Char and I go way back over 10 years. We worked together for 8 of those years, and in the midst of that were both pregnant with our first babies at the same time. Although returning to work wasn't what either of us hoped it would be, our friendship survived and we both now have our own businesses.
You can check hers out at www.power-of-the-parent.com and you'll find her on instagram @power.of.the.parent
Anyway, all the plugging is by me - and the words below are by Char!
So parenting then….I’ve met most of the clichés, ridden the rollercoaster and spent the last (almost) six years obsessing about sleep. I’m hearing own Mum increasingly often when I open my mouth and hearing myself when I’m taking in all the words my girls are showering me with. It’s the best and the hardest job in the world. It’s changed me in so many ways, and it’s absolutely MADE me as well.
I found the move from zero babies to one fairly ok. Of course it was a huge adjustment but sleepless nights and feeding struggles aside, she mainly slotted into life. I thought I would be a relaxed parent who went with the flow, let the baby settle her own routine and go for lots of lovely walks whilst on maternity leave…
I definitely didn’t live up to my expectations there! I ventured out but I would best describe it as ‘inconsistent’, I took (most) of the Gina Ford routine onboard and was meticulous at consulting the Wonder Weeks app.
Going from one to two was a completely different story. My second pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. It’s an experience that I’m seeing talked about more and more, and whilst I’m not going to go into loads of detail on here it gets a mention because it is very much part of my motherhood. My third pregnancy was very different – looking back I was absolutely wracked with anxiety which also manifested physically and I was on a constant lookout for signs that history was repeating itself. But in March 2017 our second little girl arrived, and I began to heal properly – it’s different for everyone but it took her birth for me to really move forward.
The girls definitely cracked something open for me – I’ve never had a drive and focus to succeed like it. They are my absolute reason for setting up my own business in every sense. I want to make sure they have opportunities and choices at every step along the way, and that they know that if in the future they have children it doesn’t mean they’re written off in the workplace or that society needs them to sit in particular box.
Their little eyes are watching, they need feeding, their imaginations need to be sparked – ok so it definitely doesn’t all come from me but I know how important my role is. I love watching their minds (and feet!) dance as they discover new things, adopt a new character in a particularly elaborate make believe game or just sit watching something on CBeebies (other kids TV is available). Their questions are a heady mix of pride, relentlessness and pure willing them to stop at times – but seeing the world through their eyes is SO enlightening.
I find various pockets of motherhood tough, and they’re all for very different reasons. I overthink A LOT – I worry about health in particular which is something that has come with parenting, so I’m still learning to keep it in check.
I make no secret of being a ‘shouty’ mum – I don’t like it about myself, but I really struggle when I’m ignored or I’m met with an attitude that a teenager would be proud of. I’m beginning to pay more attention to my triggers so that I can fend off the shouting a bit longer, but some sort of raised volume is probably going to be inevitable for me. I’m not looking to be serene or not react, but I know I need to chill a bit more.
Parenting comes in so many shapes and sizes, and I love that we’re talking about our steps into motherhood more freely. I think there’s still a long way to go because we’ve inherited so much from previous generations who were raising kids in such a different time, but I feel really hopeful that we’ll get to where we need to be.
Everybody dishes out the advice and sometimes it’s mega helpful, but I like to keep it simple – do what’s right for you, ask for help and never underestimate the power of a nap / fresh air / a hug. Oh and fill your freezer with meals that you can shove in the oven and eat with one hand!