Monday, 2 July 2012

Reflections on BritMums Live!- Day 1

I know I still haven't posted about Cybher 2012. I like to err on the side of caution when it comes to managing my expectations.
I once went on Pilgrimage to Lourdes and came back wanting to convert to Catholicism- months later I appreciated it was the sense of community and companionship rather than the religious element that enthused me.
I learned to manage the same motivation following an ANLP course, knowing that whilst it was great at the time, my chances of making it integral to me were questionable.
Cybher was the same, I felt so motivated by it, that I wanted to see what happened, to see if it was real.

But, on the back of it I did win a ticket from the wonderful Domestic Goddesque for BritMums Live- please check out her blog and Facebook page- I love the Facebook page for recommendations for other fab blogs!

So, my financial situation had prevented me buying tickets for both, Cybher seemed the sensible choice as it was only one day. BritMums Live was to prove an economical addition given I had won the ticket, and after running a workshop in London in the morning my train fare was also covered, leaving me to cover my hotel.

And, how was it?

I finished day 1 on a complete high. I had met some fantastic bloggers, and had even mingled with an award winner at All Bar One.

I think this is the thing that most astounded me, I have so many bloggers on a pedestal- as the première bloggers, it's like passing a famous person in the street and nearly saying 'hello' but realising you don't know them in real life so cowering away. And then of course regretting not starting a conversation as there were so many things you wanted to say.

I am grateful to 20 Something Mum for inviting me to Starbucks beforehand, I caught them just as they were walking to the venue- forever grateful to posts on 'What I'm wearing' to enable me to accost someone at a pedestrian crossing (and of course I am grateful for the tissue to stop my tears during the 'Sod the Stats, Blog for Happiness' session!).

On Day 1 I got to listen to an fantastic introduction from Ruby Wax- with Nickie from Typecast nearly bringing me to tears with a disclosure far too close to home; followed by a discussion session from the great and the good of blogging, and then off to attend a session on 'Can you really have it all'.

I will be honest and say I was disappointed by the latter session, I could see so many people, including myself who wanted to be involved in the discussion but time wasn't on our side, and the leads on the session had so much to say that more time would have been good. 
I was really impressed with Hannah from Muddling Along Mummy who really seemed to have an understanding of the audience and how life could work.
There were no showstoppers here, nothing to change your life.
I was really disappointed with the perspective of 'find a parent-friendly employer' and the dawn of equal paternity and maternity rights will create the balance'.
Women (and in some professions men) are encouraged to challenge the norm, and go into professions which do not have an equal balance of both sexes, so how then can you look for the 'parent friendly' employer.
We have a duty regardless of profession and employer ethics to encourage equality, and maybe, yes, government must do it's bit.
Whether paternity pay is on the cards, it comes down to finances, I would rather a parent has more choice on a better level than statutory pay, and can't help but dismiss the idea of equality in this area, a mother has to take six weeks off, and whilst this is mandated at full pay, will an employer really look and consider the arrival of babies equally for women and for men. Admittedly I was taken aback by this remaining a real consideration when employing, but equality in the mat/paternity stakes won't stop the 'nine' months of antental considerations. In a world where pregnancy is an issue, sick pay is never as a real to many as maternity pay.

People just have to ensure that women can get the best maternity care so that when they do return to the workplace they can be the best they want to be.

And maybe this was why I was enthused by day 1, because of the realisation that women must do more to encourage sustainable careers, regardless of working patterns or career breaks, that if we are to encourage non-traditional careers we must ensure support if those people decide to become parents. And that, as always, equality is what we make the workplace, and we must ensure we support those who chose flexible working, or part-time working, but more importantly the choice of a career- that you can feel confident to become a parent without compromising a career choice.

And then, fortunately the alcohol arrived.
And what a mistake that was.
I may be alone. I am not used to drinking the 'hard stuff'. A mother of three, now under-fours, my drinking sessions are limited.
So to go all day without a proper meal and then start drinking before seven, hmmmm it went to my head.
And, yes, these were all choices I made, nobody made me drink.

Fortunately, as I result of the false confidence alcohol  can create, I got to meet some fantastic bloggers and spend a great evening in their company.
And here endeth Day 1.


  1. The alcohol completely went to my head too, but it was fun! Lovely to meet you. Mich x

  2. I so know what you mean about feeling in awe of big name bloggers -I felt the same too, and felt pretty shy for the whole weekend.


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