#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?
I’m a business owner and I fight a fatal chronic disease three times a day. I started my business in 2016 after neurosurgery in 2012 and radiotherapy in 2014 left me with Addison’s Disease. It’s fine, it’s kept under control by taking medicine three times a day every day but it also means I get fatigue and I must not get stressed. The slightest bit of stress, good or bad, means I have to up my medication otherwise I can die. I know, it means you can’t randomly buy me huge calorie free bars of chocolate. My business allows me to manage my stress and also my whole life. I started out as a VA because I love organising people, it’s progressed beyond my expectations and I now also train and mentor others to be successful VA’s. I’ve also written a bestselling book, How to be a Virtual Assistant. No wonder I’m always tired!
Are people surprised when they realise you are more than a mum? Does that bother you?
No, in fact most people said things like ‘if anyone will succeed it’s you’ and that’s not meant to be in the slightest bit big headed, people who know me just know I am determined. I’m only 5 foot tall so the tenacity makes up for where height lacks.
What challenges do you face when you’re juggling motherhood and being more than a mutha? (childcare, judgements of others, time etc)
Initially, when I started my business it was boundaries. Just because I was at home it didn’t mean I was able to be a taxi, or that anyone could just bundle in my office to use the hairdryer or ask me questions when I was trying to concentrate. I remember being disturbed by my daughter and saying ‘I’m working!’ she shouted ‘God, you’re so stressed since running your own business’ and that made me step back and think ‘am I?’ No I wasn’t, I just needed to set boundaries so I popped a ‘Do Not Disturb’ on my office door whenever I wanted peace and it worked. But also, running my own business has given me the freedom to manage my time so I can take time off to spend with her when I want.
How long did it take you to remember you were more than a mother after you had your child(ren)?
My daughter is now 20 but I have worked since she was four months old. I needed that adult conversation and a little more to think about.
Who, or what, helps you to make time for yourself? What do you do to escape the stresses of motherhood?
My daughter is in her third year of Uni and has developed into a wonderful woman. She’s always been incredibly caring, but now we’re out of that volatile hormonal stage she’s actually the one I enjoy de-stressing with. We share the same sense of humour so it’s always lovely to be with her, whether it’s a walk, lunch, shopping or a holiday. My other half, Antony, is also incredibly supportive and is unbelievably understanding of my condition so considers me all the time – we de-stress by bingeing on tv programmes, holidays in secluded cottages and walking. I also run three times a week and that gives me enormous clarity of mind.
What advice would you offer a mum who might not be feeling like they are more than someones mum right now?
Find something just for you. Learn something you’ve always wanted to learn perhaps. If your children are too small for you to leave for an hour settle down every other evening with a YouTube video to learn a skill – anything you’ve always fancied. If the children can be left for a short period perhaps join a running club, I did and found it amazing.
Any advice for someone who is going through the same things as you are right now in their quest to be #MoreThanAMutha?
It’s okay. We all feel that mother guilt. It’d be great if we had a crystal ball to see into the future and see that our children will turn out okay. I had imposter syndrome with parenting, I was convinced I was shit at every aspect, but do you know what – she’s okay! She’s happy, fun to be with and my best friend.
Are you #MoreThanAMutha? Get in touch to share your story.