I work for one of the largest non-clincial mental health services in Australia.

47% of those employed in our organisation report having a lived experience of mental illness.

By 2017, they aim to have 50%. How cool is that! That’s called walkin’ the talk.

One of the ways our organisation supports people with a lived experience of mental illness is to work through a ‘Personal Situation Plan’. It is a generic plan you complete with your manager to identify your personal and professional goals; strategies for bringing them to fruition; barriers that may limit your ability to achieve these goals; significant people in your support networks; activities, interests and resources that assist you to maintain your own wellbeing; situations that exacerbate a personal issue or illness; actions that can be taken to manage the situation; early warning signs or indicators for others that you may not be coping; and actions you would like taken in the event you need support.

As a mother, do you have goals and aspirations? My goals are to be loving, calm and engaged. There are days, many days, when I am so far off this, but I keep trying.

As a woman, do you have goals and aspirations? I want to be stimulated, I want to be challenged, I want to contribute, I want to be grateful. I want balance.

What are your limits? What are your barriers? What can stop you from achieving your goals and aspirations? For me, its trying to be all and do all, over-reaching the limit of my physical, emotional and intellectual resources. I do it all the time and when I do it for too long, the black dog lurks. But I’m getting better at kicking that dog in the guts.

Who are your people, your tribe? The people you go to in times of need? The people that give you energy rather than take it? My husband is my safe place, my immediate fall. No one hugs like him and no one is as patient. I hope that patience never runs out. There is also my Mum. What would I do without my Mum? She’s real, she’s wise, she’s unconditional love personified. Then there’s my sisters and my friends. They see my ugly and they pour me wine and make me soup.

What activities give you energy? Time-out gives me energy. What I do is not important, so much as not being pulled on or demanded of in the process. Physical activity also gives me energy, but I’m terrible at prioritising it.

This is me chillaxing

This is me chillaxing

What gives you a stress response? What exacerbates personal issues or illness? For me, it’s the lack of time-out. The constant push forward, forward, forward without time or space to breath.

What are the warning signs to others that you’re not coping? For me, I get short and snappy. My patience evaporates, and lately, I break out in rashes. Yes rashes! I kid you not. Just call me Princess Fiona! So bootiful!

What actions do you need to take when you’re not coping? For me, I need to talk. I won’t openly ask for help. But I will hover around my people until I get the opportunity. I also need that time out, the occasional big long walk and a bloody good bottle of wine.

Having a plan for your own wellness and sharing that with others is a good idea. Give it some thought.

Some mothers gotta work. Some of us work because we have bills to pay. Some of us work because we have careers to maintain. Some of us work because we love to work; and some of us work because we are better parents when we do. For me, it’s all of the above.

At the moment I work four days per week out of home. Three is my ideal. Four is ok and the limit of time I’m prepared to spend away from my kids, because they are little and my little people need their mother, just as I need my littles.

What I’m learning is that there are tricks to making this work, lots and lots of little tricks and some damn hard work. I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learnt in the hope that it makes your life easier if you’re working or you’re thinking of returning to work.

Constructively ditch the mother guilt

Mother guilt. We all have it. It grew in our hearts and minds as our babies grew in our bellies. It’s not going anywhere, it stays with us, but it needs to learn its place. For me, that means daily talking it down. When I leave my children in the morning, I remind myself that I am leaving them in safe, comforting hands and that a good day is before them. I know they are forming loving, productive relationships with others, they’re building their own communities, they’re learning new things in ways I would not necessarily teach them. They are not just ok, they are thriving.

Find good care

It’s a lot easier to ditch the mother guilt when you have a care arrangement you are 100% happy with. My kids spend their first couple of years in the care of one of my closest friends. They go from my loving home to her loving home. She knows them intimately and responds to them individually, just as I do. To them, she is family. To me, she is family. She is ever reassuring of them and me, and she kicks my mothers guilt in the arse when I am failing to do so. Priceless.

We are not always given great choice in terms of where our kids go, but rule of thumb, follow your gut and be vigilant. Observe your children closely, observe their carer/s, observe their environment and be prepared to question. Get this arrangement right and it’s a concern you don’t need to carry into your day.


An organised week, means quality time on the weekends with my boys.

Fail to plan and you plan to fail

There is great truth in this saying. I’m a planning and list making master! Each weekend, I batch cook at least three meals. Soups, stews and pasta sauces. They are easy to make, their healthy and they freeze well. During the working week, take a meal out the night before. When you come home cook some rice, pasta or potatoes and you’re good to go. Minimal fuss, minimal mid-week washing up. It also creates a stock pile in your freezer which is great to draw on at times when money is tight.

Get all clothes ready the night before, theirs and yours. I try to have their outfits set out on the table, right down to their socks.

Have all bags packed the night before. I have ours packed and loaded into a washing basket so I only have to make one trip to the car.

Pack all lunches the night before. Prepare sandwiches, fruit, tubs of yoghurt, popcorn, whatever you’ve got going on the night before. Fill your water bottles too. In the morning just pull them out, whack in an ice brick and you’re good to go.

Wake your kids early. This sounds so wrong, but it’s right. Children, as a general rule, don’t like to be hurried. Give them time to ‘wake up’, be ready for breakfast and not feel overly pressured to get dressed and out the door. If you have the majority of things ready the night before, you can focus your attention on them and getting yourself ready.

If there is help around, use it. If my husband is home, he is up and helping, if he is arriving home from night shift, he will stay up and help us out the door. This takes an immense amount of pressure off.

Keep your house in check. Nothing makes me feel more out of control more than an out of control home. Tidy as you go, when you walk from one room to another, take something with you to put away. Wash everyday. I wash most evenings, making use of my airing racks in Winter and hanging them straight on the line in Summer. It’s one less thing I have to do in the mornings and it also ensures I won’t be confronted with Mt Washmore on the weekend when some down time is the aim.

If you’re working and you can afford it get a cleaner, just do it. If you can’t, like me, than make everyone help to the best of their ability. Even my one year old gets the idea of a ‘Room Rescue’, where we make a game of putting toys away.

Beyond that, let it go. Homes with children are messy, they just are and the sooner you stop railing against it the better. I’m still learning this one!

At work

At work, WORK! Get it done and do it well, that way, when you leave, you can leave it behind and focus on your family.

A final tip from me, which won’t suit everyone is to use your down time at work to get shit done! Most lunch times you will find me paying bills, filling prescriptions, making appointments, picking up groceries, getting petrol etc. Yes, I should probably be taking a break, but getting out of the office and running around is a good break for me, particularly because I sit at work the majority of the time.

I guess that’s about it. That’s how I make my week work. Beyond that, I try to limit my out of work commitments and make time with the kids the absolute priority. I’m not always successful but I try and some times leaving the home and setting out for a day in the park is the best way to escape distraction and remain focused on my kids.

What are your best tips of surviving working motherhood?

I miss you. I miss all of you. I miss having the opportunity to sit quietly and write. I miss hearing what you all have to say. If you work, care for children and blog, how do you do it? How do you do it?

I have nothing significant to share, so how about a little catch-up instead?

I have a new job. I am a Project Officer working for one of the largest non-clinical mental health services in Australia. I LOVE IT! It’s been full on as the majority of my time is spent writing grant applications and grant applications have deadlines, short ones. But goodness it’s good to use my brain and a hard earned skill set.



Winging my way to Sydney for work. I may or may not have thrown up due to turbulence.

I took a leap of faith on this job, it is a 12 month contract and in all honesty the chances of it being refunded are slim. But I did it and I’m glad because, I LOVE IT. The prospect of a period of uemployment in 12 months time does make me nervous, but sometimes you have to feel the fear and do it anyway and pray a new door opens at the right time.

Despite my lack of time for blogging, I have being tossing around the idea of doing my Masters in Business Administration. Stupid much? Yes! But for now I will dream that this is totally achieveable, because a girls gotta dream right?

We have been mini-adventuring.

If we won the lottery, we would drop everything and fly. Fly far, far away and give our travel bug some much needed therapy. But that ain’t going to happen, so we’re mini adventuring to groovy little places in our own backyard.


Crowdy Head Lighthouse

Crowdy Head Lighthouse

He wanted to see a lighthouse and I said sure, let's go.

He wanted to see a lighthouse and I said sure, let’s go.

Can we knock and see if the lighthouse keeper is home?

Can we knock and see if the lighthouse keeper is home?

Mini-adventuring is exhausting

Mini-adventuring is exhausting

So that Arctic Blast happened. It does not snow where we live, but if you jump in the car and drive two hours up into the mountains it does. So that’s what we did and our boys saw snow for the first time.

The beautiful drive to Barrington Tops

The beautiful drive to Barrington Tops

It was too cold for this one.

It was too cold for this one.

So we brought the snow to him

So we brought the snow to him

Barr 4

I love these days

In other news, I’m trying to reconcile the ideals of a stay at home mother with a working mother. You know those strange ideas about cooking from scratch, having a clean well ordered home, shopping to a budget etc etc. It’s hard! In short, I’m batch cooking on the weekend to make evenings easier, letting as much of the clean house ideal go as I can and I’m trying to accept that sometimes Arnott’s will be the sanity saver.

I joined the gym for about a month and half. Epic fail. Probably a good lesson in enrolling in a Masters, you do not have time you silly woman!

The day-to-day challenge of working, raising children, maintaining a relationship, friendships and the like are the focus of our lives at present. Relentless and tiring, life is a work but it is a good work. This busyness has a time and a purpose. It won’t always be this way. Right now, we are shooting for balance, giving everything the core of what it needs to survive, and if we’re lucky, thrive.

How is your life at present? Do tell…

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...