How did The Comeback Mum begin, have you written blogs before, are you a writer by trade?
Back in 2010 when I was pregnant and living in a women’s refuge I started a blog – which I am not allowed to name for legal reasons. Some pieces from it got re-published in magazines and I was approached about writing a book but then literally weeks after giving birth my blog became the subject of a court case. The case went on for two years in which I was not allowed to write anything for public consumption. It was a pretty soul destroying time so I hid away and focused solely on being a mum.
I finally pieced myself back together and started The Comeback Mum in 2015 because I really missed writing and blogging. And I’m so glad I did, it has changed my life!
In terms of a trade I guess I am a writer. I mean, it pays the bills and has done for a while. Before I had my daughter I wrote reviews for music magazines. Then I worked on the news desk of a hateful tabloid, then on a low ranking soap opera, I got sacked from both…
How do you feel about your social media following and influence?
Social media is lovely because it means quick connection. I love sharing stories, I love hearing stories and I guess social media is an instant outlet for that. Everyone on social media is influential whether you have one follower or one million – I love how it gives everyone a voice, regardless of whether or not you agree with them!
What do you think about sharing and giving parenting advice?
Personally I don’t really have advice to give anyone, my advice is rubbish, I just share my experiences. Parenting is so personal. I believe that our instincts provide us with the answers as to what is right for our kids.
What’s the worst parenting advice you’ve ever been given?
Controlled crying. My daughter wasn’t big on sleep as a baby (she still isn’t) and a friend said that controlled crying was the ONLY way. I know it works for some parents and I do not judge anyone who takes that route, but personally it wasn’t for me. After 45 minutes of ‘controlled crying’ I was just like, give me my baby – she is crying ‘cause she needs her mama. I felt so guilty, it just felt so cruel.
You recently moved back to London, what do you love most about the city?
London is the best city in the world and I am so proud to be a born and bred Londoner! Whenever I’m out of London for too long I feel something in my soul die, the city really is a part of me. I love the street theatrics and that you can always get good food. I love the rose garden in Paddington Rec, jogging along the Thames, the Westway, the Catford Cat, the Curzon, the Royal Court Theatre and the Edgware Road after midnight. The constant flow of culture and the art of rudeness – that specific way Londoners react to someone not knowing how to use an escalator correctly sets my cynical heart alight! Saying that, I also hate London in many ways, it’s becoming a playground for the rich and social cleansing is eroding its identity. Continue to push out the creatives and the city dies.
Who would you say was your hero or idol?
There are a few; the author Bret Easton Ellis and Nicky Wire from the Manic Street Preachers for the way they both manage to combine triviality with high art – such a skill. Joe Strummer because he was just the coolest and the short story writer Amy Hempel.
What has been the most challenging aspect of being a Mother?
It’s just quite hard being a mum isn’t it?! Lack of time. Constant tiredness. Attempting to remain a whole person with interests/ ambitions whilst trying to keep a little human safe…
Did you feel afraid to be a single parent?
For me it felt right and to be honest I didn’t really have much of a say in the matter! Of course it was frightening knowing that I would be doing everything alone but that’s probably more to do with people’s perceptions of what a single mother is as opposed to what motherhood or parenting actually entails.
How did having a child change you?
She saved my life, dramatic but true. Before I fell pregnant my life was a ridiculous mess – she made me sort myself out.
Can you tell us about your birth experience?
I had all the drugs so it was a complete haze. But basically I gained a daughter, lost a vagina.
What kind of Mum did you think you would be?
All I ever wanted to be was the opposite of what my parents were. They got together when they were both very young escaping violent and emotionally abusive homes and unfortunately they weren’t able to break to cycle… Even when I was a child I was always clear in my mind that when I had kids I would break the cycle of violence and abuse.
Did you turn out to be that kind or completely different?
Yeah, thankfully my approach to parenting is very different to what I grew up with. There is no violence, secrets or fear in our house.
In what ways is your daughter, most like you?
She is her own unique little person and I would hate to inflict her with my darkness – thankfully I don’t think that she has that in her so maybe that comes from nurture as opposed to nature? We share a sense of humour and she is relentless when it comes to getting her own way! But she is much cooler than me, just so laid back and a good judge of character with healthy self-esteem, she’s amazing. Is it weird that my best friend is a 5 year old?!
If you have a child free day/ evening what do you like to do?
I’m so dull! A night to myself would be writing without interruption and in the background I’d be catching up with Andrew Marr and Question Time on IPlayer. Or maybe I’d go and see and band. I’d treat myself to a bottle of diet coke and a sneaky cigarette – living the life. Wish I could say something interesting but…
How will you be celebrating Mother’s Day this year?
We live right on the River Thames so we’ll just go and feed the ducks and have a milkshake. Simple mother/daughter days are the best.