In this blog post I answer the question I get asked every time I tell someone I am a mother of two and an international flight attendant –‘How does that work?’
The truth is it’s a really great balance.
Being a shift worker means I have a bi-monthly roster that includes 3, 4 day trips. Approximately 14 hour flights each way. This means that I get a couple of days to myself each month (a 5 star hotel room to myself is bliss), and then get to spend the majority of my time at home, which is more than someone who works 9-5 would get to do. It is busy and tiring but I love my family and my job, so I make it work. I’m no different to all you mums out there – we do what we need to in order to keep our families healthy and happy.
Here are some insights into how I juggle everything and some tips that will hopefully help you going forward:
SUPPORT NETWORK is my number one tip. I am grateful to have an amazing network around me and I utilize it. My husband Ben is amazing – he works 9-5 in a busy job but still manages to be home every morning and night, running the house and getting the kids organised while I’m away. Big shout out to Ben! My mother-in-law Pam is also incredible, helping with school and creche drop offs and pick ups, along with after school activities.
If you don’t have a support network think about how you could build one. Start researching the crèches in your area well in advance and add your name to waiting lists. Also, join mother’s groups in your local area so you meet people in similar situations to your own. That way you can help each other out when you need it.
TIME TO MYSELF is so important. While my daughter is at school and son is at crèche I seize the free hours I have to myself by doing things I enjoy such as blogging, sleeping/ resting or treating myself to a massage or facial. If the sun is shining I have a rest in my hammock or spend time at my local beach. All of the above gives me more energy and clarity to be a better mum. I like to refer back to the safety demonstration on the plane when I talk about this. Look after yourself first before helping children. It is so true and as parents we can use that in all aspects of our life.
INVESTING in products and services that make my life easier and will help me in the long run. Something I believe is worth its weight in gold is a good mattress – mine is invaluable in ensuring I get a good rest before crewing a long haul flight or chasing around after small children. I am one of those people who needs a decent night sleep to get on with the day.
Also, recently I was introduced to the vacuum of vacuums – the Dyson DC50. Lets be honest, if the house is organised and looking tidy we are generally more relaxed. The Dyson is the smallest upright vacuum cleaner on the market and stores away really easily. It’s light to carry which is a god send as my body strength is just not the same after having kids and it makes vacuuming so much quicker. I’m not an engineer but it does lots of fancy stuff that my old one couldn’t do. Most importantly it sucks up large quantities of dust quickly, leaves my floors looking cleaner than they have ever looked and it’s super straightforward to empty when it’s full. It’s so easy to use that even our kids have been getting in on the action – they think it’s fun! I guess it’s the modern design? This leaves us more time to get out enjoy life. If you are in the fortunate position to do so I suggest you invest in the Dyson DC50. Definitely weigh up the cost of your time and energy. We also have assistance with our garden every now and then and a lovely house cleaner who comes to help out once a fortnight.
EATING WELL is important for me. Not only to get the vitamins and minerals I need to get through a long day with the kids (or a long shift at work), but also by adding variety in what I eat makes my day more interesting. Doing what I do for work means keeping hydrated is also critical, which I do by drinking a litre of coconut water on my drive to work. I also like to bookend my day with coffee at the start and wine at the end – everything in moderation right? Food is fuel and we mums must run on something other than love and sloppy kisses!
NOT COMPARING myself with others is my final tip. We all have our own things going on, be it diets, exercising, volunteering, etc. Do what you can, don’t get caught “keeping up with the Jones’”, it will only end in guilt and disappointment. For example, I am more of a jarmie than gym gear wearer at school drop-off – it saves time and is liberating not being like everyone else! I don’t get out of the car so nobody notices. Focus your energy instead on your family. Disconnect from toxic and draining conversations and people and try to keep positive. Don’t get caught up in any of the outstanding debates of breast over bottle, stay at home over working, etc. Walk to the beat of your own drum and do what is right for you and your family.
So this is how I balance motherhood and working as an international flight attendant. I hope you can take something out of what works for me and implement it in your life. The one measure I use for how successful I am at life’s juggling act is the happiness of my family and so far I am doing well!
How do you make it work? I would love to hear in my comments section.
Note. I was gifted a Dyson DC50 to review. My opinions expressed are 100% true.
Photography ( beach) Anya Maria Photography www.anyamaria.com.au