Carolyn Creswell on family time

Carolyn Creswell, owner and founder of Carman’s Fine Foods, talks about the  importance of spending time with your family and shares how she tries to juggle her work and family commitments.

In 1992, aged just 18, Carolyn launched her business – now called Carman’s Fine Foods – after buying a tiny muesli business for $1000. Carman’s now exports to 32 countries and in 2012 Carolyn was named Telstra Businesswoman of the Year.

Carolyn is also the proud mum of four children and only too well understands the struggles most parents experience trying to juggle work and family commitments. 

The importance of saying no

When trying to balance it all, one strategy Carolyn adopts is learning to say no. Carolyn recently read a book “which talks about how you say no quickly and graciously, that you don’t have to say yes to everything you’re ever invited to do, whether it’s a barbecue on a Sunday or a networking event for work. I try and do less and say ‘Just because I’m asked doesn’t mean I have to do it’.

“I want to spend the weekends with my family. That’s my family time. If my family’s not invited [to an event], often the answer’s no. I really try and compartmentalize my work time and family time.”

Family meal time and the sparkle of the day

Meal times at the Creswell household are also really precious. “I love family dinner and I think it’s a great time to all connect,” she says. “We do something called “sparkle of the day”. We have a person who’s chairman of the meeting and they thank the cook, generally me…  Then we say ‘What’s been the sparkle of your day?’ - their highlight of their day. And their ‘kindness of the day’. And what are you grateful for? It might be a wonderful friendship with someone at school… 

“Stopping and thinking about your highlights and your gratitude and when you’ve been kind really makes you prioritize those things.”

The importance of living in the moment

Carolyn believes it’s important to appreciate life in the moment. “I think some people think life is so busy and so rushed and it will all be great when I get X, or I make it to Y,” she says. “I think if you’re not enjoying your life right now you need to re-assess. And these things don’t cost a lot of money. 

To me it’s a walk in the park next to the river with my girlfriend in the morning. It’s about how do you feel calm and centred? I think you need to ask ‘Are you loving your life right now?’ And if you’re not, what do you need to adjust?’

Getting enough rest

Rest is important, she says. “I’m a huge one for trying to get to bed on time. I know that I need eight hours sleep every night to feel human, so I know I need to be in my bed at 10 o’clock.  I have to have these things in my life so I can be rested so I can connect and so I’m not walking around like the walking dead because I’m feeling so exhausted about existing in life, not thriving.”

Make little moments matter

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