Episode 15: Helena

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In this episode, I interview Helena who is about to complete 3 years of study to start a new career. She is a mother of twins and we talk about how that has influenced her path, the education system and working in a female-dominated industry.

The Lowdown

– Family of 4
– 1 working parent (full time)
– 1 parent doing study and placements
– 2 school-aged children

1:46 Sleep on a scale of student to not student
2:30 Good sleepers
3:00 Who are the people in your family
3:16 Work travel and study
3:38 Mum and Dad close by
3:58 Studying full time and placements
4:50 Overnight help with children for shift work
5:40 No other students have kids so can be more flexible and can swap shifts
6:40 Watching study happening from a distance
7:18 Not a lot of belief in myself as a student
7:40 Education systems failing students
8:16 Valuing traditional subjects more highly, creative subjects ranked lower
8:50 Linking up students on the Autism spectrum and businesses that value those skills (The work I was talking about here is the Dandelion Program as talked about in this article and video https://itspmagazine.com/itsp-chronicles/cybersecurity-and-autism-the-values-are-obvious)
10:30 Schools not designed for good educational outcomes and life skills
12:12 Overvaluing university education
12:50 Don’t all need to strive for the same thing
13:36 Parenting superpowers
14:20 Independence in children
14:50 Independence Day at school
16:38 Confidence and being out of your comfort zone
17:08 Going into situations with confidence
18:10 Not looking like the one who feels like they shouldn’t be there
19:00 Raising a child with the kind of adult you are producing in mind
19:44 Looking for things beyond being ‘mum’
20:10 Twin mum experience
20:58 Intense and compressed parenting of pre-school aged kids
21:10 Twins always have someone else to take new steps with
22:20 Parent of first child at school
23:18 Sending kids out with set instructions for acceptable behaviour
24:12 Husband’s superpower
24:16 Patience
25:04 Mothers watching sons become parents
26:30 Men growing in the emotional intelligence department when becoming fathers
27:20 How are school drop offs and pick ups organised
28:08 Big effort from mum!
29:08 School holidays don’t match up with uni holidays
29:42 Holiday at the grandparents!
30:04 OSHC cost prohibitive on one income
30:50 School holidays are hard work!
31:46 Swap kids with other parents
32:04 School activities that work for all ages/genders
33:26 After school activities
34:02 Spending a whole day at kid sports
34:24 Do you have a choice in your path?
34:44 Uni hours not flexible
35:30 Flexibility to contribute to own rosters
36:08 University study was a choice you could make
36:58 If I am doing this study then we are REALLY doing this
37:50 We are all in this
38:22 Adjustment of going back into work for men and women
39:38 Wife buffer
40:20 Doing study that costs money and not bringing in any money
41:44 Achieve more when on placement and I have less time
41:58 Semi-procrastinator
42:08 Downsides?
42:44 Not spending time with the children
43:04 Bigger picture looks better once study has finished and at work
44:12 Shift work and night shift means more tiredness
44:20 Next step for family?
44:46 Working, a new unknown environment, transitioning to doing instead of learning
45:00 A holiday!
46:14 Going too long without a holiday
46:30 Using up leave of the ‘mandatory’ family events
48:06 Camping
48:58 Camping with young kids
50:12 LIttle ones can’t escape from a portable cot
51:46 Are your family responsibilities well supported at work
52:00 Husbands work is family friendly
52:58 Fellow students and university have been really supportive
53:44 Placement is sorted out with other students more than workplace
54:50 University benefits from graduating class with different levels of experience
55:34 Many other students mature age or coming after other work experience
56:24 Going into an industry that has been dealing with retention of women for a very long time
57:16 Can’t lose all the staff once they get married or have children because then workplaces would have few experienced staff members
57:32 Funny or disastrous moments?
57:50 Mummy fail! No clean school uniform.
58:34 Forgotten school lunches
59:12 Kids packing their own lunch
1:00:06 Kids learning how much to pack for themselves
1:01:28 I’m hungee
1:02:20 Learning about amounts and making adjustments to packing
1:02:47 It family what you were expecting?
1:03:03 Wasn’t expecting twins
1:03:56 Re-entry back to work very different with twins
1:04:44 Having that different plan has meant looking at different career options
1:05:30 Family illness and care has prompted thoughts about capabilities
1:06:22 Advice
1:06:22 Make sure you have support

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It will force a child to be a little bit out of their comfort zone which is a useful thing for an adult as well. If we are not learning to be out of our comfort zone as children, when are we going to learn it?       Being a female dominated industry, if everyone stopped working when they had a child, then there'd be no expertise and there wouldn't be that same level of shared knowledge and of new knowledge because there wouldn't be enough people with a really good knowledge base