How would you best describe yourself?
I found it really hard to answer this question initially, but once I got started, it really flowed! It was actually quite a defining and comforting process for me to go through too...
My name is Caz. I am fun loving and generally easy-going, but I am a massive worry-wart too! I am a bit of a homebody, I love sun and warm weather, I love sport (especially footy), I'm a mad Saints fan. I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, and auntie and a friend, and I am mum to my gorgeous almost 3 year old son Harry.
Harry is lucky embryo number 5... Yes, my husband and I went down the long, hard road of IVF. It was the hardest thing we've ever done and it took a huge toll on our life and on our relationship.
I think I expected to stop worrying and stressing when I finally got pregnant, but I worried the whole pregnancy, never enjoyed it. And I think I expected this to stop when I had Harry, but it never did.
I'm extremely open about IVF and how it effected me, and my husband. We've had a lot of struggles over the last few years, but with the help and support of friends, family, doctors etc, we have worked through things and continue to work hard to make things even better than before.
I work part time, 3 days a week, at Monash University. I work in a department called Team Monash, and I love what I do! I manage a couple of key programs that involve: on campus and off campus events and elite student athlete support.
To me the balance between me as a mum and me as me, is extremely important. I have never enjoyed my work so much. But I also love being mum. Everyone is different but I don't think I could do either of them full time, I am loving the balance right now!
It's taken a long time, but look after myself, I make sure my husband does too and we make sure we have "Us" time as well.
People often ask me about whether or not we will have another, (we do have 2 embryos in storage) but I just don't know if I can got through it all again. Maybe I just enjoy the beautiful boy we are so lucky to have!
How has becoming a parent changed your perception of work and career and what surprised you the most?
I actual enjoy work more now I've returned to work, and I stress about work less!
I never hated my work, but I never expected to enjoy it so much. I wasn't looking forward to coming back to work and leaving my son in care, but once I settled back in, I actually look forward to work now! Who would have thought!
Work has also taught me how important family is and balance and flexibility.
What advice would you give your younger self about starting a family?
Don't go in with any expectations and every child is different!
What has been your biggest challenge so far across the stages of pregnancy / leave / returning to work? How have you overcome this?
I struggled in the first few weeks my son was at childcare, as everyone does. I just made sure I had things organised and locked in for each day to keep me busy, and the childcare centre was great giving us 3-4 orientation days where we could gradually ease into it. And I started with half days and built them up.
And fitting more than 3 days of work into the 3 I work and get paid for has been hard! I really enjoy what I do though, and appreciate the flexibility work has given me so don't mind doing a bit extra here and there.
Putting aside time for yourself, and ensuring your partner does the same.
Putting time aside for you and your partner.
Plan the week out, on Sunday nights we fill in a calendar with who is where, what's on and what we're going to eat.
Don't sweat the small stuff! The house cleaning can wait until tomorrow!
Thank those who help you out, whether it's a box of chocolates for the parents when they babysit, or a kind message to the boss when they let you leave work early.