#MoreThanAMutha is all about celebrating the things that women are, as well as being amazing mothers. In a world where many women feel like they lose their identity when they become a mum, it is important to celebrate and shout that we might be mums, but we are not only that and we are still a force to be reckoned with.
What makes you more than a mother?
As well as being a mum to a two year old boy, I’m a Senior Communications Manager for a large organisation, a fiction author and a lifestyle and fiction blogger. I launched my blog in October 2017 to share my journey as a working mother with others, in the hope that my experiences of juggling it all and getting it done help others.
Are people surprised when they realise you are more than a mum? Does that bother you?
Definitely. I get a lot of raised eyebrows and “oh I didn’t realise..” remarks from people. I am exceptionally well organised and able to prioritise and juggle things quite well, so often others don’t realise when I’m climbing up the soft play frame on a Sunday morning, that I’ll probably be getting a head start of writing a campaign plan later in the evening, or writing content for my blog.
It’s only recently that I’ve realised how much stress and conflicting priorities I can juggle. It doesn’t bother me though, I tend not to talk about my different roles and responsibilities too much. I compartmentalise my life and who I do things with reasonably well. That helps psychologically to juggle it all. I like to be present and engaged with the activity and group I’m with, not talking about another part of my life.
What challenges do you face when you’re juggling motherhood and being more than a mum?
Time is definitely a challenge which I think all parents face. Parenting is essentially a full time job as, mentally, you are always switched on. For me, the key is to prioritise what’s really important, can only be done by you and by what needs to be done now. You have to accept you can’t give everything 100%, but you can give 100% to the one thing that will help you achieve your objective today. I can make decisions and be very focused which helps.
Another challenge for working mothers is guilt. I avoided the guilt of going back to work as I knew financially I had to, and without any childcare support, I honestly needed the break. But even I have moments where I wish I worked less. I negotiated a flexible working package with the day job which has helped.
The cost of childcare has to be the biggest practical challenge as there is nothing I can do about this, other than use everything I know about financial management to achieve that balance between working hours and financial outlay. We’ve got a very good balance, which is why I’m able to run my blog as a resource and business as a side gig. I don’t have much time to write full novels any more though. These are challenges I frequently write about as I am committed to helping other working mums achieve a better balance.
How long did it take you to remember you were more than a mother after you had your child(ren)?
My perspective on work definitely changed as the end of maternity loomed and I was determined that if I was going to go back to work, I was going to make it count. It had to be WORTH it mentally as well as financially. Operation “ideal job” started when I was on maternity. I used the time to become a Member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and came back to work on a temporary promotion, securing another promotion before that even ended. I’m not just not a mother, now I’m a Senior Strategic Communications Manager for a large organisation. After about two years though, with no time to write for pleasure or leisure, I realised that I basically a mother and a worker, but not doing much for me. That’s when I began my blog, to share my experiences and hopefully help support other mums on their journey.
Who, or what, helps you to make time for yourself? What do you do to escape the stresses of motherhood?
My blog is definitely a form a therapy for me. Launching the blog has been a wonderful learning experience for me, even though it’s taken a lot of late nights and time to get it off the ground.
I’m one of those people who find relaxing hard, so “me time” is usually spent doing an activity that stretches me. I like to write fiction too and have published three novels and some short stories. I’d like to do that more but that requires longer periods of activity which I can’t schedule at the moment. I’m not always on the go though, I’m subscribed to just about every TV streaming service there is and like to binge watch box sets when I can.
What advice would you offer a mum who might not be feeling like they are more than someones mum right now?
Becoming a mother is the single biggest change in your life that you are likely to have. Everything shifts and it’s going to take a while for you to find your feet, that includes working out how you feel about you, your life, your goals, and what’s right for you. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and don’t be boxed in by any stereotype or what other people are telling you to be or want.
If you can, take some time to thing about what you really want and then work backwards from that. What will best help you achieve it? That could be having a crazy life like me, being a stay at home mum, changing career, or any number of things. There’s no right way to do anything. The important thing is for you to find YOUR way.
You’re still in there, you just look or feel a little different than you used to.
Life is about evolving. BUT, It’s absolutely okay to just be a mother RIGHT NOW, or a worker RIGHT NOW, or a relaxed binge watching TV addict RIGHT NOW.
Don’t put yourself down for not doing the hundred and one other things you could be doing. Whatever you are doing right this moment, enjoy it, be present. If it’s not what you want to do, then do something else. There’s always a way.
Any advice for someone who is going through the same things as you are right now in their quest to be #MoreThanAMutha?
Have a really clear set of objectives about what you want. For example, don’t think about going back to work because I need to earn £X, but think about what that £X affords you. Visualise it. Is it freedom, a sense of achievement, a nice house? Stay focussed on that. It will help keep you motivated but also help you react to changes in your situation more flexibly.
Don’t overlook opportunities to achieve your end goal because you’re fixated on something that you THINK will get you there. Ask for help. If someone offers to sit with your kids for an hour for you to do something, accept the offer. Don’t feel bad for putting your child into a nursery or booking an extra session or two in if you need to.
Write stuff down. Baby brain is a killer and I’m not sure if ever leaves you. Keep a note of the important things you need to do and cross out all the things you achieve – it will give you a huge sense of achievement and help you prioritise. Say no. If it doesn’t need to be done by you, then why are you doing it? Learn to delegate at home and at work.
Get to grips with your money. Work out your budget and streamline your outgoings. I’ve done a lot of this on my blog, but it’s so important. You need a good handle on your finances so you accurately work out how much or how little you need to work.
Who or what would you like to see featured next in the #MoreThanAMutha series?
Links to resources and posts that provide top tips or information for women who are juggling many priorities.
Let’s build a village of women who can raise each other up, share lessons and show each other how diverse and powerful we are. (<- THAT is exactly what #MoreThanAMutha is about!)
No matter how unique your problem is, someone else will have had something similar. Let’s share solutions.
Are you #MoreThanAMutha? Get in touch to share your story.