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Kerrine Bryan, Founder of Butterfly Books

Kerrine Bryan, Founder of Butterfly Books

#MoreThanAMutha is all about celebrating the things that women are, as well as being amazing mothers.  In a world where many women feel like they lose their identity when they become a mum, it is important to celebrate and shout that we might be mums, but we are not only that and we are still a force to be reckoned with.

What makes you more than a mother? 

As well a mother I am an electrical engineer and founder of publishing company Butterfly Books Limited (https://www.butterflybooks.uk/).  Although being a mother is the most challenging task of them all. For 15 years, I’ve worked in a profession that has so many negative stereotypes and gender bias issues. I am pleased that I have got over the hurdles that put many people (and particularly women) off considering a career in this field.  Over the years I have also volunteered for various activities and programmes that aim to address these issues and encourage more people into this field of work, which is a very exciting and rewarding profession.

Are people surprised when they realise you are more than a mum? Does that bother you?

I’m fairly soft spoken and also quite petite so the misconceptions about what an engineer is, or looks like does cause people to be surprised when they find out what I do. It does bother me, and that’s the reason why I started Butterfly Books. To try and address unconscious bias issues about gender and what professions entail, and to help make these changes from an early age. We create children’s picture books and our current titles are My Mummy is an Engineer, My Mummy is a Plumber and My Mummy is a Scientist. We are currently working on our next title, My Mummy is a Farmer, which will be out this Summer.

What challenges do you face when you’re juggling motherhood and being more than a mum?

Running my social enterprise alongside my professional day job, and being a mother often raises the question ‘Where do you get the time?’. I really have to manage my time well, to ensure a fair balance between these three things, as well as fit in some time for myself.  With so much going on and with access to everything at our fingertips I do feel very guilty when I decide to quickly answer an email and see my daughter peering over the top of my phone wanting me to read a book or play with her. Therefore, I try to make dedicated time with my daughter by attending various classes and activities where phones are not allowed!

How long did it take you to remember you were more than a mother after you had your child(ren)?

I’d say it took around 7 months after my daughter was born. When I had stopped breastfeeding. It was the first time I was able to go out by myself without rushing back to feed her or worried about leaky boobs or pumping. My favourite hobby is dancing so I went to a dance class. Just going back and doing something that I love reminded me of ME. It kind of cleared my mind and gave me the opportunity to reflect on my new life and think about
my new goals.  Whilst on maternity leave from my professional engineering role, I have still been running the business and working on our next book, so this has also helped me too.

Who, or what, helps you to make time for yourself? What do you do to escape the stresses of motherhood?

My husband plays a big part in ensuring I make time for myself, I’ve been at home with my daughter for 16 months now and he always ensures that I get some time for myself when he gets in from the office, or at the weekends. The other mums that I’ve met have been really supportive too, there’s always things arranged like a parents’ night out, mum’s night in or a group of mums all going for a yoga or gym class so it’s great to have others around you in the same situation with us all encouraging each other to make time for ourselves.

What advice would you offer a mum who might not be feeling like they are more than someones mum right now?

Take an hour out to go and do something you used to enjoy doing, e.g. painting, reading or your favourite sport. You will feel like you again – but a new ‘more than a mutha’ version of you!

Any advice for someone who is going through the same things as you are right now in their quest to be #MoreThanAMutha?

Go for it and don’t be scared of failure. It’s better to try than to be constantly thinking about what could have been. If it works then brilliant, if not then we learn the most from our failures, so just take what you’ve learnt and keep moving forwards.

Who would you like to see featured next in the #MoreThanAMutha series?

Michelle Obama! Her recent words inspired me:
“For me, being a mother made me a better professional, because coming home every night
to my girls reminded me what I was working for. And being a professional made me a better
mother, because by pursuing my dreams, I was modeling for my girls how to pursue their
dreams.”

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www.butterflybooks.uk

 

Are you #MoreThanAMutha?  Get in touch to share your story.

Comments

2 Comments

  1. Bernadette Bedward
    May 17, 2018 / 10:13 pm

    Hi Kerrine

    I am so proud of you.

    Your words are so inspiring, as you said and what we all know, you are softly spoken,petite and have this little giggle which is so powerful.
    To watch you grow up has been such a joy and to see that you have achieved so much through your life.
    You are a great focus and a example for women who struggle and fear to take that one step on the ladder to become what they want to be and find it so hard to achieve their dreams in a male dominant career industry.
    Females should be encouraged to follow their dreams to become whatever they want to be whether being a engineer, farmer, scientist? and we do not have to have the label of a “tomboy” or have to be known as trying to be “one of the lads”.
    As a women i strongly feel if we want to pursue a career as a mechanic, engineer, airplane pilot, commander on a ship,tree surgeon etc, we should not let “society” tell us that we can not achieve those careers because we are female.

    Many years ago you would not have seen a female driving a bus, truck, digger or becoming a coastguard, today we see these jobs being done very well by women. I once read that diverse design teams are more innovative and often avoid key flaws when designing products and systems with which we interact with on a daily basis.
    Also early airbags designed by primarily male design teams worked for adult male bodies, but resulted in avoidable deaths of female and child passengers.
    Early voice recognition systems failed to recognize female voices because they were only calibrated for standard male voices.

    Women are well needed in engineering and in all male dominated jobs, because our insight and creativity can be a great asset in helping solving the problems facing our world.

    Kerrine your inspiraition and encouragements is so important in this day and age, and that as women we should realise and see how important it is that we can have a choice of pursuing what our heart, mind and soul knows what we are capable of. We do not have to follow the “rules” of how the Worlds Education has made cast moulds of what we have to become when we leave school, and not how we are naturaly from the day we are born,Engineers, Farmers, Scientist and Plummers!
    How? Engineers solve problems on a daily basis using math, science and techonlogy.
    As women do we not have to solve problems on a daily basis? The running and upkeeping of the home whether we are a mother or not, managing expenses to feed and clothe the household, we make our home a healthy and a safe place to live.. etc
    We just need to be positive that we can attribute our strengths outside the home in a male dominated career.

    I encourage all to take note of who you are Kerrine and all what you have achieved.
    Albeit being petite,shy,softly spoken,a mother, a wife, wears a skirt or a dress.

    Everybody should try and follow their dreams, you can be all what you want to be, it is possible that it can be achieved.
    Some may experience difficulty in whatever form, but the main thing is you tried to pursue your dream to reach your goal.

  2. Yvette Morris
    May 17, 2018 / 10:25 pm

    Cuz
    U R gonna make it..
    Keep ur head up and Pray.
    All things R possible..

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