What Makes Me Happy As A Mommy?

I love being a mommy. Period!

Motherhood came to me in two phases. First phase was when I was only 22 years old when my lover brought his two toddlers into the equation we now call ‘family’. Raising two kids estranged from their mother was scary and to an extend mentally disturbing retrospectively speaking. But after a few months of settling into the new life, we all eased into it very well and it became as rewarding as many mothers claim to be.

Last year, I gave birth to our little baby Ro (second phase). He is a darling and this time around it was expected, planned and not shocking at all. I wanted this and being able to participate in raising a baby from birth is such a joy that I always in a way missed or desired when I was raising my stepchildren.

There are many reasons why I like being a mother. Even though there are a fair share of sleepless nights, sick on the stairs, on the bed, in between the wooden floor boards etc there are moments of happiness that outweighs the troublesome ones.

So here are a few reasons why I love being a mommy:

Unconditional Love

There is no love as the love between a parent and their children. I love my children more than I love anybody in this world. I love them more than I love my husband and my parents. Yes! I have never experienced love as strong as my love for my kids.

Also being loved; my children love me without any judgement (at least for now). I am lucky to be loved by a lot of people but the love my kids have for me amazes me. The kind of love you receive for just being their mom.

I love the way my 11 month old wakes up with a beaming smile and bright eyes looking straight at me saying, ‘maaamaaa’ as if he is so happy to have woken up next to me and is so excited that I am still next to him.

Purpose in Life

My kids give me a permanent purpose in life. I never have a single day when I sit and think what do I want to be? What do I want to become? What is my aim in life?

I can always become a teacher, an engineer or a doctor or a hairdresser if I want but I am something already. I am a mommy! And that is a bigger responsibility than anything. Raising kids to be a kind and conscious citizen of the world is a challenging task and an achievement in itself.

Magical World

Kids allow me to build and live in the magical world of tooth fairies, santa clause, gnomes etc. I love to tip toe into my kids room at night to deliver tooth fairy’s letters, I love helping santa claus get through the hot and narrow little chimney and hunt for easter eggs in the woods that the magical bunny hides every easter.

Flowers and a Cuppa

I love to imagine the short bike ride my son has to do from his drum lesson back home which goes through a park full of trees and how he stops and picks a handful of fresh bay leaves because he knows how much I like to use bay leaves in my cooking, or when he sets himself a massive task of building me a wooden boat for my window sill ever since he realised the one I wanted at the shop was far too expensive for my budget.

I live for the times when my daughter spends hours in her bedroom early in the morning, when everybody else is asleep and starts making a loom band necklace for me and wraps it in a homemade envelop made out of scrap paper and taped a hundred times so tight that I struggle to even get into it. Or when she spends the whole afternoon in the garden to make me a disgusting concoction of all sorts of herbs and dirt mixed in warm water, she calls ‘tea’, that I have to drink in front of her.

Pride and Joy

My kids are my pride and joy.

Whether it is getting 10 out of 10 in a spelling test or playing violin in front of 500 people, or how my 11 month old always tries to share everything he is eating; my children make me proud everyday.

Making of Me

My children make me a better person. I want to be a good role model. I try and remind myself to compose myself in a way I’d like my children to be. Not that I succeed in it everytime, but they are my constant reminders!

Improved Relationships

Motherhood has made me realise (at a deeper level) how  hard it must have been for my mother to have raised me all by herself when my father passed away. I am less judgemental of mothers who struggle at times or believe in parenting methods that aren’t similar to mine.

Environment Savvy

Having children has change my entire take on environmental health. Something that I used to take for granted has become an interesting passion now. I want to make environmentally conscious choices so that my children have a better, healthier and safer environment to live in.

Empathy 

I have become a kinder person. I am empathetic and sympathetic towards not only other people but also animals. For example, breastfeeding has changed my perspective on milking cows for dairy.  I want my children to be compassionate human beings and that has influenced a massive change of lifestyle in me (more on that another time).

Watching Them Grow

I still look at Ro and wonder, “Wow did I really make him?”

It is such a pleasure to make them stand against the wall to measure their height or get a glimpse of what kind of a person they might become when they grow a bit older.

What makes you happy as a mommy?

 

 

My Last Mother’s Day As A Mother Of Two

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This year’s Mother Day is very special and emotional for me. It is my last one as a mother of two. I found myself in the laps of motherhood at the young age of 22 years. My kids were not born from my womb and all my instincts had to come from my heart.

Four years old Reuben (now 9 yrs old) and two years old Irene (now 7 yrs old), left their biological mum and came to England to live with their dad and dad’s friend (myself). Little did I know then, that my life was about to change for good! Little did I know that I was venturing into a big new world of motherhood.

These kids and I have been through a lot. To begin with, we couldn’t speak eachother’s language yet we somehow spent days on end in our little quirky flat in the beautiful sea side town of Broadstairs. We spoke a lot through cuddles, kisses and many other sweet gestures and activities like cooking, baking, taking long walks, playing etc. I tried to impress them by cooking their favourite meals and they kept me sweet by eating it all (even on days it wasn’t really that good).

I remember how one day whilst we were engrossed dancing in our living room with loud music on, the phone rang. When I answered somehow my entire world seemed to have been on the verge of collapsing. After 6 months of no contact, their mother chose to call. I answered the phone and had no idea how to speak to her. When she asked who I was? I suddenly had an identity crisis (identifying myself as their dad’s gf might set her off or lose custody was my fear). I passed on the phone quickly to Reuben. He denied recognising the person on the phone (his mum). He kept asking me who she was and I kept reassuring him that it was his mother. He was polite to her but brutally honest about the fact that he couldn’t remember her. She hung up! And we stopped the music. We went for a walk after that but strangely kids never mentioned anything about the phone call. Throughout the walk, I kept thinking how much in love I had fallen with these two kids in such a small amount of time. How my heart ached to hear their mothers voice, the fear that she might want them back? I felt like I was on some sort of crossroads. I felt insecure but guilty of being selfish. It was a good thing if their mother wanted to be a part of their lives, yet I desired otherwise because I wanted to be their mother.

Those days are long gone, we never heard back from their mother ever again. Almost six years together, my insecurities have almost gone yet from time to time I wonder how incapable we are of controlling the future. How someday, these two will grow up and might want to reunite or reconnect with their mother. What if they decide to leave me and become hers all over again? I know it is a bit shallow of me to be so insecure. But hey ho, all I can do is try my best to give them the best and be the best I can to them. And in return all I can do is appreciate each day I get with them saying “I love you mum”.

But things are about to change, I will be giving birth this year. Now that is nerve-wrecking as heck! But I feel so confident and ready this time around for this child. And that is because of my two loving children Reuben and Irene. I surely raise them and teach them to live well and love all (including their estranged mum) but in many ways, they teach me everyday how to give, how to forgive and how to live. If I know anything about motherhood today, that is because of the kids I have been raising. If it wasn’t for these two putting up with all my failures as a mother (which I have had many), I wouldn’t have had a chance to learn and improve my role as a mother well.

This third child of mine will not only have a confident mother but also a very nurturing pair of siblings. I hope I can teach the baby to realise how special it is to be born in this family of ours!

Mummy’s of Thanet

I have the best mother in the whole world!

I am sure most of us relate to that. And many of us are trying to be one!

Beachwalkmuse in chat with some of the mother’s around in Thanet with some interesting stories to share…

The Curio in Margate

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Jo Willis, the creator of The Curio in Margate and an amazing photographer is a new mother and lives in Margate with her husband Dom and daughter Dulcie. Jo speaks to beachwalkmuse about her journey….Read More

 

Helter – Skelter

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Fiona Crawford runs Helter Skelter in Broadstairs which has recently won Britain’s Friendliest Business Award. She is a single mother of a 15 year old and provides a safe haven for all the parents of toddlers in Broadstairs…

Beachwalkmuse finds out more about Fiona…Read More

 

Beach Within Reach

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Being a mother is a full time job. But for Debbie Fifield, it is literally so. She is a registered full-time carer for her 13 year old son Ryan who has a rare disorder. When she is not looking after him, and managing her son’s twin sister’s teenage tantrums, she volunteers for Beach within Reach. She says she is forced to go to One Direction’s gigs with her daughter but I think she secretly loves them nonetheless…

Debbie Fifield in talks with beachwalkmuse…Read More

 

TAG Rescue – Thanet

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Yasmine Moss is a 21 year old and owns 6 rescue dogs. She is not a typical mother of a child, but she is a mother figure to not only her own dogs but has helped hundreds of dogs in her lifetime so far…She is a vegetarian and owes her mother  a lot, who is also an ardent animal lover, for what she is today.

I don’t know about many others, but I admire her work and cherish her acquaintance…

Yasmine Moss, finally finds time to speak to Beachwalkmuse about her favourite topic – Rescuing dogs…Read More

TAG Rescue – Thanet

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Yasmine Moss is a 21 year old and owns 6 rescue dogs. She is not a typical mother of a child, but she is a mother figure to not only her own dogs but has helped hundreds of dogs in her lifetime so far…She is a vegetarian and owes her mother  a lot, who is also an ardent animal lover, for what she is today.

I don’t know about many others, but I admire her work and cherish her acquaintance…

Yasmine Moss, finally finds time to speak to Beachwalkmuse about her favourite topic – Rescuing dogs…

Tell us something about yourself?

I was born in Margate and have lived in Birchington my whole life. I did my degree in law from University of Kent. After finishing my degree last year, I went on to working for Tag and started fostering dogs.

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How did you get involved with TAG?

My mum has always been an animal lover. She was always into animal rights since she was very young. So she knew TAG and she knew Debbie who is from TAG. When I expressed my desire to working with rescue animals, she put me through them and that’s how I started working for TAG.

When was your first rescue?

I think my rescue was when I was around 19 and we found this dog called Marcey in the pound, whose time was up and she was about to be put down. And so I decided to rescue her. We did eventually find her a home – took us about a year but we got there.

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So apart from TAG what are you doing job wise?

Right now I am, apart from TAG which is my part time job [so she says!] I also help my brother with his property development business. I manage some properties in Margate. I did a law degree but that is not where my heart is at the moment. I love property and working with TAG part-time allows me the flexibility to pursue my other interests.

What is it that you like about rescuing dogs? What is the most rewarding part?

We have had rescue dogs since I was a baby. My mother would rescue all kind of crazy dogs, so to not have a dog would be weird. Rescuing and finding homes for the dogs is just natural for me. That is how I was raised, perhaps to be an exceptionally tolerant and accepting of dogs in need.

The rewarding bit is to see them improve in health, behaviour etc. Most dogs who come to us or we rescue come with major trauma’s. One of the greatest example would be my dog MILO who was found under a coffee table peeing all over out of fear of people. He was really scared of hands – meaning he got abused a lot. But now he’s come out of his shell, he is outgoing, he enjoys life and to see them come such a long way is very rewarding.

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Do you keep a count of how many dogs you have rescued so far?

For TAG, last year we homed about 90 dogs. But I also work for a little rescue called Angels for Dogs which is my mum’s and her best friend rescue organisation. So we rescue from them as well. So between us we have rescued about 60 dogs.

There are so many staffies in the shelters, what are the main reasons why they end up in the shelter? 

Most of them come because they fall pregnant, or are unwanted puppies. Some people don’t want a dog after they get into a fight. When people get a dog, they don’t take certain factors into consideration. We never rehome two females in the same house. They get very dominant and tend to get into fights. And a female dog fight is far worse than males. Males fight and forget but females like humans hold a grudge. It is very hard to rehabilitate them to be together.

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What do you do to unwind?

If I find time, I like to sleep. But I have got some really lovely friends, if I am stressed and tired I can just call a friend and pop out for drinks or coffee. They understand that this job stresses me out and sometimes makes me upset so I need to talk to people and my friends are always there. I am very lucky that way with my friends. And taking my dogs out as well, walking them and spending some time with them is really nice. When you are fostering a dog, a lot of your attention is on the new dog and your own pack gets ignored so as and when I get a chance, I try to take my lot out on my own and enjoy bonding with them.

If somebody wants to get involved with TAG, what can they do?

Apart from fostering, one can always volunteer at the centre. You will have to contact TAG for that. One of the biggest thing for us at all times is fund raising. It costs us about £2,000 just to look after the kennels. So if anybody could fund raise on our behalf or contribute to TAG, that would be a great help.

We have a lot of Romanian dogs coming in? And there are a lot of people not quite understanding the need to rescue them when we already have so many dogs in our own shelter? What would you say to that?

As I said earlier that TAG has a lot of Staffordshire Bull Terriers and a lot of people don’t want a staff. I get a huge amount of phone calls saying that they don’t want a pit bull or pit bull kind of dog and I have to ask, “do you mean a staff?” People don’t want them and they have a bad reputation and unfortunately you can’t change everyone’s mind.

For me personally, no matter where the dog comes from – Africa or Romania, if a dog can come here and find a home that’s brilliant.

Romanian dogs are street dogs. Their only problem is fear of people. But that is easy to fix with food and affection. Most English dogs in my opinion are spoilt brats. They are victims of neglect or lack of training, abuse and trauma’s which can sometimes take a lot longer to fix. Most of them are not socialised at an early stage, whereas street dogs are already socialised, one doesn’t have to worry about doggy socialisation, that comes to them naturally.

Also dogs in our rescue are not suitable for everyone’s lifestyle, whereas these Romanian dogs are very humble and easy to look after. They just need their little spot to sleep and be fed. Everyone can find a dog amongst them.

People often don’t know how much to walk their dogs. Or they give up because the dog pulls a lot. what would you say to people with such dogs?

I would say get up early, take them out for a walk and try different places. When you take them to the same place, they get bored and pull you towards what attracts them the most. Take them to different places. Exercises is not just a long run, sometimes a short walk but full of smell like a walk to the woods would stimulate the dog’s mind so much that they’d sleep peacefully for a few hours. There has to be a balance between physical and mental exercise. Both are important.

A lot of dogs are not neutered. Would you like to stress on the importance of neutering/spaying your dog?

The reason that there are no many dogs in the centre is because people don’t neuter and spay their dogs. I think a lot of people, especially men don’t like to neuter their male dogs thinking it makes them less of a man or something. But the fact is that the dog can get cancer and you wouldn’t even know it until its too late. And with females, it is so common to find their wombs being infected and they die within a matter of days. And treating that itself is £1,000 if that happens. It is a shame that as a country we’ve come to a point where we have to neuter every possible dog. Just because of a few irresponsible owners, we now neuter every dog. Some dogs are lovely with all their bits but then again in todays time it is only responsible to neuter than otherwise.

Any advice for people who want a dog for their children?

Well a dog is not for children. We have many cases where parents bring a puppy back because their kids wanted the dog but won’t pick up the mess or walk the dog. Children who want dogs, are not necessarily going to look after them even if they promise. As an adult, parents need to know that when they adopt a dog for their children, the major responsibility is theirs. It is not fair on the dog to be passed on from one handler to another because you child couldn’t take the responsibility. I never picked up any of my dogs’ poo for until I was around 18 or so. A dog is not a present, it is a responsibility of at least 15 years.

Yasmine Moss can be contacted through Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/yasmine.moss.798?fref=ts

Or visit their website for animals in need of homes : http://www.tagpetrescue.org.uk/

 

Beach Within Reach

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Being a mother is a full time job. But for Debbie Fifield, it is literally so. She is a registered full-time carer for her 13 year old son Ryan who has a rare disorder. When she is not looking after him, and managing her son’s twin sister’s teenage tantrums, she volunteers for Beach within Reach. She says she is forced to go to One Direction’s gigs with her daughter but I think she secretly loves them nonetheless…

Debbie Fifield in talks with beachwalkmuse…

What brought you to Margate?

Originally from Birmingham, I lived in London for a while as an adult. My parents brought a guest house in Margate when I was 15. So we came here because of that and then when I was 17, I moved away to London to work. The biggest change that came to me then was when I was 20 and I was running an off license. There was an armed robbery and I was quite badly injured in the armed robbery and I decided I didn’t want to be here anymore.

So I went abroad to work for a while and then when I came back to England I started working for EuroStar. Enjoyed my work and a few years later got offered a very good redundancy package. So I left that and went on to running a pub and then fell pregnant a few months later. I stopped working, as when I fell pregnant we found out that Ryan was going to have problems. I split up with the children’s father when they were 10 months old and then we came out here, since my parents were still down here. And we’ve been down here ever since, just caring for the kids.

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Tell us about your children and how has motherhood changed your life?

I have two children, Ryan and Sophie who are 13 years old twins. Ryan has severe disabilities and Sophie doesn’t. Ryan has what is called the mono syndrome, which is a rare disorder which stands for obesity, mental disorder and ocular abnormalities. Because of Ryan, I had to give up my job as I am registered as his full time carer. Ryan doesn’t burn out much energy during the day as he is wheelchair bound which means he stays up a lot during the night leaving me very exhausted during the day. But I do get some time to catch up on my sleep whilst he is in school. Having said that those are the only few hours when I can get some chores done because once he is home, there is no time for anything else.

How is life at the moment?

We’ve had a big life changing thing this year. We have been waiting for seven years for the house to be adapted and also have a house that was right for Ryan. Three years ago we moved into a council home and only in August they came to make the changes. It has been a long wait but now I finally have a bathroom which is right for Ryan. We now have an accessible bathroom, kitchen and garden which also makes my life easier as he has help himself to a lot of things now. So life is good at the moment.

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Has this experience of motherhood changed you as a person?

Yes, I am definitely not selfish at all as I used to be. I used to live in London, living well beyond my means and generally living a great life. But now, I put the kids first. I have stopped smoking, I don’t drink – all of the things I did as a single person before I was a mother, I have stopped them all.

It must be very difficult for Sophie to not feel left out? What can you do as a mother ?

Sophie has always felt that way. I would say she must have been about three when she said you love Ryan more than you love me because you spend all your time with him. As a mother you feel guilty all the time. Everytime she comes home, if she’d had a row with something, had fallen out with something or had a bad day in general, it makes you wonder whether it is because you haven’t spend enough time with her. It is common with children whose siblings are disable to find it difficult to adjust to the fact that they have a sibling who needs more of your parents attention.

So I send Ryan away to respite. I get 29 nights a year to myself and that’s when I do something with Sophie whether it is taking her to a gig or holiday away etc.

How did you get involved with Beach within Reach…

Beach within reach started about 7 years ago. But the people who were associated with it due to personal circumstances couldn’t be involved anymore. And four years ago I was approached (as I have been involved with the Wheelchair charity in the past). And that is how I got involved with the charity.

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How does it all work?

Initially it was Pfizers and a lot of charities that helped fun raise the wheelchairs for the Thanet area. And the wheelchairs stay in the storage a lot throughout the year although we’d like them used all the time. And during the summer times, there is a bay inspector on the beach, then the wheelchairs go out to the bay inspectors and then they are free of charge for anybody who has ability impairment (adult or a child) who want to access the beach.

How many of such chairs are available at a time?

There are about 16 of them. During any season we have about 10 of them out during the summer.We have a couple in Margate, couple in Broadstairs and other bays. We also have couple in Westbrook and so on. And then people can simply go along and ask the bay inspector who can then make the wheelchairs available.

Who funds them?

Because we don’t charge anybody for using them, we depend hugely on fundraising. Some of it , we do it ourselves and we also have our big fundraising event which is in May. At the moment Thanet classic cars – we are their sponsored charity of the year. And the Broadstairs Mayor Rosalind Binks – she has just raise over £600 for us at one of her quiz nights. And Thanet Farmers Market also had us as their charity at the beginning of the year. So we do depend a lot on people and companies generosity.

You are incredibly busy and have your hands full. What do you do to unwind?

I walk. I love walking – I used to walk a lot with my friend but she’s just moved.

If you were given a choice to work? What would you like to do as a job?

Everybody alway say that I am very good at organising but I think that is because I worked so long for EuroStar organising people’s travel around Europe. And actually that is something I am having to think about it because Ryan has been offered a place in a school where he is supposed to board during the week. So from September I have to work but only during term time. So obviously, the only job where I can work would be in a school. But I have no experience in that, so I don’t know where to find a job.

If you had a choice of gaining a skill instantly, what would that be?

It will have to be something to do with languages and travel. I used to travel a lot and a skill that could take traveling would be one I’d like to have.

What have you learned from your mother about parenthood? How has that effected your relationship with your children?

I have learnt to not to be like my mum. My relationship with my mother isn’t a good one, and has never been a close one. She wasn’t the one who would hug and say I love you. So I try to be as loving and positively expressive to my children. I try to always try to hug and kiss, the only thing is Sophie being a typical 13 year old doesn’t want to hold hands walking down the street or when she wants a cuddle, it will have to be on her terms; whereas Ryan, he is always happy to have a cuddle because he is still like a little boy and always will be.

Lastly, how would you like to spend your Mother’s Day?

My ideal mother’s day would doing what my children enjoy doing.

Debbie is organising a sponsored walk on Sunday, May 11th for Beach within Reach. It is a 6 mile sponsored walk starting at the Lighthouse Bar in Margate on the Harbour Arm, we walk to Westgate Bay cafe and then walk back again. Normally takes 2 hours at the most. So if somebody would like to either sponsor somebody who is walking or participate in the walk, please get in touch with us.

Debbie can be contacted through

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Beach-within-Reach/114076668609482?ref=ts&fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Beachinreach

Or simply visit the website on : beachwithinreach.org.uk

 

Helter – Skelter

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Fiona Crawford runs Helter Skelter in Broadstairs which has recently won Britain’s Friendliest Business Award. She is a single mother of a 15 year old and provides a safe haven for all the parents of toddlers in Broadstairs…

Beachwalkmuse finds out more about Fiona…

Tell us about yourself?

I have Helter Skelter which is a children’s play cafe and toddler party venue which runs a range of activities like baby sensory, toddler time, arts and crafts etc. We also have very good food. We’ve been going on for about four years now. We are also very much involved in the community and do our best to promote the area through here and by joining the Broadstairs & St.Peter’s Chambers of Commerce and now Broadstairs Town Team.

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What kind of community work?

When I opened – I think most businesses will have similar stories. Broadstairs is promoted as a very prosperous town. But when you start a business here you find out that it’s not. After a few months of opening Helter Skelter, some of the shops were closed down. And that’s when I realised that we need to get involved. So I started a group on facebook called Save Broadstairs High Street. It was a small group of us who decided to then join the Chambers and really since then we’ve been working on how to attract people to use the town.

We do loads of events. We do a lot to support local businesses. We put together the Big Broadstairs Weekend where we put a film on a big screen on the beach. The first year’s turnaround won us a Guinness World Record. There were well over a thousand people who tuned up. But after a while it got so busy we couldn’t count them all so we only accounted for 882. But that was great.

This year it won’t happen as TDC (Thanet District Council) has decided to not fund it. It is a shame but we won’t be able to do it this year.

We also do Christmas Events, we have started doing the Halloween party etc. So we do come up with ideas that involve everyone from around the town.

When the Portas thing came up, I thought let’s get a town team together. And through that we have started up something called Brush-Up Broadstairs where we get people together and do litter picks and things like that; we are also starting up a gardening group, we do painting projects – we painted the harbour wall down the bottom and there’s also a mural down there.

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You have recently won an award. Tell us about that?

Britain’s Friendliest Business!

It is a wonderful feeling. It is a brand new award set up by a company called Liberis. What is wonderful about it is that it is recognising the unsung heroes of customer service and business that go beyond in delivering everything from customer service to businesses that are very much involved in the community. So we had to get our customers to vote for us and we have received some really wonderful comments form our customers.

I used to come here with my little ones and it seems like there is an incredible sense of community right here?

That is true. We see different people coming here and we have had many of our customers saying that they’ve made some really good friends here. Some people come here to simply enjoy food with their children who might be a bit older or have out grown the activities here but still like to come and enjoy the energy. So there is definitely a sense of community and that is what we have being trying to achieve where mummy’s and daddy’s can come and enjoy as well as their children.

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How did you come up with the idea of Helter Skelter?

I originally used to work in London. I used to be a headhunter. Then I got poorly, I had meningitis so I quite my job and decided to live by the coast. When I started recovering I realised I will have to earn a living and really didn’t want to go back to London. Then someone told me that there was a gap for kids play. So I started off Play Bay in Ramsgate with a friend. And several years later the Methodist Church was looking for an alternative use for the place, they needed to find other sources of income and we were approached to open up here in Broadstairs. But it took such a long time to set up that we decided to separate the two businesses and the business partners at Play Bay stayed in Ramsgate and we started off on our own here in Broadstairs.

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What are you going to do with the reward money?

I am going to throw a BIG party for all my helpers, customers and people who have helped us get here.

You are also a mother?

Yes I am a single mother. I have a 15 year old son. A teenager – he is great. He is absolutely brilliant, apart from the fact that he is very lazy and he won’t do his homework!

Do you have a favourite stage in your child’s life or as a mother?

Each stage you think he is perfect and you want him to stop growing and you want him the way he is. Although I do miss the time when I could hold him, because he is very cuddly and now he is taller than me but he is still very cuddly. I am sure he’d hate me for saying that. The only thing about now is that he not so interested. So getting him to do stuff is hard. And that’s quite sad at times. But then that’s part of life.

Have you always raised you son as a single parent? Is it difficult to raise a son on your own?

Well I have my sister living with me. And he sees his dad a lot. It is easy from the point of view that it is my decision making. But then on the other hand financially it is hard when you are on your own. I guess, when I was ill it was blooming tough but on the whole I don’t find it difficult.

I don’t think I am the best mum or the worst – I might have let him stay up late, I might have let him play video games a bit too long but I think we have a pretty good relationship overall.

What has been the worst and rewarding part of being a mother?

I am not a very tough person. But now my son’s got GCSES and the school called us up saying he isn’t working hard enough and I have been working quite a lot and neglecting him, so I had to be tough on him so he gets his work done. I think that is the hard part. But the school is now happy, he is doing well again and he seems happy too. So I guess being tough when it doesn’t come naturally to you is the worst part.

The most rewarding part (I am going to cry now), is knowing that in his heart he still loves me (although he is a typically 15 year old teenager) and that itself is very rewarding.

You have you hands full with variety of different work that you do, yet if I had to give you a choice to pick a different job, what would that be?

I actually love what I do – I love meeting people, I love kids, it feels like it is coffee morning everyday. I only wish I could make more money out of it. I enjoy organising events like I do with the town team – so I think it would be something like an events co-ordinator or something on those lines.

How would your son describe you in just three words you think?

Snuggly, pushy and funny.

And how do you unwind?

I can sleep for Britain. I like my bed. Being with my friends is what I like and I also like going out dancing. I used to do meditation as well but I haven’t done that in ages.

What is one skill you would like to gain?

Admin and book-keeping. I am terrible with accountancy.

Is there anything you miss doing that you did before becoming a mother?

I used to be a culture-vulture. I used to love going to the theatre, art exhibitions etc. Having said that now my son is 15 and I can start doing those things all over again, now my only constraint is work and all my voluntary commitments which I enjoy.

What would you ideal Mother’s Day be like?

My ideal Mother’s Day would be when my son will wake up in the morning and make me breakfast in bed. I’d like him to jump in bed ,give me a cuddle and take me out for lunch (he’s not going to love hearing that). But I do like it when he makes breakfast in bed for me.

 

 

The Curio in Margate

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Jo Willis, the creator of The Curio and an amazing photographer is a new mother of just a few weeks old Dulcie and lives in Margate with her husband Dom. Jo speaks to beachwalkmuse about her journey….

Tell me about your move to Margate?

We moved to Margate three years ago. Before that, we were living in London and both my husband and I wanted to move out of London. We tried buying a house down there and things fell down quite dramatically. We’d come to Thanet – Broadstairs for a weekend. Infact, we stayed at Jilly’s Belvidere Place. We started looking at the estate agent’s window, knowing that we’d liked the place (Thanet) already.

When we got married we got married in Dungeness , and then drove back. We stopped at various places, one of them was Margate. We stayed at the Nayland Rock Hotel in 2009 . We were the only people at the hotel. But even then there was something about it that we really – really liked!

So it was that time, we had a bad experience in London and we wanted to move out. We were to-ing and fro-ing between Hastings and Margate for similar reason. They both were at the stage where things were starting to happen, things were starting to change but you could still get nice properties for a lot cheaper.

When it came down to picking a place, we found out that Margate was the friendliest place. Having come down for a few weekends, we’d already started to make friends. So that was a big deciding factor. Nobody spoke to us in Hastings but in Margate people saw us a couple of times and that was it. They came up to us and started talking. When we found the house, we made the offer and moved in within 5 or 6 months. It all happened very quickly .

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What were you doing for a living before becoming a mother?

I spent years working in the interiors and art directions. Then I quit that job and started working at this reclamation company. So I was doing photography of their interiors but then also started doing a bit of furniture dealing. I did a degree in photography but hadn’t worked as a photographer in a long time. My husband is a freelance film-maker (commercials) and he was looking for new projects. We both wanted to get out of London and work on our projects and do it in a place where we could afford to do it. And, also do it in a place where it felt like there was opportunities to have a go and do things.

You have been involved with Resort studios. What is Resort Studios?

There’s a group of us. The original group is of about six of us. We all decided we wanted to set up a studio. It is basically a big warehouse with two floors where all of us have our little work space – the ground floor is a big gallery. We have had little shows and a couple of theatre companies do their things in there. And we are planning to open a cafe in there at some point. The first floor is one big open space studio where all of us have our own freestanding pods almost like sheds just nicer.

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Tell me a little bit about how did your website The Curio came into being?

When we moved to Margate I was still going to London and doing my job at this interior company and I wanted to do something here. I kept meeting people who were meeting here, buying amazing places, doing up their houses, setting up shops and doing really interesting things that were starting to stand out. Like when GB Pizza came up, they were one of the first people I’d photographed. It was the first, (sounds cheesy) but ‘cool’ restaurant, a place where you’d want to sit and hang out. That’s one place of its kind and since then a lot of places have come up. I was getting more and more annoyed by people always talking negative about the place and also people were not recognising that there were people who wanted to come and live here and yet things were being demolished – beautiful buildings, structures etc. It seemed to me like, there was a mentality of Cliftonville especially was really run down, so let’s not fix it but knock it down.

In my opinion as many others, is that the period houses have a huge amount of demand and a particular kind of person would like to buy these houses and that’s what you should be promoting. So I went to see Rebecca Smith from the Thanet Gazette and said that I wanted to do an interior piece for her which would show housing and property in Thanet . There are a lot of houses, people with interesting lives, people who have lived here for years etc who are never being written about. And that is what I tried doing through the Curio. Rebecca said yes and that’s how it all started.

What’s the plan for The Curio now?

Right now because of the baby I have stopped obviously but I have a plan of making a book out of it. And I will be doing more of such stuff with new ideas, definitely.

Run me through your journey to Motherhood?

Dom and I got married in 2009, five years now. When we were in London, we had a miscarriage. And we decided at that point that we wouldn’t try again until we are properly settled. And then we were here for a year or so, we thought it’d be very nice to have a child here. There’s a beach down the road, we have a lot of friends here who have kids, it felt like this was the right place to have a baby than in London anyway. So the baby was planned and it all happened VERY quickly.

Fondest memory with your mum as a child?

The thing that I remember is that my mum, who is an art and textile teacher, so we always used to make clothes and things with her. She used to being home these Batique sets and we’d sit in the kitchen Batique’ing. So it was always like that, making clothes, knitting or some sort of textile or art based things.

As a new mother, are you finding it difficult?

No I am enjoying it, definitely. The only difficult part is lack of sleep. Everyone tells you how tired you are going to be but you have no idea until actually have a baby.

What’s the best part about being a mum?

It is early days and she is sleeping all the time. It is all about her at the moment- cleaning her, feeding her etc. But she is starting to smile. And she would look at you and smile – not asking to feed her but you can tell that she is just happy that you are there. So that’s the thing I am enjoying receiving and over the next few weeks, that is going to develop more. And that is going to be very rewarding when she can give your a proper massive grin.

What kind of mother would you like to be to your little one?

My relationship with my mother was a positive one and if I didn’t have a good relationship with her I probably wouldn’t have wanted to be a mum myself. I mean that is the kind of effect it has on me. My upbringing was lovely and happy and they supported me in everything I wanted to do. And that’s how I’d like to be as a mum. I hope we can do things together like shopping, go to theatre etc.

Is there anything that you miss doing that you could do before becoming a mother?

I have done a lot. I am not a very young mum. I have done quite a lot work wise and otherwise. And I am not ready to be a mother and making it all about my child.

What changes in you as a person when you become a mother?

You realise priorities in true sense. Before you could spend hours obsessing about something that you’d now think as not so important in the grander scheme of things. Suddenly, what is important for the baby is important to you.

How do you unwind?

I am watching lots and lots of films at the moment. We’ve always watched a lot of films because Dom is obsessed with films. So yes, watching films, going for walks and knitting.

This is going to be your first Mother’s Day. How would you like to spend it?

My first mothers day, my mother is going to be here. And it is also my neighbour’s daughters first birthday. So I think we will be spending my first mother’s day at her first birthday.