It’s been quite a while since my last post! I started this blog with the aim of writing about something I’m passionate about; data visualisation. Over the last year I’ve struggled to carve out time to write. Life is busy to say the least, with an independently-minded yet needy threenager and a hungry five month old. I’ve had fewer occasions than I’d like to actually open my laptop while on maternity leave so I haven’t managed to do any data viz of late. So for now I’m going to write about something that I’ve been enjoying while working as a parent, and that is Mum Talks!
Run by two mums Lucy and Kara, Mum Talks comprise a series of workshops and monthly talks. Every month they invite three speakers to share their stories. This is followed by a ‘shout-out’ session to highlight anyone else who has a business or venture to promote. They are baby-friendly events, ideal for anyone who is permanently attached to a small person. And get this, they are focused on us, the mothers! We were people before we became mothers, with diverse interests and needs other than how we are feeding, weaning or massaging our babies. Much and all as I have enjoyed some baby-centred groups, there is something refreshing about attending events focused on us as individuals. They broaden our minds and allow us to get inspired by amazing mums who are out there doing their thing. The nice thing about these events is that you can be sitting there feeding your baby or rocking them to sleep while listening to people tell their stories. Not to forget getting in some much needed coffee and refreshments. I’ve since become aware of other groups out there too, such as Mumitude, The Breakfast Club and Mum Tribe Ireland but I haven’t attended any of these meet-ups yet. I wasn’t aware of anything like this during my first maternity leave and I’m delighted to have them now.
I attended the Mum Talks February event on Friday. There were three fantastic speakers as always and I’m just going to highlight some of my key take-aways below.
First up was Helena Ryan of Wellfest. She is one of the co-founders who brought the idea of a festival dedicated to health and wellness to life. Named Image magazine’s young business woman of the year in 2018, she is also a solicitor and a mum. It was fascinating to hear her talk about how Wellfest came to be and what she’s learned along the way. I loved her three pieces of advice:
- If you’re staying awake all night thinking about something, you should go and do it
- Have courage in the face of anyone who is doubting your vision
- Follow your gut instinct
Next up was Kathy Milliken from Bump, Baby and Me. She offers various pre- and post-natal services and spoke with passion about how motherhood can change us, and how it’s about finding the right blend of everything in our lives post baby. It can be a tough time. Too often we skirt over how we are actually feeling, flippantly saying we are all “grand”, despite the struggles that can be uncovered with some digging. Kathy finished up by reading a wonderful piece written for the event in which she talks about motherhood being like an iceberg. We only see the tip before we become mothers but then we see it in all its enormity and it can ‘knock us off balance, even try to sink us’. It’s important for us to talk and get help and support when we need it.
The last speaker was Joanna Fortune who is a psychotherapist and is the founder of Solamh. She has written a book called 15 Minute Parenting. So far I’m only a few chapters in, but even this excerpt was very beneficial in helping me to adapt my outlook and approach in the face of challenging behaviour from my playful 3.5 year old! You can watch her Tedx talk here (delivered when her baby was just a few weeks old 👀). She highlighted how amazing women are and remarked on our ability to just get things done when there is no other option. She is an advocate for the “good enough” approach and her philosophy is centred on embracing play and laughter in parenting.
Becoming a parent and more specifically a mother means different things to different people. Every baby is different and it’s important that we are kind to ourselves! Something people don’t often expect is that maternity leave can be a lonely time. A lot of time is spent with a tiny human who can’t speak back to you. Having events like this and a community of like-minded mums is very valuable.