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Power of the Parent 4: S2 Ep4: Helen Bryce – Poet, author and Guilty Mothers Club founder

Power of the Parent 4: S2 Ep4: Helen Bryce – Poet, author and Guilty Mothers Club founder

In this week’s episode I’m talking with Helen Bryce – glorious human, my mate of 10 years, ultimate cheerleader, poet, author and founder of Guilty Mothers Club. Helen is also a parent of four kiddos and a total journalling pro – which we talked about loads and I got so many fresh perspectives on during this interview.

Together, we explored Helen’s transition from Guilty Mothers Club to poet, and all the emotion that has come from that. Helen was a total pro at embracing the vulnerabilities, sharing stories that will resonate with so many of us and the role that identity plays as a mother, business owner and human. Helen also writes under the name Nelly and she shared the beautiful story that sits behind that.

Helen has got lots of exciting plans coming up and I was thrilled to hear what’s coming up.

You can find Helen over on Insta @guiltymothersclub and @nellythewriter.

Episode Transcript

Charlotte Speak 0:06
Hello and welcome to Power of the Parent, the podcast. I’m your host Charlotte speak, I’m a level seven CMI accredited coach, a strength scope Master Practitioner, Mental Health First Aider and talent consultant. And I’m also the face behind Power of the Parent. In this podcast, I’ll be speaking to parents in the workplace, some of them are in traditionally employed roles, others are running their own businesses. And we’re having conversations about life in general insights about being a parent and having a career and exploring the strengths that parenting has awoken for people. We will talk about things like the value that they’re bringing to the workplace, as well as my guests very generously sharing their personal stories and anecdotes about everything life can throw at us.

Hello, and welcome back to Power of the Parent, the podcast. This week, I am talking to Helen Bryce. Helen is one of the most glorious humans that I know and has been a mate for, I think the best part of 10 years now, she is usually found brimming with compassion, and empathy and enthusiasm and heaps of wisdom and she is absolutely one of life’s great cheerleaders. She is the founder of Guilty Mothers Club. She is also a journaling pro, a writer and a poet. And somehow she manages to squeeze in parenting four tiny humans as well. So thank you for coming on Helen, because I know that you have got all of those plates in the air, all the time. So did I sum you up? Have I missed any facets of Helen out there?

Helen Bryce 1:40
No, I think you did. That sounded quite good. I just sat and listened, like ah is that me?

Charlotte Speak 1:46
Yeah, it definitely is. So, well, I say we’re coming out the end of a pandemic, are we? I don’t know, let’s not get onto that. But you’ve experienced so much change and what I’ve seen, and obviously we’ve caught up outside of social media as well. But you, this year have been talking about so much of how much energy and love you’re pouring into your writing and your poetry, which I am like a total fangirl of. I absolutely love what you are doing with it. And I do want to talk about lots of different things. But I would really love to talk about that first and what that journey has been like and how you found, I suppose, discovering your style a little bit as well.

Helen Bryce 2:32
I was thinking about this before, actually, because I was thinking this is probably the first time I’ve spoken since I’ve not just been solely running Guilty Mothers Club. And I’ve been a bit quiet probably about how that’s been. It’s probably the first time I’ve actually had to think about that story, but so yeah, I ran, so Char, you and I know each other from HR days when we used to work in training and development. And then I set up Guilty Mothers Club and I ran it for about six years. And it has literally been like my baby. I’ve run that business, supporting mums and going back to work and changing careers and absolutely loved it and then I’d launched this membership about three months before the pandemic. So I worked for about nine months on that membership unpaid, spent 1000’s on the technology, lucky enough that my husband could support me with that but you know, we have quite an equal relationship and he took a year off to look after the kids before that and then it was my turn to take some time to launch this membership. So yeah, all going to plan we were both going to work part time. And then I launched the membership. I think it was like January and in March, the pandemic happened. And very quickly realised that my youngest was 18, it was even 18 months, maybe 12 months, 13 months at the time. And then I’ve got three older ones, all at primary school. And it just suddenly became very clear that that wasn’t going to be possible. Not to mention the fact that my membership was all about teaching women to look after themselves and to develop themselves and obviously, that wasn’t top of people’s list when they were struggling to homeschool and with finances. And so the cancellation started coming and at the same time, I was really panicking about being able to do a good job and look after the kids and I could literally feel myself sliding. And then one day I had the conversation with Ghazi to say, I don’t think I can do it anymore and I just remember feeling broken like I can’t, I felt like that was my thing I’d worked so so hard on it. And you know like, you feel like when you finish work for maternity leave and you go back and you’re a bit like, oh God, what the hell is my identity and like, who am I anymore? And how do I even put all these pieces together? And I felt like I’d figured that out once like that was hard and I figured it out and then this happened. So I know lots of people felt the same way that it just felt like you had to make choices that weren’t choices. They were orders, compromises and it was horrible. And it sounds dramatic, but I genuinely think I had to grieve the pausing of my business and the stopping of my business. I just couldn’t stop crying, like I cried about it for weeks. And I felt like it was really overdramatic, but so much of myself was caught up in that business and I loved it, like I loved what I did. And I just couldn’t come to terms with the fact that I was having to pause it. And like, realistically, I didn’t know when I was gonna be able to start it again and as the months went on, at first, it was just pausing it and actually, you know, I’ve never fully officially stopped running it, because I hope to still work under that name, but I knew that I was never gonna be able to go back to it as it was. And partly because I think I didn’t have the energy to do it again, I feel like I’d worked for so long on it and actually, I’m a bit of a workaholic, and a bit of a really ambitious and really committed and so dedicated to the cause that I kind of poured myself into it, probably in some ways, in hindsight, at the expense of looking after myself and my own self care and my own mental health. I think then when it stops, and I realised I was going to have to do that, again, I suddenly had that realisation that maybe I didn’t have it in me to go again. I suppose some of that upset me as well, kind of the realisation that maybe I pushed myself a little bit too hard, and that I needed to step back. But on the positive during that period, that was, you know, awful for many reasons. And brilliant for many reasons, not the actual pandemic, obviously, that wasn’t brilliant, but the time off with the children, and the time I got with Rafi and the way that we came together as a family, there was lots of good that came in that slowing down. And I went on a poetry course and I realised that actually written poetry for years, I just hadn’t seen it as poetry, I just thought it was like scribbling in my journal, I’ve always journaled, I’ve got bullet journals that lasts for about past 12 years, all of them in drawers and I did this poetry course, I could not stop writing, I literally just kind of, I feel like it saved me, because I would write my rage and my sadness and my fears out on the page. But I also wrote stuff that made me laugh, you know, I started doing my gratitude logs more regularly again, and it just all started to come together and I love the poetry course. Then I did another creative writing course after that and I realised that the crazy thing is, that I’d been running this course to help people change careers, this course called Game Changers. And in one of the videos, I actually say out loud, I mean, I always wanted to write a book but and one day, maybe I will, and like, I’d been teaching people to do what they love, and then throwing this comment in about how my dream was to write a book, but it wasn’t for now. And then during this time, I started writing a book, and the book is nearly finished. So I’m really proud of it, I’ve worked so hard on it, and it’s finally coming together, it’s just at the final editing stages, trying to design the front cover and decide on the name for it, but it’s yeah it’s pretty much there and will hopefully come out in the next couple of months. I’m so, so proud of that. And I’m also planning to run some journaling workshops, because I am a massive fan of journaling and I hope to share that with others, the kind of benefits and comfort that can come from that kind of process of being able to write stuff down, not just as a diary, but creatively, and also to kind of organise yourself, that’s how I’ve always used my journal as well is to kind of plan a whole family life. So I use it for lots of reasons, which I think maybe people will be interested in and knowing more about, and I’d love to share. So I’m going to do some of that as well. And Guilty Mothers Club hasn’t gone, I don’t think completely because I think I’ll always want that space to talk about feminist motherhood and talk about the challenges that women face in going back to work. Like all of that is still so important to me so I don’t want to lose that channel. But kind of my work, I suppose, is moved to being my writing.

Charlotte Speak 8:39
Thank you so much for sharing all of that. It’s been a huge couple of years. We’re not far off it being you know, two years really, are we in the whole experience from when it kind of started? It was like, end of December? Wasn’t it, began in January? Yeah, depending on which government you talk to. I think one of the things I have seen and experienced with a lot of clients it’s been the word that you used there is grief and grieving, and perhaps, clearly lots of us have been grieving people who we’ve lost through it but also the life that we thought we were going to lead for the last couple of years hasn’t been there, in lots of ways for some of us. And I know that we’ve tried to continue a level of normality, and there have been so many positives to come out of it, which feels really odd saying positive to come out of a pandemic. You know, the feelings can co-exist can’t they? We can feel utterly broken and joyous at the same time and I think that’s something that I’m finding, particularly for the women that I’m working with, they’re having to navigate, returning to work at the same time as grieving a maternity or adoption or shared parental leave that didn’t happen how they wanted it to and how they thought it was going to happen. And then the return to work experience is kind of suffering even more because the people aren’t being reinducted properly and welcomed back in the same way, because you’re not, you’re really not face to face with people and rather than saying, no, that’s not good enough, and we need to change it and we still need to support somebody, even when they’re coming back in a hybrid world. It’s almost like, let’s just lift it and, this will resonate with you with your training and L&D hat on, the amount of lifting and shifting of ‘well, we did it like this face to face, so let’s just do it the same online.’ That doesn’t work. You have to tailor something, don’t you? So that the experience is seamless and it’s still a good experience. And this kind of whole two tier return experience to the office is happening, isn’t it between men and women? Because we’ve seen the numbers that are showing it is predominantly more men that have been going back to the office.

Helen Bryce 10:58
Yeah, undoubtedly women have suffered. Just going backwards, yeah.

Charlotte Speak 11:02
And you don’t have to look far to see the data that’s sat behind that, you know, the likes of Jolie at Pregnant and Screwed doing all of the research there and working families as well. So I can totally understand why, of course, you don’t want to let go of any of the Guilty Mothers stuff. Because that resonates, and is as prevalent now, as it was when you started that six years ago, it will change and transition, what you use it for and what people need it for. But fundamentally, at the heart of it, it’s a massive community that you’ve created there, isn’t it?

Helen Bryce 11:41
Yeah. Yeah. And I’ve met friends through it and I’ve made so many relationships through it. And yeah, and I think that the word grief is quite interesting, isn’t it, because I think I can totally see how people are grieving maternity leaves that they didn’t have. And I think also, it’s being able to say that it’s okay to describe it as that I think it’s okay to feel that kind of loss that you didn’t have a period of time with a baby that you should have been able to have. Or that you’ve not been able to do the job that you want. I mean, there’s gonna be so many women that have been made redundant during this period or that have, you’re right, completely lost, you know, lost track of a plan that they had. And I do think that women, in particular, have suffered, you’re right the stats do back that up, more in this pandemic than anyone else. And parents more, because the other thing that I think is massive is that it’s still not gone. I think that burnout from this pandemic is going to be a huge problem for parents. And I think that you know, whether you’ve just gone back to work in the office, or you’re now just going back to work and the kids have gone back to school or you’re due to go back after maternity leave, you can’t suddenly bounce back with energy after you’ve been drained for the past two years. Like that just doesn’t happen and I think that for lots of people that are kind of feeling like you should be able to now just switch it back on after those two years just isn’t there. And mentally, I think that lots of women are still struggling with that.

Charlotte Speak 13:11
Yeah, totally. So I quite like September because I do see it as a, you know, that back to school groove. [You like the stationery] You know how I feel about stationery and I have had to, I’ve curbed it, because you know, it’s no friend of the environment to keep buying this stuff, is it? So I am trying. It’s the pens in plastic casing that I really like, that’s really, you know, I can walk away from a notebook better nowadays, it’s the pens and highlighters that are the real issue. I’m working on it. So that whole kind of September feeling. And I know that you have talked about this before, not specifically to September, but that whole not feeling like you have got to rush back to things all the time and that it’s okay to take things, I mean, I say slow, that has negative connotations for a lot of people, doesn’t it? I guess I just mean like at your pace and a pace that’s right for you and your family.

Helen Bryce 14:08
Yeah, I was just writing about this actually for a section of my book, about the power of patience and how actually patience doesn’t mean that you’re not going fast. You can go fast and still be really patient. It’s just about doing what’s right for you in that moment and I think understanding that and being being kind to yourself around what you’re able to do is really important, and I think will continue to be really, it was important before the pandemic, I now feel like it’s more important than ever, because we’re coming from a place where we’re even more exhausted. And even if on paper we shouldn’t be, because the kids have gone back to school or nurseries are open or whatever. I think that you can’t underestimate that.

Charlotte Speak 14:47
Just going back to your journaling, love of, what does that bring for you? Does that help with the kind of being patient and reflective, does it aid any of that stuff?

Helen Bryce 15:02
Oh my God no. Yeah, a bit, well, so I’ve got my bullet journal which is like my main journal that I use every day. And every day before I start work, or I’ve got the kids, if I’ve got Rafi at home, I will write a little bit in there and I will write a quote or something that I’m thinking about for the day. And sometimes that will be just to say, I’m a bit knackered this morning, and I feel a bit like maybe my periods due or, but that’s okay. And it sounds weird but even just writing that down sometimes makes me go into the day feeling differently than if I literally just shout at the kids. And then I’m really crossing myself for being shouty, so I think I start the day really intentional by using my journal in that way. I use it to, like I say, to organise, so I’ve got all my to do list and everything’s in there and everything that can’t be stored in my head, because my head’s quite full. So I feel like I’ve got more headspace because I’ve got my journal, because that holds all of that for me and I know that I won’t drop anything. But then I also use it creatively. So I tend to try and write creatively for 10 to 15 minutes every day and that’s kind of like my bit of self care almost, I suppose some people might draw or paint or whatever it is, or read even like, I do sometimes read, but that is my kind of thing that if, when I’ve got Rafi all day, like when he has an nap, or when he’s doing something, I’ll get my notepad out, and I’ll just write and sometimes I’ll be writing just about something that happened, or it might be a poem, or it might be, I’ll just write about what we did that morning. But I just find that being able to, it’s almost, I suppose to me like I meditate every day as well, that’s kind of a big part of my self care but the journaling almost allows me to bring the meditation that I do in the morning, throughout the day as well, so that I stay mindful, like throughout the day using my journal, and then at the end of the day, I have a separate one that sits by my bed. But it’s more of a diary, I suppose where I write what I’m grateful for from that day, things that I’m really proud of myself for and a little bit about what we did that day, as well as sometimes write in there. So yeah, it’s massive to me, like really, and there’s actually I think, I keep meaning to get around to this, and I probably should, starting to share some of the things that I do my 10-15 minutes, because I think maybe they could be useful for other people to try too. Just as a way to kind of stop yourself when your day is really busy, whatever it is that you’re doing, and just kind of bring yourself back to, like, why am I doing it and how am I feeling and what I want the next few hours of this day to be like, and I do all that through my writing.

Charlotte Speak 17:28
I would love you to share that. I think that’s a bit of what I need to be honest.

Helen Bryce 17:33
You need a stop gap don’t you? Just need a stop to reset sometimes.

Charlotte Speak 17:39
There’s obviously real power in like rhythm and routine for you as well. And I know that you’ve obviously had a long history with it but you have to start from somewhere, don’t you? And I think it’s one of the things that I sometimes struggle to kind of advise or comment on because I haven’t, I just can’t do it for myself. So I’ve got a book that I can do it in and I’ve tried but then I just lose it or I swap doing that for brushing the kids hair or something in the morning, or I just end up prioritising the things that, like they look urgent. It’s that cliche, they look urgent and yes, I probably should run a, you know, a Tangle Teezer through Lily’s wild curls at some point. But I also, I could get up 5 or 10 minutes earlier. I’m blessed with kids that sleep so it’s not like I’m getting disturbed broken sleep anymore. I could probably still function and lose 10 minutes and get up and do that. That’s the thing that I think, it’s so easy to find barriers to not do some of this stuff but obviously the impact that it can then have when you do give it some focus and attention is huge, isn’t it?

Helen Bryce 18:51
Yeha, and I never used to do quite as much journaling. I’ve always journaled, I’ve always used my bullet journal, but I used to be more like I can be so productive with my journal, like my bullet journal made me really efficient and really productive. And I used it more for that before and I suppose I’ve started to use it more creatively and for more self care in more recent years. And some of that’s come because I think I probably had to, when I felt like I was losing my mind at home with the four kids some days. I just need to walk away for a minute and write something down and clear my head and then it’s just become now that that is a positive thing. Like it’s become a habit that actually is a really positive habit that came from something that was during difficult days. But yeah, it is, I’ll share them, I’ll get on it.

Charlotte Speak 19:38
Days with the kids though, I mean, I don’t want to take you back to a dark place for too long but because you’re exposed to a lot, I would imagine, given what your brother-in-law does for a job as well and he’s an educator isn’t he? But your whole approach with homeschooling, I mean ours was a little bit, you know, slapdash. How was your whole kind of homeschooling experience? Did you bring bullet journaling into homeschooling?

Helen Bryce 20:11
Oh, seriously when we got to the English section? I was like, okay, here I am.

Charlotte Speak 20:18
This is what I was made for. Science? You don’t need to know about photosynthesis.

Helen Bryce 20:26
English and art! Oh God, it was hard, wasn’t it? Geez, I think we were reading it like everybody else, man. It was just so, it was so difficult. Yeah, the hardest thing I think was the fact that they were all doing different stuff, wasn’t it? Like it was three different types of stuff. And then Rafi, he’s just a wild toddler. Absolute joy, but he is wild. Like he’s the sort of kid where you can’t go for a wee, even now, because he will do something that he knows he’s not supposed to do. So yeah, trying to homeschool with that was really hard. Ghazi was amazing. I can’t underestimate what that was like, the fact that he has always been, we’ve always taken on as a team and his work was great and allowed him to be more flexible. But as with everyone, we were just working into the night. That was how we got around it, wasn’t it? The kids in the day and then Gaz would start work at seven and work till like midnight. That was just what we did and we did for ages. So yeah, our approach was also slapdash. I did actually, one thing that I do more with the kids as a result of that period was that I did find the English works a little bit formulaic and a little bit, kind of, let’s not do that again, that’s really dull. So I did start, and that’s not a reflection on the teachers, that’s a reflection on like our education system and the syllabus, but we did do a lot more fun English stuff, and I have, Wilf is eight and he journals, he’s got his own journal and we tried him on those ones that you know, you can buy them, can’t you? There’s some good ones out there that, you know, give them formats to kind of fill in each day, we tried a couple of those, and then they just end up being very expensive books that sit on the bookshelf. So I got Wilf his own journal that he set up his own parts, and he writes poems in and then he writes about his day, and sometimes he writes how he feels, and oh my goodness, that makes me like, my work is done. The others do off and on but I don’t push them into writing anything but we do introduce lots of poetry just kind of around the dinner table and they tend to be interested in me writing so sometimes I will be able to get them to like, I’ll write something about my day and I’ll ask them if they would all write something about their day and we share it and then it sounds like it’s absolutely joyous doesn’t it? It’s not, half the time one of them’s like I don’t want to write anything and then another one will have walked off but if I get one of them out of four writing then I’m pretty pleased. [Come on, Wilf]. Wilf’s my saving grace, but I do think that there’s a massive part of that as well and getting them to write in a way that inspires them as opposed to feeling that they have to write is definitely one of my kind of goals as a result of it. If Mabel tells me one more time that she doesn’t like English, I think literally I might scream because I’m like no don’t say that!

Charlotte Speak 23:17
Does your heart break a little bit?

Helen Bryce 23:20
Yeah my heart does break a little bit, but you know, I’m gonna force her to like English. Because that is the whole goal of parenting to make them like what you like.

Charlotte Speak 23:32
Yeah, is it not? That’s what I’ve been doing. Oh dear, I’m playing show tunes as much as I possibly can. If they don’t go into musicals, I’m going to be gutted.

Helen Bryce 23:44
It’s not there is it, musicals and a fast funfair ride, you might as well just leave now Char.

Charlotte Speak 23:48
Well, yes. For those of you that don’t know, my family do have some level of addiction to theme parks. And yeah, we have managed to get both of them to really quite enjoy any sort of roller coaster. Lily now, in particular, is a bit of a dare devil and our most recent trip to Alton Towers, where bizarrely bumped into Paul Gascoyne, Gaza. Yeah, there with his family. Yeah, really random. They’ve got like a big pirate ship thing my youngest is just tall enough for it. My eldest who’s been going on it for quite a while will only go on it if she sits in the middle you know, so you’re not at either extreme when it’s swinging. Lily, can we go further back and Polly was mortified bless her you could see that she was like, I don’t want to say that I don’t want to go further back because that’s my little sister that’s saying come on to the back. But inside she was just not a happy bunny at all. They went back like one row, I will go on any roller coaster that throws me up like four hundred foot in the air, fast as you like, don’t care but I can’t do spinning and I can’t do backwards so I cannot do a pirate ship, it’s ridiculous. So I stood watching and I think to distract, Graham just said to Polly, whenever it’s scaring you, just scream. So all of a sudden, as this pirate ship takes off, I hear this really guttural, like, I’m not even going to try and recreate it, but the volume was insane and everybody on this pirate ship looked back as if to say, what are you doing to that child? I mean, she was fine when she came off but yeah, my word. She keeps eyeing up nemesis but luckily, she isn’t tall enough for that yet so my heart will be in my mouth the day that she goes on that. I mean, it’s good to follow your passions. So I shared with you before we came on that I’ve had a few days recently, when because I did your Game Changers programme a couple of years ago now, and one of the questions that you asked on that was, you know, what’s your ideal day gonna look like? And the thing that I described, because I’ve been clearing out so I’ve had all my notes and stuff out organising, putting them into folders, you know, that kind of thing. I realised that I’m there and obviously not every day, because we’re not here for perfection but most days, that’s what I feel like I can sum up and I feel incredibly grateful for that. And I know that I’ve worked really hard to create that, but one of the things that I wonder for you is kind of how, I don’t know what I’m trying to say. I think sometimes I think you under call the impact that you have on people with your writing and everything that you’ve done with Guilty Mothers Club. So I was about to ask you what the year to go looks like with your writing and I will ask you that in a minute, but I think you’ve done incredibly over the last few years, well, forever, really. But the impact that you are still having on people today with the legacy that you’ve left is just so powerful.

Helen Bryce 27:12
Thank you. What a lovely thing to say, don’t make me cry.

Charlotte Speak 27:15
I won’t, I promise. This isn’t like a , she didn’t ask me to say that, it’s not like a Helen fest or anything. But I think it’s so important, we’re still in a world of like looking at negatives and deficit and all that kind of stuff, which I don’t ever want to diminish but I think one of the things that’s really important is to celebrate when you have made a difference, because I think a lot of the interactions that I see of you on social media, obviously, I know you as a person as well, so you kind of, you are who you are as well on social media, not this kind of different entity, by the way, but I mean, it is different when you know somebody on a different level, I think, isn’t it? You kind of read things that they write in their voice and stuff. But I think that’s the bit that’s something that I think is, yeah, really powerful to think about. Anyway,

Helen Bryce 28:08
Thank you. And you’re completely right, I think that you’ve got to see things ending or changing as not being. I mean, I’ve already said obviously, it led to something really great anyway, it led to me writing more. But it doesn’t mean that you failed, if you stopped something does it, it just means that it wasn’t the right thing at that time for you, and you’ve done something else. And I have learned to see that my writing can have an impact, because obviously that’s huge to me, like, I do want to be able to still feel like I’m supporting women to make changes or that I’m still, that sounds really like cliche or any kind of coachy. Coachy is the wrong word but you know what I mean, a bit kind of…

Charlotte Speak 28:49
Some of these things are cliches for a reason, because that is reality, isn’t it? It’s just that sometimes we then end up calling them that but yeah.

Helen Bryce 28:57
I still hope that my writing still can do that. And that’s partly why I kind of practise all the time. It’s quite partly why I’m so committed to making it as good as I can possibly get it and to finishing this book and in doing the journaling workshops, I think lots of that is still driven by, I still love being around people as well. I just love kind of getting to know people and the experience of motherhood is still so broad and interesting. And the combination of feminism and motherhood I think is a topic that I’m not sure I’ll ever tire of talking about because, you know, until we have a time where mothers aren’t discriminated against, it will always be something that needs people shouting about it so I’m hoping that I can still be one of those people.

Charlotte Speak 29:41
Yeah, definitely. I’d say you’re one of the originals that, yeah, you’ll be going for a long time with all of that because I think we’re still going to be having this conversation for quite some years to come. So in a non kind of rushy, want to do everything before December 31st type of way, what is on your plan for the next few months? What are you hoping to kind of see through the rest of this year?

Helen Bryce 30:08
So I’m definitely gonna publish my book. That was my number one goal for this year, in my journal written at the start was that I will publish a book this year. And it feels close now so that is exciting. And I’m determined to self publish it so I’m going to, I spent months sending it to publishers. And getting more and more despondent with the rejection letters, you can email, don’t bother sending your letter, some don’t even send you an email anymore. Sometimes you have to pay to submit to them. That’s an extra treat. So I’m gonna self publish and I’ve totally made my peace with that, because that means I get full autonomy over it and actually I love a bit of autonomy, as you know from working, doing things my own way is quite important to me. So I’m gonna self publish my book, I am going to do some prints of some of my poems, which is exciting, and a few things that I haven’t actually ever shared yet that I’m currently getting designed into prints to sell and that will be a new thing for me. So it’s gonna be a bit of a website update, because I’m going to do those on my Nelly Bryce. So I write them to Nelly Bryce rather than Helen. Lots of writers choose a different name and my grandma was Nelly and called herself Helen, because she thought it sounded posh and she wasn’t. I like the idea of taking her name, which was Nelly and using that. The website’s being done at the moment so there will be that which is my own name, my own writing. And that feels quite big. As you probably know Char, we have been talking about this for a long time, about how I can make a bit of a break, and actually have the confidence to do something under my own name, rather than feel a bit stuck in that no man’s land of moving away from some of the work I was doing before, but not losing it entirely and still wanting to work with women and mothers, but not necessarily doing the same courses and workshops as I was before. So I think this move to Nelly Bryce will be quite a big thing for me. And so, for the end of the year, I’m gonna get my website, I feel like you’re asking me my goals because I have them written down. I’m going to publish my book, I’m gonna finish my website, I’m gonna get some prints on there that you can buy and then, they’re probably my priorities but I would also like to do some journaling workshops. But seeing that as, I’m going to try a few things out and see if there’s any demand for them and if there is, I’ll do some more. I’ll probably share a load of stuff on journaling anyway, if people are interested.

Charlotte Speak 32:40
That sounds glorious. I cannot wait to be a consumer of all of that. That sounds so good. And actually so lovely your reasons for using Nelly as the name and that also makes me think about your, I don’t know if it was your first blog, yeah, so yeah, like full circle, and that’s the thing that we’ve talked about. It’s always a bit of you, because you are you so no matter what you’re doing or where you’re going, you’re gonna bring all of that, aren’t you?

Helen Bryce 33:14
Yeah and you’re right. It was my very first blog I ever wrote 10 years ago, and I had Mabel. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, trying to figure it out. And I wrote a blog called Nelly’s Nest. And that was because my grandma was Nelly. And yeah, 10 years later, I finally come back to writing which is the thing I love.

Charlotte Speak 33:30
Amazing. This is what having kids will do for you, help you realise your dreams. [10 years later.] Nobody’s put a time limit on it. You do you. It’s been so lovely to chat. Thank you for coming on and sharing all sorts of stuff with us. It’s been fab, thank you.

Helen Bryce 33:52
Thank you for having me. It’s been lovely to chat to you.

Charlotte Speak 33:55
Take care. Thanks very much for tuning in to Power of the Parent, the podcast. I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you did, please rate, review and subscribe. And if you could tell all your friends about the podcast that would be wonderful. If you’d like to get in touch you can find me on Instagram. Just search Power of the Parent. See you next time.

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