The Mumbelievables: Sophie and Shelley of Hi, Mama
When secondary school friends Sophie Taylor and Shelley Lawrence set-up hi mama earlier this year and invited me to be part of the amazing virtual space they were creating, I knew I’d love to invite them onto the Mumbelievables interview series. They’ve created a strong, sisterly and uplifting space for mothers to share strength and solidarity through letters written by mamas to themselves and anyone is welcome to contribute to the project by writing their own letter.
Sophie has a little boy, Felix, a funny old pug called Tammy and is married to Stuart. She started working as a runner for a television production company in Brighton and now works in communications for the police.
Shelley is mama to two fiercely spirited girls, which her mum calls payback. Shelley and her husband James lived and worked in Sydney together before returning home to start a family. Shelley has worked in Events and Marketing for 14 years, spending the last 7 years as a freelancer.
It’s such a pleasure to get to know them a little better here and I love their advice about useless boys and getting into unmarked cabs when travelling! You can check out the letters at www.hi-mama.co.uk and if you’d like to contribute to hi mama by writing a letter to yourself, you can find all the details for submitting here.
Who are you? What’s your story?
Hi! We are secondary school friends Sophie and Shelley and we set up hi mama in September. hi mama is a digital library of letters written by mothers to themselves and we are so proud of the start it’s had. We wanted to create something that offered solidarity to mamas everywhere and we are in awe of the openness and honesty that the letters have been written with so far.
If someone else was to sum you up in five words, what do you think those words would be?
Shelley: Summing Sophie up I’d say… Kind, intelligent, thoughtful, sensible and fun
Sophie on Shelley: true, honourable, beautiful, funny and bright.
How do you feel about yourself now compared to before you became a mum?
Shelley: Becoming a mum has made me a lot more aware of my need to set an example. With two girls looking up to me, I’m determined to show them that they can be anything they want to be.
Sophie: I know myself a lot better now and feel much more confident and sure of the decisions I make. In a way it has freed me up to do more – only after I got through the challenging first year though!
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?
Sophie: Teenage Sophie; don’t waste your heart on useless boys. Early twenties Sophie; that free bar won’t run dry, so no need to drink like a fish. New mama Sophie; you’ve got this.
Shelley: I’d tell my 23 year-old self how proud I am of her for deciding to go travelling on her own after an awful event, she was the start of a much more confident me. So I’d tell her to keep going, keep exploring, stay strong. But maybe don’t get in unmarked taxis in Thailand, looking back that was a bit silly.
What does confidence mean to you?
Shelley: Confidence for me is an ever evolving thing. Some days I have it, some days I don’t.
Sophie: Having faith in myself – it’s not there every day and some days it can take me ages to even decide what to wear but it’s getting better with age!
What advice would you give to someone who doubts herself?
Shelley: No advice from me. All I can say is that I personally listen to that doubt, digest it, maybe talk it through with my husband or friends and work out how to overcome it. I try to acknowledge and own my doubts and insecurities so they don’t own me.
Sophie: I’ve always had times when I doubted myself, in fact today I have momentarily doubted a decision I’ve made. But you know when something is right or wrong and if you doubt it, it probably isn’t right.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your life so far?
Shelley: Don’t compare yourself to others. Take your own path.
Sophie: Totally agree with Shelley!
And finally, where is your happy place?
Sophie: Hove beachfront on a sunny day with my husband, son and pug.
Shelley: On our sofa, all four of us with treats and a film. Bliss.
You can follow the hi-mama project on Instagram @hi_mama_letters; Facebook @himamaletters and Twitter @hi_mama_letters.