#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? 

I think I am braver (or more stupid depending on your point of view) than lots of mums in that I am very much guided by my intuition and heart. I have left a marriage and a very good career in teaching because both were giving me more stress than reward and I just ‘got the feeling’ that I needed to move on mainly for my own mental health.

That’s not to say I took either decision lightly but I know lots of mums who feel stuck in a rut either in their relationships or jobs / home situation who complain about things but do nothing to initiate a change.

While I am definitely not advocating divorce as a solution I do feel that I am very proactive in doing the things that make my heart sing.  I was well off within my marriage and career but stressed and depressed, now I love the life I have created even though financially I don’t have the same safety or freedom.  I’m working hard on that though.

I want to show my boys that you should follow your heart and live your life with passion and enthusiasm (most of the time!) Life is fleeting, I am trying to make the best of my time here both as a mother and as a woman which can be hard when you lose your identity.

Are people surprised when they realise you are more than a mum? Does that bother you?

Lots of people call me ‘super mum’ for the amount of projects I take on and how much I try to do with my boys considering one has some significant health challenges (I actually don’t think I am any more super than any other Mum though). Its lovely to hear but I think it creates a standard in my head that I need to live up to and so I end up putting more pressure on myself.  I am not competitive with others but am fiercely so with myself so if I feel that I have failed to live up to an expectation I am very self critical and that’s one of the negative aspects of my personality really.

What challenges do you face when you’re juggling motherhood and being more than a mum?

For me its time and priorities. I enjoy being busy so take on projects, I wrote and published a book, organise events, fund raise, blog, and I also do supply teaching.

I prioritise these over things like tidying up (the house isn’t a bomb site but its not the neat and orderly home I would love) and my own well being. I would choose to work over walking the dog or going to the gym.  Finding balance is my own, self inflicted, issue but I hope that it doesn’t impact on my mothering time and skills.

How long did it take you to remember you were more than a mother after you had your child(ren)?

My twins were born prematurely and Harry was born with a rare cranio facial condition so it took me a long time to get my head around actually being a mum before I could remember who I was as a woman.  I think when the boys were about 1 and I decided to train to become a teacher is when I realised that motherhood wasn’t fulfilling enough for me on its own (*controversial*) and I needed to feel empowered as an individual too.

Teaching gave me that and I actually think it helped me to be a better mum as I had time away from the, slightly unusual, stresses of my family life which meant I was happier as a person.

Who, or what, helps you to make time for yourself? What do you do to escape the stresses of motherhood?

My partner encourages me to do things for myself and has recently discussed my over use of social media as he feels that its impacting our relationship. I tend to respond to things after a bit of a wake up call as I am a ‘head down and plough through’ kind of person. He makes me stop and find time to relax and switch off as best I can.

When my boys see their Dad, and Andrews children are with their Mum, I love the time to just be a couple and do things for ourselves. Lie ins, eating what we prefer over the children’s choice, having a day out.. a bit of respite from the challenges of parenting.  Of course we are both ready to get our kids back but its lovely down time just to be adults together.
I also do love the gym when I make the time to go and walking the dog is lovely as we have a local reservoir beauty spot. An hour around there always clears my head and rejuvenates me.

What advice would you offer a mum who might not be feeling like they are more than someones mum right now?

I would say not to beat yourself up about every little thing, you are enough already!
Also, find one thing that you love doing as a person and do more of that.
A happy woman makes a great mother, its not always the other way around and if you need to look outside of your kids to get some self-validation then that’s fine!  There is too much pressure on women to feel that motherhood is the best job in the world when in reality its by far the hardest! I love being a mum but it doesn’t define me and if you need another outlet then I say go for it

Any advice for someone who is going through the same things as you are right now in their quest to be #MoreThanAMutha?

Just stop and take stock every now and then. A little self reflection can be painful but is always necessary. I wish I had done that sooner but age brings wisdom as well as wrinkles.

Who would you like to see featured next in the #MoreThanAMutha series?

Deb Swindley is a great example to me of a successful woman and a great mother and I think she always brings some great advice to the table. I’d love to read her thoughts.
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