Going back to work as a Producer/Director for the first time after having my little girl felt like a holiday compared to motherhood! writes Laura Leigh, Media Parents PD.
Ava was 6 months old when I was offered the chance to make a taster tape for Renegade Pictures. I wasn’t going to go back to work until she was 9-12 months old, as I felt like she was too young to leave, but as the contract was only short and I had my mum on hand, I felt it was an opportunity I shouldn’t pass up.
Renegade were fantastic and agreed to me doing a 4 day week when I asked them, which for the specific job I was doing, worked out well. Just knowing that Media Parents exists and being a part of it gave me the extra courage to ask for a shorter working week, and to ask to come in earlier and leave at 5pm on days when I wasn’t shooting or in the edit. Saying goodbye to Ava on the first morning was difficult, but I was also really excited to start back in an industry I love and had really missed.
From the moment I started it felt like I had never been away. TV is definitely like riding a bike, you never forget. I missed Ava loads but I felt like suddenly I had my identity back again, which was great. I was no longer just a mum whose only conversation was how my baby is sleeping (which still isn’t great by the way!), what she is eating and what her nappy contents look like!
I felt like I had a new lease of life and it was so nice to sit at the dinner table after a day’s work, with my husband, Producer Alex Leigh (who is also in the TALENT section of www.mediaparents.co.uk) and discuss something other than Ava.
I did feel quite exhausted, as she doesn’t sleep well, so dealing with her in the night then getting up and commuting an hour and half to work, doing a full day, then rushing back to put her to bed was tough. However, it did seriously feel like a break compared to being a full time mum!
It felt great being back out on location directing a crew and being creative, I really had missed it. Producing the edit and seeing the finished product take shape, made me feel proud and reminded me of the buzz you get from seeing something through from start to finish.
When the contract ended I must admit I was really looking forward to getting back to Ava and spending some proper time with her. She had developed so much in those 3 weeks and I was excited at being a full time mum again, at least for a while.
It would be great to dip in and out of the industry doing a few short contracts a year, to keep my sanity more than anything! I think being a P/D puts me in a good position to do this, as those short contracts do exist.
I wouldn’t ever want to go back full time, as I really want to be around for Ava every step of the way. But I also think its so important to find a balance that works for your family, in which you can all be happy and going back to work reminded me how happy it makes me.
Laura Leigh in her own words:
I am a creative shooting Producer/Director who has worked on a wide range of programming, including, observational documentaries, property, childrens and entertainment.
I have a great deal of experience directing crews and am an accomplished self shooter and have been the main camera on many of my projects. I can also do my own sound and lighting with confidence.
Finally, I am a friendly, dependable and outgoing individual who is extremely organised and hard working. My profile can be found on www.mediaparents.co.uk