#InspiringMumma - Kirsty McConnell


Children: 2 (1 deceased)

Industry: Transportation & Delivery


How would you best describe yourself?

Busy!


I am happily married with a 9 year old daughter. I also play basketball and women's football, I am the U10 Girls coach at The Basin Football Club, on the committee, my daughter plays representative basketball for the Knox Raiders & I've raised over $30,000 for the 'Gild the Lily' fundraising campaign, in memory of my daughter Lily.


Oh, nearly forgot - I also work full time as the Customer Care Manager at 13cabs.


I do a lot, and I get sh#t done - but the most rewarding role I've ever played is being a Mum.


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

I first fell pregnant when I was 25, right at the time when my career was taking off. My daughter was what you'd call a 'wonderful surprise,' I was set to be a single mother and eventually took 12 months off work to be her Mum.


I found coming back to work part time was detrimental to my career, but suited my work/life balance so I stuck at it, eventually only returning full time when my daughter started school.


However, when my second daughter was born, and eventually diagnosed with a terminal condition at the age of 9 months, it's safe to say my perspective on work & my career completely and utterly changed.


We spent many months in and out of hospitals, hospices and palliative care wards, where the reality really set in that what I did for a living - although important - was nowhere near the life changing situations that staff within these fields experience every day.


The time we had left with my daughter was paramount, nothing or nobody was going to take that away from me, especially work. I was incredibly fortunate to have a workplace who were very supportive of my situation.


My daughter taught me strength in the face of adversity, to give back to the community and to appreciate all of the good things in life we take for granted - health, family, friendship, love and being able to just breathe every single day.


Work is only a subset of this - it provides quality of life and stability, but it is not everything.


When I am at work, I give 110% because that is what I am paid to do & that is who I want to be. But when I am home, when I am with my family, friends, I just want to be in that moment then and there. You never know how much longer it will last.

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

To be honest, I don't think I'd change anything I've done. My daughter's have given me hope, reason, purpose and taught me what's really important in life.

Did I do it the conventional way? Absolutely not. But I learned from this, made change because of this and I feel this has now helped me career wise due to the perspective, resilience and tolerance I now have.


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

I would say the biggest challenge for me was staying relevant. I've been in the same industry for 14 years, yet the perception of me had changed because I had children. I felt that I was almost being left behind, and I had to constantly scrape my way back up the ladder and remind people of what I am capable of.


Along with then having a seriously ill child and being out of the system for some time - I did wonder if people look at me, waiting for me to crack. I have become tougher and stronger because of this, but when I need to have a down day, I take it. I laugh, I cry, I cry some more, I eat chocolate, drink wine, cry and then cry again.


However from this, I get up, realise today is a new day, I have 46 emails waiting, a team of staff needing answers and a football match to attend on the weekend. For me, work and life is a beautiful distraction.

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

I am ALL about diary management. I was an Executive Assistant for 18 months managing a COO, and I can't tell you how important it is. We also have a calendar at home on the wall in the kitchen, so my daughter knows what's going on too.


I will send my husband meeting requests, detailing the events we have on over the weekend, through the week and then set a timely reminder for him. I've also synced his phone to the calendar, so he gets an alert when I choose to remind him.


I try to meal prep over the weekends, but that doesn't always happen. A late scramble to the shops on the way home after picking up from after school care is my life. I'm pretty sure I keep our local IGA in business, but when I do make time - being able to meal plan and order online is just wonderful and I strongly recommend it.


Finally, I'm lucky enough to have an incredible network through the school and community who help with the daily running around. It's safe to say most of my friends through the school are also working Mum's, I find that they just get it. So we share the load and I'm forever grateful for the support I receive. There's never been a more true statement than, 'it takes a village!'