Founder & Parent: how to find balance? a conversation with Sophie from Mamamade
Summer is gone, the kids are going to the nursery/school and it's often a good time to introduce new routines or resolutions. Let's be honest: how many of us have decided to kick off September with a better work/life balance? We wanted to go deeper into the difficult challenge as parents to find the balance between all your jobs (at home, at work and everywhere else!). Our Nimble founder Von had the pleasure to speak with Sophie, founder at Mamamade, to talk about being a parent entrepreneur, and how our brands were born out of making parents' lives easier, alongside some tips to keep a good spirit during the many messes of babyhood.
Have a good read!
👋 Can you introduce your business in 5 words?
Sophie: Helping parents with mealtimes & more!
Von: Stress-free cleaning for families!
💭 What inspired you to start a business specifically for parents?
Von: When I launched Nimble, I wasn’t a dad yet, but I had the privilege of being an uncle first. My sister opened my eyes to the world of parenting and the constant cleaning up that they have to do (as well as the pressure that comes with it). I realised that I could make a difference in parents’ lives by developing cleaning products specifically thoughts for babies and toddlers and taking the stress out of everyday tasks.
Sophie: I never set out to start a business like this. It started really organically - I just wanted a better convenience product to help me feed my baby daughter, and as an extension of that, I was looking to connect with other parents who might have been looking for the same. I just started cooking food from my kitchen and sharing it over Instagram, and before I knew it, it had become bigger than I could have anticipated, with a community of 70,000.
🌪️In a world where being the “perfect parent” is spread across social media, both your businesses aim at debunking some myths about parenting. Can you tell us more about it?
Sophie: I became a parent in an age where everything on social media was very perfect. Particularly when it came to weaning and introducing solids, everyone seemed to be posting beautiful meals and homecooked foods - and I was barely coping. I felt like something was wrong with me because I wasn’t capable of doing more. I’ve since learned that I was actually suffering from post-natal depression - and that’s why I’m so passionate now about sharing the less-ideal moments. Parenting is so full of joy but there are some real lows, and real challenging moments - it’s important to connect with other families to normalise all feelings, all experiences - this is the best way to find fulfilment and happiness!
Von: Parents are just under enormous stress as it feels like all eyes are on us – our friends, neighbours, family, social media. I’ve personally seen how my wife has suffered with anxiety because of what society made her feel and it’s so hard to fight these thoughts especially when you only have 3-4 hours of sleep each night. As a result, what I wanted to champion in Nimble was real-life parenting that does involve a lot of mess to clean up, not the always-shiny-always-clean pictures that we see everywhere on social media or advertising.
🥣Talking about the messy world of weaning, you both have 2+ toddlers, what would be your tips for parents to make their lives easier during weaning?
Sophie: If I could go back in time, I’d embrace the mess more. All the face and hand wiping can actually create more fussiness - and it also causes unneeded stress for us parents! All that squishing, mashing, throwing - it actually helps your baby to accept new textures and flavours and to develop confidence at mealtime. I was way too obsessed with avoiding mess - I know now how important it is, and how the idea of cleaning up is usually worse than the reality!
Von: My tip after weaning 3 children with very different relationships to solid food is to take it easy on you and don’t feel pressured that they must be eating certain portion sizes immediately. Babies still have small tummies so they might just eat a few bites and that’s it.
They could even just end up licking or playing with the food and not ever eat them – this is okay too because the goal is to make them engage with the food, not to replace their milk with solid food straight away.
One very helpful quote we heard when we were weaning our eldest is “under one, food is for fun” and that really took the pressure off us, realising that their source of nutrition will still be primarily milk and that we’re not starving them if they end up not eating. As for the pragmatic cleaning tip, it would be to put a mat or a towel under your baby’s highchair so there’s less things to pick up or wipe!
👩💻🧑💻As parents and entrepreneurs, we know it can feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day! Do you have any tips for parents on how to find a work-life balance?
Von: This is the million-dollar question. When my kids arrived, I just needed to really put boundaries and followed timetables as carefully as possible. In my case, my wife and I would agree on a certain schedule for a period, but since the babies needs change, the timetable also changes and you just need to adapt.
The important thing is to regularly communicate with your partner so they know what your and their work schedule is like.
A practical tip that I find helpful is to use the “Do Not Disturb” mode on your phone. It helps because you’d only receive messages and calls from family members, rather than the entire world.
Sophie: I have to keep my boundaries as firm as possible in order to achieve any semblance of balance, but the truth is, it’s a constant pendulum swing. When I’m in a flow, it feels amazing - but I also know the hard days are extremely hard.
My best advice is to be strict with your boundaries. When I’m working, I’m working - and I can get a lot done in a short period of time. Likewise, when I’m with my kids, I try not to be on my phone or computer. I’m also really strict about not working after my kids’ bedtime or on the weekend - unless it’s a particularly busy period at work. I used to work after bedtime all the time, and I felt like I was constantly spinning and near burnout.
I’ve definitely found that limiting my time like this has actually increased my productivity and focus!
🤩 Any exciting new things coming up for Mamamade and Nimble?
Sophie: Oh so many things - I feel like it’s the start of a new term here at Mamamade! We’ve got a few exciting product launches happening this year. I’m not sure I can talk about them just yet, but keep your eyes peeled 🙂
Von: Lots of exciting things for Nimble. We’ve just launched our Nimble Hand Sanitiser (Germ Zapper) on Ocado. We’re launching new products too in one of the big retailers. We’re also developing a brand-new range of products for young families – so watch this space!!
Don't miss out! Use code NIMBLE10 for £10 off your first box at mamamadefood.com. Thanks again Mamamade team for this wonderful summer collaboration!