Monday, 26 July 2010


Bought She Magazine today.  An interview with Denise Van Outen is advertised on the cover with the words Back at Work after 2 Weeks printed under it.

I would just like to say one thing 'Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!'

Why, oh why, when things settle down do the media have to jump right back in and stir things up again?

'Should mothers stay at home?'
'Mothers that work damage their children'
'I gave up breastfeeding after a week!'

These and many more headlines scream out at us from the covers of magazines and newspapers every week.  Why? Because they want you to buy their offering either in a huff of indignation or feeling of self- righteousness and read all about it. 

If the two sides of the argument start throwing facts and figures, beliefs and insults about - even better!  The more controversy, the higher the sales.   

Just because it is written in black and white, however, doesn't make it black and white.  They just want you to believe it is because then you will be encouraged to weigh in on the debate, talk about it with your friends, buy a copy of their latest issue.  I mean, think about it, have you ever read an article on mums and working, breastfeeding etc. that discussed all facets of an issue and didn't just divide mums everywhere by making out there were only two sides - and one had to be the right? 

Now She Magazine will argue that if you read the article it actually presents Denise going back to work in a good light (and it does).  But I have to query if this is the case, why the heading on the front page is in black capital letters with two weeks underlined?  I know why - and I'm not falling for it anymore. 

Saturday, 17 July 2010


My first thought was 'no way!' No way am I ever, ever going to compete in a mums race at my daughter's school.  This year or any year.  I fumbled around for an excuse and came up with something along the lines of breastfeeding and tearing down a racetrack not mixing.

The truth of it was I was emotionally scarred from years of having to compete in school sports, always limping in last, cheeks burning.

Safely ensconced on the side lines I watched the other mums line up for the sound of the gun.  They varied in shape, size and dress.  A lot of them looked in worse shape than me.  However it wasn't until they were streaking past that it dawned on me:

1. Where once I always came in last, the playing field had levelled a bit.  
2. If I decided to run I might actually finish safely tucked in the middle of the pack. (I'm not deluded enough to actually think I would ever win!)
3. My opportunities as far as winning races had changed without even realising it. 
4. I was still leading my life according to events experienced when I was 10 or 11.

Beliefs and limitations I had taken for granted all my life were turned on their head. How many other opportunities had I missed without even questioning my choices? By the time the competitors tumbled across the finish line all red faces and wild hair I had decided to make sure future decisions were informed, and not based on someone I was 20 or 30 years ago.

I'm still not sure if you'll see me taking my place at the start line next year. But I do know that if I don't, I'll be making an enlightened choice. And who knows, maybe I'll still be breastfeeding...

Sunday, 11 July 2010


You know how it is. You swap emails with a mum in another part of the country or in another country altogther, check out each others' blogs, share tweets and before you know it you feel like you know each other - but do you?

Does the face on that Twitter profile match that of the person typing or is the person typing an uncanny match for the Marketing Manager of your new-found friend's business?

I have always known that there are people out there who's sole role is to tweet and blog as their employer and I've never had a problem with it. I mean, if a mum in business can't understand the need to outsource then who can? And there are other valid reasons aside from time - what if writing is not your forte? Or marketing?

Then I forged a relationship with a mum in the US and my point of view changed. We were swapping tales back and forth when it struck me that this was a woman who wrote very well (maybe too well) and had quite a high profile (maybe too high to write her own emails) and was very busy. Was I actually talking to her at all?

All of a sudden it all felt very empty. I realised that if I was talking to her Marketing Department I would like to know about it. I understand if your business is your brand you need to communicate as yourself but isn't this kind of misleading if it isn't actually you? I would be more than happy to forge a relationship with a team member as I understand people aren't always accessible; and who can fulfill every function in their business anyway?

So, I'm about to send an email to my new-found friend and ask her if she is who she says she is. If I get an email back saying I'm chatting to the Marketing Assistant who gets paid $5 an hour to blog on her behalf, I'll introduce myself and get started on forming something real.

Sunday, 4 July 2010


The comment cut clear across the room. One minute I'm getting tips on blogging, the next I'm listening to a Mumpreneur slagging off their competitor. I was shocked to say the least, partly because it was in front of a room full of people and partly because it came out of the mouth of a mum in business.

Now, I may be a babe in the wood but I really thought mums in business were different to most other types of business-folk in that they are so much more generous with their time, support and advice. At my Businessmums' Networking Lunches photographers sit side-by-side and help each other out (my events are non-exclusionary).

But this mum was proving herself the opposite of everything I had come to believe and try as I might, I couldn't understand the comment. Who starts a business with the belief they will never have any compeition? Who thinks that talking about a competitor in such a manner will make them look anything but unprofessional?

So mums, please join me in appreciating your competition. You will come out looking great and they will keep you on your toes. Plus, it's far cleverer to beat out your competitor by being better than them, rather than bagging them.

Have you been put down by your competition or given the cold shoulder by someone 'loyal' to your competitor? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, 1 July 2010


It got to 12am the other night and I had managed two pieces of toast for breakfast and dinner, something insubstantial for lunch, a few pieces of chocolate, a coffee...

By comparison, my oldest had had her five fruit and veg, juice, a run about the park and was sound asleep in bed. My youngest had had her five or so feeds that day, a bath and was also sound asleep in bed.

It occurred to me in this moment that I always ensured my children were healthy and cared for but I wasn't doing the same for myself. Why? Because Mums never put themselves first, or second or even third at times! We're always so busy running about making sure everything else is going smoothly.

It got me thinking, if I was to treat myself like I treat my kids, how would my life look?

I would:

1. Make sure I eat five fruit and veg a day.
2. Not add salt to my food.
3. Get outside for fresh air.
4. Make time to play.
5. Drink water and juice.
6. Go to bed when I was tired and even, heaven forbid!, nap in the day.
7. Eat only one or two sweets, not five or twenty!

And if it's important enough that my kids are looked after in this way, surely it means I should do the same. Now, to just finish my work before 12am tonight...!