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, and to bring them up to be the best human beings they can be. That is no mean feat so we Mums really must support each other! Which is why every week, I’m bringing you one amazing Mum, her life story and her experiences of being a Mum.
We also have an Instagram community, using the hashtag #WonderMamaTribe, so that we can inspire each other and celebrate all the daily achievements we have. Feel free to spread the news and tag your friends, wives, partners, daughters, sisters, Mums, Nans and yourselves too in your Instagram photos with a hashtag #WonderMamaTribe. Each week, I’ll be selecting one special Mama to be featured on my blog as an inspiration to all of us as well as feature four more Mums for my weekly round-up.
This week, I’m talking to the lovely Lauretta from the Home and Horizon blog. What I really love about Lauretta is her ability to balance the ‘discipline’ element of parenting with having a laugh with her kids. It seems she’s managed to get that balance just right and I really admire that. This kind of approach reminds me of my own Mum and how I see myself as a parent too. I hope you enjoy finding out more about Lauretta and her outlook on life and parenting.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your children/ family.
I’m a forty-something, young at heart mum of tweens to Luis (11) and Nadja (9) and the wife of an overworked school teacher. We live in Bromley, Kent and enjoy the usual things as a family – crafts, games, and days out. We always look forward to our favorite time of the week – Saturday family night – when we all sit down to watch a film or a family show and eat sweets (me included!). I’m a full time travel journalist but I enjoy blogging and vlogging at night and at the weekend – it’s my absolute passion. I blog about affordable travel, thrifty interiors and lifestyle/family topics.
2. What female role models did you have as a young girl and woman?
My mum was the strongest role model I had growing up. She’s a tough northern lass and they don’t make them like they used to! Even now – she could have half of her leg hanging off and she’d tell you she’s fine. She never makes a big deal out of anything and she’s the thriftiest person I know (after Martin Lewis!) Growing up, my mum always told me that I could do anything I wanted to do as long as I worked hard for it. I now tell my own kids the same thing and when I hear them say ‘I can’t….’, I remind them that they can!
I also loved watching super heroines when I was a kid – I loved Supergirl but my absolute favourite was Wonder Woman. And to this day I still love her – I even have the mug, coaster and a sign in my office to inspire me. Oh, and I love it that my husband calls me his ‘shero’.
3. What females do you currently look up to, inspire you and seek advice from?
I admire ambitious woman who go after what they want and are not afraid of failure, I’ve always believed that if you want to do something you find a way and if you don’t, you find an excuse. On my office wall I have a poster that reads: “You get what you work for, not what you wish for.”
Over the years there are many female actresses that I’ve admired – from Jodie Foster and Sandra Bullock through to Judi Dench and Claire Danes – these are woman who didn’t need to take their clothes off to get big-time roles; they used their brains – and I like that.
But it’s women who make me laugh who I absolutely adore…Ruby Wax, Vanessa Feltz and the late Joan Rivers. And I’ve recently discovered the brilliant Catherine Ryan. I absolutely love this girl. She’s the sort of person I’d love to hang out with as a mate. In fact, I want to be her!
4. How would you describe yourself as a Mum? What sort of a parent are you?
I’d like to think that my kids see me as firm but fair. I’m strict in the sense that I encourage them to do their homework on time and do their best, but I encourage them to relax at the weekend. I also try to get them to explore their interests in more depth (I’m currently taxi driver to Cubs, drum lessons and swimming lessons!) and to make the most of the opportunities given to them – as they are so lucky.
In fact, last year I took the kids to the Townships in South Africa; not to make them sad by witnessing the country’s poverty, but to feel humble and realise that life isn’t all about the Playstation and Dan TDM! The kids loved handing out sweets to the children and playing with them; it was such an enlightening experience that none of us will ever forget.
Finally, I think I have a great sense of humour (my husband would call it childish), but I’ve always been a big kid and it doesn’t take much to get me laughing – especially playing practical jokes on the family!
5. What and who has influenced the kind of a Mum that you are now?
Growing up with an older brother, I was always told that whatever he did – I had to do. So this included going to karate, studying hard after school and going to university. I was never treated any differently as a girl and I applaud my parents for this. And I treat both my kids the same. My daughter wants to be a doctor when she grows up (I know this will change of course), but for now I’m wholeheartedly behind her decision!
I love having a laugh with the kids – we regularly play silly games and right now, we seem to be bouncing off each other with witty, sarcastic responses. The kids seem to have a dry sense of humour – and I’m happy to oblige!
6. What’s your favourite part of being a Mum?
I love what comes out of their mouths sometimes; they continually surprise me and make me laugh. I also get a lot of pleasure seeing them excited when we visit new places and discover new attractions. That’s the best part of being a mum (as well as being needed and loved of course!).
7. And what is the hardest part?
Seeing them learn lessons the hard way and discover that life isn’t always kind. Trying to explain why some people are just naturally mean is tough – or having to comfort them when other kids have been cruel makes me sad. The worst part is when they’re ill and you can’t do anything to make them better; you just wish it were you instead feeling crap.
8. Do you think it’s hard being a Mum in this day and age?
I always say that the hardest job in the world is being a parent. You are a carer, protector, feeder, comforter, taxi driver…the list goes on. When you have children, pretty much every decision you make – from where to go on holiday to which kitchen surface you choose is dependent on the needs of your kids. If you’re wondering about the latter, we opted for round corners in our kitchen, so if they hit their head it wouldn’t be on a corner!
I think it’s harder for women being a mum in this day and age, especially if they also work. First, there’s the guilt factor, which every mother goes through; you feel guilty if you work and guilty if you don’t!
Then there’s the next generation of kids who are growing up surrounded by technology. With that comes the pressure of social media and having to conform – and of course the rise in online bullying. It’s not just a case of visiting the school to complain about your child being picked on now; often it’s things beyond our control (done anonymously) that we have to contend with. All we can do is do what we think best and be there for our kids.
9. What three pieces of advice would you give to first-time/ expectant Mums?
- It’s completely normal to feel a little bit down after giving birth so don’t beat yourself up if you feel like this.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. You will never again feel so shattered as you do in the first six months of your child being born. Sleep when baby sleeps, and every now and then get some childcare so you can treat yourself to ‘me time’ – a shopping spree or massage – it will make you feel human again.
- When your child is going through a difficult stage (or is poorly) everyone will have an opinion on what you should do. As a mother, trust your gut instinct; there’s not usually a right or wrong answer – we’re all just muddling through motherhood at the end of the day, so do what feels right.
And remember – as they got older some things will become much easier. As a mum of tweens, I’m lucky to sometimes get a cup of tea in bed now and knowing that I won’t get woken up before 7am is bliss.
If you enjoyed this interview and want to read more inspiring stories, please join my mailing list for weekly updates and share this post to spread the love. Don’t forget to join my Instagram community too!