January has been a busy and exciting month, meeting lots of wonderful couples to talk about their wedding plans. 2017 is shaping up to be a super exciting year, and I can't wait to get stuck in.
I have had a little time to plan some personal projects, and this post is the start of one. I have the pleasure of knowing so many amazing women who juggle life, motherhood and running their own businesses, with grace, humour and the odd gin thrown in. I wanted to get them behind my camera, and provide the opportunity to celebrate them and their achievements. All too often, mums will shy away from the camera. because they don't feel confident in their bodies, or they are too busy trying to coax a smile from a reluctant toddler. But is so important that we give our children a tangible piece of us, images they can hold on to and treasure forever. When they look at the pictures, they won't see the little bit of baby weight, the sticky handprints on your jeans, or the post baby hair that sticks up in 5 different directions. They will just see their mum, who they love and adore, no matter what. So this is a reminder (to me as much as to all of you) that we need to get in to the picture, that we must be present in the photographic memories of our childrens lives, and that we deserve to be photographed as well
I've known Claire 'virtually' for a while now, and I was delighted that she agreed to be the first person to take part in this series. She was an absolute trooper on a cold January morning, and it was great to find out a little bit more about her
Hi Claire! Tell me about OmniMama - what is it, and what does it offer to mums in the area?
I set up OmniMama last year, a spin-off of my company Omnia Health (omnia-health.co.uk) that I have been running for 5years. While I offer Massage Therapies, Pilates and Stress Management through Omnia Health I was serving a lot of pregnant and post-natal women, many of whom were unaware or uninformed about the therapies, and exercises that they can and cannot do during their pregnancy. This was a position that I had found myself in when I was pregnant my first son, so I wanted to create something that would help other people see what was available. In my own clinics (in Westhill and Alford) I provide massage therapies for ladies during their pregnancy, right up to and during labour. As well as offering relaxation for them, I also work closely with them ensure we address any issues that can be dealt with my remedial massage skills, so we really work together to suit their needs and ease pains and discomfort. I also offer baby massage, which is amazing to help carers bond with their little ones, help babies brain development and can also address some of the issues that new-borns suffer, like colic and trapped wind.
I network with other health professionals; yoga instructors, hypno-birth experts, maternity reflexologists for instance, all of whom can fill in the blanks where I cannot. I think this is so valuable to the pregnant client, to have a full client centric approach to their health. I have a special interest in the recovery of clients too, helping them address the issues that often are seen as “normal” after pregnancy, frequently arising from a weak pelvic floor, muscle damage and so forth. In March I will be offering classes and 1 to 1 sessions that are designed to address these problem areas. These Holistic Core Restore® classes will run in six week blocks and are based around the repair and strengthening of the body that will help mothers (however postnatal they are) to regain strength in the whole of the core. I am very excited by this and I know that this is an area that will help many women regardless of how post-natal they are.
As well as running Omnia, you're a busy mum of 3! How do you juggle the demands of motherhood with work?
Something has to give, it always does. Some days I am super on the ball with work, and the kids and the school run, but the house is a tip. Other days the children and the house are great but I have an inbox full of unread emails. It's swings and roundabouts. The guilt mothers feel, working or not, is a real thing and there is no straight answer to it. I think we all wake up some days and feel that we should be doing better. I guess I balance it by giving myself a break and am a little kinder to myself about it all. I am fortunate that I get to dictate my work schedule, so I can be with my older sons at pick up from school and nursery, but that does mean that I have to work evenings to fit other clients in, so it’s a case of doing their dinner and baths before heading out again. I know I am fortunate that I get to work like this and it is a small sacrifice I think. Motherhood is demanding, somedays it really is “ok, did we all get through the day?” but it really is for a short length of time and I know that in a couple of years my youngest son will be at school too and everything will change again.
A little bird tells me you're quite a keen runner too?
I began running marathons just before I fell pregnant with my first son in 2010, and have carried on ever since then. I actually conceived each of my sons within a fortnight of each of my Spring marathons, to the point that my husband said I wasn’t allowed to book any more races at that time of year. Last year I ran 12 marathons in 12 months for MND Scotland and this year as well as a few marathons and ultramarathons in the diary I am looking forward to raising more funds for my charity with 12 marathons in 1 month, which sometimes seems an incredibly daunting task and sometimes I wonder how I am going to fit everything in, but it is something that I really want to do and it’s been a step up enough from the 12in12 that it’s got people talking to me more about it and asking about the cause I am doing it for, which is very close to my heart.
As an aside, I should say that I have been diligent with my self-care, so thankfully I have been able to return to my sport within a relatively short space of time after each of my sons, and this is a big reason why I am so driven to help the postnatal clients with Holistic Core Restore® because I know that if we do our homework and take care of our bodies there is no reason why we cannot get back to doing whatever it is we love.
Who has been your greatest source of support?
I don’t think I can pin point one person. My husband, my best friend and my parents are always there for me, and I don’t know what I would do if I lost any of them. I think I a very fortunate to know these amazing people who I can rely on, and they have seen me at my worst and at my very best. My best friend of 13 years and I talk daily, and together we are hilarious (no one else needs to agree) and humour and tough love are a lot of what I think gets most of us through harder times.
My children are a daily inspiration, and really are a driving force behind so much of what I do. I want them, more than anyone, to be proud of me and see me as a role model in what I do, and they think I am doing well, then that’s enough for me.
What are your goals and aspirations for 2017?
I have a few, I want to compete the 12 marathons in 1 month and work towards the £12,000 fundraising goal for MND Scotland, and maybe after that I will never run again. We will see.
I have plans for a new studio, clinic and retail space, so I am hoping to get plans sorted out for that this will allow me to provide more to my clients.
I also want to read and write more and play more music, I recently started playing the saxophone again which has been a nice way to de-stress.
And if I can find a way to balance life more in favour of family, then that would be amazing too, but that is a life long goal, not just for 2017.
If you could only give one piece of advice to a new mum, what would it be?
Give yourself a break!
It is hard to say just one thing, but I think this encompasses a lot. You don’t need to rush, you don’t need to compete with other mums online, or in social medias groups or from your antenatal groups. Feeding is hard, lack of sleep is hard, people giving you advice is hard. There is no rush to lose weight, there is no rush to get back to “normal” (what is normal?). Enjoy the time with your baby, and when it is rough know it won’t last. It will pass, I promise it will pass. Take help and talk to people who understand, but give yourself a break.
Enjoy the time with your baby, and when it is rough know it won’t last. It will pass, I promise it will pass. Take help and talk to people who understand, but give yourself a break.
Thank you Claire for taking the time to brave the cold with me, and telling us about OmniMama. Claire can be emailed on firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to chat to her about her services!