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Friday, July 29, 2011

Breast Foot Forward (the mummification of Kirsty)

No you did not….

Surely it was over the phone….

In person! Are you serious? That would have been enough for me to walk.

My friend (a sensational working mum) was aghast. In fact, so was I, at what I was telling her.

I’d just made a job offer to someone, in person, face to face… while breastfeeding my child.

One minute I’m an entrepreneur who’d rather hold a meeting than a close friend’s child and the next I’m this hybrid businessperson/manic mother whose attempts at multitasking today included:

- trying to feed my child while sitting in the driver’s seat in a drive-through car wash (note this was not successful: the car wash was very exciting to the tiny child)

- creating from instructions on the internet (because I couldn’t wait for postage from the States) my very own hands free breast pumping bra – so that I can use both hands to type while listening to the rhythmical whirr of the pump (one sports bra destroyed, but it works surprisingly well)

- and the aforementioned feeding of the child whilst making an offer to a candidate to come and work with us

Now in my defense, the person to whom I made the job offer had the option to see me today with child or tomorrow without and chose today and I have known her for some years. But ask me 3 years ago if I’d ever do what I did today and you’d have been met with a laugh and a scoff.

A mummy was something I travelled to Egypt to see, not something I was. Maternal instinct extended to me being exceptionally proud of my former staff when they started their own businesses, not something that would have me screaming in my sleep at my husband to stop rolling over lest he squash the baby (who does not and has not ever slept in our bed). Work-life balance meant having a fabulous husband who was fine with me working long hours or travelling when required, not dealing day to day with “mother’s guilt”. (NB: For those of you unaware of mother’s guilt – it seems to be the pretty commonplace fear that when you’re at work you should be with your child and when you’re with your child that you should be at work).

In my life I’ve done some things that others might see as being difficult. I’ve started businesses from age 15, bought and sold companies, worked with over 100 staff, owned over 40 properties and yet the most difficult challenge I’ve faced thus far is how to retain myself, my goals, my dreams, my business aspirations and to mesh them seamlessly with all I want to be as a mother (and believe me I want to do it to the best of my ability) to this tiny human who has come into my life.

Sometimes I write blogs when I’ve figured something out and want to share what I’ve learned. Not the case today. I’m simply writing to applaud the mothers that have worked with me previously and done amazing jobs at work and at home – I didn’t understand what you were going through – I’m only just beginning to see it now.

I’m also writing to thank my friends who are mothers for their help in working through these exciting and challenging times with me. You are my mentors. You help me see what’s possible, what’s not and what’s really important.

By Kirsty Dunphey with 2 comments

Friday, July 22, 2011

Protect or propagate?

The tiny child (aka my 5 month old daughter Milla) is having her first bout of illness right now with a painful and red throat. She’s only comforted in my
arms or her Dad’s and is clearly in quite a lot of pain.

Right now, every maternal instinct in my body wishes that it were I who was sick and not she. It’s a natural desire for a mother to want to take away her
child’s pain.

Let’s pretend for a moment it was possible for me to take away her pain for me to “fix her” with a blink of an eye. If I could help to be immediately well
right now with some made up superpower, would it be the best thing for her? While it would yield a short term gain to both her mood and my ears, she’d miss out on developing antibodies that her little body is making right now and it’s unsustainable and impractical for me to be able take away every ache and pain for the rest of her life.

I once worked with an amazingly talented senior staff member who was a master at “fixing problems” in her workplace. If you had a problem you took it to this staff member and they’d “fix” it. Only problem was, the team around the senior staff member didn’t develop their own “problem-solving-antibodies” – they didn’t learn the skills needed to fix their own problems. If that senior staff member were ever on leave people weren’t equipped to deal with the problems that crop up (anywhere) on a day- to-day basis.

So the solution – at home, comfort the tiny child, look after her medically, but don’t look for a magic wand. And at work – teach the skills by working with my team in problem solving, not trying to magic wand a solution there either.

By Kirsty Dunphey with No comments

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Blended Behavior

Blended Behavior I’ve been reading a lot (and I mean a LOT!) of books on baby sleep at the moment (yes, the tiny child has recently gone through a bit of a rough patch with her sleep).

One of the more interesting concepts I’ve read about is “blended behavior”. It’s when your child might show some sign of being sleepy such as rubbing her eyes, but then flash you a big smile and coo happily like she’s wide awake. In short, it’s blended behavior, and she’s probably very tired! Don’t let the smile fool you.

Ever had one of your workmates exhibit adult blended behavior? Snappish one minute and lovely the next? They could well just be tired. When do you need to take it in hand? When the snappish behavior continues longer than an “off” day.

One day they’re dishonest and the next day perfectly pleasant? It’s likely they’re just simply dishonest. Confront them at the first instance of dishonesty and explain that it’s not tolerated in your workplace.

Lazy one minute and interested the next? You probably already know their heart isn’t in it. What can you do to help them revitalize their interest? A new challenge perhaps? But be sure they know we all have mediocre parts to every job and without that (boring) backbone getting done, the organization has no substance.

I must dash now… it’s time to wake the tiny child for her final feed and solicit as many smiles as I can (even if they’re blended in with yawns) before she goes down for the night!

By Marjorie with No comments

Friday, July 8, 2011

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

A good friend and mentor Rik Rushton (www.insightpd.com.au) recently asked through facebook – “When was the last time you did something for the first time?”

I like to think of myself as a pretty adventurous person, I love to travel, I love experiences and I’m a bit of a daredevil and so when I read Rik’s question internally I scoffed – “Pfft… I’m always doing things for the first time!”

Until I actually tried to recall the last thing I’d done “for the first time” and I was at a bit of a loss.

When was you the last time YOU did something for the first time?

So… thanks for the challenge Rik. Since you posed your question I have:

- booked my first holiday with the tiny child (we’ll be cruising through the Greek Isles)

- bought my first rent roll (with www.elephantproperty.com.au) which we turned around and settled within a week!

- Decided to go to China in a couple of months (a big and exciting first off my list)

What will you do for the first time? Not surprisingly googling “first time” lead me to a whole heap of places I didn’t really mean to go, but for a bit of extra homework, why not check out: http://www.thefirsttimer.com/ The First Timer on her journey to ticking things off her “first time” list!

By Kirsty Dunphey with 2 comments

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Can you be the cup?

Bruce Lee famously and eloquently once said: “Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

Here was a life cut too short far too early.

We’ve all met people who were like water before. They’re people that can step into any workplace setting and find their feet quickly and easily. They can mix with all different types of people. They adapt, they become what they need to become to suit the task at hand.

I love the way Bruce Lee also hints at the power and backbone behind water as well “water can flow or it can crash”. Just because the water can mould itself to its surroundings doesn’t mean it can’t command attention, doesn’t mean it’s weak or can be pushed around. Anyone who has tried to fight the current in a rough ocean can attest to that.

So what can I learn from Bruce’s wise words today?

- to see the people who are like water around me and look to learn this skill from them (and encourage more of them to work with me!)
- to seek to become more adaptable myself (I look forward to becoming a teapot!)
- to learn to empty my mind more often

How can you be more like water today?

By Kirsty Dunphey with 1 comment

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