Working Mums we take our hats off to you! We know it isn't easy juggling kids, a household a job plus all of the other stuff
(such as trying to have a life..)
This is a page dedicated to you .. giving you real life insight into the working Mum's life, tips on organisation (what has/hasn't worked) advice on returning to work and anything else work related.. We'd love to hear from all of those hard working, working Mum's out there.. firstname.lastname@example.org
Today I opened the doors to my online store and invited the world in. 2kool4skool is open for business. 10 months of production, 10 years of preparation.
There isn't one Mum (Or Dad as the case may be Damien) out there who hasn't held their head in their hands, sitting at the kitchen table surrounding by wrapping paper, contact, clear covers, sticky tape, labels, glittery stickers, and who knows what else in the mid January heat cursing the fact that "there has got to be an easier way to do this!". For 10 years (my eldest now in year 10) this was me. Then with 3 at school the task became mammoth and I was forced to take drastic measures and call on the help of well meaning neighbours and a bottle or 2 of wine. Each year I would scan the Internet praying someone had found a solution in the preceding 12 months that would save me from this hell. It wasn't just the cost of having "the coolest books" it was the hours and hours it took when the pool was calling my name.
So in February 2012 I hopped onto the 2Kool4Skool roller coaster and it surely has been one hell of a ride. It is not by chance that I find myself at age 43, a single Mum of 3 teenage and tweenage children about to embark on the next chapter of my working life. I have always been the creative one of the bunch, the "arty" one, the one called on to write the cards, shop and wrap the presents and I've owned and run a successful gift and homewares company. Team the artistic flair with a legal, property and finance background and you get a businesswoman who creates really cool stuff!
So as I look back over the last 10 months, at all the planning, preparing, designing, budgeting, borrowing, importing, negotiating, translating, photographing, crying, laughing, more crying, pleading, praying and travelling we are finally there! As I look back further through all my working life, each job, business and experience has led me here, sitting in the roller coaster at the top of the climb ready to take off towards the loop the loop!
Getting to this point hasn't been easy and there are some huge thank you's to be said. To Jack and Co. in China, to Damien, Selina, Bruce, Aaron, Michael, Willy, Vera and Paul. To my amazing friends who have supported every step of the way. To my family who's love and support for me is endless. To my Nepali Brother Pema who has enough love in his heart for every needy child in Nepal and reminds me just how lucky I am. And the biggest thank you of all goes to Jesse, Brianna and Clancey, the 3 magnificent beings who chose to take this journey with me as their Mother. You are my inspiration and my motivation. You have put up with me when I have at times been downright manic and you know a hug (and unstacking the dishwasher) makes all the pain go away. Together we will do great things and change many lives through our commitment to children's education in places where going to school is the exception not the rule and I promise you - you will always have a pencil case that "rocks"!
Kathy (Chief of Kool)
Monday 31st December 2012
Today I would like to reflect on a prime example of the frantic working mum in action...
At this point I'd like to share that not only am I am Mum of 3, but a single Mum at that. And not only have I started the most amazing business on the planet, I still work full time so I can pay the bills. It was at the full time job as a PA for a very prominent Brisbane Businessman that I was up to my eyeballs in meetings, submissions and paperwork, directions were being thrown left right and centre and then my mobile rings.... I check the number which I don’t recognise and ignore it. A moment later my landline rings...... I answer and what is said down the line will fill everyone mother with fear...”Mrs Brooker, it’s your daughter’s school. Everything is ok but we would like you to come now, we have already called the ambulance, we think she has broken her arm”.With that I must inform my Executive that I’m off to the Mater and will see him tomorrow.
The Mater Brisbane, where all 3 of my angelic children were born. Since then there have been 4 broken arms, 30ish stitches, epilepsy monitoring, MRI’s and a full knee reconstruction. So my child arrives in the back of an ambulance to Children’s Emergency and I am greeted by the female paramedic saying “She’s not your everyday kid is she?” No I replied why? “Well she said breaking something was on her list of things to do in her life and now she’s done it”. Yes that’s my Clancey.
So a plaster cast for the last week of school then off to the fracture clinic a week later. As I sit in the facture clinic surrounded by parents who look as frazzled as me at the prospect of an arm in a plastic bag for the school holiday I can’t help thinking that I wished I had my business cards and some samples to hand out. Surely not having to cover books would make them smile. It would make me smile. I suggested this to Clancey but she almost dies from embarrassment that I would even suggest talking to strangers about 2kool4skool.
So what is the moral of this story? Well there are a few.
1.Save your child’s school phone number into your phone so you don’t hit “ignore” like I did;
2.That if you announce at work that your child is in the back of an ambulance and you have to meet them at the hospital so you have to go.... absolutely no-one is going to stop you and it will all wait until tomorrow;
3.If your child is going to break a bone you can bet it will be just before a school holiday; and
4.Yes, things like this don’t just happen to you but to all of us.
Kathy (Chief of Kool)
Thursday 29th November 2012
Yesterday was a really big day in my working life. The day 2kool4skool.com.au went live. I had in my mind how one should launch a project for which you have such high hopes and aspirations.
* A launch party with free flowing champagne, fireworks, an amazing guest list, touch and feel sample areas for everyone to see the products and the most amazing goodie bags to take home. Great! but I don't have that much money and I'm too busy launching the site to organise it!
* A quiet drink with my closest friends clinking glasses and toasting the success of my business. Ah well that didn't happen either...
What really happened..
A cake, some flowers from dear friends, some well wishes texts and a night spent at my son's year 10 drama performance which I wouldn't miss for the world. There is nothing quite like the guilt a working Mum feels not being there for the school drop off and pick up, not being one of the reading group Mum's, not knowing your child's teacher's name, rushing to every parent/teacher interview and slipping in at the back of the Christmas concert. I know this feeling well and when the opportunity to be at any school event when I don't have to work - I'm there.
So last night instead of the party there was a drama performance by a group of talented, confident boys willing to write, direct and perform a play on the issues faced by a homosexual 15 year old boy at school. I sat and watched in awe of a son, that despite his Mum having always worked is brave, confident and mature. So I took time to just sit and breath and enjoy watching my child shine on a stage.
So for any working Mum reading this, know that there are many of us who feel just like you do. You can't be everywhere at once. You do the very best you can and that's all your child could ever hope for.
Kathy (Chief of Kool)