Victoria Baker-Harber: Maternal Insights in Mummy Spotlight
What is a typical day like for you and your family?
A typical day for Gaia and I ranges from her waking up between 7.30-8.30am (if I’m lucky!) I let her sleep until she’s ready to get up. The second I hear her, it’s like an inbuilt maternal alarm clock that goes off and I’m instantaneously up! I sometimes have some help in the mornings but we always start with breakfast. Bananas and weetabix and occasionally a yoghurt and berry smoothie. She’s generally more interested in trying to feed the dog which ends in her watching me cleaning up her leftovers from the floor. I think she actually enjoys that part the most. Now that the weather is good again, Gaia loves the park - the slide is her favourite thing in the playground and she’s always trying to keep up with the older children… I try to let her be whilst keeping a very watchful eye.
Around midday it’s nap time - always a welcome break and I can catch up on emails or calls or see what’s happening in the news. After this, we usually have lunch together. Eggs and soldiers are the latest favourite, as is broccoli with a Japanese sesame dressing. I feel a small victory managing to sneak in green vegetables.
If we don’t have a play date or other activity, we go for walks around the neighbourhood hand in hand at the moment - she loves waving at people and watching the world go by. She seems to take the lead these days. Gaia also loves the supermarket or any kind of department store. People watching, just like me! She also thrives on getting as dirty and as messy as possible - and at this point, I let her. I think of it as immunity building germs!
I always have dinner with her around 6.30-7pm- it’s the chance to try new things and she’s at a point of always wanting to copy me so I’m using the opportunity to expand her palette. Olives and smoked salmon seem to be an unusual favourite for now…
After this, it’s bath-time (occasionally between this, a moment to watch Peppa the Pig which is like magic for her…) - she adores bubbles and extreme splashing. Bathtime can last up to about an hour sometimes! On the weekends when I’m alone with her, I bring her into the shower with me. She is fascinated by all the products and loves being in there. A new kind of sensation! I once had the shower running and turned around to find her fully dressed and smiling at me!
How has motherhood surprised you?
I never knew it was possible to love someone like I love my little girl. It’s a whole new range of emotions you can’t imagine to be possible before becoming a mother. It’s like discovering a new colour in the rainbow. She’s my reason to be and I just want to do the best I can for her. Being a mother puts things in perspective and you suddenly understand the sacrifices people make for their children - as well as developing a newfound respect for your own parents because they felt the same way about you, and still do!
I can’t say I’m surprised, but I’m humbled. The feeling was instant as soon as she arrived. I haven’t had Gaia’s father around so I feel I’ve had to make up for certain things that will someday be made whole again.
I can’t imagine how I will be if someone is ever mean to her when she starts school! She will always be my little girl and I’ll always be fiercely protective of her!
What’s the biggest challenge when it comes to motherhood?
Realising that you are not the most important thing in your life and that you do not come first. Your reason to be changes - and perhaps for the better. The desire to be spontaneous is no long an option, which again, is for the better. For me, navigating things on my own for the moment has its challenges. I’ve had to rely on my instincts instead of always having someone to guide me or give me advise. Listening to your own instincts is vital. As much as grandparents want to help and try to implement their ways of doing things or suggest how they did things in their time, only you as a mother really can understand your child. And times have changed. No amount of experience or second hand knowledge can prepare you for your own child. Sometimes there has to be a small fight!
What is the biggest joy?
The biggest joy is realising that you are being looked up to and when you comprehend just how needed you are. When Gaia was about 14 months old and started taking my hand to show me she wanted something, it made me understand just how much faith she has in me. When she is standing at the top of the stairs and knows that I will carry her instead of her making her own way down, she will put her arms out and like a leap of faith, falls into mine. (No matter how many bags or things I have in my hands already!) Hearing her call me ‘Mummy’ … or knowing her father is on the phone and recognising his voice and saying ‘Datty’ … she knows she has her family and always will. It’s really magical.
Also, if she ever has a fall or knocks into something, I’ll tell her ‘naughty table’ and she will gently hit it. I love that. It’s never her fault, obviously.
Best piece of advice you could give to a new mum?
Trust your instincts! No matter how tired you are, your body finds a way to make it through for your baby. You have reserves saved for your children. There is only one mother, and that is you. Don’t be obsessive over small details - they will get dirty and they will make a mess.
And for a very new mother, don’t buy endless outfits for a newborn/1 month old! They basically live in babygro pyjamas and sleep all the time! They’re also really hard to dress when they’re that tiny too! Buttons at the front to start with as they hate being on their back. And don’t stress about breastfeeding…
What is your favourite little butterfly product?
Gaia is obsessed with all of the Little Butterfly products. She obviously watches me apply my serums, creams, wash my hair etc… and naturally she wants to join in. She loves applying the anti oxidant face cream herself - and onto me. The body cream has also cleared up dry skin patches she was suffering from due to eczema. I was really against the steroid creams because they thin the skin and the cream has been miraculous. It’s now part of our every day routine after her bath and I love that she loves getting so involved too! I have to let her take charge to stop it from becoming a fight!
The products are great and I’m so happy to have discovered this amazing brand!