Inspiring Mummy: Annaliese Horton
Meet Annaliese Horton, Mum of three and running her own thriving Pilates business.
Tell us about yourself:
My name is Annaliese Horton. I am currently 39, when I reached 40 I told my kids your age starts to reverse (I didn’t think about getting into the minuses…luckily neither have they.)
Tell us about your family set up:
I have three children - Josie, 13, Annabel, 9 and Freddie, 3 and a husband, David.
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 run a Pilates studio with my sister. Ever since I started to build my business ten years ago I have moulded it around my growing family. Initially I just had a two year old so the majority of my work took place in the evening when she was in bed and my husband home from work. It wasn’t easy. I was essentially a full time Mum with a part time job. Two more children later and I now work during the hours when my son is a pre-school and just two evenings. My day starts at 6.22am (those two extra minutes are very important!) and often doesn’t finish until very late, yawn. We opened our studio a year ago and I am now finally getting into a groove, the admin is horrendous and I could do it every night if I wanted (errr no!) so it is important that I limit the time I sit at the laptop answering emails so that I can have some downtime and speak to my husband! I recently lost email access on my phone and I am thinking of not rectifying this as constantly checking emails makes me feel continually busy, they can wait, it’s not life or death stuff I do. I really don’t want to be that mother at toddler group replying to work stuff while their child undresses themselves unnoticed or feeds playdough to a small baby. The decision to grow my business with my family has been both absolutely perfect at times and crushingly tiring at others. It may have been better for my children than it has been for me (isn’t that always the way for Mums?). I went back to work in what is a very physical job nine weeks after having my second and third babies. I don’t say this with pride or a sense of heroism. I am self-employed, if I don’t work I don’t earn. Simple as that. The reality of this was that I returned home straight to the 10 pm feed with giant DDD bazooingers. With my third child I taught two morning classes, cycled home, fed him and returned to teach a third class of Mum and Babies…nurturing other Mums and carrying their babies around was ironic and at times heart-breaking…but I love my job, I never have a day that I don’t want to go to work and that is the difference. Doing what brings you joy makes things so much easier, I am lifted up by my work.
So much changes when you have children, the first child is the poor one you experiment on, by the time you get to the third you are just happy if you know where you left them all. Teamwork is so boringly important; we need training in it before parenthood. I wouldn’t have been able to even contemplate running my own business without a husband who can quite easily fill my shoes, cheerlead from the side-lines and make it possible for me to lie in once a week. Not many men can look after three kids, one just a few months old when their wife exits twice a week leaving him in abject chaos, yet my husband has. He puts three kids to bed and has done for years, he can deal with homework, find lost stuff in a flash, help with PowerPoints and entertain playdates. Quite frankly going to work is easy, it’s a holiday by comparison and we BOTH know because we share it all.
What are your day-to-day challenges as a mum?
My day to day challenges as a mum are the same as every mother’s. Do they have everything they need for today at school, are they eating enough good stuff, why do they keep bickering blah blah blah but actually my kids are just awesome (all kids are aren’t they?!) I have big gaps between each so they are all at very different stages; I have a toddler and a tweenager… what were we thinking? But actually when they are rubbing along nicely they help each other, look out for each other and they really love each other in a very openly affectionate and beautiful way. Sometimes though I hide…I actually hide A LOT. It gets noisy and out of hand and ugly and upsetting but that is just real life! I used to get very emotionally affected when things seemed to be too bonkers at home but now I don’t get drawn into the drama…I can watch and observe and take my time to step in…I think it comes with age. I used to cry a lot when my kids were mean to me!!!
What would you most like to change about your current situation?
I would like A LOT of things to change but none of it is massively important. I would like my teenager to have her own bedroom, I would like more storage for the toys but when I think about the big stuff, it’s actually all ok. It’s crazy and at times chaotic but I always wanted a gang of kids, a tribe and although I would like my home to be more like something out of a magazine or a bit more TIDY, I actually find clean, tidy houses a bit unnerving especially when I visit with my 3 year old!
In what ways do you hope to inspire your children?
Oh wow. I want them to be HAPPY that is all; I want them to spend their lives doing stuff that makes their heart sing, to have a strong work ethic but an even bigger appetite for fun and adventure. I want my girls to feel they can “just” be Mums, the hardest most undervalued profession. I would prefer they measured their success by how full their happiness tank is rather than by their bank balance, their car make or by whom they chose to love. I would like my son to be like his Dad, able to bring up his children, do everything their Mother can for them, goofy and playful. I want to inspire my kids to look after their bodies and their minds to put Wellbeing high up the list in terms of their life focus.
What inspires you the most? (People/books/art etc…)
I have a close network of friends who inspire me. My clients inspire me. Just everyday folk bring a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye. We all have a story, we have all faced adversity, you don’t have to climb mountains to inspire me. Just going forward, waking up and continuing to keep the show on the road when you are bereaved, or heartbroken, or in pain, or struggling with your mental health is enough for me. The ordinary is so undervalued, we are all expected to do extraordinary things, aspire to be extraordinary people but life is challenging enough. So yes people generally!
Do you currently take any regular time out for yourself? What do you do with that time out?
Time out is where I fall down a bit but I am addressing it. I meditate; I get to work early to do Pilates for myself. I am totally engaged in looking after my mental health at the moment. After years of looking after my body I am all about the space between my ears. I have a new interest in Manifestation and the Law of Attraction, I am BIG on gratitude. It’s easy to do, I do my “Appreciation Rampage” an exercise in “Ask and it is Given” (Esther and Jerry Hicks) on my journey to work, it sets me up, lifts my mood, brings me perspective.
What are your thoughts about the Inspiring Mummy Club, and what do you see as its appeal?
The Inspiring Mummy Club is totally my bag. For so long women have been pitched against each other, competitive parenting, the Tiger Mother, trampling over each other to break through the glass ceiling. We were made to feel guilty, like we were failing and were not up to the job. But there is a backlash, these perfectly turned out mothers with their Boden dresses and clean, Mandarin speaking children were all drinking a bottle of wine a night and crying, secretly, in the cereal aisle. It’s now okay to be a bit rubbish, to buy the book day outfit on Amazon, we no longer Tupperware-ise the shop bought cakes for the school cake sale and pass them off as our own. I love a bit of disaster parenting. The Inspiring Mummy Club is one of those safe places, learn new tools to help you keep the boat afloat; prioritize the big stuff over the public face we sometimes offer to the world. Look after you.