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Mother’s who add value - Part One with Rachel Schroder!

This Mother’s Day we wanted to celebrate some women in our life who add value to us, the community around them and most of all their families. We feel incredibly blessed to be surrounded by a sea of people who encourage, inspire and challenge us, so we thought we’d take the opportunity to share two of these women with you! And we really do hope that a glimpse into their journeys encourages you too.



This is Rach, we’ve known Rach for over 10 years and we’ve pretty much seen her approach motherhood like she has approached life - cool, calm, collected and extremely conscientious. She has been and continues to be a loyal friend to us and all those who are privileged to be in her world. Rach is a Mum of two sweet kids, Walter and Hazel and a physiotherapist by vocation. And she SO very kindly accepted our last minute idea to interview with us (thanks Rach!).

So we’d love you to join us in reading Rach’s journey of Motherhood, we hope you find it like we did, honest, refreshing and real.

 

How have you found the journey of Motherhood?

It has honestly been the biggest privilege and joy I have ever experienced in my life, and expect to ever experience. I remember holding my babies for the first time thinking my heart was going to explode with happiness! I am a firm believer in God, and I can’t believe that He would let me look after these precious kids.

Although there is a lot of joy and happiness it is also extremely challenging at times. It is like doing the most important job in the world… with no skills or qualifications in the area, and no idea what I am doing most of the time! If someone interviewed me for this position I never would have got the job! I had never even changed a nappy before I had my son. It has really made me understand the saying “it takes a village to raise a child.” I have been incredibly grateful for the endless love and support from my husband, Kyle, who is always keen to learn alongside me and to bring me back down to earth as I have a tendency to get quite stressed and overwhelmed with things. Even though it is extremely challenging, I am fortunate to be trying to figure out how to do this with someone who loves the kids and me, and really wants the best for all of us. Clearly we have learnt so much, and I have been blessed by the constant support and love from family members and friends, who field my constant calls and questions and guide us through this journey. A special shout out to my poor mum and dad who not only had the experience of raising three ok kids, are also a doctor and a nurse, so you can imagine how much they must enjoy seeing my name appear on their phone screens at all hours!

 

How did you find the adjustment to becoming a Mum?

I remember the sleep deprivation was a huge shock to the system! There is no way you can prepare for the 3 hourly feeding schedule of a newborn, and the exhaustion of having to care for another person 24/7! I also remember having to adjust to suddenly having to take this baby with you everywhere you went – instead of just grabbing my handbag and walking out the door, I could easily spend an hour or more preparing to leave the house! Thankfully I had some close friends with older children who had prepared me very well for what it was going to be like, and this helped me to have quite realistic expectations so the adjustment was not as hard as it could have been.

 

What has been the most challenging thing for you in your journey?

Realising that mums don’t get sick leave! In these moments I am so grateful that I am parenting in an age of tv and Disney+!!

But seriously, although motherhood is amazing, it can also be really lonely. Take for example the month of April … We have had a cold just circulating between myself, my son and daughter constantly for the whole month. It has meant I have barely been able to leave the house or have people over to visit, and at the same time my husband has been incredibly busy with work and not able to help out as much as he would like. By the end of the month I felt extremely deprived of human contact and conversation with other adults. I also spent a lot of my daughters first year in covid lockdowns, so I have had to force myself to initiate contact with people during those times – which to be honest I’d often feel like I couldn’t be bothered doing at the time, but would always feel much better after hanging up the phone. Zoom has also been my friend lately. I started a book club with some family members during lockdown, and a bible study group with a group of other mums. Both been invaluable for keeping loneliness at bay …  I’m not always the most kempt looking member of the zoom chat, but I am always there and always keen!

 

What has brought you the most joy?

I wouldn’t say there is one particular moment, but the times when I allow myself to be fully present with the kids watching them smile, laugh and experience joy themselves is what brings me the most joy. Some nights I just sit on my phone scrolling through pictures of them smiling and laughing, and telling my husband stories of things that happened during the day that made them laugh and enjoy themselves. My husband often rolls his eyes at me for scrolling through pictures and photos of the kids after they have gone to bed, “You’ve been hanging out for 7pm all day, and now that they’re in bed you miss them?!”

 

What has been one of the most valuable things you have learnt?

Always pack spare clothes … and not just for the baby.

Being part of a community of people who you can trust is absolutely vital. I have an amazing parents group, church family, and family/friends who got alongside us in this journey. You need people who will answer your silly questions, will listen without judgement, look after your kids when you are sick, provide friendship for you and your kids and support you through the ups and downs. This is definitely a two way street as well! You get the privilege of supporting someone else through difficult times and helping out where you can. It still boggles my mind when people come to me for advice!! But the reality is I have learnt so much from the last 4 years (and many things I didn’t even realise) and it is an absolute honour to pass some of that knowledge on.  

 

If you could share one piece of advice with a new Mum what would it be?

Sorry Pheebs, I can’t narrow it down to one thing!!

1. People will give you advice. People are extremely well meaning in giving advice … however their advice doesn’t always make you feel fantastic! The advice people give you is often related to one very small and specific aspect of motherhood, but rarely takes the bigger picture and reality of your family into account. So remember people are telling you what worked for them (or what is the best current research into something quite specific), but they may have experienced a completely different set of circumstances that made following that advice possible (E.g. more money, support networks, access to equipment etc).
2. I want to provide my kids with the perfect childhood/feed them the right foods/have a clean house/do educational and meaningful activities with them etc. Our expectations on ourselves can be SO HIGH!!! The problem is, I am an imperfect person so achieving these high standards is literally not possible. I have found that it is better to focus on a small amount of things that need to be right (E.g. making sure they are well fed, wearing sunscreen, have safe car seats) and trying to give myself a bit more freedom in the other things that really don’t matter that much. So sometimes my son goes to kinder with an Insta worthy lunchbox, and other days I just tear open packets of tiny teddies to pour in!

And last but not least, without making us blush, out of 100 how much do you like your Abilene products?!
Without a word of a lie I LOVE my mat. It is so lovely and soft to touch and sit on, and I just love how much other people love it!! Whenever I use it people always mention it. And the hats are amazing, Hazel spends all day putting it on and taking it off - they are super sturdy, super cute and the kids love wearing them!! So 100/100 for sure!! The only fault is that the baby hats don’t come with a super glue to keep on her head!
Ok, we are blushing.