Oh, Mother Pukka…
If you got the following ingredients: 1. availability for frequent poses with the quirkiest walls of Shoreditch, 2. a dainty darling toddler (a must must), 3. a prevailing taste in fashion edits, 4. a nimble eye for swift conversation topics and 5. a killlller instagram account (which is the newest wrinkle in the motherhoody business pretty much all of you reading this must have already embarked on too), then yes, you either have the recipe for success or you are Mother Pukka. Chances are you will also be on a voguish postcard soon, you’ll know what I mean once you scroll down and watch them pose!
So this is it. A chat with Anna Whitehouse @MotherPukka, my favourite mum blogger of all times – my stalking skills are still sharp – sharing some colourful wisdom on motherhood and brave career changes, vlogging, blogging, romance, motherhoody perks, beauty secrets and of course, last but never least, #parentingtheshitoutoflife…
1. Motherhood is a game changer. Yet is this the real trigger for your recent career change? And how has ditching the security of office hours been affecting your family routine (presumably you still remember your life before the urchin in order to make the comparison!)
It sure is. Yeah, I had a lot of people who worried I’d had a catastrophic breakdown with L’Oreal and had stormed out in a “you’re not worth it” flurry. But it truly was about work not working for my family. Achievement is no longer about money; it’s about control. I felt more in control of things once I’d quit. My life now is far more erratic and sporadic but I get to say I’m cancelling a couple of meetings so I can go to Lyme Regis and let Mae play with her cousins on the beach and eat fish shop chips. That’s success to me.
2. So many women today may experience periods of low confidence when motherhood kicks in, especially when a career change is also involved. What would you advise them to do in order to overcome this and pursue their dreams like you seem to have successfully done?
To have a plan. Not every idea is a good one and it’s important to get that idea nailed before chucking all your precious energy at it. I have four separate avenues and names for Mother Pukka and got my best mate to cut through the crap. Then I refined the idea and asked my grandfather his opinion – he said he didn’t like the fact it sounded like an expletive. And then you ignore everything and do what you want.
3. What’s the most challenging/ unusual thing you’ve been asked to do as a vlogger/ blogger?
It would possibly be having a ‘car-tay’ (car party) in our car for Citroen. We’d just moved into the street we’re in now and neighbours were confused. I had bunting strewn across the car; Mae was wearing a massive gold chain. Curtains were twitching.
4. I’m sure the balance between your successful career and being a good (and pretty cool!) mum has a lot to do with a healthy time management and a bit of discipline. Share briefly your key tips for improving the efficiency of a busy mum’s daily schedule (maybe you shouldn’t mention the magic spells and fairy spirits that seem to always keep you effortless!)
It’s an utter shambles this end. My tip is to be transparent and tell people you are all over the shop (unless you are great with Excel and stuff) and perhaps add why (washing machine leaking; just found 12 squashed grapes in bottom of bag)… I have found honesty to be the best policy and advising people to prod me like a little cow if they haven’t heard back. Is that a system? Who knows but it sort of works.
5. ‘Put a sock in it‘ is probably my favourite love letter of all recent times! How do you keep a fine harmony between all these dynamics (husband, child, work) in your day to day life while keeping the love spark alive?
Oh the elusive love spark! She’s such a tricky one the balance. I think it’s doing things your way, remaining independent, while considering that person, your life lobster at every turn. I’ll spend three days on Mother Pukka without even looking up from my computer and then make sure I cut a piece of toast into a pair of boobs on the fourth morning. It’s all about the little details.
6. You worked for glam magazines, beauty and fashion brands, which are the coolest tricks of the industry you got along the way?
I was always the one that people quietly wondered how I’d got there. I’d have everything together and then find a bit of bog roll on the shoe – perhaps that’s the tip; continue regardless of whether you fit in. Also not entirely sure Practical Caravan comes under ‘glam’!
7. Which are the 3 ‘I got this from my mama’ lessons you’d like your tiny human to learn from you and proudly use later in her adult life?
You can do whatever you want; never look up to people and never look down on people and don’t let any boy buy you something – he’ll expect something in return!
8. Finally, what has motherhood been teaching you in the past 3 years and your favourite motherhoody perks are…
To roll with the punches, laugh through the madness and parent the shit out of life. Other than the emotional stuff, not sure there’s any perks per se – unless you count a mangled bit of Nutella toast I was offered up this morning.
Witness her grow, this cool mum is only going forward!