Mel Burgess, Founder of Love Parenting, is all too familiar with parents referring to work as their happy place, when the challenges of family life start to bubble over.
With over a decade spent facilitating parenting programs for the University of Newcastle, Mel launched her parenting consultancy in 2017 assisted by the Business Centre. Love Parenting supports families with real-time conversations, helping mums and dads work through the ever- changing challenges of parenting.
“As any parent knows, it doesn’t matter how old your child or children are, or how many you have, some days are just hard,” Mel said.
“But what we often neglect to factor in is that parenting stress affects workplace productivity. For example, 24-hour access to our children’s behaviours, results and administration requirements through school reporting systems (Class Dojo) and social media puts us on a level of alert that previous generations just weren’t subject to.”
Love Parenting clients are parents trying their best. Usually high-achievers with high expectations of themselves, their children and their co-parenting partners, and significant fears around not doing enough to set up their children’s success.
“What they say they benefit from most is the human connection and support Love Parenting puts alongside any information given. A safe place to have parenting conversations and tease out a way forward that feels like a great fit, rather than going it alone getting increasingly dazed and confused trying to make sense of what the books and Google say is credible advice,” Mel said.
In the last few months, Mel has seen a spike in interest from local workplaces looking to take a more holistic approach to caring for their employees’ wellbeing.
“Many of us wouldn’t think twice about enrolling in a course to up-skill ourselves for our career, but when we think of parenting, we take more of a reactive, learn-on-the-job approach. Hence, work becomes easier to manage when compared to the minefield of parenting,” Mel said.
Businesses that can benefit from engaging Love Parenting may have three employees or 300. The programs available to workplaces vary dependent on the specific needs of individuals and teams. All of Love Parenting’s workshops and mentoring options put a parenting professional alongside employees to process what’s on their mind and come up with strategies to implement the positive change they want for their family.
“Employers just get that this is good business. Not only are they making their employees feel more valued, but they’re also increasing their employees’ productivity and focus, by enabling them to better deal with pressures in their home life,” Mel said.
With so many companies offering perks to better support employee health and wellbeing, it’s a wonder that parent education isn’t more prominent in the inclusions package.
“Flexible working arrangements and gym memberships help us manage our work-life routine and a healthy mindset. But providing knowledge and practical advice to deal with challenges, rather than just manage them, is an invaluable inclusion for an employee,” Mel said.
“Especially when those employees are topping-and-tailing their every-day with sleep deprivation, teaching gratefulness and respect, and functioning selflessly at times when they had planned to be taking care of their own needs.”
Love Parenting offers workshops and one-on-one consultations tailored to workplace needs.
IMAGE | Founder of Love Parenting, Mel Burgess.