I am big supporter of Mums the Word Online, which was a business started by sisters, Laura and Natalie from Tunbridge Wells. I understand the commitment it takes to start a business as I've gone through it myself. It's never easy. These ladies have worked incredibly hard to create a truly successful events company for themselves. With a wealth of experience in PR and events (over 25 years of experience between them), it’s no wonder they have become so successful so soon.
In the last two years, I’ve been in a fortunate position to watch Mums the Word Online grow organically and now, every time they host an event - it's an usually a sell out within twenty-four hours. So, if you are thinking of coming to one of their future events, you will need to have fast fingers on your smartphone! We often talk about women supporting women, so if you 're not following Mums the Word Online through their social media platforms - please do!
I was invited by PG Tips to their most recent Mamas Meet Up last week, who kindly supported their event. The guest speaker was no other than the very lovely Clemmie Hooper, also known as Mother of Daughters through the tiny squares of Instagram. With nearly half a million followers on her own Instagram account, Clemmie uses her social platform to share her knowledge, passion and training as a midwife, her views on motherhood and raising four daughters. Many circles regard her as one of the highest-ranking parenting digital influencers in the UK.
Her message is clear - to help mothers have a positive childbirth aswell as using her influence to discuss some big topics including body confidence and body positivity. She's just written a fantastic, honest piece for June's edition of Red Magazine on this topic, so if you are picking up a magazine from the supermarket this week, please make sure you buy a copy of Red. It's a fabulous read!
Last year, Clemmie expanded her blog Gas & Air into a pregnancy bible, How to Grow a Baby – And Push It Out. In Spring 2018, she has just now just published her second book. Should I mention that she is only 33? She’s had four beautiful girls and written two books. Goodness knows how many babies she has delivered too. She’s one inspiration lady.
At the toddler friendly event held at East Quay venue in Whitstable, Clemmie spoke about how she juggles her work and home-life. It was clear to see how important her midwifery work is for her and how keen she is for her children to grow up with a strong work ethic. She spoke about her second book 'How to grow a baby Journal', which is a beautifully illustrated journal where you can capture the highs, lows (and everything in between) of your pregnancy journey week by week. Whether it's recording where and when you found out you were pregnant or what happened that first night you spent with your newborn, remembering which breast you last fed on and so on.
Clemmie admitted having a love for stationary (I’m a self confessed stationary addict too). Is there some kind of recovery group for stationary addicts? It is costing me a fortunate in Oliver Bonas and Liberty! I hope I wasn’t the only one in the room to admire the beautiful detail of the book cover. I am in love with the book already and I’m not even expecting a baby!
Over one hundred women (plus babies) turned up for this event. The room was buzzing with friendly, like-minded women and mothers. It was wonderful. I love how the power of social media can be used to bring people together in this way.
I took the opportunity to ask Clemmie how she manages ‘mum guilt’ or had she learned how to push it to one side over the years? She loved the question and replied by letting me know that she follows me on Instagram (I think I blushed). She then put the same question to her own mum (who was in the audience), who answered by saying that ‘oh yes! Mum guilt. It never really goes away”. How true was that? Clemmie mentioned that children often have a way of making you feel guilty about something, for example if we miss one of their PE games or similar, but it’s so difficult to be there all the time, especially if you work too. Sometimes we even feel guilty going to a MacDonalds 'drive-thru' because we are just too damn tired to cook tea. Can we ever get rid of the guilt?
On a final note, we talked about balance. I openly admitted that I don’t think any of us have true balance. I feel like I’m tipping all the time and I’m unsure how to stabilise it. Clemmie mentioned that when she’s at work, she’s focused on getting the job done and that weekends, like for most of us are special days and have become incredibly sacred. Now living in Kent, the Hooper family love to spend time on the beach. Clemmie laughed and said “We love to go to the beach. Do you ever see kids arguing on the beach? Never. No one argues on the beach. There’s enough stones and buckets to keep everyone happy”.
And in summary, we all need to let guilt wash over us a little bit - just like the tide. Mum guilt never really ever goes away but as Clemmie's mum eluded to, we all just get a little better at coping with it.
Check out more events at Mums The Word Online
Buy Clemmie Hooper's latest book here or pick up a copy from your local book store.
Photo credits to Lisa Emanuel Photography.