Throwback Thursdays: Devon Mama

Welcome to our new series, Throwback Thursdays. Each week you’ll meet some of the top parenting bloggers sharing their favourite childhood memories and best bits of growing up. Learn more about how that’s affected them raising their children and which parts of their own youth they’d like to recreate as we take a trip down memory lane each week!

It wouldn’t be fair to share their memories without sharing some of my own so I’m kicking off Throwback Thursdays with a sneaky peek into my own past. Here goes…

Throwback Thursdays Devon Mama

Hi, I’m Hayley…

I live in East Devon, about ten minutes from the beach. I live with my husband, our 10 month old son and our dog in a house that needs a lot of love, we’re about to start renovating at the end of this month! I work as Marketing Director on a part-time basis which doesn’t leave much spare time after we’ve crammed in various baby groups and chores into the rest of the week. When I do get free time, I can usually be found on the internet or watching trashy American TV shows.

I grew up with a younger brother and sister, about ten minutes from where we live now. When I was five years old my parents bought an old farmhouse, moved us into a mobile home on the driveway of it and set about rebuilding it into the house we grew up in; to this day it’s still a little unfinished. My family are very practical and so my childhood was spent either messing around in the workshop or playing in the building site of our garden. Looking back now it sounds very idyllic, it wasn’t always but I have very fond memories of it.

My earliest memory…

Is in our first house. I remember various snippets of it that I can’t really put into any order. I remember dancing ‘The Locomotion’ around the lounge with my best friend, making sure we did the arm movements of course! I also remember being in the paddling pool outside, my mum was laid on the sofa and her waters had broken. It would have been when my brother was born so I’d have been just under four years old.

Throwback Thursdays Devon Mama

My Throwback Thursday photo…

Is not a good photo of any of us! I’d’ve been about 10 years old in this photo (I’m the one in the fetching denim shirt and Harry Potter style glasses at the front!), my brother and sister are the other two in the front row. Rocking the scarf on the back row is my mama followed by my uncle, cousins, grandma and auntie, I’m pretty sure my Dad would have taken the photo as he’s the only one missing! We grew up very close to my extended family, this side being my mum’s. We’d spend weekends and holidays playing made up games of teachers, post offices, dens… anything that required us all taking different roles, usually with my eldest cousin being in charge!

This photo reminds me of all the funny things we used to get up to and the time we’d spend with them, especially the sleepovers. It sums up all of our personalities so well! My grandma passed away last year just before my little boy was born having been unwell for quite some time. I found it particularly hard seeing my mum lose her own mum at a time when I needed mine. It reminded me just how fast time flies and how fragile life can be.

The best bit of growing up…

Was the freedom we were given. My parents were quite relaxed about things, they own their own business and worked hard on that so it would often mean we would be left to entertain ourselves. I remember nights of camping in the garden with my brother whilst my Dad worked until midnight, then he’d come out and join us for a midnight feast. I say midnight, it was probably only 9pm! The worst part was the location of where we lived. It was in the middle of nowhere which, as an adult, sounds lovely but as a child I longed to be able to pop down the road to my friend’s house. It’s one of the main reasons I’m happy to live in a village as we raise our family; it gives us a nice balance of space and neighbours!

Throwback Thursdays Devon Mama

I want my child to experience…

The same supportive network that I had. I grew up with all of my family around me. To this day they all live within 20 minutes of us, as do my my husband’s side (with the exception of my siblings!). I grew up very close to my cousins, siblings, aunts and uncles and I treasure those relationships so much, even now. I want my son to grow up with their children, I want him to know what it feels like to have a close-knit family even if he doesn’t end up with siblings. 

I’d love for him to have the same opportunities as I had. My parents have always taken us on nice holidays, supported us with what we want to do and generally been pretty laid back about things. I want to take him to explore the world with us, teach him that working hard gets you opportunities to do these things and above all learn that there are other people and cultures in the world.

Their style of parenting has shown me that there needs to be a balance between structure and allowing children some freedom. There were always certain things in our household that weren’t messed with; dinner was always eaten at the table, bedtimes and curfews were in place and there were consequences for misbehaving. Alongside that they were always the ones who would buy me alcohol for example, believing that they would rather know what I was drinking as a teenager and normalising it. I think that balance worked well, I never felt the urge to rebel really against it!

The only thing I would do differently is to be more aware of how I talk about myself and my body image. My mum has always struggled with her weight and I think that subconsciously I picked up on those same issues myself. I don’t know if that’s a thing but I’m conscious of making sure I’m healthy and not constantly dieting or putting myself down as soon as my little boy is old enough to understand. It’s a tiny thing but that just goes to show that they did a pretty kick ass job! 

Living Arrows Week 9. Family time at the beach with the baby

It’s harder growing up these days…

Things like social media mean there’s no escape from life. I worry about the impact that will have at school and the pressure that puts on our children to conform and be popular. I want my children to grow up enjoying being outside and some of the simpler pleasures in life rather than being all about the latest gadgets or spending time on their phones. I know it’s unlikely but some of my best memories are of building a go-cart out of scraps in my Dad’s workshop… I want my son to experience the joy of things like that!

If I could be any age I’d be…

I’d probably go for being 6 years old. We were living in our mobile home and I remember it being a huge adventure at the time. Everything was fun and exciting, clothes were hidden under seats, there were constantly people around and I got a cat for swimming 25m! What’s not to love about that?! I loved having my family so close to me. A year or so later we were moved into our house and my sister was born, as you can see, I was ecstatic about it! 

Throwback Thursdays: Devon Mama

If you’d like to take part in our Throwback Thursdays series, please drop me an email!

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9 Comments

  1. 9th April 2017 / 1:21 pm

    What a great post, having a large family too and lving in a mad house with kids running around and parents also working late at night to provide for us ferral children, really made all of us work that extra harder in our adult lives. I want to teac my daughter the importance of hard work as well as to have a bucket load of fun also. Love your throw back snaps. x

    • DevonMamaOnline
      9th April 2017 / 7:29 pm

      It’s such a great lesson to teach your kids I think – plus they appreciate things more as well!!

  2. 9th April 2017 / 1:37 pm

    Oooh I do love a good throwback Thursday! It sounds as though you had such a lovely, peaceful childhood! Unfortunately, I can’t say the same, so sometimes looking back does bring a slight heartbreak at times. Wonderful photos – you’re rocking those Harry Potter glasses! haha. I do worry about technology with my children too, especially social media. Back in the day if I wasn’t at school I was outside playing with my friends, building forts and riding our bikes. It’s a shame the world we live in now is very different and I do feel a little guilty not letting my son play outside our house, we also live on a busy/open road so I get too anxious! If I could go back to being any age, I’d probably be 6 year old too! My mum and dad were still together and life seemed pretty perfect! Lovely post. Happy sunday xxx

    • DevonMamaOnline
      9th April 2017 / 7:28 pm

      It’s easy to look back with rose-tinted glasses sometimes isn’t it? It definitely wasn’t always peaceful but it was mine! It’s hard now finding the balance, we actually moved to somewhere because I was worried about where our children would play!! x

  3. 9th April 2017 / 1:48 pm

    What a wonderful series! I’ll definitely stay and keep up with this 🙂

    • DevonMamaOnline
      9th April 2017 / 7:27 pm

      I can’t wait to share some of the stories that I’ve had.. they’re sad, funny and uplifting all at once!

  4. 9th April 2017 / 8:34 pm

    Oh Hayley this was such a joy to read, I found it so intriguing. Your childhood sounds idyllic and so lovely that it’s helped you along with parenting. I totally agree on the balance between freedom, I was always taught ‘You must keep Children as safe as they need to be, not as safe as possible’

  5. 10th April 2017 / 8:01 am

    What a lovely idea for a series. I love reading stuff like this 🙂 I want my children to grow up with the same freedom I did – away from social media. Going out to play with their friends and climb trees!

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