Working mom

Making a Mindful Return to Work | S2 Ep71

Today I sit down with Stormme and Nolo from Mindful Return South Africa to talk about a mother’s journey from career woman to mom and balancing the two roles. Mindful Return is a global program aimed at supporting new mothers transitioning back to work. Originally founded in the United States by a new mom who faced challenges returning to work after having her first child, the South African division is managed by Stormme and Nolo.

Stormme and Nolo are both qualified attorneys. They were drawn to the program because after having children, they realised that there were numerous resources and information available during pregnancy and childbirth, but there was a lack of support and guidance for new mothers regarding the transition back to work. Mindful Return aims to address this gap.

Common challenges when returning to work

The super moms talked about some of the common struggles mothers face when returning to work. Including not knowing what they can ask for in terms of work arrangements and flexibility. And a general lack of information about topics like maternity leave, managing sick days, work-life balance, breastfeeding and expressing at work and more.

We then delve into maternity leave and how to have conversations with your boss or manager about flexible work arrangements.
Stormme and Nolo share some great tips with moms about how to have those conversations. They recommend being confident and clear about your needs and expectations. Coming prepared with a wish list of what you want in terms of maternity leave, flexible work arrangements, and other support. They also stress the importance of not to apologizing for asking and to communicate assertively.

Choosing childcare and preparing to go back to the workplace

I ask them to share some tips about how moms can prepare for going back to work. The moms talk about how mothers should understand that it’s normal to feel separation anxiety. They can expect to have various emotions about returning to work. They should give themselves time to adjust and lean into their support system. Whether it’s daycare, nursery schools, nannies, or co-parenting. There is no right or wrong answer. The best choice of child care depends on what works well for the family.

I love this nugget of advice that the Mindful Return ladies offer listeners! I asked them what advice they had for moms facing challenges in managing work and family responsibilities. Nolo and Stormme agree that moms should recognize that they are not giving away their child’s care. Rather, they are doubling the love and being excellent role model by pursuing their careers. They also say that building trust and communication with caregivers is vital to ensure that the child’s needs are met while they are at work.

I personally have lived the journey of a career mom and absolutely love the insights these ladies have to share. I’m also a huge proponent of the concept of a mindful return to work and all that entails. That’s why we will be launching a short Mindful Return course on the Parent Sense app for moms needing guidance to make the transition smoothly. Download the Parent Sense app to be the first to know!

Guests on this show

Stormme and Nolo of Mindful Return South Africa

Stormme and Nolo of Mindful Return South Africa

Episode References and Links:

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Parent Sense mobile app:
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Download via Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=tech.bitcube.parentsense Download via iOS: https://apps.apple.com/za/app/parent-sense-baby-tracker/id1502973851

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Making a Mindful Return to Work


Meg: Welcome back mums and dads. This is Meg, Sense by Meg Faure and I am super excited for today’s episode. We’re going to be talking about returning to work. So for all of you mums in particular, who took [00:01:00] a proper gap when you had your babies, or maybe not such a proper gap, as small as two or three weeks and are returning to work, this is an episode for you.

And it really is something that I’m hugely passionate about. In everything I’ve ever done, I have been focused on empowering woman to be amazing parents and to just have the tools to be a parent and to be there for their little ones. But very often that happens in the context of a work situation where people have got to return to work or simply just want to be career women and want to return to work.

And so empowering you to be able to do that is, is really, really important. I have actually always had females employed in my businesses and really, we’ve always worked in a flexible manner so that people can be moms, but it’s not always like that and returning to work can be really, really tricky.

And for some people, and particularly in some countries, maybe South Africa less so, but in some countries it is prohibitive. In South Africa, we lucky cause we have our amazing nannies and our support systems that allow us to return to work, but that doesn’t mean it’s all seamless.

It [00:02:00] is still a huge challenge. And so today I’m really, really excited to be joined by Stormme and Nolo, who are from South Africa, from Johannesburg, and they are the owners of Mindful Return to Work. And so welcome Stormme and welcome Nolo.

Stormme: Thanks so much for having us, Meg.

Meg: It’s really my pleasure to have you. Stormme and Nolo have provided some content, Mindful Return course that is actually going to be inside the Parent Sense app. But they do a whole lot more than that. So, can you tell us a little bit about yourselves, each of you, your backgrounds, and then of course, probably more importantly as well about Mindful Return.

Stormme: Perfect. So, Meg, Nolo and I actually met many years ago. We started our first job together. We did articles, to both are lawyers in our profession. So we met way back when before kids and everything else. Nolo, jump in at any point if you want to add anything.

Nolo: It’s such a full circle moment for us to be working together again, right? I always think about the young, ambitious, naive little people that we were back in the day, uh, trying to [00:03:00] be trained up to be lawyers and who we are now as mothers. But I really do think that the foundations we got then are part of why we end up working together, which is something else we are really passionate about, about how as, as women, as moms, we collaborate.

So yeah, but I’ll, I’ll, let Stormme finish her intro before I take over.

Stormme: So, so, yes, as I said, we made 100 years ago and then subsequently have gone down different career paths. But what brings us together is obviously we both are still working and we both are mums. So I’m the mum to two gorgeous, very busy boys. I have a seven-year-old and a four year old

Meg: Busy households, two boys.

Stormme: also have obviously my husband and even our dog is a boy and have two tortoises that are boys. I mean,

Meg: Oh, my word, lots of testosterone in your home.

Stormme: Lots of testosterone. Uh, and then Nol’s also, obviously now is also a mum, so I’ll let you jump in on that.

Nolo: I have a three soon to be four-year-old who thinks she’s 13. So she makes up for the lack of [00:04:00] number of people in the house by all the energy and attitude and sass that she gives me. I came back from a work trip yesterday and she has told me that I’m not allowed to leave the house again as an, I can’t leave the house.

So that that’s my world. Very, very exciting. And yeah, becoming a mother has changed the way I look at work and the way I approach work.

Meg: So did you both find that when you took your gaps to have your little ones, that returning to work for you was something that was, was a pain point? And did you go back to your big legal careers at some point?

Stormme: Yeah, so Megan, actually that is, I think, the origins of Mindful Return and how, number one, how it first started, and number two, how it. So Mindful Return actually is a global program, and we just run the South African division of it, and it was initially started, by the founder, Lori, in the States, when she first had her first child and was trying to go back to work, and she started it for the exact same reasons that we got kind of involved in it. Was that we had babies and we found that there were all these [00:05:00] resources and all this information kind of around about being pregnant, actual, the actual birth. Then once you had the baby, there were all these resources and information and tools around how to raise a baby, how to keep the baby alive, feed them everything else.

But it was very little actually about the mom and the transition that you go through, you know, from your pre. You know, mom, so now I suddenly was Chase’s mom. I was no longer Stormme. Suddenly was Chase’s mom. And that came with a whole myriad of new experiences, new responsibilities. And then there was even less information around kind of, how do you go back into the corporate world?

How do you go back into the old job you used to do without a kid? How do you ask your boss for flexibility? How do you manage sick days? How do you manage, you know, conference calls at five o’clock? And that’s actually your bath time with your kid and things like that. And I think that’s how we kind of came along.

So Laurie started it for that reason. And then when I had my first son, I went looking for this information [00:06:00] and couldn’t find it. Found Mindful Return and thought, okay, we need to share this and get this out there because the kind of big result that I found, particularly with my first son, is amongst me and all my friends, we kept feeling like we were failing because there was no one out there telling us how to do it, what to do, or folks are saying this is really hard.

And so we were like, okay, it’s really hard, we must be not doing it right, or how do I deal with these challenges, yet they were like, so common and so kind of standard across the board.

Meg: And Nolo, I mean, what are the common challenges that you think that most women do face as they return to work? And are there ways that we can overcome them? Mm. Mm. Mm.

Nolo: I think firstly and foremost, we don’t know what we can ask for. We don’t know if we can even ask. I find that a lot of mothers, I remember when I was pregnant, nobody asked me to put in more hours. Nobody asked me to prove myself, but I had the sense that I had to show everyone I was still Nolo, whatever that means, right? I had to show everyone that I could still deliver and I worked [00:07:00] myself to a standstill just trying to prove that Paris didn’t take something out of me. Um, and again, there was no leadership that made me believe that, but so much had happened around me in the system that innately I thought I had to do that, right?

And I didn’t know was it okay for me to ask for more time? If I need to go to a doctor’s appointment, is that sick leave? Is that annual leave? Is that a quick discussion with my boss? Do we have a prearrangement beforehand? Most people don’t even know when do I have to say that I’m actually going to have a baby, right?

Meg: Mm hmm.

Nolo: That detail that’s out there, but even that, we don’t know that information. And I find that from an HR perspective, Human resources will come to me and tell me what the expectation is. So many of us give up the power and we don’t drive the conversation. We don’t speak about what we need, even in a world where hybrid work is now more popular.

We still go to a place where so many women are either wanting to explain away. It’s weird for me, even people who don’t want to take the full format and they say, I don’t think I need [00:08:00] it. They feel so bad and they feel like they should be ashamed. And they feel like, It’s your body, it’s your life, it’s your family, right?

So you should be able to set the tone of what that looks. I do think that there’s, there’s at the core of it, we need to have more conversations around this. So it’s great that you’re doing this Meg, because as women, we don’t talk about it enough. It’s in a book but do I have time to read a book?

Honestly, do I really, really have time to read a book once I have a baby? And so it’s about the conversations we aren’t having. It’s about workplaces that it’s not just about paid maternity leave. It’s what else? What else makes it easier for your working parents? It’s about the belief that I bought into the lie that if I open my own business, I’ll own my hours.

No, I won’t. My clients own my hours. So actually I still worry about the conference call at six in the evening when my child wants attention. So it’s about for me, how do we start being better at sharing the information than it is out there, but also just empowering each other because there are things we can ask for and most employers will make [00:09:00] allowance for.

We just don’t ask for me that that’s such a gap.

Meg: It makes me think when I listen to you that there’s the hard stuff and there’s the soft stuff. So if we pop the hard stuff into the category of our legal rights and we pop the soft stuff into how do we combine life and how do we juggle the balls? So let’s start off with the legal rights.

I mean, you both are lawyers, and for context, everybody, this is predominantly a South African audience. Of course, there are different laws, completely different laws in the UK and very different laws in the U S in fact, those two may be as far apart as, as could be, but South Africa falls somewhere in the middle.

So could you share with our audience a little bit around what is the, what does the law say in terms of what are your rights in terms of maternity leave and so on?

Nolo: Of course. So in South Africa, in terms of our Labor Relations Act and Basic Conditions of Employment Equity Act, we have four months unpaid maternity leave. I think this is something that most people don’t know that it’s Unpaid by law, [00:10:00] your employer can then opt to make that paid.

So those who are fortunate working companies that paid for a hundred percent, the employer can pay a portion of that, whatever is unpaid. Or if you are fully on unpaid, you can then claim against our unemployment insurance fund, which is UIF for short. Yes. The process can sometimes take long, but it does mean that you’ve got some income in that time.

The unpaid part of it is why a lot of mothers who work in non corporate spaces go back to work after six weeks because at a minimum you have to get met. And if you’re coming back early, your doctor, your treating physician, your nurse needs to sign off. In fact, you are fit to go back to work.

There are many, many women in South Africa who go back to work after six weeks who barely take eight weeks because they can’t afford to take a maintain. It’s not paid. So that’s what happens. What I also find that we don’t know a lot about is creating spaces for mothers to be able to breastfeed. So some corporates have a nursery and your child goes there.

So you are [00:11:00] supposed to have time to go pick up your little one and breastfeed them. If that is your option, of course in life, not all of us breastfeed by choice or whether we are able to or not. But also that time is meant to be done for expressing. I have seen some very sad spaces that women are expected to breastfeed.

And expected to express first in the toilet. The little, cleaning facilities, and there’s a mop next to you while you’re doing it, and someone puts a chair there, or it’s a boardroom, it’s very dreary, there are no windows, but there’s a couch, so you must be happy.

We don’t think about practical things, right? I mean, that means I have to walk across the building holding my breast pump, and everyone knows what’s in that bag. Everyone knows what’s in that bag. And so it’s meant to be a comfortable space. It’s meant to be a sanitary space and a clean space so I can be able to express, legally, it is 30 minutes times two.

So you’ve got 30 minute breaks over a course of your working day. Yes, you can make it into an hour by agreement with your employer. By law, it is [00:12:00] for the first six months of your child’s life. Now let’s think about it practically. Some organizations already offer a six month maternity leave. So their ask is that if you are the mother who needs the service, you need that, you would then approach your employer, your manager and say, I need for longer, I need for more time, I need to be able to have this facility and be able to work with the team to say, what are your needs and how do you need them?

So at a very basic, that’s how I look.

Meg: So, just to be super clear for my purposes, you saying that there’s an hour to express is written into law, is that what you’re saying for, for breastfeeding? Okay, that’s super interesting. I did not know that. And the other

Nolo: a whole code on that.

Meg: okay, excellent. Well, that’s important. And then the other thing that you said was that six weeks is compulsory to take as leave, but you also said that people don’t have to pay.

So you have to be off for six weeks, but you won’t necessarily be paid for that time. Is that correct?

Nolo: It’s part of a maternity leave. So again, this is a bit. So legally, the law says from a month before you give birth, you can take maternity leave. Most people [00:13:00] do not do that because you want to spend as much time with the baby as humanly possible. And I think I want to implore leaders and managers that while I respect wanting to be abiding of a law citizen, unless my doctor says I can’t be at work until a week or two if I give birth and if I’m still able and willing.

Thank you. It helps because it means I’ll have more time with my baby once I’ve given birth, because the, the, some people don’t want to be at home a month before, right, or can’t be a month before. So we have to make those balancing factors and think about not just from a ticking a box of the law, but practically what works as well for your people.

Meg: Interesting. So Stormme, a question for you around how you actually approach this with your boss. You’ve probably got a couple of conversations to have with your boss. The one is are you going to get paid at all? How long is your leave? What is your company policy? What about the breastfeeding policy, which I’m fascinated by? And then what about flexible work arrangements?

What is your advice for a mom who’s pregnant at the moment, who’s starting to get her head around this? How does she broach these questions and what should she be [00:14:00] asking? How does she actually move towards a positive outcome with her boss as she approaches this?

Stormme: Perfect. Yeah, I mean, I know, and I can say from experience, I did this horribly wrong the first time. So coming from somebody who did it wrong and giving advice, looking back if I were to do it again. So I think particularly when it comes to the subject, a lot of us feel very uncomfortable around it. A lot of us feel almost hugely apologetic that we having to now ask for these things or asking for change in our working conditions.

So I think the first thing is sit down, come up with a strategy in your own mind as to what do you want. And I think also go with a wishlist and go with, if you could have it exactly how you wanted it and what would make your life easier in terms of number one, doing your job, but number two, also being able to meet your family responsibilities.

So for example, being home at a certain time for bath time, maybe doing reduced hours, things like that. Go first up, draw up what you want and what, if you could have a [00:15:00] wishlist, it would be fine. Secondly, talk to other people in the company, get an idea of kind of what the company provides, what other people have gone through, what the kind of standard is out there.

Then, set a time aside with your boss, go to your boss, don’t be apologetic about it. So I think that, and I know from my experience, I kind of walked out. I was like, I’m really sorry that I have to do this. And I know, particularly in my instance, at that stage, I was one of the few females on management at the time in our company.

I was also one of the youngest females. And I was asking for something. That had never been asked kind of before. So I was asking for a new flexible arrangement. So there was this huge pressure. I kept being like, I’m really sorry I’m doing this and then premising it, but you know, I’ll deliver and don’t worry, I’ll still deliver.

So I think go in confidently, go with your wishlist and own it. Because I think if you put the confidence forward, your boss will also feel confident. You don’t kind of give this trepidation around it. So you go, hi, I’ve looked at it. You know, from a practical perspective, this is what I would like to ideally do, this is how I’d like to structure it, balance it, and you can always [00:16:00] check and say to them, you know, we’ll see how it works, everything else, but go in, try to set your kind of boundaries.

Also, I think, don’t doubt that you will do an amazing job, because you already have been at Doing an amazing job. You’ve really shown your employer that you’re competent and capable. You don’t have to go in and really say that, but go with your wishes and then kind of draw something that you think would work in terms of still being able to manage your work commitments and also then still being able to, you know, be home for bath time or whatever it is that’s important to you.

And also remember it can change over time. So you can say to your boss, can we try out this arrangement for X amount of time. Also, your baby or your child will grow and then it will change. Maybe you could work a bit later or your kind of details will change. So that could be my big advice. Get your kind of ducks in a row first.

Be confident about it and also

Meg: very, very interesting. So obviously there’s the baby in this whole piece as well. And Nolo, I mean, I’d love for you to share some ideas that you’ve got. I mean, [00:17:00] we’ve got to now start preparing ourselves to go back to work. We’ve now had the baby, we’ve had the conversation. We know what our boss is prepared to give us. And now we’re going to be starting to go back to work. And so we have to leave our babies for a period of time. So have you got any advice, as moms start to move towards this process and two or three weeks time, what should they be doing? What should they be putting in place?


Nolo: If I think back on and how I was trying to do it right to Stormme’s earlier point, we are so engineered as women to be strong and be resilient and come at it. I mean, the first thing, the first thing we could tell ourselves is that it’s going to be difficult. It will be uncomfortable. And if you are that mom who is rushing to go back to work, that’s also okay.

Cause there’s also this notion that we must all feel the same way about this experience, right? But if you are just like. I love my person, but my little baby is boring. I want to go to work. That’s amazing to please go to work. Don’t apologize and explain yourself. If you’re struggling, that is also okay, right?

It’s not a joke that in all honesty, you give birth, but you also give birth to yourself. So many of us spend so much time saying when I go back to who we used to be, you’ve changed the person fundamentally every

Meg: going to be there again.

Nolo: You are never going to be that person again. You might have elements of her in a few years.

I mean, it’s only this day, my third year, I go, Oh, there’s that girl. She still exists [00:19:00] somewhere in me, but I’m a different person. I have different priorities. I love my career. I love what I do, but equally, I really want to be present at home. Right? So I think that it’s that need to just, before we expect anyone else to understand for us to understand it, for us to be okay with it.

You are going to have separation anxiety, you are going to want to call home every two minutes. You want to have a video. Those things are normal. I struggle to get back to work. I found that, you know, those first few meetings, you just go, sure. Oh, that’s also fine. Give yourself the time to adjust.

Because here’s the thing, your little one will be absolutely in love with you every time you come home. Every day you walk through that door, they are going to be so happy and they’re going to be so smiley. And there’ll be days, may I just warn you, where you will feel like your child is loving up on the nanny more than you or the teacher at nursery school.

No one can replace you, nobody, because it just goes in stages. It’s that level of if you’ve got the support system and our village is different now, right? Our village [00:20:00] is not what it used to be. Lean into that as much as you possibly can. Sometimes we don’t do that because we want to be too resilient.

Please, it’s a long journey raising a child. You need your strength over time.

Meg: Yeah. So you mentioned there leaning into that support system and of course, again, support systems differ from country to country.

Nolo: Oh, yes.

Meg: in South Africa, Stormme, what are your thoughts and how do you advise people when they’re starting to look at, return to work childcare scenarios, you know, is it creches?

Is it nannies? Is it family? What do you recommend?

Stormme: What’s quite interesting is between myself and Nolo and then Lori, who’s in the States. All of us took very different approaches. So Lori sent her boys straight to daycare, we had a nanny in our house, Nols and them, they kind of co parented and helped raise, the little girl between them.

And I think the biggest thing to say is, number one, there is no right or wrong answer. There is only a right answer for your family and what you think works well for your family. [00:21:00] So sit down, see what you’re comfortable, discuss what your kind of options are. If you are going the daycare kind of route or nursery school route, go ask all the questions that you have, look into the various things.

Same kind of with the nanny, hiring somebody, do the interviews. Sit with them, all the rest of it. But I think in both cases, and no matter what you choose to do, I think the kind of key is number one, sitting back and dealing with your own emotions. And it recognize, you know, it is hard and it is tough.

And you do feel like, you know, there’s this constant mom guilt of being somebody else you look after your child and everything else, but I think first off, tell yourself, you’re not giving it to somebody else. You’re just doubling the love and you are going, and you know, you’re following your career, setting this amazing example to your child as well as to how you can go out into the world and achieve all your dreams.

So number one, you’re being an amazing role model, but number two, with the person that you are, whether it’s a teacher or a nanny, focus on communication, trust, relationships. You both [00:22:00] are going through the process together. So set out your objectives of these are the things that are really important to me. You know, the feeding schedules, the sleep schedules, all of those, share those in advance, do check ins, see how it’s going and build that trust. And there’s this beautiful thing where I know I can see it now being on the other end of it. When I went back to work with my son for the first time, I bawled my eyes out the whole way to work. It was so difficult. I felt like I was leaving him. I felt like I was this terrible mother. And now I have this beauty of hindsight where, we have this nanny who is wonderful and amazing and my sons have doubled the love. So they have two moms in effect who love and adore him. And we have this great relationship where we are both contributing to, and my husband as well of course, but to these beautiful humans,

Meg: Yeah, absolutely. So, Nolo, I mean, there’s so many different routes that a mum can choose to go. She can choose to work from home, and work for a big corporate from home, because we now have that post COVID. She can choose to [00:23:00] re chart her course in her career and leave her corporate job and actually Do a startup herself.

She can choose to return to an office nine to five, very boundaried work hours. What are your thoughts? And this is probably a, maybe a bit of an unfair question because it’s hugely individual, but what are your thoughts? Who has it easier? The work from home juggling at all, have my own business, or flexi time mom, or the mom who can actually exit the home, close the door, come back in the evening and she has compartmentalized roles. What do you think?

Nolo: think we are all working very hard. I think mom guilt will have you whether you are upstairs from your child or whether you are in an office a few kilometers away from your child. I also then have to think, you know, those of us who are privileged to even have the choice shouldn’t get loose out of that because there are moms who don’t have the choice.

They have to get up and go to work because there’s no other alternative, right? So even having the choice is such a privilege. I think, so much energy has been saying, [00:24:00] if you’re at home, you’re working, being at home is exhausting. It’s not fun. I, I don’t want to do dishes. I don’t want to do laundry.

I don’t, I don’t want to, right? So anyone who I feel, no, So that in itself is a full time job, right? And just that, that’s not having the stimulation because when you go out of work, you miss your child daily, but you’re stimulated. You’re at home. Yes, you’re with your child, but you’re missing this level of stimulation.

So I think the level of empathy and compassion for both sides, for all sides, in fact, I think it is hard either way. I think a lot of moms feel as if there is something they’re not doing right. They feel as if the decision that they’ve made is not the right one, you know. I, I was very guilty when I eventually took my little one to nursery school.

She was there the whole day because I was working from home and I was like, I can’t have her. I’ll never get any work done. But trust me, every hour that passed, I was just like, I’m such a bad mother. I’m such a bad mother, but, but . So, so I think it is hard from different aspects. It is complicated in different [00:25:00] ways.

It’s also a gift that we get to choose when we can. What I’m trying to be better at personally is to be present in every moment. So if I am out of the office, I’m out of the house, then to really be at work, I’ll still miss my child. I might show everyone her photo. I apologize, but I try to be in work mode.

If I’m out with friends, I try to be there so that when I’m home, I can put my phone aside and be with her because it actually affects If I spend 10 minutes focused on it, she’s very happy and off she goes. I think when we try to do it all, that’s when we are then, we split focus. And our children, it’s because we have quantity, but the quality then becomes a problem.

So I’m really, really working at that this year. Just can I be present in that moment and be that person in that moment? It’s not perfect. Some days I’m miserable while I’m out with friends and I want to be at home. And then I get home and I go, Oh, she’s nagging me. Why am I here? So, so it’s just about that, that level of compassion for yourself as well, that we give others, right?

Um, that

Meg: I love. Yeah. And I love that. You talk about being in the moment, you know, a couple of years ago, I went on a [00:26:00] mindfulness journey. This is probably going back about six years now and have actually been on one ever since. And mindfulness is incredible like that. It’s very much about being in the moment, being present.

Whether it’s a mindful walk where I’m listening to the birds and smelling the flowers. That’s mindfulness for me, whether it is lying flat on my back, trying to fall asleep and being mindful about the feelings within my body. And that’s mindfulness. Now, now you talk, and this is what I really loved.

And I was quite drawn to the name of your business, which is Mindful Return to work, because it kind of speaks to that. And so I guess, as we start to wind this conversation up Stormme, maybe you can give us a little bit of context with regards to the name Mindful Return to Work and what is it to be mindful as we start to return to work as parents.

Stormme: Yeah, perfect. Thanks. So I think What we kind of realized, particularly in going through your working motherhood journey, it takes lots of different aspects to it. So the, all the logistics, you know, the feeding and everything as they get older, taking them to school and everything [00:27:00] else, there’s all the logistics around it.

There’s the flexibility, but actually one of the biggest key elements in order to get through this and in order to manage this is the mindful aspects around motherhood. So it really goes to confidence. It goes to gratitude. It goes to perspective. Because it’s very easy to kind of get mom guilt is a big one that comes, you know, and takes over a lot of us, particularly when you’re in the working mother context.

So how do you take those moments number one for yourself to kind of be aware? You know where you are to kind of appreciate and see the things to take in those small moments You do have with your children and to kind of manage that To everything. So what I’ve kind of found is the biggest thing is you can’t just be amazing at managing all the logistics and have these fantastic schedules and everything else because if you’re not dealing with the mindful aspects of it as well and kind of seeing things because you’re going to have good days, you’re going to have bad days and you need to have the perspective and to see, you know, when everything falls apart and you have a really bad day, it’s okay. You have tomorrow. And you have this kind of [00:28:00] Beauty in the fact that you’re raising these kids, but also trying to manage your career. And it’s stressful and it’s hard and it’s difficult. But if you have the tools and practices in place from a mindfulness perspective, in terms of having kind of gratitude practice, seeing the things that you have that are really great, it kind of flows into the other aspects of your life.

And it underpins kind of everything and helps it all come together to be able to manage everything a lot easier and a lot better.

Meg: Oh, I really, really love that. And, moms, I’ve had a sneak peek at the course content that’s going into the parent sense app from mindful return to work. And it is very focused on, I guess we can call it the soft stuff. And, you know, I always hate that word. People talk about, you should never talk about soft skills that humans have, you know, when they’re going for jobs or when they’re developing themselves, because those are the core capacities that are so important and the same way.

Soft stuff around returning to work that goes beyond the maternity leave and the practicals of which nanny looks after my child. The soft stuff is actually really the hard [00:29:00] stuff. It’s really, really important. So, I love the fact that you cover that off so well. And moms, if you are looking for this course, it is inside the parent sense app, or it will be any day now.

It’s called mindful return to work. I think that’s what our title is for it. And if you’re wanting more information though, and you want to actually do a much deeper dive, because the course that’s going into the app is going to be light. But there’s a much deeper dive that you can do. And that’s a process with Nolo and Stormme.

So maybe one of you can just share with us a little bit about how people get in touch with you and what service you offer.

Nolo: I think the first thing we are on Instagram, like all the cool kids, at Mindful Return South Africa, and, you can reach, reach out to us at literally Nolo and Storm Mindful return.com, like our two names put together. It’s easy to remember right. But also mindful return online, you can just Google Mindful Return and you will find everything that you need there.

But I think we, and I say we in a very, it’s more like Stormme is a, is a whiz at the social media stuff, but they’re on Instagram, we try and really have a [00:30:00] presence because for us, it’s about creating the community. You know, earlier we’re saying how the village has changed, the support has changed.

We really think that there’s a space to create a community, whether we may be in different countries, different provinces. Where we find support for each other because as mothers, as women, as we’re trying to do all other things in life, it’s nice to have a space where, you know, you can vent and no one, cause, cause as a mother, you have to say, I don’t like it, but I love my child.

We don’t need you to explain that. We know you love being a mother. We know you. Your child, you can just come in if you’re having a good day or a bad day or an okay day, and have a place where you can talk about that. So the course, we run over a four week period, the full course, and we cover different aspects from the logistics to the mindfulness, meditation, the skills, the resources, even easy recipes that you can make quickly, quickly.

So we try to make it as extensive as possible. And of course we cover the hard stuff as well. Like how do you go about the legal stuff? So we’ve tried to put that in to make it as resourceful as humanly possible.

Stormme: [00:31:00] And then on the website, you can sign up to different courses. So we’ve obviously got the maternity course, we’ve got a paternity course, we’ve got a course for managers, we’ve got courses for special needs parents. But guys, if you just are looking for some general parent support and somebody else who’s going through the same thing, you can also sign up to newsletters on that or follow us on Instagram or on LinkedIn and we put different articles relating to, you know, working parenthood and what’s topical or what we are struggling with personally as well.

Meg: Amazing. So you’ve really got it all covered. You’ve got the community, which is massive of moms returning to work. And then you’ve also got the actual course that people can move through with more of the practicalities. So, if you are returning to work, if you are going on maternity leave soon, I think this is an essential mom.

So definitely do go and look it up. And it’s Mindful Return on Instagram and yeah, we will see you out there on the ground. Thank you so much, Nolo. Thank you, Stormme. I really appreciate your time.

Nolo: Thank you. Thank you for making the time, Meg. Love being here.

Meg: Thank you.

Stormme: Thanks Meg.


Meg faure

Meg Faure

Hi, I’m Meg Faure. I am an Occupational Therapist and the founder of Parent Sense. My ‘why’ is to support parents like you and help you to make the most of your parenting journey. Over the last 25 years, I’ve worked with thousands of babies, and I’ve come to understand that what works for fussy babies works just as well for all babies, worldwide.