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Laura Bennett, Founder of Mama Massive

Laura Bennett,  Founder of Mama Massive

#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? 

All I ever want to do is sleep but I seem to love piling on the pressure on myself. I work full time as a Social Media, Marketing & Advertising manager for a national recruitment company so am always on the road travelling between our offices all over the UK. I also have a gorgeous 3 year old, Ophelia and I run MAMA MASSIVE in my “spare time” (whatever spare time is). My partner works in Music sales and is also a heavily touring musician. MAMA MASSIVE started as a small facebook group in Feb 2018 and is now a Facebook group boasting almost 1500 members with 8 sub groups, a website, a youtube channel, an Instagram, a merch store and a series of meet ups, events & workshops all over the UK!
We aim to be totally different to your typical “parenting” groups. We thrive and promote positivity, passion, support, kindness and pure sass. We are accepting of all who hold these values dear to themselves. We are only 4 months old and we have come so far already. We work with major brands such as Lush, Oatly, Beanies, Glamour Magazine & Pukka. I spend every single second of every single day (that I am not at my day job or busy being a mama myself) to create this “thing” that thousands of mamas adore and engage with. I am not sure exactly what the end goal is but my aim is to connect, inspire, motivate and support mamas across the whole of the UK and create fun and stylish events and workshops for them to socialise at and meet likeminded mamas and turn digital friendships into real friendships.
What will MAMA MASSIVE be in 12 months’ time? I have NO idea. I am just riding the wave and seeing where it takes me but one thing I know for sure is this… I will always work as hard as I can and use the skills I have learnt working in the professions I have worked in to create something that mamas love and enjoy.
I will never stop creating, I will always try my best and I will always push myself harder than before.

Are people surprised when they realise you are more than a mum? Does that bother you?

I actually love it when people are really shocked that I am a mother. I love it when someone says “oh wow, you don’t look like a mum”. I always reply with “what does a “mum” look like?”
I think there is this sterotype that all mums have to wear leggings and mum buns… don’t get me wrong… I love BOTH of these but I will also rock my mum bun and leggings with some boots and red lipstick! I will rock up to work with no make up on  after doing the childcare run in the morning and sometimes (if I can be bothered) slowly put some make up on during the day and that is also fine.
A mum looks like you and they look like me. A mum looks like everyone!

What challenges do you face when you’re juggling motherhood and being more than a mum?

Getting enough sleep!!! I have always struggled with CFS/M.E, depression and BPD… my energy levels are always really low and at times I feel like a wet, moody, stressed out mop. I also exist on a mostly limited vegan diet (I am a super fussy eater) so I am super conscious of topping my vitamins & minerals to help boost my energy along with buckets of coffee! I wish there were double the amount of hours in the day to try and get things done. I always wish I could just spend the day napping. It is impossible to find a balance between work / parent / friend / girlfriend / functioning human.
I don’t judge myself too harshly though if sometimes the balance gets a bit out of hand as I know I am always trying my best and I hope that when Ophelia is older, she will see that mummy did something amazing and always tried her best.
I want to be the best of everything I can be but I always try to remind myself that you cannot pour from an empty cup so that self-care is vital to existence. Yoga, a Netflix binge or listening to audiobooks are my favourite ways to try and unwind. Sometimes, on a rare occasion I am in the house totally alone (well, with just my cats), I will just sit in total silence with a coffee and blissfully stare into space. It is so soothing.

How long did it take you to remember you were more than a mother after you had your child(ren)?

It took me a while. I think when you have a baby for the first time it is a total life shuffle. Everything is flipped on its head instantly and every single thing in your life changes. So going from a London party girl where I worked as a Burlesque dancer and then moving back to Bristol working in advertising for the BBC and living a very solo, carefree life to settling down with my partner and us having a baby quite quickly… there was A LOT of change for us to get used to in a very short amount of time.
After a few months of bad PND… I actually really picked back up when I went back to work and started to get a real routine back in my life. I thrive on structure and planning and for me personally… mat leave wasn’t quite what I had expected.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED maternity leave but I also love my career and other aspects of my life and I couldn’t wait for all of those different worlds to collide and become one.

Who, or what, helps you to make time for yourself? What do you do to escape the stresses of motherhood?

I sleep. I sleep whenever I can. I will choose sleep over food, over going out… over most things. If I can squeeze in a nap or have an early night, I will. I will have a nice bath, smother myself in Sleepy cream from Lush, take a magnesium tablet and pop on an audiobook (usually Harry Potter) and drift off to sleep to Stephen Fry’s soothing voice. I am lucky that I get to travel a lot with my job and therefor get to stay in a lot of hotels for free, totally alone so, I will always make the most of those evenings that I am away and alone and do yoga in my hotel room, use their gym or spa (if they have one) and totally unwind and unplug from everything and recharge.
I realise I am very fortunate to get these precious opportunities but I try to use them to my full advantage and make them work for me. I was staying in a hotel last week in Haywards Heath and I was in the giant, freshly made hotel bed by 8pm and it was bliss.
It might not be the most rock and roll but it sure does make me happy.

What advice would you offer a mum who might not be feeling like they are more than someones mum right now?

Try to do a couple of things you used to do BEFORE baby and remind yourself that you are still there underneath the extreme exhaustion and night feeds. Stop being so hard on yourself and stop trying to do EVERYTHING all at once.
Make some mama friends and make sure you also talk about some non-parenting related things. Do something to make you feel a bit more fancy… (whatever that means to you)… that could be getting your nails done, or dying your hair, or even having a really indulgent bath at 2am.It is whatever it means to you to be a bit pampered. It can be the smallest thing but it can change the way you feel.
Know that things will pass and just… stop being so damn hard on yourself. The number one thing I see is new mamas trying to instantly snap back into their old jeans or make their life on Instagram appear perfect. Stop comparing yourselves to these things. None of them are real. Sure, some mamas might fit back into their regular jeans straight away… but they might still have a saggy tummy or be battling with PND or generally being having a bit of a rocky time. Social media is amazing… but it also so dangerous and easy to get sucked in and think that if your life / child / house / clothes / hair etc, isn’t the same as the people you see in your feed then your failing… YOU ARE NOT.

Any advice for someone who is going through the same things as you are right now in their quest to be #MoreThanAMutha?

Just do it. Whatever you want to do… whatever you have been thinking about doing… just GO for it. I attended a Mothers Meeting over 3 years ago and LOVED it. Jenny (their founder) is my ultimate inspiration and muse and I remember thinking back then “omg, this is amazing, I wish there was something like this outside of London” and it has taken me 3 years to actually have the confidence to do something about it, albeit accidentally.
Stop worrying what others are doing and focus on you, focus on your goal and focus on where you want to get. Be original. Be real.

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Are you #MoreThanAMutha?  Get in touch to share your story.

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