From running her own copywriting consultancy to taking care of 2 young kids, Vikki Maver really does it all! There’s nothing easy about working throughout the day, being there for pick-ups and drop-offs, making dinner and still tucking your little ones in at night. Read more to see how Vikki handles everything:
Name: Vikki Maver
Tell us a bit about yourself and your child/children….
I’m a proud mum of two – a 12-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy. Ironically, the day I found out I was pregnant with my daughter was the day I began self-employment. I had left a stressful job two weeks earlier and had just begun looking for work when I discovered the joyous news. Clearly, this was not the time to take up another senior role in the corporate world. But I knew I wanted to keep working – for the next nine months and beyond. So I sent a casual email to my professional network to let everyone know I was available for short-term freelance work.
And the rest, as they say, is history. By the time my daughter was born, I had racked up a handful of regular clients. I therefore continued to take on small projects here and there – and continued to do so after my son came along two years later. By the time my daughter was in school and my son in kinder, I was finally in a position to focus on my business more seriously.
What is the name of your business/blog and what does your work entail?
I run a copywriting consultancy called Refresh Marketing. We write websites, brochures, direct mail letters, email newsletters and a long list of other marketing materials for our clients. We’ve written for every occasion under the sun – and any industry you can name. We also deliver in-house writing skills workshops for corporates, universities and government organisations.
What made you decide to be both a mum and a career woman?
This is not something I ever consciously thought about or decided on. It was always a given. My real decisions have been more focused on the ‘how’ rather than the ‘if’. I’m referring of course to the never-ending juggle so many working mothers are relentlessly trying to master. Nannies, childcare, home-office, grandparents… you name it, I’ve done it!
What challenges do you face balancing both roles and how do you overcome them?
My biggest challenge is setting boundaries for myself. Because I’m self-employed and my partner is an employee, I’ve always had a lot more flexibility in my work. I’ve therefore always been the one to do the school drop-offs, pick-ups, soccer runs, school assemblies and so on. Not to mention most of the day to day housework too.
This was somewhat manageable for me in the early days, but my business has grown significantly since. Work is so much more demanding than it used to be. The hardest thing is resetting everyone’s expectations (including my own) on what I can and can’t reasonably manage myself. I have to find ways to be more resourceful on many fronts – without sacrificing my work or quality time with my kids.
What is one tip you have for unwinding after a stressful day?
Now that my kids are a little older, my partner and I sometimes sneak out for a half hour walk after dinner. It helps us reconnect with each other and is a great way to fit in fresh air and exercise. We love leaving the chaos of dirty dishes, homework and fighting siblings behind us – even if it’s just for a short time!
What is one fun weekend activity that your family enjoys together?
These days our weekends revolve around our kids’ sporting and social commitments so family time is harder to fit in. We therefore make a point of sitting down together for dinner most nights of the week. That said, if we have the opportunity, we do love going on family bike rides on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
What is one time-saving parenting tip you can recommend?
When my kids were babies I began to do the grocery shopping online. And 10 years on, I am a die-hard online shopper. Getting out to the supermarket was never fun or easy with babies or toddlers. And even though my kids are now older, two hour treks to the supermarket are still not my idea of fun.
It takes me 10 minutes to shop online every week, and it’s all delivered to my door. I can’t see a day where I’ll be giving that up in a hurry!
What benefits do you think there are to being a career mum?
Although I’m there for my kids when they need me (most of the time), they also know that my life has other priorities. I think it’s really important that they know they’re not always the centre of my world and that not getting what they want whenever they want is a reality of life. My work also gives me a strong sense of identity and purpose beyond motherhood. It challenges me, stimulates me – and makes me appreciate time with my children a lot more.
Finally, I believe I’m a positive female role model to my daughter by showing her that women can still have rewarding careers after becoming a mum. I hope she will follow in my footsteps one day – and I’m confident that my son will support his partner the way my husband supports me.
Lastly, what do you do to ensure you maintain a strong bond with your child/children, despite having numerous responsibilities?
Although I love taking my daughter on five-hour shopping expeditions or my son on long walks along the beach, we don’t get the time to do these types of activities every weekend. I therefore make an effort to connect with each of them alone whenever I can. Car rides and goodnight kisses are usually a great time to catch up and hear about the ups and downs of their days.
As you can see, parenting is so much more about quality time than quantity of time you spend with your kids. This can get harder to do when they are no longer little ones in nursery, but pre-teens with their own schedule! Find ways to adapt to their schedule and check in on how their lives are going on a day to day basis.