How do you feel your confidence has changed over the past 10 years?

My confidence has fluctuated hugely. In most senses it has grown, but sometimes self-doubt creeps in. I think that’s natural for a woman of my age in the workplace. The imposter syndrome is real.

One way it has increased is that I’m much less afraid to challenge injustices and speak out when someone is being discriminatory, I believe I’m a good ally in all senses.

My confidence has grown as a mum of 2, I’m much more confident in my own decision making in parenting this time round, whereas I struggled with that with my first. However,since returning to work after maternity leave, I have found my confidence has dipped slightly and I feel like I’m finally starting to find my feet again.

Why do you think that is?

Some of it has come with age, maturity and confidence in my own ability. Regarding the dip in confidence after maternity leave, I think spending an extended period outside the workplace is challenging.

I’ve been guilty of placing unrealistic expectations on myself to come back and be the same person, with the same thoughts and opinions I had when I left. When the reality is, having a baby is a monumental life stage. It does change you as a person and provides different perspectives and life experience.

I also think the impact of breastfeeding hormones and the logistics that come with trying to continue to breastfeed and work a full-time job can be stressful and impactful, especially when you’re trying to keep up appearances and maintain the reputation you had and expectations on you prior to leaving for maternity leave. The statistics on this speak for themselves, would encourage anyone to have a read of the careers after babies report.

Do you feel invisible in some aspects of your life? How does that show up?

I absolutely do in some aspects of my life. I am a mum, without a mother figure myself and that can be a lonely place to be sometimes.

However, I feel like over the years my feelings of invisibility have decreased. Recently taking on a volunteer director position has helped with that; I feel like I’m doing something beneficial, and my skills have been recognised and I’m getting the opportunity to put them into action.

Tell me about a woman who is older than you, inspires you and why? Describe how she makes you feel.

Carrie inspires me, who owns this blog. I find it really empowering how she has found her voice on a professional platform. She is unapologetic with what she posts, and fights for what she really believes in. She is a big supporter of other women and I regularly see her championing others online. She makes me feel like I can do it too and gives me confidence to speak out and have ideas on how to create a space for women online.

What worries you about ageing?

I’m really scared about my dad ageing as I age too. My dad is my only close family member. I have young children and I’m an only child. I have seen other women struggle with caring for elderly parents, children and maintain a career – the ‘sandwich generation’ as its sometimes called. I know that is somewhere in my future, hopefully many years away, but the prospect does scare me and how I will balance it all.

I’m also weirdly fearful of the physical aging process. I really need to challenge my own thought processes on this as I get older, and I start to notice changes in my appearance.

What excites you about ageing?

Leaving behind the sometimes perceived ‘lack of experience’ that being a young woman in the workplace brings. There will always be people older than me, with more experience. I can’t grow experience overnight. However what I strive to do, istake ownership of my own professional development and create experiences for myself. Despite this, occasionally ‘years in the workplace’ does come into conversation, usually by people who don’t know me very well.

It’s something I feel I can’t overcome in its entirety without more years under my belt. So I’m looking forward to that no longer being a factor. Whenever it is raised, I find it does dim my light a little and makes me feel invisible. I’m also excited about all the learning and professional development opportunities to come!

What is probably the most exciting bit is looking forward to the holidays and experiences we will have when I’m not paying extortionate childcare costs!

What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

Things will get better and the situation you are in is not typical. You will quickly learn this when you go to university.

Don’t go and do hospitality at college. Do the 5 A level’s you want to do. Study Government and Politics and Law, strive for the Law degree you have always wanted.

You are capable. Don’t let anyone make you think you are less than that.

Be unapologetically yourself, stop feeling the need to conform. Be kind to yourself, learn to love yourself and who you really are.

Question from Ashton.

What is being Self Assured to you?

To me, being self-assured is having confidence in your own decision making and own ability, recognising the breadth of my own knowledge and skills.