Ever wondered what it takes to be a boss and a mum? Whether you want to me a mum or not, we all know “mum’s are always right” – so read on for some valuable career tips and how to balance #mumlyf and #worklyf!
Let us introduce you to Eve, a Media and Comms Manager at Cricket Tasmania and a mum of a little girl called Isla. Let us know whose story you would like to read about and ASK ENID.
FOREWORD on the Work-Life Balancing Act: If someone tells you they do it perfectly, without a slip or crash they are lying.
Hey gal, this is me… My name is Eve Curley, also known as Evey. I’m happily married but haven’t yet changed my name. At the time I joked with my Husband that I just preferred my surname but I would later realise it wasn’t about that. It was about “identity”, something that since becoming a Mum as well as building and sustaining a career has been the elephant in the room.
At 21 I found it hard to believe I would one day hit the thirties. To be honest my thirties have been the best. There is no doubt that after I turned 30 my life as I knew it changed dramatically. My perspective changed in life and in work. Time stood still the moment I held my daughter for the first time and then time just kind of um vanished. Time management people is a good skill to excel at!!! If there is some random course you can do…do it. Okay that was a long-winded way of trying to distract the fact that I am 33 next month and it has been two decades since I started high-school at the all-girls public school Ogilvie High School as an excited and passionate Gemini full of dreams but also blissfully unaware that some of the subject choices I would make would not matter and some would, some of the friendships I would develop would not last and some would, and some teachers would inspire and some wouldn’t. I then completed college at Elizabeth College before being accepted into University which I LOVED every minute of. I currently work as the Media and Communications Manager at Cricket Tasmania based on the picturesque Eastern Shore at Blundstone Arena and I’m a wife and Mum of a 2.5 year old little mini munchkin called Isla.
My deal is… Working full-time as well as trying to give my full attention to my 2.5 year-old daughter, my family and my friends. Something has got to give right? Well no it doesn’t have to be that dramatic. There is no magic formula and it is inevitable that sometimes you will fall off that tightrope. It won’t be pretty, but nothing has to give THAT much that you are one big unhappy stressed Mum, wife, friend and colleague. At the end of the day the more you tell yourself the attention has to be perfectly split the more you will drown, burn out and ultimately fail. Obviously a huge part of making it work is support from family, friends and your workplace…but give and take is key. My daughter is my greatest achievement YES, but I am also proud of what I have achieved in a career-sense. I struggled on Maternity Leave. I wasn’t bored (Isla made sure of that) but I was confused and not confident in my ability to “do the job”. I had an amazingly supportive network of family but I didn’t KNOW parenting, I didn’t study. I was winging it. There was no run-sheet, template or textbook. During Maternity Leave was when I started to write things down again and “blog” in my head whilst feeding my daughter at 2am. Eventually after going back to work I put together a blog www.eveyandi.com that sometimes gets lost amongst the balancing-act but is something I enjoy and I hope others also do.
How I got here… I always wanted to write. I enjoyed reading and writing from a young age so I pursued it at every opportunity. I kept diaries, wrote poems and thrived on writing letters. I still like putting pen to paper rather than typing. There is something about it. I still like reading the physical newspaper. It’s calming. I graduated from the University of Tasmania with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Journalism and English. From there I decided not to take a break and travel. Do I regret that decision? No. I believe that decision was a vital one for my work-life aspirations and where I am right now in this moment. I wouldn’t take that back for the world. If I had my time again would I consider taking a break with some travel? Although no regrets (and lucky enough to do some travel) I would definitely consider more. I think while the ‘travel bug’ can change your life plans I honestly think travel opens your mind. This quote by Ella Maillart sums up my feelings. “One travels to run away from routine. That dreadful routine that kills all imagination and all our capacity for enthusiasm.” While I’m a bit of a hypocrite in some ways (as I do believe routine has a place) I also believe running away from it has a place also.
After graduating I knocked down some doors and built up contacts. I cannot stress enough the importance of reputation and developing relationships with those in your career circles. One thing I feel is becoming extinct (coming from a wise almost 33 year old haha) is learning from those with experience. We can all learn from each other. Ask questions, be curious. On the flip side you can also learn from those who are younger. Fresh minds. Picking brains is key not only from a career perspective but it will keep you on the ball. Nothing worse than seeing someone at work go through the paces like an unenthused zombie. Every day make sure you learn. I’ve always loved learning and while I wouldn’t label myself as “confident” in all aspects of life I certainly am passionate in doing everything I do WELL and confident most of the time. I worked at the Mercury newspaper in Hobart for a while as a Copy Messenger. I had a temp Customer Service and Court Officer position at the Family Law Courts and I would work there during the day before heading off to the Mercury at 5pm and working until the paper was printed after midnight. In between running coffees to the sub-editors I was given the opportunity to write. I also picked up some work with a local magazine called Tasmanian Life. I wrote some feature stories and got some by-lines. It is a buzz seeing your name in print, but also a cause of much anxiety. When you write you are your biggest critic and I found myself dwelling and sweating on everything. A trait that can hold in you in good stead but also break you….one that does not work with a family. Turning off from work is VERY important.
The contacts I would make at the Mercury were (and still are) important. After 12 months developing contacts and gaining experience a PR and Media Officer position came up at the then Tasmanian Cricket Association and Bellerive Oval. I applied and the rest is history. That was almost a decade ago. Something to note is that I wasn’t a cricket enthusiast. I enjoyed watching sport, had a sporty Dad and Brother and had played some school-based sport but I did not know what a Maiden Over was. Still don’t….. JOKE. I researched the organisation before going into the interview and backed myself based on my studies and experiences.
I am currently balancing… Enjoyment in all aspects of my life. Family, friends, work and “me-time”. An added bonus that takes the sting out for me is that I also am lucky enough to work with colleagues in a flexible work-place who truly want to limit pressure and who I know genuinely want to see me happy. If I come home ‘stressed’ from work there is no doubt the energy is toxic. There is a big difference between being stressed or feeling some pressure and being challenged. Challenged is good and pressure is all part of it. I find I am better if I do and practice the below in home and work-life (note I’m no expert in mindfulness or stress-relief this just works for me):
- Drink lots of water during the day. I’m a coffee drinker so I need that balance.
- Write a list at home and one when I get to work. Keep the two separate. Also it seems superficial but I am fussy with stationery and the Feng Shui has to be spot on in some parts of my home and also work space.
- Speak up. Don’t bottle stress, worries or questions.
- If something doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t.
- Fresh air (pretty obvious but to be honest I think we are all guilty of depriving ourselves of this at times).
And it’s great because… Overall I am lucky. So lucky. I love my life (sometimes I feel overwhelmed and lose some perspective) but I do love it and each and every experience I learn from. I enjoy my work, take pride in my career and I absolutely treasure every moment with family and friends and watching my daughter grow and develop. Being a parent is hard to describe but it really is a positive life-changer in so many ways. It seems insignificant but in an office I can have a HOT coffee without a toddler grabbing at your leg. Small wins.
But the challenges are… You have days where you feel like nothing is going your way. Highs and lows and feeling like you are neglecting one part of your life….family or work. Sometimes the one you are neglecting is actually yourself. Another challenge is going back to work after Maternity Leave. It is bizarre. You float back in like you’ve been on some random yoga retreat away from the real world…except nothing’s changed really, you just have a small human that is well…dependent on you. The challenge is to “adult again” and get back on your professional bike like you’ve never got off. But first….coffee. I will not lie, after becoming a Mum I have learnt to run on a lot less sleep than ever before.
My day looks like… My days are varied. While I’ve always thrived on this in a work-sense (Media and Comms has a great variety) I struggle in a home-life sense. While I have heard a lot of people say their children are made to fit in with their lives and not the reverse this doesn’t sit well with me. While I think it is important that you don’t become hermits or slaves to your children as parents ultimately your life revolves around them early in their lives. Yes go on a holiday, go out for dinner and vary your life but remember that sometimes…just sometimes routine works. During the week if I didn’t have routine my day would never start…
My advice to anyone in this situation (and/or those thinking about it)… I don’t like to give advice in an impersonal sense but for what it is worth this is my take on going from full-time work, full-time Mum to part-time work and then full-time again. One thing I have found that once you become pregnant or have a child everyone has an opinion or advice. When you return to work it continues. Opinions should be taken lightly, but advice…sometimes you should take or consider. I still talk about a piece of advice that I was given about the work I do: “Enjoy work but remember you’re not saving babies.” Perspective is huge in controlling mind-set. Shout out to all those out there that are “Saving Babies” you are amazing. But to the beauty therapist who works part-time or the English teacher marking assignments at 10pm, your careers are also important, enjoy them. They have purpose. I think “identity” is a big one. Your career doesn’t define you but far out you put a big part of life into it so don’t let anyone tell you that having a family means your career is over. Seek out your options and whether you can go back to work part-time or change your hours if you feel something has to give. Also make the most of your weekends and go on adventures especially if you work somewhere that sometimes also means weekend work. If you have a Sunday free make it count.
Unfortunately I think there is a very ‘old-fashioned’ stigma still associated with working parents. Get rid of those voices. It is 2016. Oh and the father (or other parent) of your child is not babysitting while you go for a coffee with friends, the gym or into the office. I repeat he/she is PARENTING.* Give and take people in all areas of your life. However if someone could advise another way to “take” my daughters dummy from her that would be appreciated. This would mean less time in the dark looking for the piece of plastic and less coffee needed of a morning. Oh and never stop learning. I just recently finished a Management Diploma and I’m always ready for a new “non-parenting” challenge.
*For more on this, and ENID’s perspective, check out Why We Should Value Care.