Following our recent event, Workher Career Chat, and the conversation around the Leader of the Labour Party Jacinda Ardern being questioned over whether she’ll have kids, it’s obvs that a key topic as of late has been babies. Even if kids are a wee way away, it’s something we all think about at one point or another in our careers – what’s this job going to be like when I’m mum? How will I juggle it all? Should I look for a new job or should I just stay where I am because I might have kids in a year? Can I be a Manager and a Mum? And for non-mums (like me), we’re simply trying to juggle a crazy hectic work schedule with a sane social life. Uh-hello, my friends and family are so important, so I’ve gotta make time for them.
Commenting on balancing both career life and mum life, founder of Eat My Lunch Lisa King said it’s not without its challenges. “It’s really difficult, there’s no other way to put it. It’s hard work and you always feel guilty. Whether it’s your work, your kids, your family, your friends, I think at a point you actually stop caring what anyone else thinks and do what’s right for you,” she said.
Online reporter Gracie Taylor had to juggle an insane schedule before she realised she was burning herself out. “I had a really shitty but amazing time when I had a producing role from 3am until noon, and then I had my own radio show from 1pm ‘til 6pm. I thought I could do both but I was a terrible person. I really had to food prep, I had no idea what I was doing with my life, I had to turn up and it was all work work work. I loved it for the first couple of months and then I just burnt the f out. I was not good. I wasn’t a nice person. I wouldn’t see my friends, my boyfriend, I was really mean to my mum, so it wasn’t good,” she said.
Keep in mind, everybody is going through something. Whether it’s small or big, we all face sh** at some point in our lives.
Madeleine Harman, of HARMAN GRUBISA, bravely spoke up about her mental illness: “I suffer from depression so I’ve had mental health issues for about five years. There have been times where I couldn’t work, so I spent six months on the couch and my dad would come to my door and wake me every morning and I was just dead, I was nothing. I had no inspiration and I had to quit my job. I think people should talk about it more, there’s a huge stigma about mental health issues but I’m a functioning normal person but I suffer from depression so it very much exists. I don’t think that anyone is exempt from it. Everyone has depressing things happen. At one stage in your life you’ll suffer from grief or depression or whatever it is.”
How to Deal
On that note, here are some tips on how to deal with these things, and ensure you’ve got a work:life balance.
Get in help. Lisa said: “For us it meant just paying for help. When we first started Eat My Lunch we had an Au Pair, which was really great. We started the business from our home. It was actually really good with the kids because they would just wake up, walk into the kitchen, there’d be 30 odd people there making lunches and they’d just get in amongst it. But it is really hard and I don’t think there’s one way to manage it.”
Find what works for you. Gracie commented, “I exercise or I drink tequila. Or both. But definitely a work:life balance. You’ve gotta go home and go see your family. Find what works for you and the balance of what you like. Know when to call in a mental health day. It’s ok to be sick sometimes and sleep in. Or don’t sleep. Whatever works for you.”
Put yourself first. Jessica Grubisa of HARMAN GRUBISA said: “Do something for yourself for an hour a day. Whether it’s hanging out the washing or bitching on the phone with your friends, whatever it is, just do something for yourself. No one tells you when you have your own business, you always think about it. You put your head down on the pillow that night, no one tells you it never stops. So do something for yourself.”
Know your limits. Madeleine added: “There was a time I had to take medication to get me out of the hole to function and now, as Jess says, I work out. You have to develop your own therapy to manage your life. Women are more prone to anxiety and I think you have to give yourself a lot of grace. There are times when I think you have to rely on your support structure. You’re no less of a person because of it. You have to learn your limitations and there’s nothing wrong with having limitations.”