Ruth | Mums with Their Own Businesses | Interview Series | Part 2 April 03, 2017 07:27 1 Comment

Ruth from New Portals band with her husband Mike

Our second female contributor is my very own twin-sister. As i said before, I want to share a 'diverse' range of females whose creative projects or business startups impact their lives and family-lives in different ways. My hope is that you are inspired by the fact there is more than just one way to 'do things' and having witnessed Ruth's lifestyle for the last decade, there is no better person to share on the topic of Motherhood, co-parenting, raising independent kids, 'life-design,' and go-on then...  'style' too, just for good measure! Continuing the theme of five from Part 1. Here's Ruth's five.....

 

1. HER STORY

My name is Ruth Aicken.  I have a very scruffy husband Mike..I had a big shock recently when I realised I've been with him for 20 yrs and married 14yrs.. to say the least time is flying by!  We have 2 fabulous female off-spring (11yrs and 9yrs old ) and we live in the Eastside of Belfast. At the minute the juggle of life is strong with us. Mike and i make up a musical duo called New Portals that brings indie-electronic pop feels to the world. We also write songs for another act called The Jepettos and write for commissions which is a lot of fun. Mike is a doctor by trade but we went down the self employed route about 5 years ago now. But for the past 8-9 years in the background we have also been running a training academy in the cosmetic injectable industry with a passion for very tasteful and natural treatments. Therefore Mike has become, what we pretentiously title him, a ‘Doctorpreneur’. Within our company he designed an App that we now sell along with other products and services.. So the juggle is VERY REAL!

 

2. HER TYPICAL DAY

When Mike became self employed we suddenly became a totally equal co-parent two-some and he now usually does the morning school run. This is great for me because i have always really very strongly disliked that drop-off and he takes the hit most days now which I’m grateful! Our weeks are just split into which ever project is needed working on at the time.. which i really like but I’m never happier than when my week brings me to sit in front of the piano writing or recording in the studio. Those weeks are the best.

Ruth with her daughters & husband Mike

In terms of coping,  HMMMM? That's a hard one. I think we are just about coping and some days just existing.  Our business is really booming after years of seed planting and decision making. We are away from our girls up to a week a month with business AND at the same time our musical project New Portals has started to gain very sweet momentum. This new year has honestly been a bit of a blur. Our girls are growing fiercely independent.. WE were always the sort of parents that bought kitchen steps to put in front of the sink so they can fetch their OWN water from the tap to encourage independence (and also save us from that constant 'slavery' feeling parents can slip into.) They are well trained  e.g. fending for themselves in the kitchen comes naturally to them. They are pretty great... but ask me in 6 months or a year. Will i ever have figured out this tricky word ‘balance’ and feel like I’m ‘nailing it’ in the motherhood department? We are really rolling with the punches, seizing opportunities and making ‘things work’ rather than having family meals at 5-6pm everyday or have any sort of a conventional routine.

 

3. HER STYLE

My style is simple but i defs have a grungy boho edge. I would probably vomit if i was every forced to straighten my hair and be seen in public,  i would feel very uncomfortable.  I have learned to wear clothes that work for my 5 ft 2" hour glass stature.. (short, biggish boobs and big hips..lol) As much as i love the ‘baggy T’ movement (that my identical sister rocks- no fair!) I do not do myself any favours in oversized things. I have a 'D' cup so i can look very short and very square very fast in oversized clothing. I've learnt to stick with clothes that are nipped in at the waist with a tighter upper half and baggier lower half. An everydayer e.g . Mom-jeans or a short skirt to lengthen my legs and a tightish top. I'm lazy and it's def all function with me.  I do enjoy a good old shop but only when successfully able to purchase for my shape! I really like all the shoes from ‘Pull and Bear.’ They do a nice selection of platform brogues/boots for A/W and class sandals for S/S that give my legs that extra inch or two. Our mum is a great dresser and always taught us to keep colours in a outfit to a minimum so i often wear a bright lip or of recent months i've been dyeing my hair pinks and rose-gold so i really need to limit the colour palette in my outfits to avoid the christmas tree look!

Ruth & Mike from New Portals

 

4. HER INSPIRATION

A few things.. well obviously, my first love is writing and singing. I feel lucky to have been brought up in a house of singers (with my bro and sis. ) We drove our parents mad in many a car journey. Singing brings me sooo much joy!  I also love cooking and we went plant-powered a few years back and i really loved the challenge of making food delicious without meat. It was a great learning curve and I’ve figured out alternatives to pretty much all my old carnivorous meals. I may have to write a book of all of my creations one of these days. I'm also big into ‘Lifestyle Design.’ I've learnt that especially in motherhood theres are ‘NO RULES’ and i wake up everyday aiming to design a life style that we love regardless of what society tells you you should love. But that's a whole other blog post! Don’t get me started!

I'm so happy when I’m travelling. A few weeks ago we showcased our music at SXSW in Austin, Texas. i just loved seeing new skies and smells and i love higher temps than what we get in Ireland and love sweat on my nose and playing our choons in new places. Here's a pic of me saying bye to the girls just before we left for the week.

 

Ruth saying goodbye to Freiah-beth & Siennah-Rose before she left for SWXSW.

 

5. HER KIDS & BUSINESS

I try not to put pressure on myself to be "perfect" which helps when I’m feeling overwhelmed with the busyness and I’m a very tactile mum so when stress is high i whip out the oxytocin cuddles for us all to lather ourselves with-  it really seems to help! I failed 'Business Studies' A-Level at school with a big fat ‘U’ which stands for 'unmarkable' and i frequently chuckle to myself that for the past 8-9 years I’ve been running a  business with my partner in crime. The difference is that i understand our products, the customers and what they want. Business Studies at school was all out of context, i could not relate it to life and it felt like a very stressful game of monopoly.  So, i'd say to any mums with an urge to pursue a startup to submerge yourself in the subject for a good stint of time; learn its patterns and learn the competition if it's something you want others to buy or enjoy.

You can check out Ruth's music HERE, her Instagram HERE & also on my feed as i recruit her for modelling the collections on quite a regular basis.