This feature is all about celebrating real mums. Mums are amazing and 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 part of a 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 Mel!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
I am a married mum to a two year old boy (Harry) and a step-minger to a 20 year old woman (Emily). I feel I must explain that last bit a little. In a rage as a teenager she once called me a minger. I laughed and corrected her calling myself a step-minger, and so the name stuck. I have a great relationship with my husband’s ex-wife who adores Harry. She and Emily often take Harry for days out and spoil him rotten.
My husband and I both love taking part in sports and holidaying on the coast (we own a caravan). We also enjoyed planning trips out on the motorbike (note the past tense). When Harry came along I decided to give it up. In all honesty I was never that keen being on the back of the bike. Looking at the back of someone’s head gets pretty boring after a couple of hours.
Describe a typical day in your life
I am a working mum so my usual day consists of:
6am – awoken by the sound of a small child roaring because he thinks he is a dinosaur
6.05 – 7.30 – quick shower, clean teeth, get dressed, rush downstairs, serve up his breakfast, make sandwiches, pack our bags, put the kettle on, clear everything away (including a half drunk luke warm cup of tea), coats on, grab keys and set off in the car.
7.30 – 7.40 – Drop Harry off at the childminders
8 – 3 – Start work and count the clock down until 3pm
3.20 – Pick up Harry
3.30 – 7pm – play, change a dirty nappy (he is like clockwork), get tea on, get changed in to my jeans, serve up tea for Harry, prepare the food for the grown-ups, clean up after Harry has eaten, play a bit more, bath, story, put to bed.
7pm onwards – eat my own tea and then slump on the sofa with my laptop and a glass of wine.
What is the best thing about being a mum?
I know this sounds cheesy but undoubtedly it is just the amount of love you find in yourself that you never knew existed. I never thought I would feel this way about anything. He surprises me daily with something new and it is just magical.
What have you found hardest about motherhood?
In my pre-Harry life I wasn’t someone that was particularly good at sticking to routines. I now know that having a routine is essential to help you juggle all the things you need to do, and to ensure I have a happy child so that HE allows me to do all the things I need to do. It’s too easy to say “I’ll do that later”, but being a mum I find that I get distracted and then forget, or something happens so I just can’t get to it. It’s hard work to keep to a routine but I am getting better at it.
How has your body changed?
I don’t recognise my post-pregnancy body! I only have myself to blame because I developed a craving for Double Decker’s and put on 2.5 stone. Some of that was as a result of the IVF treatment, but admittedly not much. In addition, my hair fell out after giving birth so I went from having shoulder length hair to having a cropped hairstyle overnight, and my teeth seem to stain more easily. Give me that pregnancy glow back any day!
Do you wear make-up? If so, what does your routine look like?
Because I have eczema I’ve never really bothered with make-up. My skin isn’t that bad because I have always had to moisturise. On a rare night out I always use some touché éclat (a mum essential), my eye liner, mascara and a bit of bronzer.
What’s in your handbag?
Bits of food, some dinosaurs, a lip balm, phone, purse, receipts and lists.
What is your relationship with housework?
Very casual. When I returned to work I promised that I would get myself a cleaner. I bought a new mop the other day and my sister asked me what I thought of it. I heard myself reply “I’ve no idea” and I had to laugh at how haughty I sounded!
How do you relax?
It used to be by playing netball – something I have played at club level from school age. But I snapped my achilles during a match in November so I have had to retire. Now I chill out by blogging. I find that writing down memories takes me off to my happy place.
What’s the best parenting advice you have ever been given?
For any new mums out there, what would you like to tell them?
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself from everything you have read in books. Don’t worry if your baby isn’t textbook. My advice is just to close the book and don’t read anymore. Some of it will apply and some won’t. You will find out what does in time. Go with your gut instinct.
What makes you happy?
Without hesitation it has to be spending time together as a family (extended family as well). My family give me all the laughter, support and love that I need and that makes me VERY happy.
And finally, complete this sentence:
I am a great mum because….. “Your patience; your ability to laugh off anything that Harry throws in your way; the way you effortlessly deal with life’s events as and when they come; and the never ending cuddles for Harry” – Emily (Step-Daughter)
I think you are the first person to have asked someone else for the answer to that last one and I have to say it brought a lump to my throat. How absolutely lovely that Emily said that about you. x
You can find out more about Mel and her world over at her blog, My Little Cheeky Monkey.
She is also on Twitter so go say hi!
If you would like to take part in my Real Mums series then email me at email@example.com. x