Children: Ollie, 9, Noah, 6, and Twins Poppy & Belle, 3
Expectations of Motherhood: Pushing a beautiful pushchair (probably a limited edition Joolz with matching bag, cup holder and footmuff) whilst holding a soya latte or jogging whilst the baby coos and smiles. Sunny afternoons spent gazing at my little one. Taking photos of each milestone using those cute little milestone cards. Loosing my baby weight really quickly due to all aforementioned running with pushchair. Lots of naps on the sofa.
Reality of Motherhood: Tiredness, weak pelvic floor, waaaayy more washing than my machine can handle. Moments of pure bliss when my children are lovely to each other.
Taking your children home for the first time: The first time round I couldn’t believe that I had had to show more ID and sign more forms to get a Boots advantage card than I did to take home a real life human. I just watched him ALL the time…..when he slept was my favourite, wondering what he was thinking, did he know who I was yet? What would he grow up to be? I loved the ‘bubble’ of being a first time mum, I loved that my whole existence was devoted to him, it didn’t matter if it was day or night. I still absolutely treasure those memories.
Noah came after a miscarriage, so he was our rainbow baby, I was induced a little early at 37 weeks and I held him constantly (even though my family and friends told me to put him down) it was to my detriment as at 6 I struggle to get him to sleep all night in his own bed!
The twins are a rare type of twin, with less than a 50% survival rate, so due to the nature of the pregnancy they had to be born at 33 weeks, and therefore requiring NeoNatal care. They astounded everyone and came home 2.5 weeks later. Neo-Natal is a different world, with totally different milestones. Breathing unaided, wearing clothes for the first time, putting on 200 grams, and the huge headache of leaving each evening without them. Then the feeling of bringing not one but two miracles of nature home was just amazing. As there were two of them there really wasn’t too much time to stop and stare at them as much as I had done with the boys. Once the twins were asleep for the night it was bedtime stories and snuggles for the boys and then sleep as much as possible before the chaos of trying to breastfeed twins on a 3 hour schedule.
The best/worst advice: Best advice was probably to rest/sleep when baby sleeps, although I’m not sure I took that advice myself, I always tell expectant mums to do it though. You always see the memes: ‘the washing can wait’ etc. It really can! Baby’s do not last forever. Before you know it they are 9 years old and having monumental strops about the enforced cut off time on Youtube.
Worst advice was when I was told to get my baby on a schedule and stick to it. I’m all for a bit of routine for sanity, but newborns and little ones aren’t all text-book and I learnt to follow my babies’ needs rather than what a book told me. I also ‘winging’ most things in life and therefore the schedule wasn’t for me. Following the cues and bonding enough to know instinctively the needs, was what got us by!
The hardest parts of being a mother: As I now have 4 children I find splitting myself into 4 such a difficult task. Knowing if each child has enough ‘mummy time’ and whether I give them enough individually. Being realistic as to how much I can get done during the week, by this I mean how many afterschool clubs we can attend, how many extra curricular activities we can cram in, shopping, cleaning, washing generally surviving (I own a nursery and work full-time in a school and my husband does too).
Our 6-year-old has autism and therefore we have had to make huge life changes to support him. My husband has reduced his working hours to ensure he can take and collect the children from school, and as I work in a school, I’m term time only and therefore I’m about during half term. Time is something I’d love more of. Being a mother in any capacity is hard, I’m learning to get better at spinning plates and be a bit easier on myself too.
Tiredness (don’t think this needs an explanation, I’m pretty sure EVERY parent can relate!)
The best parts of being a mother: No matter how rubbish your day has been, how much money you haven’t got this week, that you didn’t fit into those jeans even though you dieted ALL week, knowing that there’s a little face (or 4 in my case) waiting for you with a hug and a smile and if you’re really lucky an, ‘I love you Mummy’ at home.
The moments of connection with my babies and my husband. Like when you’re in the middle of something and you have to shout, ‘come and see what they are doing’ and you both look at your creation and share that moment together – it can be the way they are sleeping or that you catch them mid dance routine.
Has becoming a mother changed you?
Physically – massively (in all areas)
Mentally – Most definitely, how can something so perfect drive me soooo crazy, but then have me crying with love tears?
Emotionally – Let’s face it, mothering is draining, at times there is nothing else to do but cry and remember those days you knew what was going on in Coronation Street and could paint your toes and leisurely sit around waiting for them to dry.
Being a mother is a privilege that I do not take for granted, I am so appreciative of my life. My life is enriched because of the children, I am in awe of them. My love of wine has also grown massively.
Has your perspective on work changed since becoming a mother?
I have always been a really driven person. My career and work life has always been really important to me, from an ‘Independant Women’ point of view rather than anything else. I struggle to rely on anyone else other than me.
When I was pregnant with my first son Ollie, I worked in the City Centre of Manchester and travelled daily on the tram. At 36 weeks, it wasn’t ideal but I wanted to work as much as I could, anyone who has been pregnant and used a train or tram knows the struggle – no-one moves, no matter how big your bump is! I changed jobs after Ollie, realising the City was no longer for me, and as I then owned my own childcare business, I returned to work 3 days after having my second son Noah. The twins were a little different, in that they required neo-natal care and I had a c-section. I took the required time off by law (6 weeks) and then returned to work.
It is only now that I realise this was much to my own detriment, I have always been very fortunate to have my children with me (perks of owning a childcare business), however, especially with the twins other staff members were about and at some stages of their very early development the other staff were able to be around more than me.
I have recently made some huge work changes, and I have changed my hours and changed to term time only, allowing me to be there before and after school and each school holiday too. Time is something you can not get back.
I am still extremely driven and I am still incredibly passionate about my work, but I am a huge believer in multitasking and not only fulfilling my role as mum, but also enriching my own life through my work. I’ve also recently returned to University. Developing myself and being able to provide that bit extra to my family is so important. Being a positive role model is key and my children know I work and play hard!
Hopes for your family: That we make memories, lovely memories of days spent together doing the things we love. I hope that my children will know that everything I do in life is to ensure they have everything they need, and to give them positive role models for their lives too. I hope they are happy and well supported in everything they do (holds back tears!)
What advice would you offer to new and expectant mums:
Enjoy it, be you.
Rest when they sleep.
Your mother and mother-in-law don’t know it all and you certainly do not need to do what they say.
You are your babies voice, you are all they need (dads are a help too!).
Additional info:About me….
Mum of 4
‘I’ll just wing it’ is my motto.
I own a Forest Nursery called ‘The Hive’ in Sale and I work at an Independent School.
I’m massively passionate about child-led learning and learning from our environment – that said I’m not a very good eco warrior or very good at recycling (I’m trying!).
I also run a charity for the Neo Unit my girls were in.
I am the President and a Founding Member of The Willows WI (Sale) and I volunteer for a local cake baking charity for children less fortunate that my own who may not get a birthday cake. I totally believe that a birthday cake is a human right!