Q&A with Niamh Hashmi

Naimah Hashmi is a first time mother and blogger writing about motherhood and life in London and Lisbon.

When did you first start blogging / what was your inspiration? My first blog post was posted on January 27th 2018 and then I started my Instagram account on Valentine’s Day. I can’t actually remember as to why I didn’t start both of them at the same time. It was probably as I’d always said I would never post my life out on social media, so I think I’d fooled myself into thinking I would only blog and not have a social media account to go along with it. It was a really tough step for me, personally, to open up a motherhood blogging Instagram account. I remember during my pregnancy how I’d said I would never post a photo of my child on any form of social media. But then, whilst on maternity leave I found myself with my mind wanting to be on some sort of creative platform but my sentiments trying to block that away. I started doing at home mini photo-shoots with MJ and was having so much fun with them, that once I would share them with friends and family on whatsapp, they would all continuously mention how I should share these on a public platform. I really researched in to what it means to you as person, to you as a family, to be sharing your life with the world of the internet. So much so that it took me 6 months to accept that ‘this is the norm’ and that I would take this chapter of my life as a positive outlook where I could not only bombard other mothers with photos of my little human or thrill them with the feeling of ‘ I know exactly what you are talking about’ through my blog posts, but I would also not be badgering my whatsapp world of friends and family who don’t mind a baby photo once in a blue moon as opposed to daily posts and weekly blog posts. What sets your instagram feed apart from other parenting blogs? I always took into account that MJ will of course one day see this Instagram account, so I would like it to be her childhood journey documented. That doesn’t mean that all photos will have a beautiful setting with a professional photographer flashin away at us, as it’s not the case at all, but I do want it to be a fun and beautiful photographic memoir for her to look back on. As much as it would be lovely to have an aesthetically pleasing colour coordinated feed, you certaintly won’t get that from me, as I’m terrible at editing photos. So you will see that my feed has minimal editing, with snippits on to what’s currently going on in our little world in the captions. In the beginning of my Instagram journey as I wasn’t fully confident on speaking into my phone, I used Instagram stories to interact with people by asking just 4 questions on the many endless topics there are around motherhood. I named it #sundaysoundout and it’s a nice little distraction to join in on a poll every Sunday on topics that we can all relate too. You can find them all on my highlights and see how broad the topics are. It’s really interesting to see how many of the topics really make some mothers think about certain things in a different way. I get many responses to the polls from mothers sharing their experiences/opinions with me and found it to be a great conversation starter with the Instagram community. What one self care habit do you swear by? I would love my response to be something glamorous like I swear by getting a massage at least once a month or to use a face mask at least once a week, but I am the least feminine woman out there when it comes to these things. My genuine one self care habit I swear by would have to be to allow myself to have a junk food evening or even day once in a while. This may sound like the complete wrong response but there is a lot of pressure on women, especially on mothers to look a certain way. As much as want to bit fit and healthy and have just recently signed up to the gym to get back on that healthy self care wagon, it must also be considered a self care moment when you get to once a month go crazy and eat a ton of crisps and pizza and feel good about yourself for doing so, because come on, we mummas deserve it! What have you found the biggest challenge, and the biggest joy, of being a mum? Being a mother is both the best and most difficult challenge there is. It’s not a walk in the park, but then again, who has actually ever said it was easy? The fact that you will have sleepless nights, not know what day of the week it is, potentially dress your child with odd socks, is a given. What people don’t tell you about is to not forget where your little bubba came from. I have found it the hardest to have time for us as a couple and to remember that we actually do still like to be in each others company. Yes, we should absolutely dedicate time to ourselves as mothers too (which I admit, I am absolutely terrible at, but still working on it), but we should also dedicate time to date nights, whether it’s just going down to the local pub one night or even a glass of wine together in the evening (where you end up speaking about your little humans anyway) but just to make time for that quality time together. The biggest joy of being a mum, wow, this is definitely a tough question because the joys truly are endless. For me at this current moment of my parenthood journey, I am at my absolute peak of happiness when MJ comes to me out of the blue and just smooches me. She does like to kiss me a lot I have noticed, but when she comes to me out of nowhere with a big sloppy kiss and that cheeky smile, that is definitely my high point. Do you follow a particular approach to parenting? We’re first time parents and still learning ourselves every day. We of course want to raise a strong, confident and polite child into the world, but no matter how many books you read something unexpected will always come about. With each new phase in MJ’s life we have seen that in some aspects my partner and I have completey opposite opinions and approaches so are learning to conciliate on those. One thing we naturally adopted without even knowing it had a name was attachment parenting. I breastfed MJ until she was 16 months old, baby wore a lot and we still co-sleep and it has honestly been the most rewarding journey. How do you balance work / life with parenting? I took just over a year off work and was dreading going back to work as I had lost sense of what adult working life was anymore. I am extremely lucky to have gone back into work, into a new role, with a very supportive boss. Any time I need to leave earlier or start later, there are never any issues. I work Mon-Fri on a full time basis and made it a point to change my start time by half an hour, to avoid the crazy rush hour in the evening and to get to MJ at a reasonable time, that allows me to still spend time with her before she goes to bed. I commute to central London every day so that was an absolute must to make it work some how. I have the weekends off and my partner has mainly Sunday/Monday off. I have a full day with MJ on Saturday’s, Sunday is our family day together and then Monday is my partners full day with MJ. It really works out quite well for us.