Suzanne Milne was Deputy Editor of Junior magazine in 2009 when she and her husband went through their first IVF cycle. Despite the 20 per cent odds, it was a success, and their first child, Oliver was born in 2010.
It was after Oliver’s arrival that Suzanne started formulating plans for MyLittleStyleFile – an editorial website featuring outstanding books, interiors, products, toys, and travel destinations for children and families. The site's Moodboard and Travel Planner tools are designed to help save parents that most precious resource – time.
'I had been thinking about creating an editorial website like MyLittleStyleFile for some time, and once my son was born I realised just how crucial this type of site was – if not for anyone else, then at least for me. I wanted to create an online editorial space where truly outstanding products, books, toys, interiors and destinations were curated and collected in one place, so parents could quickly find the really exceptional products and places for kids. But I wanted the site to go a few steps further and allow parents to also curate everything from Christmas wishlists and baby shower giftlists to their own bespoke family travel itineraries – and it became my mission!’
In February 2013, Suzanne discovered that their third IVF cycle (by this time with 5 per cent odds) had been successful.
'It sounds crazy, because obviously an IVF pregnancy is well and truly ‘planned’, but with those odds, I hadn’t actually written a second baby into our business plan!'
During the pregnancy, Suzanne, her husband Brenden and then–two-year-old son Oliver travelled through nine cities and made a short-term move from London to Sydney. MyLittleStyleFile launched from London in August 2013 and Charlotte was born three months later in Sydney. We asked Suzanne to describe a typical day with her family...
'Is there any such thing as a typical day with children? If anything is typical, then it is that every day is about containing the chaos and running as fast as we can without falling over!! In the four years since Oliver was born, we’ve ‘lived’ in seven different houses and travelled through more than 20 different cities, so our goal is to simply wake up with a good sense of humour before racing out the front door to uncover more great things to share on MyLittleStyleFile. Generally, my husband will pack up the kids and head somewhere like a zoo for a mega fun play date while I meet with a contributor or set reviews live. Luckily, most of this work can be done with the family in tow. At the end of the day, we head home, make dinner, do bath time, then read some bedtime books to review on the Books channel. When the kids are finally asleep, I try to update editorial calendars or answer emails, before crashing around midnight.'
Suzanne believes it is an ambitious woman who sets out to ‘balance’ work and motherhood.
'For me, it’s an ever-imperfect imbalance – a constantly shifting tightrope of resources and priorities. At this stage of our family life (with a nine month old baby) it is definitely the motherhood side of the equation that wins - the time between now and when my children will be at school is so precious, unrepeatable and full of opportunity. Which is why MyLittleStyleFile also has Time To... features; reminders of those things that we – as time-poor parents – might forget to schedule in amongst all the other demands. Things like getting a family photo taken, heading to a music festival, or roasting marshmallows over a fire. Even if I only find Time To do one or two of those things each month, it makes me feel more inspired as a parent – and being inspired is more than half the challenge.'
For Suzanne, another challenge has been giving up the ‘great expectations’ she had of who she would be as a mother.
'I thought I would hand my baby over to my husband each day (he is an actor, so we’ve the happy option of daytime work for me and night time for him) and head into an office, knowing my husband would take brilliant care of our son. However, after hearing Oliver scream for me as I left the house those first few days, I soon realised I would never again be that person who stayed in the office for 12 hours straight. On the flip side, there is nothing that can compare to having my son fall asleep in my arms as he sleepily whispers “You’re my best girl, Mummy”. Definitely the most rewarding pay check ever.'
While Suzanne thinks the best advice for new mothers is to never listen to advice, she does have one tip for expectant mums...
'I tell my friends who are pregnant for the first time: “Do whatever you need to do that requires more than 20 minutes – and do it NOW!” Of course, they pay no attention, think I’m being dramatic and promptly forget I ever warned them. That’s the beauty of all the sleep deprivation of the first 12 months: all the advice everyone ever gives you is quickly – and appropriately – forgotten and replaced with your very own wonderful memories of constant chaos and running as fast as you can without falling over…'
MyLittleStyleFile really is an incredible resource; the kind of website you return to again and again for inspiration and advice. You can keep up-to-date with Suzanne and her team of contributors via twitter and Facebook too.
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