It’s Monday. And I’m starting #MumBag and #MumBoss #Monday where some very talented and interesting women let us into their minds and their bags to see their inner workings.
First up it’s Siobhan Miller aka @the_double_mama, a 31 year old mum to 3 boys (aged 10, 2 and 10 months) who quit her career in digital marketing to teach hypnobirthing. She founded The Positive Birth Company to help pregnant women and their partners prepare for a positive and empowering birth. She teaches in London and Devon and has helped first time mums through to fourth time mums, whatever type of birth they’re having.
When did you start the business and why at that time?
Back in 2013 I decided to leave my digital marketing career to pursue something more fulfilling. I wasn’t entirely sure what that something was but I knew I wanted to work with people, adults preferably, in some sort of therapeutic capacity. I enrolled to do a psychology masters at Westminster University with the intention of becoming a counsellor or clinical psychologist.
In 2014 whilst studying and pregnant with my second baby, I discovered hypnobirthing.
I did a course will Hollie at London Hypnobirthing, embraced the practice, and went on to have a completely magical homebirth. My son was born in front of the Christmas tree and I felt incredible, like an actual superwoman!
It was the polar opposite to my first birth experience. My eldest was born in theatre by forceps after a 2 day induction with lots of interventions. I had an epidural and couldn’t feel anything and the overwhelming emotion at the time of his delivery was panic. So hypnobirthing really did change everything for me.
The summer after my second son was born I completed my degree and it was one of those moments in life where the universe seems to align and everything seems to fall into place. I was searching for something meaningful to do, had an interest in and understanding of human psychology, and had just experienced something amazing that I felt all women should get to experience.
So in 2015 I decided to train to become a hypnobirthing teacher. I did my training with Katharine Graves and that’s where it all began. I started teaching couples privately initially and now I teach small groups. I absolutely love what I do. Hypnobirthing essentially is the psychology of birth and so it feels like exactly the right thing for me to be doing.
I’ve also subsequently had my third baby. Another boy! Again I practiced hypnobirthing and he was born in the pool at the birth centre. I finally got my water birth. It was so peaceful and calm and I was able to catch him myself. It was such a perfect moment.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Running a business is far more demanding than I initially anticipated. It’s been a big learning curve. I might only teach for 12 hours in a week but I easily clock 40 hours plus doing everything else.
I often work late into the night, finally falling into bed at 2am. The thing I’ve found most hard is trying to do it all. It’s only me and it’s full-on and I’m often learning how to do the design work, the branding, the marketing, the website development, the accounting ‘on the job.’ Finding that time when you’ve also got three children and, until very recently, zero childcare is some juggling act.
What has been your proudest moment?
The incredible feedback I get from the couples I teach after they’ve completed the course and again after they’ve had their babies gives me goosebumps. I’ve always wanted a job where I felt I was helping people and now I’m finally doing that and it feels pretty amazing.
I’m also pretty proud of the fact I’ve had two babies in the last 2 years (there’s 15 months between the little ones), completed my masters, qualified as a hypnobirthing teacher and got my business off the ground. I’ve no idea how I’ve managed it.
What is your best mum hack for making it all work?
Ha – I wish I knew! I don’t know if there is a way to make it all work. Most of the time if some area of my life is going well e.g. the business; then I feel like the other side of my life is being neglected e.g. my kids. I’m striving for that magic work/life balance but it’s pretty elusive.
However something that definitely helps is having a partner who is willing to raise the children with you. If it wasn’t for James I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. This weekend for example he is with the 3 children whilst I’m away teaching in London. Things aren’t always rosy but we do make a good team and I’m proud of the fact our kids see us both switch equally between working and being ambitious and being at home and nurturing them. It’s a modern set up and I like that.
What encouragement would you give a mum thinking of starting her own thing?
You GREW and BIRTHED an actual real-life HUMAN being. You are a superwoman. There is literally nothing you can’t do.**
**My disclaimer would be that you’ve got to be prepared to put in the hours and sweat and tears. It’s hard work behind the Instagram-pretty scenes.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Probably wear shorter skirts and more crop tops and have less inhibitions. When you’re 30 and you’ve got 3 kids and everything is saggy you’re going to wish you had appreciated that body more.
I don’t know what else. I don’t believe in having regrets. Rubbish stuff has happened but I believe there’s always a reason for it, even if we can’t see that at the time. So often in retrospect you can see that something bad happened which put you in a situation where then something wonderful happened. I try and see everything as a learning opportunity and focus on the positives. I’m definitely a YES person.
Will you show us your #MumBag?
Number of items in your bag: about 25
Mark your #MumBag out of 10 for:
Entertainment: 7 – It would appear I’m pretty good at carrying entertainment for myself like a magazine in the hope I might get to read it if the babies crash out at the same time (Very rare). I always have my phone and my work with me, which I’m always to get on with. I haven’t got any entertainment in my bag at the mo for the kids (bad mama). Unless snacks count as entertainment? Do they??
Food: 8 – I always arm myself with snacks for the kids when leaving the house because in my experience it’s the quickest way to bring things back from the meltdown brink. But I usually forget snacks for me and nobody likes me when I’m hangry….
Drugs: 10 – I carry an Epi-Pen so I’m always armed and ready!
Clothing: 0 – I don’t tend to carry spare clothes anymore. A risky strategy I know. The kids usually end up pretty filthy by the end of the day but with 3 boys I can barely keep on top of the washing as it is, without multiple costume changes.
Skank: 4 – I will admit that I sometimes I do find a mouldy tangerine rotting at the bottom of my bag but today is ok. The mini Milka have been hanging around for months but are probably still edible. Oh but there is that stash of miscellaneous receipts hidden in the gold clutch…
Actual nice things for you: 8 – I always carry a red lippy and I love the little mirror I got when I had my ear pierced at the Maria Tash studio. Hand cream from L’occitane is pretty nice and because I have a subscription to Living and Grazia I always have a mag to hand. Oh and I LOVE my new Tiba+Marl bag, so that’s a pretty nice thing for me.
What is the most comedy item you have found? An empty packet of migraine tablets. I carry it around empty instead of throwing it away to remind me to get some more…
What is the oldest item in there? The Milka which *may* be from the summer hols when we went to France and has just been moved from bag to bag since.
What is the item you’re most proud of? Probably my work folder. There’s loads of stuff in there I’m working on. I’m speaking at some upcoming expectant parents events with Mothercare and so I recently designed a banner for my stand. I’m not a designer but I’m pretty proud of how it turned out.
I’m also pretty proud of my Tiba+Marl bag. I’m lucky enough to be friends with Anna and Lydia who set up the brand. They are both mums and they work so hard. They do everything between them and are such a great team. They only launched just over a year ago and are already stocked in Harrods and have an exclusive line with Selfridges. This bag is from their new collection with Mamas and Papas. They’re absolutely bossing it.
Describe your baggage-type: Scatty. I have a few Tiba+Marl bags so I regularly switch between them. Which means I have multiple bags on the go with different bits and pieces languishing in each one. It’s all a bit of a disorganised mess to be honest.
Thank you for reading x
Follow Mrs Yellow on Instagram
Mrs Yellow supports http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk who support mums with PND. If you like what you’ve seen and want to help a good cause you can text PANDAS £3 to 70660. Text costs £3 plus network charge. PANDAS Foundation receives 100% of your donation. Obtain bill payer’s permission.