I Am Enough: from OCD Beast to embracing my messy life

Do you feel like you're enough? A first guest post from Scheenagh Harrington about the times when she felt the most inadequate, and her journey to the point where she could finally say "I am enough".

I Am Enough: Scheenagh Harrington on feeling inadequate and becoming enough

Inside my head, there lives what I fondly call my OCD Beast. It makes me straighten pictures, plump cushions, hoover rugs so that the pile stands upright and generally do what I can to make my family neater and tidier. But it can’t prevent the messiness of life. 

In a few weeks, my journalist husband’s current freelance contract stops. Brought to an end by a stranger, whose financial needs outweigh ours. When it happens, half our household income will disappear. Naturally, he’s looking everywhere for something to fill the hole, but by rights, I should be a shivering, nervous wreck. 

This, however, is the latest in a series of ups and downs my brood and I have endured during the past five years - and I know I am strong, smart, resourceful and woman enough to cope. 

I am the sum of all my recent experiences: I am enough. 

Five years ago, my husband and I moved, with our daughter, from the UK to France.

Little did I know at the time that a) my husband, who had spent a month here before us, was thoroughly miserable, and b) the job that brought us to this new life would take us to the brink of divorce. 

There were other surprises, too. A few months after emigrating, I found out I was pregnant. After having struggled for years to conceive our daughter, this was amazing news. Our little boy arrived hale and hearty, but things around him weren’t so hot.  

Problems at work made my husband distant and grey, and I wasn’t sensitive enough to understand what was happening. It took three years of near-constant arguments for me to realise the man I loved was being ground into the dust. 

In hindsight, it was an easy decision to quit - the relief was unbelievable. But then came the real rollercoaster. In France, if you are sacked or made redundant, the state will help out financially. If you quit… not so much.

We spent four frantic months applying for every job we could find, set ourselves up as freelance journalists and formed our own little business, and sweated blood trying to make what little money we had go as far as possible. 

We were granted access to our town’s food bank, after a pride-swallowing interview with a woman from the council. I didn’t want to ask anyone for help, but I had no choice.

When we were told we could feed our children for 5 euros a week until our unemployment benefit came through - three-and-a-half months later - I was grateful and humbled beyond words. 

We downsized from a three-floor, four-bed house with garden and garage to a three-bed apartment, shaved everything we could from our bills and learned to live on very little.

Throughout, we kept talking to each other and to the children, making sure they knew about - even if they didn’t understand - each decision and why it was being made. 

They adjusted, as only children can. Last June, I landed a part-time cleaning job and we were given unemployment benefit. Things were finally settling down. I was happy enough. 

Then, one Sunday came another sideswipe. For months I’d grumbled absentmindedly about having a cyst or something on my ovary. I’d been gaining weight and getting tired. ‘Joy’, I thought, ‘the menopause’. But that day, hands on my stomach, I felt unmistakable movement.  

A test was instantly, insistently positive - I was pregnant at 42! I was devastated - we had no money!

My husband asked what I wanted to do - I knew I was more than a few weeks gone, but I couldn’t consider a termination. It wasn’t possible anyway - it turned out I was five months pregnant with our second boy.

The most difficult year of our lives ended with me staring into the beautiful eyes of our third child. I have never felt so complete.

January 2014 felt like a new chapter, and as regular freelance work started coming our way, I was settled enough to relax after what felt like the longest time… 

Now we face a fresh challenge: a likely return to austerity and uncertainty, unless we find something quickly (and we’re looking, pitching and trying like mad); and perhaps needing to rely again the kindness of strangers and the social security system.

But do you know what? I’m strong, resourceful, clever and imaginative enough to take this setback, too. 

I am happy. I am enough. 

Inspired by this post? Join us in this month's activity: I AM ENOUGH.

Three years old

We're officially three years old today!

To celebrate, we're sharing a couple of stories from Story of Mum mamas about what Story of Mum has meant to them.

Story of Mum is three years old! Hear how the project has helped mums grow.

We are so proud of reaching three years with you all. And of those brave mamas who are sharing their stories here with us today. Thank you.

We'll also be sharing fabulous old posts, and giving away a DIY Mamas' Retreat Kit on twitter (share this post and cc @storyofmum on twitter to enter), and another one on facebook, so look out for the tweets and posts for more info...!

You can also enter to win one by commenting below and sharing your thoughts on Story of Mum... 

That's 3 fabulous chances to win today!

Last but not least, we're celebrating by sharing the picture of us where we look most pretty, (thanks Pat Kelman!)

pippa and penny best, story of mum - credit: Pat Kelman

“I discovered Story of Mum at a time when I was very low and feeling totally isolated. I suffered badly with PND (post natal depression) and had no support other than my husband.

I felt worthless as a woman, a wife and a mother. Connecting with other Mums online through creative activities and discussion helped me realise that I wasn't the only one struggling and feeling like I was failing.

This was the turning point for me as I was no longer alone but part of a friendly, supportive, loving online community. These wonderful ladies are now amongst my closest friends, several of whom I have had the great pleasure to meet.

I highly recommend every aspect of Story of Mum to women everywhere, to help you feel whole again.”

Kat Pearce

Story of Mum Exhibition, The Exchange

““When, in September 2013, I attended my first Story of Mum event - the Mums’ Make Date at The Exchange, Penzance - I had only recently relocated to Cornwall from the West Midlands.  My daughter had started at her first school in Penzance the previous week, and I knew no-one!  I was feeling quite isolated, and having had severe Postnatal Depression after my daughter’s birth, I knew it was not good for me to feel this disconnection.  The Story of Mum flyer had come home in my daughter’s schoolbag, and I promised myself I would summon up the courage to go along.  My goodness how glad I am that I did!    

At the end of that evening the feedback form asked how I was feeling about motherhood… my answer was clear - “Much better than before I came out”. 

That evening, just a brief but eye-opening couple of hours - was the start of a revitalizing journey for me.  Story of Mum, its honest and open approach to motherhood, and all its various madcap, thought-provoking, soul-searching, celebratory activities, has made such a difference in my life as a mum. 

It has helped me to feel “normal” - like I’m not the only one struggling with (whatever this week’s “issue” is) being a parent!  The shared stories - at the exhibition, on the website, on the twitter “Make Dates” - have reassured me, uplifted me, comforted me, inspired me, helped me to laugh at myself, and allowed me to cry – in empathy, in joy, and yes in sadness. 

At times Story of Mum has simply kept me sane!  It has given me more confidence in my abilities as a mum, and helped me to find a balance between being a mum - and being “me”.  I have even felt able (with lots of lovely guilt-free “permission” and encouragement from Story of Mum), to attend a Mamas’ Retreat… 6 months ago I couldn’t have imagined myself ever doing that.     

It has been wonderful to meet, spend precious time with, and share thoughts, ideas, angst, and laughter with such a diverse group of women, face-to-face, and online at the monthly “Mamas Make Dates”.  I have never before been amongst such a group of supportive, non-judgmental mums with not a clique in sight!  I have connected with lots of truly fabulous women, and made friends that I wouldn’t have done otherwise.  Not only has this benefitted me, but also my daughter because of the mums and children that she has connected with, and the happier person that I am.  Truly, Story of Mum is a warm, welcoming and nurturing community which I am immensely glad to feel part of."

Pippa Lilley

I'm a mum and a... 

And as for me? Well, Story of Mum has reconnected me to my creativity, and helped me to find a new identity when I felt lost. It has supported me to make sense of the challenging transition from career woman to mother, and to become passionate about giving invisible mothers a voice.

It has boosted my confidence, got me doing things that terrified me but which felt amazing, and reassured me with humour and honesty when I feel like I'm the only mum in the world who messes up. It has helped me to make time to look after myself, and to overcome bad mummy shame at my horrendously messy house.

Projects like Love Mum Body have helped me to dramatically change my relationship with my body. And I have loved the opportunity to spend time and grow a project with my own inspiring mother (especially when I got to do that in New York...!).

Most of all, Story of Mum has connected me to an amazing global tribe of mamas that support me in feeling like I can do anything I dream of.

I hope it does the same for you, and I am so grateful to all of YOU.

Thank you for joining us on this amazing journey these past three years.


Come join our next #somum Make Date on Wednesday 9 April from 8.30 - 10pm GMT (find world times here). We have some more fantastic prizes for you! Find out more here.


Thanks to Andra Alexander, Ian Kingsnorth Pat Kelman and Chris Webber for the photos above.

Special events at The Exchange

We've got some more great special events coming up for mums at The Exchange in Penzance this month as part of our travelling exhibition - find out more below.

To book to come along for some networking or retreating, contact Places are limited and going fast, so jump in now!

PS everything is FREE because we love you. The forecast for cake is looking good too.

Find out more about our exhibition here.

flyer for events at the Exchange

Sharing our mama identities at BritMums Live

motherhood exhibitionI've just loaded up all the "I'm a mum and a..." photos I took at BritMums Live this weekend, and the gallery is looking amazing. Let the images scroll on by.

We are the same and we are different and we are all unique. 

It's powerful stuff - funny, thought-provoking, heart-breaking and inspiring, and I'm so grateful to all the mothers (and one brave widower) who have taken part so far.

The gallery will continue to grow day by day as "Story of Mum: Mums making an exhibition of ourselves" travels around England in real life, and the world online. Including a wonderful virtual tour - check out some of the posts so far here.

There are well over 200 contributions to "I'm a mum and a..." now and it's fascinating how some words are starting to come up more often than others...  

Us mums are often also dreamers, crafters, poets and artists, dancers, and there's a wonderful groundswell of writers.

There are nanas, daughters, friends, wives, and referees. 

There are some proud me's reclaiming their identities, and others on a journey to find themselves. 

We're addicted to chocolate, tired and crazy. And we're trying our best.

Visit the gallery here.

Read more about my experience of BritMums Live here.

You can add your own picture at any time by visiting the gallery and clicking on 'join in' (if it still says 'join us' you'll need to register with story of mum first - which doesn't take very long, and means you get to hang out with us some more which can only be a good thing...!)

mum and an ear wiggler   mum and a survivor    mum and bibs award winner    mum and education reformer

PS If you're visiting from BritMums Live! and want to find your own photo to see how absolutely beautiful you look (because, yes, you all did), you can scroll through the gallery or visit the BritMums page here that lists all of the pictures I took there.

PPS If you sign up for our newsletter you get a free book of mums' reward charts. You deserve them. Just saying...

Mothers of Innovation

Mothers are innovators. It makes such perfect sense and yet the words, together, feel so unfamiliar.

Mothers of Innovation - the inventor of the paper bag was a woman.

As mothers, we innovate every day. We come up with inventive ways to survive tantrums, new stories to engage our kids' imagination.

We deal with constant change, we are constantly learning and failing and trying again.

Every day brings something different. Every day our child is a new version of themselves, and we innovate in response.

Mothers are amazing inspiring creative resilient world-changing innovators. But we don't normally see ourselves like that...

Which is why it was so inspiring and refreshing to attend the Mothers of Innovation conference in London last month, and to be surrounded by incredible mothers sharing stories of how they are changing the world for the better. 

Right now, you might be growing a person, nurturing, loving or missing one. However you are mothering, you'll be innovating. And you'll be telling stories.

Karyn McCluskey talks at Mother of Innovation about solutions to gang violence

The stories we tell shape our children.

They can shape the world if we dare.

At the conference, we heard from the indomitable (and I don't use that word lightly!) Karyn McCluskey about how she was able to take a completely new approach to violent gang crime, reclassifying it as a health issue.

Which gave her the resources she needed to bring huge numbers of rival gang members together in one place - a city court, surrounded by police and helicopters - to hear stories.

To hear the stories of the surgeons unable to operate on children with cleft palettes because they were so busy operating on the 'Glasgow smiles' and violent injuries of gang members. 

To hear the stories of police so busy dealing with gang crime that they had little time to focus on other crimes affecting their community.

To hear the story of a brave mother who had lost her own son, and who stood up and told them what that really felt like.

Karyn Mcluskey - mantra for innovators

And they wept in response. Because they all had mothers. And they wanted them to be proud.

And they were scared of what their mothers were most likely to feel instead.

As the stories came to an end in the court that day, Karyn gave out a number to call for help to leave their gangs behind - bringing all the different support services together to provide one clear system. 

That number was a chance to give the gang members new identities, new lives,  reconstructive surgery, tattoo removal, whatever it took to stem the tide of violence - to stop it at its source instead of just dealing with the constant tragic effects.

For the first time, she gave the gang members a choice. Something they had never been given before.

Almost 600 gang members have started new lives since the scheme started. That's at least 600 fewer mothers experiencing the horror of loss, 600 mothers feeling proud again.

Now that's what I call a Mother of Innovation.

There is very little a mother won't do when powered by the love for her children - it's an incredibly powerful force. Let's harness it to change the world, and start by sharing our stories.

You can read the full Mothers of Innovation research document packed with inspiring stories here.


If you're feeling like you're not enough right now, first of all, know that you ARE. Second of all, you might like this month's activity: I Am Enough.

Yes, mamas, we are enough!

We had a lovely time reminding ourselves where, how and why we are enough at this week's #somum Make Date.

I Am Enough - a #somum Make Date with Story of Mum (photo from @dear_mummy)

Remind yourself that you are too by reading some of the highlights of our chat in the storify below.

Here are the some of the key FACTS:

You are not alone in feeling like you are not enough.

Everyone is struggling in some way - they just don't always show it.

Society sets impossible expectations - of all the things we need to be, do and have.

But we just need to be who we are. And ignore anyone who says we aren't enough.

Let's focus on teaching our kids that they most certainly are enough, just as they are.

As always, wise and true advice from the lovely #somum community. Who are all MORE THAN ENOUGH for me :)

Come join us next month for #somum on twitter on Wednesday 13 August.

Come be ENOUGH with us on twitter

Join our #somum Make Date on Wednesday 9 July from 8.30 - 10pm UK time (find world times here) to be reminded that you are ENOUGH. Because you are. You really really are. 

I Am Enough - Join Story of Mum's #somum Make Date on twitter to be reminded!

Last week, I found myself feeling anything but enough. After a couple of jam-packed weeks - exciting times in London, family festivities, and a huge festival in the sunshine, I started to feel like I was just about holding on by my fingernails to everything else that I'd put to the side in the meantime.

Work emails and 'urgent' shouting tasks stacking up, deadlines running late, dreams falling by the wayside, house a tip, kids and husband not getting enough attention, and definitely not enough mama-me-time in my schedule. 

But instead of working into the night and ploughing on through the tasks as I usually would, I listened to that panic in my chest and I decided to stop.  I ignored that critical 'you are not enough' voice in my head and went to bed early. Three nights in a row...

Because I realised that I could. Because I am enough, just as I am.

As much or as little as I am able to do in this moment.  

And so are you.

Sometimes getting lots of stuff done is just a way to avoid that sense that we're somehow not enough.  And just being, nurturing ourselves, is what we really need. There is no absolute 'balance' between fully living your life, and trying to do so much that you aren't really present. There is just the choice in the moment.

I am enough - with Story of Mum

What needs to give? (something pretty much always needs to give...) 

The washing pile or you? The work email or the child with something to tell you? 

You choose the best you can do for each of those right now. And whatever you choose is enough. 

So this month, we'd like to come together at #somum and remind each other of that truth.

We hope you'll come and join us in sharing an "I Am Enough" self-portrait.

We'll be on twitter, ttaking pictures and chatting about when and where we feel enough, and when we don't.

What makes you feel least like you are enough...?

Take a photo of yourself right there, holding a sign reminding us (and more importantly, yourself) that you are enough.

Share it with us on twitter with #somum and in our gallery over here.

If you want to give your photo a photo gallery frame, you can do that over at

As you can see, I took my photo surrounded by my messy house, with a battered computer full of work emails balanced on my leg, and salty chocolate in my mouth. It's not very attractive...

The Good Enough Mums Club

And yes, I am still enough.

This month's activity was also inspired bThe Good Enough Mums Club, a wonderful musical coming to London this month, reminding us all that we are good enough.

If you're in London in July, don't miss this musical!

What is a #somum Make Date?

It's a chance for mums to get together on twitter and tweet while we attempt to do something creative - like doodlingtaking a photowriting poetrymaking stuff or even squidging plasticine.

We give ourselves some creative me-time and connect with other lovely mums. We do it every second Wednesday of the month and we would love you to join us. New friends are always very welcome.

You don't have to be a clever crafter, an artist or wordsmith. We're all about having a go regardless of talent or experience. Most of all, it's about getting together and having fun.

If you just want to chat, that's completely fine. If you just want to make something and lurk and never tell us you're there, that's fine too. We're just happy you're making time for you. 

To join in, just search for #somum on twitter to follow the conversation and find out what we're trying to make this month. Then add #somum to your tweets to join the conversation. 

We hope to see you there. 

And whether you make it or not, you're enough.

BritMums Live: On being brave and retreating

Last week I had no idea if a “Mamas’ Retreat” could work in 45 minutes, let alone in the middle of BritMums Live.  But I had a go...!

So here’s the story of our Mama Me-Time session at BritMums Live, along with some speedy suggestions for hosting a mini Mama Me-time retreat of your own. Because you absolutely deserve it.

BritMums Live Mama Me-Time Mamas' Retreat with Story of Mum

I was pretty terrified in the lead up to my Mama Me-Time session.  In the hour before, I took myself off into a quiet corner of the conservatory (with a pudding for company, obviously…) and looked over my notes. Even though I’d hosted some amazing Mamas’ Retreats already this year, I’d never attempted to host one so short, and so I sat there questioning myself…

Does anyone but me really need this kind of support? Would it work amongst the buzz and bling tiaras of Brit Mums Live? Is making a Do Not Disturb Mummy sign with other mothers really anyone else’s idea of a fun way to spend their time? Would anyone really take a sign home and hang it on their door and be reminded to make some time for themselves…?

But I breathed through the questions, and reminded myself that if my session allowed even just one mother to take some time out for themselves, right then and even better, beyond, it would be more than worth facing my fears.

While being terrified didn’t stop me having a go, it made me feel sick as I stepped into the light and started to speak. That fear made me question myself as the mood in the room changed and calmed and quietened – a feeling so different to the other sessions at BritMums Live. But I breathed on and continued to hold the space, and I handed out my stickers and I smiled and I breathed some more. 

And I’m so pleased that I did.

Because I discovered that actually 45 minutes is plenty of time. You can have a mini retreat in just a few considered breaths.

In a matter of minutes you can create a space to focus on yourself, to rest and reconnect. With a few minutes more, you can connect to those around you and support each other to make more time for ourselves.

BritMums Live Mama Me-Time Retreat with Story of Mum

So thank you so much to all the mothers who took time out from the BritMums Live hubbub to come along and play, with absolutely no idea of what we’d be doing. Thank you for breathing together and free writing, and smiling and crying. Thank you for sharing your stories and your Do Not Disturb signs. (some fab pics below…). Thank you to Jen and Susanna for encouraging me to try something different.

And an extra special thank you to the lovely Rachael of Mothering Mushroom for sharing a beautiful poem that she had recited to me earlier in the day. Her words were another beautiful way to remind us that we all have something to offer, simply by being ourselves. And goodness me, she was brave too – from friendly chat to starring in a BritMums Live workshop in a matter of hours! She recited her words not once, but twice, and I am so grateful for all that it added to the session.

Because despite all the amazing things we do every day – despite blog and social media “success” or otherwise, families we love, challenges we face, campaigns that change the world, we all need reminders to believe in ourselves. We need reminders that we are deeply worthy of the nurturing love we show to others. 

And so I feel very lucky to have seen the impact of a few moments of breathing and some quiet free writing in a room of buzzing mum bloggers – the shift in energy, the quiet and the emotion that surfaced.

I loved seeing the conversations and connections that happened as we talked about what nurtures us, what stops us doing that and how we could do it more.

I loved seeing the laughter and smiles as we stuck monster stickers and glow in the dark stars and random Hawaiian ukuleles on to Do Not Disturb signs and shared what we love to do. The things we do not for anyone else, not for higher page stats or to make more money, not because we need to be any better or brighter or braver than we are right now, in this moment – but simply because it nurtures us.

And because we deserve to be nurtured. 

Mama Me-Time Mamas' Retreat at BritMums live

BritMums Live is a buzzy emotional and inspiring conference. There is so much to do, so many people to meet and hug, so many conversations to be had, so much to learn, so much more than it’s possible to fit into two short days.

I loved catching up with old friends, making new ones, meeting twitter friends and learning from incredibly useful sessions. I loved the thrill of waiting to see if we would win an award and delighting at others’ successes (especially Team Honk!).

I found I flitted more than delving deep, and despite a heartfelt weep in memory of my dear friend Loz, and some longer chats with friends, I felt I missed out on more connected conversations in favour of trying to do a little bit of everything.

All that excitement, learning and social activity can also be overwhelming, scary and exhausting. A bit like parenting.

Sometimes we need the quiet. Sometimes we are so focused on supporting everyone around us that we forget to support ourselves. To remember that it’s OK to stop. And rest. And nurture ourselves. It’s not just OK, it’s vital.

So... if you couldn't make our Mama Me-Time retreat and you need that time for you too, here are some speedy Mamas’ Retreats for you to try, based on our BritMums Live session. Enjoy!


Mamas' Retreats with Story of MumA 3 minute Mamas’ Retreat – calm, and connect to your body

Would you like to try right now?

Read this section then take a pause and place your feet on the floor. Close your eyes. Start to shift your attention to the breath coming in through your nose and out through your mouth.

Breath by breath, soften your shoulders, your jaw, your belly, anywhere else that you feel you are holding tension – just let the tension go with every out-breath.

Feel the breath filling your chest, and releasing. Feel it coming deep down into your stomach. Or rolling up and down your spine like a waterfall as you breathe in and out. Feel the breath in your body.

And remember that at the very centre of all that is going on around you is YOU.

Stay aware of that centre as you open your eyes and continue with your day.


Mamas' Retreats with Story of MumA 15 minute Mamas’ Retreat – your body and your mind

Put a pen and paper nearby. Breathe as above.

After five minutes of breathing, stop and start writing. Write anything, don’t judge it, don’t analyse it, just write it – whatever comes into your head. Even if it’s “I have no idea what to write” over and over again, just put the pen to the page and see what comes out.

Write for five minutes. Stop. You don’t need to read what you write ever again. Of course you can if you want to. But equally, you can just crumple it up and throw it in the bin – it’s just another way of connecting to you and that inner voice you often don't have time to hear.

After 5 minutes of free writing, take 5 minutes more to write your answer to these questions:

  1. What nurtures you? (Try to list at least 3 things)
  2. How often do you do these things?
  3. What stops you doing these things?
  4. What one step could you take today to bring more of these things into your life?

Breathe on, and take that step.


Mamas' Retreats with Story of MumA 30 minute Mamas’ Retreat – body, mind, making a me-time reminder 

After you’ve done the 15 minute Mamas’ Retreat above, take the next 15 minutes to make your very own Do Not Disturb sign to remind you to take that time out for you...

Making is another great way to reconnect to YOU. And to connect to the joy of simple creating for pleasure.

Plus, a Do Not Disturb sign is the perfect reminder for you and everyone around you that sometimes you need to take time out too.

You can find out how to make your very own sign over here (it's easy, no expert skills required!).

And share it in the gallery when you’re done to inspire other mamas to take time out too!


Mamas' Retreats with Story of MumA 45 minute Mamas’ Retreat – just add friends

Do all of the above with a mama friend! You can use your extra 15 minutes to share your answers to the questions above with each other.

As you talk and make together, help each other to think of a step you could take to make more mama me-time.  Support each other to follow through.

We’re much more likely to make a change when we tell someone else we’ll do it.

And if we write it down on a great big Do Not Disturb sign…


DIY Mamas' Retreats with Story of MumFree Goodies!!

At the session, I offered to give away three copies of our DIY Mamas’ Retreat Kits (everything you need to host your own slightly longer retreat for your mama friends at home!).

You get one entry for sharing your Do Not Disturb sign with #somum #britmumslive on twitter, and two more for managing to upload your picture to our gallery here.

I’ll be giving away the prizes this Saturday, so feel free to share and upload your own in the meantime!

BritMums Live, Mothers of Innovation: A Survival Plan

I’m off to London this week for a very special few days packed with inspirational mamas (and papas…). Will you be one of them?* I hope so!

BritMums Live, and Mothers of Innovation: My Survival Plan by Story of Mum

First up, some social entrepreneurial networking and learning from incredible mothers who are changing the world at the Mothers of Innovation conference, with a quick lunchtime break to pitch my own world-changing dream to a scary Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme panel back in Cornwall over skype...

After a quick nervous sleep, it’s time for all the fun of Brit Mums Live!... Inspiring workshops, meeting old and new friends, (so many  I feel I know already from our monthly #somum Make Dates), plus of course the Brilliance in Blogging Awards (we’re nominated, eek!) on Friday.

And a chance to host my first ever ‘mini Mamas’ Retreat’ for BritMums Live! mamas in just 45 minutes on Saturday, before jumping on the last train back to Cornwall to reclaim my kids…

After all that, I’m pretty sure I’ll be wishing that someone else would host a mini Mamas’ Retreat just for me.

It’s going to be exhilarating. And challenging.

So I’ve drawn up a quick survival plan that involves a little more thought than my standard coffee and chocolate… and I'm sharing it here in case it helps you to get through too!

1. Remember to pause and breathe (I have a daily alarm on my phone to remind me, genuinely…).

2. Take some quiet time on my own AND do a bit of yoga, hopefully with my mum.(Mum and yoga optional, quiet time essential...)

3. Have early nights (taking full advantage of the lack of little people around to wake me up…) unless of course we actually win an award, in which case I will need to source previously untapped reserves of zen-like restraint to avoid dousing myself in prosecco.

4. Go as hashtag crazy as I like in the day, but don’t let the sparkling lure of social media distract me when really I should be SLEEPING (*cough* like right now…)
5. Make the most of every minute. And that means be brave, step into the beam of fear, and smile. Go with whatever happens. Talk to people I don't know yet.  Listen. Be present.  Because what’s the worst that could happen, really? Even if I make a complete tit of myself, in a few weeks it’ll make a great story. And the blushing will have finally stopped.

6. In the moments when I feel like I’ve run out of energy for number 5, I'll have another coffee, eat chocolate, and hide in the loo until I’m ready to start again… And that's fine too.

* I should point out that there is absolutely no pressure to say anything wise and wonderful to me if you see me, because the truth is that you will be inspirational without even noticing - your choice of biscuit alone may be breath-taking

What’s YOUR survival plan...?

Bonus content: Wardrobe insights

I shall be wearing the following outfits for BritMums Live...

Subject to cake consumption and comfort, the little hands-on-hips horsey number above.

And my foxy dress as seen on the right. OK so you can't see much apart from a fox, but it's basically the same shape as the other one.

Those blurred things on my feet are the comfy shoes that I will be wearing every single day.

Note to viewer: both the dress and I look distinctly more attractive through an instagram filter (as demonstrated here). Please do not view me from the back in either dress as unfortunately the pleating makes me look like I am wearing a bustle. And believe me, I do not need one of those.

Really hope to meet you on our shared big adventure, and maybe even get to pause and breathe with you for a well-deserved little retreat on Saturday. I'd love to hear your survival tips.


PS You can still get tickets for BritMums Live! and Mothers of Innovation if you fancy joining me...?

Mamas make movie posters!

One of the funniest #somum Make Dates we've had in a while! With some transformational life journeys, conflict and a nice long running through an airport shot thrown in at the end for good measure...

Motherhood in the movies - mamas show what it's really like, with Story of Mum

This month, we made alternative movie posters that expressed our real-life stories.

We even inadvertantly created our very own mamahood genre of 'sleep-related films' (we foresee a huge market opening up for these amongst parents between the hours of midnight and 4am...)

We saw ourselves as superheroes, action heroes, romantic comedy heroines, musical stars and slapstick comedy victims.

With internal monologues to rival the most obtuse foreign film, a secret urge to break into song in supermarket aisles, and sadly no hair and make-up team to hand, we somehow get through the ups and downs of our lives as mothers, lovers, friends and more.

Sometimes it's a happy ending. Sometimes it isn't. But our everyday movies are all worthy of the big screen. You're a movie star, mama, unbrushed hair and all.

So make yourself some popcorn, dim the lights and enjoy a little storify of our mama movie night below...

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