Ladies at lunch: Work/Life balance
We all know how important it is to have work/life balance, but achieving it is another matter entirely! I asked the lunching ladies for their thoughts on what it takes to find the perfect equilibrium and took away some valuable advice we should all remember.
I won’t lie, as a working mother-of-three, some days it’s a struggle to keep all of the balls in the air!
Thankfully, I know I’m not alone. Whether you work outside the home or not, life is busy and the demands on women can leave us feeling stretched like chewing gum. That’s why it’s so important to take time out to smell the roses, which is exactly what we ladies did recently over a leisurely lunch at the Bison Bar in Nambour. As we shared our stories over a tapas-style lunch, many laughs were had and I discovered that while each of our circumstances may be different, the struggle to achieve balance in our lives was a common thread we shared and the consensus was unanimous – we just need to let some things go!
Joining me for lunch was Zoe Sparks, author and owner of Spectacular World Travel and Events; Nicole Wykes, Marketing Manager with Nambour Christian College; Bridget Dyer, owner of Diamond Partners Wealth Management; Narissa Harrison, of Narissa Harrison Kinesiology and Cassandra Sale of Nambour Christian College.
profile: Have you found the elusive work/life balance?
bridget: I try my very best. I give my best version of my work self when I’m at work and then I leave my laptop there when I leave for the day. I am learning to switch off, but it’s not easy.
nicole: For me there is always an imbalance in some areas of your life. It’s about letting some things go. My house is not completely how I would like it to be because I’ve decided I would rather spend time with my children than clean the windows. They get a once-a-year clean and that’s it. I think it’s about being happy. I love my job, which makes me happy and I feel I’m a better mum because of that.
narissa: I have in the last couple of years, due to creating my own business. Previously I struggled. When the kids were younger I worked in the medical industry and I worked long hours – it was hard. I have memories of my kids not wanting to stay at child care and because we had three kids close together we were juggling that as well. Being my own boss and working my own hours really suits our family lifestyle.
cassandra: I am lucky at the moment because my job allows me to work around school hours and I don’t work during school holidays which is essential because my husband works away most of the time. It’s hard to have work/life balance because we don’t have a typical family life. When my husband comes home, it’s like holiday time and everything goes out the window.
There is always an imbalance in some areas of your life. It’s about letting some things go.” – Nicole Wykes
zoe: I believe I have. A real turning point for me was deciding to close my retail travel shop five years ago. At the time I was terrified of not having bricks and mortar. We had been there for 12 years, it was an award-winning travel agency but I wanted to take time out to spend with my boys. Even though they were getting older and more independent they needed me. It was a really big step, but the best decision I have made.
profile: What have you done to work towards better balance in your life?
nicole: I recently decided I need to put the computer away when I go home. I am definitely more mindful of that. I also stop what I’m doing when my husband is talking to me and really listen, that’s important and we make sure we give each of the children one-on-one time every day.
bridget: I have recently gone back to the gym because I find the busier you get the first thing to go is exercise and eating well.
narissa: I think I have a pretty good balance at the moment. I work from a private home clinic and I love the flexibility of that. I am there for the kids when they come home from school and then I work nights when my husband is home. Taking time for yourself is incredibly important, but then at the same time if you love your work you find fulfillment and it creates balance.
zoe: When I turned 40 a couple of years ago, I decided I needed to look after me so I was giving my best version of me to family and clients. I make sure I take time to exercise, I do yoga and I eat well. As women, we can beat ourselves up and feel guilty because we have taken a little bit of time out and we shouldn’t.
profile: Can we have it all?
narissa: I think we can give it our best shot. It might be challenging but it’s about being flexible and letting some things go. Find areas of support with the children and look for help. Change your expectations.
nicole: I think you can. Nothing is ever perfect. Even when I didn’t have children and I was working I found it hard to fit everything into my life. It’s always hard to find balance but I think it builds character and it’s up to you to find out your strengths and weaknesses and use it to grow. I am stressed at certain times but I just let it go. I used to beat myself up about working when my kiddies were at daycare but they are so happy, content and well-loved. You have to give yourself a bit of a break. We are so busy in our own lives but we don’t give each other enough support. We need to stop and tell each other we are doing a great job!
zoe: I think you can, but not all at once. There are times when your job might be very demanding and you have to give it your all and other things might slide and other times when it’s not so demanding and you have more time to devote to your family. I am really big supporter of getting help in. That is money well spent. I would rather pay for a cleaner and for me to have time with the kids. Some people have it a little bit easier if they have family around for support. It doesn’t matter whether you have your own business or you don’t work or you do, it’s just about doing the best you can and knowing that’s okay and taking time out to re-evaluate sometimes.
bridget: You can, but you need balance. It’s so easy to get caught up in day-to-day life, in cleaning, working etc, you forget to spend quality time together, which is what life is all about. You should just go and have a walk on the beach or do something simple every day.
profile: What is your advice for achieving work/life balance?
narissa: I keep coming back to flexibility. There is never a time when everything is going to be perfect so it’s about going with the flow. Let it go! Everything changes. You are going to get curve balls thrown at you, you just have to learn how to dodge them.
nicole: Don’t sweat the small stuff. I feel grateful for the blessings in my life. I have a wonderful husband, beautiful children and a great job, so I focus on that. I also like planning little holidays to look forward to, that’s important and always remember to enjoy the journey, you don’t know what is around the corner.
zoe: Enjoy the now. Prioritise you. You are your best asset. There is nothing wrong with putting yourself first, then you will be able to give your best to the people in your life. I got to 40 before I really embraced that. It is about having a support network around you too. My parents have helped so much with the boys. You have to ask for help, you can’t do it all on your own.
At the end of your life you will think, ‘I really should have gone on that holiday, spent more time on the beach’, not, ‘I should have spent more time working!’”
bridget: I’m still learning to say no. You can easily fill up your diary with social events every day and after hours. It’s actually okay to spend time on your own and take time out.
cassandra: People are the most important thing in the world and life can be cut short very quickly. My advice is nothing really matters except your family, your loved ones and your friends. At the end of your life you will think, ‘I really should have gone on that holiday, spent more time on the beach’, not, ‘I should have spent more time working!’
It’s no secret the once sleepy town of Nambour is fast becoming a vibrant hub of activity thanks to the recent addition of several trendy new eateries, cool bars and live music venues popping up in the area. The Bison Bar is no exception.
One of Nambour’s best kept secrets, the Art Deco inspired cocktail lounge is nestled in the courtyard of C-Square near the Nambour railway station and was created by owners Leishka and Pete Grygoruk with the dream to create a live line-up music venue for locals to connect and find each other again.
Offering an intimate setting, the venue is home to some of the best local, national and international touring artists, with an impressive line up of gigs coming up.
“We offer a hi-fi quality Meyer sound system, a Yamaha baby grand piano, and an acoustically-treated circular soundstage, giving musicians and patrons a memorable entertainment experience,” says Leishka.
The venue offers a chilled, laid back ambiance, complete with comfy lounges and dim lighting – it’s the perfect spot to catch up with friends and indulge in one of their many signature cocktails and delectable tapas treats, as well as a premier range of boutique beers, wines and top shelf spirits. I can highly recommend the champagne cocktails!
The Bison Bar is also available to hire for your next party or function.
Catering for up to 80 guests, you can choose from a selection of beverage, food and entertainment packages.
Group bookings are also welcome.
Drop in, it’s definitely worth a visit.
The Bison Bar
52-64 Currie Street, Nambour
Phone: 0434 760 880