Time for a positive change

Something occurred to me this week after I’d read some lovely emails from readers of Social Butterflies, there is a never-ending discussion online (and offline) about ‘honest parenting’, we can’t get enough of books like Hurrah For Gin and The Unmumsy Mum. But how about some ‘honest career chat’? I’m not talking about flexible working – there are huge strides being made in that area, thanks to amazing ambassadors like Mother Pukka and Digital Mums. I’m talking about the identity crisis so many women feel when they put their careers on hold to have a family. So why does this issue still feel like a taboo subject?

For many women of my generation (born in the 70s/80s) we had established professional identities long before children came along (not forgetting spontaneous mini-breaks, oh how I miss you mini-breaks). But no-one, it seems, feels comfortable talking about the lows of career compromise in motherhood. The most obvious reason is because people don’t want to prejudice future job opportunities or damage their image. But I’m not talking about committing an act of career self-harm. It’s just about acknowledging those lows so you can refocus that energy on creating new highs. If you’ve taken time out, or your foot off the career accelerator, then your confidence needs building up. You’re not going to get that by feeling unable to talk about it. Knowing others feel the same way is both reassuring and empowering. When you feel part of a movement don’t you feel more energised to make a change?

So I would like to open up the conversation. But this isn’t a drowning your sorrows exercise. This is very much about focusing on the positives. It’s about recognising your worth, valuing your experience, honing your skills, retraining in some cases, pursuing a passion and giving each other a leg-up! (I’ve been there, so I should know). I took a three-year career break a few years ago (but I did have two children) so I never feel awkward about explaining that time off to prospective employers. Maybe if I hadn’t done that I might be earning more money, or have a more impressive job, but I don’t like to look back. I am where I am because of the choices I made – no regrets. I think one of the best things you can do if you are on a career plateau is to skill yourself up. Even now, with over 16 years’ experience behind me I still think it’s important to attend courses, workshops and industry events. You should never be complacent about your knowledge in the workplace. I work in digital marketing where innovations and trends move so fast I have to keep pace.

If you’re feeling out of touch with your career identity and looking to try something new, or maybe just want to enhance your existing skills, then take heart from all the amazing women we feature on Social Butterflies. So many of them have taken career breaks, or left behind stellar jobs to try something new that suits family life. You can achieve that too – all it requires is a positive attitude, determination, a healthy dose of confidence and a good support network. You too could feel like the lady in the photo (looks like a Bodyform advert, I know).

TOP TIPS

KEEP ON LEARNING
The best advice I can give anyone who is feeling out of touch with the work place is to continuing learning: take a course, attend a workshop, go to a talk. Find something that interests you and meet like-minded people. Taking courses purely for professional reasons is great too (I’m currently learning all about analytics…) but be clear about what you want to get out of it, particularly if you’re paying a lot of money for something.

RETHINK YOUR STORY
Even if you’re not currently looking for work, try writing your CV out as you would a diary-style story. It’s a great exercise to help order your career thoughts and reexamine what you have to offer in an informal way. Once you’ve got a clearer sense of what that story is, you can translate into a CV format (have a look at Pinterest for CV style inspiration). Set yourself up with a LinkedIn profile and connect with old colleagues – you never know where Barry from accounts is now working and how he could help (by the way, Barry is a fictional character, purely for illustrative purposes).

EXPERIENCE NOT AGE
With age comes wisdom. We should be proud of the experience we have gained, and not compare ourselves to twenty-somethings. Each generation has their own unique skill set  – ours is multitasking experience (in bucket loads!). Taking time out of work has reinvigorated your desire to work, not diminished it. I’m in my late-thirties and we’re not having any more children, so I represent a whole load of women who are not going to go on maternity leave and we’re less likely to flit from job to job. This is an advantage for a future employer. It’s all about changing negative perceptions and seeing the positives.

POSITIVITY PEOPLE
It’s therefore crucial to surround yourself with positive people. There’s nothing wrong with constructive criticism, but the doomsayers can quite frankly f**ck off! If you’re trying to lift yourself up you need people with a glass half full attitude. I always think if you project positivity you will attract it (you can have that as a motivational fridge magnet, you’re welcome).

I’m really hoping by getting this topic out in the open it will help other women out there, who felt like I once did. I’d love to hear from anyone who has felt like this and has made positive changes in their career. Please email hellosocialbutterflies@gmail.com. I’d love to feature your story and inspire other women to do the same.

Baking with style

Candice Aboderin is a mother, vlogger and runs her own cake business Cake By Candie. A zest for life shines through in her YouTube videos, which she began as a way of capturing family life for posterity. Candice waxes lyrical on a range of different topics and doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable truths. We asked her to share her story and one her favourite cupcake recipes.

Tell us about yourself

My name is Candice Aboderin and I am 29. I currently run my own cake business Cake By Candie. Prior to motherhood (finally making me take a long walk off a short bridge) I dabbled in advertising and marketing roles, my last job before going alone was with Penguin Random House Publishing. My daughter Esme-Olivia is three and can be very frank about my cake designs, so I still feel like I have a boss of sorts! Apart from that, I love making videos I began doing so just to document my family life, as after my father died I realised I had no video of him. I find comfort in the fact that should I no longer be here and Esme has a burning question she knows that mummy probably made a video about that. I didn’t think others would find it interesting but here we are! As time has gone on it’s made sense to start making baking tutorial videos. With business’ heavily dependant on Google search algorithms, the more content tied to my business name, the better.

How has digital technology and social media changed the way you work?

Thankfully, I’m young enough to say that I don’t know life without it. When it comes to running a cake business, the plus sides are tremendous. Gone are the days of sourcing bank loans and dealing with overheads. With a bright, beautiful Instagram, authenticity and most importantly a great product, you are able to run a business from your sofa! The consistent downside to social media, is watching others and their numbers thinking that you or your business is not doing as well as it should. Whenever I feel those feeling creep in, I know it’s time to take a little break. Personally, it has really helped me build a community that have shared my business and content no end. I am forever indebted to women whom I haven’t (yet) met. I don’t ever see it changing the way I work but hopefully, it will continue to enhance it.

Pink Faux Velvet Cupcakes: far easier twist on the red velvet classic

Ingredients

Cupcakes
7oz caster sugar
7oz butter
7oz self-raising flour
1tbsp milk
¼ tsp red gel food colouring
1tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Buttercream
9oz butter (softened)
1lb 11/2 oz icing sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp red gel food colouring

Method

Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius (fan) or 180 degrees Celsius for gas/gas mark 4.
  • Line a cupcake tray with cupcake cases and set aside.
  • Cream together the softened butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Beat the eggs in one at a time until fully incorporated. At anytime if you see the mixture curdling add in a tablespoon of flour. Then throw in the rest.
  • Now add the gel food colouring and combine until your mixture is positively pink! At this point if you want to use vanilla extract, throw that in too.
  • Fill the cupcake cases two-thirds full. I find the easiest way to do this with an ice cream scoop but using two spoons will suffice if you don’t have one to hand.

Buttercream

  • Beat together the softened butter and sifted icing sugar until pale and fluffy. Consistency is key here, so try not to over beat as it can make the buttercream too runny. Once done, add in the food colouring until a desired shade of pink is reached.
  • Once the cakes are cooled you are now at liberty to get the party started. For beginners, there is no need to fuss with a piping bag and nozzles, you can jut use a palette knife (even a butter knife will do) and spread until your heart’s content. For those that want to try their hand at piping, I have instructions in this video.
  • Lastly, sit on the sofa and stuff your face!

Candice is following…

 

I love Yvadney and all that she creates. A part-time stylist and full-time mum, it’s wicked to see a mother who hasn’t got totally lost in the SMA sauce and still takes pride and finds a way to have fun with the way she looks. She also created an awesome platform Mum’s That Slay which celebrates a plethora of mothers tackling teething while wearing Gucci loafers. I love it!

Motherhood_RXMotherhood, especially motherhood as a black woman, can be really lonely. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been to a mother and baby group and been the only POC in the room. Visibility is so important. I love the way MotherhoodRX don’t exclude anyone but really work hard to lift up black mothers who aren’t usually represented in mainstream media

June AmbroseThe queen of celebrity styling (can you tell, I really love playing dress up?). June Ambrose is such an inspiration. With a glowing CV and such a positive outlook to life, her Instagram is where I go to feel good. Plus she styled, Jay Z who is my fav, married to everyone’s fav Beyonce. So June Ambrose has breathed the same air as Beyonce. I’ll take my kicks where I can get them!


Candice’s work 

cakebycandie.com
youtube.com/c/candiescorner
instagram.com/candiceaboderin
instagram.com/cakebycandie