High Profile Mums on Motherhood

To celebrate Mother’s Day, we interviewed four successful entrepreneurial mums to find out their views on motherhood.

Julia Bickerstaff

Julia Bickerstaff, formerly a partner at Deloitte now a chartered accountant, economist and expert in designing and growing profitable small businesses through her own company The Small Business Bakery (as seen on Kochie’s Business Builders).

Q1 What does being a mother mean to you?

Loving four little people more than I thought was possible, being proud of four little people above the merit of their achievements, worrying about four little people beyond reason, and accommodating the whims of four little people way more than I should.

Q2  How has the experience of motherhood changed your perspective?

Since becoming a mother I have become much more “grounded”, preferring to spend my time on the simple stuff such as hanging out with the kids, playing soccer, cooking family meals and trips to the beach. Quite a change from the heady days of my single London life.

My children have also given me a new perspective on the everyday, always asking “why” about stuff that I haven’t even noticed. And they’ve got me revisiting the magic of being a child – when my youngest son asked to see where my oldest son played “Quidditch” I wanted to believe in Harry Potter too.

But the biggest change in my perspective is that my three oldest children – boys -  have taught me an enormous amount about how males think and act. I have a greater respect for the inherent differences between men and women and have learned some stuff that would have been very useful during the dating years!

Q3 What’s the best bit about being a successful, working mum?

When my Mum was pregnant with me she was working for the British Royal Air Force. The rule at the time was that you had to leave your RAF job when your pregnancy belly was too big for the uniform. And I do mean ‘leave’, the RAF didn’t employ Mums. My Mum desperately wanted to continue working but she couldn’t so she drummed it into me to find a career that I could return to after having children.

Of course time has moved on and working Mums are part of the fabric of our society, but it’s still a challenge. So one aspect I love about being a successful working Mum is that I can demonstrate that its’s absolutely possible to combine motherhood and work and have a good time doing it. don’t think this is just about being a role model for women, it’s also about encouraging men to embrace it too.

On a personal level, I enjoy the combination of running a business and having a family. The two facets work together, being a businesswoman makes me a better Mum and being a Mum makes me a better businesswoman.

Q4 What’s your dream Mother’s Day experience?

My fourth child is just 12 weeks old so 8 hours non-stop sleep would be terrific! Alternatively a sunny day on a quiet beach with my family and a delicious picnic, the latter prepared by someone other than me….

Emma Isaacs, Chief Chick at Business Chicks – a national community enriching the lives of women in business. At 18 years of age Emma founded a business named Staff It, which was named 2005 Small business of the Year as well as Australia’s favourite recruiter at the SEEK awards. By 27 Emma had bought two businesses and sold one. Emma is also Past President of the Entrepreneurs Organisation.

Emma Isaacs

Q1 What does being a mother mean to you?

I think I struggled a bit (and perhaps I still am) with the identity of being a mother. I only have the one child (Milla, two years old) and am pregnant with my second, due end-June so I’m sure this issue will resurface as our family grows and we add more children to it. There are so many different constructs of what makes a good mother. My own mother stayed at home full time with her three children, and I am so grateful for her contribution and sacrifice, but I’ve taken a different path choosing to work full time in my business. Being a mother has taught me how to be present and in the moment; how to manage my time even more effectively; how to ask for help and support; and how to be patient (although I’m very much learning that last one!)
Q2  How has the experience of motherhood changed your perspective?

When I first became a mother, friends warned me that I’d want to stay at home and goo and gaa with my baby all day long. The opposite happened. Becoming a mother made me even more ambitious – a sudden need to protect and provide for this little being took over. I found I had a greater reason to strive for my goals, to succeed, to be a role model, particularly as my first baby is a girl. I want to be able to show her that as women we can achieve anything we want and I want her to know we all have choices.

Q3 What’s the best bit about being a successful, working mum?

The best bit is being true to myself and being fulfilled in a number of ways. I wouldn’t be being honest with myself if I denied myself the pleasure of working and creating something special in my business. I also wouldn’t be being true to myself if I denied myself the opportunity to build a family and create a beautiful foundation for my children. It’s not always easy, but motherhood isn’t – whether you’re working in the home or working outside the home, the challenges (while different) are still there for everyone.

Q4 What’s your dream mother’s day experience?

Can I have two? Being pregnant I’d love to have a beautiful massage at home http://www.redballoon.com.au/indulge/massage/massage-at-home plus I’d love to take my mum hot air ballooning in the Hunter Valley http://www.redballoon.com.au/flying-experiences/hot-air-ballooning/hot-air-ballooning-in-the-hunter-valley-weekday

Carolyn Cresswell is the founder and Managing Director of Carman’s Fine Foods. When Carolyn was 18 years old as a first year University student her part time job was to make muesli for a small business who sold muesli a selection of delis and cafes. Carolyn now supplies both of the major Australian supermarket chains with her delicious muesli and bars as well as Qantas and Virgin airlines. Carman’s exports to over twelve countries and has been listed with the prestigious supermarket chain, Sainsbury’s in the U.K.

Carolyn Cresswell

Q1 What does being a mother mean to you?

Learning to be a good parent is the hardest thing I have ever had to do but it is without question the riches most rewarding experience ever. I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather spend time with than my four kids (and beautiful husband) and we have such a ball as a family unit. I never would have imagined I would have loved it as much as I do.

Q2  How has the experience of motherhood changed your perspective?

I guess I never realised much I would genuinely love it. Before I was always going to plenty of parties, now I turn down many fancy invitations to spend the weekend with my kids at our farm in my gumboots in the garden. I am so much more conscious of how I will spend my time at work as I don’t want to work nights or weekends anymore so it’s less time for meetings and more emails and phone calls to get through everything that needs to be done.

Q3 What’s the best bit about being a successful, working mum?

I think I am a great role model to my kids and that they are really proud of what I do. I also try and include them in my work life and they love coming to mummy’s work to answer the phone, bring everyone glasses of water and make welcome signs visitors in reception!

Q4 What’s your dream mother’s day experience?

This year I plan to wake up at our farm and my 6 year old son, who loves cooking,  bringing me breakfast in bed. I’d prefer a cup of tea to the glass of milk I currently get but he isn’t allowed to use the kettle yet so such is life! He puts his sister in charge of picking the flowers for the tray and then the four kids pile into the bed for family cuddles. This year I’m planning to follow it with a long walk along our local beach and then to return to our farm when my mum and the rest of the family come for a long lunch cooked by the blokes, plenty of lovely wine, a game of boules, a nap in the hammock with our two year old while the kitchen fairies make it all pristine again. I can’t wait!

RedBalloon’s founder and CEO Naomi Simson is also a mum. Here’s what she has to say about motherhood.

Naomi Simson

Q1 What does being a mother mean to you?

It is the biggest gig in town really…. But also the most rewarding, challenging, funny, interesting, scary, daunting and entertaining

Q2  How has the experience of motherhood changed your perspective?

Give a job that needs doing to a busy woman – Being a parent puts time into perspective. We all get 24 hours it is how we use them that makes the difference.

Q3 What’s the best bit about being a successful, working mum?

I know my daughter is proud of me (not sure about my son)… But I think all young people need role models and my children are no different. Also it shows other young women that it is possible.

Q4 What’s your dream mother’s day experience?

My dream mothers day experience will be to do a cooking class or a music class with my children.

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One Comment

  1. Posted May 13, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for allowing me to be ambitious as a Mum! You’ve reminded me that we all need to find our own balance that allows us to be true to ourselves. Thank you, thank you, shining Mums that you are :D

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