Our "March of Inspiring Mums" interview series celebrates women who are doing some amazing things, whether through business, a campaign or just being fabulous!
Sally Marks is our latest Inspiring Mum interviewee. Not only is she a mum to two boys (9 and 6 years old) but she is also a Freelance Graphic Designer and a part-time lecturer on a Graphic Design degree course. She also runs her company, TotsUp Ltd, an idea that came whilst potty training her son!
Today Sally shares with us why list-making, celebrating the little (and big) things plus pyjama days are key to Mum life!
Tell me a little about yourself and how you got into the job you’re now doing?
The idea for the red bus reward chart originally came about when I worked with a child with autism but resurfaced when my son was potty training. He was really motivated by a reward chart but found the traditional format of rows and columns a bit tricky to understand.
Both my boys loved anything with wheels and at the time the red bus was just a digital print with stickers but as friends saw it and asked about it, I realised there might be scope to develop it. Following extensive research and development and a successful crowdfunding campaign, the TotsUp red bus reward chart and iOS app launched in autumn 2015, that’s making parenting a bit easier! I am currently working on a second product.
Tell me one interesting fact about you?
I’m not sure how interesting it is but I am currently secretly learning how to do a Rubik’s Cube (which takes a lot of patience and considerable YouTubing!) in order to surprise my boys (who may well have their own children by the time I crack it!)
Please can you share 3 tips for managing the juggle of motherhood, life and business?
1. For me it’s all about lists. I love a ‘to do’ list and wouldn’t remember half of what I need to do in a week without one.
2. Celebrate the wins… in business and motherhood! No matter how small. Historically, I haven’t been very good at this, as I’m often so caught up in what’s next on the list but taking time to do this really makes a difference.
3. My final tip is not to be afraid to ask for advice – one thing this venture has taught me is that there’s an amazing network of supportive business owners out there and social media makes it really easy to reach out and ask questions. For me this has been amazingly helpful and I’m really grateful.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give a new mum?
Enjoy every minute and if that means sitting on the sofa in your PJ’s just do it! Everyone says time flies with little ones and it’s so true – seize the moments.
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?
I tend to wear quite a lot of grey and black but if I need a little bit of pick me up I love a splash of love coral.
What’s your favourite activity to do with your children?
Anything outdoors! Both my boys love cycling, tennis and football – I spent quite a lot of the summer hols ‘in goal!’
What do you like to do for some me-time?
In truth I’m not very good at taking time out – I love the work I do on TotsUp and once the boys are in bed that’s what I tend to do. However, a long soak in the bath, coffee or a couple of glasses of prosecco with friends or a yoga class are my favourite downtime treats.
Thanks so much Sally for sharing your story with us. It's amazing how many good ideas come from being in the moment but it's so inspiring to see them become reality.
I can totally relate to being busy and not having lots of opportunity for me-time but it's such an important thing for Mums to look after themselves as well as their families - your suggestions are great ways to take time out!
Also click here, if you'd like some inspiration for a little Me Time.
If you've enjoyed this interview, you can read our other blogs and "March of Inspiring Mums" series here