Juggling parenthood with a job will never to be easy for anyone. Superwoman didn’t have kids did she (probably!) but if you do, how can we juggle a new family with a new career? We chatted to mumtrepreneur, vlogger and influencer Anna Whitehouse, aka Mother Pukka, about how she manages it.
Anna launched Mother Pukka as a child-friendly London guide but a social talent agency contacted her about vlogging. Her videos have racked up thousands of views and themes include “The Great British Fake-off” and “Moose Women: The Breastfeeding Debate”. She’s basically the coolest mum ever – so prepare to get majorly inspired.
1. Talk us through your career journey. How did you become a journalist and an entrepreneur?
It’s been quite the journey. I started out as a lawyer…I secured a training contract in a rural law practice in Oxford and when I went in to sign a contract, a farmer bumbled in the door waffling, “a cow shat on her foot and she’s suing me”, pointing at a raging woman outside. I thought, ‘heck, I’ve gotta get out of here’. I had also asked the partner a really simple question in my interview: “are you happy here?” He couldn’t answer and got all flustered; that’s when I thought, I’d prefer to be poor and happy without bovine shitting disasters to manage.
So I became a journalist because it involved speaking to people and finding out what makes them tick. I am a lover of human nature in all it’s guises. (I should mention that I didn’t just swoop into journalism; I was a junior reporter on Practical Caravan for a bit – I earned my stripes by penning scintillating features on tow bars)
2. How did Mother Pukka come about? What’s the story behind it?
So I felt a bit jaded by the whole kid thing. I knew I loved her [Mae, my daughter] painful amounts but I didn’t understand how we kept ending up in soft play areas that smelled of feet, talking about lactation. I wanted a bit more grot thrown into the mix and some laughs, so I thought ‘mother fucker’ before ending up with ‘mother pukka’ because my Mum doesn’t like swear words.
3. How do you find being a working mum?
A catastrophe. It’s a case of Sellotaping over the cracks and hoping for the best.
4. What are your top tips for young mums trying to juggle careers with parenting? And your advice for mumtrepreneurs?
Be firm; with your employer, with yourself. Making work work, starts with your own belief and confidence that you can nail that job and leave at 5pm to pick-up your kid – don’t stay a second past the time you have agreed. Stand firm and be good at what you do – it’s a simple formula that works together. You also need to steel yourself against the looks from colleagues that hint at the fact you’re about to plunge into Weatherspoons’ happy hour. Or those comments ‘what are you doing on your day off?’ when you’re working from home.
5. Do you think London is a tough place to be a parent in?
I don’t think geography has any impact! When that kid is snuffling your boob at 3am and you’re wondering why you’re wearing three pairs of pants, you could be anywhere.