Bek is the mama behind Wellness Goals, which aims to support overwhelmed working mums/ mumpreneurs on their wellness and business journey. Bek suffered post natal depression and anxiety after her second and describes her recovery as really hard, exhausting but extremely enlightening. Bek lives in regional Victoria and loves to make every minute of every day count. Bek’s story is one of honesty and the importance of looking after yourself as a busy mama.
Can you tell us about your career journey?
I studied a Bachelor of Public Health through La Trobe University, I have been working as an Environmental Health Officer in Local Government for 12 years. In 2014 I returned to university to study Human Nutrition (post graduate), at the same time I fell pregnant with my first child. At 36 weeks pregnant I got encouraged to apply for a leadership role within local council, which I did and was successful in gaining the role. I had to step up to a new management role just before going on maternity leave and studying for exams!! I felt a lot of judgment when it was announced that I got the job because I was about to go on leave for 12 months.
I returned to my role 12 months later, and I was also pregnant with my second child. I put in full time hours into 4 days a week whilst battling severe morning sickness. I achieved a lot in the 6 months I was back.
I also have evolved into working part time for my husband’s digital marketing business, I also do freelance social media management for a local social media marketing business. Recently I have moved into the space of health and wellbeing coaching as I am currently training through the Beautiful You Coaching Academy. My goal is to combine my high level leadership skills, my expertise in human health and nutrition and to tie it all together with well rounded coaching skills to support overwhelmed working mums/’mumpreneurs’ on their wellness and business journey.
Did your career change after becoming a mama? Were you more or less ambitious?
Definitely, my beginning into motherhood was tumultuous. I had the biggest breakdown, I lost myself completely, but through all of it, I found myself wholeheartedly and now have a new found ambition for my passions and career.
Tell us about how you managed your way through post graduate studies, full time work and pregnancy?
I relied heavily on family support. I made sure I asked for help when I needed it. I made use of every possible resource and incentive through work to allow me to utilise study leave etc. I had to let go of my expectations of ‘home life’ and just accept that the house was going to be a mess, washing wasn’t always going to get done. I invested in a cleaner, my husband and I both knew that our time was worth more. Outsourcing is my best friend!
How did you find returning to work after number two?
I was a lot more prepared second time around. I knew what my entitlements were based on research from my first experience. I made sure I was kind to myself, I decided that I didn’t want the stress/pressure to return to a leadership role after I was still recovering from PND. I put myself first and negotiated with my employer to hold my position for another 12 months and allow me to return part time at a reduced role.
I tried not to let our finances rule my decision, I am lucky enough to be in a position that allows me to only work 2 days a week for the interim until I can build myself back up to full time work. I knew I wasn’t going to have the mental capacity to care for myself, my two toddlers, the house AND a team of people that rely on you to make effective decisions. So, instead of seeing it as weakness, I chose to sacrifice a bit of extra responsibility at work so that I could be healthier at home.
What led you to starting wellness goals?
After being diagnosed with PND and anxiety I pretty much hit my lowest of lows after my second was born. I reached out for help and my recovery was really hard, exhausting but extremely enlightening. Part of my healing journey involved me blogging and connecting with other women, friends etc and talking about our challenges as mothers and our struggles with our own health and wellbeing as well as the whole ‘mummy juggle’. I realised that there are so many other women that are struggling just like me. I wanted to do something for me, I started researching and reading and sharing and it has since morphed into coaching mums on finding out what ‘balance’ like for them, and how they can prioritise their own wellbeing.
How important is your career now?
Personally, it is less important as it was pre-children. My priorities have definitely shifted. Following my passion and remaining happy and healthy are my priorities, I truly believe the rest will follow.
You live in regional Victoria. Tell us what it’s like to start a business there?
I suspect it is much the same as anywhere else. My business is predominantly online, I have the luxury of working with women from all over the world. The best thing about starting a business in a regional area is that there is very much a feeling of ‘community over competition’
What do you most love about working mamas?
We are so much more productive now because we know how precious time is. We make every minute of the day count.
What are your tips for creating balance in your life?
- Prioritise your own wellbeing. If you don’t value your wellbeing, then no one else will.
- Create boundaries, and stick to them.
- Make sure you know what your non-negotiables are, and make sure every one around you knows them too.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
- Down to earth (that’s 3 sorry haha).
Do you face mama guilt?
Every damn day! Even when I don’t think I am.
What motivates you now?
My passions, doing things for me.
What is your approach to health and wellbeing?
Gentle and balanced. Do things at your own pace and on your own terms. There is no hard and fast rule. Do what feels right in your soul.
My top 3 tips for managing your career through parental leave are:
- Be honest with yourself and your employer.
- Make use of your employer’s entitlements – such as ‘keeping in touch days’ if staying up to date in your field is important to you.
- Set realistic expectations about your return to work.
My top 3 tips for creating wellness in your life are:
- Prioritise your own wellbeing and schedule it into your family calendar.
- Make time for practicing basic mindfulness techniques.
- Slow down
Favourite time of the day is… Children’s bed time, haha of course!
Instagram sites that inspire you… CircleIn (of course) Mums & Co, Business Chicks, Designing her life, Emily Spicer Stuart, JSHealth, themidwifemumma….. There are so many, I could go on for ages!
I’m happiest when…I’m in the sunshine with a delicious coffee
I’m addicted to…Instagram and coffee
Favourite wardrobe staple for work…My Portmans black Ponte leg pants.
Favourite wardrobe staple for weekend…Skinny jeans, striped top and converse (aka the mum uniform).
My role model is…This is really hard… I draw my inspiration from so many people. Mums that can keep their shit together with more than 2 kids are my role models. People that show compassion, and are not afraid to be themselves. My parents. Single mums doing their best to balance everything. The list goes on.
Heels or flats? They both have their time and place…