#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?
My individuality makes me More Than A Mutha. First I was me, second I was a business woman and third I was a Mother. So my likes, loves, dislikes, personal skills and interests make me more than a Mummy as they have always been there and are truly ‘me’…even if sometimes parts of me get hidden away for a long time and dragged out of the darkness years later.
It’s like when your child asks your ‘real name’ and is highly amused that you are or were ever known as anything except Mummy! What craziness! A real name! That real name has depth attached. Where you come from, your beliefs, your family and your aspirations. Some of the things that make me More Than A Mutha are my love of dance and musicals, a love for my family – both the one I was born into and the one I made, a love for the pop band Take That that has spanned for more than 15 years, an appreciation of amazing life experiences and great friendships, a love of far too many things containing sugar.
Some of the things I dislike are people breathing on me, loud eating, pickle, salad and creamy drinks. I get sad when I value, respect and help others but don’t get it in return and I have a fear of drowning. All these things and more are what makes me, me. And I am More Than a Mutha.
Are people surprised when they realise you are more than a mum? Does that bother you?
People are often surprised that I have my own business AND have three young children. It doesn’t bother me negatively, it reminds me that I should be proud of what I am doing and achieving. I know that I am not cut-out to be a full-time SAHM and have respect for those that can do that. So I enjoy having a mix of motherhood, work and family life.
What challenges do you face when you’re juggling motherhood and being more than a mum?
Like most working parents feel, there’s the guilt I have, which is rather unnecessary but lurks around nevertheless. Feeling guilty that my work interrupts attentive parenting sometimes, that I’m working but not bringing in an amazing salary, that I can’t manage to keep our home clean and tidy all the time and that I do have to place my children in childcare facilities both in and out of term-time.
Juggling is literally the right term for my life though. It is a constant challenge to keep on top of everything for home, school, nursery, for friends and family, for school holidays, for my business and actually get enough sleep. In a way I’m always failing as I am never ever up-to-date and managing everything, but through that I’m also always winning because I get to go to the class assemblies and open classroom events, I get to have a day off with my youngest every week and I get to be my own boss (almost, I do have a co-Director!). Judgement is the only thing I have to say I feel free of and that’s because I know that I’m doing the best I can, in the best way I know how.
How long did it take you to remember you were more than a mother after you had your child(ren)?
Well in terms of work, not long, because I was made redundant whilst pregnant with my first son and so I was doing freelance work before his birth and from about 6 weeks after.
But in terms of doing things I love, much much longer and even now these aren’t regular moments. There was a long period of time after my second child that I really felt I had lost me, that I had changed too much to accommodate other people and that everything was mundane. I felt quite alone, worn out and quite stagnated I suppose. But with the support of my Sister and some friends I gradually managed to become more positive and find time to do things that made me happier.
Who, or what, helps you to make time for yourself? What do you do to escape the stresses of motherhood?
My family – I have the most amazing parents who will have our children for sleepovers so that we can have a night away once or twice a year. I am lucky to also have very supportive and helpful in-laws who help with babysitting so that I can get to the hairdresser or do a cake decorating class when my schedule allows.
My husband is incredibly supportive in everything I do. He knows that sometimes I need to ditch the laundry and go to the pub with my friends, or go to a ballet class. He will buy me beauty treatment gifts or organise time for me to go shopping as my Christmas present as he knows that I love personal, relaxing time without a nappy or whiny voice nearby. He helps me stop everything and make time to relax.
My friends as they crave escape time too – so we may hang out together one evening, do a shopping and dinner day perhaps and most year’s we manage to go on a spa break together. On a daily or weekly basis I really don’t make time for myself, I never take a long bath, never read books or just watch TV for hours by myself. I always feel that I have more important and urgent things to get done for work, for the children or my husband or within our house.
What advice would you offer a mum who might not be feeling like they are more than someones mum right now?
I would say try and start remembering who you are in little ways to begin with. Say no to the children playing DJ in your car and put on the music you enjoy, buy the prepared dinner to give yourself an extra ten minutes that evening, put on the make-up and skinny jeans to do your chores.
Following this, do everything you can to have a regular slot for something in your life – a fitness class, dinner out with a friend or going to the cinema. But what also works for me is sticking to a routine and not regularly ‘losing’ your evenings to the children. I know that (barring sickness) on 6 days a week after 8.15pm the children are all guaranteed to be asleep and this puts a temporary end point on the constant demand on me. Gradually you will feel More Than A Mutha again, hang in there, we’ve all been there.
Any advice for someone who is going through the same things as you are right now in their quest to be #MoreThanAMutha?
I’m naturally organised and I think I’d be falling apart by now if I wasn’t. If you aren’t good at planning, get someone to help you – find out when they can help you get a few hours off from Motherhood and go from there. Perhaps make a little list of ways you enjoyed spending your time before you were a Mum and start trickling those back into your life even if at a tiny level to begin with. Whatever you do, do it to the best of your current ability, trust your instincts and you really can’t go wrong. Motherhood doesn’t come with a manual, we all just learn on the job.
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