For most people, COVID lockdown really brought home the reality of juggling career and family, mixing working from home with homeschooling. But for self-care coach, reality TV star, and mother of two Tracey Jewel, it made her truly realize that you can enjoy both motherhood and a successful career at the same time.
Originally inspired by Tony Robbins back in 2004, Tracey has been a working mother for 11 years, since the birth of her first child, daughter Grace. It was then that she started writing books about female empowerment, firstly Goddess Within, and then Don’t Mess with the Goddess.
Tracey’s third book in 2018, This Goddess Means Business, did well – having launched on the back of her participation in the social experiment reality TV show, Married at First Sight Australia. Her books, she explains, “all have a flavor of feminine energy and personal power, about balancing life and business”.
Having recently welcomed her second child, baby boy Frankie, she’s busy readying the launch of her self-care platform Upself and her fourth book, a collaboration entitled Decoding the Wellness Mantra, which she describes as a dabble into different wellness modalities that help women raise their vibration and live a high-frequency life.
In the process, she was surprised to find how many women still think there has to be a trade-off between choosing motherhood or having a career. Having tapped into her 160,000-strong Instagram following, she found that many women still believe it’s about having to sacrifice their lives.
Act now, don’t wait
“I conduct a lot of surveys via Instagram, and much of the feedback was that it’s all about phases that women feel they have to wait for; that they have to wait till their child’s in school or until their child’s a teenager before they can fulfill their career dreams.”
Tracey’s message is emphatic. “No, you don’t have to wait if this is something that you want to do. It’s just about looking after yourself so that you have the energy to create things in life. But you don’t have to wait, I think that’s a fallacy.”
It was her own experience during the COVID-19 lockdown and of becoming a mother for the second time that further emphasized that opinion, spurring Tracey to pivot to self-care for women – particularly for mothers with their own businesses.
“I think COVID has helped prove you can work from home and manage to balance it all. You don’t have to commit to a nine-to-five anymore and put your child in expensive childcare. You can actually make it work for you and your family.”
She goes on to explain there’s a huge demographic of women in business, either on maternity leave or having come back from maternity leave, that are looking to side-hustle because they don’t want to work a full-time job.
“Life has changed so much for Moms – it’s no longer prescribed that you have a baby then go back to work full time. There’s a beautiful balance now where working mothers can decide how their lives will look. That’s a part of professional self-care, that we actually get to choose how we want our lives to look.”
Don’t try and do everything
Tracey feels the biggest trap many working mothers fall into is that they think they have to do everything themselves in both motherhood and business.
She fully admits she has help with certain areas of her business, freeing her up to focus on the aspects she feels are best-suited to her skills, more important to her personally, and freeing up valuable time to spend with her new baby Frankie.
“I’m a big fan of delegating, so I do so as much as possible. Then I do the rest – I really like connecting with people. So I want to be the one managing my Instagram and writing comments and sharing. I want to be the one showing up for my clients and my latest book’s co-authors. In terms of everything else, like automation and accounting, all of that is delegated.”
Tracey feels there’s a huge misconception about having to do it all by yourself. Her advice is to not worry about personal weaknesses because there’s too much pressure to try and “wear all the hats” – you can’t be expected to be good at everything.
“I’d rather focus on my strengths, on what I’m good at, and delegate the rest. If I had to pick between doing all my accounting at 2 am in the morning, or spending time with my little baby boy, I’m going to be spending the time with my baby, and delegating whatever I can.”
Tracey feels mothers, in particular, are subject to unwarranted and often highly opinionated advice -– as she’s found out the hard way as a new mother in the social media spotlight.
“Women just need a safe space to share their experiences and find their own way, which inspired me to start Upself,” her new self-care platform.
The glut of how-to information out there can be very overwhelming, she says. Moving away from the ‘how-to’ approach, she feels support should be about getting together and having conversations. “That’s really what Upself and my self-care approach are all about, creating safe spaces for people just to be able to essentially vent about where they’re at and keep it real.”
Tracey is very clear about defining and expanding the definitions of self-care for women in general, as well as self-care for women in business and other wellness professionals. “Too often, in marketing and on social media, self-care is all cosmetic – it’s about getting a facial, a massage, and getting your hair done. Self-care should cover all aspects of real life.”
Self-care has many facets, she explains, from emotional to financial, setting yourself up for wealth, and from professional to social self-care – making sure that you’re not isolated, and you’re staying connected to friends and colleagues. “We touch on all the aspects of self-care, not just the look-good feel-good, fluffy stuff,” she adds. “Life is a journey that needs to be lived in balance.”