PARENTFOLK INSIGHT: WHAT MOTHERHOOD MEANS TO ME
From rewarding highs to sleep deprived lows, motherhood is a unique journey. On the eve of Mother’s Day we ask some inspiring mums to share what motherhood means to them.
Psychotherapist and mental health communicator
Mother to Oscar 3 and Charlie 1.5
To me, motherhood is about growing beyond what you thought you ever could. It’s feeling stretched in capacity and muscle, time and emotion in all the wonderfully good ways and all the challenging ways each and every day. It’s patience scraped from the bottom of the barrel with a spatula, and love in overflowing boat loads. It’s a tired heart utterly overwhelmed and strengthened by a single, solitary snotty kiss. It’s friendship and knowing nods. Tantrums and salty tears blotted away with mother’s lips. It’s the reaching out and reaching in and reaching up. It’s loving and letting yourself be loved. I’m different now my heart lives outside of my body in these two small forms. Different and vulnerable but in so many ways stronger, like a lioness. It’s all, undeniably, inexplicably, life changingly, more than worth it.
Editor of Good Taste magazine and freelance writer
Mother to Beatrice, aged 15 months
“There was a star danced and under that was I born…”
The words are Shakespeare’s, the character Beatrice, his funniest and cleverest heroine.
In 2016 we finally met our own Beatrice, 9lbs 8oz of pure joy.
I spent so long assuming I wouldn’t feel that lightning bolt of love at first sight that I was totally unprepared when I did. As the anaesthetist put Bea onto my chest, her cries stopped and I felt her whole body relax. I’ve never felt such love. I’d left things pretty late – timekeeping isn’t my strong point – and I’ve asked my friends with children why they didn’t tell me how wonderful parenthood was. They gently reminded me that they had, many times. It was true.
I was wrapped up in a fun but demanding career, working most evenings of the week. The months whizzed by, and there never seemed like a good time to stop.
But no exclusive, no front page story or TV documentary can match the joy of watching my baby grow.
A year ago I left my safe staff job and set up on my own, editing Good Taste, writing freelance for national newspapers, magazines and books – including the brilliant ParentFolk. I’m happier than ever. Bea remains the most amazing person I have ever met and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with her – and her lovely dad Marc. Because some things are worth the wait.
Blogger www.justanothermumblogger.com / Instagram: @just_another_mum_blogger
Mother to Sonny & a baby girl on the way.
Growing up I never knew my real Mum and my Dad just wasn’t on the scene. I was bought up by my Grandparents until I was five and then moved around to each of my three aunts who were my Mum’s sisters until I went to Uni.
All I ever wanted when I grew up was to have MY own family, where we all had the same Surname and I was in the family pics.
At 26 I fell pregnant with Sonny, it wasn’t an easy Pregnancy; I went into pre-term labour at 33 weeks, which they thankfully managed to stop and when he was born he had to be taken to NICU due to breathing problems. He was all okay in the end but it was incredibly scary.
Being a Mother has been hard and it has taken some getting used to but I can honestly say it has been the most rewarding role I have ever had. It has given me a sense of purpose and opened my heart and eyes in a way I just didn’t know was possible. For the first time I have my own real family. Every day I feel thankful and on the really hard days; where I am sleep-deprived and feel like I am losing my shit; I remind myself of how I used to dream about this life and now I finally have it. And to never lose sight of how fortunate I truly am.
Founder of Square Pegs – Instagram @square_pegs
Daughters: Edie, aged 6, and Sylvie, aged 3
Motherhood is a process, indefinable and forever-evolving. Its mutability and unpredictability means I’ve been given no choice but to adapt or be wiped out, survival of the fittest style. And I’m getting used to my dual roles of teacher and student. In shaping my daughters’ little minds to think huge, much bigger than I was ever encouraged to believe, I’m surprised at how much I’m learning. There are times too when I’m left faltering behind as they storm ahead, indestructible forces of Mother Nature that they are. And that’s something I can definitely make my peace with, because isn’t that what all mothers want for their children – better versions of themselves? And thinking huge is not about the future fat salary, or the nods of approval from others, but real power, that comes from within. When all is said and done and they are women making their own way, I hope they find that power from somewhere deep to fix what needs fixing, in whatever capacity that might be. Motherhood then gives me hope for the future.
Stylist, Brand Consultant & Style Director at Push PR
Mother to Starr 13, Dolly 8, Pearl 7
For me it’s a journey that you can’t ever predict. I really really wanted to be a Mother. It wasn’t actually wanting a baby, it was the overwhelming desire to be a Mother. It’s about caring for my children more than I care for myself. I juggle life and work as much as I can because I know that they need me. Even more so emotionally, the older they get. My mother died before I had children so I have struggled a lot with being a Mother without a Mother and have often felt quite lost. I try and tap into what she would have done when I’ve been challenged by parenting.
There is no right or wrong way, I try each day to do my best. Which is all I can do. Motherhood is a wonderful gift. I often look at my girls and wonder who they will become and what they will do with their precious lives and how blessed I am to have them in my life.
Co-Founder The Northern Dough Co www.northerndoughco.com
Mum to Esme, 3 and Arthur
For me, motherhood means challenging the norms of what has long been considered ‘traditional’ family life. Like lots of families breaking from the structure they grew up in, we co-parent, taking equal responsibility for raising a family, including running our business and splitting the roles it requires between us. While it’s never been an easy option, and requires organisation and unusual hours that sometimes feel impossible, it means that we can run our days and weeks around our children’s needs day to day, rather than the demands of corporate roles or structured working hours, something I experienced when I first returned to a corporate role after my first mat leave. There’s times I long for the days of walking out of an office and leaving work behind, and when a home office with a little person desperate to sit on your lap while you type feels infuriating, but I’d never change it. Flexibility and challenging ‘normal’ working patterns is such a huge movement currently, and I love being able to live that way, hopefully showing my kids that equality and work-life balance is something to strive for in their own future. I’d love it if it was just ‘normal’ for their generation.
Queen B of For Just ONE Day
www.forjustoneday.co.uk / @forjustONEdayAtelier
MOTHER to India 14 and Lola 10
It’s hearing, “Muuuuuuuuuum.” all day long, constant bickering about silly things, hunger meltdowns, repeating yourself. Again. And again. And again. It’s a billion questions, nonstop chatter, and constantly being interrupted. It’s crazy dancing, singing, and lots of giggling. It’s listening to Pitch Perfect on repeat and knowing all the words, watching every episode of Full House, Fuller House, Sam & Cat, and Victorious, and then watching it again. It’s a ridiculous amount of bath bombs, and Snapchat selfies clogging up my iPad . But it’s also about having cuddles, hearing about their day, eating around the table, playing games, spending time together and knowing it’s not going to last forever. It’s adding the MAGIC, encouraging them to be confident and strong, and nurturing their dreams. It’s watching my beautiful bonkers girls grow and knowing it’s the best job I’ve ever had. It’s respecting my Nan’s, how they did this on their own with 6 & 7 children I will never know. It’s appreciating my parents and remembering all the crazy things I put them through … I get it now. And it’s feeling scared because I’ve still got it all to come!
Owner, Pops & Ozzy
Mom to Poppy Lauren (age 2 1/2) and Oscar Jude (age 15 months)
Motherhood is strength, perspective, responsibility, pride, enlightenment, sacrifice, fear, and a straight up bonkers kind of love I never imagined possible. It’s intense, profound to say the very least, and at once the simplest and most difficult thing I’ve ever done. I might even go so far as to use the word spiritual…for the first time, ever. Motherhood for me is all of this and more, while my heart walks around in the form of two humans I grew inside my body. Bonkers indeed.
Communications and Marketing Manager for Maray Restaurants.
Mother to Erin (9) and Rafferty (2).
Motherhood to me means always having a home, a purpose and a smile. A constantly moving place where I’m always welcome (can you tell I haven’t mothered a teen yet?) and everyone that resides there are my favourite people! Yes, sometimes it’s difficult but mostly it’s exciting, enriching and so much fun.
Motherhood is learning, everyday! Learning your worth, learning your value, learning really bad pop songs and that you can do all the super heroes’ voices! It’s also learning to love unconditionally, unapologetically and overwhelmingly!
Mainly though, and something that is just the best thing to me about Motherhood is being fortunate enough to know and grow my littles, they truly are magic and holding their hands is something that will be my favourite thing to do forever. All I need now is a time freezing invention, come on Apple, step it up!