Hazel Kinsella is co-founder of Irish maternity wear brand The Pod Collection. She and husband Wayne are parents to Scott (4) and Ethan (1 ½). Here, she shares what motherhood has taught her
Scott arrived very shortly after we got married but it was all good, although we got a bit of a fright.
I didn't really have too much basis to go on and to be honest, I didn't know any kids. So I was kind of thrown into it but I think that was a good thing for me because I didn't have a chance to think about it too much or worry about it. When Scott arrived, I have to admit he was a very good baby, so it was a really good first experience of motherhood. He was - and still is - a really placid and gentle kid, so we were very lucky.
I wouldn't be very strict with the kids. My husband has more structure. Once they're well behaved - I'm strict on manners - but in terms of letting them do what they want at playtime and things like that, I'd be very laid back, once they're not rude.
We were the type of couple who went out a lot before the kids arrived - obviously that goes out the window but it's for the better. We now do lots of different things instead of going out; we spend our time in our village and we go for lunches and brunches instead of going out for dinner. Now some of our friends have caught up with us as a couple so we have other opportunities to do different things.
We had been talking about it for much longer than that. It all stemmed from my struggle during my first pregnancy with Scott. I was always complaining I couldn't find nice stylish pieces of clothes and I felt a lot of the pieces were mumsy and dated. Emma [Arblaster] was my best friend and she's my business partner. We both had skills that lent themselves very well to the business; Emma was in fashion buying and I have a design background and worked in advertising for years. The combination of our skills worked really well when we decided to start the business.
It's a really tough one, especially when you're working and also when you're launching a new business, which takes up a lot of your time. As a mom, when you throw in a lack of sleep on top of that, everything seems extra hard.
At the start I was trying to do everything for everyone and I learnt after a couple of months that it doesn't work. I was trying to have my laptop there so I could respond to emails during the day but when you have the two kids around, that's not fair on them. Now, when the kids are around during the day, I don't have the laptop out. When they go to bed I have a solid few hours where I put my head down and I work. At least then I can concentrate and the boys aren't compromised at all but it took me a while to get the hang of it.
That has helped me along the way as well because a lot of the information I'm coming across through the business, I've been able to take along with me. I also have a couple of sisters-in-law who are really helpful. One of my sisters-in-law, Alice, is a doctor so she's my go-to whenever I'm worried about the kids or I have a question so she's a great support and she's called on a lot.
I didn't have a hospital bag when I was going in to have Scott. He was a little early and I didn't have anything ready so I ended up giving birth in a sundress that my husband bought in Dunnes. I told him to get me a nightdress and he came in with a turquoise and white stripy dress. Then, when I got home, we weren't really prepared for that. For me, when I'm talking to any of my pregnant friends, I tell them a month out, have a hospital bag ready because the baby can arrive early and you don't want to be in a situation where you don't have all the stuff that you need.