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 Detrice!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
I am a young mum from Yorkshire. I have a husband and two small children, a boy named Noah who is now five, and a girl named Isla who is three. We live in Leeds, having moved from Surrey nearly four years ago.
At the end of last year I was diagnosed with breast cancer and it tipped our little world ‘upside down’. Everything that we knew to be normal changed beyond all compare, and everything almost stopped. Luckily for all of us I caught ‘it’ early and recognised the changes that were happening to my body so I was quickly diagnosed and treated.
Describe a typical day in your life
Being diagnosed with breast cancer made me even more determined that our life would stay as close to normal as it could, no matter what the outcome. Having young children means that routine is embedded in our daily life, and so it has all very much been a ‘just get on with it’ attitude as much as we can possibly manage.
Our life is fairly busy. We all wake early every day, usually courtesy of my son who is an early riser (there is no need for alarm clocks in our house!). My husband works and usually leaves the house early, but he manages to have a cup of tea or breakfast with us all most days. My son has just started his second year of primary school and my daughter goes to a local nursery too. I work part- time in an office and also try to ‘juggle’ the children and run our home – sometimes not successfully.
In the evenings the children like to play or watch television whist I make dinner. We always have a set bath time and afterwards we all snuggle up to read stories at the end of the day.
I would say that our life is fairly normal, and if it had not been for being diagnosed with breast cancer last year it would have carried on that way.
What is the best thing about being a mum?
The best thing about being a mum is the unconditional love. My children are not perfect, in fact, at times they can be really naughty. They are buzzing and energetic and always moving onto the next thing with no time to rest in between. But when they do stop, when they finally let tiredness get the better of them – they love nothing more than to cuddle in and get as close to me as possible – and I just love that. That feeling is priceless.
What have you found hardest about motherhood?
I find the ‘juggling’ part of being a mum really tough.
Sometimes it feels as if you are pulled in several different directions all at the same time. There is a guilt (that I mainly put on myself to try to manage everything and to try to be the ‘fun mum’ and the ‘working mum’ all at once, and some days it is just not possible.
I wish I had given myself the credit I deserved before I became ill, because now I seem to be managing all of the same things, but with the added fatigue and recovery.
How has your body changed?
Having babies changes your figure in many ways. There are parts that are a lot less ‘firm’ than they used to be, especially after going through labour & breastfeeding. There are also scars to contend with from having a mastectomy, but I think that your scars tell a story of who you really are.
Do you wear make-up? If so, what does your routine look like?
I don’t have time for makeup, but when I go to work I often hurriedly put a little foundation and powder on to cover the bags under my eyes. I mainly go for the ‘natural’ look! Embarrassingly Vaseline is my ‘lip gloss. I always vow to invest in some nice make up, the expensive stuff that works wonders – but I never seems to quite get round to it.
What’s in your handbag?
My handbag has all sorts in it. My purse. Odd items of makeup. Kids sun cream. Confiscated toys or sweets. Tissues, and a small diary. Pretty standard really.
What is your relationship with housework?
I have a love/ hate relationship with housework. I love the feeling of sitting in a nice clean living room with a cup of tea and admiring all my hard work. I always try to keep the house looking tidy, just in case the Queen pops round for a visit. In reality though the kids playroom is never where all the toys stay, and I am finding as the children grow older, the make believe games use more and more of the kitchen than I would like.
How do you relax?
I am not very good at relaxing! But I have learned that I do need to stop and give your body time to recover. I like a nice bubble bath or a glass of wine or watching a film with my husband.
What’s the best parenting advice you have ever been given?
My grandma and my mum are great advocates of feeding children. Most tantrums or tears can be avoided I find if kids are fed and raring to go. I also feel that story time is important just before bed. My children love story books and they love to hear new adventures just before they drift off to sleep.
For any new mums out there, what would you like to tell them?
I would say just find your own way. So much advice is thrown at mum’s nowadays especially about how to be ‘the perfect mum’. It doesn’t exist. If you make time for your children they will be happy.
What makes you happy?
Being around friends and family makes me happy. Being comfortable in the company of those who know you best.
And finally, complete this sentence:
I am a great mum because….. I do the best I can. I try to be there for my kids. I spend time with them and hopefully that is enough.
I completely agree with your mum and grandma- tantrums most definitely can be avoided if kids have a full tummy. You sound like you have a similar relationship to housework as me- I love it to look nice but the kids have other ideas! I cannot imagine how difficult the last year or so have been, you sound like you are doing amazingly well. xx
You can find out more about Detrice and her world over at her blog, Detrice Matthews.
She is also on Twitter so go say hi!
I am not accepting any more submissions for this feature. xx