Inspiring Mummy: Sally Morgan
Tell us about yourself: I’m Sally Morgan, 45 years old. I’m a freelance inbound marketing consultant and budding value investor.
Tell us about your family set up: I’m married with two sons of my own and a step-son. We’re a very modern, extended family. My husband’s son lives half the time with us and half the time with his mum, just down the road. We also share our two dogs with her. We live on the edge of Crawley, near Gatwick airport, conveniently close to London for the odd work day in town and blissfully close to the south coast as well.
Do you work or stay at home? How does that work for you? How do you feel about those decisions and choices? Has what you do greatly changed since you’ve had a family? In what ways? I work from home, as does my husband. We share our home office and work on some crossover projects, although mainly we work separately on our own things.I was always career-focused. I was a professional ballet dancer when I was younger, until a back injury stopped me. I later studied English Literature and Creative Writing at university and just as I’d launched a new career in TV production, I discovered I was pregnant.
I became a freelance writer initially purely by chance, thanks to an editor I’d worked with. My career since then has evolved around my family life, rather than me having to adapt it to fit. I suppose that’s quite unusual really, because I changed careers in my twenties: I was twenty-nine when I graduated.I had to work for financial reasons and wanted to use my degree but couldn’t drop everything and go to wherever the work was anymore. Instead, I sought out opportunities that were either close to home or that I could do from home.
There were some challenging moments. I wrote for a travel magazine for a couple of years which meant a few press trips abroad but actually the kids dealt with those quite well; probably because they were over quickly. More challenging was becoming a senior account manager in a PR agency. The office was a seven-minute walk from my house but the days were long. Three days a week, a child minder took the boys to and from school, but I couldn’t have managed the rest of the time without the support of my mum and aunt. I owe them a great deal. We often had to attend client events which meant late nights in London and I’d miss putting the boys to bed. If one of them was sick, I’d have to work from home and often felt the pressure to outperform my colleagues, to prove I wasn’t slacking in front of the TV!
It’s very different now. I have my own business and manage my own time. I think having a family has made me a better worker. I can’t believe how much mums fit into their days. I’m ashamed to think I ever considered myself busy before I experienced the challenges of fitting a career around two young boys.
What are your day-to-day challenges as a mum? My kids are older now – I have two at high school and one about to start year six – so I rarely get a sleepless night or tantrum now. (Although the fourteen-year-old has his moments!)The challenge is the same, although the circumstances have changed. That is, feeling pulled in many directions at once. When I have a lot of work on, I feel guilty for telling my kids, ‘just give me another half an hour,’ and sending them, hang-dog, back to the sofa.
When I’m finished with work, I feel guilty about taking ten minutes to sit and do nothing because I feel I should be doing another load of washing or sorting out that messy cupboard.
When the kids were little, they were often sick and any mum will know it’s impossible to get anything done when your feverish tot needs endless cuddles. I have written articles all night to meet deadlines. When I look back on those days now, I don’t quite know how I did it.
Now, I try to get my work finished before the afternoon school run (sometimes I still have to work later). But it’s important I’m present for the boys, at least for part of the evenings, helping them with homework. Then they all have hobbies – my eldest is quite a serious guitarist and the younger two have shifting interests. I want to give them as many opportunities as possible, but sometimes it’s tricky to get one to rock-climbing, one to music and the other to swimming at the same time.
What would you most like to change about your current situation? That’s a tough one! My life is busy but happy. I feel as though I fit a lot into each day and that’s mainly because I’m always in a rush.I tend to squeeze time for myself into the gaps between other things. I make the most of the school runs, for example, when the kids aren’t there, when I’ve dropped them off or before I collect them – listening to a song I like in the car, or catching up on phone calls with friends. So, I suppose the one thing I’d change is the pace of life. Something slightly more sedate would be nice, where I'm not doing three things at one, racing out the door with wet hair, coffee in a travel mug on no breakfast!
In what ways do you hope to inspire your children? I would like to inspire my kids to be hard workers, to understand that nothing just happens, that you have to put effort into something to get something good out.I also want them to understand the value of saving, of being financially self-reliant. I am a value investor and manage my own portfolio. I never want to be a burden on society and want to instil that desire in my kids too.
If anyone wants to know more about easy value investing, I use a platform called STRIDE. It took a huge burden off me, knowing I was being proactive in securing money for whatever lies ahead. It’s a very low activity way of investing too – I couldn’t handle anything too fast-paced. I have enough of that in my daily life!
What inspires you the most? (People/books/art etc…) As I get older, I find inspiration strikes from all sorts of places. I’ve always loved books, art, going to the theatre, funny people, clear thinkers, drama that stops me in my tracks and turns my head in a new direction. Now I love hearing my oldest son play the guitar or hearing one of the others tell a joke. Their ideas about the world and how they see it is a whole new source of inspiration for me.
Do you currently take any regular time out for yourself? What do you do with that time out? If not, why not? What prevents you? My main source of time out is going to the gym. You can take the dancer out of the studio but not the studio out of the dancer, it seems. Nothing gets me smiling like a combat class to banging music!
What are your thoughts about the Inspiring Mummy Club, and what do you see as its appeal? I think the best thing about the Inspiring Mummy Club is the support network it’s created. I love my girlfriends; I can’t imagine life without them. We root endlessly for each other and want to build each other up, celebrate our victories and soothe away the crappy times. The more of that kind of support women have in their lives, the better it is for everyone around them.
Sally's official work website is www.salmorgan.uk, and if anyone wants to know more about value investing, take a look at www.stride.ws. Or better still, come and visit us in the Inspiring Mummy Club Facebook Group!