Inspiring us this week is Eliza Ashe … mother of two, stylist, writer and founder of For The Young.
Can you tell us how For The Young was born?
When I was on maternity leave with my first son I struggled to find beautiful baby bedding. The options felt super plain or too predictably baby – think teddy bears, clouds and hot air balloons. As an interior stylist, I’ve always believed children’s rooms should be an extension of your family style so I set out to design prints that would fit seamlessly in to your home – and not just the nursery.
Organic cotton was the other driving force. When I started researching fabric options, I was blown away to discover the amount of chemicals used in cotton farming and manufacturing. Our cotton is 100% GOTS certified organic (the gold standard for organic certification) meaning, it’s grown and manufactured without the use of harmful pesticides or chemicals and we use eco-safe dyes. I can sleep easy at night knowing our sheets are super soft and gentle on the earth for generations to come.
What is your vision for the brand/business?
I chose the name For The Young as everything we make and plan on making is essentially For The Young. That newborn to toddler stage is such a magical time, I wanted to create a brand that represents the whimsy of being this tiny. On a deeper level, the name is also a gentle reminder that everything we do is For The Young. We’re here to cultivate a better future for the next generation of young ones. That’s why it’s so important to me that we continue to use certified organic fibres and employ manufacturing practices that support fair trade and labour standards.
Greatest piece of advice for mothers keen to start their own business?
Find your sounding board. It doesn’t have to be a business partner or mentor as such, just a friend you can rely on for honest feedback. I have two girlfriends with similar business/family situations to me and we’re always bouncing ideas off one another.
Motherhood is …
The greatest gift.
Can you share a little about your journey into motherhood with us?
We’re fortunate to have two healthy, happy boys. Apart from the sleep deprivation, I can hands-on-my-heart say we’ve had a dream run so far. I remember my Dad saying to me when my first son was born ‘If you have a healthy child, you’re an instant millionaire’ and it’s always stuck. Yes, some days are testing and exhausting but in the big scheme of it we’re very lucky
As for the birth parts…My first pregnancy was a breeze. I was bursting with energy and felt a million bucks. The only catch was the labour was LONG. Twenty four hours long. The contractions had been intense for hours yet I wasn’t making any gains so my obstetrician suggested I have an epidural halfway through to give my body some time to rest. Once that kicked in, I slept for a few hours before giving birth to a healthy boy. Happy days.
The second pregnancy was completely different. I had terrible morning sickness for the first five months and a virus that really knocked me around. My immunity was low and I felt crazy tired the entire time. True to his style, our second son was in no rush to be delivered. I was induced twice and had my waters broken at 41 weeks + 2 days. I’d heard so many horror stories about inductions but it actually made my labour experience more enjoyable. It was still a long process (22 hours) but it wasn’t anywhere near as physically exhausting as the first labour. I guess I’m destined to have marathon labours, but the trade off is that I’ve managed to avoid any post-birth complications and both my boys have breastfeed without a hassle.
“If you have a healthy child, you’re an instant millionaire.”
What is the biggest lesson pregnancy and birth has taught you?
Pregnancy: To listen to your body and that it’s okay to slow down. I’ve always been very task orientated so I found managing work and a toddler with non-stop morning sickness a real struggle. The control freak in me had to learn to let go. You are growing a human after all.
Birth: I feel like motherhood is the ultimate leveller. It gives you a heightened sense of empathy, understanding, compassion and confidence. After giving birth, I remember feeling so empowered and in awe of all the women in my life, my mum, my mother in-law, the single-mums, the midwives, my sisters, my girlfriends! We really make the world go ‘round.
Relationship with your body post babies?
I’ve always been active and had a healthy relationship with food and never worried beyond that. I remember feeling like my old self within a few weeks of having my first son, but the second pregnancy was very different thanks to a thyroid issue. I see a wonderful naturopath who has been instrumental in helping me to get my health back on track over the past two years. It’s more about feeling healthy and having energy than it is a number on the scales.
Describe your parenting style…
Relaxed with a side of routine. We’ve found having a loose structure around naps, meals and bedtime has always worked best for our family, but outside of that there has to be a big element of fun and love in everything that we do. I like them to spend the bulk of their time outdoors and have lots of play dates. I also try to avoid overthinking the tricky stages the boys go through, like fussy easting, bedtime shenanigans or tantrums, as it all passes. You know your child better than anyone so I really do believe if you follow your instincts, you can’t go wrong.
Qualities you most admire in your children?
They’re curious, social, empathetic and great at sharing. Our four year old loves being surrounded by family and friends. He also has an elephant’s memory when it comes to detail. Iggy, our two year old is a total love bug. If you need a kiss or a hug, he’s your man.
Greatest challenge as a parent?
Time. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.
“I feel like motherhood is the ultimate leveller. It gives you a heightened sense of empathy, understanding, compassion and confidence.”
Do you have any rituals?
As long as I’m spending time outdoors, catching up with friends and family and eating healthy, I’m doing fine. We live close to the beach so we make it a goal to swim in the ocean daily during summer, even if it’s just a quick dip before or after preschool/work.
Do you have any personal goals you are working towards?
Yes! Simple things, like reading more and going to bed earlier.
How has having children changed your relationship with your partner?
I think it gets easier with each child. The first baby is a shock to the system and then you find your new normal. We’re both far more patient and understanding and much better at compromise.
The Mama owned business/brand that most inspires you and why?
My two friends, Alex Thompson (@hopeandpage) and Jaynie Johnson (@Blackliststore). I met them both while working at SHOP Til You Drop magazine almost a decade ago. They’re two of the most honest, creative, smart-working women you’ll ever meet and incredible mothers to boot. I’ve watched them grow their businesses from the grass root level all while juggling babies and life and it’s a joy to see them succeed.
Favourite family holiday destination?
I’ve been holidaying in Mollymook on the south coast of NSW since I was a baby. My entire family descends on the beach village every January and we never want to leave.
Drink of choice?
Book or talk recommendation?
Any one of David Sedaris’s 10 books. He’s the most gifted humourist.
I hope one day my children will…
Know they have always been our everything.
UP NEXT: MAMA MUSE: ROBYN JONES