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HOLLY & ELKE’S STORY – GETTING REAL IN BIZ AND MOTHERHOOD

Home / Motherhood and Business / HOLLY & ELKE’S STORY – GETTING REAL IN BIZ AND MOTHERHOOD

It’s no secret that motherhood can be overwhelming, but add on running a business and you have a challenging world full of pressure, elation, happiness, guilt, pride and a million more emotions…

In the world we live in, being portrayed as a mother on social media can carry quite a burden – having to always look and act the part, but in reality it can be quite the opposite.

As a team of mums who support each other in business and in life, we decided to sit down and answer some Q+A’s all about how we really feel with this juggling act we call #bossmumlife.

Here’s PART ONE through the eyes of working mothers…

 

Elke (Director H&E Group, Mum to Tommy 2 & Danny 14wks)
“I have confidence in my work and confidence in my family.”

  1. What do you believe are the pro’s and con’s of being self employed and having kids?
    There are so many pros! I love my job and I love being a mum. I feel extremely lucky to have the choice to manage both – to be able to pull back from work where I need, to make sure my kids needs (and more) are met, and also to have this amazing business behind me that I treasure and work hard to have. I suppose a con would be that you can just leave work at 5pm and think nothing of it till the following day. No matter how demanding mumming is, you always have to keep your finger on the pulse with your business.
  2. What are your tips for self motivation/banishing procrastination if you are overly tired/stressed from kids?
    This sounds like bullshit but I love what I do so much, it feels like a fun holiday when I work. Not to sound negative towards my kid time as I love that more than anything in this world but you use such different parts of your brain for each so it’s like a nice change when going to either role (mumming or bossing)!
  3. Do you find yourself comparing yourself to other mums?
    Yes and no. I try hard not to compare myself with other people full stop. You get too caught up in what people think, life can be hard! I sometimes feel the pressure of the mum things like breast feeding vs bottle or routine vs on demand etc. but it’s usually a quick thought process and I’m on my way again. I put 110% into mumming and my business so I feel confident that I’m doing the best that I can.
  4. Do you feel pressure to over achieve as a mum/career woman and ‘have it all’?
    “Have it all” is so subjective!? You could live in a tiny little place with close to no possessions, work part time, have two cats and one great mate and think you “have it all” – which is epic right? It’s totally a mind thing… I think I have a lot, yes! But I am someone who always wants new adventures and keen to learn more when I can. I am passionate about a lot I suppose. I have confidence in my work and confidence in my family. I would be lying if I said I didn’t hold myself to a high standard of trying to “achieve” a lot, but I enjoy doing a lot.
  5. Do you experience mum guilt when you have to pick your kids up or have kids around and you have to answer calls? Do you tell clients the truth or lie about what you are doing?
    I don’t feel guilty for having my kids around, but I do feel I have to keep work separate to my mum life as people are paying me to do a job and it’s as simple as wanting to pay someone to concentrate on that job. Therefore, I try not to have my kids with me when I’m on the phone to clients, and don’t let them hear them if they are in the house and I’m working from home. Clients need to have confidence that you’re on top of it (this goes for females and males). In saying that – people have to respect that after 5pm I am often with 1 if not both my kids.
  6. How has having a business partner in the same situation helped the changes of becoming a working mum?
    Haha wow – I don’t think I could get luckier than having Holly as my business partner let alone going through becoming a mum together, twice!! I learn from Holly every day – in both the work and mum arena. Without her I would not have the confidence I do with my work or mumming!
  7. Were you excited to get back to work after maternity leave or had anxiety?
    Excited! I love that we are able to have the best of both worlds with spending a lot of time with our kids and going back to work. I am able to work from my home office a lot which allows me to have my baby at home, often with help but he isn’t far from me if he needs me. My toddler loves his family daycare so would probably never forgive me if I kept him home all week. He does three days a week at daycare and one day with a nanny at home.
  8. How did you cope becoming a mum for the first/second time and putting kids as first priority over career?
    Let’s just say the first three months of being a mum with either child is painfully hard. My kids and my husband are my world but I don’t feel complete without my work and vice versa. I have a love of juggling responsibilities and pride myself on it! I am confident that I am there for my family and my work. If either role needs more attention I will do my best to give it to that role. If my kids needed me to pull back on work especially, I would! But I want my boys to have a mother that leads by example, that inspires them to work hard, aim high and be good to people.
  9. What advice can you give to other mums – whether they work for themselves, for someone else or are thinking of starting work again?
    Do what makes you happy. As cliche as that sounds – if you don’t – the hard times that we all have, will be that much harder.
  10. Do you feel if you put more real content on social media of being a mum, that clients would view you as not ‘as motivated’?
    No – my social is filled with my mum life exclusively hahah. I know I work hard for my clients and give them all they are paying for so I have no reason to hide my family time.
  11. What positive changes have you found in yourself/your business partner since becoming mothers, that can help you day to day with clients?
    I probably have to credit my business partner for any changes I have made as a business owner. She teaches me a lot about being the best boss, business owner, colegue that I can be.
  12. (Fill in the blanks) – Working mums should know that…
    You have to learn to love to juggle! Use your time wisely. But truly, do what works for you and your family not what works for someone on social media or google!!

 


 

Holly (Creative Director H&E Group, Mum to Sadie 1.5 yrs & Cora 6wks)
“Free yourself of all the shoulda-woulda-coulda thoughts and just bloody go for it.”

  1. What do you believe are the pro’s and con’s of being self employed and having kids?
    I think it’s totally what you make of it; you just have to want to make it work and it all seems to fall in line then. I’ve always been determined that both my business and my family would flourish and thrive so that’s where my energy goes. We (Elke & I) both always say we built the business in a way that makes it work for us at whatever stage of life we’re at, so we can do whatever we want to make it fit when it comes to juggling our work with our young families. We always feel we can turn the tap on or off with how much work we want to allow in the door and I think that’s been the secret to our success even when we are really busy. We only take on who and what we want, when we want – it’s wonderful!
  2. What are your tips for self motivation/banishing procrastination if you are overly tired/stressed from kids?
    Treat every morning as a new day, a new start. Plus…coffee… 🙂 Someone once told me to learn to be grateful for the sleep you do get, instead of mourning the hours of sleep that you’ve lost – that change in mindset has really helped haul me through a lot of early mornings and big days following the long late nights! You have to just be realistic with yourself too. We have really high expectations of ourselves, and we never, ever send a client work that we’re not 100% proud of. This means making sure we are strict with deadlines, and setting ourselves limits so that our deadlines are achievable without anyone going mad (or hungry!)
  3. Do you find yourself comparing yourself to other mums?
    Not if I can help it – I think all mums are superheroes as it’s a really tough gig – it’s the toughest job I’ve ever had by miles, and I’m happy to just leave everyone in their own box doing it their own way. I do get worried that I’m too this or not enough that sometimes, but I think that’s natural. That’s how the human race survives – making mums put the pressure on themselves to be the best they can be! I’m the same at work – the only real pressure comes from myself.
  4. Do you feel pressure to over achieve as a mum/career woman and ‘have it all’?
    YES! But again – this pressure only really comes from me. I love my family and my business – equally, but in different ways, and I put immense pressure on myself to make sure each gets the time and input they both need. In some ways I look at it like I already do ‘have it all’ – I have a job that I absolutely love, with my best friend for a business partner, and we get to raise our children together while we’re at it. I can’t imagine life any other way and it definitely helps pull me through the tricky times.
  5. Do you experience mum guilt when you have to pick your kids up or have kids around and you have to answer calls? Do you tell clients the truth or lie about what you are doing?
    I wouldn’t say it was guilt exactly but it can be really hard when you really need to take a client’s call and you’re in the car on the way home from kindy pick up, and you’ve got someone singing ‘the wheels on the bus’ in the background or yelling about cheese! We try really hard to schedule all our calls and time so that nobody has to either speak louder on the phone, or stop singing, and so far I don’t think we’ve had any complaints 🙂 We try to stick to ‘work hours’ and ‘family time’ and most people really respect that. I think you need those boundaries for your sanity, too.
  6. How has having a business partner in the same situation helped the changes of becoming a working mum?
    I honestly don’t know how I would do any of it without Elke. She is such a powerhouse and is always one step ahead of the game – she is a real inspiration to me. We always have each other’s back too. It really makes it easy having someone going through the same thing at the same time. Funnily enough, we have been pregnant together both times – and it wasn’t planned that way for either of us! We also didn’t even think children were on our radar when we first went into business together in 2016, and now we’ve got four children between us and the business is stronger than ever! Having someone who understands the craziness of it all, the loneliness, the excitement, the worries etc; it just makes life easier being on the same page.
  7. Were you excited to get back to work after maternity leave or had anxiety?
    Oh god – both! Neither! Ha ha – I don’t really know. It is always hugely exciting to me to work in our business. I find every day a thrill. But there’s also the pull of your children and the constant worrying about not being there for them enough. Being torn between being a role model for them and giving them enough of my time – that’s the anxiety part and I don’t know if it will ever really be solved! Some days its easy, some days its hard, but that’s just the way it is. I feel so very lucky to have a job like mine to walk back into how and when I am ready, and I really do take my hat off to those mums who have to go back to work earlier than they’re ready and straight into full time hours as well. I am a huge advocate of flexible working and I think we have a long way to go in Australia before we really allow women to successfully juggle their career and family – but don’t get me started on that rant!
  8. How did you cope becoming a mum for the first/second time and putting kids as first priority over career?
    I don’t know if I really did. Both the business and my family are my first priority, so they all just slot in together somehow. Maybe its my own blind faith, but I think it helps having a business partner in the same boat with the same needs as well. Having to choose one over the other has never really been a thing for us, as we always have each other holding the fort. Sure, some days you just need to pick one and run with it. But that’s pretty rare because we have worked so hard to make it work all round.
  9. What advice can you give to other mums – whether they work for themselves, for someone else or are thinking of starting work again?
    Free yourself of all the shoulda-woulda-coulda thoughts and just bloody go for it – whatever you want. Don’t overthink it either – you will never, ever be the perfect mum, but if you follow your heart you’ll be pretty damn close as far as your kids are concerned. And if it all turns to shit, if the kids routine went wrong, or you missed an email or an important call – well, just start again tomorrow. I think our journey so far has shown us that if you are truly passionate about something, or if you’re really inspired to take a leap, just do it. It’s so surprising how many doors will open for you once you’re on the right path.
  10. Do you feel if you put more real content on social media of being a mum, that clients would view you as not ‘as motivated’?
    Oooh we have spoken about this in such depth over the last few years! I think I did in the beginning, as it was all just so new, and seventeen photos of your baby on Instagram in three days just doesn’t feel very ‘businessy’! Plus we’ve both worked so bloody hard for our reputations and have sat around some pretty decent boardroom tables, and that world seems so far removed from what we now call our #mumlife! But we got over it pretty quickly – my personal social media accounts are basically all kids and sausage dogs and random family stuff, and why not?  It’s who I am. It doesn’t mean I’m any different in my job, it just means I have really cute kids… haha…
  11. What positive changes have you found in yourself/your business partner since becoming mothers, that can help you day to day with clients?
    We have both always been pretty bold in business and if anything we are now even more disciplined, more motivated, and more driven than we were before. Business really excites us both and we’re basically addicted to the hustle, we just have to be more creative about how and when we can get our hustle on these days!
  12. (Fill in the blanks) – Working mums should know that…
    Every phase passes… and wine helps while you wait!

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