Meet Bernadette Clegg. She’s living her self-employment dream making rainbows. Yep, for real (well, kinda!). When this Brisbane-based teacher-turned-rainbow-maker isn’t filling delighted children’s heads with a musical education, she’s also wife to Gearrod and mama to Alex (20), Sophie (18) and Emma (14).
Tell us about your business/current role?
I’m the director/teacher at Making Rainbows. Our focus is to support and nurture children’s development through music, sensory play and movement. Parents participate with their kids in the program, singing and playing instruments and other fun props. It’s a lovely way to bond with your child and excite their natural love of music in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. We operate in 16 locations around Brisbane and offer 36 classes each week.
Where did the concept for this come from?
I had the idea to use my teaching degree in a small group musical setting for about 15 years. The idea was to support new parents and their little ones, but do it in a more relaxed, non-formal way. Incorporating music was important to me because I’ve seen its benefits with so many children during my teaching career – it’s such a ‘feel-good’ thing all ages should be exposed to! I also wanted to include movement and sensory play in the program because as an early educator, I see that as more holistic in terms of child development. It’s exciting to see my vision come together so wonderfully. The best thing is seeing how much the parents and children enjoy it.
What’s your business background?
I have no formal ‘business background’. I completed a Special Education degree in 1994 and have taught in special schools. I have always been interested in running my own business though, and I’m learning a lot on the job.
Who were your mentors along the way?
My Mum was my biggest encourager. She would be so proud to see where Making Rainbows is now!
What time does a typical day start for you?
6.30am – I still have to be ready in time to take my youngest to school.
Who does the cooking and cleaning at your house?
Mainly me, but to be fair, I do have a robot who vacuums for me now. His name is Geoffrey.
If you have 10 minutes to yourself, what do you like to do?
Make another coffee! How many coffees are safe to have per day by the way?
What do you do for childcare?
Nothing! They are finally old enough to take care of themselves! To those mummas still in the thick of it: it does happen eventually.
What sort of one-on-one activities do you do with your children?
They are teenagers now, so shopping. Because I have the credit card!
What do you do for fun as a family?
It’s rare for us all to be together at the same time, but when we are, we like to eat.
What is your favourite thing to do for date night with your partner?
We are dinner-and-a-movie type people.
What is your favourite local place to visit?
Caloundra brings back good memories for me. We always took the kids there when they were little – Bulcock Beach.
How about favourite place to eat out as a family?
We love Eat Street! There’s something for everyone.
Where do you head to when you get time for a girls’ night out?
Portside seems to be the spot we keep returning to. Biblos has a fantastic sharing platter.
What is your best beauty tip for mums?
Dry shampoo and mascara can take you from a 3 to a solid 7!
Favourite place to shop (locally and online)?
Online: Palmaira shoes. Best decision I’ve ever made!
Locally: Paddington – I love browsing through all the little shops
Must-have parenting tip or tool?
My best parenting tip for toddlers is to give them boundaries. We all need boundaries to feel safe. Also, give young children some warning before taking away an activity or moving on… “We are leaving in 10 minutes”. Then “OK, 2 more minutes with that toy and then we have to give it back”. It actually saves a lot of meltdowns.
Can you share any tips on finding the right work/life balance?
I’m still trying to find it! The only thing that works for me is putting down my phone and closing the laptop, and that’s a rare ocurance, to be honest.
How do you stay motivated in your career?
Staying motivated is not something I struggle with. I’m constantly thinking of ways to grow, improve and give parents the best experience I can offer. What I find challenging is making sure I invest in the right places.