The Early Hour mentor: Candice Brathwaite, co-founder of Make Motherhood Diverse

Candice Brathwaite is a writer, presenter, influencer, co-founder of Make Motherhood Diverse, mum-of-two young kids and now a mentor, via The Early Hour. If you’re a mum looking for support with your freelance work, you may be in luck…

The Early Hour six-month mentoring scheme offers freelance mums, or women who’ve set up a business after having children, support from someone who is further along; a working mum who has overcome the first hurdles and is now in a position to offer guidance. This article explains who Candice Brathwaite is, what she does and the support she’d be able to offer a mentee. If you’d like to apply to have Candice as your mentor, please read on for more information…

Candice Brathwaite, 30, has a four-year-old daughter, Esmé-Olivia, and two-month-old son called RJ. She’s a writer, presenter, parenting influencer and co-founder of Make Motherhood Diverse. Here, she introduces herself, tells the fascinating story behind her non-traditional career path, and discusses the type of freelance mum she’d like to mentor….

My career, like my life, has not taken the usual trajectory. Much to my father’s chagrin, I skipped out on university after ending my schooling at BRIT School of performing arts and technology.

At 18, I was given the chance to travel to India for three months. The time I spent there lit my fire for international travel and I became obsessed with making money to spend on plane tickets. Once I retuned from India, I spent the summer travelling through Europe with my college friends.

Once I’d finished travelling, I retuned to the UK and continued my duties at the reception desk of the law firm my father was a partner of (hence the chagrin) – ready to save up to go again. One of the friends I’d travelled around Europe with had found a way to travel for free. ‘Become an au pair!’ she said, ‘How else do you think I’m spending a year in Sweden?’

That very night, I began researching work as an au pair. By the following week, I had agreed to be the au pair for a wonderful family in Naples, Italy. That September my adventure began. But it was to be short-lived. Just as I was wrapping my head around the language, my father passed away due to complications from sepsis brought on by the flu.

Immediately, everything changed. I returned to the UK a grieving young woman having to plan a funeral. That same week, I accidentally sat in on the diagnosis of a close family member being HIV+. The two shocks so close together meant I had to have the support of medicine. Admittedly, I didn’t do very well. I spiralled out of control. Luckily the support of my family, friends and mentor Charlie Dark, the founder of RunDemCrew, was able to help me bounce back.

During this time, I met my now husband and fell pregnant with our first child Esmé-Olivia. Motherhood was a shock, to say the least. I delved into social media hoping to meet likeminded women but found that the world of parenting didn’t seem to include women that looked like myself. Whilst I wasn’t too bothered back then, it was something I’d decide to rectify in the future.

Once Esme was two, I wanted to return to work but didn’t have that coveted degree (perhaps I should’ve listened to Dad). I’d spent time travelling, writing blog posts and learning about social media. There wasn’t a job role for that.

But then kismet stepped in. Scrolling Twitter one night, I came across a competition looking for people to work in marketing for Penguin Random House. I hastily filled out the application and thought no more of it. As time went by, I seemed to be passing each and every stage until I found myself as one of the final twenty. I was the eldest, the only one with children and the only person of colour. Surely all the odds were against me? Having never worked in publishing before I was now learning what an un-diverse space it was (there seems to be a theme developing) but to my surprise; I was one of the four winners!

My time spent in publishing was glorious, especially because PRH wanted to be the ones to lead the change in the publishing industry to make the workplace more diverse. I sucked up all the skills I could and worked on wonderful campaigns until the pull of motherhood became too much and I knew that I had perhaps returned to work a little too soon. Reluctantly I hung up my publishing hat with no plan b except social media and the skills I’d picked up along the way.

The term ‘influencer’ is relatively new and after leaving publishing I had no idea that it’s what I was building myself up to be nor did I understand the meaning or monetary gain of having a strong personal brand. But the brand that is Candice Brathwaite began to grow until I found myself where I am today.

In between that, I was able to found the groundbreaking online initiative Make Motherhood Diverse, which aims to diversify the face of parenthood in both classic mainstream and social media.

To date, I have worked with brands like Ebay, Pampers, Vauxhall and more. I’m a regular presenter for online parenting channel Nurture and by some strange twist of fate I’m on a panel at the world’s largest literary festival HAY later this summer talking all things ‘modern motherhood’.

So that’s me. Now, what I’m looking for in a mentee is someone who has taken the less traditional route. Someone who has had more adversity than advantages but won’t give up on their dreams, even with babies in the mix. I would like to provide that woman with honest support. None of that ‘yes man’ bullshit your bestie does, I really want to be able to get to the nitty gritty and hopefully start to turn a woman’s life around. Or at the very least get her going in the right direction…

If you’d like a mentor – and think Candice could help you with your freelance work or small business – we’d love to hear from you. Please send an email to Annie: by 24 June 2018, with ‘Candice Brathwaite – mentor’ in the subject line and the following details…

• Your name

• The age of your kids (if you’re pregnant, so right at the beginning of motherhood, that’s fine too)

• Your field of work

• Website and social links, if you have them

• What stage you’re at, as a freelance mum (in no more than 100 words)

• What you’d like help with – the biggest challenges/opportunities (in no more than 100 words)

• Why you’d benefit from having a mentor (in no more than 100 words)

Candice will select one freelance mum to mentor for six months.

Find Candice on Instagram: @candicebrathwaite