Shari Fox

Children: 2

Industry: Government

How would you best describe yourself?

I am a 30 year old mother of two. My eldest will be four in July and my youngest is nearly seven months. I love reading, baking and look forward to going back to the gym again one day (my baby is like velcro right now).

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

Since becoming a parent I became more concerned about working in a job that I am passionate about. I had terrible mum guilt going back to work at 12 months with my first, and going to work each day to something I didn't care about made it even worse. Not long after my son turned two I moved to a different government department into a policy area I have been passionate about since high school. Even though I still had mum guilt I felt at least I was contributing to something important.

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

I would tell my younger self (and current self) to not put yourself last all the time. Go to the gym regularly. Go out to dinner with friends. Go on date nights with your husband. Get your hair done at a salon. Get a massage. You can't look after your family without looking after yourself.

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

Going back to work was the biggest challenge for me. I felt so guilty and anxious about leaving my son. Then the first six months I felt like a complete zombie and incompetent. It just took time to feel like myself again. Working part-time also has its challenges. It takes commitment to setting and sticking to boundaries. You can't do everything and sometimes you have to say no.

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

Getting changed into my casual clothes before I picked up my son meant I was ready to focus on him straight away. This helped him reconnect and relax after a day away from me. I also had lots of pre-cooked meals for work days.