I can give my all to. My achievements include writing a quote (‘every great design begins with an even better story) that has been inspiring creatives all over the world, and with it creating a platform (The Creativity Chronicles) with the concept of storytelling to tell the story behind creative projects and businesses. Working in the field of design and advertising has given me the opportunity to work on many different projects in many different areas. I am currently, and always have been, most passionate about design, and this is reflected in my blog ‘A Bird with a French Fry’ where I write about my experiences in motherhood as well as write about design-led fashion and decor for littles.
You seem really busy! How do you manage work and family?
Not easily, and not without sacrifice. There are not enough hours in the day for me to achieve everything I want to. There are meals to prepare, laundry to fold, dishes to wash, medicines to prepare, diapers to change, designing, creating, writing etc, etc. I am lucky enough to have a husband who helps and we share the responsibilities.
In what ways do you allow your work life and home life to overlap?
I try not to allow my work life and home life overlap...but they just do. Mostly with my blog - I write about parenting and living with a child. Since I also focus on design-led items and interiors for babies and children, I can see how things work for us in our own lives, and help others with my reviews and opinions and styling projects.
What motivates you?
My motivation comes from 3 streams that intertwine - my life with my husband, that with my son, and knowing just how precious life is. A few years ago, my life was turned upside down, and that just changed how I looked at things. Where before I was motivated to do more, now I am motivated more to make the most of everyday any way I can.
Do you think it is easier or harder to be a working Mum today?
I don’t really feel I can judge whether it is easier or harder today, being a mum is tough work, emotionally and physically, so now or before I think it was just as challenging. Perhaps today, women may be more inclined to return to work sooner, because lifestyles demand more, but I do know older generations of women who worked and raised children and it was still difficult to juggle everything. I like to think that everyone does what suits them and their family best.
What should employers do?
Employers need to trust that if they have an employee who is a mother and wants to continue working, they need to be honest with each other and come to terms on the best solutions that both parties can benefit from. Trust and honesty are a very important part of any working relationship and even more so with a working mom who may be working from home.
Why should an employer not think twice about employing a Mum?
Having a baby gets you accustomed to timeframes, and you quickly learn to manage several things at once. It only comes naturally that a mom will transition to applying those skills to her job, being able to manage time better and get more done. I have always been a person who was driven, but more so in recent years, allowing me to apply more to my jobs and projects.
Can women have it all? What advice would you have for Mums striving to do it all?
Women can have as much as they want to work for. Nothing comes from nothing, but there is a balance that should be attained and accepting that not everything needs to be done in one day. I still struggle with this, but over these years I have learned to let go of things that I know I won’t be able to realistically do in one day. Be realistic and set realistic goals and timeframes. If something does not get done, don’t feel guilty, it can wait until the next day. I used to stay at the office till the late hours trying to finish everything that was on my to-do list for that day… and to be honest - I don’t feel like I accomplish any less now when I don’t complete everything on my list, and I feel a lot less stressed.
What is the best parenting advice to give to working Mums or to those looking to return to the work force?
Everything will happen in the time it needs to happen - perhaps cliche, but there is no use in forcing anything. I knew I wanted to continue to work after I had my son but I had no idea how things were going to turn out, so my plans had to change. My son was and still is my first priority but I work around him and his needs. Trying to work before I knew he was better or more stable only set me up for more stress, and feeling of being a failure as I was unable to focus, and therefore could not complete usual tasks. Give yourself time and things will eventually fall into place.
If you had to live your life over again, what’s the one thing you would have done differently as a working Mum?
Not over-obsess over perfection.
Jobs for Mums Malta - Katja Dingli Bennetti