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Meet BubbaDesk Caringbah Member, Katie Bell

Meet Katie Bell, one of our BubbaDesk members who works as a Social & Community Lead at Intuit Australia. She has been able to balance the challenges of parenthood with her 11-month-old, all while contributing to the community at BubbaDesk from the Caringbah location.

Can you share a personal or professional achievement you’re particularly proud of since returning to work?

“My role was made redundant while I was on maternity leave which was a very stressful experience. However I managed to land a new role that started in January. I was anxious about how I would manage being a first time return to work Mum while also learning a new full time job. The support I’ve received has been fantastic and has allowed me to complete a SWOT analysis and present an updated social and community strategy all within my first month!”

How have you overcome challenges in balancing work, business, or parenting responsibilities?

“Previously I didn’t understand the sheer difficulty in securing child care to allow parents to return to work. I have a whole new appreciation and understand why so many mums don’t go back full time, or sometimes at all. Although I was on the waitlist since October 2022, we’ve only managed to get 3 days of daycare in 2024 and we don’t have a family who can just step in and look after bub for a day.

I’ve also started to understand the meaning of true workplace flexibility, thanks to my new role. I feel really lucky that Bubba Desk has opened in Caringbah this year as without it, I couldn’t have accepted my new role. I’m now able to work 2 days at BubbaDesk knowing bub has care, and then 3 days where he is at daycare.

My husband is on parental leave until April, and through this time we’ve really worked on our communication and splitting the responsibilities between us in ways that suit what each of us are up to each day. We’re flexible and adaptive to each other’s plans and we talk about what is coming up to navigate who will be looking after bub.”

Are there specific strategies or tools that have helped you maintain a healthy work-life balance?

“My role came with a mobile phone and I find myself switching from my personal to work phone in the morning, and back in the evening. It helps to create a physical difference to reinforce the different states of the day and let my mind put down work at the end of the day.

Also, working from home with my husband on parental leave means I get visits and hugs with hubby and bub throughout the day, which always makes the day brighter. I love that my work is welcoming of having little visitors to our Zoom meetings.”

Can you recount a challenging moment and how you successfully navigated through it?

Being made redundant while on maternity leave has been the most stressful experience of late. It’s such a vulnerable time and doubts about your own abilities creep in. I accessed the work Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and spoke with them regularly throughout the process. I also sought out emotional support from within my family and friends to help keep my spirits up.

I have also been navigating PNDA at the same time as experiencing redundancy, so I also used my PNDA counselling with the Gidget Foundation to help me decipher what was PNDA emotions, and what was redundancy emotions so that I could better understand and express my feelings to my loved ones.”

What advice would you give to other working mothers or families facing similar situations?

“It’s sad to realise just how common redundancy on maternity leave is for Australian parents. In every group of Mums I’ve mentioned my situation too, there is always at least one if not more who have experienced the same.

My advice is to get advice! If anything feels off, it’s worth seeking out legal advice to get a professional view on your situation. Postpartum is a wild time and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by big and challenging emotions, and to second guess yourself, believing you’re not able to work.

Make sure to have some trusted friends you can talk to. Your partner is always a good sounding board however they can be heavily affected by emotions and lack of sleep too, so having someone else to check in with will help you feel heard and supported without creating a pressure cooker situation at home.”

How do you envision the future of your career, business, or parenting journey?

“Every day is a new challenge to learn and overcome. I can imagine how parenting and working full time will go, but in reality, everything changes so frequently, and you never really stop learning how to be a parent. I’m planning on being open with my communication, and always working with my husband as a team to do what’s best for our little family.”

BubbaDesk Caringbah Member

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