Business mothers. Story #1

We’ve decided to collect stories about how a woman can be a mother and build her career, do everything on time, be successful and find inspiration in her family for self-development and work. Julia Stefanyuk, Manager at Just Lviv It! travel agency, that is a part of !FEST Holding of Emotions,is the first business mother who has shared with her thoughts with us.

Julia studied to be a sociologist but after trainings in Poland she chose sales. She worked in sales department in building business for six years. Later Julia dealt with insurance in Kyiv; however, she decided to be involved in tourism which has always been appealing to her. She moved from Kyiv to Lviv where she’s been a Manager for 5 years at Just Lviv It! travel agency.

Julia, you are expecting for the second child and still working without stopping. You are a business mother. How difficult is it?

Business mother is quite exciting, differently and responsible. I can’t say it’s difficult but there are some peculiarities.

Business mother must have very precise plans and doesn’t relax. You must do everything on time as you have work and kid’s schedule. Of course, you can’t manage it if nobody helps you!

But it’s really interesting. I don’t know why but I didn’t have any post-natal depression as some mothers may have. There is no time to feel sad! It’s very dynamic life that, to my mind, brings many “pluses”. But, certainly, each woman has her own life priorities.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to choose – work or my child. Owing to my work conditions I manage to combine everything simultaneously and it doesn’t create any discomfort. I don’t know how I will manage my job and two children but, anyway, I plan somehow to do it :)

How did you learn to find time when your first baby was born? How did you set priorities?

Everything depends on planning your schedule and understanding that you have a baby-sitter or a grandmother who help you. As the child sleeps some hours and plays, you can use this time. Sure, almost no time is left for me but it depends on your wish to find it. It’s good enough for me.

The Company has agreed with my “floating” schedule; I can work from home – it’s a great “plus”, you can’t do it in all companies! Having taken my first maternity leave, I prepared my team to work effectively without my presence. Of course, there are projects that demand working in the evening. I could do it only being helped.

How, in fact, can you fulfill your tasks distantly being a Manager?

I’m responsible for four huge projects. It’s a tourist event area dealing with tourists (the travel agency Just Lviv It!, being a part of !FEST Holding of Emotions) and corporate events, the hostel, a souvenir shop “Just Old Tram” and catering.

We have a good team that can work distantly and it’s very important. It’s a part of success!

How does your family help?

My husband and I work in one Company. Although we didn’t work before, but he felt my need in work and realized how important it is to me and how it inspires me. Moreover, it helps you not to focus all the time on diapers, baby bottles :) Teresa (the elder daughter, 2 years old) is a great helper. She is independent and can play alone. She wasn’t a difficult child who needed my 100% attention. She is not afraid of new people and I always take her with me. She was almost always present at all concerts and festivals that we organized. We could spend more time with her at parties in the evening and it was quite important.

A new and different phase will start soon in my family. I hope I’ll have enough strength and inspiration with my two children. In fact, all depends on your wish; if you truly want to combine family and work, you’ll definitely succeed.

Women usually say that being pregnant is different every time. When is it more difficult to work when you were pregnant for the first time or now when you have some experience and you understand how to plan everything?

It’s much more difficult physically now as I’ve got more duties. When I was pregnant with my daughter I felt sorry to some extent: you can come home after work, lie in bed and read a book. When you have a child already, two years older, you’ve got more housework. But my child often inspires and cheers me up. That’s why, everything can be solved. If you sincerely dream about a big family, everything must go well! Perhaps, I am an optimistic person and understand that if one finds problems in some situation, they will stop you; and if one finds each chance to solve a problem, you’ll definitely solve it.

How do you find time for family rest? Does it also depend on your wish?

I’m sure that planning helps a lot. There are people who like to be spontaneous. But it’s not always good if you have some exact goals at work, at home…Now I have time and go with Teresa for kid’s classes. I think experience with work coordination is transferred on me and my family. My baby-sitter and my mum who help us know their schedule, so we can find some free time. I can watch TV or take my child for a tour when she’ll be interested. Teresa realizes that older people are interesting and you can communicate with them. Lots of people and music are very natural for her. When she was one-month old, I already took her on business trips.

You are talking so simply about work and family :) But there are women who are to decide – job or children…

In my opinion, children appear in our lives when time has come. I was 35 when Teresa was born; it’s rather late to deliver babies. But, I think, I was not ready earlier yet. I couldn’t understand how I could be on a maternity leave and didn’t work. Then I broke my leg and had to work at home, thus realizing that you could manage to do it. Later Teresa was born.

I believe that your job, by any means, must not be a restrictive factor for a baby to be born or, vice versa, to do some radical things, for instance, abortions…

The precious thing is when you understand you have support at home and at work. Physically, it’s definitely not easy but you receive quite a lot from it! Priority and wish are key issues.

As I see long maternity leave is not for you :)

As a Manager I must control all reports, salaries, be in the centre of all processes. I can physically start working in the office in six months. By the way, I support breast-feeding, it may cause some difficulties but I do recommend it to all mothers!

You surprised yourself, did something that you didn’t expect from you before being pregnant or after Teresa’s birth?

Yes, children bring inspiration. When a child is born, you begin to evaluate your time more. You optimize all processes at work and it’s also useful for work because you set more exact priorities than before, you don’t pay attention to unimportant things that won’t bring results.

At the same time, I find many new ideas speaking with my child. I’ve recently been at the seminar in Poland. One guy talked how his child inspired him to create an eco-hotel. He wanted to make a tree-house for his child and now he’s got hotel rooms located in the trees! The key thing here is that his child inspired him for such business idea!

When Teresa was born, I really began to think more about tours for children, find out if tourists who come with children feel comfortable in our Just Lviv it! hostel. In general, I started looking at things at another point. Moreover, it’s quite interesting to use some methods of bringing up children in your team – a lot works here sometimes :)