May 08 2017

The Mum Diaries: Leanne Sexton

Listening to the incredible sacrifice that women go through for motherhood makes me believe that every day should be Mothers Day! So, whether you're holding a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, let's all raise our glasses and toast to the mums of the world. 

Leanne Sexton, otherwise known as "mumma" to her two little boys, Ted & Charlie is the woman we would like the world to know about. 

"Ted is 3.5 and Charlie is 2.5 – only 13 months apart! I fell pregnant with Charlie when I weaned Ted at 5 months old. Woops! It was a huge shock to say the least however we embraced the idea of having them close together and likened it to ripping off a band aid. You can imagine how many people would stare when they saw a heavily pregnant woman carrying a 1 year old baby."
 
"When Charlie was born, Ted was still crawling and we had never spent a night apart from each other. He was utterly heartbroken when he realised that Charlie was a permanent addition to our family and took several months (years) of grieving and accepting that he had to share his Mummy. He was fiercely jealous and had to grow up much quicker than he would have liked. I would often find him throwing matchbox cars at Charlie's head when I would turn my back. Another aspect I found quite difficult was trying to feed Charlie or put him down to sleep with little Ted crying for my attention. In the end, I caved in with my ‘no screen time rule’ and put on the Wiggles to distract him – it was the only way I could sneak into the nursery without him crawling and crying for me."
 
"I also remember feeling emotionally and physically exhausted as they were both waking up several times during the night. Now that they are toddlers it's wonderful because they have a best friend to explore life with. I have never needed to get too involved with their play activities as they keep themselves quite occupied. There is however quite a lot of fighting over trucks, cars of course Mummy but at least they are learning from a young age how to share and negotiate."
Besides issues with Ted sharing his mum with Charlie, we asked Leanne if there were any other challenges she faced?
"My greatest challenge was breastfeeding and the sleep deprivation that followed. Before I became a mother, I assumed that breastfeeding would come very naturally and never imagined myself purchasing tins of formula and mixing up bottles. I understood the enormous health benefits for both mother and child and I was determined to breastfeed for at least a year, maybe two.  From the moment Ted was born we struggled. I was in pure agony every single time he latched – worse than child birth! He was the only baby in our entire ward that literally screamed all night whilst the other little babies slept peacefully. I was in so much pain, bleeding and my milk supply was very low. Ted was waking up every hour throughout the night and never napped during the day. I was told by lactation consultants and midwives that he did not have tongue tie, the latch was perfect and I shouldn’t be experiencing so much pain. I had never felt a ‘let down’ though - so I knew something was wrong. To help stimulate milk production I took a vitamin called Fenugreek 3 times a day, learnt how to help stimulate milk flow by massaging and applying heat packs prior to feeding, hired a hospital grade double breast pump, expressed after each feed and set alarms during the night to trick my body into making more milk and even took prescription medicine Mortilium. Unfortunately none of this helped and I felt that I had failed as a mother because I could not feed my baby, and I could not get him to sleep. All babies do is feed and sleep and I had failed. At 5 months our GP had concerns about Ted's poor sleep, being underweight and my sanity and suggested it was time to give up the fight and ween him onto solids and formula. I felt immense guilt and cried for a few days but it was the best decision I ever made. His sleep improved immediately and he started to put on weight. In some cases breast is most certainly not best, fed is best!"
In one of Leanne's recent Instagram posts she discusses the concept of 'mother's guilt'. I've heard people speak of this before, I asked if she could tell us a little more about her experience of this? 
"Nothing prepared me for the intense love that I felt for my little babies, and the protective instinct that kicked in the moment my role changed from woman to mother.  In the early days you are literally keeping them alive by feeding and nurturing them and as they get older you responsible for making decisions, teaching and guiding them...
The food you expose them to, the boundaries you set, the way you love them and deal with stress can all have a huge impact on who they eventually become later in life. It’s a lot of pressure!
Mothers have never been so informed, since the smart phone came along and exposed us to how other mothers are raising their children all around the world. Sometimes this abundance of knowledge can often breed anxiety as we compare ourselves to each other and strive to be ‘perfect’ which is completely unhealthy. My mother told me that ‘Mothers Guilt’ never really goes away, it just evolves over time. If you are worried about whether you are doing a good job, you probably are because it shows you care ."
I asked Leanne if she had any advice for new or expecting mothers and she told quoted me this, "Trust your maternal instincts, they will tell you what to do long before your head can figure it out".
While her first and most consuming job is being a mother, Leanne is also the owner of the incredible business Joonya Eco Wipes. I asked her how she went about balancing her two jobs. 
"When we decided to launch Joonya I left behind a long career in magazine advertising because I knew that It sadly couldn't offer me the flexibility that a wanted as a mother.
It has not been easy - the line between work and family life are very blurred at the moment and I often feel as though I am not doing anything properly. I can’t get into a state of ‘flow’ like I once did and have seriously WAY too many tabs open at once...  When I’m in Mum mode you hop between being the nurturer, housekeeper, chef, personal shopper, teacher and counsellor.  With a start up you wear ALL the hats as well which is very different to my prior career in Magazine Advertising. Thankfully Rich is there beside me and is an absolute machine when it comes to anything finance, operations, tech and admin related.  As crazy as It is right now I know the boys won’t be this little forever and the business will continue to grow if we are persistent, so just surrender to the chaos and enjoy the ride."
Our Mother's Day gift to Leanne was Peony from The Candle Library's New Classics range....
"Thank you so much! The floral scent is so pretty, feminine and very indulgent without being overbearing like some candles. I keep it on my bedside table as this is where I will often come to have some private child free time.
I can't believe that you get 55 hours burn time from this one candle! I also love that that the environment has been considered with the use of eco soy wax & the reusable ceramic pot."
I know what our newest scent at The Candle Library is going to be, as so many mummas have expressed their wish to capture new born baby smell in a candle...
"I know this sounds a bit strange but I love the smell of my little babies when they are all snuggled up after their bath and drinking their milk."
Check out Leanne's safe for baby and safe for environment Joonya Eco Wipes.
 

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