MyBump2Baby Podcast Feature with babyballet®️ Founder, Claire O’Connor

babyballet founder and owner, Claire O’Connor, recently featured on the fabulous MyBump2Baby expert podcast.

MyBump2Baby are a team of parents who are on a mission to help as many growing families and small businesses throughout the UK as they possibly can whilst creating quirky content, informative blogs, reviewing the latest products/services/days out and creating podcasts our audience will love.

MyBump2Baby link together both local and national businesses with growing families throughout the UK. They are the platform where parents come to find local pregnancy to preschool services and where they can find out about the latest products and services.

In this episode of the MyBump2Baby expert podcast, Carla, founder of MyBump2Baby and Claire, discuss mental health, self-care, and looking after ourselves as mums without feeling guilty.

babyballet CEO Claire O'ConnorWe are forever proud of our founder, Claire, and always love to hear her speak as a successful entrepreneur, female business leader, and mum-of-4 who has turned her own painful experiences of ballet into what we know now as our incredible global brand, babyballet, as she strives to make the world of ballet a safe and inclusive space for everyone.

We hope you enjoy listening below!

[00:00:00] Carla: We are Google’s number one baby and toddler directory. We cover everything from pregnancy to preschool and we are home to over 8, 000 business listings. Join over 160, 000 parents using our website each month and you can find your local groups, classes, services and support in your local area.

[00:00:30] Carla: Hello, busy mums. Now, I know your life is a juggling act, and I know that because mine is too. I have created the solution to help you stay organised, help you smash your goals, and, help you focus and stay in control. Introducing to you, The Busy Mum Planner. This is your ultimate partner in conquering the chaos known as family life.

[00:01:00] Carla: Are you tired of feeling overwhelmed with endless to do lists, appointments coming out your backside, and school schedules? The Busy Mum Planner is here to rescue you. It’s not just any planner, this is your secret weapon. It’s got sections for shopping lists, daily to do lists, monthly goal section, as well as a monthly budgeting section too.

[00:01:28] Carla: This planner is designed for every part of your life to make you feel in control. Grab yours today in the link under this podcast.

[00:01:48] Carla: Hello and welcome to My Bump 2 Baby Expert podcast, where we bring experts from all over the UK to answer your questions on everything pregnancy to preschool.

[00:02:11] Carla: Hello everybody and welcome to today’s My Bump 2 Baby Expert podcast. Today we are delighted to be introducing you guys to the lovely Claire O’Connor, the founder of Baby Ballet. And today we’re going to be talking about mental health and the importance of self care as a mum when you’re trying to balance the hell out of life.

[00:02:35] Carla: I hope you enjoy this episode. Hello everybody. And welcome to My Bump 2 Baby’s Expert podcast today. I am delighted to welcome on Claire O’Connor, the founder of Baby Ballet. Hi Claire. 

[00:02:50] Claire: Hi, it’s lovely to be here. Thank you for asking me.

[00:02:53] Carla: Oh, it’s lovely to have you on here. And today we’re really looking forward to this episode because it’s a bit different.

[00:02:59] Carla: We’ve covered quite a lot of different things in the parenting and pregnancy world, but I think actually having an honest conversation about motherhood and balancing work and family is really important because I think we can in a world where we go on social media and we can look on there and think, Oh my God, they’ve got the shit together.

[00:03:18] Carla: They’ve got everything together. And at the end of the day, that’s not, not the reality for a lot of us. So can you, first of all, introduce yourself and a bit about you, if that’s all right, Claire. 

[00:03:29] Claire: Yeah, no problem. So my name is Claire O’Connor. I’m founder and CEO of Baby Ballet. I am a mum of four and being a mum of four is my favourite best thing in the whole world.

[00:03:39] Claire: Um, I’ve always been kind of like destined to be a mum and the business happened between and on the road of having my family. So yeah, definitely, like you said, blend or balancing has been a very, very big juggling act for me over the years. I’m based in Halifax in West Yorkshire, but we’ve, I’ve grown the brand.

[00:04:00] Claire: I franchised it out from the original idea. And we’ve now got over a hundred franchises in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Papua, New Guinea, and soon to be Dubai. So we’re just growing. Um, growing, yeah, crazily, really, from that little idea. But I just believed in it so much. And it’s very much about bringing fun and confidence and inclusivity to all young children who want to learn an activity and based on dance and ballet.

[00:04:26] Claire: So, yeah, it’s about inspiring and making every child feel valued. 

[00:04:31] Carla: I love that. It’s so nice. So, so Claire, then, did you start the business after your first child or before or? 

[00:04:39] Claire: Yeah, so I worked at my mum’s ballet school. She was in the ballet industry and I worked for my mum. Um, Harry, my first child was born in 1996. And then I, as I know that you’re open about, I suffered postnatal depression.

[00:04:52] Claire: Um, I couldn’t find a job that really fit in with being, um, on my own with Harry and not being particularly well. So it was after two or three different tries a job working for someone else that my mum actually said, would you like to come and work for the dance school with me? So I was like, Oh yeah, that sounds, sounds really great.

[00:05:11] Claire: So I went back into the dance school, uh, dance industry at that point. Um, and Harry was, that was. It’s 99. And then I, between 99 and 2005, we started some preschool classes off attached to my mum’s school, which were really just so fun and so positive. And my experiences of ballet haven’t always been great.

[00:05:33] Claire: So I just loved this kind of like, to see two classes were just magic. And any mums who were coming in who had similar issues, like I had after pregnancy, after pregnancy and childbirth had a community and I think that’s a lot of the children’s activities groups agree with that because you get a sense of community and people have been through things with you.

[00:05:51] Claire: And then Harry, um, so Harry was with me and then I met Chris and we had Cyrus in 2003. Um, and actually I went and started the company in 2005 and then I had my two, um, two youngest who are Claudia and Kitty and they were born in 2006 and 2008. So it was pretty full on. 

[00:06:19] Carla: I can imagine. So, so with your, um, did you suffer with postnatal depression with all of them or, or was it just Harry?

[00:06:26] Claire: No, interestingly, just two. So the first two I did, um, and then when I had Claudia, I remember actually lying on the, well I had her in the bath, and then I remember getting on, out of the bath, onto the bed, thinking that this chuck is going to come and run me down any second. And I just remember waiting for it, and I’m not sure why, but I didn’t, um, I didn’t, suffer anywhere near like I did with the, with the other two.

[00:06:55] Claire: So yeah, um, yeah, so it’s, it’s interesting, isn’t it? If, if any listeners have experienced it once, are worried about it, it’s not necessarily my experience it’s going to happen again. 

[00:07:07] Carla: That’s exactly, well, very similar to me. Um, with my son George, who’s seven now, I had it. Um, and it’s, you just feel like you’re having a bad day every single day, don’t you?

[00:07:18] Carla: It’s like, it’s this cloud just following you around. That’s what it feels like. It’s like, oh, well, tomorrow might be better. Tomorrow might be better. And it was only later down the line I realised. Um, that I was suffering, but with Olivia, uh, my little girl, she’s nearly two now. And I was the same as you, like I was thinking, when’s it going to come?

[00:07:36] Carla: Is it going to like, and it was been totally different, a totally different experience, which is really nice. But for anyone listening, thinking, Oh, I don’t want to have another one or I’m nervous to have another one because I’m worried. It doesn’t always work like that. Does it? So. You know, 

[00:07:51] Claire: and everyone’s unique and it’s just, I think, you know, what we wanted to talk about today very much was about that looking after yourself and just checking in on yourself and being your own best friend because we’re so, so bad at that as, as mums and I think, you know, in general, people don’t put themselves first as much as they should, um, especially when you’ve got family to look after and, you know, you’ve got lots of other like pressing commitments right in front of you. Um, so yeah, just checking in with your own physical and mental well being, whatever, you know, whatever stage you are at and, you know, with a career or your own business, whichever. 

[00:08:27] Carla: How have you done it, Claire? Because obviously your business has grown so huge.

[00:08:32] Carla: So how have you managed to do all of that and look after yourself at the same time and your own mental health and wellbeing? 

[00:08:40] Claire: Well, probably I didn’t. Um, a massive, massive ambassador for, for women, um, mums looking after themselves and, you know, just checking in. It’s not selfish to have self love and care. And I, I had a couple of really kind of like, just on the treadmill and not being able to get off and not allowing myself to get off, really. And just thinking, oh, I’ve got to keep everybody else happy.

[00:09:07] Claire: I’ve got to keep the, you know, we’ve got franchisees to look after now. And as the business grew, it, it kind of like, it’s like a layer of an onion, every like, layered up, and gone.

[00:09:21] Claire: Like have a real think about this, but you, you kind of don’t do you all the time when you’re on a, I’ve got people around me, I’m surrounded by, um, brilliant, supportive, um, gorgeous people, family, friends, um, and the team and then the franchisees and all the teachers, they really believe in the ethos. So we’ve got a real community of like minded people who, um, want to kind of like, I suppose, spread the love of baby ballet.

[00:09:50] Claire: But at the same time, you are running a business, or you are having a career, so you’ve got to look after number one as well, which is not always easy. 

[00:09:58] Carla: No, it isn’t. And I think as well, um, I mean, for me, with My Bump 2 Baby, when we launched that in 2016, I was suffering with postnatal depression. And genuinely, I actually think, because of postnatal depression and anxiety and things like that, I had to have something I controlled because I couldn’t control my mind.

[00:10:17] Carla: And I just became obsessed, totally obsessed with work. Um, and I’d reach burnout every, I’d say every six weeks, I’d have to have a couple of days in bed because I’d be exhausted because my mind was constantly going constantly. Um, and it’s only now. that I feel that, you know, I can take a bit more of a step back and it doesn’t, it doesn’t frighten me as much because what I used to do is, I used to be terrified of my own thoughts, being left alone in my own thoughts.

[00:10:46] Carla: And the only thing that actually would make me not think of these terrible thoughts, like, oh, you’re a terrible mum, you’re this, you’re that, um, would be work. And so I was so frightened to do anything other than work. Um, that, yeah, it was quite, it’s quite tiring actually, um, when you’re in that space, especially when you’re in business as well, because you can just keep going and keep going, can’t you?

[00:11:09] Claire: Definitely. I think it’s the pleasing everyone. I am naturally, I love people to be content and happy. It’s what drives me. It brings me great joy. I like, I just, I love it. So the more the business grew, the more joy it was bringing, I suppose, but then. The only person that was kind of probably a little bit, you know, like overwhelmed was, was me.

[00:11:28] Claire: So I just, yeah, I, I did at times have to take time out, but I wish I had just built that in from day one. And any advice I could give, I suppose the one thing would be if you start in your own business, so you’re starting to work for someone, when you start to have a family, you think just building new time and just see it as a real positive.

[00:11:46] Claire: And like you said, you work more efficiently, you work more effectively if you have built in that time. So now. I absolutely give myself permission to have that time and it will make me a better mom. It’ll make me a better wife. It’ll make me a better houseworker. It’ll make it, make me better in my business.

[00:12:05] Claire: I’m happier for everyone around me. So it’s, I think that putting that spin on it. So if you’re a, you know, like you, you. As a mummy, you kind of love to, to be there and to provide and all these things. But if you spin it around into actually the classic of put your own gas mask on first, actually benefits everybody so much more that, that it’s not, that for me, that makes it feel less selfish.

[00:12:30] Claire: Looking after yourself, but I spin it and like think, well, if I’m better, they’re better. And ultimately I want them to be. As content as possible. So 

[00:12:39] Carla: I love that. It’s so true because I think as well, all of everything kind of your house runs with you in there, doesn’t it? And it’s like, you know, I do think though, you can kind of feel guilty a lot when you’re seeing people do other things on social media or your friends are doing things and you think, Oh. I just think balancing as best as we can, but also having that time for self care where we can sit back and go, do you know what they’re fed, they’re clothed, they’re warm and you know, they’re happy and that’s it. 

[00:13:10] Claire: They’re content and I’m probably like just a little bit out of that generation of social media that is kind of the comparison, um, stage. I know a lot of people, um, who are, and I don’t feel as like, I don’t look on it because I just absolutely know now that it’s not real.

[00:13:31] Claire: You know, like I did a, do a LinkedIn post every Wednesday about well being Wednesday. I’ve only, I’ve only done it for a few weeks, but the response and people are like, gosh, you’re so brave being honest, but it’s real life. You know, like everyone’s got to remember that social media is, it’s just not fully real life.

[00:13:48] Claire: You can’t, you can’t show your whole life through, you know, social media all the time. So people would put on the best bits or the worst bits. And then, so it’s just. For me, like, really centring myself and not looking and comparing to others. I, I love social media to be inspired. So like, instead of saying, oh gosh, they’ve got that, or I wish I had that, or whatever.

[00:14:10] Claire: Everyone’s got their own goals, some materialistic, which is absolutely fine. It’s like everyone is allowed to dream for what they all want to dream for. But I try and use anyone out there who… It really catches my eye what they’re doing or whatever as real true inspiration of going. Oh, wow. 

[00:14:26] Carla: That’s doable. You know, I can achieve that too. And yeah, I know what you mean. I know. 

[00:14:34] Claire: Self growth, you know, like I’m huge on self development over the last two and a half years. I’ve been a really big journey with self development and self care and it’s It’s something that I really do wish I’d done a long time ago, but I can’t change the past, I’ve got to just deal with now, so it’s like, I’m, I’m just like, I love being surrounded by people who are just really content, it doesn’t matter what have you got, it’s like, what is your purpose in life, and are you, you know, everyone’s got different dreams, and and goals, haven’t they?

[00:15:05] Carla: Yeah, and that’s what makes us all different. And it’s okay to be different just because your best friend wants this big mansion and you might be happy with, you know, you’re flat and you love it and you love that zone and there’s nothing wrong with that. Um, but, but yeah, you know, I love what you’ve said there.

[00:15:22] Carla: So, so with, in terms of self care, what do you do for self care then Claire? 

[00:15:28] Claire: So when I first, I got, um, someone to help me, a coach to help me a couple, two and a half years ago, I had a really quite a bad, um, a bad breakdown, and so I got a coach and therapist, and she used to say to me, like, right at the beginning, right, so what do you do for yourself?

[00:15:42] Claire: And I’d be like, Ooh, loads. I do loads for myself and she’s like, right, go on then, tell me what do you do for yourself? And literally my toes were turning up under the table because I could not focus any attention on me at all. I was like, well, I like taking Cyrus for a driving lesson. She went, nope, that’s Cyrus.

[00:15:58] Claire: I went, oh, um, I like do my emails when I’m on the treadmills. She’s like, nope, that’s work. I’m like, oh, right. I’m struggling now. So I have since like, I might’ve gone to the odd like gymnastics class. I got back into that a few years ago, but I never really went and was present with anything. So I’ve made it my mission.

[00:16:18] Claire: So I’m, I’ve really started to enjoy spin. So I go to spin. I’ve never been in spin before. Um, so I’m really enjoying that. It’s a lovely gym that I go to. Really, really positive. No mirrors. Just like everyone goes to have a nice workout and it’s just dead nice. So I’ve really enjoyed that and there’s a few different classes I go to down there.

[00:16:39] Claire: And I build that into my week though. Like I book them, book the classes at the beginning of the week. So then I’m going, right, I’m going now. Um, I love walking with the dogs. I’m lucky to live, um, in Halifax, which has got beautiful like, um, countryside and moorland. So I get the dogs up on the tops and that is just, I just love that.

[00:16:58] Claire: Um, I think the pandemic, everyone started to walk a little bit more, didn’t they? So, yeah. And that’s good. Cause that, well, maybe my therapist would say that’s dog walking. That’s for the dog. Yeah. Yeah. Um, I. I don’t think I’m just generally just kinder to myself and I don’t give myself a hard time like you’re saying about the mum guilt.

[00:17:20] Claire: It absolutely floors you and you know, there’s, there’s only, you can only do your best, can’t you? And it’s like, you know, we’re all learning. I’ve learned what things that my parents did that I changed with my children and that will go on generation after generation. My children will do something different.

[00:17:38] Claire: to the way that we do it I’m sure and it’s you can only do your best and I think we’re so good at giving ourselves a hard time let’s just pat ourselves on the back and go I’m going to be kind to you today Claire. 

[00:17:49] Carla: Yeah it is, yeah. 

[00:17:53] Claire: You need each other for like things that you have done rather than things you didn’t get ticked off your list like you said.

[00:17:58] Carla: Yeah. Exactly. And I think as well, it’s kind of knowing that you are going to have bad days and days where things don’t go smoothly and that’s okay because everyone has them. Um, but as well, being aware of. What you’re saying to yourself, because it was only recently, actually, I went to the doctors with a sore throat.

[00:18:19] Carla: Um, and the doctor was like, so are you okay? I was like, just burst into tears. Um, and I was really struggling, actually, and I didn’t realize actually, at the time, I suffer really badly with, um, health anxiety. So I. Like literally I get a headache. I think I’ve got a brain tumour or a brain aneurysm. I genuinely, that’s how bad it is.

[00:18:43] Carla: It’s, it got really bad during lockdown. But what happened was Um, I, I went to the doctor, spoke to them about that and they were like, right, well, maybe you need to go on something. And I thought, no, I’ll try and manage it myself. I’ll try and manage it myself. And then unfortunately my husband lost his best friend only recently to a brain tumour.

[00:19:02] Carla: And I knew that, you know, that doesn’t do, you know, how you can’t, I can’t cope with death and health and things like that. Um, so what I started to do is I started to think, how am I talking to myself all day? And I started actually listening to myself. And what I was telling myself all day and I thought, Oh my goodness.

[00:19:19] Carla: Anyway, so I went back to the doctors. I was like, look, I do need help. And I, and do you know what? Ever since then. Touch wood. I felt so much better. Um, and I did get the help and you know, I, I feel good for it and I really do. But for seven years, I was telling myself, right, you’ll just start exercising, just do this, just do that.

[00:19:40] Carla: And basically now I’ve, you know, I feel better. I am medicated, but I do feel like, um, I’m more myself than I’ve been since before I had my son, George. Um, and, and, you know. I just feel great. I feel good, but not, you know, like, not on a high all the time or anything. I just feel level. 

[00:19:59] Claire: That’s not real life, is it? I think that’s all right. Like you say, it’s all right. It’s not normal to be up there all the time. There’s a balance. Like, sometimes you’ll go down, sometimes you’ll go up, and then you find that balance. And it’s being able to, I think, manage those ups and downs and give yourself, you know, less of a hard time.

[00:20:17] Claire: That internal narrative, I’ve done a lot of that on the last two and a half years. It’s really powerful what you tell yourself and it’s learning to read just like habits like so, you know I’m now in a good habit of going to the gym and like really enjoying it and It can break as quickly as it can be there So, you know You might speak to me in a few weeks and something’s happened so that I’m not being in as good a habit as I am At the minute but the same with how you talk to yourself It’s like you’re in a bad habit of talking to yourself badly.

[00:20:43] Claire: So you have to form a good habit and start seeing good things. And like podcasts are brilliant. Um, oh yeah, amazing podcasts out there. There’s some amazing, um, eBooks out there. And that was kind of like part of my journey to like, just to really just understand myself. Feel like the fear word, like you are just saying, it is really even fear.

[00:21:04] Claire: A lot of it’s driven by fear, isn’t it? Fear of. Yeah, fear of your children getting bullied, fear of, you know, your business failing, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear, and like, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s a lot of fear that, isn’t it? It is. It really is. And managing it, um, And I think it is a habit that you can develop because I never used to be, I’ve always been a bit, You know, I had anxiety, but I didn’t realize because we years ago, it just was, you’re having a bad day and you’re having a bad day and you know, this is why you’re tired.

[00:21:35] Carla: Yeah. And I think it’s nice to actually be able to recognise actually what it is. Um, but yeah, a lot of these things are driven by fear and, and, you know, it’s not something that’s. You know, necessarily true, but you’re telling yourself things are true, aren’t you? So when I was listening to myself, I was like listening to myself saying, you’re rubbish at this, you’re rubbish at that.

[00:21:55] Carla: You can’t do this right. You can’t do that right. And I thought, it’s no wonder, like, I don’t enjoy like having any time to myself when that’s all I’m telling myself all the time. So, um, I think just, just recognising how you’re speaking to yourself is a big, is a big thing as well. 

[00:22:12] Claire: Acceptance and saying, yeah, that’s me. And you can, you don’t have to accept it as well for being forever because you can help to like change things. And I think for me, it’s like a lot of it is like, well, I’ve not got time for that. How have I got time to put myself into this equation? Cause it’s, I’m, I’m, I’m more bothered about everybody else.

[00:22:28] Claire: I want everybody else to, there’s no time for me, but actually. looking at your time and putting a little bit of time aside for yourself. It’s not going to be all day every day when you’ve got a family. It can’t be, but you know, what are those snippets of time that you enjoy? Is it half an hour before you know, you actually go to bed that you just have a, just a go and find a space in your house, whatever, whatever it works for you with the space you live in, the environment, live in the family you live in, you know, what is it putting some headphones on to listen to a podcast, um, going for a little walk.

[00:22:57] Claire: It depends obviously what situation people are in, but. Building that in, realising that it actually… is so beneficial and, you know, we’re not superhuman or we are like, we’re human beings and we’re subjected to so much every day. The pace of life is just crazy. I mean, it really, really annoys me that we kind of, I wake up.

[00:23:21] Claire: And I’m addicted to going on my phone and I’m not really that bothered about my phone. I don’t watch the news. I don’t particularly go on social media to scroll because I don’t see it as a productive use of my time. Um, and it’s just like a rabbit warren that sucked my time that I can be putting into my family or putting into, um, other, other things.

[00:23:39] Carla: Even yourself. Yeah. 

[00:23:41] Claire: Like, yeah, it’s just true. And like Chris and I and my husband were like, he’s. It’s just crazy, isn’t it? Like everyone wakes up and I think it’s, that’s a, absolutely. Like all generations now. It’s not just, you know, teens or whatever. We’re all guilty of being addicted to technology and if anyone’s listening that isn’t, then they need to be on this podcast to teach us how not.

[00:24:04] Carla: Yes, please. That would be brilliant. Yeah, I know. Well, you’re right.

[00:24:09] Claire: And you’re saying that like it’s just all about being mindful and you know, that is the world we are living in. Social media is important for, for my business. Social media is brilliant because we can get the messages out. We can advertise classes, we can advertise the franchise.

[00:24:22] Claire: We can advertise, you know, all the good that we’re doing, all the charity work we do, and it’s brilliant for that, for, for a business to have social media. It’d be silly not to use it, but it’s again, balancing and just being mindful of how much time you’re spending on it. 

[00:24:35] Carla: Definitely. Totally agree with that.

[00:24:37] Carla: And, and also I think, um, actually with the self care side of things, a good way to make sure that you do things is to say these are non negotiable times, like these are appointments with myself. Like you’d go to the dentist, like you’d go to the doctor, make that, you know, an appointment and book it in your diary so it can’t be changed.

[00:24:59] Claire: I think like we, we definitely need that kind of, I seek that approval sometimes from the people around me as well. So actually feeling like, right, so I’m going to go and do this. Just voicing it makes me feel like I’ve got the approval of everyone around me. So they kind of know that I’m going to do this, but then they don’t question it now where they didn’t question it.

[00:25:15] Claire: When I, whether I had time or not, they see it as, you know, mom’s gone to the gym and she, that’s a good thing to do because it’s a healthy thing to do for body and mind. My children are growing up in a generation where they’ve got so much more awareness about mental health and about, um, Well, there’s just so much information available 24/7 at the fingertips, isn’t there?

[00:25:34] Claire: So, I didn’t have that, so they don’t really, I don’t think they really question it as much as we probably think they do. 

[00:25:41] Carla: I think that’s a lot of it as well, because on maternity leave, there might be some people listening, um, that are on maternity leave at the moment. The first time around, I was convinced, like, I had all this image in my head, like, I’m gonna, you know, make tea every night.

[00:25:54] Carla: You know, I’m gonna be, like, prime walking. Honestly, like, It was hell the first time I did not enjoy it at all. I was like, why don’t I enjoy it? I’m horrible. I’m a bad mother because I haven’t enjoyed this one to one time that much. I’d prefer to work and, and genuinely that’s how I felt at the time. Um, it was a, it was a real shock to the system becoming a mother for me because I, I literally thought it’d be totally different to what it was.

[00:26:20] Claire: Is that because you played it out on social media wit, through other people? So because when I, when I had Harry, there was no social media, so I didn’t, the only comparisons I could have were people literally right in front of me. So I was quite, um, I was one of the first of my friendship group to have a child.

[00:26:35] Claire: And so I only had two other people in my circle that I knew that had had a child. So I literally had to learn, if I was in front of them, just ask them, what do you do with this? There was no, you know, Five TV channels, and it’s like, I’m really showing my age now. 

[00:26:51] Carla: Yeah, well you don’t look it though, you don’t look it.

[00:26:54] Claire: Um, and, yeah. Do you get what I mean?

[00:26:56] Carla: I know what you mean. 

[00:26:57] Claire: Knowledge is out there now, isn’t it? So there’s so much like, oh God, I’ve got to do that, I’ve got to do that, I’ve got to do that, I’ve got to do that. So that’s like, that’s insane in itself. So I think mums listening of people who are on maternity leave, just be really kind to you.

[00:27:11] Claire: Yeah. And yeah, if you don’t, you know, do it as a celebrity, just do it on. They won’t be doing that all the time. 

[00:27:17] Carla: No. No, they won’t. 

[00:27:19] Claire: Keep it real, and keep it, keep, and keep talking. Just keep talking. I didn’t talk to anyone when I suffered, and I think it was, that was, there was no, that was bad that there was no access to information, because I didn’t, I just thought I was going crazy.

[00:27:33] Claire: And it was a really scary, lonely, lonely place. Yeah. Talk, pick up the phone, you know, get on those, um, different forums where people are generally really kind and they really want help, but you need to tell them if you, if you’re struggling. And I think one thing that really hit home with my counsellor, this, this, um, particular period that I had was you kind of expect people to, you don’t want to bother anyone, do you?

[00:27:59] Claire: And you’re like, Oh God, I don’t want to say anything because I don’t want to, you know, and I remember, me saying, I was like, well, my husband didn’t really understand. And she said, do you, did you understand what was going on? Did you know what to do? I was like, no, I didn’t have a clue. And she was like, well, how the heck is your husband supposed to know?

[00:28:15] Claire: It’s like a rugby playing, you know, alpha male who doesn’t have your body, your mind. So just, you need to talk to tell him what you’re thinking and what you’re feeling. But then it’s definitely that external expert help that. 

[00:28:29] Claire: And not to see that as a, you know, we’ve always been, you know, Oh God, it’s, you know, therapists, all Americans have loads of therapists, don’t they?

[00:28:36] Carla: I know, look how happy they are. You know, you know, every time I go to America, you know, it’s like, they’re lovely, happy. 

[00:28:44] Claire: I’m not giving in, are you? You’re not, you know, you’re not giving in. You’ve been really smart, I think, by reaching out and, you know, just saying, I’m struggling a bit. Might be a little tweak you need, or it might be a little bit longer, and that’s fine.

[00:28:58] Carla: I think during maternity leave, um, for me, the reason why I didn’t speak to the health visitor or anything is I was terrified that if they saw a crack. that they would take my son away. So, like, I’d be like, honestly, behind the closed doors, I’d be like, oh my gosh, this is awful. And then they’d ring the doorbell, be like, hello, okay, do you want a tea?

[00:29:21] Carla: And it was just so ridiculous when I think about it now. That’s genuinely what I believed and that isn’t the case. So, you know, they’re there to, to speak to, um, and actually not to plug this, but I’ve just launched a maternity leave planner actually, and it’s, yeah. And the idea behind it is it’s got like almost like a bingo card for the whole month, like take a walk and you take it off and, you know, so it’s got, I think.

[00:29:46] Claire: Can’t beat a bit of bingo. 

[00:29:47] Carla: Oh, you can’t, you can’t at all. And, um, yeah, so basically the, the idea is one, I think there’s 28 things and to tick one of them off a day, whether it’s take a hot bath or shower, take yourself out for a coffee day, do just something simple, like read a chapter of a book or something like that.

[00:30:05] Carla: And the idea really is each day they will do something for themselves. Um, because that’s what I wish I had a bit more.

[00:30:14] Claire: Sounds like we are very on the same page with this, doesn’t it? 

[00:30:17] Carla: Yeah, definitely, definitely. So, um, Claire, just for anyone listening that, you know, might want to start their own business and likes the idea of running, running their own business, you guys offer franchise opportunities, don’t you?

[00:30:30] Carla: Do you want to tell us a little bit about that? 

[00:30:33] Claire: So yeah, so the model basically, the business that I started, I created that so it was franchisable. So really it’s like, the best way to describe it is a business in a box. Ours is ballet based and dance based, so it suits lots of ex professionals, if maybe they’ve come out of professional dance careers, um, that kind of thing.

[00:30:51] Claire: Um, or we do have business managers as well, but it’s, it’s, it’s basically you get everything to. To get going with your own business. It’s your own business, but you supported and you can run your business under our brand name with all the developments and everything that we’ve, um, produced. So if you get the business in a box and then you’re not alone in a franchise because you’re part of a network and we’ve got like over a hundred.

[00:31:12] Claire: So it’s, it’s lovely for that support that we’ve just been talking to people who get it, similar, similar people, um, in similar situations, mainly wanting to have a business where it allows them to bring their family up whilst. Having their own career as well. And our franchise is one of many, many franchises that there are some amazing children’s activities franchises out there.

[00:31:34] Claire: There are countless amounts of, you know, there’s all bigger ones, obviously you’ve got, you, you, you, you, you’ve got more well known ones. So like McDonald’s or your Burger King and that’s, but the ones who, which are quite lifestyle franchises, um, can all be, um, kind of like. quite a realistic, um, goal or dream or achievement for, um, or doable for, for, for people who are wanting to start their own business.

[00:32:00] Claire: Um, so I would recommend if you go on, there’s a, um, a website called Encouraging Women into Franchising, that’s really good, and that’s got, um, lots of information, community research, whether franchising works for you, and also then there’s the British Franchise Association, um, we’re members of all these because it’s you know, their checkers, credibility and, you know, reputable franchises will be listed with them.

[00:32:25] Claire: Um, not all of them have to be, so it’s not as if, you know, there are a lot of reputable franchises out there who aren’t registered, affiliated or a member of the BFA, but… It’s a good place to start. Um, and then once you find one, just make sure that you talk to the head office. So that’d be like, cause that’s the franchise or make sure that you’re asking the right questions and make sure it works for you.

[00:32:47] Claire: You it’s, it’s, it’s a two way street. It’s a, I see it absolutely as a partnership. So they want the people who will understand the brand and want to work with the brand and then. The other way around, you need to make sure that you’re going to get that support and, um, different standards and all the ethical side of franchising as well through your head office.

[00:33:04] Claire: And also to ask if you can speak to a franchisee of that company, um, because those are the best people to… To speak to, I’ve done obviously built my own franchise from scratch. So I’ve done the do of a franchisee, but I’ve never had a head office because it was either the head office. Yeah. So it’s important to speak to those franchisees and just really get, you know, like feel for the company, feel for the brand, do so much research, um, make sure it’ll fit in with the lifestyle that you want to the financial expectations, marry up to what you want.

[00:33:35] Claire: And yeah, franchising is a really brilliant option. Um, for. For mums or people who are wanting to come out of, um, working for someone else and working for themselves but don’t want to start their own business on their own. 

[00:33:47] Carla: You’ve got, yeah, you’ve got that confidence. I remember when i start My Bump 2 Baby on my own, you’ve got that Imposter syndrome every day. You’re like, Oh, and then, but when you’re as part of a team, like you said, it’s great because you’ve got people to talk to. And likely if you come into any problems or issues, people have been through it before. So they’ve… You’ve got that network of people you can go to and ask for support, which is really nice.

[00:34:12] Claire: And then like, there should be like kind of wellbeing support as well as business support, because you know, you’re driving the business yourself. So you’ve got to make sure that you’re looking after yourself as best you can. 

[00:34:24] Carla: Yeah, that sounds great. And if anyone was looking to take their little ones to Baby Ballet, where would they find the nearest class?

[00:34:31] Carla: Um, would it be on your website? 

[00:34:34] Claire: Yes, that’s the very best place to go. So it’s www. babyballet. co. uk. And then you just search in, um, what your postcard is or where your town is, and that should bring up the local franchise. And then they will take the, you can actually book online. So it can all be done. Um, but then you’d be have one person that was looking after you, um, in that class and in that franchised area.

[00:34:55] Claire: And if there isn’t anyone in that area, then we would love you to talk to us. If it would. It’s going to be something that you might be interested in because we’re all about people and working with people who really believe in our ethos and share our values and want to do the very best for children, but also have a lovely business themselves. 

[00:35:15] Carla: I love that. Claire, you’ve been amazing. Thank you so much, um, for coming on today. 

[00:35:19] Claire: Oh, thank you. 

[00:35:20] Carla: Um, I’ll put all Claire’s links in that she’s mentioned in the bottom of this podcast, so you can easily click through to that. And, uh, thank you again, uh, Claire for coming on today. 

[00:35:31] Claire: Oh, no. Thank you so much for having me, and good luck to everybody out there listening or every stage of the journey you’re on. 

[00:35:36] Carla: Thank you. 

[00:35:39] Carla: Are you looking for dance classes in your local area? To take your little ones too, head over to to find your nearest dance classes. My Bump to Baby is one of the UK’s leading parenting platforms. You can find local pregnancy to preschool groups, classes and lessons wherever you are in the UK. Not only that, but you can read our honest reviews on the latest products. and services that you as parents need to know about. We also work with trusted financial advisors, family law solicitors, and now estate agents too.

[00:36:27] Carla: If you would like to find your nearest trusted expert, head over to www. mybump2baby. com


Find your local baby group on

Grab your busy mum planner