Welcome to my #WonderMamaTribe interview series aimed to celebrate motherhood and all the WONDERful and inspiring Mums out there, working so hard to make sure their little ones are well, loved and appreciated. Which is why every week, I’m bringing you one amazing Mum, her life story and her experiences of being a Mum.
This week, I’ve really enjoyed finding out more about the gorgeous Emma from the Emmaology blog. What Emma’s reflections did for me was to realise how different my own parenting approach is now compared to what I thought it was five years ago. Being a Mum can be so hard sometimes and every day feels like I’m rediscovering my approach and learning to become a better parent. I hope you enjoy the interview this week and that it made you reflect as well – let me know in the comments below, I’d love to find out!
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your children/ family.
I’m Emma, 31 years old and I’ve been married to Dan for three years this summer. I have two children, Oliver (8 years) and Grace (8 months). We live in the North East of England and I’m currently on maternity leave. I have a blog called Emmaology where I blog about parenting mainly, with a little bit of everything else thrown in for good measure. I started the blog as my little place to vent about the problems I am facing after having my second child and also remember all the good times.
I was born in Yorkshire, and lived around there until I was five. I’m really proud of my Yorkshire background, and I love to go back to visit family and friends. It still feels really comforting as we make the drive down the A1 motorway!
2. What female role models did you have as a young girl and woman?
As a young girl, I was obsessed with pop stars! I LOVED the Spice Girls in my pre-teen years and took lots of style inspiration from them (cringe!). I didn’t think much at the time about body image, but I think they were a fairly good set of women to look up to having come from different backgrounds, and with different body shapes, fashion styles and personalities.
As I got older, I looked up to my cousins who are just a few years older than me. I used to take advice from them about everything and loved to spend time with them. I don’t get to see them as much as I’d like now we’re all “grown ups” with families which is upsetting. I also used to spend a lot of time with my mum’s mum, my Nanna. I remember getting her hooked on Big Brother about 15 years ago and she still watches it now! She is such a loving and kind person and I loved going to stay with her, it always seemed like such a treat… she still spoils us when we go to see her now!
3. What females do you currently look up to, inspire you and seek advice from?
Without a doubt my mum. I don’t know what I would do without her! When I was younger, we had our ups and downs, as lots of girls and their mums do, but since I’ve become a mum myself I find her support and advice invaluable. I loved being able to have her with me through all the important times; when Oliver was born, when I bought my wedding dress and helping me on the big day, when Grace was first born to support me through my recovery. She is there to give me advice about everything from gardening to parenting and although we do have different opinions on lots of things, I like to know what she’s thinking. We rarely go a day without talking or texting, and when we do I really miss her! I think she probably enjoys the peace though!!
I have some great friends, some of whom had children around the same time as I had Oliver and some of them have had babies more recently. Some of these ladies I have known for years (as far back as when I started secondary school) and some of them are quite new friendships. I really cherish and rely on these relationships though, as I love being able to run things past them all. Every one of them has something different that I am able to benefit from. I just wish I was able to socialise with a lot of them more often.
Also, I have a massive obsession with Social Media and I follow quite a few mums/ mum bloggers on Instagram and Facebook. I find these women really inspiring as they all show the “real” face of motherhood, the sleepless nights, the tantrums, the worries. Some people may think it’s a bit odd, but these women who are successful in their personal and professional lives, and still have days the same as me (and have the honesty to show it) give me a lot of reassurance that I am enough, and that it’s okay.
4. How would you describe yourself as a Mum? What sort of a parent are you?
This is a tricky one! I think my parents would say I was a strict parent, but I think my husband would say quite often I’m the soft one. I guess I would have to say I’m inconsistent, but in a good way? I love to spoil Oliver and Grace, sometimes with gifts and sometimes with emotions, but I can shout when they’re being naughty. I’m also a worrier, I like to check on Oliver if we’re out doing something to make sure he’s okay, but my husband tells me I should back off and stop smothering him!
5. What and who has influenced the kind of a Mum that you are now?
I would say that my parents have influenced me, as well as getting older.
When I was younger, before I had children, I was never one of those people who had an idea of what type of parent I would be. When I had Oliver, I found it hard to get the balance right between discipline, routine and fun so things were a bit up and down for a while. I think now I am older, I’m able to see the bigger picture better. I can pick the battles I want to face, and ignore the little things which might annoy me. I don’t feel I have to tell Oliver off for every tiny thing, although when I have had a particularly rough night the tiredness can change that!
I grew up in a really loving family where we were really lucky to get to do lots of lovely things and I want to be able to provide the same to my children. I want them to be able to rely on me to always be there for them, like my Mum and Dad still are for me now.
6. What’s your favourite part of being a Mum?
I love being able to see my children learn and develop their own personality and interests. Now Grace is getting older, she is learning to crawl and watching the determination on her face as she tries to reach a toy is priceless. Her little smile and giggle is just too cute as well! It’s also wonderful when people compliment Oliver for his interests or how polite he is. He can be shy and we often have to prompt him to say ‘hello’ or ‘thank you’ but some days he surprises us all and has in depth conversation with people about all sorts! I don’t know where he learns half the things he comes out with!!
7. And what is the hardest part?
I think the hardest part for me is now having two children. Oliver had all my attention for such a long time that I now feel guilty when I can’t do as much with him. It is getting better as Grace is getting older, but I miss our one on one time. I hope he doesn’t feel too sad about this, and he certainly doesn’t seem to resent Grace, but I think I need to schedule some mum-son time.
8. Do you think it’s hard being a Mum in this day and age?
Yes definitely. I think it’s even harder now than it was when Oliver was young! There is so much pressure around so many elements of parenting, and whatever you choose to do there’s always someone who doesn’t agree with you. I think partially the rise of social media/ the internet is to blame for a lot of this mum guilt, as you always have someone to compare yourself to. I said before I love social media, and I follow really inspiring mums, but it’s so easy to see people who look like they “have it all” and forget they are likely to be only posting the perfect moments and hiding all those times where they haven’t brushed their hair for the school run (it can’t only be me, right?) and other times when things aren’t going right.
9. What three pieces of advice would you give to first-time/ expectant Mums?
This is hard! I have so many, but I think my top three would be:
- It’s hard, whether you’re a first time mum or not, and there’s nothing wrong in admitting it. Admitting that being a mum is difficult can sometimes be all you need to realise that although you are WONDERwoman (see what I did there) you don’t have to be a superhero and do it all.
- Trust your instincts. Yes, ask friends, family and Google for help or advice about a problem, but more often than not you know yourself and your baby best.
- Think of the bigger picture. Whatever the problem is at this moment (for me it’s lack of sleep and Grace’s weaning battle!) things won’t always be like this. Children grow and change, and these phases will pass.
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Let’s all support and inspire each other, Wonder Mamas! xx
Here are the previous #WonderMamaTribe interviews:
- #WonderMamaTribe interview – My wonderful Mum
- #WonderMamaTribe interview – Alisa from UKYankee
- #WonderMamaTribe interview – Alex from Better Together Home
- #WonderMamaTribe interview – Lauretta from Home and Horizon
- #WonderMamaTribe interview – Lucy from Muffin Top Mummy
- #WonderMamaTribe interview – Hayley from Winging it with Two Boys
- #WonderMamaTribe interview – Rebecca from Rock and Roses Mama
- #WonderMamaTribe interview – Sian from The Mama Story
- #WonderMamaTribe interview – Kelly-Anne from Mimi Rose and Me