I’ve been to many networking events. You tend to meet the same types of people, mainly the dog-eat-dog kind. But when you’re a mum, how does a mummy networking event go? This is something I hadn’t experienced until earlier this week when I went to a Mum Society event, featuring TV personality and journalist, Tracey Spicer.
I remember watching Tracey on telly and admiring how much energy she brought onto the screens. To my disappointment, in 2006 she was sacked after having her second child. I was studying Human Resources (oh the irony) at the time and followed the news of her dismissal as a case study. It disturbed me because I didn’t know what that meant for me as a female about to graduate and make her mark into this big misogynistic world. When you’re young, you get told the world is your oyster. You can be or do anything you want as long as you work hard for it. Tracey’s redundancy told me otherwise. It told me that women are punished once they have offspring. It told me once women have babies, her place was no longer at work.
Tracey’s new book (or ‘femoir’), The Good Girl Stripped Bare is a raw and honest account of what its like being a woman in a notoriously male dominated work environment. While she has been advocating for change and empowering women, what hasn’t changed is she is still down-to-earth, relatable and wickedly funny. It was exciting to meet Tracey after reading her book and while we may not have all burn’t our bras afterwards, what everyone took out of it was to call-out any sexism, even if it’s subtle. Because if we don’t, we may be condoning it. Each time we do speak out, we’re punching gender inequality right in the guts.
While everyone heard Tracey’s story, the networking event also gave mums an opportunity to hear each other’s journey. Of course, when you have a bunch of women together, there are a few different personalities that strike out. As it was my first time at this mummy event, I identified three main types of mums:
1. The supportive mum – she’s a great listener and like a big warm coffee at Luke’s Diner. There is no bad bone in her and she’s everyone’s friend. She’s typically in Lorna Jane tights and can probably do a handstand while breastfeeding and tell you, “you’re doing a great job mama bear!” She’s just a really cool mum and you think “God, where the hell have you been when I had that breakdown?” Supportive mum will help virgin rookie mum come out of her shell.
2. The overly-ambitious mum – This mum is a gun and hustler. She gets shit done. She wont stop until she has spoken and shook hands with every mum. She talks so fast, you unconsciously play the who blinked first game. You are nice, so you let her win. Being ambitious, she will probably call you to tell you she rubbed shoulders with Kate Waterhouse (to which you then look at your shit-stained clothes and say FML). Don’t roll your eyes at this mum – she’s a great contact! Because if you CBF planning your kids party and going all Martha Stewart, she can sprinkle some unicorn magic shit everywhere and make also sure you’re stocked up on wine.
3. The virgin ‘rookie’ mum – the mum who wants to make friends, but she doesn’t want to appear overly keen or creepy. She then recalls the time she texted an ex-partner 50 times in a row saying, “I know what you did last summer. I have DNA samples of Jolene”. The virgin rookie mum feels slightly intimidated by overly-ambitious mum because she doesn’t have business cards, so she A) lies that she ran out with a nervous chuckle OR B) says nothing, nods and smiles. Virgin rookie mum is slightly delirious (often because she’s been up all night breastfeeding) and is so puppy dog excited when she meets supportive mum that she has verbal diarrhea or ‘foot in mouth’ disease. Supportive mum smiles and tells virgin rookie mum “you’re REALLY doing a great job mama bear”.
So which mum am I? Unashamedly, I’m the virgin rookie mum. During Q&A time, I abruptly told Tracey I pee-ed myself laughing while reading her book. Kylie, founder of Mum Society quickly swopped in and said, “oh lucky we have a pelvic floor event next month! You should come!” Good to know. Maybe we’ll all do the exercises together. I also met a lot of inspiring mums. I kept telling myself throughout most conversations, “No awkie talkies please Cathy…ahhh dammit there goes the verbal diarrhea again”. Despite being a little socially awkward at times, I’m looking forward to the next mummy networking event and I promise I won’t talk about pee or poo again.
Mum Society is a community of like-minded mums who are navigating the inevitable changes in life, career, business and parenting. They run monthly brunch events in Sydney designed to inspire and start conversations. You can also bring your kids along as they have an onsite child minding service (enjoy your coffee hot this time. Yay)!
Tracey Spicer’s book, The Good Girl Stripped Bare, is available to buy now.