I have always been obsessed with other women's stories. Their journeys can be motivating, inspiring and life affirming. With that in mind, I will be interviewing women who are forging their own paths in their respective fields. Brave, real women who inspire me and hopefully inspire you too.
This interview is with the fabulous Kheyla Anderson, founder of Mother Nature's Recipes. Her lifestyle brand is dedicated to the health and well being of mothers. This seemed particularly fitting as Mother's Day is just around the corner. You can find a breakdown of the services that Mother Nature's Recipes provide on their website plus you can get 20% off spa treatments with discount code 'Mothering Sunday'.
What was the motivation behind setting up Mother Nature's Recipes?
My entire motivation was giving birth to my son. When you are pregnant you have all these preconceptions of how things are going to be between yourself and your baby, no one is there to really tell you that things may not go the way you planned.
It was my struggle with breastfeeding that led me to create Mother Nature’s Recipes. Never in a million years did I ever contemplate not being able to produce enough milk for my baby or even get him to latch on properly.
I was distressed for about 2 weeks after giving birth as my son continuously cried and I had no clue what was wrong, all I knew was that during such a historically ‘magical’ time, I felt as though I was a failure. It wasn’t until the health visitor came round and explained to me that his jaw was too tight which was making his mouth too small to be able to latch on properly.
The relief I felt once I was armed with the knowledge of what to do. I was able to express until he got bigger and his jaw loosened. I breastfed him until he was 2 years old! I absolutely hated the idea of another mother feeling unsupported, uninformed and on the verge of postpartum depression just because there wasn’t anyone to help them emotionally or physically, and so Mother Nature’s Recipes was born.
How has your experience as a mother shaped how you approach your business?
Well I’m fortunate to be able to approach my business from a mother’s perspective rather than as someone trying to understand what it is that mother’s could truly utilise.
My yoga classes are a complete woman only space as I’m trying to foster community, a space free of judgement where women could relieve themselves of all of the stressors of everyday life and truly support one another within a positive environment. This is achieved through the private serene atmosphere and female teachers personally selected for their mutual respect for what I’m trying to build and not just expertise.
All of the services I offer attempt to work around the client in terms of flexibility and availability. The main reason I wanted to provide the Home Spa Beauty Treatments was so that women during their pregnancy could be made to feel amazing and truly take stock of how incredible they are. Also so that for new mothers we could provide the flexibility that would enable them to have a massage during baby’s nap time or have that manicure that they are no longer able to get at the salon every fortnight. My position as a mother affects every decision made within Mother Nature’s Recipes as it’s the entire ethos behind it.
Why do you think self care is so important for mothers?
I believe self care is essential to being the best mother you can be. The old saying is true, ‘if you don’t look after yourself how are you going to be able to look after anyone else?’ Once a baby is born the mother is often regarded solely as a caregiver of this precious little life and it's because this life is so precious that the person who has to nurture it should be afforded the opportunity to restore themselves in whatever way necessary.
When you are constantly providing for another human being and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a newborn or a 10 year old, I truly believe that in order to support your child(ren)s healthy development you have to find and utilise the tools to support your own. For me, a big part of that is maintaining my identity outside the role of mother. Going out with friends once a month, having a weekend away with my partner, just remembering who I am as an individual gives me a greater understanding of who I am as a mother.
What's the biggest challenge you've faced so far?
Cutting back in order to eventually give more. When I first started Mother Nature’s Recipes I was offering a vast range of classes, from pregnancy yoga to postnatal pilates then a general yoga and pilates class. Aside from the cost, I realised it was hurting my brand as I didn’t have a clear and concise idea of what I was trying to achieve by offering all of these various classes.
While I knew I wanted support all women, from pregnancy to postnatal, the holistic ethos of my company was far better suited to the practices of yoga, the focus on mind, body and spirit is a perfect pairing for me. So while I wanted to be able to provide services for everyone, I had to cut back in order to solidify my brand and send a clear message to my target audience.
Do you ever feel the pressure to have it all together, balancing your responsibilities as a parent and business owner?
I feel an immense pressure on a daily basis to juggle all of my responsibilities. Balance is what we all try to strive for in life but is it truly achievable? Is the key to spend our lives walking the line trying to reach it but never knowing whether you’ve succeeded? This is something I’m plagued by regularly especially as a woman who is supposedly able to multitask but is that always the right thing to do?
If I’m being honest, I could easily work on the business all day everyday as it’s mine and I love it. But obviously I love my son much more and when you have a two year old desperately trying to get your attention while you tap away on a laptop it is truly heart wrenching.
My logical mind tells me that he has to understand that he can’t be the centre of my universe 24/7 and that while he is my priority, there is a time for work and a time to play. However there are times when my emotional side feels guilty as soon as I even send a text message regarding work in his presence. It has been a constant battle and I know it will continue to be, but all I can do is use my common sense and try my best to be fair to my family while doing my best for them by progressing the business.
What's been your greatest achievement so far?
I feel my greatest achievement has been taking my business idea and actually making it a reality. I’m a massive dreamer, always have been. I’m the sort of person who wants to do a million and one things at the same time and have never really started any of them. Since finishing university I drifted from job to job never really feeling pulled towards anything in particular and I’ve always craved that passion for something and now I have it.
It may sound cheesy but I feel fulfilled because I know what my purpose is in life. It’s to be happy. If I have learnt anything about myself over the years, it’s that I’m not a person who can do something they don’t like day in day out if it affords them to have the life they want outside of work. I have to love what I do, and I LOVE working for myself, I LOVE having something that is mine, that I’ve built, something that came from a life changing experience filled with love and sincerity.
All of these things make me happy. The fact that I can work around my family rather than fitting them into my working day. I feel as though the balance I was speaking of earlier is actually in my sights now and I’m actively working towards it rather than having someone else who doesn’t have my best interests at heart dictating what I do and how I do it for the majority of my life.
My greatest achievement is affording myself the freedom to work towards the things that make me happy.
What can we expect from Mother Nature's Recipes in the future?
Mother Nature’s Recipes aim is to uplift all women and we do so by providing both yoga classes and home spa services for women in general but my primary focus is on building an honest, trustworthy company where for years to come it will be revered as a ‘go-to’ organisation for mothers health and wellness.
2017 will see me develop a tea and smoothie range for pregnant women and lactating mothers to purchase online. I don’t want to just provide services but products that will prevent women from going through the same ordeal that I went through.
I will be holding more events connecting with fellow female entrepreneurs who provide essential services for a healthy, positive pregnancy/labour and postnatal care. Mostly just growing the company overall and establishing the brand across the health and wellness sector, but always with the genuine intent of aiding mothers on their journeys because if I lose that, what’s the point of it all?
Find out more about Mother Nature's Recipes by visiting www.mothernaturesrecipes.com.