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In this world of crazy, how do I protect my baby?

Has the world always been this mad?

In the aftermath of what is clearly a worldwide massacre not  by terrorists alone but Mother Nature had a field day too. I can’t help but wonder how on earth am I supposed to protect my baby.
We lost 115,200 heartbeats this weekend. Between earthquakes and suicide bombers, both of which my fear is etched in their uncertainty ,more so, their sudden stealth mode nature. It’s days like this when even Mother Nature feels like she is in “attack, kill, dismember ,maim ”  mode.
The thought of my impending death seems to be whispering between my lips, evaporating into my conscious and leaving traces of ache lingering in my chest. How do I prepare my daughter from the reality of death?
I thought I was becoming quite comfortable with the idea of dying. At least that’s what I kept telling myself and anyone who asked . But truth be told, I have suddenly realised that I am ill equipped to deal with talking about this with my child one day or even now. Between my own personal faith, religion, spirituality and inner strength, all of which seem to be waning since Friday night, I have only one thing left that I’m praying will give me the strength and guidance, that’s HOPE.
That burning light that gives us the courage to TALK to our children about living and dying and to practice both with kindness and courage . The courage to be kind even when life and death don’t go according to plan.
I secretly barter with my God not to take me before my baby is all grown up. Instead I will chose to barter with my soul,convincing it to be present in every moment, not to give way and be led by the nose by fear . Instead to live with accepting truths graciously and to show my daughter that nurturing my soul now will mean my spirit will soar after. Through hope and faith talk with her throughout us living, that death is part of our life.
As for how long I have, ….Memento Mori !

Guest Blog -The Joys and Sacrifices of being an Entrepreneur

As a Mum and Wife, you’re already being pulled in multiple directions. From organizing everyone’s meals at the start of the day, to drop offs, pickups and the numerous house chores, the list can seem never-ending.

But, you have a dream. A big dream. One that will change the world. How do you convince those around you that your dream can become a reality? You have to really work that magic and get it off the ground. That’s the hard part that no one really tells you about.

I come from a family full of Entrepreneurs and owning my own business is something I have subconsciously been aspiring to all my life. However, underneath this desire was the (pretty misguided) belief that everyone who owned their business was set for life. The day without a boss… Awesome! Yes? Hmmm… debatable.

Underneath all those layers of success, amazing stage presence and calm facade is stress. Stress in all shapes and sizes. Money is at the centre of this stress for a number of reasons:

  • You need to feel financially stable before you break away from your day job
  • You need money to be able to support the business
  • You need to more than break-even to also support yourself
  • If you can only support yourself, then how will you pay the staff?
  • Without staff, how will you scale?
  • If you can’t scale, how will you generate more profit?

It is a vicious cycle and one that is really hard to remove yourself from. I almost feel the real question we want to ask ourselves is: “Would we buy this product or service ourselves?”. Something tells me that if you personally are willing to part with your money, then there is a chance someone else will too.

Monetisation can be a struggle for many startups. If you have an app, it could take quite a long time to start charging. You would need to get a set number downloads and would probably have a freemium model. In which case, your most engaged customers are likely to be your pipeline for real paying customers.  If you have a service, you’re also likely to start charging small amounts until you get a steady stream of people recognising you and repeating business.

So where does the freedom, and work-life balance come in? After all, that’s the real reason we want to get away from the day job isn’t it?

No one could have prepared me for the harsh reality that starting up is NOT easier than a corporate job. You don’t get to delegate to anyone and you don’t have more free time. I have had to juggle an active 3 year-old and a 7 month old baby whilst attempting to make my dream a reality. It all seemed so far fetched in the early days but there is nothing more satisfying than seeing your idea evolve. The MumsinTech experience has given me the opportunity to learn so much about the Tech space and how many really inspiring women are already breaking down barriers for us. It’s been the best maternity leave ever! Learning, meeting amazing Mums and Dads, Visiting cool Startups and best of all, having Ivy with me all the time.

So yes, there might not be much money, but it’s my own personal satisfaction that makes me the richest person in town. Will this idea make me rich? Maybe not. But the level of passion I feel can’t compare to a full bank account.

That is what must get entrepreneurs up in the morning, prepare them to take on any challenge you throw their way, work all hours, give up on the latest fashion and move back into their parents’ house, or sell up and downsize. It’s because they are gaining a different kind of wealth, one that is much more rewarding than cash.

The image above is a shot from our amazing “Inspiring Women in Tech” Panel, hosted by Dominnique Karetsos.

Let’s get more women excited about Tech!

Junesigniture

Guest Blogging- Katy Horwood

I have just written a blog entry for a woman after my own heart, Katy Horwood. Her blog All Sweetness and Life is a true symbol of “airing out your dirty laundry”, that will have you in stitches. In this blog entry I spoke about having sex after having a baby, in true Katy style. A topic Katy and I discussed on the 9th Episode of Hotmilk. That’s right ladies we went there! Have a read and a chuckle at www.all-sweeetness-and-life.com and leave a comment of your advice or story.

image from https://hdwallpapers.cat

#IHeartMusic

Music is the pulse of life! For me anyway. Beats echo in my house, my office (Poor Danielle, marketing assistant is subjected to every decade and even MJ “I’M Bad I’M Bad – no apologies here!) and when all else fails … music fills the silence in my head. From jazz to heavy metal every beat inspires a dream and locking into my pulse reveals the rhythm of how I want to live. Music… I believe is the closest thing to religion, it moves us.

In Episode #6 Link Telegraph Contributor and mother of two, Sally Peck shares with us how before bedtime her entire family have a dance before lights off. What a wonderful way to end the day and a little tradition I am borrowing.

My daughter, Ariella has been dosing off to Jazz extraordinaire Stan Getz since she was 6 months young and if its not foot tapping, head nodding house during bath time it’s nursery rock anthems on route to nursery. There isn’t a day we go without music. Music can bond the coolest of strangers, imagine what it can do for our little humans.

You will see on my blog there is a Hotmilk Podcast playlist, link ( thank you to whoever created spotify…and Jeans… and pumps… I Digress). While I write or work or even prepare for the next podcast I love a little “music downtime” after a long day. So I thought I would share the #Iheartmusic love. So while you browse the blog or spy on all our guests, do me a favor and grab a cuppa, stiff glass of something frosty and enjoy the tunes and assault your senses.

While I am writing this in my head, Ariella is holding my hands, feet on mine and we pretending to Waltz …insert unforgettable” Nat King Cole. Be still my beating mommy heart, … it is these moments when motherhood plays out in slow motion and with every swish and sway another magical memory is etched in my heart.

Find your pulse…. and enjoy your rhythm of mommyhood, they come in waves

And on that soft and fuzzy note, before I sign off and post this – I cant help but say R.E.S.P.E.C.T – to the woman who danced her way through labor pains https://youtu.be/Wvt_H3xyERs

Personally, I screamed the F*!@K*G roof down … I tried a back rub, walking the isle of the hospital until 55 hours later left me with only but a voice box strong enough to contract harder and longer than my contractions #alldignitylost

Till next time….

Dom xxx

No Kids Allowed

 

Ummm…Yes,I go on holiday without my daughter *hand on mouth gasp*

Why does that sentence paralyse me each time it rolls off my lips to answer the eyebrow lifting judgemental question “are you going on holiday alone?”

When my daughter was 6 months old, I went to Paris for my birthday weekend with a friend. I left Ariella Petra with her father armed with only a feeding schedule, bedtime routine reminder and a good luck note. Let me say that again, I left her with her f.a.t.h.e.r, not a stranger or pack of wolves for weekend rearing. Her loving, doting and fast learner,capable parent. And for the rest, well I was confident he would figure it out just like I did and try whatever worked for him and when all else failed, to do what any good man would do …. call his mother.

What could possibly go wrong? … Well, I am happy to report that NOTHING went wrong. Instead, dad got to enjoy some one to one bonding time with his daughter without my interfering or telling him what not to do. Since then, fast forward 4 years and I have booked a round trip for ONE every year. Yup, I checked out for some me time. Conscious soul sifting is what I like to call it …without hubby and without my daughter.

I returned from my first solo holiday well rested, light on my feet and energised like the ever ready bunny. I was a 33+ working mum that had a bit of me time. Throw in the mix a BFF, retail therapy and couple glasses of bubbly minus the breast pump and you can only imagine how I bounced through the door. Secret: The hardest part was not leaving…but coming home and realising Ariella Petra had not even noticed or remembered that I was gone knocked the breath out of me. Talk about heart wrenching moment. Now I ask you, who is acting like the baby?

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 09.50.26From then on between running businesses, broadcasting, podcasts and gunning for a mother of the year award – I take a holiday, by myself. A gift from myself to myself -with love.

The almost dreaded part of this, is announcing I wont be making a play date or birthday party “Because I am going on vacation” and then the dreaded question “alone?” … The nerves kick in – you would think I was in first grade giving a dissertation on the worlds presidents – palms sweating, tummy churning…bottom lip quiver …I swallow and politely whimper “yes, alone “ quickly followed with “ she will be with her daddy and friends having so much fun “in case they thought I was leaving her locked in the courtyard with only fresh water.I spend my days presenting to a plethora of dragons den-esque businessmen and woman, but one judgemental parent (agreed this is total projection on my part) and I am unravelling as fast as my kid unwrapping a present.

From the moment I walk out the door and wipe away my guilty tears – yes that’s right – I never said I did this without feeling guilty, I put aside (still work in progress) all the pressures and challenges of business, family, friends and motherhood.

So why do I continue to go on holiday without my daughter? Because I can… and because I return with enough bounce that would put Tigger to shame, overwhelming appreciation and awe of my little girl and her father and patience of a saint (for a couple of weeks at least). Conscious soul sifting is one step closer to a better version of myself, which means I’m a stronger, happier mom.

Just a foot note – in case you wondering – yes of course we go on family holidays together. (There I go again – What is it with us mums justifying our parenting styles?)

So would you go on holiday alone ?

 

 

Birth After Loss

Birth after Loss ….

I took me four years to realise that I had not grieved my father’s death. “Don’t make big life decisions after trauma” is what the famous “THEY” say… I clearly didn’t get the memo. Soon after my father was taken (yes often than not I blame the big man upstairs), I got married and had a baby, a beautiful little girl. Ariella Petra

What I didn’t see coming was the harsh reality of emotional turmoil between mourning a death and celebrating a life. My heart string reduced to brittle ashes and with the slightest shift from happy tears to gut wrenching sobs, either one would feel like the final take.

Of all the rush of emotions I was told I was going to experience when I had my baby, the one they forgot to mention, is the jolt of immortality. This sucker comes rushing at you like a derailed train and to fuel my fear, I had no family here in the UK, no childhood friends or siblings with babies close by. Instead I had what felt like endless hours of midnight breastfeeding and sleep deprivation that only MI5 assassins are equipped to beat… Until, of course, she smiled and my brittle heart strings melted in an abyss of love and warmth. I’m so grateful for those moments, for every smile and gurgle I got better at dealing with death and breastfeeding. It was in those darkest moments when Hotmilk was born. No more endless rabbit holes of “how to” Googleing. I wanted to talk about it with real parents – preferably with alive and kicking ones. And since my father was no longer answering me, it was time to chat about the naked truths of parenting with other moms and dads.

While I have you here chatting about parenting truths and death…lets talk about death. Memento Mori – literal meaning: never forget death.

I have thought about tattooing this on my hand. Not because I want to indulge in the constant drone of sadness but in fact the opposite. I often find myself scrambling to find heartfelt but real and raw ways to explain death to my now 4 year old who wants to know who her Grand dad is. I do know this, we don’t talk enough about death. I plan to open the dialogue with her; it’s a conversation that will be constant and ever evolving as we age together. Death influences how we live and how we live can influence how we die, yet I don’t feel like I talk about it enough, not with my loved ones or my friends.

I know my father and I only chatted once before he passed. He mentioned in passing that he wanted to be cremated. That moment while sitting in the funeral parlour and being asked how I would like to put my father to rest (well quite frankly I don’t WANT to you idiot), the weight of having to make the decision on my own without really knowing what he wanted, was devastatingly overwhelming. A decision I still question today and have no option but to live with.

I never want my daughter to experience the same dread and wonder. So let me be clear. I want to be cremated and with the gentle breeze of the Greek Mediterranean ocean, let me loose. Plant an olive tree, lemon tree or Jasmine tree anywhere close to Ariella, so she can sit, soak up the perfumes that surround her …and talk to me. I’m listening, I’m right here baby girl.

Shall we talk about death?