March is the month where we celebrate many things including Mother's Day and International Women's Day so I thought it appropriate to feature some inspiring mums and we'll be showcasing them throughout March - hope you enjoy the "March of Inspiring Mums" series!
Today's interview is with Jenni Fuchs, from Edinburgh. She is a mum of two boys (Oskar who is 7 and Alfred Fox aged 3) and below shares her journey from a career working in museums to living abroad and writing about motherhood and family life which has since turned into her occupation in the form of The Bear & The Fox lifestyle blog (along with running her own online Etsy shop!) She also tells us why it's important for mums to take time out too and how Japanese lessons led to an unexpected twist of fate!
"On my blog, I share family friendly recipes, craft ideas, travel tips and book reviews. Books have always been a passion of mine, and it’s one of my favourite things to write about. I've also recently launched a YouTube channel for my blog, where I share video reviews of our favourite picture books."
Tell me a little about yourself and how you got into the job you’re now doing?
I have been working in museums in various roles for over 15 years, something which has always been a passion for me. Both my boys saw the inside of their first museum at just a few weeks old, and I am a vocal advocate for taking children to museums from an early age. However, I took a career break to have my children, and while I was on maternity leave I started writing a blog. We had just moved to Berlin for a few years at the time, so initially it was mainly to keep friends and family left behind up to date with how we were doing. But then other people started discovering it, and telling me that I had a knack for writing and that they enjoyed reading my blog. So I changed direction a little, and started aiming it at a broader audience. Then about two years ago, I completely rebranded the blog, and it has gone from strength to strength since then. After everyone kept telling me “video is the future”, I took the plunge about a month ago and added a YouTube channel to my blog too, so I have been having some fun with that. I would really like to go back in to working in the museum sector at some point, but in the mean time I am enjoying the places my blog is taking me.
Tell me one interesting fact about you?
I studied Japanese in night class for several years, and managed to pass the first level Japanese language proficiency test. I don’t remember much of it now, but I met my husband there so the classes were still a good investment, haha!
Please can you share 3 tips for managing the juggle of motherhood, life and business?
1. Pick your battles. I’d rather send my kid off to nursery properly dressed, but he refuses to part with his fire engine pyjama top and wants to wear his wellies even though it’s not raining? Fine. Just let him. Kids don’t want the dinner I lovingly cooked for them? Just give them a sandwich instead, they'll survive. Save your energy for the battles that really matter.
2. Don’t compare yourself to others. We all regularly get confronted on social media with images of super mums and their perfectly behaved children. It’s easy to feel you are doing a rubbish job in comparison, but remember that a lot of that is very selective and you don’t know what’s really going on behind the scenes. So just focus on your own little tribe. My mantra is, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be good enough!
3. Go offline every now and then. In this digital age, it feels like we always need to make ourselves available. But when your 3 year old tells you “Mum, put away your phone!” you know it’s time to switch off. It’s good for your kids, and it’s good for you.
What's the best piece of advice you could give a new mum?
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself! Society and the media place a lot of unrealistic expectations on new parents these days, but reality doesn’t always match up with the rosy picture of motherhood bliss that we are led to expect. It took me several months to properly bond with my first born, and I felt as though I’d completely failed as a mother. It was only after talking with other mothers, who had secretly felt the same, that I realised it wasn’t that uncommon. That not everybody falls in love with their baby instantly. That sometimes, love takes it’s time, but that that’s okay.
Colour can make a real difference to our mood - what’s your favourite colour? And how does it make you feel when you wear it?
My favourite colour is blue - and my elder son’s favourite colour is pink. We like to stick it to the gender stereotypes in our house! I’ve always loved blue, since I was a child. I feel it is a very calming colour. As a mother, you need to try and stay calm a lot of the time, so it kind of fits.
What’s your favourite activity to do with your family?
We love to visit museums together. My boys have been exposed to museums from a very early age, so it’s one of their favourite things to do. Our most favourite museum of all is the National Museum of Scotland. I usually end up taking my little one there once a week, when his older brother has after school clubs, and on Fridays when school finishes early we often all go together. Whenever we go on holiday to a new place, the first thing we do is check out what museums there are!
What do you like to do for some me-time?
Definitely reading! If I can get away for an hour or so, I like to hang out in a nice cafe - preferably one with a cosy armchair - and lose myself in a good book. My favourite genre is crime novels. And once a year, I go away by myself for a long weekend to recharge my batteries. I think it’s really important, even for mums, to have some alone time every now and then. And it’s important for my children to learn that they can live without me - but that I will always return.
Thank you Jenni for sharing your inspiring story about creating a business out of a passion and around your family. I also love that you make time for you whether it's an hour or a weekend away - self care and time away (especially for us mums!) is so important.
Also make sure you check out Jenni's Etsy Shop
If you've enjoyed this interview, make sure you check out our other "March of Inspiring Mums" series here