Words from the wise

Jane Anne Mcal­lis­ter shares the pearls of wis­dom she has col­lected over 44 years as a mother

Nadia - - CONTENTS -

Jane Anne Mcal­lis­ter has 14 chil­dren and 23 (and count­ing) grand­chil­dren. The founder and CEO of Dim­ples by Jane Anne, a suc­cess­ful New Zealand chil­dren’s cloth­ing brand and store, has learned a lot about par­ent­ing af­ter more than four decades in the role. In time for Mother’s Day (13 May), she shares some of her wis­dom with us.

Learn as you go

Hav­ing been a mother for the past 44 years I’ve been able to see and learn how the way in which we par­ent changes. Each way of par­ent­ing your child is dif­fer­ent as each child is dif­fer­ent. There are al­ways new tech­niques and val­ues which af­fect ev­ery­one dif­fer­ently. With my own chil­dren, I have al­ways learned from the last, keep­ing an open mind and gain­ing more ex­pe­ri­ence as each of them grows, and even­tu­ally pass­ing on my knowl­edge to help guide them to de­velop their own unique par­ent­ing tech­niques.

Don’t sweat it

The best ad­vice I would give to other moth­ers is: “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Every ac­tion has a re­ac­tion and it is best to al­ways have an open mind. I am not say­ing to al­ways take the easy road, just to choose your bat­tles, and fo­cus more on help­ing your kids learn from their mis­takes and guid­ing them to make the right choices.

Be in­spired

The big­gest mo­ti­va­tion for me is my fa­ther. He started from noth­ing and with his clever think­ing and good morals he be­came an amaz­ing busi­ness­man. He has taught me every­thing I know about run­ning a busi­ness. Peo­ple who strive for great­ness and beat the odds are an inspiration to me.

Teach them well

The big­gest high­light for me is my chil­dren and who they have be­come. Each has his or her own mo­ti­va­tions and val­ues in life, and that is all I ever wanted for them.

Stay sup­ported

The big­gest chal­lenge for me was time. I never seemed to have enough of it. Hav­ing the three stages of chil­dren meant I was al­ways busy car­ing for a new­born, go­ing through the ter­ri­ble twos or help­ing the chil­dren with school work all in the same day. I def­i­nitely couldn’t have done it with­out the sup­port of my hus­band, Sam.

Ac­cept help

There def­i­nitely was never a dull mo­ment in my house! The most chil­dren I have had liv­ing in one house is 12. The wash­ing would pile up, din­ner time would be a rush and there was al­ways some­thing that needed do­ing. Luck­ily my chil­dren al­ways pitched in around the house to en­sure a smooth-run­ning house­hold and, be­ing so many, there was al­ways some­one to turn to if they ever needed help or ad­vice.

Just keep go­ing

On week­days it was a rush to get the kids off to school. Mak­ing sure they were up and dressed, beds made, bags packed with lunches… and with at least seven of them go­ing to school at a time, I’m sure you can im­age the work­load in­volved. Week­ends were not much dif­fer­ent as my chil­dren par­tic­i­pated in ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties like soc­cer, gym­nas­tics, danc­ing etc. There was al­ways some­thing I needed to do or some­where I had to go.

Jane Anne has eight sons and six daugh­ters. Her old­est son, An­drew, is 44 and the youngest, Hamish, is 15. Here she is pictured with daugh­ters (left to right) Vic­to­ria, Felic­ity, Char­lotte, Re­becca and Emma, and grand­sons (left to right) Se­bas­tian,...

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