Author: Rowena Mabbott (page 1 of 7)

Live your ending now: living life with purpose

As a parent who has lost a child, I am acutely aware of how quickly life can change or end.  In an instant, our whole world can be turned upside down.   Life is short, and precious.

Regardless of whether you have lost someone or not, we all want to make the most of our life.  We want to look back without regret.  We want to live our life fully; to appreciate it and not feel we are constantly ‘waiting’ until we can live that life.

But how do we honour that feeling?  How do we ensure our life has purpose?  What spurs us into action?   How do we bring joy back into the everyday?

Truthfully, the biggest motivator for me is contemplating my ending. Continue reading

Embrace the moment: It’s okay to be mindful

Being mindful is like the new black.  Being in the moment. Mindfulness.

Everyone talks about it and we all apparently *should* aspire to have moments of it in our days.  It’s been shown to improve our well-being and improve our productivity, efficiency and overall happiness.  For all people that sounds pretty good, but as busy mothers, it sounds amazing, right!?

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Interviews with Inspiring Mothers: Upset to Set-Up – Patricia McPhail

Welcome to the ‘Upset to Set-Up’ Series: Interviews with Inspiring Mothers

This occasional interview series shines a spotlight on inspiring women and shares their stories of resilience in the face of upset.  Here we interview women who have overcome significant tragedy, loss or upset and used that experience to set themselves up in a new and different way.  They have turned their upset into a set-up.  Each guest generously shares what they have been through to find the joy in life.

Patricia McPhail

Patricia McPhail. Photo: Emily McPhail

Today we meet Patricia McPhail, Founder of HopeforOllie.  HopeforOllie designs and sells handmade children’s clothing and accessories for 0-10 year olds.

Patricia created HopeforOllie in 2010 after her son Oliver was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) at 10 weeks of age.  DMD is a fatal genetic condition which causes muscles to weaken and break down, leading to progressive difficulty with walking and general mobility.  Currently there is no cure for DMD, and suffers have a 20 to 25 year life expectancy.   Patricia is a mother who wants to make a difference to the lives of all DMD boys and their families by raising funds for clinical research into a cure.

I loved this interview, and I am sure you will too. Patricia is an absolutely inspiring woman.

1. Please share a bit about yourself and your experience of parenthood

My name is Patricia and I’m a mum of two gorgeous kids, Emily aged 10 and Oliver aged 7.

Before motherhood, I was a Data Analysis Manager spending my days looking at statistics and crunching numbers.

Being a parent is a rewarding experience. I became a parent in 2007 when Emily was born 6 weeks early by emergency c-section, with Oliver arriving safely in 2010.

Parenthood can be challenging at the best of times but being a parent of a special needs child is a game changer.  The life I had planned with my family changed as soon as my son was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

My parenthood journey is filled with emotion, daily challenges, strength, dedication and laughter.

These days, I am the Founder of HopeforOllie, a creative handmade children’s clothing company that donates all net proceeds to The Institute of Neuroscience and Muscle Research at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, to fund clinical research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

2. What is your parenting approach or philosophy?

I want to be a good role model for my children and teach them to look at the positives in every situation or challenge they face. To teach my children that life isn’t always fair and that you have to be flexible, to take the good with the “not so great”.  To know that it’s okay to ask for help to solve a problem, and maintain a supportive group of friends.

3. Has your parenting approach changed due to your experiences?

After Oliver’s diagnosis, I became a stronger person, both emotionally and physically.  I didn’t want to stick my head in the sand and hide and simply hope that someone else would do something, so I decided to start HopeforOllie. It was my way of coping, sharing my story and spreading awareness while raising funds.  I was thrown into a world I wasn’t prepared for, a situation I had not envisaged nor expected.  I am now a dedicated advocate for my son, always trying to make sure my son is included in activities rather than excluded.

Parenthood, and particularly parenting a special needs child, has changed me in a positive way.  I have more patience than I ever had, I am more involved in the community, and I am a more generous and kind person overall.

4. What have you learned along the way?

My biggest learning is that life is complex, but it’s so important to stay focused on what is important.   I’m very lucky to have a huge a network of friends and family always willing to help, support and not judge.

5. What is the most important thing you need to do each day to maintain your well-being?

Physical exercise is a must. I thoroughly enjoy working out at the gym to clear my head.  I also make the time to have coffee dates or lunch catch-ups with friends.

6. Complete these sentences:

  • Love is . . . the strength you need to get through the hard times.
  • A life of joy looks like . . .  a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, or at the very least, treatment to ensure the best possible quality of life for my son.
  • My wish for my children is . . . that they grow up to be healthy, happy and positive.

7. If you could travel back in time and give yourself one piece of advice before you commenced this journey, what would it be?

Life is precious, enjoy each day and don’t take it for granted.  Don’t let the little things bother you.

More about HopeforOllie:

HopeforOllie has been officially endorsed by The Children’s Hospital at Westmead to fundraise, and has donated approximately $80,000 to date.

You can keep up to date with the HopeforOllie journey at –

You can also find HopeforOllie on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Like this post?  Please feel free to share it with someone who might benefit from reading it.  And don’t forget to subscribe to ensure you never miss a post!  You can subscribe here.

If you have an amazing story of resilience and would like to share it, please get in touch. I’d love to connect and share your story.

Self Care for Mothers: learn to put yourself first

As a mother, taking time for some self-care and a little bit of quiet, is an act of rebellion.  In a world that values busy-ness, taking time out to look after yourself can be a very rebellious act indeed!  But it is a vital one too.  At this time of year particularly, we can be overly aware of the expectations on us as mothers.

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Focus your attention elsewhere; It’s okay to admire

It’s okay to admire people, places and things.

When we are feeling down, sad or grief-stricken, it can be very hard to see the positive in life. Our focus is on ourselves, our feelings of sorrow or loss, and even if we desire to feel happy, we may not be able to summon those feelings.

But, when we focus our attention elsewhere, we take ourselves out of our sorrow (and out of our own head), we lift our emotional state.  And a simple way to do this is via admiration.

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Inspiration can be found anywhere and everywhere

After sharing a few weeks ago about my experience blogging each week for a year, a number of people asked me where I got my inspiration from, and what approach did I take to find inspiration.

And so, in the interests of sharing my experience, this week’s post is all about inspiration, where I find it and how I utilise it.

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Moving home: when change involves saying goodbye again

Our home is a place where ideally, we feel most ourselves. It is a place of shelter and sanctuary that offers security and comfort.  Our homes also hold many of our most valuable  things; our loved ones, treasured heirlooms and possessions, as well as precious memories.

We are currently in the process of preparing to move house, and as a result I am feeling like Marie Kondo on speed!  I’m touching every single item in my home and asking not only does this spark joy, but is it useful, do we need it, do we love it and will we need it in our new abode.  That is a lot of questions to be running through your head, let me tell you!

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A year of blogging; my four big learnings

This week it has been a year since I started blogging.  I have posted every week, except the week of Christmas, where I gave myself some time off to spend with my family.

Posting on this frequency and regularity has taught me a few things I’d like to share with you in this post today, to mark the anniversary of this website and my blogging experience.

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Love thy neighbour; a story of nature helping build community

We have all heard the saying ‘love thy neighbour’.  It’s one of those sayings that even if we aren’t religious, we hear in at least once or twice in our lives.

When I think of ‘love thy neighbour’ I have always assumed it means to be kind.  Which, funnily enough, is exactly what today’s post is all about. Continue reading

Grief in the family; It’s Okay to allow others to mourn

When we lose a baby, it’s not just us who experience grief and mourn.  Those around us, our parents, our siblings and any children we already have, also all grieve.

Of course, we know this, but it can be very hard to recall when we are consumed by our own loss and the associated pain.

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