Rebecca Oxtoby is a mum of one and the author of the funny and frank parenting book, Mum’s the Word where she shares the ups and downs of the first year of motherhood. She also works as a Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist.
It’s great to chat to Rebecca about her life and work.
Describe a typical day for you?
My days are really variable depending on which hat I’m wearing!
My day job is working as a Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist in the Stroke ward at our local University Hospital and I work four days one week and three days the next. Working part-time has definitely been a new challenge for me as I often feel like I’m trying to fit a full-time job into condensed hours and my ‘days off’ can be equally as challenging with a nosey and noisy 1 year old.
Like a true Mum Boss, I don’t stop when the lights go out and my baby goes to bed, in fact, that’s when I start my most exciting job as a self-published author. Most of my evenings are spent publicising the book and sharing hilarious tales of the day with equally shattered mums, online.
What do you feel are your greatest achievements?
Despite the academic and workplace success I’ve experienced, my daughter is without a doubt my greatest achievement. She’s a fiercely independent and feisty little girl and while I don’t always appreciate her strength of character and determination (such as the times she absolutely MUST try and put her own socks on when I’m in a rush) I can’t deny that I’m pretty blown away I grew a baby who knows her own mind.
What’s in your handbag/ satchel?
Honestly? A wooden toy ambulance, a half-eaten packet of carrot puffs, a box of finger crayons, 3 Calpol syringes but no Calpol, 4 parking receipts, a lid-less lip balm and an open (and thus, dry) packet of wipes.
What are your ambitions in life?
I thrive on success but quantifying what that means is difficult because whenever I reach a goal, I quickly pursue the next goal on my list. I think that’s why I struggled initially with motherhood, especially in those early days which felt like a boob-draining, nappy-changing, daytime TV-watching Groundhog day. I found that time boring and then felt immense guilt for not loving every moment.
I think it was that time that motivated me to reach this point. I’m so passionate about supporting the Honest Mum movement. I’m such an advocate for honest parenting. Parents need to speak out about the good and the bad times as this is what empowers others.
What do you wish you’d known when you were younger?
I wish I’d been more body confident and worn shorts more!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
I’m writing another book (as it turns out, a toddler is FULL of funny material!) so I guess I want to have a few books out and perhaps we might even be out of lockdown and I can do a book launch in an actual shop with real life people!
What advice would you give a budding author?
Don’t give up. Self-publishing is tough because you have to dedicate so much time to publicity but it’s still doable. Sam Avery (the Learner Parent) said to me, ‘People might have more followers, more money and more backing but nothing can beat the person with the most determination’. When I found myself drowning in every literary agents’ slush pile, I decided to go it alone. If you would like advice on how to do it, do send me a DM!
What advice would you give to a new parent?
It’d be awful marketing if I wrote it all here, I’ll have to direct you to the book for that!
Finally, happiness is…
Sleepy snuggles, successful nap times, a clean house, your child eating the food you’ve spent ages preparing, a packet of Maltesers and a brew in peace, when she runs up to you after a sh*t day at work, and finally, a full night’s sleep.