The other day I was called a ‘stupid woman’ by an old man wearing a Led Zeppelin t-shirt. Incidentally he also threatened to slash my tyres if I was to park in his space again. It’s o.k though – I tried to add some humour to the situation but I think he was just a little baffled that I had some back chat, (always was my problem at school, so the teachers used to tell me). I generally tend to stand up for myself in most situations and this was no different. Asked him if he thought he was the ‘local gangster’….he probably was! Anyway – I escaped with my tyres intact but as I drove away, I felt really angry and a bit shaken by the experience. How RUDE!!
So instead of just letting the incident fester I thought it would be a good way to kickstart my blog again! The very blog that started over three years ago because I wanted an outlet to write, rant and reveal the ups and downs of being a mummy to three little girls.
I thought it was about time I faced up to a few home truths too. I’ve been a stay-at-home mum on and off now for about 4 years. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve worked a lot in that time – freelancing on various programs but most things have been short-term – and then I’ve been back to full-time mummy mode again. While there is nothing wrong with that, for me – I needed to switch things up a bit.
Also I haven’t blogged much lately – sad times! I don’t want to say I’m a blogger if I’m not contributing to the blogging community! I feel like a fraud using the hashtag #mummyblogger on my Instagram account when I’ve not bothered to write for nearly four months. I suppose I’ve been a bit more of an ‘insta-blogger’ lately. Excuses are easy to give but it has been a busy summer! I’ve been working and earning a crust, we’ve been camping, I’ve been surviving the school holidays and various other shenanigans.
YES IT’S VIOLET!
I’ve had a zillion comments about my hair too – ‘I like you’re hair – what colour is it?’ or ‘Wow that’s different – how did you get it to be that colour?’…even the rather mature Marks and Spencer’s checkout man was incredibly intrigued with exactly how I had achieved the colour and wanted a step by step account! It’s nothing radical or groundbreaking – believe me – it’s blonde with a temporary mousse over the top! I’m going for the granny-chic look! I also met MotherPukka too at a Mama’s collective meeting – which was a big moment for me! She is a real inspiration to all Mummy’s out there who want to push for flexible working and her vlogs are genius! So I’ve put my blogging shoes back on again. I’m attending Blogfest this weekend and there will be so many amazing bloggers there – I have to up my game.
One thing I’m pleased as punch about is a new and exciting adventure I’ve recently embarked on – I’ve stared a course with Digital mums – so in six months I’ll be a fully trained Social Media Manager. The ladies at Digital Mums have the most amazing business which is growing by the day. Their vision is to support and empower mums to achieve the perfect work/life balance – which they’ve called #workthatworks – by providing them with in-demand digital skills. In a recent campaign they’ve highlighted that there is still a serious lack of flexible working in the UK. Too many mums are still forced into having to choose between a fulfilling career or being there for their children. 54,000 women lose their jobs every year due to maternity discrimination and there are currently 2.6 million mums not working in the UK. They are on a mission to change that!
SAME BATTLES, DIFFERENT DAY
I’m one month into it and have already learnt so much and ‘met’ loads of other mamas who’ve got the same ambitions and dreams as me – to achieve the perfect work/life balance! We’re all battling with the same crap (laundry to do, post to open, houses to clean, children to feed, husbands to entertain..) but we all want to up-skill and retrain to be successful freelancers whilst also being fab mummies. Digital Mums call it #doingthehustle which means juggling all those balls and making it work on your terms!
But is this an oxymoron? Or can it be true – can women really have it all? There is nothing harder than trying to balance a career and be a good parent too. Being a mummy is the hardest job I’ve ever done and it’s so all-consuming. You do lose your way a bit at times and can forget who you are. Having a full-time job and raising young children just hasn’t been possible for me so far. I’ve had to compromise on my career. I think having twins has had a lot to do with this but still – for me I felt I couldn’t really juggle both and feel like I was winning at both.
There’s always the part-time option of course. Finding a part-time job is the best of both worlds surely? Well not really in my industry as they don’t really exist. Not long term anyway. I’ve had some fab opportunities with a lovely company called True North who do honestly go the extra mile to allow flexible working. In fact I’ve just recently produced a TV networking event for them called Northern Exposure which allowed me to work entirely from home and culminated in a cheeky trip to London for the event. But it’s not sustainable in the long run because of the insecure nature of short-term contracts.
I want to show my girls that their mummy is more than just that. I’m not just some mad woman whose constantly shouting ‘slow down, stop running’ on the way to school or the woman frantically tidying away Play Mobile and toy cars and fighting a losing battle. I can drink Flat Whites and eat cake till the cows come home but I can do SO much more than that. I can have a career that works for me as well surely?
I wasn’t sure what route to go down – despite having lots of ‘transferable skills’. I often regaled Mr H with my half-baked ideas (and cakes) on starting my own business. Working for myself seems like the sensible option. Especially when one half of our relationship may be required to jet off to Croatia to Exec a TV programme about people who live by the sea at any given moment. We couldn’t both be doing such things whilst three little girls sat at home with the nanny.
Then one day, there it was, staring me in the face whilst (ironically) scrolling through Facebook. I saw an opportunity with Digital Mums to retrain in some much-needed digital skills. A no-brainer – surely. There’s no escaping the influence of Twitter, Facebook and such in recent years and it’s clearly not going away. I’m a massive Instafan and would happily spend all day on there given half the chance but have never really considered these platforms for promoting a business. I’ve worked in ‘the media’ for a fair few years and also like to be ‘social’ – perfect! I also love learning (my Post graduate degree ended far too quickly!) and quite frankly the prospect of an NUS card with Topshop discount was more excitement than I could cope with! Seriously though, just reading some of the success stories from graduates of the course and what they’ve achieved and gone on to do was really exciting and inspiring!
So with a hop, skip and a jump I signed up to the course and here I am. I’m working with a brilliant client already and will be designing a social media campaign for her business – so watch this space! Who knows where it will all lead and I’ve loads of ideas for where I’d like to be in five years but for now, I’m back to being a student again at the ripe old age of 36 (I know, I don’t look it) and despite receiving the occasional insult by an old ‘rocker’ (insert appropriate swear word here) who gets off on spouting chauvinistic comments and empty threats – I’m having a ball!