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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Our Baby Sensory journey (with brand Q&A)

When you become a mother for the first time, in that first year there are bound to be key highlights that will become memorable landmarks from your early days of motherhood.

For me, one of the things that defines my first year of motherhood was Baby Sensory – a nationwide franchise of mother and baby classes that explores all things “sensory” with your little one.

When Henry came along, I lived in an area where I didn’t have many mummy friends on my doorstop with babies close enough in age to hang out with – those first time mothers equally as unsure as I was about anything and everything about looking after a new baby,  going through the exact same challenges and emotions and at the exact same time. I had my *amazing* sane-saving NCT friends yes, and other mummy friends, but none in close/walking distance and therefore I had to make it my mission to plan a few things in to my week – to regain some normality and structure (not too much too early on though!) and to join a group that I know will prove to offer great benefit to Henry as he embarks on his new life journey.

This post shows you Henry’s Baby Sensory journey in photos as well as a Q&A with the brand itself. I chat to a Baby Sensory leader, giving you ample sensory insight and inspiration, and is especially useful if you’re thinking about joining a local class near you…

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Mothercare press day Spring/Summer 2018 and my interview with Myleene Klass

Before the Christmas rush, I was invited along to the Mothercare press day, where the brand was showcasing their new collections for spring/summer 2018.

There’s lots to look forward for Mothercare’s new season, which is starting to appear in stores and online already. Spring is on the horizon YES! There are some great collaborations with Usborne Books,  as well as ongoing collections with Myleene Klass, Jools Oliver and Julian Macdonald.

I was lucky enough to chat to Myleene Klass at the press day, so scroll down to view photos from the event, to see some of my favourite outfits launching and to also read my exclusive chat with Myleene…

I got to interview yummy mummy Myleene Klass at the Mothercare spring/summer 2018 press day

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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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Messaroos! A Messy Play Group for Babies and Toddlers: Review

As a mother who enjoys taking her son to baby groups and classes since he was two weeks old (not obsessively – twice a week is ample!) when Messaroos  – a baby/toddler group – launched, I had to check it out. This wasn’t just any baby group, but a messy play group! THIS IS EVERY PARENTS/CARERS DREAM!

The touch, feel, smell – and maybe taste haha – of (safe) messy play ingredients help to stimulate the senses, encourage little ones to learn new textures and enhance their concentration levels from being out-of-the-norm from regular sensory toys at home. If you don’t want too much mess at home with messy play, then why not let someone else set up shop elsewhere, arrange all the messy fun and then leave it to them to clear up afterwards! It’s a genius idea for a play group which is unique to anything else I’ve taken Henry to. All you have to do is take a spare change of clothes for your little one, and maybe a pack of wet wipes… 😉

I’ve enclosed some photos of Henry’s experience and I have also interviewed the co-creaters – Jo and Ella. They are both young yummy mummies, who saw a gap in the market for a new pre-school group idea and who are embracing and inspiring the #mumpreneur era.

I’m championing every parent who a) has found it difficult to return to their full time employment post pregnancy (due to redundancies, lack off flexible working and part time opportunities, financing childcare etc) and have therefore bitten the bullet and started a new business venture. Jo and Ella are inspirational parents indeed…

Messy play stimulates, focuses and develops your little ones’ senses and is great for learning new textures and for having fun!

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