Sarah – @sarah_said_that

Sarah is the first woman to take part in the new series of Universal Parenthood, and has, as seems to be the pattern forming, become someone I would consider as something as a friend, thanks to Instagram.

Following Sarah, you quickly become caught up in the beautiful activities she plans for her two children under three. Well thought out and engaging for both her nearly three year old and her under one year old, the activities show case her creativity and imagination and give you glimpses of her beautiful home! With all the photos of Pinterest-worthy activities and flat lays of her sons’ outfits (and her own) it would be easy to feel intimidated by Sarah and her family, and yet her blog is honest and funny, giving you insight into her family life.

In the short bio on her Insta feed, Sarah refers to herself as a ‘Super Mama’ and I remember feeling instantly phased when reading it, and that’s why I questioned her about it in the interview. After examining my reaction, I came to the same conclusion that I did when I desperately wanted but wouldn’t buy a ‘Mother Like No Other’ jumper… it’s absolutely my own issues and my inability to give myself credit for anything. Once I realised that, I actually became quite driven by her statement – driven to own my achievements and not just mistakes. I spend a lot of time supporting other women and other mothers, but rarely come out and say ‘I did a good job today.’ So I would like to make a public thank you to Sarah for reminding me that I should be congratulating myself when I do a good job!

I’ve loved getting to know Sarah over the last few months – read on to get to know her too!

1) Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?

I live in North London with my husband Emir and our two boys Haris, two and a half and Luca, 7 months old. I’m halfway through my maternity year off – it’s flying by – and looking after both boys full time at the moment!

My old ‘day job’ was working on the Buying floor for a leading UK department store, in women’s fashion, but I’ve always had my eye on the kiddies clothing. I’m a little bit obsessed with styling my boys (but most of it is done on a tight budget and a rotating co-ordinating capsule wardrobe, lots of monochrome and lots of stripes!).

I’m pretty new to Instagram and have also been blogging for a couple of months about the trials and tribulations of my mummy life – I’m really enjoying it and seem to have endless material! It’s a little bit tongue in cheek (and usually alcohol themed) but also hopefully honest and reassuring to other mums that they’re not going through this alone!

2) If you could give one piece of advice for an expectant mother, what would it be?

It’s so hard when you’re preparing to be a new mum, everyone and their dog has advice for you and everyone thinks theirs is the best – it can be ridiculously daunting to constantly hear (often conflicting) advice from people. But I would say listen to the advice, remember it, jot it down if you want, because you’ll probably be in a situation one day when you need a bit of help, but above all – trust your own instincts. Every baby is different, every mum is different, every situation is different so there’s absolutely no ‘right’ way of doing things. Even after a day of being a mum you already know your baby better than anyone else, so if you have a hunch about something, if you’re worried about anything, if everyone is telling you the opposite of what you’re thinking, do what you feel is best and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks!

3) All of us parent differently and have different values. What is your most important parenting value?

When I was little my mum drilled into me and my siblings the 5 manners she wanted us to carry forward – Please, May I, Thank you, Excuse Me and Pardon. I used to groan when she constantly made us repeat them. But now as a mother myself I absolutely want my children to grow up being polite and respectful towards others, so they are going to learn these manners too. It’s bloody hard work especially with a toddler like mine – I’m currently on a mission to replace the I Want’s with Please can I have’s – but we’re getting there slowly and I’m really proud of him for the progress he’s made so far.

4) What motto do you try and live by? 

“Whatever Works!” is definitely what I keep telling myself. Becoming a parent is the most amazing and rewarding thing I have ever done don’t get me wrong but BOY is it tough. I’m sure like most mothers, especially those with young children,  every day is a countdown until bedtime and I am not at all ashamed to use “Whatever Works” to get me there! So I’ll happily give my toddler the iPad in a morning for half an hour (or maybe an hour!) so I can get everyone dressed, the house in order or get us ready for a day out. I will carry a handful of snacks for bribery, tantrums, unexpected delays – some healthy some not so much – but I don’t ever leave the house without them. I’m not saying my kids get whatever they want or I’ll do anything for an easy life, because I won’t – but I do think it’s important to pick your battles. Don’t sweat the small stuff – I find my children respond much better if you’re not constantly saying no to everything.

5) What are your hopes for your children?

I guess there’s the ‘standard’ stuff – I want them to love and to be loved. I want them to be happy and healthy. I want them to be kind and responsible but not be afraid to try new things and have amazing adventures.

But especially, I want them to always be close to each other – I am one of four siblings, six years between us all and we are each other’s best friends and have always been. I want my children to grow up with the same amazing childhood memories that I already have of us all, and continue to have now we are in our adult lives and all having children of our own.

I want them to travel and see the world – something I wish I had done more of when I was younger and had the time and opportunity. I hope we can go places together over the coming years, I have so many places on my list to tick off!

Lastly, I don’t want anything to hold them back. I want them to be whatever they want to be and to go forth into a world with less hatred, less fear and less violence.

6) You post a lot of pictures of exciting crafts and activities with your two boys – lots of which I have saved to include in my nursery ‘lessons’ this year! Where do you get your inspiration from and do the activities always stay instafriendly?

Coming into my second maternity leave it was bittersweet taking my eldest out of nursery (we can’t afford it during my year off) – as much as I was so excited to spend more time with him again after being at work, I was also really daunted about keeping up all the amazing activities and learning they did at his nursery. Plus I wasn’t going to have any time to take littlest baby to classes on his own, so I just decided I was going to do as much with them as I could. I have a fully stocked craft cupboard and get lots of ideas from places like Pinterest and other mums on Instagram, but also friends and family (my mum’s a childminder). I love doing sensory activities where I can involve both children, but am also try to spend time with my eldest on his own too doing more advanced things like cooking and crafting and he definitely enjoys the one on one mama time. I have always been very organized and a planner, so I do plan activities in advance and usually use nap times (or quiet time for my toddler if he’s not napping) to set up and then to tidy up. I try my best to contain the mess and give my eldest some direction, but at the end of the day I want him to have fun so I’ll just let him roll with whatever he wants to do. Everything can be washed and wiped and a good dunk in the bath usually sorts out everything else.

7) You involve your sons in cooking and baking. Do you do this purely for ‘fun’ or are you hoping to pass a message on to them?

I think a bit of both really. I love cooking, I’m more a throw everything together person rather than follow a recipe exactly but it usually works out! I want the boys to have a good relationship with food and my eldest, being nearly three, is getting quite picky. I find cooking is a great way of getting him to try new things because he’s  had the fun making it first. And we do make a lot of cakes but that’s more for me to eat lol!

8) You call yourself a super mama. What does that mean to you and do you think it has the potential to intimidate other mothers?

Oh gosh I hope not! I’m really just trying to give myself some motivation and praise for getting through each day and having a bit of fun in the process. I think all mums are super-mamas just for doing what they do and I hope I can empower a few more people out there to recognise that they are doing an amazing job as mums because it’s HARD. So hard. We’re all Wonder Women and we need to keep telling ourselves and others exactly that.

9) The name ‘Sedat’ is most commonly found in Turkey. Do you have links to Turkey and, if so, how important is knowledge of your children’s heritage to you as a parent?

My husband is Turkish, born in the UK to Cypriot parents who both came here as children. We have a lot of Turkish family here and I absolutely want my children to grow up knowing where they have come from. We have given my eldest – Haris – a Turkish name too! Although the Turkish family here are quite anglicised, we do try and keep some of the traditions (we had a few at our wedding!) and the food especially is something I want them to know and enjoy. I am hoping to learn from grandparents for example how to cook and hopefully we can keep passing down as I am conscious with each generation their Turkish heritage will get more diluted and this is something I absolutely don’t want to lose.

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 time so far I think was just after Luca was born, he must have been 4 weeks old, and I was recovering from a C-Section birth and trying to enjoy some quiet time with the baby whilst Haris was at his penultimate week of nursery before I had him at home full time. I saw my phone was ringing and it was the nursery – every mum knows seeing this flash up usually fills you with dread! He had chickenpox. He had to come straight home. He couldn’t leave the house until the spots had scabbed. Baby was probably going to get it but we wouldn’t know for up to 3 weeks….I was beside myself! Being a full time mummy of two had landed on me a little bit earlier than I had planned and I was thrown in right at the deep end with cranky kiddies who weren’t allowed outside. It was TOUGH! I am a mummy who likes, no, NEEDS to get out, I hate staying in the house unless I have to, and my toddler goes crazy without some fresh air and somewhere to run off all his energy. I think I survived on coffee, multiple packets of biscuits and half a bottle of wine every night (I wasn’t breastfeeding). Needless to say it passed, the scabs came and we eventually managed to get ourselves back into society. Oh and 3 weeks later to the day littlest man got his first scab on his ankle, so we had to do it all over again!

I honestly think even on the darkest days there are always little shining moments, isn’t that what gets us through them? Things my toddler says which cannot help but make me chuckle even if I’m trying my hardest to keep a straight face! The looks between big and little brother, knowing how much they clearly adore each other already and how excited I am for them to grow up together with each other. Watching them do things for the first time and being utterly proud of both of them. Looking at my husband and boys sitting together on the sofa watching TV (yes! A bit of peace and quiet!) thinking I made these wonderful little creatures, and feeling lucky to have such an amazing little family.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading Sarah’s interview, find her and follow her here –

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