This week…Becky Sayer, co-founder of Superlove Merino and mother to Martha.
Becky and friend Suse Fletcher created their ethical brand of superfine merino childrenswear in February 2013. Knowing the magic of merino base layers themselves (supercomfy, breathable, warm and 100% natural) they wanted the same for their daughters, Milly and Martha, and While the merino products available for little ones at the time were soft enough, they were not particularly substantial and certainly didn’t cut it in the Lake District weather! The result was Superlove Merino, the first range of superwarm merino clothing for babies, toddlers and kids aged 0-6 years developed with high performance merino and designed especially for the British and Northern European Climate. Becky lives in the Lake District with her partner Graham and their daughter.
My little Munchkin is…Martha (3). She sings all day long, loves to do funny voices for her toys and her favourite game in the world is Hide-and-Seek… (she’s not very good at hiding – the singing gives her away!)
No-one ever tells you that… I don’t think there’s really anything you don’t get told when you’re expecting, but until you go through it yourself you can’t possibly imagine it all. Yes, labour is intense, but it’s over in a flash in the grand scheme of things. Yes, the tiredness is huge at the beginning, but the excitement and the overwhelming love you feel more than help you through it all. It’s life-changing! For me, and many other inspirational mums I know, it’s life-changing beyond just becoming a mum. I met my amazing business partner, Suse, at a baby-singing group and now we have a thriving business we’re really proud of.
I couldn’t have survived the first three months without… My family. We were renovating our house throughout my pregnancy, (foolishly) expecting it to be finished in time for the baby, but of course things didn’t go to plan and we ended up living with my parents for the first six weeks of Martha’s life. I am so glad it happened this way, though. Mum cooked delicious meals and looked after us, which meant we could spend all of our time getting to know our baby.
I wish I’d known before that… some things are not as big as they seem at the time. I really beat myself up about not being able to breastfeed, despite trying extremely hard to make it work. I expressed milk for Martha for six months and fed it to her through a bottle. It was exhausting but I was so determined to breastfeed, I just couldn’t let it go. Looking back now, I wish I had been a bit more relaxed about the whole thing.
It used to drive me mad when people said… ‘It’s a phase’. It should be reassuring to hear those words when you’ve had no sleep for weeks, but no sleep is all you know, and it feels like it’ll never end. I totally get it now. Everything is a phase – the good and the bad! Sleepless nights don’t last forever (hooray!) but neither does that adorable time when your baby is learning to speak and makes up their own words. ‘It’s a phase’ was irritating to hear at first, but it has sort of become a mantra for me now – to help me make the most of the amazing (bonkers) things my daughter does every day.
The best present anyone gave me was… Honestly? A bundle of merino baby clothes and a merino baby sleep bag. Needless to say, discovering how wonderful merino is for little ones changed my life! My daughter was a good sleeper very early on and I attribute that to all of the merino she slept in. We are quite an active family (we love getting out on the hills, rain or shine) so the merino baby clothing we had for her (and later, made for her) made it easier for us to take her out in the baby carrier and for us to continue to enjoy our beautiful surroundings together.
Our first holiday was… A family wedding in Sweden. Martha was 18 months old and was the flower girl. There was an exciting build-up to the trip (dress shopping with the Bride was a particular highlight) which I think really helped Martha understand something new and different was about to take place. She enjoyed the flight and loved her moment in the spotlight. It was a really special first family holiday.
The most important that I’ve learnt is… to recognise and trust my instincts. You get bombarded with advice as soon as you announce you’re having a baby. There are so many parenting books and everybody you meet has an opinion on potential names, how to feed your baby, how to get them to sleep etc… After reading a couple of parenting books I quickly realised that I needed to know what my own parenting approach was going to be before I filled my head with everybody else’s. There is great advice out there and you can find communities and experts on every style of parenting, but you’ve got to stay true to yourself and trust your gut.
I wish… life would slow down just a little, so that I could have more time and more patience with my daughter.
I want my children to know that… I want her to know that she is loved and I want her to believe that anything is possible. She is the inspiration for most of what I do in my life now – whether it’s for her directly or to inspire her to be the best person she can be.