I haven’t had the urge to sit down and just write for a very long time. In truth, since making more videos over on youtube, its been easier to just sit in front of the camera and have a chat. Although I also haven’t been doing much of that recently either to be honest.
Having four kids is everything I thought it would be and more. I love watching them interact with each other (read that as fight when it comes to the boys), love seeing how their relationships with each other grow and its been the most amazing thing to see them with Ottilie – they all adore her – even Mason in his own funny little way. She really has completed our family in a way I never thought would be possible after losing Sophie.
On the flip side though, its mean that life has become that more manic. Having two at school and one at preschool means I spend my life in and out of the car, rushing around, trying to remember what the letter of the week is, who needs to take ‘scrap’ something or other for craft, and who has what club on what day. I would describe myself as a stay at home mum, because to most people looking in, that is what I am.
I reality though, since starting this blog three years ago, its now become something more, and led to me having opportunities to contribute to our family, in ways I never thought I would be able to. I’ve always been taught to ‘make hay whilst the sun shines’ and currently having four young children, means I have a niche that is relevant. I try and take on as much as I can realistically manage – I only have spare time during Ottilie’s morning nap and time in the evenings to do it, as I want to be present when the children are at home.
As a person I am a people pleaser. I want to give everything 100%, whether thats to my children, to my freelance work, to my channel and my blog, to my husband, and my home. Because of this I’ve been finding lately that the feeling of being overwhelmed is hitting more often.
I feel like there is this pressure for all mums that you need to stay at home, but you also need to contribute or work. You need to be able to run household and look like you’ve had 12 hours sleep and makeover at the MAC counter. There is no right or wrong when it comes to staying at home vs being a working mum – you do what is right for you. When Izzie was born I was doing 9 hour days as a dental nurse, plus travelling time. It broke my heart leaving her to go back to work and so when Ollie came along I chose to stay at home. I no longer had the guilt of leaving them, but I then took on the guilt of relying on Ell to provide for all of us.
To ease that guilt I made it my mission to become the mum who does it all. I’ve been on the committees and the PTA’S, I’ve sat down religiously at night to help with homework and reading, I pride myself on remembering things and knowing whats happening on what date – if you have school age children you’ll know what I mean when I say there is always something happening or something to remember – dress up days are the worst! I’ve made the meals from scratch and kept on top of the housework, knowing how lucky I am that I get to stay at home and have a husband who works incredibly hard so that I can.
Then I started my blog. Initially I wanted to talk about baby loss after losing Sophie at 24 weeks in 2012 and I used this platform to share our story. I feel incredibly proud knowing that those posts helped people who were going through the same thing. I also used it to record memories of the children growing up. I’ve taken part in the Me & Mine Project and The Siblings Project most months since I started, recording our growing family.
Then paid work started to come in, a lot of it freelancing for other people and I’ve loved doing it. I’ve also loved the reviews and various things we’ve been gifted over the years – I’ve provided my family with holidays, toys and so many lovely things and I’m forever grateful for all the opportunities that have come our way.
When I fell pregnant in March 2018 and when Ottilie was born in the November, I took a step back from everything – not even consciously. I’ve not uploaded many videos to youtube, I’ve hardly blogged, and the only platform i’ve regularly updated is instagram, which has become a ‘micro blog’ of sorts for me. I’ve been rubbish at taking photos and recording our memories, which is the whole reason I set out to blog in the first place.
My days consist of lots of washing and school runs, and sometimes I think its too boring and mundane to share. I’ve become conscious of what I share as I worry about being trolled. Luckily I’ve experienced that minimally although it really does upset me when I’ve been pointed in the direction of people criticising my parenting. I realise that as i put my life out there, I’m asking to be judged, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. I do know however that although i’m not a perfect mum, I know I try my best as we all do, and everything I do, I do it with my family’s best interests in mind. I may ‘dick about’ on instagram in the quiet moments, but I’m there for every assembly, every sports day, and every parents evening (last one aside as I was in labour – I think thats a solid excuse!)
I’m somehow trying to find a balance between real life and online life. I’ve had a couple messages recently questioning why Ottilie features more than the other children, why it appears I favour her. There is no truth in this at all, it simply that most of the time the older children at at school and preschool and by the time we get home, there isn’t much time for anything aside from reading, homework, playing and bath time. Also any parent will tell you that babies grow so quickly and they change everyday so it makes sense to document more of her in her first year.
My point, after all this waffling, is that I don’t have all the answers. I don’t get it right all of the time, and sometimes I’m so overwhelmed by everything that I want to do and should be doing that I cry. I tell Ell on a daily basis that I’m failing and he reassures me that I’m not – that our kids are happy and looked after and thats all that matters.
Some days I feel like I’ve got nothing done at all, that my to do list is mounting up and that I don’t want to let anyone down. Other days I feel like i’m smashing it. The other day I felt like I had one of those days where I’d done nothing of any value and then I saw this video by the wonderful Kristina Kuzmic and it resonated with me so much so I wanted to share it here…
In conclusion, I don’t know what the answer is to not being overwhelmed. I want it all – to be a full time mum and still have this space on internet for myself and our memories. All I can tell myself is that I’m doing my best, and at the end of the day that has to be good enough.
My children will hopefully grow up and remember that Mummy was always present and kisses and cuddles and I love you’s were never in short supply. I hope they know that I try my hardest for them everyday. At the end of the day, as parents that is all we can do.