‘If I can change the life of one mother, it is all worth it’

‘If I can change the life of one mother, it is all worth it’

17 October 2021 By Lauren Croft
Lauren Oliver

Extra support is crucial for parents to have, both during and outside of the pandemic, said Lauren Oliver. 

Ms Oliver, founder of Mums Who Wine, was working as a senior associate at Minter Ellison – and after returning to full-time work after maternity leave, found that she had little time to meet other mums in her area. After relocating for a shorter commute, Ms Oliver posted in a local Facebook group and asked if anyone wanted to have a glass of wine and received an overwhelming response.

“There were so many mums desperate to connect and meet friends, outside of their children and away from their identity as ‘mum’.

“After this moment, I started hosting regular events in my community for mothers to connect and subsequently launched Mums Who Wine as a business in July 2017. I made the decision to leave the profession because I saw the impact, but more importantly, the need in what I was doing. I was having mums come up to me at our events with tears in their eyes saying, ‘thank you for starting this, I made a friend tonight’,” she said.

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“As much as I loved my job as an insurance litigation lawyer, safe to say I was not receiving comments like that, and I knew that I was given an opportunity to help the lives of others through Mums Who Wine. For that reason, I chose to pursue this new path of supporting mothers in Australia as opposed to the corporate dream that I was previously chasing.”

Ms Oliver and the Mums Who Wine community have since dealt with a variety of issues mothers have faced, including loss of identity after having children, “mummy guilt”, loneliness and isolation, post-natal depression, and neglecting self-care.

In addition, the organisation has an annual membership option, wherein members receive discounts and benefits across the country, all focused on self-care.

“The benefit may include a free cup of coffee when they stop and enjoy a hot breakfast (instead of a coffee on the run), or a discounted gym membership to encourage mums to stop and take time to exercise,” Ms Oliver added.

“Mothers often feel guilty taking time for themselves and spending money on themselves, so our membership was created to shift that and help support their mental and physical wellbeing. This is why I created a community and safe space for mums to connect and realise that they are not alone and that every other mother is just trying to find her way also.”

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The positives of the community have been “overwhelming”, and Ms Oliver said that she has loved “building a powerful and beautiful community of women who support one another”.

“We have connected over 15,000 mums across Australia and New Zealand, raised $40,000 PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia), donated $10,000 in memberships as part of our ‘pay it forward’ campaign and established Mums Who Wine communities across Australia that are focused on supporting each other during our motherhood journey,” she said.

“Mothers can find connection and friendships at a time that is often isolating. It encourages and reminds mothers that it is not selfish to invest time in yourself and that this is actually essential. Our mission statement is Empowering mothers, building communities, changing lives’, and I am proud to say that I witness this every day in our community.”

Communities like this one have been particularly important to be a part of during COVID-19; Mums Who Wine has held regular events to support each other during ongoing lockdowns across the country.

“Having a support network, a community, a village is absolutely integral. Even before the pandemic, we were living in a loneliness epidemic, which absolutely broke my heart, so to know this has only intensified over the past 18 months wears very heavily on me,” Ms Oliver added.  

“I realised the importance after visibly witnessing the way our community has supported one another during this time and the impact. During the second Melbourne lockdown, we had mums in our community volunteer to call other mums to check in on how they were going.

“Over the past 12 months, we have also had mums regularly ‘pay it forward and pay for other mums’ membership or event tickets. We had a mother in Brisbane pay for five Melbourne mums to enjoy a night out after the end of last year’s lockdown,” she said.

In terms of the benefits the community has had on her own life, Ms Oliver said starting the organisation has not only shifted her perspective but also changed her life for the better.

“All I ever wanted to do was become a partner of a top tier law firm and live the corporate dream. To be honest, there was a time that I wasn’t even sure if I wanted children at all. So, to now be running my own organisation focused on changing the lives of mothers is ironic, to say the least, but also incredibly humbling.

“Don’t get me wrong – starting my own business has been far from easy, especially over the past 18 months during the pandemic. I definitely miss the large office environment, the business lunches and let’s not forget the regular pay cheque from my 10 years practising law,” she said.

“However, knowing that I am helping build community and overcome isolation and loneliness in mothers makes those difficult times worth it. I always say that if I can change the life of one mother, it is all worth it.”

‘If I can change the life of one mother, it is all worth it’
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