#MoreThanAMutha is all about celebrating the things that women are, as well as being amazing mothers. In a world where many women feel like they lose their identity when they become a mum, it is important to celebrate and shout that we might be mums, but we are not only that and we are still a force to be reckoned with.
What makes you more than a mother?
Being a Mum means also being a teacher I have come to realise. At the beginning you just think about having a tiny fresh newborn and how romantic that will be. Then you suddenly realise after giving birth the weight of heavy responsibility on your shoulders – that you must shape, teach and guide this tiny human – allowing them to develop in their own way whilst offering them the right paths and hoping they choose them. So I feel part Mother, part teacher, and then there’s my own hopes, dreams, plans, goals and passions which make me more than just a Mum. I have always been an odd combination of hugely self motivated and driven – whilst also suffering madly low self-confidence and low self-esteem for periods of my life. Throughout my pregnancy I did loads of hyonobirthing practise and I swear that’s what has unearthed my creativity and brought it to the fore – sending me on the most exciting journey of developing my own brand. I realise now I want to do anything I can to help anyone who feels low, or sad or alone – and I want to do this not only through being a shoulder to cry on, a willing ear to listen and always having plenty of hugs to give, but through my creativity and designs. I design bright, motivational prints and cosy, soft graphic tees and sweatshirts for people to feel protected and lifted by. It’s about reinforcing confidence with colour!
Are people surprised when they realise you are more than a mum? Does that bother you?
Yes – a lot of the time when I start talking about having my own business I get the raised eyebrows! There’s definitely the slight double-take and the ‘you what??’ vibe – but I don’t care about that at all. I like to surprise people and make them think twice about their first judgement of me!
What challenges do you face when you’re juggling motherhood and being more than a mum?
Having to say no to things which I would give my left arm to go to because I can’t get childcare kills me sometimes. But I try to be philosophical about that – my Small is my priority and my Number One. Lack of time – definitely a huge issue (when isn’t it?!). I love what I do so much that I could do it 24/7, often my husband has to remind me to spend enough time sleeping. Sometimes when I get a day to work on my own projects I forget to have lunch or get dressed – we’ve all been there, right? : ) I’m also doing this for my little girl – not only for financial security, but to show her that being a Mum doesn’t have to be your only definition. I want her to see that she can do anything she wants to – all she has to do is just start doing it! I do it for my husband as well, he works so hard and so much – I want to help in any way take off some financial burden pressure.
How long did it take you to remember you were more than a mother after you had your child(ren)?
I’d say two years. I felt a strange and panicky feeling during that first year where I thought, is that it then – me as an individual gone for good? Along with dealing with a lot of post-natal anxiety and being terrified of something happening to the baby I just felt so different inside, like I didn’t have any right to care about how I looked, or what I wanted for myself anymore. I think that feeling spurred me on to start up this business for myself.
Who, or what, helps you to make time for yourself? What do you do to escape the stresses of motherhood?
I swim! Exercise is ingrained in me. In my previous life before the Husband and the Small I used to run like I was being chased by all the bad people, and I know now it was almost a form of self-punishment. I always felt second-rate, not good enough, not cool enough, ugly, awkward (the list goes on!). I used exercise to channel my dislike of myself and as a focus to distract myself from the bad feelings. Now, I swim for the joy and love of moving through beautiful blue water. It helps me zone out and often I get a lot of ideas when I’m swimming which is a huge bonus.
What advice would you offer a mum who might not be feeling like they are more than someones mum right now?
I think I would say the most important thing is to make time for yourself no matter how hard that might be. Be kind to yourself. Its a massive cliche but us girls are SO hard on ourselves SO much of the time. I know friends who are awesome in about 7 different dimensions but they would never acknowledge it. I hate that, and that’s also partly why I’m doing what I’m doing. I want to tell Mums and women (and Dads and children come to think of it – I’m not biased) in general that they absolutely rock in so many ways, they just need to believe it. And I think the feeling of knowing you are more than a Mutha will come eventually, but you can’t force it.
Any advice for someone who is going through the same things as you are right now in their quest to be #MoreThanAMutha?
Stay in your lane. I.e. be absolutely confident in the idea that you have and don’t compare yourself to others who you perceive to be more talented than you. If there are people who make you feel bad about what you are doing, unfollow them, or stop looking at their work. Connect with as many humans in real life as you can. If there’s an @GirlTribeGang tribe in your area – join that, its helped me so much in terms of meeting like-minded creative, friendly and lovely people. Reach out to people – what you give is abso-bloody-lutely what you get. And just keep on keeping on.
It will be tough at times – nothing worth having comes easy. But focus and stay on course – you can 100% do it. I often compare it to running a Marathon (which I have done twice so I know the pain involved) – the hard yards are in the cold, wet and dark training runs, and the battle is mostly in your head. According to one of my all time faves Paula Radcliffe – its 90% mental and 10% physical. Do not let the f*ckers get you down!
Who would you like to see featured next in the #MoreThanAMutha series?
Are you #MoreThanAMutha? Get in touch to share your story.