It’s time for the first 2013 Rockin Mamma interview – with Kelly Exeter.
The first time Kelly and I connected, was over a couple of blog posts we wrote titled Quiet Girls can be fierce, and It’s okay to be an introvert - which had us outting ourselves, not only as consummate introverts, but as women who had finally learned to embrace the term.
Please welcome Kelly!
What’s the one thing you do to take care of yourself?
Exercise is definitely the thing I prioritise most highly when it comes to looking after myself. For years people have told me ‘you need to try meditation’ and related activities – but I tried meditation and it just made me anxious. I have come to realise that exercise is meditation for me.
Running is my weapon of choice and nothing clears my head and allows me to solve the problems of the world like running does.
What’s one thing you love about yourself?
Hmm. This one’s always a hard one to answer isn’t it? I think I will say my drive. I have to admit that this trait has caused a lot of angst for me over the years because it frequently leads me to overextend myself, but I do love that I will never die thinking ‘if only’.
That said, I am getting a bit smarter now with harnessing that drive and instead of investing it in every single idea that crosses my brain, I am now trying to channel it into fewer projects and make sure I execute those projects really well.
What’s one thing you know to be true about yourself?
That my desire for everyone in the world to get along is completely unrealistic. Despite knowing this, I still have this dream where everyone in the world is nice and respectful to each other, even the people they don’t like.
I find that social media has given voice to a lot of the nasty thoughts that used to stay in people’s minds and I hate it!
What can I do about it? Well not a huge amount but I did write A Manifesto for Kindness thinking that ‘something is better than nothing’.
What’s the one thing that used to scare you that no longer does?
Handing over the running of my business to someone else. I remember the day my husband suggested he take over running Swish Design and I just looked at him and said ‘as if’.
Because no one would be able to look after our clients and read their minds the way I did. But (as strange as it seems) there is more to running a business than just looking after your clients and Ant (husband) has demonstrated this to me in a million ways over the last year and a bit.
What have you overcome?
I think the biggest thing I have overcome is an innate desire to be everything to everyone. It’s such a cliché to say that this is not possible but like many I couldn’t help but try anyway!
It’s hard to fight the voice that screams in your ear “you are being so selfish!” when you say ‘no’ to someone in order to look after yourself, but it is a skill I have had to learn. Unfortunately I had to get myself into a really bad way first in order to justify learning how to say ‘no’. I wish that wasn’t the case!
What do you typically do when you are sad.
It depends on the level of sadness. If it is low level ‘I’ve just had a fight with my husband’ sadness, I go to bed and read a book. I am a pretty emotional person and I find the only thing that restores equilibrium for me is to go somewhere quiet and read.
If the sadness is the harder hitting ‘I’ve just lost a good friend or baby’ type sadness I cope by getting busy – ie I take on some kind of hugely time consuming project.
Describe yourself in three adjectives
Driven, passionate, loyal
What is the best thing about being a mum
Coming to understand the full meaning of ‘unconditional love’. This feeling is so intangible and almost impossible to describe – but it is the most amazing feeling ever.
The worst thing about being a mum
The worry. I am a naturally anxious person and I clearly remember the day after Jaden was born. I just sat there looking at him and felt completely overwhelmed by the fact that, while I wanted to wrap him in cotton wool and keep him safe and sound forever, this wasn’t actually possible.
What’s the one piece of advice you would offer to help other women/mums?
That there are about a billion ways to achieve the same end result (happy, healthy, well-adjusted children) so choose the way that works for you.
What’s the one thing you have learnt due to a difficult experience?
I’ve learned how to say no and draw lines in the sand when it comes to helping other people. It’s horrible and I hated learning how to do it because I just like helping people – it’s my ‘thing’. But I worked my way to into a very deep hole of stress, anxiety and depression because I didn’t know how to draw that line in the sand so in the interests of my own health and well-being, and in the interests of my family, I had to learn.
What is the number one key to happiness?
Loving yourself unconditionally – as you are right now. If you don’t have a solid sense of self-worth then I just don’t see how you could possibly be happy.
You will always find yourself comparing yourself to others or thinking ‘when I have this thing, or reach this goal then I will be happy.’ If you’re not happy as you are, right here, right now … there is nothing in your future that is going to make you happy.
What do you strongly dislike?
When people try to be someone they’re not. I think every individual on this earth is special and has a lot to offer because every individual is unique.
When people try to erase their uniqueness and be like someone else (for whatever reason), it absolutely drives me nuts.
What’s one thing I could learn about you from hanging with your friends?
If you saw me hanging with my friends you would think the person you see in the rest of my life is a complete fraud!
In everyday life I am a massive introvert (need to be by myself to gain energy) and am also very shy and quiet. But when I am with my friends I am completely the opposite.
Spending time with my friends gives me energy and I am also very talkative and effusive in their company. I am not sure why this is – it can’t be that I feel completely at ease and comfortable in their presence because I feel completely at easy and comfortable with my family, but I am not at all extroverted around my family!
What mistake do you make over and over again?
Over-committing and over-extending myself. Although this is something I am much better at controlling nowadays, it is always going to be something I do. If I have spare time on my hands, I just want to fill that time.
What I am getting better at doing is reining things in a bit earlier when I figure out I have pushed just a bit too far.
In the past I would think “well too bad, you can’t pull away now as you will be letting down this person too badly” but now I am better at saying “it is better to pull away now than another month down the track!”