A working mum life. What I have learned so far…

I’ve been a little quiet on flamingomonroe.com recently. Not because of any brain block or lack of interest. I’ve been busy!!

Who am I? I’m Camilla, a mother to a 17-month old TODDLER (yes I said toddler in capital letters because #toddlerlife been a shock to the system). I’m self employed – a freelance marketing pro (mainly for local businesses/individuals) and sometimes for big brands.  I also try and call myself a “blogger” – although I haven’t blogged in over a month but I still try and stay active with content on my Instagram/social media pages. I also consult for Neal’s Yard Remedies. I’ve been project managing house renovations – recently living in a building site for 8 weeks and without a kitchen (not even a fridge). I’m involved in all sorts of charity and community projects – all things thyroid, women’s cancers and baby loss. I’ve also tackled another round of medical blips, in and out of hospital again in recent weeks (with more appointments imminently coming up). Oh and before all of this, 7 months ago I moved house and in to a new area where I’ve been settling in to a new postcode, new baby groups, new work etc.

And breathe. Have I forgotten anything? It sounds a lot when you put your last 7 months in to one paragraph!

So this blog post is not necessarily an update, it’s more of an overview on what I have learned. If nothing else, it’s been a dose of self care and therapy, because whilst writing this post I have realised that occasionally in life some things have to give and that it is okay to not be a multi tasking super woman excelling at everything (not that I ever was a super woman!).

Some fellow working mamas may read this and think I’m very late to the (understanding) party on a few matters – but I hope this also gives some of you some reassurance that we’re all in this together…

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Returning to work after maternity leave (featuring guest interview)

As a lot of my readers will know already, I faced a redundancy situation at 36 weeks pregnant. But even before that chapter of my career was enforced upon me, I spent weeks (aka my entire pregnancy) debating and analysing every return-to-work eventuality  – financially and logistically. It’s not an alien situation, as pretty much every friend of mine has returned to their pre-baby job, so surely all things run smooth and all employers are flexible and accommodating and life is all sunshine and smiles, right??!! Hmm. Not necessarily.

In this post I speak to a professional recruiter, career advisor and mentor in the City of London who has provided me with some useful words of advice and wisdom. I may be biased, because this said professional is my dear brother, James Manders, but he’s done me proud, succeeding in his field and is providing more and more support to new mothers going back to work and to those wanting to start their careers again from scratch.

James is the MD and owner of specialist recruitment boutique CassonX, and a proud director of Pink Dynasty CIC which empowers young females from underprivileged backgrounds to gain mentorships and work experience in London…

Image: Shutterstock

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12 MONTHS POSTPARTUM AND HAPPY 1ST BIRTHDAY HENRY

Now, I know this sounds cliché, but I literally feel as though 2017 went by in a blink. 2017 for me has been one of those years that doesn’t quite feel like it really happened.

Did I really grow a human and experience childbirth? Did I really (and successfully) reproduce! Did I endure many interrupted and sleepless nights? I’m too tired to recall. 😉 Did I really find enough inner bravery to take an almost 5 month old on a transatlantic holiday to New York?! Did I really move back to my home roots, by the seaside in Leigh-on-Sea? YOU BET I DID! Did I unnecessarily obsess over every single aspect on the things that didn’t matter? Yes. Did I obsess enough over things that did matter? Nope. Did I lose that last stone of baby weight which I’ve been holding on to ever since I gave birth? Nope.

Henry is 1. One! Uno! The big ONE! How did that happen? Here’s the final instalment of my postpartum updates…

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It’s time for you to bloom and to flourish

Mental Health. A taboo that is finally being spoken of more. Words such as depression and anxiety either get used either far too cautiously due to the feeling of being unnecessarily embarrassed or as to not offend, or far too flippantly which can take away from the meaning and genuine insecurities surrounding the circumstances involved. As someone who understands and appreciates such descriptive words (through my own experiences as well learning from other people’s journeys) it’s important to ensure you’re following the right bloggers/influencers and using appropriate tools when it comes to all things mental health. Here on Flamingo Monroe I don’t try to be any kind of know it all or hardcore “influencer”, I justly try to be myself.

Via Instagram, I recently became friendly with Anna of Mama’s Scrapbook. Her frequent and highly amusing Instastories keep me rather entertained when I’m forcing myself to have 5 minutes of downtime to drink my morning coffee. I hope I don’t sound stalker-ish – I follow lots of bloggers and personalities and enjoy watching all their instastories! Anna is an accredited and experienced BACP Psychotherapist, a mother to two young boys, has a great eye for interior design, uploads Instagram posts providing confidence, guidance and reassurance to all and she also writes her blog – which has a strong focus on mental health and lifestyle.

She’s recently started a business venture with a close friend – bringing together her psychotherapy knowledge and her friend’s graphic design credentials, they’ve created Blöm Cards. Blöm [Bl – Om] is derived from the Scandinavian Word ‘Blomstre’, meaning to bloom, to flourish….

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Let’s talk vaginas with ease, with Eve…

How much do you know about vaginas? Yes that’s right, I just said the word VAGINA! Ask your boyfriend, husband, brother or father if they know what a vulva is! Your partner may have been down the “business end” during the birth of your children and still not know what a cervix is!

A shocking 25% of men aged 18 – 24 claim to know nothing about gynae health, or that gynae health is not a male issue.

Well, listen up boys! If your female partners, relatives and friends are diagnosed with a form of gynaecological cancer, you will want to support your loved ones and be informed. Every woman who is diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer has a man in her life who cares about her.

As sexual partners, you are relied upon to spot any symptoms your partner may be unaware of. It is then also your life-saving responsibility to inform your sexual partner (or for some of you reading this – partners!) of any findings – it could save their life.

Far too many men and women don’t know the signs and symptoms of gynae cancers or are too embarrassed to do anything about them and we need to be more open with each other. Regardless of how many years, months, days or hours (!) you have been intimate with a partner, just think, you could save a loved one’s life by finding the confidence to speak up, and this post will help you to do so…

Let’s talk facts. In the UK alone, over 21,000 women are diagnosed with a form of gynaecological cancer each year. This equates to 58 women being diagnosed every day. Sadly, 7,700 of these women will succumb to one of these cancers, which is of course is 7,700 too many. 😦

I have a long standing relationship with The Eve Appeal, the only UK charity raising awareness and funding research in all five gynaecological cancers – womb, ovarian, cervical, vulval and vaginal. It gives me such pleasure to continue working for them and help drive awareness of their latest campaigns – #IamAdam (for men to become more aware) and #knowyourbody (including a quiz for everyone to take part in).

Here I speak to Athena Lamnisos, Chief Executive Officer of The Eve Appeal who answers many important questions which will be useful for all of us. She talks signs and symptoms, how to approach a sexual partner if we’re concerned, why it’s important for men to be informed, how we can help spread awareness and get involved as well as an update of future screening tests for women (more than the cervical screening already on offer).

Thank you for reading. And please, to all men and women out there reading this post – share, share share!

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My recent love for organic #FeedYourHappy

Food makes us happy, right? Well it makes me VERY happy! I turn to food when I want a treat or a dose of happiness, as do so many of you I’m sure. But in recent years, part with thanks to various medical blips and hurdles I’ve jumped (or fallen!) through, I’ve become more aware and savvy about what I’m consuming.

This isn’t a healthy eating blog post by any means – I say, currently dunking a digestive in my cup of tea whilst I’m proof reading this post. Becoming a parent has made my eyes open to the food choices I make for me and my family, especially now I have a baby son eating solid foods. I’m responsible for his wellbeing and what he eats, and I have learned so much about how important it is to ensure I provide him with a nutritional yet safe diet.

This is featured post, working with the Organic Trade Board, to help their celebrity campaigner DJ Sara Cox spread the organic love this September with their “Feed Your Happy” campaign, designed to promote the awareness of organic food throughout Organic September and why it makes us happy. I’m joining in, as I want to share my views on organic food, and why it makes me happy – albeit only recently. #FeedYourHappy…

Celebrity campaigner, Sara Cox

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