With the start of our March Social Media Marketing: Associate Programme we have reached a serious milestone - our 300th Digital Mum!
What we particularly love here at Digital Mums HQ is hearing all your amazing personal stories as to why you have chosen to become a Digital Mum. There is no one path to getting here; career breaks, commuting hell, upskilling and a lack of flexible work definitely ring true for many of you. And so we wanted to share with you the story of our 300th Digital Mum, Rosie Fletcher, 37 from Leicestershire. She is mum to Caragh, eight and Felix, six and we think most of you will recognise a part of yourself somewhere in her story...
“Before I had my children I worked in Public Relations for Procter and Gamble. It was an exciting life travelling all over the world. I met my husband, Ben, 40, in my first week there and we were constantly on the move with work; six moves in ten years. I loved my job and after Caragh was born I was back at work three days a week within six months. It wasn’t easy though, aside from the usual mum guilt, having both of us with high profile jobs was complicated.
The constant juggling was exhausting
Despite having a supportive manager we found the continuing debates around childcare and who picked up the slack really tricky. There were moments when one person got off a plane and the other literally got on one. The nature of working for a huge global company was very much that travel was expected and really needed to do the job effectively. I was enjoying the work but it was also really stressful.
Then we had a major change; Ben was transferred to Switzerland. Childcare was expensive and hard to come by, plus Swiss law made working part-time tricky, so we decided that I'd stop working for a bit. Within nine months, our son Felix was born. It was good to have an almost forced career break where I could really concentrate on the children.
It felt like I wasn’t quite measuring up as as a mum or at work
By the time Felix was two we had moved back to the UK. Another three house moves later, I had both my children in school and realised I was losing my mind in laundry! So I applied for a three day a week communications role at a company in Nottingham.
I loved the challenge of using my mind but the job came with its own difficulties. I always felt like I was scratching at the surface of things and the part-time hours didn't sit with the meatier parts of my job. And then there was the hellish commute. It should have taken 45 minutes but it was often double that. I was permanently clock watching and rushing and shouting at the kids to get them to breakfast club. More than once I’d arrive at after school club to find the lovely after school care lady sitting at the front desk with two over-tired children.
It was a constant case of divided loyalties
The final straw was my daughter getting pneumonia followed by splitting her face open in the playground then breaking her ankle on a trampoline. She is very accident prone! Twice Caragh was taken to hospital by the school with me having to rush from work and meet her there. I felt awful that I wasn’t with her from the start.
I had always thought that leaving them as babies would be the hard bit but it was now they were at school I was really struggling. When they are tiny, assuming they were fed and reasonably stimulated, they didn't notice me away all day. Now my children were always saying that they wished I was around more and how much they missed me.
I wanted to stop feeling guilty and doing everything at one million miles an hour. I wanted to be there when they needed to talk and give them the space to do that. But at the same time I'd loved seeing the old pre-kids me again. Nothing beats the adrenaline rush of a project going live. Let's face it you don't get the same rush after scratch cooking a healthy meal for hours that your kids decide instantly is disgusting!
But when the company offered me a permanent role at the end of my contract, I knew it wasn't for me. I wanted true flexible working where I could be in charge of when I worked and fit it around family life. Working from home was my ideal but I didn't want to do something boring and low paid. So I left in March last year to try and search for that very thing.
My lightbulb moment
As luck would have it, a few months later I saw an article about Digital Mums. Reading about the woman featured and her life, it was like reading about myself. But this was a woman who was doing stimulating and interesting work but from home, in hours that suited her. She was doing the school run every day and still considered her career to be going places. It's what I wanted.
I could see that the course filled the gap between where I had left off in my PR career previously. Back then PR had been about glossy magazines and now we were in the age where brand and organisations reputations are made and indeed broken by social media, bloggers and vloggers. I felt, via Digital Mums, I could find a way to be part of it.
I joined the waiting lists for the course and after making it through the interview process here I am at the start of the course. My client is a perfect match for me as it’s a beauty app called Freauty. I have no doubt this is going to give me the vital digital experience that I need and I’m loving being part of something so current.
It’s an incredibly exciting time to be part of Digital Mums
It was quite something to watch the recent #RealMumMoments campaign unfold and then to go global! There is such a buzz around Digital Mums at the moment with so much press coverage.
I’m now looking forward to getting to know my virtual gang of office colleagues over the next few months. There is already such a feeling of camaraderie between us. I’m hopeful that at the end of the course I’ll get work as a freelance social media manager and also use my PR skills. In the past setting myself up as a freelancer has felt like too big a step. But now I know I will not be alone on this journey. Digital Mums has honestly made me feel that finding a new way of working is totally possible. Watch this space!”
If you have a background in marketing, PR, journalism, comms or digital media then you qualify for our Social Media Marketing: Associate Programme. The next cohort starts on 23rd May and places have already started to fill up, so if you're interested in hearing more or applying, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.