I was interviewed for a Bristol magazine yesterday, and was asked to describe The Bristol Parent. I settled on ‘a website and Facebook community where people in Bristol and the South West can come to be inspired with things to do, with or without their kids’.
Because the truth is, we’re not always up for talking about the kids, or thinking about the kids, or planning what to do with the kids. Sometimes, I get sick of the stone cold fear that grips me when I realise I haven’t thought of anything to do this afternoon to entertain them. At the moment, I’m negotiating 4am wake ups as well as the confusion and upset of school pick up followed by three hours of coaxing ‘to be nice’.
The last thing I want to do is talk about my kids. I’m even arriving at school with second to spare, deliberately, because I can’t deal with trying to pretend I’m finding my feet with it all. Yeah, I’m that one in the corner, hanging back, avoiding eye contact. Judge all you like.
Instead, I’m finding inspiration by talking to other women about how we work. The survey of working parents that we did has been really well received and, I’m hoping, continues to give fuel to anyone looking to make changes to their career. Camilla from The Village Hall and I (below, with my grumpy son), are really proud of the research we’ve created.
I thought it might be useful to share what I’m doing to stay inspired to make change.
- Being brave on LinkedIn. If you have a profile on LinkedIn, seek out people you’d really like to know more about, admire, or think you would like to work with in the future. Send them a note and be honest about why, and then start a conversation. Here’s a link to me, I’d love to virtually meet anybody who thinks we have common ground for the future.
- Go to that talk or meeting you like the look of. I went to hear Molly Gunn, aka Selfish Mother, creator of the MOTHER slogan sweaters, talk about social media. It was ace. You could look at the events run by Social Butterflies‘ Amy White, Mother’s Meetings, MamaTribe, The FMLY Store in Bruton, Trouble Lounge in Bath, Freelance Mum here in Bristol. So much choice. I promise you, it’s really not cool instagram wankers, there are lots of actual humans.
- Find someone you know, but isn’t necessarily a close friend who knows you inside out. Ask them for a coffee. Tell them your career conundrum. Let them advise you. Plus, if you think you’re a good listener and could be of help to someone like this, offer to do it. This is mentoring at its most basic, woman on woman level. I’m available – hit me up, I’ll do my best.
- Show your to-do list to someone who doesn’t care. This is an old trick from a previous agency. Write down your list and present it to someone who doesn’t have any background. Explain each task and tell them about the deadlines, and then see how they prioritise it. It’s kind of fun. Well, it’s my kind of fun.
- Do some Gap Analysis. Where are you now in one box, where you want to be in another. Then look at the gap in between. What needs to be in that gap to get you to the second box? This method pretty much works for anything, from getting some time to yourself, to getting yourself to the stage where you have everything you need to back up a decision to change your career. Prioritise the gap.
Finally, look after yourself a bit, will you? I had to stop my couch to 5k because I got a chest infection. But next week, I’m all over it again. Buy that top. Go for that gin after work, or too many ciders. Break the Costa cycle, get a reusable travel mug and a premium coffee subscription. Tell your partner it”s definitely his turn when the crying starts at 4am (that’s bravery in my house, I tell you!).