One of my favourite things is getting to chat to other mothers, both in real life and online. Today is a chance to have a virtual sit down and chat with April and get to know her and her motherhood journey a little better.
Hi April! It’s so fun to chat. Can you tell everyone a bit about you?
I’m April. I’m not born in April (you wouldn’t believe how many people ask me that!) I am a November baby and love fireworks and all things Autumn/Winter. I’m married to Gareth. We met at aged 16/17 (respectively) at a Christian Youth Camp and married in 2011 during our time at University. We are currently living in Cambridge for Gareth’s training for priesthood in the Church of England. Although we are only here for 11 more days before we move back up North (Liverpool way!) to serve out Gareth’s curacy. We have two red headed boys : Samuel (3years) Jonathan (10months)
What are you loving about life at the moment (big or small?)
I love Samuel’s toddlerness right now. He runs up to me and hugs me saying “I love you Mummy, you are such a strong and nice lady” he is the best encourager. He is always finding little gifts for me or singing me a song to cheer me up. I love Jonathan’s smiling and babbling right now. He says “mama” and it just melts my heart!! Basically what they say and their facial expressions are definitely my favourite little parts right now.
The bigger stuff is definitely just being able to get out of the house and create memories that are now lasting for them and for us as a family. The day to day stuff is beautiful and hard but it’s great that we can do some special things that Samuel can actually engage with. I’ve just finished a family felt calendar for the boys to interact with each day and that’s been really fun for both me to create and the boys (well mainly Samuel!) to engage with.
That is the sweetest. Motherhood continues to teach me new things every day- is there something that motherhood has taught you about yourself?
It’s taught me that I’m simply human – it’s okay to show your vulnerabilities and brokenness as children are incredibly forgiving and gracious. It also means that when I have a super day it’s celebrated rather than expected to be the normal standard.
That is such good truth. How have you seen the harder parts of motherhood impact you?
Mental health – that’s a bit of a big one to unpack – past pain – anxiety – stressors. The lack of personal time. Feeling forgotten as “April”. There are different challenges for everyone. I’ve realised since having the boys that I never pictured being pregnant or having babies whenever I pictured being a Mum. I just always pictured school aged children going camping, movie nights, nature walks, playing board games etc. These early years have hit me like a ton of bricks. But I have learnt so much from it. I think the most valuable lesson has been that time is a gift. Giving my husband and my children my time is an incredible gift in and of itself. But also giving time to my own dreams and passions is not at all selfish. It is simply a gift and a way to care and love myself.
What advice would you love to give your young mama self?
It’s gets better. You won’t be feeding/changing/wiping/tidying up forever! And also don’t give up on your own dreams or passions. They still matter! You are still worth investing in and spending time on!
What fills you up ready for another day (or hour!) of motherhood?
Their smiles, funny sayings, laughter and affection. In all honesty that 2 hour afternoon nap helps quite a bit too! Haha!
Finally, how do you find breathing room in motherhood?
Every morning I put Jonathan down for his morning nap, I make my second cup of tea and I cuddle up with Samuel on the sofa and we watch CBeebies together for a bit. Well just while I have my tea. But it’s a beautiful 15min space to start each day.
I pursue a lot of creative activities – painting, journaling, sewing, reading, crochet, papercraft, general making – in the afternoon nap time slot and in the evening. Though I’ve been brave and have headed out for some evenings to hang out with my friends. And go see the new Avengers film! Woo date night!
You can see April’s beautiful work here and follow her on instagram too. Thanks so much for sharing, April!
Welcome back to another mama interview, a chance for a virtual sit down and get-to know another mama. Today we get to hang out with the lovely Jules.
Hey! Thanks for spending a bit of time chatting! Could you introduce yourself and your family?
Yes! My name is Jules, I’m married to Dave and we have two children Finlay, who’s 7 and Freya who’s 6. I’m a fiery redhead with a passion for love and truth. My husband and kids are my favourite people on the planet and make me laugh and love harder than I ever have in my life!
What do you love about life and motherhood right now – big or small?
I am loving the journey of true love. 1 Cor 13 says: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” That’s a seriously high and challenging calling. If I want to love my kids then this is my benchmark. Every day (100’s times a day) I’m having to ask myself ‘what does love look like in this situation. I’m also loving their sense of sun and adventure. My kids teach me so much about taking risks and being courageous. I love watching them love on each other. I love them developing their own passions. I love that they implicitly trust me and share their worries and their adventures with me. And I love all their crazy jokes… although a few less poo related ones might be nice!
What’s one thing that motherhood has taught you this far?
That it’s not about me! Life is not about me. Life, motherhood, work, church, everything is not about me. Dying to my own agenda has been super hard. Selflessness without losing myself has been a real challenge. Preferring others above my self, but striking a balance in remembering to still love myself too has been a big learning curve. What does it look like to love myself, so I can love others better? What is selfish and what isn’t? Still not nailed that one!
It’s definitely not easy, and something I’m sure we can all relate to! How have the harder parts of motherhood affected you?
I guess having postnatal depression/anxiety was truly hard. I had 2 babies a year apart and I wasn’t very well. At the time is was awful, but I always knew God’s kindness to me. My husband was just phenomenal too. He didn’t always understand me but he always helped. I think going through seasons like that makes me think we put ourselves under way too much pressure. There’s so much conflicting advice and so many demands placed on us as Mum’s and as women. Now, I think I wing it much more. I worry less. I am still intentional with my children but I don’t conform to the latest study or book or what my friends are doing. I’ve learned not to compare, and to trust I have the best help in someone who loves me and my kids even more than I do (God). When the Mummy guilt creeps in, I choose to replace those thoughts with what is going well. And I realise more than ever that it’s easy to get isolated and community is EVERYTHING! It makes me an ever bigger champion of fellow women – encouragement of one another and sharing the love is vital.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you love to give your new mama self??
Read less books on childcare. Believe in yourself. Get some people around you. Love yourself too. And enjoy it! Stop worrying!!!
So many great reminders! And when you need to refuel, what fills you up ready to be back in the busy-ness of motherhood?
It depends. Sometimes it’s just peacefully hanging with Jesus, chatting and listening. Sometimes it’s an hour at the gym. Sometimes it’s creating something new. Sometimes it’s a novel, a boxset or something nice to eat. I try to find adds things in the week that are life giving – even if it’s just a few mins here and there!
And finally, how do you find breathing room in motherhood?
By asking for help. It’s a bit easier now that my kids can entertain themselves for short periods or once they’re in bed they (usually) stay there. When they were smaller I was crying out for help, and when it was offered I would say no out of guilt! What might it have looked like if the friend who had offered HAD taken the kids to the park or for an hour and I’d have a nap, or read or done something to feel like me again. I was silly to say no. Please remind me of this. I am still terrible at asking for help!!! 😂😂