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#AskMummy with Lily Hargrove

Lily works in the early part of her day, and in the late afternoon, either she or her husband will bring the children home from school. Dinner is prepared when they get home in the early evening. After that it’s time for their showers, and helping the kids clean up their own spaces before spending some time with each other before bed.

On Fridays and Saturdays, she spends the evening singing for a small gentleman’s club. During these times, she shares that either her husband will be home to watch over the young ones or get her sitter to take over. In our first interview for #AskMummy, Lily shares with Aunty her experience with babysitting, the struggles of parenting and advice she holds close to her heart.

How has life changed for you after becoming a parent? In terms of me-time, work, expectations? 

With one child it wasn’t very difficult to manage these things, some sacrifices have to be made for her children. The nature of our jobs mean that some of the losses suffered during the pandemic have to be compensated for now, and it does take a toll, picking up the pieces and in due time we can provide better care for the children. Parenthood is another worry, and has always been a worry. I can’t speak for every other parent but as a mother, I want my child to grow up a good person but sometimes outside influences can be challenging. Especially now that he’s in primary school, I want to make sure he’s mixing with the right company, he’s not being bullied and he gets enough love and attention from us. 

Has that happened to him? This sort of thing? 

Yeah, after the June holidays, he got closer to some of his peers whom he picked up vulgar language from and it’s shocking to hear 7 year olds say these words. I am protective of my son, and I will let him know that these words shouldn’t be used at all. 

What is some advice you would like to give to fellow mothers? 

I am a late mother. I had my first born at 37 and my second child at 42, so if there’s anything I want to say to other mothers… We must be firm with our children; love them hard but show them the way to be good people for those around them and to society. I wouldn’t wish my children to be spoiled or entitled in any way. Another thing is to take the kids out and let them interact with many other people. Let the kids be kids. 

Somebody actually told me ‘let your child be a child’, but I can’t remember the exact quote anymore. As parents, we shouldn’t micromanage them. I really like the idea of letting them explore and learn from their mistakes when they need to. I think letting them enjoy their childhood and growing from it properly is the most important thing. They grow up so fast anyway, we shouldn’t make them grow faster than they already are. 

What’s the hardest part of motherhood for you and how did you manage it? 

Managing tantrums… Especially now that I have two, the tantrums can come anytime. One after another or both at the same time, it’s taxing because they both want your attention and I can’t always give them my undivided attention all the time whenever they need it. Sometimes I lose it, and let them cry. They’ll throw a fit and let it all out until they’re ready before I attend to them. It really depends on what I’m dealing with in terms of workload and how tired I am. I really can’t say how I’m managing because one method that works might not work the next time. But I’m slowly learning along the way, and as adults we tend to have a lot more on our plate and it’s never going to be easy. 

Have there been any memorable moments between you and your children? 

I think most of these emotions come when you look at their photos, when they smile at you, when they show love to each other. Sometimes they give you a hug and say ‘Mama, I love you’ or spontaneously give you a kiss. That’s what me and my husband try to do, show them affection and it’s nice to have it reciprocated. One practice we try to incorporate before we leave the house every morning is to say ‘I love you’ to each other. These are things I think we need to encourage our kids to do. I didn’t grow up in that kind of environment, but my husband is American and he has made a big difference in encouraging this kind of open communication with the kids. 

You mentioned earlier that you were really happy to have found a sitter with Aunty, how has that experience been for you? 

I wasn’t able to find a helper during the pandemic and my daughter is a pandemic baby, so we really needed help with that. Because of this, we considered a babysitter instead. We were initially looking at other sites, but there was a subscription fee on top of the sitter’s fees and we didn’t want to do that. It was very coincidental that we found Aunty while searching the internet, and gave it a shot. Z’s been very helpful, and her availability for overnight sits has been a huge help for my singing job. The sitter gets along so well with the children, and she has a good balance of firmness and leniency with them. They listen to her well when I’m not around and it’s fantastic. However, I do think we should find a back up sitter just in case but the inertia to get it done is so high. Z fits our needs so well, and I have to admit there are still trust issues with regards to having new sitters. Too many different people can confuse the children, so we’re just glad to have found consistency in Z.