How These Working Mothers Achieve Work-Life Balance

Georgie Abay

I’ve remembered the words of our former Governor-General Quentin Bryce ever since I became a mother: “You can have it all, but not all at the same time." She raised five children and had an admirable career. She was also spot on: you simply cannot have it all at once. Does balance exist? Yes, but you need to work very hard to get it. 

For me, motherhood meant I resigned from my dream job at Vogue magazine and said goodbye to everything I’d worked towards for over a decade. It was the easiest decision of my life. The thing about motherhood is, suddenly everything in your life becomes crystal clear.

I launched The Grace Tales—an online lifestyle destination for the stylish mother —six months after my first daughter arrived, and it has grown organically over the past two years while allowing me the flexibility I needed. I can take Arabella, my now three-year-old, to ballet midweek. Or do swimming lessons with both children on a Tuesday afternoon. I just catch up on work once they’re in bed (unless my husband is tempting me with ice-cream and an episode of Homeland, then it’s virtually impossible to carry on working). Arabella also loves coming on shoots with me.

I’m not saying you can’t have a career and be a mother. I still work just as hard as I did pre-babies, but it’s now done on my time. I’ll stay up until midnight working away after the girls have gone to bed or wake up early to post content. For me, having a flexible working arrangement is the only way I feel balanced. I need to spend a lot of time with my kids or else I start to feel disconnected from them. There are many days I feel totally out of balance and often I feel I’m doing nothing right, but overall I feel present with my girls and that makes me feel balanced. Putting them to bed each night, reading them books, taking them to ballet or swimming—all of these things make me feel balanced and happy. Maybe one day I’ll go back to full time work, but for now my “having it all” is spending more time with my kids than away from them.

So how do other working mothers’ manage to achieve work-life balance? We found out…

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