Hi Lisa , tell us what you do and a little about your family and background as a work at home mum!
Hi I am Lisa Munyenya, I am 36 years old, married to my husband Daniel and have three beautiful mixed race children Isabella, Isaac and Essie.
We currently live in Essex but I am originally from London. My husband was born in Uganda and then spent most of his life in London and Boston, USA. We have family connections in America and spend our family holidays there which is always a lot of fun.
I've worked in the London Insurance market for most of my working life but was recently made redundant whilst on maternity leave. It was during this time I decided I wanted to create my own business, it was something I had longed for and I felt this was the right time to do it. It is hard to find jobs that are flexible around family life and I was tired of having to juggle city life and my young family who were my priority.
This was when I created Anyone can be Clothing. It is a children's clothing brand specialising in children's t-shirts from the ages of 0-10, but looking to expand as the business grows. My children are truly my inspiration for this brand. My eldest daughter loved mermaids and I went out one day to find her a mermaid t-shirt. I looked around the high street shops and found there were plenty of mermaid t-shirts but none that even remotely resembled her. I went home and over the next few weeks researched into children's clothing and the characters used and was disappointed to see that black, mixed race and many other races were not represented.
This wasn't the case for just children's clothing but also toys, greeting cards, books and many other items. So I made a decision then that I wanted to change this, I want to make sure that my children and children like mine are fairly represented on our high street.
The brand is in it's very early stages, it is on social media and my website has just launched. I am so excited about my brand and I really want to make a difference to the children's fashion world. My t -shirts use characters that celebrate diversity within our society. I also work with a fantastic writer and we created a bio for each of our kids characters and a poem for each baby character. I really want children to connect with the characters and I believe this will open the door to explore books and toys in the future.
I want all children to know that they can be anything they want to.
What advice would you give to your 21 year old self?
This is such a great question. I would say to live in that moment. I remember thinking a lot about getting a good job, saving for my own home, finding the right man and having a family. I sometimes wondered if any of it would happen and stressed if things weren't moving as fast as I thought they should. What life has taught me is that everything happens when it is meant to happen. So my advice would be live your life, do everything you want to do and everything else will all just fall into place. Don't ever let anybody tell you can't do something that you believe in and surround yourself with positive people.
Can you give us 3 tips for juggling motherhood, life and business?
For me the biggest thing of all is to be ORGANISED. Generally I am a very organised person which has been a blessing as a working mum. I find it comes naturally to me and have a fabulous planner that is my saviour.
During the week it is all about ROUTINE and for me getting the kids in bed by 7.30 has been a must as I know I can work on Anyone can be in the evenings and also enjoy a cup of tea and a biscuit all to myself.
Having a supportive network. I am very lucky to have a supportive husband and supportive parents who are there for me if I have to make an appointment or have urgent work to do.
Juggling is no easy task but something as parents that we learn over time. If only we could put Juggling as a skill on our CV.
Tell us something no one ever warned you about being a work at home mama!
The interruptions, even though you are at home and working you can sometimes be distracted by the pile of washing you know is sitting in the bathroom or that there is only a tiny bit of milk left and the shop is just down the road. When I worked in an office none of these things entered my head.
What is the best thing about being a WAHM?
The best thing is the flexibility with family life. Being able to take my children to school, to pick them up. To take them to appointments or swimming lessons. Being able to be there for them if they are sick. I found it really hard whilst working in the city and not being able to do those things, I felt a constant guilt for this.
Can you discuss something you are working on right now to improve your work/life balance?
I think it is really important to have some time to yourself. As many mum's already know this isn't that easy. Even when I am not working on my business I have three young children to look after. Sunday's are very important to me and my family and as often as we can we try to make this our family day even if we don't step out of our house we just like to use this time to chill out.
The best advice anyone ever gave you?
I always remember my Nan saying something to me when I was going for my first interview and this was 'always look the interviewer straight in the eye and say to yourself I'm as good as you if not better'. I wasn't very confident as a youngster and this has improved over the years but I have always remembered that walking into any interview or meeting. We have to believe in ourselves and as my husband says 'if you don't believe in yourself who else is going to'.
What WAHM has inspired you lately?
There are so many and I am just inspired by all mum's and how we all manage to juggle our work, our children, our homes and everything else in between. I really do believe women are remarkable. I think recently Louise Redknapp has been very brave to come out and say how she has been feeling about her marriage, children and career. I think there are a lot of women out there that feel the same but often feel so much pressure on them to be the 'perfect mum' they can't be honest about their feelings.
What are you reading right now?
I actually was finding I wasn't getting much of a chance to read so I've now downloaded an app on my phone where I can store audio books. When I am on long journeys I use this to listen to my books and I am a big fan of self help and motivational books. I am listening at the moment to Abundance Now by Lisa Nichols.
How do you practice regular self care?
Exercise. I feel 100% better knowing I'm exercising. I get on my treadmill and listen to music and switch off. Even 20 minutes changes how I am feeling.
Lisa thankyou so much for telling us about your brand and sharing you story. You have a beautiful family and are an inspiration!