"I love that motherhood is always forcing me to step outside of my comfort zone, I love that it is always teaching me more things about myself than I would ever learn on my own. I love that being a mother can bring out the highest of highs and the lowest of lows all in one day and that no two days are the same in the mama life office. I love watching her grow and discover things about the world, it has been a beautiful experience seeing life through her eyes. I now take time out for the little things that I wouldn’t have before - like watching a butterfly float past, feeding the ducks or getting out of the house really early to just walk around the quiet streets trying to soothe her."
If Leila Stead's response to what is her favourite part about motherhood didn't warm your chest then your heart must be made of stone - because that was so beautiful!
Leila Stead is a single mother to her beautiful daughter Ever. We asked Leila is she wouldn't mind sharing a little about what her daughter is like and where she found inspiration for her unique name?
"Ever is a quirky little thing, very talkative always baby talking away to herself and pulling her cheeky squished nose smile, she’s a really soft little soul too, very gentle and caring but oh so determined - it's a scary and beautiful thing watching her personality form. I picked the name Ever from my favourite Sex and the City scene when Carrie is in bed reading the book “love letters of great men” to Big and she reads the letter “Immortal Beloved” by Beethoven out loud and at the end it says “Ever Thine Ever Mine Ever Ours” and I just loved the way that she read it and thought to myself - what a beautiful name that would make."
There is no surprise in hearing about the challenges of motherhood and it would seem each mum's biggest challenges differ from one another. For Leila the lack of sleep is what she underestimated most about motherhood.
"I grossly underestimated motherhood on all levels but the thing that really gets me is the lack of sleep. Sleep is such a huge thing in anyones life and to have it taken away is horrible.. I just get used to her sleeping well a few nights and then *BAM* she pulls an all nighter and I end up zombie-ing through the next day with eyeballs that feel like they have been rolled in sand. Its not easy.. She has just started to throw mini tantrums and I find it hilarious and I really struggle with trying to pull myself together to catch a break and tackle the issue.. instead I sit there giggling behind my hands trying to pull a serious face but failing miserably."
I was very excited to interview Leila as she runs an inspiring blog and business called 'The Single Mum Diaries' (which I absolutely adored the idea of). On her website it says "They say it takes a village to raise a child - and now you have found us" - what a fantastic support group for the mums (who are also the dads). I asked Leila if she had any advice for the single mummas?
"The tips I have would be to be kind to yourself during your journey to single motherhood, let yourself heal and be selfish with your time, make sure you are taking a time out to focus on yourself and healing the issues from your relationship. Its not an easy road to travel but if you release to the journey it can actually lead you to the most beautiful destination - being graceful and accepting that this is your new path rather than fighting against it is always something that gets women from pain to power."
Leila also had some fantastic advice for new mums, "do not underestimate how much your current life will change and be ready to adapt."
"I was under the impression that a baby would fit into my lifestyle and the way that I wanted to live and boy was I wrong - some people get lucky and do get a newborn that fits easily into their lives but that will change and when it does it's so confronting. The moment I began to work my life around Ever and her routine was the moment that I began to think “this mum stuff ain't so hard” but getting to that point was hell - I fought against it a lot and I didn't want to lose so much of my old self - I was clinging onto my old self for dear life... I had to surrender and thats when it all became a lot easier for me."
As Leila talks about what a usual day in her life is like, she explains that her life is as busy as any other mother. "My day starts at the crack of dawn, Ever will wake and come into my room and I'll sit her down to play with her toys on the floor while I check emails. Generally I get 10 emails on average every night when I am a sleep and some of them need urgent replies, so I spend about an hour sitting in my bed office replying to emails and trying to entertain Ever at the same time. Then we have breakfast together and start our day - Our home days when she is not in Kindy are full of playing and working and then working and playing - Generally we will catch up with friends for lunch and then head home for an afternoon rest and sleep time before we start our nighttime routine - Night time routine is when the computer and phone go away and we focus on each other.. Dinner, Bath, Story and Bed. I leave the indulgence of appointments and gym days to when Ever is in Kindy - So far the mess of chaos, work, Evers routine and my commitments is all working together okay - I am praying it stays that way.
On Leila's blog there is some discussion around co-parenting. I asked Leila if she could discuss some of her negative and positive thoughts about co-parenting.
"Co parenting is hell on earth.. I don't think I will ever find my feet in coparenting but the positive side of it would be that if you were in a relationship where there was plenty of arguing and disease, you could put that down to a more minimal effect on your life and maybe even stop it all together.. The negative is that there are no winners in co parenting and the ground can always be unsteady - I am hoping eventually that will change but I speak to so many co parents at all different stages and they all tell me “It doesn’t get easier, it only gets harder when other people are involved in the equation” eyerolls* wahhhh No…."
The Candle Library could not be more pleased about having such inspiring and hard working mums open up to us in order to create The Mum Diaries. As a Mothers Day gift we sent Leila a scent from our New Classics range, Tobacco Flower. Leila's thoughts on the scent? "At first it was quite masculine but after burning it I just love it.. It's a rich and feminine scent and I haven’t stopped burning it in my room."
If Leila could have any three notes combined together to create a candle she said she would love to see jasmine, coconut and mangoes all in a candle!