Inspiring Mummy: Jo Dyson
Tell us about yourself:
Hi, my name is Jo, I'm 35 and from Bedfordshire. I'm a Chartered Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor and have recently returned to work after having my second baby. I decided not to go back to my job at Spire Harpenden Hospital after this baby as the commute/drop off arrangements would have been too much.
I have recently started working at Woodside Clinic in Leighton Buzzard and also set up a postnatal pilates class for new mums called Mummy and Me Pilates. I am enjoying being self employed so far!
Tell us about your family set up:
I live with my husband and our two boys, aged 3 and 1 in Leighton Buzzard. We have lived here 8 years now and it is proving a lovely town to bring up children in. My husband works in Milton Keynes so we are lucky in that he can help get us all out the house in the mornings on work days and he is home in time for bath/bed time most days too.
Do you work or stay at home? How does that work for you? How do you feel about those decisions and choices? Has what you do greatly changed since you’ve had a family? In what ways?
I work two days a week in the clinic and then teach my Pilates classes one morning a week too. It's working out really well so far. I am enjoying the challenge of a new job and I think the balance is just right. It gives me a break from the stresses of being a mum for a few hours which is good for me. I think I would struggle with being at home full time and I enjoy my kids more by having a break from them.
I'm loving the flexibility being self employed has to offer but we shall have to see if it pays the mortgage or not! I find I can juggle being a Mum and running a house with my current work arrangements - I don't know how others manage it when they have a big commute or are out of the house for long days.
Running my Pilates classes is great fun but I underestimated how much time I would have to spend on admin - dealing with enquiries from potential clients, responding to emails, posting on Facebook etc etc... this all has to be done in between nappy changes, making meals and laundry. It is such a change from working set hours on set days - it seems too much fun to be considered work!
I've always specialised in musculoskeletal Physiotherapy, but having experienced pregnancy and birth and all that comes with it (!), I am increasingly interested in Women's Health Physiotherapy. I really enjoy working with the postnatal population in my classes (lots of squishy babies come along too) and I'm really passionate about helping ladies recover from pregnancy. There seems to be so little advice out there to guide Mums about physically recovering from pregnancy - I'm trying to do my bit to tackle this!
This is a big shift from working on the wards, or treating people with back pain which I still do, but I don't doubt my newfound interest in this area of physio had come from my recent personal experiences.
What are your day-to-day challenges as a mum?
Juggling everything! Life is so busy - every minute of every day is accounted for then that's followed by the night shift. Then repeat!
I don't have it any worse than other Mums, in fact I am very lucky to have a lot of help and support from my Mum and husband, but it can be overwhelming at times. It's a struggle trying to get everything done round the house whilst looking after my boys and trying to make time for them too.
But it's a constantly evolving situation as they grow up, placing different demands on you so at least it's not boring!
What would you most like to change about your current situation?
To be really honest, I truly don't think I would change anything if I could. I'm pretty content with our family and how it all works which is a good feeling.
In what ways do you hope to inspire your children?
I want them to grow up to be aspirational individuals which strive to be the best they can be, to have belief in themselves and to look after their health!
But more importantly I want them to be happy and to have the courage to follow whatever path they wish to in life.
What inspires you the most? (People/books/art etc…)
I think I am inspired by the people around me. I see other friends, family members achieving things in life and feel motivated to make achievements too, in my own way! I'm not necessarily even talking about the big things in life, maybe just the way they are patient with their children or how they seem to cope so well with a hectic family life!
Do you currently take any regular time out for yourself? What do you do with that time out?
I do not and I need to sort this out! Work provides a nice rest from Mum-activity these days! I really recognise the need to nurture oneself but I definitely do not do this enough. And if I do try, the 'Mum Guilt' gets me and I feel selfish. There is always something to do, so I don't feel I can relax and switch off properly if it means ignoring jobs.
What are your thoughts about the Inspiring Mummy Club, and what do you see as its appeal?
I think anything which encourages Mums to look after themselves and each other is a great idea, in terms of boosting self-esteem, re-energising and providing mum-to-mum support. Being a Mum is a difficult world to navigate and the best way to get through it is with other people who fully understand the challenges you face.