Karen Samuel

Industry: My career is in Human Resources, and I also have my own business as a career coach for women.

Children: 3

How would you best describe yourself?

Relaxed and happy in life. Ambitious at work. And I love being a mum.

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

I found myself craving flexibility after starting a family and really seeking to prioritise being present for my children as much as I could be. Having a career after children is definitely challenging, I personally needed to reorganise and revise what my career looked like, and who I worked for, as do many women.

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

I would give myself the same advice that I give other women. Start thinking of joining a family friendly employer even before you have children. This will leave you more likely to be supported when you do become a mum, and leave you less likely to incur a motherhood penalty.

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

Potty training is my biggest challenge and I need all the tips as I’ve only completed 1.5/3 children! :-) But in terms of my career, my biggest challenge is finding that right balance, and this is a constant work in progress for me, same as many other mothers. I think balance is very elusive, and it will always tip back and forth. Sometimes work takes a bit more time, and sometimes family does. And as working mums we need to be OK with that. Ultimately we do what is right for us and for our family, and in working we provide an amazing role model for our children, especially our daughters.

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

I break work down into manageable chunks, have set times away from my family to complete work, and return when I’m done. It works so much better for me to compartmentalise my time like that. Working while caring for my kids is sometimes required but generally leads to frustration all around!

What do you do for self-care?

I love to watch Netflix, relax with my hubby and eat chocolate at night. Cooking and eating healthy food, and doing regular exercise also makes me feel amazing, although I’m not quite back into that yet after baby 3. I also have to say, 1:1 time with my kids when I am really engaging with them also really fill me up, as does time away from home with my girlfriends, or date nights at home or out with hubby.