How motherhood shaped my career path

I’ve never made any secret of the fact that when I found out at the end of 2015 that I was pregnant it was a huge shock. Then, in February 2016 I found out that there was not one but two babies in there and my life was turned upside down forever!

I was 22 years old and was in my final year of university. It wasn’t exactly the graduate role I had planned, but I was determined to rise to the challenge of motherhood and ensure that I did my absolute best at that role, as I do with every challenge I take on.

Despite dealing with extreme sickness until I was 20 weeks pregnant and suffering from antenatal depression I was able to graduate with a first-class degree and walked (waddled) across the stage to collect my diploma just a few weeks before I gave birth.

I knew I wanted to dedicate a full year to being a full-time parent. As I wasn’t working before the birth there was no maternity pay and no opportunity for my husband to have a chance at shared parental leave. Childcare was extortionate for two children – any entry-level role would be unlikely to pay me the £1,600 per month minimum I would need to keep my children in nursery for 9 hours a day. So I figured that another year at home was my only option.

I enjoyed being at home in a lot of ways. It was certainly a privilege to watch my girls grow up and be so absorbed in their life. But I must admit that I always felt there was something missing. I’d never had any burning desire to be a mother but I had always had a burning desire to have a great career. Whilst being at home I began blogging and writing a lot more and I realised just how passionate I was about communication. I decided that I wanted to continue my studies and applied for a Master’s degree in publishing.

I studied for my MA part-time so that I could balance childcare and occasional part-time and freelance work. I loved using my brain for something more than writing shopping lists and working on live briefs only made me more determined to follow my ambition of having a really good career.

As my twins were August babies they started school a few weeks after they turned four. We decided to move up to Manchester so that both of us would have more career opportunities and I got to work finding a job.

Between July and December I applied for over 250 jobs, I got a fair few rejections but most of them didn’t respond at all. I could see many of the jobs had over 1,000 applicants and I knew that I lacked experience but that didn’t stop my determination to find myself a job.

In October, I interviewed for a company and was delighted to be called back for a second interview. Between the first and second interview, I had learnt a lot about the company and I realised that this was not just another job, I really wanted to work for this company! My second interview went pretty well and I was hopeful but a few days later I heard back that I hadn’t got the job.

I was pretty gutted but they told me they’d keep my CV on file and asked me if I would like to do some freelance work for them. I must admit that I didn’t really believe they’d keep my CV on file – I had heard that quite a few times before! But I took the freelance work and also managed to get another short-term freelance role which was very well paid and I was pretty happy that I was able to contribute to our Christmas budget!

In December, the company contacted me and asked if I would be interested in interviewing for another role in the company which of course I jumped at the chance at! This time it was a dual role across two different departments and involved both editing and writing which seemed to be such a good fit for me. I was over the moon when they offered me the role and I began my first full-time role at the beginning of January!

Over the past five years, I have faced so many challenges and obstacles to scale and I feel that these challenges have prepared me so well for a working environment. I have only become more dedicated and focused on what I want from my career through having time to figure it out, not to mention I am really motivated to succeed to prove to myself and my daughters that you don’t need to let anything that happens in your life define you or hinder your success.

I have also refined my skills in time management and organisation through studying for a Master’s and raising a family. I can think on my feet and respond to problems really quickly and efficiently.

Overall, I love being a working parent. I love being a mother and I love pursuing my career goals. I don’t think I have had to settle for second best and I am excited to see where the future takes me!

We moved to Manchester!

There have been a lot of exciting changes in our family – the biggest of which is that we have now moved to Manchester from Cornwall!
We moved to Cornwall in 2017, my parents had recently moved there and we needed support with young twins. However, it was always a temporary move – much as we loved the quiet, beach life… the hustle and bustle of a city was calling to us!

Around August last year we realised we were ready to move… the problem was we had no idea where we wanted to go. We knew we wanted to be close to a city that we could both find work in and would have a good amount of diversity and life for the girls to experience. We narrowed our options to Manchester, Bristol and Kent. Kent was mainly because we wanted to be close to Josh’s sister and her husband – but looking further in to it we realised we couldn’t really hack the commute in to London for work and the house prices were out of this world there. So we narrowed to to Bristol and Manchester. Both are fantastic cities that we love. The draw to Bristol was that my sister and a lot of my cousins are based there, its not too far from Cornwall (we could do weekends there easily) and it was good for jobs. However once again the prices were just not something we felt we could afford – especially when we compared it to Manchester. In the end, Manchester won for quite a few reasons. Firstly, its our favourite city hands down. I went to uni here but I lived with some friends and commuted in, Josh and I spent a lot of our early days together in Manchester as he would meet me after uni. Its also a great place for jobs and is known as the second capital. Obviously diversity was a clincher for us – we wanted to make sure the girls were surrounded by all different types of people and wouldn’t be prejudiced/afraid of differences when they grew up. Of course the house prices were a huge selling point – the house we live in would have been twice the price in Bristol! We also have Josh’s mum and sister an hour away which is really nice.

So once we decided on Manchester we had to choose whereabouts we were going to live. Certain parts of the suburbs are hugely sought after and as such are incredibly expensive – Didsbury and Chorlton are amazing but far beyond our reach! We had a few trips up north to find a house we liked and eventually we found one we loved in a lovely town which has a lot to offer in North Manchester. That was back in November and we  assumed we’d be moving at the latest in February. Well, that didn’t happen. There were a LOT of complications on the sellers end – it dragged on and on and then we got in to March and of course we went in to lockdown. After that we honestly were so up in the air – we had no idea when we were going to be moving and whether the seller would still want to move! However, finally in May we started to see some movement and the completion was set for 26th June.

When we got here the house was disgusting. The previous owner had left it in such a state – piles of rubbish everywhere. Everything was disgusting and dirty. There was thick mould and maggots in the freezer, dog poo in the garden. I’ve honestly never known anything like it. We set to work cleaning and painting and made sure the girls’ room was ready for when they came. There is still a lot to do in the house but we are getting there slowly!!

We love Manchester and feel so glad that we moved here. The girls start school in three weeks and I think the routine is going to be great for us all. I can’t wait to see what life in Manchester has in store for us!

Deconstructing Christianity

I posted this on my Instagram a few weeks a go and I wanted to share it on here too. Anyone else been through deconstruction?

 

For the last little while I’ve been trying to come up with a way to say what I want to say without being judged. But I’m realising that I will be judged no matter what I say so I might as well just try and articulate my feelings the best way I can.
What I am going through is deeply personal and not something I feel I owe to anyone to share however I do feel as I have shared my faith lots on instagram and have people thinking I have “backslidden” or “fallen away” that it might be helpful or even interesting to some of my followers to read. Over the last few years I have undergone a huge shift in my beliefs, perspectives and core values. A process of dismantling everything I have been taught not to question over the past 15 or so years and rebuilding my faith based on what I truly believe. I no longer describe myself as a Christian. However, in many ways I have never felt closer to God.I no longer believe in lots of the staple parts of christianity as I’ve known it in the past. I’ve begun to have real doubts and questions and my research led me to realise I never knew the Bible or God as well as I thought I did. The more I studied, the less I knew. Questions created more questions. However, I feel close to God, I love God. I believe fully in Jesus and his divinity and seek to emulate him in all I do. However, I am realising that the gospel is more inclusive and radical than I ever imagined and that is what I want to base my life on. My views have altered and I imagine throughout my life they will continue to do so. I guess many would call me a “liberal” but I prefer not to label myself. This process of deconstruction has taught me so much and I’m not done yet. I know I will never fully walk away from church but I don’t know if I can fully go back in the way I used to again. But that is the beauty of this constant growth: change is inevitable and shouldn’t be feared. You may not agree with me, but I ask you to respect my views. We don’t need to fear people who relate to God in a different way than we do.

I want to clarify that I do not blame any singular person, church or organisation for the pain or hurt I’ve felt. Rather it is an amalgamation of the culture that has co-opted Jesus’ message and twisted it. I believe I have been put on this earth to love above all else and I will continue to do so. Some really helpful people to follow regarding all this: @evolvfaith @sarahbessey @byjeffchu @phildrysdale @nakedpastor

Dear Margot, on your fourth birthday

Dear Margot,

What a year its been! A completely different year than we expected but you’ve taken it all in your stride.

You are still the most sensitive soul- you adore people so much but you feel feelings big. You are so funny and are always making people laugh and you come out with the funniest things.

You love trying new things and you are really in to bike riding, scooting, playing tennis, football – just about anything! You love to help me with basically everything but most of the time it’s more of a hindrance – but since you’re so cute we let you get away with it!

You are so clever, you love drawing and writing and you are really good at both. You love being read to especially by grandma!

You love all the colours, all the animals, all the Disney princesses – very diplomatic! You also love singing so much and always ask me to put your music on in the car. You love taylor swift thanks to auntie Mary!

You are an early riser and often come in to our room in the morning and grab my phone and start taking photos of me asleep! You’re also super ticklish especially on the back of your neck!

You are one of a kind and bring sunshine wherever you go (also sometimes thunder storms)

Love you sooo much

All my love forever,

Mummy xxxxx

Dear Dorothy, on your fourth birthday

My little Dotty I truly cannot believe you are 4 years old!

You are still fiery but you’ve definitely mellowed a lot this year. You are a very easy going little girl who is eager to please.

You have the most incredible memory and we always say its your super power! You always say “I’m a good memberer arm I mummy?” In fact “arm I” instead of aren’t is one of our favourite little quirks about the way you speak. Also we love how you can’t pronounce “L” instead using a “Y” sound. It makes everything you say so cute.

You are boy crazy! You always choose a little blonde boy as your favourite character and always want to role play as the boy character. Every morning you announce what character you are that day “I’m super sonic today” and you really get in to character and we all have to refer to you as such!

You have such a brilliant imagination and love making up stories for us all to enjoy. You’re also still really good at independent play and you adore duplo and building blocks.

You have a huge passion for dancing and you’re always saying “hey look at my cool move” whilst you do some break dance style move!

You often lack confidence in yourself and say “I’m really rubbish at this” which is crazy because you’re good at basically everything!

You are fully obsessed with sweet food – particularly chocolate and ice cream! You love bargaining with us for how much you’re allowed! You always say you don’t like the food we cook but then you try it and enjoy it…but we go through the same thing every time!

You’re a definite water baby and you are also very mischievous… sometimes these two qualities don’t mix very well!

You are so excited to start school although you’re a bit nervous. I know you will really excel there and everyone will love you – everyone who meets you does!

Love you more each day.

All my love forever,

Mummy xxxxxx

The ‘C’ word

My dad has cancer.

Even writing those four words feels wrong. I’ve known for a few weeks but still saying it out loud feels alien. Cancer isn’t a thing people close to me get. Cancer is a distant, far away thing that a friend of a friend has. Or a family member of an acquaintance is going through chemotherapy. It isn’t something close to me.

Until it is.

Thankfully, the prognosis is good. My dad’s cancer, albeit aggressive, should be completely curable. It is going to take a lot of recovery and it will change his life but he will have a life. He will still be a husband, a dad and a grandpa for many more years.

Most of the time, I feel ok. I get on with life, I don’t worry because I know worrying doesn’t change anything.

Then every so often I hear those 4 words in my mind. And I think ‘shit’ and it hits me all over again.

 

Where are all the super girls?

My girls absolutely love superheroes. Its like their favourite thing at the moment, they’re Spiderman obsessed, they love PJ masks, Batman and Iron Man and are obsessed with being super heroes.

Josh and I have always made a conscious effort not to push stereotypes on the girls. They are growing up in an age where girls are increasingly more able to like and do whatever they want. When they’ve warmed to certain tv shows we’ve never assumed they’d like the girl characters best, we’ve just let them like what they like.

It has frustrated us over the years that there are often only token girls in tv shows. One girl, six boys or something like that. There is never a majority of girls and any paraphernalia in the ‘girls section’ is always that one token girl (like always Sky from paw patrol pyjamas etc.) and girls are never expected to prefer a boy character. So often we have bought them stuff from the boy’s section and not thought twice about it.

But recently, the girls have been saying more and more that they want to be boys. Not as in they are having a gender identity crisis, but more that they wish they were boys. To them, boys are cooler, boys have the best superpowers, boys are everywhere. 

It really got to me. I want the girls to be proud of who they are, proud to be strong, confident, passionate little girls. But they aren’t and they wish they were boys. Sure, they love Anna and Elsa like every kid but their favourites are superheroes and there just aren’t any super girls.

So, I tried to find female superheroes. I googled “top 10 female super heroes” and you know what came up? Hundreds and hundreds of articles with the title “top 10 sexiest female super heroes” or words to that effect. Great. So the only value that female super heroes have are how sexy they are to men. Exactly what I want to teach my daughters, not.

I loved the Wonder Woman movie a few years a go, she is a really awesome woman… but that’s a bit too grown up for the girls just yet. Same with Captain Marvel. I guess its good that there are a few new superheroes but its definitely not happening fast enough.

I never really thought about any of this stuff until I had daughters. But there was a moment in Avengers Endgame when all the female characters fought together and it gave me goosebumps. This is what our daughters need to see.

I don’t really know what to do moving forward, there aren’t really any female superheroes that exist in a form they would enjoy. But I guess being aware of it is the first step.

 

Dear Margot, on your third birthday

Dear Margot,

You are 3! Wow time sure flies when you’re having fun!

You have had some big changes this year, the biggest being starting nursery! It took you a while to warm up to going there and the drop offs always ended in tears but thankfully you love it there now!

You are a very sensitive soul and wear your heart on your sleeve. But it also means that you are incredibly caring and loving to people. You constantly seek approval and affection from people and enjoying helping and being kind. You often sit down next to me and daddy and say “so, how was work?” Which is so sweet!

You often have to copy whatever Dotty is doing and enjoy getting inspiration from her! You love playing imaginary games with your toys and doing funny voices for them. You can often me heard saying “oh my goodness me” and other cute little sayings you’ve picked up!

You love singing, your favourite songs are “let’s get down to business” from Mulan and also “Hold my girl” by George Ezra. You love beauty and the beast and your favourite colour is yellow.

You definitely have selective hearing and like not to listen to what we say! You also constantly say “I hungry” yet you are very fussy with what you will actually eat!

You are a very active little girl. You love running and swimming and you always want to be outside. Although often you say “I too hard to walk” when going up hills!

You are such a lovely, cuddly girl and enjoy snuggling up watching a movie in the afternoons.

Margot we love you so much and think you are amazing!

All my love forever,

Mummy xxx

Day 5 – Falmouth | West Cornwall Holiday with toddlers |

Day 5 and the final instalment of my series on our holiday in West Cornwall!

We packed up our caravan and headed to Falmouth as it was on the way back home. As soon as we arrived I fell in love. I know it sounds dorky but Falmouth is just so cool. I would absolutely love to live there and we had a look at houses but sadly they are WAY out of our league!

We headed to gyllyngvase beach to start with and the water was gorgeous. The beach cafe there is so great and Josh and I enjoyed chips from there … definitely would recommend.

After this we headed in to the town via the harbour. It was really gorgeous and all of us enjoyed having a look around … apart from.Dotty who slept through the whole thing!

After this we headed in to the town and got an iced coffee from Espressini which I would highly recommend. The town was gorgeous too and there were so many nice bars, restaurants and cafés dotted around. Unfortunately we’d massively blown our budget by this point and decided to head home.

What an amazing week we had!

Thanks for reading and I hope this gave you some inspo for future cornish trips!