Child: Phoebe, 2 and a half yrs
Expectations of Motherhood: I like to think I was realistic, a lot of my friends had babies, it certainly isn’t the same having your own though. I think I always pictured having a 5 yr old as in my head they could always speak, do as I asked (and did without a fuss!) and got dropped off at school for long periods of time!
I definitely imagined lots of pretty outfits which were all clean, and just popping out to meet friends for coffee…
Reality of Motherhood: Juggling. Whether it is work, home, food shopping, nursery pick ups or a birthday gift there is always something that needs to be done and very little time to do it before the next scheduled event. I was lucky to find a group of mums so there was lots of coffee, walks and play dates – but you couldn’t just go without the bags of equipment that was needed, and we were (and still are!) always late.
Now Phoebe is older it is certainly more fun to do things with her, although I miss the quiet baby who lay on my knee…
Taking your child home for the first time: I was terrified in the car as she was so quiet – I had meant to take her coat off in case she was too hot and hadn’t! I had an emergency section so the journey was painful as I hadn’t realised I had no stomach muscles until that point. Two flights of stairs to our apartment were a challenge as well, but watching John walk this tiny baby around our home showing her all the rooms was amazing.
The best/worst advice:
Best: Ask for help. I’m a nightmare for this in all aspects of life, I just think I can do it all myself (I can’t! Well, not without serious stress!) and people want to help, let them!
Worst: Sleep when they sleep. Brilliant when they’re tiny but as time goes on there are so many other things you can do with that time. Sometimes though (even now) I have been known to ‘accidentally’ fall asleep with her at nap time!
The hardest parts of being a mother: The tantrums. I know they’ll stop (right?!) but it’s so tiring knowing that the next thing you say could be the worst thing in the world…
Lack of sleep. We’re still not there with sleeping, she joins us in bed every night since we had the bright idea to take the side off her cot…
Having to drop her off at places when she just wants to be at home, and I want that too but I have to go to work. She loves nursery, which makes it easier, but I regularly hear, “Don’t go to work mummy”.
Having made the decision to pursue my business full-time hopefully we can have more adventures together, less rushing around and maybe the guilt will reduce…
The best parts of being a mother: That little hand holding yours, hearing her say, “I love you Mummy” as she goes to bed.
She is an amazing little girl, she is too clever for me already and very caring. I am very lucky.
Has becoming a mother changed you? Definitely. I can’t really remember what it was like before…
I have made loads of new friends who are on hand for playdates and wine nights! I have set up a business, making more friends through this and opening more doors of opportunity, than I could have ever imagined. Motherhood has made me re-address my priorities and given me drive to succeed, for my family.
Has your perspective on work changed since becoming a mother? I used to work long hours at a design agency with an hour + each way commute, often getting home about 7pm and feeling exhausted (I had no idea what tired was!). I knew that this schedule wouldn’t work once I was a mum, I took time out at the end of maternity leave and it was during this I came up with the idea for ‘A Year of Dates’. While we set the company up I took a part-time job at an agency near home/nursery with employers who had young children so understood that after being sick that was 48 hours out of nursery, and it happens regularly!
I’ve been so lucky to be able to manage work and the business, but now the time has come to grow the business and give it more of my attention. I never in a million years thought I’d be a business owner…
Hopes for your (growing) family: Happiness, good health and holidays!
We work hard to provide for our kids and there has to be rewards, for us these are trips to sunny places and caravans in Yorkshire. Time off, time together, making memories.
What advice would you offer to new and expectant mums: Go with the flow! Don’t expect to be at places when you say you’ll be there so don’t stress about it. If you do have to be somewhere at a specific time tell yourself it’s at least 30 minutes earlier than you need to be there.
Drink plenty, make sure you eat – sounds obvious – but even now 2.5 years in I realise at 7pm I’ve not had a drink all afternoon! You need to keep your strength up as well as your child’s!
Any other info that will support/add to your profile: A Year of Dates was set up following a gift from my husband John, he filled a glass jar with envelopes each containing a date idea and I opened one every week. Everyone I spoke to loved the idea and the business was born! We now have gift ideas for couples, families and birthdays. All are aimed at encouraging you to make time for each other, for fun and laughter in the busy lives we lead.