#MoreThanAMutha is all about celebrating the things that women are, as well as being amazing mothers. In a world where many women feel like they lose their identity when they become a mum, it is important to celebrate and shout that we might be mums, but we are not only that and we are still a force to be reckoned with. Please see below an interview with Anna Kennedy OBE:
What makes you more than a mother?
Since both my sons were diagnosed with an autism spectrum condition it has completed changed my life and, if you like, changed who I was and who I am today with reference to strengths discovered and a drive that I never knew was in me .
Who would have thought the girl born in Middlesbrough would have the guts to set up 2 schools , a college, a residential home, lead a charity and recognised as a leading Autism Ambassdor raising awareness and acceptance.
Who would have thought that little old me would have received an OBE from the Queen and dance on the Peoples Strictly for Comic Relief and receive four 10’s from the BBC Strictly judges after dancing the Charlston with Robin Windsor!
Are people surprised when they realise you are more than a mum?
Yes I suppose they are because I am petite and have my feet firmly on the ground.
Does that bother you?
No not really. I like to see their faces change and the way they act towards me after I talk about what I do and how passionate I am about my sons and raising awareness and acceptance about autism. They usually end up saying I feel tired just listening about everything you do where do you get your energy from.We need to bottle it and sell it! You’re a pocket rocket.
What challenges do you face when you’re juggling motherhood and being more than a mum?
My biggest struggle is lack of sleep due to my youngest son, Angelo, who has severe autism and significant sensory processing condition. I usually get 3 to 4 hours if I am lucky. Another struggle is because both my sons are at home so I juggle my work and family life every day.
I am really very busy speaking across the country, running my own social media accounts with over 100k followers, arranging events with my team of volunteers, such as the nationally recognised Autism’s got Talent, National Autism Hero Awards, Zumbathons, Autism Expo etc
How long did it take you to remember you were more than a mother after you had your child(ren)?
My sons and their diagnosis of autism have made me more than a Mutha, and it took 10 year after they were born for me to take time out for myself since I was so focussed on supporting them, setting up services for them and other autistic children and adults.
Who, or what, helps you to make time for yourself? What do you do to escape the stresses of motherhood?
I have whats called my ‘autism free zone’ on a Thursday an hour of Zumba where I work hard and get rid of stress and just be me. I love dance and the way it makes me feel.
What advice would you offer a mum who might not be feeling like they are more than someones mum right now?
You can achieve anything as long as you are passionate and enthusiastic. Just set yourself a goal and off you go.
You can either give in give up or give it all you have got and then some!
Any advice for someone who is going through the same things as you are right now in their quest to be #MoreThanAMutha?
Once your son or daughter have been diagnosed, arm yourself with information and learn the SEN system. If you find it overwhelming speak to someone who can advocate for your son and daughter who will support you through the process.
Both my sons are 25 and 28, some days good, some days not so good. Just take one day at a time. It’s a constant learning process and there are some great gems and beautiful experiences on this journey.