My Proactive Maternity Leave
Every few months, I seem to find myself in a state of having "too much" on my plate. To my 9 to 5 office working friends, that may seem farcical. A Stay at Home Mum with too much on? What does she do all day?
1) I'm studying with Digital Mums.
I spent the last 3 years wondering what I could do - I didn't want to go back to the office, as I wouldn't have earned enough to make the cost of childcare/commuting worthwhile. I've always been a very digital person, so when I saw the Digital Mums course, it just made absolute sense. Flexible working, doing something I can enjoy, in a growing industry. Doing something creative that required good analytical skills (ex Finance Analyst, and studied textiles at AS Level- tick, tick). I signed up for the course, paid up front for it, and then... shortly after, found out I was pregnant. Luckily Digital Mums were flexible so I was able to start a month earlier, so now I will finish the course and have 3 weeks until my baby's due date.
The Digital Mums course is quite intensive - although it say 15 hours per week, there have been a number of weeks where I have easily spent 20-25 hours on it. The first half of the course was planning a campaign, and now the campaign has begun, that will require a lot of time on my client's social media platforms. (We are all assigned a real live client, so we can work with a business whilst we are learning).
2) My Pregnancy
Some ladies glow and can continue with their kickboxing sessions whilst pregnant. Great for them. During my first trimester, I was so tired I scheduled in a daily afternoon nap. These were so essential, I had to cancel some meetings in order to nap. So that's 2 hours a day gone. During my second trimester, I was less lethargic, but an increase in relaxins (a hormone) and my hypermobility has led to extreme hip pain. General movement is far limited, with a lot of pain when I bend over (have to do that a lot when looking after a toddler), and excruciating pain when turning over, and getting out of bed. I'm normally quite an energetic person, so everything taking 30% more time really eats into my time...
3) Hampstead Mums
I started Hampstead Mums when I was pregnant with my first. It's a community group, non-monetized, and it's my baby. As the group has grown to 3,700 members, I am now contacted by businesses and mums very regularly. Many of them hope for a coffee meetup, but I just don't have enough time, and when I do, I would rather meet my friends (sorry!) I spend quite a lot of time every day answering emails, giving my views on business ideas, how it can work in the area and social media tips to people. I also spend a surprising amount of time adminning the facebook group - vaccination and nanny chats always seem to get out of hand....
4) Hampstead Mums Spring Fayre
I'm not sure what I was thinking when I volunteered to organise our first Hampstead Mums Spring Fayre. Well, I kind of do. I'm a Trustee of Cocoon Family Support, a local PND charity, so it makes sense to raise some money for them whilst using my Hampstead Mums network (it is all interlinked). What I didn't realise was the sheer volume of work involved. I'm so so lucky and grateful that I had a strong team, and I delegated off the organisation to a lovely lady called Jana (project manager and lawyer, she is ace). It was still a momentous task - sorting out the venue, businesses, entertainment, food etc etc. I'm glad to say that the event was a great success, we managed to raise over £4000 for Cocoon Family Support, and we have been asked by many businesses and stallholders when the next event is. We will have to wait and see, I probably shouldn't organise one with a newborn, but with my personality, it might just happen...
5) Starting a Business - Run My World
And finally. I decided to set up a business. Yup, I had everything above going on, and I thought "hey, why not?". The idea was to create a network for mumpreneurs in the local area (although now we are targeting everyone that lives in the local area, as we didn't want to discriminate against dads, and in fact think its important to include them so they can utilise paternity leave properly which will help towards gender equality in the workplace).. One of the bigger steps of starting something like this was already overcome, we already have a community to tap into. When I invited my friend, Rajni, to the page, she said straight away "oh, I was just going to do the same thing". Well, naturally it made sense to go in on it together, as we both have our networks (I'm Hampstead, she's St Johns Wood). We also have complementary skill sets - ie I'm Digital, and she's more Face to Face/Professional. Will keep you updated on how it goes, but I've got a good feeling about it. I'm so excited we are in the position to help people start and grow their businesses.
6) Instagram Influencer
I had never used Instagram before, but as part of my self development on the Social Media Platforms, I decided to run one. I have been using it for less than 3 months and now have 2.5k followers. My aim is to reach 10k by July 2017 (when my baby2 will be 1, so I will start looking for paid clients as a Social Media Manager), so I will be an Influencer in the London area. Influencer marketing is huge now, and the brands I work with will be able to benefit from being linked to my personal Instagram Account.