This week’s Professional Parents Profile is Amy Bowman of Natural Aussie Families (blog) and All Natural Families (facebook page). Pictured here with gorgeous son, Cooper (9 months), she also has a daughter, Chloe who is 10.
As the name says, Amy is passionate about natural living. She started blogging regularly on this topic in February this year and spends around 5 hours a week on this – researching, promoting, digging up article topics and learning how to blog.
Managing a Health Food Store 20-35 hours a week and previous studies towards a degree in Naturopathics, she feels gives her a pretty good knowledge of how to use natural products to keep her kids healthy. One of her biggest recent challenges was realising it wasn’t feasible to return to finish her studies without compromising time with her children. However she realised that sharing her experience with others through her blog was a way she could help others and continue to be involved in this field and fit it around her children’s needs.
Amy started her own business (currently based around her blog) as she was finding it so hard to find info on natural parenting and sustainable living that was applicable to the average Aussie family. She has always worked full time, so felt quite lost when she finished up to have her bub. Amy says returning to work, or writing for her blog is a chance to really express who she is, to connect with people who share interests and to assert herself as a valuable human being.
This is her decription of life before children:
“Well, life before baby was pretty smooth! I worked a lot but my 10 year old is big enough to help out around the house and have grown up conversations. I see her as a ‘person’ rather than a dependant child. We had our own rhythm and though my work hours weren’t ideal, we made it work for us. I don’t honestly remember what it was like with NO kids, that was too long ago!”
Compared to life after children:
“Hectic! There is so much more to do with the addition of one tiny person! It’s also made us all re-evaluate things like quality time, but also what we are doing to the world he is going to grow up in. That’s why we are trying to be a bit more eco friendly and eating and living better. On the flip side, it gives us an indescrible feeling to see the kids play together. Despite the huge age gap, they relate so well. I’d forgotten how good little cuddles can be and Chloe is really showing her maternal side. All those years of playing dolls has finally paid off!”
Amy’s tip for work family balance is to prioritise, delegate and remember to have fun!
Some of her favourite products are the world of MCN’s (note from Renee – I had to look this up! Modern Cloth Nappies!). they weren’t around with my daughter. Things like organic baby food, biodegradable wipes, BPA free bottles… all these new products that show big companies are listening. Also the availability of products made by local mums through facebook pages and the like.
I’m some of us can identify with Amy’s realisation that when becoming a parent, she was suprised by “the workload! I really thought it would be a piece of cake”. She says the same of starting a business. “I thought it would be easy too… I think there’s a trend happening here!”
One of moments Amy is most proud of in the last few months:
Realising that though I hadn’t totally succeeded in being an ‘eco mum’ there were certain things I had really stuck with, despite the lack of time and energy. I still make baby food from scratch, I still have a /no TV’ rule for bub. I also sat back and realized that working as much as I do, with 2 kids, and all the other stuff is a pretty good achievement.
Her advice for newbies in business is to have reasonable expectations, be prepared to work really hard, but also acknowledge the things you accomplish. Do a lot of research BEFORE you start.
Favourite resources are the book Naturally Better by Kristen Morrison. It shows how natural medicine can really, truly make a difference where conventional doctors have otherwise given up hope. I love the networking opportunities Facebook offers, and my professional life kind of revolves around the Digital Parents website- I have learnt so much from the amazing people there. I Love, Love, Love Brisbanekids.com.au!!! I am a keen facebook follower and jump on the site whenever we are after some place to go for a picnic. (Renee’s note – so do I! Will interview Ngaire soon).
Daily family life is busy. Most days it’s get up, feed the kids and get everything ready for school and day care. Fly out the door, work all day and come home (my hubby does the afternoon collection most days). Chloe is at school (grade 5) and goes to after school care for between 30 minutes and 2 hours every arvo. Coop is in day care 3 days now but is usually picked up at about 3. It’s very hard to leave him, but he loves it and is learning so much. Then it’s play, baths, dinners, bed and finally a chance to either relax, or jump on the computer to work on the blog.Amy’s partner builds shops, so it’s an early start but often an early finish too but he is supportive of her business, so so long as it doesn’t take up too much time! I think sometimes men can forget how little ‘me’ time you get as a mum. He is very good though.
One thing Amy thinks is a myth about being a working parent is that you care more or less about your kids than SAHMs (Stay at Home Mums). Some people think you must be rather detached to go away and work, others think you must be terribly self-sacrificing to leave them to make a living. We are just mums who love our families immensely, but find personal satisfaction in having a job too.
Overall, Amy is driven by a desire for her children to grow up into world where they have green trees, wild animals and clean air. To have family and friends support them no matter what. To feel safe, secure and to know that can do anything!. That’s a wonderful vision for us to all share.
She would like her business to inspire people to make small changes to help the environment and the health of their families….and to completely change the National Healthcare System so they acknowledge, support and subsidise natural therapies!
Amy has kindly offered a free ad for anyone in the natural health industry once she launches her website. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details by 31 August 2011. She is currently in the process of creating her own domain name and sourcing web hosting so if you have tips here let her know. She also takes guest posts on the topic of natural living for her blog.
It’s been a pleasure to get to know you Amy – though we have met online and communicated by email so far, we discovered we both live in the same suburb in North Brisbane so hope to meet face to face soon.
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