Michelle Shares her amazing work and family story.
Celebrating the Working Mums of Belgravia Leisure
Have you ever watched the TV show Modern Family? We are Cameron and Mitchell except we’re Catherine and Michelle.
We have a one-year-old son (William) and have been married for three years but together for 12 years. Catherine is a paramedic and I manage the Bribie Island Aquatic Leisure Centre, and between us we have a small cake business.
I have been employed with Belgravia Leisure since 2005 and held various positions along the way. In 2018 Catherine gave birth to our son William and I was fortunate enough to have 10 weeks off. It was an amazingly CRAZY time.
I remember getting a phone call from Cat on a Thursday morning two weeks before William was due and she said “I think my waters have broken..” my reply was “You think?”
At midday, that day we had a house inspection as our house was on the market. That evening whilst at hospital, we get a phone call from the real estate agent informing us that the people would like to buy the house and could we get the contract signed, so the next day whilst in birthing suite and in the early stages of labour Cat and I were signing house contract papers, 12 hours later William was born.
Three weeks later we moved into our newly built house. In the blink of an eye, our son was one month old and it was then we realised the importance of “being in the moment”.
Catherine has returned to work as a paramedic on a part-time basis and we have a very supportive family who helps with taking care of William when we are both at work.
What do you love about being a working mum?
I’m still smashing through my life goals! I have to admit, I was worried that when I went back to work all I would be doing was working and being a mum, which is a huge achievement in itself. But I still had goals I wanted to achieve and dreams I wanted to make a reality. And I’m doing them!
Do you know the old saying that if you want something done, ask someone who is busy? Well, it’s true! I’m more organised than ever, achieving more than ever and I’ve never had so much on my plate at once. And you know what? I love it. I feel so in control of my own life and feel like I can achieve anything I want. It’s an amazing feeling.
How do you make time for work and family?
I’ve tried thinking about what a ‘work-life balance’ would look like. Over the years I’ve had people tell me I work too much. Does that mean my ‘balance’ was out? But I was happy, I loved my work and it energised me.
So how many hours of work does it take to create a work-life balance? Does working the standard 40 hours a week immediately mean that we have to start chasing this ‘balance’? Or does it kick in at 30 hours? Supposedly, a work-life balance is what we achieve when our work and our personal life balance out in perfect harmony. When we manage to get all of our ‘work’ done, without it compromising time with our family, or our social lives, or impeding on our relationships. Sounds like something out of a Disney movie, with sweet music and birds chirping.
I’ve never really ‘believed’ in a work-life balance anyway. To me, work is part of my life, and it’s up to me to ensure I enjoy my work. I’m lucky enough to say that for the majority of my working life I truly have enjoyed the work I do. Over the last seven years, that work has involved being an aquatic centre manager, a job that has brought me great joy and challenges too.
One thing I’ve learned is that there’s no real ‘off’ switch. It’s not like I go home from work and stop being a manager. I might take my uniform off, but it’s part of who I am. It always will be. My work is part of my life and my life is part of my work. As a small business owner and a facility manager, I bring life experience to my job.
What are the most challenging aspects that working mothers face today?
In our short experience as being mothers, (and we are yet to experience these challenges) we feel that the biggest challenge in raising children today is going to be dealing with the outside influences of society. Societal factors include specific concerns such as drugs and alcohol, peer pressure, and the impact of television and other forms of media.
How has Belgravia Leisure supported you as a working mum?
I have been supported by Belgravia Leisure along the way and I am grateful for being able to have the flexibility when it comes to my working roster.
It is the peace of mind knowing I work with an amazing company who is supportive of all employees.