If you’ve found yourself lacking in motivation to get things done lately, get inspired by this interview with career mum Sarah Morrissey. She managed to get her business off the ground, while raising two young children and working 4-days a week in the marketing field. She is now proud to be running a business that represents the causes she is passionate about - children’s mental and physical health!
Name: Sarah Morrissey
Website/blog: Little Rockers Radio
Tell us a bit about yourself and your child/children….
I am a Mum of two children, aged 8 and 10, and my husband runs his own Personal Training business. We love our pets too and have a dog, cat, hand reared bird and fish. This is much less than we use to have when our house was like a zoo with rabbits, mice, hermit crabs and stick insects too!
Aside from being extremely hectic, life is pretty good. I am constantly practicing gratitude and am happy to have a roof over our heads and a happy and healthy family.
What is the name of your business/blog and what does your work entail?
My business is Little Rockers Radio, a 24/7 online radio station for children from birth to 6, and their Mums, Dads and Carers. We play songs, nursery rhymes, story time, yoga, meditation and more throughout the day and lullabies all night.
I launched the business in 2014 whilst working 4-days a week as a Marketing Manager. Things were extremely busy while I was working, starting a business, looking after 2 children and running a household. As my husband is a Personal Trainer he works early mornings and late evenings which meant night time routines were up to me. He did however help out a lot during the day with school pick ups.
I jumped into Little Rockers Radio full-time 12-months ago and love the freedom of working from home and growing my own business. It can be hard however as there is no off-switch. The computer is always on, which means I am always on. I am working on trying to fix this by making small rules for me to follow however when a business is growing it really needs your time too.
My day to day work entails meetings, music listening and scheduling, interviews, blogging, selling, customer service, admin... everything! I have recently started to build the team however and now have an admin person as well as a partnerships manager. I hope to build this more in 2017 so we can continue to grow.
Little Rockers Radio is also partnered with Red Nose (formerly SIDS & Kids), running the Little Rockers RED NOSE Disco through Child Care Centres nationally on Red Nose Day. Child Care Centres right around the country press PLAY to a special Little Rockers disco broadcast on Red Nose Day and children dance and have fun while raising funds and awareness for a very important cause. The idea for the disco was born from the loss of my nephew to SIDS at 16-months of age, so the disco holds a very special place in my heart. Through the disco I hope to help raise $100K a year over 10-years, hitting $1 million.
What made you decide to be both a mum and a career woman?
I always thought I would run my own business and have always been career driven. If someone had said to me when I was in my early 20's that I would be running my own radio station and it would be for kids, I would have laughed!
My friends when growing up didn't really think I would have children, but I absolutely love being a Mum and watching these two little people grow and develop. It changes you completely as soon as you become a Mum - being Mum is your number one priority. That's not to say everything else falls away, as I believe in still having a life outside of being 'Mum,' it just means when the 'shit' hits the fan, being Mum is the top priority.
What challenges do you face balancing both roles and how do you overcome them?
I am a glass half full kind of person, so I see a lot less challenges in day to day life than some people.
At the moment our biggest challenges are financial. As I threw in my Marketing job to pursue building Little Rockers Radio it has put financial pressure on us. We get by, but there is definitely pressure there.
A lot of the other challenges I faced when working have been alleviated now I am my own boss. I used to hate missing the kids sporting days and not picking them up from school. It's so nice being able to go along to these events now and not having to ask for time off.
I say we are in the 'Honeymoon phase' of parenting. Our children are no longer tantrum throwing toddlers, they are old enough to get out of bed in the morning and occupy themselves yet they still love us dearly and want to give us cuddles and kisses and spend time with us. As we start to approach the teenage years this will change again, but for now I will enjoy the time for what it is and read 'Raising Boys' and 'Raising Girls' to help me prepare for the future!
What is one tip you have for unwinding after a stressful day?
For many it's a glass of wine, but as I don't drink it's a cup of tea and a good book. I don't read nearly as much as I would like but I always have a book on the go. Every night I will sit on the couch with a cup of tea and a book, the book might not get opened, but the intention is there and that's enough to relax me :)
Warm baths are another tip. If I feel I really need to switch off from everything, including technology, then the bath is the best spot for that. I can read and relax. This is definitely better done after the kids are in bed though, otherwise as soon as you hop in the bath there is guaranteed to be one child who wants to get in with you (or just dangle their arms in the water and splash about) and another child who is hungry! Without.fail.EVERY.TIME!
I hate it when people say 'are you taking time for yourself?' I know it's important but saying you need to find 30-minutes a day can be impossible! I try to stop and take a few deep breaths when I can and refocus for a few minutes here and there throughout the day to keep my stress levels under control.
What is one fun weekend activity that your family enjoys together?
We love sports and our weekends are generally centered around sporting activities. A good weekend is when the sun is shining (not so much fun when it's wet and cold) and the kids are enjoying their footy. I love watching them play in their teams and develop their sporting skills along with their friendships. As long as I have my coffee I'm good for the early morning games, but if there's no coffee I definitely don't love it quite so much!!
I am very passionate about children's health, which is why I play physical activity programming, yoga and meditation on air daily as more and more children are growing up without ample development of their fine and gross motor skills. Developing physical skills from a young age is very important - children need to learn how to throw, catch, kick, jump, etc. When they miss developing these skills at a young age it can be much harder for them to participate in team sports when they are a little older. They can almost miss the boat.
What is one time-saving parenting tip you can recommend?
Preparation. It's so boring isn't it! But it really helps. Knowing what you are cooking for the week, what's going into the kids lunch boxes, etc will help you save so much time as you won’t need to duck out to the shops every other day.
My number one tip however is to lower your standards. We are our own worst enemies and our children don't care if the house is spotless! Tidy-ish is good enough. If anyone else cares - then they don't have to come over!
My other tip is to let your kids get bored. It will help them to learn how to occupy themselves and use their imagination. We don't have to have them in every single activity and be running around after them all the time. It will save you time and money!
What benefits do you think there are to being a career mum?
When I was getting up and heading into the office 4-days a week it was like a holiday. I got to go to the toilet without any visitors, got to walk down the street and get my own coffee, etc. I never thought I would see work as a 'break' but that's what it was for a while.
Now that I am working for myself I love that I am inspiring my children to do whatever they want in life. They are growing up and seeing a Mum and Dad who chase their dreams and I want them to do the same. I want my daughter to grow up thinking she can be whatever she wants to be - I want her to grow up and shatter glass ceilings, not worry about fitting into glass shoes.
I'm also so passionate about children's health (both physical and mental) and I now can't imagine not running a business that focuses on this area and aims to help our nation of children grow into happy and healthy grown ups!
Lastly, what do you do to ensure you maintain a strong bond with your child/children, despite having numerous responsibilities?
I tell my kids I love them ALL THE TIME! I am a big hugger. I love giving my children hugs, it always melts away my pressure too, so the hugs help me just as much as it helps them.
It's definitely easier now I am home with them more and they love me being able to pick them up from school, which I couldn't do when I was working 4-days a week.
I also just love their and my hubby's company. We are really quite quiet and love our weekends together - sport, breakfasts, coffees, movies, etc. A strong family bond is so important for children and we are lucky to have that. I would like to point out though, that a strong family bond doesn't necessarily look like ours - it doesn't have to be married with two kids, it can be single with kids and support from family, etc. Families can take on any form, as long as love is there.
Make sure you carve out time to spend with your children despite your undoubtedly hectic schedules, just like Sarah and her husband. Perhaps take them on a bike ride at the park, or even just a simple walk with your little one in the stroller. Anything that involves you spending time together, and hopefully some fresh air and physical activity too!