TheConfidante In the Media
Congratulations on surviving the first week of December! Hold on tight as it’s usually a jam-packed month of frivolity, well-meaning friends and family keen to catch up all at once. You might be experiencing the accompanying stressful work pressures like no other time of the year?
Enjoy my second couple in this current series of admirable trail blazing couples on the Sunshine Coast featured to inspire us with how they manage to stay cohesive and most importantly, sane during the festive season.
This week features, the high-profile radio announcer, Caroline Hutchinson and her husband, John. Whilst she’s been rocking our air waves, John also worked in the industry and in his own business whilst raising a family. Read on to find out how they did it.
How did you meet and how long have you been married?
Caroline: We have been married 30 years. We met at radio school (AFTRS) in 1988. It was just after my dad died and I was immediately attracted to John’s gentle nature and kindness. He’s also really smart and did most of my assignments.
Caroline: Describe your journey to success in your current role as an announcer at MixFM?
I started out in TV (reporter), then moved into radio after I had my second child. I did an overnight show called Truck Radio and then got the offer to come to Mix FM!
Caroline: Are you content with where you're at in your career right now? Why or Why not?
I love it. I would sit with Mark and drink tea, talking rubbish and doing stuff for the community for free. I am just really lucky to get paid for it.
John: What are highs and lows of being the partner of a high profile wife in the community?
Caroline has made an art form of letting her listeners into her life every day. For me, and our kids, there are practically no secrets kept from the audience that she loves so much. The upside of that is that I can go to work and not have to explain my weekend DIY disasters; they’re generally well publicised before I get there. On a more serious note, Caroline openly discusses on-air issues that are important to both of us, and that can help start conversations in my circles that otherwise mightn’t be had.
John: Tell us about "Kook" and your role there.
Kook is what’s now known as a digital agency. We manage the various parts of where businesses need to be online, whether that’s your website, your social media, or your entire online marketing strategy. I’m one of three owners of Kook. We all work in the business, as part of a team of 17 people. My role gravitates mainly towards sales and marketing. Because web can be overwhelming, it’s our focus to actually talk to our customers, and I really love that interaction with our customers.
How do you make it work as a team at home and in the business world?
Caroline: We write a lot of emails during the day…John runs our life on Outlook …and we are both pretty keen on each other, so it’s generally drama free.
John: Give and take. When we had a house of young kids, we were actually thankful that I could get the day started, and Caroline could generally be home by the end of the school day. That trained us into juggling home and work pretty well, and as the kids grew up, that balancing act seemed to get easier. I know the radio business well, so understand Caroline’s work demands. The time she puts into work beyond just being on-air is a lot of what everyone, including me, loves her for. So between us we’ve just always made it happen.
Do you follow a more traditional style of partnership or equally share roles and responsibilities at home?
Caroline: We are incredibly traditional. I run the kitchen, the inside organisation and the social calendar. John runs the home maintenance and the money.
John: Caroline jokes about being a “50’s housewife” when it comes to managing money and technology. On the other hand, I don’t expect I’ll ever have to prepare a meal or organise a dinner party in my life. We arrived at a comfortable division of duties sort of organically. We’ve never checked on whether it’s an even split; if we were worried about that, we’d have a different issue.
What ages are your children and what stage has been the most challenging?
Caroline: Our kids are all grown up, 28, 24 and 22. They are really easy now obviously!! I think the toddler years are challenging, simply because they are unrelenting. You have a terrorist in your house who is capable of tearing the joint apart with no idea why they shouldn’t. Thank goodness they’re cute!! As they get older, the challenges are more psychological but I found that stage easier to navigate.
John: Gabe is 28 and just started his own law practice Clutch Legal. Milli is 25 shortly and is a media officer for RACQ LifeFlight, the rescue helicopters. Jemima will be 23 on Boxing Day. She’s working as a paramedic in the UK. The teens were the hardest part for me working out kids, although ours were far from “problem children”. I think it’s about that twilight zone in between childhood and adulthood; they’re not quite either, and there are simply some behaviours that comes with working it out.
Do you think Australian society allows flexibility in the workplace for men as much as women to manage family alongside their working woman?
Caroline: I have been really lucky to work for an extremely family friendly employer. I have always been able to have my kids at work (they were raised in the radio station) and because I work shift work I could be home in the afternoons, which was a blessing. I don’t know how parents who work 9-5 do it, to be honest. Rushing home for homework, cooking, washing, baths and bed without a moment to yourself, sounds a lot harder than my lot.
John: I think tradition has meant that blokes haven’t been afforded the same freedoms that women have when it comes to balancing work with parenting. But like so many “norms” that’s changing rapidly. I’d like to think Kook gives all our team the leeway when needed on these things, but we’re far from being radical in that area. The transition will be different for every business, but change is happening.
Do you find time for self-compassion and if so, what do you do?
Caroline: I wasn’t good at it when the kids were little, simply because I always felt too busy (I know other women do it, I just never managed it very well) But I have a lot more time now and do yoga at least three times a week and walk my dogs on the days I don’t namaste.
John: I’m OK at getting alone time away from the white noise that a hectic life can generate. Working in the yard is a good place to start for me. And while Caroline is better at exercising our dogs than I am, a long walk with the hounds puts me in a good headspace too. I have a theory that we’ve lost the important art of doing nothing.
Who do you rely on as a support network when things get tough?
Caroline: John has always been my go to person, along with my mum, whom I am really close to. But I am incredibly lucky. John and I have a group of friends that is like family and now our kids are adults I would say they are our support network too. Grown up kids are a beautiful thing.
John: Caroline is one of the greatest fans of Christmas. In some circles, she may be described as manic, but I remember to love what she loves about it; family being home, seeing friends, food, and general festivity! It’s a year-long process for her, and our relationship survives the seasonal stress because of her planning.
In the lead up to Christmas, how do you manage the demands of this hectic season whilst maintaining a connected and attentive relationship?
Caroline: John runs Outlook like a boss. We make a rule to go to things together (which is probably tougher on John because he gets dragged to my things when he could be home watching TV!) But we love the silly season. It’s a great reason to get together with people you don’t see often and toast the year.
John: Ultimately, I rely on Caroline. I now have kids who can reason out things as well as any of my adult friends. I also have a couple of very close mates whose ear I can bend.
My takeaways? Traditional family values shine through again, attend more functions together than apart and appreciate each other's passions.
Joanne Wilson is a neuropsychotherapist, relationship specialist, workshop facilitator, guest speaker and weekly columnist for the Sunshine Coast Daily. Don’t miss more on this in her “Is This Love” Podcast and download your FREE Spouse It Up Guide at www.relationshiprejuvenator.com
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Relationship Specialist for Individuals and Couples servicing areas including Caloundra, Noosa, Noosaville, Buderim, Mountain Creek, Gympie.