“One of the biggest things around productivity and being a working parent, is making sure you’ve got people in your village that know what you’re doing. My husband and I have a shared calendar and shared emails, so it’s not just me bearing the load.”
Carina O’Brien

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So I live in a little bubble of small business, doing my thing at home in my bra and pants.

It has its own challenges, and sometimes the juggle feels impossible.

But I cannot imagine how much harder it would be to have a real job.
To have a ‘career’.
To get up each day and trek to my workplace in an outfit, dropping my kid off at childcare on the way, trying to seem professional and grown up after 2 hours of sleep with Weetabix on my blouse.

Today’s guest knows how this feels, and has built an entire business around helping mums pursue their careers and manage their families as well.

I can’t wait to hear her advice.

Tune in to learn:

  • How Carina juggles the small business world, and the big corporate international company world while raising two young kids.
  • Why Carina takes a more relaxed approach with her parenting style
  • How Carina and her husband navigate the organised chaos of work and home life.
  • Why finding time for herself is one of Carina’s biggest challenges right now
  • Why talking with other parents can bring up the parent guilt, and how Carina addresses it. 
  • How communicating through shared calendars can help your productivity
  • Carina’s tip for being better with your money.

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Thanks to Sonja Balzarolo for the lovely review of the book:

“Love, love, love this book. I actually used some of the ideas Kate has shared, which isn’t always the case with books. Relatable, inspirational and honest, highly recommend.”

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“One of the biggest things around productivity and being a working parent, is making sure you've got people in your village that know what you're doing. My husband and I have a shared calendar and shared emails, so it's not just me bearing the load.” Carina O'Brien

About Carina O’Brien

Carina O’Brien is the founder of Working Mumma, a platform empowering working mothers to pursue their careers and be present for their families. With a Masters in Management and a background in strategy, communications and IT, Carina brings a unique perspective to her work supporting women on their journey through motherhood and a career.

Fun fact: Carina doesn’t like processed meat – so it’s smashed avo & egg without bacon for breakfast.

Connect with Carina O’Brien


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6FISH Pod – Carina OBrien

Kate Toon: So I live in a little bubble of small business doing my thing at home in my bra and pants. It has its own challenges, and sometimes the juggle feels impossible, but I cannot imagine how much harder it would be to have a real job, to have a career, to get up each day and trek to my workplace. in an outfit, dropping my kid off at childcare on the way, trying to seem professional and grown up after two hours of sleep with a Weetabix on my blouse.

Today’s guest knows how this feels and has built an entire business around helping mums pursue their careers and manage their families as well. I can’t wait to hear her advice.

Hello, my name is Kate Toon, founder of Stay Tooned, busy business owner and OK ish parent. And today I’m talking with Carina O’Brien. Hello, Carina.

Carina O’Brien: Hello hello, Kate. How you going?

Kate Toon: I’m, I’m very well. Um, and I’m pleased to see that you are actually wearing a blouse today. I talked about weer bits on blouses and you, you are wearing a blouse.

Carina O’Brien: I am, this is very, I don’t actually wear ’em that often for some reason. I am today.

Kate Toon: You look very careery. So let me explain to everyone who you are, uh, Carina O’Brien is the founding founder of Working Mumma, a platform empowering working mums to pursue their careers and be present for their families. With a master’s in management and a background in strategy, communications and IT, Carina brings a unique perspective to her work, supporting women on their journey through motherhood and a career.

Fun fact, Carina doesn’t like processed meat. Does anyone? So it’s smashed avo and egg without bacon for breakfast. I’m a vegetarian. So you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re speaking my, speaking my language, singing my tune.

Carina O’Brien: So many people think I’m weird when I say I don’t like processed meat. They’re like, what?

No bacon at breakfast? I’m like, no, no thanks.

Kate Toon: These days, everyone doesn’t like anything, you know, like no grain, no dairy, no lacto, no food, no air, no water. Living off rocks. That’s what we’ll end up.

Carina O’Brien: Exactly.

Kate Toon: I’ve just given up sugar, um, which is great. I’m, I’m losing weight and, uh, but my life is miserable.

So, you know, it’s always a compromise, isn’t it?

Carina O’Brien: Yeah.

Kate Toon: And, you know, compromise is something that you talk about a lot with your members. You know, the challenges of kind of trying to be two things at once and be all things to all people. Um, before we get into talking about you and your business, Do you primarily work with people who, as I put it, have ‘real’ jobs, or do you work with people who run their own business and people who have real jobs?

Carina O’Brien: It’s really interesting. Predominantly, it’s mums that actually do have a real job, I say in inverted commas. Because everyone can see me doing the inverted commas in a podcast. Uh, but then there’s also, interestingly, I know of quite a few, like, there’s been a few members that have actually had a corporate job, but then actually gone into their own business as well.

So, yeah, I wouldn’t say it’s one or the other. I’d say it’s probably maybe 80 20, but it’s really interesting to see the mix. And it’s also really great to see people that have got a goal to actually do their own thing and actually go and

Kate Toon: Make that transition. And some people go about the other way, you know,

Carina O’Brien: Exactly.

Kate Toon: I know a lot of people recently who have small businesses and, and, you know, honestly, it just became a bit too much for them.

So they’ve gone back into, as I said, inverted commas , real jobs. But I live, as I said, very much in small business land. So I’m really interested to hear your perspective of that other 80 percent of people who are trying. I mean, honestly, Carina, I can’t even imagine it. Like sometimes even just getting out of the house in the morning with small children, feels impossible, but to do that day after day, Oh, it makes me feel terrible.

Let’s we’ll dig into that in the episode but first of all, tell me about you and your business. What does your family set up look like? And how does that work with your business?

Carina O’Brien: So I’ve got two young boys. So I’ve got a five year old who is just about to start school and also a two year old I’m pretty sure he thinks he’s going on 12.

And so And even someone said to me the other day, how do you cope with two very adventurous, very energetic boys? So a friend of mine then said it’s an Olympic sport. And so I, yes, I would say, uh, definitely an Olympian there. I’ve also got a husband, um, who’s also partly a business owner in a medium sized business.

So not really in the small business realm. Uh, and then also Not only do I do Working Mumma, but I’ve also then got a four day a week real job. So I’ve, you know, wearing many different hats.

Kate Toon: Wow.

Carina O’Brien: So I can say that I actually do straddle both the small business world, as well as the big corporate international company world.

Kate Toon: And bizarrely 80, 20, four days. There you go.

Carina O’Brien: Exactly. How Exactly.

Kate Toon: Very, very on brands. And, um, That sounds like a lot. Uh,

Carina O’Brien: yeah, people go ‘how do you do it all?’, but I think it’s one of those things. I’m so passionate about particularly helping working mums and I read story after story about why aren’t there more female leaders?

And I’m like, what? It’s because of the ecosystems and often the structures that are around it.

Kate Toon: And the patriarchy.

Carina O’Brien: And the patriarchy and things like that. I’m going to get on my soapbox now. I need to get off. Uh, but it’s one of those things I’m so passionate about it. And even, you know, the podcast and we’ve done a podcast swap, but it’s one of those things that I’m just like, when you are so passionate about something, it doesn’t actually feel like work.

So that’s why often I’ll, I’ll do the, I’ll do my nine to five job, put the kids to bed. And that’s when I then start my mic Working Mumma world.

Kate Toon: It’s funny, you know, because I’ve got a chapter in my book called why I hate the word passion, but you’ve used it because, but you’re right because it’s, it’s six and two threes, isn’t it?

You have to have the drive. You have to love what you’re doing. I find that passion sometimes dies, but persistence keeps us going. So we’ll sometimes do stuff through gritted teeth because we just want to get it done. But you know, Because possibly because you’re not doing it full time, the passion is still there.

It’s like having a relationship where you only see them once a week. It’s easy to stay passionate when you’ve seen them every day. You take watching them take the recycling out in their underpants. It becomes less about passion and more about persistence. So I think I’m in, you know, I’m in that zone, but you’ve still got the passion, which I love.

Two and five year old, awesome time of your life. Who doesn’t love a two year old? They’re just so easy to deal with, not defiant at all. How would you describe your parenting style? In the book, I talk about, you know, being a permissive parent, an authoritarian parent, a helicopter tiger parent. Do you think you have a label or are you a different parent depending on the day?

Carina O’Brien: I think I’m definitely a different parent on the day. I’m probably not the helicopter, I’m definitely not a helicopter parent. I’m very much standoff. I’ll let, I want to let them test and learn themselves. They can learn and fall over. It’s funny. My two year old is forever hitting his head. Like last week he was at childcare for six, for 30 minutes.

And I got the call and, and then I was like, Oh yeah, he’ll be fine. It wasn’t until the educator actually said, no, I’m sending you a photo. It’s actually bleeding. And I think it needs to be glued. Turns out it did actually need to be glued hour and a half later, he’s back at childcare head glued and he’s quite happy and it’s one of those things that they fall down, they’ve also got to learn how to get back up and I’m not the one to go, Oh my goodness, you know, and really mother coddle them too much.

I want them to learn how to be resilient, confident, and that in themselves. So, yeah, sometimes there’s maybe a bit of tough love along the way, but I’m probably not the helicopter parent. Um, but also wanting them to, to discover themselves. Um, I’ve got two boys and I’m really conscious that I want them to understand who they are, also to respect and have integrity, um, around them.

Kate Toon: I love that.

Carina O’Brien: And I’m really conscious of the role that, the ever changing role of men in society. And I, my husband’s very hands on in parenting and I really want them to, play that role and try to change some of those stereotypes and those patriarchal systems, um, that they can then see both mum and dad have a career and that.

So yeah, it’s my parenting style. Yeah. It’s definitely on the day, but it’s, uh, yeah, up and down. That’s

Kate Toon: for sure. Well, it sounds to me, I’m, I’m gonna, I’ve got my little grid here. So I think you’re probably authoritarian, uh, authoritative, which sounds bad. Authoritarian is a bad one where you just don’t listen to them at all, but you are much more permissive on the scale than say I would be.

I’m a massive helicopter parent, you know, I can’t help it. Everything, my son’s 15 and I’m still like, all the time. But like you, I think we, as women having our own business, Really with girls, it’s important, but with boys, it shows them a different archetype, a strong woman, raising a good man in this day and age is challenging.

Uh, so I love that. Um, do you feel that your parenting, cause I find this happens a lot, Carina, you might not agree, but often people’s parenting style is very similar to their business management style. So I’m helicopter business. I’m detail orientated. I want to do everything. I’m kind of a bit of a control freak, a micromanager.

As I am as a parent schedules and whatever. Are you a bit more free and easy? Do you let things just happen? You know, you a bit more permissive and learning from your mistakes or how does it translate?

Carina O’Brien: I’m probably a little bit more organized and structured in the business world.

Kate Toon: Business? Okay yeah.

Carina O’Brien: And I think also that I need some like direction and, and right.

Where am I going? And things like that with my kids. I’m a bit more like, right. You can choose your own adventure a little bit more. So, and then. I’ve learned over time to probably be a little bit more detailed focus than what I would be in some other parts. So it’s interesting. I’m probably a bit more helicopter in my personal, in my business and professional world compared to, um, in my parenting style.

Kate Toon: Interesting. Cause you know, our businesses are our babies. They’re our babies. Then we grow up with them. You know, I started off with a little. Toddler business that was falling over and banging its head. And now I’ve got kind of a slightly grunty, uh, you know, hair in his face, teenager business, that’s a bit bored with everything and a bit jaded.

So there you go. It’s grown up in the same way. Um, now. Tell us a little bit about your, you know, you work from home on your, on your day off, do you? And then how, how, what are the logistics? Let’s talk about it. Kids at daycare, after school care, how do you, and does your partner help? How does it all work?

Carina O’Brien: Wow. Big question. So I work four days a week in my corporate job. Yeah. And then, so I work Tuesday to Friday. Monday is what I call Mummy and the Boys days.

Kate Toon: Love it.

Carina O’Brien: So that is, that’s our day. And I try and keep that as just our time. Usually it’s been Monday mornings. It’s been with two friends of mine at the park.

The kids are off playing and we’re trying to have fun. Yeah. Three quarters of a conversation and at a sentence at a time, and we often come back and everyone knows what it’s like with kids trying to have a conversation. And then, yeah, that’s that’s our day. And so I’ve got my corporate job, as I said, and then evenings is, you know, pretty much as the kids are put to bed, um, often it’s me with the laptop on the couch.

sitting next to husband to try and still have some semblance of a life.

Kate Toon: a relationship.

Carina O’Brien: And a relationship. And it’s funny, sometimes he’s watching and he’s like, you’re not paying attention. And he asked me what’s just happened. I’m like, this is what’s just happened on Netflix. And I’m still doing my thing on the computer.

Kate Toon: Cause we can do two things at a time. Thank you very much.

Carina O’Brien: Exactly. Exactly.

Kate Toon: How do you, how do you deal with like the mornings? Like, so you get up in the morning, you got to take them to places you’ll take them to two separate places at the moment.

Carina O’Brien: Well, at the moment, um, it’s been fantastic how they’re at. The same-

Kate Toon: same place. Yeah

Carina O’Brien: childcare center. So, um, yeah, usually if I’m in working in the city, husband actually does all the drop offs.

Kate Toon: Oh good. I was going to say.

Carina O’Brien: And so he probably does more drop off and pick ups than what I do. Um, yeah, we, we juggle in the morning. So I’m usually the first one up getting breakfast and things like that. And then he’s the one that sends them off to daycare and When we get to the school and childcare at two different places, I, my mind is not gone there yet.

Kate Toon: It’s going to be a bit more tricky. And what time do you get home? What time do you get home in the evening? I’m really interested. I’m dead nosy.

Carina O’Brien: I leave work at about, 4. 30 because it takes me about, it’s about an hour commute, either driving or catching public transport. Public transport’s great. Because you can still check your emails and take calls and things like that, um, on the way home.

Love listening to a good podcast. And I have listened to this podcast many a time going both to and from work. And yeah. So then I get home. I, one of the thing I love to do when I get home is change out of my mum wardrobe.

Kate Toon: Yeah. Get the uniform off.

Carina O’Brien: Get my uniform off, put on like the trackie dackies, the sloppy joes, the Uggs.

I love it. And then that’s me for my mum.

Kate Toon: Now you’re a mum again.

Carina O’Brien: Now I’m mum, that’s been my mental transition. So it takes me about an hour to get home. And then husband and I usually alternate between who’s working from home. So generally say, for example, on a Tuesday, he’s always from home. I’m in the office.

So then he’s responsible for dinner and then I’ll do the pickup. And that’s, so usually whoever’s on dinner, the other one does pick up, um, which typically works all right, unless I’ve been held up and at a late meeting or something and he’ll do it all. But yeah, so, but it’s one of the biggest things is that I can navigate it all because husband and I, we, We navigate it together.

And if I had to do everything, it’d be a shit show. Yeah. But by being able to say to him, okay, right, you’re on dinner or we both do that. So that’s, that’s the way it’s organized chaos.

Kate Toon: Organized, but I have to say, it sounds exhausting and I respect you and salute you. And it makes you realize. you know, however annoying our partners are, it’s great to have one and how challenging it is to be a single parent and to try and do all of this yourself.

So single parents listening, you are amazing. Oh, you’re awesome. Um, I, I have periods of single parentdom and it is a lot. You know, you’d only get home from the shops and you’re just about to make dinner and you realize you’ve forgotten one thing. You just want to be able to turn to someone and say, can you just go and get that?

And there’s no one. Thank God for Uber Eats. I also order like one egg, one egg on Uber Eats. It cost me like 97 dollars, but sometimes you’ll pay that. Um,

Carina O’Brien: You just want that thing.

Kate Toon: I just want that thing. So, you know, it’s, as I said, it sounds a lot, I’m exhausted already listening to you. Uh, what are the biggest challenges challenges for you right now?

Because you’re in the, you’re in the midst of this at the moment with a two and a five year old. What do you find the most challenging?

Carina O’Brien: From a kids perspective, it’s probably their emotions and, and just the, yeah, navigating them as children and who they are and they’re constantly changing and evolving personalities.

Probably the biggest part of, of where they’re going and they’re both about to go through a bit of change of actually being separated. So just mindful of, of that emotional side of things. And that from a parenting perspective, that’s probably the hardest part. Um, but then also from a work perspective, it’s just making sure that I’ve got blocks of time that I know.

Okay. Like I know that I’m a much better mum, wife person. Also when I’m exercising and I’ve got that a bit of a mental break, I turn into a cray cray if I haven’t gone for a run or something at least once a week. So that for me as well is, is the biggest challenge sometimes actually finding that time for myself so I can refill my cup.

To actually and be able to give back to the kids and the husband and, and everyone else because yeah, I think as mums I know we forget to look after ourselves and then we’re like, why am I feeling so run down for so burnt out? And usually it’s because, you know, it’s us. And often as they say, mums are the heartbeat of a family if we’re feeling crap and down.

That can also then have a big ripple effect on everyone else as well. It,

Kate Toon: it really can, you know, I’ll have days where I’m like, why do I feel. So appalling. It’s like, cause you haven’t eaten anything. You haven’t drank anything. You haven’t been to the toilet. Do you know what I mean? You’ve been holding it a wee since March.

That’s why you feel bad. And it is really hard because, you know, I think a lot of mums take the burnt chop approach where they make sure everyone else is okay. And then they have the burnt chop at the end. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s a bit of a, it’s a weird thing that we do. And that’s just us as I think it’s, it’s bizarre.

And obviously, you know, with all these things, you know, trying to have a run, trying to do your real job, trying to do Working Mumma, there must be a degree of parent guilt there where you’re like, Ooh, you know, I’m not doing a great job of all of this. How do you manage parent guilt? When does it come up for you and how do you manage it?

Carina O’Brien: I have to say it comes up most when I’m in social settings and I might be around friends or other people that may not be as career orientated or focused as what I am. I’ve always known that I wanted to. You know, to be a mum and have a career. And that’s really what stemmed, you know, and was the inspiration behind actually starting Working Mumma.

But that is sometimes like the other day I was like, ah, like someone’s talking about flexibility with work and things. And I’m like, I’ve actually got a pretty good employer and I’d like where I’m at. So. I didn’t have that. And I’ve then felt guilty. Should I, should I be feeling that way? Or should I have the same guilt of, you know, needing to do everything that I’ve know that I’ve got good support structures around.

So definitely probably guilt comes up most when I’m talking with others. Um, but I manage it by also knowing what is my why and my purpose and my values. And I always come back to that. And I had someone question me, A little while ago, and I said, I’m a better mum by working four days than three. And they’re like, why?

And I said, I was just starting to get distracted on that other day that I had off. And I just, I just said, I wasn’t as finding as fun. It was sort of more quality time rather than quantity time with my kids. Hats off to stay at home mums. I couldn’t do it 24 seven. That’s just not how I’m wired. And I do enjoy weirdly, probably enjoy working more, Since I had kids than before I had kids, because I’ve actually got –

Kate Toon: You appreciate it.

Carina O’Brien: A bigger, I appreciate it.

I feel like I’ve got a better purpose that I’m actually there as a role model. I also want to provide for my family and, and I don’t want it to just be my husband that’s providing for my family also me as well. And I actually get rewarded. I can enjoy what I’m doing and being able to give back. So yeah, it’s one of those things, as I said, I managed the guilt by knowing Knowing what are my values and, and my real purpose and my guiding light.

So if I do feel guilty and I have had those times, I go, no. I come back to my why and sort of ground myself a bit so I can try and overcome it. And I find that that really actually helps me the most.

Kate Toon: Hello, here I am weirdly. Interrupting my own podcast to remind you to go and buy your copy of Six Figures in School Hours, how to run a successful business and still be a good parent.

You’ll find it at sixfiguresinschoolhours. com and at all major booksellers. It’s a fantastic read packed with actionable advice, inspiring stories to help you feel like you have a successful business and also never feel like the worst parent in the world. ever again. Something I talk about in the book, you know, to actually say to yourself, it’s okay that I want to have a self actualized life, that I want to have dreams and desires and feel fulfilled and, you know, have connection with other humans.

It’s okay that I want to make money. And, you know, then these things are not in competition with my desire to be a nice mum and be nurturing and be loving. It’s not a battle. You can be all those things. It’s hard. It’s hard to juggle them all, but you’re allowed to enjoy. Having a job, you don’t turn into a different creature just because you pushed some humans out of your hoo ha.

You’re still you and everything that makes you tick. And some people, you know, get to full time parenting, like a duck to water and other people don’t, you know, we’re all different, aren’t we? So yeah, I love that. I love that kind of knowing who you are and what’s important to you and your values and coming back to that.

Very good. And I don’t think I got to that stage until probably about last week. So I’m very-

Carina O’Brien: Yeah.

And I think, I think just on that as well, there’s sometimes that the system and the patriarchal systems that make us feel guilty for-

Kate Toon: Oh yeah absolutely.

Carina O’Brien: That as well. So I’m sometimes I’m like, nah, just ignore what I’m seeing or by maybe someone on Instagram or on social media or in the press or something like, don’t be made to feel guilty if it’s something that you really want to do.

Kate Toon: The whole system’s set up to make us feel terrible about everything all the time. You know, we were, we were supposed to feel chubby so that we buy that exercise program. We’re supposed to feel like bad mums so that we buy that. program, you know, I don’t know. Do you know what I mean? It’s all advertising. I know this ’cause I work in advertising and it’s, it’s extremely evil.

Anyway, let’s move on. Uh, now as I said, you’re juggling a lot and you’ve got a lot of different roles that your hats that you’re wearing. What, what’s one of your number one productivity tips? You know, I’m, I’m a big calendar blocker and I love a little bit of Pomodoro. What, what, what helps you stay productive?

Carina O’Brien: Uh, definitely 2 things time and sorry, um, communication and also having a plan. So I think definitely 1 of the biggest things around productivity and also being a working parent, it’s about making sure you’ve got people in your village know what you’re doing. So, for example, my husband and I have a shared calendar and also shared emails.

So it’s not just me wearing the load that way. So he knows what’s coming up. And so if we’ve got. For example, kinder graduations or something. It’s in both our calendars and school holidays and the like now. So I don’t have to wear it, but also he’s got it and he can also understand it. Um, and so that’s one of the biggest things and just communicating around that.

Um, and I think that as a working parent, I think that’s such a, an important thing is communication and we underestimate it, but even in the workplace, the more that we can communicate, we can actually be productive. I think these days. There’s so much like teams calls or teams chats or WhatsApp chats, but sometimes just having a conversation with someone 2 seconds can actually say like a 5 minute conversation, even in the office or just with someone can actually save you a hell of a lot more time, um, down the path.

So, yeah, definitely communicating.

Kate Toon: I love that and I will say that I think I’ve got a whole chapter about communication in the book because I found that one of the biggest challenges I used to say to my partner, you know, how can I communicate this to you in a way that you will understand it and remember it, you know, like I’ve told you that on Monday at six o’clock I’ve got this happening.

I’ve told you, I’ve emailed you, I put a post it note on the fridge, I wrote it on your calendar and I wrote it on my boobs and walked around the house. Shouting it and yet you still on Monday go, sorry, what’s happening today? Yeah. How, and I do sometimes, you know, there’s a, a bit of a PC phrase at the moment, weaponized incompetence.

I do think that some partners can deliberately fail at that repeatedly, so that you just go, Ugh, I’ll just do it myself. But I refuse to do that, and I just kept on pushing. So I love the idea of shared emails, shared calendars, you know, whether you have something on the fridge. you have to have something because otherwise you will take on that mental load and if it means sometimes they miss it and the ball is dropped let the ball drop if you keep on picking up the ball they’ll keep on letting you so you have to let the ball drop you know oh you didn’t realize it was a six okay well we both missed it then .

Carina O’Brien: I had this, this reason, um, this exact thing recently, I said to my husband, I said, I’ve got everything so far for our child to, to start school.

I said, I’ve done like even one week I was traveling, but I still organize the, the school induction, the bookings and everything like that. I feel like I’ve done everything and buying the school shoes relating to school, um, getting ready. And I said to him, you’re going to be responsible for the school uniform.

And I said, please don’t buy it the day before school starts and he joked, Oh yeah, I probably will. I left it alone for a couple of days. And then last week he said, Oh, I’ve just been onto the website to have a look. We should probably go to the school uniform shop. Let’s do it Saturday. And I internally to myself, I was like,

Kate Toon: Yay.

Carina O’Brien: I was so excited that he’d taken it on.

He’d listened to it. He’d worked about it in his own way. So it’s one of those things I think as mums, we kind of like, Oh, we want it done now or yesterday and. But I left it, I didn’t mention it again, and I was gonna let the ball drop until probably the week before school started, but, but he actually did it.

And then he was the one that took our son and did it.

Kate Toon: It’s amazing how they work it out. You know, like, you know, it’d be my partner’s turn to cook and he’ll be like, what do you want? And I’ll be like, I’m not deciding, you know, that is part of making dinner is deciding what to freaking eat and get ingredients.

If you give me that bit, I may as well just cook it because that’s the hard bit. Sometimes, you know, when I’m away. They’ll have like pasta with potatoes and peas and that’s their dinner, but I’m like It is what it is, you know, and I’ve also big thing for me, and this is a big moment for me was understanding my partner’s relationship with our children is his responsibility, not mine.

And as they get older, your kids do see you, they see. They see who’s doing the things and who’s not doing the things. And they know that. And I, I just spent so long trying to kind of make up for any inadequacies of my partner rather than just letting it happen and letting him learn from his inadequacies, you know, so let the ball drop.

Let that be the mantra for this podcast.

Carina O’Brien: Definitely.

Kate Toon: You know, this, this podcast is called six figures in school hours, um, money. How do you manage money in your family and, and, and you in your own business, what’s your money tip.

Carina O’Brien: My hot one would be from a private perspective, I use an app called pocket Smith.

So I have my credit card and my savings accounts and everything like that set up through there. So I can actually then see the categories over time, what my expenses have been like, and things like that. So for me, it’s-

Kate Toon: PocketSmith.

Carina O’Brien: Pocket Smith. So it’s actually an Australian, um, or New Zealand based company. So I actually liked that as well.

So, uh, that’s way from that perspective, um, from a, um, I’m a Working Mumma perspective. I need to manage it better. So it’s one of those things I need to be a lot more better focused. Um, so I look at the expenses, but not as regularly as what are we, what, and the income is what I should. So I’d say I’m definitely a lot better in my personal life than what I have in my, um, in my own business.

Um, but it’s something that I’ve actually got as my thing for 2024, but I think it’s also, I’ve got money blocks around that and my money mindset needs to improve.

Kate Toon: Oh, you should read my book.

I’ve got a whole chapter on the mindset and How to get over those blocks. I’m the other way around. I’m really, really great in my business and I’m not so good in my family life.

You know, so everything is Excel spreadsheeted, the gazoo in my business. And then when I get to my, I’m just like, Oh yeah, let’s just buy it. Let’s just spend money until it runs out. So, you know, it can’t be perfect at everything. Can we now, you mentioned earlier that one of your self care things was going for a run, which many people would see as yet another form of torture that you’ve added to your list. Uh, so, and you also mentioned that you get to have this nice hour long commute where you listen to podcasts and that we talked about that on your podcast. I call that the third space, which is not my name. It’s someone else’s, but having that opportunity to shift from working mode to mum mode and from mum mode to working mode, what else do you do to, to fill your cup and make you feel like you?

Carina O’Brien: Yeah, definitely. Number one is, is going for a run. Uh, also just catching up with friends and just-

Kate Toon: Having a whinge.

Carina O’Brien: Yeah. And just, you know, reflection. So in the past, it’s been a lot of, you know, every Monday morning with friends at a playground, like the kids that’s, that’s been real big cup, but also some other friends as well, like just catching up with friends and just having those connections and, uh, you know, the odd massage and it’s been a bit-

Kate Toon: Love a massage.

Carina O’Brien: Of a treat.

You know, there’s, there’s also, you know, a nice cheeky wine on the couch, um, with my husband while watching a good movie as well. So that’s something just to also connect.

Kate Toon: Yeah. Simple pleasures. And you know, that’s the thing as well. You, when you’re in this sort of young kid thing with your partner, it does feel like it’s all about schedules and who’s doing what and if he picks up the school uniform and what we’re having for tea, it’s so important to remember that you have a relationship as well.

You need to love each other. You know. all that kind of stuff. What do you, you sound very driven. Um, what do you think is the biggest driver for your success? You know, how have you, how do you, how do you keep going and, and, and do all these things?

Carina O’Brien: Good question. It’s one of those things that I kind of probably don’t stop and reflect enough.

And so I just keep thinking of, okay, what else, what other impact? And it’s funny how a couple of people have contacted me and said, Oh, I’ve seen, I’ve seen some of the work and that, and I’m going to go in, but I don’t feel like I’ve gone far enough. I’ve got, you know, bigger ambitions, particularly say for working about what the impact I want to have and how I want to support.

So I think I’ve got those bigger goals. About what it is and where I’m going, um, than, than where I am. And sometimes it’s not until you stop and reflect on, I did the end of last year. I’ve gone, Oh yeah, I have actually done X, Y, Z this year, and I should be proud of where I am. And I’ve kind of always just thought I’m just me, but as someone told me last year, Carina, you’re not, it’s not necessarily normal to do all the things that you’re doing.

So just take a step back and actually respect that. So. Yeah, I think I’m driven by wanting to make a difference and support others. And I think that I’m going to keep going until I feel I’ve done that. But even if I ever, I don’t think I’ll ever feel fulfilled in that sense. So.

Kate Toon: Yeah, it’s an endless, an endless tube, isn’t it?

And I think, you know, I like the fact that you think you’re just you again. It’s something I talk about in the book. I don’t, I used to think it was humbleness. Because I’m the same, right? You know, I’m like, Oh, just me and my pants making podcasts. And then people were like, Oh, you know, I read your book. I loved it.

Whatever. And I’m like, Oh really? It genuinely shocks me. You know, someone will contact me from America and say, I was listening to your podcast while I was walking through, you know, the LA hills and I’m like, really? What?

Carina O’Brien: Yeah.

Kate Toon: And, uh, but I think it’s about being astonished, you know, astonished that you get to do this every day, that this is your life, that you’ve made this for yourself, and that you, there’s so much more you still want to do.

That’s exciting. Imagine if your inbox was empty. Imagine if you’re out of ideas, you know, it’s, it’s thrilling to think, oh, there’s so much more I want to do. A lot of people never have that feeling. So. And that’s awesome. Well, look, I’m going to ask the final question, which you probably do because you’ve got a proper job.

But, um, do you make six figures in school hours?

Carina O’Brien: In a corporate world? Yes. In my small business? No. So, uh, it’s one of those things. It’s, um.

Kate Toon: One day a week. It would be pretty bloody good if you could make that.

Carina O’Brien: I know. Wouldn’t it be? Wouldn’t it be?

Kate Toon: One day you’ll get there.

Carina O’Brien: Yeah.

Kate Toon: And do you think, you know, final extra question.

Do you think that you ever want to escape and just do this full time, or do you love the kind of the mix of the two?

Carina O’Brien: Sure. There’s an element. I love the mix of the two, but I’d love to do it probably the other way around. I’d love to do more Working Mumma or working, working, uh, both sides. So being able to support organizations that help more working mums.

So yeah, that would be the dream.

Kate Toon: Yeah. So it’s 80, 20 now, maybe you want it to be like 60, 40, 70, the other way around. There you go. That’s another goal to work towards. So, uh, fantastic. Carina, I love talking to you. It’s great to get the perspective of kind of how the other half live. I often dream and look on seek and think about jobs, but I don’t know if anyone would actually employ me now, um, ever again.

So I’m stuck doing this. But I, I deeply admire what you’re doing. So thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

Carina O’Brien: My pleasure.

Kate Toon: Thank you, Carina O’Brien. And also, thank you to Sonja Balzarolo. What a great second name, Balzarolo. Um, for the lovely book review. Love, love, love this book. I actually used some of it. The ideas Kate has shared, which isn’t always the case with books. It’s relatable, inspirational, and honest. I highly recommend.

That is a lovely review. I want that on a t shirt. Thank you, Sonia. And thanks to you for listening to the show. Do me a favor, before you go, whatever app you’re listening to this on, could you just take a minute and leave a little rating or review? It would really help me get this podcast out to more people and I’d be very grateful.

Uh, as I mentioned in the podcast, or probably did, you can get the book wherever you find books, uh, or on my website. And please come and join my group. It’s called the Misfit Entrepreneurs. It’s on Facebook. I know we don’t like Facebook, but it’s a good place to be. Sometimes it’s full of lots of other busy business owning parents and packed with tips and advice.

So until next time, happy juggling.