Welcome to the first instalment of my brand new monthly interview series. Each month I will be interviewing a very special lady who is more than just a mum!
This month I am delighted to share my interview with one of my favourite people on the internet… I’m sure she would be one of my favourite people in real life too if she didn’t live so far away!
Laura Rutherford is one of the most successful bloggers in the special needs niche, she has written for Huffington Post, Firefly, Family Fund and various other publications. She is also a well respected campaigner for Changing Places Toilets and has 2 adorable children, Brody and Sydney.
Laura is best known for her own blog and Facebook page “Brody, Me & Gdd” where she shares her experiences of raising a family which includes her incredible son Brody, who has an undiagnosed condition which has caused global development delay.
Laura is truly a SuperMum and I cant wait to share this interview with you! Keep reading for your chance to win a super special prize too!
Tell us a little about yourself and your children
Hello! I’m Laura. Mum to Brody and Sydney. Blogger. Campaigner. World’s worst worrier/over thinker. Good at restarting diets. Watcher of (crap) television*
*In need of a decent hobby.
Brody is 5 years old and has a learning disability, autism, epilepsy and some mobility problems. He’s a bit of a medical mystery as he has no primary diagnosis, which means that he has a syndrome without a name. We are hoping that the DDD or 100,000 Genomes studies will bring some answers.
Sydney is a neuro-typical 2 year old and very much into her terrible 2s, although I don’t take that for granted!
What do you remember about diagnosis day?
I noticed early on that Brody was delayed due to having friends with children of a similar age and going to baby and toddler groups. But it wasn’t until he was around the age of 2, when he had some seizures that we really knew something was amiss. Before then (and his dreaded 2 year health visitor check), I had hoped that Brody would magically just catch up. We had been told that he had Global Development Delay and to me, back then, the word delay implied that things might change.
What’s the best thing about having a disabled child
Your entire view of the world changes when you have a child with disabilities. The best thing (other than them of course!) is appreciating that it is really is the simple things in life that matter most – health, friends and family. And the beauty in knowing that is what it’s all about.
What’s the worst?
The constant worries. The big one being what will happen to Brody if something happens to me or his dad. No one has ever stuck their hand up to reassure me on this one (apart from my mum) and of course it’s such a huge ask. It’s something I try not to think about.
Then there are the worries about his health. Seizures. His mobility regressing. The lack of answers from health professionals.
And then, of course, there is access – or lack of. There is a world full of ignorance towards the disabled community and a true lack of real inclusion.
What are the biggest daily challenges YOU face?
Brody is completely non-verbal so communication is a big challenge for us because he gets frustrated when we are unable to guess what he wants.
As he gets older, lifting Brody – from changing his nappy to helping him in and out of his car seat – is becoming increasingly difficult.
Unpredictable sensory issues are challenging. This week we are struggling at meal times as Brody is gagging a lot when faced with food.
And of course, lack of changing places toilets to change his nappy when we’re out is also a massive issue and something that I campaign to change.
You can only pick one business in the UK to provide changing places toilets… who would it be?
Tesco. Because I like them as a company and I shop there. They are also everywhere and with their great community projects in each store. Having changing places as their project would really help improve access for disabled communities all over the UK.
What makes you more than just a mum?
Other than being mum, I offload in my blog and write for some charities. I also campaign for changing places toilets and work on the campaign in Scotland for the charity PAMIS, who are part of the changing places consortium. I feel lucky to have a job working on something I feel so passionate about.
How do you juggle everything?
I’m a stay at home mum/carer and I am really lucky to have a flexible employer who promotes inclusion and wants to help carers work. I am also lucky to have a great partner/daddy and a great mum/nanny who are a massive help.
Also thank goodness for school and nursery!
What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is just stepping into your shoes?
There is great comfort in speaking to others who walk similar paths. Find your tribe. Be it on Facebook, at local groups or on a meet a mum forum. You can’t beat “been there” advice or someone who “gets it”.
What are your hopes for the future (for you or your family)
Just for us to be happy and healthy. You can’t ask for more than that.
What do you do in your free time? Do you even have any ‘me’ time?
‘Me’ time is when the kids go to bed. I admittedly don’t go out much! This is where I need a good hobby (open to suggestions!) other than campaigning for changing places toilets! I am sadly, a self-confessed social media addict. I like writing because it’s a good way of emptying my head of all the thoughts that go through my mind.
Which blog are you most proud of writing and why?
I think possibly one I wrote recently about a few things I’ve learned since having Brody. It had quite a good response and it was nice to hear from so many people who could relate to what I was saying.
Where can readers find you? FB, Twitter, Instagram & Blog links please!
To say thank you to Laura for taking part I teamed up with some lovely businesses to send her some lovely gifts.
You could be in with a chance of winning these lovely goodies too.
Simply enter your email below & leave a comment so I know you’ve entered!
1. Only one entry per email address
2. Depending on your email provider, you may be asked to verify your email address
3. I promise not to pass your details on to any third parties and will not send you lots of spam!
4. One winner will be selected at random on 20th October
5. Winner will be notified by email & will have 7 days to claim their prize
6. Please leave a comment so I know you have entered.