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I have been friends with the gorgeous Shireen aka a_mummys_home for nearly 7 years. Shireen, my husband Ian and I all worked together as teachers in the same school and have been really close friends ever since.  She was (thankfully) always one step ahead of me and whether she has liked it or not, has been my guru and mentor through lots of my major life events.  She helped me celebrate my engagement, plan and organise my wedding, supported me when my dad passed away and walked me through every step of my pregnancy journey.  I found the first few months of motherhood extremely difficult and Shireen was always on the other end of a phone every time I was crying… whether it was about lack of sleep, breastfeeding or leaky nappies! (turns out I wasn’t putting them on properly!)

I honestly couldn’t have made it through those really tough first few months without her and I will always be indebted to her.  Shireen is such a great friend to me; supportive, honest and never judgmental!

As well as being a great friend, she’s also a fantastic mother to James and to her ever growing bump!

Enjoy finding out all about my gorgeous friend Shireen…

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

To most people I’m known as Shireen, but two years ago my second name became ‘Mummy’ and it’s probably the name I hear 90% of my day now. In fact, sometimes, when I hear my little boy shouting ‘mummy!…mummy?’ in the car, in the supermarket, in his bedroom, on the toilet, from his high chair, I have to remind myself that he is calling me by my new name!

Two years ago I was a working woman, a Secondary School teacher to be exact.  I loved my job, although I’m sure at times my students would argue against that! I worked extremely hard: planning classes, correcting papers, monitoring behaviour, supporting students, setting exams; my duties were endless and my hours were long and tiresome…or so I thought! I don’t think anything or anyone can truly prepare you for the role of motherhood because in truth it is a job above any other out there.

My life has drastically changed the last two years. I still work full time, not as a teacher, but as a Mummy. I don’t go out as much any more, date nights with my lovely husband are limited to one every few months and unfortunately for one reason or another I have lost a few friends on the way. Sometimes, when you have a baby, people seem to think that the old you no longer exists! But I do! I’m definitely still here, I may have a new name but my original name will always be Shireen.

Days are now filled with swimming lessons, play dates, cuddles, trips to the parks and the beach, tantrums, nursery drop offs and pick ups. I have met some amazing mums and I am so lucky that motherhood has brought as together. James goes to sleep every night with his arms wrapped around me, kissing my nose telling me he loves me and I wake to a little voice every morning saying ‘excuse me, morning mummy…bottle?’ (He is quite the gentleman). 

I’m slowly finding my way through motherhood and I think I’m getting the hang of it…so much so that I’m due my second baby in two months time! And then the journey will start full circle again! But second time around, I’m prepared and know that each difficult phase will pass… and I will get through it!

What do you enjoy most about being a mum?

Now that James has started speaking and can express what he wants and how he feels, life is a lot easier. I don’t need to second guess his thoughts. I love that we have our little conversations and that only I know what he is trying to say. Those moments when he tells me he loves me are priceless or when he tells other people that I’m his mummy are so cute. We’ve become a little team and bonded so much in the last year. 
I love meeting new mums and when we share our experiences of motherhood and relate to each other’s stories, I sigh a breath of relief that I’m not the only one! 
Being a mum allows you to see the world though different eyes and takes you back to the innocence of childhood, something we lose as we grow up and don’t truly get back until a little one takes your hand and brings you on their journey through the wonder they see everyday.

How do you make time for yourself?

This is a difficult one as it is only recently that I’ve been able to find time for ‘me’. James goes to nursery twice a week for four hours and it is in that time that I try to book any appointments I need to make i.e hair, nails, doctor etc. I also plan a lot around his nap times (1.30pm-3pm) and I’m very lucky that, since January, we have a wonderful lady who comes to the house everyday and helps me out. So if I need to leave while James is sleeping, I know he is being looked after until I get home.
‘Me time’ isn’t just about getting out and about on my own though, it also means spending that bit of extra time blow drying my hair in the evening, or eating my lunch in peace, drinking a coffee in the car, listening to the radio instead of nursery rhymes! They’re actually my most precious moments as it’s those little moments that I once took for granted but appreciate so much, now that I have a little one.

Tell me about your funniest parenting experience.

This probably came in the early days, just after I had James and was learning how to breastfeed. I was also expressing milk and for anyone who knows what these contraptions look or sound like, you will fully understand when I say I felt like I was a cow in a milking parlour! It wasn’t a pleasant sight for me or my husband!! But we had to laugh and we did laugh because in that moment we realised just how different our life had become; things had taken a sudden and abrupt U-turn! Intimacy meant something completely different and we had quite frankly entered a new chapter in our relationship. 

Has your own mother influenced how you parent?

Every woman believes their mother is the greatest…I’m no exception. My mum is the kindest, gentlest and least selfish person I know. I love her more because I know all the sleepless nights I put her through, all the tantrums I made her endure, all the times she must have pondered and questioned whether she was doing things right! And it is only now…a whole 31 years later that I fully appreciate her in her entirety. I understand why she was so strict when I was growing up, why I wasn’t allowed to stay out late, why I wasn’t allowed to travel anywhere without her, why she pushed me so hard in school and why she always put me on such a high pedestal…it was all in the name of love.
I’m so lucky to have my mum to turn to on a daily basis to help me along the way, I know she’ll always point me in the right direction and her advice is what I trust above all others.

What one piece of advice do you have for other mums?

This is a hard one as I feel there is so much I could probably offer advice on, but if  I were to give just ONE piece of advice it would be to tell new mums that with every trying stage that you enter with a little one, I can promise and assure you it will pass and you will get through it! Then there will come a day when you are able to offer advice and support to another mama who is going through what you once did.

Describe your ideal Mother’s Day.

Having a lie in until 9am, waking to a warm cup of tea and looking forward to a lovely massage that day. Followed by a spot of afternoon tea and then dinner with the family later that evening. 

I think an ‘ideal’ Mother’s Day is of course spending your day with your loved ones, but having an hour…or two by yourself as well…just to recharge those batteries!
Describe motherhood in 3 words.
Adventurous, Tiring, Perfect 
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