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Hannah: Welcome to Happily Ever After the podcast, which seems to talk about all sorts of different things. But one listener described it as the place where we talk about what everyone else is thinking, but maybe not saying out loud. I am your host, Hannah Harvey. I'm a writer and a parenting blogger at Mumsdays.com. That's M. U. M. S. D. A. Y. S. dot com. If you wouldn't mind subscribing and leaving a review, that would be amazing because it basically means more people can find the podcast. And I also would really, really, really love to hear from you. So please could you contact me through Instagram @mumsdays? You can message me anything, really, but you know your stories of life and heartbreak or any thoughts you might have on the episode or any questions you want answering. And as always, you can find the details from this episode in the show notes.
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Hannah: Welcome to Happily Ever After with me Hannah Harvey and hot off a very slow rebrand. I wanted to talk to you today about my blog Mums' Days, a little bit about the history and basically the vision going forward because it also involves you guys. And then the other thing today, just to draw your attention to is the fact that it's Episode 21 of this podcast, which may seem like 'who gives a crap?' But according to my mate Sean, only 3% of podcasts ever get to Episode 21. So givin' myself a little pat on the back for that one. So thank you to everybody who's been involved so far. But before I do anything else, I need to introduce Katie.
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Hannah: Hello, Katie. Sitting there quietly in the background. Katie is basically one of the major reasons that I even have a podcast and a blog. Did you know that, Katie?
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Katie: I feel like I came on board with Hannah right at the start of things when she was just going into the recording studio for the first time and had eight podcasts to record and some social media to do and needed a little bit of help with it.
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Hannah: Yeah, we often joke that Katie is the other half of my brain. You basically are right?
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Katie: Oh, it's a privilege and a pleasure.
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Hannah: I think with this online world, you really have to be consistent. That's what everybody always goes on about. And actually, if there's one thing that humans aren't, it's consistent. So, you know, there's times when life just gets the better of me and you're there to basically chivvy me up and pick up the slack. Or generally just make sure that I am showing up consistently, because then that allows me to actually be authentic and to do this because, you know, the biggest fear for me, I've been doing this for what, at least ten years because Ruben's ten and there were massive gaps where I just couldn't show up authentically. And my biggest fear for restarting Mums' Days was that that would happen again. And I just it kept making me feel like a failure if I wasn't able to be consistent. So the biggest gift I gave to myself as part of the divorce process and the fact I was needing to restart a career was to say, I need help with this thing because I love it and I want it to work, but I can't do it all on my own. So that's where you come in. So how are you finding it, Katie?
00:03:41 - 00:04:44
Hannah: Well, I think it's great. It's been a really good opportunity for me to sort of tap back into my creative side. I love when you record the podcast, and then we get the opportunity to work on that together and build content off it. And it's really it helps my brain work and I help your brain work as well. You do. I think when you first came to me, I was a bit sort of like, 'What is it you actually want from me?' Because we just bumped into each other, didn't we? And then we went for a coffee at a local coffee shop. Had like 10 minutes to catch up on what has happened to us over the past ten years. And then she was like, 'Do you know how to use Facebook, by the way?' I was like. 'Yeah, I guess I do.' And then it became clear later on that she was actually asking if I could help with some of the stuff that she was doing. And it's been, once I found out more about it and sort of realised what Mums' Days was and what she was talking about and I just thought it was the kind of thing that I really wanted to get involved with. I think it's really important what we're doing here and the stuff that we're talking about.
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Hannah: Because the other thing is like how many years younger than you than me are you?
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Katie: How old are you?
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Hannah: Nearly 40. Don't tell anyone.
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Katie: I'm 32.
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Hannah: So. Yes. And you don't have kids?
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Hannah: You're a vegan? I'm definitely not. We often think we're kind of like, quite opposite. But really fundamentally, when it comes down to the stuff we're talking about, it's relevant for mums, but it's also 100% relevant in your life as well.
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Katie: Yeah, that's the thing. Like you'd think, given that Hannah's focus has been on sort of divorce, children and things like that, that it wouldn't appeal to me or it wouldn't be relevant to me. But when I've been listening to the podcast, thinking about my own life and my own struggles, it's all so relevant. And I think that's partially to do with the fact that we're talking about the woman's experience, you know, and we we go along with life in a way that women are expected to, and then we get to a point where we're like, 'Actually, what am I doing here? Like, let's just slow down and have a think'. And that's the kind of stuff that you're talking about on the podcast and on Mums Days'.
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Hannah: Yeah, that's good. So I thought I'd give you a little potted history of Mums' Day, starting with the first blog post I wrote back in January 2012. So actually that will make it 11 years very, very soon. So I've put...
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Hannah: Hello, my name is Hannah Parker and I'm 28 and I live in Blyth, Northumberland. Originally from the Midlands. If you told me ten years ago or even three to come to think of it, that I'd be living in a small, fairly rundown seaside town in the north of England. I wouldn't believe you. I've recently found out that I'm pregnant and I have about a week ago decided to shut down my business. It's all for exciting reasons, but nonetheless, I'm unemployed. In True New Year fashion. My mission for the next few months is to sort my life out so that a) I am happy and healthy in time for the birth of the baby. B) I have made some money or got a job so we're not completely skint. And c) I've - this is the best bit - I've streamlined, streamlined my life, meaning everything from successful and pain free business closure to uncluttered cupboards and a Gok style wardrobe.
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Hannah: That's so like 2012.
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Hannah: I'm hoping to blog once a day about everything and anything relating to the above. The focus is likely to be on pregnancy and babies growing, sore boobs, clothes, weird things that I've found out and feel is my duty to share. I already have a gem for you. Did you know that some pregnant women grow an extra pair of boobs? I kid you not. More to come on that one. And the ultimate issue, how to not put on 1,000,000 pounds and become the size of a house without impacting my baby. Is that really the ultimate issue? I hope you find it useful and/or interesting. And please do share your thoughts and ideas with me too.
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Hannah: So there you go Katie, those were the omissions of me when I first started out.
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Katie: Yeah, it's funny, isn't it? Because obviously you're talking about deciding to close down your business, which is how we first met.
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Hannah: You used to work for me in that business.
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Katie: Yeah. So, like, that was my very first job, and I didn't really know what the world of work had in store for me. And the start was with Hannah. And it's funny that we're looping back around to that now because like from this blog post that you've just read out as well, like it's a lot of the same stuff. Actually. We're still talking about weird things and boobs and clothes, aren't we? Like it's still relevant today because it's what we're interested in. And although maybe you wouldn't necessarily focus on the Gok style wardrobe.
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Hannah: Well, you know, we spoke to Katie last week and actually there is a lot to be said in decluttering everything. And the fact that I was talking about decluttering then and I'm still talking about it today is quite interesting. Like, I think I feel like my brain is a cluttered place, so uncluttering my stuff makes such a huge impact. But I do think that that's like quite a big ambition to streamline your entire life.
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Katie: Yeah. And this was like before you even had the help of Cath, I don't know how you were thinking you might do that back then.
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Hannah: I was never going to do that on my own. Yeah, but bless me for trying. I'm always trying. Obviously, like over the years, there were, like, huge gaps in my presence. But, you know, this blog grew to be something that I really, really loved. And I didn't realize because when I started, I was like, I'm going to do this because I need to make money. And I'd read a few articles at the time. Everyone's like, become a blogger and make millions of pounds. And I'm like, Yes, that's what I'm going to do. But I didn't expect to love it as much as I did. And it's particularly things like writing. I had a big thing where I was like, I'm a mathematician and an engineer. I'm not a writer. And I tried really hard in school at English and always got shit grades, which was so sad. And I think like there must be so many people in the world that are like, I'm not going to be a writer because I didn't get the right grades at school or vice versa. I'm not going to do anything to do with maths because I didn't get the right grades.
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Katie: It's the same with creativity as well. I think. Like you think that if you can't paint, then you can't be a creative person and it's like the opposite of that. And what we're doing is so creative as well, you know? So just because you're a maths person doesn't mean you can't do something creative as well.
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Hannah: Yeah, because there's obviously something about the order of maths that appealed to me, so therefore I was good at it. It's clean, it's uncluttered, but I've just found as I was writing, the more I was sharing my thoughts honestly and my feelings about life, that I was really enjoying the writing process. It was uncluttering my head and I was getting lovely feedback and, you know, having people reach out and being like, I'm at the same stage as you or a few months behind me, and they could kind of see what was coming. Like, it was lovely to hear that. And obviously we had some great feedback and some testimonials from people recently with this rebrand that we've took a long time over.
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Katie: Very slow, very slow.
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Hannah: That's my fault.
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Katie: Both of our faults.
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Hannah: But people were saying things like, Oh, you know, we've been there from the start and it was like having an extra person, like just not feeling as lonely as you're going through the process. And that's exactly how I felt. Slowly, my sort of identity became wrapped up in Mum's days, which is why I've been like, I can't change the name. I once, like recently I was showing a friend my Instagram and when he saw it was mums days, he literally laughed in my face.
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Hannah: But I was like, But that's who I am. That is what my blog is and it's what, you know, the people that I've come to connect with know me as. So I'm not changing it.
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Katie: No. And you can talk about the 'mum' experience and what it's like to be a mum and all of the things that surround that. And you can talk about other stuff as well. Like it doesn't have to pigeonhole you as that does it.
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Hannah: No, because we were saying be interesting to get the perspective of people who aren't mums. Like why have you chosen not to be a mum?
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Hannah: And I totally get it.
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Katie: And I found everything so relatable and I don't have any kids and I'm not planning to have any in the very near future so..
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Hannah: Let me know if you change your mind.
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Hannah: But yes. So I remember vividly when I first got a proper job kind of walking into the, you know, to my job one day and being like, I can't wait to retire, which sounds ridiculous, but I felt like I had so much that I wanted to do and so much stuff that I wanted to explore that I literally didn't have time for my day job, which sounds really stupid, but. I think just some people's brains are wired that way. And I it was just the wrong job. Like, I feel like when I'm employed. People aren't as passionate as me. Like, I want to go all in. And I wanted to do stuff yesterday. And, you know, I miss the camaraderie of working in a team with other people, but you just don't get the same autonomy as you do with something like this. You know, I can have an idea today and then have it implemented by next week, which was pretty much what happened with this podcast. I really wanted to do one. I had a bit of a deadline coming up where I had to either do it there and then or not at all. But I really wanted to get started. So I'm like, I'm just going to book a podcast studio and and then I'm forcing myself to get it done. And with the lovely Louis, the engineer here. So that gave me something like three days to write eight podcast scripts. And, you know, I had to do it because I had the deadline and I didn't want to waste the money that I was investing. And those first podcasts are pretty rubbish, aren't they?
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Katie: I like them. She's mean about the first podcast. Tell her not to be, aren't they great.
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Hannah: Shut upp
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Hannah: But the most important thing is that I just got started and that's the thing that I kind of struggle with, I think with working for somebody else. And why I love this so much is that we can decide on an idea and just get it going.
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Katie: I think when you've got as much passion as you do, it seems a shame to waste it on somebody else's thing, you know, And you are all in. There's no like I've never known Hannah to be like, I'm finished work for the day. Like she she just she's never this is who she is all the time. She is Mums' Days and this is what she does all the time.
00:14:27 - 00:15:26
Hannah: But I've been thinking about this because I think it's to do with the way I grew up because my dad's a vicar and the model of life I saw as I was growing up Is your life and your work are the same thing. So whether you're meeting somebody or your, I don't know, like even just having tea, there would always be somebody there that was to do with my dad's job. But obviously that's a double edged sword because when do you switch off and how much do you share? Is always a big question, but it just feels natural to me now. That it would all intermingle, Nora Ephron said. All life is copy, so that's great. And I'm an oversharer, as we know. But obviously there are times like, for example, when I remember our group of friends were not really able to make eye contact with me after the time that I shared my top tips on having sex for the first time after having a baby.
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Hannah: And they were all like uouhhhh.
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Katie: I'm making a face.
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Hannah: They made that face and they were like oh, has anybody seen the weather? Like, they didn't want. But, you know, I'm not really bothered.
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Hannah: Because it was helpful.
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Katie: And I don't know about anybody else, but I love to hear about what's going on in your life. Even the oversharing bits. Maybe, especially the oversharing bits.
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Hannah: Yeah. And it is those things where you're like, Oh, I wish I kind of want to know what I meant to do and how it's, I don't know. Not necessarily sex but..
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Katie: Yeah, and it makes you feel less alone in the world, you know, when other people are struggling with the same things that you are, especially if you suddenly realize that if you've been worrying about something and then suddenly realize that somebody else is worrying about too. That's a great feeling. And I think that's like one of the great things about being able to share what you share and what people share on the Internet, you know?
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Hannah: Yeah. And I think that's the direction we want to take this more, isn't it? It's like understanding more of what's going on in other people's lives, because even though it's not necessarily the same, there's normally always a take away, which is I'm not so alone in all this.
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Katie: And I can do this and I am enough, all of those sorts of things. I don't think it hurts to hear over and over again.
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Hannah: I would agree. I think what I struggled in the past with was when I felt sad, like I'm naturally positive and I'm naturally upbeat. And so the nature of Mums' Days has always been, we'll talk about these difficult things, but how are we making the best out of this situation? What are we learning from it? But obviously there were times when I disappeared because I felt like I couldn't be that authentically. But I think that was wrong because actually, you know, as I've explored other careers over the years, I always come back here. Because this is what I want to do. I love the fact that we can document life, not just mine, other people's as well. And writing helps me make sense of things, but it also gives my life significance instead of just letting things fly by unnoticed, especially when your kids are little, it's really easy to just, like, get into the motions of the day to day. And a big thing I've realized over the last six months is it's when you show up and you're vulnerable. It's similar to like what Josie was saying a few weeks ago. There's strength and power and being vulnerable and Mums Days readers and the listeners of this podcast don't mind which whatever way I show up, that's what I seem to be getting. And in fact, people reach out more when you share how you're feeling.
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Katie: Yeah, I was reading Glennon Doyle's latest book last night, and.
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Hannah: What's it called?
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Hannah: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I've read that. It's really good.
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Katie: And I'll obviously go going to paraphrase here, but the point that she's getting at is that we grow up thinking that the emotions that you express are meant to be the happiness ones and the ones that you're meant to just keep deep down inside you are the sadness ones. And actually what you need to do is embrace both of them, you know, And that's, I guess, what we're now trying to do with Mums' Days, isn't it? You know, show the happy and the sad and still find out what you're going to learn from it.
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Hannah: Yeah. Do you know what that's reminded me of? Which used to piss me off so much? But I've had a few boyfriends in the past that have said you're not yourself today. And I'm like, Oh, my God. All of the things that you see are me.
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00:19:01 - 00:19:13
Hannah: And just because I'm not feeling happy today, I'm not going to pretend so that I seem myself using inverted quotes. Because whichever version that shows up, you are yourself.
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Katie: Absolutely. And yeah, I get that too. Like, you know, what's the matter with you today? There must be something really wrong because
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Hannah: You're not yourself.
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Katie: You've not got a smile plastered across your face. What's the matter? And it's like, I'm just not like, ecstatically happy today. Is that okay?
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Hannah: I'm just showing up with what I've got. Accept it or piss off.
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Katie: Very much so.
00:19:36 - 00:20:05
Hannah: And it's okay for me to be on my own if you're not feeling my company today. So yes, the whole. I think the whole thing that I'm loving is just connecting with other people and, you know, understanding what everybody's going through because everybody's different. And when I do share the vulnerable things, people will come back with their stuff. And often it's a lot worse than mine, I'll be honest. Yeah. And that puts things in perspective as well.
00:20:05 - 00:20:15
Katie: But then there might be somebody with a shared or even worse experience to that as well. Yeah. And the fact that we all get to share that with each other and make everybody feel less alone is a great thing.
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Hannah: Yes, I agree. So that makes me want to share all more stories. So I guess that gets on to like what's the crack going forward? So kind of like who's funding this hello and what the business model is. But basically the way it worked in the past was that I had enough people like going on my blog and the reach through my social media that brands wanted to work with me and would pay me. And basically this is the vision going forward, isn't it? But obviously we'll be very picky about how we do it. But really creatively, for me, that's where I get the biggest buzz almost is finding the people that I really like, coming up with really cool ideas that I think would be helpful for the whole community and actually getting paid because I do have to make some money out of it because at the moment it's purely investment.
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Katie: For funsies.
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Hannah: For funsies. This isn't for fun, is it?
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Katie: I'm having fun.
00:21:14 - 00:21:26
Hannah: Like we're having fun but having me text you at 9:00 at night or like any moment isn't that fun? I should say that Katie is literally part time, but she probably doesn't feel like it.
00:21:26 - 00:21:30
Katie: Well, you know, there's no difference between part time and all the time is there?
00:21:30 - 00:22:16
Hannah: 2 minutes every hour. That's fine. So in the past with Mums' Days, you know, I had enough of a following that brands would approach me and be like, We would like to work with you. And they and that's how you get paid. And ultimately that is the vision going forward. I would love to do things like online programs and books as well. But if I can get money from brands, it means that I can make lots of fun free content. I think that's just a nice way of doing it. The more I get, the more cool stuff I can create to give away for free. I think that's a really nice model and one that I've always wanted for Mums' Days is that it's a collaboration that's free and available to anybody who wants it.
00:22:16 - 00:22:17
Katie: Everybody wins
00:22:18 - 00:22:19
Hannah: all the ways.
00:22:20 - 00:22:21
Katie: Everybody wins all the ways.
00:22:21 - 00:23:38
Hannah: Yeah. So you might see more things popping up that are brand related, but hopefully it fits with what we're doing. And actually that process, that creative process of tying in what our brand stands for with our worlds that we've created is really fun. I remember doing it with Protest, they're like a sportswear company, and I worked with them on two different seasons and I just loved all the stuff we were able to do. I was giving away loads of their clothes because they wanted to do that and we were coming up with like free workouts. We were doing online community discussions around how we kind of stay fit and healthy and. Yeah. So that is the model going forward. And obviously, like I say, I'd also like to do some things where I do finally write a book. But you know, it's all time, isn't it? And we'll get there. But the other thing is I want it to be a collaboration. So when I changed like, so the apostrophe above mums is so it's belonging to all the mums. So it used to be just mum's days as in mine, my day. And then it changed to being mums' because so many other people were contributing stories and like the birth stories and other experiences that they were having.
00:23:38 - 00:23:39
Katie: What a poignant apostrophe.
00:23:39 - 00:24:15
Hannah: Yeah. Like just the change of one of the spacing of it means that it's not just about me, it's about everybody. And it's that shared experience and I really want to push the site that way where it's, you know, motherhood and life at times can be super lonely. So I want us to feel kind of understood and connected. So, yeah, back in the day when I felt like I didn't have enough time to go to work. I think it's just because I couldn't get that excited about concrete. Like, that's what I was doing. I was working in like transport and stuff like that, but I.
00:24:15 - 00:24:18
Katie: Wasn't sure what she was getting at there. She works in concrete.
00:24:18 - 00:26:28
Hannah: I worked in concrete. I've done all the things I've worked for the milkman, I've worked in shops, all the things. But this is the stuff that I'm really excited about and connecting with people. So yeah, I felt like I didn't have enough time to go to work, but, you know, then I had kids and for a while your entire life is consumed by keeping the child alive and then your self alive and things like your dreams and ambitions have to take a bit of a back seat. And for me, I think of it as being like having your granddad on the back seat of the car, like, opinionated, quite noisy. Liking to tell you how to drive. You should be going that way, whatever it is. But you know, no matter how much you love this backseat driver, whatever it is, mine was always a certain amount of like dreams and ambitions. You haven't got time to see to them in a way that you really hoped you would. And I know that all the people that are listening to this and who read Mum's days, I think that's one of the key things that we connect on is we might have a different backseat driver, but there's something that's pulling us to do it and we just don't always have the time or the energy or the motivation or there's always something that's getting in the way and that's the kind of thing that I want to be talking about on Mum's days, which is why I loved Clare's tagline so much. So it's Mums' Days - all the ways because there's just so many different flavours of motherhood out there and they're all right. As long as your child is cared for and loved, you're smashing being a mum. But it's the backseat driver that I'm really interested in. Like what's the pull in your life? What you're trying to squeeze in, what's important, what have you overcome in order to do these things? These are the kind of stories, stories that I want to share because they're really inspiring. You know, the ones that help us feel a bit more understood and to stop motherhood in my case, but life in other people's case, just not be as lonely. So I guess that's probably a good place to stop.
00:26:29 - 00:26:29
00:26:31 - 00:26:33
Hannah: But we would love, wouldn't we, Katie?
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Katie: We would.
00:26:34 - 00:27:10
Hannah: We would love you to come and join the community so you can sign up. Probably the best way is the newsletter to sign up there. So you never miss a podcast or what my backseat driver has to say, Oh my God, we need to move away from that weird analogy. But often we'll have freebies and like loads of other things that hopefully you'll find useful and you can sign up to that at Mumsdays.com/subscribe. But then the other thing we really want is people to write, isn't it?
00:27:10 - 00:27:15
Katie: If you want to be in the back seat with Hannah...
00:27:15 - 00:27:15
00:27:15 - 00:27:18
Katie: Yeah. But we do.
00:27:19 - 00:27:40
Hannah: So yes, if you've got any ideas, please get in touch. You can email me Hannah at Mums days dot com or Katie which is k a t i e at mums days dot com and we'd love to hear from you. Thanks, Katie. Thanks for coming in and chatting. You're going to be a regular, aren't you?
00:27:40 - 00:27:41
Katie: Oh, I am.
00:27:43 - 00:27:45
Hannah: So you'll hear much more from Katie.
00:27:45 - 00:27:46
Katie: Yeah. Thanks, everybody.
00:27:46 - 00:27:47
00:27:48 - 00:28:29
Hannah: All right. Thank you so much for listening. And have a great week, and I'll see you next time for another episode of Happily Ever After with me, Hannah Harvey. I would be very grateful if you wouldn't mind leaving a review or subscribing, because this helps more people find this podcast. And of course, if you've got a friend who you think might enjoy this episode, please do recommend it to them as well. For anything else, your thoughts on the episode or any questions, please do get in touch with me through Instagram @MumsDays or you can email me. Hannah @MumsDays dot com And I genuinely love hearing from you, so please do get in touch. Byee.