Thursday, 23 September 2010

Thursday, 12 August 2010


Whilst in conversation with a mum the other day she told me that her husband wasn't supportive of her interest in coaching or NLP because he thought it was airy fairy.  It took me straight back.  To the many conversations and situations dotted throughout my relationship with my ex where I found myself in exactly the same position.  'Coaching was hippie'ish' 'I shouldn't expect any money to put into a business' It's great you've achieved this but what's it worth?'

I can't recall a time when I felt truly understood or supported by my ex and the reason was that he was Mr Practical and I was Mrs Passionate.  He believed that you worked to provide for your family and that if you enjoyed it, then that was a bonus.  I believed, and still do, that you only get one life and you should try to do what you truly love and makes you happy. 

This is a fab way to live life if you are single but what happens when worlds collide?  Who backs down?  Who gets to make the decisions?  Where is the compromise?  Because my partner was so traditional he assumed because he made the money (I was working part-time in a pub and looking after our daughter) he was in charge of spending it; and it wasn't on my business.  Arguments were futile as he was only interested in business plans and forecasts, as if these were the only indicators of business success.  

So, how did we work things out?  Well, I wish I could sum this blog up with a neat little tip on how to deal with a conflict like this but in the end, for he and I, there was only separation.  Our views on business and life were just too different.  I would much rather live on a modest income and pursue those things in life that make me truly happy, trusting my gut and not just the facts and figures.  And to this day I'm still running my business and I love, love, love it!

Saturday, 7 August 2010


I have been feeling tired today - doggone tired, tired in my bones.

I am tired of housework, kids, being responsible, always having to think three steps in advance, never being able to stop as things will just pile up, running a business, keeping up with emails, blogging, tweeting, worrying about money, trying to make to make it stretch, organising and managing...

Feeling this way made me take a longing look into the past when I was a twenty-something single gal with nothing to worry about except making it to work on time.  Weekends stretched on, holidays were bliss.  I was the epitome of footloose and fancy free. 

Now, as you can imagine, feeling tired and worn-down and reminiscing about your past isn't conducive to an upbeat frame of mind but I was saved by a revelation.  While scrubbing at the crusty dishes tonight it dawned on me that my life now had parellels to those of a servant in the 'olden days'.  Not that I am often tied up in an apron scrubbing at floors and drawing baths for people but that I am engaged in activity of some sort from very early in the morning to late at night. 

You would think this connection might sink me into a deeper depression but it had the opposite effect.  It helped me see that I am so lucky as the housework I do is in my house, I am wiping the noses of my kids, I am balancing the books on my business and I above all, I was lucky enough to choose this life.  Plus, there's also that little added bonus that my life expectancy is a hell of a lot longer!

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.