Yesterday was well ace and for three reasons:
- It was my day off
- Willow went on a train for the first time and didn’t kick off
- I got to meet Anna Whitehouse aka Mother Pukka Instamum extraordinaire and lots of lovely mums at the Manchester Mamas Collective.
After a crap first week back at work I was really looking forward to yesterday and it didn’t disappoint. I wanted to go to the meeting but I was quite nervous about getting on a train with Willow because she doesn’t have the best track record with travel, or so I thought. On reflection I think really it’s just her car seat that she despises and why wouldn’t you?
All trussed up with nothing to look at but your own feet and a Very Hungry Caterpillar toy dangling in your face that mummy insists you like and play with when really it bores the Pampers off you. Horrid. Once on the train she took it all in her stride ie. chucked her toys about, wiped her nose on the window and charmed everyone within a five seat radius with her little toothy grin – score! The only drama was us getting kicked out of first class on the return journey. No we didn’t have a first class ticket but were trying to keep ourselves and the pram out of the way of beleaguered commuters. We were, in essence, trying to do a public service and that’s the thanks you get!
Post train ride and after daddy day care was safely despatched to the Northern Quarter for a couple of beers (I wasn’t brave enough to do the train journey by myself – are you bonkers?) Willow and I made our way to the mammas meeting. What can I say? It was fab! The room was full to the brim of like minded, down to earth mums and their sprogs where I was made to feel very welcome. Some, like me, are blogging, some are trying to build a business and the majority of us are just trying to navigate the course of motherhood and come out in one piece at the other end.
Anna was funny, honest and gave some great insights into what it takes to build a successful blog and ultimately a brand. Here’s what I took from the afternoon:
- Success won’t happen overnight. You have to be in this blogging business for the long haul. You will only succeed if you keep on going and going and going…..
- Bombard Instagram with images of you and your little darling in various hilarious, sweet, funny, weird poses but, tres importante, stick to using the same filter. Apparently people are confused by the use of multiple filters – who knew?
- Follow (ie. stalk) people and like, comment and share the bloody hell out of everything until they take notice.
Her other tip was to get family involved but as my mum still signs off her texts with ‘mum’ (How many times – I know it’s you mum, your name comes up on my phone!) I think asking her to Instagram on my behalf would break our relationship, my blogging aspirations and probably the internet (without anyone having to get their front bum out – take note Kim Kardashian).
It was also really empowering to hear people in the room talk about how we can provide support and give each other a leg up to achieve what we want to do. So often now you see women tearing each other down in the media, politics and business that it was a refreshing change and made me think ‘Yes I’m tired, yes I’m worried about striking a good work/life balance but yes I can do this.’ Thank you Manchester Mamas Collective! So if you see me commenting, liking and sharing your stuff then you can be reassured, I’m not a stalker (no honestly), I want you to succeed, I want to succeed and Anna told me to do it so it must be ok.
I tried really hard not to fan girl all over Anna but as you can see from the picture I look deranged with happiness and she looks ever so slightly uncomfortable. She was so lovely though as I told her about my shit first week back at work. She’s been there and done it and has come out the other side. She gave me a big hug and told me to stick with it and I’m going to. I’m not a quitter and things could be worse I could have brushed my teeth with Canesten by accident (yep she really did).
So now I’m wondering after our major travel success (look out Travelmad Mum!) if we will be ok to take Willow on the train to London. Hmmm…. It’s only an hour (ish) more than the Manchester trip and with a fair wind, a little bit of luck and the provision of a steady supply of snacks, boob, toys and body parts to swing on I reckon we would ace it. And before you ask no I’m not going to stalk Anna or any members of her family while in London (even though she practically gave me permission to do so). No absolutely not, no way….