Welcome, let me tell you a little story of how the Mums in Business group came to be and why I will fearlessly protect the values, culture and spirit of this little corner of the internet we can safely call home. You see, no other person except for a fellow Mother in Business can count the tears it takes to step up every day, the pressure, the constant juggle, the lack of down time, constantly feeling stretched between partners, kids, animals, friends, family, exercise… being you again. Then on the flip side, the amazing highs, flexibility and empowerment it brings.
It’s a tightrope walk and one that is very easy to fall off.
I fell off in 2014.
I couldn’t breathe when I heard the news. I collapsed on the bathroom floor, walls spinning and a raging denial that I had never experienced before. This wasn’t meant to be the reaction from a pregnancy test. What was wrong with me? I cried for months. I pretended that I wasn’t expecting a third time and I pushed down the emotions, falling into a black hole.
Going back in time, only three months earlier I was feeling the best I had in life. I did struggle with two small children so close in age and so big in personality that when our youngest walked over the line into school years, my husband and I celebrated. We had done it. This was the plan all along and finally we felt like we were coping again. We had time for each other, we had time for each child, we planned our ‘big kid’ holiday and time out for ourselves finally. The weight fell off like I can’t describe, knowing that two was all we could handle. We had sold the baby gear, sorted our house out again and I was on a business course full of men and women furthering their careers. My hobby business had flipped to a real one, taking up the school hours and I had the headspace again to really focus. Life was perfect. I was in control and things were stress-free, balanced and peaceful once more. We were sitting in the sweet spot, but only for six months.
I rang my husband straight away and found the words to tell him while he was at work. There was silence, then a sit-down, then an almighty scream. After this conversation, there was nothing else to say as any words were dark and out of character for us both. I immediately felt powerless. I knew what raising a child was like and I could not comprehend how I could go on doing what I was doing (my dream) and being a good mother to three kids. This was more than I could handle. I entered the course one day, numb from shock and feeling like it was time to resign from the papers. What’s the use, I am going back to being at home now anyway. My dreams were shattered, I felt myself slipping away again and I had only just found the little girl inside. My spark, my interests, time for my friendships. I felt the opposite of empowered. I thought my only option was to put five years of my life on hold again.
How wrong was that!?
We went for the scan at 20 weeks and this is when it got real. This was the moment that we let the thoughts enter our minds and contemplate what this was going to look like. It’s hard for me to talk about this now as life has changed for the better and I would never change it for the world, yet looking back this was the hardest thing I have gone through as a mother. I felt so alone. I should have been happy? So alone that I felt no hope. I felt like this was to big for me to handle. There was no “motherhood” no mum community around who could support me in my heardest times. I worked away from home feeling broken, useless and overwhelmed.
Deep down, disempowered as a woman in business.
It was a conversation with my tutor that triggered an idea. If you don’t have the support you need…. create it. It sounded so simple. Yet this was a mountain of an idea. You see the unplanned news of my third baby threw my into anxiety overload. Pushing my feelings down triggered my immune system into an unanswered place that saw me fainting, coming out in hives, collapsing and being taken to A&E with unexplained Anaphylaxis – a severe allergic reaction to something at home. My safe place where I hid away, was now unsafe. I would sit on the couch all day holding my baby and worrying about experiencing another sudden turn. I was trapped in a body of fear and had nowhere to go.
How are you meant to run a business when you can’t even function?
So against my comfort zone where I was hanging out day after day, I invited a few other Mums over for coffee and cake to support each other. I would hold the seat many times as I felt a spinning sensation come over me. Pretending I was ok, that I was together and a capable business women even through I had a newborn in tow. To be honest, I even hid her behind the couch for one of our meetings. She was fast asleep and I thought that while she was “not there” I could be more in control of my facilitating role and allow myself room to be myself again. Until…… she farted from behind the couch. The ladies looked as each other, confused as to where it came from. Then laughter erupted. At this moment, I engaged in the thought that we were all together in this. No one cared. That mother and business owner could be used in the same sentence and that no matter what we try to control, kids have their own agendas. We could comfortably merge the two and still succeed.
Back in 2014, this was a new concept for many.
The in-person casual meetings grew fast from four to ten to twenty and more. Every one of them consuming my nerves and pushing my confidence out in an uncomfortable yet beautiful way. This online page was birthed shorty after, to continue to support our journey’s from day to day, to share experiences, to cheer each other on and to have a safe place to be honest about how exciting yet terrifying being in business can be. With the amazing growth over the years, I have but all my free time into protecting the value here. Keeping a strong stance on advertising, “drop and runs” so personal agendas don’t take advantage of our spirit. I will continue to come down hard on those who wish to introduce toxic behaviour into our space, who see it only as a sales opportunity to better themselves and no one else and those who bring other Mums down when we are already full of guilt, self-doubt and feeling stretched too thin.
You all pulled me through my darkest times here and I will fight to honour that.
Guilt is a powerful emotion and can tear someone down. We do it to ourselves most days and in my view need to rely on each other to remind us of how amazing we really are. To juggle a business and lovingly manage a home is not an easy feat. So in saying all of this, you are welcome here with open arms if these values sit well with you too. This is a place to leave the ladder down, help each other up and no matter in what capacity we are working, what hours we do, what our role is throughout the country, how many children we have, what our political, religious or cultural beliefs are we are ALL WORKING MOTHERS and it is here we come together as one. Bringing with us respect, love and admiration for what an incredible jobs each of us is doing in a society that can not always make this easy.
Who rules the world? We do… IF we continue to believe in each other.
Three years on, we have a much loved three-ager who completed our family, I completed that business course plus more, own a thriving social media business that did not fall apart just because I was pregnant again, hubby had to step up as a Dad which was beautiful to see and many online communities and friendships emerged that reflect how powerful we are, together.
This is a movement.
I’m honoured that you are here.
Love Pip x
(founder of Mums in Business New Zealand, 2014)
“I honestly think Philippa Mannagh’s Leadership and love that she invests in her community is extraordinary! She is so genuinely above and beyond. It’s an amazing collection of Mum’s in business ready to help, love and support each other! I think this is about so much more than growing a beautiful thriving businesses – it’s about coming together as Mothers and improving our whole experience of life together.” – Lysa Black
*With respect from #bossmum (admin) please remove yourself from the MIB group if you believe otherwise or are here for different reasons than this, if you are not prepared to lift up fellow Mums in Biz then there are many other groups out there that may suit you much better.
Thanks for reading the heart story of MIB…