Posted on

Nita Tandon – Dalcini Stainless

Nita Tandon is an Elite Mompreneur Member based out of Ottawa, Ontario. She began her company Dalcini Stainless in 2015, and was most recently named our 2016 Mompreneur® Startup Award winner. We are so very excited to share Nita’s Success Story!

Nita Tandon of Dalcini Stainless - Mompreneur Startup Award Winner 2016


What inspired you to become an entrepreneur? 
The truth is, I didn’t set out to become an entrepreneur. I simply wanted a better product; a set of durable, chemical free food containers. When I couldn’t find what I was looking for, I had 2 choices; settle with what existed, or create what I wanted. I chose to create them.

Dalcini Stainless logo, mompreneur Nita Tandon

 

What’s the best part about owning your own business? 
Owning your own company requires so much more work than most people ever anticipate, but it is also so incredibly rewarding! That feeling when the business concept and becomes a successful reality is pretty powerful. Freedom to create a lifestyle that balances our family needs has been wonderful. My motto has always been: “If it doesn’t work, change it. If it doesn’t exist, create it”. I feel like I’ve been able to do that both professionally and personally by owning my company.

Can you describe a typical day?
I’m up at 5:30am, when my family is still asleep, slip into my office and work on files that require more thought. Silence is golden! At 7:30am I get my daughter dressed, lunch packed, backpack prepped. I make breakfast and send her off to school. At 8:30am, I have a coffee and quiet conversation with my husband (so hard to have a normal conversation with my 6 year old around).  Then at 9:00am the social media frenzy begins… tweets, posts, shares – social media is a big part of my business. Then it’s time to fill orders – boxes, packing tape, shipping labels and visits to Canada Post. Afternoons are generally meetings; marketing agency, business lawyer, trademark lawyer, manufacturer in India, freight logistics, retailers, the list is long… but the rewards list is even longer!
Dalcini Stainless containers - mompreneur Nita Tandon
Who do you count on for help? Do you have a network of family that answer the call?
Unfortunately I don’t have any assistance from my parents or siblings. What I do have though, is a really phenomenal team of husband, daughter and close friends. They’ve all stepped in above and beyond my expectations.

Nita Tandon family - mompreneur of dalcini stainless

Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
I have had to sacrifice carefree lunches with my stay-at-home mom friends. I enjoyed meeting up with them regularly and socializing, but now I have to maximize my time when my daughter is in school. Unfortunately some of my friendships have suffered too. Additionally, I’ve also sacrificed the “beauty” of my home. With the insane schedule, I haven’t spent the time needed to decorate our home – that is a BIG sacrifice! I love a beautiful home… and ours isn’t.

What do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is?
On a day off, I spend time with my husband and daughter, usually at our favourite park, wandering outdoors AND ALWAYS a stop for a family favourite treat – gelato!

Nita Tandon family - mompreneur of Dalcini Stainless

Are you active in your community? What does supporting local mean to you?
Whether I am volunteering at my daughter’s school, working with Algonquin college business students, or buying from locally owned businesses, I proudly connect with my community. To me, supporting local is more than just buying local. It’s getting out there and connecting with locals and supporting them as best you can.

Name another entrepreneur who inspires you.
There are so many that inspire me. My latest obsession is Lori Joyce, CEO of BetterWith Ice Cream in Vancouver. She envisioned a quality product- a seasonal, temperature controlled, highly regulated dairy product. And despite the big obstacles, she forged ahead, and with great success.  Her result is a stunningly branded , better tasting ice cream. I can’t wait until BetterWith makes its way to Ottawa!

What does the future look like for you and your business?
I am so excited for our future! When Dalcini launched in 2015, it launched with just 2 products and was sold exclusively online at dalcinistainless.com. Today we have 12 products and are now also available in a growing number of retailers across Canada. We are ramping up all of our operations including a new warehouse. Growth is the magic word for us – our future is bright.

Dalcini Stainless - mompreneur Nita Tandon

Any tips for other women thinking of starting a business?
When starting a business, think out all aspects of it thoroughly. Dig deep into the business plan.  When you are good with the best and worst case scenarios, then I encourage you to take a massive leap of faith and jump. No one really ever knows it all, not even the top executives at elite companies. You figure it out as you go along and you’ll have so much fun in the process. It’s weird how it happens, but when you jump, help magically appears too.

Posted on

It’s All About the Cash Flow Plan

Written by Kate Arnold

cash flow plan

Our lives are constantly bombarded with plans, and that’s usually a great thing! From marketing plans and revenue plans, succession plans and exit plans, we plan our days and our weeks, with intention to follow our plans. We use methods to develop our plans and we write them down. We review and update our business and life plans at regular intervals.

As entrepreneurs, we recognize the value of a plan, but when it comes to our personal life things may not always be so planned. How is it that half of us expect to retire in debt? As Canadians, for every dollar we earn, on average we owe $1.65, and retired Canadians have identified day-to-day money management as their number one financial priority. How can this be? Is this part of our plan?

In Canada, it has not been part of our public education to teach students how to budget or Cash Flow Plan. In many cases, children do not learn this skill from their parents. So how do we, as adults, manage our money? Well, we rely on our established relationship with money, good or bad, to guide us, because most of us don’t know how to cash flow plan.

A personal budget or cash flow plan is not about buying items on sale or learning to use the ‘flip’ app. A cash flow plan is a written document that identifies your income, expenses, debt, assets, priorities and goals. It is a map that shows you where you are and how to get where you want to go. It is a reference point to return to when you lose your way or encounter a road block. It is a plan. A plan that can be developed using many of the planning methods you already use. When the right amount of time and care is taken to create your cash flow plan, you can use simple strategies in your daily life, to help you stick to your plan.

If you ask yourself, “Where does my money go?” or “Why can’t I build an emergency fund?” you have room to improve your personal finances. Here are a few ways to get started:

Know Your Credit Score
Your credit score is a three digit number.  A score of 760 or higher is considered excellent. This is important if you want access to credit, purchase services on a monthly basis or unify debt in order to reduce the amount of interest paid on outstanding debt.  A credit report does not include the three digit number but will give you a credit history.  This is important in identifying any potential fraud against your credit. It is recommended that you request your credit score annually.  Increased frequency can negatively affect your score. There are two credit reporting agencies in Canada, Equifax and TransUnion.  You can request your credit score and credit report online, from either agency, for a fee of approximately $17.00-$24.00.

Know Your Debt and Debt-to-Income Ratio
Review all outstanding debts, including mortgages, and divide the total by your net income.  This will give you a debt-to-income ratio.  A number above 37% indicates your debt needs attention. Review the lending rate and length of term on each of your debts.  This will show you how much it is costing you to service that debt.

Use Simple Strategies to Manage Day-to-Day Expenditures
Using cash can feel like an old way of doing business, but it is one of the simplest methods to help stay on track with a plan.  Cash can help eliminate the need to track spending by writing everything down or committing to updating an app on a regular basis.

Separate your money into categories, so you don’t have to do the mental math required to manage all that flows in and out of your chequing account. It is also a great way to track your savings, which is more motivating to most of us, than tracking our spending.

Define Your Financial Goals and Life Priorities
Use the goal setting strategies with your personal finances that you use to develop your business goals.  Defining your financial goals and life priorities will identify your short and long term goals that are essential in building a cash flow plan.

Find a Professional Who Specializes in Cash Flow Planning
We use professionals to enhance our business and personal lives in ways that we cannot do for ourselves. If you have struggled to feel in control of your money, consider hiring someone to help.  A professional trained in cash flow planning can take an overwhelming task and simplify the process.  Sometimes, we are too close to our struggle and an unbiased approach can result in positive change.

Adjust Your Way of Thinking and Speaking
Instead of saying “I can’t afford it”, make a conscious effort instead to think, “ I am choosing to spend my money differently”. This shift in thinking about your money, puts you in control.  Try it the next time you want to make a purchase that you don’t need or doesn’t align with your values. Try this with your children – meet their “Can I have this toy?’ with “If you want that toy, let’s make a plan to save for it. Today, we are choosing to use our money differently.” This approach has been known to satisfy (or baffle) a child who is learning the value of money.

Navigating the sea of budget advice can leave you feeling all wet.  It’s fun to try out a new app, but giving up your morning Starbucks may not be a commitment you are willing to make.  Before you charge ahead with the latest piece of advice on how to save money, remember that it’s all about the (Cash Flow) Plan.


 

mompreneur Kate Arnold of Balanced Cash Flow
Kate Arnold
is a Cash Flow Plan specialist, and is an Elite Mompreneur® Member based out of London, Ontario. Read up on more tips from Kate at balancedcashflow.ca.

 

 


A version of this article was previously published on this website on February 3, 2016.
Cash flow image from shutterstock.com


 

 

Posted on

Kim Vopni – Pelvienne Wellness

Kim Vopni is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out of Vancouver, BC. As the founder of Pelvienne Wellness, Co-founder of Bellies Inc, and the author of Prepare to Push and Your Pelvic Floor, she has created a successful business model as “The Fitness Doula”. We’re excited to share Kim’s Success Story!

mompreneur Kim Vopni of Pelvienne Wellness and Bellies to Babies

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
After using a pelvic floor product in my first pregnancy I realized how few women knew about it and about the importance of preparing for birth. I contacted the manufacturer of the product and became a distributor in 2004. My intention was to sell it on the side and make a bit of extra cash, not to turn it into a business. In 2007 my family and I moved to Ontario from BC for my husband’s job. I was working full time, with two young children in daycare, no family around and a husband who was away a lot. It was then that I wondered if it would be possible for me to turn the little ‘side thing’ into a real business. I gave myself a year to try and grow it before I left my corporate job but obviously the universe felt I should be doing it sooner! I was laid off from my job in early 2009 (about 3 months after I said I would give myself a year) and all of a sudden I was immersed in the mompreneur world and in a position to create a niche that no one else was doing at the time – preaching pelvic health! In 2010 I met 2 other women who shared a similar passion and we created a separate business Bellies Inc that has now become the bigger business.

 pelvienne wellness logo - mompreneur, founder kim vopni     Bellies Inc. logo - mompreneur Kim Vopni

What’s the best part about owning your own business?
The best part of being a business owner is the flexibility I have to be with my kids and spend time with my family. We have all benefited from me working from home. I must say I also love the fact that I am free to make decisions and try new things without needing head office approval or being tied to corporate plans. While there are days I miss the corporate world, I can honestly say I would never go back.

  

Can you describe a typical day?
I am an early bird and am usually up by 5:30am. I enjoy a lemon water while I answer emails and bask in the bliss of a silent house. I then do some yoga, eat breakfast with the kids and then head out the door for a walk. By 10am I am back in my office (in the basement) and I will work from there to answer emails, ship out product and do admin. When I write, I typically sit upstairs on the couch or in a coffee shop. Thursdays are my client days and I see them at a local wellness clinic. By 3:00pm I am coordinating the kids and thinking about dinner.The evenings are filled with sports activities, and by 9:00pm the house is quiet again. If my husband is home we usually watch an episode of our favourite show. If he is away then I use the time to answer emails, check in on social media and get to bed early so I can get up and do it all again.

Who do you count on for help?
We moved back to BC in 2011 because it is home and it is where our support is. My parents live across the street and are a HUGE help! My husband is also a huge help when he is home. I also have a great community of friends who are there often last minute if I am stuck in traffic or need to go to a networking event and my parents and husband are away. I love my family and community!

Kim Vopni

Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
We live in a 3 level townhouse and the bottom level used to be the kid zone – it was awesome! As my business grew and I needed more space it made the most sense to take over the basement instead of finding a place to rent. The kids no longer have their own space but it has allowed me to stay at home and also save money.

What do you do on a day off? 
The only place where I truly take a day off is our cabin on Gambier Island. We have no phones or wifi so it is truly a place to escape. I go for walks, beach comb and sit on my fave little perch and stare at the ocean and mountains for hours. So grateful for that place!

Name another entrepreneur who inspires you.
Nadine Woods is a single mom who not only started a business (Mayana Geneveire – a beautiful breastfeeding lingerie company) but also started a not for profit aimed at improving the postpartum experience for women. Maternal Goddess is an amazing online community of contributors from around the world who are educating and empowering women as they become mothers. Nadine is creative and driven, organized and a visionary. All while raising a beautiful daughter on her own. She inspires me!

What does the future look like for you and your business?
My business, Pelvienne Wellness Inc, grows each year and I have someone helping me with my shipments so that I can focus on other things – like my other business – Bellies Inc – a partnership with 2 other women. It is the bigger business and is now taking more of my time. Thankfully my personal business kind of runs itself now and it is on a nice steady upward trend. The future for the 2nd business (Bellies Inc) looks bright and busy! Plus with 2 books out now, I’m enjoying the experience of being an author as well!

 Prepare to Push - author Kim Vopni, the Fitness Doula, mompreneur  Your Pelvic Floor book cover by mompreneur Kim Vopni of Pelvienne Wellness and Bellies Inc.

Any tips for moms thinking of starting a business?
Outsource what you are not good at. Find a mentor or mentors who can guide you along the way. Remember that working for yourself should contribute to your freedom, not contaminate it. Practice your elevator pitch because you will be asked over and over ‘what do you do’ or ‘what is your business’ and you need to be able to concisely answer that question and leave people with an impression so they remember you. Grow your online community, always. Collaborate, don’t compete.

 



A version of Kim’s Success Story was previously published on December 28, 2015



 

Posted on

Taming Butterflies for Back to School

Written by Dana Kerford

The ‘First Day’ of a new experience is nerve-racking for a lot of children, and it’s very normal for kids to feel anxiety at these points in their lives. Here are some tips to help your child manage those big feelings inside as they prepare for a fresh start:

Use Child-Friendly Language
“Anxiety” is an adult word that can sound really scary to children. Why not reframe their perspective, and replace the word “anxiety” with “butterflies”? This can be extremely effective, after all – butterflies are not scary, and they can be set free.

Name and Sort the Butterflies
Get them to detail exactly what it is they are nervous about. Write each ‘butterfly’ or worry down. Next, classify the butterflies into two categories: Things You Can Control vs. Things You Cannot Control. For instance, a common butterfly is: “Will my friends be in my class?” Ask your child, “Can you control who is in your class?

Release the Butterflies They Cannot Control
Help your child understand that worrying about something that is out of their control is wasted energy. It’s important to release those feelings and trust that life will fall in place the way it’s meant to be.

Make a Plan for The Butterflies They Can Control
Talk about ways that your children can tame the butterflies they have control over. If they’re nervous about what they’re going to wear on the first day, help them figure it out so it’s off their mind. If they know who their teacher will be, but are not happy with their placement, talk them through the positives and remind them that teachers are there to support and encourage all students.

Working through the butterflies one-by-one empowers children and helps them understand that they are in control of their feelings. Remind them that butterflies are a normal part of life and the importance of viewing them in a positive light. Butterflies come from change and new experiences help us learn and grow!


 

Dana Kerford and family of GirlPower & GoodGuys - Mompreneur award winnerDana Kerford is an Elite+ Mompreneur® Member, winner of the 2016 Mompreneurs® Momentum AwardFriendship Expert and Founder of GirlPower & GoodGuys. 

 

 

 

 



A version of this article was previously published on themompreneur.com on September 6, 2016, and on Dana’s website, urstrong.com



 

Posted on

Wendy Armbruster-Bell – Snugabell

Wendy Armbruster-Bell is an Elite+ Mompreneur® Member based out of Vancouver, BC. She is the Founder of Snugabell, a company that designs and manufactures high-quality, beautiful, and functional 4th trimester products that promote maternal and child health, and help moms retain a sense of individual style during a vulnerable and overwhelming time. We are thrilled to share Wendy’s Success Story!

Mompreneur Wendy Armbruster-Bell of Snugabell

What’s the best part about owning your own business?
I love the flexibility, the challenges, and the daily lessons, but mostly I love the amazing people I get to meet and collaborate with.Can you describe a typical day?
I get up early, work out and take care of any pressing emails. Then I get my kids off to school and go for a run; I problem solve and brainstorm product development during my daily runs.  Next is a hearty brunch and some reading. Then it’s back to the office for more emails, special project work or perhaps a meeting with a mentee or colleague. My days are too short!

Mompreneur Wendy Armbruster-Bell of Snugabell
Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
Absolutely; and I used to feel guilty about it. However it is what it is. My girls have grown up with my business and understand that sometimes it takes priority and sometimes they take priority. It is most certainly balanced.
Name another entrepreneur who inspires you.
Elaine Tan Comeau of Easy Daysies for her never-ending energy and drive, and Madeleine Shaw of Lunapads for her vision, sage advice and social awareness.
Any tips for moms thinking of starting a business?
Do your research, write a business plan and then go for it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – there is a fabulous network of women entrepreneurs, that were at one time in exactly the same place as you, that would love to help!


A version of this article was previously published on December 22, 2015


Posted on

Do You Suffer From Jekyll & Hyde Syndrome?

Written by Amanda Brown

Did you know that over 50% of women suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and that there are over two hundred symptoms that women can experience? The only similar symptom is the time frame in which these wonderful symptoms start to present themselves, typically anywhere from two to fourteen days leading up to your expected date of menstruation. Unfortunately, there is no neat little category into which women fit, which makes treating premenstrual syndrome with western medicine very difficult.

What is the Cause of PMS?
Let’s start by thanking our endocrine system. The endocrine system is extremely complex and sensitive, and this is where our hormones are produced. PMS is definitely related to hormonal fluctuation and hormonal imbalances. Next, we need to thank our ancestors for any genetic predispositions that were passed down to us. Current emotional issues, as well as nutrition and lack of exercise, can also play a part in how women experience premenstrual syndrome.

Some common emotional symptoms that may be experienced during PMS include:

  • anxiety
  • difficulty falling asleep
  • changes in libido
  • fatigue
  • increased emotional sensitivity
  • extreme mood swings and stress

Some common physical symptoms may include:

  • bloating
  • constipation
  • cyclical acne
  • headaches
  • joint and muscle pain
  • swelling and tenderness in the breasts

If you’re looking for ways to help combat your PMS, here are some easy tips you can follow:

  1. Plan Your Meals: Eat small meals at regular intervals, and try to decrease the intake of salts, fats, sugars and caffeine. Foods which are highly processed should be avoided, along with foods that are high in refined sugars and fats.
  2. Exercise Regularly: It has been found that women who exercise regularly experience fewer premenstrual complaints.
  3. Keep a Journal: I encourage women to write a daily journal, and document moods, feelings, and any activities. This journal allows women to see any patterns which take place in their lives as well as menstrual cycles. It is also useful when you are consulting with your homeopath, because often times we forget what happened last month while we are sitting in the consulting room.

Most women are able to cope with mild premenstrual symptoms, but for those who suffer from moderate to severe symptoms, the physical discomfort and emotional roller coasters can be very stressful, and I highly recommend that you contact a qualified Homeopath.

Homeopathy is very effective in treating premenstrual syndrome, and is able to bring relief to women suffering from PMS, while returning a healthy hormonal balance on all levels, as well as regulating the menstrual cycle and reducing uncomfortable symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

 

 


Amanda Brown, StrongHealthyMoms.com
Amanda Brown
is an Elite+ Mompreneur member, and a private Homeopath dedicated to supporting women.

 

 

featured image courtesy of shutterstock.com

 

Posted on

Kate Moir – “Moir Bags Please” with Thirty-One Gifts

Kate Moir is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out of East Selkirk, Manitoba. She is an Independent Executive Director with Thirty-One Gifts, where she helps customers find stylish solutions to make everyday life easier., offering high-quality totes, purses, jewellery and home organization items at affordable prices in a range of prints and sizes. Kate truly has the perfect bag for anyone aged 0-100+ years old, regardless of gender, style preference and budget. The best aspect of the Thirty-One Gifts product line is that customers can personalize with fun quotes, images, or names to make them unique, personal, and fun. We’re thrilled to share Kate’s Success Story!

mompreneur Kate Moir of "Moir Bags Please" with Thirty-One Gifts

What is your “WHY” behind your business/being an entrepreneur?
I started with a love of the product and desire to expand my network to meet other moms in the area. I have quickly evolved to working my business full time with a mission to empower women to work their business the way they want to… from discount shopper to stay at home mom with a substantial income. The all expenses paid free trips to Maui, Barbados, Jamaica and Bahamas for my husband doesn’t hurt either, nor the free trip for our family of four to Disneyworld!

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I have always struggled with the 9-5 office environment where there was little room to grow, lack of opportunity to be creative and try new things. I have since built a life that I can see the direct result of my effort to outcome, to know that I have unlimited potential and can work when I want, where I want, and still provide for my family.

mompreneur Kate Moir of "Moir Bags Please" with Thirty-One Gifts

What’s the best part about owning your own business?
It is hard to pick just one best part of owning my own business! For myself, it’s the confidence that I can run a successful business being top in 0.01% of the company across North America with zero education in sales. I love seeing my team members increase their confidence and ability to treat their families to those extras and essentials they would have had to go without if it wasn’t for their Thirty-One income. For my children, it’s the ability to show them the world without having to take comforts from home. We travel to see family across the country multiple times a year without questioning the cost, whereas before we could only afford one trip no more than once a year. For my husband and I, it’s the ability to provide harmony for our family during peak seasons. Before being my own boss we would go weeks at a time merely handing off the kids between shifts. We rarely had time to connect and date nights were non-existent. Now we can schedule my work, us time, vacations, and family fun around his schedule for the most part which provides that work life balance that was missing before!

 mompreneur Kate Moir of "Moir Bags Please" with Thirty-One Gifts  mompreneur Kate Moir of "Moir Bags Please" with Thirty-One Gifts

What impact did other people/experiences have on you, and how did they help you get to where you are in your business today?
My mom was an entrepreneur, always having multiple businesses and side hustles while running a daycare. She showed me that we can be in charge of our own destiny and that hard work can pay off with the flexibility and work life balance. Her role modelling truly inspired me to lean in to give direct sales a try when I had my first daughter, and then become something more when my second daughter was born.

What values do you believe in and live by, and how do they shine through when it comes to your role as a business owner?
I live by the rule that you treat others the way you want to be treated and that people will remember how you made them feel even if they do not remember exactly what you said. In sales, it is important to always show up as your best self. You are building your own brand, you are the representation of that brand, and so you determine what others associate when they hear of you or your product. I want to make sure customers know that when they purchase a bag from me they have an impact on our family. When consultants join my team they become a part of my family and I am there every step of the way to help them with their business. I want people to think about the amazing customer service, stylish solutions and branding capacity I can offer them or the fact I can ship their gift across Canada for less than Canada Post.

 mompreneur Kate Moir of "Moir Bags Please" with Thirty-One Gifts  mompreneur Kate Moir of "Moir Bags Please" with Thirty-One Gifts

What are you most proud of when it comes to your business/being an entrepreneur?
I am most proud of how fast and strong our team has grown across Canada. We were not first in Canada but we are strong and doubling growth each year. We have a growth mindset, work collaboratively, and support each other regardless of geography. I am blessed to have a team culture that is better together.

 mompreneur Kate Moir of "Moir Bags Please" with Thirty-One Gifts mompreneur Kate Moir of "Moir Bags Please" with Thirty-One Gifts

What does the future look like for you and your business?
Our future is looking pretty bright! We anticipate another promotion this year with the capacity to double again. We are focused on national growth with a team road trip of mega parties across Canada. We love to connect with like minded individuals so if you would like to connect while we are in your town reach out to us!

Any tips for women thinking of starting a business?
I saw this quote once and it said: A Dream is a Goal with a Deadline. I love it. If you begin a business without a reason you won’t have the get up and go needed to make your business a success. Some days are long but the pay off is that other days you can enjoy the rewards and see your efforts in fruition. That being said, you are not an expert at it all. You will need help and it is a courageous leader that will acknowledge those weaknesses and seek strengths in others to grow. Know your strengths, the value of your time, have a clear picture of where you are going and a plan to get there. Then lean on others to help where needed. You will get there with passion, grit, and grace.

You can do this. Any obstacle can be overcome when you think creatively and are willing to work hard and ask for help. While businesses may compete, collaboration and rising others is always a benefit for your business. I would not get where I am today if I didn’t look around to see what others are doing and brainstorming with like minded individuals. That is why I am blessed to be an Elite+ Mompreneur member and the capacity to learn from others successful in their fields. We are continually learning, adapting and brainstorming in order to keep up with trends and technology.

 

Posted on

Why Don’t Women Talk About Urinary and Vaginal Health?

Written by Teresa Isabel Dias

Women's Health - tips for menopause, urinary, and vaginal health from mompreneur Teresa Isabel Dias of MenopausED

It’s a really important question – why don’t women talk about urinary and vaginal health? We don’t mention it to our friends, partners, or even to our doctors, and the result is that women with symptoms suffer alone, and needlessly. The vagina and bladder are parts of the body, just like the nose and the fingers, yet somehow it’s OK to discuss a runny nose and manicure but no one talks about leaky bladders, dry vaginas, or painful sex.

With age, estrogen declines and because it is the main female hormone it has a big effect on the tissues, organs, and systems specific to women: breasts, uterus, ovaries, bladder (men have one too but the anatomy of their pipes is different!), vagina, and vulva (the external part of female genitals, not to be confused with the family car).

When estrogen levels are very low these tissues, organs, and systems start to behave differently. The vaginal walls get thinner and dryer, the pelvic floor muscle becomes less tight, the bladder develops a mind of its own, and unwanted and unpleasant things start to happen. Many women start leaking when they run, cough, sneeze, or laugh. Vaginal penetration (with a human or store-bought accessory) becomes uncomfortable and even painful, if not impossible. Women with new intimate relationships who engage in sex after many years without it are at greater risk of experiencing these challenges.

Studies have shown that almost 50% of women in menopause experience vaginal dryness with associated discomfort, itching, and painful sex. However, only 4% of these women are actually receiving treatment for it. That’s awful and sad. It is important that we talk about these things and it’s also important that we do something about them.

I want women who need treatment to get it. You shouldn’t be inconvenienced by your bladder or vagina, or give up sex because it hurts. There are things you can do to improve your urinary and vaginal health. Treatment should always be individualized. But there are a few things you can do to start: use lubricants, moisturizers, and the more sex the better, to improve the tissues of the vagina and reduce dryness.

If you tend to get a lot of UTIs (urinary tract infections) it could be because of thinning of the vaginal walls. Check with your doctor. And if you are avoiding sex because of discomfort or pain then you should tell your partner. Good communication is fundamental in a relationship. If you don’t talk about it, it may cost you your relationship! The CLOSER study showed that 55% of women avoided intimacy with their partners because sex hurt and 61% of male partners attributed lack of intimacy to painful sex.

This is outrageous. Relationships shouldn’t be jeopardized by something that can be improved.

My motto is: There’s help. I can help you!

 



mompreneur Teresa Isabel Dias of Menopaused

Teresa Isabel Dias is an Elite+ Mompreneur® member, and founder of MenopausED. As a pharmacist working in healthcare for over 20 years, Teresa realized there is a void in the health care system when it comes to the care and support of women in their midlife years, and especially during the menopause transition. Now serving as a Certified Menopause Practitioner through NAMS*, she helps women going through the menopause transition, educating them on what’s going on in their bodies and mind, and helping them to make informed decisions about their lifestyle and treatment options to improve their quality of life.



 

Featured image courtesy of shutterstock.com

 

 

Posted on

Tanya McDowall – Reflections Life Strategies Group

Tanya McDowall is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out of Surrey, BC. She is the Co-Founder of Reflections Life Strategies Group, where she develops workshops and seminars that enable clients to work effectively with others to exceed their expectations. We’re excited to share Tanya’s Success Story!

mompreneur Tanya McDowall of Reflections Life Strategies Group

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
There has been no shortage of lessons in my life, but the one that changed everything for me was when my Mom lost her battle with cancer two weeks after her 50th birthday. She was an extraordinary mother and as her child, I couldn’t have felt more loved. But as her own woman, she lived life with reservations that often held her back from pursuing opportunities and adventure. When she took her last breath, I know she wished she had done more. It was devastating to lose her and no matter how much I cried, wished, hoped or dreamed, I couldn’t bring her back. What I could do was honour her memory by living my life to the fullest through the lessons she taught me; how to prioritize what meant most to me and how important it is to make the most out of the time we have. I owe her for the fulfillment I now experience in my life, because she gave me the perspective needed to pursue what means most to me through entrepreneurship.

What’s the best part about owning your own business?
Like all entrepreneurs, I think that flexibility, control, and ownership of the decisions that impact our lives are why we all choose to own our own business. But for me, the best part is the diversity in day-to-day challenges, as well as the overall impact they make. No two days are alike, and being able to creatively problem solve to overcome whatever is standing in the way is what gives me the greatest satisfaction.

mompreneur Tanya McDowall of Reflections Life Strategies GroupCan you describe a typical day?
Typical? My days are a constant juggling act – which is GOOD because it reminds me of why I have chosen the path of being an entrepreneur; aren’t we supposed to have more ‘flexibility’? I’m a Wife, a Mother of two very active boys, owner of multiple businesses, and I’m MY OWN PERSON, which means having ‘Me Time’ to recharge is critical to staying balanced. Can I fit all of this in every day? Nope , not a chance. But I’ve learned to prioritize and use scheduling to my advantage so that each area gets attention. It requires a little planning, sacrifice and definitely flexibility, but it ensures that I maintain balance in my life which is essential for my energy level and my headspace.

What I’ve also recognized is that having a rigid schedule has never worked for me, but committing to 8 hours a day (or whatever my business needs at that time) and allowing myself ‘time slots’ for when I know certain activities need to be done is paramount! For example, I know that while my boys are at school, this is ‘Income Producing Time’ and the only things that are scheduled during these slots are things that help move my business forward, but can only be done in a quieter atmosphere (i.e. recordings, client calls, consultations, workshops, etc.). If it’s not income producing, and it’s not something that needs to be done in a quieter atmosphere, it gets scheduled into a different time slot. The key is that everything (that has been established as a priority) gets put in my calendar, so the thinking is over and all I have to do is follow the plan.

Who do you count on for help? Do you have a network of family that answer the call?
I see myself as a strong, independent and capable woman – asking for help has traditionally been very difficult for me. However, building a business around a family amongst the stresses in today’s world while having this ideal of being the ‘Perfect Trifecta’ mom, wife and entrepreneur is beyond unrealistic! It has been a humbling journey to learn how to ask for help, but once I did, it allowed me to regain balance and strength, and build stronger relationships in every area of my life. My ‘network’ is extensive and whether it is mentors, colleagues, friends or family, I am beyond thankful for the support they have given through their advice or time. I am particularly lucky to live close to family so our kids have great relationships with their grandparents on both sides – they love spending time together, which gives my husband and I time to spend on our relationship.

My Dad has especially been an unwavering source of support through the years – no matter what, he’s believed in me, even when I was having trouble believing in myself. Whether it’s to babble at him with a new idea, or to ask for advice when I seem the most lost, he always has the right ‘life lesson’ at just the right time (whether I’ve realized it was needed or not). Most of all, my #1 is my husband. Whether it’s helping to clean the kitchen or to wipe a tear away and remind me it’s all worth it, I wouldn’t be here without him. I truly believe if everyone had a husband as accepting and unconditionally supportive as mine, there would be a lot more successful ‘Mompreneurs’ who were fulfilled and balanced.

Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
Daily! This is what achieving balance is all about – it always requires give and take, and it is something you must accept if you’re going to be an entrepreneur.  That said, what I’ve learned is that sacrificing doesn’t always mean you have to give up something. Most of the time it just means that ‘something’ needs to be postponed. The trick is knowing what means the most to you which allows you to prioritize your ‘to-do’ list and then scheduling each item in to your calendar so it has a definite date.

mompreneur Tanya McDowall of Reflections Life Strategies GroupWhat do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is?
Absolutely I know what a day off is! I love all sorts of activities – anything from yoga to baking to hiking – but mostly my time away from business is spent just enjoying all the chaos of my family. I learned the hard way that without taking time to recharge your batteries, you’re bound to hit rock bottom. I will never forget achieving the pinnacle of my business, but being so exhausted that I cried every day because I had disconnected with the things that meant the most to me and I had neglected relationships, especially with myself. Nothing was worth that, and it was not what I considered ‘living life’.  Since then, the word ‘balance’ is the core of what I strive to achieve every day by setting healthy boundaries between work and personal life.

Are you active in your community? What does supporting local mean to you?
While growing up, I had the benefit of playing competitive sport at the national level. Coaches, mentors, family and friends poured a countless number of selfless hours towards my development, and it’s with their support that I was able to have such an incredible experience. These opportunities shaped my values and helped teach me the importance of integrity, work ethic, and perseverance. It’s something I’ll always remember and is why giving back is so important to me. I’ve learned to invest my efforts into organizations whose values align with mine, and where I’m able to make the most impact. For example, I love to help people, so I volunteer my time and expertise as a mentor for an organization that empowers women entrepreneurs to overcome the barriers and challenges that are faced in today’s economy. I also volunteer with both of my boys sports organizations for multiple reasons; it gives me unique quality time with my family, it allows me to give back as thanks for all that I received growing up, I’m able to build stronger relationships with those around me and I’m helping young athletes to have a positive experience like I did.

Being involved, especially in our own communities, is the backbone to what builds a more solid and stable foundation for the future of our families. When you can couple that with organizations whose goals you’re passionate about, it is something that will always have positive results all-around.

Name another entrepreneur who inspires you.
Every entrepreneur inspires me! It takes guts to step into the unknown and follow your passion. That said, the ones that have been most impactful to my journey are the ones that remain authentic to themselves and their passion, while they overcome the obstacles of entrepreneurship. The person that embodies this for me is fellow Mompreneur member Robbin McManne. Over the last several years, I have seen Robbin transform her life. She is no longer the depressed, anxious, at-the-end-of-her-rope Mom and Career Woman because she made the decision to build a business around an area of her life that made a significant impact on her. She stood up to the nay-sayers, practices what she preaches, and approaches the challenges in her business with integrity and authenticity. I’ve watched her overcome obstacle after obstacle while staying true to her values and what means the most to her, even when there could have been easier options or a million reasons to quit. I know that her business is in an extreme growth phase, but what is exciting to see is that as an entrepreneur, she is facing whatever is ahead while experiencing more balance, congruency and fulfillment in her life.

What does the future look like for you and your business?
In one word? EXCITING! Through my own life’s ups and downs, I’ve learned how incredible important it is to do something that is fulfilling and congruent with your values. Being able to use my experience to help others gain this clarity and achieve their goals while maintaining balance in their lives is truly a privilege.

Any tips for moms thinking of starting a business?
One of the most pivotal moments in my business was when I was asked the question, ‘If you had invested a million dollars to get your business started, what would you do differently?’ That single question changed my mindset from, ‘Well, I guess I could always go back to a job and maybe this isn’t meant to be’ to ‘My only option is to make this work.’

That doesn’t mean that you spend every waking hour on your business at the cost of ignoring other commitments or giving up time for yourself. What it means is that your mindset and your commitment need to be steadfast; no room for quitting — no retreat. In my experience, if you just ‘try’ your business, you’re going to get ‘I tried’ results. So be ‘ALL IN’ from the start of your business so you get ‘ALL IN’ results!

Posted on

Why Feminism is Crucial – Now More Than Ever

Written by Lindsay Whisen, CEO at Ease Up – the Organizing Experts

It troubles me that feminism has such a negative, mainstream connotation that implies man-hating, bra-burning lesbians. I discovered I had long-been a feminist at the University of Toronto as an adult learner. I discovered that feminism is the ability to recognize systemic and socially constructed inequality across all social plains. I discovered that feminism is a commitment to live life in ways that try to right historic and unjust imbalances of power. This not only applies to gendered power imbalances, but power imbalances that exist within differing sexual orientation, race, religion, originating status, physical appearance, social status, economic status, marital status, political affiliation, social class, age, geographic location and differing ability – Yeah! It encompasses all of that.

I must make it clear that the term feminism did not emerge from the angry desire to overthrow man as the powerful elite (although, that is often a ‘lay-over’ in the journey toward being a feminist). It is called feminism because the realization of inequality emerged through the emotional and intellectual work of women. Women who were unknowingly oppressed, because their experience was the social norm, questioned and deconstructed their own, very real experiences of inequality. Once women did this for themselves, it was natural for them to discover its applications to other, even more disenfranchised groups. It was (and still is) an act of courage for women to take a risk, to share and to work through their feelings and experiences with fellow women.

I ask you to think about women birthing babies for a moment. Women labour. Women do the physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, painstaking work necessary to deliver that baby out of their body. No one would ever give the partner, the nurses, the midwife or the doctor working around her, the credit for that work. Women birth babies so women get the credit. Women’s risky, rigorous and explorative work birthed equality and so women get the credit – that’s why it is called feminism. In the exact same way, a doctor by the name Georgios Papanikolaou developed a useful way to detect signs of cervical cancer, and he gets the credit – his work is the reason we all get our regular, life-preserving Pap Tests.

One of the most beautiful things about feminism, when at its best, is that it is collaborative, not competitive. It aims to truly listen to individual’s experiences, seeking to truly understand, respect and legitimize their thoughts and feelings so that people can grow in their ability to accept, love and celebrate everyone. In short, I like to think about feminism as the most wonderful, smart and loving parent – for the entire world – and there is nothing offensive about that.

The truth is, right now, this world needs every form of feminist – from the extreme bra-burning activist to the most traditional housewife. Every form of feminist should know that they are completely legitimate and useful for the cause of equality in the way they express feminism. We must not focus on how we are different. We must not get caught up in who is ‘doing’ feminism right or wrong. We must focus on the belief that, at the core of all feminism, we need women across all areas of the social and cultural spectrum to work together to enact social change towards equality for all.


 

mompreneur Lindsay Whisen of EASE UP Organizing ExpertsLindsay Whisen is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out of Brampton, Ontario. She is the Founder & CEO of Ease Up – The Organizing Experts, where, with the trusted Ease Up Method and fantastic people, your space is set-up to support your greatest efficiency and wellness. You will know what you have, see what you have, and be able to access it & put it away with ease. Stop wasting your precious resources: Your space, belongings, money, time, energy and sanity. It can be easier.