Before I had kids, I wanted to make sure I had my career sorted. I didn’t want to be working and studying while my kids were young. I wanted to be able to concentrate on and enjoy being a Mum. Looking back, I could now argue that although I thought this was my ideal world, it was a world that was very different to the one that I personally needed.

Interestingly enough, my husband has always said that I love studying. I really never believed him, as I always felt I detested studying. However, I think he may definitely be right in one sense and that is that I love to learn, and need to keep my brain active.

After the birth of our first child, I decided to return to study to become a Maternal, Child and Health Nurse. And so my journey of work and study after children began. This was 12 months of full-time study with a 12-month-old baby. Most people thought I was crazy, but I have to say that as hectic as it was, it provided me with the outlet I needed to enable me to be the best mum I could be. It meant studying for every minute that our son slept during the day, as well as 2-3 hours of solid study once he was tucked up in bed for the night. I was lucky to have such wonderful family support and I could see the finish line (as well as the many benefits for our family in the future) which helped get me through that year.

I then worked on and off while having our next two children, and this was enough to keep my brain active. Working a couple of days a week as well as caring for three young children balanced my stimulation and I can honestly say I was never bored. While I may not have experienced boredom, I did always have an inner yearning to have one more child. My husband was not at all keen on this idea as he felt our time was already so limited, and he wanted to be able to spend more time with the three children we’d already been blessed with. After a couple of years of discussions (as well as some disagreements) between us, I just wasn’t able to put this maternal urge aside and so I decided to write a letter explaining exactly how I was feeling. To this day, I’ve never actually asked Brett what part of the letter changed his heart, however before we knew it, we discovered we were expecting not one, but two precious babies. Now there was no chance I’d ever be bored again!

After the birth of our twins, I became so frustrated with a personal pain point of not being able to buy beautiful, feminine matching sets of nursing-friendly underwear. After some discussions and lots of thought, I decided that I would start up my own label and so my journey of Matchy Mumma began.

Over time, I’ve had lots of people ask, ‘how do you do it?’ and to be honest sometimes I don’t know. One thing I do know is that I actually feel so passionate about it that it doesn’t actually feel like ‘work’, but rather a ‘hobby’ that I look forward to spending a bit of time on each day. During those initial few months of starting out, I used to think ‘if I can quickly vacuum the floor once the boys are down for their nap, then I might be able to spend an hour or so researching for my brand’. As I said, it really is more like a hobby than a job! Most days I see it as my reward.

As our little boys have grown older, they’ve cut down on their nap time during the day which has made things a little harder, but I still manage to work around their schedule and just do what I can do each day. A daily to-do list definitely helps keep me on track as when I do get a bit of time, I know exactly what I need to do rather than spending time working out where I’m up to.

The pandemic has added an extra dimension (or two!) in as well, such as no childcare for the boys and homeschooling for our older children. As challenging as this has been at times, again I’ve managed to find a new normal. The mornings are generally busy with homeschooling and looking after the two boys, however by afternoon, the older kids are off entertaining themselves (usually playing outside on the farm) and the two little boys are in bed. That’s when I try and get some uninterrupted time to work on Matchy Mumma. The pandemic hasn’t been all doom and gloom by any means. We’ve not been able to play a sport this year, so we’ve been at home on the weekends and this has also given me some extra time to spend on Matchy Mumma.

So as stressful and overwhelming as life can be at times (looking after five children, soon to be six), helping my husband run our broad acre farm as well as trying to start up my own business, I do feel that I’m a much better mum, wife and person, because of it. At times starting up my own business felt more like a necessary burden than a blessing, but I know it’s exactly what I needed in order to be a stronger and happier person. It has given me a sense of focus and purpose behind being a mum and a wife. Even though before having our children, I felt I only wanted to focus solely on being a mum, I’ve since arrived at the understanding that I needed a purpose beyond motherhood, something that I could call my own and also a chance to develop my own personal growth and interests.

So is there such a thing as just being a mum? I’d argue that all mums have various purposes and pursuits alongside motherhood, which change and evolve as our roles as mothers change and evolve. Added to this, I think it is so important for all mums to have an outlet, as well as a chance to develop their personal interests and talents. I believe that rather than detracting from my mothering, my business start-up has enhanced my mothering and helped me to develop further as a person in the midst of helping my children develop into who they’re supposed to be also.