Well, you may well know by now that I (Ruth) am an English teacher and am passionate about reading and especially getting children engaged in books and reading from a young age. You may also know that both Loretta and I have really rather active little mites who, although they both enjoy books, are often in need of activities that burn off a little more energy than reading, so I gave some thought to the matter and when we met up with the kids, we went on a bear hunt…
To read the rest of this post, head over to our newly launched website: www.more-than-a-mum.com
Well we do hope you’ve all noticed our fancy new banner and logo…have you? We like it a lot! And it’s all thanks to a lovely and very talented lady called Rachael Jane (@rachinald). She’s a textile designer, photographer, graphic designer, vlogger, blogger, poet and overall creative thinker. Talk about an inspiring lady!!!
The ‘Changing Face of Motherhood’ is a major research project undertaken by P&G in conjunction with the SIRC (Social Issues Research Centre). The research covered a range of topics including how today’s mums feel they’re valued by society and about raising their children compared to previous generations.
Amongst some other really interesting findings (see here) the research found that the average Mums ‘me-time’ is just 26 minutes!! They found that the majority of mums have 3-4 hours to themselves a week – the equivalent to 26 minutes a day. 64% of mums put this down to the demands of having to go out to work, while 29% say that the pressure to be a perfect mother means they feel they have less ‘me-time’.
Here at More than a Mum you’ll know by now our dual aim is to support, encourage and inspire you to be a brilliant mum AND to rediscover your identity as a woman at the same time. In order to even have a hope of fulfilling the latter goal, me-time is essential, imperative, vital etc.
Mums are so organised in so many respects because we have to be. Even if you think you’re not good at it – just take a look at your week so far… You’ve somehow managed to dress, cook for, ferry around, smile at , engage with, stimulate, love, discipline your little people all while possibly being an employee, spouse, friend, relative, lover, gardener, dog-walker at the same time!
So why don’t we schedule in time for ourselves???? Because we don’t think it’s important enough. Because we don’t think we can afford to. Because we don’t think it’s a priority. All in all, because we don’t think we’re worth it!!! Not good ladies, not good!
More than a Mum has said time and again that if we want our children to be happy and fulfilled then we need to model that for them ourselves.
We put out the challenge a few weeks back and we haven’t been checking up on you (LOL!) so here it is again – what can you plan for yourself this weekend or for this next week to remind yourself that you are ‘More than a Mum’?
Answers on a postcard – well on here and on Twitter anyway 😉
What ever you have in the house! The only must-haves are puff pastry and oil.1 quarter of a pack ready-roll puff pastry2 stips red pepper cut into small pieces2 stips green pepper cut into small pieces2 strips yellow pepper cut into small pieces1 chestnut mushroom cut into small pieces4 slices chorizo2 slices courgette cut into small pieces50g grated cheeseSmall amount of oilSmall amount of plain flour for rolling out
First roll the pastry out into a square about 20cm.Divide square into quarters and score around each square about 1-2cms in from the edge.Then load the pastry with goodies! Try to keep food inside the scoring as the pastry outside will rise.Pop in the oven for about 10 mins at 180 degrees C.
One of our aims and commitments as More than a Mum is to not only help you to be a brilliant mum but to help you rediscover your identity as a woman too. We want our posts to be practical as well as informative, constructive as well as inspiring.
I’m conscious we could easily neglect the identity issue as it is incredibly easy for us to become absorbed, and dare I say, all consumed in being parents. Sometimes without even realising it. But who are you without your child? Do you sometimes wonder what to talk about or even what to do with your hands when you don’t have your child with you? People lose their identity for all sorts of reasons; a dominating partner, a demanding career, a busy parent. However, it’s worth remembering we are only in danger of losing who we are if our identity is wrapped up ‘only’ in what we do.
As parents we long for our children’s successes to surpass our own, for them to have the opportunities we never had and we do everything in our power to help them along the way. However, as we’ve said time and time again in our posts ‘a happy and fulfilled parent equals a happy and fulfilled child’. The best thing we can do for our children is to lead by example. To live what we want to teach them – not just talk about it. Not only do we owe it to our children though, but we owe it to ourselves to reignite our passion for our dreams, to dig them up from the depths where we, or life’s pressures, have buried them and to start to construct a plan towards achieving them.
Maybe it’s been so long that you’ve forgotten your dream. Maybe you think you don’t have one anymore. I’m confident with the right kind of digging you can uncover it and be on your way to rediscovering your identity as a woman in the process.
The following steps are just for you. You don’t have to share them with anyone yet but I do encourage you to write them down to make it more real.
Step 1: What did you want to be as a little girl/boy? (Try to remember the self-belief and abandonment you had as a child – that the world was your oyster and you could do or be anything you wanted to be.)
Step 2: What would you do if you were guaranteed you wouldn’t fail?
Step 3: What do you wish you could be doing this time next year? (Your short-term goal)
Step 4: What do you wish you could be doing in 5 years time? (Your mid term goal)
Step 5: Where would you like to be and what would you want to be doing in ten years time? (Your long-term goal)
Step 6: What is something you would quite like to do that you know you can do you just haven’t got round to doing it or made time to do it?
Step 7: What would you love to do but it seems like too much hard work/effort/time?
Step 8: What’s your crazy dream you secretly would love to do but struggle to believe it’s even possible?
Step 9: Look back over all your answers so far.
– What small step could you do tomorrow towards any of these things?
– What medium step could you commit to do in the next two weeks towards any of these things?
– What big step could you take by Christmas towards any of these things?
Step 10: The important thing is to just get on and do it. Stop talking yourself out of it or looking at the obstacles or difficulties in the way – Just get started.
Wake up tomorrow and take that first tiny step.
My part-time work is in media and today I was forwarded some very interesting findings from some research by Bauer Media into the women’s market. Bauer Media own more than 80 influential radio, magazine, TV and online UK media brands, including heat, GRAZIA, Closer, FHM. The research aimed to help advertisers find new ways to influence the conversation of British women.
The research concluded that five key roles are played in women’s conversation:
- Queen Bee, the direct and unquestioned leader in the conversation – she is independent, strong minded and with lots of outward confidence, friends look to her to organise things, take charge and make group decisions when they are unsure of what to do.
- Northern Star, the indirect but respected leader – she has a mind of her own, is highly influential and has strong inner confidence. She is not the loudest in the crowd, never forces her opinion, friends turn to her for advice and guidance as she is deeply respected.
- Socialite, the catalyst for conversation or new ideas – she is lively and talkative and her friends often see her as the ‘funny one’. She gets her energy from interacting with others and doesn’t enjoy spending time on her own, often socialising with many different groups.
- Little Sister, seeks support and guidance and uses her friends’ feedback as a way to process her world and anxieties, often lacking inner confidence. She prefers to make her decisions after discussing it with friends and is happy to talk about her feelings openly.
- Social Listener, supporting and listening to others – she is often the glue that bonds a group. Her friends rely on her to listen to their feelings and support them when they have problems; she prides herself on being a good friend and puts others before herself.
The research had the following conclusions:
Three main reasons for talking have been identified – affiliation, the need for bonding and belonging; mood uplift, for entertainment and escapism; and finally, a need to be ‘in the know’, to help make decisions.
It was fun thinking about my friendship circles and trying to identify the various different roles and characters (and I’m sure you can’t help but do the same when you read it) but, it also got me thinking about the power of talking and of friendship to women. The three reasons identified in the conclusions perfectly describe the needs of every mum and indeed every woman.
When I became pregnant hardly any of my close friends had babies and one of the things I was most worried about was being lonely and isolated because I was sure I wouldn’t have a thing in common with typical mummy-types and couldn’t stand the thought of a mums and toddlers group. I attended NCT classes just to be more informed about the birth and what to expect and inwardly rolled my eyes when most of the other mums expressed their reason for attending – to make friends with other new mums! What would I, a singer, radio presenter and former baby-phobe, have in common with any of them? The answer was and is a resounding ‘A LOT’ and in more ways than just the fact that we have children of the same age.
My mummy-friends turned out to be my biggest cheerleaders of my outside mummy achievements, supporters when times were tough, feeders of cake when things were desperate and providers of laughs and wine at book club (as you heard from Ruth earlier this week). These ladies are not just my friends they are my heroes. We have laughed together, cried together, shared failures and celebrated successes together. I had no idea as a pregnant first time mum what a lifeline these women were going to turn out to be. The understanding of a mum who is going through the same sleep-deprived-madness of that first year of motherhood is unsurpassable. I guess I may have still secretly wondered if the friendships would drop off when we began to more resemble our pre-baby selves when the kids turned one year. But, I am pleased and proud to say we still regularly meet 2 years later and my mummy-friends have become ‘friends’ even without the mummy part.
To look at us we are like a carefully picked sample of all kinds of professions, cultures, religions, backgrounds and world-views and there are less than a dozen of us. It’s a beautiful mix of life experiences and outlooks and makes for fun and stimulating company. I cringe now at my judgemental assumptions before I got to know my mummy-friends and I’m just grateful they didn’t have the same narrow-minded view of me.
It amazes me to think that it’s my mummy-friends who most help me to remember I’m more than a mum!