At Mamamade, we don’t want to just cheer on all the amazing women out there juggling their personal passions with motherhood. We want to meet them and interview them and write about them. With that, we give you: Mama Tales, a new column featuring women who start businesses, foster community, create, design, and inspire.
And oooooh boy, were we excited about this one.
Like so many new mothers, Lorna Hayward found herself juggling all her identities and associated friendship groups post-baby - and forever struggling to 'get a date in the diary' (sound familiar?). Rather than accept that 'this is life now' mentality, Hayward thought outside the box - and wanted to get all her friends together in one place. Because shouldn't we all be friends?
Enter Pizzup: The ultimate mums night out, which overnight has become an instagram sensation (selling 450 tickets in under a day kinda sensation). We couldn't wait to chat to the mastermind behind it.
Mother to three beyond adorable kids, Lorna's story is one of bravery and stick-with-it-ness that will surely resonate with anyone thinking about how to balance ambition, motherhood, and that all-important girl gang friendship.
We'd love to hear about your journey to this stage. What were you doing before having children, and how and why did you make the shift?
Before I had my babies, I worked in Digital Marketing and Advertising. Always within the client services side of things (I like to talk) and this continued through both of my pregnancies and two maternity leaves until Marnie was around 2 years old and I really hit a bit of a wall, mentally and physically. I was struggling with anxiety, overwhelm and my OCD was out of control.
I think the juggling of it all, not seeing my babies and working four days a week up in Soho, but only bringing home a small amount of income after childcare became seriously lacklustre.
I was terrified but I took the plunge to leave my job and go freelance. What that entailed I had no idea, but once the leap was made it was quite incredible how many opportunities arose. I was winging it massively, but it was working and I’m now not ashamed to say that. I always worked hard and I feel that since becoming a mother my capacity to push myself career wise and deliver the best has only ever increased.
You know what, I do believe now that becoming a mother awoke an entrepreneurial spirit in me. Firstly because I didn’t fear the unknown as much, and secondly a new world opened up to me that before I wouldn’t have been privy to.
Can you tell me a bit about Pizzup? How did the idea come about and how has it evolved over the years?
You know when you have pockets of friends that you’ve made, or known previously but since becoming a mum it’s hard to all gather, meet up, be bothered to book somewhere, do the research and gather the troops? Well, that’s where it started.
I am a social butterfly, I love a good night out, good music and I also now know I must eat otherwise the hangover is atrocious. I had friends locally who had babies, I had some mums from nursery who I knew, a coupe of mums I’d met in various soft play establishments, alongside old school friends who lived in London and my sister in laws.
We were forever trying to schedule a meet up, individually, or maybe with a few of us and I’m all for cross pollinating friendships and women – the more the merrier. And so I thought, rather than try to all meet up separately why not just do an en masse night out? I had felt incredibly isolated as a new mum and I craved this perfect mum mate set up, which actually I’m pleased I didn’t have now looking back as I’d have never started PIZZUP, my blog, Instagram and I wouldn’t be where I am today.
So I put the feelers out, asked what my friends thought if I sorted a venue that we could have exclusively, and it was a set cost for a few drinks and a bite to eat with decent music – ticketing it made it easy for everyone. It was never about making money or being a business, but more for my own selfish needs of a night out with decent women. I gave it a name, more because it was a bit of a play on it being a good old P** UP and also because there would be fizz and pizza and having a name made it sound slightly more official to sell tickets. My first PIZZUP gathered around 35 women, the second 45, the third 55, the fourth 65 (which sold out in 6 minutes and that’s when I thought, hang on a minute, clearly there is a need for a simplistic night off and out) my last and biggest PIZZUP sold out in 24 hours with 400 women.
I had no Idea if I would do more than one, and here I am 10 PIZZUPs later!
What's your favourite part about providing this evening out for other mums?
The simplicity of it all and seeing women arrive, sometimes on their own and totally out their comfort zone but having a ball, and most likely leaving with a good friend or three. Some come with a group, some push themselves to arrive solo, but everyone seems (as far as I know) to have a ball. There are some amazing events out there now for women, and there is space for so many more. But what I love about PIZZUP is that It’s all about music, booze (although you don’t have to drink and can still have a ball – I’ve done two sober and pregnant!!) and food. No panels, no networking, just the most amazing fun.
How do you find balance when a lot of the work that you do is either with or for your family?
It’s hard and quite often, I don’t. I feel guilty and then I remember how much of what I do benefits my children and the family as a whole but sometimes I think it’s a case of little and often. Leaving my phone in another room and trying to be more present. Taking my big girls out for a cupcake and juice and having one on one time. I don’t think it has to be huge gestures in order to provide quality time.
Do you believe there are barriers to working as a mum? What solutions do you believe in or believe are necessary for working mums?
Flexibility. And nursery fees. Two barriers which were very much a part of why I had to step away from my previous role. I wanted to work, I need to work financially, I actually really loved my job but I was bringing home next to nothing after paying out for nursery and nannies to cover the four days a week I was working.
I left the house at 7am and I got home at 6 (which, in the advertising world and to the younger colleagues around me was basically lunchtime) and I brought home around £190 a month. It just seemed ridiculous.
The funny thing is, I have managed more projects, worked across multiple clients, in a role that was new to me – 90% from home and earnt more than I’ve ever earnt before. It’s about flexibility and efficiency. My client who I had most recently worked for and held a long contract with gave me the freedom to deliver her the work she needed but without needing me to show up physically. I never once let her down. I think that proves enough.
Go-to family meal: Spag bol. Every time. Loadsa cheese.
An unexpectedly challenging part about becoming a mom? Lack of space and time on my own.
An unexpectedly amazing aspect of parenting? The overwhelming all consuming feeling of love for something that YOU created. Mind blowing.
Your mantra when the going gets tough? It’ll pass. Or ‘Just f**king do it’ (when I’m procrastinating!)