Another day and another amazing MumBoss on the site with a fascinating story to tell. A little while ago I had the pleasure of being introduced to Prestbury based Mum of three and hairdresser Emma Bolton. Fast forward a few weeks and Emma was styling my hair and joining the ever growing number of inspiring women who are juggling eggs to balance the multiple demands of motherhood and business. I had the pleasure of meeting Emma and little Edith for a coffee today to discuss how a diagnosis of Post Natal Depression made an unwelcome entrance to her busy life last year. Huge thanks to Emma for speaking out on the topic and sharing tips that, I am sure, will be a great help to many Mamans going through a similar battle.
CMHQ: Morning Emma and Edith! Great to talk to you. We start every interview at CheltenhamMaman HQ with a question about your small people. Who have you got?
Emma: So I’ve got three. Twin boys, Finlay and George, who are 5 and this little lady Edith who is nine months. I can tell you one hundred percent that my family is complete!
CMHQ: And you’ve always been a hairdresser?
Emma: Yep! I left school at 16 and joined the team at the original branch of Blushes in Gloucester and worked there for twenty whole years! It was such a fantastic place to learn – there are so many benefits to working somewhere like that when you first start out – the opportunities for training you would never pick up working for yourself. I developed a real interest in colouring hair and one year went with the team to compete for the colour trophy! We didn’t win but it was such a great experience. I also really honed my techniques for wedding hair which I also love and worked with really incredible people. I will always remember my time there.
CMHQ: So at what point did you make the break? It’s sounds like it was the perfect place to work?
Emma: For that time in my life, it really was. I took a whole year off for maternity leave when I had the boys. Sometimes taking that time away really helps you to reassess things and I just decided that I needed more flexibility in my life and wanted to be in control of my own hours. I rented chairs in local salons for a while but that still didn’t give me the flexibility I needed as I was still bound by the opening hours and resources of other people. We moved to Prestbury and my partner pointed out that the garage in our house would make a perfect salon so that was that! Now my commute to work is about three paces and I have the ultimate in work life balance!
CMHQ: So I’m guessing you built up a loyal client base during that time – what kind of services were you offering?
Emma: Oh loads! Obviously I still love my colour and offer all the usual methods. I love balayage which is essentially free hand colouring where you paint the hair – it’s the ultimate creative technique! I also do loads of weddings and I really really enjoy that. But good old cut and blow dries are a staple part of my work.
CMHQ: And then you had lovely Edith.
Emma: That’s right. Having had twins and coped pretty well I was all set for a straightforward birth and recovery but bizarrely it just didn’t happen like that. She was pretty late and a big baby and I had a really big haemorrhage postnatally. My physical recovery was a little slower than I might have expected but I realised when she was about eight weeks that there was something seriously wrong. Though I loved her immensely I had completely lost my get up and go. As a hairdresser I have always cared about the way I look and taken the time to do my hair and makeup. During this time I was rarely even showering! I was also obsessing about both my health and Edith’s – imagining terrible scenarios and convincing myself that we were all going to die. We had an amazing family holiday planned and I couldn’t even bring myself to pack the day before. There was just something incredibly wrong about the way that I was feeling – completely overwhelmed and unhappy – and I realised I needed to ask for help.
CMHQ: So who did you go to?
Emma: Obviously I confided in my partner and my friends were all incredible – such great listeners. My GP referred me to the Health Visitor and they both diagnosed me with Post Natal Depression. I was prescribed some anti-depressants, a low dose of which I still take, and referred to be part of the Let’s Talk CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) group programme. I gave this a try but decided to seek out some one to one help and went for some private CBT which was brilliant. I also had hypnotherapy which I found really useful. I found it really difficult to understand why, having coped so well with twin boys, double trouble and so much energy, I was unable to handle one baby girl. The people I worked with help me to understand that the change was chemical in my brain and that it most likely had been prompted by my birth trauma – it wasn’t my fault and I wasn’t failing. Seeking help was the best thing I could have done and I really encourage others to do the same.
CMHQ: So how long until you started to feel like yourself again?
Emma: Well being self employed I had planned to return to work when Edith was three months but I realised that wasn’t in anyone’s interest. By the time she was six months I felt I was back to my old self and slowly started to get back in to the swing of seeing clients. It’s so important that we are as kind to ourselves as we can be after having a baby. Go as slowly as you can and when someone offers to help – don’t play the martyr – say yes please. I’m about to ramp it up to working four days a week and this feels perfect. I feel I’m getting the best of both worlds and can do lots of school runs due to the flexible nature of my job.
CMHQ: Do you have any nuggets of advice you could share with other MumBosses?
I’m a big fan of working to your strengths – I’m not into numbers or computer so I use an accountant, I also have a cleaner. If I can outsource the things I’m not good at and don’t enjoy then I have more time to see clients, earn my living and do what makes me happy. I also think exercise has been so helpful to me and my mental health recovery. I love to mix it up. I do personal training sessions with local trainer Sarah Gates, sometimes I do spin classes, Block Fit… anything that gets me active and around other people.
CMHQ: Thank you Emma – by sharing today you will have helped others who may be finding the change to becoming a mother harder than they’d expected and you’ve helped other MumBosses manage the juggle. How can our readers find out more about you and the services you offer?
Emma: As I said computers are not my thing but hair really is! You can find out more about me at my Facebook page. I can also offer new clients £10 off their first appointment. I’d love to meet some of your readers! I’ve also recently offered a service where a group of Mums with small babies (pre crawlers) came and had a group hair cut one morning! They all parked out with the babes in the living room and took it in turns to have their hair cut and look after one another’s babes… great option for groups go Mums who met at antenatal classes – come and have coffee, a natter and a hair cut – if that sounds like fun then drop me a message!
CMHQ: Good Luck – thanks for being a valued member of the club. x