amy_ourcountrynurse_selfie

Who are you today, mummy?

Author and mum Amy Beeson shares her experiences of looking after a child over the summer holidays whilst launching a new book with workingmums

amy_takie_ava_themoathouse_ourcountrynurse

After publishing three books with HarperCollins, running my own business and doing the school run I’ve learnt that women maybe multitaskers but focusing on what you want to achieve most of all each day and feeling fulfilled by small achievements is what success looks like for me. Book sales and client wins are fantastic but they’re intangible and can sometimes leave you feeling a bit flat. Focusing on putting on a great book event one day and then making pancakes with my daughter the next morning feels more real than striving for an end goal since I left the corporate world.

The corporate world is playing catch up; they talk about flexible working but we’re actually doing it.

I did find pregnancy and the return to work challenging because becoming a mum changed me. It changed my relationship with work. I love my job but I’ve got at least three full time jobs (I’m a mum, an author and business owner) but I can’t be all three at the same time, not in the way I want to. I ask myself who am I right now? Over the holidays I was a mum all of the time and an author most of the time, because our new book Our Country Nurse was published and my daughter was off school. There wasn’t much space for client work but that’s OK because most of my clients were away.

For me the biggest challenge is still trying to be present in what I’m doing. Not letting mummy guilt creep in whilst I’m writing and not thinking about emails when I’m with my daughter. And it never gets any easier, it’s never going to not be busy. What I’ve discovered over the last few years is that I need to take responsibility for feeling in control.

I’ve learnt so much by connecting with other mums about what works for them and I’ve discovered that being great at your job doesn’t mean you have to work all the time. I work best in bursts of about two hours – I can get a lot done in those two hours! Then it makes complete sense to go for quick walk, eat something nice, or do some yoga – that’s not slacking; it’s giving my mind and body some sustenance so when I come back to do another two hour burst of writing or client consultations I’m at my optimum.

When you’re in an corporate environment most of the time you have to follow someone else’s rules whether they work for you or not. I get to take a fresh look at each day and ask myself what I need to achieve and how best to set myself up to succeed. Flexible working enables you to pick the time and place that means you always do your best work.

amy_ava_sarah_beeson_ourcountrynurse

My mum is probably the kindest colleague I’ll ever have. Whoever you work with be a kind boss to yourself.

Once my daughter’s in bed if I’m working towards something big I’ll do another few hours on the laptop but I don’t do that all the time because it’s not healthy. During the run up to Our Country Nurse coming out I was working till midnight and we’ve had lots of book events and PR to do.

My mum said to me, ‘Let’s enjoy this. Let’s not miss out the pleasure of seeing our book come out by letting all the thoughts of what we need to do spoilt it.’ Sarah is always the first person to tell me to not do too much. Sometimes that’s hard to hear because nothing just falls into your lap; it takes hard work, but you have to ask yourself would you expect the same of someone else? I might expect a colleague to do long hours when it was necessary but not very often, so I try not to expect more of myself than I would of others.

When I do have to work long hours I make a deal with myself that I can do this for a week but next week I’ll need to change things because otherwise I’ll burn out. Part of the joy of working for yourself is doing what fulfils you and that changes day by day. Most of all I want to feel happy, to me nowadays that is what success feels like.

SarahBeeson_OurCountryNurse_TwitterBanner_New

Amy Beeson runs Wordsby Communications and has a successful writing partnership with her mum Sarah Beeson MBE. Their new book Our Country Nurse is set in a country village in 1975 and is bursting with stories of mums journeys during pregnancy and motherhood.

book_backofcards

Can parents have great conversations?

By Amy Beeson

Quite a few of my friends and associates from different background are also Coaches. Although they’re incredibly supportive and insightful to talk to, they also don’t pull their punches from pointing out if the person who is holding me back from something is actually me.

When Mumsnet Babyfest connected us with Barefoot Coaching and suggested we check out their Coaching Cards for New Parents I messaged Coaching Friends to ask if they’d come across them. The resounding answer was “Yes, they’re amazing. I trained with them.” And I’m not a girl who asks for professionals opinions and then ignores them.

kindred spirits

kimmorgan_sarahbeeson_ourcountrynurse

Kim Morgan and Sarah Beeson

My mum and writing partner (Sarah Beeson MBE) and I were invited to a getting to know you breakfast with Kim Morgan the writer of Coaching Cards for New Parents and one the UK’s most esteemed business and personal coaches and her daughter Saira Aspinall who is the Marketing Director of Barefoot Coaching. When we met it was like we were old friends within minutes because we had so much in common on parenting, being working mums and mother and daughter teams. There was a lot of nodding, animated conversation and women’s laughter in the middle of the dining room of a central London hotel that morning.

Saira and I both have a background in marketing and publishing and are trying to balance the whole being good at my job and at being a good mum thing, and confessed that both of our mums’ (Sarah & Kim) were our 24/7 hotline to letting go of mummy guilt.

Kim and Sarah discovered they’d both been greatly influenced by Dr Mia Kellmer Pringle’s work on the emotional needs of children which shaped Sarah’s research for our parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Family. Kellmer Pringle is also a character in Our Country Nurse. 

We left with an advanced pack of Barefoot Coaching Cards For New Parents to take home and play with and couldn’t wait to see what each of the 50 cards within the pack suggested. Saira and Kim were invited to our launch party for our new book Our Country Nurse and it was great to spend more time with them there.

sarah beeson gives thumbs up for new parents coaching cards

untitled

Sarah and I looked at every card and picked out the top ten cards that resonated with us the most. We came to the conclusion that opportunities for romance may be few and far between with a new baby but trying to be kind to each other and not loosing sight that you’re a partnership as well as parents benefits everyone.

Parents could use Kim Morgan’s Coaching Cards to give themselves time and space to talk about  their lives and share all the lovely moments being a new parent has brought so far. They could also be a tool to start a discussion on any  issues you’re experiencing such as feelings of guilt and self-criticism or feeling under valued by your partner. You might pre-select a card or pick one at random and see where the conversation takes you.

Picking a calm moment and card or two to have an open and kind conversation about your thoughts and feelings since you’ve becoming parents and actively listening to your partner will help you to appreciate how much you’ve already grown as a family.
coaching-cards-new-parents_new-colour_36

Sarah’s favourite coaching card in the pack said, ‘What messages did you receive about yourself as a child? To what extent have these messages stuck with you or become true?’ It’s definitely a theme that runs through our parenting advice and novels. We gave away one of these cards to every reader who came to our book launches for Our Country Nurse and they agreed whoever you are, this question opens  up discussion about your past, present and future.

ASK YOUR PARTNER TO PICK A card

amy_takbir_ava_ourcountrynurse_poetrysociety

One evening I got our the pack of Coaching Cards and my husband Takbir and I took turns to pick one each at random. It did give me a opporutnity to talk about some issues I’d been bottling up but also it was good to listen to him. To consider how our very different childhoods are influencing our behaviour as parents and how our greatest strength is working together as a team.

It being the school holidays our daughter Ava had less strict bedtimes and soon wandered into our conversation. She took a turn to pick a card too and asked us questions and answered them herself about her own experiences. As a family it was a lovely way to spend some time together and I noticed we were all very present in the moment. All the devices were turned off and it was nice to have an open discussion about our lives and share in our happiest memories.

great gift for new parents

barefoot-coaching-010816-1823

Kim asked Sarah if she’d endorse the coaching cards which she did gladly. If you pick up a pack this is the quote you’ll see on the back.

“Using these cards to talk about the highs and lows of parenthood will be good  for you and your family.”
Sarah Beeson MBE, author of Happy Baby, Happy Family

Coaching Cards are designed to make honest, open conversation between new parents easier. They can be dipped into time and again, the cards can be used throughout the first year of parenthood and beyond into the toddler years. Easy to pick up and use, they make a great new baby gift if you’re shopping for a present for new parents or mums to be.

ABOUT BAREFOOT COACHING CARDS FOR NEW PARENTS

Coaching Cards for New Parents by Kim Morgan are available to Buy on Amazon. You can get more information on Barefoot’s Coaching Cards range at Barefootcoachingcards.co.uk and follow them on Twitter and Instagram @barefootcoachingcards.

amy_thearchers_jennimurray

Behind the Scenes of the BBC (The Archers, BBC Breakfast and BBC Radio 5 Live)

The new iPhone 7 has landed and thank heavens I had my (not new) iPhone on Sunday night because without it I wouldn’t have been able to video, photograph, tweet and navigate my way around Broadcasting House in an evening where I was listening live to The Archers down the pub with Dame Jenni Murray from Woman’s Hour for BBC Breakfast. Then me, Takbir and Ava went up to the studios to talk to Emma Barnett on BBC Radio 5 Live on the top news story of the week for The 5 Live Hit List. Amy x

BBC BREAKFAST

amy_ava_tak_thearchers

It was surreal and fabulous in be listening to the radio in the company of other Archers Fans in a cosy pub round the corner from BBC Broadcasting House. As well as me, Takbir and Ava there was Dame Jenny Murri (Woman’s Hour), Claire Cohen (The Telegraph), Lucy Freeman (Radio 4). Polly Neate (Woman’s Aid) and other fans including Sandra Paul, Ursula Knight, Mike Jones and Tom Middlehurst and young listener Annie.

the jury

thearchers_jury

We knew all along that Helen was innocent of course but it was rather fun and at times nail-biting to be giving our verdict on The Archers jurors which included Dame Eileen Atkins, Catherine Tate, Nigel Havers, Aimee-Ffion Edwards, Cerith Flinn, Tam Williams and Graham Seed who was formerly Nigel Pargetter in the long running radio soap.

FINAL EPISODE OF tHE ARCHERS TRIAL WEEK

amy_ava_tak_thearchers_itsrob

When we heard Rob Titchener talk to Helen at the end of the episode we all jumped. This is what an Archers fan’s face looks like when they hear his insidious tones. It was a fantastic experience, I hope I get to listen with other fans down the pub again. The hour-long special really kept us on the edge of our seats hoping that Helen would finally be set free.

DR WHO MAGIC AT BROADCASTING HOUSE

amy_ava_drwho

We then raced round the corner for my radio interview at the BBC. Ava skipped into the building (she’s been there before for my interview with Harriet Scott on being a working mum on BBC Radio London) but back then she slept through it in the buggy. Now she was eager to enjoy the sights of the Beeb especially the Tardis and Darlek from Dr Who (she does love that show).

INTERVIEW ON IPHONE 7 AND APPLE BRAND ON RADIO 5 LIVE

amy_radio5live

5 LIVE HIT LIST INTERVIEW

You can listen to the interview on the 5 Live Hit List on BBC iPlayer Radio with Emma Barnett, Elinor Mills (Editor The Sunday Times) and author and Wordsby Brand Consultant Amy Beeson. But here’s the highlights. (From 1 hour 46 minutes into the show).

Emma Barnett presents 5 Live’s rundown of the top 30 news, politics, sport and showbiz stories of the week that are making the biggest impact across social media and online. The No. 1 Story of the week shared online was the iPhone 7.

EMMA: It’s the iPhone 7 of course! The latest version was launched this week in San Francisco with the company’s decision to ditch the headphones and socket. Apple says the move was motivated by courage which has brought mixed reactions from many former iPhone fans…Whether you love it or hate it Apple is now arguably the biggest company in the world. The launch of a new iPhone is a major global event but what is it about the company that has given it an almost cultlike following. Elinor Mills is still with me and Amy Beeson who is a brand consultant and author who has been watching the launch for us this week and has more on the most expensive iPhone to date. So, Amy, wireless headphones was it a brave decision or a way to make more money?

AMY: It’s a really tricky question. When I heard about the socket and the headphones I immediately thought not again. I’m going to have to go out and buy all new accessories. My initial reaction was quite a negative reaction. Using  a word like “courage” for this move, as a writer was maybe not the word I would have chosen. I went on watched the actual ad and I remembered the guys and gals who developed it in San Francisco really hold the development of seamless technology in their core brand values. So, on the one hand do we need it? On the other hand, as a brand having seamless technology is the next evolutionary step of the iPhone. It is at such a premium price but Apple is not known as a cheap product.

EMMA: It’s not, it’s a luxury product.  Elinor Mills, when you’re looking at something like this coming out, it’s never on a Sunday these launches. It’s kinda not like any other tech launch is it?

ELINOR: I think it’s fascinating that it’s top of the list and we were all discussing in conference last week that we were going to have something on the iPhone 7 because we know everyone is interested. We know that’s because so many of us spend so much of our lives on these, it’s almost we spend more time with them than we do with our children and anything else, so I think people are very obsessive. On the headphone front I think it’s a disaster. The only way I can find my white headphones in my bag is by pulling the wires. Just two little tiny bits of plastic that sit in my ear I think I would lose them the whole time.

EMMA: You get can big headphones like we’re wearing too and they’ll be wireless.

ELINOR: I also think it’s weird in a brand way because the white headphones was so iconic it was in all their adverts. You’d have people in black with the white wire symbolising the iPod so I think that’s interesting because it maybe wireless technology but the wire they made a real fetish about.

EMMA: A big part of the Apple launches, Amy, are what Tim Cook the CEO has to say. It used to be Steve Jobs. What they seem like is important and him in a car with James Corden doing a bit of Carpool Karaoke to enter the stage. There has been criticism that since Steve Jobs passed away the brand has lost some it’s sheen. Where do you stand on that?

AMY: That’s very true. Where a brand is synonymous with a personality, like Virgin and Richard Branson, it definitely does some damage to the value of that brand. But Apple has never really strayed away from their core brand values that came with Think Different in 1997. Next year it’ll be 20 years since Steve Jobs launched that campaign and it set the bar for what brand is.

ELINOR: I think the problem is though that Apple haven’t really come up with anything new really since Steve Jobs went. He had already got in train the iPhone, iPods were a big success but you could argue that Samsung or those kind of people are doing more innovative stuff.

AMY: I think that’s because Apple have never been about new products, they’re reinventive. So, they’ve always taken someone else’s product and taken it to another level. They weren’t the first people to do MP3s but followed up with the iPod. They put the “I” into that technology, they make it their own and it’s very intuitive technology.

EMMA: There are conspiracy theories. I remember when I used to be a tech correspondent and Steve Jobs passed away there was this whole thing that he had left years of prototypes, that he had left years of what he wanted to come. So, do you think there’s a delay or do you think there’s nothing left in the tank?

ELINOR: I think they’ve run out.

EMMA: You think they have? Amy?

AMY: It’s really tricky. Are you a custodian of that brand or are you leading that brand? And which is worse and which is better? I really don’t know. Steve Jobs is an impossible person to follow, I wouldn’t want to have to do that.

EMMA: You wouldn’t want to have to do that? Now, how do you think people think about Apple apart from expensive?

AMY: Apple really has almost this rock star quality. When they release something like the iPhone 7 it made me think it almost has all the hype around it like Adele’s new album coming out. There’s all the build up towards it, it gets released and they’ll be people queuing up around the block to get one. I know for a fact from a branding point of view they look at music a lot in development. So, not only do we access music through our iPhones as a brand they really draw from music marketing.

ELINOR: I just wonder if the sheen’s coming off a bit? Because the products are really quite cool because Jobs had done them before he went but I don’t think they’ve really come up with anything new and a bit of wireless headphone isn’t really going to cut it. Where’s the new thing? Where’s the new iPad. His was all about creativity and design and giving us objects that we didn’t even know we wanted that would transform our lives in the way that we used technology. I don’t think they’ve had a game changer like that for a long time.

EMMA: The watch was meant to be a big moment wasn’t it?

ELINOR: That was a dud.

EMMA: I don’t see many people wearing them – it’s an anecdotal view. Technology is often very difficult to get right, we saw with Google Glass, somebody wearing something on their face as a glasses wearer that was never going to work out for me. Quick line on that Amy, the double lens camera does that feed into the culture of innovation at all?

AMY: It very key in how people want to use their iPhones. I don’t know how different it is, but in the way the iPhone has become integral in business and personal life it’s definitely going to make things better for them.

EMMA: Definitely going to make things better. Amy Beeson thank you very much for that. Elinor Mills as always a pleasure. That’s it from the 5 Live Hit List tonight.

END. You can listen to the interview 5 Live Hit List on BBC iPlayer Radio

AMY BEESON

Amy Beeson runs Wordsby Communications and has a successful writing partnership with her mum Sarah Beeson MBE. Their new book Our Country Nurse is set in a country village in 1975 and is bursting with stories of mums journeys during pregnancy and motherhood.

clip_kitchen_SB

Meeting Up With Balham Mums & Discovering Some New Natural & Organic Baby Products

It was lovely to meet new mums and their gorgeous babies at Natures Purest Balham this Autumn.

Author and Baby Expert Sarah Beeson (my mummy) gave the all mums one-to-one free confidential advice whilst Shop Owner Elizabeth and I served up tea and cake (and I had lots of cuddles with everyone’s baby and started to feel very broody).

Sarah signed copies of Happy Baby, Happy Family and The New Arrival Some of the mama’s bought copies for friends who were expecting as well as their own.

Organic Skincare

We met Jennifer Feltham founder of Mia & Dom Organic Skincare and became fans.   

I’ve started using the spearmint and lavender lip balm as part of my skincare routine and we’ve given the bottom balm to new mums to try out too (LO’s way past the nappy rash stage!)

I couldn’t resist doing a bit of shopping

Natures Purest is one of our go-to brands when buying new baby presents. I’ve got my eye on some Natures Knits blue baby bootees and a hat for a friend’s new arrival due this Christmas.

Whilst I was there, I couldn’t resist buying the Pure Love Bamboo Blanket and Greeting Card for another friend’s newborn baby. She said it was, “the softest blanket I’ve ever seen. He adores it.’ 

Always a pleasure taking some time out to talk to lovely mummies about their babies. Thanks Elizabeth for inviting us to your lovely shop filled with gentle natural products from Natures Purest. 

Amy x

Upcoming events

Find about events coming up with Sarah & Amy Beeson.

If you’ve got a question about your LO check out Ask Sarah or get in touch. Sarah Beeson is a former health visitor and author. She writes with her daughter Mumpreneur and writer Amy Beeson.

Making Mother-and-Daughter Paper Dolls for some Christmas Magic

We’ve booked to go to Poppy England Pop-Up Shop in Shoreditch this week (19-22 November) to try on some matching mother and daughter dresses. Before I had children that’s something I swore I’d never do, but LO just loves wearing the same colours, necklaces – whatever Mummy does, she wants to do too.

Sarah Beeson MBE author and baby expert (and my Mum) wrote a piece for Tesco Living this month on Christmas Shopping with Little Ones. She suggested getting a bit crafty by cutting pictures from the packet foods you regularly buy and creating a list of items your children will be responsible for finding when you’re there.

So that got me thinking…For LO and I to get the most out of the Poppy Christmas Party, why not choose the dresses we like ahead of time and make some paper dolls of ourselves. LO is a bit under the weather, so this morning seemed like a good time to get making things with paper, scissors, crayons and glue. And this is the result…

Our own Mother-and-Daughter Poppy England Paper Dolls – Tah-dah!

Poppy England Dolls on the bookcaseLO was a little tired so I tucked her up in bed. I was so surprised she started acting out going shopping with her mummy to try on dresses.

Imaginary Play

Poppy Paperdolls in BedThen she asked me to write out the beginning of the story on her blackboard.

Story-time

Poppy Paper Dolls StoryDiscovering new brands

When I’m not writing with my mum (The New Arrival and Your New Arrival:learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby) I’m working one-to-one with SMEs on passing on my communications know-how in branding and campaigns at Wordsby.

When I first saw the Poppy brand I was really struck with their creative flair. Storytelling through illustration, photography and dress-making is a niche I’m curious about. Clicking on their website and seeing this photo instantly converted me to wanting a dress to match my little girl’s

poppy  mother and daughter

 

It’s brand magic when people you know tell you about the bands they love

Since we published The New Arrival and went straight into the Amazon Charts, I’m always talking about the power of social media. I’d never heard of Poppy England until I saw Pippa from Story of Mum tweet this…

@StoryofMum “Another beach party, another excuse to wear our matching @poppyengland dresses!! I have no shame ;)”

Pippa Poppy

If it wasn’t for LO I don’t think I’d do much craft but sometimes it’s really lovely to get creative. That’s why I’ll be joining the mums for #SoMum tonight on Twitter (19/11/2014 8.30-10pm) @StoryOfMum. Connecting, sharing and taking some time to be creative and think about ourselves.

New Arrival book launch at Baron's CourtAbout Amy Beeson

Amy Beeson co-wrote The New Arrival with her mum Sarah Beeson MBE and runs Wordsby Communications. She works one-to-one with clients to share her creative know-how. Contact Amy to find out more about booking a FREE 1 Hour Consultation.

If you’re looking for a book with plenty of heart and imagination to wile away those long winter evenings – this is it!

By Amy Beeson

Being a working mum I don’t get to indulge my inner bookworm as much as I’d like, but I made reading The Story of Fester Cat by Paul Magrs a priority over the summer and it was an absolute joy.

I was lucky enough to be an Undergraduate at UEA when author Paul Magrs ran the Creative Writing course there. He is one of the contemporary writers I most admire so I was absolutely thrilled to be sent the manuscript of this memoir with a twist and I wasn’t disappointed.

fester cat book cover

The story is told by Fester, a toothless stray moggy who adopts Paul and his partner Jeremy. The opportunity to be, not a fly on the wall, but a cat in the lap, in this literary suburban home in Levenshulme had my neglected bibliophile purring like a kitten.

I took to reading it in the garden while my daughter played and our own cats stretched out in a shady spot, because seeing the world through Fester’s eyes reminded me how much pleasure there is to be had at home. I might have even given my cat the odd nibble of smoked salmon and a few more tickles in the special spot under the chin – Fester made me want to be a better person and cat owner.

paul and festerFester Cat and Paul Magrs

When Fester is taken to Mr Joe at the hairdressers (the vets) to be put to sleep he takes us back through his wondrous life with Paul and Jeremy and the tidbits of tales he has heard of their goings-on Pre-Fester Cat; they are a pair of dafties but he loves them. And I came to love them too, I especially enjoyed the tale of how they met in the cavernous disco at CC Blooms in Edinburgh and discovered that only a few hours earlier by some cosmic coincidence, Jeremy had by pure chance bought Paul’s first novel, only later to reveal he found in the bargain bin at Waterstones just six months after it’d been published!

The tenderness of this book nearly made me cry so many times, not because the cat was going to die but because this genius memoir is filled with a hundred small acts of kindness and love. Just like in his brilliant Brenda and Effie Mysteries, Paul Magrs takes the neglected creatures barely existing in the margins and cherishes them – turning them into heroes who show us what it is to be human.

I felt like I was part of Fester’s household; one of the guests at the feasts they host for friends with 1970s pop in the background; round the kitchen table playing board games at Christmas with a Smörgåsbord laid out; reading in the autumn sun with a scarf round my neck and a cup of hot coffee, lapping up a good mystery book; or best of all sitting on the sofa in the beach house wishing there was a spot for me to write along with them.

And talking of the beach house here’s a real treat for you…My little book worm, Ava, suggested Paul read from his new book Jackanory style from his writing hut. So put the kettle on and enjoy the Paul Magrs reading The Story of Fester Cat.

Screenshot Paul Magrs

 The Story of Fester Cat is available for pre-order on Kindle and in Paperback on Amazon. (Out 4 November 2014)

 

Amy Beeson co-wrote The New Arrival with her mum Sarah Beeson MBE and runs Wordsby Communications. She works one-to-one with clients to share her creative know-how.

On maternity leave and thinking I want to work but I don’t want to go back to the office? So did I.

MLI-19-Amy-BeesonIt was great talking to Soozi Baggs from Maternity Leavers about how having time out of the office with LO changed what I wanted from my work life in this free podcast.

Are you thinking of becoming a Mumpreneur?

Are you on maternity leave? Or did you have a change of direction after becoming a mum?

Share your story on Facebook or tweet @NewArrivalBook or @Amyibeeson.

your personal brandContact Amy

Amy co-wrote The New Arrival with her mum Sarah Beeson MBE and runs Wordsby Communications. She works one-to-one with clients to share her creative know-how.

To find out more or to book a free 1 hour consultation contact Amy today.

 

 

 

 

Is Mumpreneur a dirty word? Five pearls of wisdom for mums who want to run a business from home

Over the weekend I was featured in an article in The Telegraph on the ‘Rise of the Mumpreneur.’ Here’s what I had to say:

‘Childcare is a huge expense, but setting up a business is a struggle, too’

Amy Beeson, 32, from west London, is mother to two-year-old Ava. After leaving her job in communications for maternity leave in 2011, she decided to spend her time at home co-writing a book with her mother [Sarah Beeson MBE].

It wasn’t straightforward: before the book, The New Arrival, was picked up by a publishing agency [HarperCollins], she had to return to work. Only now has she decided to stay at home working full-time for her business, Wordsby Communications. “Working from home and becoming your own boss is empowering but it can be financially difficult,” she said. “While going to work and paying for childcare is a huge expense, starting up your own business from home means you are likely to struggle financially to begin with as well, so it is important that mothers enjoy the business they are starting up and are able to be adaptable.”’

Telegraph MumrepeurWho am I?

Six months after returning to work from maternity leave I waved goodbye to my full-time Communications Civil Service job after getting a three book deal with HarperCollins to co-write two memoirs and a parenting book with my mum, Sarah Beeson. I started up Wordsby Communications at the beginning of 2013 which provides communications, design, writing and branding services. Our first memoir ‘The New Arrival’ is a top-selling book and tells the heart-warming story of a trainee nurse in 1970s London. Working from home gives me the flexibility to do a job I love and take care of our Little One.

So, some days I’m doing what Reviewers have called “beautifully written and moving memoir” and others I’m developing brand language for Kali Theatre Company or a new brand for Notting Hill Vets. Life as my own boss is certainly never dull. It’s full of highs and lows but it feels like I am living my life.

Mumpreneur?

The label “Mumpreneur” causes ontroversy. The first time I had it applied to me was when I was asked to tell My Mum Story by Pippa Best at Story of Mum, she told me it was great to have a Mumpreneur’s story. I thought that’s not who I am. Yes, I’m a mum but I just work freelance and run a small Creative Communications business Wordsby. I’m hardly Alan Sugar or Richard Branson material.

To some “Mumpreneur” is a dirty word but for me in a world of hashtags I now see it as a tool. Because in social media words are tools. Find the right word and it will open up your digital world to networks and communities, fans, friends, peers and clients; and if you work from home it’s a lifeline.

The hashtags I most often use are #Freelance #Copywriter #London but the support and opportunities I’ve discovered by connecting with other women (often mums) on twitter constantly amazes me. When we have our #TheNewArrival #Twitterparty and #Quiz I just love the community of readers who gather together – it makes writing and communications a two-way street and that’s so much more rewarding than broadcast media. #Mumpreneur is just a tool to make connections in a world filled with buzz.

Here are my five Top Tips for mums who want to be their own boss and look after young children.

1. If you don’t value yourself no-one else will.

A lot of people out there want something for nothing. Know what you’re worth and be confident and clear about what you are offering. I regularly trade services with other mums in business where we are each getting something out of it, but don’t let people pick your brains for the price of a coffee.

2. You can’t do everything.

I bring writing skills, creativity, energy and serious graft to any project. When you run your own business time is money and for me doing my own accounts is a false economy. I use an e-accountancy service called Crunch meaning I don’t waste those precious working hours trying to work out my own tax.

3. Be realistic about what you can achieve in a day.

Most mums could run military operations they’re so organised. Flexibility, reacting positively and proactively to change and planning ahead – no problem! Transfer those skills to your business and you’ve got a winning formula. But most women are very hard on themselves – we put enormous pressure on ourselves to be great at work, as a mum, as a partner, to be a domestic goddess and look well-groomed and in control. If you can achieve 2-3 of these things in one day – you’re a superstar!

4. Do something you love.

Running your own business means working whenever and wherever you can. To find the energy to do that, your business needs to be something you love doing. It’s unlikely you’re going to strike it rich straight away and there will be times when it’s nail-biting, that’s why it’s got to be something you really want to do.

5. Be kind to yourself

Getting a little R&R for yourself is usually the toughest challenge for any mum but it’s essential. Your children and your business depend on your well-being, so be a good boss and give yourself a break, whether that’s going to the gym, a movie or the night-off from dinner and bedtime. It’s amazing the boost just having an hour or two to yourself can give you.

London Writer and Communications Strategist would like to meet…

  • New Clients. To work on copy, creative content, brand development and communications.
  • Account Manager. I would love to meet another “Mumpreneur” who would like to be her own boss and work with me to win new business and manage client relationships and projects.

Email amyibeeson@gmail.com

 

To work or be at home? Talking motherhood with Harriet Scott on BBC London 94.9

I was very excited to be asked to join Radio DJ Harriet Scott and Olympic Gold Medalist Anna Watkins on BBC London 96.4 to talk about going back to work after having a baby. In truth, I was slightly star struck to chat feeding, sleeping and shopping with an Olympian and her lovely baby William in the Green Room at Broadcasting House while a very obliging Ava slept in her buggy because I didn’t have any childcare.

You can Listen Again to the interview and here are a few of the highlights from what I had to say on my working life after having a baby.

20130403-225022.jpg

“I’d changed as person during maternity leave…”

I was due to go back to work when my daughter was a year old. I did go back to work but I only stayed in my job in the Civil Service for six months because I definitely felt that I’d changed as person during maternity leave in what I wanted from work and what I wanted from family life. If anything I think I was a bit braver. I’ve always written but before I had a baby I needed the cushion of having that monthly paycheque.

“We didn’t get the book deal offer until three days after I handed in my notice.”

It was a real gamble leaving work. During my maternity leave I wrote a baby book with my mum [Sarah Beeson MBE], it’s a first year guide to a baby’s first year which will be published in 2015. We got an offer for the book from HarperCollins for that and two memoirs of my mum’s life [‘The New Arrival’ out on 27 March and ‘She’s Arrived!’ out later this year]. Which was amazing but, we didn’t get the book deal offer until three days after I handed in my notice. So, I’d definitely reached a point where I felt we had an amazing Nanny, she was doing an amazing job but I wanted to be the one painting with my child, I wanted to be the one taking her to the Science Museum. I didn’t want it to be somebody else.

And was very difficult. I worried about how we were going to pay the mortgage, even now it’s nail biting month after month but I feel more like myself when I am home with my daughter, writing which is a big part of who I am, rather than being away from seven in the morning until seven at night just to pay a Nanny and to pay the bills and keep my career going so we could have that comfort zone.

Amy opens up The New Arrival

Amy reading The New Arrival

Being a good parent isn’t easy

I don’t think any decision you make as a good parent is easy. Parenting isn’t about quick easy decisions – it’s about doing what you think is right for your child, and your family and yourself within the parameters you have. Finance really impacts on that. I think people’s expectations impact as well. I had a daughter, I didn’t want to send her the message that women just give up work when they have children, but I think if women do want to be at home with their children they should be supported.

There’s not a one-size fits all solution to childcare

What’s really sad is when it’s divisive and it’s Working Mothers versus Stay at Home Mothers. Actually, they’re all just doing their damndest and what they really need, and what all parents need is more support – whether that’s Wrap-around care or maybe more women should be enabled to work part-time which means Wrap-around care isn’t the answer. There needs to be more flexibility in the provision, it’s not a one-size fits all solution.

With our Nanny, she was really lovely and I spent the last two weeks of my Maternity Leave working with her side by side so the transition would be easier for my child and easier for the nanny. And in some respects that was a sacrifice but I think it did make a big difference and we always treated our nanny Elizabeth as part of our family, and even now we don’t have her anymore because I can’t afford it and because it seems like a bit of luxury when I’m only working part-time, she still comes and sees Ava all the time.

And for us it was cheaper to have a nanny than it was to have a nursery. London Nurseries are off the scale in how expensive they are so I worked compressed hours to afford childcare. I used to get in at eight in the morning and work solidly until six at night, and I did feel pressure to show that I was working when I returned to work. You feel like you almost have to demonstrate that you can still do your job.

Mums are so organised they could run military operations

I’ve found since I’ve become a mother that I’m so organised, I could run military operations I’m so organised, to get here today even. If you look at most women and dads, they are balancing a lot. One of the reasons our life works is that my partner is incredibly supportive. Everyday there is a lot of variables, and all you can do as a parent is influence what’s happening – you give up control when you become a parent. You cannot control the outcome of every situation, you just hope it works out – my child is asleep right now, I’ve walked round London Zoo all day to make that happen.

Ava at London Zoo

Ava at London Zoo

“It’s very political having babies”

I felt when I went back to work it’s like everybody jabs your wound, asking you if you’re missing them. You just want to say, ‘Yes, I do. Can you just be quiet!’ And everybody constantly asking you if you are having another baby, implying that’ll you be off again on Maternity Leave soon – people used to say that to me as a joke and I used to not find it funny. It’s none of their business. It’s very political having babies, it’s almost like you become public property in the things people assume about you.

You can listen again to the interview on the BBC website. The New Arrival by Sarah [and Amy] Beeson is available for pre-order in paperback and Kindle. Amy Beeson works as a Freelance copywriter through her limited company Wordsby.

Since you became a mum what’s your biggest fear?

Amy story of mumSince becoming a mum and going freelance I regularly find myself walking into a room of women I don’t know who are also mothers. What to wear? What time to arrive? Will anyone talk to me? It’s like being the new girl at school.

A huge amount of social engagement is now conducted online. Everyday, I’m chatting away on Facebook, Twitter and blogs. So venturing out into the real world sometimes is a wee bit scary.

When Pippa from Story of Mum asked me to come and share my story at The Photographers Gallery I immediately said yes. Making the video was a piece of cake – I am married to a video editor after all; and the great things about video is you don’t have to face your audience. Standing up in a room full of strangers is another matter!

When I get the wobbles before a mums event I remember my friend Katie saying at the beginning of 2013, “What’s to be scared of? They’re just women; we like women don’t we?’ Katie is the same friend who told me to ‘Stop shilly-shallying,’ when I was trying to decide whether to go freelance. The woman speaks her mind.

The thing is when you have a baby you go out less. I get tipsy more easily and need to get home before I turn into a pumpkin. But going out is good. It’s nice to be a person (empty out the nappies, raisins and calpol sachets from my handbag and replace them with lipstick, powder and cab fare home). It is liberating being with other women; sharing experience can be really powerful. Together women are natural creators; they make things happen.

I just love hearing other women’s stories and it’s nice when people listen to mine too. I now realise it’s good to say yes and normal to feel apprehensive. When I told friends about my Story of Mum video and being asked to speak at the event I kept saying, ‘I don’t know why they’ve asked me.’ Maybe what I should have said was, ‘I’m really glad they asked me!’

And though my live performance of telling my story wasn’t as safe or polished as the video I made for the exhibition, I’m really glad I did it. Thank you so much Pippa for creating Story of Mum and making me and hundreds of other mums part of something special. It’s been a blast.

Tell me, tell me, tell me…which video do you prefer?

Do you like the pre-recorded version? (watch the video for a treat)

OR

Me telling my story live? (watch the live recording if you dare)

Is there something about a real life experience that connects us in ways that the virtual world can’t? (I do realise the irony of asking this online, I do, I really do!) Please comment, tweet, email etc and let me know what you think?

Do you find going to mums events and groups a bit scary too? Are you glad when you make the effort to go out into the real world?

One thing I’m super excited about is The New Arrival coming out and all the amazing women me and my mum are going to meet. Bring on 27 March 2014!

Amy sharing story

Featured are some of the photos of me and the other intrepid mums who came, shared and created. Photos by Pat Kelman Photography.