I’ve followed AmandaMuse for years and love the way she keeps it real. Comparison is the thief of joy, so they say, and in the realms of social media and mom blogs, it’s easy to find ourselves feeling like we’re not living our best lives.
Amanda is a coffee-lovin’, mama-of-two (and one fur baby) who started making YouTube videos in 2012 after having her first babe while living in Malaysia. Since then, she’s grown a huge community where she dishes on motherhood, beauty, fashion and lifestyle, and it’s no surprise. She’s hilarious, candid and not afraid to show us what real #momlife looks like, and why we should own it! Here, she shares her birth stories, her advice to new mamas and how her less-is-more mantra keeps her focused on what matters most…
*Mama Says is a monthly series where we catch up with cool women to talk work, play, life and (you guessed it) motherhood.
Tell us about you!
I’m Amanda, AmandaMuse professionally, and I’m a content creator on YouTube and other social media platforms. I’m a lefty, my daughter is a lefty…and every girl my husband has dated has been a lefty. Weird.
My children were born in Malaysia where we lived for nearly five years and it will always hold a special place in my heart. My kids are obsessed with my husband, but my dog sleeps with me every night sooo do I win?! Without coffee, I’m nothing. And maybe irritable. So coffee a few times a day is required.
How did you become a blogger and what do you love about it?
First off, I’m not a blogger; you can call me a vlogger! I went straight to video! I started making YouTube videos in 2012 while living as an expat in Malaysia with my husband (side note: he’s a pilot and we ended up staying overseas for nearly 5 years!).
I had just had my daughter and needed to connect with other women going through a similar season of life. I couldn’t find my tribe, so I built one. Six years later it’s evolved into a job I never knew existed and might possibly be the most rewarding experience (outside of motherhood, duh). Being an extrovert, connecting with people is my jam, and I get to do this daily and it’s incredible!
“Be open to advice, but always do what feels right. If you want to co-sleep, do it. If you want to breastfeed for three years, do it. Just do you, boo.”
If you could travel back in time, what three pieces of advice would you give yourself in those first days/weeks after becoming a mom for the first time?
1.This too shall pass. With your first, you think each phase is permanent, but it passes so quickly in the long scheme of things.
2. Get a giant exercise ball and when sh*t gets real, throw that baby in a carrier (well not really, be gentle and safe) and bounce on that thing like it’s your job. Because it kind of is. Both my kids calmed right down and usually fell asleep within minutes. #winning
3. Be open to advice, but always do what feels right. If you want to co-sleep, do it. If you want to breastfeed for three years, do it. Just do you, boo.
BONUS: Always accept help in whatever form it appears!
What have been your biggest challenges in motherhood so far? And how did you overcome (or come to live with) them?
My biggest challenge was accepting my birth experiences and finding peace with them. There have been challenges since, but nothing was as hard for me to recover from. Perhaps because it was a physical thing on my part (my first was a water birth turned emergency c-section) it felt as though I had let myself and my baby down.
I wasn’t sure I would have more children because of the trauma. Thankfully while pregnant with my son, I was forced to deal with those emotions, and when it came time for our planned c-section (although a VBAC was my original plan, he had other ones!) it was peaceful and healing. Also, thanks to my YouTube community I was able to share my hopes, fears and many tears, online in a very therapeutic way.
What are your favourite parent hacks and tips for making life easier with kids?
Go with the flow. Have a plan, but having kids means plans get switched up from time to time. Also, always charge those iPads. ALWAYS.
How do you decompress? Do you have any favourite self-care activities or hobbies?
Coffee, podcasts, exercise, evening walks with my kids and dog, dates with my husband, not over-planning my life. I’m a big fan of making time for what’s important, so I schedule that sh*t in there, even making sure we have days where there’s nothing planned. In many ways I’m a less-is-more kind of human.
If you could have a conversation about motherhood with any person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
My grandmothers. I would want to share with them that you can have it all. You can be a kickass mother, entrepreneur, wife, world traveller, and friend. You can decide what your journey looks like and you have a voice.
They lived through a different time, and I think in some ways life happened to them, no fault of their own. I want them to know that I am who I am because of them. That I am strong and will make my life happen because I have a choice and I plan to choose wisely.
Also, I would tell them I adored their elegance and wish the world had a little more of that timeless beauty these days.
“You can be a kickass mother, entrepreneur, wife, world traveller, and friend. You can decide what your journey looks like and you have a voice.”
There’s a lot talk about losing ourselves, or parts of ourselves, in motherhood. What do you think about that?
I think you do. I think you should. I think it’s how you come out the other side that counts. Find yourself, discover your new normal, get to know what makes you tick again. I fell so hard and so deep for my babies that I definitely got lost in the depths of it all, but once I realized I could be ME and still be an awesome mother, it all seemed to click.
It’s truly why I do what I do online: To show that you don’t have to be perfect, or have it all together, but you can love your babies, yourself and your life fiercely through it all.
What is your greatest hope for your children?
My greatest hope is that they feel loved, supported and encouraged to do what makes their hearts happy. And find a way to pay bills through it all.
What’s your favourite knock-knock joke?
It’s not a knock-knock, but I laugh every.single.time….even now as I type it out:
“What did one snowman say to the other?
“Do you smell carrots??”
Check out Amanda’s new podcast here: The Sandwich Podcast
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