I first met Ffion in 2013 when we worked in a school together and she had her little girl shortly after that. Ever since then, I have followed her and her family on Instagram and kept in sporadic touch via Facebook. I remember seeing her struggle with SPD at work and admiring how she dealt with it, and after that I saw her updates and remember hoping I could be as good a mum as she was one day. Roughly three years on and it turned out that our pregnancies were startlingly similar – first pregnancies in not ideal circumstances, I developed SPD and had to finish work weeks before I planned and we were both induced due to babies that were far too comfy where they were!!
I asked Ffion if she would agree to be interviewed because I am bringing my child up in a Welsh speaking area, although I moved away from Anglesey two years ago, and am always fascinated by Welsh bilingual households. I also have huge respect for the life she is building with her little family and I was grateful when she said yes! I also feel like it’s worth saying that when I read the answers to her questions, I cried. I’m not too sure I can articulate why properly, but I feel it has something to do with the fact that Ffion sent them back saying that she struggles to be honest, sometimes, about how she feels both to herself and to others, but that she felt better after writing it down, and I can absolutely identify with that.
1) Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?
I’m a 25 year old from Anglesey living with my lovely boyfriend, Glyn, and our 2 children. Elsi is 3 years old and Hari is 10 months old. I love my job as a playgroup leader and Glyn is an electrician.
2) If you could give one piece of advice for an expectant mother, what would it be?
If someone offers to help you, take it. Whatever it is and whoever they are.
3) All of us parent differently and have different values. What is your most important parenting value?
I try my best to be a good role model. Children become what they see, whether that’s watching their Mum bend over to pick something up while swearing or if it’s watching Dad giving the baby a hug and a kiss, they will copy!
So I hope that if they see us being caring, loving, honest, independent etc. then they will follow.
4) what motto do you try and live by?
‘Always have something to look forward to’. As a family, we like to make as many plans as possible because I think it’s so important to have things to look forward to.
5) What are your hopes for your children?
To be content, to know that they are enough and they are loved.
6) You had your first child aged 21, did you experience any prejudice because of your age?
Growing up, I never wanted to start a family so young when I had so little. We were living in my Mum’s house, we found out 6 weeks after I started a new job as a TA, Glyn was an apprentice and we had nothing. We didn’t want to have a baby. At 9 weeks pregnant I graduated, and I think that was when I felt like “okay, I’ve graduated, I’m mature enough, I can do it” which is absolutely ridiculous but that was how I felt. So from then on we were both excited.
When we told Glyn’s parents, the reaction wasn’t as nice as we’d hoped. I was made to feel very uneasy that I got pregnant before his sister. Thankfully, she had a baby a few months after Elsi was born and another one a few weeks after Hari was born and it’s lovely that they have close cousins.
The only time I felt judged was when I was taking Elsi to creche at 6 months old so I could start my new job. I think I was the youngest mother and I did feel out of place.
7) your boyfriend is working away a lot at the moment. How do you cope with two young children and working during the week?
I started working in a playgroup that Elsi attended back in March. It was about to close as they didn’t have a leader so I thought how lovely it would be for me to work 3 hours a day and spend a lot more time with Elsi and Hari. Glyn then started working away for most of the week. He only sees the children on the weekends unless he’s home early which isn’t often. Because I went from working 32 hours a week to 12, Glyn has to do it. And we do get to do more together now on the weekends which is good.
You can’t pour from an empty jug. I am struggling to keep my jug full at the moment! I feel like I could give the children more of me if I didn’t spend so much time with them. I know, they are my children and my responsibility but being with them constantly is the hardest thing I’ve had to do. Stay at home Mums must be just amazing, I couldn’t do it. When I worked full time and only had Elsi, every minute spent together we did something fun like crafts, baking etc. so naturally, she still expects that all the time and I can’t always give her that attention. She gets bored easily and it’s completely my fault. She’s a bright girl but these days she’s learning more from watching Cbeebies than from me, and I hate that. But babies need attention too, so does the house. Then there’s me, I work in a bar once or twice on the weekends and I see it as ‘me time’ where I only interact with adults! I have an amazing Mum and Mother in law too, who do help out a lot with having the children for a day/night so I can spend time with Glyn, by myself or with my friends and I am so grateful.
8) Your family are bilingual. How do you make sure your children are bilingual too?
Elsi hears more English than I did as a child because Glyn and I speak English with each other but only Welsh with the children. My family are all Welsh and Glyn’s are all English and Elsi knows when to change language.
9)During your first pregnancy you had SPD quite badly. Did it make you think twice about having your second child and did it make you approach your second pregnancy any differently?
It did make me think twice – while I was pregnant with Elsi, I never wanted to go through it again. Planning the second pregnancy, I was worried that it would come back and be even worse but it wasn’t half as bad. At 15 weeks I referred myself to a physiotherapist as I could feel it starting, it was at its worst when I had an appointment at 20ish weeks but soon went. I think you just have to trust your body, it will challenge you at times but the result is just priceless.
10) Parenting is tough and beautiful all at the same time. Can you tell us about a tough time and a shining moment that you’ve had as a parent?
The toughest would have to be now, trying to do it all. I don’t always feel like a good Mum at the moment.
There’s a shining moment every day for me, watching Elsi and Hari play together happily is just the best feeling. Hari is growing quickly and is learning new things every day. Elsi is at the age where she has started to use her own opinion and I love that. Before I went out with my friends 2 weeks ago Elsi said to Glyn “Mam is pretty” and it just made me feel happy and proud of her for saying something nice.
I really enjoyed interviewing Ffion and I hope you have enjoyed reading about her!
Instagram – @ffion3107