How I Came about Founding Bumps, Bairns and Buggies
I guess I should start with how I am now in the position to be writing this blog for Mama Tribe
For 6 years I was a primary school teacher, firstly down in Chester, and then up in Aberdeenshire. I moved to rural Aberdeenshire to be with my now-husband back in 2015. I guess this was when things started to change. I no longer lived on my own, I had someone to come home to and someone to spend my weekends with. I started to see that there was more to life than work and it was no longer my number one priority. Teaching was still something that I loved, and after a bit of a bumpy start, I had found a school where I loved working. At this point, I hadn’t considered a career change. But then Finn came along in 2017.
At first, nothing really changed
I returned to work quite soon after having Finn. If I’m being really honest, I’m not the most maternal person, and, for me, the baby stage wasn’t the most enjoyable, I was still very much focused on my career. I planned to take a career break – just a year – when Finn was a little older. However, it would soon emerge that I would do this sooner than planned and it would become more than a career break and would, in fact, be a rather life-changing decision. I had reached a crossroads, trying to juggle being a good mum, a good wife and a good teacher. I didn’t feel as though I was succeeding at any of those 3 things and I was becoming more and more unhappy. I was trying to keep my head above water, but to do those things that I loved doing for me were being sacrificed. Christmas 2018, and I discussed my thoughts with Simon about taking my career break early. At first, I had no plans to set up my own business, just spend time with Finn and take time for me again. However, I’m not one to sit still for too long and the cogs started turning. In reality, there was no way I was going to solely be a stay at home mum. So I started thinking about the things that were important to me. I also started to think about my own experiences returning to exercise post-baby, and how I could use the mistakes I made to help others.
I have always been a keen runner
In March 2018, I attended a run leader course with Jog Scotland. I set up a running group specifically for mums in May 2018, whilst I was still teaching. This group was to be a place where mums could meet other local mums whilst also learning about how to return to exercise safely.
We started off as half a dozen mums and have continued to grow. Over the past 2 years, I have met over 100 mums and have helped them realise the benefits of exercise on their physical and mental health. I have created an environment where mums feel like they can openly talk about the ups and downs of parenthood and are comfortable sharing some of the struggles. The group was shortlisted in the mental health and wellbeing category at the annual Jog Scotland awards at the end of last year which confirmed the impact that the group was having.
Setting up Mums on the Run encouraged me to think about what else I could do to help mums have access to fitness classes that were postnatal friendly whilst allowing them to socialise with other mums. Bumps, bairns and buggies had its first class in December 2018 and I haven’t looked back since. Running several classes a week, it has become a success in our rural community and provides a service that mums really appreciate. To hear mums talking about the positive impact that the classes have had on their lives really does fill me with joy.
This group has not only helped lots of mums but it has significantly helped me too. Our quality of life has improved so much, and with that my happiness. I now have time to fit in things for me, and I am back to setting my own personal goals. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not plain sailing all of the time, but making this change was one of the best things I have ever done.
Life still throws you curve balls and we have had our fair share of things to deal with, particularly in the past 6 months. Suffering two consecutive miscarriages, I was blown away by the support of the ladies I have met, lots of them have been through a miscarriage too. My open, honest nature encouraged others to speak up which in turn helped me come to terms with what I was going through. Perhaps, I will write more about this in a future blog post as miscarriage is far more common than people believe, and can be an incredibly isolating and lonely experience.
I guess there comes a point when you have to be brave, take a leap of faith into the unknown. Leaving teaching definitely wasn’t an easy option. Juggling being a full-time mum and running a small business is far from easy. I question myself several times a day, compare myself to others and I still have a whole heap of stuff to learn but I absolutely love what I do and I cannot wait to see what the future holds.