How A Career at the BBC Prepares You for Having a Baby

Hi.  I’m pleased to start writing non-travel related material for the rather wonderful Mommy Effect.  Here’s my first post for them for any media mammas out there 🙂

How a Career at the BBC Prepares you for Parenthood!

Nothing prepares you for life looking after your very own tiny human, except perhaps a career at the BBC. Surprisingly it kind of does. After a decade of directing documentaries this is what I learned…

-They call on you at any time. They’re not always the best at communicating exactly what they want but it’s very clear when they’re happy and when they’re not. And just as you’re about to head out the door they’ll do something that changes everything. Life with Executive Producers certainly prepared me for a baby 🙂

-Everywhere you go you carry a ridiculous amount of ‘stuff’ with you. You may be bloody amazing at packing it, you may streamline it but it’s still a hell of a lot of stuff. Never stand behind a BBC crew or a family at an airport check in desk.

-Strangers approach you in the street – to discuss your baby or to ask ‘what are you filming?’ Either way you’re somehow in the public domain.

-You have to become an instant expert on totally random subjects. Au fait on 18th century silverware and dining styles? Nailed it! Learn how to plan, prepare, store and transport a range of nutritious pureed meals for a six month old? Nailed it!

-Tantrums, tears, coercion, never content on public transport – presenters can give you a glimpse into the terrible twos 🙂

-You become overly obsessed with detail. Dear Researcher, you found an authentic archive photo of a Shetland herring girl circa 1875 in Lerwick harbour? Oh I could leap for joy! Dear Husband, can we dissect and discuss our newborn’s exact shade of faeces? Of course. The devil’s in the detail.

-People think maternity leave is a holiday. IT’S NOT.  People think filming abroad is a holiday. IT’S NOT.

-You always feel you could be doing more.

-There are a range of critical people you need to handle. In the TV industry they are aptly named ‘critics’, in the mummy world they are called many other things.

-On the other hand you will meet some of the most supportive, creative, bright, humorous people ever. The mums who hold your hand through reflux, the editor who cries with you when the edit suite crashes, the friend who brings you lasagne knowing you haven’t slept in days, the researcher who makes you snort tea out your nose laughing.

-Being a TV Director I travelled around the world with a load of blokes (camera, sound, presenter). Being a married travel writer and mother of two boys I travel around the world with a load of blokes…

-Things cost a LOT. Put the words ‘Television’ or ‘Baby’ in front of a price tag and watch it spiral upwards.

-My motto in both motherhood and television was ‘It’ll be fine’ To have a really good day you need a million tiny things to work out and often, wonderfully, they simply do.

-You cannot get sick.

-You adapt to change in an instant.

-You feel you are part of something bigger.

-When you send your creation out into the world it’s terrifying, exhilarating, and then terrifying all over again. You’re proud, you’re anxious, you want your baby to be loved but you realise it’s a big, bad world out there and they have to make their own way and be received in their own right.

-You are lucky, you work bloody hard, but you are lucky.

To all the mums and creatives out there. You’re doing a fabulous job.


Janice at Tots2Travel



December 22, 2015



  1. Reply


    January 28, 2016

    Super Cool one 🙂

    >> Never stand behind a BBC crew or a family at an airport check in desk<<. Will take a note 🙂


    • Reply


      January 28, 2016

      Also avoid them at security. Security guards like taking entire sound kits and buggies apart. Bon voyage 🙂

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