Our "March of Inspiring Mums" interview series celebrates women who are doing some amazing things, whether through business, a campaign or just being fabulous! - hope you enjoy the "March of Inspiring Mums" series!
Fiona Brown is our latest interviewee. She lives in Essex with her family including her two young children (aged 4 and 2 years old). A PR & Business Consultant and Writer, Fiona helps small, start up and boutique businesses with their PR/Media/Writing and Business Administration Processes.
Today she shares her journey from being refused flexible working in her legal job after wanting to return after maternity leave. Fiona decided to take on a change of direction and follow her passions and skills to help other busy mums in a similar position who are looking to set up and run their businesses around their families.
She describes motherhood as "the bumpiest ride you will ever experience...hold on, enjoy the great bits, hate the crappy bits, and know that the hard parts really do get easier".
Tell me a little about yourself and how you got into the job you’re now doing?
I’m 39, originally from Yorkshire but moved to London for uni and never left the South East – been in Essex for almost 6 years with my husband, 2 kids, 1 dog and 3 cats.
I worked in the Legal Profession for many years, then moved into Lecturing and Training people in the workplace – I couldn’t return to my corporate job after I had my first son as they refused my request for flexible working so I decided to combine the things that I’m good at – writing and PR/Media Management (I have a Masters degree in it) and business admin processes for small, boutique/bijou or start-up businesses – I do lots in the press around body confidence, parenting issues, women’s careers, pregnancy and health etc and developed the business from there.
I am particularly interested in working with women business owners looking to develop their own businesses after maternity leave or with a side-hustle who need some professional help on a limited budget – and who better than someone who completely understands their situation? I’m a busy mum, with a business, on a limited budget!
Tell me one interesting fact about you?
They probably aren’t that interesting so here are 3 – I’m vegan (and was way before it became trendy), I lived and worked in Europe in my 20’s and I’m a qualified Yoga instructor.
Please can you share 3 tips for managing the juggle of motherhood, life and business?
Don’t sweat the small stuff – keep in mind the bigger picture, if your house is a mess do the work and leave the house, the mess isn’t going anywhere, if the kids are ill and you can’t work then don’t stress about work, it’ll keep for later and the kids need you more.
If you have help use it, don’t be afraid to shout from the rooftops that you could do with a hand – if like a lot of women you don’t have much help at all (my family live 250 miles away) then develop your network of a few trusted people who you can trade help with. I have a good friend who lives close by and we’re on each other’s emergency pick up list, we check in on each other when any of the kids are ill and we know if we need anything we can pick up the phone to each other, that’s invaluable.
Finally, you can’t have it all all of the time! As much as I would love to say that women are so fantastic that we can make things work 100% of the time, we need to realise that we can’t but that it’s okay! Sometimes we will be on top of 95% of life and other times all the plates we’re juggling will come crashing down to the floor – I’ve learned to live with that (as a perfectionist it did not come easy). Deal with those days where nothing happens that needed to happen apart from the very basics like everyone eating, getting where they need to be, and surviving another day and give yourself some praise, some days it’s a massive accomplishment that anything happens at all!
What’s the best piece of advice you could give a new mum?
I hated people giving me advice because they’re not living in your moment of time but if anything I would say this, motherhood is the bumpiest ride you will ever experience, hold on, enjoy the great bits, hate the crappy bits, and know that the hard parts really do get easier – ‘this too shall pass’ maybe clichéd but it is true (although tell that to a mum who hasn’t slept through a single night for almost 5 years – ME – and she will probably hate you but I promise it’s true, times get easier as the kids get more self sufficient.
Colour can make a real difference to our mood - what’s your favourite colour? And how does it make you feel when you wear it?
No favourite, I’m a big, big fan of any colour – I love wearing things that are a bit different, but colour makes me feel confident and bold.
What’s your favourite activity to do with your children?
When they were little messy or water play was a fave, now they’re a bit older we love doing the museums in London
What do you like to do for some me-time?
I’m a massive gym fan, I go whenever I get some spare time but always 3 times a week minimum, I love working out and swimming but also a good book or any of the Real Housewives franchise on catch up!
Thank you Fiona for sharing your inspiring journey with us. I think so many mums are in the same position where flexible work is not possible in their previous jobs after maternity leave - it's so inspiring to see you have turned that into an opportunity and are now helping other women in their businesses too.
Your tips for juggling motherhood and and a busy work life are something I resonate with and you definitely can't have it all, all the time but I love your suggestions for making it work!
If you've enjoyed this interview, make sure you check out our other "March of Inspiring Mums" series here
And if you love wearing colour to boost your mood, then check out our accessories range here