We were fascinated to learn more about the newly launched, School for Mothers™ podcast which introduces a carousel of dynamic mothers as they share a slice of their lives. They are women who’re raising their families while fiercely building business + corporate careers, and refusing to apologise for either. Sometimes taboo, often seemingly ordinary, always honest – this series offers smart listening for savvy mothers who want to live their lives fully at every age and every stage.
Hosted by Danusia Malina-Derben, mother of 10 and professional business woman, each episode promises to bring fresh unfiltered conversations on motherhood. Danusia deep dives into the questions and dilemmas all mothers share, but don’t always feel comfortable talking about.
Tell me a little about yourself Danusia?
I’m a C-suite Consultant and founder of School for Mothers. I have a lovely happy family and we live by the coast, a couple of minutes from the sea. I’m mum of ten children but right now five live at home (6 year old triplets and two teen daughters).
What made you start your business and specifically creating podcasts?
My professional career as a Boardroom specialist and C-suite advisor (CEO, COO and so on) is a privileged position for a woman to effect change in corporations – it’s a role I relish having been a business school academic for years before choosing to become a business owner.
In 2018 I launched School for Mothers to upend old narratives and practices that limit the potential of individual mothers and those collectively within businesses. As part of SFM we began the School for Mothers podcast to delve beyond emotional clichés and outdated stereotypes about mother’s lives, and what matters to them. My upcoming book, Messages from a Mother of Ten: on Work, Family and Freedom sets out new paradigms for ambitious mothers who want more than balance. I have a unique standpoint when discussing women’s careers and children since I had 2 children in my teens, 3 children in my twenties, 2 children in my thirties and 4 children in my forties.
I decided to start the School for Mothers podcast for two reasons. Firstly, I love podcasts and have done for many years. I believe they’re the most connecting and impactful way to reach audiences online. Secondly, I saw a real gap in the podcasting world – there are plenty of podcasts for mums on parenting and plenty of podcasts for career women and entrepreneurs. School for Mothers hits the sweet spot as our listeners are mothers who are ambitious for themselves. It’s time for new conversations about what it takes to be fulfilled as WOMEN, once we become mothers. Each episode, we dive into the questions and dilemmas all mothers share, but don’t always feel comfortable talking about.
What challenges have you come up against along the way?
One of the challenges I faced has been how to make sure I figure on my own to-do list. This seems to be one universal challenge mothers share. The many practical and emotional demands of raising kids and our own attempts to be the very best mum we can be often translates into a self sacrificing model of being. Because I’ve a large family my need to consciously keep myself and my identity (as a woman not only as mum) led me to creating a simple yet effective tool. I call it ME SHEETS and for some time now I’ve used them in my life to keep on track not only as a busy person but more importantly to remind myself of my own needs and desires, beyond my dearly loved family. Now hundreds of mothers are using ME SHEETS too as they’re a free digital download on our website!
How do you fit everything in and balance work-life and family life?
I’ve never had a working day without being a mum so I don’t know anything different. Being a mum of 10 is a blessing; my eldest five are now ‘grown up’ although kids have a habit of returning home! As a working mother I’ve streamlined systems and processes at home to stay sane and to be able to focus also on my own career path and impact. To do this we work as a team at home rather like in business, which is no bad thing as ultimately I see my job as loving my kids to the hilt while preparing them for independence.
It’s right that ‘if you want something done, give it to a busy person to do’. In order to handle a lot we have to think like a project manager by asking ourselves questions like: how long will this task take? What steps are needed? When will each step need to be completed by and what challenges might happen to affect completion of deadlines? Juggling the logistical demands of a big family is like grappling with the production of a podcast. I’m a believer in the transferable skills of mothers and see how these are grossly undervalued – we’ve a multitude of existing skills to draw upon and therefore to use in our own businesses and careers. Mothers are reliable, we know about being consistent because day-in day-out we show up.
Starting the School for Mothers Podcast was daunting but it’s massive growth for me as a person while bringing something fresh that makes a difference to others.
Do you have any top tips?
Discipline breeds freedom.
Most people assume being disciplined is dull and confining whereas the reverse is true. When we are disciplined and create systems (at home and in our businesses/careers) we are freed up.
Setting clear goals are vital steps to achieving long term vision which in itself is also key.
What we measure matters – by measuring things we consciously demonstrate its importance in our lives and vice versa.
What has inspired you the most?
Positive feedback from podcast listeners inspires me. We’ve been thrilled to engage listeners from the beginning who let us know how we’re doing. It’s always inspiring to know what we’re creating is hitting home!
What plans do you have for the future?
On Mother’s Day (31st March 2019) we are launching the School for Mothers Sunday Series. I’m so excited to launch these episodes as they’re an opportunity to deep-dive into compelling topics and host exciting panel discussions. These will include fathers which is important to SFM.
Find out more here: schoolformothers.com