As part of our “Inspiring Working Mums” series, Alanna Bastin-Byrne shares her advice to help other working Mums.
Alanna Bastin-Byrne, Co-Founder & Director Femeconomy.
My best advice for your career is …
Work out the life you want to have and then build a career that gives you that life. Think about what work suits your personality, what industries align to your values and where you want to live. Then, plan for how you are going to make it happen. Sometimes this involves taking large risks. Decide on what your risk appetite is, as well as your mitigation strategies. It isn’t an easy process. For our family it was a 13-year journey with ups and downs, but I believe in short term pain for long term gain.
My most satisfying thing about being a Mum is …
Falling in love again and again.
Secondly, I am addicted to new things. New adventures, new places to live, new jobs in new industries, new people to meet. To me, experiencing as many different situations as you can, helps you learn as a person. What I realise about being a Mum is that everything is new again.
Every age and milestone in your children’s lives, something shifts. And with each change the world is new again. We have lived many places since having our two children. Each time we’ve moved, I have developed new friendships in new communities through my children,because that is what children do best, play and connect.
My best advice for managing the juggle of work and family is …
I have my work Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and my personal KPIs for my family. This won’t work for everyone, but it helps give me structure around my work/life blend.
When I am home with my children, I try to give them at least three hours of physical play each day by going out each morning. The benefit of this is that they still sleep two hours together at the same time in the middle of the day, which is when I can catch up on work.
We eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together. My rule is no devices at or around the dinner table. This make some millennial adults quite unhappy when they visit because referencing devices is part of everyday conversation now. I try to limit screen time to early in the morning and just before bed. This way I can use screen time as a privilege, so I can use it if a meeting pops up at an inopportune time, or if the kids are sick and I need to complete work.
When my children were only in care two days per week, I was working most nights and this wasn’t working for me or my family. I ended up scheduling Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights off. Distinguishing between work time and family time worked better for everyone. I didn’t feel like I needed to be in two places at once and that I was failing at everything.
9.30am to 3pm is a short day when you are working between drop off and pick up from preschool. I also live regionally. I find 15-30 minute teleconferences work well for building my network. You are more productive because there is no ‘get ready’ time, travel time and the meetings are shorter and more focused. I used to think this would impact on Femeconomy’s growth, but I think it is the opposite. There are so many people in similar situations, that this approach works for them too.