7 work-life balance tips from busy working mums

Kinderling News & Features

Danielle Ross Walls and Louise Correcha came up with their book idea in a Melbourne café; nursing their new babies, sharing war stories and drinking lots of coffee.

Aptly titled Working Mums it’s a collection of interviews exploring the personal and often fraught impact of new motherhood on a woman’s work, heart, relationships and identity.

It’s a warm, intelligent and moving insight into the nitty gritty of working mother life from a range of backgrounds and professions, with a hearty dose of wisdom.

Listen to Danielle and Louise on Kinderling Conversation

At the end of each chapter, each woman is asked to share a tip - something practical - that helps to keep them on an even keel on even the most frantic of days.

On mental health

Know that happiness is paramount, so allow yourself to say ‘no’ when you need to. Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. You can only do your best, so invest your time and energy into the things that matter most to you and give yourself permission to let some things go. And if you need help to do that, don’t be afraid to seek help from a psychologist or speak to your doctor.

Amanda Abel, paediatric psychologist

On parenting

I am really careful about the language I use with the kids. If my daughter is up high on a climbing frame, I won’t say ‘Be careful!’, which invites doubt or fear. I’ll say, ‘Strong hands and strong feet!’, which shows confidence and helps develop positive, action-orientated self-talk.

Alisa Camplin, Olympic gold medallist

On sharing your passions and lifestyle with your children

I need to rebalance myself with regular time out immersed in nature - no matter the season or weather. It is an integral part of my selfcare that allows me to exercise and be surrounded by calm: the sound of silence, birdsong or the ocean. This in itself is my own type of meditation. I feel deep appreciation and a connection to the magic of our environment. As well as being time for myself, I also regularly take my young children with me. We hike and play games, hunting for unique types of fungi (Google our favourite, the Mcena Interrupta!) in the nearby national parks. Sometimes we play I-spy or hunt for shells at the beach. They also love to take their own photographs on our adventures.

Danielle Ross Walls, Working Mums co-author

On education

Read three books to your child each day from birth to five years and you will expose them to around 10,000 words by the time they start school. Sure, you might have to read their favourite book a thousand times, but the rich language and ideas you will introduce your child to, plus the quality time of snuggling together on a couch, will go a long way in building a love of learning. It doesn’t matter what you read. Read the newspaper or a magazine if you want – just read. It will give them a huge head start in literacy and lifelong wellbeing. 

- Tiffany Gilmour, singer and storyteller

On housework

My husband and I have specialised in tasks so that neither of us has to complete cleaning tasks that we absolutely hate. For example, I never touch the dishwashing, but I have sole responsibility for clothes washing.

- Chloe Chant, early childhood educator

On meals

We recently discovered a meal subscription service at a local café. It’s actually a registered charity, and you get excellent quality, nutritious, chef-made meals at a super low cost. We get the minimum five meals weekly – because we still like to cook – but just having those five meals ready means we’re covered for two or three nights mid-week (or for my lunches, seeing as I work from home). This reduces work around cooking and cleaning up for a couple of days, plus it’s cheaper and healthier than takeaway. It’s a great balance for us.

Louise Correcha, Working Mums co-author

You are enough

Everyone assumes they know what’s best for your children. Ask yourself, ‘Am I doing the best I can?’ and if you can answer yes, then you are doing it right! F**k what anyone else says about how you should parent your child. - Carly and Alee, marriage equality advocates

Extract from Working Mums by Danielle Ross Walls and Louise Correcha (Finch Publishing, 1 March 2018), available in paperback and ebook. For more information or to buy the book, go to workingmumsstories.com.