A little star-struck with this Q&A! Have you heard of Oliva Purvis? She's a London-based influencer, blogger, author and the founder of @theinsecuregirlsclub! Amongst all of this, she's also a mum to adorable Arlo 💜 She is your ultimate mum next door for mamas... Her fashion sense, eye for detail, friendly nature and just all of it has got me hooked to her Instagram account amongst the other 186k followers 🤯 Join us as we chat about modern-day motherhood, work-life balance, mum guilt, insecurities and life lessons along with so many more relatable topic 👀
Hi Liv! Tell us a bit about yourself...
Hello Mamamade! My name is Liv and I’m a 28-year-old writer, blogger, photographer, terrible dad-joke teller but most importantly, mama to Arlo, from southeast London.
Describe your motherhood experience in five words...
I so nearly said; ‘oh-my-god-that’s-impossible’ or ‘feel-your-heart-growing-everyday’ (cheesy but true) but instead, I’ll go with- magical, mind-bending, emotional and unimaginably special.
How did you get into content creation and what helps you keep motivated?
Honestly, I completely fell into it. When I started my blog at sixteen, content creation and Instagram didn’t exist- so I was purely writing and sharing pictures for the love of it (much like I do now)! It was very candid, messy and joyful- which I’ve tried to keep consistent over the last twelve years- whether that be for work or play. It wasn’t even a feasible career option when I started, so it very much all happened organically whilst I was juggling university at one point, and then interning and working in retail slightly later on- and I’m sure if you asked me about ‘content creation’ then I would have gone ‘content what now?!’
Being a multi-hyphenate who has a huge social media presence, it didn’t seem like you took ‘official’ maternity leave. Did you struggle with balancing work, and being as present as you could in the early stages of motherhood?
Oh yes! I think I underestimated the juggle in a huge way; I think because we’re used to seeing women make it look so easy I thought ‘yeah sure I’ll just carry on!’ and really I think for the first twelve months I was pretty much trying to keep my head above water and keep every plate spinning. I’ve since very much learnt that it’s okay to put some plates down, delegate and even let some drop because you really can’t do it all, and shouldn’t be expected to. I think because the previous year during my pregnancy had been pretty quiet workwise because of the pandemic, I didn’t feel I could really properly step back from work (I think with social media there’s a fear you’ll be ‘forgotten’ or ‘left behind’)- so I definitely was mindful about keeping things ticking over. Equally, I feel so privileged I’ve been able to continue to work from home as Arlo has grown up, and although it’s not always easy keeping focus (and sometimes I feel like I’m not doing anything very well)- I know it’s a luxury being able to work around him too.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt since becoming a parent?
Oh my goodness what a question! Probably to keep trusting your gut. So much of parenting is learning on the job, no matter what you’ve been told previously- and trusting your instincts and listening to what you feel is right will usually guide you in the right direction.
Mum guilt and insecurities - how have they affected you? And what would you advise to another mum who are in the same boat?
I don’t think I’ve yet to meet a mum they don’t affect! I feel like mum guilt creeps into so much of life with a baby- whether that’s having to leave them to work (even though it’s necessary), having to pull out a pouch in a panic, not feeling like you know how to deal or manage certain situations, not going to enough sensory classes or soft play each week- it never ends! This week’s mum-guilt comes in the shape of wondering whether he should be in nursery to socialize and whether I’m doing it wrong because he’s not! It’s all completely irrational, and every decision we make we make with our little ones’ best interests at heart with the knowledge we have at the time, in the situation we’re in. Guilt is such a wasted emotion, and unless I can recognise that it’s something I want to actively change, then I try and put it to one side.
Because of social media, it can be easy to fall into mum the comparison trap, especially around ‘perfectionist parenting’ (which we know doesn’t actually exist!). How have you dealt with this?
I think one thing I try and remember, having spoken to so many brilliant mums in my community and on social media is that there is no right way to do things. Every single parent does things differently to some degree- and I actually find a lot of comfort in that. Social media, as with anything, can make things seem really easy- and although people don’t owe you their down days or hard times- I try and remember it’s never the whole picture (trust me, me at 3:30am after a feed wouldn’t make for a very pretty grid post)- so I try and not beat myself up about things, which is easier said than done!
We touch on this in our Mamamade podcast (coming soon!) - when did you first start weaning Arlo, and how has the weaning journey been so far for the both of you?
We started weaning just shy of the six-month mark, and just after he turned five months. I know it’s such a personal journey, but Arlo was showing signs of what we thought was readiness, and started with baby rice and quickly moved onto purees which he took to like a duck to water. We gradually started introducing slightly lumper textures and introducing finger foods, and so far he’s really loving trying things and loves pasta just as much as his mama!
You’re quite the foodie and are often sharing amazing recipes on Instagram. What’s your favourite meal to cook, that Arlo also loves?
It’s probably my mum’s macaroni cheese! It’s one of my favourite comfort foods and can be easily tweaked to be easy to eat altogether. Sometimes we throw in things like cauliflower and tomato to get some extra veggies in, but it’s a really easy delicious dinner that is fail-safe for us.
How does Mamamade fit into your schedule as a family?
It’s been a total lifesaver; I think at the beginning I was feeling so overwhelmed with what to cook each day and didn’t feel like I was creative enough (or had enough time) to pull out lots of healthy delicious dishes for Arlo, so having them in the freezer was amazing when we’ve needed something quick, delicious and enjoyable for the little man. It’s also meant we’ve kept lunchtimes interesting and have been able to introduce things perhaps we wouldn’t have gotten around to, which is so brilliant too. The pancakes and finger foods also make for the best on-the-go snack which is great if I’m taking him out too.
And last but not least, which Mamamade meals and snacks are Arlo’s favourites?
This Q&A was such a breath of fresh air 🙌🏼 We don't usually have open and down-to-earth conversations about parenthood and its ups and downs. So thank you so much to Liv for sharing her journey with us here at Mamamade. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I did.
Stay tuned for more amazing conversations with Liv coming soon...🎙....Sign up to The Mamamade Podcast for more updates 🚨