After a seemingly long break, I’m back with my favorite blog activity: moms’ interviews.
Sitting on a patio in my rented house in Sardinia, I finally have the opportunity to have a slightly longer chat with Tsitaliya about herself. Tsitaliya Mircheva-Petrova is the person who makes my blog come alive and who has helped me to build my personal brand. Every time we meet is to speak about me, or PWG events, or a project we are developing together. I realize only now how little I actually know about her personal story. She has been on my list of working moms to interview for a long time, and now the time has finally arrived.
Speaking with her has allowed me to discover so much. Tsitaliya is not only a mom blogger and fashionista, but also a restless business woman committed to help other women to succeed.
I will do my best to try to condense that information here.
Idea is nothing without action.
Tsitaliya originates from Bulgaria but has traveled and lived on three continents in the past 16 years. She started her career as a journalist, worked in Radio, National TV and local magazines where she had a very successful career in TV and had a very established professional network. In summary, her career was set up to be a great one had she stayed. However, she decided to leave the comfort of her country and her job to follow her love and move to New York with her husband. With a big city comes big challenges. Thanks to her tenacity she was able to find a job in PR but, as she says:
Tsitaliya: “It was hard to find something in a city with almost no professional network”.
Still, she managed to do it, because she had a clear idea and a vision about her life plan in her mind. Then, her husband’s job had them moving to Zambia in Africa. There were more challenges though – no job, no network, and an additional cultural barrier. But she kept busy meeting with local African women and learning about their culture and traditions. She kept publishing articles during this time on Traditional Tribes and rituals for marriage and funerals. She volunteered in a small hospital where through story telling and theater play, they had to explain to local women and families the importance of using condoms and fighting the AIDS epidemic.
Tsitaliya often tells me she is a very restless person, so she studied French while she was there and learned to horse ride. She had a small group of women to do yoga with and some nutrition plans following her Ayurveda training. Then another move came and with that another challenge: she arrived in Switzerland.
Fashion as a life concept
She realized quickly Switzerland was going to be home for the foreseeable future, so she started to think about how to make a comeback in her career in PR. She still did not have children, and she wanted to build her family and begin rebuilding her career at the same time.
T: “I was looking to work as a freelance journalist or in communication. “My” topic is fashion, I’m passionate about it, and always educated myself in that field. There was one problem though – I could not speak Swiss German. Then I found a solution, I started volunteering first then working with expat magazines. Finally I landed a job at a fashion magazine called NU ICONS. In the meantime, realizing that I could not and did not want to, rely on other people to give me a job, I started a blog. I looked for expert magazines and contributed with my fashion editorials. Once someone advised me to start my own fashion blog, and I created “Tsitaliya’s Style Diaries”.”
As is the case with a lot of bloggers, she started it as a hobby. She built her family and she continued to blog. Soon she realized she was not satisfied with that.
Passion in not enough
When she started Mums in Heels she wanted to build a profitable business, which would be a combination between her passion for fashion, her writing and PR skills and her family life in Switzerland.
T: “It was difficult to start with” she says. “It is painful to look at Mums in Heels as a business, when in reality it is a passion and you kind of expect everyone to feel that passion. But in business, I soon realized, passion is not enough. You need to project yourself, to see you and your business in 5 to 10 years from now. I needed to understand what I was selling, and how. Then I built the business around my vision. I worked with business coaches in order to achieve that vision.”
A Mum in Heels
Tstialiya is not wearing heels as we speak. And to be honest, I see her mostly running around the city of Zurich with her select choice of flats and sneakers. But for many years she was known for her heels and Chanel perfume. She is definitely always impeccably dressed, and stands out from the crowd.
She is definitely a restless, creative, stylish and an often overwhelmed mom of two who functions better under stress. As many moms I know and meet, she does not struggle with creativity or inspiration, but with time. Indeed, she also finds it hard to find the time to write the latest blog post at home with kids around and the nights are made for sleep, right? Nevertheless, she manages to keep house and kids running, blog and business up to date and sometimes finds time to go out with friends for dinner. But how?
T: For me it is a matter of self-discipline. I am a big believer in discipline! These words are my credo: “The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.”- Jordan Belfort
I really think everything is a mindset, it’s important to know that you can look for help and there is nothing shameful about it. I would call for my family to help my if I need it. And I don’t feel guilty about it. Motherhood is a long marathon, it is not a sprint where I have to prove how long I can do it alone. It takes a village to raise a kid. That’s the truth that very few women want to admit.
Indeed. How many mothers are out there thinking they have to achieve everything alone? Being a mom is a big organizational exercise, and if you work on top of it, your need a functional team. People often ask how I manage all my activities alone, the answer is clear: I don’t. I have childcare, cleaner, family and most important, a husband who take care of a lot of the household.
Tsitaliya continues by explaining to me how she organizes her week. It is quite a Marathon, she is right. And the best part is that she always keeps some hours for herself, time alone with her husband and time with her kids:
T: “My work is really important, it comes right after the family, but it is my creative outlet, it is what I find meaningful and I enjoy doing. There is nothing wrong about feeling good and being happy outside of your family.”
While chatting with her, the peaceful moment on my terrace is interrupted by my whole family entering: the baby starts crying, my little boy wants to see who I’m speaking with, the mother-in-law is looking for the sun cream, and my father-in-law is complaining about the heat… slowly I move away from the chaos and go back to my discussion with Tsitaliya. I excuse myself for the interruption and she smiles and says
T: “ Just remember. This is a phase, the kids are going to grow. Take it easy, this will pass!”