Welcome to my favorite corner of this little online project. These are the (oh so very!) Miraculous Mums and Dads.
If you know an amazing parent, perhaps your own mother, your partner, or a friend who is lovingly doing their best, why not give them a bit of kudos? Oooooh heck yes they deserve it.
Click here to nominate. Go on, do it! ♥
A Special Mothers Day Miraculous Mum: Alice Aubin
Ninety-five years young, sharp as a tack but barely mobile. She still does her crosswords before bed and still gets misty eyed when she thinks of her babies.
She raised four children, lost one, and very recently buried another. Lovingly and dutifully, she made all of her children’s clothes by hand, from frilly pyjamas to thick winter coats. She created toys out of nothing.
With very little means and no help, she kept my mother and her siblings clean, well fed and always proper. She offered them books and saved for concert tickets. She opened doors and, one by one, they all walked out.
Through the passing hands of time, Alice welcomed grandchildren, and eventually great grandchildren, always with open arms and a specially reserved place in her heart. Home has always been wherever she is.
It is only now, a lifetime later, that we realise that she never stopped thinking about her children, worrying about them, crying at their defeats and celebrating their success.
A mother’s love…is everlasting.♥
March 7th Miraculous Dad: Tom Mcllvenny-Cox
“We adopted my son when he was 14 months old.
He had been placed into foster care from birth, so he was incredibly lucky to have one home, a safe, warm place being cared for by the most wonderful woman… until his daddies were to find him.
The adoption journey wasn’t as arduous and painstaking as I had been led to believe it could. I guess we just knew we were ready and took on every meeting, every assessment and question in our stride. We knew our end goal and that was to find our baby.
Life changed overnight when we knew we had found our boy. We saw his profile when he was only 10 months. It is so rare to find a child that young, a lot of children in the UK seeking adoption are aged 3 and above. We knew he was ours, we even thought he looked like us.
Keeping it quiet for the month while we had meetings and checks was hilarious. We were gagging to be told he was ours, but it was never really official till the last minute. Then it was all stations go!!
We’ve never worked so hard to build a loving, comfortable space for our boy to come home to. The transition and process was just insane. Like childbirth and welcoming a new baby, you are all over the place mentally and emotionally. I had two months off and my partner had the year off. We were just so blessed that this beautiful little boy made it easy for us, taking everything as it came. The bond developed naturally and now, I feel as if he came from me, I have to remind myself what we went through and that he is in fact adopted. We received such wonderful training all about attachment, family history and bonding. So we’re as prepared as we can be for the future and the questions as he grows. But I like to think we’re raising him in an open, loving and honest family where he can ask and be who he wants.
He changed our lives. I now long for 5pm during the working week so get home and have as much time as possible with him. Gone are the days of working to the bone, staying late to complete a project. My new job is being a dad, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.” ♥
You can read more about Toms adventures on http://www.theunlikelydad.com.
“Looking back on our fertility struggles and loss…that hell that we were living in… I never ever wanted to stay in a place of misery or pain. I desperately wanted to be happy. I don’t know why, but for the first thirty years of my life I was waiting for things to kind of just fall into place. I didn’t feel like I had a lot of control over my happiness, I was just like kind of …reacting to life.”
Kara is an adoptive parent to a beautiful little boy, and a foster parent to many.
With her affectionately-called “heart-grown babies” in tow, life is brighter for Kara and her husband Dusty, having finally bid adieu to (and paid the debt for!) their IVF journey.
In addition to being a very busy mom, Kara shines as a Star Diamond Fitness Coach & Premiere Leader (ranked Top10 in Canada!). Her work involves mentoring and inspiring other woman, emphasizing self-love and gratitude, every day.
Kara’s friends describe her as “a humble, goal driven and extremely inspiring coach. She is an incredible leader and friend. She extends her heart to women who want more. She opens her arms to children who need more. She shares her struggles and her triumphs so that everyone can SEE more. “
Genuinely resting her hand on her heart, Kara offers: “It took me a long time to see it, but if I hadn’t gone through all that I did, I wouldn’t have experienced the love I have now for the children in my life. I promise you, I would do it all again. In the moment it is impossible to see how that pain you are going through is going to help you, but I truly believe… there is always something to be grateful for.”♥
February 2nd Miraculous Mum: Nicola Brown, Essex
Just as nobody one ever plans to drive away with their wallet on the roof of the car, knock over their own cup of breast milk, or slip a disc getting out of bed, no one sets out to become a single parent.
It’s just something that kind of…. happens.
Nicola (Nic) separated from her partner when their baby girl Alex was very young. All at once, her two hands were overflowing with the balls that her family had been juggling together.
Despite her personal heartache about the breakdown of her relationship, Nic has maintained the upmost composure in facilitating a constructive relationship between all family members.
Her own mother says: “She certainly has come through a few things… I must say that I’m very proud of her. She is holding down a challenging role (her first teaching job) while being the primary caregiver and managing the logistics of childcare. Still Nic somehow finds time to have fun with Alex, plan mummy/daughter trips and also work on her own hobby…singing! Alex is one of the happiest children I know!” 😊
Like many three year olds, Alex comes out with some hilarious sentences which catch everybody off guard. She is a sweet and polite little girl, who loves books and has a hilarious insight on life.
Alex refers to her dad as her “best friend”, a testament to her mother’s dedication to keeping their relationship strong despite the situation.
Incredibly resilient, tirelessly positive, and described by her own year-9 students as “awesome”, Nicola you are a Miraculous Mum! ♥
January 24th Miraculous Mum: Beth Collett, Newcastle
Mummin’ ain’t ever like the magazines….
Nooooo no no, I promise you it’s not!
Family photo shoots and polished Instagram feeds rarely show things like speech delays, glue ear, screaming fits and melon-sized breast abscesses.
Taking ALL of the above in her stride, and with an autistic son to boot, Beth (mother of three boys 6, 4, 2) is here to talk real life motherhood.
“Every achievement is a major milestone in my house. My son ate some cheese pasta and a piece of chicken the other day and it was a major celebration. My 6 year old can finally string a full sentence together and has caught up at school. My 22 month old is doing what a normal toddler does, obsessing over the Teletubbies and posting things in the bin!” 😂
“ I used to struggle a lot as I felt under constant scrutiny to be perfect and to have the career as well. It didn’t work, obviously. I got help, counselling, I talked to my husband. I put my kids in nursery half a day a week so I had some sanity. I pushed myself to go out of the house and meet other mums…and realised that we are all treading water.”
Whilst playing full time mum, Beth (somehow!?) managed to complete a part time HR master’s degree. Currently, she is completing a master’s in autism, as well as taking a barbering course (her son can’t go to the normal hairdressers). She jests that with three boys it is bound to save her a fortune on haircuts. ✂️
“It’s sometimes very lonely being a full time mum (and especially to children with special needs) but I want to reassure people that you CAN go on; you realise depths of endurance and strength you never knew you had. “
Please join me in celebrating Beth, a real-life, problem-solving, ever-giving Miraculous Mum. ♥
January 15th Miraculous Dad: James Hanisch, Philly USA
It was during an outdoorsy state-side adventure that James and his Australian wife discovered that a) They were expecting and b) There was an incredible job going for the National Football League.
“Huge kudos has to go to the wife. At 32 weeks pregnant we packed up our house, flew back to Australia to visit family and friends, came back to US, lived in a hotel for 2 weeks, found an OB, found a new home, unpacked our possessions and I started my new job. *phew!*.”
“For me it was weird at first. You’re responsible for this precious little human, you have no idea what you are doing, you’re sleep deprived but somehow you overcome it.
What I learned is that little things matter. Getting up at night and picking our boy up and delivering him to my wife for a feed is important. Getting her a glass of water, or taking him in the early mornings is important.”
Little things matter.
“I work long hours (especially during the NFL season) so there was a lot of time where my wife and son were spending time alone, and that dwells on me. I feel this huge responsibility to provide for the family. To work hard almost to breaking point, and when I get home to have an unbelievable energy. He doesn’t know I’m tired and he doesn’t care. I have to give him everything I’ve got.”
Thankfully, the constant giving of parenthood is nearly always reciprocated with gifts of the warm fuzzy nature. James’ favorite daddy moments so far have been watching his son read, father-son cuddles in the mornings, dancing in the living room, hearing “DADDY” yelled out when he gets home, or even just hearing him laugh.
(Again, it’s the little things!)
He also feels that his marriage is stronger than ever:
“I look at her differently, she has this presence about her now. She can do anything.”.
James started writing at @thethirtysomethingdaddy to document his family life, share ideas and help others recognise that dads are an integral part of the family dynamic. It’s not daddy daycare it is plain and simply, fatherhood.
Amen, Papa. ♥
January 9th Miraculous Mum: Christina Sanders
This week’s Miraculous Mum is Christina from Alberta, Canada. Fitness Addict, toddler mama, wifey.
One would never have guessed, but this radiant young woman was once clonked over the head by postnatal depression. Despite ticking all the boxes during pregnancy and putting her best (albeit swollen) foot forward, she soon became helpless to her own reality spiraling around her. With a beautiful ebony-haired son in her arms, sleepless nights grew thick with resentment, rage even, as she lost control of her thoughts and physical health.
At times, Christina considered ending it all.
“I didn’t want to be a bitter and resentful wife, or a miserable sob story of a new mom. I wanted to be affectionate again, to get back into working out and to help myself get better!”
Christina has written a very honest piece about the “darkness” of PND on the website. She is a huge advocate for community support and story-telling, reminding all those presently suffering that “this too shall pass.”.
For Christina, two things happened:
Firstly she reached out to an online fitness group and started drinking superfood shakes (because who wants salad when they’re depressed?). Christina was amazed at the benefits this brought to her skin, weight, and mood.
Secondly, she was reunited with a mother whose babies had sadly not survived; Christina felt moved and awakened.
“When the leaves turned and the green earth browned, that overwhelming love for my son was found. Slowly, my heart grew hot and my eyes twinkled again. I began to hold my handsome son closer, longer, softer.”
In addition to being a stay at home mom, Christina is passionate “cheerleader” striving to help women improve their mental health by connecting them with fitness and wellness programs. She runs a Facebook group called “Fit n Fearless”: A safe, private place for women to document their own health journeys.
“I wanted to share my story to help other women get better. It’s OK to be more than a mother and a wife. Work on yourself!”♥
To read Christina’s piece on PND “Fair Newlywed Mother” click here.
January 1st Miraculous Mum: Denise Cross
Kicking off the new year with a nomination close to home…This week’s Miraculous Mum is Denise Cross, a mother to three, grandmother to five, and my very own mother in law (not doing this for brownie points, I swear!). 😊
Having spent her early mothering years as a military wife, Denny was left to her own devices while her husband Gary was away in Iraq, Northern Ireland and Lebanon. Rapidly, she became an incredibly resourceful and capable young mother.
Whilst based in Germany, Denny single-handedly created and ran a crèche to support all the wives of husbands who had been sent away in the first Gulf war; An achievement so great that Prince Michael of Kent visited to thank her for her efforts.
Nowadays, Denny is the glue that sticks our eclectic family together. Still working full time, she dedicates her time off to caring for her grandchildren and making her house a welcoming home to us all.
With wicker baskets brimming with toys, her very own Nanny-pram, and a magical collection of snow-globes, music boxes and even a karaoke machine (!), young imaginations are sure to ignite at “Nanny- Nanoos”.
Despite the end of military life Denny’s resourcefulness plows on; this woman can simultaneously fix a lawn mower and cook a roast dinner for 15, all whilst making a toddler feel like he is the only person in the room.
We are so lucky to call her our very own Nanny (Nanoo). ♥
December 18th Miraculous Dad: Keith Johnston
***The first EVER Miraculous Dad nomination!***
Aside from burgeoning bellies and leaking mammaries (which we will still mention from time to time, sorry lads!) gender has very little to do with the roles of a modern parent.
Previously rigid stereotypes are loosening; fathers are being celebrated for their hands-on parenting, for their compassion, love, dedication, creativity, and domestic flairs.
And so, it is with great enthusiasm that I introduce you to this week’s Miraculous Dad, Keith!
Keith is a commercial diver from the beautiful Scottish highlands. Together with his fiancé Fiona, they have a son (Aiden, 2yrs) and daughter (Faye, 4 mo.).
Keith is miraculous for hundreds of little reasons. Here are but a few:
- Because when asked by his toddler to read a book aimed at ten year olds, he will obligingly navigate each page and patiently answer ALL of his questions.
- Because he calls Fiona his” Nonasaurous” or “wife-woman” (due to the fact that they are not actually married but have been together for eons) and reminds her every day of her worth as a mother.
- Because, when driving half way across the country on work, he listens to pod casts and shares his learnings with his son.
- Because he is loyal.
- Because he laughs off his abdominal surgery scar as a “SHARK BITE!” which is far more exciting to children!
- Because he is utterly dedicated to his responsibility of raising tiny humans, teaching them to swim, laugh, and seek understanding of the world around them.
When Fiona’s words on Keith landed in my inbox I poured myself over them with a large cup of tea. My face couldn’t help but stretch into a soppy grin; the love between them is palpable. You can read the original nomination here.
“Keith is that fun dad, you know the one that drives Mum crazy as he is out in the shed with the kids right as dinner is going on the table… but they are so happy, how can you be annoyed?”
It’s modern fatherhood, meets good old fashioned family values. And that is a beautiful thing. ♥
December 11th Miraculous Mum: Kate Latos
Nomination time! This week’s Miraculous Mum is Kate Latos from Alberta, Canada. Her superpower is REINVENTION.
Up until recently, Kate worked as a portfolio manager and her husband Adam worked in the oil industry. Adams work required him to travel frequently, once working 215 days straight before having a day off with his family.
Spurred on by a crash in oil prices and a yearning for change, Adam went back to school. It was there that he took a course on recycling which changed the fate of the entire family.
Kate (who did the course as well) was horrified by her realization of just how much plastic is floating in the sea, being eaten by fish, and thereby making its way onto her children’s dinner plate.
With that spurred interest (and a lot of bloody hard work!), the family business was born.
Rather than ending up in landfills and oceans, the duo came up with the clever idea of recycling plastic into fences. While it may surprise many of us in built-up Britain, nearly every home in Canada has a fence!
Kate pitched the idea to an innovation contest and was triumphantly granted mentorship and funding to start their business, Ecofence.
“My kids are a part of our team. Not only do they have four piece suits for when mom has meetings and no sitters, but they have attended lectures and helped dad work on prototypes in the garage. I do feel guilty at times that our work days never end and our kids are often forced to play games alone or color for hours beside us as we try to work. It is common for us to sit on the floor working on projects while trying to give the kids the attention they deserve.”
“Despite balancing shifting economic conditions and start up demands, we are teaching our children to be resilient, forward thinking and creative. They will grow up knowing that hard work, determination, and supportive families can make dreams a reality.”
Kate has written more about her family story and has shared it here. It’s an honest account of life with two preemie babies, one backwards foot, troublesome guts and their very own newborn family-run business. Join me in encouraging Anna on her way! ♥
December 4th Miraculous Mum: Merissa Beard
One of the most common pitfalls of motherhood is to compare ourselves to other mothers.
Deep down, most of us know that it’s a completely fruitless exercise.
If you agree with the above, than I CHALLENGE you to join me in celebrating this week’s Miraculous Mum with nothing but love.
Are you ready??? Here we go.
Meet Merissa. She is a doctor!
She goes to Cross-fit 5-6 days a week.
She is the successful owner of a chiropractic office with her hunky husband Brian. They have a dog named Ribbon and a love for riding horses.
Together they have a beaming one year old son named Xander, who has been devotedly breastfed, cloth nappied, and served nothing but healthy ethical food. Merissa is extremely dedicated to giving him the best start possible.
To top it all off, Merissa is remarkably beautiful.
(Readers: are you hanging in there??)
Here’s the catch- she is just as gorgeous on the inside.
She has a gentle spirit about her that will make you comfortable, her smile will light up the room, and her funny sense of humor would make anyone giggle.
She goes above and beyond loving and serving her family, and is extremely creative in making solutions for breastfeeding at work and keeping fit as a family. One year old Xander attends all their Cross-fit sessions, getting love and cuddles from their entire Cross-fit family.
Merissa leads by example in teaching others how to be healthy and live life joyfully. She is dedicated to her job and to her patients, and will always go the extra mile to help others by encouraging them to be better people.
Merissa jests that the true secret to motherhood is Baileys in her coffee (“Just on the weekends. And Fridays. And holidays!”) and then hilariously adds that now, with Almond milk Bailey’s, she can still avoid dairy.
I don’t know about you, but Merissa is the type of woman I would quite like to sit down and have coffee with.
I just may have to do a few squats first! ♥
November 27th Miraculous Mum: Jayme
Jayme is an honest mother.
(Pause for applause- it’s our favorite type!)
Having experienced difficulties conceiving, Jayme grasped early on that truthfully sharing your own struggles with someone else really does help.
Through a few surgical procedures and many disappointing months of the conception rollercoaster (with its ups and downs, a pun in there for those who want it), Jayme’s emotional strain had a habit of lessening when it was talked about.
Nowadays, as a proud mother to three month old Foster, Jayme tries to maintain the same openness about life in the hopes that it may resonate with others who are quietly facing similar challenges.
Jayme has written a FANTASTIC few paragraphs about breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding. Hand on heart, of all the things I’ve read on the subject (trust me, it’s an embarrassing amount), this little blurb is by far the most resonating and real. I have shared it here.
Jayme and her husband Dustin live in the beautiful Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada. She is lucky enough to be on maternity leave at the same time as two of her best friends as well as her sister- in-law, a supportive network of second and third time mums to guide her on her maiden mother voyage.
So far she is doing an incredible job. And when she’s not, she’ll tell you about it.
November 20th Miraculous Mum: Lucy
This weeks Miraculous Mum is Lucy Edgeworth.
“It’s a full, brimming life! My boys are fussy eaters, my house is a mess half of the time, I struggle with the work life balance every day and question if I’m getting it right. I feel pulled in different directions all the time and there is never ever enough time!!”
Lucys story is quite hilarious. And yes, of COURSE I mean in hindsight.
Quite a few expletives were muttered when Lucy, a new mother of a 5 month old, found out that she was pregnant….again… but this time with twins.
Twins, I said, TWINS!!!
“For many months most conversations went like this: ‘yes I really am having twins… no I’m not winding you up…and no, I don’t know how I’m going to cope.’ And that last bit was quite true. When they were finally born I was left looking at my boys thinking how on earth am I going to do this? I have had a C-section, and have 3 babies to look after?”
The year that followed told a tale of breastfeeding plights, tested relations and brutal lows. Lucy’s family story is truthful, triumphant, and SO worth reading in its entirety that I have shared it in full here.
Congratulations Lucy on being a bloody marvelous and miraculous mother… times three! ♥
November 13th Miraculous Mum: Lyndsey
How much do you know about club foot? Anything? Nothing?
Don’t worry. Neither did Lyndsey, until she met baby Isaac.
As first time parents, Lyndsey and her husband Jordan were already caught up in the flurry of early labor, tongue tie, and breastfeeding problems, when they were told of their newborns club foot diagnosis.
“This meant that both his feet and ankles were improperly positioned so that his feet pointed down and inwards with the soles facing each other. And when this little peanut curled up on his own he would wrap his ankles around each other to get comfy. The doctor and physiotherapist told us as much as they could about the congenital deformity, and when we were ready, they stretched his feet towards the correct position and casted both of his legs from the top of his thighs down to his toes.”
Roughly one baby in every 1,000 is born with club foot. In most cases, the cause is unknown.
The condition is treatable, but it is an arduous journey for both baby and parents requiring frequent manipulations, recasting, potential operations, and special boots and bars. The latter are worn full time for the first three months and then overnight until the child is four or five years old.
Being a new parent is tricky business. Dodging the pees, the pukes, and the distant relatives, all on a few blinks of sleep is quite difficult enough. Now add in one tongue tie, two chubby little club feet, and you have one heck of a Miraculous Mum, who is continuing to smile, give, and be grateful for all her fortunes.
She is not superwoman.
She is a woman who admits when things are difficult and reaches out for help. She talks openly and honestly with her friends, who describe her as a “rock star”, praising her ability to find humor and kindness in the darkest of places.
Like many of us, she is a parent doing her very best, finding comfort in other honest, real mums and dads who tell it like it is.
Life has this funny habit of clubbing us all over the head every so often and watching how we get back up. There is no way to prepare for these knock outs. But ALWAYS, we have the option to get back up, and be kind to ourselves in the process of doing so.
Lyndsey has written more about her club foot adventure, which can be read here. ♥
November 6th Miraculous Mum: Nicki
This mum doesn’t know that I exist, and this nomination may never reach her.
This mum, like every parent, loves her children with such an earth-shattering magnitude that the thought of losing them is simply unthinkable.
But these thoughts are Nicki’s current reality; for Jessica has just been given weeks to live.
The internet weeped in unison this week when Jessica’s hugely dedicated father Andy shared an image of what childhood cancer looks like. Daily Mail published Jessica’s story. Harry Styles sent a video message. People around the world are reaching out.
Behind her Fathers public stand against cancer, her little brother’s reality of losing his sister, and her own terrifying battle, there is Jessica’s mum.
A mother whose immeasurable ache is being felt by mothers everywhere.
This nomination is a humble but genuine attempt to assemble virtual love and strength, on behalf of the sisterhood of women who have heard Jessica’s story, and have thought of the mother.
Giver of life.
She is miraculous, and her love IS everlasting.
Donate at GoFundMe.com/CaringForJessica.♥
October 30th Miraculous Mum: Lauren
This week’s Miraculous Mum is the sensational Lauren Dillard, from Virginia.
Laurens journey through motherhood has been a tumultuous one. She had hyperemesis gravidarum with both of her pregnancies and shortly after was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
“When I think of my job as a mom, being their protector is a high priority. But they protect me, too. Instead of only having the harsh memories of being given a scary diagnosis, I also have precious memories of my sweet new baby keeping me company, tugging on IV cords, and helping me hold back tears. I have memories of my oldest son, Cade, running into the room dancing and, on Halloween, showing off the superhero cape I made for him.”
Last year, Lauren was determined to grant Cade his Halloween wish of being ‘Heatwave the Rescuebot’. With no car and low funds, she fashioned Styrofoam cups into boot caps, and milk cartons into arms. She and her husband carried the “monstrosity” of a costume (and the very lucky boy inside it) on the bus to celebrate Halloween in the city. Cades little brother diligently toddled alongside them in his bear costume.
Due to being put out of work by her condition, there are many things that Lauren can’t afford to do with her children. But together with her husband, Lauren relies upon creativity, positivity, and the strength of their love for their boys to make every day magic happen.
On top of being a gifted costume maker, Lauren is a freelance writer @designyoursunshine, tackling topics such as self-care, authentic living, and racial inequality (yes, it’s still a problem).
Lauren provides 24/7/365 care to her kiddos, offering the relatable sentiment: “I am not sure if I’m miraculous but I am certainly exhausted!”.
To be a Miraculous Mum is to lovingly do your best. Lauren quite simply radiates this accolade, and provides a peaceful and centering reminder of the power and strength of a mother’s love. 💙
October 23rd Miraculous Mum: Geri
This week’s Miraculous Mum is Geri (wife of Gaz, Mother to Daniel (4) and Thomas (5 months).
Anyone who has been through infant reflux knows…. They just KNOW. 😩
The secret “I Survived Refux!” club is filled with broken or rebuilding mamas and papas, as well as their worn keyboards from the repetitive googling of how to “fix” their screaming babies.
Lovely Geri has been gifted not one but TWO of these back-arching little wrigglers. Round the houses she has been on both occasions, trying (in order of appearance) cot wedges, milk thickeners, anti-reflux milk, dairy free milk, Gaviscon, probiotics, craniosacrotherapy, homeopathy, amber necklaces, Ranitidine and Omeprazole.
It reads as quite an entertaining list, and hindsight will certainly offer a blurred comedic filter, but the truth remains that infant reflux can be tortuous. Geri suffered from post-natal depression, inescapable sleep deprivation, and metaphorical death by laundry (reflux babies puke, a LOT, and with great magnitude.).
Geri feels strongly that reflux should be better understood and writes about it over @gerigoogles. Thankfully her and her littlest are now on the path to weaning, saying a gradual farewell (see you never!) to reflux. She describes her boys as “lush” and is looking brightly ahead to the future.
Sometimes a miracle of motherhood is simply making it through a particularly difficult phase.
For having navigated yourself and two beautiful babies through the perils of reflux, Geri you are a Miraculous Mum! ♥
October 16th Miraculous Mum: Lisa
Meet this weeks’ Miraculous Mum, Lisa.
For Lisa the sun shines outwards; deep from within her bright and warm nature, and out through glittery eyes.
All those around her bask in the beams: one adoring husband, two fun-loving daughters and the heaping handfuls of friends that love her just for being her.
The only person who could doubt Lisa’s loveliness would in fact be herself.
When Lisa was told about her nomination her immediate reaction was to deny worthiness and nominate a deserving friend instead. The alternative nomination was accepted.
But much to Lisa’s surprise, her good friends have pooled together acclaim for their “Lovely Lisa”, to remind her of why she so deserves it.
Lisa is described as a gorgeous, caring soul who has not only brought monumental laughs to her friendships, but also masses of support during difficult times of life. The love and creativeness she provides for her family is really something else, as is her honesty about how tough being a parent can be. Lisa “tells it like it is” and she is loved for that, she should see this as one of her strengths and not a weakness.
Lisa is continually growing as a mother, and at the same time blossoming as a professional photographer, capturing families at the most defining moments in their lives.
There is ease in the eyes of the subjects of her photographs, a calm and happy serenity brought by the natural light peering from behind the lens.
Lisas friends are “chuffed to bits” that she’s being nominated, with the hope that she will eventually see in herself what others see in her every day. ♥
October 9th Miraculous Mum: Sarah
Meet this week’s Miraculous Mum, Sarah.
Sarah is living proof of the Roald Dahl quote: “If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely!”.
The first thing you will notice about Sarah is her radiant smile and warm energy that instantly informs you of her kind and genuine nature. Sarah is a mother who embraces fun, friendship, and getting involved.
Despite living with the pain of losing her eldest son James (aged 9) in 2008 to Cancer, Sarah is a natural giver of joy and vitality to others. This infectious positivity is what makes Sarah incredibly beautiful and special to those around her.
Sarah and her family have long been steadfast fundraisers against cancer. This year’s big event was a 10.5mile cycle, followed by trek up and down mount Snowdon, and finally a 4km kayak- all in under 12 hours! The idea had started with just Sarah and her sister, but by the event date they had rallied 38 friends from Bristol and Northamptonshire to join them on their adventure. Fair play girls!!
The day after the Snowdon challenge, these 40 lovely lasses were not only met with sore muscles and aching backs…but also a staggering £24,000 raised for Challenge Cancer UK.
Sorry, did you catch that? TWENTY FOUR THOUSAND POUNDS. For cancer. And that’s just this year’s event.
Strong, inspirational, and vibrant, Sarah is one heck of a Miraculous mum. We hope she knows that, deep down, and never ever forgets.
Mamas, share your kudos below or donate at:
October 2nd Miraculous Mum: Emma
This week’s miraculous mum is Emma, mother of Erin (9), Niamh (6), and wife to Rhys.
Emma is one of the millions of life-juggling working mums out there. Maintaining both professional development and maternal involvement can be a complex and emotional balancing act; with many women (myself included) sometimes left to feel that they are simply a bit rubbish at everything.
Lovely Emma, incredibly successful in her career as a senior manager for a social worker team in one of Sheffield biggest hospitals, was one day met with the simplest and sweetest of wake-up calls:
Emma had been stood in the kitchen making her little girl a cheese sandwich when, out of nowhere, her daughter looked up and said ‘ I like you being a mummy’.
These six little words put everything into perspective for Emma. They helped her to stop and absorb just how much her high pressure job and long working hours could be impacting on her children as well.
Driven by her sandwich-induced epiphany, Emma valiantly changed roles, effectively taking a step back in her career. Despite being heavily encouraged to stay and being provided attractive (but equally demanding) positions, Emma remained firm to her intention, and off she went.
Emma has recently begun working as a social work community assessor, a role which allows for much more time “being a mummy”.
Sometimes in life, steps that can appear to be backwards are, in truth, galliant leaps in the right direction.
Congratulations Emma, for all that you have achieved for you and your beautiful family! ♥
September 25th Miraculous Mum: Annie
One of the most beautiful aspects of motherhood is the strong awareness that you will be there for your children, no matter what. You will continue to love them, irrespective of life’s situations or the amount of thanks given in return.
But alas, sometimes gratitude comes in handfuls!! this week’s Miraculous Mum nomination is a heartwarming THANK YOU, sent directly from her daughter:
My mum, Annie Nicholl, is beyond incredible. She is Miraculous with a capital M. She has consistently, loyally and lovingly looked after us through thick and thin but never complains about it, even though she should be taking some ‘me time’ and pampering herself!
She has supported my brother through repeated bowel cancer, operations and Dad through Parkinsons & prostate cancer. She is a stoic trooper and an inspiration.
Alongside all that she is a wonderful magical granny to her 3 grandsons who adore her just as much as we all do.
She is our rock and she deserves endless recognition for her kindness and care. I can only hope that I am half as good as she is at being a wife, mum and grandparent.
Mum – we love you. You are amazing. Thank you. xxxx 💙
September 18th Miraculous Mum: Gemma
This week’s miraculous mum is Gemma, wife to Gav, mother of Joey (2) and Toby (7 mo.). Some of the things we have seen in the news this summer are the worst versions of people and events imaginable. Tragic occasions and political upheavals are brought into our living rooms, our mobile devices, and are often the first bites of information we are fed in the mornings.
This summer Gemma decided that it was time to unclog the newsfeeds; time to remind people of the heart-warming goodness that exists everywhere (and in huge amounts!) but isn’t considered newsworthy.
Gemma got all her friends engaged in a Facebook group dedicated to sharing random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty. Before long, a good proportion of the South Yorkshire population were waking up to news about people buying groceries for strangers. Toys being given to new families. Gooey stuff. Good stuff. ✌
Gemma is bright and bubbly despite her current reality of potty training and sleeplessness. She is a dedicated and doting mother, but also an honest one, and has not been afraid to share her stories when things went wrong.
Recently Toby received an unfortunate steam burn from a bottle prep machine (this could have happened to any of us. I repeat… ANY of us.). How did Gemma respond? In the most admirable way possible. She bravely warned her friends about the risks, and publicly shared NHS guidelines for burns should any other parents find themselves in a similar situation.
We LOVE this. Us mums need more of this. YES Gemma. 🙌
Honesty, kindness, and duty of care come naturally to Gemma, and that is part of what makes her a Miraculous Mum. May she never forget her miraculousness, and may she too be on the receiving end of random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty. 💕
September 10th Miraculous Mum: Ingrid
Everything was going so well, until baby girl Gretel got stuck on her way out. Not long thereafter Ingrid was left with the baby, with no idea what she was doing, no button to push, and no feeling from the waist down as the spinal injection wore off. Ollie wasn’t allowed to stay on the ward, of course. This frightening feeling of incapacity was a precursor to what the coming months had in store for Ingrid.
Two days later, Ingrid left the hospital, and was no longer herself.
Breastfeeding was tearing her apart (literally), and she felt overwhelmed with pressure and guilt. At times, Ingrid felt inadequate as a mother.
During the weeks that followed, her mindset began to fluctuate between anger and complete removal. Dutifully, she would go through the motions with her daughter, feeding her, bathing her, going for walks, but all the time with a lowered gaze, and in silence. Ingrid stopped connecting with those around her and, when given the chance, would retreat to bed and lay in anxious solitude.
One day Ingrid found herself watching her family and considering whether they would be better off without her.
That is when the penny dropped. Something was not right.
Ingrid went straight to the doctor and was given four little words which explained her last four months: “You have postnatal depression”. Ollie and Ingrid felt like celebrating! This WAY in which they have been living, there was a name for it. It’s not just normal life with a baby. Through CBT talking therapy and medication, Ingrid learned to retrain her thought patterns, and began to believe in self-affirmations such as “I am doing the best I can” and “I am a good mother”. 10-15% of mothers in the UK suffer from post- partum depression. “Things can go unsaid, people don’t want to ask awkward questions, like ‘why don’t you wash your hair anymore?’” Says Ingrid. “Soon you can find yourself quite far down a road”. With that thought, I encourage anyone reading to ask yourself and the mums around you: “How are you feeling?”. Let’s talk about PPD. 🌻
September 1st Miraculous Mum: Charley
This Week’s Miraculous Mum is Charley, a mum on a MISSION.
It all started five years ago when she was six months pregnant, and went into early labor. Her and her husband Lee (both on holiday at the time) were convinced it was Braxton hicks, and Lee went so far as to joke “You’re complaining now- what will you be like in ACTUAL labor!?”. Well actual labor it was, and what followed was a very harrowing period of time for the whole family. Little baby boy Harrison was in intensive care for 2.5 months, surviving infections, emergency transfers, and several solemn warnings about his chances of survival. Charley was taken aback by the shortcomings of NICU resources due to funding, and how much travel was necessary in order to seek the necessary care.
What followed was a maternity year like few other: Charley set out “flogging” fundraising for the NICU department, and managed to raise over 10K on maternity leave!
Since then, she has taken it a step further and set up her own independent charity so that she can ensure the money goes straight to where it is needed most. This year the charity has funded a few life-changing things that the NHS wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford; such as cerebral palsy training for pediatric doctors, and replacement breast pumps for hospitals that have had theirs stolen. On top of her charity work, Charley works full time as a managing director.
This is not a plea for donations, but an opportunity to celebrate and encourage a very driven woman achieving some pretty life changing stuff. Show your support, comment and share, and if you would like to donate, please visit facebook @thenicufoundation, or if you are local to Weston-Super- Mare, attend the Grand Pier Black Tie Charity Ball on September 17th. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Little preemie baby Harrison is now the tallest boy in the class. Charley considers their family to be “one of the lucky ones” and will clearly do anything in her power to make for more lucky families in the future. What an inspiration. ♥
August 25th Miraculous Mum: Chantelle
This Weeks Mirculous Mum is Chantelle, Mother of Rylee (6).
Chantelle is one of those smiley people that seem to radiate sunbeams. One grin or belly laugh from across the room will instantly make you want to be her friend.
Raised in the tiny Canadian town of Cherryville, Chantelle has spread her wings to Summerland B.C. where she is a joyful mother as well as a professionally thriving financial advisor.
Picture Chantelle in her early 20’s: arriving home from University, putting on a business suit, and literally knocking on doors asking if people required financial advice! And so was the beginning of a hugely successful career for one heck of a driven young woman.
Chantelle got married, fell pregnant, but then became a single mother soon after the birth of Rylee. This was an unexpected and challenging time; one of those moments in life where all your cards are down and there is nothing left to do but start picking them up again, one by one.
With constant drive and dedication Chantelle pushed through, and what has resulted is a mother and daughter partnership built on love, positivity, and mutual care. These two have MONSTROUS amounts of fun together, and just a few moments spent with Rylee are enough to note the care with which she was raised.
Chantelle has now found love with a man who holds Rylee’s hand when crossing the street. In England we would say “He is a good egg”.
Recently out for dinner with family and friends, Rylee threw a rubber ball up in the air and watched it land SMACK in the middle of a neighboring diners’ main course. Instead of scolding her daughter or getting flustered over the situation, Chantelle threw her head back and laughed instead. The thing is, when you smile this much, the world tends to smiles back. We love this miraculous mum. 💕
August 17th Miraculous Mum: Jodie
This week’s miraculous mum is Jodie @wiganmum. Mother of Sophia (2), Jodie is part of an online crew of instagram mums who share their stories, laugh, empathise, chat mummy merch and basically cheer each other on through what can sometimes be a tough gig. It really is a community; this particular nomination has come from one of her friendly followers!
Jodie, quite beautifully, is still breastfeeding and cosleeping with her little girl Sophia at 25 months. Jodie blogs and offers advice on both of these things, as well as everyday hacks like how to getting your toddler to eat more vegetables (horrah!). Jodie recently had an operation to her hand which has made her role as stay at home mum all the more challenging. It’s difficult to all of a sudden not be able to change nappies and dress your little ones in the way that they are used to. As we all know, motherhood is the one job that you can never truly call in sick for! Following her operation, Jodie was showered with well wishes online- a brilliant example of mamas cheering on mamas. And, in a busy world more and more centered on screen-time, a nice gentle reminder that some very good things can come from social media. Keep on doing what you do @wiganmum, you are doing a miraculous job! ♥
August 10th Miraculous Mum: Rachael
This week’s Miraculous Mum is Rachael, a mother who quietly hesitates when people ask “how many children do you have?”. It’s complicated. She is mum to Oscar (17) and Isabella (15), step-mum to Ethan (16), and also mother to five little angels who were lost due to miscarriage. The journey of miscarriage is a long and grueling one, making it all the more special when Rachael and her husband Simon found out that they were safely expecting a baby girl. Baby Beatrix was born into their lives last year, but sadly died soon thereafter.
Rachael and her family miss Beatrix so much. The past year has been a “rollercoaster of emotions” but lately there have been more ups than downs. Rachael has been working hard to stop feeling guilty for smiling or laughing, and has come to understand that there is not much good that can come from dressing in black and mourning eternally. In her words: “We have worked out that you can spend (waste) the rest of your life focusing on what you don’t have, when being grateful for what you do have is a much more healthy and happy place to be”.
Thanks to the warm and loving hearts of her family and her best friend CJ (pictured- Rachael describes CJ as her “rock”!), Rachael is focusing on positivity in a way that I find, personally, incredibly moving.
Although Beatrix will never be far from her mother’s mind, nowadays Rachael meets the tricky question “how many children do you have?” with “do the hairy ones count!?” referring to her two much loved dogs Dylan and Margot. I am awe-struck. Thank you Rachael, for being inspirational, strong, open-hearted, loving, appreciative, honest, and a miraculous mother, all at the same time. ♥
August 3rd Miraculous Mum: Imogen
This week’s Miraculous Mum is Imogen, wife to Kieran, mother of 4 month old Winston.
Imogen is your classic English rose: beautiful, understated, and resilient no matter the weather. Raised by a powerhouse of a mother who created thriving independent businesses, one which provided employment for an entire Indian village, Imogen has never been short on inspiration…
After many years of chef training (read: repetitive first degree burns and paychecks equivalent to what one might find between the sofa cushions), Imogen and Kieran opened up an authentic tapas bar, which was so warmly received by the Bristol foodies that they have since opened a cheery, bustling brunch restaurant.
Being self-employed has its perks, but also its drawbacks, one being the lack of maternity and paternity leave. At only a few days old, Winston had already witnessed his parents’ resourcefulness in dealing with staffing shortages, failed equipment and even kitchen fires! Not quite what you would expect in your first hours of motherhood. In true “English rose” style, Imogen just put on the baby sling, stood up straight, and braved the elements. Milk was on tap, so why not?!
What has resulted is a community of people that have known Winston from a very young age. Employees, friends, and even customers have taken turns rocking Winston in his car seat propped up on the bar, making him giggle at the pulled faces and poking-out of tongues being offered his way. What is most admirable is that this has never seemed like a sacrifice; getting “out and about” has been healthy for the whole family, and the total amount of love being sent baby’s way has actually magnified.
Winston is very content, easy going and smiley. Perhaps one day, when he is grown and having to bend and adapt to his own challenges, he will thank his mum for her approach to life and motherhood: Take it in turns, have fun while you’re doing it, life rolls on. ♥
July 26th Miraculous Mum: Sally
Ladies and gentlemen, I have for you one heck of a Miraculous Mum nomination this week. Survivors of domestic abuse, fighters of living room battles, meet your soul sister Sally. The gorgeous Sally, and her six year old son Ochie, are a true inspiration of a family who did the necessary in order to seek safety and regain light in their lives. Ochie and his mum and dad moved to Bali when he was 3 months old, a dream which quite quickly deteriorated into a nightmare due to problems at home. Ochie’s father suffered from all sorts of vices: personal battles which don’t necessarily require listing but would qualify him for entry to many groups, it’s fair to say. I can only imagine what it was like to raise a baby in this environment. When Ochie turned two Sally officially became a single mum, a large stride towards betterment but one requiring a great deal of blood, sweat and tears. In Bali, not only do you have to pay for medical coverage but for schooling as well; at times Sally was working 80 hour weeks in order to make ends meet. Ochie was cared for by nannies, some which fled and never returned. The art of motherhood was proving exceptionally difficult in Bali; it was time for a change.
One year ago Sally and Ochie flew to London with a bag of bikinis and a vow to never become a slave to another human being. This included work: Sally wanted to become more flexible and present as a mother so bravely embarked on self-employment. She founded Manners Wear (http://www.mannerswear.bigcartel.com/) which specialises in quality hand crafted clothing for women, made to accentuate natural curves. You can find Sally at Spitalfields market stall, and if you do, why not say hello and give some kudos and kindness to a single mummy making it work.
The name Ochie means “filled with laughter”, which Ochie very much is, despite his troubling start. He is sweet, wild, and speaks Indonesian, all testaments to his years spent climbing trees wearing no socks or underpants! One day, he will realise what his mummy did for him, and just how miraculous she really is. ♥
July 19th Miraculous Mum: Michelle
This week’s Miraculous Mum is Michelle, wife of Dave, mother of Georgia (18) and Josh (15). Michelle is a warm and caring beacon of motherhood who gives WONDERFUL hugs. She is originally from Farnborough, but lived in southern Spain with her family for many years. Raising children abroad is not necessarily easy, and Michelle’s support in helping them integrate into the local culture has enabled her children to grow into adaptive, open minded, bilingual young adults. Michelle has been the ever-giving facilitator of dance classes, football, swimming lessons, and trips to visit family. She makes excellent curries and taught Georgia to bake in their Spanish kitchen; Georgia is now known for her decadent squidgy brownies (they are awesome, I’ve had many!). Michelle has reinvented herself over the years to accommodate for her family; she recently began working in retail and is working her socks off (good thing they sell socks). Michelle is described by her daughter as “not just a mum but also a best friend”. If that wasn’t enough to make you melt, Georgia added that she is really proud of her mum, and doesn’t know what she would do without her. Michelle you are quite simply a miraculous mum. ♥
July 12th Miraculous Mum: Kerry-Anne
This week’s Miraculous Mum is Kerry-Anne, wife of Joachim and mother of Katam (7), Zia (4) and Lelio (1).
Having moved from Canada to Scotland for a temporary work placement, Kerry-Anne and her family have built a new life including homeschooling, hiking, gymnastics, kilt wearing, and all sorts of local adventures. Homeschooling is done in the dining room, where the walls are covered in alphabet posters, French verb conjugations and a world map hand drawn by the children. It is a beautifully warm and comforting space, despite being a messy hive of constant activity.Kerry-Anne shows remarkable patience and innovation in helping her children develop; with Zia going through the “no” phase, Kerry-Anne soothingly listens and explains alternative tools to help Zia work through her frustrations. Her family (mum and dad included!) also use a “speaking stick” for moments when everyone gets so excited that they all want to tell their stories at once! 😊
At times it can take great effort to homeschool the two eldest whilst looking after baby Lelio, but Kerry-Anne appreciates the short-term nature of their Scottish adventure and has actually never felt happier; she loves the little “cocoon” that her and her husband have created for the family. Kerry-Anne is caring, empathetic and selfless in her devotion to her family and friends. Her children are open-minded, bright and thoughtful, literally climbing mountains for fun and carrying their own lunches on their backs as they go! We wish Kerry-Anne all the best for the remainder of their time in the UK. ♥
July 4th 2016 Miraculous Mum: Louise
This week’s Miraculous Mum is Louise, wife to Adam and mother of 1 year old Fearne.
Some people go through life creating boundaries: obstacles to stunt change and personal growth or excuses to avoid doing things that may be frightening or require effort. Some even blame their upbringing for character flaws which they may have inherited. LOUISE, on the other hand, oh Louise… she is the ultimate positive energy, the queen of the “can do” attitude. And she thanks her mother for it!
I have always admired Louise’s enthusiasm for life (and wished that I had this much gusto as a mother!) but was curious to find out her attitude on herself… does she see what we all see? So I asked her:
What do you feel truly proud of as a mum?
Louise explained that she is proud to have inherited her mother’s upbeat no-fuss attitude to motherhood.When Lou first announced her pregnancy to her mum, she was reassuringly told “Oh Lou you will be fine. You were born four days early, without any pain relief. You took straight to breast feeding and were sleeping through the night from 6 weeks!!” Many of us would read the above and think that she was being set up for a fall…. But alas all of the above came true for Louise and baby Fearne. I KNOW, I KNOW, you want to hate her, but you can’t. She’s lovely.
Something I have often asked myself is whether Louise found motherhood difficult, as I do. There have been times where her unwavering positivity has made me question whether I was perhaps doing something wrong… was it easier for her? Is Fearne a super-baby? Or is it Louise’s outlook….
What parts of motherhood do you find challenging?
And out it came: Lou is a worrier.“No one, not even my mum, could have prepared me for the worry that comes with parenting.”Fearne was born requiring a few inflation breaths and was sent off to NICU for the night. All Lou could mutter were the words “is she dead or alive?”. This frightening first interaction was a forerunner to what may be a lifetime of love-induced worry, to levels which she describes as “extreme”. Louise has admitted to believing that a mouth ulcer was due to her lack of housework, as well as sending a panicked message to her NCT group announcing that Fearne had a temperature of 36 degrees. You could imagine the reply she got!
Fearne is the happiest, jammiest little smiler. Their household is filled with laughter, and I am always left feeling brighter and lighter after spending time with Louise and her and her family. She is a wonderful friend and is the perfect example of why us women should celebrate each other’s successes rather than lose ourselves in blame and envy. In all her amazing, worrying, enthusiastic ways, Louise is miraculous.♥
June 28th Miraculous Mum: Dotty
SO excited for this weeks nomination! This is the fabulous Dotty, mother of Teddy (12) and Charlie (10). Dotty has single handedly raised her two boys whilst working as a Mrs. Mop/ironing service so that she was always there for the boys after and before school. She’s actually a super qualified, very experienced high flyer who speaks multiple languages fluently and used to live and work in Poland among other places. She is now a parliamentary assistant. She still does the ironing for 86yo Mrs H because….well shes’s 86 and that’s how Dotty is. Do you love her yet?? Dotty spent 4 years living in the rural wilds without a car – cycling everywhere – sometimes pulling a trailer with her Hoover in it!! Her boys are self motivated and utterly honest. They have diverse interests which Dotty always supports them in, even when it’s bagpipes!! She’s a talented photographer with a blip account worth checking out: https://www.blipfoto.com/Dotty. As if that weren’t enough, this year Dotty ran the Edinburgh marathon with her cousin Layla and raised money for charity. What a lady. ♥
June 21st 2016 Miraculous Mum: Shelly
This week’s miraculous mum is Shelly, mother of James (16), Ciaran (13), and Jodie-Mae (9). Shelly prides herself on being a full time mummy/taxi driver/chef/personal maid/counsellor/agony aunt/party organizer/car repair woman/home and cake decorator. She is quite proud of the lilies in her garden, as well as the fact that her children are honest with her (“mummy I’ve been naughty at school again…expect a call from the headmaster!”) 😂. Shelly is capable of most anything mumsy, but come Friday night its takeaway pizza for the kidlets and off to the pub for hubby and her; A well deserved pint if you ask me! ♥
June 14th 2016 Miraculous Mum: Ruth
The very first Miraculous Mums nomination! This is Ruth, mother of 17 month old Zachary. Miraculous because she is a caring and compassionate mum and mummy friend. Ruth parked her car for the duration of her mat leave and walked EVERYWHERE (with baby in sling, pram or backpack) and also dedicated a years’ worth of nap times to hand sanding and repainting her kitchen units. How did she do it?? Mummy fail moment: Putting Zach’s highchair up bang in the middle of the McDonald’s car park and feeding him chips and chocolate for tea, following a car breakdown. ♥er c