Meet the real-life Mary Poppins!
‘Aunty Ali’ is the answer to every mum’s prayers
Content Editor / October 07 2018
Ali Vildos, aka ‘Aunty Ali’ is a modern-day Mary Poppins who offers help and support to struggling mums. In just a few short years since starting her business, she has gone from strength to strength, helping hundreds of families along the way.
A few years ago, I met Aunty Ali when I went through a rough patch. My toddler and young baby were sick and I was running on very little sleep. I had no-one around at the time who could help and my husband was working long hours.
I called on Aunty Ali, having seen her ad on Facebook, and she came to my house and worked her magic. The best way I can describe her is to say she’s like having a wife – for mums! She gave me a huge hug, made me a cup of tea, tidied my house, entertained my toddler while I napped with my sick baby, put on a roast dinner for us and took all my rubbish and recycling away on leaving.
She was only in my home for a few short hours, but it made the world of difference to me.
“I was inspired to launch my business because know how hard it is being a parent,” Ali explains. “Taking care of kids, managing a home, being in paid work, sickness and daily life all take their toll.”
Feeling unfulfilled in her job, she decided to ‘test the market’ and see if there was a need for the services she wished to provide; supporting new mums, helping families through tough periods, and helping people organise and declutter their homes.
“My first client said words I’ll never forget,” she recalls. “She said: ‘Well Mary Poppins, you’d better grab your umbrella and come and save my life’. I knew at that moment that I was starting something really special.”
Over the years, Ali estimates she has helped hundreds of families in person, and thousands through her Facebook page. “Aunty Ali is all about supporting families with everyday life,” she explains. “This almost always involves physical and emotional support when life gets out of hand or some extra support is needed. I provide ‘the village’ when there isn’t one.
“I listen to their story, often reading between the lines to understand what is really going on. Once in their home I make suggestions based on what I notice in their surroundings as I believe this can be very telling. I also use my life experience and intuition to decide what’s needed.”
She has experienced lots of tough moments too. “Lots of mums open up and tell me really personal and tragic stories of things that have happened to them. Getting to know families intimately, can often be bittersweet, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
While Ali is based in Sydney, she is happy to travel and has even gone as far as the UK, to help support a mum recovering from ovarian cancer.
As a survivor of both abuse and PND herself, Ali knows the importance of self-care for mums. “Self-care is not a luxury,” she says. “It is absolutely essential, especially when you are caring for others, so you must make time for it.
“Even a 15-minute walk around the block can make a massive difference to your day. Sometimes even forget the dishes, make a cuppa and connect with someone instead.”
For more information about Aunty Ali and her services, visit facebook.com/auntyalirescue
Nicola Conville has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 20 years across a wide range of print and online publications. Her areas of expertise are parenting, health and travel. She has two children; Lucy, age eight, and Nathan, age five.