In a world obsessed with Social Media, it’s sometimes difficult to get to the truth. To the reality behind the image, or statement.
I totally get that some people will be living the dream (and I’m hugely impressed if they are) but for the majority of us, life is a combination of amazing highs, some terrible blows, and a lot of “business as usual” for the majority of the time.
Are we motivated by sharing our joy? Or getting the most likes? Do we show life as it is? Or a staged version?
When I first started in business my motivation was always to make people smile. And it still is. In all of this I am fully aware that those people that cross my path either via Oliver’s, or via Birchover have made a decision to be there. To be a willing participant in creating some special memories.
But what about those people that feel overwhelmed by daily life? By the pressures of social media? By the isolation of large groups? What do they do? Where do they go? I can guarantee you they do nothing, speak to no-one, do not admit their feelings to others, shy away.
I can honestly say that running businesses, combined with attempting to be a great mum and attentive wife is challenging. And I can truthfully say that sometimes it’s great, often amazing, and sometimes absolutely bloody exhausting and difficult.
It was when I became a parent that everything got more challenging for me. Carl (hubby) and I were going through some really difficult times personally. We had relocated to Gibraltar when I was in the late stages of pregnancy, and then for work reasons, had to come home again abruptly. I had Oscar (my first) out there and travelled home with him in the first few weeks of his life. We came back to nowhere to live, no job and no real prospects of getting out of the situation. This went on for months. And coupled with all of that, I was depressed. Terribly. Mind numbingly, frighteningly, overwhelmingly depressed. I met with my doctor several times and at one point, it was suggested that I needed to be admitted to a psychiatric ward with Oscar to receive the help I needed. At that stage, being really scared of this prospect, I decided to try and get better with the help of medication and support from my family. Thankfully I then started to turn a corner, albeit very slowly, and from then on in things started to get a bit easier, day by day, month by month.
At that point in my life, I was absolutely immersed in my own situation. There was simply no room for anything else. It is only really now, when I feel (slightly!) more in control of things (as much as you can with 2 boys under the age of 9 in the house, plus small dog and several businesses, plus of course husband…admittedly he isn’t that demanding…) that I’ve spent more and more time looking outside of my world and observing what is going on for others.
When I opened Oliver’s, I always wanted it to be a place where people could come to and feel at home. To be themselves. I feel truly thankful that we have experienced lots of highs and created some great memories for people, but that also we have helped those who needed to talk, cry and get things off their chest. This is the time when no mobile phones are present, or snapchat, or Whatsapp, etc etc. These are the one on one times when people talk about things they might otherwise struggle to talk about, or admit to. These are the no judgement times.
So, the other day, when I met with Natalie from Derby Days Out, we, as usual, started talking about lots of different things, Natalie’s work with signing for the deaf (immensely proud of this), our thoughts for children’s parties as part of our portfolio of events, what’s going on generally in Derby. And then we got on to a linked, but entirely different topic. Mums. New mums, mums to be, single mums. And then this extended to Dads, and all of the same scenarios. We talked about how lonely it can be for some, even though being pregnant or a new parent is supposed to be the happiest of times.
It’s then that I come back to Social Media and how this can portray an entirely different view of the world for parents. Great if you are having an easy pregnancy, with a partner who loves you and wants the child, but what if that isn’t the case?
It was then that we decided to open the doors to Oliver’s to those who felt lonely or isolated, those who want and need the opportunity to talk freely about their own experiences. To feel at home. To receive support. To not be judged. And to most of all not have to pretend to be anything other than who they are. No cameras, no social media posts, no judgement.
So between 10am and 12pm on Monday 12 June, we are inviting all those ladies who are pregnant, or a new parent (Mums and Dads?!) to come to Oliver’s and meet other like minded people. There is no charge to come and the drinks are all free. This is not an invitation for already established Mummy “friend groups” to sweep in en-masse. If you’re fortunate enough to be in this situation then great! But these gatherings are for people who don’t have this support network already. This is an opportunity to talk about things, open up, share challenges and to really feel like you are being listened to.
Natalie has offered to support this with me and I am grateful for that. Her knowledge and input into the family geographic for Derby is invaluable and she (like me) wants to extend friendship and help to all those families or single parent families that need it. Natalie is also pregnant! So gets it.
If you’re reading this, then you’ve probably accessed it via some kind of social media platform. Hypocritical you may say! Whilst I am mildly cynical about the reality of the picture that social media portrays to the world, I do understand and accept it’s use in reaching wider audiences and so for this reason, I am hoping that you will share this message with as many people as possible.
I would be over the moon if even one person was touched by this piece and decided to come along and meet others.
So remember the date (and we hope to do more)…..MONDAY 12 JUNE, 10am-12pm, Oliver’s, 7-7a Friar Gate, Derby. We’re calling it Mumday Mornings. Dads are welcome…but the catchy title doesn’t quite work the same…….
Lisa (owner of Oliver’s)