A Kiwi mum has launched a first-of-its-kind app for mums to work on their personal development and improve their wellbeing.
Hannah Hardy-Jones, an HR professional and mother of two from Christchurch, launched The Kite Program after becoming a parent and discovering there was a "lack of options for personal development when transitioning to the new role of 'mum'".
Hannah developed bipolar disorder after the birth of her daughter five years ago and while she received the support she needed for her mental health - her journey is beautifully documented in her blog, Rebuilding my kite - she struggled to find solutions and support to help her cope with some of the challenges she faced as a new mum.
"I began wondering why the role of a 'mum' doesn't come with the same level of development opportunities as seen in traditional employment," she explains.
"Being a new mum is just like starting a new job. You have to learn as you go, but you also need to hit the ground running…. In the workplace we build in support networks and programmes for managing the health and safety of our workers, but what are we doing in the home for our mothers?" asks Hannah.
In her research for the app she discovered that two thirds of the mothers she interviewed wanted to know how to make more time for themselves; 70 per cent said they sometimes felt mother guilt and half felt less connected to their partners after having children.
"This highlights how stretched mothers often feel," she says. "We want time for ourselves, we want to be there for our kids and we want to be connected with our partners. It's a lot.
"To me, this was an obvious place to start – to create a program that would support mothers in everything from improving relationships, organising their busy lives, through to reducing mum-guilt and ultimately their stress levels," she explains.
The first app of its kind on the market, The Kite Program is based on the concept of micro-learning and is designed to provide mothers, at all stages of their parenting journey, with support, solutions and coping techniques to face the everyday challenges that being a mother presents.
Once downloaded, The Kite Program asks three simple questions so that it can create a tailored programme based on each user's needs.
There are 14 mini programs, called Kites, and each kite contains 14-30 tasks. The app delivers one activity per day, but it will wait for your prompting before it gives you a new activity.
The activities are designed to help you make positive changes over time.
The Kite program also features an 'on-the-go mindfulness button' and a 'Kite Journal'.
Notifications can be scheduled to arrive at appropriate times - like after children have gone to bed.
"I am very aware that a lot of mums want to be more present, not spending more time on their devices," Hannah explains. "For this reason, I designed the app so users spend very little time interacting with the app itself. Instead it is all about implementing the activities into real life situations. They are small tasks that fit into a busy life."
Hannah, who has a degree in psychology, is keen to point out that her progamme is for "everyday mum challenges".
"Those who are concerned about their mental health or the wellbeing of others should seek professional help," she insists.
If you are concerned about your own mental health, or that of someone else's, contact the Mental Health Foundation or talk to your midwife or GP.
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