Did you and your husband discuss having kids before you got married?
I wasn’t someone who knew her whole life that she wanted kids. I wasn’t overly maternal. When I met my boyfriend (now husband) of course we talked about it. We joked about having five kids at the time but after we got married we never planned any of them – we just started out and kept going I guess!
How old were you when you had your first child?
I was 29.
How old was Business Chicks (your other baby) when you had your first child?
At that stage, I’d had the business for around four years.
How did you decide when was the right time for you?
We didn’t! It happened so we made it work.
What were your biggest struggles & challenges you had moving from no kids to having 1 then 5?
Life with five children is very hectic but the good moments definitely outweigh the bad. It’s often loud and always busy but a friend who was over the other day said to me ‘This place is calmer than a lot of my friends’ homes that only have two kids’ so that made me feel good for a minute before the kids starting hitting one another again, ha! Running a large family has big logistical challenges – when we travel we always need two or three hotel rooms and in the day-to-day, at home, they each have their own schedules and activities so that can be tricky to coordinate. But hey, I’ve run businesses so you just apply the same thinking to your family – you get organised, you get good people around you, you get the right attitude and maintain a sense of humour about everything, and it mostly works out!
It doesn’t seem like having children has impacted your business – do you think you would be a different position if you hadn’t had kids?
I’d probably be getting more sleep, that’s for sure!
It’s hard to say how much of an impact it’s had. I mean, we’ll never know, will we? I definitely turn down a lot of engagements/requests of my time at nights but that’s mainly because I’m an introvert and would prefer to be at home over a fancy event anyway.
I think it would be naïve to say it hasn’t had an impact. The optimist in me would like to think that it’s had a positive impact – having all these children has made me prioritise like a demon and delegate ruthlessly. It’s also forced me into getting the right people in the right places as I can’t be as available as I once was.
What is one thing you wish someone had told you about when it comes to how you manage business & family?
The thing I’ve learned is that you can do both – but you can’t do both at the same time. So when I’m at work, I really try to be at work and when I’m with my kids, I’m with them. Of course there are times when I have to answer an email but for the most part I try to keep the two roles separate.
How is it different now they are older? Or is it?
I generally travel back to Australia five or six times a year for special events and meetings and I’d say the older my kids get, the harder it is to leave. They’re smart kids though and they know why their mum needs to work and I’m determined to be a really great role model for them, to show them what’s possible, but yes, it’s definitely harder to navigate their needs and manage it all the older they get.
Is there anything you would change about how you did it?
I don’t think so, no! I’m still firmly in it mind you – I mean my youngest is not even two yet.
You make it look easy (which I am sure it is not) so what is your secret?
My secret is to outsource. I’m very deliberate at only doing the jobs I’m good at. I get great people around me in my business and in my home that enjoy working with us, and can handle the pace! I’ve tried every conceivable make-up of help from live-in au pairs through to grandparents through to daycare and full-time nannies and when it works, life is great.
I’ve also realised that what’s perfect for the children is not always perfect for the family so I’ve relied on the advice of friends who have always said to me that it needs to work for the whole family (parents are a priority in that equation) for it to work for the child. This could be something like moving your children to a closer daycare centre to your office. This is not something you should feel guilty about if it’s ultimately what’s best for the family as a whole.
What advice can you share with career girls or women are just unsure and trying to work out if kids are for them?
Before I had children, I would have never believed there was enough time in the day or enough energy in my body to juggle a global business that operates across four timezones and supports hundreds of thousands of women, as well as raise five children. It’s akin to being on a rollercoaster – you just hold on tight and enjoy/survive the ride! It amazing what we’re capable of as women. I’ve also learned that we have the most incredible capacity for love and that children are a great leveler and lesson for what’s really important in life. Having kids has made me even more determined to be successful and provide the best possible life for them.