Young and fabulous, Hayley Hendrix was a well-travelled career woman loving life. At 39, with one eye on her biological clock, she broke off a long-term relationship with a partner not ready to trade the rooftop bars of LA for the playground scene. After travelling down the conventional route to motherhood, Hayley turned to social media to fast-track her quest to becoming a mother, and find herself the right donor.
Can you tell us about your career journey?
I got my big start in media when I was 25 as a production assistant working on Channel 7’s The Great Outdoors. After eighteen months I went on to work on other shows and ended up as a kids’ show presenter on Network Ten’s Totally Wild. When the time came to move on, I wasn’t convinced joining the queue for the very limited on-air opportunities was a smart career move. Feeling uninspired and unsure what my next career step should be, I decided to relocate to Los Angeles to find adventure and figure out what I wanted next. In Hollywood I found what I was looking for—a place where big dreams and ideas were created, and the opportunities endless.
I worked on a bunch of reality shows in production and spent all my spare time developing TV concepts and proposals. But before long I felt as though I was running on a hamster wheel instead of living the glamorous Hollywood dream. When tech start-ups sprung onto the LA beaches scene, I found myself riding a wave of exciting, fresh, self-generated energy. Working as a contractor for a start-up, I was able to combine my passion for content creation, health, wellness and community-based education with travel, while working alongside like-minded humans in various corners of the globe.
It sounds like you were living the dream life in LA. But your career took a bit of a different path when your long-term relationship ended and you returned to Australia. Can you tell us a bit about that experience?
Immersed in the start-up buzz, I guess you could say I missed the motherhood memo. My partner at the time was a big-time thinker and serial entrepreneur. We fell into a pattern that went like this: ‘When this concept flies, we will do and have this’. At first having a child appeared to be on our horizon, but timelines were constantly pushed and projects were always revised, and the light at the end of the tunnel never came.
After three and a half years together, my partner and I agreed that I should take a solo trip to Australia to give us the space we needed to realign our hearts and minds. Instead, I was struck with the harsh reality that our relationship was over and I was heading for middle-age, single and alone, and my US chapter was abruptly cut short.
I became completely undone. I had to start my life in Australia from scratch, and I had no idea where I fitted in or where I belonged.
Being single and 39 wasn’t exactly in the masterplan you had for your life. What led you to deciding to go it alone and become a solo mum?
It wasn’t part of my plan to be single in my late thirties. I hadn’t mapped out a life plan that I was intentionally working towards, but I had an idea of what I wanted my life to look like. I thought I would find a loving partner, get married, buy a home and have kids. So, when it dawned on me that the blueprint in my mind didn’t exist, I tore it up, let go of what I thought my life should look like and began trying to find a new way.
It wasn’t until I made a very definite and determined decision to become a mother on my own that I found my path in life. It took over two years to get there but I needed to first unscramble my internal GPS to perfectly position myself on my life map. I knew that at 40 years of age, finding a man while marching to the beat of a very loud ticking biological clock wasn’t going to connect me with ‘The One’. I also didn’t want to put that kind of pressure on a man, a new relationship, myself and my fertility window. So, I decided to do things a bit out of order—have a baby then hopefully one day find a man. Or not! I’m a very happy and content single mama right now.
Can you tell us a bit about the process of finding the right sperm donor?
I’ve been told I was lucky how it unfolded, but I believe I created my own luck—it didn’t just miraculously happen for me. I spent years debating the best possible way to become a solo mother. I pondered asking a friend, my ex-partner, and I attempted IUI (intrauterine insemination) using anonymous donor sperm through a clinic before resorting to social media to find a donor. I knew what I wanted: someone who was extremely fertile, had already successfully had a child so I knew he could assist with conception, was medically fit, and had no family history of genetic disorders. I also wanted someone who was on the same page as me—our values aligned—and a man my child could have contact with throughout his life if he chose.
What advice would you have for other women who are considering being a solo mum?
Put it in your life plan NOW! Get your body and mind pregnancy ready. Get your finances in order, get all your general blood tests done and jump on a forever health and wellness bandwagon. Make the changes now that will support you throughout your conception and post-pregnancy journey. While being a single mum is incredibly fulfilling, it’s also very physically and mentally taxing. There’s only you at the steering wheel and your LO is operating the gears. There is no OFF button.
You are now the proud mother of a gorgeous 10-month old. Can you tell us about how becoming a mother has changed your perspective on life?
I’ve slowed down A LOT. I feel I’m way more present now despite thinking I couldn’t be more so while kneeling in a kundalini yoga class in the heart of Hollywood.
Every decision I make is one for both of us. I still want to achieve big things. I no longer wait for one thing to shift in order to commence or choose another. I believe work and motherhood can go together. I wish I hadn’t feared I would have to give up life as I knew it in order to create a life.
You are working on a new business: Kbuti Group. How have you found this journey of starting up your own business?
I absolutely believe that everything I’ve been doing in life has brought me to a spot where I’m supposed to be.
My failures, mistakes, detours, breakdowns, breakups and breakthroughs have all given me the skills, passion and vision to create a business I’m excited to build.
While it’s a slow take-off, I’m really OK with it. I’m creating something that will hopefully last my lifetime and be the foundation of a wonderful life with my little boy. So, I’ve got time (and at the same time I haven’t as a single mum) to soak up and pay attention to the little things that matter to me.
What has been your biggest challenge in running your business? What have you loved the most?
I find always working autonomously challenging at times. I crave human connection, direction, advice, insight, feedback from others who are more skilled than me. Searching out aligned mentors who are able to extend a hand isn’t easy, especially when they’re in demand or busy with their own lives and businesses.
I also love working autonomously and the freedom that comes with that. It’s up to me to drive my results!
Where do you see your career going next? What is one dream you have that you have yet to accomplish?
Well, I never thought I’d actually write a memoir so that’s a pretty big deal for me. I really can’t wait to kick Kbuti out of the early concept phase so I can start creating the impact I’d like it to have. I’d also like to finally conquer the yoga mat…hmmm, can you even do that?
How do you stay sane with the juggle? What is your way of coping when you find yourself frustrated, overwhelmed or burned out? How do you look after yourself?
I just put my little man into day care and, I have to say, my life has changed. For over ten months we’ve been side by side 24/7. The moment he arrived self-care went out the window. Until this week it’s been all about him and even though I’ve had matted hair, overgrown toenails and black bags under my eyes, I’ve loved being his mother. However, I’m also loving this next new phase where he has some space to spread and grow his wings and I can get back to following my life plan—the one that includes the everyday household responsibilities to the bigger ones where I can position us to have a life more on our terms.
Favourite time of the day is…twilight/cocktail hour any day of the week by any gorgeous beach around the globe.
Instagram sites that inspire you…all the pretty travel, food and lifestyle, earth conscious, entrepreneurial and social change agitators. Even my friends with their fabulous family pictures and loved ones. I’m inspired by and in awe of positive relationships, LOVE and human connections.
I’m happiest when…I’ve had a shower, washed my hair, thrown on my comfy rags and I’m pottering about on the internet, interacting with my bubs, immersed in girlie convo over a cuppa.
I’m addicted to…the internet. Years ago, I was travelling on a train on my way to Vipassana meditation and looked a little lost. A gentleman assured me I was on the right train to Blackheath in NSW and then guessed where I was heading. Out of the blue he asked what was my addiction. I told him I didn’t have any. Turns out, ten days in silence without access to knowing what was making headlines around the globe was mine. So, yep, I need to be able to have access to Wi-Fi ALL the time. I don’t need to be on it…but I do need to know it’s there whenever I want.
Favourite wardrobe staple for work…jeans. Working in TV production we all wore jeans. Jump to the start-up world and it’s the same staple.
Favourite wardrobe staple for weekend…I’m in Queensland so I can’t beat a relaxed maxi or kaftan.
My role model is…oh, this one’s hard as I have many! I do love JK Rowling. I’m a huge fan of Pink. I’m especially impressed by the way Pink manages trolls. I’d love to have a baby playdate with Jacinda Ardern.
Heels or flats? Flats all the way. I don’t think I’ve worn heels since my mid-thirties.