Thank you to the amazing and wonderful Katrina Webb for sharing her views with Working Mothers Connect. Read more about Katrina Webb at www.katrinawebb.com.au. Thanks also to the Speaker Book for the introduction (www.speakerbook.com.au)
Q1. What is the most important lesson you have learnt from being a working mum?
That it takes a community to raise children not just parents. I love creating a community around me with friends with similar values who are happy to have our children and we do the same for them. I have a good list of babysitters that I employ also. We have used child care in the past but with the work I do, my work can occur any day and time of the week and even weekends so babysitters are very valuable.
Our children have really enjoyed being looked after by a range of people too. I have wonderful family and in-laws that are able to help when I need but I have never tried to rely on them.
This has enabled me to travel internationally as well. I have never felt guilty about leaving the children when I travel as I know they are in good hands and it enables me to bring back experiences to teach them. One particular job I did in Indonesia, I negotiated my mum and 2 year son to come across at the end of my work. It was my mum’s reward for helping me out. We all loved it!
Q2. What is the most important piece of advice you have been given?
A business colleague of mine, who was a mother of two, suggested we visit the sleep doctor before our first was born. This was very useful for both my husband and I as we learnt to teach our children how to learn to go to sleep themselves and for us to avoid the bad habits you can develop to get you children to sleep.
We never conquered the sleep all night from 12 weeks (hungry boys!) but our oldest boys have slept through from 7 months and love their sleep. Like the majority of people, I also love and need my sleep (minimum of 7-8 hours) to perform well in business and at home.
Q3. What is your life’s motto?
It’s not what happens to you in life, it’s what you ’think’ about it that makes the difference. I’m very passionate about helping people learn how their mindset can improve their work and life.
Q4. Name 3 skills/traits that women in business need to have in order to achieve their goals?
* Know your VIPs (very important priorities in business and at home).
* Delegating is a great skill to having particularly for the house work, gardening etc.
* Learn to say ‘no’ to things that are not aligned with your VIPS and don’t feel guilty for doing this either.
Support from your partner/husband is very important. My husband recently started a new job that requires a lot of travel. We negotiated in his contract a budget for us to travel with him at times and to also support me when he travels. This has been very beneficial and would not have happened if we did not ask for it.
Q5. Challenges you overcame while balancing your business with family?
Not being able to achieve goals at the same pace. Coming for an elite athlete background, I was used to being very focused and goal driven. Having children I realised that I could not continue at the same pace and that my goals had to be more flexible. My husband also represented Australia at the Sydney Olympics for Water polo so we both have been very goal driven.
However, we both have skills to know how to work as a team. Before we had children we spent a lot of time ‘working’ our relationship and making it the best it could be. We do the same now with three kids. We have a 1 hour meeting each week where we discuss how we are going as a couple and as a family and then look at ways in which we can keep improving. K(keep) S (start) S (stop) is a great way to start the discussion too. Name one thing you should keep doing, one thing you should start doing and one thing you should stop doing.
Q6. If you could go back in time, is there anything you’d change as a working mother?
Not that I can think of.
I’m fortunate that my business has allowed me to be home with the children majority of the time and I get to work in an area I am very passionate about. I get a lot of personal value and satisfaction from my work and also from being a mother, but I could not do one without the other, e.g. work full time or be a mother full time.
Being a parent is a hard but rewarding job. I teach corporate groups and individuals how to perform at their best. Now my test is to teach my own children. The challenge of bringing 3 boys into the world.
Q7. How do you implement a work life balance with your sons?
As I work from home, I have to allocate time to focus on my work. This has been very important as it’s too easy to check emails on iPhone or iPad and computers through out the day. I try my hardest to be 100% present when I’m with them and then allocate time purely for work. I have my phone and computer emails on manual send and receive which is great as I don’t get distracted when I hear or see emails coming through too.
We also spend time exercising as a family. Walks or rides in the national parks is great fun. Lately I have been making sure I walk home with my oldest son at least once a week and this half an hour of bush walking (a reserve connects our house to the school) is such a wonderful way to connect and chat with my son.
Q8. Have you had a life transforming event that has lead you to where you are today?
I certainly have. My story of becoming a Paralympian and then turning silver to gold was my life transforming event. I now am fortunate to share this story across the world.
I qualified as a physiotherapist in 2000 and thought this was going to be my career.
However, I had an excellent manager while I was an athlete who encouraged me to start my own business. Without my Paralympic journey I would not have started my own business.
Q9. How do you define success?
Determine and achieving your life’s purpose.
Q10. What would be the biggest tip you would give a working mother in business?
* As women it is important that we find our own personal value and satisfaction from our careers as well as being mothers.
* Do what works for you.
* Don’t be afraid to ask others for help as it takes a community to raise children not just two people.