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No talk about the kids as Mumsnot website starts a conversation during lockdown

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A website that aims to bring people together has been launched in West Berkshire during the Covid lockdown.

Initially Mandy Clark wanted a space where people who did not have children – either by choice or by fate – would be able to connect with others. But since the coronavirus pandemic she says she realises it can be so much more, to so many more people.

The idea came about while she was in the bath pondering what she’d heard on that morning’s Chris Evans’ breakfast show.

Mandy Clark and Jenni Collins
Mandy Clark and Jenni Collins

“I was wondering where all the other not-mums were,” Mandy said. “I thought about doing a blog and by doing it I would find a community.

“I love to hear Chris and the team chat on about their kids, but even now, though I’m now in my fifties, I find I’m still slightly tuned in to feeling that I missed out.

“I have a few amazing non-mum friends, but where are all the other women, the ones who chose not to listen out for the pitter patter of tiny feet? And the ones who, like me, tried but didn’t get to the finish line, or the ones who just plain missed the boat and were left sobbing into a pint of gin?”

Jumping out of her now slightly tepid bath she grabbed her laptop and Mumsnot was born – a place to “create conversations and a community of people who aim to keep each other fuelled with interesting observations about life, or maybe even just laughs”.

And now she has joined forces with a mum, Jenni Collins, from Newbury to spread the word. The pair met a decade ago at the Compton Players and now meet every week as they continue to grow Mumsnot and plan its future.

The website offers a place where you can read “uplifting and encouraging stories from some wonderful women” and has a growing international audience.

It began by lifting the lid on their not-mum lives and showing readers - and themselves - just how wonderful those lives are.

Mumsnot creators Mandy Clark and Jenni Collins
Mumsnot creators Mandy Clark and Jenni Collins

Now it has grown to encompass stories from women from all walks of life, sharing their stories, their ups and their downs.

“We are not excluding anyone though,” said Jenni, who is currently studying for a Masters in history. “We have a not-grandma. It’s all inclusive and everybody’s view is validated.

“It’s a place for everyone’s stories; a place where everyone has a voice.

“It’s a nice place for people to be and meet people but not have that constant focus on family and kids.”

Mandy, who used to be a musician and has appeared on Top of the Pops, said the plan was to continue finding more contributors to talk about “their passions” on the blog. She eventually hopes they will be able to start meeting up in real life as well as online.

“The focus is not about not having children,” she added. “It’s about the person. I like people and I am interested in people.

“We have met some really interesting people and we’re really grateful that people are taking the time to do this for us.

“In lockdown I felt ‘yey, they have got each other’ and it was lovely; although it was a hard time, it was all about connecting people.

“It’s not even people who are completely like-minded; it’s about learning from people. It’s about what keeps people going; what their passions are; it’s about sharing life stories.

“It’s about having compassion for people whatever circumstances they find themselves in. I think sometimes we don’t understand each other and what we are all going through.”

You can join Mandy, Jenni and the rest of the Mumsnot contributors on www.mumsnot.net and you can follow them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @themumsnot

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