As a mother, no two days look the same. One minute Iām an events planner, prepping for a birthday party and the next, Iām a teacher helping with homework, a chef preparing lunchboxes, a cheerleader, or a chauffeur on the school run. Iāve also tried my hand at barbering once, but that will never be repeated - letās just say we had to Google āsuperheroes with a bald headā to encourage our son to go to school!
Iāve always dreamt of doing music full-time and having a family. Iāve been married to my husband Dave for ten years and weāve been blessed with two great kids. Our eldest son is nine and we have a four-year-old daughter. Iām in no way an expert on this motherhood malarkey, but I hope you find my musings and reflections honest, helpful and uplifting.
For me being a mum is the most beautifully challenging journey of responsibility, selflessness and love.
Music is in my blood. I came from three generations of musicians and grew up singing in church and Iām now a singer-songwriter. My stage name, Lily-Jo, comes from my Nana Lily Jones. She was a singer and piano player and her husband, my Granddad, accompanied her on the drums. She shaped me a lot growing up and always championed me and believed in my dreams. I think this is one of the reasons I feel passionate about pointing to positive role models for our children.
We need those great family and friends around us who can speak life into our kids.
Iāve always felt called to write music to inspire hope and bring freedom. Iām a qualified counsellor and after meeting so many people at gigs and hearing some of their life stories I felt moved to create The Lily-Jo Project, an award winning online self-help resource tackling issues of mental health in young people and adults. I work remotely on this and now my children are both school aged itās much easier.
I still remember about five weeks into motherhood, before I got my first smile from my son, being like, will I EVER sleep again?
If youāre a new mum reading this, I can reassure you the sleepless nights do pass and you will get your rhythm back. Over the years there has been many ups and downs in our parenting roller coaster. But I have found that being open and honest with my children in an age appropriate way has been important.Ā I always try and answer their questions as honestly as I can because I think this fosters trust between us and I also want them to know they can always be honest with me.
At the beginning of each day, I also make a choice to engage with my children, to really listen to them and encourage them. In reality this isnāt always easy. When Iām busy, stressed, tired and just back from a tour, itās hard to remember to be super encouraging. But encouragement brings my kids to life. I see their little faces light up when they hear a āWell done!ā or āYouāre amazingā. And now, I find that they are even giving this same encouragement back to me. Praise and encouragement has made our home a much happier place.Ā
I feel part of my job as a mum is to empower my children to make good decisions.
Iāve tried to teach my kids from a young age that every action has a consequence and I hope as they grow up they will be wise in their decision-making. And one of the best decisions weāve made as a family is to sponsor children through Compassion.
Dave and I support many children through Compassion all over the world, and we were privileged to meet five of our children last year when we went to Haiti. We had breakfast with them and played Frisbee. While in Haiti one of the children said through the interpreter, āWhy do you never write to us?ā This broke my heart! From then onwards we made time to write to our children. They value our letters and photographs so much. We have framed the photos of all our sponsored children, and theyāre hang proudly on our walls, so they have a presence in our family home.
Our Compassion children are a precious part of our family life.
One of our favourite things to do as a family is to read the letters from our sponsored children. My kids also really enjoy writing back and sending them pictures that theyāve drawn. I try to encourage this as much as possible, as it is a great way help develop their social conscience. It also helps them to realise that there is more to life outside the safe walls of our home. I hope as they grow up, my children know that they have been created to make a difference to the world around them. I believe they will.
You and your family can also bring value to a young life by sponsoring a child this Motherās Day.Ā
Sponsor a child today
Find out more about Lily-Jo by following her on instagramĀ or she tweetsĀ @lilyjoproject