Meet Hayley. She’s the owner of Southwood Stores which, if you’re not already familiar, is the kind of online shop where you want to buy everything on offer. She’s also the woman behind cool clothing label Gray by Southwood Stores, which celebrates strong women. She’s an original, real-deal Mum Boss and even once owned an ice cream van! She’s Mum to two boys (one of whom is already an adult) AND she’s been married for 20 years (woweee). Oh, and I almost forgot to mention; she’s not yet 40.
Read what this amazing Mama has to say about her experience of Motherhood…
Name: Hayley Southwood
Location: Whaddon, Bucks
Number of kids: 2 boys
Names and ages: Jake age 16, Callum age 18
Was motherhood planned, a lovely surprise or somewhere in the middle?
All I ever wanted was my own family. As a teenager if I’m brutally honest this was my ambition… To have a proper family. That’s where it all started. I met my beautiful hubby when I was 15 and he was 17. My dream was to get married and start a family. I wouldn’t choose this path for my boys but Paul and I created a family that we are so proud of. We got married when I was 20 and I had Callum at 21.
Initial feelings on finding out you were pregnant?
We were all over the moon, my Mum was bloody brilliant about it now I look back. She had told me you can make mistakes at 20, 30 or 40 and as long as I was happy she was happy. My Dad who wasn’t in my life very much had very different opinions. That I shouldn’t settle down and I should travel. At 20 there was no way I was brave enough to travel. My boys are brave and strong at 18 and 16 and been off around the country because they have a stable strong upbringing. It wasn’t like that for me.
What was it like having your children young?
Being married and having my boys young has given me confidence in my abilities. My husband studied whilst we had babies and got his masters degree. I opened my nursery school at age 25. Determined to give my boys a good, solid, secure life. I worked around my boys but was always there to drop them and pick them up from school.
What is it like now?
I still work so I’m home when they get in just so I can make a cup of tea with them and here them moan about their day. We like it this way.
What was pregnancy and labour like for you?
Being pregnant was the best thing, I bloody loved it. Apart from the stretch marks, my size 8 child like body got stretched so bad. My tummy bled every day. My boys were pretty huge! 8lb 10oz, and 9lb 7oz.
Labour was beautiful with the first born, I’d say period pains. The second bloody awful, he was huge and facing the wrong way. I used gas and air for my second baby!!!!!
What’s the best bit of being a Mama?
Watching them grow into young men has been amazing, truly amazing and I feel very privileged to be their Mum.
We are a team, we work it out together and I’m sure we’ve all said things we didn’t mean but I’m so proud of my little family. They have given me the confidence and determination to start all of my businesses.
My eldest still calls me MAMA when he’s being nice!! The youngest won’t let me get out the car when I collect him from school. Life is just the way we like it!!
Anything else you’d like to share?
Massive thank you to Hayley for sharing her experiences! What an inspiration!! Be sure to check out her store, you won’t regret it (although your credit card might) and visit her blog, Breathe Happiness.
If you’d like to feature on the blog as part of the ‘In the (mother) hood’ series, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.