Q&A with Steph Douglas
I am thrilled to have Steph as the next person in my Q&A blog series. I met Steph when I very first started on Instagram in October last year. I love the honesty and realness of her Instagram account and she is just as warm and lovely in real life as she comes across through those squares.
Her brilliant blog Sisterhood (and all that) tells it like it is, but is also a warm and reassuring voice to first time, second time, or even anytime, mums. I often find myself laughing out loud at what she writes. She has a talent for taking serious topics and showing the funny side. (Check out ‘When new mum’s get angry’.) Talking about these important topics is a way to let people know they’re not alone and that how they’re feeling is totally normal.
Steph set up Don’t Buy Her Flowers in 2014 to provide thoughtful packages for new mums. It has grown to become a gift service for all sorts of events – from birthdays to bereavements. The seeds of the idea started when Steph was sent eight bunches of flowers after having her first baby. Having to try and arrange flowers and then dispose of them was all a bit much and Don’t Buy Her Flower’s was born! It has developed into an incredible business.
What is your motto for life?
What if I fall?
Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?
From Australian poet Erin Hanson. It became a bit of a mantra when I was starting the business and often doubting myself and worrying about it all going horribly wrong. It kind of helped reframe those doubts.
What is your current destination?
Well I’m having my third baby in a few weeks, so feeling pretty anxious about the impact and change that will bring to my little family and life as we know it! My kids are 5 and 6 so we’re properly out of the baby zone, and I feel like the last couple of years have been about reestablishing myself in my own right, and also
getting our relationship back after those intense first years of babies, and finding a better balance at home. I can’t wait to meet the baby, I think third time around you’re just more aware of the reality! My aim is to give myself time and be kind to myself, which I wasn’t great at when I had the first two. I now know it’s all a phase and you come out the other side, and will look on it fondly even if at the time you just wish you could sleep. From a work point of view, the business is in a brilliant place after three years of hard work – we’re about to launch a package with Stand Up To Cancer for cancer patients and their loved ones, so I’m pretty focused on getting that successfully launched and then hopefully giving myself a bit of time to unwind before the baby arrives. We’ve built a great team who are more than capable without me involved day to day so it will all be ok. Doug and I say that a lot – it will all be ok!
What advice do you have for your 16-year old self?
Oh Stephie – don’t take it all so seriously, you’re going to be ok. Follow your gut when it comes to people as it’s usually right. And please stop wasting energy worrying about your body. It will do some pretty great things.
What three things are you most grateful for today?
My family, my friends, my job.
What are your natural highs?
Weekends with no plans except hanging with Doug and our kids, dinners with my girlfriends, an early morning run or gym session, dancing to Kisstory, and listening to the kids talking when they don’t know I’m listening. They’re so delicious and innocent, I want to bottle them.
What gives your life balance?
Exercise is up there, although sometimes that feels like more of a necessity as I had a prolapsed disc a couple of years ago and need to keep it strong. I’ve mentioned having weekends with no plans – there’s often a to do list or people to meet by a certain time or somewhere to ferry the kids to. Those weekends when we get to just be are always the best – we usually go to Kew Gardens or a park, lunch at the pub, maybe sneak a nap in… everyone is just more relaxed and it’s the best way to start the week. Leaving my phone downstairs at night is also something I would recommend to everyone.
What makes you laugh?
My favourite laughing is in bed when we’ve just woken up and Doug says something daft. We don’t do it enough as usually one of us has got up, or the kids are harassing us, or I’m listing things that we need to do and getting annoyed that we haven’t done them and leaping out of bed in a ‘must get on’ frenzy. Also the kids – I was in my office the other day and they were in the bathroom. Mabel was on the toilet and Buster was in the bath and she was giving a running commentary. Then she said ‘Buster it’s massive. I think it’s the biggest one I’ve ever done’ and Buster got out of the bath to look and said ‘One day, when I have a phone, I would take a picture of that and send it to mum’. And then they carried on with their bath. Also the Scummy Mummies – their podcast never fails to make me laugh out loud.
What is your proudest achievement?
Aside from the kids, it has to be the business. I didn’t really know where it would go but we have a warehouse and staff and we’re growing month on month and I am really proud of it. I have learnt so much about business and myself and now that the first tough couple of years are out of the way, I am really enjoying it. That we have premises and employees almost doesn’t feel real
Who in your life has influenced you the most?
My parents are pretty special. I’m one of six and they also did fostering and as a parent now, I see the sacrifices they must have made and still do. My mum has an empathy that I really admire, and she also loves a gin and a swear.