Books are such an important part of any family, especially when you have kids! A way to encourage imaginative thinking for your little ones, books can help build stronger bonds as a parent, and let's not forget how important they are when it comes to creating bedtime routines.
At Mamamade, we proudly celebrate all families, and all the shapes and sizes they come in - after all, what matters the most is that we all share the same love! This is why we’re so excited to have Lotte Jeffs with us on the blog. Lotte is an incredible author, award-winning journalist, editor, podcaster and a mum who is a tremendous inspiration and a role model to many LGBTQIA+ families 🌈
Keep reading as we chat with Lotte about all things motherhood, family, books, and general life, plus celebrate the launch of their brand new book, My Magic Family!
Hey Lotte, It’s a pleasure to have you on the Mamamade blog! For our readers, could you please tell us a bit about yourself and your family?
Thanks for having me! Well, my wider family consists of divorced parents, deceased parents and is a happily unconventional blended and extended collection of relatives who I love dearly. But at home, it’s just me, my wife and our little girl, who is almost 4.
Could you describe your motherhood journey in five words…
Intense, exhausting, transformative, magical, hilarious.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since becoming a parent?
To let go. Nothing ever goes to plan, and it’s impossible to control any outcome, so you just have to roll with situations however they unfold.
You are such an incredible journalist and author, shaping what some of the major British publications look like. How did you first get into journalism, and was it always what you wanted to do?
I used to love making magazines as a kid. I commissioned my friends to write different articles and my Dad to do the illustrations. I would write the editor’s letter (of course!) At university, I joined the student paper and enjoyed the access and insight that being a journalist could get you – screeners of films, invites to art openings and new restaurants, pre-release albums… I really loved being the first to know about things and realised then the power of being able to write a good review.
Your new book ‘My Magic Family’ is your first children’s book and is a huge celebration of LGBTQ+ families. Could you tell us a little more about your new book, and how important it was to you to have this wonderful representation for children?
It’s a celebration of all kinds of different families, not just LGBTQ+ ones. It just so happens that the main character in the book has two Mums, but she goes on a magical journey as she discovers all the many ways her friends’ families are different too. So throughout the book, you’ll meet single and divorced parents, step-parents, a little boy raised by his grandma, a girl with two adoptive Dads, and a family who have travelled from another country to find a new home. We explore all these different kinds of home lives through the fantastical imagination of four-year-olds, and the magical elements are bought to life by my amazing illustrator Sharon Davey. I hope anyone and everyone loves reading this book with their children, and it starts some interesting conversations.
Is there any advice you would give to LGBTQ+ couples (or solo parents!) looking to start a family?
Yes, sign up to my newsletter From Gay To Ze and look out for mine and Stu Oakley’s book of the same name coming in 2023 – it’s going to be a big guide to everything you need to know about becoming and then being a parent as an LGBTQ person. You could also listen to our podcast Some Families. But my best piece of advice is there’s never a perfect time to start a family, so just do it!
What’s next on the cards for you? Can we expect a My Magic Family series?! Or are there any other books up your sleeve?
I would love to write more picture books or develop My Magic Family into a children’s TV show. I’m currently writing the non-fiction queer parenting guide and editing my novel THIS LOVE, which also explores themes of chosen family and will be published by Dialogue in 2024, as well as writing my weekly newsletter From Gay To Ze.
You talk a lot about how much your daughter shares your love of reading. How important are books in your family life, and what would be your recommendation for our community of Mamamates who would like to encourage a passion for reading in their little ones?
Books become jumping-off points for so much – from wild imaginative play to in-depth discussions. I really put a lot into reading aloud – so I do funny voices and try to deliver the book in an engaging way, which can be hard when you’re tired and frazzled at the end of the day!
What are some of your favourites books to read as a family?
One of the lesser-known Julia Donaldson books I love is called Paper Dolls – I love the rhythm of it and how it explores memory, the past, and the future. Look Up! And Clean Up! By Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola are fantastic, and I also love the simplicity of the text and depth of the drawings in Sam Usher’s series Storm, Sun, Wind. As for Books with LGBTQ families in them – Pirate Mums is lots of fun, as is My Daddies and Grandad’s Camper is beautiful.
What would your daughter say the best thing about having two mums is?
I don’t think she recognises that having two Mums is anything different yet. I think she sees us as two such different people that we might as well be a Mum and a Dad, if that makes sense. If you asked her, she’d probably say she loves that we buy her toys or let her eat ice cream!
How did you first come across Mamamade? And what's your favourite aspect of our brand?
I met Sophie at an event when she was just starting out and followed her business as it grew and grew – I am so impressed! I love the ease of the meals. If we have another baby, I am stocking the freezer with Mamamade for weaning as it’s just soo much easier.
How does Mamamade fit into your schedule as a family?
The worst thing about having a picky four-year-old is having to make one dinner and then a second dinner and then a third and sometimes even a fourth just to try and get her to eat something! Anything that makes food prep easier and food healthier gets a big tick from me!
Thank you so much to Lotte Jeffs for joining us on the Mamamade blog - it’s been a pleasure, and we can't thank you enough for taking the time out!