Many working mums experience a shift in their career when they start a family - and Sara Keli is one example of how this can be a fantastic opportunity to run your own business and work on your own terms! She is a HR manager turned business founder of Kid Magazine and has two young daughters as well! Read on to see how she handles it all:
Tell us a bit about yourself and your child/children….
I live in Sydney with my husband and our two daughters. My eldest is three and my youngest is five months. We have two dogs and a cat so our household is always bustling with activity (and it seems someone is always asking for food). In my life before kids I was an HR Manager in the finance industry. When my eldest was born I made the shift to running Kid Magazine full-time. It has been quite the career shift but I wouldn’t change a thing. I love everything pink, drink way too much tea, don’t drink as much wine as I used to and can’t sit still for more than ten minutes.
What is the name of your business/blog and what does your work entail?
My business, Kid Magazine, is a blog and digital magazine for mums who like style, pretty things and looking after themselves and their families. I am all about positivity and celebrating the beauty of motherhood so Kid Magazine is a judgement free zone and a place to share stories of mums doing amazing things, products that make mum life easier and real parenting advice. As with running any small business, my work entails a variety of tasks - everything from admin and running the business to writing, photography, graphic design, managing the outsourcing of work etc. The magazine is published bi-monthly and the blog is updated frequently throughout the week. I work from my home office or sometimes my parent’s dining table if I need a hand with looking after the girls.
What made you decide to be both a mum and a career woman?
I love being a mum and my girls are everything to me. But I have also always loved working and all that entails. Running my own business gives me the flexibility to be there for my family but also to continue my career. My job really energises me and I can be a better mum when I have had that time out for myself to think, create and immerse myself in my business. I love that I can watch my daughter at swimming lessons or go to Harmony Day at her preschool and then jump on a work phone call or write a blog post, all with the baby on my hip.
What challenges do you face balancing both roles and how do you overcome them?
Every day brings up challenges. As I type this I have my eldest at home from preschool with tonsillitis so I have had to put some work on hold to look after her. The benefit is that I can be there for her without any guilt when she needs me but then I work a little harder for a few days to catch up. Because I work from home it is also a challenge for my girls to understand that mummy is working even though they can see me. I also struggle with taking time for self-care. As much as I love both of my roles and they bring me joys in many ways, they can be very draining and there isn’t a lot of time left to just be me. This is something I am still working on!
What is one tip you have for unwinding after a stressful day?
Each night when the girls have gone to sleep, I don't sit down to relax until I have cleaned up from dinner and packed our bags for the next day etc. so when I do sit down, I can actually relax without thinking of all the things I still need to do. And then when I do relax I'm usually watching something on Netflix, maybe with a glass of wine in hand. A shower also does wonders for clearing your head and relaxing you. Even better if you have time for a soak in the bath.
What is one fun weekend activity that your family enjoys together?
My husband and I have always enjoyed going out for breakfast on Saturday morning and we still do this now with our girls. We have a few local spots that we love to visit, usually ones that have a kids playground so we can enjoy our coffee and a chat while our daughter plays. It energises all of us and brings us together to start the weekend.
What is one time-saving parenting tip you can recommend?
I started doing my grocery shopping online about 12 months ago and it has freed up so much time in my week. I can do my shopping from the couch in my pyjamas and it takes less than 30 minutes. It has also stopped me from those impulse purchases while browsing the aisles and there are no little fingers to add random items into the trolley or hound me to buy them a treat.
What benefits do you think there are to being a career mum?
Obviously there are the benefits to yourself being able to contribute to your family income and the personal fulfilment that you get from working. But for me, I’m thrilled to be a role model for my daughters to look up to. It isn't easy to balance work and family but I hope that by the time they are having their own families that things have changed considerably to make it easier for them.
Lastly, what do you do to ensure you maintain a strong bond with your child/children, despite having numerous responsibilities?
It's just about making sure there is time in each day for them. And to be honest, if they are feeling like they haven't had enough of my attention then they most certainly make it known! I find the car is a really great place for chats. There are no screens and extra distractions so it is a good time to ask questions and have conversations you normally wouldn’t have time for. I ask her about what she is learning at preschool, about her friends and anything else I want to talk to her about or find out. We always eat dinner together as a family and spend some time each day doing craft or playing in the backyard.
Carving out time for your little ones when you have a demanding job can definitely be a struggle, but anything is possible if you put your mind to it! Consider setting up some fun playthings in your backyard like cubby houses and jumping castles, so your little ones can play around while you relax on the patio with your husband!