Having recently relocated to Devon from the big smoke it seems rather fitting that today we have a Devon-based Mum boss on the blog. Jo is a mum to two boys, sewing extraordinaire, charity worker and founder of Fox & Tootsie . Like many of us Jo is busy setting up a small business in those precious moments that exist between working the day job, keeping the kids alive and the house semi-clean. All in the hope of achieving that sometimes seemingly elusive thing; a work-life balance. For parents, that often means being able to work around the kids; being able to do the daily school run and be present for those special moments. Since most workplaces unfortunately don’t offer that level of flexibility, more and more talented women are leaving the workplace and setting up shop for themselves. For Jo right now that means late nights spent at the sewing machine but the dream is being able to focus on creating awesome kids clothes full time.
My boys have been wearing her harem-style leggings for a while now and they definitely get a big thumbs up from me! They’re made from the softest organic cotton, have a big stretchy waistband that’s gentle on the tummy and are comfy and unrestrictive, making them perfect for active kids. They are available in a variety of cool prints, are hard-wearing, wash well and tick pretty much every box you need when buying clothes for the smalls. And right now you can get 10% off with code ‘THEDOUBLEMAMA’ but only until 21.09.16. So do check out Fox and Tootsie and show Jo some mum love by following her on Instagram.
For now though, here’s what Jo has to say about her experience of motherhood from taking 15 pregnancy tests to having a peaceful, relaxed and beautiful planned cesarean section…
Location: Newton Abbot, Devon
Number of Kids: 2
Names and ages: Henry, 4 and George, 2
Was motherhood planned, a lovely surprise or somewhere in the middle?
Planned and very much wanted. I was desperate to become a mum, it was everything I ever wanted. I was one of those girls who dreamed of marriage and babies age 5, and couldn’t wait!!
Initial feelings on finding out you were pregnant?
Excitement, shock, didn’t believe it (15 tests later it started to sink in!!)
How did you tell your partner?
Showed him the test stick with Henry. With George I just knew, but we did a test just to confirm!
Shock, pleased but apprehensive. All of a sudden we both felt really really responsible and I was only 5 weeks pregnant!!! If only we knew what was to come 😉
Did you glow your way through pregnancy or was it a complete bitch?
Loved it, but moaned a lot (woman’s prerogative?!?!). My Henry bump was neat and compact, my George bump was MASSIVE. He was 9lb10, say no more!!
Tell me about your birth experience…
Henry was breech, so I had a planned c-section. I was so nervous but contrary to all the horror stories, it was peaceful, relaxed and beautiful, with my husband Matt. He was wrapped in a towel and passed straight to me and I fell head over heels in love instantly. That feeling is indescribable.
George was a different story! I found out I had group b strep (something every pregnant woman should read up about as we don’t test for it as standard in the UK and the outcomes can be catastrophic). So, as soon as my waters broke (on my due date!!) I had to be admitted to hospital to receive IV antibiotics. He was born 24 hours later, forceps and emergency so he was rushed straight to ICU. I had blood transfusions and he had tests for everything. We were reunited 3 days later, and I totally fell in love with him. We went home after a week and he was given the all clear – those moments make you realise how fragile and beautiful life is.
Describe motherhood in a few words…
Gorgeous, intense, magical, brutal. Motherhood enables you to experience the highest highs and the lowest lows all in one day!!!
Can you share any parenting highlights?
The time Henry told the supermarket checkout man ‘mummy is wearing a nappy’ is up there!!
The boys started randomly doing a song and dance together at forest school recently, it was hilarious and everyone started laughing and clapping! Little entertainers they are.
Can you share any low points?
Henry went flying into the corner of a skirting board when learning to crawl, he was like a frog and lept so far forward!! That was a trip to A&E and a glued head!!
George went flying off the slide at the local play ground recently – and I was too far away to catch him!! He was quite proud of his HUGE bump – oops!
What do you do when the baby sleeps?
Mainly sew!! I love it, my hobby has now turned into my career and I couldn’t be happier! I’m also partial to watching films and gardening.
Tell me about your fox & tootsie…
Fox&tootsie is my business. I hand make children’s clothing age 0-5. I source organic cotton and make gorgeous, fun and unique items for little ones.
My mission is to make everyday, bright and funky clothing and accessories for your little one so they can adventure in original, vibrant and fun clothes.
As a parent I have always found it hard to find funky prints and clothes that fit my chunky boys. So I am making loose stretchy clothing with the most adorable prints to suit any child with loads of room to get messy, have fun and explore!
Do you have another job (besides being a Mama)?
I do, I work for a charity part time and I am in the throws of setting up fox&tootsie. My dream is to do fox&tootsie work full time, so I can do the school run and enjoy my babies littleness rather than hear about their experiences from the childminder.
What’s the best bits of being a Mama?
The adventures – seeing the world through their eyes – if you stop and explore in the way that they do, you see magic and adventure in everything. Practicing mindfulness when having kids is easy, they are doing it constantly – we could learn a thing or two from these little ones if we let ourselves.
What are the worst bits?
Haha, at the moment it’s getting dressed, seriously! You have no idea how angry my kiddies get about having to get dressed. Even when I have made them new clothes!!!
The tantrums are also tough, especially when you have to be somewhere!
What do you find hardest about being a Mum?
Juggling and that bloody annoying guilt fairy!! Who invented that horrid feeling anyway!!
What was the biggest surprise that you wish you’d be warned about/known before becoming a Mama?
The biggest surprise was how intense that feeling of love and protection is! I would literally do anything for my bubbas, and love them beyond where I thought was possible.
And the sleep, people tell you before you have them ‘get your rest in now’ and you’re like yeah yeah I can handle anything me. Then they arrive. Then 2 weeks later you’re in a state of sleep deprived shock!!
If someone agreed to mind your kids for a week what would you do?
Ooooooo….sleep, then go out with the girls, then sleep!! I would love to go away on a mindfulness break, but I couldn’t hack a week away from my little glorious grot bags!! A few days would do 🙂
Have you got any advice for mamas-to-be/new mamas?
Just to be kind to yourself and accept the help. You don’t have to prove you are a hero, you already are because you have birthed this amazing being. So accept the help on offer. Oh and sniff your baby lots, what is it with that glorious newborn smell?!?!
What’s do you reckon the most essential item mamas-to-be need to pack in their birth bag?
Nice moisturiser – it’s hot in the hospital and my skin dries out quickly. It’s also nice to make yourself feel a bit better. Also lots of babygros for baby, I tried the whole outfit for a newborn thing and dressing him was harder than getting a degree!! Babygros all the way 🙂
What’s been your best baby product?
Grobags!! Couldn’t have lasted without them at night! Also my littlest loved the grohush, white noise helped us a lot with settling and calming.
I also had a beko sling which was just brill – and still use it sometimes now for my 2 year old on long walks when he gets tired.
What was really useful in the early days?
My mum!!! No seriously, she was a lifesaver I wouldn’t have got through it without her. Also my friends, so I could share my joy and also my woes, I needed lots of hugs after having George and they supplied them in the bucket load.
Did you make any baby-related /pregnancy hormone induced purchases that you regretted / were a total waste of money?
Oh god loads – I had to have the latest gadget! I would say the bumbo seat was pretty hopeless because my boys legs were too chunky!! They always got stuck!! I also brought loads of nursing bras before the baby arrived – but I needed them 10x bigger so I would advise waiting!! Haha.
What’s your ultimate mum product?
Medela nipple shields in the early days, water bottle purifier as I was always thirsty, a good changing bag – especially with 2 as you had to take so much stuff for such little beings!!
Who inspires you?
My mum who is the most caring and generous person I know. My dad, who believes in my everything and my gorgeous husband who always has my back! Oh and my kidlets, who make me chuckle and smile every day.
I am always inspired by people who take risk and chances…
How many children do you dream of having?
I would love one more, but don’t want to compromise the love and attention I give to my boys. So I think we are more than happy with two – I just feel so so lucky that we have 2 gorgeous boys.
If you could go back to your pre-child life, where you weren’t so tired, for a short period of time, what would you do?
More!! I would travel more because I could at a whim.
What do you miss about life before kids?
Nothing really – my kids have made me who I am now…they have brought so much to my life, and it’s everything I imagined and more (cliche I know, but it’s true).
What do you love most about being a Mum?
The cuddles and the laugh out load funny moments. Laughing as a family is a big thing in our house. Also the adventures, being able to go on a snail hunt, dress up for it and make a home for the snails, all on a Friday evening, just because!!
What do you wish you were better at when it comes to parenting?
Getting less stressed when we are in a rush (which is pretty often when you have kids who aren’t keen on the concept of wearing clothes that aren’t superman/batman outfits!!)
BIG THANKS to Jo for taking the time to answer the million and one questions above! Do take a minute to check out Fox&Tootsie – she makes some pretty cool baby dribble bibs as well as unisex leggings for babies and toddlers. Plus Jo’s offering readers of the blog 10% off until 21.09.16 using code ‘THEDOUBLEMAMA’ so if you want to make a purchase now is the time! You can also find Fox&Tootsie on Instagram here.
If you’d like to take part in the ‘In the (mother) hood’ series just drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org