The super-human parent juggle!

Sometimes I worry that what we see on social media isnt ‘real life’. We project the best versions of ourselves and try to look like super-humans, and often-times life can be so very different. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to do this story with the NZ Herald.

Being a single mum with a busy career is a full and rewarding life. I have many amazing supermum moments where I high five myself. Many days I juggle PR campaigns, run my beauty business, mentor juniors, make lego rocketships with my son, fit in a yoga class, cook an awesome dinner and fall asleep after meditating. But some days my car breaks down, my son is sick, technology is fickle and my work is so piled up so high that I don’t know where to start.

So when you start loading things on top of this, like major surgeries, recovery time, and trying to take care of children on your own – things can be pretty tough.  Through this blog I have met some amazing women. Many of them facing mastectomies and major surgery and most as single parents. I hope to see more general support available for these parents, and in paticular more short term benefit options so they can get through these tough times and avoid ending up on long term benefits.


WDVJA3CLAJC6TCSLE7VYXPI5DI

Single parents struggle in the face of illness

Prominent public relations specialist Anna Jobsz is calling for agencies to offer more support to single parents who undergo major surgeries or illnesses.

Jobsz has opened up about her struggle caring for her son alone, while also recovering from two major surgeries.

After discovering she had a mutated BRCA gene, in April 2016 Jobsz opted to have a mastectomy to reduce her considerable cancer risk.

Months later she had reconstructive surgery. All the while, she cared for her 3-year-old son full time.

Her family is overseas and Jobsz could depend on friends occasionally, but Jobsz was disappointed to be told by Work and Income New Zealand her only options were to receive a long term benefit, or nothing.

“I think most single parents want to keep working despite illness, and they don’t want to get into further debt because they take three weeks off work to recover,” Jobsz said.

“When I came home from hospital I would have friends come over the first few days if they could spare an hour or three away from work, which was a big help, but the hardest part was at night.

“My son would often wake up two or three times in the night because he was unsettled after I’d been away in hospital and at that point I could barely walk and I was still on heavy meds. Getting up at night and lifting him out of his cot was difficult mentally and physically.”

anna & Carlo first day homeShe recalled five days after leaving hospital having to take her son to his own surgery to receive grommets. They were at the hospital all day. The appointment had been a long time coming and she didn’t feel she could cancel.

“I had to drive him, and get him into the hospital in his pram, upstairs in the carpark, and help him through the day while I was on heavy meds and just wanted to sleep. I had waited months for him to get on the operating schedule for grommets, and his hearing was so bad, I had to go. Those moments are truly tough.”

Following her surgeries Jobsz was readmitted to hospital after contracting infections, and at that point the hospital appointed a social worker because they could see she was struggling. The worker said a WINZ staffer would visit her to explore options, but no one showed up, Jobsz said.

After following up she said she was told to call her family, or go on a long term benefit. Dismayed to discover there is no short term option available, she’s calling on the agency to introduce one for solo parents who find themselves in her position- juggling work and a child, and extra costs including medication, childcare, and travel.

Only after her surgeries did ACC contact Jobsz to tell her what payment options she might be eligible for, and Jobsz fears that single parents who don’t think to ask, won’t receive.

She wants WINZ, ACC, and hospital staff to work together to ensure patients like her get the right support.

“I hope that together we can find a solution because with an alarming rate of breast cancer in New Zealand, especially amongst Maori women, I can imagine that many future single mothers will have to deal with this issue. How can we find a way to take care of our parents in a short term way without them ending up on long term benefits?”

A social media post where she spoke about her struggles received strong support from others, including Minister Nikki Kaye, who recently battled breast cancer.

Breast cancer survivor and breast cancer charity Paddle for Hope founder Karin Horen said the gap in support was a major issue.

Horen was first diagnosed with cancer at 26, which returned in her 40s. She has three children whom she cared for after her surgeries.

“There’s people who have no access to anything. You sit in this hospital for days and they don’t give you any idea what you’re entitled to. The problem with cancer is that it doesn’t finish with chemotherapy, or radiation, or an operation. It’s the ongoing effects that you’re dealing with.”

Breast Cancer New Zealand spokeswoman Adele Gautier said breast cancer survivors were often surprised at the financial impact on themselves and their families.

“We have a free healthcare system and getting surgery and drugs is not a problem, but the additional costs can cause a really hard time. It’s a tough situation made even tougher.”

A WINZ spokesperson said it had a range of benefits available for single parents and that what they were eligible for was dependant on individual circumstances. In emergencies assistance could also be provided for accommodation, childcare, and medical costs.

Ladies Who Lunch @ Harbourside

Ladies Who Lunch Facebook Page

#ladieswholunch

The fifth ‘Ladies Who Lunch’ event was held on 6th April @ Harbourside Restaurant in the Viaduct. 70 Auckland women attended this glamorous event, which started with a glass of Soho Wine in the Harbourside Bar area, overlooking the Viaduct Harbour and ferries.

Tickets sold out in a record 14 days to this event and I couldn’t believe the demand there was for women to come along! Every ‘Ladies Who Lunch’ ticket includes a 2-course meal, an impressive goodie bag and a glass of wine on arrival. Plus a bunch of prizes and special deals that are given away on the day.

The real purpose of the lunch is a fun social occasion that women can really relax and enjoy themselves at. The focus is on the ladies! And with the busy and often crazy lives we lead, I encourage these women to take a couple of hours out of their busy week and do something for themselves. Many of the ladies come on their own and everyone has made new friends by the end of the lunch. It’s also a great networking opportunity with many career women, business owners and mumtrepreneurs in the room.

We were lucky to be sponsored by brand new Dry Cleaning Ap – Laundromap, who gave every woman a $20 voucher to try their new wash/dry/fold service.

Also onsite was Dry & Tea with a mobile ‘Touch Ups’ Salon. So the ladies were treated to 15 minute sessions of professional hair styling which meant a room full of absolutely beautiful looking hair!

Glamorous fashion label Augustine was generous enough to give away a $200 voucher on the day and dress me in a beautiful gold dress. Every guest also received a current season Augustine Look-Book and Kelly Coe, designer of Augustine came to the event herself with her gaggle of gals and drew the winner of the prize.

MOR candles were definitely the beautiful touch that enhanced the room. Their fragrant candles added a sensory experience to the event while their beautiful selection of hand-creams, candles, soaps and pretty things made every table look special.

Also onsite was an Eco Minerals makeup artist there with products from online beauty store http://www.ecoboutique.co.nz

 

There were so many great feedback comments from the ladies about the food at Harbourside. We enjoyed a delicious King Ora Salmon starter, followed by the choice of Crispy Skinned Snapper or Duck Confit main. The quality of the dishes was absolutely incredible. Not surprising as that Harbourside is currently ‘Winner Best Restaurant’ at the Hospitality Awards NZ!

The goodie bags were valued at over $150 per guest and featured beautiful Lindi Kingi bracelets, Kronenburg Blonde Beers, a European cookbook by Flip Grater, Absolute Essential ‘Stress Less’ oil, OI ladies products, Arbornne samples, Lemuriun Springs Water, Mildred & Co vouchers and heaps more.

 

One of the ladies who came along is talented photographer Carmen Bird who is a regular contributor to Woman’s Day. She took these Ladies Who Lunch photos!

Also onsite was Red Carpet TV’s talented Director and Videographer Deb Brynand.

Check out the Red Carpet TV video here!

 

To join the Ladies Who Lunch group simply like the facebook page for all the updates http://www.facebook.com/ladieswholunchNZ