When I first started blogging, it was rather a solitary affair. I used to write and publish posts, share the odd post on social media and then slink away, not really engaging with the blogging community. That was until I started chatting to a fellow blogger, who made me realise that there was more to blogging than just writing and hitting publish.
That blogger was Natalie from The Diary of an Unexpectant Mother. Since then, she has become a friend who I chat to regularly via social media although we’ve actually never met. It wasn’t until recently that I realised how much Nat had been through to get to where she is now. She is such an inspirational parent, and this is why.
1. Tell me about the most unexpected change to you as a person or to your life since becoming a parent?
Becoming a parent was one of the most unexpected parts!! 😉 Seriously though, giving up my job and actually reaching the stage where I don’t ever see me going back. I always thought I’d be that busy working mum in a suit – looking fabulous and doing everything else on top, now I see myself in a kitchen wearing an apron when my teenage son gets home from school. He’s only 3 now, but I totally see it!
2. What has been the biggest challenge you have faced since having children?
Learning to trust my maternal instinct. I’ve written a lot about my terrible relationship with my mum and considering she was one of those people who just really wanted to be a mum, I thought I was going to be equally terrible at the mum thing, but I think I’m doing ok now I’ve learnt to trust that my instinct is there.
3. What do you regard as your greatest achievement?
It sounds silly really, but going to university is really my greatest achievement. I got a first, which many would say is a huge achievement but really once I was there was the easy bit, getting there was the hard bit. Having stared depression and self harm in the face, witnessed my parents marriage breakdown and my family breakdown (my wedding seating plan is going to be interesting!) and having to work to pay for everything myself, fighting to get my mum’s signature and details on the student loan/grant papers I felt a huge sense of achievement the day I started university.
4. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. What hasn’t killed you?
A few things:
Sixth form – I had a teacher who was a bully and a head of year who just wanted rid of me. They really didn’t care about the cuts on my arms or my mental state, they just cared about grades.
Depression, self harm, drinking myself to oblivion most nights of the week.
SVT – my heart problem. Apparently it can be quite bad, but it’s been fixed now so I’m lucky.
5. Who inspires you?
So many people – I love seeing the inspirational in the ordinary. A friend of mine who lost her baby when he was a few weeks old almost 20 years ago. The way she got on with her life because she had his twin to look after.
Another friend of mine, her ex left her in debt, a single mum with limited options. She’s now a nurse, engaged to a wonderful man with her own home and another new little baby.
Most parents to be honest, there is usually something inspiring underneath it all. When you see what someone has been through and come out of the other side or what they’re still battling. When you enter the world of the parent blogger, you realise just how many parents out there are really inspirational. You may not think it, but you are all inspirational in some way to someone.
6. I have just invented a time machine (and you thought you’d achieved something great). You can now go backwards or forwards to any point in time and deliver any message to any person, what’s your message and who is it for?
This is difficult, I know a lot of people would go to themselves to reassure themselves that everything is going to be ok, but I think the not knowing made me a stronger person. I think I would probably go back, to be able to see R’s grandma one last time before she passed away and tell her how truly amazing she was and how much I adored her and listen to some more stories about all the mischief she got up to when she was younger (and maybe get some tips on pranking R and Oliver!)
7. You have the opportunity to influence the entrepreneurs of the future. What life-changing invention would you like to see on the drawing board?
Maybe some kind of pod for people who are depressed? Where they can select from a screen what they need to help them and it would happen. Like, auto sending texts if a person needs help, or providing a little nest for people who just need to hibernate or a counsellor via skype maybe?
8. I have waved a magic wand and all of your responsibilites have been taken care of for 24 hours. What are you going to do?
Wow, 24 whole hours? I’d say sleep, but I don’t think I’d be able to. Get my hair done, and my eyebrows (I’m well overdue on both of those!) then I’d probably do a bit of yoga. I’d also drink a lot of tea and probably eat chocolate and cake. I would also want to see some friends, they’d probably go along with the tea and cake part too.
9. How can parents best be empowered to properly balance a career and a family life?
I’m not sure I am the best person to answer this, but I suppose there is no right answer anyway. You do what you think is right at the time and sometimes you might look back and wish it had been different, but as long as you are doing things for the right reasons and everyone knows that then I don’t see where you can go wrong.
My father-in-law missed out on a lot of his kids lives as he worked away, but if he hadn’t we wouldn’t be able to have the big family gatherings that we have now and he wouldn’t be enjoying seeing his grandkids whenever he feels like it, having retired early. It’s all swings and roundabouts really. If he’d stayed home he might have ended up working long hours and not seeing them anyway.
10. You’re off for a night out tonight. Where will you go, what will you drink and what will be the topic of conversation?
It depends who I’m with.
Uni friends – we’d talk careers, boys, travelling and all the stupid stuff we did back in uni. We’d probably also talk marriage, kids and all the grown up stuff too. We’d be drinking cocktails and prosecco in a nice bar or we’d be in a grotty pub drinking beer. Except J, she would be drinking wine because she’s the classy one. Food would only be involved at the end of the night when we go searching for chips and cheese.
Childhood friends – we’d talk kids and very little alcohol would be consumed. They’re my bridesmaids too, so we’d probably talk weddings. I’m sure there’d be an element of gossip in there too.
With R – it would be a nice restaurant, we’d talk about Oliver, when we want to have more babies, about the future and about our house and business (and the wedding!) R would be on the red wine and I’ll be drinking vodka and cranberry juice or water. If we stay out too late R would move on to rum…and then he would be sleeping in the spare room 😉