But first, an introduction.
I’m Jen. A 33 year old mum of 3 under 4. 3 kids p.s. It does at times make me lol when the detail is dropped as though the phrase itself sparks such terror both in the mother and the listener that it requires no further explanation. This wasn’t the plan. I didn't really have a plan. But alas, ironically, I now have even fewer plans than before. Predominantly due to the fact that my youngest babe is a full scale breast milk addict, in desperate need of mammary gland rehab.
I’m a lawyer by day, finishing up mat leave in the next couple of months and as of last year, a makeup artist by night and weekend. A long lived passion I finally took the leap to put into reality. If you care to see what a perpetually sleep deprived lawyer can do to a person’s face, please join me on @violetrosemua.
So how and why am I here, opining on all things ‘mum boss’. Well the truth is I’m a fake blogger.
I had a quiet little instagram account which started off as a sort of mildly dull but cute, online photo album of pics of my kids. Private and nice.
Somehow, one day, I decided to make it public. Not just make it public but in order to take the edge off the wild levels of exhaustion I was feeling, in my usual heart-on-sleeve style which has lead to both agony and ecstasy at times in my life thus far, I put my thoughts in a Word swag caption and shared with my little group of followers.
Informing them that I was standing in my pants (huge, nude, unforgiving cotton briefs which, like highlighting the face with concealer, only served to draw attention to my thrice c-sectioned ‘step’ of doom leading from my lady garden to my belly button); that I was eating stale chocolate cake from Wholefoods with my ageing, saggy boobs dangling around my waist, in an attempt to ‘fuel up’ for the lactation beasting my newborn was about to give me while my husband and toddlers slept soundly.
A few people found it funny. They rightly or wrongly encouraged me to keep sharing my thoughts in speech bubbles. Perhaps to take the edge off their own exhaustion; perhaps to cruelly laugh at a broken woman handling life a shit load worse than they were.
Whatever the reason, here we are. A few more followers down the line, a LOT more embarrassing tales shared with the world. My page has had more names than a royal. But alas, when I realised that I was talking shit about the way I manage and mismanage my own kids, Motherhoodmyway was born.
Claire is just one of the amazing women I’ve met via the world of insta. How cool that such a platform exists. For people everywhere. But in my case, for mothers; tired, happy, sad, hilarious, sometimes lonely mothers, who can hop on and off in between wiping up shit and feeding and loving their babes, to get a little company and a feeling that they’re not the only ones deep in the hood, known as Motherhood.
Which brings me, finally you may say, on to the topic of my first ever REAL blog post. The rise of the Mum boss.
What the fuck is a mum boss? Do I even want to be one of these beasts? I found myself asking myself this weekend.
Triggered by another insta, and now real life, friend of mine commenting that she had mistakenly thought she was going to be intimidated by an insta friend in real life, because she had lots more followers than her.
What the hell have we become I thought? I follow hundreds of mums on insta, some with a small number of close followers, some with thousands they’ll never know personally. Some work, some don’t. Some make me laugh. Some share pics that I love to look at. Are the big bad mum boss accounts scary? Why are they even here? WHAT IS A MUM BOSS AND DO I WANT TO BE ONE?!
Now what follows is entirely non-evidence based ‘fact’, formed purely from my own experiences. Take from it what you will.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a social media rock, which frankly would at times be incredibly pleasant, you’ll have witnessed the rise of the mum boss. The mum blogger. The mumpreneur. Or in my case, the MOMBIE, or mum zombie.
There has been a tidal shift in recent years from ‘mum’ being an almost dirty word to some, which sparked connotations of a ‘mumsy’, saggy boobed, moany faced, past her prime career and otherwise, sad sort of character who was just tending to children as a sort of penance to the universe directly prior to death.
Something changed. Mums started to speak more. To show themselves in other lights. To open up about the joy and pain of being a mother and the hilarity that often comes with that. Social media helped with this. Massively. Mums of all backgrounds, working and non, had a ready platform to vent and also show the facets of motherhood for what they were; honourable, glorious, but exhausting balls flying in the air. THE JUGGLE.
It became much cooler to be a working mum. No longer are we heartless bitches, so desperate to rid ourselves of our kids, that we will accept staring at the austere four walls of the modern office, coffee in hand, just for peace. Now we are mum bosses, who do it all. We work, we play, we bath and feed our babes and try to sleep in the crevices of time in between.
I love this shift. It’s helped me to love who I am. A woman, a person, a mother, with needs and wants and dreams and goals and a heart BURSTING so much with love for her kids that I coined a phrase with my sister and best friend “to throw my heart off a god dam tree” every time I saw my kids do something cute. Frankly, it helps me feel better that I have to go to work. I picked a guy I fancied the pants off and still do. That’s where my consideration around finances started and stopped. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Now it’s ok for me to go to work and be the bread winner for my family and then come home and see my kids and rush back out and do some exercise and pursue my dream of being a makeup artist at the same time. Because I am a mum boss.
But what the hell is a mum boss? I ask again.
Is it just someone who works full time and has kid(s) and a social life and a partner and potentially animals and a hobby? And who juggles these relentlessly while always attempting to look presentable and hot at the same time? Throwing in dinner parties and jokes about booze for good measure?
Do we have/want/need the intimidation that the name suggests to some? Do we eat up men and spit them out for dinner? Wildly running around like angry beasts smashing glass ceilings with our sharp-witted tongues and gym honed biceps, which we missed our kids to sculpt?
I don’t think so. For what it’s worth.
SO, what is a mum boss?
Well, since I don’t think it’s yet in the dictionary, all I can offer is my own take.
A mum boss is just a person. A person with a huge range of emotions like anyone else. A person trying to wade through life and be the best they can be, and do the best that they can for those they love. You might find a mum boss juggling work and play; drop offs; clubs; a partner; life without a partner; family; appointments and a host of other things.
But you also might find a mum boss at home. All day. Alone. While their partner works, if they have one. You might find them running a house, much of the day dripping silently in sweat, chasing their tail and trying to seem like everything is under control. It might well be under control.
You might find a mum boss without any kids, jabbing herself in the abdomen regularly with hormones, trying everything in her power, to bring them into the world, and give them the love that she has and desperately wants to give.
My point friends, is that the rise of the mum boss is a welcome one. But one to consider with caution. Mum bosses come in all shapes and sizes. Some still with boobs in the right place, and some like me, who fail the ‘pencil test’ in favour of passing the ‘pencil case’ test. Or as my sisters snorted with glee while adding larger and larger items under my ailing breasts for sheer hilarity one night, the ‘half drank bottle of pepsi (2L) test’.
So don’t be intimidated. Support each other. Open up as much as you feel you want to and let someone else know you get it. You get that it comes in different guises for different people. But that we all have it frigging hard and that the best way at times to handle that, is to stand together whenever we can.
A constantly sweaty, sometimes happy, sometimes sad, sometimes busy, sometimes lonely, sometimes working, sometimes playing but always ALWAYS loving her three wild babies, mum boss.