Today, I am shining the MUM BOSS spotlight on the woman who puts a comedy spin on those everyday motherhood moments; the legend that is Christina Pickworth of This Mama Does. Christina talks about how a moment in motherhood led her to starting This Mama Does, we talk about how she juggles her career as a Film & TV agent, being a Mother and the owner of This Mama Does and also shares her top tips to starting a business. Be prepared to be inspired…
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Mummy to the 3 year old Little Man and 1 year old Little Miss (otherwise known as the sleeptwats!), and I live in South London with my husband. I run This Mama Does as well as being an agent representing writers and directors in film & TV, and I’ve also written a film which hopefully might get made one day. I’m surviving this motherhood lark on too little sleep, too much coffee and definitely too much gin!
Tell us about This Mama Does and what gave you the idea to start?
The essence of This Mama Does is this: This Mama Does, not this mama can or this mama will, This Mama Does. Because all mamas do incredible things every day for the little people they love. Sometimes they just need wine as well.
The idea came to me one day when we were potty training our son. He was coming down with chicken pox too, our daughter was only a few months old and has never been a good sleeper, and after clearing the third lot of poo off the floor that afternoon I collapsed onto the sofa, looked at the clock and wondered what would be an acceptable time to have a drink. I was knackered, home alone with two small children and with just my phone and social media for adult company. I wanted a way to send out an SOS to the world about how crap (literally!) my day was, by making fun out of it. By drawing a smile when there could just as easily have been a flood of lonely tears. And there they were, the first two cards I thought of: SHIT JUST HAPPENED, SEND GIN.
Now there are 5 ranges of parenting milestone cards (BUMP, BABY, KID, DADDY and HOLIDAY) as well as a range of greetings cards and Christmas cards.
Where do you get your inspiration for your fabulous cards?
My kids, my experience of motherhood, and my sense of humour have all been the driving force behind the idea. I work in film & TV and have spent the last 15 years helping people tell stories in one way or another, and then when I became a mother I felt lost and invisible. Everything is about the baby and I just wanted to yell “what about ME!”. I wanted a way to tell a story of motherhood that was honest, funny and cut through the perfection often portrayed by society and the media. This Mama Does is about being real. Parenting is wonderful but it’s also bloody hard and I think we should be able to say that out loud.
Describe your typical day?
There isn’t one really – but it always starts too early and ends too late! Me and my husband both work from home so we share the work/child juggle. Mainly I drink a lot of coffee and spend too much time in my pyjamas working at a million miles an hour.
What is the best part of your job?
As an agent I love working with creative people. It’s a privilege to have my days filled with stories and storytelling, and to be working with characters and ideas that hopefully will make it to the big (or small!) screen one day. This Mama Does is an extension of that – seeing parents choosing to use my cards as a way of telling their own stories through their own little squares makes me incredibly proud. Raising little people is both the best and hardest thing most of us will do, and to be a part of other people’s journeys doing that is such an honour.
What would you say the most important thing is in running an online business? What has been the greatest lesson you have learnt?
On the days that perhaps you haven’t had enough sleep, or your to do lists seem completely unmanageable, or something has gone horribly wrong, dig deep and remember why you’re doing it. Running an online business can be very isolating so find like-minded others and build your own community. And don’t give up.
What do you think it takes to be a Mum Boss?
Who knows! If it works for you then do that, whatever it is. Like parenting I don’t think there is a right way, just your way.
As the ultimate Mummy Juggler, how do you find a balance between running a successful business, manage your career as an agent and a screen writer and raising a family?
Honestly, I don’t. I work all the time. My kids watch TV in their pants and I feed them a lot of chicken nuggets. The irony of running your own businesses so you can work flexibly is that you end up working harder, longer hours. I try and go easy on myself, lean into the madness, and keep the self-doubt to a dull roar. But on the good days, the days you’re nailing the work as well as doing five loads of laundry and have actually managed to play a game or read a story then you feel like a hero.
After work, how do you find time to relax?
The reality is that I work most evenings, particularly Mondays and Tuesdays when I often work until midnight to get a headstart on the week. I’d love to say I go for a manicure or a massage but those things cost money we don’t have at the moment, so most likely if I’m taking the night off you’ll find me with a cheap bottle of wine in front of Masterchef Australia! I love cooking for people and menu planning is another favourite – I can spend hours happily flicking through my cookery books. I think feeding people is a good way to show them love.
What are your top five tips for starting a successful business?
1) Love your idea. If you’re not passionate about it then why should anyone else be?
2) Trust your gut and back yourself.
3) Be bold. Sometimes you just have to go for it. And if you make a mistake, learn from it and move on. Better to have tried and got it wrong than not done anything.
4) I don’t know that it necessarily equals success but I would say be kind. I don’t think you need to piss on anyone else’s chips to do well. And if I am doing well I want to know I did it the right way.
5) Get good broadband!
If you were to host the ultimate dinner party (with karaoke) and you could invite anyone in the world, who would be on your guest list?
Ryan Reynolds & Blake Lively, Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson, Goldie Hawn & Kurt Russell. And obviously my husband Bingle! They’re all completely brilliant at what they do, but they also all seem like kind people with great senses of humour. No egos, no drama. I think we’d have a scream.
This Mama Does is kindly offering a whooping 20% off everything until 31st October with the discount code CURIOUS