Want to know WTF a Woke Mama is? Each week, we’re introducing awesome women who are making the world a kinder place, one happy baby at a time.
Name & age: Hilary, 33
Baby: Indigo, 11 months
What does being a woke mama mean to you?
Personally, I think it means trying the best I can to nurture my little one by following my instincts, yet still being willing to hear the wisdom of those who’ve gone before me!
And whilst I’m obviously somewhat affected by societal norms, judgemental comments, popular fads or marketing techniques surrounding me (!) it is really important to me to constantly question them.
I think this questioning encourages me to dismantle the concept that I ‘should/shouldn’t’ do certain things as a mama and it helps me be more self-loving and self-affirming.
What made you choose gentle parenting? And what is your favourite aspect of it?
So far, gentle parenting just flows well from this place of following my instincts and responding to my little one’s needs in an empathetic way.
Baby-wearing, exclusively breastfeeding, doing bits of co-sleeping, and playing and cuddling her lots seems to help with this.
I think one of my favourite aspects though is encouraging her to crawl off and explore by herself whilst showing her that I’m a safe base she can return to and that I take delight in her!
Most awesome moment so far?
Ultimately, having so much love for one human is the most awesome thing for me — there’s many moments of realisation of that!
Also, giving birth naturally was hugely empowering. I have to keep reminding myself that if I can do that, then I can probably do a lot of other seemingly scary things
Biggest struggle so far? How do you cope with stressful moments?
The biggest struggle currently seems to be feeling exhausted every single day. Chasing a baby around who has been crawling from 6 months old is knackering!
Finding new ways to self-care in those bits of time I can snatch is the thing that gets me through, and I think I’m on a steep learning curve to coping better with the stressful moments (!)
Doing activities that the baby and I BOTH find fun is really helping (like a community choir for mums I joined, that you can bring your baby along to!) And I’m trying to jot down my thoughts and feelings in a prayer journal – even just for 10 minutes here and there.
Ultimately, one of my biggest challenges is that I was born with a condition called spina bifida, which affects my walking and some internal organs, so sometimes I probably find the physical demands of being a mama harder than some of my other parent friends.
I’m realising more and more that I need to be vulnerable with, and rely more on, my family and close community though: primarily my husband, immediate family, and close friends.
I’ve often been a very independent person but actually knowing that I have limits is integral to my self-care and, in turn, the care of our baby!
How will you juggle work with gentle parenting?
I’m currently exploring what going back to work looks like. I’ve left the part-time Youth Work job I was on maternity leave from and I had stopped anything I was doing as a singer-songwriter and vocal tutor.
I’m now hoping to go down the completely freelance route so I can still look after my little girl some days. My hubby is studying at post-grad level so can be a little bit flexible and will look after her a bit when I start working part-time hours.
We’re also looking into other options of childcare that will work best for us, both financially and idealistically.
It’s a new journey we’re embarking on but as I’ve said, I’m just trying to go with my instincts rather than worrying about what others think I should be doing!
But I personally feel I need the creative and intellectual outlet of ‘work’ outside of motherhood.
Any advice you would give to new mums?
Someone once said to me that having a baby is like crossing a bridge to a new place and never going back!
Your life WILL be turned upside down but that’s okay. Amongst all the chaos try and make even the smallest amount of time for self-care.
Amongst all the sacrifices and the emotional rollercoaster that is being mama — YOU are so valuable.
What’s on your soundtrack to your first year of being a Woke Mama?
A bit cheesy but ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ – Stevie Wonder
Like what ya see? We’ll be introducing more awesome Woke Mamas. But we want to hear from YOU. Share your stories on social media using #WokeMamas or write your answers here. ❤
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