Making mother time

Push and pull: "At times I may find myself more present for my family and less at work and vice versa - and that’s fine," says Belinda Bow.

Push and pull: "At times I may find myself more present for my family and less at work and vice versa - and that’s fine," says Belinda Bow.

 You're about to publish your first book, But She Still Has Time For Me. How did that idea come about and where did you draw inspiration?

As mums, we’re all just doing the best we can for our kids. We are busy, feel pulled in multiple directions, and maybe even guilty about it. This book helps reassure children that despite being busy, mums always make time for them. It also reminds mums that it isn’t always about the big stuff, we should relish all of the moments.

 How long did it take you to write and how did you find the writing process?

This message has been mine ever since I became a mum, and I really wanted to share it with everyone, so it only took four-to-six weeks in total to write. And because I wrote from the heart, I found the process really seamless.

 Your book is topical for the many working mums who struggle to find life balance. You have two young children and run a business. What do you find works in your own life as far as juggling many balls?

First, I don’t see it as balance, because balance is about equality. Who wants their personal life to have equal value to your career? My take on life is more about harmony. Sometimes life will ebb more in one direction and flow back into another, sometimes more equally. This is why I make it a point to choose my own path. My life is my own version of priorities and harmony. For instance, at times, I may find myself more present for my family and less at work and vice versa - and that’s fine. What works for me is setting limits, but I don’t put an expectation on myself to get everything done right now. Instead, I complete a few essential tasks daily and outsource where possible. I leave the rest of the time for really important things like spending time with my kids and pursuing hobbies that fill my emotional tank. I am a big believer that you’ll never regret spending that kind of time.

  Many women have to sacrifice career when they have children simply because they choose to have time out to enjoy the precious early months of childhood. Do you think policy or perceptions must change to ensure that motherhood doesn't have to mean sacrificing job satisfaction?

So many things need to change. Ultimately, it must start with us. Mums first have to be more accepting of one another and our different choices. What also needs to change is the lack of choices available to women who have children but don’t want to sacrifice their career.

Mums first have to be more accepting of one another and our different choices. What also needs to change is the lack of choices available to women who have children but don’t want to sacrifice their career. - Belinda Bow

 What was your first job in life and what did you take from it?

My first job was a check-out chick, and I learned so much about people, their stories, and how to engage well with them and really listen.

 What sort of jobs did you do before you decided to form Green Chilli Marketing in 2008?

I worked as a marketer in a large firm and was also a freelance marketing consultant.

 What led you to decide to franchise Green Chilli this year?

I found that other marketers wanted to join my team, and most (especially mothers) also wanted the same lifestyle I had so they could maintain that connection with their children and families without missing out on the possibility of a fulfilling career.

Sure, they could do what I did and start a business from scratch, but if they could short-cut the process by working with an established marketing brand and a framework complete with all the necessary tools and business processes to make their own, that would be even better. Now franchisees have the flexibility to choose their own path and create their own unique entity.

 You are an Ambassador with the charity 3 Angels Nepal. What does it do?

Through education, 3 Angels Nepal fights against human trafficking in Nepal, where so often, young children and women are sold and taken thousands of kilometres away from home to be enslaved and abused.

I am also a director on the board of Got Your Back Sista.

We help women and children become independent after escaping domestic violence. We do this in a very practical way, that brings dignity.

With each copy of my book that is sold, a donation will be made to Got Your Back Sista.

 What is your key business advice to women considering going out on their own in business?

I would say keep listening and learning. Your education is never a waste. I think it’s very important to choose the right mentors and experts and choose what advice to take on depending on your own goals and circumstances.

 What is something few people know about you?

I am scared of chickens! I mean terrified. And I dislike peas. The more serious answer is, I make sure I have the time to play and connect with my kids every day – irrespective of my work load.

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