Meet Bec, self-confessed “Accidental #mumblogger”, wife and mum to two beautiful children; George 3 years and Sadie 2 years. Well known in mama circles as being refreshingly honest, very real and instantly lovable. If you haven’t gotten to know her yet, you’ll quickly learn Bec is kind, relatable and hilarious, and it’s a privilege to feature her in our Motherhood series on “Being Mum”.
We chat with Bec about sharing her life online, her motherhood journey and the learnings of living through lockdown.
I think it's probably safe to say that this can differ from day to day depending on how much sleep I've had. I start every day with great intentions about the kind of mum I want to be that day but things can definitely change in an instant. Overall I like to say I have a firm but fair mothering style. I have high expectations when it comes to my kid's manners and behaviour but I love to have a fun time with them at the same time. In saying that, the last 6 out of 7 weeks of lockdown has probably seen a bit more of a laxed ‘do whatever you can to survive’ approach.
I mean, obviously, my children are the most intelligent, special, unique and advanced children on the planet? I'm pretty sure the things they do, no child has ever done to the same standard ever before and could never even come close!
All jokes aside, I look at them every day in awe and feel so lucky to be their mum. George is my cautious and sensitive one. He is an old soul and is into things like the violin and jazz music. On the flip side though, he also loves watching sports and wrestling with dad.
Sadie (big-time daddy's girl) is VERY sassy, independent and fearless. She doesn't like to accept help and can be very stubborn (absolutely zero clue where she inherited that from...).
But they are also very similar in some ways. They are both loving, kind and obsessed with animals. They are also hilarious and have such a great sense of humour and have me in stitches every day.
Instagram had never been something of interest to me up until a couple of years ago. I would post here and there on my personal account for my friends and family but I had never in a million years even thought it could become anything more than that.
Once I had Sadie and needed to entertain G, I started tapping into my teaching knowledge (and Pinterest) and created activities for him to do while I was busy with the baby. I would post them on my Instagram stories every now and then. I had comments from friends saying they were enjoying the activities and were doing them with their own kids so I decided to make a separate page just for activities and called it Stay At Home Son. It was meant to be a hilarious play on Stay At Home Mum but once I changed it to just my name it turns out nobody actually knew what @stayathomesonnnz said. Lots of people thought my name was Sonia and was calling myself Sonz for short. Anyway, It took off from there and as the kids have become older I have stopped the activities and now it's more just our everyday life and me just talking absolute rubbish and making pretend drama series about Sylvanian Families. Not entirely sure why I have any followers, to be honest.
I think it probably comes across like I spend a lot of time online but really, I don't. Well, probably more than the average bear. I wouldn't want to look at my screen time count, put it that way.
My screen time always fits around the needs of my kids and they always take priority. What people see is such a small snippet of our lives and I am very cautious of what I post and I also try to be very conscious of how much time I am on my phone. Sometimes I turn my messages off to give myself a break as that's what takes up most of my time.
However, in saying that, Instagram has opened a lot of doors for me and has become more like a job. I love connecting with people too. I have met so many amazing people on Instagram, from all walks of life. I try to have designated times to reply to messages and emails during the day but I try to save most of it for when the kids go down.
I am also aware of how much work I take on and try not to spread myself too thin. Once they are both at kindy and school, I'll crank it up a notch.
The driving force behind anything I do is always my family and wanting to provide the best for them. However, even before I had kids, I have always been someone that gets bored easily and needs a new focus or a new creative outlet. I like to learn new things and extend and challenge myself. When I became a mum, I felt like I had lost my identity a bit so I try to make sure I have something for me that is a focus other than the kids.
I'm considering doing some study in the near future. I am also a founder of a startup company which will hopefully be up and running in a few months. I would love my kids to see me succeed with all of these things because I want them to know they can do anything and it's great to take risks and have passions.
Ben, my husband, is also very driven and a hard worker. He inspires me to try new things and is always there to support whatever decisions I make. Don't tell him I said that though.
Apart from learning I'm not great at removing soaked in stains from clothing, that I can survive on less than 9-11 hours of sleep and that I can tune out from my children talking for a good 3-12 minutes; I've learned that I am so much stronger than I ever knew (in mind, not so much body). The physical and mental demands of being a mother are something you can't fathom until you're living it. The brainpower it takes to care for another, totally dependant, human being is next level exhausting. Something you can never prepare for.
I struggled with PND and anxiety really badly after I had George. I came out the other side and as much as I look back on that time with sadness, it also shows me that I can get through anything.
Oh, I've also discovered that due to having children that have taken it upon themselves to like different foods, I can cook 3 different dinners a night without breaking a sweat.
To be kind and respectful to others and do everything with integrity and honesty. In saying that, I also want them to stand up for themselves and what they believe in and not take sh*t from people. Don't take sh*t, with integrity and respect. Those sound like wise words.
I love anything (well, most things) we do together. I have been so lucky that I am in a position where I have been able to stay home since G was born. I know it is not overly common that parents can/ want to do that so I feel very fortunate. I love going to the beach with them, baking (if it's something of minimal ingredients and no cocoa is involved) anything that feeds their curiosity that I can see them learning new things from, and bike rides.
But I think my favourite time with them is bedtime. Not just because of obvious reasons but it's the time where we can just slow down and snuggle, talk about the day, think about tomorrow. There's nothing better than snuggling a freshly bathed kiddy!
I eat Much Moore ice cream and watch Shortland Street, although much to my dismay it's only on three nights a week at present. I have recently just recovered from a serious Candy Crush addiction which spanned about 7 years. I also like to recharge with a night out (sometimes not feeling that recharged the next day though to be fair) with friends or even though it's not that easy, a trip away with Ben for a night or two. Otherwise, if all else fails, a shower and an early night never fails to fix everything.
Thank you, that's very kind of you. I think if you have seen my stories then you'll know, it's fair to say I have completely not stayed sane at all and in fact, have probably become far less sane. Is there actually a way to stay sane with a 2 and a 3-year-old during 6 weeks of iso? I would be keen to hear from others because I have nothing helpful here. I just tried to stick to a routine as much as possible, eat a LOT of chocolate, Zoom my friends and drink vodka. I also had a lot of snacks at the ready ALL. THE. TIME because my children did not stop asking for food from 7am-7pm Monday to Sunday.
I did just try to remember why we are doing this and how we are all in it together. I also tried to remind myself that although it's tough, as a wife of a husband who travels a lot I am grateful for having Ben at home with us. Although he was working, we most likely won't get the chance to have him at home so much ever again. You'd have to ask him if he feels the same though. Debatable.
You absolutely need to follow Bec on Instagram (@bec.whitley) for regular daily doses of laughter and reassurance that being a Mum isn't always as picturesque as Instagram filtered photos make it seem!
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