Polly March is a 36-year-old journalist, originally from London but now living in north Bristol with her husband and two children, Florence (4) and Leo (2).
When I asked Polly to tell her story I don’t think I quite appreciated how much she does: broadcast journalist for the BBC news website; volunteer for the Baby Bank Network overseeing its social media, freelance PR consultant and recently she’s joined the ranks of Stella & Dot as an independent stylist. So it’s safe to say that Polly is someone who truly embodies the values we’re aiming to champion on Social Butterflies – a working mum who is embracing the digital world.
But with all this going on in her life you can appreciate childcare is a finely tuned operation and so she’s quick to thank her “amazing in-laws who look after the kids out of pure love”. Juggling family life with work is an ongoing battle in most households and one we all strive to win. That’s why it’s refreshing to hear from real women about the harsh realities of trying to do it all: “It is quite tiring with all the pick-ups and drop-offs and does means the kids get a bit fed up at times but I think being totally there for them half the week is a real treat and makes up for it. The hard bit is when I have to go out and do jewellery shows in the evenings or on weekends or step away from them to do some admin as that feels like it impacts on family time but then it is extra cash for us all”.
If ever there was a recurring theme in this series of interviews it is that all mums have experienced a ‘crisis of confidence’. In fact, the reason it’s taken me so long to start writing again and launch this website is testament to that negative thinking. What’s so inspiring and comforting to know is that everyone else feels like that too! Polly’s experience is no exception, but that’s changed since she starting working for Stella & Dot: “it has massively helped with all aspects of my career and really reinvigorated me. It’s all about communicating but because I am meeting like-minded people and making them feel good about themselves, it makes me feel positive and has changed my professional outlook”.
What I love about Polly’s story is how fierce she has become in her professional attitude. Despite wondering if she would ever get her mojo back after having children she now has a renewed sense of vigour in her work ethic: “I am in a highly competitive industry on a short term contract and I’m only there [BBC] three days I week, I don’t have time to rest on my laurels and have to make my presence felt. At work now I am always ‘on it’, suggesting ideas or ways to take stories forward or to engage with our digital audiences. Before, where I might have been shy in coming forward, I know now that there’s no time for that and I can’t afford not to be noticed”. But this energy didn’t come overnight and Polly believes, as I’m sure we all do, that “as women, we should all be supporting each other in the workplace as when we have that conviction we can achieve anything”. Working in a deadline driven job has its drawbacks – being unable to avoid communications being one of them. I can relate to that and I’m conscious my children are watching me while I scroll through my phone or work on my laptop. But like Polly I think in order to find a fulfilling job that fits in around family life “it’s worth a bit of trial and error to get there”.
When she’s not enjoying outdoor pursuits and time with her family, Polly aspires to use her media skills to work with charities and “do more humanitarian work, help out at my daughter’s school and write that elusive book I’ve always been threatening to write!”. Well, I for one look forward to reading it!
Polly on social media…
“I largely use social media for my Stella & Dot business and it works fantastically well. It means I can connect with customers in a really personal way, offer them previews and discounts and a much friendlier, informal service. Also when I’m tweeting for the Baby Bank Network, I can do it anywhere and anyhow. Social media also massively helps with my main job at the BBC because it enables me to engage with users and find content really easily.
Polly’s daily digital routine…
“I am a total social media junkie so I will always check Facebook, Instagram and my BBC news app over breakfast. Twitter I generally only use at work but I will log on a few times a day on behalf of the Baby Bank Network just to check if I need to respond/engage.”
Polly is following…
“I really love the blogs that dispel the myths about motherhood”
Sarah Turner: The Unmumsy Mum writer of successful blog and subsequent Sunday Times no. 1 bestseller author.
Katie Kirby: blogger and published author of Hurrah for Gin.
Totes Inappropes: “The ramblings of a 43-year-old mother of three unfortunate children who likes to booze, run and shop for bargains. Lots of swearing and copious amounts of gin.”
“I also follow lots of Stella & Dot gurus because they offer awesome advice about how to grow the business. I like people who keep it real but also have humour. There is far too much self-congratulatory stuff out there so I like people who are a bit humbler and self-deprecating who offer a more realistic view of life rather than smug mums of Instagram!”
Interview with Amy White