#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? 

Oooh good question. I suppose lots of things. I love being a mother, but it’s certainly not my one and only defining feature. I think this is what I struggled with the most when I became a mum. I asked myself “who AM i now?” a lot. I think it’s common to suffer a bit of an identity crisis. But I think the things that make me me are the same things as before I had kids….my friends, my family, my values, the roots of where I came from, my personality etc, mixed with the great attributes I’ve gained since becoming a mum. This includes a huge range of things like patience, persistence, unconditional love and a new found massive respect for parents! I’m also incredibly proud of being the founder of mumsback.com for lots of reasons.

I didn’t ever think I’d have the confidence to start my own business, and in a way motherhood gave me that boost to go for it, so I owe a lot to it. I’m also very proud of my social aim, to raise as much awareness of perinatal mental health issues as I can. This is really important to me as I suffered with PND following my second child, and didn’t realise I had it for far too long. This is also the reason £1 from every one of our new mum hampers sold goes to the charity PANDAS Foundation. My proudest achievements are getting through those first crazy years of motherhood with 2 under 2 (nearly 2 under 1!) and setting up Mums Back as both of these accomplishments have pushed and tested me like I’ve never known before!

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

I don’t think so. I mean, generally I expect people are way more than mummies when I meet them and I hope others feel the same about me. I think everyone, no matter how they define themselves, are multifaceted. Having said that, because of how all consuming being a mum/parent is at first I think it’s really easy to fall into the trap of feeling like that’s ALL we are once we procreate, and it takes a while to persuade ourselves we are much much more….but I don’t think others are surprised by it, it’s more a fault of ourselves!

It doesn’t really bother me. What bothers me is how undervalued the role of mummy/parent is in our society. I really think it deserves more credit. Perhaps if it was valued more then people wouldn’t feel so sad and under appreciated when they feel so consumed by it as a role. It’s bloody tough!

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

Oh it’s definitely a huge juggle! I think parenting is really hard work and a huge juggle. In a way running Mums Back is my escape from that! It’s really hard balancing work and parenting, especially as I’m my own boss. I’m always guilty about something….not spending enough time with the kids or not spending enough time on the business usually. It feels like there’s always someone or something not getting enough of my attention. I am lucky that my husband is very hands on and works from home mainly, so we do share the childcare a lot. He is also really supportive of the business and is as much of a feminist as me, which really helps!

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

Oh my goodness….ages!  When you are in the throws of those early weeks/months/years it can feel like that’s all you and and all you ever will be again. This is exactly why I set up mumsback.com….as a nod towards women celebrating THEIR journey.  To give recognition to the huge emotional journey they’ve been on both mentally and physically and to give them something for them that’s nothing to do with the baby…to give them a piece of them and their identity back again.
I remember feeling so lost as a new mum. All the stuff I was getting was so lovely but all so baby related or “mumsy” related. I wanted to scream “BUT I’M STILL ME!”. But then you feel guilty for thinking that. Oh my goodness, it’s a real head mangler. I think in my heart of hearts I always KNEW I was more than a mum, but felt guilty for wanting to be other stuff as well and wanting a break. It wasn’t until my youngest was over 1 that I felt able to indulge in the “other” stuff…and boy did it feel good! It’s all about choice isn’t it….mums should have the choice to fully embrace it and solely do that if they want….or embrace doing “other” stuff too. It’s different for everyone I suppose.

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

Definitely the business. In a way it helped cure me of PND. I know that sounds a little extreme but it’s true. I was really craving doing something different and adult like again, and having that focus on something that felt productive (other than bringing up and taking care of 2 tiny humans) really helped my mental health. It still does to a certain extent. But I have to be careful and wary of burn out. I tend to escape the work and relentlessness of motherhood by turning to the business, and the craziness of the business by turning to motherhood (both usually by necessity too), and this is a dangerous game. I have to watch it and remember to try and have down time. Usually a bubble bath and a session with Netflix. What I really love is a spa day and a few drinkies with the girls if I can do it, but that’s a fairly rare occurrence these days!

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

That they may not feel it right now, and that’s fine, but they WILL get their mojo back. It won’t always be this tough and try to be kind to yourself. To listen to what their heart is saying. If they want to focus on just motherhood that is absolutely fine (hardest job in the world after all), but if they know they want to do something else in the future later too, they can! And they might not know what that something is just yet, and that is also fine. Basically know your worth and give yourself time.

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

That’s a tough one, because I’ll probably be dishing out advice I don’t follow myself, ha!  I truly do strive to stop comparing. I think comparisonitus is the bane of our lives as mums in this world of social media. It’s very easy to believe so and so has it so good, or that they are popular and gorgeous and holding it all together amazingly. But really? That’s probably bullshit. We are all losing our shit behind the scenes!

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