Industry: Business Support & Logistics
How would you best describe yourself?
A Restless challenge seeker who is madly trying to balance young family, own business, community involvement and everything that comes along with life in the midst of these crazy/chaotic years!!
How has becoming a parent changed your perception of work and career and what surprised you the most?
Becoming a parent enabled me to take real perspective when work issues would crop up. I find I don’t sweat the small stuff as much, and am able to take a more balanced view of others behaviours knowing they may have their challenges and ‘life’ happening that impacts on the working day. Work is sometimes a safe haven away from the chaos of home life but likewise being home I find I can switch off from work as the children take up that space in my brain. What’s surprised me the most is others perceptions of me as a working mother, and the idea that there must be ‘sacrifices’ to either my career or family to do both, but I don’t think that’s the case, I think it’s about choices and priorities and everyone is different in this respect. No one is right or wrong, we’re all just doing our thing as best we can.
What advice would you give your younger self about starting a family?
There’s never a ‘right’ time, so do it your way. Travel before having children if you want to, travel after if that works better, don’t travel at all if it’s not for you! Work your way up the corporate ladder first or do it when you have a family. There are no rules, and as long as you back yourself, work hard at whatever stage of life you’re at and pursue your dreams you’ll get there. Don’t overthink it.
What has been your biggest challenge so far across the stages of pregnancy / leave / returning to work? How have you overcome this?
Working towards the end of pregnancy I found really hard, I was tired and just wanted some time to myself before Bub came along. But once I got it I was quickly bored so not sure I was ever going to be satisfied there! The key for me was to have something to do each day balanced with a rest in the afternoon.
I enjoyed my maternity leave each time but must admit my brain was always keen to get back to work so I was always seeking something to keep it ticking over (not with nursery rhymes)... keeping in touch with work and popping in for training or team meetings every now and then helped with that.
Balancing the needs of work and the needs of my family were always top of mind when considering returning to work. Finances often drove the decision which is unfortunate but that’s reality, and it made it hard to find the right mix between time with children while they’re young and work/financial requirements. It’s different for everyone so I’d say do what works for you and don’t over commit yourself to work in the early years.
What strategies / initiatives do you use to help you manage the juggle of being a Working Mumma and family?
Trying to be as organised as possible around the home, sticking to routines and not overbooking the children’s activities and social lives as this seems to put way more pressure on than needed!
Be strong with work (and if you have a partner with their work too!) about what your working hours are and the need for flexibility where possible to cater for the inevitable childhood illnesses and injuries or just wanting to be part of their extra curricular activities sometimes.
Enlist the help of family and friends when you can, it takes a community to raise a child so reach out to yours! You’ll be able to repay the favours in your own way.