Support hub FOR THOSE with a bub
Wahroonga local Rachel Chappell says she started North Shore Mums “purely for selﬁsh reasons” when she found herself facing a lot of uncertainty as a new mum after the birth of her ﬁrst child Scarlett.
“I had just moved to the area and l found there were not a lot of ways to connect with other local mums. There was no way of asking questions, there were no forums, so I thought ‘Well, I’ll just start a Facebook group’,”she explains.
There was obviously a market for the idea, because membership numbers exploded instantly and, at the time at writing, has now surpassed 12,000.
"I literally just created it on a whim - I didn’t expect it to grow so big so quick and for it to take over my life the way it has,"she tells North Shore Living.
"A lot of it comes down to the fact you can ask the most random question about anything to do with parenting and you know that someone out there will have the answer.
"Most of the time it'sjust general things like ’Where’s a good family GP?’ When I was looking for a gym I posted on it ’I want a gym that's got a really good creche‘, and one day, I had to make some cupcakes and I needed black and white paper cases so I asked ‘Where can I ﬁnd some close by?’ and sure enough, within ﬁve minutes someone replied and I knew exactly where to go.”
Stemming from the success of the Facebook group, Ms Chappell, who has a background in marketing, saw an opportunity.
"I guess having worked in media and magazines and then having children, I knew that I didn't really want to go back to commuting into the city, working ﬁve days a week. I wanted to be there for my kids," she says."So when I launched the Facebook group, I thought ’I’ll register the domain name just in case and see what happens', but it took me about a year to work out how the website would complement the Facebook group without taking over from it "So although a lot of the content is sourced from ideas within the group, the information on important issues is compiled in an easy-to-read format, not a question and answer forum like the group.”
She has now employed an editor and advertising manager to cater for the growth of the website.
It's clear Ms Chappell defines the success of North Shore Mums by the support it offers local mums and not by the amount of likes or hits.
"It's not just practical help, it’s emotional too. A lot of women post things like ’I can’t cope - my baby‘s four weeks old and crying all the time' and to see the response from other members, encouraging her and telling her it will get easier, is really heart warming.”
Ms Chappell also wants to thank all those that have helped her as a first-time mum, and says although it can be daunting, it is the best thing in the world.
"Nothing really prepares you for having a child and how your whole focus changes. Just the love and watching them grow and watching them develop into little people with their own little personalities is extremely special,” she smiles.
"And of course, there's nothing better than cuddles in the morning!”