Agencies, families and one small story

Many of us who have children waved them off to school last week when the new academic year began. For most people I’ve talked to briefly about it, there were the usual mixed emotions: the part-relief that the holidays were over and despite the protests it was back to the classroom, coupled with the humbling realisation that another year is beginning, and we’re all getting older.

For those of us with kids who need a little or a lot of extra help with learning, this time brings added complications. Juggling work and family life, particularly in the hectic PR world where the constant forces of change force us to keep on our game, is rarely easy. For those who have children with special learning needs or disabilities that mean they need extra care, there’s even more to deal with.

As I type this I’m about to set off for school with my youngest son, aged four, whose first day at school is today, a week after the rest of his class started. He has autism, meaning he needs one-to-one care at a regular school, and getting the right kind of support in place has meant a year of paperwork, assessments, meetings, waiting and uncertainty.

This morning though, it was into the new uniform for the first time (not without a battle) and many years of school and work to come. Lucky him!


I write this not to draw attention to the fact that some parents and their children have to deal with these types of situations, but to thank the people at work who’ve helped me by understanding, cutting me some slack and being happy just to talk about things. We’re often critical of the extent to which PR employers offer family-friendly policies, but I think we’re actually a pretty progressive industry on the whole now, and have made strides in supporting parents with balancing home and work pressures, particularly where there are extra considerations.

So after a dawn start today to get into the workload, I can now share his first day at school with him, knowing my colleagues will cover for an hour or so. A big thanks to all the people I’ve worked with over the past few years who have been supportive, even the little conversations mean a lot.

And now, it’s school run time.


  • Claire Murphy

    How nice to see a piece about work/life balance written by a man. Extremely cute little boy, too….

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