Introducing 'Reflections', a new series where we share the thoughts, experiences, and inner workings of women amongst us and ahead of us.
Our intention with these chats is to share stories through candid conversations. We want our contributors to dig deeper than just the 'highlight reel' and share the journey, the highs and lows, the self-reflections, plus the tools and resources that got them to where they are today.
We're opening up with Phoebe Simmonds, who is someone we are a) inspired by b) is relatable c) has so much wisdom.
She's a lot to many. She became a step-mom to Tyler, who lost his mom young, and later, became the mom of baby Remy; and before all that she had founded The Blow with the ethos of "Life isn't effortlesss, but your hair can be" and co-founder of The Memo. The Memo was born from a list, “everything you need for a baby”, emailed from friend to friend, refined with each experience of pregnancy, birth and new parenthood, until it contained only the best, brightest and most useful products in the babysphere. Each time someone announced they were expecting, someone else would say “I’ll send you the memo”. If only you could shop it all in one effortless, feel good place...this is now The Memo. Think Mecca and Baby Bunting had a a baby, but even better.
Needless to say we are excited to chat to Phoebe.
1. The Journey of Self. Let’s dive right in, in your own words, what has your journey been to date? What are the top three moments that defined or redirected you to where you are now?
Just after uni I had a motorbike accident. It was the impetus I needed to shift gears and essentially, start my adult life, so at 22, I moved to London to build my career, or if I wasn’t successful in that, to have some amazing travel experiences and to enjoy the opportunities that would come with living in such a global city. It worked.[edit: she ended up working for LVMH]
After working my dream job in Sydney, at the age of 31 I decided to move back to Melbourne and start my own business, The BLOW. It was a big step, but I felt energised for this next challenge and to see what life could throw at me
At 33 I went on a blind date and met my now fiance. It changed everything, and it was what I was waiting for. I am very grateful for the connection.
2. The Mother. You are a mother and step-mother, what did you expect motherhood to be like before you had children? How has motherhood evolved for you?
I’d never really thought about it until I was in it. I knew that I’d like to have kids, but I didn’t meet my partner until I was 33, so life before then had very much not been focused on family life and domesticity. I think I expected it to be monotonous and joyful and challenging and purposeful, all of which, for me, it is. I have definitely changed since being a mother, I feel more settled, centrered, and of course, I am (slightly) less selfish.
3. The Postpartum. Let’s talk about postpartum, how has your experience been? What are your favourite postpartum products and/or resources?
My experience was pretty unique. As co-founder of The Memo, I knew what to expect.
It’s a HUGE change and all parents have different experiences, but one thing that is common for all is that it’s hard! I knew that it would require softness and boundaries and a lot of recovery for the body, to be patient, to ask for help, to try not to do too much. Good in theory, but for my life, not concepts I was great at adopting!
As a business owner, I didn’t get a lot of time for quiet and to be truly present at this stage. I was back in the office at 12 weeks and I never had the boredom some parents feel, some days I would wish for a clear schedule! It felt quick and I wouldn’t recommend it. However, my baby slept. My partner had done it before so he always knew what to do when I didn’t. I ate well and moved my body and got sunshine. All this helped me recover and feel good in myself.
There are a ton of products new mums can rely on over this time. I wish The Tenth existed then but I have been using it from about 10 months postpartum and I have felt a dramatic change in my energy and outlook since. Qiara Breastfeeding Probiotic is excellent for maintaining gut health in new breastfeeding mums and to help avoid mastitis. Silverettes are a game changer for nipple pain. The SNOO for sleep. A White Noise Machine everywhere. The Baby Shusher, also, everywhere. And the Portier Limitless Carrier to keep them close and get out and about.
4. You are the Founder of The Blow and Co-Founder of The Memo. What are the guiding principles behind The Memo? What is your ‘why’? What is next for The Memo?
We knew parents deserved better, so we created The Memo. We exist to help new parents feel good, prepared and supported when raising a child. We want them to come to us to feel excited and confident about this experience, not overwhelmed, and to help them at every stage: pregnancy, labour and birth, postpartum, breastfeeding and parenting.
We serve up a quality curation of products, founded on that original list, but we’re not just here to just sell stuff. The market is already flooded with that. What is more important to us is to create a brand that means something to new parents, a place they can turn to to feel heard and understood. We do that with product, but also with education, services and community, and a tone that is on their level with no assumed knowledge and absolutely no judgement.
Next for us is more boutiques, more services, more education and constantly looking for ways to improve our assortment, experience and the value we can offer to our community.
5. Your framework to feel good. Being a mother and a founder can make it challenging to find time for our own wellbeing. What are the things you do to fill up your cup?
Small things daily: I move my body every day, usually I wake at 6am and do an Amy Carmody Yoga virtual class, a Peloton or walk our dog. Just me, it’s the best.
Big things once in a week: I take time to read a book or journal, phone down, full focus.
Bigger things once in a while: getting away as a family, it’s good to break the cycle and grind, and get out of Melbourne sometimes.
6. Final thoughts and inspiration
Describe your favourite moment of the day?
6-6.30 when it’s just me doing something for me.
What are some of the tools/resources that you find support in? I am a voracious reader and I am constantly inspired by the stories of others, fiction and non-fiction.
Do you have a quote or sentence you found helpful in your Journey?
My mantra is if you can’t stand for something you won’t stand out at all. Also, yolo.
What is the one thing you want our readers to take away from our chat today?
To know that everyone’s experience of new parenthood is so different, but that support and understanding is there for everyone, and you are never alone.
You can find Phoebe's (@phoebeactually) instagram here, highly recommend checking out also check out The Memo and their instagram; and who doesn't love a good blow wave 'Life isn’t effortless, but your hair can be." Check them out here.