Child: Florence, 15 months
Expectations of Motherhood:I really thought my entrepreneurial spark would kick in whilst I was on maternity leave and that I’d have plenty of spare time in the day. I expected to be nursing my baby in one arm and typing away on the computer with the other. I thought I’d have a business up and running and my first novel drafted (I’ve always fancied myself as a successful novelist). I expected to be a “lady that lunches”, who carries her baby around in a sling wherever I went, looking all “yummy mummy” in my skinny jeans, having picnics in the park and jogging with my stroller. That’s what I’d seen on Instagram and that’s what I thought I’d be! (How wrong I was).
Reality of Motherhood: My baby doesn’t really sleep or nap without me! So I spent the first 9 months of her life pinned underneath her on the couch or with her attached to my boobs. Which meant my spare time for productive business brainstorming and social networking just didn’t really materialise. Instead I lay on the couch, watching series records of America’s Next Top Model, Australia’s Next Top Model, Britain’s Next Top Model…you get the drift. It wasn’t until Flo was 10 months old that I found the odd half hour of spare time creeping in here and there, whilst she was happy playing and amusing herself, by which point I was generally exhausted and just happy for a bit of time on Facebook.Then by about a year, I finally got to launch my business and start to get my sanity back (sort of) and now at 15 months, she’s just started sleeping more than 3 hour chunks and I realise what it feels like to not be completely and utterly exhausted all the time. Oh and another reality of motherhood for those of you that decide to breast-feed is leaky boobs…un-glamourous, but a reality.
The best/worst advice:The best advice I probably had was to just go with your intuition. You really do get this sixth sense when you become a mother and you just sort of know what your baby wants and what’s best for them. You’ll be given such a huge amount of information, advice and opinions when you’re pregnant and a new mum (most of which is useless) that it’s all a bit overwhelming. If your baby is generally healthy and happy, you’re doing something right!
The best parts of being a mother: Gosh where do I start? I used to roll my eyes when a new mum would say, “It’s the best thing ever” and coo over their baby like they’re the first child to exist or break wind or eat a piece of banana. But it really bloody is the BEST THING EVER! Don’t get me wrong, it can be lonely, exhausting and anxiety-inducing, but it really is a privilege to be a parent. I get so much out of every little thing that Flo does and watching her respond to the world around her is so satisfying. I love her cuddles when she’s sleepy and the way she arches her back and farts in the morning before waking up. I love the utter trust she has for me and her Dadda and that even when she’s grizzly and crying, she still claps along as we sing “If you’re happy and you know it”. I love that she finds it hilarious when she blows a raspberry and that her first word was “Peppa” because she loves Peppa Pig (says a lot about our parenting skills). I love her little dance moves when one of her favourite songs comes on. And I love that I get to be a part of her world and existence and hopefully be a positive role model for her in her life. Her smile and cheeky grin has the power to make even the toughest of days completely wonderful. Cheesy I know, but completely true.
I took redundancy whilst on maternity leave and although completely terrifying, it was the best thing that could have happened. It gave me the kick up the bottom to go it alone and start my own Wedding Planning business, work with my husband’s agency Six & Flow, and concentrate on my blogging, which is my creative outlet. So now I get to do the things I love as a job, whilst having the flexibility to work part-time and spend as much time as I can with my daughter. This is the sort of thing that people dream of doing and think it’s not possible, but I’m here to say that it is. You’ve just got to have a leap of`faith and give it a go! Don’t let any job or person make you think that you can’t do it because you’re a mum. Don’t let people overlook you for that promotion or side-track your career progress because you’ve started a family. Fact is, you’re probably more efficient than most others because you know how to juggle about 10 things at time, whilst holding a baby and conducting a conversation. Believe in yourself and your abilities, this is the time to give it a go!