It’s always fun to be in a club. By which I mean a collective of like-minded people and not an overheated room crammed full of sweaty inebriated students with a sticky floor, migraine-inducing flashing lights and repetitive thumping basslines over which you can’t hear yourself order an overpriced drink – these clubs are almost always NOT fun to be in. But then maybe that’s because I’m not a sweaty inebriated student anymore, and haven’t been for, ahem, some time.
The kind of club you will most likely find me in now is Hotel Chocolat’s Chocolate Tasting Club, which beats having to queue for a taxi for thirteen hours at two in the morning after leaving your coat in the cloakroom hands down. Seriously, chocolate lovers. Check it out.
I also love the burgeoning blog club culture which appeals, I think, to the blogger’s innate sense of wanting to belong to a community. Lovely Leigh Kendall recently came up with the Blogger’s Hierarchy of Needs – one element of which being ‘Belonging – friendship & support’ which I think is one of the biggest rewards of blogging. Each website and social media account has a real person behind it who would be lying if they said they didn’t enjoy getting lovely comments and virtual hugs when needed.
It’s so easy to become part of a blog club these days, everyone is doing it. Hosted linkies are great ways of sharing posts and seem to be cropping up all the time. Any parent blogger worth their salt is either signed up to Mumsnet, Tots 100, Britmums or Netmums blogger networks, if not all four, and probably more topic-specific networks, to have a sidebar full of coveted badges displaying their proud memberships. Even the humble hashtag is a brilliant way of connecting bloggers together on social media. Community spirit is the lifeblood of blogging.
So, something exciting happened last week that made me think about which community I identify with the most.
I was taken hugely by surprise to be contacted by a big local newspaper in the North East, the Evening Chronicle, to ask me if I would be interested in writing a weekly column for the paper and their website. Unpaid, as you might expect, but an amazing opportunity nonetheless. I pretty much snapped their hands off.
What made me think though, was the identity they envisaged my column having – the ‘working mum from the North East’. Brilliantly, they want me to write about all the things I already do – life with a young family, parenting with the added ‘pressure’, some might say, of working full time. To me, it is just parenting the only way I have ever known. I went back to work straight after maternity leave and Little Man has been in nursery full time since he was one. The weekly routine our family has works for us, and we always get our precious weekends together.
Maybe though, if the working mum angle is what appeals to them, there is an interest in how to juggle work and home life, a need for more support. Perhaps some kind of club…..
So, I’m opening the doors to The Working Mums Club. All are welcome, provided you ‘work’ either from home or by having a job in addition to all the child-rearing stuff that every parent doesn’t get paid to do anyway. And before I raise the hackles of every proud stay-at-home mum doing a fab job devoting her time to her little ones, I do not mean to say that you do not work hard and it is not tough sometimes. I am simply saying that maintaining a balance between paid employment and parenting brings its own challenges that a lot of people will identify with. I also don’t wish to alienate dads, but the working dad is still seemingly more of a cultural norm than the working mum, for no good reason that I can fathom.
Using the hashtag #workingmumsclub, I’d love for you to share your posts about any aspect of being a working parent – pregnancy at work, maternity leave, breastfeeding ‘on the job’, childcare, finances, education, managing your commitments, coping emotionally, family life – anything. I’d love to read your experiences. I’ll do my bit by sourcing interesting articles and information that might be of use to you and share them via the hashtag on Twitter and on my Facebook page. If you’d like to write a guest post for my blog too then please let me know.
As a working mum from the North East, I want to represent working mums around the country. It’s a good club to be in. Who knows, you might provide the inspiration for my next column!
Join the Club and grab the badge!
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.greatnorthmum.com" title="Working Mums Club" target="_blank"><img src="https://greatnorthmum.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/working-mums-badge.jpg" alt="Working Mums Club" style="border:none;" /></a></div>