Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
This is tough! Although my children are older now (19, 16 and 9), it is by no means less busy with after school activities, driving lessons for my 16-year-old and our youngest daughter is a keen horse rider, so we are at our pony club 4-6 days per week. Each visit to pony club is about 1.5-2 hours long, with a rally night on Thursdays, so that always pushes dinner time out till later! Who knew ponies could take up so much time! Then there is helping with homework, staying up to date with school happenings, household duties, etc. What makes it more challenging is that my other half travels, including during weekends, so planning ahead of time is a must.
I am often juggling on my own, but have been for coming up 23 years, so I am now an expert in time management.
Professional development takes up a lot of time due to the number of modalities I am trained in – I estimate this to be between 80-120 hours per year. I sit on the Executive Council for NZ Council of Homeopaths, so squeeze meetings in here and there with this. As our meetings are in various locations throughout NZ, this includes travel for me.
I look after myself by running at 5am daily, I look after my health with a diet free from processed foods, gluten, dairy, and sugar. However, I love coffee and enjoy a glass of red wine and love tortilla chips! In addition to this, I have just commenced yoga classes and take a range of excellent quality supplements. Even though I am incredibly busy, I thrive on packing it all in!
The drive: What challenges have you overcome?
There have been many challenges and I guess this relates to the Yin and Yang question – but mainly goes back to hours in the day/week. I worked full time in secondary school education payroll to enable me to pay for my training, study and professional development opportunities overseas. This meant I studied at night and during weekends, and there were times I was away overseas and checking the payroll from my hotel room. However, my boss was incredible in the flexibility she allowed me, otherwise, I couldn’t have achieved all that I have today. Of course, my social life was non-existent outside of my study buddies. My other half took on further responsibility for running the household while assignments were being completed and I was studying for exams. There was, of course, some guilt surrounding this, but I really had to put this aside and with any extra time I had, it was spent with my family.
Yes, there was the tiredness. It existed, but I pushed through thanks to the determination I had to succeed.
For better or worse: What are the pros and cons of running your own business?
The pros would have to be meeting the people – this is what I love the most. I love to talk and can chew the ear off anyone, so meet and greets are at the top of the list for me for sure. Supporting women through their pregnancy, labour, birth, and post-partum is incredibly satisfying.
Being able to educate, inspire and support women and their birthing partners so that they can have the best birth experience/outcome possible is, without a doubt, so rewarding.
Cons of running my own business would be for me well, it is just ME. Apart from Hypnobirthing classes, which I run jointly with my friend and fellow practitioner Julie, it is just myself that answers phone queries, emails, updates website, plans classes, writes curriculums, researches and develops plans. Educating my clients about the importance of planning ahead and not leaving their antenatal education and birth plans too late. I am passionate about offering my knowledge, but realistically you are not going to have a liberating birth experience just by signing up for my support services, not putting anything into practice and hoping for the best on the day! I like to take the time to get to know and understand my clients, their hopes/fears and educate as much as possible about the birth process so that they can feel more in control and therefore more likely to have an empowering experience.
Hopes and dreams: what next?
Plenty! I am going to go on and complete further education with NZ Natural Fertility this year, to obtain a Diploma in Reproductive Health and Fertility. I will complete my Lamaze Childbirth Education curriculum to roll out to kiwis, a trip to Vancouver in October to further my postnatal doula education training with DONA International, and next year I am tossing up between 2 Bachelor Degrees (but won’t divulge what that is yet). Shortly, (having already begun the process) a volunteer birth doula/antenatal/postnatal education and support organisation for refugees and those affected by poverty and family violence will be in place, currently from Auckland, but to expand throughout NZ is a vision of mine. There are so many open doors in my field of work and the options are endless. I am just not sure I know how to stop studying!