I had the pleasure of being Naomi’s mentor and coach several years ago when she was in the very early stages of setting up Lift Magazine – the emag for any Mum flying solo. I was always struck by Naomi’s determination, vision and spark. After becoming a single mother unexpectedly when her baby was 4 months old she took all the hurt and turned it into an amazing gift for other Mums.
I am sure you will love getting to know Naomi as much as I have!
1. Can you tell me a little about you and your family?
Sure, my son, Jim, is now three and a half and we live in the most gorgeous city of Hobart in a little apartment overlooking the Derwent River and Mount Wellington. We spend most of our spare time in the outdoors walking the trails of the mountain, in the botanical gardens, or Jim’s favourite, at the beach that’s five minutes from our home. We love to read together and Jim’s really interested in animals, learning about new places and he likes cooking. I’m not so keen on the cooking, but through Jim’s enthusiasm I think perhaps I’m getting better at it! Jim’s dad lives in Brisbane and comes to visit him for a weekend every six weeks.
2. How did you come to create Lift Magazine?
I very unexpectedly became a single mum when Jim was four months old. Being a single mum was something I never though would happen to me, and adjusting to that with such a small child was a huge learning curve, although I was always determined that I’d make it work for me somehow, even if there were days when I couldn’t see how exactly that could happen. I found there wasn’t a lot of support out there for single mums in my early days and when I ventured into forums I found a lot of anger and bitterness out there, but I wanted my life to be positive again and I couldn’t believe that the situation I’d found myself in meant that my life was suddenly over or somehow inferior just because it hadn’t turned out the way I’d planned… So with a background in magazines, writing and graphic design I wanted to create a positive space for newly single mums to come and know that they’re not alone and that life can be good, scratch that, great again.
3. How do you juggle running your business and being a Mum?
I’m not into the crazy juggling thing. I think life is what you create and it’s about knowing your values and priorities and creating a life that balances those without feeling like you have to fit in with everything that everyone else is doing. At the moment running my own business means I don’t earn as much as I did in my pre-baby corporate career, but I’ve learned some hard core budgeting skills so it means I can choose when I want to work. I’m also not in any debt, so right now I don’t have the pressure of that financial commitment either. If I want or need to take some time off to be with Jim, I can… And if I want to go on holiday or go on another trekking adventure, I may need to budget a bit more or go without a few material things like new clothes or make up or massages for a month or two to make that happen, but what I’ve come to learn is I don’t really give a crap about those things anyway!
4. What is your favourite thing to do for “me time”?
Trekking, snow boarding, being in the wilderness.
5. Do you actually manage to do this very often?
Whenever Jim’s dad visits him I try to get out for a one or two night walk in Tassie’s wilderness and I try to get in a snowboarding trip at least once a year. I walk every day… sometimes it’s just a twenty minute walk around the bay near my home, sometimes I’ll take a half day off and head up the mountain for some quiet time. I’m not as consistent with that, but I know if I haven’t been doing it enough… I start to get overwhelmed, my mind starts to race, I can’t sleep. It’s good to recognise those things in yourself and know yourself enough to say ‘Hey, I need to do X or my life is going to start malfunctioning soon!’.
6. What are you most grateful for at this point in your life?
Our health and my freedom. I live in a place I love doing a job that means a lot to me.
7. I know you have been planning a child-friendly trek in Nepal for Mums in your community. Tell me more about this.
We’ve just come back! We went trekking in the Annapurnas for seven days. It was a circuit from Pokhara to Poon Hill and back, which is a 50km route known as The Family Trek. So we were a group of four mums, and three of us took our little ones. The kids would walk with us for 45 minutes to an hour in the morning, then ride in baskets carried by porters when they got tired, and we had a horse they could take turns riding as well. With our guides and porters we were a group of 16 in total and it was such an amazing experience of sharing and community and endurance and building confidence. It took almost a year for me to plan the trip, and then we had to postpone for a year because of the earth quakes in Nepal, so it was surreal to finally be there and every moment was stunning and eye opening. On day five of the trek we all got up at 4am and walked to the top of Poon Hill to watch the sunrise over Annapurna South and Fishtail Mountain. Standing on that mountain with that view, surrounded by prayer flags with three other funny, caring, sensational women and our kids is a memory I’ll never forget.
8. If there was one thing you go back and say to yourself in those early days of becoming a single Mum what would it be?
That even thought it may feel like your life is suddenly not your own, that you are powerless, that you have lost your freedom and all your dreams have been shattered, you can still create whatever it is that makes your life worth living to you… it may not look the way you thought it would but be open to every opportunity and for God’s sake, take this time to really get to know yourself again, without the title of wife or mother… Spend lots of quiet evenings after the spewing and pooping and food throwing has subsided for the day and ask yourself who you really are now. What’s important to you? What makes you laugh? What makes your blood boil? What makes you hurt? What makes your eyes sparkle with excitement? If you can answer those questions, you’ll find a way to rebuild no matter what challenges stand in your way.
If you are a single Mum Naomi invites you to join her community and private Facebook group called The 365 Day Sanctuary. It is a space for single mums to come for support to recover and rebuild their lives. Email Naomi at [email protected] to get an invite to join.
Read Lift Magazine HERE