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Mamas deserve high scores for...

We had another funny, honest and insightful #somum Make Date last night, celebrating the official launch of our DIY Mamas' Retreat Kit, co-hosted by the lovely Kate on Thin Ice.

Mum Trumps - at #somum Make Date - from Story of Mums' DIY Mamas' Retreat Kit

To start us off, I'm sharing a storify of our monthly living breathing example of Mama Self-Care: mums taking time out for ourselves, to get creative, to explore who we are, and to connect with other mums at our #somum Make Date on twitter, open to all.

The storify below doesn't capture everything we talked about, but it should give you a taste - and hopefully inspire you to take a little time out for yourself too.

Amongst many many other things, mamas deserve high scores for... getting out of the house, cleaning up puke (and worse...), surviving without sleep, creating imaginary worlds, balancing children in improbable places while multi-tasking, working miracles, gaining PHDs in distraction techniques... and for making time for ourselves.

We'd be especially excited if you'd like to join us in making your very own Mum Trump card celebrating your own special skills, mama battle techniques, impressive agility, mama IQ and arch-nemesis, we'd love that! Join in any time this month over here.

If you're looking for a very special Mothers' Day gift for yourself, your friends or your own mama, we'd love to share our new DIY Mamas' Retreat Kits with you:

Story of Mum: DIY Mamas' Retreat Kit

It's a fabulous way to support yourself, your mama friends, Story of Mum, the Museum of Motherhood and Womankind Worldwide in one fell self-care swoop!

Plus, it features these fabulous Mum Trumps as its bonus activity, what more could you want...

Check our Mama Self-Care Carnival page for some inspiring posts reminding you to take time out for you every day this month.

 

Join us on Weds 12 March for our #somum Make Date

We're celebrating the launch of our DIY Mamas' Retreat Kits with a Mum Trump themed #somum Make Date from 8.30 -10pm, followed by a Mama Self-Care blogging carnival reminding mamas to make time to look after ourselves...

Join our #somum Make Date: make Mum Trumps cards & win a DIY Mamas' Retreat Kit

Because we want you to make time for you, mama!

What's happening on twitter when?

We'll kick off all the fun at our next #somum Make Date on Wednesday 12 March from 8.30 - 10pm UK time (find what time that is for you, wherever you are, here).

Lovely Kate of Kate on Thin Ice will be co-hosting, and we'll be doodling Mum Trumps cards and talking about the special mama skills we could celebrate together...

We'll be using both #somum and #groovymums hashtags to find each other. We'll ask you some questions to get you thinking. Then we'll all doodle a card of our own to share, just like one of these here.

You could win a copy of our beautiful Kit too (featuring fabulous Mum Trump printables amongst many other delights!), designed by the very talented Sam Osborne.

Join our #somum Make Date and win a DIY Mamas' Retreat Kit

If you've already bought one, thank you! (And we'll refund you if you win).

How do I enter the competition?

All you have to do is add #somum to your tweets between 8.30 and 10pm UK time on Wednesday to enter the competition, and we'll use Twitterdraw to choose a random tweeter at the end of the Make Date.

So let's get together on twitter to make time for ourselves, to get creative, and to chat.

We'd love you to join us.

How do I join you?

Just jump on twitter at 8.30pm, add #somum  and #groovymums to your tweets so we can see you, and search for #somum to find us.

And if you're wondering what on earth a #somum Make Date is, you can find out more here.

what's the Mama Self-Care Blogging Carnival

For the rest of the month from 12 to 31 March, we'll be sharing links to some fabulous posts about self-care for mums, from bloggers all over the world: a 'Mama Self-Care Carnival'! Find out more here.

Because we all need reminding.

To nurture your children, you first have to nurture yourself.

Making time for YOU is vital, mama.

So start by coming to play with us on Wednesday...

Creative Business-Mamas: Naomi Goodlet

We have another lovely Creative Business-Mama to inspire you: Naomi Goodlet on why sharing the truth about her anxiety was the best career move she ever made, and how skype is a working mamas' best friend...

Naomi Goodlet shares her Creative Business-Mama story on storyofmum.com

Describe how you are feeling RIGHT NOW in three words?  

Grateful, Overflowing, Excited.

What's the story of your creative business?

I became a qualified Spiritual Healer in 2006 and left my corporate job shortly after, thinking this is what I wanted to do. I knew that I wanted to work one on one with people and I found healing work so effortless that I thought it was my calling, but I yearned for something more.

Over the next few years I studied Acceptance & Commitment Therapy and Mindfulness and I knew that I wanted to share these powerful teachings with the world. I overcame my anxiety disorder using what I had learnt and finally I resonated 100% with what I was teaching my clients.

Now I work with Gen Y’s (mostly) to help them live a life filled with meaning, guided by their core values and that is grounded in the present moment!

I still use many aspects of my healing training too, like forgiveness and inner child therapy. I also create meditations, online courses and downloadable kits to heal and inspire.

I absolutely love being able to use my story to help and inspire others and teach them what I know about how they can make their lives better. It truly is a blessing!

What are the best and worst things about being a mother running a creative business?

My daughter was born in 2012 and after taking some time off to recover and sink into motherhood, I have shifted my business online.

I tried to see clients just a few weeks after giving birth and I realized that having people in my house for appointments was causing me a great deal of stress! I have adjusted well though, now I only see my clients on Skype and I don’t have to constantly worry about cleaning up and getting the house presentable. 

Naomi Goodlet

I try to be a present, engaged and attentive mother but I do sneak in a little bit of work on the sly, my daughter doesn’t seem to mind.

The hardest thing for me now is just finding time to create everything that I want to create in my precious spare time while also nurturing my relationship with my husband and my friendships too.

The best thing about my business is that it is based at home and I can slot my tasks into the little chunks of time that I come across and then see clients at times when my daughter is with my husband or at childcare. 

Tell us about the most difficult day you faced and overcame as a creative working mama 

Just one?! There have been many. The biggest challenges have always been around either my daughter or I being unwell and just trying to make it through the day (or night!).

She always comes first, I do what I need to do to accommodate.

What's the greatest thing you have learnt from running a business?

I have learnt so much about self development, psychology and also just about running a business in itself. In fact I’ve now included business coaching as part of my offerings because I love it so much.

What's the greatest thing you have learnt from your child/children?

My daughter is the biggest blessing in my life. She is a brilliant reminder for me to practice what I teach, living in the present moment!

What advice would you give a mama starting a creative business?

Just start. Don’t wait for things to be perfect, don’t wait until you’ve finished your course or study, just do it now, make it a part of your life.

naomi goodletWhat are you working on right now that you're most excited about?

I'm launching my Anxiety Hacker Coaching Program which is specifically designed to guide people to overcome their anxiety in just 7 hours.

It is proving to be a huge success already and I've only just launched it officially. For the first time I amsharing my story of anxiety – every aspect of it, from my darkest fears to my recovery gratitude for it all. My hope is that it will help people to feel like they’re not alone in what they’re going through.

I’ve been there, I know how tough it is and I’m thrilled to be the one that gets people out the other side of their struggle with anxiety.

If there was a Creative Working Mama Fairy, what would you wish for?

A personal assistant to help me with time consuming tasks like video/audio editing! Oh and a chef, that would be rad!

What does being a creative business-mama mean to you?

If you'd like to share your story with us, we'd love to hear from you.

You can read other guest interviews in the Creative Business-Mamas series here.

Mamas need a little bit of love

This month, we got together on twitter at our #somum Make Date to write love letters to ourselves. It was one of our hardest challenges ever.

Mamas writing love letters to ourselves - this one's from Made By Dolly

"To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself."  Thich Nhat Hanh

Why do we find it so hard to say nice things about ourselves, especially publicly?

We can say kind things about other people, we can love our children with all our hearts... but loving ourselves? Is so much harder.

Which is why this month's activity is such an important one. If you haven't tried it yet, have a go.

You can find some ideas of how to get started under 'read more' on the gallery page - or read through the storify below for some questions to get you thinking about how you might be able to try doing this.

love letter in the post

I sent mine to myself the day before Valentines Day and it was wonderful to receive it amongst the horrible bills and scary tax letters!

Somehow opening up a stamp-smudged letter, and reading it with a little bit of distance, made it feel more true.

Thanks so much to all the brave mamas who joined in, even when it was really hard. They shared their letters below in the hope that they will inspire you to write one to yourself too. Join in here!

"Whatever you are doing, love yourself for doing it. Whatever you are feeling, love yourself for feeling it." Thaddeus Golas

Of course, you deserve more than a love letter - you deserve a space on our blissful Mamas' Retreat - there are just two spaces left!

READ IT HERE.

 

Making sweet #somum love together...!

It's that time of the month again! Join us on Weds 12th Feb from 8.30 - 10pm for our #somum Make Date (world times here) to get self-loved up in time for Valentines Day, and have a go at spreading kind words together...

Join our #somum Make Date on twitter to write love letters to ourselves together

When this month's task popped into my head, I pushed it straight out again. Writing a love letter to myself? Frankly, a bit too scary.

Because I find it easier to walk over my heart on the pavement without noticing...

So... I sat with that feeling for a bit, and I realised that probably meant I needed to do it. And that other mums might find it helpful too. 

Loving our children lies at the heart of our mothering.

And to truly love others, we need to love ourselves first.

So let's write a love letter to ourselves. Because you, and I, are lovely.

Lovely made by Colleen Attara, who, naturally, s also lovelyIf you're very lucky you might even win this gorgeous 'lovely' made from recycled plastic by the very loveable Colleen Attara.

We'll draw a random winner from everyone who uploads a photo of their love letter here this month (you don't have to share any of the words you write, unless you want to).

We have lots of suggestions of how to get started here. But even better, join us on Wednesday and we'll write one together. Got to be easier in a crowd, right?

AND if we post it to ourselves on the 13th, we'll actually get a real-life love letter in the post on Valentines Day. I've never had one of those, and I am very very excited about it...!

Pop over here to find out more about what our #somum Make Dates are all about.

P.S. If you're in need of some full-fat self-care, don't forget our Mamas' Retreat is happening later this month! We have just two slots left at a stunning venue in Cornwall, so jump in now

Competition rules:

  • Duplicate accounts, automated entries, bulk entries or third party entries will be disqualified
  • Winners will be chosen at random from all those uploading a photo that fits the brief described here to this webpage between 12pm BST on 1 February 2014 and midnight BST on 28 February 2013. Please note that you need to join the story of mum community in order to upload a picture or story.
  • The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • The competition will run from 12pm BST on 1 February 2014 and midnight BST on 28 February 2013 in Great Britain.
  • Story of mum is compliant with the data protection act. While we will share the twitter names of winners and links with great excitement, we will not pass on any other details to any third party without your prior consent.
  • If you don't want to enter the draw, that's absolutely fine. You can still take part in either activity, just contact us to let us know you don't want to be entered in the competition.

Creative Business-Mamas: Jacy Pulford of Hello Awesome

We have another marvellous Creative Business-Mama for you: self-employed artist and author Jacy Pulford shares her awesome journey towards creating a shop stuffed with inspirational art and gifts...

Jacy Pulford of Hello Awesome shares her creative biz story with Story of Mum

Describe how you are feeling RIGHT NOW in three words? 

Reflective, peaceful and tired

What's the story of your creative business?

I've been an artist all of my life and worked on the side doing various projects. 

It was in 2010 that I was laid off and took it as a sign that I needed to go into business full time.

My passion has always been to be a self-employed artist since the age of 8. Sometimes as adults we let go of childhood dreams but why? I do what I love because I want to use what I have to inspire people. 

 I started with an Etsy shop and slowly moved into Storenvy, just plugging away. Slowly the title of "author" came into play and was able to self-publish a Christian-based book in 2012, the same year I had my son.

What are the worst things about being a mother running a creative business?

Guilt. Expectations. From myself and from others, not to mention the expectations I put on myself/others. That is probably the worst because you can almost feel like you are never doing enough. There will always be work to do, whether in business or in our homes. It's all about balance.

And the best?

The best is the flexibility and being able to close the laptop, snuggle with my boy and read his favorite books. I'm available when he needs me and that means the world. 

Jacy Pulford of Hello Awesome shares her creative biz story with Story of MumTell us about the most difficult day you faced and overcame as a creative working mama.

There was one day I had a couple of articles that needed to be submitted by a certain deadline. Not to mention my own goals for how many articles I pushed myself to write daily.

My toddler was constantly hitting my keyboard, pulling my shirt, playing with the screen...it was frustrating. Especially since I had spent special time with him prior because I wanted to make sure he had "us" time before it was "work" time. 

I remember feeling awful for not paying him much attention but then anxious because I knew work still needed to be done.

I had to decide how much was going to be on my plate. And I choose to take some off by changing my goals because I realized they were not realistic for my lifestyle at the moment. It made me see that I needed to work around my family's schedule and not expect them to work around me. 

What advice would you give a mama starting a creative business?

Family first. You will never feel good about what you are doing in business if you neglect the people you love.

And extend yourself some mercy and grace because mistakes will happen, professionally and personally. Ask an expert or someone you look up to in the business if you have concerns/questions or want guidance.

Never be afraid of the word "no."

Also advertise on blogs, it's worth it!

Jacy Pulford of Hello Awesome shares her creative biz story with Story of MumWhat are you working on right now that you're most excited about?

I'm really excited about getting back to painting and starting to incorporate abstract techniques. I've always painted Realism, objects, people etc. So it's a nice change to let go and be free with colors, paint and brushes.

If there was a Creative Working Mama Fairy, what would you wish for?

Ohhh good one! I would wish for any financial transaction to just magically calculate itself, do all the bookkeeping and just send me a check at the end of the week!!

 

What does being a creative business-mama mean to you?

If you'd like to share your story with us, we'd love to hear from you.

You can read other guest interviews in the Creative Business-Mamas series here.

Guk Guk Guk

Lori Landau performs the communal mums' poem at the Museum of MotherhoodThe lovely Lori Landau brought her own unique take to curating our communal mums' poem at the Museum of Motherhood for our exhibition in New York last year, and I've only just managed to edit the video! 

Lori curated our mums poem as part of our wonderful Make Date with Suzi Banks Baum and Joy Rose - you can read all about that here.

Lori drew together words submitted by mums online and more gathered at the event to create a new communal poem, and encouraged the audience to create their own.

See how she brought us all together and created something beautiful, reminding us of the importance of birthing ourselves before we birth our children, and the value of poetry as a way to discover what truly matters. Even if that is guk.

Settle back and get a taste of our wonderful evening in New York - what a pleasure it was to meet Lori, Suzi, Joy and so many other wonderful visitors.

 

 

You can find the other wonderful versions of the Mums' Poem here:

Hollie McNish

Sally Crabtree

Caroline Davies

Working Mama, Happy Kids: a new workshop

We're excited to announce our next big adventure: Working Mama, Happy Kids.

Building on the success of our Penzance exhibition workshops, we're partnering with B-New and Child and Community Psychologist Dr Emily Jane to answer some big questions that came up...

We're starting in Cornwall, but we'll be going online soon to help working mamas wherever you are.

Working Mama, Happy Kids - A workshop to beat working mama guilt

Working Mama, Happy Kids 

A 2-hour workshop to bust working mama guilt - giving you simple tools to build your confidence, deepen your connection with your kids, and reclaim ‘good enough’.

Wednesday 19 March, 7.30 – 9.30, The Exchange, Penzance

When the school play clashes with a vital meeting, when you miss the call that says they need you? When there aren’t enough hours in the day to be everything you need to be, and you feel a failure at work and mothering? We’ve all been there.

But it doesn’t have to feel like that. Not at all.

What if you knew you were giving your children the self-belief, resilience and love that they need? If you felt able to go to work confident that you were also deeply connected with your secure and happy children?

Join Story of Mum, B-New, and Child and Community Psychologist Dr Emily Jane of Useful Psychology at The Exchange to bust through working-mama guilt with some reassuring evidence. Replace “overstretched and inadequate” with “informed and confident”, and take away easy-to-use tools that answer vital questions:

- How can I best use my time in ways that nurture a happy and confident child?

- How can I tell when I’m connecting effectively with my children?

- How can I release the guilt, and focus on my strengths as a confident ‘good enough’ mama?

Join us and other working mamas for a fun, useful and reassuring workshop. We’ll even play a bit of Bad Mummy Bingo… 

This is a small group workshop with a limited number of tickets available. The normal charge for this workshop would be £10. However, as it's our first go, we're charging £5 and would welcome your feedback and a testimonial (if you find it useful!). To book, contact [email protected]

Tickets: £5

Venue: The Exchange, Princes Street, Penzance TR18 2NL

 

Dr Emily Jane of Useful Psychology is a chartered psychologist who specialises in supporting children and teenagers. She has worked in the youth and community sector and in schools with educational psychology services. She loves helping families to rediscover playfulness and joy, and has two little beauties of her own, aged 3 and 1. 

Story of Mum is a community of supportive mamas doing creative stuff to celebrate the ups and downs of motherhood. Share your everyday story at www.storyofmum.com

B-New is a cross-channel network to support business-women  in the UK and France.  

We are very grateful to The Exchange for their continuing support. 

 

While this particular session is aimed at working mamas or soon-to-be working mamas, we'll be expanding the content to all mamas soon, and taking it online. We all work as mothers. And every mama matters.  

Sign up to our newsletter to hear more news as soon as we have it.

You might also like our Mamas' Retreats.

(PS the photo above was taken by Ian Kingsnorth - it's me and my then 3 month old daughter at the launch of Story of Mum...!)

Creative Business-Mamas: Joanne Glover of Sew Sew Chic

The last of our Mum Plus Business competition winning creative business-mamas is memory-maker Joanne Glover of Sew Sew Chic, sharing how she turned her creative energy into a business.

Jo Glover of Sew Sew Chic shares her Creative Business-Mama tale on Story of Mum

Describe how you are feeling RIGHT NOW in three words? 

Excited, Proud and Motivated

 What's the story of your creative business?

I have never been able to sit still for too long without being creative. As soon as my first daughter was born I was finding lots of creative projects to keep myself busy when she was asleep. I would make cards, decorate the house and sew!

When my maternity leave came to an end I wasn’t ready to go back to work. I wanted to spend more time with my little girl and I’m sure a lot of mothers will agree that childcare costs can swallow up most of your wages.

My friend had asked about Memory Bears - soft bears made with children’s clothing. I’d never seen them before but I attempted to make one with my daughter’s first sleep suits. Honestly, it looked awful. But it gave me so much inspiration. I tried again and the second bear was better than the first. Before I knew it, Friends and family where asking for them, so I made more. It’s true, practice makes perfect!

I set up a Facebook page to share my creations with friends and then an Etsy shop. 1 year later I have made over 70 Memory animals and sold many other handmade creations. Working on new projects, earning a little bit and watching my daughter grow and experiencing each new milestone she met- It was the perfect way to spend the year.

What are the best things about being a mother running a creative business?

I love what I do as a hobby, even more as a career! I can really let my creative juices flow and can earn money at the same time. I like that I can choose my working hours and spend time with my beautiful family.

And the worst?

The difficult part is that I can never turn down an order; I sometimes bite off more than I can chew and have to juggle work and family time in short spaces. I’m very lucky to have such a supportive husband who helps me when I get snowed under!

Tell us about the most difficult day you faced and overcame as a creative working mama

Sew Sew ChicI was running around for weeks trying to organise and make new products to display at my first craft fair.

On the day I had to pick up a table, and set up. Traffic was not on my side so I was a little late, not how I wanted to begin my first craft fair.

Once I was set up and ready to go, I sat down and thought “Calm before the storm, in a minute crowds will be flowing in to look at our lovely products...”

Unfortunately it stayed quiet all day! I spent more than I made. Not so much Difficult, but a disappointing day.

But not all was bad. I met some lovely fellow crafters and gained some good advice.

What advice would you give a mama starting a creative business?

Try not to be disheartened if sales don’t come to you straight away. Most successful businesses will spend time trying to stand out above the crowd before breaking even.

If you don’t sell much at first, don’t give up, keep trying and listen to what your target market want!

 What are you working on right now that you're most excited about?

I am making patchwork cushions and quilts from baby clothes to add to the keepsake collection. I’m also working on a project for Valentine ’s Day, but all will be revealed soon enough, Keep an eye on my Facebook page and blog for more updates!

If there was a Creative Working Mama Fairy, what would you wish for?

A self-replenishing cupboard of craft supplies!

 

If you have a dream of becoming a creative business-mama yourself, you might also like to find out more about our partner in this series this month: Mum Plus Business - a network supporting local mums to form business partnerships.

What does being a creative business-mama mean to you?

If you'd like to share your story with us, we'd love to hear from you.

You can read other guest interviews in the Creative Business-Mamas series here.

Creative Business-Mamas: Lisa Wilmhurst of Mobilampshades

The next Creative Business-Mama in our series also comes to us via Mum Plus Business - it's lovely Lisa Wilmshurst of Mobilampshades with her supremely clever invention - lampshade and adorable mobile in one....

Lisa Wilmhurst of Mobilampshades shares her Creative Business-Mama story

Describe how you are feeling RIGHT NOW in three words? 

Excited, hopeful, enthused

What's the story of your creative business?

Mobilampshades was born when I was decorating my eldest son’s nursery and was looking to buy a lampshade. I love handmade items and had made curtains for the nursery so was looking for a lampshade to match the jungle/animal theme. Whilst looking online I couldn’t find anything I liked, it was either mass produced bland or handmade “grown up” lampshades - so I thought why not make one myself.

I came up with the idea of combining a mobile with a lampshade as I thought my son would like the mobile decorations hanging off the shade. I then enrolled on a lampshade-making course in January 2013 and then spent the first half of the year experimenting with the mobile parts.

From September 2013, I started to sell online on Etsy. I’ve always been crafty - from an early age I  enjoyed sewing and knitting. Mobilampshades was started to fulfil my crafting passion, to have a job that would fit around our home life, and to share my beautiful products with others hoping they would love it as much I enjoy making it.

What are the best things about being a mother running a creative business?

The best thing is that I get to do what I enjoy, making things whilst it can still fit around my “day” job as a full time mother. It enables me to be creative and to pick and choose what I want to make to a certain extent.

And the worst?

The worst thing is finding the time to make and craft. Sacrifices are made such as watching tv in the evenings when the children are in bed. Also starting a creative business can be costly with upfront costs of supplies, setting up websites when you’re not earning any money. 

Tell us about the most difficult day you faced and overcame as a creative working mama...

One of the most difficult days was when we did our first baby show last November. Planning for a baby show/craft show is time consuming and you have to be methodical - thinking about stock levels, how to present your table, making sure you have enough business cards, packaging, taking credit card payments and much, much more.

I decided to sell at a baby show to gauge the interest in Mobilampshades. As I was still breastfeeding my youngest son, the best solution was to have the family together at the show. The show started at 10am but you had to start to set up from 8:30am and it didn’t end until 4pm - so a long day to keep two young boys entertained...

Lisa Wilmhurst of Mobilampshades on Story of Mum

Amazingly the boys were very well behaved, my husband as always was very supportive and did whatever I asked of him, and my in-laws were at hand to help too. I was nervous about selling at the show as I’m not a natural extrovert, but found I was at ease talking to other parents there. 

I had anticipated it to be a “nightmare” day with kids screaming and crying, wanting to go home, but it wasn’t as bad as I feared. All in all, with the support and love from my family, what was anticipated as a difficult day turned out just fine.

What advice would you give a mama starting a creative business?

Test out your product with family and friends, they will be able to give you constructive feedback and different views.

Have a business plan and know what you want to achieve from having a creative business.

Just keep going even when you begin to doubt yourself. It is always difficult at first when you are new to crafting business but you just need to keep on persevering and network as much as possible.

What are you working on right now that you're most excited about?

I’m working on a birdie nursery mobile, so something different. I’m excited about this, as it will be a new product range for mobilampshades. I’m also currently designing a dinosaur mobilampshade, which hopefully will be available from February.

If there was a Creative Working Mama Fairy, what would you wish for?

Can I ask for 3 wishes? My two boys to synchronise their afternoon naps; to have more hours in the day and for the housework to be done as if by magic (oops, it does at times, thank you lovely husband!)

 

If you have a dream of becoming a creative business-mama yourself, you might also like to find out more about our partner in this series this month: Mum Plus Business - a network supporting local mums to form business partnerships.

What does being a creative business-mama mean to you?

If you'd like to share your story with us, we'd love to hear from you.

You can read other guest interviews in the Creative Business-Mamas series here.


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