THE POWER OF THE COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE
Simonne Joyce is a paramedic, nurse, university tutor, artist and mum to four boys who finds time to exercise every day. I called her amazing, I’m sure you would too! Simonne says, “I’m not amazing, just organized!” I think I’ll call her both.
I met Simonne at a Glenelg coffee shop after school drop off. She greeted me with a beautiful big smile and a just right wavy bob that I can never seem to master myself. Straight away she said “Oh my goodness, don’t look at my face!” It was then that she moved her hair to the side to show me a huge gash above her eye. Ouch!! How’d she do it? Simonne had unsuccessfully tried to land a jump on a scooter and found the corner of the house with her forehead. How cool is she?!
Preparation is key in the Joyce household. With a combined family of four boys - Hamish 11, Lachy 10, Ollie 9 (almost) and Henry 2, there are always kids ‘coming and going’ with the eldest three split 50-50 between families. On top of this she works full time hours. On an average day Simonne will get up at 630am to take a precious half an hour for herself, usually doing some form of exercise before getting the boys up and ready. Then comes the drop off, currently two stops – childcare and then OSHC and next year a third will be added as the eldest attends high school. All of this before even starting her working day.
Simonne very rarely cooks dinner on the night that they’re having it. She will either put on a slow cooker, cook during the day if she’s not at work, or prepare the next days meal the night before. This allows for the boys to attend their after school activities as well as precious scooter riding time in the evenings… plus or minus a trip to the emergency room. Simonne makes a cut off of 830pm for all of the busyness to be over and done with, making sure lunches are packed and ready to go for the next day. Mornings are much easier without the added stress of preparation for the day ahead, with ‘Hurricane Henry’ instantly wanting to play after he wakes up. Keeping the house tidy is a challenge, with cleaning fit in amongst other activities and broken in to bits and pieces rather than having time to do it in one big lot.
Simonne recognizes the struggle between maintaining a career(s) and bringing up children, particularly with the costs of childcare. She feels that the early years of a child’s life are important to spend with them and reflects on the fact that when her first baby was born she was forced back to work after only four weeks with no paid parental leave on offer! She remembers expressing in the toilets and feeling awful about having to leave such a small baby - a tough choice to make as a young first time mum but often one that we are unfortunately forced to make. Simonne does love her work though and feels that the ability to break up her week with adult conversation keeps her on track.
Simonne paints on the nights that her husband is out working as a fireman. With her very impressive Resin style (which happened to be on display in the coffee shop we were sitting in), once Simonne gets started with her first layer she needs to commit to doing it before it dries, taking up to five hours! She assures me that she does find time to sleep. Don’t worry, I wondered that too! After her husband expressed concern with the growing pile of twenty plus works of art taking up space in their spare room, Simonne got brave and took her work out to café’s to display for sale. She also attends markets, currently preparing for ‘A boutique life – Christmas design market’ in Belair this weekend if you’d like to go and meet this impressive human for yourself!
Exercise is a high priority for Simonne and she would like to be able to fit more in to her day than the half an hour that she currently manages. In the past Simonne has dropped her youngest child off a little early to childcare so that she could fit in a swim before work, something that she loved to do before having children. Guilt about doing this got the better of her but she recognizes the huge benefits that she gained from adding this time for herself during the day. She says that her son really loves the family day care that he attends and that it is important to try and not feel guilty. Not only does she benefit from it herself both physically and mentally, but also the example set for her sons that she is willing to make her own wellbeing a priority I’m sure will be carried with them throughout life.
Another high priority for Simonne is time with her husband spent nurturing their relationship rather than focused on the children. She sites her husband’s support as crucial for her success, always backing her and often helping with drop off and pick-ups. She says, “you need to remember that eventually the kids are going to grow up, so you need to make time for yourself and your partner. If you don’t do that things are going to crumble. If you put everything in to the children, when they leave you have nothing. If you work on yourself and your relationship then that positive vibe goes out to the kids.”
I had to ask. ‘Do people think you’re nuts??’ Simonne has had people tell her that she’s taking on too much, but she knows that it is just her personality to have goals and a lot going on in her life. She’d love to be able to work a little less, but for her this is what is needed for now. Giving up on her other goals and passions isn’t an option so she has committed to make it work. Simonne thinks that people should be able to choose what they do and doesn’t think it’s helpful for people to place judgment on each other for how much we are or aren’t doing because we’re all different people in different situations. Here here.
One key piece of advice? “Get up at the same time every morning, thirty minutes earlier than you usually would. Take that thirty minutes just for you. Use it to exercise, stretch or do something that you enjoy. This is the perfect way to start a day.”