Last year, Kay Olbinson completed our Social Media Management Course and for her community campaign created the amazing Mums Without Limits which aims to show off all the incredible things mums can do apart from being a mum. Here she tells us (with just a ‘few’ F-words thrown in) what it was like becoming a Digital Mum. This post originally appeared on medium.
1. You will take a small step (or a big fuck off leap) out of your comfort zone.
Whether it’s because your experience of social media is limited to posting pictures of your kids on Facebook, or because you haven’t studied anything since A Level Geography, or because this is your big push towards quitting the 9 to 5 and going freelance, something about this course will be new and challenging at best and completely shit scary at worst. And that’s no bad thing. You can handle it.
2. You will ALWAYS be looking for a social media opportunity.
You’ll be that annoying person constantly taking photos of your breakfast / coffee / flowers / the sky / your shoes ANYTHING with the hope you can put some kind of social media slant on it. You’ll boomerang the shit out of anything that moves. You’ll spend hours googling quotes for #mondaymotivation and #wednesdaywisdom and #fridayfeeling. You’ll know when it’s national picnic week and national beer day and international emoji day and… why the chuff does every random piece of shit have to have an associated day/ week…?! You might, just might, even find yourself in Morrison’s having a selfie with Jamie Murray because OMG that will just be awesome content for Twitter AND Instagram and OMG #Wimbledon17 is just all over social media right now… (I totally did this #sheepishface).
3. You will surprise yourself.
You’re a lady of hidden talents! And Digital Mums will uncover them. Maybe you’ll realise you can write, or take really beautiful photos, or crunch your analytics effortlessly or that you actually DO have the confidence to build relationships with strangers online and you are pretty bloody good at it. Don’t ever doubt yourself, mama. You are good at shit!
4. You will experience mum guilt.
So you’re doing this course so you can spend more time with your kids, but so far all you seem to do is ignore them… How the fuck does that work then?! You’ll feel bad when you leave them in front of the TV because you’re trying to get your blog out. You’ll feel bad when you put them to bed late because you’re on a Tweetchat. You’ll feel bad when you don’t take them out on Saturday afternoon because you really just want to get your scheduling done for the week. You’ll feel bad every time one of them says frustratedly ‘Mummy, STOP TWEETING!!!’ or ‘are you on Facebook AGAIN?!!!’ There’s a hell of a lot of feeling bad. But you’re ultimately doing a great thing for them. So get over the guilt. Now.
5. You will be amazed how social you become in real life.
It’s not all sitting at home with your phone glued to your hand (although there is a shitload of that). You might find that your social media connections actually spill over into your real life. Wow! Yes! There are actually real life human people behind all those social media accounts! You may even get a chance to meet them. Social media can be really, well, SOCIAL, if only you let it. Throughout the course I used my rule of ‘always say yes to an invitation if you can’. And as a result I ended up at launch parties and restaurant openings and charity evenings and shopping events, and even a pop up cocktail night which I actually co-hosted! And you know what? It was all SO MUCH FUN. Meeting people IRL cements your connection with them. Take a break from the screen, get out and enjoy yourself.
6. You will spend so much time on your phone your husband will think you’re having an affair.
And you will probably actually wish you WERE having an affair. Because that would at least involve sex. And dinner. Instead of stalking randoms through Twitter lists and relentlessly schmoozing influencers.
7. You will fall in love with a bunch of women you’ve never even met.
When you find out about peer groups you will roll your eyes and wonder why the fuck Digital Mums feel it necessary to put you through the time consuming and rather awkward palaver of a weekly Google Hangout (wtf is that anyway?!) with 5 or 6 random women. You’ll spend the first one smiling so much your face aches and trying to talk just enough to not come across as a wallflower but not too much that people think you’re a gobshite. You’ll grin and bear it for the first couple of weeks.
But then your attitude will slowly shift… These women totally GET IT. They’re the only ones who really UNDERSTAND what you’re going through. You’ll come to rely on each other. You’ll look forward to the hour you spend with them every week. You’ll whatsapp each other approximately 453,459 times a day. You’ll support each other. You’ll celebrate, commiserate, whinge, joke and laugh together. You’ll pick each other up when it gets too much. You’ll like, share and comment on all their posts and join their tweetchats even if you’re on a night out or on holiday, because they’re your tribe and you genuinely want them to do well. You will know all kinds of random things about them and you will feel like you’ve been friends forever. And then you’ll remember you’ve never even met in real life. And that’s kinda weird. But kinda fucking awesome.
8. You will, at some point, hate it.
You will hit a wall. Have a wobble. Experience social media fatigue. Call it what you will. It will happen (around week 19–20 from experience). There will come a point where you wish it would all just fuck off and leave you in peace. You will want to tell the whole of Twitter to fuck off. And Mark Zuckerberg and his fucking algorithms. And Kathryn and Nikki (soz, love you really). And Hootsuite. And KPIs. And analytics. Or metrics. Or whatever the fuck they’re called. And Tweetchats. And anyone who posts another fucking Instagram picture of their fucking dinner…. You will wonder why the fuck you are doing a social media management course when you are finding social media just so relentless and so fucking tedious all at the same time…. Don’t worry. It’s normal. And it will pass.
9. You will be part of a much bigger picture.
Flexible work is a big deal. Digital Mums are shouting about it and they’re shouting LOUD. As part of Digital Mums, you’re adding your voice to the cause. And that’s exciting. Because who wants to have to quit their job because childcare is too expensive? Who wants to send the nanny to sports day and the Christmas play? Who wants to make endless compromise after endless shitty compromise because work just doesn’t WORK??? Maybe, just maybe, mums (no, PEOPLE) might quite like it if work life and family life could trundle along together just a tiny bit more harmoniously. And WTF is wrong with that? Flexible work benefits everyone. And you’re with the good guys.
10. You will have so many reasons to feel proud.
There’ll be ups and downs but you’ll come out the other side. 6 months of Moodle and hangouts and webinars and running the campaign alongside bringing up kids and keeping a house going and maybe even working as well. This is the ultimate mum juggle and you will be juggling to within an inch of your life. But you will survive it. The kids will probably have a few more ‘easy teas’ than usual, the washing will probably pile up a bit, you will probably have at least a few late nights or early mornings trying to fit it all in, but you WILL get through it. And in that 6 months you’ll do so much and learn so much and meet so many fantastic people. You’ll come out with new skills, confidence, enthusiasm. You’ll have done something hugely positive for yourself and your family. And that’s massive. Be fiercely proud of yourself. Give yourself a metaphorical pat on the back. And go and pour yourself one huge motherfucker of a drink. You did it!!!