It’s not always easy telling those closest to you that you’re throwing caution to the wind.
That you’re choosing a path they don’t necessarily approve of. That they don’t understand.
A pause, followed by a silence and then, “but what will you do, you know for money…”
And you try and tell them that it will be ok. That everything will work out. Because you know this is where you need to be. That every single thing in your life so far has been leading up to this.
But they still can’t quite grasp or understand where you’re coming from.
It’s called Faith.
And that path might not be the right one for everyone to tread.
But it’s right for me right now and I can’t wait to walk down it to who knows where.
And yes I could stay safe, working normal hours, feeling trapped, or I can choose to fly. And guess which one I choose…
And I haven’t even scratched the surface yet and I know that.
And there is part of me that doesn’t know how it will happen.
I don’t think we’re ever meant to know everything.
But my WHY is huge and it anchors me to everything.
The dream of writing, of creating and achieving what I always wanted to. When this calling first came looking for me aged seven.
Way back when I wrote my name on the sand and stood proudly behind it. Just as I’m about to stand proudly by the next thing I create.
I can’t wait to share it with you.
The second charity is on board, the second book is with the publisher, illustrations all complete.
And there’s more.
Another special calling for working mums who need to know there is hope and support and friendship out there.
When they are torn between both the job of nurturing their little ones and their day jobs. Mums like me who strive for balance.
And remain grounded through their very reason for being.
Each one of them. Absolutely amazing, albeit exhausted.
This is for them. A salute to some of the most incredible women I know.
Follow your dreams whatever they may be.
For we have one life, no dress rehearsals, so we need to shine.
So they too grow to be inspired and in turn go on to inspire others… x
PS If you’re a working mum and would like to join what will be a lovely supportive and inspiring FB group please email me and I’ll be in touch very soon x
When I started out on this amazing journey as a children’s author, I was really excited but had no idea what lay ahead. I knew that it would be hard work but also that it was what I was destined to do.
It’s just taken me a while to finally realise it – and for everything to align to support that decision.
Aside from my family, nothing means more to me than being mum to my gorgeous little boy. So it’s an absolute honour when I receive emails from other mums who tell me how I’ve inspired them and that they too want to take the plunge and follow their dreams.
It’s not always an easy decision to make, but following your heart and your passion is always the right thing to do. It’s what will make you happy and in turn, make those around you happy too.
Of course with all decisions like this, there is usually a balancing game involving time / money somewhere along the line.
But allowing any fear or self-doubt to creep in, is just defeatist. It’s like the negative committee turning up to rain on your parade. And I for one don’t plan to entertain anything they have to say.
In this pursuit to follow my dream, I have already encountered so many amazing people and supporters. I also get the odd blank look followed by, “But what are you going to do next?”
And when I respond with, “I’m going off to pursue my dreams,” I’m either met with a mix of overwhelming enthusiasm or plain looks of confusion. The confusion comes as they enjoy working nine to five for someone else, as I have done for many years. And you may well be in the same position and are happy with this as your choice.
But it is a choice – and decisions that we make change where we head in life. I don’t want to look back and regret what I haven’t done – and so for now, this is my time and I literally can’t wait.
I received a beautiful message in a birthday card the other day from a childhood friend. She said, “I really believe that 2017 is going to be your year.”
It is support like this and hearing from others, especially mums, that means the world to me. Being a mum isn’t always easy. We become professional jugglers literally overnight, trying to keep everyone, including ourselves happy. But all too often our wants and needs, come at the bottom of the pile – secondary to those of your loved ones. It comes with the territory. Being mum = being selfless.
That said for what it’s worth I believe that I owe it to myself, to J and to those who have been in touch to keep going, even when times get hard. Even when any doubts appear on the horizon (though I’m determined to nip them in the bud) and even when I’m not sure how this is going to pan out. It might sound strange – but I just know that it will and I can’t help but smile at the possibilities that lay ahead.
Thank you to everyone who has been in touch to let me know about the path you’re beginning or are about to begin, or who has messaged me just to say hello. It makes this dream – that bit more special.
Ps Book number two is on its way later this year. The illustrations are complete and the text is with the publisher. I can’t wait to share all of my plans with you x
It struck me the other day as I was on the treadmill that running is pretty much the same as writing and publishing a book.
It requires dedication, persistence, consistency and taking that initial first step to actually do it ie action. None of what I’ve done over the last 12 months or so has been easy, but actually that’s been part of the fun too (see what I did there with my mindset). So I like a challenge, and I set myself smaller goals so that I can get to where I want to.
With visibility, the number one thing I wanted to do when I started out and was looking to build fame for my brand?
I became a Huffington Post blogger.
Unafraid of the reaction I would get (I am learning to become more bullet proof on a daily basis) I reached out mainly via FB to everyone I knew. I don’t think there’s anyone who follows me or is friends with me who doesn’t know that I’ve written a children’s book
I strategically planned my activity – looking at which activity would work for which months – what was I doing in October / November / December etc to heighten my awareness
I’ve also not given up. Undeterred when I have made visits to local bookshops and the manager has been dismissive because I self-published, I found the ones who liked me for me, and took a chance (some of them before they’d even seen the book or read the story).
And now thanks to this perseverance I’ll be staging another book signing this time at Waterstones in Guildford on Saturday 18th March. Like I said, persistence is everything.
Of course, my background as a journalist / PR / Comms expert has really helped. I know how to make the approaches, what works best, and how to effectively sell myself (which felt strange at first as I’m so used to selling someone else / a brand).
But it’s also why things have been coming my way, doors are opening, why I have met people in the strangest situations and how I’m connecting to people I never thought I would. Never stop connecting as you don’t know who knows who and sometimes people will go out of their way to help you, those you never thought would.
So, like running, keep going, set your goals to run five minutes on the treadmill, followed by five minutes more – before you know it you will have completed 20 or 30.
The last thing for me and which really has helped is my WHY.
This is a biggie as my WHY is my everything and it should be your everything too.
My WHY is simple – I want to spend more time with my little boy so I can be the mum I want to be.
I’m writing this whilst sat in a hotel room in Manchester city centre. Another two nights spent away from home.
But instead of sitting here feeling sorry for myself, I’m using this time to write, to catch up, to create. So that I know that the momentum I have already started can continue.
Yesterday I finished writing and editing my second James and the… book. Tonight, I’ve reached out to my lovely and super talented illustrator in America. The journey for the sequel to James and the Amazing Gift is already underway.
I’m so glad that you’re here with me, sharing every step of the way!
And yes before you ask, every time that I’m away from J in particular, my heart breaks.
But I want him to know that his mum is doing all she can to make it better. That she will be there for him at the school gates and he won’t remember the times I’ve been apart from him.
If you have read this far good for you.
Now you know what you need to do.
Take that step to get on the treadmill, email that client, make that sales call. And just keep doing what you need to do.
Because you can, and you will succeed.
There was a collective sigh of relief at our end when the government announced its plans to introduce 30 hours of free childcare in September – a month after our son turns three.
I’m sure it was a familiar response in many homes across the UK. What now remains to be seen is if the nursery local to us, actually adopts the policy. It’s fair to say that we have spent the last 16 months being crippled on a monthly basis by nursery fees.
It was of course a decision we made that I would return to work full time after having our little boy.
But it’s not been all plain sailing.
I suffered from separation anxiety, which became all consuming. I couldn’t see beyond the fact that I was only getting to see my son for half an hour a day Monday to Friday. It literally broke my heart every single day.
But with a complete change of mind-set (thanks in part to writing my first children’s book), came a much happier me, a much more balanced mum and a more rounded family life.
I was talking to one of my friends the other week, and asked if she was planning to return to work after her second baby. We both agreed it’s not easy but the choice has to be made, (rightly or wrongly) as to what kind of mum you want to be, and how present you choose to be in your children’s lives.
Everyone is different and looking at my circle of mummy friends, there’s a real spectrum of those who work full time and try to juggle everything (some successfully), those who run their own businesses so have a degree of built-in flexibility, and those who are able to stay at home looking after their children full time.
Being a stay at home mum is a big trend at the moment, especially amongst women in previously high flying corporate careers. You only have to look at the number of mummy bloggers who are making great strides in their online enterprises, as they try to find the elusive balance and earning power that a successful business can provide.
I would argue that balance is the key to everything. Unlock the balance and then yes absolutely women and mums especially, can have it all.
But striking this balance can feel like you are walking a tightrope 24/7.
Many parents I know talk about the guilt of not being with their child as they’re growing up. This of course has to be weighed up with the many benefits of early social integration that childcare can provide.
For me it’s never been about the guilt. It’s more that I always knew the sort of mum I wanted to be. And yes, for now, I miss my son every single day.
But I’m also determined to be at the school gates to drop him off and meet him afterwards. It’s also why I’m laying the business foundations that I am now, no matter what it takes.
When J was born, my world was literally turned upside down and inside out, and overnight I lost my identity.
My Health Visitor put it succinctly after meeting me just a couple of times, “You know you’re still Nicola, not just J’s mum.” I guess you could say I have a tendency to throw myself into things whole heartedly.
It’s part of the reason that I went back to work. It took me a long time to find myself again and I needed to have more to focus on than just my son and his well-being.
The one thing I would say to mums who are able to stay at home without earning is – make sure you carve out some time for you.
My work ethic has always been strong. It’s why after much studying, I launched my own successful photography business, and still run it to this day, whilst working full time.
Writing and publishing a children’s book at the same time as all of the above, and juggling being a mum, hasn’t been easy, but it somehow feels right.
It’s the path I know I should be taking.
Writing is also the thing which comes most naturally to me. It always has done. It’s also why I’m offering copyrighting services for those who need it.
- The busy entrepreneurs / small businesses who don’t have time to write their blog posts regularly
- Those who need help finding their tone of voice
- The authors who are just published but don’t know what will help to engage their fans in the way they would like to
With a background in Journalism and Communications I understand what works, and more importantly what the media looks for.
At the end of the day, being a mum is an incredibly rewarding and hugely enjoyable experience.
Yes it’s hard work, yes there are times where you feel unappreciated, and yes it can feel as if you’re wading through treacle at times, when no amount of distractions will stop a tantrum.
But it’s also by far the best thing I have ever done. And I’m beyond grateful to have the opportunity to be one.
At the end of the day, being able to help guide, nurture and shape a little person, to become the best version of themselves is an incredible privilege.
Whatever path you have chosen, know that you can have it all if you really want it.
Re-visit your WHY on a regular basis. Your reason for wanting to achieve what you want, get to where you want to go, and be the mum and person you want to be.
Nicola J Rowley is the author of children’s book James and the Amazing Gift, which can be purchased from Amazon UK – (http://amzn.to/2hULNBC). For every copy sold, £1 goes to raise vital funds for UK charity Contact the Elderly.
Nicola is also offering copywriting services for entrepreneurs and details can be found on her website: http://nicolajrowley.com/for-entrepreneurs/
This blog has recently appeared on The Huffington Post, where Nicola is a regular blogger.