This post is part of a series of Professional Parents Profiles where working parents around the world share their stories and experiences of family work balance. Whether you own a business, would like to or work full or part time, you can share your story too! Together, we can all share ideas and inspiration to find better balance. Please contact me. Renee
Kate Christie, (45) from Melbourne, Australia, is mum to three kids and started her business, Time Stylers five years ago. Married to a barrister and first working as a lawyer, Kate has recently published a book called “Me Time – The Professional Woman’s Guide to Finding 30 Guilt-Free Hours a Month” and has a special offer for Australian readers below. As part of the Professional Parents Profile series, Kate has kindly shared an insight into her life. As you’ll read, she believes family work balance is a myth, but has plenty of ideas and experience to share as a time management expert.
Brief description of “Life Before Children”:
I was one of a generation of women who was told that I could ‘Have it all’, and I believed it! And what’s more, for many, many years, it worked – I did have it all. I was used to getting exactly what I wanted through sheer hard work and a modicum of talent. I was a Superwoman – with a lycra cat suit hidden under my shirt with an S emblazoned across my in-substantial bosom. I simply flew up that career ladder. Hard Work = Success = Having It All = the simple formula by which I lived my life.
How does this compare to “Life After Children”?
But then, in quick succession I had three babies in three and a half years, all while trying to maintain my career, juggle work, a husband and a home. For four and a half years straight my poor body was either pregnant or breast feeding or both. But, as a clever career woman who knew I could ‘have it all’, I was simply super duper at multi-tasking. I could juggle a telephone conversation with a client, while scrolling through my emails with one hand and making the school lunches with the other. I was adept at dropping in to the supermarket each day and grabbing just what I needed for that night and not a bean more, mobile pressed to my ear with one hand, pushing the trolley with the other, while steering with my hip. No-one could run faster in heals than me when it came to making the dash for the train, where I would make a mental to do list of everything I needed to do that night, the next and the next. I was a whirlwind as I vacuumed the floor, checked my emails, fed the cat, took the dog for a walk, checked my emails, made dinner for the family, helped with homework, checked my emails, listened to my partner’s day, checked my emails and then collapsed in to bed. I was living the dream!
(Approximately )how many hours a week do you work?
Are there any particular laws/initiatives in your country/location that support working parents?
I run my own business so the laws available to working parents don’t apply to me.
What are the main challenges in your country/location in terms of achieving balance?
I don’t believe in work/life balance – I think it is a bit of a myth. I have many different aspects that make up my life and none of them are balanced – I tend to think in terms of work/life ‘integration’ – where all the elements are integrated and I can focus on what needs my time and attention at any given moment.
Your top tip/s for Family Work Balance: My top 2 tips:
- Family is a team sport – so make sure everyone helps out
- You don’t need to ‘have it all’ – just chase the bits which are most important to you.
Short explanation of how and why you came to start your own business:
After I left my corporate job I finally had the head space to REFRAME. I realised that there had to be a better way for other successful female professionals, who also happened to be mums or planned to be mums, to find hours of lost time, to lose their guilt and their stress, and have success on both the work and the home front. I co-founded my first business, Babysitters and More (BaM) after years of frustration with domestic help Agencies that promised the world, charged a fortune and forever under-delivered. Since then, I founded Time Stylers to help successful women who are struggling to manage the ‘juggle’, to truly find success at work and at home. In 2014 I wrote and published “Me Time – The Professional Woman’s Guide to Finding 30 Guilt-Free Hours a Month”, which walks women through a simple 5 step process to finding hours of lost time a month.
What was one of the most unexpected things about becoming a parent?
The desire to be with them as much as possible – I had been such a high flying career girl, and all of a sudden, almost overnight, my career just didn’t matter as much. But, I still love work and I love that I work for myself and can work around my kids.
What is one of the greatest wishes for your children?
True happiness in their own skin.
One of the moments you are most proud of in the last few months?
Launching my book “Me Time”, being signed up to speak at events for busy parents and appearing on NZTV.
One of the biggest challenges in the last few months?
The never ending juggle – if one of the kids gets sick I drop everything and that is challenging.
Share one of your favourite resources for working parents (website/book etc.)
My book ‘Me Time’! Of course!
What kind of work does your partner do? (if relevant) Barrister
What do you love about being a working parent?
I love the challenge, I love being a great role model for my kids.
What do you think is a myth about being a working parent?
That you can achieve ‘work/ life balance’
Do your children go to school/daycare/alternative child-minding? How often?
Do you and how do you support other working parents?
I am a time management expert. I have a reputation for helping my clients find and harness 30 hours of lost time a month.
Describe your office:
I have a home office which is RED! I love red! I have a view out over the water, and enough room for my team to work with me unless they want to work from home. There is room for my kids to study next to me while I work.
Describe your “typical” day or week:
Up early to see the kids off, time for a jog, I am at my computer by 9am and then work steadily until the kids get home from school – unless I am travelling for speaking engagements.
One or two of your favourite Professional Parents Businesses:
What are one or two of your favourite products or services?
I am a note taker, so I love a beautiful notebook and pen.
What was one of the most unexpected things about starting a business?
The amount of hard work and effort required to get it up and then to become successful.
Where do you see yourself and your business in 1 year? 5 years?
In a year I will be talking at more events about my book. In 5 years I will be launching my 3rd book!
What advice can you give others just starting out in business?
Plan properly – have a written Business Plan, get all the legal stuff locked in, don’t underestimate the amount of work, GO FOR IT!!
Is your partner/family/friends supportive of your business?
What is your favourite thing about being in business?
Being my own boss and achieving success my way for myself and my family.
What do you think is a myth about being in business?
Special offer for Australian Professional Parents:
I would love to offer your readers access to my book “Me Time”. The book retails for $24.99 plus postage. If your readers use Coupon Code MTFP , they can purchase the book for $24.99 an I will cover the postage costs. Valid until 31 August 2015. More information here: http://timestylers.com
Kate has also made some useful YouTube videos for busy working parents, here is one: