Interview with Christina Pickworth // This Mama Does

What do you do? How would you describe your working life? 

I’m a screenwriter, agent (writers and directors for film & TV), and I’ve just launched This Mama Does cards – alternative milestone cards for Mums, because why should the babies get all the fun stuff! Find out more here

I also founded and run the Writers’ Group for Women in Film & Television and I’m passionate about nurturing and supporting female writing talent, as it’s still hugely under-represented. That has an effect on the stories and characters we see on our screens – we need to have more female screenwriters telling more female stories.

Did you show any early signs as a child that indicated that you would end up where you are today?

I think it’s probably too early to tell where I’ve ended up - I don’t feel I’ve peaked yet! But I’m not afraid of a challenge and I think that’s something that’s always been the case. I (impossibly!) caught a massive eel in my tiny red bucket at the beach when I was 2 because my Grandpop said he would eat it if I did (needless to say it mysteriously disappeared). I see something and I go for it. 

Describe your morning routine

I have a two year old son (the Little Man) and a 6 month old daughter (the Little Miss) so days (if we’re not counting the early morning feeds!) usually start around 6:30am, though if it’s been a rough night with lots of feeds my husband gets up with the kids so I can grab another hour’s sleep. We’ll all have breakfast together and I’ll inhale a couple of coffees. Sometimes I’ll be dealing with urgent emails first thing which can’t wait for nursery hours, other days we might have chance to do some very loud singing along to the Frozen soundtrack.

Where do you get your ideas/inspiration from and when do they arrive? 

I think the best ideas usually hit you when you least expect it. The idea for This Mama Does cards came to me one rainy afternoon when I was losing my mind a little bit from potty training and chicken pox induced cabin-fever. But that was pretty appropriate really. The point of This Mama Does cards is to mark the everyday milestones of motherhood – the survival of it. It’s not all first steps and cute cuddles, and it’s not all about the baby, it’s a massive shift in life for mamas too. Mostly it’s being tired, cleaning up poo and wishing for bedtime. I wanted to make something that reflected the reality and join mothers in that shared experience. I hope mamas can use their cards to share their WINE O’CLOCK (and other!) moments with all the other mamas doing the same.

When motivation wavers, how do you get back on track? 

Music can lift me and there are a few lyrics I find really helpful, like ‘If you wanna fill your bottle up with lightning you’re gonna have to stand in the rain’ by Kacey Musgraves (Silver Lining).Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill has been a bit of anthem for me too since it came up on our playlist whilst I was pushing our little girl out. It helps me focus, grit my teeth and get it done.Plus I love cooking, it really relaxes me, and you get to eat something amazing at the end. I don’t have a lot of time for pampering at the moment so I cook. It helps clear my head.

What is the best thing about your job/lifestyle? 

I think when you work for yourself flexibility is a big plus, although that often means that you end up working more hours rather than less! But I like being the master of my own ship.

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If you could do something else for the day- what would you do? 

I’d love to give radio presenting a whirl.

How do you overcome any challenges in your working life? 

For me the biggest challenge is the juggling you have to do as a parent. Childcare is so expensive and it’s difficult to commit to when you work for yourself and don’t have a guaranteed regular income. I’ve taken my daughter with me to a lot of meetings but that isn’t always feasible, and breastfeeding while you’re pitching isn’t ideal, but you just get on with it. On the other hand, when you have kids it’s amazing what you can suddenly achieve in a child-free half an hour! And being a parent puts a different spin on things, about what’s important and what’s not. That new perspective is so helpful in everything.

How do you celebrate your successes? 

With wine. Or gin. Or both! And if we’re feeling flush then we love eating out. My pushing present for the Little Man was the tasting menu at La Gavroche!

Christina Pickworth

Do you have any tools/resources or rituals that you couldn’t live without? 

My iPhone. It enables me to keep working even when I’m breastfeeding or on the nursery run. It means I can maximise the time I spend working, otherwise I’d never get everything done.

Which books from your bookcase would you recommend? 

I have to read a lot of scripts for my job as an agent. A LOT. So I hardly get any time to read books, which makes me really sad as I’ve always been an avid reader. At the moment I have two books on the go, which, actually now I think about it sound fairly hilarious together – Letters to My Fanny by Cherry Healey, and I Love Dick by Chris Kraus. Two very different books but both are brilliant!

What are your daily essentials to make you feel ready? 

SPONSORED BY COFFEE is one of the This Mama Does cards, and there’s a reason for that! Tiredness is a killer when you have little ones so anything which negates that is a help. A good breakfast is so important too. I tend to get hangry if I haven’t eaten enough, and while I’m breastfeeding it’s vital to making it through the day.

What advice would you give your teenage self? 

Everything will be alright in the end, and if it’s not alright it’s not the end.

Where would you like to be in 5 years time? 

I’d just like to be happy, with whatever I’m doing, wherever I am in my life. That’s not to say I’m not ambitious or goal-oriented, but life has a habit of turning things on their head and sometimes the best things come out of the surprises.

For more from Christina please follow her: 

Instagram: @thismamadoes

Twitter: @thismamadoes

Facebook: This Mama Does

Blog: www.thismamadoes.co.uk