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Guest Blog: Why employing staff to #workschoolhours will ultimately improve your profit and your people

Guest Blog by Dr. Ellen Joan Nelson

Why employing staff during school hours will improve staff retention, productivity, innovation, inclusion and diversity, staff well-being and ultimately, profits.

Following my PhD research, which focused on the experiences of women in the workplace, I conducted an unintentional, further, research project focusing on the experiences of working parents, primarily mums. The stories from these parents fall into two broad categories, with a
relatively even split between the two. Parents either:

  1. return to work full-time and resent the fact that they barely see their children during waking hours in the week, as well as the associated financial cost of childcare.
  2. Or they negotiate some kind of part-time arrangement, where they work less hours, to spend more time with their children. This comes with a corresponding reduction in their pay.

However, their workload or outputs are not reduced.

What is the cause of these two disappointing outcomes? I believe it is the mismatch between the work schedule and the school schedule. It seems crazy that we live in a modern-day society where the adults and the children have different schedules!

So I thought, why not try and align the two schedules, by reducing the workday for all staff (without reducing salaries), and making more accommodations over the school holiday periods? #workschoolhours.

Now, this is where things get really exciting. This is not just a nice ‘pie in the sky’ idea, aimed at making things better for staff (parents and non-parents), as well as wider society – which it would do.

There is actually a business case to do it, and organisations love a good business case!

There is plenty of research to support that outputs can be achieved in less than 40 hours. For example, the 4-day-work-week movement is already demonstrating this increase in productivity. The most productive members in the workforce are often part-time workers, as they are already completing their workload in less time. Further, if the stress regarding the misalignment of work and school could be taken away from working parents, just imagine how much happier they would be at work, how much more innovative and creative they would be, how much better their focus and concentration would be?

We know that staff well-being is important, not just because we care about our staff (which we should), but because it also impacts organisational performance. Happier staff generate more profits. Imagine the competitive advantage you could achieve, by being able to
attract and retain the most talented staff, if your organisation operated within school hours?

There are significant benefits to structuring roles around school hours, and employing highly talented working parents. To listen to the full #workschoolhours talk, click here: https://www.ellenjoannelson.com/workschoolhours/

Ellen Joan Nelson, PhD, MBA (exec), BA
You can contact and learn more about Ellen at ellenjoannelson.com and ellen@ellenjoannelson.com


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Here’s to You! Good Moves Monday for Mums


Kia ora!

Welcome to your Good Moves Monday! It’s out with Good News and IN with recommended Good Moves instead! So, as a welcome back from me, here’s some good info to consider to help you make some good moves in your career in 2022!

Good Moves Monday

Fastest Growing Industries/Jobs

The peaks and troughs of managing a career in these times can feel exhausting – it’s a feeling we all share; and for industry its no different. Some of the fastest growing industries and jobs in our bigger cities are:

Manufacturing, transport and logistics (up 14.5%) – jobs include Operations Supervisors, Delivery Agents and Processing Officers
Healthcare and Medical (up 16.9%) – jobs include Aged Care Nurses and Mental Health Professionals
Hospitality and Tourism (down 2.6%) – yet increase in jobs including Laundry Assistants and Kitchen Hands
If any of these sound interesting, consider how your current skills and experience might be a match, not just for these jobs detailed, but for other roles in these industries as well.

Making a Confident Career Change

Looking for a career change? 40% of Kiwis are looking to make a change in their careers according to a Seek conducted study, while 30% plan on making a change in the next few years.

What motivates a career change is different for us all.

  • 40% are motivated by increased earning potential
  • Followed closely by feeling more fulfilled
  • While that ‘work-life-balance’ is also a huge priority

The beauty of a career change is the opportunity to step up and outside your comfort zone, learn something new and grow. For in doing so, we teach our brain to create new neural pathways, ultimately sparking and growing different parts of our brain that are wired for learning. In seeking a career change, the three key things you should think about when considering job-fit for you are:

  • Will it fit with my personality?
  • Will it interest me?
  • Will it play to my strengths?

Career success comes in many shapes and forms, make sure your move is one that will bring you more happiness overall, otherwise why do it?!

Pros and Cons of Working-from-Home

In another Seek conducted study where 4,000 Kiwis were interviewed, 70% said they would like to work from home in future. However, like anything, there are the pros and cons of taking action. Here’s what was shared on the good and the bad of WFH:


  • More optimism was felt about their jobs
  • Better flexibility was achieved
  • Extra time with family was experienced
  • Increased ability to moderate own workload


  • 30% missed human interaction
  • TV and the call of chores was a road-block in regard to focus
  • 40% found it harder to switch off while at home
  • 30% distracted by the kids
  • People felt they worked longer hours and took on more tasks

2022 is set to evolve the way we work yet again. While we adjust and become better accustomed to new ways of working, we will also find balance with some of the more traditional ways too. The key in these times, is to keep learning, keep questioning and being curious – ask why, for who, how, when and where, when it comes to performing your job and living with a sense of purpose and direction.

Till next time,

Data sources: seek.co.nz

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Personal Spot-light Story: A rural career, Covid-19 and a move into the trades

The last two years of the pandemic, have presented multiple new opportunities for both candidates and industry – women in particular have reconsidered careers out of necessity looking a little outside the traditional box of female careers.

I stumbled across Emily (online) from NZ Custom Trees, who has recently moved into a new job working in the trades for their family’s franchised NZ Building Shed Company. Hers is an interesting story, one about persistence, hard work, an open mind and a sense of ‘why not’?!

I caught up (virtually) with Emily, to ask about her career story so far, and what motivated a move into her current role. I hope it sparks something in you to consider a job in the trades and construction.

Tell us briefly what you have been doing most of your career?
I live in Canterbury on a lifestyle block with my husband and two children aged 1 & 2. We run a few sheep, some cattle and a horse.

I grew up on a Sheep and Beef farm in North Canterbury as a 6th Generation farmer and my life plan was to be a sheep and beef farmer so I went on to study a Bachelor of Agriculture at Lincoln University after which I did some shepherding and general farm hand work on sheep and beef farms. I quickly realized the progression in the Dairy farming industry so decided to change careers and excelled within the dairy farming industry quickly, resulting in managing a dairy unit and being responsible for the team of staff, all aspects of animal health and nutrition in only a few short years.

My next step was to purchase my own herd of cattle, however due to needing an artificial hip I had to step back from the physical demands of farming and looked for an opportunity within the Agricultural industry where I could also be my own boss. I found this as a real estate salesperson working for Farmlands Real Estate in North Canterbury, initially as a PA while I completed training and then as one of the salespeople. Working as a rural salesperson allowed a lot of flexibility to enable me to stay in the Agricultural scene and allowed opportunity to get involved with organisations such as young farmers while also discovering other passions outside of agriculture like business, property investing and photography.

I worked for Farmlands Real Estate for three years until I started a family and took on a little bit of truck and bus driving work to cover the bills at the same time as setting up my own company so I would be able to stay busy when I was at home with the children.

The company is NZ Custom Trees Ltd in which I make and sell artificial life-sized trees for commercial businesses, I operate my business part time from home and my husband and I also run a shed building company which we have recently franchised NZ wide.

You’ve just jumped into a tradie job, what motivated the side-step into this particular industry?
Due to Covid-19 and lockdown issues a lot of the sales from my Artificial tree company stopped and all events we had planned for the remainder of the year were cancelled virtually overnight , we have also just finished franchising our shed Building company NZ wide, so my workload went from an absolute struggle to twiddling my thumbs.

This prompted me to look for employment. I was applying mainly for Executive assistant type roles, or other similar office based positions. All roles I was applying for were at or below my skill set so I thought I would pick up a job almost instantly…. boy was I wrong! I applied for jobs for about a month and most came back as “you haven’t progressed to interview stage” meanwhile we were interviewing for another builder in our shed building company for a 6-month fixed term position but we were let down continuously by our applicants.

I made the joke to my husband that I was looking for a job, he was looking for a worker… maybe I should go building (lol) but he thought it was a good idea and maybe I should give it a go.

So I gave it a go and although very sore after the first day I really enjoyed it!

What are you currently loving about the work you do?
I love the guys I am working with, it is a really great team and a positive nurturing work environment. I definitely wouldn’t be able to work with my husband so its nice that he is in the office currently.

I am working Monday to Thursday so this allows me flexibility to keep my company operating and have gone back to outsourcing my production while I am busy on the construction site.

I enjoy getting up before the sunrise and I love the feeling of coming home exhausted after a long hard days work. The hours are long; I generally leave home before 6am and am back home after 6pm which does make the home-work balance a little difficult but the crock pot is now my new best friend.

How have you been welcomed or inducted into this new industry in terms of those you work with?
The team are really great, they explain things well and are supportive when I make silly errors. They are very thorough with the training and I have learned new skills every day.

I am quite unfit, so was in a lot of pain carrying the heavy tool belt around and lifting large rafters for the first few days. However, my body is building up strength to it now. I am also being trained in moving the heavy boards that are easier on the body.

What message do you have for other women who might be considering a move into the trades and construction?
I definitely recommend other women should consider getting into the trades, as it is a really great industry which is currently booming. There are a lot of different types of roles within the industry as well. If you are keen to see if construction is for you I would recommend contacting a local construction company and see if you can be an apprentice for a day and see if it’s something you would enjoy before you invest in the tools. Fitness and strength is another key part, so building some strength beforehand may help with your job application as well as make those first few weeks a little easier on your body.


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7 simple tips on putting purpose back into your week

Good News Monday

7 Hot Tips to Get Through Each Day of Your Week


Monday | Mane
Make your bed

Experts suggest that the small effort of making your bed each day (or at least the start of the week) can greatly improve your productivity for the rest of the day by setting the right intention.

BONUS POINTS: When you, your partner or your kids do it TOGETHER!

Tuesday | Turei
Tick off one key job

By ticking off at least one key job from your to-do list, helps you to progress family, life or career plans and enables you to regain a sense of control. Putting pen to paper, although odd in the digital age, is a powerful thing…do this regularly and see how your progress moves.

BONUS POINTS: If you tell your partner, friend, boss or colleague – accountability is imperative in reaching your goals!

Wednesday | Wenerei
Wake up early

Have you heard about the 5am Club? Some people suggest doing this everyday…I’m not! But at least starting with one-day a week (and why not Hump day?) to rise early, walk, run, stretch, meditate and make time for YOU has got to be good. Let’s start this week!

BONUS POINTS: If you manage to get to bed before 9pm on Tuesday night! Because damn you Netflix and wanting time to yourself when the kids are in bed or just because!

Thursday | Taite
Think about your thoughts

You could also call this ‘mindfulness’. Ask yourself what thoughts commonly take up your waking (or trying to sleep) mind? What plays through your head a lot? What’s that incessant ‘itch’ you can’t quite scratch? Dig deep. Stop and think about those thoughts and discover what they’re trying to tell you.

BONUS POINTS: If you open up and share it with a loved one or someone you trust.

Friday | Paraire
Feed the fun!

Just because we’re self-respecting adults, does not exclude us from fun, OR play for that matter. Will the child from within and remember what you love and that which feels fun for you. For me, it’s dancing in the kitchen, dancing with my kids after watching a movie and hearing the preceding words from my 6-yr old son saying “pick me up” because he loves dancing in my arms and I’m a sucker!

BONUS POINTS: If it gets your heart rate going!

Saturday | Rahoroi
Soothe your soul

You’ve made it through the week and now it’s time to make time for YOU! Catch up for coffee with a friend, take a bath, book a massage, get your ‘hair did’, go out for a date with your partner or simply wiggle your bare feet and toes into some fresh green earthy grass – it’s an actual thing…called grounding and I don’t think we do it enough.

BONUS POINTS: If you can keep it under $50…because we’re worth it, but also because we’re adults with bills! ha ha

Sunday | Ratapu
Start family stand-up meetings

Your family (whatever that looks like for you) is your greatest team, your greatest asset and it really does hold true that Together Everyone Achieves More. Any time that suits on a Sunday, start having stand up meetings to schedule the week ahead. Plan with your team, who needs to do what, set priorities, must-dos and nice to-dos, either way, get ALL involved. It’s not your job to take that mental and physical load each week. Ask for what you need and empower others!

BONUS POINTS: If you can involve the kids with around 50% of the responsibility. As parents, we are their biggest teachers and role models, so start them early.

Action Exercise

Implement these actions into each day of your week this week
and see what changes for you. We can do this together!

Te Whare Tapa Whā

Supporting your spiritual, mental, physical
and family Well-being

Till next time…

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Why hiring women into the Trades makes good business and social sense

In June this year, the Trade Careers Insights Report was released by CoGo with some real value-adding results. The report was completed by both Women and Employers throughout New Zealand. You can download the full report here.

WOMEN Participant Profiles (as a majority)
– On Geo-location

  • 30% were from Auckland
  • 14% were from Wellington
  • 13% were from Canterbury
  • 9% were from the Waikato
  • 35% represented the remaining regions

– On Age

  • 70% (as a clear majority) were 35 years plus

– On Current Paid Employment Status

  • 12% were Managers
  • 24% were Professionals
  • 11% were Technicians or a Trade worker
  • 24% were Clerical and/or Administrative (noting this is RecruitMum’s biggest talent offering, just saying)

– On Type of Employment 

  • 31% were working 30 hours or less (PTE)
  • 45% were working between 31-40 hours (FTE)

EMPLOYER Participant Profiles (as a majority)
– On Geo-location 

  • 26% were from Auckland
  • 11% were from Wellington
  • 21% were from Canterbury
  • 7% were from Waikato

– On Age 

  • 39% were between 30-39 years old

– On Employer Size 

  • 28% had 2-5 employees
  • 19% had 6-9 employees
  • 15% had 200+ employees

– On Employer Type 

  • 40% were Residential Construction Companies
  • 13% were Commercial Construction Companies

So that tells you a little about who responded…

A simple need that came out of the report, is that women just need a supportive boss, supportive colleagues and supportive workmates – like in any other workplace. Yet a simple result like that clearly tells us we must still have a ways to go in construction in New Zealand to reach this simple reality. Here’s the good stuff to get us moving towards that goal…

The Trades ARE appealing! And our Wāhine are definitely attracted to the industry. Here’s why:

  • You’re outdoors
  • We can push stereotypes (and other stuff on site)
  • We can be role models forging new careers for other women
  • We can refute the perception that tradies have to be strong
  • We can create something tangible
  • It provides stability of employment
  • We have valuable and transferable skills to contribute

However, the report detailed that there are still clear barriers to entry for women. These were: not knowing where to start, duration of training and upskilling (to become qualified), flexible roles to accommodate childcare and discrimination and bullying that simply put, needs to go!

So, why should you hire a woman or a Mum into the Trades? Here’s some worthy reasons – Women are:

  • Lighter on your (very expensive) tools and machinery
  • Better at completing tasks and have better attention to detail
  • More dedicated with something to prove
  • Good at customer service and time management (on top of their trade skills)
  • More curious and bring new ways of doing which are often better
  • Women bring a good attitude to work (as after all, skills can be taught, attitude usually cannot), and finally,
  • Having more women around diversifies the workplace and makes you more of a competitive and attractive business

The report also detailed that as far as recruitment pathways go, women are finding it difficult to access or know how to go about getting into the Trades; while employers (coincidentally) are finding it difficult to recruit women. Kia ora – I’m Clare from RecruitMum – I’m pretty sure I can help with that!

What can we ALL do? Well here’s 4 TOP TIPS the report shared to get you started…

  1. Consider removing “apprenticeship” from the job title and description
  2. Consider older more mature women, as they bring considerable and transferable skills and experience
  3. Train your staff to better support women in the trades – your words matter and will improve workplace culture and social cohesion
  4. Offer flexible working options (RecruitMum can connect you to some people in this area if you need support on the ‘how to’)
  5. Hire through RecruitMum – we’re a NAWIC member! (this was not in the report, but clearly needs adding)

So, what does the future hold?

Answer – A LOT and I for one am excited. RecruitMum has been in development mode for a good part of the year to address some of these results and needs in the industry to better support our construction employers and of course to champion our Mums and Wāhine into exciting, new work environments. If this is a journey you’d get value from joining me on, Get in Touch for an honest, no strings attached conversation or just some good coffee sometime once we’re in Level 2!

Till then, stay safe.
Kia kaha



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Need a slick CV? Have us design one for you!

Did you know RecruitMum can design a CV for you?

Your CV is the very first judgement call (and I’m afraid it is a judgement) that an employer, recruiter, or hiring manager will make on you and your career experience. Unlike a more friendly, human, and face-to-face impression we get to make with someone we meet in person, our CV has the (most) challenging job of illustrating and communicating all that we are and have done in our careers and lives thus far! No pressure, right? So, how’s yours looking these days?

In designing and creating a top CV, you need to consider the following:

  • Design & Format (1-3 pages max, block your content, use a simple font)
  • Content & Structure (capture last 10 yrs, key roles only, contact info, use simple language)
  • Industry Speak (try to appeal to the industry you’re applying to)
  • Link sharing & Contact information (got a LinkedIn profile – we can help with this also!)

…and that’s just scratching the surface. Last month in our Wahine into Work career workshops, we dived into CV creation and shared what it takes to produce a top CV in today’s job market.

Check out the image below which was one of the many slides we shared on breaking down and illustrating all the key, must-have elements in a top CV. You’ll note, we have also included two ‘out-of-the-box jobs under the Work Experience heading… that is 1) Active Job Seeker and 2) Parental Leave – Super Mum Extraordinaire! These examples may not always work in practice (your gut will tell you if it’s right for the role). However, the point of the exercise was to get Mothers thinking about the transferable and valuable skills they gain from Motherhood and how these can be championed (and not apologised for) on your CV. Families are a natural part of life and work needs to work around that!

If you’re interested in having us design a slick CV for you, then get in contact with clare@recruitmum.co.nz. Depending on where your existing CV is at, design fees can start from as little as $150 + gst.

Till next time…

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Choose-days Talent by RecruitMum, Jul 2021

Kia ora!

It’s been a while since we’ve brought you our Choose-days Talent issue and as we’re kinda back in a candidate short market again, I thought it was owed some limelight! Here are three top candidates currently seeking part-time work in Auckland…

Katy – Business Manager/”Jack of all Trades”
(Central Auckland based – has just returned home from the UK)
Katy brings over 15 years of experience in NZ and the UK with expertise in Administration & Business Support mostly covering EA/PA roles. Describes herself as a Jack of all Trades and the perfect ‘right hand’ woman to any business owner.

  • Managing Director assistance
  • Company secretary responsibilities
  • Fundraising, Grants & Donor management
  • Events management & assistance monitoring budgets
  • Extremely proficient with Mac and PC systems
  • Very experienced with MS Office and Google Suite products

Barbara – Civil Engineer with QS/QA and Draftsmanship knowledge
(West Auckland based)
Barbara brings 14 years of experience, mostly in Brazil and some in NZ. Most relevant role in NZ, she gained training in Precast Concrete and Structural Steel detailing using AutoCAD software on actual live projects.

  • Technical expertise in AutoCAD and Revit2016
  • Holds a Bachelor of Civil Engineering (from Brazil)
  • Knowledgeable in various aspects of construction work, including analysis of architectural drawings, design and drafting projects, and preparing engineering documents.

Catherine Yu – Data Analyst
(Auckland based)
Catherine has recently worked for MBIE as a Data Insights Intern and a Team Support member at Bunnings Warehouse.

  • Has gathered meaningful insights while utilising agile methodology in MBIE’s regulatory stewardship branch
  • She holds a Bachelor of Business (Major Information Systems, Minor Data Analytics for Business)

We have many more women on the hunt for meaningful, part-time work, so let us know where your gaps are!

Wahine into Work – Workshop Series

After the success of the Wahine into Work Career workshop series in June (in collaboration with Works for Everyone & Te Manawa Community Hub), we are calling for expressions of interest (EOI) to run these again. These three workshops focus on supporting women to understand and play to their strengths, creating a top CV and tips and tricks on delivering what they have to offer with confidence…whether that be the subject of their work or career goals, in an interview/presentation-like environment.

If this is something your business, or someone else’s business you know might benefit from, then email me, Clare, at clare@recruitmum.co.nz with an initial EOI to engage us on delivering.

Till next time…

Nga mihi

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Guest Blog – How Well Do You Reboard Your Employees?

How Well Do You Reboard Your Employees?
You have probably heard the term “onboarding” in terms of managing the experience for employees when they first join your organisation. Someone who is in charge of making sure they have a desk, chair, computer, introducing them to everyone, and most importantly ensuring they know the best local places for lunch and coffee. It is a way of helping your new member of the team to feel welcomed and valued. So if we do this for new employees, what do we do for employees returning from parental leave? How are you “reboarding” them so that they feel like they belong and are being warmly welcomed back? Ready for some ideas on how you might do this? Read on!

  1. Create the space
    First things first, it is important to ensure that all the basics are in place for their first day – a clean and clear desk, computer, phone, stationary, and chair. There is nothing worse than arriving back for your first day at work and there is nowhere for you to sit. It is a basic thing but it is surprising how often this does not get thought about in advance.
  2. Update on changes
    There will have likely been changes rolled out, while they were on parental leave. To help smooth their transition back, proactively schedule meetings in their diary with key people in the business to get an update on the changes. It could be that new vendors have come on board, a new team has been established or new clients secured – these are all important updates to keep them in the loop.
  3. Provide the “handback”
    Just like we write “handover” plans when we hand our work over to others prior to going on parental leave, ensure that they have a “handback” plan to come back to. A plan that details how their work has been performed while on leave and how it will be handed back to them. It is not uncommon for people to arrive back from parental leave and find their work responsibilities being owned by other teams. This can be a cause of conflict when agreeing on how it will work now that they are back so good to be proactive in resolving this.
  4. Check-in regularly
    Finally, it is a good idea to check in regularly on how your team member is feeling once they return to work. It is a transformational time in their life. They can often feel guilty for being at work and when they are at home, guilty for being at home. It is complicated! But an employer that cares about you, that listens to you and that empathises with your situation is an employer that will stand out from the crowd.

What if I’m the one returning to work?
Even though these reboarding ideas have been created for employers, they are also valuable for people who are themselves returning to work. Ask your employer if they have a reboarding plan for you and when you will be going through the handback plan. These are very reasonable questions and will prompt them into action if nothing exists now. We all want to do our best when we get back to work and having a reboarding plan can help to accelerate the impact you can start to make again at work.


Guest Blog from Emma Mclean, Founder, Works for Everyone www.worksforeveryone.co.nz
Emma offers a unique blend of services that combine to make returning to work a great experience that works for everyone. Having a family and working is not easy. But there are actions that employers can take to help their working parents not just survive every day but thrive.

Emma brings to this important work, a wealth of career experience gained in corporate marketing roles in NZ and the UK in addition to qualifying as a professionally certified ICF accredited coach.

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Guest Blog – Amanda’s Story

Photo: Amanda and her son Joshie

Hi. I’m Amanda. I’m Mumma to 2-year old Joshua (we call him Joshie), wife to Gareth, and cat Mumma to Poppy. We live in Papakura, New Zealand. It’s almost as far South in Auckland as you can get and still call it Auckland. We’re surrounded by native bush, Kereru (Wood Pigeons), and Tuis.

Why I’m writing
I’m writing this to share my biggest challenge in becoming a mother. How my sense of self was changed, and how returning to work challenged me to assess what was really important to me. Maybe it’ll inspire you to think about your own situation?

Pre-baby, my life revolved around my work. Achieving things at work; being financially independent; basking in the accolades of a job well done. I was proud of my professional capability. I thought that, when the baby came, I’d take some ‘time-out’ from work. Perhaps make some new mum friends and go on coffee dates. But I’d return to work eventually. The baby would go to day-care. I’d pick up where I left off. Easy as. I rather naively thought that my life would continue as normal, but with a little person in tow. Mums reading this are having a knowing chuckle right now.

Feeling unprepared
I was incredibly underprepared for the social isolation and sleep deprivation that came from new motherhood. For the crying that would constrict my heart. The depth of frustration from not being in control, and entrapment from being unable to escape it. For the raw protectiveness. The feeling that a part of me was walking around outside of my body. The immense pride in what I had created. Watching him grow and marveling; holding him close and breathing him in. I simultaneously felt the terror and the love. I walked the paths of it being the hardest thing I’d ever done and the best.

But who was I now?
My identity had changed. Everything I was before became secondary. My world no longer revolved around me and my work, but around this little person. While I was on maternity leave this was a challenging question to grapple with. But it became more pronounced when I returned to work.

Drowning under a perfect storm of unrealistic expectations
I went back to work when Joshie was a year old. There was nothing obviously wrong with how I was treated. I had part-time hours and flexibility when he was sick. But I experienced things, considered ‘normal’ parts of work and being a working parent, that didn’t feel right. I was struggling with how my priorities had changed. I was trying to perform, to meet expectations and prove that I was just as good as my colleagues, as I was pre-baby, amongst sleep deprivation and the revolving door of daycare illnesses. I was attempting to balance what needed to be done at work, as well as spending time with my family, quality time with my husband and son, running a household, my own wellness, but I was doing them all inadequately. I felt like I was drowning under a perfect storm of unrealistic expectations, unhelpful systems, and constant failure.

A focus on actionable steps
But one of the most useful things I did, shortly before starting back at work, was meeting regularly with a coach. We worked through how to have difficult conversations about my role at work and family responsibilities; ask for what I needed and set boundaries. We identified what my strengths were, and worked on leveraging those. And each time we met we got closer to uncovering, and tuning my focus towards, what was really important to me and my family. We focused on steps forward, out of the storm.

The outcome
After 5 months of being back at work and unable to reconcile being the mother I needed to be with the worker I wanted to be I resigned to pursue my Ph.D. and build my own business. I am aware that my ability to do this is privileged. But I want to help others where I can.

My experience became my inspiration for my Ph.D. topic; Motherhood and Leadership. My research focus is evolving, but I’m traversing the raw, visceral, unpredictable, and very human worlds of motherhood, contrasted with the imagery of ideal workers as all-in / all-committed to work and leadership as a charismatic, predictable, controlled man.

And I’m drawing on my 15+ years experience coaching managers and leaders towards high performance, to offer the same sort of coaching that I found so powerful on my own journey to other mothers navigating this world of work and life.

It’s a topic that needs exploring, and mothers need support. If coaching sounds like something that might be helpful to you then I’d love you to get in touch.


Guest Blog Bio

Amanda Sterling – Leadership Coach

Amanda is a leadership coach, mum to a 3-year-old boy, wife, researcher, gardener, innovator for change in the workplace, and lover of good dark chocolate!

She supports mums who are grappling with the expectations of motherhood, and the overwhelm that can come from trying to live a meaningful life and have a fulfilling career as a leader.

Her approach is backed up by research, a personal journey with similar challenges, and 15+ years of corporate experience working in leadership development for large global, and small local, businesses.

She is also doing her Ph.D. on Motherhood and Leadership with a focus on contrasting the human experiences of motherhood with idealised ideas of leadership.

You can find more information about Amanda and what she does here, www.learningtoflynz.com, or contact her on amanda@learningtoflynz.com to talk about how she can support you.


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The Hire Flyer – Mum Issue, March 2021

Lean into the masculine and get what you want!

Last month we shared tips on CV and cover letter writing – practical advice on ensuring you get noticed by employers and hiring managers.

In this March issue, I share some more practical advice around asking for the things you want or need at work and the ways in which we (as women and Mothers) need to lean more into masculine ways to build confidence and assertion into our careers and the things we want to achieve.

Grab a coffee and allow me to explain…

There’s a quote that reads something like “you are what you put out into the world.” Meaning, if you have a healthy, confident, and abundant mindset – you will attract only the good around you, vs an unhealthy, insecure and finite mindset repelling the very things you desire.

Generally speaking, women and women who then become mothers, naturally end up putting their family ahead of everything else. As leaders in our families, this means we often end up eating last!

As mothers, we can slowly end up sacrificing too much of ourselves and our careers as we lead our families. So, in looking at the family and traditional gender roles, we have a bit to learn from our male or more masculine partners. Learnings such as demanding more time and space, practicing assertion, being and acting confident, and using the right language and self-talk to get what we want.

Let’s frame this in the scenario of you asking your boss (or partner) to work differently to explain.

Know what you’re asking for
Be clear about the insights & experience-based evidence you’ve gained and what your new needs are at work (or at home). Then write them down so you’re prepared to share them with clarity and confidence.

Use clear and assertive language
Don’t apologise for having the conversation or using language that minimises you. Hold your ground. Cut out phrases like ‘Sorry to ask this …’ or ‘I just wanted to talk about…’

Be specific
Be as clear and precise as you can when asking for what you want.

Instead of saying: “Sorry, but I just wanted to talk to you about maybe having more flexibility in my role”

Try: “I’ve loved being able to pick my children up from school. I’d like to talk to you about having more flexibility in my role, and for me, ideally, that means working a three-day week.”

Frame it as a trial
There are still many unknowns for employers, so it makes sense to propose any changes as a trial or experiment. You could say:

“Things have shifted since COVID-19. I’d like to try X for a period of a month and see how it goes. What would these changes mean for you and our team/organisation?”

Ensure your request aligns with the organisation’s (or your family’s) goals
If you think about your own needs in isolation from your employer or family goals, then your request may fall on deaf ears. Always think about how both sides can experience value or change for the better!

Adapted from: seek.co.nz/career-advice/article

After International Women’s Day on Monday this week (I shared a FB post here), it is ever apparent that women are choosing to challenge more of what makes our work/life juggle so hard. And there are many ways we can progress towards change to improve things. We can:

  • Ask for better working conditions
  • Ask for better home conditions
  • #Choosetochallenge the status quo
  • Lean into more masculine ways, while suggesting our partners lean into more feminine ways.

All of these things need to happen in tandem…so we can all achieve the balance we so crave!

Finally, I wanted to introduce a new section called The Client Corner. This section champions employer clients who have got behind RecruitMum and hired through our untapped community. This month I wanted to credit National Capital who hired a KiwiSaver Client Consultant through us last month.

Please show them some love and consider how National Capital could help you choose the right Kiwi Saver Fund while boosting your family’s savings! Click their logo below and see what KiwiSaver Fund might be the best for you and the future of your loved ones.

Till next time…you got this!