I started this feature to celebrate real mums. Mums come in all shapes and sizes but sometimes we can feel alone, we can feel as though we are the only ones struggling to keep on top of things. I want to lift the lid on motherhood so we can all feel a part of sisterhood, to feel proud about our own achievements and know that we are doing the best we can!
Without further a do let me hand over to Louise!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
I’m Louise, mummy to two beautiful little girls – my little miracle Jessica who is 3 and was born with a heart condition known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome (which basically means that she has half a working heart) and my heart-healthy baby girl Sophie who is 15 months old. I met my lovely hubby back in my university days at the ballroom dancing society and we’ve been together for 14 years (and married for 5).
Describe a typical day in your life
Sophie usually wakes me between 6.30 and 7am and we snuggle in bed for a feed (usually with Jessica coming in for snuggles too). Mornings are usually a bit of a rush sorting out medication for Jessica (she has meds four times a day) and getting the girls dressed and breakfasted before we’re off out somewhere – Jessica goes to preschool two mornings a week and we have regular toddler groups two other mornings. Sophie now hovers between one and two naps a day so she might have a brief snooze around 10am and another at around 3pm or one long nap just after lunch (as you can tell our routine is a bit flexible!). Whilst Sophie naps, Jessica and I often do some crafts together or jigsaws. After dinner, we have our bedtime routine. Jessica usually falls asleep fairly quickly and is generally asleep by 7.30pm whereas Sophie can resist for a while and has been known to still be fighting sleep at 9.30pm but is gradually getting better at settling! Both girls will usually stay settled during the evening which is when I tend to blog. although might wake when I come to bed.
What is the best thing about being a mum?
The little moments – the big smiles when my girls first see me in the morning, the big bear hugs, the sticky kisses, being so wanted (although that can get a little wearing too!). The mind-blowing realisation that this wonderful little person is something that you made and grew inside you.
What have you found hardest about motherhood?
The hardest things I have had to endure have been those that have come with Jessica’s heart condition – the fear of the future, having to hand her over to a surgeon and knowing that he will stop her heart, the long anxious wait while she is in theatre and then the bumpy road to recovery in intensive care.
On a day-to-day basis, I struggle with trying to juggle the needs of both my children and feeling like I’m not giving them enough attention.
There have definitely been moments when I feel like I’m failing both my girls by not giving them enough attention. The other moments that I have struggled with have been those when I find myself shouting at them not because they’re being naughty but because they’re just being children and my irritation is primarily because of tiredness or something else that has been bothering me and I don’t always realise it until after I’ve snapped.
How has your body changed?
My hips are definitely wider than they once were and my boobs are bigger (which I’m quite happy about). I have wobbly bits and tiger-stripe stretch marks but in all honesty, they don’t bother me.
Do you wear makeup? If so, what does your routine look like?
Only when I’m going somewhere special and then it’s usually just a bit of eyeliner and mascara with maybe a little foundation underneath if I’m looking particularly tired.
What’s in your handbag?
I don’t have one any more – my changing bag carries everything in it! It’s a bit of a Mary Poppins bag and usually contains nappies, wipes, a change of clothes for both girls, comics, crayons, small toys, drinks. rice cakes, my phone and purse and a notebook and pen.
What is your relationship with housework?
I try and stay on top of the basics and keep it reasonably clean and hygienic but there’s a lot of clutter and it often just gets shoved into a cupboard or into the spare room if people are coming over and forgotten about until I need to use the spare room again!
How do you relax?
I love having a soak in the bath or reading a good book. My mother-in-law has a delightful habit of getting me spa vouchers for my birthday and that is my yearly treat!
What’s the best parenting advice you have ever been given?
That if you feel like you are getting it right about 70% of the time you are doing well.
For any new mums out there, what would you like to tell them?
That motherhood is hard and can feel very isolating and overwhelming. Feeling like you’re struggling does not mean you are a bad mum and seeking help is not a sign of failure and admitting defeat. If you are feeling like you’re not coping then please don’t struggle on alone.
Also, don’t feel like you have to be Supermum and do everything all by yourself. And just because your husband does things differently doesn’t mean he’s doing things wrong!
What makes you happy?
Spending time with my family.
And finally, complete this sentence:
I am a great mum because….. not a day goes by that I don’t tell my children how much I love them.
Ah Louise, you are not the only mum to have shouted because you are tired, I know I nodded along in agreement and there will be others too. You definitely don’t fail them! I think you are amazing managing all of the stress that comes along with a poorly baby, I am not sure I would manage so well!
If you want to find out more about Louise and her lovely family then head over to her blog Little Hearts Big Love.
She is also on Twitter so go say hi!