My motherhood story could be like anyone else’s. It probably may not seem to be anything dramatic or different. However I know that my story is something that many people can relate to. My motherhood story is about the juggle and struggle between work and home. Between juggling my job as a Mum and my job as a teacher. I want to do both well, but sometimes feel like I’m not doing either well at all.
I was lucky enough to meet the love of my life when I was 28. Three days apart in age, we met on his birthday and had our first date on mine. On his motorbike! We quickly knew that we wanted to be with each other forever. We married when we were 31 and then had Ella when we were 32. By the time this amazing event happened in our life, I was lucky enough to have also forged a career that I loved. I got to a point of being able to hold a position of leadership in being Deputy Principal. I was worried, terrified and scared about how I would press pause on this part of my life and become a mother. I knew however that becoming a Mum would be the greatest opportunity of my life, and so we took the step to becoming parents and welcoming our beautiful baby girl, Ella (now 5) into our lives.
I spent nine months at home with Ella, learning about her and learning how to be a Mum. Something I truly believe she has taught me. During my time at home I felt the loss of not using my brain in the same way that I did whilst at work. Also I felt the loss of having a connection with adults and talking about my passion in education. So I began a blog. A blog that would document our lives as a growing family - the magic, mayhem and milestones. So much love to share and so many joyous moments.
Then the time came to venture back to work. It was something that I was both looking forward to, and something that scared the hell out of me! How on earth could I leave her each day? How could I manage motherhood and being a teacher? But like all things, we made it work. I was lucky enough to have a boss who valued my role and wanted to help me juggle everything. I’m no longer in the classroom, but at that stage was Deputy Principal and Learning & Teaching leader. I came back 2 days initially and then three days. It was great to be back at work and mix with my colleagues.
However I also felt so guilty about leaving Ella and missed her terribly. I didn’t want her to miss out on things that my other friends who were stay at home Mums were doing. I felt like I was being pulled in all directions. I just did my best to be the best I could be for everyone.
Since then, we have also been lucky enough to become parents to Hudson, our gorgeous, crazy little boy (almost 3). We were renovating our home whilst Hudson was born, 6 weeks early. We spent a month in and out of hospital with our little man needing time in Special Care. He was also diagnosed with hearing loss and the world of endless visits to audiologists and specialists began. Again, I did my best and tried not to stress too much. A new battle with anxiety became a big challenge as I tried to focus on helping him improve and pave a future of possibility and opportunity. Whilst on leave with our little man, I developed my print businesses: Name It Prints. This business tapped into my new found love of kids interiors (since our renovation) and has grown today to be a huge part of my life. I love creating and designing prints for little ones, and interacting with the amazing world of online businesses run by Mums.
When the time came to again go back to ‘work’, I felt a new sense of challenge. How would I manage my role as Deputy Principal, my blog, my print business and most importantly, my role as a Mum? Once again, my boss was wonderful. I tried my best for nine long months of travelling across town each day. Juggling daycare, appointments, specialists, ballet, breakfast, washing, dinners, groceries, work, friendships, family. In the end it did take its toll. Something had to give. So it was with a very loving talk with my again amazing boss that I decided to press pause on the Deputy side of my role, and step back a little. To give myself space. To still be connected via my role as Head of Curriculum, something I’m really passionate about. However stepping back gave me the freedom and the permission to be a Mum, fully and completely when I was at home. No longer would I feel the pressure to be at every event. To stay until the end. To be on top of everything when I wasn’t there.
Being a working Mum, something we all are whether it be paid or unpaid work, is incredibly hard. Especially if we love our jobs and feel as though it is a huge part of who we are. What I’ve learned is that nothing comes close to my role as a Mum. I now work .5 (three days one week and two days the next). I swap days if I need to. I still manage things at home. However I feel as though making the decision to step back helped lift a weight off my shoulders. It wasn’t something tangible I could remove, but something that I felt.
Especially given the fact that last year we lost my Dad very suddenly. My sense of self, especially as a parent was rocked to its core. Losing my own parent, made me want to be a better one for my own children. My Dad was my everything. He was everything you could ever want a Dad to be. It is hard to put my love and appreciation of my Father into words. All I know is that these last six months have taught me to put my kids first. To put myself and my husband first so that we, as a couple, can be the best and most loving parents that we can.
The juggle of motherhood is my greatest challenge. We all find it hard. However in the end I know that what is best for my family is what matters. Sometimes that matches with what is best for me, and sometimes it doesn’t. I’m doing my best and I know that I’m lucky, With my best friend and Husband by my side, we can hopefully raise children who feel as loved as I did as a child growing up in this crazy world.
As mothers we are all doing our best. Whether you are home with your children all the time, or juggling work and being at home. We do what we do for the love of our family.
Kate says: I enjoy pilates, writing my blog and designing my prints. I’ve been a Primary Teacher for 15 years. Deputy Principal / Learning and Teaching leader for 8 of them. Last year I stepped back from the deputy part of my role to balance our life / work / home a little. I adore my job and always have. In the last five years I also developed a blog and print business: Happy Ella After. This has become a huge part of my life!
If I could use one word to describe myself it would be extrovert. Not in the ‘loud’ sense, but in the sense of getting my energy from being around other people. I’m not someone who enjoys my own company. Growing up in a big family, I find myself wanting to be around others, and really loving the company of others.
Hood: It was St Kilda but we've just moved to Brighton.
Children: 2 - Ella and Hudson
Motherhood in 5 words: Joyous, magical, mayhem, revealing, challenging
Fav family-friendly place: Alma Park in East St Kilda. It has one of the best playgrounds in Melbourne and an awesome food market each weekend.
Coffee order: I don’t drink coffee! I love tea. English breakfast. White, one sugar.
Blog: Happy Ella After
My business has two parts: blog and prints. My blog is my first ‘baby’ in a sense. It has become a big part of my life since its inception: when my daughter Ella was born. It’s been a joy to share my experiences as a Mum: the magic, the mayhem, the milestones. Then when our son was born, my print business evolved. I design and create NAME IT prints: personalised typographic artwork for children using words to create images.
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