re-published with permission from Get It magazine
Wife of former Springbok rugby player Mark Andrews, mother of three and founder of the Moms Matter website and magazine, Deborah Andrews is a very busy lady. We caught up with her in her Mount Edgecombe home.
What started as an outlet for a tired, frustrated mom has become a lifeline of sorts for Durban moms in terms of having mom-related information at their fingertips with just a click of a mouse
According to Deborah the Moms Matter website (www.momsmatter.co.za) is a place where moms can log on and have all the resources they need at hand. They can make use of the extensive directory, be educated and informed and enjoy five minutes of funnies.
Born in Melbourne, Australia and formerly an Australian national swimmer, Deborah met Mark while he was on tour with the Springboks in Perth.
“I was completely clueless about rugby and to me he was just a good-looking, tall oke. I’m 6 ft 2 tall and Mark is 6 ft 7 so we really had no choice but to spot each other above everyone else’s heads!”
At the time Deborah was 24 years old and Mark was 26. After chatting online for a few months Deborah came to South Africa on holiday. She loved her stay and eventually moved to La Lucia to be with Mark in 1999. The couple was married in 2000. They now have three children, Tyson (8), Xavier (6) and Kayla (3).
MOMS DO MATTER
When Deborah and Mark moved to East London a few years ago, Deborah had two young children and decided she needed something else to sink her teeth into. Moms Matter, she says, didn’t start out as a website, it started as a magazine. After starting the magazine and running it successfully for a year in East London, Deborah and Mark moved back to Durban and she handed the magazine over to her partners, but stayed on as editor.
Back in KZN, Deborah again found herself looking for something more. “I decided to put the magazine online. I had never done anything like it before, so I just bought a book and learnt how to push buttons! It was exciting not being bound by publishing restrictions, but it was also a little scary.”
Deborah says her aim is not to compete with magazines, but rather to offer something different. “There’s nothing better than grabbing a cup of coffee, sending your kids outside to play, and paging through your favourite mag! The internet offers a completely different kind of resource.”
The idea behind the website was to give moms a directory of resources without them having to phone around. “It’s like a giant school car park. It’s moms helping moms. If you’re looking for a Shrek jumping castle, Kumon classes or swimming lessons for your child, where do you look? Now you can just click a button and have a variety of options available to you immediately.”
Deborah maintains that because the website is driven by her as a mom and not as a businesswoman, it doesn’t exclude anybody. Advertising your company on Deborah’s website is completely free of charge.
“What I offer is an instant directory of resources to solve problems. I know small businesses don’t necessarily have big money to advertise, and they usually offer the best service. By charging I would exclude those smaller guys.”
The website features a few mom-related articles that Deborah feels are genuinely interesting and valuable as well as listings of upcoming events and happenings in each area (the website now covers East London, Durban and Pietermaritzburg) and a few ‘funnies’ for moms to enjoy.
“I am so passionate about this project. I believe it’s all about having the resources available to manage the ‘beautiful chaos’ that is modern motherhood. While I muddle through it myself, I am also doing the best that I can do with the tools and resources available to me.”
FINDING A BALANCE
When Deborah started the website she says she wanted to do something while kids were at school that would still allow her the privilege of still being able to be a mom during the day.
Living in Mount Edgecombe, she says, is a dream. “We are renting at the moment and we love it. We are so privileged to live here. I love the fact that my kids spend their afternoons doing what kids should be doing, like hunting for frogs, riding their bikes and building tree houses. There is no better sound in the afternoon than that of my kids laughing, shouting and playing and when it starts getting dark they all come home for supper.”
They are a very close family and Deborah says because Mark does a lot of travelling, when he is at home they enjoy just being together at home. Mark’s business involves importing fitness and recreational gear.
Deborah says dads do matter too! But, she says, the reason moms matter, even when they do have the support of a wonderful husband, is that it’s them who make most of the day-to-day decisions about their family and children.
“As the mom I am the one who does the research and makes all the bottom-line decisions. I decide what they eat, what extra-murals they do, when they need new clothes, what presents to buy when they go to a party and what goes into their lunchbox. Needless to say, I have nothing but the ultimate admiration for single moms!”
Finding a balance between being a mom and a wife and working is not always easy, and Deborah admits that the wheels do come off from time to time.
“I’ve read articles about ‘model moms’ and wonder how the heck they manage it! How can anyone balance being a worker, wife, mother, friend, sister and daughter . . . and still be true to yourself all the time? There are some days when my toes are pedicured, my hair is straight, my kids are beautifully behaved and my SuperMom cape flies proudly. Other days it feels tattered and torn and needs replacing. But isn’t that what being a mom is all about? Keeping it real!”
Three things Deborah learnt from her kids during the holidays:
- A cell phone DOES NOT work when it has been thrown into a swimming pool;
- A TV remote DOES NOT work when it has been thrown into a swimming pool;
- An electric toothbrush DOES work when it has been thrown into a swimming pool (if you don’t mind the chlorine aftertaste in the morning).