Written by Karli Steenkamp
Karen Mcdermott is an ambitious mum of six, who has the recipe for a great balance between motherhood and her career. She is a mother, an author, owner of Everton Publishing Company, speaker and runs an academy for aspiring writers. In 2016, she won an Ausmumpreneur award. She is a humble woman who knows what she wants. Her path wasn’t always easy, but she surely does not let any obstacle get in her way.
Karen moved to Australia in 2008 when she was 35 weeks pregnant with her third child. “It was the best thing ever. I started writing when we came over,” says Karen who had three more children in Australia. When asked how she gets to do everything with six kids, she says, “One takes up so much more time, when you start to put other kids in the mix, they help each other. They are playing and I am able to write my book. That is my happy flow. That is the essence of success for me. I take my kids to school and pick them up. That is my non-negotiable. During school holidays, I take off because that is where my balance is.”
She suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to an incident that happened before she moved to Australia. She also suffered a miscarriage and lost twins, a boy and a girl. “When I lost the twins I woke up. That is why I started writing. I wrote a book about what happened to me. It is a novel called The Visitor.”
Her quote she strongly believes in is “In every negative situation is the potential for a positive outcome.” Having an awful experience with self-publishing, she got the opportunity to become a publisher for a company. “I always believe that when time and circumstances align, magic happens.”
She started her academy because she wanted to help more people publish their books and being successful while doing it.
Karen doesn’t mind sharing her secrets to success and she doesn’t do anything by half. “I hire a castle in Ireland and I bring authors of Australia to Ireland to experience what it’s like. It is like a Downton Abbey experience on a writing retreat. I do big things, but I don’t fear, because I challenge my knowing and I know that it is exactly what I must be doing at the time and it’s all aligned.”
She believes if you enjoy your journey, it happens much more. “Once you start to take action and its aligned with your vision, these opportunities that you never really thought of start coming to you.”
Karen works hard during the term to take off during the holidays. Parenting never takes a holiday. She finds the balance by prioritising her needs with focus and energy.
Her advice for other parents is to find a balance. “People talk about the perfect balance, that’s not going to happen. Make it work for you. Just remember that by doing something for yourself and following your passions, you are being your best self for your children. I never compare myself to others and I don’t worry about what other people say.”
If you want to start a business, start with what you know and build on it. “Magic happens right outside of your comfort zone.”
With her busy schedule and six kids, it can be difficult for her and her husband to spend time together. They will try and watch a movie together or take time whenever they can.
It is not always easy trying to juggle her lifestyle and that is why she writes. “Writing is like a meditation to me. It is my selfish time.” There are days that are a bit overwhelming so she takes a time-out to have a coffee, go to the beach and rebalance.“If I push to get it done then it doesn’t have my good energy. It won’t get done as efficiently.”
She definitely makes it look easy. “If I can do it as a mother of six, then so can you.” She proves that you should not give up on your dreams and you do not have to sacrifice things. It is about a balance that works for you. “When everything is aligned it works. People must embrace it.”