Elizabeth Ball

Children: 2

Industry: Finance & Financial Services

How would you best describe yourself?

I’m a Nurturing Mumma to two highly spirited daughters (9yrs & 5yrs). I’m also a Working Mumma, and sometimes a ‘barely holding it together’ Mumma. I’m passionate about family, health & wellbeing, supporting other women, and spreading kindness. After a career as a high-level Executive Assistant, I stepped out of the workforce 18 months ago to be at home before my youngest started school this year. During this time, I launched a professional organising business which 1 year later (just last week) decided to close. It was a journey that taught me so much about myself and I’m proud that I was brave enough to give it a go. I’m now studying a Diploma in Holistic Counselling, and yesterday started a part time job at a community bank that really makes a difference.

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

I’ve been on maternity leave twice, and whilst I was able to return to a part time job I enjoyed; I was never able to truly switch off at the end of each working day and be present with my children. It made me start questioning my career and what I wanted to be doing. It’s become more important for me to work in an industry I’m passionate about. I chose to study Holistic Counselling so that I can help others to live their best life by developing greater self-awareness, health, wellbeing, and fulfilment.

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

Trust your own instincts, don’t feel you need to follow the pack, and believe in yourself. The other Mumma’s you see that seem to have it all figured out, don’t really have it all figured out. Everyone's fighting battles; some battles are just fewer and farther between. There is no right age or time in your career to start a family. You will have many hard days, but also days where you realise what a true super woman you are. Also, don't strive for perfection. It's ok to have unvacuumed floors when your friend comes over for a cuppa. They’re here to see you, not how great your floorboards look.

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

I loved being pregnant and had a picture-perfect image of my family life. I thought my maternity leave would be spent going on play dates and that when it came time to return to work, I’d easily slot back in. Whilst this wasn’t far off the mark, I still wasn’t prepared for the ‘Mummy guilt’ which is still something that catches me off guard at times. I don’t think I’ll ever overcome it, but I don’t let it consume me. My biggest lesson was realising it is ok to drop the ball and ok to take care of me sometimes.

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

To organise daily activities:

  • My husband and I sync out calendars every Sunday night regarding the weekly school runs and extracurricular/social activities. Sunday night dinner is his responsibility, and this small change has made a big difference to my mental load, especially when it comes to meal planning.

  • I spend 15mins at night to pack bags/lay out clothes for the next day. I then get up 30mins before my family to make lunches and get myself ready to tackle the day head on.

  • My home is free from clutter and everything has a place. Getting a home organised is a big task but once it’s done it makes housework easier and saves so much time when putting washing away, tidying the kid’s rooms, or looking for one sock during the morning chaos!

To look after myself:

  • On days I feel overwhelmed I shower by candlelight and use an indulgent body scrub.

  • I go to the gym 3 times a week and do a high impact 30min workout. Last year when I was at home with my youngest, I did my workouts in the loungeroom and let her watch the iPad. I decided letting go of my Mummy guilt for that short time was worth it. I was doing something powerful – becoming stronger and healthier to be around for my kids longer.

  • I reach out to my support network so my Husband and I can go on date nights.

  • I practice gratitude daily. It makes me thankful for what I have in life.

The list goes on, but self-care is really important, and a happier Mumma means happier kids!