March is the month where we celebrate many things including Mother's Day and International Women's Day so I thought it appropriate to feature some inspiring mums and we'll be showcasing them throughout March - hope you enjoy the "March of Inspiring Mums" series!
Today's interview is with Emily Tredget, mum to a 3 year old son who lives in Wimbledon. She is the founder of MummyLinks, a safe place to meet mums for playdates in their local area and beat loneliness that can so often occur. She is also a campaigner for maternal mental health.
After reading my story, where I reflect on my personal journey into motherhood and share my experiences of those first few weeks and months as a first time mum, you may have realised I'm also passionate about maternal mental health and I love the ethos of what Emily is creating through MummyLinks.
1. Tell me a little about yourself and how you got into the job you’re now doing?
It’s not a job luckily – it’s a passion!
I set up MummyLinks because it was a service I needed most days of maternity leave (and beyond!) If a mum friend cancelled a playdate, for whatever reason, I'd find this difficult. I wanted to get out and meet somebody, but at late notice it was often hard to find someone. Struggling with PND made this worse too - some days it was a big deal for me to get out of the house, so to have it cancelled last minute often meant I'd syced myself up to go out but didn't get the benefits of getting out and chatting to someone. PND also meant I sometimes hadn't arranged a playdate but then found that I was up for it and then couldn't find a friend who was free!
So I set up a whatsapp group of all my local mum friends, and then whenever one of us was free last minute we would post in the group, and more often than not we would find someone else in a similar position and keen to meet! I'm trying to replicate this across the UK though MummyLinks. It's so important - especially now that we often don't live near our friends or family. We need to create that village again!
Addressing loneliness is key for me. It can be a key trigger for PND and other maternal mental health issues, so if we can reduce loneliness that's got to be a good thing! You don't realise how lonely being a mum is until you are one. Friends and family who aren't mums just don't get it, but when you become a mum it just hits you. And I'm not just addressing physically loneliness as such - I also talk out in the media and blog about my experience of maternal mental health as struggling with PND, even if you are physically around mums and friends a lot, can make you feel very lonely. If you haven't told your friends and family about it, you feel like you are alone and have to pretend all is ok, when it's not. I'm actually running a huge campaign again to kick of Maternal Mental Health Week in May called #ShoutieSelfie where mums (or dads - or others!) post a selfie of them shouting with some words saying they love someone with PND - whether it's themselves or a friend - it doesn't need to be shared if they don't want to.
Check out #shoutieselfie on social media to be a part of the maternal health campaign
Tell me one interesting fact about you?
Gosh I’m not very interesting…I used to work for innocent drinks, that was always a good conversation starter at least. Not in marketing though as everyone always asks – supply chain so nothing sexy! Erm…I used to play squash competitively…is that interesting?
Please can you share 3 tips for managing the juggle of motherhood, life and business?
- Buy yourself a white board to put all your work todos on it – it’s super quick and easy to add/move/delete tasks from. I used to have them in my diary and it got too much on top of all my toddlers activities in there too!
- When you are working, work, and when you are playing, play. Try not to have your phone beeping away whilst you are with your kids. It happens sometimes obviously, but it’s much more efficient to work when they’re not around, and much nicer for them to have your full attention when you are!
- Don’t stress if everything isn’t perfect. We often think we can have it all, but I’m a firm believer that you can’t. You can do anything, but not all at once – there are stages in life. Right now if the dishes aren’t done right away or the floor isn’t hoovered I’m not going to worry. Focus on what is more important (unless of course your dishes are crawling…!)
What’s the best piece of advice you could give a new mum?
Don’t do it alone. We are brought up to be strong and independent women – and that’s great, but motherhood isn’t meant to be alone. I think this is why so many of us struggle more than we expected. Because we expect to be able to cope, not to need anyone’s help, and to enjoy every second. That’s not reality, and the sooner we realise it’s ok to ask for help and support – and to stop pretending we are great all the time – it gets much better!
Colour can make a real difference to our mood - what’s your favourite colour? And how does it make you feel when you wear it?
I love turquoise! I don’t wear it much now – mostly navy blue to cover stains etc! But when I do it makes me feel happy and confident!
Emily is wearing a Halia Rose Petals necklace in Aqua
What’s your favourite activity to do with your family?
Ooh that’s a tricky one! I love to bake with my son. He loves to stir the mixture (even just flour on it’s own!) and of course we love the baked goods at the end!
What do you like to do for some me-time?
I love a massage if I’m well prepared (and saved up some pennies!) for me-time. Otherwise, I actually really enjoy cross-stitch. I know that makes me sound boring and old, but it really helps me to switch off, whilst being a bit creative. I’m about to finish one for my sister’s newborn!
Thank you Emily for sharing your story with us along with more information about your amazing campaign and MummyLinks network - it's so inspiring to create something to help other mums that you needed when you became a mum and I wish something similar had been around when I was a first-time mum too.
If you've enjoyed this interview, make sure you check out our other "March of Inspiring Mums" series here