Anna Whitehouse, better known as @MotherPukka is a journalist, author, and activist. British born, she is involved in several projects that are all bounded by a strong dedication to bringing lightness to parenthood. Some of her works include MotherPukka.com – a platform for people who happened to be parents, the Guardian best-selling book ‘Parenting the Sh*t out of Life’ and most recently, a TEDx talk raising awareness for flexible working hours following her #FlexAppeal campaign.
Anna is honest and courageous. Submerged in all sorts of media channels, from Youtube to radio to social media, her voice is heard by over two hundred thousand people who follow her work online. Internet ‘has given me a place to say what I want to say without being edited by a media giant. It has loosened up communication’ says Anna.
As it often happens in life, journalism was not Anna’s first choice of a degree. ‘I wanted to become a lawyer, so I studied law. But I made the decision to stop it once I realized it is a bad place to be a mother.’ Her desire to enjoy both motherhood and an exciting career guided Anna’s transition to journalism. ‘I changed to journalism because I think there are a lot of parallels between law and journalism. In both professions, there is a desire to seek the truth, to put together different perspectives and information. Furthermore, It just seemed that it was a career that would work with motherhood.’
After her graduation, Anna worked for many years writing for magazines. ‘My first job was was for a funny small magazine called Practical Caravan. Then I became a journalist for a gardening magazine and after I landed a job for Grazia Dubai. From then on, I went through the ranks.’ It was when Anna landed a position as a senior creative copywriter for the L’Oreal Group that her career journey had quite a change. ‘I become a mother while working and I wanted more flexibility in my work. Not able to get it, I quit my job to create Mother Pukka.’
Her brave decision proved to be the start of a life-shaping career. Mother Pukka became an online platform for parents or as Anna describes ‘for people who happened to be parents’. ‘I got frustrated by the fact that when you become a mother you are supposed to read mothers and baby magazines. I was [and I am] still a woman who is interested in shoes, politics and many other things. The concept for which the minute you become a mother you need to dress differently or act differently or for which you stop having sex is wrong. I think you need to be there as a whole individual for your children, to show them how to be themselves’.
Mother Pukka’s success brought to life the idea of publishing a book, called ‘Parenting the Sh*t out of Life’, which became a Guardian bestseller. ‘We [Anna and her husband] wanted to write a book that was kind of an antithesis to any parenting handbooks out there’ she says. ‘Parenting is often a place of judgment. A place that seems to be about what you are doing wrong, instead of what you are doing right. We wanted our book to bring happiness to the parenting world.’
Early this year, Anna and her husband joined the many inspiring voices of TedX to raise awareness for flexible working hours and promote their #FlexAppeal campaign. Titled ‘How to be a Happy Chicken’, the talk is a funny and informative view on ‘breaking the outdated 9-5 mold and encouraging more workers and organizations to ask for and trial flexible working’.
Aside from Mother Pukka, Anna currently works for Grazia, Marie Claire, and iHeartradio. Furthermore, she is writing her second book, called ‘Where is My Happy Ending’, the book is about redefining the Disney narrative and the ‘happy ever after’ and will be out February 2020. Stay tuned.
How would you define your style?
‘My style is comfortable, the clothes need to stretch. I generally wear one piece, jumpsuits are my go-to. I need that single piece that I put on in the morning. I mostly wear trainers and I must wear my glittery socks every day. The core of my style is extended pajamas. Also, I style it with red lipstick or a pair of earrings.’
What are your three favorite shoes?
- Stan Smith heart trainers – they are my go-to shoes.
- & Other Stories Boots – I love any boots from them.
- Thabita Simmons, Red Kid Suede Triple Strap Mary Jane Heels – I feel like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz – they are my happy shoes.