To celebrate the relaunch of Sunny Mondays, over the next five weeks I will be interviewing some very inspirational women.
These women embody the true meaning of Bright Young Mamas. They all had their children before the age of 25, and they are all kicking butt in their personal and professional lives!
I hope that the Bright Young Mamas Interview Series will be deeply inspiring and show you that pursuing your passions while you raise your kids is possible for you too.
To kick of the series, I would love to introduce you to Nkandu Beltz, a 31 year old speaker, author, philanthropist and entrepreneur. Nkandu became a mama when she was 20 years old. She is a passionate supporter of young people, starting out as an advocate for girl child rights in Zambia, and working with Save the Children Australia. In 2011, Nkandu was selected to be the Australian Youth Representative to the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting. She has worked with Aboriginal youth in rural Australia, founded the Youth Empowerment Program Australia, and in 2013 Nkandu was chosen to interview his Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Young Minds Conference.
Now that’s what I call a Bright Young Mama! I’m so thrilled to share Nkandu’s story and her wisdom on the blog today.
REBECCA: Hi Nkandu, welcome to the blog! Please introduce yourself and the incredible work you do in the world.
NKANDU: My name is Nkandu Beltz; I’m 31 years old. I’m a speaker, author and entrepreneur. I have three children. Michelle 11, Claire 9 and Erik 6.
My line of business is modelling workshops for youth; our focus is to bring out the best in young people. Helping them to master self-leadership and being perfectly content with themselves. We teach healthy eating habits and empowerment.
We run workshops in schools and universities with the focus of unleashing your potential and being a change maker in your community.
We mentor small businesses and authors who seek media exposure; we do this through the power of storytelling.
I’m writing a new book, “Fierce and Fabulous – The Feminine Force of Success” that will be released in September this year.
This year I was invited back to MC the conference the Dalai Lama attended.
RW: What do you believe is the best thing about being a young parent?
NB: I get to play with my children, we can skip and play ball. I don’t have to worry about breaking a hip. I get to see my children grow.
RW: Have you faced any obstacles as a result of being a young parent? How did you overcome these challenges?
NB: I can’t say obstacles as much but just some negative comments from people, especially those who don’t know me. Some ask if I was a child bride or if I had my children when I was a teenager. It’s a decision that we made and I really wanted to have three children before age 30.
RW: Many young mums experience a similar sort of judgement and negativity. How did you deal with it?
NB: The bonus is my kids are bright little sparks and they are great kids. No one can say things about my children misbehaving or being mean to other kids.
When I first had my daughter, I would get a lot of parenting advice, even when I didn’t ask for it. My husband would always tell me to follow my gut and take advice with a pinch of salt. Do what works for you. That’s what we did with our children.
RW: Do you have any advice for our young mamas about pursuing their passions while raising children?
NB: Oh yes, being a mum is great fun. I have had so much fun following my dreams and raising kids but it is also a lot of hard work. It is emotionally and physically tiring but worth it. Have a plan and share it with your partner or the person who supports you most.
You have to make a choice. My children are part of my dream and I have to make sure I give them the best care I can. I involve them in as many of my activities as I can, they even come to watch me speak and run workshops when it’s appropriate for them, then my husband will take them home half way through. They have an idea of what I do.
Make sure you have a team around you to help you when you go back to work or school or taking on a business venture.
Always ask for help when you have to and remember to breathe. Like Mother Teresa often said “It’s not how much you do, but how much love you put in the actions that you do”.
RW: Sunny Mondays is all for mums making their self-care a priority. What are your favourite ways to practice self-care?
NB: I never compromise on comfort. I make sure I have enough sleep and I love my body so much not to poison it with junk food. I also have time to exercise and read books. I love to read. We have a saying in our house, “Happy Wife, Happy Family”. In my book, “I Have The Power – Unlocking Your Potential to Change the World”, I have talked about how looking after yourself looks after the world. If you are in perfect health and of sound mind, you will be able to give the best care to others. (RW sidenote: Yes! This perfectly sums up the Sunny Mondays philosophy!)
RW: Lastly, if you could offer the Bright Young Mamas of Sunny Mondays one piece of advice for thriving as a young mother, what would it be?
NB: Never ever compare your chapter one with someone else’s chapter 10. You are running your own race. Be your own hero.
What a brilliant way to start the Bright Young Mamas Interview Series! Thank you so much for being a part of it Nkandu.
Connect with Nkandu
If you would like to learn more about Nkandu and her amazing work, including when you can get your hands on a copy of her next book, please head on over to her website or connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.
Author, philanthropist, social change advocate and lover of humanity, Nkandu Beltz has worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 10 years. She started out as a girl child advocate in Zambia, campaigning for equal rights and raising awareness on HIV/AIDS. Her passion led her to a much greater devotion in making lasting change and helping people to live a better life. Nkandu later became an Australian Youth Representative to the Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting in 2011 and was chosen as a Young Social Pioneer in 2012 by Foundation for Young Australians. An ambassador and mentor for STEMSEL (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and Social Enterprise Learning), Nkandu is very passionate about youth development and has also worked with Save the Children Australia.
In 2011, she was an executive member for United Nations Association of Western Australia. She is also the Founder of Nkandu’s Cultural Night and Kununurra Youth Development Program, which later evolved into Youth Empowerment Programme Australia. In 2013, Nkandu was the winner of the Creative Scholarship. She has more recently been nominated for recognition at the Celebration of African Australians Awards 2014; is a candidate for Lowen and is currently producing and filming a documentary TV series for C31 called Home is Here, due for release early 2015.
Over to you ::
What was your biggest takeaway from my interview with Nkandu?
Please leave me a comment below – I love hearing from you!