Thursday, 4 May 2017

Interview with Anniki Sommerville; Super Editor of Selfish Mother and part of Hotbed Collective

I was lucky enough to interview Anniki Sommerville (@annikiselfishmother) who is the Super Editor of Selfish Mother, and who has just begun on a new venture involving SEX; more below! 




Hi, welcome to Bad Mum magazine and thank you for taking the time to answer some questions.

For anyone that doesn’t know, you are a freelance writer, the Super Editor at Selfish Mother (@selfishmother) and also work at Hotbed Collective (@thehotbedcollective) with Cherry Healey and Lisa Williams; involving anything sex and relationships.

You must be one busy lady! How long have you been writing for and is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

I have been writing for about 10 years. I mainly wrote fiction and have a couple of unpublished books under my belt. Then I realised that no one wanted to publish them and I started writing again properly after having my daughter. I have a personal blog www.annikisommerville.net but mainly write for magazines, Selfish Mother and other online platforms. Writing keeps me sane and if I don't do it for a while I feel awful! 

I absolutely love Selfish Mother (blogzine and the FMLY store,) how is it to be the Super Editor of such an inspiring and successful website?

It’s an amazing company to work for. The team all have a very similar mindset- we’re parents but also have lots of other interests and passions too. Molly is an inspirational person to work for as she always has her eye on what’s coming up next and is also super altruistic and looking at ways we can all give back. It’s easy to feel apathetic and a bit flat about world events but I think it’s important to realise that there is stuff you can do and to make small changes to your behaviour if you can (I am not perfect in this regard).



I see you now work from home; when my little boy goes to preschool I am straight to my desk but I know how distracting it can be and you always feel as though you should be doing something else! How are you finding it and do you really get dressed properly (i.e. not in PJ’s or a tracksuit)?

I took voluntary redundancy but I’d worked in the same company for 17 years! I was pretty much institutionalised and had never known anything different. One Monday morning I dropped my daughter at nursery and then carried my laptop all the way to the train station only to realise I no longer did that anymore! 

I am now starting to enjoy working from home. Once a week I either try and work in another office or have a couple of meetings in town. Otherwise I do feel like I’m going crazy. My fear is that I would watch Loose Women and eat chocolate all day but now I only do that for one hour and then get on with the work. I always get dressed. I miss that about office life- getting dressed up and it makes me feel better if I’m wearing a good outfit.

So, how did the Hotbed Collective come about and how is it working with the fabulous Cherry Healey (@cherryhealey) and Lisa Williams from TantrumXYZ (@tantrumxyz)?

They are both very down to earth and funny. I think we found things we had in common quite quickly. I met Cherry at a Mother Meeting event a year or two ago and we both felt quite passionate about sex and how nobody really talks about it and also how it changes so  much when you become parents. It feels like a taboo and sometimes you get the sense that everyone else is at it and you’re the only one watching a boxset with a takeaway on a Friday night. Lisa, Cherry and I are all passionate about making sex less mysterious and making it more fun too. There are officially no areas that we won’t cover. Soon we’ll be launching our website and we’ll be asking people for anonymous stories and content. I feel the more we share the less we carry on our backs each day.



Is there anything you wouldn’t want to write about or are you pretty open to most things?

I am definitely someone who over-shares. That’s my personality. Even before social media I would tell a stranger about my bikini wax that went wrong. I have a problem with saying things that are inappropriate. In the corporate world that was sometimes a problem. It was like having some sort of personality disorder. Online I think it’s a positive. But yes there are some things I haven’t shared. I have lost people and gone through some dark stuff that I want to keep to myself.

You are a Mummy to your lovely daughter who is 3 years old; same age as my son and it kind of gets a bit easier…with wine! How do you find working and juggling motherhood at the same time?

It’s not easy. I feel like I have good and bad days for sure. I worry that I’m not engaging with my daughter and find it hard because social media and being freelance gives you an excuse to check your phone. I don’t want her to remember me peering into my phone all the time. I don’t think my Mum worried as much as I do. I think parenting is rife with worry and you have to give yourself a pep talk and say ‘do you know what I made a mess today but tomorrow is a another day.’

We all have good and bad parenting days; one minute we are crying in the bathroom and the next hugging the life out of them! We are all only human, how do you cope with the bad days and have you learnt any golden advice over the years you can pass on? 

I have anger issues. And am driven barmy by how irrational my daughter can be. Yesterday I had to wrestle her for ten minutes to get her into a friend’s car seat. I felt like I wanted to walk away or actually punch someone. I don’t know what the solution is but I did read somewhere that you need to ‘let your child be themselves’. The battles come when I’m being controlling and making her do what I want. The car seat is non negotiable but eating one more mouthful of food isn’t. Pick your battles.

What is your opinion on this super honest take on motherhood that is now on social media? Good that we are being honest and sharing or do you think there is a fine line that we might be crossing?  

We need to be careful that we’re not letting ourselves off the hook and saying that crap parenting is okay. I think each of us know when we’ve crossed a line into rubbish parenting. I remember Helen from The Scummy Mummies saying something about that- none of us want to encourage women to be shit parents. Also don’t be ashamed of the good things you’re doing. I sometimes feel like we can’t say ‘Oh look at this SHIT HOT cake I made’ without people thinking you’re an arse. But do you know what. High five you! You made a shit hot cake. Well done.



What is next on your “To Do” list or have you got a bucket list you want to work your way through and tick off?

I want to write a book about sex and relationships. See Selfish Mother keep expanding and contribute all I can as I love it. And get The Hot Bed Collective on Loose Women and Women’s Hour. I also want to be able to drive on a motorway – I passed last year but am still a motorway virgin.

Everyone needs to leave us with a parenting confession that they have never told anyone before…go and do a shot if it helps! 

I set fire to my daughter’s packed lunch. I then threw it in the garden and my partner had to stamp up and down on it. It was half accidental and half on purpose. Like I said, I have anger issues. I also like to throw stuff out the window- usually my partner’s socks. He finds them down the side return and it usually means I’m in a really bad mood. 

Ha Ha! Thank you so much and I wish you all the luck in the world with everything you do and your new venture; The Hotbed Collective.


Photos credited to Anniki Sommerville




Interview by Sophie Farrow 
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