#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?
Motherhood is, without a doubt,an incredible thing that I have been very fortunate to have in my life. But it doesn’t define me. I think we are defined by many experiences – our work, our ethics, feminism, mental health journeys – I sadly had PND, anxiety and severe post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of a a traumatic birth. I’m recovered now, but it took five years to receive the talking therapy I needed and was so incredibly effective. So yes; we are so many things as women, aren’t we and I don’t think any woman should be defined by motherhood solely – we are women first and foremost.
Are people surprised when they realise you are more than a mum? Does that bother you?
I think my stance on motherhood means that people aren’t hugely surprised that I don’t seem to be defined by it… I joke, but it’s true. I adore my children, I don’t believe they are brats or anything like that but I do think motherhood is a lot harder than most of us expect. I think we are sold up the river half the time with the ‘Disney’ version of motherhood. I know I was.
What challenges do you face when you’re juggling motherhood and being more than a mum?
GUILT. Oh god, the guilt! I work mostly from home, and so have this awful constant balance going on between needing to answer to the ‘Mummy Mummy Mummy’ eighty times a day, while answering emails, writing, working on the website, running the community group – the works. It’s tough, because I never feel that I ever get that balance truly right and am always letting someone down. When that someone is your six or four year old, that’s a pretty awful feeling. But it’s also part of motherhood.
How long did it take you to remember you were more than a mother after you had your child(ren)?
Honestly, it took ages. Properly ages. I was very lost for a long time – maybe even 3-4 years. I’m only just getting back to ‘me’ now I think. My body has changed, my mind has changed. Becoming a mother has changed my priorities too and I think it’s normal for it to take some time to get back a little piece of the old you really. The new me is fine too though – I’m growing to like her more and more now I’m a lot better in my head.
Who, or what, helps you to make time for yourself? What do you do to escape the stresses of motherhood?
Work, friends, our home – I love working on little projects around the house. I also find writing hugely cathartic and that gives me a sense of something for myself.
What advice would you offer a mum who might not be feeling like they are more than someones mum right now?
Oh my god, don’t. Please believe in yourself. Please know that only you matter and you matter more than you know. You might not feel like you are getting it right every day but honestly, every single mother – even the judgemental ones – are winging it. There’s no manual for any of this and whether it’s work, or it’s motherhood, or our relationships, you can only be the best you are right now. Beating yourself up daily is an awful place to be so try and give yourself a break. It’s a tough lark, motherhood. Be kind to yourself.
Any advice for someone who is going through the same things as you are right now in their quest to be #MoreThanAMutha?
Time, patience and hard work are all important but so is balance. Only you can give yourself that and I have nearly ran myself into the ground in the past trying to manage everything and spin every plate. Don’t do it to yourself! Also, my experience of ‘business’ was heavily patriarchal and inflexible and I nearly fell into the trap of thinking that I had to emulate that when I started The Motherload. That’s nonsense – the important thing, when creating your own business or working for yourself is ensuring that it works for YOU.
Are you #MoreThanAMutha? Get in touch to share your story.