Mum to six year old and three year old boys, and our baby boy born in May this year. Raising our family in London, and finding our feet after an accidentally early start to family life in our mid-twenties.
Read on to hear our full story:
I have always been a planner.
Once upon a time, my ‘life plan’ for my twenties was to live with friends, travel, take my time exploring careers, before moving in with my university boyfriend, settling down and getting married at the reasonable age of 30ish.
Except my life had other plans for me. Ever since I saw two lines on a pregnancy test age twenty five, I’ve been winging the life plan. I’m 30 now, and I got as far as ‘live with friends’.
When I got pregnant, Sam and I had to hastily scrabble together a new plan. By the time we moved in together, I was three weeks away from giving birth. The past four years since I became a mum have seen me slowly process the fact that a lot changed VERY quickly in my life, and I never quite felt like I was in control of it all.
The adjustments we have faced through unplanned pregnancy, starting a family way before any of our friends, unaffordable childcare costs, high London living costs, and budgeting for a family on one graduate starter salary are topics that have had a huge impact on our lives over the past four years, and are often reflected upon in my blog posts.
I started blogging in 2011 when my first-born was a baby. Not knowing many people with babies or families in real life, it was my way of connecting with other parents, whilst also being a catharsis that I felt comfortable with – I could write whatever I was feeling without worrying that I was burdening anyone with my unimportant troubles. Blogging not only gave me the connections I was seeking, but also found me other young(ish) parents – people who had been through similar to me, people who ‘got it’.
Although things certainly felt scary at first, there was a lot of happiness too (which you will see, looking back over my blog). When we first found out I was pregnant, I unconvincingly promised Sam that we would look back at that time and laugh about how devastatingly life-altering it had all seemed. Life is so different now. We are a tight family unit of five, I am finally happy with my sense of life/motherhood balance. We are out the other side, with a renewed sense of life’s curveballs and a knowing sense that you always can’t plan everything down to the last detail.
One thing’s for sure, my promise to Sam turned out right – whatever happens, there is always a lot of laughter.
Who is Sorry About The Mess?
Sorry about the Mess is a UK family and parenting blog based in London, UK. Written by Chloe, the blog name refers to the state of our house and also the state of my mind at any given moment!
I am Chloe – writer of Sorry About The Mess and mother to three boys. Having grown up in London all my life, we now live in our own little two bed house in South East London.
I love recording our memories through words, photos, and video – I am the documenter of the family. Having always worked in photography, my interest in my own photography really exploded when I had children. All images on this blog are taken by me (unless Sam takes a good shot…wonders will never cease!) People are my passion in photography – I am addicted to the feeling of nailing the right expression, and I love the fun unpredictability of photographing children.
Before I had babies, I was project manager for a leading retouching and creative production house. These days, alongside my photography work, I work from home as a photographer, writer, social media and blogger outreach consultant. My blog is my platform to earning a living, and I am often commissioned to make creative content through brand collaborations.
I love going to see bands live (although I don’t get to do that as much since having kids), I probably eat far too many avocados, and I have a penchant for books and films aimed at teenagers. Because I think I still am one.
Sam and I met at university. He lived in the flat upstairs, I lived in the flat downstairs. Our ‘similar interest level’ was through the roof, and we quickly become friends. After a year, we (not-so-quickly) realised we wanted to be more than just friends.
Despite not particularly having a strong desire to become a dad at twenty four, Sam fell in love with parenthood straight away. There are three small people who think that he is the bestest, most fun person EVER.
Without Sam, our house would be a sorry state. He does the cooking, the cleaning, and all the things I bypass entirely in day-to-day life in favour of moaning that it’s hard for a creatively-inclined person to find the time to be creative when you have children.
Sam likes to watch every single type of sport there is. I’m convinced he does this purely to annoy me.
He made a big entrance into our lives as soon as we saw those two lines on a pregnancy test, and he continues to surprise us. As our first child, our parenting “firsts” happen through Arlo, through which we continue to learn things about parenting, and things about ourselves.
Arlo is five years old. When he likes something, he really delves into it. We’ve been through the train obsession, the dinosaur obsession, the space obsession, the death obsession, the wildlife obsession, the numbers obsession, and the architecture obsession (his favourite building is The Shard).
Arlo is very articulate about his way of seeing the world. He is fiercely pedantic. His observations and musings on life make me smile, and he can make me cry with laughter like no other. Take a look at the #StuffArloSays hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.
As he gets older, Arlo has become more vocal about not always wanting to be in front of the camera. Any photos and videos you see of Arlo have been documented on his own terms. These days he’s far more interested in making videos of his toys for YouTube.
Our cheeky, smiley second born. Rory is our little ray of sunshine because he delights in everything he does. He is always ready for fun and dives into all the little things in life with great pleasure. Rory loves dancing and singing and has the most infectious grin.
Despite Arlo’s one-off conception, it took a little longer for me to successfully conceive baby number two, with several losses along the way. Choosing to have a second child gave me an experience I felt I’d missed out on, an experience of pregnancy where I wasn’t in a constant state of anxiety for the future, an experience of pregnancy where I wasn’t living with friends. Or with my mum.
Rory really looks up to his big brother (and his big brother adores Rory). One of my greatest pleasures in life is watching how much Arlo and Rory enjoy each other’s company. I smile to imagine them being as close as this when they are all grown up.
Our newest member of the family is our third little boy, Baby O. He hurtled into the world three weeks early and with a very quick labour, proving that just when you think you have this parenting thing down, something can surprise you. Everyone in the family has fallen head over heels in love with little baby O, including his two big brothers who absolutely adore him – he doesn’t know it yet, but he is one very lucky guy.
If you are a first time visitor to Sorry About The Mess, my favourite posts page is a good way to learn more about us, or if you would like to work with us, take a look at our recent brand collaborations.