I'm so pleased this week to have Heather from Kippins as a guest blogger. With two boys under two and a thriving business, Heather has a background in the corporate world and I thought she'd have an interesting story to tell about how she got where she is now. Boy, was I right! Read on and enjoy, it's a cracker :) S x.
“Hun, your boob is leaking.”
I was in a supermarket, feeling like I had a three bottle of wine hangover and a lingering general anaesthetic (of which I’d sadly had neither), pushing the cart and my five week old son around the aisles like an extra from the Walking Dead.
I was dressed, enough. My permanent Mum-bun, a grey t-shirt and some elasticised pants with a festive palm tree print. Cool Mum vibes, I thought.
“Hey! I’m Cool Mum, just doing my shopping with my newborn. No. Big. Deal.”
But it was a big deal. It had taken me exactly 40 minutes to dress myself and the child and get out the door for what I planned to be a fifteen minute trip.
HUN. YOUR. BOOB. IS. LEAKING. The 40-something woman with the big smile had already moved on.
I looked down, and indeed said boob was leaking – a football sized patch on my Cool Mum grey T-shirt. Thanks for slipping breast pad, you jerk! The baby – Jack - started to cry. Loudly, like a pair of fighting tomcats. I had no idea so much noise could come out of someone so small.
I sighed and grabbed a muslin from the huge nappy bag that I carted around like a pack mule, wrapped it around my boobs and went to get some god damn Special K.
That’s what defines motherhood for me. Getting on with it. Getting sh*t done.
Before I was a Mum I was an Account Director at a Branding agency. I’ve been a Copywriter for over a decade, coming up with creative campaigns for brands. I went to meetings, I met deadlines, I ate my designer salad and drank my super sized flat white at my desk - because lunch breaks were for wimps. I climbed the corporate ladder in impractical stilettos and worked back after hours, rolling my eyes at the people with kids who left on time.
I lived in a naïve, childless bubble. I thought I’d have kids – one day – never giving a thought to how they would be looked after or whom would look after them, firmly focused on my career.
And then I got pregnant.
The lessons came thick and fast. A high risk Down’s screen at 12 weeks was one of the hardest days of my life. The four weeks waiting for an amnio (that came back clear) were agony.
With a little person growing inside me, I’d never felt so vulnerable. I had never had so much to lose. It felt like I’d been asleep and I was suddenly awake.
I connected with women in a whole new way. And felt judged by them too. I discovered both the sisterhood and its mean, judge-y underbelly. I learned that internet forums are the devil.
I didn’t know that it was just the beginning.
He arrived four days late. I held him on my chest, my son, in a dreamy haze akin to being hit in the head with a cricket bat covered in rainbows. If they ever bottle that feeling, I’m buying shares in the company.
The lessons kept coming. The plan was for me to go back to work after 12 months. But as that date neared, I realised that I couldn’t face the thought of not seeing Jack everyday, that I wanted to savour every moment of these fleeting years. That my ideal experience of motherhood is staying at home while my children are small.
That doesn’t mean that it everyone’s ideal experience of motherhood. And I hate that we feel like we have to defend our choices. No one I know has it ‘easy’. It’s not easy to be responsible for another person around the clock. My friends who have gone back to work (to their original jobs) certainly don’t have it easy. Every Mum I know is a hard working badass.
I started Kippins because I wanted to buy something and I couldn’t find it. It took me two years to bring this product to life and I’ve nearly given up more times than I can count. Now, the business is growing so fast it makes me dizzy. If you had told me three years ago that I would start a company with a product for babies and toddlers, I would have laughed in your face and resumed flicking through my Vogue.
I love Kippins. I love what we stand for and who we are. It’s like my third baby, and I love that we can be a part of such a special time in people’s lives, a little part of their family.
Jack is now two and is home with me. I just had my second baby, Tommy. He’s now five months old and a totally different baby to his brother – it’s a whole new ball game.
But motherhood has given me confidence, maturity, a certain kind of fearlessness. I certainly never would have had the guts to start my own company without having had the experience of motherhood first – the heaven and the hell.
Man, is it some kind of heaven when you get it.
I used to be driven by ego, but now I’m driven by my kids. I want them to have the best life I can give them. I love them. Sometimes they drive me up the wall. Jack has interrupted me three times in the last five minutes.
But look, I finished this blog. I got on with it. I got sh*t done. Because I’m a bad-ass multitasking mofo in my sensible flats and my elasticised pants. I’m a bi-annual-shower-having, eating on the run, big ol’ bucket of unconditional love. I’m the kind of person any employer would be lucky to have, just ask my kidlets.
I’m a Mum.