Belinda Bow has launched an illustrated children's book called But she still has time for me to help children understand that just because mums are busy at home, go to work or have work, it doesn't mean they are any less important. The book is also a great reminder for mums that they are all doing the best we can.
But she still has time for me presents various scenarios of busy mothers; housekeeping, working from home, at the office, on a site or in a shop, and then demonstrates through the whimsical illustrations of artist Ina Kuhfuss, how mums will always have the time to spend nurturing, feeding, playing and having fun with their children, even in the smallest and simplest way.
'All mums work 24/7," says author Belinda Bow, who is also the founder of Australia's first marketing franchise, Green Chilli Marketing. 'But irrespective of what they do, how they are feeling or where they work - be it staying at home or pursuing a career - they will still have the time to spend with their children and they still want to make each child feel valued as an individual."
'For so many of us though, the time with our children versus time spent doing other things like working, getting on top of the housework, cooking a meal or attending a meeting is really troubling. Mums end up feeling a sense of guilt and dissatisfaction with their lives because they think they need to balance it all out when, in fact, this equation is impossible."
'No one is harder on mums than themselves, and other mums. Most of the time, we are constantly striving for everything to be perfect, and just so or needlessly compete with each other. All this does is promote useless mummy guilt." said Belinda.
In addition, there is still a prevailing sub-conscious belief in our society that one way of raising children is better than another, for instance, being a stay-at-home mum is better than working part time, or working fulltime outside the home.
This is despite multiple recent studies that have shown that a working mum has a favourable effect on her children's wellbeing and academic performance. Mums derive huge benefits such as improved self-esteem and confidence from working and having time to look after themselves. All of these in turn benefit their children. What's often missed is the fact that if they wanted to, all mothers are able to parent in ways that, from their child's perspective, really matter.
'As a mum who has chosen to retain her career, I have lost count of the number of times people have commented about my choice and asked whether or not I feel guilty," continued Belinda. 'I don't need to buy into all the comment because this is what I know – having a career has made me a better mum. I know that being fulfilled intellectually has meant that when I stop work, I am there for my family 100%. It is hard, it is tiring, but it is so worthwhile.
'I talk to our kids about what I do and how important it is to mummy, not just financially but for the family. We have a son and a daughter and I know that the example that my husband and I set is going to be something they take on board when they choose their path. I just want them to know that they can choose whatever path they want. I firmly believe that parenting should be all about personal choice and acceptance," added Belinda.
'I have been in the marketing industry for many years and I realised that other marketing mums wanted what I have – choice. So I felt it was natural to branch out and develop the Green Chilli Marketing Franchise, where the legwork has been done and I'm here to offer my experience and support the journey. Plus, you get to choose your own work and family mix and your clients!
'The bottom line is, regardless of the choices made, the only right or wrong decision a mum can make, is about having quality time with her child/children. Simply interacting with our children mindfully when we are together reaps great rewards for everyone."
Belinda adds, 'The message of the book is really simple. Children will know their mums love them and want to spend time with them - regardless of how frantically busy they may be sometimes.
'With But she still has time for me I want to honour mothers everywhere, making choices to live their lives and to stay their authentic self at home, work and outside work. We can still put our physical and mental wellbeing and family first without sacrificing a rewarding career or job or home life."
With each book sold, a donation will be made to Got Your Back Sista, a charity committed to helping women and children rebuild their life after escaping domestic violence.
'My mum loves me.
My mum takes care of me.
My mum cooks dinner.
My mum is funny.
My mum has fun shoes.
My mum makes sure my clothes fit.
My mum helps me do my homework.
My mum works hard.
My mum is busy.
But my mum always has time for me!"
Belinda Bow is passionate about life and dedicated to her chosen charities.
In her spare time, she is a devoted wife and mother, a marketing industry veteran and the founder of Green Chilli Marketing, Australia's first marketing business-in-a-box franchise.
Belinda doesn't subscribe to the notion of work-life balance because she doesn't believe it exists. Instead she knows life and work are a continuum; with ebbs and flows, but the only difference is that clients are willing to pay for her help.
When she isn't working with her clients, Belinda is an Ambassador for 3 Angels Nepal, building homes with Habitat for Humanity.
Belinda has written a children's book But she still has time for me to help children understand that just because mums go to work/have work, it doesn't mean they are any less important.
She is a Certified Practising Marketer and an Associate Fellow of the Australian Marketing Institute.
Ina Kuhfuss is an illustrator and designer who has been painting since childhood. She is a multidisciplinary artist with skills and interests in illustration, painting and print design.
But she still has time for me
Author: Belinda Bow
Illustrator: Ina Kuhfuss
Question: Why did you write But she still has time for me?
Belinda Bow: When I became a mum, I realised that regardless of the choices we make with respect to choosing a job and career or staying at home, the only right or wrong decision mums can make, is about having quality time with our children. Simply interacting with them mindfully when we are together reaps great rewards for everyone and this is a message I knew I had to share. As mums, we're all doing the best we can for our kids. We're busy, pulled in all directions and even perhaps a little guilty about it. I wanted this book to remind mums that we are doing what we can for our children and that it's not just about buying things and the big stuff in life, we relish the little moments and make them meaningful and important.
I also wanted the book to be a way to reassure our kids that even though we're busy, we'll always make time for them.
Question: What do you hope children take from But she still has time for me?
Belinda Bow: Simply, children will know their mums love them and want to spend time with them - regardless of how busy they may be sometimes. I hope children will read this and are reminded of the experiences with their mums that have been so special; whether it's playing a game or having a water fight in the backyard or watching a movie together or playing in the park. Children know life is more than just the big things or gifts and that their mums may be busy, but that they are loved and cared for in so many ways and these are the things that matter in life.
Question: How important is this book for working mothers?
Belinda Bow: Working mums will see themselves in the text and imagery and see that even though they may be working or very busy at home or both - it's all ok! We need to remind ourselves that it is ok to earn a living, to have a career and even take time out for ourselves. It doesn't make us any less of a mum! And that ultimately it's being their authentic self at work and at home and keeping things real that are going to ease off that pressure in the day.
Question: What advice do you have for mothers who feel guilty about returning to work after having children?
Belinda Bow: I talk to many women who feel guilty, but it's all about finding your own work/life path, rather than being defined by someone else's version or balance. We all focus on what we are not doing, but instead we need to focus on what we are doing. It is often surprising how things improve when we look at the positive things we do for our kids no matter how small we perceive them to be. And when we think we are not doing the best we can, we need to talk to ourselves as we would our children: be kind and remind yourself that you're doing the best you can and that's absolutely ok.
Question: Can you tell us about Got Your Back Sista - the charity the book is supporting?
Belinda Bow: With each book sold, a donation will be made to Got Your Back Sista, a charity which supports women and children who have escaped domestic violence situations and helps them to rebuild their life. Women who have been referred by women's refuges are given new furniture and household goods to provide them the practical help they need to ensure they do not return to abusive situations. Got Your Back Sista helps to break that cycle.
Interview by Brooke Hunter
But she still has time for me
Author: Belinda Bow
Illustrator: Ina Kuhfuss