Juggling Motherhood with Running a Business
Today I am thrilled to welcome the lovely Anna Wythes, owner of Modimade, to The Nursery Collective Blog. Anna is a mother of two, and recently welcomed her little girl Adhya Devi to her family and the world (and how gorgeous is that name!). Read on as she shares about her recent birth experience and just how she’s managing to juggle being a mama-of-two and running a business!
Hi Anna! Congratulations on your new arrival, how are you settling into motherhood? Are you getting any sleep?
Thanks Cathy, it’s been quite a hectic time - in a good way, since little Adhya arrived. I definitely appreciate why we have maternity leave - not so much to overcome the lack of sleep, but to fit in all the new born appointments both with friends and baby checkups. I think second time around, my body has taken to the interrupted sleep like it’s an old friend - it just fits right in and life moves forward which has been a life saver. Nights haven’t been quite so good though. Adhya went through her P.U.R.P.L.E phase at about 4 -7 weeks old; her doctor said this is a new term to explain ‘colic’ like symptoms at this age. She was really unsettled and had a lot of tummy pain in the early evenings and at night. The only way I managed to function on a normal scale was to take on co-sleeping and a lot of skin to skin contact to help settle her through the night. This saved my sleep as it meant I could easily pop her on the boob when she wanted it and quickly go back to sleep. There’s no time for Mummy day sleeps in this house.
We would love to hear about your birth experience! What was it like and did it differ to how you expected it to be?
Absolutely! It’s had all the drama you’d hope for in a birth that ended well. I don't think anyone can plan a birth and have it go according to that plan. One thing I experienced with my first birth was that my birth plan was quite useless during the actual birth. Nothing could have given us insight to know where and what was going to happen. So this time around I used it as a resource for my own mental preparation more than a ‘how to guide’ for the birthing suite. Everything changes once you’re in labour and it’s 100% directed by your body and the little body and soul that is making the journey to meet you. This time round we chose to be induced due to bubba’s decline in growth during the last few weeks. I was really uneasy about this, but I knew that she was directing the advice given by the doctors and there was obviously a reason why she needed to come out early. She came super quickly once they gave her the go ahead. My labour took a while to get going - I laugh now as I think I used the time to finish popping together my orders and messages on Facebook for the sale I was doing for Modimade. Great way to occupy the mind! Once she decided to get moving she was out in a 40 minute labour! I don't know who was more surprised - the nurses in the ward where I was due to stay overnight, my husband who had gone home to sleep for the night because we thought she wasn't doing anything or me when I was told her head was right there! Yes, I was in whole world of pushing pain but I’d expected it to go on for hours like my first. And then we saw that a SHE had arrived! A little girl was such a beautiful surprise. But it didn't stop there. I was able to have skin to skin with her and feeding time immediately but then my placenta didn’t give way. I was taken to surgery and had to undergo a general anesthetic because my heart rate was butterflying all over the place and I’d not had an epidural for the birth. It wasn’t even something i had any idea would have entered into our birth plan but it’s the road that our birth took and I’m so thankful that we had wonderful skilled doctors to lead me through it. Because we now have a little baby girl!!! Can’t you tell I’m just smitten by baby fever!
I don't blame you, she's divine - I just love this photo of her snuggled with her Sleepy Snoogu Dog and other Modimade goodies! What an amazing birth, and you raise such an important point about being flexible and not rigid with your birth plans. I have to ask though – how are you finding juggling a newborn with running your business, I find it hard enough with 2 older kids! How are you managing?
I’m doing pretty well actually. It sounds silly but I feel like I have heaps of time now compared to before she was born - I was teaching full-time and running Modimade before I started my maternity leave. Adhya sleeps reasonably well during the day and my 5 year old son is in day care most days so I’ve been able to maintain a good workflow with my business Modimade.
Amazing! So tell us, what's one item you can't live without as a new mum?
My stash of cloth nappies. I’m getting into using my cloth nappies again now that Adhya has grown enough to fit into a newborn size. I’ll be honest, I’m not down to using cloth for every nappy change but the money I’ve saved already is such a help to our family budget and of course there is that little satisfying feeling that we’re doing it the eco-friendly way.
What are your top tips for being out and about with a new baby?
I’m pretty lucky that I’ve already done the mother thing once so i can say hands down it’s being organised. Haha, however it did take me at least three trips down the street to actually get out my own baby bag from Modimade to use. I developed this style of nappy bag / fold-out change mat when I was pregnant with my first child, and drew inspiration from a nappy swag bag I used as a nanny 15 years ago. For me (and I hope loads of other Mums with our bag) I think I’ve mastered the perfect nappy bag now. Over last 5 years I’ve been working with a small social enterprise in Cambodia to have the bags produced ethically, supporting fair employment and now it’s great to test drive again and see just how quick it is to use - just unbutton and fold out, then everything is sorted and ready to use. But whatever style of nappy bag you go with it’s got to be compact and well organised. I guess my tip would be to make sure you choose one that is a ‘no-brainer’ so that sleep deprived Mums and Dads can use it.
What are you finding most challenging about being Mum?
I’m not sure if I’ve made it sound like motherhood is easy but it’s not. There are definitely times when I feel like I’m neglecting my 5 year old and my hubby, for the needs of my new daughter. It’s part of the realisation that mothers aren’t just one person. We are multiple. In my case, I’m a mother, a wife, a teacher and a business owner, but it’s a skill and a strength that women have (and a challenge too sometimes) to find a happy place, a place where all these elements blend together and work.
I love how you’ve articulated that – multitasking is an inherent skill that women have and as mothers it’s taken to the next level to challenge us, but It sounds like you are doing an amazing job! Thanks so much for sharing with us today. Before we sign of, we’d love to know what's next for Modimade?
To go and wake my baby daughter up because my boobs hurt! But that’s me as Modimade Mum. For Modimade I’m looking at expanding the sales of our handmade toys and mobiles, also the baby bag. I have started working directly with a small group of home based women in the Phnom Penh, Cambodia to continue their efforts to make brightly coloured and vibrant soft toys and baby rattles. By building a wider wholesale reach for the toys and mobiles here in Australia, I’m hoping to be able to give them the opportunity to support their vulnerable families and train others who may need to additional skills and employment.
EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Anna is offering all Nursery Collective customers an exclusive 15% discount storewide using the code MUMSLIFE at checkout! Code expires July 31, 2017 and is valid as one code per customer.
To find out more about Modimade click here
To shop Modimade products at The Nursery Collective, including the fabulous nappy bag, click here
Photos of Anna & Adhya courtesy of Helen Flint Photography, Blue Mountains NSW.
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