Q&A with HipMum


Have you heard about HipMum? Even if you haven’t, don’t you love the idea? A site devoted to helping moms hold on to a bit of their “hip” while they are mired in the day-to-day chaos of raising kiddos? Aspirational, maybe. But in a good way, I think.

I recently had a chance to learn a little bit more about this new site and it’s founder Julie McBroom. Julie (who is originally from Australia) lives with her husband and 4 kiddos in River Forest.
She is a busy, working mom who is committed to turning her passion and ideas into a business (love that!). 

HipMum is really more than a content-driven site. The site also includes a great section about charitable endeavors that the whole family can participate in. And there is a HipMum store section coming soon.

In her own words, Julie launched HipMum to help “nurture the spirit of the woman behind
the mother.” Check out what else Julie had to say about her exciting new endeavor.

Tell me more about your inspiration for creating the site?

I think Mothers are incredible. Regardless of where
they live in the world – their strength, love, courage, resilience and their
ability to multitask and accommodate the needs of others never cease to amaze
me. As a mother of 4 young children, I understand how easy it is to lose
yourself as a woman when you are giving so much to others. 

I was passionate about creating a place where a
Mother can think about what makes her shine from within and perhaps urge her to
shuffle the needs of her spirit to the top of her list of priorities.
 From my own experience, I discovered how important it was for me to
remember what I was passionate about and what made me feel creative and bring
that back into my life. I quickly identified that when I was being true to
myself and my own needs, my energy rubbed off on the people around me making me
a better mother and a much happier person.

I wanted a platform that gives us an opportunity as a
group to directly impact the lives of women and children in need around the
world in a way that feels achievable. My favorite quote from Marc Gold is, “Maybe we can’t change the whole world, but there isn’t one of us who can’t
help change one person’s whole world.” 

The HipMum store will be less about the
latest fashion and trends and more about giving busy women access to a
collection of beautiful products for themselves, for their children and for
their home. Most mothers don’t have time to shop but that doesn’t mean they
don’t like to feel hip. They are just busy – we get it! We will do the shopping
for them so they can spend their valuable time in other ways. My wish is for
all Mums for feel hip from the inside-out.

How do you manage work and
family balance?

It’s challenging – particularly when you’re building
something because you tend to never really switch off.  I’ve had to be
really conscious of that because kids are so perceptive and know when you are
not fully present with them. I try not to check my email on my phone or have my
laptop around when I’m with them because trying to work AND be present with my
kids is impossible. I divide my day so that I can devote myself fully to my
family and my work. From 9-3:30 I’m working and from 3:30 pm I’m with the kids
until they go to bed. I am usually still in my office at midnight. I also have
great help. My sitter is an incredible support who does my laundry, buys
groceries and keeps my house in order. She allows me to spend quality time with
my kids when i’m with them instead of nagging everyone to help pick up the
place. I am grateful everyday for her. 

What is your best tip for helping moms
maintain a healthy sense of self amidst the day-to-day chaos of family life?

I think it’s different for everyone which is why I
emphasize that moms identify what it is that makes their spirit shine and bring
that back into their lives. When I think about the things that inspired me
before I had kids I realize that it’s pretty much the same things that inspire
me today. With a husband, 4 kids, work and a bustling household it’s easy for
those things to get lost in the mix. So I think it’s important to carve out
time each week to do something for you. Seems impossible some days I know, but
taking the time to go to the gym, have a drink with a friend, read a book,
meditate, have a massage, buy a new outfit, or just have some alone time –
whatever brings you joy, make it a priority.  

 I love that you have included your
children in charitable efforts as a family. Tell me more about that experience.
Do you have advice for other families looking to incorporate more family
volunteer or charitable work into their lives?

 The Give
component is an essential element of HipMum.com: it brings the needs
of women and children less fortunate to our attention. My family’s experiences
have cultivated a spirit of altruism within my children and continue to
generate great excitement and a genuine desire to effect positive change within
our own community and abroad.

Along with 2 other mothers, we decided
that each summer we would spend 2 weeks immersing our kids in another
culture and get them involved in helping others.

Each year, we identify a specific
orphanage (or similar), engage our kids in a meaningful project to support that
orphanage and then travel to the orphanage with our kids to personally
deliver/set-up the project.  We spend a full week at the orphanage to
facilitate true connections and cultural exchange between the kids.

2010 was our
first year and we travelled to
with our 8 kids supporting Casa De Milagros, a home for abandoned/abused
children. The kids organized a fundraising event in our backyard and held
a talent show and with engagement from the Oak Park and River Forest
communities, we successfully delivered 21 suitcases full of needed shoes as
well as art and craft supplies to set up an art room.

This summer
 chosen an orphanage for
abandoned/abused children near Rivas, Nicaragua called NHP (Nuestros Hermanos
Pequenos/ Our Little Brothers and Sisters).

The orphanage has children from 0 to 18
years old and has grown to over 300 children. They are short of farm animals
and currently they don’t have enough cows to provide milk for all the children.

The children decided to try and get the
community behind them to help them collect ‘quarters for cows’. They hope to
raise enough money to purchase additional cows for the orphanage. Our goal for
this trip to Nicaragua is to help create a farm at the new orphanage
site.  Ideally, the farm will consist of cows, pigs and chickens. 
The orphans will milk the cows and collect the eggs, providing a more
nutritious diet (it is otherwise too expensive to buy milk/eggs for 300
children each day).   In addition, caring for the animals will teach
the kids responsibility and a trade, as many could grow up to be farmers.

So far kids in our community have raised $1800 so we
are so excited to get to Nicaragua, negotiate the best price for cows and other
farm animals and figure out how to transport them to the orphanage. Each trip
is an incredible adventure for us all with so many meaningful discussions along
the way. 

We have set up an organization called 8Kids and have
plans to build a website sharing our itineraries and experiences to inspire other
families who would like to do something similar. 

 What do you hope that HipMum offers to other mothers?

I would like to think it gives them a place to think
about themselves. To connect and feel inspired by the articles shared by other
mothers. I am working hard and am excited about the HipMum Store which is
coming soon. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or where you live, as
Mothers we all like to think we still have some ‘hip’ left in us. The
 Store will be less about the latest trends and hottest labels and more
about giving busy women access to a collection of beautiful products for
themselves, their children and their home. Most mothers have little time to
shop but that doesn’t mean they don’t like to feel hip. They are just busy – I
get it!  Our buyers will scout and find the best products for them so they
can spend their valuable time in other ways. My wish is for all Mums to feel
hip from the inside-out.

Because Wee Windy City is a blog that
celebrates raising a family in Chicago, I would love to know what some of your
family’s favorite Chicago activities are.

As an Australian I have a bit of a hard
time in Chicago in the winter months but when the warm weather finally arrives
I fall in love all over again and think Chicago offers so much for families. We
spend many late afternoons/evenings at Millennium Park at the free concerts –
the kids run around and dance, we meet friends and drink wine and eat cheese –
everyone is happy. I love taking my kids to the Morton Arboretum especially
around May/June when the tadpoles are about. We love flying kites in
Lincoln Park, followed by a stroll through the zoo. And we usually end our
weekend with a trip to Brown Cow ice cream parlor in Forest Park.

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