I'm thrilled to launch the project we've been working on over the summer; our new blog series on Motherhood. We've been working with 6 wonderful mothers around the world, who have kindly given us some insight into their lives and beautiful families. It's been so lovely to see all the wonderful diversity of family traditions, routines and styles of parenting. This is one of six blog posts, which will be launched weekly. I really hope you enjoy.
Tell us a bit about you and your family.
My name is Katie and I've been married to Keith for 9 years. We’ve been together for 18 years since I was 16. We have 2 girls; Bettie-Jo who is 7 and Agna-Gray who is 3. We live in a small town in Essex right near Leigh On Sea. We live by the sea and we love it here.
What does motherhood mean to you? What are the most challenging and rewarding parts?
Motherhood to me has been the hardest but the most rewarding thing I have ever done. It’s an emotional rollercoaster. I’m quite old fashioned when it comes to my daughters. For example I prefer them to have imaginary play or get a pencil, paints and paper out, as we are a very creative family. My husband is a part time illustrator for advertising, and a carpenter and we also have a print company called YOURTYPE PRINT - www.yourtypeprint.com (or Instagram @yourtypeprint), offering bespoke and readymade designs. I'm a photographer too, and along with the girls having their own commitments, you could say we are a very busy family! I do find it hard to relax sometimes but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’ve found some parts of motherhood challenging, like making sure they are always happy and healthy and that I'm guiding them in the right direction. I want to teach them to be kind to others, but also make sure they aren't being taken for granted. Just generally working together through problems that might occur, but also trying to make them understand, which in itself can be a challenge.
Is there anything passed down from your mother that you’ve taken on as a parent?
Now Autumn is around the corner, I’ll be making our family tradition which is leek and potato soup with crusty bread and lots of butter. This comes from my mum from when my sister, my brother and I were little. It’s so comforting and it's become another absolute favourite for the girls.
My mother and I have always been very close. When I was a child growing up, I always felt I could tell my mum anything even if it wasn't something she wanted to hear. So now I’m a mother, I make sure my daughters know (especially my eldest) that if there’s anything on their mind or if something has happened that they are concerned or anxious about, the most important thing is to be open and truthful with me and that we can work our way through it together.
I feel if you are too hard on children, they end up keeping things from you and sometimes it could be something important. I would like to think my girls are open with me and that I am their friend as well as their mother, which I think can sometimes be a difficult balance for parents.
Paint us a picture of daily life as a mother in the UK?
Well, in our house, my eldest Bettie-Jo has always been the earliest riser so she's always the first up, followed by me, and then it’s my youngest. Meanwhile, my husband would have already left for work.
We all get dressed and then go downstairs together.
Every morning I make the girls some fruit before they have their main breakfast which involves either toasted muffins with lots of butter and honey, or pancakes with a glass of milk and lots of coffee for me.
We then rush out to school to drop Bettie-Jo off, followed by dropping Agna-Gray at her pre-school. I'll usually stop off at a cafe for a coffee to answer some work emails. There’s never enough time to get home and back again so I always stay near Agna's pre-school as she's only in for the morning.
After picking Agna up, we have lunch together and go and collect Bettie. When the girl's get home, we have baths and get into pyjamas ready for dinner. We'll usually have pasta with meat balls or a good old fashioned English meat pie made from puff pastry. It's the girl's favourite and it's something my mum used to cook for me as a little girl, and was also mine and my siblings favourite growing up. We finish off the day with milk and biscuits before the girls go to bed at 7:30.
What do you look for when choosing clothes for your children?
I like my children to look like children and wear loose, comfortable clothes, that have plenty of room for them to move about in whilst playing. I tend to go for organic cotton and linen fabrics as the fibres are light and airy, especially for the summer time.
What do you like about Nellie Quats?
I’m in love with Nellie Quats' childish, relaxed style. It’s exactly what I love about children’s clothes. The shapes are perfect and simple.