Family Stories l Chapter 7

Here on our blog we’re shining a light on Mums from all walks of life. In this article we talk to Terri. Mum to Reeva Renee and Daria Rose, she’s based in United Kingdom. Read on to see what she has to say on all things parenting…

What does Parenting mean to you ?

My idea of Parenting is simple. Provide my kids with all they need so they have the best childhood memories but in the same time give them the right tools for later in life, I don’t want to spoil them or even worse, I don’t want them to become entitled, I want them to grow and believe that they can achieve anything they want in life. Whatever goals they want to achieve, I want them to believe that they can do it. Of course, when I say goals, I don’t talk about becoming a huge Pop singer if you do not have the tools to achieve that. Like voice, for example. Real goals, achievable.

How did your life changed after having your first child ?

I am bipolar, so I struggle mentally for many years now, when I got pregnant with my first I was so scared, I thought I will not be able to handle it, but she saved my life and she changed my world completely. Everything that I do, I do it for them, for my kids. So your next point in life, your next level in life, let’s put it like that, it comes after overcoming your biggest fear. For me, it was this one, I thought I will not be able to be a good parent for my first born but here I am now, mother of two, and I am doing a pretty good job, I would say.

In your opinion, what’s the most rewarding aspect of parenting?

I think the simple things are the most rewarding. Learning to eat with the fork, learning how to walk, these kind of things. It is nice to see them growing and become little people. And it is a bhuge satisfaction to know that they learned all these things with your help. It’s not necessarily the big things, like graduating from who knows what high-school or winning an important contest. It is the small things first, if they learn how to do that properly, they will learn how to do the big things the right way.

How is Parenting today comparing to the way you have been raised by your parents ?

The way I raise my children is a lot different from the way I’ve been raised by my parents. When I was a children, I think I used to have more freedom, nowadays is a lot more pressure on kids and parents. Social Media has a big impact as well nowadays, when lots of parents compare themselves with the ones from Social Media. And issue is that on Social Media we only see the good things, we don’t see all the frustration, lack of sleep, all those moments, they are not advertised on Social Media. For example, I always show all the good and the bad in my life, just to be aware that life is not always great and it is normal. With ups and downs, that is life. People need to share more of the frustration moments.

What was the hardest moment in this journey, as a family, to overcome?

Personally, with myself. When I got pregnant with my second daughter in January, she was not planned, I hate to admit, but I really regretted it, I did not think she would fit in the family, I did not think I would be able to cope with it, specially with me being bipolar, but in the end it proved to me that everything happens for a reason, so now I absolutely love her, it was a though pregnancy, I was not ready for a second baby. It prooved to me once again that life gives you what you need, not what you want. Now, I am so so happy with her and with my family.

What annoys you the most about Parenting ?

The advice you get. You get advice from anyone, either you ask for it or you don’t. To be honest, you just need to do whatever works for you, there is no universal advice or magic pill that works for every situation. You have to pick the information, apply it and see if it works for you. If not, that’s ok, try something else. Don’t listen to everyone, it is easy to talk and give advice, I feel we live in this kind of world, where sometimes people believe they know everything and because of that they can give advice on anything. Don’t listen to anyone, do whatever you think it’s better for you.

Now is your chance to embarrass your kid – tell me an embarrassing story

Not really any crazy stories here, it is just a constant reminder from my daughter. She loves to tell in front of everyone that she needs to poop. Like she does not care how many people, or what kind of social context we are in, she just needs to do her stuff and she says it loud and clear, she is not embarrased or anything like that. Kids don’t care about other people opinion, they just do whatever they need at the moment, maybe we should learn from that.

We’re gonnna continue our series, Family Stories, here on the blog, to point out the ups and downs of being a Parent, there is no doubt that there is more ups than downs and over time all those bad moments and challenges they pale compared to the good things… so many good things…

Family Stories l Chapter 6

Here on our blog we’re shining a light on Mums from all walks of life. In this article we talk to Hailey. Mum to Lidiana Allegra and Gia she’s based in Australia. Read on to see what she has to say on all things parenting…

What does Parenting mean to you ?

Parenting to me is getting to enjoy and re live your childhood and enjoy the simple things through the eyes of a child. Sometimes, as an adult we forget to enjoy the small things and we concentrate on these big goals that we all have like career for example. This kidnaps from us the simple things sometimes and for some reason, simple things bring us the so called joy and happyness. Parenting is hard but I choose to enjoy all of it even the mundane. Don’t get me wrong I am far from perfect and I have my moments. But le’t not chase perfection I say.

How did your life change after having your first child?

It changed a lot, honestly. None of my friends had kids so I lost a lot of friends as they didn’t understand. We may not have been prepared to have a baby but we became stronger and she made us focus on different things to give her the best life. We were travelling a lot and not saving a penny and as soon as we found out we changed our life direction. So, basically, our life changed completely. From our approach to finances or to find the best way to give her the proper tools to develop as an adult, losing friends, adjusting priorities, everything changed. We’re still the same persons, we still enjoy doing some things in our own way, so in essence we are the same, but with a completely new approach to life. All, in a blink of an eye.

In your opinion, what’s the most rewarding aspect of parenting?

Everything, but when they run up to you and wrap their little arms around you and say “I love you…” nothing is better than that feeling. It’s something that cannot be really explained, you have to feel it, it is such a different type of satisfaction, nothing else that you achieve professionally or who knows what, it’s going to give you the same feelings. At least for me. Also, I love watching them do new things, ohhh baby laughs and smiles, there is so much to love and cherish. Life is a blessing indeed.

How is Parenting today comparing to the way you have been raised by your parents ?

Hmmm this is hard for me. I guess a lot more relaxed back then and we were very poor. I think that is why I try to give my girls lots of experiences and holidays and camping. I think it might be a thing that each parent experiences in some way, they try to give their kids whatever was missing from their childhood, be it some sort of education, a more stable financial situation, affection and so on. I am not sure, I am curious to see other stories, it would be an interesting insight.

What was the hardest moment in this journey, as a family, to overcome?

To be honest we have been very lucky and we haven’t had any real hurdles or hard moments.
Maybe worth to mention that I lost my job when I had my first baby, as we lost funding in the government changes, I was on a contract and no one was going to give a 4 months pregnant person a new job, in the end it was a blessing in disguise. I gained a new little best friend, we bought our first house and we got married. So the point here is, looking back at this trial in my life, which at that point was considered a small tragedy, it actually got me where I am here today. And we evolve from these things, from the hardships we overcome, throughout life.

What annoys you the most about Parenting ?

The lack of space, having a audience whilst on the toilet… and the talking that does not stop Hahahaha. They invade your life step by step, in a good way. I cannot imagine my life without them now, I don’t want to think how is it going to be when they grow up and move out of the house…

Now is your chance to embarrass your kid – tell me an embarrassing story

I have one which is really embrassing. One we love telling in our house is the time Allegra as a baby pooped on my face. We can’t even hide it because she tells everyone. She did a pop off and it got me on the face. There is no need for more details here, you can imagine.

We’re gonnna continue our series, Family Stories, here on the blog, to point out the ups and downs of being a Parent, there is no doubt that there is more ups than downs and over time all those bad moments and challenges they pale compared to the good things… so many good things…

Parenting Stories | Chapter 5

Here on our blog we’re shining a light on Mums from all walks of life. In this article we talk to Adrienne. Mum to Charleigh, she’s a digitial creator based in Boston. Read on to see what she has to say on all things parenting…

What does Parenting mean to you?

70331309_543747253028044_7224034080525317209_nParenting to me means being there unconditionally for my daughter, Charleigh. No matter what happens or who she decides to be, I will always be there for her. No tantrum, no rebellious phase, no life decision will ever be big enough to keep me from loving her. 

How did your life change after having your first child?

It would be easier for me to list how my life did NOT change because that would be a much shorter list. Having Charleigh (my first and only child right now) changed everything. One day you’re worried about when you are going out with your friends and the next second you are having a panic attack over a rash on your newborns booty. I mean the differences in my life now are HUGE. Your priorities change over night. 

In your opinion, what’s the most rewarding aspect of parenting?

I absolutely love that I am the person who my daughter NEEDS. She needs me to comfort her when she bumps her head, she needed me when she was hungry for milk, and I hope she continues to need me in different ways throughout her life. That aspect of parenting is wildly rewarding for me. Also that I’m the only one who makes her laugh uncontrollably, that one never gets old. 

How is Parenting today comparing to the way you have been raised by your parents ?

Parenting today feels much more on display. Today, everything is done in the public  eye (because of social media). I feel like there’s much more pressure on doing things a certain way. When I was growing up I don’t think my parents had that additional pressure. 

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What was the hardest moment in this journey, as a family, to overcome?

Balance has been a struggle as a family. Finding time for yourself, for your child, for your significant other, it’s TOUGH. On top of that my struggle with anxiety and how that manifests itself as a parent has been a definite struggle for us as a family. I at times go in to a panic if my husband mentions something that may be wrong with my daughter. It’s like he isn’t allowed to communicate about his parenting worries. We work on it and have found strategies to effectively communicate. Communication is key!

What annoys you the most about Parenting?

The strain it puts on your relationship with your husband. It really bothers me that I didn’t even think twice about this juggling act I am constantly doing. How had I not anticipated that parenting was going to be so hard? I lived in naïve land I guess! 

Now is your chance to embarrass your kid – tell me an embarrassing story!

It’s less embarrassing for Charleigh more for me. One of the first times I ever went out with Charleigh by myself I decided to do my hair. We went to the doctor and I had to hurriedly feed her a bottle because we were going to a moms group directly after. Well about 5 seconds after her bottle I put her over my shoulder to burp her and wouldn’t you know, my newborn threw up all over my freshly done hair. That’ll teach me to practice self care! 

Parenting Stories | Chapter 4

Here on our blog we’re shining a light on Mums from all walks of life. In this article we talk to Anne-Sophie. She’s an Entrepreneur based in Paris who designs under the brand L’Atelier 13. As a Mum of 4 she pursues her various passions through documenting her life on Instagram.

70004458_215681932751964_4711026082882623785_nWhat does parenting mean to you?

To me, parenting is helping my children grow up to become as happy, independent and fulfilled human beings as possible! It means setting up a framework. That framework has rules and limits. They will test those limits and sometimes go over them. It also means that there are exceptions. We have to choose the battles we want to fight and let some issues go. We need to remain firm on other issues – all of which depends on our values. 

How did life change after having your first child?

Well there’s no more drinks after work and lazy weekend mornings in bed! Having kids forces you to set up the rules you have always said you would never set when you had the rules put on you! 

In your opinion, what’s the most rewarding aspect of parenting?

For me, it’s when people tell me how nice my kids behave. I can have a hard time at home with them, to get things done. It’s sometimes hard to have them comply by the rules. We might fight and yell a little, but if their behavior is great when they are outside, if they actually live up to the values we are teaching them, then we’re doing a good job, even though we are not benefiting from it directly!

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How is parenting today compared to the way you were raised by your parents?

I think we are probably educating our children more like young adults than they were. We include them in our dinner discussions and decisions. Whether that’s where we should go on holidays or what they should wear the next day – even what they want  to eat tonight! Our parents didn’t do that as much. Will that make more independant and decision-making people than we are? Only the future will tell!

What was the hardest moment in this journey as a family to overcome?

I think making room for ourselves as a couple is really what we have the hardest time doing. Hopefully it won’t have disastrous consequences. Unfortunately we are never just the two of us. We do enjoy it, being with the kids all the time, but I think a couple needs some time off. Stamina is key in the long term!

What annoys you the most about parenting?

You have to be the bad guy, it’s a role I never wanted to play. You have to forbid what’s cool! 

Now is your chance to embarrass your kid – tell me an embarrassing story

I don’t have any that comes to my mind, seriously!

 

Parenting Stories Chapter 3

Here on our blog we’re shining a light on Mums from all walks of life. In this article we talk to Becki. She’s a Mum to Caleb and Essie.  She started documenting every aspect of her life, from motherhood to fashion and style. Concious of the balance between her digital presence and real world life, she still includes the children but via her blog. She’s continuing to pursue her passion for fashion through her Instagram content.

What does parenting mean to you?

When our parents had us there wasn’t as much spoken about what we are and are not doing. Now there’s an element of pressure to how you’re bringing up your child  – now there’s so many more “dos and don’ts”. But whatever the case, I just want my children to know that we are there for them, no matter what. Talking is so important. I want to instill in my children, that it’s okay to feel certain ways sometimes. They’re loved by me and their Dad. They can be whoever they want to be, whatever that means! It may sound a bit stereotypical but I want them to always be kind to other people. Kindness goes such a long way.

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In your opinion, what’s the most rewarding bit of being a parent ?

Loads! Them even just saying “mummy” and “daddy” is awesome. These little people that represent you in so many ways but have their own personalities. In their eyes you are amazing. All the milestones they go through – it’s all stupidly fast. They go from newborn to school in about 5 minutes, it’s crazy! Some days it doesn’t feel like that, but when they hit milestones like learning words or starting to read, you know you’ve helped them do that, which is amazing! Even seeing their view of the world, you’ve influenced that! They also teach you a lot about yourself like patience and how to be a child again!

How do you think your parents have shaped how you’ve bought your kids up? 

You certainly look to how your parents did it, for guidance mainly as you have no other way to know sometimes what to do. For instance, we were not allowed sweets, during the week, Sunday was sweetie day, so as an adult, I knew I wanted to do the same for my children, that its a treat. Being open and talking was a big one for me, My family are quite an open family compared to my husband’s, so like all families it’s all about teamwork. The challenge can sometimes be linking two different childhoods together to create one parenting style.

Every parent looks to their past and wants to add something to their children’s path and so on, my dad for instance worked a lot and feels he didn’t do as much as he would have liked with us (I personally don’t look at it like that, we had a very lovely childhood with nice holidays, because he worked so hard) but now hes a grandparent, hes having a second go as it were! The grand kids get away with everything with him…

Now is your chance to embarrass your kids – tell me an embarrassing story! 

I think your first born has an element of perfection. I think this is a ploy, so you end up having more kids! This week I was called into school because he’d stuck play-doh in his ear and they’re not allowed to remove it! I had to go up with my own tweezers and fish it out! That’s one for the list…

My daughter hasn’t done anything embarrassing yet but I’m sure out of the two of them, she’ll have way more stories in the future! She’s just different and a bit more of a firecracker!

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What annoys you the most about parenting? 

I’m lucky that my husband is as entwined in the parenting as I am. It’s not a case of him “babysitting” – its your child, you’re not babysitting!

You cannot just clock off, or leave it at the office. It’s a constant list in your head – whether it’s getting things ready for school the next day or it’s doctors appointments. Once you’ve committed to taking on that responsibility of starting a family, that’s it!

Its not something that annoys me, so to speak, but the pressure of wanting to just ‘getting it right’ You only have some control on what will/can happen but ultimately its your child’s journey and that can be a bit scary.

Would you like to feature on our blog? Send us a message on Instagram and we’d love to work with you on an article.

Parenting Stories Chapter 2

Meet the Mums

Here on our blog we’re shining a light on Mums from all walks of life. In this article we talk to Emma. She’s a Mum of 3 – Charlie (10), Harry (9) and Rosie (6). Starting out with a blog and working with some brands, she has now built up an Instagram following. Over there, she documents the ups, downs and everything in between of life as a stay at home Mum. 

Emma and Rosie
Emma and Rosie (6)

 

What does parenting mean to you?

There are so many so many ways to answer that question. You sacrifice your life for them to protect them and give them what they need. To show them unconditional love. It’s a minefield. When you have your first child you go into it all blind, to the idea of being a parent – you’re winging it. Now with three, they’re all so individual – you do the best you can for them every day. 

I will always support you don’t ever be afraid to talk to me, you know there’s nothing that you can say which will upset me. I’m here to support you 100%

In your opinion, what’s the most rewarding bit of being a parent is?

The affection you get from them, knowing that you’ve created this little person. You see how much they love you and rely on you. Even the smallest things, like cooking their favourite dinner (which is anything pasta!) makes them so happy.  this little person you’ve created is so amazing.

How do you think your parents have shaped how you’ve bought your kids up? 

I was fostered as a child so I’ve always known that when I want to be the best parent I can possibly be. Particularly because of my background, going from foster home to foster home, I’ve always wanted to show them that no matter what you do wrong I will always back and support you. I want them to know that there’s nothing you can do which will upset me, I’m here to support you 100%. 

The kids know quite a bit about my upbringing and they took it quite well – it doesn’t phase them that we haven’t got a massive family network. I think everything happens for a reason. I think they enjoy the fact we are a small unit. We’re such a tight knit family – it’s just us, my partner and they have a stepsister. We’re all here to support each other. It’s nice having a small unit, we go out for adventures on weekends and all kinds of fun activities. 

If you could do one thing differently, what would it be? 

We’ve recently moved. About a year ago we moved to Cornwall. For us, that’s what we chose for a better life for them. Where we used to live there was a lot of bullying and we were insecure about letting them go out to play. We’d worry about what would happen to them, you can’t be with them all the time and you have to let them have them have their freedom. But where we are here, we can let them play out the front friends that they’ve made there’s not a constant worry about how they are.

Now we’re about a 15 minute drive from the beach and things are so different. People don’t have the same priorities. The silly things like having the right shoes and brands just aren’t there anymore, we can worry about the bigger things in life!

Now is your chance to embarrass your kid – tell me an embarrassing story! 

I don’t know if this is ultimately embarrasing but we were walking in a little village. I took my kids to feed the ducks – have a picnic, that kind of thing.  I  gave my daughter, who’s 6 some bread to feed the ducks. I made sure I told her to steer well clear of the water and don’t chuck the whole loaf in. But the next thing I know – I look round and she’s in the water with the ducks!!  My boys found it hilarious and even started filming it! I just hope the other people nearby weren’t watching too closely…

What annoys you the most about parenting? 

The most annoying, and I’m going to be completely real here, is how untidy and messy they can be! I’m not a complete neat freak – things have a place! It’s when they take their school clothes off and just throw them on the floor. I’m like “you know where they go!”. They might have a packet of crisps but leave the cupboard open – but I don’t think I’m alone in this battle!

What’s the one most important thing about parenting?

Don’t follow other people – it’s good to be different. Now with Instagram and so on, people show what they want you to see, but it’s not real life! They post just the good bits and not the reality. Filters or not, do it how you feel comfortable. There’s nothing wrong with asking for advice, don’t feel like you need to follow the crowd!

Documenting your memories is another thing I think is so important. I’d reccomend taking a picture a day of your kids. It could be in any format you like  but it creates a lovely record of how your kids so you can see how they’ve grown. When your mother in law comments on how much they’ve grown, you have the proof!

So above all, use your time wisely, make the most of you children while they are young because before long they grow up and don’t want mummy cuddles or to go out with you because their lives develop more as they grow.

Would you like to feature on our blog? Send us a message on Instagram and we’d love to work with you on an article.

Parenting stories Chapter 1

Meet the Mums

Everyone has a special relationship with their Mum. On our blog we want to tell the stories of Mums from every walk of life. We want to inspire you, maybe show you a different perspective and above all showcase how different one of the most amazing jobs in the world can be.

In this article we talk to Liz – she’s a Mum to Claire who’s 21. She began her working life in the pharmaceutical industry. When she became pregnant with me, she moved into teaching – and 11 years on she’s still going strong! 

What does parenting mean to you?

Parenting is so many things. For us, ‘parenting’ isn’t what some might say. She’s 21, so for us it’s such a bigger idea. It’s all about teamwork. We’re all working together to reach the same goal. 

In your opinion, what’s the most rewarding bit of being a parent is?

I don’t know if courage can be taught. Whether it is, or isn’t, it’s one huge aspect to parenting. Sometimes I’ve wondered if some of the stuff Claire has done has been achievable but if you meet each challenge with the same amount of determination you’ll be surprised what can be done. In 2011, Claire had a spinal fusion to correct a 65 degree S shaped curve in her spine. It’s fair to say we were both petrified. Though if you’d have said she would have crossed the finish line of the London Marathon 8 years later I wouldn’t have believed you – but I would have been a lot less worried! 

How do you think your parents have shaped how you’ve bought your kid/s up? 

My parents first set eyes on each other as Doctors training at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London. They really were a pair. In pre-Facebook days they wrote each other love letters which still exist to this day. It’s safe to say, my Dad wasn’t the most by-the-book person. In doctor’s exams there would be an actor given the task of ‘presenting’ with a particular illness. They then had to correctly diagnose the illness. I have no idea if this is true or not but he’d say how he could always sweet talk the actor into divulging the illness. Well after he retired, he continued dispensing medical advice (some more wanted than others!) where he could. 

Igniting your kids curiosity is something everyone should do. Okay his medical approach may have been somewhat unorthodox – there was one thing which was always there – and that’s his curiosity. One thing he taught both of us is to continue asking questions. We’d have so many random conversations about the weirdest of things. From how the world’s first lab burger was created to a family of wild orangutans – we covered it all. He taught us the power of knowledge and the importance of continuing to learn – developing new skills all the time. Whether it’s something big or small – we try to adopt this approach wherever we can. 

If you could do one thing differently, what would it be? 

She’d definitely say she got her wacky parts from me and the sensible grown-up bits from her Dad! Travel is totally were she feels the impacts of it. So perhaps I’d encourage her Dad more to take greater leaps of faith and travel beyond a 2 hour car drive from our house! My Dad was a HUGE fan of travelling – venturing to all four corners of the globe. He went to Australia to visit friends and family, the Northern Lights. You name it. Some of our holidays had mixed success though. I remember having such high hopes for the Northern Lights. Though maybe thanks to a touch of light pollution, we saw them across a car park and they didn’t look as special as people made them out to be! But nonetheless I don’t think that’s put Claire off her desires to visit Norway and other Alpine countries. Though money isn’t vital to having an amazing time. Trying new things and stepping a little outside your comfort zone could be though.  

Now is your chance to embarrass your kid – tell me an embarrassing story! 

Claire has always loved animals. We had a local zoo with chimpanzees. Years ago we must have told her a story which was so life like we managed to accidentally convince her she’d gone into the chimpanzee enclosure to feed them. She then proceeded to tell the whole school about her chimpanzee encounter! It was only in semi recent years we had to break it to her that it didn’t happen!

What annoys you the most about parenting? 

Me and Claire are so ridiculously similar. We finish each others’ sentences, at restaurants we order the same stuff (not intentionally, we promise!). People can never quite believe that yes we have our own opinions but a lot of the time they are soooooo similar. And the other bit – probably more annoying is when Claire gets ‘hangry’ (hungry and angry all at the same time). I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who lives her life quite so dictated by food! 

What’s the one most important thing about parenting?

There’s not a single magic ingredient. Just to ‘be you’ is probably the most important. You can’t pretend to be someone you’re not. If someone doesn’t value your skills and personality for what it is then it says more about that person than it does you. 

Would you like to feature on our blog? Send us a message on Instagram and we’d love to work with you on an article.