Clio's Story

Clio Wood, (33) is Mother to Delphi (21 months) and also a female Entrepreneur and Founder of &Breathe Postnatal. She is a woman after my own heart, she has an idea and rolls with it.  A total self starter and motivated, she was uninspired with the post natal support to get healthy with her kid around, Clio decided to take matters into her own hands by creating retreats for new mothers welcoming their partners and babies along to. She has created retreats, full of accessible and effective fitness classes, healthy food you could cook yourself and some great treatments, all without having to worry about what to do with the baby.   Hosted in the Manoir that Clio owns with her husband, Bryn, in south west France.  Manoir La Croix de La Jugie it is a haven of calm where you can take time to focus on your fitness & diet, and relax in beautiful surroundings with wonderful therapists and trainers.   Seeing the success of her concept, Clio is now bringing it to London as day retreats.  

3 words to describe how you feel about your job  I love it!

3 words to describe being a mother  a balancing act

what drives you?  Feminism

Would you be a stay at home mum if you could or do you choose to work?    No, absolutely not.  I feel undernourished and frustrated when I don't have an outlet other than parenting.  I think it's due to my terribly short fuse! It's been super frustrating at times and really challenged my perception of my own independence and identity.

Is there pressure to go back to work / be a stay at home mum - either way?  I've learnt that there's pressure every which way as a parent.  Particularly so as a mum.  If you listen to critics, you'll be made to feel guilty about any decision you make!  It's especially unfair that women are made to feel more pressure than men as parents, no-one talks about men juggling work and being a dad, and that's because the expectation is not on them to be the primary caregiver as well as performing at work, and looking good too!

Did your profession change after you became a mother?  Yes, but it's been a gradual evolution.  Before becoming a mum, I was self-employed and I still am.  But previously I was an Interior Designer and had my own upcycling label, Clio the Muse.  I was also transforming our house in France ( into a holiday property and wedding venue.  When I had Delphi, I was looking for a retreat to re-boot as a mum and for us as a family, but couldn't find anything, so &Breathe was born and La Jugie seemed the perfect place to hold it!

do you feel differently about your work now you are a mum or are you still as driven?  Given what I do, work is enhanced by my being a mum, and I would say I'm still extremely ambitious for &Breathe.  If I were still in a full time office job, my husband and I would have both dropped down to 4 days per week in order to parent a little more equally.

do you feel guilty going to work?  No.

whats the hardest thing about being a working mum?  The fact that there are no 'working dads'.

whats the most rewarding?  Getting to see my baby and work in a job I love.

how do you typically split your time?   Working from 9am-4pm, which is covered by nanny 9-1 and then nap time 1-4.  I'm lucky she's still a good sleeper!  After that we go for a walk and run errands until suppertime then bath and bed.

how do you maintain a sense of wellbeing whilst devoting your time to your kids?  Apart from every day eating well and hopefully getting at least one or to exercise sessions in per week, I find it really hard to relax and switch off.  I think this is partly my own personality and partly the fact that I run my own business.  Time away from family is often spent working, so although I'm not devoting time to Delphi, I'm not devoting time to me either!  It's something I'm aiming to do better at - booking a break away on my own (yoga retreat) later this year is a good step!

biggest lesson learnt   That you can't do everything and you should know when to ask for help.  Also that being a mum is bloody hard!

how do you manage on the days when you are just so tired you can’t even think about getting out of bed?  Thankfully they are very rare these days, but in the old days, I cried a lot!  Things got better when we arranged more systematic childcare and I had some time to recover.  

has becoming a mother changed you?  Yes.  I'm a bit more patient than I was.  And I have developed a capacity for love that I didn't know existed.  I appreciate my own parents so much more now, which is great, but sad that I didn't realise sooner.

what would you like to see the future be for your kids? Equality not only of policy but of expectation for parental roles.  Policies are changing but fathers are still not under the same expectations as mothers to perform a dual role.

any pearls of wisdom for other new mums or working mums out there?  If you have an idea - give it a go!  The worst that can happen is it doesn't work and you try something else...