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For anyone who thinks you have to choose between having a career or having a baby.

It wasn’t until after I became a mum that I finally achieved my greatest career ambition.

I’d always wanted to be a writer but somehow became distracted by radio. The industry was so much fun but it wasn’t my Big Dream.

Ten years into my radio career I became a mum and when I went on maternity leave I had a feeling that my best career days were over. I couldn’t imagine how I’d ever repeat the ambition that got me into radio in the first place. I was so overwhelmed by motherhood and my love for my child I couldn’t even drum up the energy to think about changing career paths.

Eventually it turned out that becoming a mum was going to be the biggest turning point in my life. It gave me the chance to step off the path I was on and take a look around at something completely different. It also made me more discerning about my choices going forward. If a job was going to take me away from my precious child, it had to be worth it. Being a mum gave me the courage to go for it.

stay at home mother
"Eventually it turned out that becoming a mum was going to be the biggest turning point in my life." Image: Supplied.

I enrolled in a writing course and the rest, as they say, is history.

The idea that you have to choose between being a career woman and being a mum is completely out-dated. Yes it’s overwhelming and exhausting being a parent, but motherhood had the most amazing effect on me. It made me more selective in the choices I made and more ambitious than ever before. I wanted to achieve my career dreams more than anything. I wanted to show my kids that I could do it. I had a perfect home life and wanted the career to match.

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I wanted it all and thanks to flexible study options, I was able to do it.

I delighted in every aspect of my first course. Each night after the kids had gone to bed I’d sit down with a cup of tea and get stuck in. I’d enrolled in a distance course, full time at first and then I completed the last semester part time, and even though sometimes I was so tired I didn’t feel like I could even lift a finger to turn my computer on, as soon as I started reading through the materials I’d feel so inspired. That’s the key to studying as a mum. You need to choose something that you love.

I’ve enrolled in a new course now and am starting mid-next year. I can hardly wait.

"Each night after the kids had gone to bed I’d sit down with a cup of tea and get stuck in." Image via iStock.

There are so many providers of education these days it can be hard to know where to begin. You need to ensure you choose a provider that offers quality courses and flexibility, like Careers Australia. They are a vocational education and training provider with 15 campuses located throughout Australia. They offer an extensive range of short courses, apprenticeships, traineeships, certificates and diplomas across a number of industry sectors, creating a solid pathway for employment and further education.

Most importantly, they offer flexible modes of study so you can design your course to suit your life, I can attest to how valuable this is. You can enrol in hospitality, a trade, accounting and early childhood education. They have a graphic design course I’d love to do as well as courses in computing and healthcare.

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Even if you are on exactly the career path you want to be on, Careers Australia gives you the opportunity to up skill and that’s something so many of my mum friends have done after becoming parents. They’ve taken the opportunity to up skill so they return to work in an even stronger position. It also makes it much easier to re-enter the work force if you’ve used that time to gain skills.

Jo on Channel 9 Mornings. Image: Supplied.

Its easy-to-use website will help you design a study mode that suits you, whether it be on campus or online, or a combination of both. They not only offer you the chance to train in so many fields, they also take you through the steps necessary to find employment when you finish, which can often be daunting experience.

If technology isn’t your strength (it certainly wasn’t mine) Careers Australia will even guide you through the experience of being an online student. Do you feel as though you’d like to make a complete career change? Maybe you love what you do but want to gain new skills. Now is the time to enrol.

How have you managed to be both a career woman and a mother?

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