Louella, Felix and Ridley

Name: Louella 

Children: Felix 5 years and Ridley 19 months

Location: Salford

Expectations of Motherhood: I was completely naïve. I had always been great with children before I had mine, they seemed to naturally gravitate towards me. I had previously worked in childcare and was in awe of children, particularly babies. However the difference here was once it hit 6pm I was a free person again.. no other responsibilities in the world apart from paying the rent and a few bills.

My expectations were far from reality. Sure I knew how to change their shitty nappies and feed them, but I had no idea that getting a child to sleep at night after running on empty for days can literally break you.

Reality of Motherhood: Well it’s some tough shit isn’t it? The ultimate trial in selflessness? Except it’s not a trial–it’s the rest of your life. That’s a shock.

Once you’ve overcome this, it’s a constant adventure: which battles are you going to fight today? Some days I have all the patience and pizzazz to eloquently and caringly guide and teach my children, and other days I find myself becoming my mother and shouting through gritted teeth.

The reality is, you gain amazing multi-tasking super powers, a shower is a luxury, snail trail clothes IS fashion and a poo in peace is power; literally two minutes to get your shit together. (No pun intended).

You become indestructible .. or that’s what everyone else expects of you.

However from one mother to others, it’s okay to cry and feel defeated. You’re still human – remember that. Your children still think the world of you.

Taking your children home for the first time:
Taking both my children home were the proudest moments of my life.

I created these amazing beings, so natural and mind blowingly unexplainable at the same time.

After a horrible birth with my eldest Felix I was taking him home as a single mother, but so proud and in awe. I’d just watch him sleep for hours.

I didn’t have a clue with what I was doing, I had a lot of other issues going on in my life, and inevitably I ended up with severe postnatal depression. I was hospitalised a few times and a lot of it was a haze.

Thankfully I made my way out of the haze and moved on with my life.

Bringing Ridley home was lovely. I was out of hospital 6 hours after giving birth, and at least this time I knew what I was doing. However, it wasn’t  easy. It was equally as hard, as now I had two children with very different demands and zero time for naps.

Best/worst advice: My best advice would be accept help. It’s really not easy at times – even if you just need a shower – self-care is important.

Worst advice is, know-it-all unsolicited advice.. your child sleeps.. good for you..

The hardest parts of being a mother: The hardest part I find is mum guilt; giving my best and still thinking I haven’t given enough.

This also comes back to my postnatal depression, and triggers feelings of not being enough at times. But, it’s important to remember, even if you give your child the red plate they specifically asked for.. there will be a war over the green plate you didn’t give them. You can’t win – don’t take it personally.

The best parts of being a mother:
The best part is for the most part I’m smashing motherhood. I have no idea what I’m doing most of the time, but for the most part I’ve got it covered.

I doubted myself for so long, and yes, I could do better. My eldest has too much screen time and, yes, they frequently get chicken nuggets, and my house is particularly untidy, but, my kids are happy.. and that’s all I want for my children, for them to be children.

Has becoming a mother changed you? Becoming a mother has made me grow in so many ways; it has grounded me.

It has opened my mind to so much more. I think about their future a lot and I’m far more interested in current affairs and changing our world for the better, for their futures.

Has your perspective on work changed since becoming a mother? Definitely. I’d love to go get a  little job, just for the break.. honestly before kids work was the bain, but I’d really love to appreciate that free time to be myself, and not just a mother, for a few hours.

Hopes for your family: Short term I hope as a family our financial situation improves, along with my mental health. I hope I can get a job once we’re entitled to the free 15 hours of childcare, as with our current situation it isn’t possible.

Longterm, for my children I hope they continue to grow and learn and have fire in their bellies and passion for life.

What advice would you offer to new and expectant mums: Be open, speak up, ask for help, be honest with yourself. It will pass.. and enjoy it.

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