My last seven Mother's Days have consisted of me being up very early, changing nappies, feeding the kids before myself and then visiting my Mum and Nan. It's not a complaint it's just life. This year the children will actually be at their Dad's overnight on the Saturday so I will indeed get my lie-in (hoorah I hear you cry,) but not the breakfast in bed, gifts or the adoration of my children but let's not quibble over the details.
In honour of being a SEND Blogger mum (we're a very elite group) I've joined up with a whole host of others sharing interviews about who we are and what motherhood is like for us. Our blog buddies were picked at random and spookily I got Kelly from It's A Tink Thing whom I actually know in the real human world! Tink is in many ways so like a little Bella but like all our children on the spectrum, is completely different. Here are her answers to the interview:
|Tink wearing a Square Peg Foundation hoody and H|
1. Introduce yourself -
I'm Kelly, married to Dave and mum to Tink, almost 5 and diagnosed with autism at the age of three. I also have a son, H, who is 9 and, so far, undiagnosed. I gave up working to care for Tink full time towards the end of last year, but in my previous life I was an Early Years professional. We live in the West Midlands.
2. What piece of advice would you give to another Mum in the same circumstances as you?
Breathe. If your situation is quite new to you, take a moment to stop and breathe. It's a lot to take in, a lot to deal with; don't try to do it all at once. And if you're an old hand, still remember to breathe! Make sure you take some time for yourself at every opportunity, no matter how small. You can't pour from an empty cup, as the saying goes.
3. What’s the best piece of advice another Mum has given you?
Take each day at a time and don't give up. Whether you're trying to get a diagnosis, or an EHCP, or a school place, or services, or funding... don't give up. Keep shouting - you'll need to in order to be heard.
4. What one thing did your mum always used to say to you which you have found yourself repeating since becoming a Mum?
"We'll see." I used to hate my mum saying it when I was young, as it inevitably meant 'no', and now I cringe when I hear it coming out of my own mouth in answer to my oldest!
5. Who would play you in a movie of your life?
Wow. Erm. Emma Watson? She'd be quite cool. I'm not sure a movie about my life would be all that successful in box office terms though!
6. What are your plans for Mother’s Day this year?
No big plans here. We usually go to my Mum's for Sunday lunch, which makes me feel guilty as we should be treating her, but dinner at ours isn't really an option. I'd like a lie in, some tea and toast in bed and a cuddle with my babies!
7. If you could go back to the beginning, what would you tell yourself as a Mum of a newly diagnosed child?
I think I'd tell myself not to overthink things, which I am terribly guilty of and it's not good for my own anxiety and mental health.
8. What is the biggest battle you’ve faced as a Mum?
Fighting my own anxieties has definitely been the biggest battle. I am not confident as a mum and suffered with postnatal depression with both my children. I have emetophobia (fear of vomiting) which has impacted hugely on our lives at times, particularly during the winter months (bug season). Now, having a child with autism thrown into the mix, I am generally an anxious wreck most of the time!
9. If you were PM for the day what would you change to make life easier for Mums of disabled children?
Where to start?! I guess if budgets and money were no object, I'd make sure there were plenty of accessible groups and clubs for our children to take part in, offering a little respite for parents at least once a week. I'd also find a way to make the whole EHCP/School places circus much, much simpler, with less hoop-jumping, stress and worry for parents.
10. What’s the best thing about being a Mum?
I think it's having two little people who love me unconditionally despite my flaws. It's a huge responsibility to be a parent and I'm honoured to be raising them into (hopefully) happy, healthy humans! I love those times when I get unsolicited cuddles and I love it when we make each other laugh!
11. Funniest moment as a mum?
Tink can be pretty unpredictable and we're often giggling at her, but I think one of the funniest moments I had was when H was around two or three. We were shopping in Asda, looking around the underwear. H, sitting in the trolley, sniffs a few times and says, loudly, "what's that smell?" "What smell?" I reply, baffled. "It smells like PANTS!!" he shouts, much to the amusement of the other ladies browsing the aisle. I might have died a little...
12. Who are your favourite Mum bloggers?
Gosh, there are so many. I like lots of fellow 'SEND' bloggers, including Faithmummy, Steph's Two Girls, Living With Blooming Autism, Someone's Mum, Autism With Lots of Love and Affection... the list is almost endless! I am really looking forward to meeting some of them at the BAPS awards in May. When I need some light relief from SEND issues, I like The Unmumsy Mum and BrummyMummyof2 as well as Hurrah for Gin and Whinge, Whinge, Wine.
13. What is your life motto?
I have two: 'Everything happens for a reason' and 'No regrets'. I guess they kind of tie into each other really. I've been through some pretty rubbish times since my mid teens, but I truly believe that the things that have happened have made me the person I am today, and if life hadn't taken the path it did, I wouldn't have my beautiful babies!
14. Finally, if you won the lottery today, what’s the first thing you would buy?
Boring, but a holiday! I'd love to take us all away - doesn't need to be abroad, although that would be nice (but I don't know how Tink would be on a plane!), but just somewhere with a beach so she's happy. We all feel so relaxed when we're away and we've been close to burning out lately, so a break would be fab!