Yesterday I went to Blackpool to BBC 5 Live’s Mum Takeover event. 400 mums got together to have the UK’s biggest conversation about Mums and their mental health. It was brilliant and so great to be part of the discussion.
It was hosted by Anna Foster from BBC 5 Live and then celebrity Mums Stacey Solomon, Rochelle Hulmes (I have a total girl crush on her!!) and Giovanna Fletcher did a fab job running round the Blackpool Circus room talking to various different mums about their journeys. There was also a panel of experts including Neev Spencer (broadcaster and DJ), Annie O’Leary (Chief Editor of NetMums), Clare Law (Blackpool Better Start) and Alain Gregoire (Perinatal Psychiatrist and Founder of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance) who were brilliant at relating the individual stories to a wider picture.
I also got my minute of fame live on the Radio which was fab. It was meant to be a 20 minute discussion but as happens with Live things, they tend to change last minute so it just ended up being a 5 minute chat. I was with 2 other Mums who were going to the event – Caroline, a stay at home mum/part time administrator who has 3 kids and Danielle, an employment lawyer specialising in maternity and pregnancy discrimination and we were there to talk about the challenges Mums (and Dads) face around work. I was there to give a bit of a balanced view that it’s not all bad out there and that some companies can make it work for Mums and let them compress hours or work part time.
My main argument, which I know that most of you will agree with is that if you treat a Mum with trust and give her a bit of flexibility in her role, then you will get an amazing worker. We can multitask like nothing on earth and with a supportive nudge in the right direction, we’ll fly. Some of us may work part time but we can do more in those 2, 3 or 4 days than you’ll ever understand!! The knowledge and experience some companies miss out on with not being flexible towards the working week must be utterly staggering…but that’s something I can go on about for an eternity!!
So the main three themes of the day were Lonliness, Work/Life Balance and Post Natal Depression and the three themes whilst almost look exclusive, were so interlinked it was brilliantly done. The lonliness linking to post natal depression is quite an obvious one but when coupled with the pressure of trying to balance everything in life. Whether it’s working as a company owner, an employee or as a stay at home mum (yes, definitely still work) it was amazing to hear that we all struggle to balance everything.
One of the main discussions which resonated with me most was the #mumguilt and the idea of trying to “have it all” or “do it all”. It was so nice to feel that I wasn’t alone in my thinking but the best bit that I will take away from yesterday was the brilliant discussion about what actually defines “having it all” – what is the “all”?. The all isn’t defined in any way shape or form and what some people have, others might now even want and vice versa. So maybe we all need to remember something and Annie at NetMums said it brilliantly – we all need to stop beating ourselves up about giving 100% because maybe 70% is the perfect goal – and maybe that is more than good enough!! We’ll see hey!
So head over to any social media channel and search the #mumtakeover and get involved in the conversation – this is just the start of it and I would love to see and hear your stories of personal battles, life “wins” that you want to shout about and general hints and tips which you’ve learnt along the way!