Tell us something about yourself, your little ones and your blog.
Oh my goodness where do I start? I’m a day dreamer and have an ability to misplace (and generally do stupid things with) my keys that I challenge anyone to match. I’m a lifelong music obsessive (I think I’d rather go 7 days without water than music), huge film fan, beach lover (after being a hardened city girl pre kids) and born again runner (hilariously I’ve actually won my age category at a gruelling race which was possibly the biggest surprise in life given how I wanted to rip my own ears off whenever anyone mentioned running most of my life). I’m very ranty, too sweary and way too reactive in general (but hopefully the fact I’m also very friendly and will talk to anyone makes up for some of that). I can’t imagine a life without tea and toast although have amazingly curbed my cake addiction. I’m quite partial to my kids (girl of 12, boy of almost 10 and girl of almost 7) who are ridiculously well-behaved (to the point where they don’t provide much comedy material because there’s not much drama or bad behaviour…yet I still manage to yell at them almost every day. And I quite like my husband whom I met when I lived in Paris (although incredibly our parents actually only live ten minutes from each other). I started the blog partly so that I could use my language degree for something other than yelling ‘I don’t have a butler to switch the lights off after you’ 20 times a day and mainly so I had a legitimate excuse to show off my legendary talent for sarcasm. I’ve been blogging for three years and am in mild shock about how utterly clueless I still am about so much of it.
What were your children’s birth stories like?
At the risk of incurring wrath, I was totally terrified at the thought of natural birth (had been all my life) partly because of the pain but also as I had a very real fear of the baby being strangled by the cord (I think it may be because of it happening to an aunt when I was young). I was actually relieved when I was told at a 37 week scan that baby number 1 had to be a c-section although sadly it was because she was dangerously underweight, not thriving and breach. At that point I didn’t realise how much worse it can be when they take the baby out too early. It was 5pm, I had to be back in the next day and had barely bought anything as I was very superstitious about buying too many things for the baby before its birth and the last three weeks of kids-free coupledom were no longer to be! She came out super tiny and with the cord around her neck three times…
The next two were also breach and also had the cord around the neck. All three were c-sections. I probably would have had VBac for my son and younger daughter if we were still in the UK but Malta is c-section mad and the doctors wouldn’t hear of Vbac. Apart from the pain and longer recovery (and the attractive ‘shelf’ I now have on my tummy), frankly I believe in ‘better the devil you know’. All three births had their element of ‘drama’ (my second was born in the most hideous old-fashioned hospital that closed down months later and my third was born in the new hospital that opened afterwards which had fantastic facilities but racist nurses!!) The main thing is they got here safe and sound and I’m very blessed to have three utter angels.
What you wish you knew about being a mother, before becoming one?
To be honest, I never obsessed over this. Yes becoming a mum is obviously a total life-changing event but I was very involved in raising my siblings (very common in Indian culture) and did the whole nappy changing/weaning/everything duties when I was young so the practical side didn’t faze me once I became a mum. The rest of it…well, life is all about stages so I don’t feel it’s necessary to know much beforehand as long as you’ve done NCT classes and paid attention to what your pregnancy books say (and then take all of that with a pinch of salt and just wing it!). The rest of it, you’re going to learn anyway and the discovery/surprises are part of the parenting journey so I wouldn’t have wanted to know much beforehand even if I’d had a crystal ball.
How do you manage your “me” time?
Well I’ve always made sure I have it! We went out right from when our first was a few weeks old and I’m probably the only mum I know who didn’t cry the day her child started nursery. So I must admit the mummy guilt posts that crop up on linkies go over my head if I’m brutally honest as I just don’t think it’s healthy to spend your entire time with your kids. I was so happy to get some time on my own when my eldest started nursery and my son went from the age of five months as I needed a mental break to go for a coffee, do the shopping etc. My kids napped for years (not in one stretch ha ha…I mean they had daytime naps til the first two were about five!) because I needed that period during the day that was just for me to nap/watch some trashy TV. It’s not easy living somewhere with no family network or domestic help so admittedly I’m with my kids a lot but they’re at school during the day and are now old enough to stay home alone while I go for a run etc. so it’s all good.
Do you have any favorite anecdote of your little ones?
I know I’ll think of a whole bunch after this post gets published but can’t think of anything great right now! I can recall coming down one morning to find my eldest (then 18 months) on the kitchen floor covered from head to toe in rice krispies with the empty packet in her hand yet still maintaining she ‘didn’t do it’. My youngest is the one who comes out with randomness such as “My favourite part of the day was finding mice hair on the beach” (yeeeucch) or “Mum your eyeballs are so sparkly”. Lastly, I remember my brother picking hubby and me up from the airport and explaining how the kids had been while we’d been away for my 40th. There was loads to report on our eldest…but it took just a few seconds to describe our son: “As for D…well there is no problem that a banana can’t fix with that kid.”
What is it about motherhood you absolutely love?
I’m so bad at answering questions like this. That does NOT mean I don’t love my kids! I’m someone who always wanted three kids, got her three kids, does a lot for them (as is my duty) and never take for granted how lucky I was to have conceived first time around for all three with no heartache (apart from having a miscarriage with the very first) despite only getting started in my mid thirties. I love my kids to bits but for me motherhood is just a part of life so I’d have to say I absolutely love specific aspects of my kids as opposed to motherhood itself if that make sense? It’s the little moments: my 12 year old coming up to me and telling me I’m amazing or expressing admiration for a singer from the 70’s (take that Bieber!), my son who isn’t very tactile surprising me with a thank you hug and my youngest for just being so mellow and gentle and good natured.
On the other hand, if there is anything about motherhood you dislike what would it be?
The pressure to do and achieve pinterest perfect birthdays, Christmases, Halloweens etc. Most of my bug bears are about the issues society creates re parenting rather than motherhood: sexual images and messages in entertainment/music/beauty industry not to mention the device/iPad obsessed culture that makes it hard to raise kids to read books and be creative without resorting to a screen. And endlessly repeating myself because good as they are, they seem to be totally deaf the first time I ask them to do something.
What’s a typical day like for you and your children?
Well Monday to Friday is school routine and all that is involved in that. We’re lucky to live right near the beach so if we’re not up to our ears in homework and I’m not snowed under with the blog, we head there. Weekends are relaxed; they let me lie in and are very low key in terms of needing entertaining as they play with each other and are as happy staying home as they are heading out for a hike or to see friends.
Best advice you’ve ever received about motherhood/parenthood?
I don’t think I’ve ever received any personally. I’m the eldest of four so there were no older siblings and anyway I was very resistant to advice as it tended to be offered by overbearing relatives who I didn’t feel were great role models. This doesn’t really answer the question but two things come to mind: One is the famous line by Jackie Kennedy Onassis “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much.” and a conversation with my brother (14 years my junior) one time when I mentioned how I didn’t want my kids to have the childhood I had. (My parents did their best by us in many ways of course but ultimately they weren’t around much as they worked long hours running a shop plus other factors.) He looked straight at me and said “You have nothing to worry about; your kids are not having the childhood you had. It’s such a privilege spending time with you seeing the mother that you are.” I’ll never forget that.
If you could give yourself advice about motherhood before becoming one, what would it be?
“Prabs, for pity’s sake woman, lighten up and don’t give them a hard time about the smallest things.”
One of the best things I’ve ever read about motherhood though came a few days ago from the wonderful astute Dawn of Rhyming with Wine who commented on an honest rather emotional piece I wrote for my eldest’s 12th birthday:
“Giving birth doesn’t automatically put us on a path to sainthood, it just makes us feel that we want to be so much more than we can realistically expect to be for our children. The fact that you care enough to want those things makes you the best mother in the world”
It just blew me away.
How do you manage your time, blogging/workwise and time with your family and other activities?
Well I’ve written extensively about my struggle with this on the blog actually! I came back from my blog break determined to make some changes as I couldn’t make it all work. It’s now 1.30 am so I don’t think my resolution to keep a sensible blog schedule worked. I try to get the main bulk of it done 9 til 1 three days during the week so that I can get dinner on before fetching the kids but it rarely happens. I’m trying not to blog on weekends but I do work most evenings and I hardly ever stop at 1pm during the week. The house is the thing that suffers.
Thank you so much Prabs!
And don’t forget to click here if you’ve missed last month’s Chat with a Dad.