I managed to juggle family life and working while studying to become a social media manager completing a Digital Mums course

Digital Mums? What’s she banging on about now? Read on and I’ll tell you about the time I retrained as a social media manager with a course especially aimed as mums looking to study around family and work.

It all began one late summer evening……….

So there I was wondering how I was going to take my social media skills to a new level step on yet another switch on the career path. Despite spending most of my thirties studying for an Open University degree and finding a dream job I got itchy fingers and something didn’t feel right. A new baby meant when I went returned to work I’d be juggling jobs, childcare and mum guilt, I just couldn’t see it all panning out right and beside, blogging was fast becoming an even better dream job which I could do it around naps and in the evening.

Along with blogging came a little knowledge about social media, it goes part the parcel and the more I blogged the more I learnt, but it’s a fast paced world and I had a thirst for knowledge. I needed to find out more, really get my head around it then along came Digital Mums with a cup full of that knowledge and some. Blogging’s great but it’s not a steady income, retraining as a social media manager would fill that steady income gap I needed, and as a single mum to three kids, I needed that steady income more than ever.

I signed up, took the interview and the rest is history.

if you're looking to make your business more environmentally friendly then why not consider running a paperless office? Starting with my own small

‘Cause history is what’s already happened, right? 6 intense months of history in the making, studying as a social media manager on the Digital mums community manager course, my history in the making.

I’m not going to lie to you, it was tough.

Not only did I have personal stuff bobbing along in the back ground. I was now chief in charge of EVERYTHING at home. By day I was mum, doing mum stuff, house stuff, keeping fit stuff so I didn’t get ill, (getting ill just isn’t an option) and by night I was Ali the Digital Mum student and Mum in a Nutshell the blogger.

For 6 months there’s been a long stream of burning the candles at both ends and panic rants to my mum.

Along with the reading, (all on-line luckily, I have a dodgy knack of putting anything paper in the log burner, homework included) I had a weekly Google Hangout with my Social Sisters tutor group, definitely the highlight of the course. Online learning can be pretty lonely when it’s just you and a laptop, but with those ladies it all felt real and when the going got tough, we spurned each other on.

Then came the campaign, and that was when life got exciting.

Suddenly it all became real and everything I learnt put into practice as I grabbed social media by the horns and rode that bad boy through a full on round of social media-ing the pants out of east Devon. I tweeted, grammed and Facebooked within an inch of social media’s life. My phone glued to my hand as I tried to kick my targets into touch. It was hardcore live learning and I loved it!

Sure, there were moments when I was spinning so many plates, I contemplated whether I’d bitten off more that I could chew, but this was a social media course aimed at mums, created my mums who knew exactly what their students (who were mums) would be juggling.

The struggle was real but knowing I was riding it out with women all in the same boat as me took the edge off. I wasn’t the only one working, studying and mum-ing at the same time and when you see everyone else managing it you realise it’s not such a struggle after all, it’s simply a case of being box clever with your time.

And I did it….still here to tell the tale of ‘the time I became a Digital Mum’ ready to set out on an exciting career managing social media from the comfort of my kitchen table/sofa/bed/

The commute doesn’t get more perfect and my co workers a dream.

I managed to juggle family life and working while studying to become a social media manager completing a Digital Mum course

If you’re a small business looking for a social media manager please do get in touch or pop over to my website for more information (click here)

Follow:
Share:

what happened when I took a digital detox

I’ll put my hands up to once being in the camp of social media hater. I knew I should  join the masses, but I hated the idea of the intrusion. Why should I be sharing my new happy, little life with people I didn’t particularly know very well anymore?

It just didn’t sit too well.

Don’t get me wrong, there were many old friends who I loved catching up with, poking, liking, private messaging old times.  But there were also the ones who could barely muster a glance, let alone a smile or courtesy “hello” in public yet here they were, having complete access to the ins-and-outs of the nitty gritty, I or anyone who tagged me, decided to share.

They’d know where I’d been on holiday and whatever mood I was in without even having to waste breathing space in my general direction. And that was wrong, in my eyes, wrong.

Call me picky, but I just didn’t see how having a bulging Facebook friends list was going to make my life any better. And don’t even get me started on Twitter. All I knew was that someone had insulted Stephen Fry (his tweets were boring, apparently) so he’d taken umbrage and left.

But surely if Stephen Fry couldn’t hack the Twitter pace, there was no way simple old, not very exciting me, was going to risk it!

Yet here I am with my handles and profile photos, living the social media life as all that changed as I slowly  realised I could hold the virtual reins in the social media stratosphere. That for my blog and soon my business to succeed I needed to venture in with both eyes open and embrace this ever evolving world.

A world where pretty soon I wouldn’t even need to stroll down to the newsagent to buy a magazine, as I could find out all about the latest must-have products  at the touch of a finger tip, Pretty soon, my recreational and research reading was all online.

Even soap operas took a step out of my evening’s entertainment, I had my own reality show here, online. A morbid urge to pry and indulge the gossip all there, for my viewing pleasure.Friend or celeb, I could hear it all, whenever, and however I pleased.

And despite being in what could-have been a very lonely position on maternity leave as I left friends and colleagues behind, it was quite the opposite. Instead I  had access to a community of like-minded people, day and night.

This digital world wasn’t shaping up to badly after all.

I was hooked as my world would become more and more digital. I’d socialize, bank, work, take photos, share photos, research, plan, watch and shop all from the comfort of my friend, my companion, my iPhone.

And that’s when it hit me, my life was being played out in silence, over a screen. I’d become so absorbed in this lifestyle which I’d once tried to resist, that I was missing the real life. I’d watch fireworks through a lens instead of just enjoying them, my quest for preserving that feeling for ever was lost and the reality was I’d never really been part of that feeling in the first place.

So I took a digital detox.

A 4 days, 4 nights, no iPhone, no laptop, no social media digital detox.

The first day was easy. I was hitting the ground running while stressed to hilt. Any moments free, where I would normally reach for my phone were pushed aside.

I needed a break, I must have a break, I will have a break.

I played games with my son, kept myself busy and reminded myself that all would not be lost if I didn’t Instagram that really cute photo. hash tag or no hash tag. I will not pick up that phone.

the time I took a digital detox, a complete break from social media and the laptop. see how I got on here;

Day two came and went, I’d completely de-stressed. I even sat and watched the trees blowing in the wind. (not done that without the urge to reach for my phone and photograph it in a long time) in tranquility, I gathered my thoughts and noticed how much slower my mind now seemed.

For the first time in years I wasn’t racing round in my head with a list of to-dos. It felt nice. And oddly I had no interest in seeing what everyone else in Facebook world was up to.

It felt really, really nice. Liberating almost.

By day three I was there; The calm, digital free world I’d planned for. My fingers had lost their familiar ache and I had no desire to share anything with anyone, ever again. I’d gathered my thoughts and calmed my mind. I’d rebooted ‘me’.

Then I lapsed. One momentary, lapse. A photo which, ironically, represented the freedom and unplugged moment I was living, and I shared it. I wanted everyone to know I was still here, not forgotten, just chilled. Why I needed to  share escapes me, more boredom than anything I suspect. My calm mind was now boring me and I needed connecting. Or distracting, that’s what I needed, distracting.

So I wrote, with a real pen and paper, I wrote. I’m a writer, a blogger, by trade. It’s where I dump my thoughts to make space for the new ones and so I needed to transfer the calm, gentle thoughts I now had floating in my head somewhere. Instinctively I reached for my phone, just like I do any other time I have a moment free.

87 Facebook and 20+ Twitter notifications, 112 emails.

And I caved. not spectacularly, more a slippery slope. Those numbers glaring at me, beckoning me into see what lay beneath.

And that was the end of my digital detox. 2 days, 2 nights and a smidge of a morning. But in that short space of time I had time to think, time to breath and time to appreciate the world around me,

As it was, in high-definition.

In real-time.

what happened when I took a digital detox

 

Follow:
Share:

my son loves the Teletubbies, just like his oldest brother did too, I'm not sure what it is about those 4 crazy characters but it sure does lure the kids in!

I’m going to share a little tip with you, a little thing I’ve picked up over the years and something which many parents so but some will not admit. Intrigued?

Many, many years ago, 16 to be precise, I cradled my newborn baby in my arms and had an idea of the mum I was going to be. I’d seen a few people already raise babies and toddlers the couple of years previous to this pinnacle moment and I had formed an ‘opinion’ I was firm in my belief in what I was and wasn’t going to do.

One of which was to use the TV as a baby sitter. No, not me, I was NEVER going to sit my toddler in front of a screen and watch drivel which I got on a did other things. Not ever, ever, cross my heart and hope to die. I would spend all day playing, crafting and magical fairies would fly around me cleaning my house, answering the phone, keeping on top of family finances and landscaping my garden.

And then I woke up.

 

Seriously, what was I thinking? Pretty soon, a chance lazy morning and I flicked over to CBeebies when the Teletubbies were on. My son, my 18 month old lively and inquisitive son was mesmerised so we sat down and watched it together. I soon realised that there seriously is no harm in letting them find a favourite TV programme and those fairies would never turn up.

Watching Teletubbies soon became my saviour in calming my lively boy down, he rarely sat still for anything else, and bought me 15 or so minutes to get ready in the morning or do the daily household chores. I started to plan my day around it, 8.50am if my memory serves me right?

my son loves the Teletubbies, just like his oldest brother did too, I'm not sure what it is about those 4 crazy characters but it sure does lure the kids in!

Then the strangest thing happened.

15 years later and I was back in the same position again only this time my toddler was even livelier and I was a now a work from home mum of three with a super busy lifestyle. I needed something which would calm my crazy toddler so I reached for the iPad, downloaded BBC iplayer and searched out the familiar bright coloured TV characters once again.

Tinky Winky, Dipsy, LaLa, Po. It was time, time to meet again, your services were required. Operation Toddler was ready for the off.

I’m not sure if it’s genetic and I am a little convinced its got hypnotic messages but my boy who showed no interest in anything for longer than a minute or so was transfixed. The new style show meant I wasn’t tearing my hair out at watching repeat performances and more than anything, more than any other positive which came out of allowing the Teletubbies back into my life,

was the smile which beams from my cheeky toddlers face when it starts.

While the rest of the house breathes a huge sigh of relief for 10 minutes.

 

Disclaimer

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity

Follow:
Share:

I’d like to share a little secret with you. Please don’t tell anyone else, it’s just between you, me and these four walls. I’m getting a little help with the weekly shop. It’s not that I’m too posh to shop, far from it, it’s just I got bored. Bored with cooking the same boring old meals as I simply don’t have the time or imagination to sit down a plough through my dusty collection of cook books. So after a very kind friend saw my foodie plight, she offered me her Hello Fresh delivery voucher.

The rest is history.

I can write off a whole morning driving to the shops, walking round the supermarket, and coming home to unload and pack away. Time it wrong and I’m chasing round a mischievous toddler who refuses to sit in the trolly who then falls asleep in the car, depriving me of my golden hour of work time. And my culinary imagination is non-existent. As sole vegetarian in the house, I was just omitting the meat from family meals or replacing it with a bean burger. Bean burgers are nice, just not 4 times a week.

Then my family decided to join me on a clean eating mission but we needed a sure-fire plan to make this life switch a success. Knowing that previous attempts have lasted a few days and our fridge of healthy food has been neglected in favour of quick to prepare meals. Not this time, we were doing it properly.

Hello Fresh is a weekly meal subscription service. You sign up to the meals you fancy; family, classic or vegetarian. How many people it’s for and how many meals you’d like. It’s all managed online and the best thing is that you can pause your deliveries easily through your online account if you’re going on holiday or have a busy week coming up. You just need to do it a week in advance.

Each delivery comes in a large cardboard box, insulated with natural wadding and with ice filled plastic cool bags. And everything you need is there, right My initial worry was that there wouldn’t be enough but that simply wasn’t the case.

making family life as a busy working mum so much easier with Hello fresh boxes!

Our first box arrived containing ingredients for mushroom panzanella salad with mozzarella and caramelised onion which was every inch as fabulous as it sounds and even better, I cooked it! The following evening I came home to find Daz cooking up paella de verdurous de tempered con frijoles (seasonal veggie paella! with the music cranked up all the ingredients spread out infant of him, he was definitely more Jay Kay than Gordon Ramsey, finding the recipe card super easy to follow and producing a restaurant worthy family meal.

It was never my intention to share our Hello Fresh experience on here but I am so impressed with how it’s changed our meal times for the better, not to mention simplifying family life by taking the headache out of deciding what to cook and then shopping for them that I thought it would be wrong to keep it all to myself!  making family life as a busy working mum so much easier with Hello fresh boxes!

 

Follow:
Share:

I'm a mumprenkeur and this is my story, a business owning blogger as well as mum of 3 boys

It’s coming up to a year since I left the workplace and started life as a mumpreneur. That’s 12 whole months of a daily commute from my bed to the sofa and now my multipurpose desk.

12 months of one woman planning meetings

12 months of late nights and early mornings

And d’you know what? I’ve loved every cotton picking minute of it!

I’ve given it my all and managed to make working from home a success.  I knew I’d come to a natural end in my previous job, I’d lost my mojo  and was dreading my maternity leave ending. Knowing it wasn’t just the thought of leaving my boy, I had an opportunity to trust my instincts so weighing up the pros and cons, my mantra became

you just don’t know until you try it

Having a back up plan

Now don’t go thinking this lady’s a serious risk taker, I always have plan B! With a family to support and mortgage to pay I have to play safe with my big ideas as well as making sure I have the full backing of those closest. The tipping point to my latest adventure was the desire to be at home with my family, see my boy grow up as I’d done with his older brothers and not have the stress of arranging childcare (and paying for it.)

And I’m not alone, I recently stumbled upon a story in the Telegraph dated  back to April 2014 and titled the ‘Rise of the mumpreneurs‘ It told how the rise in childcare costs meant more and more mums were considering becoming their own boss or mumpreneur

– a stay-at-home mother who keeps one eye on the children and another on a fledgling business.

So I handed in my notice in and joined the mumpreneur army. My renewed enthusiasm for ambition and desire for success giving me the kick I needed to get things off the ground.  First off, was to rekindled a personal blog, initially  to keep my mind busy in the fog of new baby days, but I soon realised that I could actually make a living doing something I’d come to love.

I'm happy to shout about being a mumpreneur, turning blogging into a business while working around my family. It's not an easy option by any ,means but is a lifestyle choice I will never regret

My sensible head knew I needed a steady income as  my ‘bread and butter’ so set up a business which I could use my professional training and experience. I had short term and long term goals. If you’re embarking on a new business you need to know where you’re taking it in order to allow it to flourish. And simmering away in the back ground were my plan b’s and c’s. The ones I would fall back on if things went belly up and the ones which I might up following.

One thing I picked up along the way was that as much as goal setting and planning is vital in business development, being prepared for change and opportunity to progress in other areas is also a key.

The story so far….

And that is where I’m at now. While I close the door on one adventure, I’m opening a much bigger one. I still have my plan B should things stop gathering momentum but that’s the beauty of being a mumpreneur, or self-employed anything, there is no one saying “wait till I’ve checked with so and so” you just go for it!

There are good days and bad, it’s just the bad aren’t really that bad at all, more mediocre and there are still  those who step in your way simply because they don’t like the cut of your jib, don’t think you are up for the job  or just a general pain in the bum, it’s just now I’m not sitting opposite them in an office! (saying that The Toddler can get pretty feisty, pre nap time some days)And  I’m not saying that being your own boss is easy, far from it. I still find it hard to define working hours and tend to work much longer and later than I intend and then bow under the guilt when I’m not ticking off my to do list.

The house isn;t as tidy as I like it to be and I get a lot less sleep and downtime than I did as an employee but  also get the buzz of seeing results, meeting new people and seeing my efforts pay off.

So as I type this with my faithful spaniel at my feet and the toddler stealing kisses with his arms wrapped piggy-back round my neck, making the mumpreneur switch has been the best life changing decision I have made.

(And a sneaky little thank you to the people who nominated me for a second year in the Mum and Working Parent Blogger of The Year awards! You really shouldn’t have, but I’m so glad you did!)

we've been nominated blog award

 

I'm a mumpreneur and proud! a self employed mum working from home around my family. It's not the easiest option but I have managed to make being a blogger a business, read my story here;

Pin this for later

 

Cuddle Fairy
Share the Joy linky at TheJoyChaser.com
Follow:
Share: