Bio Heather James, Inspiring Mums®
"Toot Toot!" Thanks for stopping by to discover Inspiring Mums® and who's driving this Inspiring "GO TRAIN!" That'll be Me... :D
I'm one of the REAL Housewives of Melbourne!
It's not all heels and bubbles you know, some days you'll find me jumping on the trampoline, getting dirty making sand castles and pulling silly faces on the iPad with the kids just for fun!
That's the reality of modern families these days, just ask any of my Inspiring Mums® Community, they'll back me on that!
An imperfect mum to a my two little offspring, creative Jazmin girl who's 10 going on 25, a super active, sensory boy who is 5, David, and equally active Beagle, Roxy!
Yep! It's a simple life in modern suburbia, but it's ours and we love it!
But it didn't start out all roses and sunshine for me though. It's been a hell of a journey to reach this point in life of peace and happiness. But, please..."Don't judge a book by its cover!" - there hasn't been a 'silver spoon life' for me, this smile took YEARS to create and I'm keepin' it thanks!
I've created a life that works for our family and lifestyle. I have flexibility as a work at home mum (WAHM), mumpreneur, ausmumpreneur, business mum, business woman, entrepreneur, mummy blogger - whatever you want to call me, I'm ok with it! I aim to grow and be inspired for life every day, even the bad days. And yes, I have them too!
The "Story" - Everyone's got one!
Looking at the photo of me with my family above happy and smiling, you wouldn't know that within the last five years I have been overcoming post trauma, PND and depression, as I faced my own mortality in a serious car accident. I am still managing injuries but I am getting better day by day, with a positive and inspired mindset and attitude.
More significantly the main reason for Inspiring Mums® because I witnessed the result of my mother's suicide at the tender age of 3 and a half. Just imagine seeing your own mother lying on the loungeroom floor in her own blood, next to her the hunting rifle she just used, then having to tell the police what happened "Mummy's dead and there's blood all over the floor" I said to the police.
Haunting isn't it?
NO CHILD or family should go through this kind of trauma! It's been my purpose and mission since 2009 to help mums Smile & Shine® from the inside out, to stop this from happening to another mother and family.
Yes it is sad and very tragic and so many questions unanswered for our family, but one thing we know is that severe Post-Natal Depression (PND) was the trigger and cause of her life changing decision to end it all. Significant contributors were the loss of her first born son at just 3 weeks of age, to suffering 7 miscarriages, being institutionalised, treated with Lithium and given electric shock therapy for treatment of her mental illness. She was diagnosed as Schizophrenic - now we believe it was PND which turned to a psychosis see PANDA for more information on PND and beyondblue for further support resources, contacts and tools.
I forgive her and love her unconditionally. I also thank her for not taking me and my siblings with her, because now, we can help others with her story and maybe save a family from experiencing a similar fate. Mum was only 32 years old, she left 4 young children; 6 months, 2, 3.5 and 5 and her loving husband.
The years that followed had us growing up very quickly! While dad worked 3 jobs, we did everything around the house; cleaning, washing, mowing lawns, shopping, cooking meals and all while trying to do well at school.
But we did also grow up in constant fear that my father would kill himself, coming home from school was a frightening experience to be honest. I hated school and I hated going home because of the fear. For that reason and others, I was a very poorly performing school student. A question I'd ask myself every day was "am I going to find dad dead when I get home?" the thought was sickening.
His suicidal threats were real and the emotional evidence was chilling and destructive on so many levels, we were too young to manage this, so anger, violence and fighting were commonplace in our home; the fear we all felt was palpable.
Dad would leave us for days on end, to be alone or to go "walkabout" as we called it, he needed to contemplate his existence. Even when we were as young as 5, only to come home to tell us he was going to kill himself, we always felt we were to blame for mum's death. It's just how he dealt with the pain and grief.
I remember when I was only about 6 or 7 we were sent to a safe house and then fostered out to a family for several months because dad threatened to kill us all if we weren't taken away immediately. He was going through a nervous breakdown at the time from the suppressed grief. We all forgive him and thank him for not taking our lives or his own.
My dad is an eccentric and but extremely talented Australian Artist and Art Teacher, who has battled his entire life through, alcoholism, anxiety, grief and loneliness. But he's a smart and very sensitive man, he always loved us even when he was falling apart at the seams, we had clothes even if they weren't new, we had food even if he had to go to spearfish to get it. We didn't even have school uniforms for the 6 different primary schools we attended each year either. We were known as the 'poor kids' in the school, always facing bullying and isolation because we were different.
We didn't have the best of anything, but what we didn't have in "things" we had in love and commitment. We lived in government funded housing commission in the south-west suburbs of Sydney. I remember one time we needed carpet over the floor boards as the house was freezing, dad found a home that had been burnt and abandoned and put the carpet in our loungeroom. It smelled of fire for a good 2 years, it was a filthy gray colour with burn marks.
In the kitchen, the previous tenants had ripped up the lino flooring and left a sticky residue, that we simply had to live with. It was vile, it made me feel sick. The bathroom was simply disgusting and covered in mould. In fact the house was extremely damp, the bedrooms had mould on the walls most of the time, despite our efforts to clean it off. Cleaning the clothes in the bath was routine, as was mowing the knee high grass around the house. My thoughts were, at least we have a roof over our heads.
Art & Creativity Kept My Father Alive...
But that was our reality, even in this modern world. My Dad has only recently diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, which explains sooo much in our lives. A very challenging mental health illness and one that was never managed by anyone.
While my father was always on the edge of life or death, he was still our rock. Deep down all that pain and misery, he is a good father and now a good grandfather, a role I never thought he would have. So grateful.
So, I give thanks to my father for the strength and creativity I learned from him which has given me a very successful design and creative career. His resilience in life through thick and thin has helped me be a strong woman, wife and mother. I just love a quote he used to say to me:
He's shown me through living as we did, how to find the strength in the toughest of days and to ask for help when you need it most. He's my mum and my dad and he has been a significant influence in my life in career and parenting. I am proud to be his daughter and proud to be able to share our family story to help others and thank him and my siblings for allowing me to do this via Inspiring Mums®.
For 4 years I had worked as a Specialist Corporate Banking Desktop Publisher/Intranet Administrator for National Australia Bank in Sydney. I was on a very generous salary package, working in the city centre.
I really loved my job, it was the best I'd ever had. And, yeah, I've had a few! We had our first child, took a year off maternity leave and we purchased our first property, a 2 bedroom unit, after saving hard for nearly 2 years. Our unit was getting too small for our little family and we wanted a house for our family to grow... So we decided to make a big move.... to Melbourne!
Our New Life In Melbourne Started With A Bang!
We moved to Melbourne March 2008, closer to my husbands family who moved from the UK to live here permanently. It meant that I had a mother figure in my life with my lovely Mother in law and grandparents for our daughter. A fresh start to a better life or so we hoped...
I started working as a full time Corporate Senior Graphic Designer for the largest Insurance company in the world as soon as we moved. The office was based on city fringe of Melbourne, which I had to drive an hour and 45 minutes to and from 5 days a week. It was a tough because my daughter was only about 2 at the time and in long day care and I missed her so much :(
But, it all went downhill on 30 September 2008 when I was in a serious car accident.
I was hit from behind while stationary in a queue of cars, forced into the path of an oncoming car that also hit me, sending my car into a 360 degree spin. I ended up on an embankment facing the way I just came from, narrowly missing a large tree and building with plate glass windows!
Yes, very frightening and I am very lucky to be in one piece! My life flashed before my eyes that's for sure! It still haunts me to this day.
The lack of support from my employer during the recovery didn't help at all. I was so medicated for the pain and spasms, my head was in a tailspin and I was slipping into post trauma and depression fast. I was on a TAC return to work program, which failed terribly with my employer unfortunately. By May 2009, I had deteriorated significantly, so I was forced to resign to focus on my recovery and face the financial burdens this would create for our family.
I was feeling very much unemployable and trapped, I was on the blame train for a long time.
I was seriously depressed.
I just wanted to leave everyone and everything.
I felt like a burden to everyone; they couldn't understand the dramatic change in me from a once bubbly, quirky, creative, active woman, to a self destructive, withdrawn, depressed, weakened lifeless person.
Thankfully, my family and self managed creative therapy helped me through the darkest days and nights.
The Birth of Inspiring Mums®...
Not being one to sit still for long and very eager to contribute to our home finances, (which had been slashed in half!) I pushed on to start my own branding, graphic and web design business: Introspect Design Initiate. Innovate. Ignite®.
Despite not being able to hold my head up for long to work at the computer, I powered on because quite frankly we needed the money to pay our mortgage! That is what my dad instilled in me, keep that roof over your head by all means! And we did!
On 30 June 2009, I had a 'Vision' in my minds eye of the words "Inspiring Mums" and before I had time to realise it, I was on the phone registering the business name. I knew I was starting something very special as I recall I said to myself:
"What the *bleep* have I done?!" and sooo...
Inspiring Mums® was born!
I put together Creative Awareness Workshops based on the method I used to help myself recover from depression.
The workshops were held at an empty room in a local ABC Childcare Centre.
The workshops were found by Network 10's program "9am with David & Kim" on the Kidspot website were I simply had a Group called "Creative Mums" and the advert as the image with only 8 mums in the group. They came to the workshops and filmed us and they aired a 4 minutes interview with me and the group of mums at the workshop.
I had only been in business for less than 5 months when the media caught on and it didn't stop there... see my Press! page for more media features and interviews. Even I was impressed with how I was getting covered, even without a media kit, press release or any PR!
I couldn't trademark Inspiring Mums® fast enough and I grateful to own the trademark in Australia!
The Evolution of Inspiring Mums®...
Over the years Inspiring Mums® has evolved, as I have evolved in business and in life, but most significantly in motherhood.
I had my son nearly 4 years ago giving me a healthy pigeon pair, which I am uber grateful for. I have used this opportunity to be a stay at home mum (SAHM) and document my motherhood journey via microblogging with Instagram.
This satisfied my creative needs and gave me the creative therapy needed to over from my own Post Natal Depression (PND) after my son was born. I didn't do it just for me or other mums, but for my kids. What I've missed in life, being a motherless daughter, is not having any positive memories of my mother, only the day she died.
I know that if I leave this world tomorrow my kids have documentary in photos, writing and videos that I love them, that I captured moments they can't even remember, but I was there, always there for them. Most importantly for my peace of mind, they have visual memories of us together, happy, healthy, having fun, enjoying life together as a family.
Educating Mothers in Life & Business...
Through the evolution of Inspiring Mums® and my own business and personal transformation, I've been naturally drawn to coaching and educating others. I'm not shy in saying that I'm pretty good at it too, because I like to connect, listen, talk and I think outside of the square.
I draw on my 15 years of graphic design, online skills and knowledge as a business owner to coach mothers to share their story, make a difference to others, start a blog or business and create the life they want. This is the most powerful way I can impact and help mums Smile & Shine® from the inside out!
This why Inspiring Mums® will continue to authentically grow and evolve for many more years to come into a household name.
Mums are not stupid, they are very savvy and well connected women and we need to give them the resources to grow and achieve amazing things! They are an influential force to be reckoned with, whom can contribute greatly to the economy and social enterprise in our community!
A Household Name
I'm a proud Life and Business Coach, Speaker for women and mothers in business and blogging, a trainer in business, networking and social media, an aspiring Author and blogger.
It is my focus and commitment to ensure Inspiring Mums® is a household name to put a smile on the faces of mothers and families around the world, with inspiring quotes, motivational talks, useful tools for life, work and business resources to help them see the life they can live, ask for help when they need it and step up to help others.
Connecting with Me is Easy Peasy!...
If you'd like to know more about me, Inspiring Mums® or work with me, simply call me on 0416 298 942 I am available between 10am - 2pm Tues, Wed, Fri, on the weekends I'm waist deep in washing, dishes, toys and groceries ;)
With Inspiration & Courage