My Mum #14. Meet Katie Boon

saddleworth tameside family photographer

Meet Katie so grab a cuppa and enjoy my fourteenth installment of My Mum Story!

I am Mum to….

Evie who has just turned 4 and Klara who has just turned 1.

The best bits about being a Mum are….

I feel super lucky to be a Mum and watch these little girls grow into strong women. I love watching their milestones and sharing in their laughter (and tears) and helping them find their way.
I also love the fact we get to do lots of fun things like go to Eureka and play in the snow at the Chill Factor which we didn’t do before babies. They have both shown me what is important in life and to take my time and worry less. I think they often teach me more than I teach them.

The most challenging bits about being a Mum are….

I have always been a worrier and since having them I worry less about other things but I worry a lot about them. I worry about schools, other kids, whether they had a good day, whether I could be a better Mum.

I also find I feel guilty a lot, guilty for shouting or having a house day rather than doing something exciting. My friend once told me though that feeling guilty makes you a good Mum, it shows you care!

My other worst bit is making pack lunches honestly I don’t know why but I hate making them!!

The best piece of advice I could give other mums is….

I learnt the second time to not feel rushed the first few weeks they arrive. Not to feel pressure to put your makeup on, go out or do all the jobs (I learned the hard way with Evie).

Also to try and make your life as easy as possible, we learnt a lot of things with Evie and Klara is definitely the easier baby. Maybe it’s because we are more relaxed or because we choose our battles!

Also don’t be scared to say No!! You can’t be everything to everybody sometimes you need to be a little bit selfish and that’s okay.

Since I’ve become a Mum I….

I have learnt we have one life and we need to enjoy it. You can’t go back and relive days as much as you want to.

When I had Evie I worked for myself as a Recruitment Manager but this was a 7 day a week job and just didn’t fit in with Evie. I moved to becoming a European Recruitment Manager for a Global Oil Company but this involved lots of travel and although it was part time it was taking over everything trying to communicate with Australia in the morning and the US in the evening.

While on maternity leave with Klara I retrained as a makeup artist and decided to do this full time. I really enjoy working, meeting new people and often helping other people feel happy and confident. The role fits around my girls and for the second time I am my own boss!

My best mum photo is this one because….

it is the photo is the first time Evie met Klara, Klara was 6 hours old!

My Mum Story Katie B makeup

My Mum #13. Meet Nicola Seward

saddleworth tameside family photographer

I have to start by saying Nic is my wonderful sister!  She is the most selfless and helpful person I know and despite our physical distance, our friendship is one of the things I value most as a Mum.  I am proud to introduce her story to you all today….

 

Nic is aged 35 and a first time Mum and wife to Carl. Lover of Everton Football Club, food and family, Nic is a teacher and loves trying to make a positive contribution to the lives of young people. Apart from family days out, if she’s not at the match Nic loves nothing better than going to the pub for a few beers and to read the paper with her best friend and husband Carl.

I am Mum to….

Peter, who turns one this month!

The best bits about being a Mum are….

Being lucky enough to spend every day with my boy and to watch him smile, laugh and get so excited at the small things we take for granted! Peter is such a happy little boy. He is forever smiling and giggling and I can’t help but laugh and be silly with him! I am gob smocked at how much he changes every single day and I love watching his face as he does new things for the first time! I have also really enjoyed going to all of the different baby groups, meeting other Mums and watching Peter interact, chat and laugh with other babies.

I am so proud to have the responsibility of nurturing another human being. I also love being a family unit and watching the change in my husband Carl. Although very excited to become a Father, when I was pregnant Carl would say “I won’t be pulling any silly faces or making silly noises!” How wrong he was! He can make farmyard animals with the best of them and is the king of accents when reading books! The love I see between Carl and Peter every day blows me away. He is the best Father to Peter that I could ever have hoped for and I could watch them play together and listen to them laughing all day long.

The most challenging bits about being a Mum are….

I know that big challenges lie ahead, but I feel as though we have already overcome one of our greatest challenges in coping with Peter arriving 6 weeks early. Nothing could have prepared me for being told that our little boy was to be taken to the Special Care Baby Unit when he was a couple of hours old and being separated for the first 5 days of his life.

It was extremely difficult caring for Peter on the Neonatal ward. It was so tough to watch him in his incubator, not being able to just pick him up and give him a cuddle. This was heightened through our separation, as I was up on the maternity ward, watching families take their beautiful newborns home in time for Christmas.  It was fantastic when we got to take him home, but again very difficult as we did not understand the complexities surrounding having a premature baby.

I would take Peter out in the pram and I couldn’t go anywhere without being stopped and being told how tiny Peter was. We went for Peter’s six week check at the Doctor’s and he wasn’t meeting the necessary milestones and I went home very upset. It was only after doing some research that I realised that this was perfectly normal as Peter should still be in the womb! The research I did helped us a lot and gradually with the support Peter was given by a number of professionals he started to thrive and we have never looked back!

The best piece of advice I could give other mums is….

I have learnt so much since becoming a Mum that I want to cheat and give two pieces of advice.

Do not compare your baby’s development to other babies the same age!

Before I did my research surrounding premature babies, I stopped taking Peter to baby groups. It upset me when people would look at me in shock when they asked how old he was. I would look at babies of the same age and wonder why Peter could not do the same things as them.

We waited 15 weeks for Peter’s first smile! When he smiled for the first time it was the best thing ever! This was a turning point for me and I told myself I would never worry again, Peter will do everything in his own time and so far I’ve been right! Why rush such a precious time, cherish every moment, you only get it once! Every baby is completely unique and will do things when they are ready.

Listen to the advice of other’s but listen with caution!

I always remember when I was pregnant our Bev’s advice was DON’T READ FORUMS (she will laugh when she reads this!) However, in the early weeks when I was worrying about Peter, the Facebook premature baby support groups were a lifeline to me. Reading the stories of other Mum’s who were going through the same as me was invaluable and helped me to learn so much and feel so much better.

We were also so lucky to have the support of so many professionals through the fantastic NHS and of course my amazing sister and own Mum, all who gave us advice which has been so helpful. However, you know your own baby and Mama always knows best!

Since I’ve become a Mum I….

Have become much more assertive. Wo betide anyone that is bad mannered, provides poor service or does not take me seriously, especially where Peter is concerned! I am coming for you! I thought I was pretty good before, but now I really don’t know what has come over me. I say it how it is and will always challenge what I think is wrong!

Since becoming a Mum I have took time to reflect on just how lucky I am. I have a wonderful family which includes the most amazing husband and son and a fantastic set of friends. When I was pregnant I was firmly in the camp of “I will go to baby groups for the baby, but I won’t make friends with anyone as I have enough friends!” My attitude has completely changed and whenever I walk into a baby group now, there is always someone I know and can go and share stories with. Sharing experiences and ideas has been great, but I always take it with a pinch of salt when you meet that one Mum whose baby never wakes up in the night, never cries and is a genius!

My best mum photo is this one because….

I have cheated again as I have two! The first is the day we came home from hospital on Boxing Day. We will treasure this memory forever! The second is Peter’s first proper smile! I’m sure you will agree it’s a belter!

 

My Mum #12. Meet Drew Fivey

saddleworth tameside family photographer

Drew is a 23 year old mama and runs her own little business from home where she is passionate about creating beautiful spaces for little ones to dream, play and imagine. Drew love all thing Scandinavian and is a sucker for a packet of dairy milk chocolate buttons (family sized of course).

 

I am Mum to….

my 15 month old son, Rowan.

The best bits about being a Mum are….

I’d say the best thing about being a mum is all those little moments that really are the big moments.. those little kisses in the morning, the first time they say your name, when they come over for a story and a snuggle.. he’s just my little bestie and makes me laugh every day!

The most challenging bits about being a Mum are….

Falling pregnant in my final year at uni and then adapting to motherhood has a graduate has been really tough for me. I think you almost have life planned out in your head that you’re going to find a fantastic job and get yourself out there but motherhood almost puts all of that on pause. It’s been really difficult for me adapting to being in the house with no one really to talk to but a toddler. But I’d say it’s taken until now to realise that although lots of my friends are “getting on with their lives” – motherhood is the best thing that could have happened in mine.

The best piece of advice I could give other mums is….

To get yourself out there. I almost got stuck in a bit of a rut in the early phases of motherhood where I became obsessed over routine and found myself struggling with anxiety. I definitely think going to baby groups and meeting other mums, even if it’s just for one hour a morning really helped me unwind and realise there’s hundreds of other mums out there feeling the exact way that I am.

Since I’ve become a Mum I….

So many aspects of my life have changed since becoming a mum. I’ve learned how to change a nappy, survive on no sleep, make a cup of tea with one hand etc.. but I’d say the most important thing I’ve learnt is how to love myself whilst giving all of my love to another. In the busy life of being a mum, it’s so important to remember to focus on yourself, your own state of mind and your own basic needs – even if it’s just taking 10 minutes out for a peaceful bath or trying something out that you used to love. Its really easy when becoming a new mum to lose your sense of identity so it’s really important to make sure you do something just for you too!

My best mum photo is this one because….

It reminds me of the days we would sofa snuggle all day! There’s absolutely no chance of that happening now… he’d rather be climbing I the fireplace or pulling out the shoe rack or causing mischief elsewhere!

 

My Mum Story Drew Fivey

THE TRUTH: What is it actually like to run your own photography business

out and about mummy oldham

Social media has a way of portraying the simplicity of business

When you scroll through Facebook, do you see those sponsored ads from business gurus enthusiastically explaining how they quit their 9-5 job and in within a year was living their dream life, able to work for just a few sections of the year and then spend the rest of the year travelling with their family?  Similarly, do you read in the paper the people who found their niche overnight and created a new business that runs itself?

In reality for the vast majority of us, this is horse poo!

Deciding to set up business and then having the guts, determination, tenacity and bravery to launch, let alone continue to run a business for any length of time takes more effort than you would know.  Unless of course, you run your own successful business.  Up to 91% of businesses fail in their first year yet here I am today on 6th October 2018 celebrating three years since Inspired By Joseph launched.  I am so proud and I want to shout this from the rooftops everything I have achieved more or less on my own!

Why I decided to take the biggest risk of my life and leave my established career behind me

Before kids became a part of my world, I’d built up a very successful career in marketing.  I’d worked for some of the biggest brands in the UK including Halifax, Sainsburys, Bupa and most recently Manchester Airport Group when I became Head of Airline Marketing at 29. I’d enjoyed a place on the prestigious Marketing Academy, travelled well (both in and out of work) and wanted for nothing but all was not right.  There was something missing.  Kids.

Traditionally, they say that kids change your life but for me, the transition to motherhood was astronomical.  Even today, I still struggle to explain the transformation in me that I just can’t put into words.  I vowed I wanted to create a life that put me much more in control of doing what I wanted to do, on my terms and when I was able to take redundancy, I knew that the opportunity for me to create the life that I wanted to lead was right under my nose.

Adding kids into the mix made it tougher

Deciding to step away from the corporate world was an easier decision than I imagined but the worry of money, what people would think of me and how I could create something from nothing gave me more sleepless nights than I care to mention.  Oh and did I mention that at this time I was pregnant with Victoria too?  Consequently, I decided I must do this now, despite the hormonal fluctuations I was feeling!  At the end of the day, yes I could fail but I’d regret it if I didn’t give it a go.

Mamma with baby in a sling looking to the distance

The early days as an Oldham photographer were some of the toughest days of my life

So, looking after a one year old with baby number two in my tummy, I found the courage and energy (I’m still not sure how!) to write a business plan, create my brand and set up my website.  I decided to name my business Inspired by Joseph as it was my first born, Joseph, who 100% inspired me by his own presence to do this!  Conversely these things took an age to do and every day I questioned whether I should wait until Victoria was born but I knew if I did, I would never do it.

Many people think it’s easy for me to do all of the marketing side of things but much of the implementation I was years out of date as my most recent roles were much more strategic so it was actually like going back to school.   I plucked up the courage to ring a fellow member of the Marketing Academy, Jonny Miles Prouten, who had gone through the same transition very successfully and took all of his hints and tips on board.  I ordered business cards and flyers, purchased my business insurance and was ready to go.

For days and days I put off launching.  I was afraid of failure.  I was afraid people would wonder how I could move from marketing to photography.  Then I pondered ‘sod it’ and pressed go!

Inspired By Joseph logo

Inspired By Joseph begins!

Initially, the reaction was positive.  Friends and family seemed very supportive.  I ran a competition on social media to win a photo session with me.  A few friends believed in me and bought discounted packages to help me increase my experience.  Each time I was more nervous than I ever imagined possible but I was actually enjoying myself!  I remember climbing up a hill full of wet autumn leaves and a client saying, be careful, you have a baby in your tummy!

Victoria was born and I took the brave and very risky decision to not take any new business.  The whole point of creating Inspired By Joseph was that I could create the life I want to lead so I had to have faith that I could pick up where I left off.  I couldn’t live with the regret of missing those first nine months with a new baby.  Of course, I used this time to improve my photography skills!

Reality hits home after maternity!

Getting back into the swing of things took more tenacity than I knew I possessed.  With two small children and the usual potty training, weaning and the like, it meant that my focus on my business was very limited. From this point right up to today, the amount of times I have had to bite my tongue when people have called me a ‘stay at home Mum’ never ceases to amaze me!  Because I am so visible in the day, taking Victoria swimming, doing most of the school pick up and drop offs, visiting the park etc, most people think I don’t work.

Truth is, I work every single day.  I do at least one small thing every day to move my business forward.  The difference is that my working day usually starts at 7pm when the kids are asleep and to be honest, I am usually pretty knackered myself!  I laugh now as I reminisce on the many late night chats I have created with other Mum’s in particular, a big shout out goes to Bert who just gets it and has provided many words of wisdom along the way.  This is me knowing I have to fit my tax return in soon!!

inspired by joseph

Onwards and upwards

Usually, winter time is quiet in the world of photography and this time last year, I had hardly any bookings after a pretty successful summer.  I worried that I wasn’t going to be able to make this work financially.  I tried loads of things to secure bookings but at one point went nearly three months without a booking.  Thankfully, through hard work, grit and determination, I am (hopefully) over those times now and am pleased to report that this winter I am pretty much booked up until Christmas in between my holidays and planned Christmas activities with the kids.  It is this fact that made me decide to write this blog to show that despite the good and the bad times, three years on and I am still here!

And here are a few of my all time favourite photos, professionally and personally!  This has been very hard to do as I would like to have included more!!!

When I was in the corporate world, I was always ‘that’ employee who went into their annual appraisal with a HUGE list of accomplishments and results.  It’s like a drug for me, it keeps me going and focuses me on what can be done.  Consequently, I took a few minutes out to think about some of the amazing things I have achieved so far with Inspired By Joseph.

I always have far more ideas than time (so 2019, watch this space!) but given how I have managed to achieve this with two small children, I am more than happy!  I would therefore like to say a huge thank you to all of the people who have helped me to achieve some of these brilliant initiatives I have been able to try.  For me, the actual art of taking photos is just a snippet of my business model.  Being a helpful Oldham photographer is just as important:

The things I am super proud of!

I have:

  • Ran several photo challenges for adults and a six week summer holiday version for children, now in it’s second year!
  • Told my story of how I have taken a photo every day since I found out I was pregnant (so as of today, that is 1609) and I thank Saddleworth Independent for supporting local news stories every time.
  • Wrote 124 blog posts (no easy or quick task, trust me!) on my client stories and also how to be a better photographer yourself.
  • Celebrated World Kindness Day at Grandpa Greens. I hosted complimentary parent and baby photos and gave a masterclass on how to take better photos of your kids.  At the same time, I collected more baby clothes to give to charity than I ever expected.
  • Took photos at local playgroups including Delph Tots and Jelly Tots.
  • Hosted a masterclass for children at Little Owl Farm and was blown away with the improvement I saw right in front of my eyes!
  • Encouraged more Mums to get in more photos with #my18in18 initiative on Instagram to encourage more Mum’s to get photos of just them – no kids!!  (There is still time to get involved ladies!!)
  • I have redesigned my website myself (but I will always be ever so grateful to Gemma from Buiness Gem for her fabulous input and support with my previous website which she took on from scratch knowing nothing about it!).
  • Shared my favourite recipes for time starved Mums and Dads including my best weaning recipes.
  • Shared other Mum Stories to help us share experiences and ideas on this journey we call parenting.
  • Launched my annual Christmas advent calendar, full of hints and tips for photography in the festive season.
  • Created a suite of personalised scrabble frames which are increasing in popularity.

But most importantly…..

That doesn’t account for all of the wonderful clients who have believed and invested in me in the past three years.  I genuinely have no words for you except thank you!  Without you, your kind words and your support in helping me to grow my lovely little business, I would be nothing…..  You are the reason I can pay my bills.  You are the reason I get to reinvest in myself and train to be an even better photographer.  You contribute to the local economy and small businesses.  Thank you xxx

Oh and finally, thank you to my other half Jonny who is the person who knows me the most and always supports me whatever I want to do…..  I am sorry that we never get time together of an evening but it will change one day, I promise! x

My Mum Stories – taken over by Dads #3!

My Mum Story Keith Orson

My Mum Story has been taken over by Dad’s in the run up to Father’s Day!

In the run up to Father’s Day, here’s the third Dad installment of My Mum Stories.  So, let me introduce to you my very own dear and beloved dad, Peter Lam.  Until you become a parent yourself, you really don’t get to appreciate how much time, effort and love goes into bringing up kids.  I am ever so thankful to my Dad (and my Mum) for taking the approach that they did to raise me, letting me make my own decisions, follow our own path and supporting us with everything we did (even if they didn’t agree, which they often wouldn’t have told us anyway!) and for spending so much time with us as kids.  So, I am proud to present, my Dad!!

What is the best thing about being a dad?

It’s the bond between a father and child and the undying instant love from birth that you never knew existed.  Hard to describe but so amazing!

The most challenging bits about being a Dad?

Finding the right balance between discipline and your child’s acceptance that Dad is right ( most of the time ).  *An edit from Bev is as follows….. Also knowing when to say the money tree is bare! 🙂

The best piece of advice I could give other dads is…..

Be patient.  There are always other children worse than yours and as they grow you realise how good your children are.  Manners matter.  They cost nothing but have a massive impact!  One of the biggest lessons in life!

Since I’ve become a Dad I’ve… 

Realised that its not a text book life to bring children in to this world. It’s certainly not easy but the rewards outweigh all those times you could scream!  Very often and certainly for my kids, it’s Mum who is the major factor in bringing up children so credit to Mum’s!!

My best photo is this one…

 

My Mum Stories – taken over by Dads #2!

My Mum Story Keith Orson

My Mum Story has been taken over by Dad’s in the run up to Father’s Day!

In the run up to Father’s Day, here’s the second Dad installment of My Mum Stories.  So, let me introduce Darren Edwards dad of 2, Jacob, 4 and Ivan, 1.

What is the best thing about being a dad?

For me personally, the best thing about being a Dad has been the increased sense of purpose and meaning that they have brought into to my life.  Having little people that love you unconditionally and without an agenda is something that nothing else in the world compares against, having little people that look to you for fun, comfort and direction is the best.

The most challenging bits about being a Dad?

In these early years the most challenging aspect about being a Dad is probably the mental carnage that’s caused by sleep deprivation and the increased worry that follows the arrival of little ones.  I can live without the social aspects and even the ‘me time’ in life quite well, but what wreaks havoc is sleep deprivation and the toll is can take on you sense of normality and your personal relationships.  The absent mindedness, sniping and edginess that flows in the first few years is probably one of the largest contributors to relationship break downs you hear about just after a couple has had a child.

The best piece of advice I could give other dads is…..

The best piece of advice I can give to any dad is to always be there to support your family first and foremost but keep a very close watch on your mental sanctity.

Go to bed as early as you can (I didn’t do this and it wasn’t not pretty after a while) – Yes, turn into your ‘early to bed parents’, there is a reason they did and we are not all zombies.

Let other people help you to raise your kids and to look after your children, pay for it if you have no family and friends around and you can afford it, this leads on to my last piece of advice – Make time for yourself, because you become a fairly sad and disengaged individual when you are only spending time with yourself and your family.  So, don’t forget that you exist, have purpose and a life journey of your own.

Since I’ve become a Dad I’ve… 

Since I’ve become a dad, I’ve become more aware of maximizing opportunities to do new and interesting things.  I have fair less personal time and less money than ever, so the importance of ‘providing’ seems to be at the forefront of any decision or direction.  But despite this my life is rich with fun, caring, silliness and love and the only thing I’d change about being a dad would be having even more energy to do even more as a dad.

My best photo is this one…

My dad Story Darren Edwards

 

My Mum Stories – taken over by Dads!

My Mum Story Keith Orson

My Mum Story has been taken over by Dad’s in the run up to Father’s Day!

I’ve decided to switch things up a bit in the run up to Father’s day!  The next few stories will be from Dad’s to celebrate the amazing work they do too!  So, let me introduce Keith Orson, dad of 2, Sam 3 and Lauren, 2.

What is the best thing about being a dad?

So far (being that my two are 2 & almost 4 years old), it’s the transition from talking and gesturing at them, to having a conversation with them. Sam our eldest is great with his speech and understanding, Lauren I’m sure will be quick follow, no doubt to the point where Sam can’t get a word in. I regularly do the school and nursery pickup on the way home and those few minutes are great to see if they can properly recall their day’s activity. It’s also amazing (and scary) how much and how quickly they pick things up…

The most challenging bits about being a Dad?

Finding enough time to achieve everything, not just entertaining the family but keeping on top of everything else… Never has the joke about going to work for a rest been more true than since entering parenthood.

The best piece of advice I could give other dads is…..

I guess the cliché is to say ‘make the most of it whilst they’re young’ but it’s true, they really do grow up so fast! Also, get a good coffee machine and make sure you have a secret stash of chocolate & biscuits somewhere!

Since I’ve become a Dad I’ve… 

Put on a few pounds, gone grey(er), bought a more sensible car, gone to bed earlier, got out of bed earlier, mastered the art of the car boot nappy change, accepted that just because I’ve tidied the house it doesn’t mean it won’t look like a bomb’s gone off 5 minutes later & made some memories that will stay with me forever.

My best photo is this one…

My Mum story - Keith Orson

My Mum #8. Meet Kate Hayes

saddleworth tameside family photographer
I am Mum to....

Emily Kate Hayes, 7 and a half months old

The best bits about being a Mum are....

Watching our little girl change every single day! It is just incredible to see her personality develop, sense of humour evolve and determination grow. I love seeing bits of us both in her. She is the image of Daddy, has even started saying ‘Dada’ but she’s feisty like me and I wonder how I’ll cope with that when she gets older! We laugh everyday and she is honestly such good company. I had no expectations about feeding. If I could, I could, if I couldn’t, I couldn’t. Fed is best! As it happened, I could and I have to say I have really enjoyed it. In the main It’s been a very positive experience and such a special time, it took me by surprise. Being 1/3 of Team Hayes! Creating a human with someone you love is a miracle; it is a privilege to be a parent. For me, some of the best bits about being a Mum is sharing it with Dad. Spending time as a family is the best and sharing our hobbies with Emily will hopefully encourage her own sense of adventure.

The most challenging bits about being a Mum are....

Emily has been a relatively ‘easy’ baby and I think we have taken it all in our stride so far. I think the most challenging bit is yet to come... In four weeks I go back to work full time as a teacher with a senior position in school. I enjoy my job, I always have and I am not dreading going back. However, I worry that I will be able to have a work / life balance and continue to be a good mum and do what is best for our daughter. Whatever I do, I try my best. It’s not in my nature to do anything half hearted, but will I be able to give 100% to everything? Will something have to give? I do believe if you want something you have to work hard for it and that’s exactly what I’ll have to do. My husband is my rock, we are a team and I know I couldn’t do it without him. It maybe challenging but we will make it work, we always do. I’ll miss Emily like mad but will make every second of family time precious. I know as a working mum who enjoys her career, I will be a positive role model for Emily.

The best piece of advice I could give other mums is....

I worried before Emily came, we didn’t have much experience with babies but when people say you will know what to do, you really do! Read, listen and talk for support but always go with your instinct, you know your child better than anyone. My other advice is to do something you enjoy for yourself. I went back to playing netball and badminton after 5 weeks. This was challenging as Emily wouldn’t take a bottle at the time so I literally fed, pegged it, played sport, bombed it home ready for another feed! It was totally worth it, I need to exercise and this has helped me feel mentally and physically well postpartum and I am definitely a better mum because of it.

Since I’ve become a Mum I....

Become part of the nappy police, how much poo, what colour poo, how often poo! Often smelt of sick! Not sure you can ever become immune to that smell!! Felt like a cow! Learnt lots of nursery rhymes Enjoyed the guilty pleasure of an afternoon nap! Gained lots more patience Thought about consequences more Worried more Made courgette muffins!!! (Amongst tonnes of other weaning recipes!) Realised I am physically and mentally much stronger than I ever thought I was. Definitely become a better person Realised it’s the best job in the world!

My best mum photo is this one because....

It was our first family holiday snowboarding in France! Emily loved every minute of it and came on so much during the week. She loved the snow! Nanny and Grandad got to spend some quality time with her, we had fun as a family and Mummy and Daddy got to be Kate and Matt too! For me this photo sums up the importance of balance - I think that’s what hopefully makes me a good mum. Time for Emily, time for family, time for Daddy, time for me.  
My Mum Story Kate Hayes

My Mum #7. Meet Michelle Asquith

saddleworth tameside family photographer

My Mum Story #7.  Meet Michelle Asquith!

Michelle is a 47 year old (mad woman) mum of 3, her words not mine!  Michelle is married to the very tolerant Steve, loves the smell of cakes baking in the oven and a freshly mowed lawn, not at the same time! Spring makes Michelle happy and fills her with excitement as to what the summer will bring. Her children are my world.

I am Mum to….

Charlotte 21, Olivia 19 and Oscar 3.

The best bits about being a Mum are….

With having two older girls I find such joy in watching them with their little brother. Well, just Charlotte at the moment, Olivia is studying in Georgia. We all chat on face time so Olivia can see Oscar and Charlotte sends Olivia snap chats of him all the time. We all miss her.
I adore watching them, how they interact with other people from work colleagues to children at nursery. I stand in awe, sometimes unable to quite believe I’ve brought them into the world. I am so proud and filled with anticipation of where their paths will lead. To have such a big gap between them has made me more tolerant. I have more patience and I try to embrace and enjoy every second they’re around me. Watching Oscar grow, develop and learn is fascinating, like I’ve never done it before. Time goes so fast. I’m still learning and it’s a pleasure.

The most challenging bits about being a Mum are….

When they (the girls) wind each other up….. I used to step in between them, tell them to stop (at the point where they were ready to pull hair or throw a punch). Now they’re too big for me to get involved! I just shut the door and let them get on with it!
I find being an older mum to Oscar challenging physically. Sometimes just bed time routine can be hard work though I wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s all worth it, even the inquisitive mind as he’s listening to me reading a book. I’m ready for bed myself and yet he’s still a million miles an hour. Bless him.

The best piece of advice I could give other mums is….

If they don’t sleep…. do what you need to do to get through the night. Even if that means letting them sleep with you.
If they have a tantrum….. make them safe, step over them, leave them to where you can still see them. Give them a few minutes to settle down themselves.
If they don’t eat the ‘right stuff’, don’t stress. Try to put the good stuff in front of them when you can.
If the ‘in laws’ know best…. remember, you’re the mum!
If the person on the bus or in the shop tuts at you for your child’s behaviour, just smile, stay calm and breathe. You’re the Mum!
Above all, every day take a few moments to see what you have. Your children are a gift. You only get them once and trust me, it goes far too fast!

Since I’ve become a Mum I….

Actually, I’m 47…… I can’t remember!!!
No, really…..
I’ve lived in 5 houses, collected dogs, ducks, hamsters, chickens and rabbits alongside children!
Had a beauty business for 20years. Now run a Pro Shop at a golf club.
Play golf when I can.
Performed in many a production, even at the Palace theatre in Manchester!
Danced until….
I had major hip surgery (it’s not worked…. watch this space). I can still dance the Argentine Tango with Steve. When I can no longer do that I’ll be one very unhappy dancer!
Had a C section with Oscar, which nearly ended our lives. I said my goodbyes going into theatre. Thank the Lord we lived to tell the tale!
I’ve watched my mum go through Breast cancer. She is an amazing woman, 74 and puts me to shame!
Having children made me.
I had my girls for 18 years then along came my boy! They’ve turned my world upside down. I’ve been through divorce, heartache, sadness, pain and happiness I’ve held hands, wiped tears, been nursemaid, house wife, cleaner, cook and everything else in between.
Women are the eternal peace keepers. I’m proud to be one of them!

My best mum photo is this one because….

It has my kids in it!

 

My Mum Story - Michelle Asquith

Other blog posts you might find useful:

My Mum story#5.  Meet Susan Rushworth

Did your #bestnine2017 photos have the same problem as mine?

My Mum Story

My Mum #6. Meet Chrissy Hampshire

saddleworth tameside family photographer

My Mum Story #6.  Meet Chrissy Hampshire!

The feedback from My Mum Stories has been fab so here’s Mum Story #6 for you!

I am Mum to….

Sam 3 and a half, Lauren 2. (Oh and not forgetting Jenson the dog who is 8 but still thinks he’s a puppy, particularly when running round with the other two!)

The best bits about being a Mum are….

Watching my beautiful family grow and change everyday. My children never fail to make me laugh, especially Sam’s never-ending commentary on life. Even when the questions drive me mad I can’t help but marvel at how such little people can be so enthusiastic and interested by the everyday stuff.

I love family days out – somewhere where we can all go together and wrap up warm and go for a long walk trudging through muddy puddles or to the seaside to play on the beach.

The most challenging bits about being a Mum are….

Sleep deprivation – I definitely drink more coffee these days! And constantly questioning yourself about whether you’re doing the right thing or handling tantrums the best way or if they’re eating enough vegetables… That can easily become a minefield! There’s so many ways to do everything that it’s about finding what works for your own family.

The best piece of advice I could give other mums is….

‘This too shall pass’ – when the sleepless nights, or the breastfeeding troubles or any challenging stages seem like they will never end, remember they won’t be that way forever. So what if your baby is teething and has slept (safely!) in your bed for two weeks straight? It doesn’t mean that they will be there till they’re 18. Do what works for you and that you feel comfortable with to get through each challenging stage.

Trust your judgement and don’t feel like you’ve got to take anyone’s advice (because people will give it whether you want it or not! Haha)

And do not be afraid to ask for help – it takes a village to raise a child, so if your best friend offers to take the baby for a walk so you can shower and take a nap – great! You will feel so much better and happy mummy = happy baby.

Since I’ve become a Mum I….

Have learnt to trust myself more and perfected the art of juggling! Working, studying, being pregnant and mum to a one year old was super hard but with support and determination I got though it. I might never finish a conversation anymore but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

My best mum photo is this one because….

To be fair, this isn’t my favourite but it’s my most recent.  I think I need to up my game with the #my18in18 challenge that Bev has set up! 😉

my mum story chrissy hampshire

 

Other blog posts you might find useful:

My Mum story#5.  Meet Susan Rushworth

Did your #bestnine2017 photos have the same problem as mine?

My Mum Story

My Mum #5. Meet Susan Rushworth

saddleworth tameside family photographer

My Mum Story #5.  Meet Susan Rushworth!

Susan Rushworth is married to Alistair.  She has a boy called Harry plus Freddie, the schnauzer dog.  All three are her world.

I am Mum to….

Harry, aged 13.

The best bits about being a Mum are….

Cuddles, even at 13.

Watching your child take on life using the skills you’ve helped them to develop is pretty amazing.

The smile on their face when they have achieved something independently – it’s amazing!

The most challenging bits about being a Mum are….

Being told that your child doesn’t fit ‘in the box’  and that they need extra support. Having to find alternative ways to help your child understand the world around them and cope with the challenges of everyday tasks can be challenging but at the same time this is also the best bit of being a Mum!

Every day I tell Harry to never give up and always try his best.  Every night after school he tells me he’s tried his best and one new thing he has learnt today.  It’s magical.

The best piece of advice I could give other mums is….

Be kind to yourself!!!

Don’t ever compare your child’s achievements as they are all so different.

Do what you feel is best for your family.

Accept offers of help and advice.  You never know when you are going to need it.  In other words, just embrace it and accept it as it comes from a place of good!

Since I’ve become a Mum I….

Have learnt to be more patient than ever before!

Have spoken to strangers about sleep (lack of it), routines and behaviour strategies.

Have gained an Early Years qualification to help me understand Child Development.  To begin with it was so I could support my son, but this is now my full time career and one I’m very passionate about.

My best mum photo is this one because….

This is when Harry was awarded commendation for progress and presented with an award by Sir Kevin Sinfield and Mr Meadowcroft. THE best feeling ever!!

My Mum Story Susan Rushworth

 

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My Mum story#3 Meet Rachel Evans

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My Mum #4. Meet Claire Basterfield

saddleworth tameside family photographer

My Mum Story #4.  Meet Claire Basterfield!

I am Mum to….

2 energetic and loving boys: Max 3 ½ and Harry 18 months.

The best bits about being a Mum are….

watching your child grow and learn new things every day.  It’s also pretty special to see the world through your child’s innocent eyes.  They see the world in its purest form, they have no prejudice, no hate, no pre-conceived ideas about what they should or shouldn’t like, they are just busy loving life.  That in itself is pretty special.

I love watching how my children’s relationship is developing.  I won’t pretend it is all love and cuddles, they wind each other up and they fight.  But those moments when you can see the love in their eyes for each other is priceless.  When I was pregnant with Harry a work colleague told me that I was giving Max the best gift he could ever receive, a friend for life.  Now when I look at the boys and evaluate my own relationship with my brother, I realize that my work colleague was absolutely right. Finally the friends I have made.   I have been incredibly lucky as motherhood as given me a whole new circle of friends who happen to be pretty awesome.

The most challenging bits about being a Mum are….

Sleep deprivation is an actual form of torture and I’m not sure enough recognition is given to that.   People know that babies don’t sleep.  But the reality of not getting enough sleep has very physical and psychological impacts.

The fact that when you become a mum everybody thinks they have a say on your parenting style, giving out unwanted advice.  Whether is breastfeeding vs bottle feeding, baby led weaning or spoon weaning, pram vs sling everybody will have an opinion on every aspect of parenting.  Everybody parents differently and the sooner we embrace these differences and just support each other the better!

Tantrums!!!!  My sons appear to be kings of tantrums and I really struggle with them.  The more I struggle the more I feel like I am failing them due to mum guilt!

The best piece of advice I could give other mums is….

listen to everybody’s pearl of wisdom, read all of the recent research and then trust your gut.  Every family is different and therefore what works for one family wont necessary work for another.  Even through the most rubbish of days remember that nothing lasts forever and they are only little for such a short time.  Get out of the house and get yourself to a local baby group.

Making Mum friends has literally been a lifesaver for me.  Those special women have saved my sanity on more than one occasion.

Since I’ve become a Mum I….

Have changed beyond recognition.  I have always been a bit of a diva at heart and whilst pregnant, one of my biggest fears was how I was going to put another person first.  And yet here I am putting two small people not only first but at the heart of everything I do.

Breastfeeding taught me determination and perseverance that I never knew I had.  I have also learnt to be much more patient (possibly not with the hubby!).

I know this is a cliche but I  have never know love like the love I have for my boys.  Yes I love my husband, my mum, my brother and my friends.  Hell on a good night I love the whole pub!  But that love for your child is something else.  It is a pure raw animalistic instinct that you cannot fully appreciate or know until you have children of your own.

My best mum photo is this one because….

this was our last little outing at a local farm before I returned to work after having the little one.

my mum story claire basterfield

 

Other blog posts you might find useful:

My Mum story#1 Meet Debbie Wright

Did your #bestnine2017 photos have the same problem as mine?

My Mum Story

My Mum #3. Meet Rachel Evans

saddleworth tameside family photographer

My Mum Story #3.  Meet Rachel Evans!

Rachel is 32, married mum of 3 young children. She’s a lover of family days out, days at the (UK) beach and of course cheese & wine. She also keeps a blog about her family life and aims to keep local families up to date with what’s on. You can check out her page here

I am Mum to….

Joshua aged 5 and Oscar and Isla who will be 2 years old this March.

The best bits about being a Mum are….

Watching my children grow and develop, everyday as they learn the way of the world they surprise me and make me so proud. The unconditional love is an amazing feeling and there’s nothing like it.

The most challenging bits about being a Mum are….

Trying to fit everything and everyone in is something I find very challenging as a mum. On a daily basis I try to spend time with my twins together but also individually, with my eldest after school, also as a family but with my husband also. Then there’s the mountain of homework, the ever growing washing pile, housework etc etc, the list keeps growing! I try to take a step back, think about what’s important and try not to worry too much. Surely that housework can wait whilst we head to the park?!

The best piece of advice I could give other mums is….

Don’t compare yourself to other mums and realise it’s OK to give yourself a break! Remember your not in competition with anyone.

I try to remember that in the future, my children will remember spending time & playing with their mum rather than how tidy the house was. They really do grow up fast (I know everyone says it, but it’s true!), soon enough they won’t want cuddles or to play with mummy. Us Mums can be our own worst enemies, just take a break and remember that we have the best and hardest job in the world!

My best mum photo is this one because….

Sorry, I take too many photos (can you really have too many?) to be able to choose one best mum photo!

My Mum story rachel evans

 

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My Mum story#2 Meet Tracy Buckley

My Mum story#1 Meet Debbie Wright

My Mum Story

My Mum #2. Meet Tracy Buckley

saddleworth tameside family photographer

My Mum Story #2.  Meet Tracy Buckly!

Tracy is aged 46, a mum of 2, and partner to one long suffering man . Lover of cake, prosecco, fairy lights and swearing. Tracey is obsessed with those little leaflets of attractions you pick up at service stations. She lives opposite the pub which is always a good thing when you have children( apart from when they ask really loudly ‘are we going to the pub again ?’

I am Mum to….

Frankie, 5 and Scarlett, 3.

The best bits about being a Mum are….

The best bits about being a mum are … The absolute unconditional love you feel for your children, seeing them grow and learn about everything, being able to relive my own childhood by doing the things with them that my mum did with me, doing things all the time that I wouldn’t do if I didn’t have kids…and absolutely loving it! But mainly that having them has made me a better person.

The most challenging bits about being a Mum are….

THE FEAR! The fear we didn’t have before children which now permeates everything! ‘What if they fall over that bridge/ fall on a knife in the dishwasher/ fall down the stairs/ get abducted/ get ill / fall over a cliff etc etc.  Followed closely by ‘what if I get ill/die/have an accident etc.  Before children I skipped through life throwing blasé comments around ‘ooh when your times up, it’s up!’ …oh yes I’ll do that bungee jump off the highest bridge in the world, no problem!’ No one tells you about the fear because you think it won’t happen to you but it does! Because suddenly you are in charge of little people who rely solely on you to keep them safe and alive every day… No pressure mums!

The sudden realisation that you are in charge of making your child into a good and decent human being!  Which means sometimes being tough, lots of tears and tantrums, lots of soul searching and conversations with each other ‘are we doing this right?’  We can only do the best we can, can’t we?  I am a firm believer that if your child knows how loved they are and that you can teach them to be as honest and open as possible then you are going in the right direction.

The best piece of advice I could give other mums is….

Not to judge other mums….we are all doing our best! ( And before I became a mum I was the judgiest person ever so I’m talking from experience !!)

To follow your own instincts….advice is fab and I love to hear about other mums experiences with things but you know your own child better than anyone so follow your instincts.

Let other people help you!  We all need friends, and help can always be reciprocated so if someone offers to help you out… Don’t be a martyr… accept it gratefully! (especially if it means having a few hours of precious time for yourself!)

Since I’ve become a Mum I….

Have learnt to be waaaaay more patient than I ever was before!
Have perfected the art of multi tasking to a fine art, not to mention having 3 conversations at the same time, mainly about nonsense.
Have found myself hiding in the utility room eating a cream egg so I don’t have to share it.
Have had more conversations about poo than I care to imagine.
With strangers.
Have found myself sympathising with Daddy Pig because everyone picks on him.

But mostly, I feel part of a team…..MY team! With my cheerleaders there at every opportunity to make me crack into a big smile and thank the universe every day that I have them!  (apart from when they ask me if I’ve still got a baby in my tummy!)

My best mum photo is this one because….

Obviously I have cheated on this one because I have thousands of photos and it pains me to have to pick one!  But mainly I love these photos simply because the happiness is radiating out of every bit of us all!

my mum story #2 tracy buckley

 

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My Mum story#1 Meet Debbie Wright

Did your #bestnine2017 photos have the same problem as mine?

My Mum Story

My Mum Story grows….

saddleworth tameside family photographer

Last year, I blogged about My Mum Story, something, I am super passionate about!  In essence, Mum’s need to get in more photos, it’s as simple as that!  This year, I’ve committed to taking 18 photos of myself in 2018 – so far so good!  Consequently, I’ve decided to expand My Mum Story to other Mums, so here is the start of a new initiative that is purely an extension of My Mum Story.

We all know that being a Mum is hard.  Conversely, it’s the best job in the world.  My Mum Story attempts to celebrate this. For me, I know I couldn’t do what I do without the help of other Mum’s.  Whether it’s a Whatsapp rant, a Facebook bursting of pride post, a quick natter on the phone, or googling for help from other Mum’s, it happens.  Whilst sipping a midweek hot coffee with no kids around me (which now happens for six hours a week!) I thought it would be lovely to share other Mum stories on my blog.

My Mum Story #1.  Meet Debbie Wright!

Debbie is a 30 something year old working mum of 2 energetic little boys. She enjoys reading, eating out, exercising, holidays, family time and spending time with friends. She is a girly girl at heart, although being surrounded by all things blue means she doesn’t get to express this part of herself as often as she’d like so when she get’s the chance she likes to pamper myself with a cheeky face mask, nail painting session or trip to the local salon.  Debbie always feels that it recharges her batteries and makes her feel better about herself and that she is ready to take on the world!

I am Mum to….

Raphael 3.5 years and Xavier 17 months.

The best bits about being a Mum are….

Cuddles, giggles and watching your small people live, learn and grow!

The most challenging bits about being a Mum are….

Tantrums, sleep deprivation and mummy guilt!  The best way to get over it is caffeine, chocolate, wine, patience and a sound proof pantry to sit in and rock! Haha!

The best piece of advice I could give other mums is….

Accept help, ask for help and recognise when you need help. Having the support of my family has been incredible and I don’t know what I would do most days without them.

Since I’ve become a Mum I….

Have learned that no matter what difficulties you are facing you are not alone. We’re all fighting one great big parenting battle to raise well rounded little humans and we are all doing the best we can. So take a deep breath and remember that tomorrow is a new day!

My best mum photo is this one because….

It is of me and my mum and then my boys with their Mum (me!) It also has memories of a special day out.

 

My Mum Story Debbie Wright

 

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Did your #bestnine2017 photos have the same problem as mine?

My Mum Story