Lauren is the passion, the motivator and the driving force behind Mums Who Wine; a virtual and real-world support group for Mums who struggle to find the time for self care. In a time where antenatal and postnatal anxiety and depression are (finally) being brought to the centre of the table, the Mums Who Wine motto; “Self Care Saves” has never been more relevant.
I sat down for a *virtual* glass of wine with Lauren to find out more about the Woman, the Cause and the People who help make her work possible…
To set the scene… tell me a little about yourself! Your boys, your partner? What were you doing before Mums Who Wine was born?
I’m 35 years old, have been married to my husband Mark for nearly 7 years and we have two boys Thomas (5) and William aka Billy (2). I was practising as an insurance lawyer for 10 years at a top tier firm in Melbourne before starting Mums Who Wine on the side as a way for me to meet other mums. In December 2017 after only 6 months of launching Mums Who Wine I decided to take a very big step of faith, at the encouragement of Mark, to quit my corporate job and pursue my passion for helping mums and run Mums Who Wine full time. It has been an incredible journey so far – many highs, lows in the midst of sleep deprivation (Billy hates the sleep!!! Haha)
Why is self care is so important, especially for mums?
I believe self care saves – it is really that simple. I believe it saves many things – it saves your own identity, your sense of self, your relationships and it also saves lives. I firmly believe that we need to take care of ourselves to be the best version of ourselves and to have the capacity to give out most to those we love. We constantly hear the phrase “you can’t pour from an empty cup” which is true. A mothers heart is so beautiful, so willing to sacrifice for those around her. However at times, we need to make that conscious decision to invest in ourselves – whether that be a 15 minute walk around the block, a gym session or a wine at the local pub with your girlfriends.
So, what exactly is Mums Who Wine? How does it help support mums with selfcare?
Mums Who Wine is an organisation passionate about encouraging mums to invest time in themselves and their own self care. Motherhood is amazing, yet at times very difficult and isolating. Through Mums Who Wine we want to connect all mothers around Australia and in their communities. I always say that at the end of the day if one life is changed, or one mum makes a friend through Mums Who Wine – it is all worth it.
The memberships are incredibly beneficial for our members. In addition to the VIP benefits/discounts they get at 250 businesses around Australia, they also get $15 discount on all of our events. These events are run monthly in different locations around Australia and are focussed on creating a space for mums to come out, connect and “fill their cup”. I have had so many testimonials from mums that have attended our events not knowing anyone and left with several new friends! We even had an event where four grandmothers came and they all connected and made friends! Our events are very relaxed and are solely for the purpose of giving mums a night out.
Most importantly and the thing that we are most passionate about, is that we support PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety an Depression Australia) by donating 5% of all of our proceeds. We also ran a #selfcaresaves campaign in November which raised over $12,000. In 18 months we have raised over $25,000 for PANDA to help raise awareness and reduce stigma associated with perinatal anxiety and depression.
Was there one defining moment that planted the idea of Mums Who Wine?
It was October 2015, I had just moved to a brand new area with Mark and Thomas. I had moved over an hour away from my friends, family and all of my social network and had just gone back to work full time. It was a Tuesday night, we were walking past a wine bar at the end of my street and I saw an advertisement for a “Wine and Tapas Night”. I looked at Mark and said “that would be really great to go to with some girlfriends”. It then dawned on me that I didn’t have any girlfriends, I didn’t know a soul and was going to struggle to meet other mum friends considering I was working full time.
We walked home and I jumped on a local mums and bubs Facebook group and put up a post “Hi ladies, I saw an advertisement for a wine and tapas night but I don’t know anyone. Would anyone like to come with me next week?” Thankfully I had lots of responses and the next week I met 8 mums and made 8 new friends. I then had people contacting me asking if I was going to host another event – so the next week I booked another table and had 8 new mums come!
It was at this point that I realised I hit a niche, but more importantly a need. I was not the only mum that was lonely and wanted to meet new friends – so this is where Mums Who Wine was first birthed.
How did you go about starting up? Word of mouth, Facebook, the ‘gram?
After I ran a couple of events, I started a Facebook Group “Inner West Mums Who Wine” in which I would organise monthly events for mums in my Inner West Melbourne community. I ran these for no profit, purely just for mums to come out and meet. Within 12 months the group was at 1500+ members and our events were selling out in a matter of hours. It was at this point that a couple of friends sat me down and encouraged me to start a business which was “Mums Who Wine”.
On reflection – it was actually all three – word of mouth, Facebook and Insta. I believe that word of mouth will always be the most powerful way of spreading a message, so I am very thankful that this has been a positive tool. However social media has been amazing – our Brisbane Launch reached over 220,000 people on Facebook alone, purely by people tagging their friends and sharing our event. I don’t think I could be doing what I am doing without social media.
Your partner, Mark, pops up on your social media channels from time to time- and in person at some events! How instrumental has he been in the success of MWW?
I literally would not have been able to do what I am doing without Mark. First and foremost he was the one that encouraged me to quit my very high paying, senior job as a lawyer. I was the main bread winner, we were saving for a house and despite this, he sat me down and encouraged me to quit. I really challenged him on it because I didn’t understand how that was even an option and we needed my wage. He just kept saying “We will make it work, you need to do this full time.” Even when I had made the decision to quit I said “How do I even quit? What do I say?” His response was “Go in there and say that you have started a business that is changing mums lives and back yourself!!”
Not only did he encourage me to quit, but he also stays home a lot with our boys at night while I run events. He also built our entire website, attends events to film and create social media content and so much more. He is my biggest supporter and I am just so thankful for all that he does and his unwavering support – especially at times when I begin to doubt myself. He is always that consistent voice that despite what is happening, reminds me of why I started Mums Who Wine and reminds me of the impact I am having. We make a great team and I could not do it without him.
You also run a mums-only trip to Bali! The last one looked incredible. Tell me a bit about it so I can marinate in envy…
In February I took 12 other mums away on our Mums Who Wine Bali #selfcaresaves retreat. This was the second retreat we have run in Bali. The focus is to take mums away from their every day life to relax, recharge, connect with other mums and be reminded of who they are outside the day to day life.
We enjoyed massages, bottomless brunch at the W, delicious dinners and just relaxing by the pool and reading a book. Just like our events, these are very relaxed. We have some structure but this is very flexible. If a mum comes along and just wants to relax by the pool instead of coming to an outing we have planned that is 100% fine. I think most of the mums were most excited about the plane ride and actually sitting and watching a whole movie uninterrupted!!!
Our next retreat is 16-20 August. We will also be looking at hosting these at other locations moving forward.
You must face some difficulties running the brand and being a mum to two little boys. How do you manage these issues? In particular the “mum-guilt” factor…
I think the biggest difficulty is feeling the weight of it – not just work pressures, but the amount of mums that contact me and share their stories and ask me to bring Mums Who Wine to their area. I know the impact that it is having and just want to spread the #selfcaresaves message everywhere. I hear the pain in their messages and emails- they are lonely and want to meet other mums and they know how much we can help. It is just difficult at the moment as it is really only me running the business with some local mums helping run the events as ambassadors.
Another difficulty is the amount of time I need to be on my phone as social media is such a big part of the business. I do get mummy guilt when I am with the boys and need to put a post up, or contact someone or do some advertising for an event. However the thing that I keep reminding myself is that I am around a lot more than I used to be. I went to my first mothers day morning tea ever last year because I was around and not in the office/court, which was confirmation that I am doing the right thing.
The last one would be the time that I am away from the boys at night with our events. However Mark is really good and whenever I have an event he makes a really big deal about having “a boys night”. They watch action movies that I don’t really like and Mark makes it really fun for them so that they never get upset when I leave and so I never feel guilty.
At the end of the day, we just need to remember that we are all doing our best. Our own worst enemy is our own mind and we are doing a much better job than we often think we are. That is why where possible I always try to encourage our mums because we are all just giving it a crack!
Tell me all your exciting plans! Which cities are next for Mums Who Wine?
We are so excited to be heading to more cities – one of the most exciting things is that we’ve just had our first international event in Auckland, NZ! There is also a Pop Up Event coming up in Albury/Wodonga, and in April we are officially launching Canberra and Geelong/Bellarine Peninsula. We are also hosting another two Pop Up Events at the Sunshine Coast (Maroochydore and Noosa) and another one in Richmond.
Moving forward we are hitting: Darwin, Perth, Adelaide and Sydney! And we have also been approached by several mums in England, Scotland, Canada and the US!! So watch this space!!!
Do you have a morning or night routine that is some time out, just for you?
Where possible I do a 6:45am F45 session. I set the boys up with their breakfast and ABC Kids and head off. It is 45 minutes that is for me, that starts the day well and even if I have had a rough night of not much sleep, I always feel better.
Otherwise I try where I can to go for a walk by the water. I sit, pray, meditate and just take the moment to be still. I feel like I am running at 150% most of the time, so taking the time to just be still and breathe can be so powerful.
Is there a mantra that you try to live by?
The greatest investment you can ever make is in people, and you sow what you reap. I firmly believe that if you invest your time into people and focus on others, then everything else will come into line.
Any favourite podcasts or books at the moment?
“Girl Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis, “The Power of Vulnerability” by Brene Brown and “You are a Badass, how to stop doubting yourself and start living an awesome life” by Jen Sincero
Podcasts – Seize the Yay by Sarah Holloway, MWF Motivation by Rod Dial
And last (but absolutely not least!) What is your wine of choice?
Hahaha, it depends what day it is! At the moment I’m all about the Rosé!
Well there you have it, we’re clearly soulmates.
For more information on Mums Who Wine, follow through any of the clickable links through this post!