March is the month where we celebrate many things including Mother's Day and International Women's Day so I thought it appropriate to feature some inspiring mums and we'll be showcasing them throughout March - hope you enjoy the "March of Inspiring Mums" series!
Today we share the story of Anna Williamson, a truly inspiring (and busy!) lady who's not only a very proud mum to her 18 month old son, Enzo, but is also a television presenter, radio broadcaster, mind coach, counsellor and now the author of two books, most recently publishing ‘Breaking Mum and Dad: This Insider’s Guide to Parenting Anxiety'. She is also an Ambassador for Mind, Childline and The Prince's Trust.
1. Tell me a little about yourself and how you got into the job you’re now doing?
I started out presenting children’s television shows, however, behind closed doors was suffering from a battle with generalised anxiety disorder. Once I began speaking out about my experiences, I realised there was a huge stigma attached to mental health issues and to help fight these I joined mental health charity Mind as an official ambassador. Since 2009, I’ve also studied and qualified as a counsellor, life coach and Master NLP practitioner and now run my own private coaching practice.
While pregnant with Enzo, I wrote ‘Breaking Mad’ which shared my own experiences of being diagnosed with anxiety and challenged the myths around this, and I am proud to say it was a national bestseller. This March, I have just published my second book ‘Breaking Mum and Dad: This Insider’s Guide to Parenting Anxiety', which is aimed at parents coping with all that a new baby can bring, focussing on mental health and anxiety and offering practical advice.
Tell me one interesting fact about you?
I trained for Dancing on Ice several years ago and was doing quite well....until I broke my ankle in training and had to pull out of the show! If that wasn't bad enough I was also due to play Cinderella in panto at the same time ....I ended up being Cinderella in a plaster cast!
Please can you share 3 tips for managing the juggle of motherhood, life and business?
1) Be kind to yourself! Having a child is one hell of an amazing achievement so don't feel you have to be perfect in any way, especially when you’re juggling a career too!
2) Utilise help. You can even ask for babysitters in the way of in-laws and friends.... give yourself an hour here and there (on top of work and spending time with your baby) to catch up on yourself. Have a bath, a nap, read a magazine... people WILL want to help, just be brave and ask.
3) Talk it out! Being a parent is a cocktail of emotions and feelings and keeping those thoughts in can fester so find likeminded mum pals who are juggling parenting and a career and don't be afraid to offload and share how you're feeling – it only takes one person to start the conversation!
What's the best piece of advice you could give a new mum?
Spend quality time with your baby. Often, we're so manic with feeding and changing routines that we can forget to take time to just 'be' with your baby. Lie on the bed together, skin to skin and just look at and cuddle your baby and take in every detail of your wonderful little being and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Colour can make a real difference to our mood - what’s your favourite colour? And how does it make you feel when you wear it?
Cobalt blue. It's such a fresh bright blue and I always get compliments when I wear it for some reason. It makes me feel happy.
What’s your favourite activity to do with your family?
I love taking my son swimming on Saturdays... we've been going to the same class since he was 16 weeks old and he's gone from being a tiny baby who wasn't too keen on water to being such a water baby! He just loves splashing about and learning how to swim...it's wonderful mum/baby bonding time and he's so so happy in the pool.
What do you like to do for some me-time?
I really like to read and write, I also just took a few days out to go skiing with a friend which was bliss! If I have some spare dosh, I book a massage too.
Anna you are truly inspirational - not only juggling all aspects of your life but also sharing your story about anxiety with the aim to help others - thanks for sharing your advice and tips with us today.
Anna's latest book "Breaking Mum and Dad: The Insider’s Guide to Parenting Anxiety" is published by Green Tree and is available to buy on Amazon here
If you've enjoyed this interview, make sure you check out our other "March of Inspiring Mums" series here