Juggling a business alongside trying to be a wife and mum is probably one of my hardest balancing acts. There is no true balance, either I work too much and my ability to be the best mum falters, or the opposite is I am around too much dealing with the kids and my work goes undone.
Recently I have had a lot of trips away for work, both international and domestic. It really is part and parcel of my role. Sure it looks glamorous but even glamorous has it’s negatives at times.It is important that I stay up to date with the latest suppliers, aircraft types and potential new or emerging destinations. And travelling is a powerful way for me to do this and remain educated and on top of my world knowledge for my clients.
When home, my life is full of school runs, preschool drop offs, trying to remember which day is violin or library bag, which kid goes to which activity, who is in normal uniform and who is in sport? Not to mention, cash needed for photo day, or a batch of cupcakes made for the muffin stall that week.
This last week I participated in the 2019 Avis Scholarship Finals. Named as one of the 5 finalists, a true acknowledgement of the effort I go to in delivering exceptional customer service, it was such a privilege and honour to present to the panel of esteemed Travel Industry judges. Although I didn’t take out a win, the very process of stopping my everyday life, taking a hard look at the inner and outer workings of my business JEN Travel, was something that every single business owner should do. It stopped me in my tracks, helped me realise where I am bumbling along and where I need to stop and make amendments to my direction. It also helped me narrow down my niche.
Truly my favourite part of my job is to help my clients work out why they want to travel, where they want to travel to, and to enjoy that experience the best way they can. Some people travel in luxury, some want adventure, some want pure relaxation, and some want to create family memories. There is no right or wrong way to travel. Just different. Everyone is an individual and we all have things we love and things we don’t. My job is to help people get the best holiday that suits their own passions and purpose for their travel. And above all, I love delivering the little extras that aren’t expected.
Am I perfect? Absolutely not. I get things wrong, I forget some things. I am human. Like everyone I have my strengths and I have my weaknesses.
Raising 5 little humans is taking a super-human effort. I am one person and yet sometimes I wish I could clone myself into multiple versions of me so I can be in all the places I need to be to juggle all the balls I try to keep in the air.
The last 3 years has been a blur: giving birth to twins, adapting to life as a mum of 5 kids, moving house too many times to count on one hand, and adapting to my new home life in Port Macquarie and then re-adjusting back to Sydney. We all have our struggles, every single one of us struggles in different ways. I often look as if I have it all together, but deep down I can be flustered and worried and anxious just like you are too. Us mums need to look out for one another, build each other up, support one another, and never criticize or judge another mum for how she chooses to juggle the work life balance.
Australia it is time to listen out for working mums, give them the time and support they need to get back to a pace that fits their family life juggle. We need to create return to work paths, we need more affordable child care options.
For me, my work-life looks a little different than it did pre-children. I work for myself so that I can watch their athletics carnival, or pick them up from school most days. I sometimes sit in the kiss and drop pick up queue with my engine off typing up another itinerary on my laptop to keep up.
I really am proud of being named a 2019 Avis Travel Agent Scholarship Award Finalist. I am delighted of where I have come from and how I have battled through more mountains that one normally encounters. I intend to rise up to new heights in the juggle of motherhood mixed with business-woman management. I also hope to one day soon mentor other young women in our brilliant travel industry to encourage them to stay in the industry even after having children. Back when I had my first child in 2008, the industry was still adapting to job share/part time/ reduced hours options for women returning to the workplace. Now 11 years later, and 4 more children under my belt, I think our industry is finally taking stock and listening. Let’s make the travel industry a Family Friendly Work Industry. That way we will keep the best in our industry for a lifetime of their career.
To the year ahead, may it be full of incredible opportunities and wonderful new holiday adventures.
Best wishes, Jen – Director – JEN Travel