Fabulous Mum: Jodie Blight from Hello Table September 09 2015

Jodie Blight is one of those people who epitomises the saying “if you want something done, give it to a busy person”. She is smart, energetic and always on the go.

A Flat Out Mum. 

Luckily for me, my oldest son chose her second son to be his best friend in three year old kindergarten and has barely left his side since. The boys union has been made stronger as their Mums love to have a chat and we have each developed our own businesses at similar times, so have been sounding boards for each other. 

Even though she doesn’t drink coffee (say what??) and their family barracks for the Hawks recent arch rival (Sydney Swans) she is one of those Mums that you are lucky to have in your corner. The other school Mums and I already admired Jodie before she independently wrote and published her very own cookbook Summer Table last year, but watching her grow and persevere as she did so, has been extremely admirable. 

Her dedication to fulfilling her own dream and setting a brilliant example for her children paid off on the weekend when she was awarded the prestigious St George Bank Ausmumpreneur Award for Digital Innovation. You see, she didn’t just self publish an amazing cook book, she also created a WORLD FIRST smart phone APP that makes the cook book interactive. You just scan the QR code featured at the end of each recipe and a shopping list is automatically sent to your phone. All of the items are even sorted by the supermarket sections – too easy! Believe it or not, Jodie had never even used an APP before and her lack of technical ability has always been the butt of many jokes with her friends and family.

It is one of those idea’s that is so simple and handy, you wonder why no-one has done it before. It took an entrepreneurial multi-tasking Melbourne Mum to do so. 

Jodie got the idea to write Summer Table from lesson’s learnt when she moved her young family to a small Dutch village for a few years. There she was forced to change her approach to many things including cooking. This creativity and need to plan ahead to prepare meals that suited the entire family (and often for several days in a row), led to Jodie being skilled at producing interesting and tasty meals with whatever she had in the fridge. As a lover of good food (and as she admits, a little frugal), she didn’t want to simply reheat yesterday’s food and serve the same meal again. 

So she became accomplished at creating tasty, quick and healthy meals with the abundance of beautiful food left over from her delicious Sunday roasts. She says that the best part was that no one knew they were eating leftovers (well, not until she wrote her book!)

What do you find is the most difficult challenge of being a working Mum?

Finding time for myself. I just don’t do it. I’m either throwing myself into my work or being a mum, with a tiny bit of sleep in there when I can.

I used to get irritated when I was trying to work while the kids were around. They always wanted or needed something (even if it was just a cuddle). So for everyone’s sake, I had to set some boundaries about time for work and time for kids and family.

Working on such an all-consuming project and being so passionate about it, I was working crazy hours which was not great for me – I was up at 4.30am and worked til 7am then made breakfast, lunches and took the kids to school. I then had a solid 6 hours to work before picking them up and running them to all their sporting events. Once they were in bed at 8pm, I would continue to work until I literally couldn’t focus any more. A few hours’ sleep, then do it all again. I sustained that for about 6 months. Crazy.

 Recently I set some guidelines for myself to try to get some balance back in my life. My new rule is no working on the weekends. That has been relatively successful, although there is always the temptation to ‘nick in’ and check the emails as the office is so close and so easily accessible. (Having said that, I worked all weekend just gone. Oops!)

Your tip for Mums on how to juggle returning to work….

Don’t expect too much from yourself and don’t expect everything to be perfect. In fact expect everything to be in complete chaos and then you might be pleasantly surprised when it’s not (or at least you won’t be disappointed when it is). Get help – within the business and at home. Get a cleaner and maybe someone to iron etc. Take the pressure off yourself.

And also get the family chipping in to help. Kids love helping and demonstrating how they can be responsible. My boys love to help and it gives them self-confidence when they do something that normally an adult does. No matter what the age, kids can help (even if it is matching socks, feeding the animals, cooking…). Try it - you may be surprised at how they will respond.

Your tip for Mums who have an idea & want to start a business...

I think Nike said it best - Just do it! 

Stop dreaming, or coming up with reasons not to do something and just give it a go. But do it for the right reasons, and do your research. Know your market, ask lots of questions and then put your head down and bum up. 

Making mistakes are par for the course and what you learn from them is invaluable for both your project and also your life. Making mistakes isn’t a sin, but not giving it a go in case you do make a mistake, is!

The DIY approach doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself. You can hire help where needed. And if the budget doesn’t allow for it, you need to come up with different innovative ways of incentivising and paying people. If they truly believe in your idea, they will jump on board. Offer them a delayed payment (when you’re successful) or a portion of the profit or a percentage of the business.

And remember, not every single person on the planet will love your idea. Don’t be discouraged by those who don’t get it. Just find your niche and focus on them.

You can achieve anything with passion, commitment and determination.

Your best time saving tip in the kitchen is…

I have thousands, but the best tip is effectively the concept behind Summer TABLE. When you are cooking, cook extra and then you have a fantastic, flavoursome base for a quick dinner another night during the week.

The best thing a friend has done for you since having kids is…

I am so lucky to have so many wonderful friends. I can’t pick just one thing or one person. They are all so supportive and also keep me in check.

Your favourite every day wardrobe essential is… 

In winter that would be my black jodhpurs and boots. In summer, it is my denim skirt. They both go with anything.

Your favourite flat shoes and why…

I have a passion for shoes but as I get older, my shoes get flatter. I can be seen running around in my Skechers most days (I have a few pairs, different colours) but my favourite flats are these from Mimco. I saw them on Flat Out Mum and mentioned to a friend how much I loved them. She went and bought them for me! Just amazing – see what I mean about so many amazing wonderful friends! I’m very lucky. 

So now do you understand why Jodie is this week's Fabulous Flat Out Mum? 

Find out more about Summer Table on Jodie's website here or you can buy it at www.flatoutmum.com.au