Since graduating, I have read lots of blogs written by other Digital Mums about what the course had meant to them.
All graduates are asked to share their experience, and there were so many excellent pieces written that I felt there wasn’t much else I could contribute.
But then I remembered what it was like for me before I started the course and I thought that perhaps there was something I could add after all.
Let’s face it, most of us are looking to add to our expertise, for flexible work, for a way to help support our families without having to sacrifice family time completely. And I was looking for those things too.
But I was also looking for something much simpler: my courage.
Because after I had children, after giving up work to look after them, I lost it — almost completely. It happened gradually, and once I realised it was gone, I hid behind a carefully constructed shroud of denial, re-shaping it now and again so that it stood up to any challenges that might be thrown my way.
It was exhausting and utterly debilitating. And it went on for a couple of years. But I knew that when both my children were in school I would have no more excuses. There would be nowhere else to hide. I would have to take that first step into believing that I could look after my family as well as do something for myself.
I was petrified of my first Google Hang out, and I fought hard not to let myself be intimidated by the process. Talking to strangers, writing documents, providing written feedback on each other’s work and receiving critiques of your own. Approaching local businesses, writing blogs, creating Facebook ads, hosting tweet chats. All were mountains that I thought I could never, ever climb.
But I did. We all did. Together.
I ran my campaign, and enjoyed it. I remembered that I had a life before children. A career even. That I knew how to write documents, talk to clients and brainstorm ideas. I knew how to support others, and get results. And I knew how to be sociable and make friends.
I didn’t find the ‘old me’, because I was never looking for her. I was looking for who I had become with children, and she was a little trickier to discover.
My group were (and still are) incredibly supportive. They were instrumental in my journey throughout. For me, it was by far the most important element of the course — opening myself up to total strangers, allowing them to help me, and helping them in return.
After that, the learning came naturally.
So that’s what Digital Mums did for me. It gave me my confidence back. It gave me a platform to do things for myself again.