Finding the balance between motherhood and all your other projects is definitely a challenge facing most mums with careers. Dene Menzel is certainly one busy lady, from looking after her 5 year old daugher Mackinlay, to running her business, The Voice Factor, and being the lead vocalist in a band. Read on to see how she makes time to switch off from work sometimes and just be a mum:
Name: Dene Menzel
Website/blog: The Voice Factor
Social media: Facebook
Tell us a bit about yourself and your child/children….
I am a music entrepreneur from Melbourne, Australia. I’m 42 years old. I have one daughter - Mackinlay Kate. She is 5 years old and full of sparkly personality. She loves swimming, dancing, and singing.
What is the name of your business/blog and what does your work entail?
My main business is called The Voice Factor. Being a musician much of my work is music related. I am an Amazon #1 Best Selling author of How to Sing e-book: “The Voice Factor”. My other music projects include a music branding and team building experience called Voice Your Brand Experience, a global virtual choir called Choir In The Cloud and I am also a lead vocalist in a corporate entertainment band called Gruven.
What made you decide to be both a mum and a career woman?
I have always been career-focused and for many years I was adamant that I was never going to become a mum - I didn’t feel maternal, nor did I have any desire to have children. At that time in my life, I was running a Performing Arts Company and two choirs, working six days a week and all my focus was on growing my business. It was only when I reached my late 30s, even with such a full schedule, I began to feel like something was missing in my life. Many of my friends had already had children and, I know it is a bit of a cliche, but I felt it was time to make a decision before time decided for me. The choice to have Mackie was one I did not take lightly as I did not want to be a mother who had a child and then didn’t spend any time with her. So, I really had to make sure I was completely ready for my career to change. And when I could accept that, then that is when you could say I decided to be a mum and a career woman.
What challenges do you face balancing both roles and how do you overcome them?
I think the biggest challenge for me is that I have had to learn to let go of a fixed schedule. Neither part of my life is clear cut anymore and I have to be prepared that one role may spill over into time allocated for the other. Children get sick, work deadlines sometimes go over and I have to have the flexibility and poise to understand that and tweak things so that it all works out. I am really lucky to have such an amazing husband who is a great support at those times.
What is one tip you have for unwinding after a stressful day?
Meditation is key for me. I create so much momentum in my businesses on a daily basis and with Mackie’s school schedule thrown into the mix, a discipline of 30 minutes for me is crucial at the beginning and end of the day.
What is one fun weekend activity that your family enjoys together?
As Monday to Friday is so busy with activity, we love to keep it pretty simple on the weekends if we can. Going out to breakfast on a Saturday morning is just lovely. We get to talk about our week, and just connect as a family around some great food.
What is one time-saving parenting tip you can recommend?
If anything has made my life easier it is these four words: Pack The Night Before. From swimming bags, to dancing bags, books, to uniforms, and lunches (prepare and refrigerate) - right through to packing my business cases, handbag, and clothes for next day if I have a business meeting. It might not seem like a time saver on the surface because it has to be prepared anyway, but I find I get a more restful sleep and a less manic morning because I can simply ‘Grab And Go’ which feels like there is time in the morning to enjoy.
What benefits do you think there are to being a career mum?
For me, I enjoy teaching Mackie about being an entrepreneur, and although she is five years old, she has now started her own kids accessories business with me called Maccessorize By Mackie and she understands how money works, the basics of how business works and it gives me time with her to appreciate business as I do.
Lastly, what do you do to ensure you maintain a strong bond with your child/children, despite having numerous responsibilities?
Knowing when to switch off from work is very important. When the clock hits 3:15pm, I switch my phone off - it’s mum time. I love that time of day, talking with Mackie, singing with her, laughing with her, hearing about her day, listening and helping her through her challenges. Also, lots of squishy hugs, being silly and the usual "I love you”s for no other reason than because we just want to say it. To me, it's these little things that make her know that I am always here for her and it’s time for just her and I which is special. I hope that continues as she grows older into her teens and into adulthood.
So there you have it - anything is possible with proper planning, and setting out your priorities. As Dene mentions, sometimes you have to accept that one role might spill into the other - but as long as you are making sure you’re emotionally available to deal with your little one’s needs, you’ll manage both jobs just fine!
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