We recently reviewed Lianne’s Quick guide to babies as part of our Things We Love and as we discussed her guide we realised that we had found a great mum who works around her children. So we invited her to take part in our working mum interviews and we are delighted to say here it is. How amazing is that bike?
Tell us a bit about you
I am Lianne Bergeron, 41, Canadian living in NL. I am married to a Dutchman (11 years and counting) and have 4 kids aged 4,5,7,8 and I have a bicycle built for 6 that I power with my own legs.
I am an entrepreneur and have always had many ideas that I wanted to work on. I am publishing a series of booklets for the busy woman (all of us…) called Lianne’s Quick Guide. It’s a culmination of a lot of my experience: translating concepts, sharing information and experience as well as working with other great women.
How do you fit in work with the family?
At the moment, I work 2 days a week while my kids are at school and my youngest is at daycare. Even though I often work from home, I don’t do anything else around the house other than work on those days. I also work once the kids are in bed and since acquiring an i-phone, also check email and read up on things when I’m waiting for kids at swimming lessons and when I’m on the bus travelling to Amsterdam.
Tell us about your life/work balance
Wow. I wish I had this great story about work and life balance but it’s work in progress for me I’m afraid… It’s my big challenge. These last couple of years I’ve been trying to figure out how to combine keeping the businessperson satisfied and not compromising on how I want to raise my kids. It’s never a perfect balance. I do get out every week with friends (even when I’m tired, makes me feel good in the end) and exercise (though often when the kids are in bed). We have a good group of babysitters that are always happy to sit at night so that my husband and I can get out together.
What are the challenges to being a working mum?
Well, we can’t do it all which means that some things (ok, a lot of things) don’t get done. And we try to do it all which means we are left being exhausted all the time.
How do you cope with these challenges?
Trying to accept the saying “Women can do everything, just not at the same time”. I am trying to let go, accept that the house won’t ever be clean, that the photo-albums are still not made, that the frames are still on the floor etc. It’s better for me not to start thinking about this list… also I have some great friends – we remind each other how great we are and what a great job we are doing…
If you could give mums a couple of tips on coping as a working mum what would it be?
- Keep work and play separate.
- Try to let go of your phone/computer when you are having quality time with your kids. It’s hard enough to focus on them with all of the other things we have to do when we get home.
- Good time management – when I was about to publish my book, I had proof readers on the phone at all hours and the kids didn’t understand, I got irritated, they got irritated. I published the book but it caused a lot of stress so next time I am planning better time-management.
- Plan the week and get your partner involved when you can.
- Make sure the kid’s activities fit into a manageable schedule (for us, if I can’t bike there, it’s off the list).
What do you plan ahead?
I always make the school lunches the night before. It’s too hectic in the morning and I can’t get up. I have a good overview of what’s happening every week with appointments and activities. I buy shoes ahead of time, in all sizes, shapes and colors (we have a whole closet full of shoes so when someone’s feet have grown, we go to the shoe closet instead of trekking out to the store). And I plan travel to Canada. I also only do the laundry every 7-10 days. That’s not really planning ahead but I hate the idea of doing laundry every day – so when the hampers are full, I wash and run the machine all day. At night, I fold with a glass of wine and a favorite TV show.
What is your favourite plan ahead family meal?
I’m a big fan of the 15 minute from pan to table meals – easy stir fries, pasta’s etc. and no – my kids do not eat everything I make… We have “wrap” night on Tuesdays (kids have sports after diner) which means I don’t ever have to think about what we are eating on Tuesdays. I also have a lot of frozen veggie burgers, tofus, etc. that I can thaw and serve in a flash.
I did go through a phase of planning the meals for the month, which was actually a really good idea. No stress about what to eat, just a look at my calendar. I also cut up a big plate of raw veggies while I’m getting diner ready and give it to the kids to munch on. The plate always comes back empty.
What is your favourite book?
I love so many books but my absolute favorite this year was “The Many Secrets Lives of Josephine B”, a trilogy by Sandra Gulland. I also really loved “Glass Castle” & “Half Broke Horse” by Jeanette Wells, “The Help”, “Life of Bees”, “The Namesake”. For the kids: The Magic Tree House Series, Geronimo Stilton, everything Doctor Seuss, Charlie & Lola and all books by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
Favorite family holiday destination
Maine, USA – at my uncle’s cottage on a quiet lake & Italy.
Best family day out destination
Day at the beach, walking in the dunes, kids running around. We also love using our Museum cards (Dutch) that let us go to every museum in the country for free. And, we also find ourselves at the great zoo in Amsterdam (Artis) on a regular basis.
Favorite family film
It’s hard to come up with one… Nemo, Ice Age, Nanny McPhee series, Tinkerbell, Tangled.
Tell us a bit more about your work
In today’s busy society, women are rushing to get to the next meeting or rushing to get their kids to their next activity. There is no time left to learn, only a push to know more, do more, be more. My booklets are designed for the busy woman who has lots of questions about specific subjects but no time to do the research. Have a look & there’s a lot more to come! Click Here for more info on Lianne’s Guides.
Thanks Lianne. You are inspirational especially using a bike to go everywhere! We know its not easy juggling children and work and your honesty, we are sure will help others. We wish you the very best with your guides.