My third ‘honest conversation’ is with my good friend Louisa. I’ll leave her to tell you how we met but to give you an idea of just how wonderful she is… Pete is away this weekend and I’m not very well, so I’m currently in bed whilst she, and her husband, have both my boys, as well as their girls.
Who are you?
I am Louisa, a stay at home mum to two beautiful girls aged 3 and 6 months and wife to my darling husband of 6 years. We live in Reading with our naughty, loud, ageing Pug. Before becoming a mum I was a Merchandiser which is ‘Retail’ speak for person who does lots of spreadsheets. I’m now looking for a new career, dabbling in a few things including my own blog, upcycled kids clothing company, NCT volunteer as newsletter editor as well as training to be a breastfeeding peer supporter.
How do we know each other?
I met Annie through Mummy Social which is basically online-dating for mums. At the time I had an extremely energetic almost 2 year old. I’d met plenty of mums that would say – ‘Oh yes. Mine’s the same’. Then my crazy erratic child would scare them away (I mean it could have been me? It’s not fair to blame it all on her!). Then I met Annie! It was a match made in heaven! Her little boy was ‘actually’ as crazy as mine! They’ve been the best of friends since, which is great as I adore Annie and we all have such fun together, even our calm second children are seemingly buddies!
What thing do you love most about parenthood?
The little ‘non’-moments that make you smile. It might be a cheeky little smile from my baby, my three year old playing nicely with her friend, a sweet interaction between the two of them, my baby reaching out for me or her sister offering to help me with which ever mundane task I’m working on. These small moments are what get me through the day. They aren’t big milestones, life-changing events, nor even noteworthy to anyone else but these small precious moments make me smile and fill my heart with happiness.
What thing do you find hardest about parenthood?
It’s a tie between the constant struggle to keep on top of things and both children screaming and vying for my attention.
It’s hard to switch off from parenting, especially as a full-time mum, they are literally always there. Someone always wants/needs something yet at the same time (at the very least) shopping, cooking, washing need to be done. I never feel I am on top of things. There is constantly a mental list in my head and every short free moment is a rush to try to tick off as many things as possible. The list gets longer and shorter, but it is never done.
Also being screamed at by two children when I absolutely have to spend 30 seconds putting clothes on makes me want to scream into a pillow or burst into tears.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
My Mum. My Mum was my absolute hero. The most incredible person I will ever know. She was so kind and selfless. I feel incredibly lucky to have grown up with such an amazing role model.
What is the greatest accomplishment of your life so far?
What do you value most in a friendship?
An understanding that friendships are still important as a parent. Life is so busy, it’s very easy to get wrapped up in being ‘Mum’. But it’s important to maintain friendships through the stress of motherhood. It’s great to have something for you outside of mum life.
What is something that is guaranteed to make you cry?
What is your most sad memory?
When my husband and I got engaged my mum was in hospital, she had pancreatic cancer. We went to visit her and to tell her the news (although she already knew as my husband had been to ask permission), at that moment it was all very exciting. We were allowed to take her out for the day to look at venues. Soon after she was being treated at home, I had an appointment at a dress shop, at that point she had deteriorated and would spend days asleep. She’d asked the nurses to help pick out an outfit for our trip and had it laid out ready when I arrived. But unfortunately she wasn’t able to make it. My Sister-in-Law came and she took pictures so we could show her. The next morning she woke and was ready to go, I had to explain that it was yesterday and we had already been, that was the moment I knew my Mum wasn’t going to make it to my wedding. She passed away a couple of weeks later.
When did you last cry?
Writing the answer to the last question
What one thing do you wish people would talk about more?
How hard parenting is at times. One of my best friends opened up to me yesterday exclaiming how hard she was finding everything. It was a revelation! Yes! Me too! Kids can be utter a-holes at times. We both smiled feeling a little better that we weren’t alone and planned a ‘mum date’, the kind with no kids and light daytime drinking.
Parenting is tough. It is wonderful. But it can be really hard. We are all struggling at times but there is a fear of speaking out. It can feel like if you are not ‘loving every minute’ it may be interpreted as ungrateful or not loving our children. If we were all a bit more honest about the tough times there wouldn’t be so much pressure to appear perfect.
What are the most amazing things you’ve achieved in the last year?
I grew a(nother) person inside of my tummy! I survived 6 months as a mum of two!
Thanks so much Louisa for your honesty and openness. I loved reading your answers.
If you want to connect Louisa (she’s awesome, why wouldn’t you?!) then you can find her at her blog One Little Bear, or connect with her on facebook TwoLittleBearsUK and instagram @twolittlebearsuk.
Plus, check out her new upcycled kid’s clothing: @_dinosaurvintage_ and on Etsy DinosaurVintageUK.
Which part of this conversation struck you most as you read it?
Which question would you find hardest to answer? Why not share the answer to that question with someone today?