Coffee & Catch-Up

Louise Pentland has spent nearly a decade documenting her life via YouTube and boasts an online audience of over 8 million, with over 200 million views on her YouTube channel alone. Her real, raw and honest content around parenting has followed her journey through her 20s and early 30s and captured the highs and lows including the birth of her two daughters Darcy (8) and Pearl (1), her divorce and dating again as a single mother, her mental health struggles after losing her mother to cancer as a child, and her PTSD after a traumatic labour. Last year saw Louise launch the third and final instalment of her Sunday Times bestselling fiction trilogy, Wilde Women, and her podcast – Mothers’ Meeting – is another fabulous string to her bow.

Interview by Nadia Duncan

Q) How would you describe yourself in only five words?

Mumsy, kind, delusionally funny (honestly, I used to have ‘the funniest girl you’ll ever meet’ on my Tinder bio!), persistent and dry.

Q) You’ve spent nearly a decade documenting your life via YouTube, why did you make the decision to first start your channel?

I’d love to say it was a really calculated and measured choice but actually, like most things in life, it just happened. I had been writing a blog for six months, chitchatting away about the things I enjoyed, and a couple of the readers suggested I make videos to better share what I was talking about. It was a really unknown space then so I had no fear (I didn’t know what there was to be fearful of!) and jumped in. My first video was actually a Lush Haul and I opened with, ‘Hi guys, welcome back to my channel!’, as though I’d made hundreds of videos before!

Q) What you learnt about yourself in the last 10 years?

I’ve learnt that I’m able. I used to think I was a bit sub-par at things, that I was less than other people and wouldn’t ever achieve a great deal, but I look back at the last decade and think, ‘Hmm, I did okay there’. Through listening to the stories from my audience – they are very chatty in my DM’s! – I’ve learnt to be kinder to people and to appreciate that everyone has a journey to navigate. I’ve learnt that there’s more to money than earning and shopping and that I can be bold and make empowering investment choices for our family’s future   –  which has surprised me because I was terrible at maths! I’ve also learnt to put myself forward when I have something to say. It would be nice to say I’ve learnt how to edit videos and photos well, but we’re still learning on that front!

“I’ve been quite measured with what I’ve shared and respected my own boundaries.”

 Q) What are your most memorable highlights and do you regret anything you have shared?

So. Many. Highlights. The Pope inviting me over to his house (aka the Vatican!) for a chat, filming with Charles and Camila, my live stage shows, meeting people on book tours and making life-long friends. Spending so much time with my children because I can work from home a lot and sharing unique experiences with them. I always love a good red carpet too!I’ve been quite measured with what I’ve shared and respected my own boundaries, but I do wish I hadn’t put Marmite on my face for a challenge one time. That was really weird.

 Q) Tell me about Mothers’ Meeting and some of the best bits?

Mothers’ Meeting is an uplifting podcast sharing the highs and lows of #MumLife in a really warm, friendly space. No judgement, no preaching, just a nice chat like you’d have with your bestie, but if your bestie was a celebrity mama or a famous Insta-mum! We’ve had wonderful guests on and I love that we’ve had quite a wide range of people, from my best friend Esther to Rachel Stevens (yes, we did reach for the stars) to hypno-birth coach Siobhan Miller to TV presenters Angela Scanlon, Konnie Huq and Katie Piper. I’ve also loved having some of my Insta-mum besties on too because spending time with them just feels like ‘hanging out’ which I don’t have the chance to do as much these days! What started out as a, ‘Yes a podcast would be a good string to my bow’ project has developed into such a fulfilling, heartwarming way to engage with other mums. I love it. I think listeners do and will too.

“I wish that people would praise mums for doing what’s best for their families, instead of judging them for going back to work or admitting that they find motherhood hard.”

Q) You’ve been described as the “UK’s most influential mum”. If you could make one real change for all mums, what would that be?

It’s always strange to hear I’m described that way because I don’t feel any different from any of my mum friends. I’d work on a) things being more readily available and affordable and b) things having a stigma attached to it that if you use it you’re somehow a bad mum or a lazy mum. When I had my first daughter, nearly nine years ago, I decided to be a full-time stay at home mum. I thought it would be just like you imagine, endless smiling walks in the park with my baby, happy times at local playgroups and tranquil feeding moments in a soft grey rocking chair. The reality was very different. I was lonely and lost. When she was 18 months old, I decided to put Darcy in nursery so that I could focus on work and my own brain a little bit and that was exactly what I needed. I felt fulfilled and better able to enjoy my mummy time when she wasn’t in childcare. By the time I had Pearl in 2018, I knew I was going to use a nursery or nanny (we now have a lovely nanny four days a week) and it’s been brilliant. I can run my business (which I love doing) and be a happy mummy (which I also love). I wish more woman could have these options available to them (they are currently very expensive) and that people would praise mums for doing what’s best for their families, instead of judging them for going back to work or admitting that they find motherhood hard. I’d also magically give mums nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night and an endless supply of hot tea and biscuits!

Listen and download Louise’s podcast Mothers’ Meeting  now via Global Player, iTunes and Spotify.

Image credit: Nicky Johnston

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