Stephanie Kelleher

Children: 1

Industry: Non for profit

How would you best describe yourself?

How would I best describe me, always a very challenging question. What comes to mind first is that I am a very driven person who doesn't like doing things that she is not good at. WOW, that makes me sound really harsh, really I'm not I'm a massive marshmallow.

I love to be active and enjoy my team sports, soccer has been my community for approx 18 years and recently have moved from player to coach. This transition conquered one of my greatest fears. I never thought that I could teach others the game as I felt my passion/white line fever would be too much for others, but I have loved every minute of it.

I am a wife and a mum to my delightful little man Rory who will be 2 in November and a small fur child too. As a family, we enjoy being active and being outdoors. The warm weather is our favorite time of year!

I currently work 4 days per week at Brite, Brite is a non for profit organisation that offers employment to 140 person with a disability. I manage the team who deliver support to all 140 people and generate open employment opportunities. This can see me working directly with an employee, families NDIS transition or government departments. Wonderful place to be each day but extremely challenging all in the same breath.

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

I actually am surprised at how much this has changed for me, previous I was so defined by my work and this held such a high status for me. Now whilst I enjoy what I do, I have never been so keen to get home and enjoy my family time. At times I have found it extremely difficult to say no, but I now ensure that I only take on things that suit my family not my job.

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

Don't ever doubt the love you have to give.

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

I think my biggest challenge has been being kind to myself and getting that work/family balance right, I enjoyed my time at home (so much more than I thought I would) but I have really struggled coming back to work.

This biggest part of the struggle has been having my son in childcare (I know it is good for them), As a child I was in care full time whilst my parents worked and I have been very conscious that I didn't/don't want that for my children, however with limited support close by we have been required to use care two days per week and have I let myself really feel guilty about this. I leave work in a mad dash each day to ensure that he is not left there one minute longer than he needs to be and boy does my anxiety rise if the traffic delays me in any way.

The second challenge has been the work/life balance, I have cried in my bosses office that many times as I have felt totally out of control at work, trying to squeeze 5 days into 4 for a job that already exceeds the capacity of a full-time person. I was totally exhausted with nothing left to give to my job or my family and my poor husband!! Que the meltdown, I lasted 18 months doing things this way and then something had to change. I was told that it would be my career that would have to go on hold now that I was a mum, its 2019 mums can still have a career, we just need to be sure we have firm boundaries in place to ensure we still get the flexibility, balance, and energy to devote to our families.

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

  • Planning the week, we do all our cooking for the week on a Sunday and this makes a huge difference. We have time to eat together and even a bit of time for fun once we are home from work.

  • Exercise, yep I plan this in. it is at 5 am but I schedule it into the week. the difference it makes to my state of mind is huge. I lock in 3 mornings per week and all before my son wakes.

  • It is ok to turn things down/leave work early because of family. I initially felt so guilty, now I am appreciative of the flexibility and ensure that I pass on my thanks.