In Conversation with Mama Disrup

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mama disrupt
Jess is the fearless leader and founder behind Mama Disrupt®, Australia’s most loved lifestyle magazine dedicated to the modern mama, sitting next to Frankie, Vogue and Marie Claire on print and digital stands, with a daily features site at and weekly badass newsletter Mama Mail®.
We sat down with Jess and asked her how she manages to run a rocking business, what inspired her to begin, and how she manages the ‘work-life balance’ with her two boys, Zac and Finn, from her home in Noosa.
1. First of all, congratulations on the launch of your digital magazine. Can you tell how you managed to do all of this while in the current lockdown?
Thank you! We’ve actually always had the digital magazine as well as the print version, but this issue has certainly been a bit special. When Covid 19 hit, our current issue was about to hit print and digital stands. My first thought was how difficult the lockdown was going to be for mothers and we wanted to do something to help. As a result, we decided to waive the purchase price of our digital issue and give it away for free so that all mamas could have a positive outlet during #iso to save their sanity! Mama Disrupt® is ALL about raising the vibration. Ironically, our current magazine is our Transformation Issue, and so it is packed full of inspirational features and tips about adapting to change – who knew we would be going through such a huge shift globally at the time?! It was meant to be.
2. What inspired you to start Mama Disrupt?
It was becoming a mother that planted the seed that things had to change for women. When I had my first son, Zac, now 11, I found myself catapulted into a sphere of mama’s guilt, parenting advice, judgement, fads, dos and don’ts. As all of us mamas know, there is a whole box of tricks out there that can make mothers feel bad.
I found a media framework that fostered and applauded (and, in fact, thrived on) mothers’ insecurities, and I thought this was not cool. I wanted to create a positive and empowering place for women, where mothers were unified and inspired by each other. I wanted to change the face of motherhood – to flip it on its head to help mamas enjoy a kick-ass life alongside the little people in their world.
It was my dream to create a magazine for the modern mother – a place to go that encouraged women to become the best version of themselves in whatever form that may be – without apology, without hesitation. It was my dream to break down barriers, to rise up mamas, to give mothers a voice, to empower women around the world so that mamas could grow and evolve on their journey, whilst also holding tiny hands and wiping mucky faces. And so, here we are three years later.
3. What do you love about motherhood and how does this translate to the magazine?
I love how motherhood forced me to be fearless. After becoming a mother, I realised that if I could grow and raise a human (whilst also undergoing a completely seismic shift of my own), I could do freakin’ ANYTHING. Women are STRONG, we just need to believe it. As a result, this made me protective of new mothers who were not in that place yet and made me want to create something that was the antithesis of mother’s guilt. With mums so worried about their children, who was looking after mamas? And so, Mama Disrupt® was born.
4. What do you wish you knew when you had young kids and a business to run?
When I had Zac (my first bebe), I stopped work, and I found that really hard mentally. As a former lawyer, I was used to working and having my mind challenged every day, so when I stopped work, it was a massive change for me. Therefore, when I had Finn, I kept working and began building Mama Disrupt®. My biggest piece of advice to any mama juggling business/work with babies or toddlers is to be patient with yourself. Things will take 10 times as long, but know that this is ok. Allow for that time.
5. How did you manage in the early days of Mama Disrupt® and having two very young children?
When I was setting up Mama Disrupt®, I worked A LOT - in the early hours of the morning, late at night, during naps, when the kids were at kindy. Basically, when I wasn’t with the kids, I worked. Any spare moment was spent creating and pushing and hustling and building the business. I missed out on loads of social events, but I had a goal in sight and literally would have mowed down anything in my path that got in my way. I swear I ran on adrenaline for the first 12 months.
6. How do you cope and what do you find difficult when running a business, household and the boys?
Time is the hardest thing and getting the balance right between family and business. I could always be working. It’s a never-ending ball of possibility that grows when you feed it. I try and walk the line as best I can, and sometimes can feel like I am failing on both fronts, especially when you get Corona curveballs thrown into the mix! It is a constant juggle. Ultimately though, my boys always come first. And at times when I have to get sh*t done? They get to see what chasing your dreams and hard work looks like.
7. How do you strive for a work-life balance?
This is still a work in progress! My work is very much part of who I am, so it is hard to leave it behind. I am trying to bring more white space into my life. I am super driven, so this is not natural for me. I like to work hard and play hard! 8. What is one thing that motherhood has taught you that has made you a better businesswoman? Not to be scared of the unknown, but to embrace it. Open your arms and fall. You don’t have to have every single thing figured out from the very beginning.
9. What does a morning at home look like normally?
I walk on the beach at sunrise, I play beats LOUDLY (that’s why I live on acreage), I cuddle Salty - my chihuahua, I love on my boys, I catch up on emails, I chat to my amazing MD® team, I snack on salmon sushi, I work my ass off. I freak out at the time… it’s nearly school pick up.
10. What’s one mama tip you have learnt along the way?
Throw the rulebook out the window and make your own rules. Life is a game, don’t be scared of trusting your gut. Find your passion and follow your calling with every cell in your body. Get comfortable with being out of your comfort zone, face up to your fears, and if someone tries to tell you ‘no’, do it twice and take pictures. You don’t need anyone’s approval, life is a choice only you can make.
11. What’s the best advice you can give new mamas?
We can create any-freakin-thing we set our minds to. Women are UNSTOPPABLE.
12. What’s one thing you can’t live without?
My boys, of course. Oh, and a super cold beer.
13. Finally, can you please share your top pics of the season with us.
Absolutely, and what a beautiful range this season is!
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