Time for another chat with a fellow Mammy. This week I had a chinwag with Sarah Ryan, the founder of the amazing Mama Moments, which is a subscription box with a difference. Aimed at new mamas and all about self-care, I think is a cracker of an idea and so timely.
1. Tell me about the idea behind your fab new venture Mama Moments? Mama Moments is a self-care subscription box aimed at mothers. The idea is to provide mothers with a regular prompt to prioritise self-care as it’s all too easy to always put everyone else first and let yourself burn out.
I had hyperemesis on both my children and post-natal depression after my first was born. Going through those experiences was incredibly hard physically, emotionally and mentally so I have learnt the hard way the importance of self-care. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup, so if you don’t make some time for yourself to recharge you will hit a wall. As more and more of my friends have had babies I started to realise that so many people struggle, but feel they can’t talk about it or ask for support. There is still such stigma around asking for help or admitting that you are struggling. So many women feel that they need to be perfect mothers and that anything else is a sign of failure. It’s very hard to realise after the fact that a friend was going through a difficult time and that you were none the wiser. This realisation that at some point all mothers struggle made me want to help, even in a small way.
I have also noticed over the years that there is so much focus on the new babies being born that mothers get lost in the shuffle. People can be so generous with clothes and toys after a baby is born but it’s also really important to check that new mothers are doing okay and to remind them to look after themselves as well as their new babies.
These realisations combined and the idea to create Mama Moments was born. Subscription boxes are incredibly popular, but there was nothing in Ireland aimed at mothers around the idea of self-care. The Mama Moments subscription box will arrive every two months and will contain 5-6 items specially chosen to prompt self-care, Products can include bath & beauty products, positivity prints or pins, chocolate, tea, candles, journals and more! My hope is that because it is a subscription box rather than a once off purchase, that it will serve as a regular prompt to mothers to take some time for themselves to recharge. Even if all you can manage one day is 5 minutes with a hot cup of tea and a delicious bar of chocolate. Even those few moments can make a difference. And perhaps the next day you could find time to take a bath with an incredible scented candle followed by some quiet time to journal. It’s not realistic for most women to take an hour or more for themselves every day (even if we’d like to) but if you can build some smaller moments of ‘me time’ into your day on a regular basis, you will find it makes such a difference to your mental and emotional health.
My hope is that women will gift a subscription to their friends, that partners will gift a subscription to the incredible women in their lives, and that women too will realise the importance of self care and subscribe for themselves.
2. What is the one piece of advice you'd give to a brand new mum? Trust your baby and your own instincts.
All babies are completely different and no book or person knows your baby as well as you do. Do what works best for you as a family, be that cots or co-sleeping, prams or slings. Whatever gets everyone the most sleep and keeps everyone the happiest!
I tied myself in knots for the first few months of my eldest life trying to follow the (usually contradictory!) advice everyone was giving me, and everything I had read. Once I decided to follow my baby and my instincts everything became so much easier, and everyone was so much happier. We’ve parented this way from the start with our second and I did not suffer from post-natal depression second time around. I feel, in my particular circumstances, that part of the reason I suffered from PND the first time was because I was trying to conform to what these books were telling me. It made me feel like I was failing as a mother because my baby wasn’t doing what he was ‘supposed’ to even when I followed the advice in these books. Following my baby and my instincts was the best thing I ever did and I have two very happy, healthy children, and a much healthier state of mind myself!
3. What is the most important thing motherhood has taught you? That we are stronger than we know. From hyperemesis to post-natal depression, tongue-tie to sleep deprivation, I’ve been through a lot with my two tiny humans. I have an amazing husband who is an incredible father and he has been there for all three of us every step of the way. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t incredibly hard days, and I’ve learnt that women are amazingly strong and can survive so much and come out the other side thriving.
It is true that the ‘days are long, but the years are short’. It is true that we will look back on this period and miss how tiny our children were. It’s also true that some days are really tough and being wiped at the end of the day is ok! Motherhood is an ever-evolving journey, and we are strong enough to survive even the rough patches.
4. If you could take off your mummy hat for an entire day and just be you again, what would you do? I’m actually incredibly lucky and got to experience a day like this recently for my birthday. It was the first time I’d been away overnight in over 2 years! My parents took the kids and myself and my hubby went away to a gorgeous hotel. I went to the spa to be pampered, we went swimming, ate delicious (hot!) food, had wine and had a very long (uninterrupted!) sleep in a huge, soft bed. I came back from that 24 hours so well rested and recharged.
It’s hard to step away for a whole day, but even stepping away for an hour can give you a new lease of life. I read a quote recently which said ‘self care means giving yourself permission to pause’, and this is so true. We need to make time for ourselves as women to recharge, so that we can be the mothers, partners and people we want to be. Easier said than done sometimes, but it’s so important.
5. Describe Motherhood in 5 words. Incredible. Overwhelming. Rewarding. Exhausting. Magical.