Last Updated May 8, 2018 · Written by Philippa Land
What is it like to be a mother and a professional tradesperson? With more women going into a trade and careers in construction, means there are many women juggling two very different worlds: motherhood and running a trade business. We spoke to two ladies who are on hipages and asked them about being a mother, managing a business in the construction and design industry, and what Mother’s Day means to them.
Noelene with family
Helen: It all comes down to being organised, flexible and having a back-up plan. There's been times when my children have been in the office while I've been catching up on paperwork but I think that shows my girls that they too are capable of being a mum, running a business, creating a sustainable future.
Noelene: Managing my workload is a lot easier today than it was when my children were little. I started my own business before my twins were born. In hindsight, I don’t know what I could have been thinking at the time other than I could do it all. Neither my husband or I have family in NSW so as a new mum it was full on. I employed many nannys over the time, and could write a book on our experiences. However working from home allowed some flexibility to spend time with the children during the day and for the kids to be in their own home, which I believe is very special.
For many years I would be in the office ‘til midnight preparing quotations & finishing the day’s work, so I could keep up with the demands of competitors & the clients. Looking back, it was worth all the heartache I went through. School years were a big juggle, same for any working parent. Although I think the children have come through it ok!
Both our children are in their 3rd year at UTS University. Our daughter is studying a Bachelor Interior Architecture and our son is studying a Bachelor Construction Project Management. I am proud they are keen to follow in the design and construction industry.
Helen with family
Noelene: I just love making improvements to buildings and spaces. To see the final outcome and the impact on people’s lives is so exciting and rewarding. Even as a young girl looking at homes to see where improvements could be made I was intrigued.
I started my working career as a dental nurse, 10 years on I took a position in sales of dental equipment. (I was the first female in Australia to sell dental equipment) It was here I started designing dental practices as I had firsthand knowledge of how they should work ergonomically along with placement of all the major equipment and joinery.
Eventually, I started my own business as I was tired of office politics and felt I could offer a superior customer-oriented design service and have more impact in the project management of the fit-outs. I expanded into the commercial residential markets some 12 years ago.
It has been 21 years since commencing my own practice and I am very proud of all the projects I have completed and the positive impact it has on people in the working & living environments.
Helen: Entering into the plumbing trade gave me the opportunity to build a solid future for my family. Through Tradettes, it now also provides the avenue which I can encourage young women to enter into the industry to create a long-term, sustainable career for themselves.
Noelene: Mother's Day is a special day for honouring & remembering my mum who passed away 28 years ago.
Special memories of when I was little at home with my parents, sisters & brothers. I hope my children will have similar fond memories when they get older to share with their families. It is not until you have your own family you truly understand & appreciate what your mother (parents) have done for you. I have been blessed.
Helen: A day to recognise all that I have achieved since becoming a mum. Being a small business owner, tradie and a mum is, at times, hard going but I wouldn't have it any other way and Mother's Day is a great time to reflect on all of those achievements. It's also an excellent excuse to have a sleep in and enjoy some breakfast in bed.
Celebrate Mother’s Day this year with a gift she really needs. Hire a tradie to get those home jobs done.
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