Janey became a mum when ‘Jumbo Joe’ as she calls him, was born in October 2016. Before he arrived, she’d read all of the baby books and completed a thorough antenatal course but nothing really prepared her for the, ‘head-wrecking, don’t-know-what-I’m-doing whirlwind’ that followed his arrival. She decided to set up the Mummy Buddy programme, a free local and friendly buddy system for mums-to-be, providing them with a dedicated local new mum who offers guidance and support to the end of their 4th trimester. She’s a ‘proper northerner’ at heart, despite living in the friendly London suburb of Northfields and she works for a local authority as her day job .
Janey and I used to go to school together too! It’s all kinds of wonderful to share her business, life and brilliant sense of humour on the blog!
Describe a typical day for you?
If Joe has slept through the night, then the day starts with a mini celebration! Then, the fun begins. I rush around like a lunatic. I bribe Joe into going to the Childminder’s then dash to work whilst belting out a power ballad or two (in the car…alone). I do my day job in a concrete monstrosity of a Council building, then I leg it to collect Joe at 4:30pm, usually by just getting up and walk out of a meeting. I pick up my boy and then it’s giggles and cuddles time before bath and bed for him. I then enjoy some wine while catching up on Mummy Buddy work with feet up on the couch usually with a WW2 documentary on in the background that my husband will have no doubt fallen asleep to.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
Becoming a mum is definitely up there, but I did come 2nd in a regional Pie Eating Competition once which was a big achievement too. Surprisingly, I was the only girl who entered…
What’s in your handbag/ satchel?
Broken biscuits…quite literally. I’m always ashamed of the state of my handbag. Snacks for Joe, a couple of rogue nappies, a handful of mummy buddy flyers and about 19p’s worth of loose coins.
What are your ambitions in life?
For the Mummy Buddy programme to reach as many first-time pregnant ladies as possible…and to actually win a pie eating competition one day…?!
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?
The Mummy Buddy Programme recently reached its 6th month birthday so we are still in the early days. I have however learnt that unfortunately many large organisations who appear to have a social conscience have no interest in supporting decent local social enterprises or not-for-profit organisations as they are deemed as a ‘threat’. This is just disappointing rather than anything else. I guess I’d hoped that we would have moved on from this by now.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Hopefully putting family first. My husband wants to quit his successful career and run a pub, so who knows! I’m not really a long-term planner, more of a carpe diem-er.
What advice would you give a budding social entrepreneur?
Google everything. It’s mad just how much you can teach yourself from the internet and you’ll save a fortune that way. If you can’t figure it out from Google, then ask your friends who will be keen to support you if they know it’s going to be of benefit. And if not, then maybe question your friendships!
What do you wish you’d known about motherhood before having kids?
I really wish I’d known just how exhausted I would feel after the birth. I also wish I’d been aware of how it basically zaps all of your alone time – this wasn’t explained properly at the antenatal course that we went on! I remember feeling a bit claustrophobic during the first couple of weeks, not being able to go anywhere or do anything without having a newborn stuck to me. We did however make it to our local friendly pub when Joe was 2 weeks old for a bit of a bash and that restored my faith in everything. I’m pleased that we socialised a lot with him during the first year, especially as it’s much harder to do so now that he’s running around and trying to put his hands in my gin.
Finally, happiness is…
Laughing with Joe when he farts and then giggles. Oh and of course, sitting in the sunshine with good company and a strong G&T in my hand…each hand.
For more information on the Mummy Buddy programme visit www.mummybuddy.org.uk