You know how all the marketing people tell you that Facebook lives will change your life? I believed them, but I just never really had anything to 'live' about. Until a day, last year, when I forgot my Kindergartener's library books. And when I got home I was so ashamed, so guilt-ridden, and so embarrassed that I'd been mummy shamed in front of other adults I suddenly found I had quite a bit to say.
Only, it wasn't about copywriting.
In many ways, that Facebook live (which has since been deleted, more below) was the first step to separating the Crisp Crow and Crisp Copy brands. I'd developed a brand voice I was proud of for Crisp Copy, and then, sneaking out like an excited kid at 5am on Christmas morning, came my personal voice. The one I'd been stifling. And she was ready to SAY SOME THINGS.
The following is a transcript of my very first Facebook live. One that was available for an entire 12 hours until I got a message from a Mum at school and died all over again and took it down. I never professed to not being a chicken.
Top o’ the morning to all you good Crisp Copy People…
Firstly, this is NCR
...which is Jay slang for not copy related, so if you are only here for the copywriting tips you now have permission to back up in your browser. But! This is about being a Mum in business, so if that interests you and you want to hear a story that makes your morning look like Breakfast At Tiffany’s, stick about.
Disclaimer: I turn 40 tomorrow so there’s a very slight possibility I have been triggered by this morning's events and because I'm about to be officially middle-aged, am taking the whole thing too seriously.
I want to have a chat with you today about mummy shaming
This just happened at Kindy drop off at my little boy’s school.
If you’ve ever tried to book a one on one with me through Crisp Copy you’ll have noticed my business day doesn’t officially start until 9.30am. That’s because I take my youngest child to school, watch him do his letters, read a book or do a puzzle with him, then squeeze him super tight as the bell goes.
I am terrifically aware of how fortunate I am to be able to structure my business around this important part of my day. I am also humbled and honoured that this is because of small business women (and some men) like you - you who have used my services enough over the past three years to make this flexibility a reality for me and my boy. Thank you for that; it really sucked being an employee.
Back to the story. I complete most Kindy drop-offs, except for yesterday. Mr Crow took a day off to attend a funeral and so was available to take our critter to school.
But, he forgot the library books.
No biggie, am I right? I didn’t haul him over the coals; the reading had been done and I’d signed the ledger to prove it.
Plus, our family is big on reading. We are. I am. We do the reading.
This morning, I’m back at Kindy with the school bag, the hockey bag with freshly washed (but not ironed – even I’m not that good) uniform and all the paraphernalia, plus the vouchers I’ve collected from a local business for the kindy raffle and…
THE LIBRARY BOOKS!
Yes, I have them. I've remembered them, even though I'm already half writing in my head the new tagline for this morning's client and the old dog lifted his leg to the shopping bag I put down momentarily on the front porch before we left. And I'm not even smug about the fact that I was the one who remembered them when Mr Crow was supposed to return them yesterday. I'm just glad I have them in my hot little hand because, well, I've been in a bit of trouble about the library books before.
We're "that family".
So, little Crisp Crow and I pop everything in the requisite spot - lunchbox, piece of fruit, water bottle, bag, and library books, and wait for the door to open.
And the Kindy teacher – she’s tremendously organised and fantastically wonderful at Kindy stuff, pretty much the best Kindy teacher you could ever want in front of your child – she opens the door and greets the children as cheerfully in November as she did at the beginning of the year. Bless her and her perennial smile.
Then, she turns to one of the Dads and says, “Did you remember the overdue library books?” and his little girl has them in her hand. “Ohhhh, good work,” she says laughing, “you’d get in trouble…” (I assume that means if he forgot them, and I’m assuming she means from his wife).
Then she says this to the Dad:
“That's OK, you probably have a lot on your plate, you’re excused.”
Cool, it’s good to get a leave pass for bringing back library books a day late. And you know, he runs a business, is a hands-on parent and has a younger child too, so really, good on him. I mean, he even has product in his hair. I’ve brushed mine, so we’re both rocking the day already.
Then she turns to me and her smile drops as she asks, “Did you remember the library books today?”
And just like that, I find myself standing up straighter and in my clearest voice let her know I’ve popped them in the pigeonhole. (Which is the exact right spot, by the way.)
“Oh, you need to bring them...”
“Shall I bring them inside?” I stumble over myself trying to please. For god’s sake, have some spine, Jay.
“Yes, they need to be in here.”
And she turns and walks away
Surprising myself with my chutzpah, I mumble, “Well, it seems I’m definitely not excused. EVEN THOUGH I have three kids, run a businesses and still remembered the library books.”
She doesn’t hear my mutterings but some of the mothers around me start to titter nervously.
Because what the ever loving heck is the difference?
OK, let’s be sensible for a moment. There’s the distinct possibility that the Kindy teacher knows something about this Dad that I don’t: sick parents? Child unwell? Maybe his wife nicked off to Borneo with the pool man? There simply may be things I don’t know about this situation that she does.
So, by the same logic, there are things the Kindy teacher doesn’t know about me.
For example; I manage (sometimes fight) a 25-year longstanding illness on a daily basis just to get out of bed.
But none of that should matter. Because what matters is that my kid is here, he’s clean, he’s fed, he’s so so happy and can read at age 5. He also knows how to count the syllables in ornathacaurus; some kids don’t even know what the heck an ornathacarus is. And because we are not about comparisons I’ll just leave that one there.
You know what? We both have a Kindy kid, we both have other children, we both own and run our own businesses, and we both obviously want the best for our child which is why we read books to our kids (even though we occasionally forget them at home).
I could be wrong. Yes, there could be two very different reasons we forgot our kids library books this week. Yes, there could be every reason in the world she treated us so differently this morning.
But…I have a sneaking suspicion there’s not.
I think the only difference is that he is a Dad.
And I am a Mum.
Jay Crisp Crow
Yep, really my name