Motherhood looks different for everyone, and is largely shaped by each woman’s social, economic, and cultural context. It seems like an obvious statement, right? But you could argue that mums across the globe are only just starting to break the parenting glass ceiling when it comes to choosing a style that suits their lifestyle and personal beliefs. New mums often speak about the reality of 'mum shaming' and the judgement that can come around balancing a career and family, so, to help on our mission to create a free space for women to thrive in their own authentic way, we chatted to, mother of two, entrepreneur, wife and influencer, Marcia Leone about her own motherhood and business journey and what she’s learned along the way.
Launching her blog NOT SO MUMSY in 2011, originally, Leone wanted to bridge the gap between sartorial and parenting blogs, by creating a wide-ranging array of content that all mothers could relate to. Since launch, the platform has also opened up an e-commerce element and nabbed some impressive talent, like Kelly Rowland and Jaime King.
Keep scrolling for Marica’s wisdom on parenting your own way and juggling a career and family, while fulfilling your own dreams.
We should be taught to trust our own instinct more and not judge others for whatever their choices. We are all doing the best we can.
MyDomaine Australia: Did you always see yourself being a mother?
Marcia Leone: "I always had a vague notion that I would have kids 'one day', but marriage and children definitely weren’t 'the dream' for myself growing up. My 20’s were focused on career, travel, and having fun. It wasn’t until I turned 30 that I felt any kind of maternal drive."
MD: How did you know it was the right time for you to start a family?
ML: "My husband wanted kids as soon as we got married. I didn’t feel ready, so I booked a trip to Cambodia, volunteered in orphanages, and cycled across the country to raise money for charity. Six months of intense fundraising coupled with my busy job in television meant I had a good 'excuse' to stall our baby plans.
As soon as I got back, I felt a shift, and after not falling pregnant the first month we tried, all of a sudden I had babies on the brain, it was all I could focus on. We then embarked on a four-month "pre-conception" plan with our naturopath to become super healthy and conceived Archie the first month after the program."
MD: Are there any pressures or stereotypes that you found to exist with parents, that you’d like to see eliminated?
ML: "The (contradictory) advice from everyone! As soon as you fall pregnant, everyone has an opinion on what you should and shouldn’t do, and that only manifests once you have the baby. The notion that there is a right and wrong way to do everything from feeding to sleeping and eating, automatically leads to judgments, and often mum-shaming. We should be taught to trust our own instinct more and not judge others for whatever their choices. We are all doing the best we can."
MD: Both you and your husband are very professionally ambitious people, how do you both juggle your personal, familial and professional life?
ML: "To be honest, with great difficulty. My husband is the founder and creative director of an international eyewear brand—which is obviously a demanding role. So, with both of us running our own businesses, there is no real downtime or maternity leave when you have a new baby.
We are busier than ever and don’t have any family help, so scheduling becomes the priority. We designate pick ups, drop offs and try to ebb and flow depending on each other’s schedule. If Dave is overseas for a few weeks, he will take some time the week before and after to give me a chance to get ahead and catch up.
Being a mum is my first priority, so I fit work in around my kids, which means 20 minutes here and there in between school drop off, pick up, extracurricular activities and nap times. So realistically, you will usually find me working at 10pm when everyone’s in bed! I’ve learned that I can’t do it all at 100 percent and sometimes you have to let go of perfection and just get shit done."
MD: What do you hope to achieve most from your online presence?
ML: "I set out to create a global community of like-minded women. A place of inspiration, shared stories and self-care. A platform that features interviews with A-list celebrities like Jaime King and Kelly Rowland, alongside regular mothers who are equally inspiring, whether that be juggling motherhood and business or battling to create awareness for their sick children. I want to show that no matter what our profile, we are all first and foremost mothers who face the same daily triumphs and challenges.
Social goodness has also been another key driver to building this platform. I have partnered with charities including Mothers2Mothers, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Preemptive Love and Oxfam. As well as creating awareness, I recently launched a label which donates a percentage of profits to these causes."
MD: How do you think motherhood has been changing in the last decade?
ML: "I feel there is a real modern-mama movement, particularly online. It’s become cool to be a mum, something you wear as a badge of honour. You just have to look at fashion houses and magazines covers embracing motherhood to realise it’s become fashionable.
At the same time, I feel like we are becoming more open and real about the challenges, as well as the joys of motherhood—in fact, the challenges of being a woman in general. There is a real shift and sense of sisterhood and empowerment. Now we just have to work on those who shame others."
MD: What are some of the most profound lessons you have learnt as a parent and wife so far?
ML: "Your children will teach you probably more than you teach them. I’ve learned patience (still a work-in-progress), gratitude and that each day is a new beginning. This goes for marriage as well! The most profound thing I’ve learned is that family really is everything."