Work-life balance, babywearing and relaxing when needed. Interview with Anna Kšírová, founder of Loktu She

Anna Kšírová is a mother of two, medical doctor, babywearing suppporter, lecturer and co-founder of Lokut She, company which produces baby wraps and babywearing clothing.

Jana Mitrova: Why have you decided to stop your medical career and start your own business?
Anna Kšírová : The story is a bit different. My decision to start my own business never meant that I would stop medical cereer completely. Loktu She came to me quite unexpectedly, it wasn’t my own idea, but yet it is my beloved unexpected baby :). Being self-employed is more convenient to me at the moment, because it offers better ways to combine my professional life and maternity. I’m my own boss and so more flexible. I’m grateful for many things – it’s an experience which I didn’t plan nor expected yet I enjoy it immensly. I’m grateful we, with my colleagues, started the business. As if I broke down a mental wall I bulit for myself „you qualified as a doctor, so you’re gonna be a doctor for the rest of your life“. Thanks to Luktu She I see that I can do many different things, my life is more colourful and I feel freer in it. I meet many great people and it inspires me to see them how they start things, project that are difficult and they, step by step, cope with it. Along with that I can better appreciate work of all sefl-employed people. It’s a rough job and the responsibility is sometimes really big.

Jana: What does Loktu She mean?
Anna: It comes from a Czech word „loktuše“, which is one of many words for a piece of thick cloth in the old days used for carrying hay, wood as well as children. By that we reffer to the baby carrying tradition in our land. That it has strong roots here and so isn’t some nowadays fashion. We played with the word a bit so it can be used internationally. By that we discovered other meanings … for example it includes „loket“ (elbow), which is used when carrying children, or English „she“ – because the word is closely connected to feminity and motherhood. Even though today more and more fathers get involved in babywearing.

Jana: Why is it good to babywear?
Anna: First of all it is good to carry a baby. Mum’s body is their home. There is no other place such conveniently equipped for a newborn than mum’s chest. It is warm, safe, source of food and place of optimal stimulation for the baby. It’s the best place from which the baby can learn about the world they born into.

Most of the time, human kind existed on this planet it was the only way. There were no heated beds, no prams … on the other hand there was more danger from wild animals, cold, etc. Put a newborn on the ground meant risking their life. That’s why babies, when left alone feel really stressed and cry, which is their life-saving mechanism. Baby doesn’t understand that the Stone Age is long gone.

This primal setting – mum is the source of safety and protection – is engraved in us, basis of our humanity. By meeting the baby’s needs of contact, closeness and safety we ensure the best foundation for their happy life. We help them create their inner safety and trust in this world.
The wrap is only one of means how to keep the baby on us. It is great that it can easily adjust to both bodies of baby and parent and allows parents free hands for, for example, older children. Somebody prefers ergonomic carrier, somebody arms … which is, in my opinion, also important to carry a child without any support so they are more involved and active in it.

Jana: How do you combine your private and professional life?

Anna: I still have a lot to learn. I’m not satisfied with my current way in this area. And it gets more and more complicated as my kids grow. I have found out that I need to plan bit more so I keep writing to do lists 😀 They help me to remember what to do when there is some time for my work, so I won’t end up on facebook where one can kill loads of time. On the other hand, I have to spend some time there as I’m responsible of our social networking – so it’s a big challenge to balance the amount. Recently I read an article about working while on maternity leave and it’s been a great source of inspiration.
As planning is not my strength, it’s really the biggest challenge for me. But I realized that I do want to learn it, because it’s worth it.

Jana: Beside other things you organize a parenting festival. What is it about?
Anna: The Joy of parenting started as an event for pregnant women and parents of small babies – there was no place where could parents find supporting and scientifically approved information about birth, nursing, puerperium, babywearing … and as our own children have grown we added topics of education, communication, siblings relationships and schooling (this year). We are aiming to help parents to enjoy this part of their life more, meet people with similar ways of life, find inspiration for their own growth.
At this festival and other events throughout the whole year we address topics which are not talked about and yet they bother many parents. One of them, for example is the rage of mothers and shadow aspects of parenthood.

Jana: What are the gives and takes of your motherhood?
Anna: It has given me two gorgeous children – two unbelievable mirrors. Having no children I would have thought me as patient and generous :D.

Parenting brings many strain situations in which on gets totally naked in their ups and downs, or rather lights and shadows.

I had no idea how much there is hidden in myself – but thanks to bringing those less friendly aspects of my personality to the light, I have a great opportunity to sort them out. Motherhood has also brought me many beautiful moments in and around creeks and puddles, slowed me down. I used to aim for long trips and big goals and thanks to my children I found out that spending whole day around one creek is the best.

Jana: What’s your favourite quote that inspires you?
Anna: Currently there are two. On is a quote of Pipi Longstocking: “I have never tried that before, so I think I should definitely be able to do that.” In Loktu She we always use this quote to encourage each other when starting something new. Which happens quite often as we are all from different professional backgrounds 🙂 And I like it also in connection with motherhood, where you always find new challenges. Second quote is a tweet from Bára Rektorová: “If you can’t, relax.” I often got into situations when I was really, really tired and so desperately ineffective, yet still I was trying to fix or finish something. And of course, it took me ages – and of course, I was even more exhausted. To respect one’s own strengths is the essential, in motherhood especially. To tell the truth, pursuing great performance seems really non-ecological to me. We are trying to be the best, achieve big thing … and on the way we keep devastating our planet, our life. It may sound as cliché but in reality it is a big challenge to enjoy little joys, like what we have and keep our strengths for important things.

Jana: Thanks, Anička, for this inspirational interview 🙂

English translation: Terka