My 12 Parenting Lessons: June Angelides MBE
My 12 Parenting Lessons: June Angelides MBE

My 12 Parenting Lessons: June Angelides MBE

June Angelides is best known for starting the UK's first child-friendly coding school for mums – Mums in Tech – during her second maternity leave. But her most important job is being a mother to her three children – Adam, ten, Ivy, seven, and Iris, four. Here, she lists the valuable lessons she and her husband Stephen have learnt so far about pregnancy, parenthood and balancing work with family.
By Georgina Blaskey

Just Because Your First Pregnancy Is Easy, Doesn’t Mean The Others Will Be

With Ivy, my middle child, I developed sciatica and when I walked my legs would give way. It was hard having a toddler in tow, especially when I was rushing home from work to pick Adam up from nursery. Equally, every birth is different and the healing process is unique every time you go through labour, so planning on something just because the one before looked a certain way isn’t always the most effective approach.


There’s No Need To Be A Hero During Labour

My first pregnancy was pretty straight forward and I indulged myself – but I didn’t realise that meant I was going to push out a 9.5lb baby! It was a long labour and I wasn’t dilating. I was given gas and air, then an epidural and was eventually assisted with forceps to get him out. I had an emergency C-section second time around because my waters broke but I didn’t dilate, so I had a planned C-section with my third. Luckily, my husband, mother and grandmother were all in the room every time, which meant a lot to me.


Don’t Be Shocked If You Find Breastfeeding Hard

Even once my son Adam got the hang of it, I was still surprised at how long it took to feed him and how many times he had to feed. It was very tiring. No-one really tells you what to expect during those first few days and I certainly wasn’t prepared. None of them would take a bottle, so I couldn’t express, either – I had to be completely on hand every time.


Family Support Makes All The Difference

My mother and my grandmother flew over from Nigeria to be with me during my pregnancies and births – they believe when your child has a child, you need to be with them. For the first two months after their births, my mother stayed with us and helped around the house, which enabled me to rest. She’d also look after me, and helped me heal. All I can say is she’s a proper African mum!


Having Your First Child Is The Hardest Transition

Once my mum had gone home and I was back at work, I couldn’t go to any social events or after-work activities because I didn’t have anyone to help with the childcare. With my first son, I joined a lot of mummy-baby groups and took him to every activity I could to help his development when I wasn't working. Later on, the girls just slotted in – they were good feeders and sleepers and it felt like they were joining our family which was already set up for more children.



The Timing Is Rarely Ideal

My husband and I got married in 2010 and I joined Silicon Valley Bank the following year. I was 26 and we really wanted a family, but I had just started this new position. It was tough working out when would be the right time. I had Adam a year later. Mine was the first maternity leave for the company; I was learning as they were learning but I managed to get a decent package. I took 14 months off – six months on full pay and then gently eased my way back in.


No-One Talks About How It Feels To Go Back To Work As A Mother

When I went back, I realised I’d forgotten so much of my job – it was a big shock. I wanted to go back three days a week but my previous role couldn’t be done part-time. I worked with a new team in a new role, which felt really strange, but then people from my old team would ask me questions and I didn’t remember the answer, which was a big confidence knock. All in all, it made me want to do things differently the second time around.


Maternity Leave Can Be An Opportunity

When I was off on maternity leave with Ivy, I came up with the idea for Mums In Tech, which was driven by my wanting to return to work with more confidence. I wanted to engage my brain but I couldn’t find a coding school – so I was encouraged to start one by a mentor. When Ivy turned six months old in September 2015, we ran the pilot programme. Each programme was eight weeks long, and mums could either keep their baby with them in the classroom or in the on-site creche which was just next door. Our clients included M&S, the Ministry of Justice, Investec and Microsoft – not places you’d expect to see 15 mums and 15 babies. I ran it until Iris was born.


It’s Perfectly Fine To Outsource Childcare

We were always nervous to employ other people to look after our children, so my husband and I would do everything – especially with the older two. With Adam, I felt the pressure to stay at work until the last moment and then dash to nursery for pick up. Because I was the first one to go on maternity leave, I wanted to pave the way for other women after me and prove it was possible to do it all.

Stephanie Sian Smith; Female Narratives


Mum Guilt Only Gets Worse

Children know what it’s like to have you around. Having spent so much time together in the pandemic, ours were so used to having us at home – and they enjoyed it. I feel guilty when I tell them I’m going to an evening event but I have to remind myself that it matters. By going, I’m able to provide them with certain things and if I don’t take these opportunities, there will be a knock-on effect.


There’s No One Way To Do Things

I hope my experience gives other women the belief that they can do it their way. There’s no one way to do things, but I’ve crafted a life that works for me and my family, and I’ve been very intentional about adding to my workload. I’d say I’m driven by a certain set of values and what I want to see in the world – namely more female founders, more women in tech and more opportunities for my daughters.


Balance Is Always Going To Be A Work In Progress

Work was a welcome distraction in the pandemic but I think I burnt myself out. Now I’ve learnt to take time out – I try to go to a spa once a quarter, drive out to the country once a month and either walk, listen to music, dance or sing on a daily basis. Once the children are asleep, my husband and I enjoy quality time. It’s easy to want to look after everyone else but we must look after ourselves first – it’s so important to fill up your own cup.

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