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Work Life Balance

13 Working Mums Share their Daily Routine

In Balance the Grind’s Daily Routine series, we explore the daily routines, habits and rituals of successful leaders, entrepreneurs, artists and business executives.

But if there’s one group of people who should be getting more shine, we think it’s working mums. Juggling work obligations with home life, hopping back on the laptop after the kids are asleep, balancing morning coffees with family breakfasts, it’s a busy life!

We spoke to 13 working mums about their daily routine and how they balance it all.

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Brooke Hill // Founder & Director of The Content(ed) Copywriter

Brooke Hill is the Founder & Director of content and copywriting agency The Content(ed) Copywriter.

I’ve always structured my working days to maximise as much time with my kids as possible.

For me – and I’m highly conscious work-life balance means something different for everyone – that means shorter days in care and pre-school, and working during nap times when the kids are at home.

I have to admit, COVID-19 has presented challenges. At the moment, a typical day involves spending the morning with my kids. When my bub goes down for his first nap, I’ll work intensively.

My Zoom calls are scheduled during that time, and I’m incredibly disciplined with using that time effectively. When bub wakes, I’m on mum duty again until the next nap. It’s intense – and I’ll be relieved when our local daycare re-opens.

Sarah Galletly // Managing Partner at Orchard

Sarah Galletly is the Managing Partner at Orchard, a marketing agency with offices in Sydney and New York, which she founded with three partners in 2006.

I always get up early so I start the day with either a gym session at Orange Theory (now that the gyms are back open, hurrah), or a walk to the beach and a short online pilates class. I’m usually back home by 7:30 to get my two boys up and ready for school.

My workday is usually a mix of internal team meetings, client meetings, some focus time and some time spent keeping my inbox under control. I usually have my meetings in the morning, starting with short team meetings to talk about what we each have on for the day and to sort out any roadblocks.

I’ll try and block out time in the afternoon for any tasks that need concentration as I find that I focus best in the afternoon. I also try not to leave the team or clients hanging too long so I’ll check my emails and messages every couple of hours to make sure there’s nothing urgent.

Working from home during COVID has made it harder to differentiate between work and home life, so I try to leave the study after my workday finishes and take the dog for a walk around the block, have a glass of wine or hang out with the kids. I’ll usually log back on later in the evening to plan out the following day.

Nicola Swankie // Founder & Lead Consultant at Swankie & Partners

Nicola Swankie is the Founder & Lead Consultant at Swankie & Partners, a training partnership specializing in helping companies embrace new technologies for better business performance.

As I juggle a couple of businesses, a 2.5 year old, 2 big dogs and living regionally days can all look quite different! However, they are ALL well planned.

If I am here in the Sunny Coast I will squeeze in some exercise early with an outdoor trainer by the ocean because I thrive on being out near the coastline. I find it sets me up for the day if I get that time for my soul to “wag its tail”!

I usually do drop off at daycare and then work at our co-working space where I stay in touch with my clients and team through a combination of phone, Basecamp, GMeet video calls, GDrive and Zoom.

We have a vibrant and buzzy community in our space, which is filled with parents of young children, most of which have moved from Sydney or Melbourne recently all trying to live regionally and work flexibly around families.

If I am travelling, I usually head to Sydney on the 6.30am flight, get all my meetings and workshops in and jump on the 5.30 flight back, which means I can usually be home before my little boy goes to sleep. I love how easy and fast it is to move through our regional airport. I can be home in 15 minutes of landing.

Carolyn Hyams // Marketing Director for Aquent, Firebrand Talent & Vitamin T

Carolyn Hyams is the Australian Marketing Director Firebrand, Aquent and Vitamin T, recruitment brands all owned by Aquent.

I work from 8.45am to 4pm from Mondays to Fridays as I am a mum and I need to leave early in order to pick up my daughter and take her to various after school activities.

After going through my emails, flagging the important stuff and writing a list of tasks for the day, the first thing I do is to check through any online notifications on all our brand social platforms and well as my own social accounts and respond to any comments.

Then I’ll allocate any leads that have come in overnight to our teams in Sydney and Melbourne.

After this, I’ll check the marketing schedule to see what emails and blog posts are being published that day so that I can support or promote them online.

I’ll check the results of any Facebook ads, including looking at the conversion rate in case I need to make any tweaks to the ads.

If we have any events to organise (which is often), I’ll check in with my colleague Anneke to see if we’re on track and offer support where necessary.

I’ll add more content (owned and curated) to our employee advocacy platform Bambu so that our teams have valuable and relevant content that they can share with their connections.

I’ll also schedule some content (curated and owned) on our various social channels.

We’re currently surveying professionals on about future transformation of the digital workforce which we’ll be turning into a printed report that we can deliver to our clients. This will help them with their hiring strategy for their future workforce.

So I’ll check in on survey numbers, promote it on various channels and also look at the planning schedule to see what needs to be implemented next.

Later on I may write some email copy, research some subject lines and look at some analytics on how previous, similar campaigns have performed.

And I’ll spend some time updating the copy on our three websites which reflect the “brand on the outside” work we’ve collectively done to better define who we are, what we do, how we do it, and importantly why we do it (our purpose).

Every day is different and there’s a lot of variety in my role. What’s really important is that I really put my head down and focus whilst I’m at work because my hours are shorter than most and I like to be really productive.

Angie Stavros // Group Sales Manager – PodcastOne at Southern Cross Austereo

Angie Stavros is the Group Sales Manager – PodcastOne at Southern Cross Austereo, an Australian media company operating 80 radio stations and 21 commercial television licenses.

As cliché as it sounds, every day is different. Although it is frowned upon by many, I always check my emails before I get out of bed in the morning. I find it’s important to help me prioritise my day and prepare for anything new that may change the course of my day.

Once I’m up, my morning is dedicated to calming (or at times contributing to) the chaos in the house – getting two teenagers off to two different schools on time has its challenges.

Driving into the office, I always listen to a podcast; sometimes one of our own, and other times one of our competitor’s.

Once I’m in the office, I review my day and do-to list. As a priority, I make sure I am fully prepared for meetings I have scheduled on the day. Following that, I check in with my colleagues, read trade press and tend to urgent email requests.

A regular day can look something like this: external meetings, internal meetings, proposal writing, schedule building, talking to clients and collaborating with radio sales team on a client’s integrated audio strategy.

In my “spare” time, I am usually re-evaluating my sales strategy and pipeline which needs to flexible depending on what the market dictates (i.e. reactive or pro-active).

My drive home is often in silence as I reflect on my day and mentally prepare for the evening ahead. Sometimes I use this time to call family and friends and get into a more relaxed headspace.

Lija Wilson // Founder & CEO of Puffling

Lija Wilson is the Founder & CEO of flexible work platform Puffling, helping businesses source senior off-market talent, delivering flexible work options and promoting gender diversity.

Most days I try to exercise before the chaos kicks in. I live on Sydney’s northern beaches so head to CrossFit for the sun rise at 5.45am.

I’ve always been one to catch the worms but since having kids, I no longer hit the emails at 7:30. After ticking off exercise, I coordinate kids with my husband (we have three under 6 who are at different drop offs) and now start work around 9:30am.

A few days a week, I’ll meet with clients, present flexible work solutions to attract or retain talent and often speak on panels or at events. I have an office space close to home and the kids schools, so a few days a week, I’ll have non-meeting days from there and focus on growth plans, strategy, product planning and having contact with talent.

Aura Chan Gonzalez, Digital Marketing Specialist at AgriWebb

Aura Chan Gonzalez is the Digital Marketing Specialist at AgriWebb, a livestock farm management software, and also the Founder of Go Spanish.

I am currently working Mon-Tue. Our days at home during the days I work are hectic and locked into routines for our 4-year-old daughter (Elizabeth) and 7-month old baby boy (Gabriel). I have long nights; early starts and I am usually in bed by 10:00 pm if not before that.

On a typical working day I wake up around 6:30 am to feed Gabriel. Then, take a shower – by then my husband has given breakfast to Elizabeth. After breakfast I am off to drop Eli at childcare while my mum looks after Gabriel.

I start work at 9:00 am. The team kick off the week with morning meetings where we find out what other team members are up to for the week. My work life’s happens between Google, Asana and Slack.

Between working hours I feed Gabriel. When I finish work around 5:00 pm. I go to pick up Eli. Then, I come home to get dinner ready.

Nicole Newman, Content Strategist at Southport Sharks

Nicole Newman is the Content Strategist at Southport Sharks, a premier dining and entertainment precinct located on the Gold Coast.

My day starts as mummy with cuddles from my son and eating breakfast together, before jumping in the car and listening to my seven-year old’s Spotify play list for a bit of singing before school drop off.

On the drive to work, I switch to my play list, or a podcast depending on my mood, to transition from mummy to work colleague. I’ll generally start my workday with emails and my Wrike dashboard, before checking how campaigns are tracking on Facebook and Google.

Digital marketing is a daily mix of creativity, data analysis and research, in a rapidly evolving medium. I’ll speak with different department on campaigns and design content based on the requirements. I touch base regularly with my team throughout the day to brainstorm and discuss concepts to deliver content.

Most days of the week, I transition back to mummy for school pick up and to take my son to his club sports.

Katrina McCarter // CEO of Marketing to Mums

Katrina McCarter is a marketing strategist, speaker, best-selling author, advisor and CEO of Marketing to Mums, a marketing and research consultancy.

My workdays are diverse. I have six core activities I engage in including:

  1. teaching Digital Marketing for ADMA
  2. speaking and running workshops at conferences around Australia and overseas
  3. consulting to clients
  4. undertaking market research about Australian mothers
  5. giving board briefings about the Mum landscape
  6. coaching business owners.

My work day typically kicks off around 8am after my kids head off to school. My work day tends to move to my car from around 4pm when the kids get back and need to go to their various sporting engagements (they all play lots of sport).

I’ll be in the car until around 7 or 8pm when we all regroup for dinner and then my husband will generally watch a Netflix episode at some stage before heading to bed.

Liana Dubois // Director of Powered at Nine

Liana Dubois is Director of Nine division, Powered, a marketing solutions team to help advertisers stand out across TV, digital, publishing, and radio.

It sounds like a bit of a cliché, but no two days are the same. Nine’s business is so diverse it means I find myself in all sorts of different, sometimes whacky, conversations and places.

Marketing and media touches so many areas, it’s vast and interesting. I find myself in things like a conversation to understand the strategic plans of a brand with a CMO, working with Nine’s content and commercial divisions, finding new and more effective advertising options for our clientele, and chatting with Nine’s talent on upcoming events or activities or other musings.

Or researching strategic alliances that can add value to our model and vice versa. I also have the pleasure of leading a brilliantly eclectic team of very talented people who make all the magic happen.

While there is difference every day, the bookends are consistent. Each morning, my husband and I negotiate attending school (whether that was home school or the return to physical school) with Mr 8 and Mr 5. At night they negotiate with us over the bedtime clock.

Victoria Butt // Founder & Managing Director of Parity Consulting

Victoria Butt is the Founder & Managing Director of Parity Consulting, a Sydney-based recruitment agency.

I’ll start by saying every day is different. So, let me talk you through my day yesterday.

Up and ready for the day at 6am, 30 minutes of at home fitness spent with my husband, fed my two 4 year old’s breakfast and got them dressed and off to daycare.

Online at 8am for a client call, then reviewed comms for our upcoming salary guide, logged onto our team stand up at 9am where we reconnect every morning and talk about our intent for the day, then worked on a distribution strategy for the next quarter.

Jumped onto a virtual personal training session at 11am, followed by a shower and between 12 – 2pm I multitasked and made big batches of veggie lasagna and dinner for the kids whilst on the phone to clients, checking in on processes and how they were executed – ultimately making sure they were happy.

In the afternoon I spoke to a senior candidate and conducted a post placement review, then spent 1 hour on my new tech business looking at the modules to roll out. Starting to wrap up the day (with my huge pot of English breakfast tea), I had one more VC with a client to talk about new roles.

Then at 5pm, I dialled in for a call with my sister over in the UK. My husband picked up the kids from daycare and dinner was on the table at 5.30pm so we could eat with the kids, then had play time, bath time and bed at 7pm.

I tend to then log back on between 7pm – 9pm to clear out my emails and do some work on the Diversity and Inclusion agenda for EO Sydney.

Anna MacIntosh // General Manager at Polkadot Communications

Anna MacIntosh is the General Manager at Sydney-based full-service marketing, communications & PR agency Polkadot Communications.

As a competitive swimmer growing up, I have not been able to shake the early morning rise. I am generally up between 5.30am and 6am depending if I have Pilates or spin class.

However, if you had asked me this during lock down, I would have said all of this was out the window! But our team is transitioning back into the office now, so my old routine is coming back to life a little but with a lot more flexibility thrown in.

After exercise, I get home around 7.15am to wrangle my 14-year-old teenager out of bed to get him ready for school. Before exercise, I do a quick scan of the news and Twitter to see what’s trending then properly read the news between coffee and leaving the house around 8.30am.

If I have calls with some of my global clients, I will stay home to do those then head into the office later that morning.

My day is a diverse mix of client work, new business, and team discussions. I thrive on people and creativity and must admit, I am loving being back with my team and feeding off their energy from bouncing around ideas (social distancing style of course).

I am a newshound and have been given the nickname of Chief of Staff in the agency. I am always sharing news, politics, pop culture, reality shows, you name it, I am reading and sharing it.

I always make time during the day to get out of the office. Having worked from home the past three months, it has validated just how important it is to have a break.

If my son has sport, I take him to training and most nights I am out of the office around 5. I try not to log back on unless necessary (like a pitch). Nights are for cooking and family time as well as the dreaded high school homework, followed by TV, Netflix or Stan. I am not a night owl, so lights are out early.

Heaven Leigh // Vegan Entrepreneur & Owner of Bodhi Restaurant Bar

Heaven Leigh is a vegan entrepreneur, third generation female restaurateur, and owner of Bodhi Restaurant Bar in Sydney.

While every day is different, one thing that remains constant is my search for work-life, family balance – which I don’t always get right!

Each morning, I wake up before my two children and take 10 minutes to quietly do some journalling – or what I like to call written meditation. Journalling is an invaluable tool. It allows me to set my intentions for the day, to stay focused on my goals and to find gratitude in my life. (I’ve written more about how important journalling has been in my life in a blog here).

I then squeeze in a yoga or meditation practice.

Then it’s time to get the kids ready for the day. Even during lockdown, I’ve maintained the “get up, go to work” routine, which has helped me feel focused, professional and ready to tackle the day ahead.

Once everyone is ready, I check in with my EA and right-hand-woman Leticia who runs me through my agenda and keeps me on track with everything that I need to juggle.

I have always worked better with other people, so working collaboratively with her is incredibly helpful for me. Much of my day is spent bouncing from meeting to meeting, and ensuring I carve out time to action my to-do list

With both my kids currently home-schooling due to Coronavirus restrictions, I also make sure to schedule time in each day to spend with them, helping out with their school work or just focused on family time.

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About Author

Balance The Grind gives me a platform to talk to these people about how they're achieving their ideal lifestyle. I'm inspired by the passion, the work ethic, the hustle; and these conversations motivate me to live life the way I want to live it.