Bree Kuffer

Children: 4

Industry: Transport and Celebrant!

How would you best describe yourself?

Busy! I am an almost 40 year old mama of 4 beautiful, boisterous boys. I work in a part time communications & engagement role for Metro Trains - an organisation which has always offered fantastic flexibility for me. I also have a side hustle as a celebrant.

How has becoming a parent changed your perception of work and career and what surprised you the most?

The questions from others... At my corporate work (often referred to by me as work-work) I am often asked to think about my next move... What gaps do I need to fill in my resume to get the next big gig? When might I want to work full time again? Here’s the thing - shocking as it may be - I don’t. I’m content. For now anyway, I balance all the components of my life and overall, I am happy. It fascinates me that people always seem to expect that I’d want more. I’m sure many women do, but parenthood has changed my goals (for now anyway)

What advice would you give your younger self about starting a family?

Try and keep an open mind! You may think you want 12 months mat leave, but then you may find that in fact after 3 months you are ready to go back. Or vice versa! Having kids can change you and that’s ok. Try and be flexible and manage expectations on yourself. There is no wrong or right way to balance it all.

What has been your biggest challenge so far across the stages of pregnancy / leave / returning to work?  How have you overcome this?

I always doubted myself when returning from mat leave - did I in fact know anything anymore?! It’s amazing how quickly you slip back into it! Policies around parental leave have come so far since I had my first son 13 years ago. I really encourage women to take advantage of the ‘keeping in touch’ days offered, if you can. Providing you want to, that is.

What strategies / initiatives do you use to help you manage the juggle of being a Working Mumma and family?

I have to be very organised. I use my mum one day a week, I have a nanny one day and I use a combination of occasional care and working from home on the third. I love my slow cooker! I meal prep the night before for my office days, so mum / nanny can just pop something in the oven. I say yes to help with after school activities etc. It works for me to make myself pretty available for calls and emails when I’m not in the office, but that doesn’t work for everyone. It’s important to set expectations... for me, in regards to my working from home day - “it is not 9-5 Wednesday, it’s mostly done on Wednesday but also a little bit on my other home days”. Don’t be afraid to ‘own’ your arrangements and set expectations with colleagues.