Wednesday, 14 November 2012

All change

Flo and Archie are nearly nine months old.  It’s an age since I last wrote my blog and in the few months since I last posted, my whole world has changed.  Archie is crawling, standing up, knocking things over, eating paper, climbing out of his moses basket when he’s meant to be sleeping, smearing cauliflower cheese in his eye, choking on rice cakes and generally making mischief.  He has also developed a tickly spot and has a Terry Thomas-esque gap between his two front teeth.  I gather this (the tooth gap not the tickly spot) is a marker of good luck so I shall be rubbing his lovely teeth on my Euromillions ticket every Friday.  Flo is determinedly sitting still, not crawling and not being a pudding kind of girl (which must be some kind of rogue gene).

Evie is settled and happy at school although it appears she was forced to sign the Official Secrets Act on her first day as she seems pathologically unable to share with us a single detail of what she does there all day every day.  While I rack myself with guilt about sending her to after school club at four years old so I can selfishly earn a living, she berates me for coming to pick her up too early.  And so I relax - guilt assuaged.  Homework has entered our world – homework, for four year olds, who knew?  I begin with intentions of gentle, liberal encouragement , only to morph accidentally just days in into an Amy Chua-style Tiger Mother, yelling that her  ‘H’ isn’t straight enough and that the only way to get good at something is to practice it over and over as she writes Jones for the 100th time - so motivating and inspiring for the young mind.  Captain Von Trapp would be so proud, I really must polish my whistle and shine those jackboots.

So just a month or so ago, my fledgling wee solo PR outfit stumbled and blinked into the daylight, coughing and spluttering with fear and trepidation.  I invented a name, wrote a business plan, built a little website, printed some jazzy business cards, got an accountant, and sent out a flurry of emails to people who knew me before my brain fell out or who met me since and were still prepared to talk to me.  Then in a very quiet voice, I practised saying:  “I’ve got three children and I run my own business”, just to see how it felt.    

Next I closed my eyes, crossed my fingers and hoped that a little bit of business might trickle my way, easing me gently back into the world of work.  But the trickle didn’t happen - because I won the first few things I pitched for and KA-BOOM, suddenly I feel like I might just have a one woman empire-in-the-making, with clients, campaigns and work coming out of my ears.  It’s all happened so quickly that I’m still catching my breath but it feels good to be chasing deadlines and talking to journalists again.  Of course the biggest shock to the system working for and by myself rather than in the comforting bosom of a big London PR agency is that I no longer have lots of lovely people to do what I ask.  As I build my own media lists for the first time in about a hundred years, I hear the distant strains of account execs past saying: “I told you it took two hours, not ten minutes, now stop bloody nagging”.

Mornings and evenings are frantic getting everyone up, dressed, changed, fed, watered and transported to their various destinations but when I’m back sitting at my desk, planning my working day, and the house is quiet, I take a minute to sit back and think: “Well here I am - mother of three and running my own business”.  I think it in a loud voice this time.  And it does feel good, and quite grown up and RIDICULOUSLY exciting. 


  1. Hello Julie (and Justin, and brood). Having not got round to reading any entries at time of posting, I have just worked my way through your entire blog! Still got your knack for turning a phrase I see. It was refreshingly honest and a few parts even brought a lump to my throat (and this is from a man whose emotional response to things usually goes no further than a lump in my trousers).

    Sounds like the family is coming along nicely, despite the undoubted challenges.
    Fin & Maddie are 8 & 6 now and I can say that things do get easier as they get more independent, but I'm bracing myself for the 'teenage fun years' coming all too soon . . . I was a proper little sh*tb@g in my teens so Mr. Payback is waiting to bite my bum I'm sure.

    I highly recommend Jackie Clune's book 'Extreme Motherhood' which I read cover to cover in about 3 hours, although it is the polar opposite of what I mostly read (stories of emotionally-repressed men being unremittingly violent to each other; Andy McNab-style but with fewer long words). Jackie Clune had unexpected triplets a year or so after her first child and tells her story in frank detail. Its a good read and I'm sure it would have resonance for you.

  2. Pleased to hear you are 'doing some thinking again' -- I keep thinking I should do some thinking, if only I knew what to think about; helped me in the early years to have some 'me time' even if it was only in my head. My brain, after all, is my second favourite organ. I think that even if you can't get round to exercising your body, must always exercise your mind. (I get v annoyed with those for whom the perfectly toned body is the zenith of achievement . . . how about working on a perfectly toned mind instead? Too many brains get flabby and out of shape IMHO).

    But anyway it sounds like you have gone much much further than just thinking thoughts! Setting up your own firm, I'm hugely impressed. That is, like, actually, doing stuff. Seriously hope it is a huge success.

    If, whilst PR-ing, you have a quiet Wednesday morning, or wish to wean your children onto guitar-based pop/rock, I humbly commend to your ears the Internet radio show Andy Mc and I are (ir)responsible for: Open Tuniversity, 10am-midday on Its a local, local, local radio station in our area, so local in fact that only about 50 people (and 2 dogs) tune in. If you don't feel you suffered enough of Rich and Andy's inane witterings through the C'nam years, then visit the website on Weds morning and click the 'Listen Live' button, turn up your PC speakers and relax (and shoot when you can!) The TuneIn app on iPhone works too, if you do a search for Ridge Radio. Ping us a tweet (@OpenTuni) and we'll give you a shout out, or request a tune, or just send words of abuse. If the thought of hearing our golden melodious (malodorous?) tones makes you feel unwell, then please yourself.

    Hope Just is well -- was great to see you a couple of year's back at Bob's wedding (wonder if he has lost his virginity yet?) Hope the landscape gardening is going well -- if you guys were nearer to Kent I'd bloody love for Justin to sort out my garden, it's a disgrace. In fact, it's my nemesis -- so much so that it has become the subject of a blog I'm writing, details of which in weeks to come once I get the hang of this WordPress thing (15 years in telecoms, still a Luddite at heart).

    Anyway, keep writing, and I'll keep reading.
    Good luck wishes from afar, Richard
    (Team Webb over and out).

    PS. these are Philip Scholfield's initials. He's gay you know.
    PPS. on the hairstyle thing, try to avoid the 'middle-aged' bob. Go short, go crazy, go bright red, but don't go for the utilitarian 'practical bob-cut' of the middle-aged mum. A woman's hair is supposed to be cool, trendy, individual, dare I say it, sexy, but not "I'm too busy for all that nonsense." Nothing says to a husband that his sex life is over than seeing his wife sport that Darth Vader helmet hairstyle.
    PPPS. is there a prize for the longest response to one of your blogs?