If there’s one thing that motherhood has taught me, it’s that this elusive balance we all talk about doesn’t really exist...
Something has to give. For me, it was a career in magazines. So now, I juggle a business from home with caring for my two toddlers who are in preschool three days a week. Over the last few years, I’ve learnt so much about life. I’ve learnt that as a parent, worrying is just part of the job. That I should have slept more before I had kids. That your family and friends are all that matters and finally, that a career change is exciting and should be embraced. You don’t have to do the same job your whole life. So here’s my thoughts on everything from my career to motherhood to the safely of my girls. Photography: Grace Alyssa Kyo Videographer: Brooke James
I studied media and communications at university then did a semester abroad at The London College of Fashion. I started from the very bottom in publishing and slowly worked my way up the ladder. At the beginning of my career, as an editorial assistant, I did everything and anything that was asked of me. I’d get people Diet Cokes, tape shoes for fashion shoots, do coffee runs. When you’re starting out, you can’t be precious. A can-do attitude goes a long way. I’m a big advocate of working abroad. For me, it is the reason I ended up as the deputy editor at VOGUE. When I was looking for a fashion writer position, it was before the boom of digital publishing and there were only a handful of jobs in Sydney. So I moved to Dubai and was lucky enough to end up working on the launch of Harper’s BAZAAR Dubai under the then editor Rachel Sharp. Three months after I returned to Sydney and I landed a job as the fashion news editor at VOGUE. I loved my career in fashion magazines and will treasure the trips I did overseas. It really was a dream job.
On my career after children:
When I had children, I felt very differently about my career. I never thought I’d fall out of love with my job, but that’s exactly what happened. I’d sit at my desk wondering what I was doing there. I’d sit in meetings pining for my daughter. I’d often miss my daughter’s bedtime. I felt like I was missing out and I craved the kind of flexibility that simply does not exist in the corporate world. So I left to focus on The Grace Tales and now run my business from home. I haven’t regretted my decision for a minute. Motherhood really changes everything – life is never the same. While it’s daunting changing your career, my advice to anyone looking to do it is just to take the plunge. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
I started The Grace Tales as a passion project. It was just a hobby and something I did at night or when my baby was napping. I’ve always loved telling stories about inspiring women and I’m so passionate about creating great content. After my first daughter arrived, I lost interest in fashion magazines – I couldn’t relate to them. I wanted to read a publication that spoke to me as a style-conscious mother. At the time, there wasn’t anything in the market. We shoot all our content and we don’t pull images from other sites. We photograph women all over the globe from LA to London. It’s an exciting time for the site and we have some big changes happening over the next few months.
My entrepreneurial beginnings:
When I worked in print, I could have done my job with my eyes shut. I loved my job and I was comfortable. It’s different in digital media. It’s new to everyone so we’re constantly having to up-skill and things change at a rapid rate. It’s very overwhelming at times – online has an insatiable appetite for content. It’s hard to keep up with how much content needs to be produced – lucky I’m so passionate about producing it. It’s challenging running your own business but the flexibility that I have is invaluable. I work around my girls. They always come first and work needs to fit in around them. What I’ve realised lately is that there are only so many hours in a day and I can’t do everything – I’m learning to be ok with that.
On keeping a routine:
I’m a big routine girl. A routine is essential for my sanity and also the security of my girls. They’re still little (2 and 3) and need to be bathed and in bed by 7pm each night. Then it’s our time to switch off, unwind and watch some TV. I used to work a lot at night, but have gotten better at turning off the computer for the day after the girls get home from preschool. That said, I do often work while also watching TV at night! I work a half day on Thursday and don’t work Fridays – it’s our day together. If things are busy, I’ll just catch up at night. It’s a juggle, but it works (most weeks!). Since becoming a mother and returning to work, my social life definitely isn’t what it used to be. I’d love to be out more, but I get too tired and then everyone suffers. So I keep life pretty quiet. I love Sundays – it’s always a quiet family day.
Gosh, where do I even start? On the weekend, my daughter Arabella told me I was “the best Mummy in the whole wide world”. My heart melted. I am not a perfect mother (no one is!) so to hear her say those words to me was just so sweet. It’s the little magical moments like that which make it all worth it. And there are magical moments each day. And then there’s the tantrums. They’re hard to deal with. We woke up this morning to her having an epic meltdown because her sister was wearing the bracelet she wanted. I have two toddlers and they push me to breaking point all the time. Luckily perspective is a great thing – a situation is never as bad as it seems and tomorrow will be another day.