WITH JO TUTCHENER-SHARP
OF SCAMP & DUDE
We interview the founder and designer of Scamp & Dude, Jo Tutchener-Sharp on motherhood, how it’s changed her and how she has overcome challenges and come out on top. Read our inspiring interview with her below.
What Does Motherhood Mean To You?
Everything changed when I became a mother. It was such a shock to the system at first and the love I felt was all consuming and quite overwhelming. Saying that it’s definitely the best thing I’ve ever done and being a mother is such a huge part of who I am and everything I do.
How Did You Feel The First Time You Found Out You Were Going To Be A Mother?
When I found out I was pregnant it was completely surreal, it blew my mind on a daily basis that I was growing a little human in my tummy. I had the most awful morning sickness which did tarnish this excitement slightly, I was really sick every day for the first 4 months which was exhausting and felt like it was never coming to an end.
When you become a mum your life no longer revolves around you, you no longer put yourself first.
How Has Motherhood Changed You?
When you become a mum your life no longer revolves around you, you no longer put yourself first. You also have to navigate a new life and a new identity which can be hard. The main thing that’s changed is my social life has taken a gigantic nosedive. I could say that my social life is taking a sabbatical. I used to go out 3-4 nights a week, now it’s more like once a month if I’m lucky! I think motherhood makes you look at a lot of things differently. And a hangover when you have kids is NEVER WORTH IT. Believe me.
You Have Overcome A Lot Of Health Challenges That In Turn Has Inspired Your Life And Many Others. Can You Tell Us More About It?
My life took an unexpected turn when my children were just 1 and 3 when I suffered a brain haemorrhage. It was missing my boys in the hospital recovering from brain surgery that inspired the creation of Scamp & Dude. I found it so hard being away from my children for so long and wished there was something I could have given them to comfort them while we were apart. I wished I could have given them a superhero to watch over them. It was this that gave me the idea to create a brand that provides kids with an extra sense of security when apart from their loved ones. Separation anxiety is so hard for kids and I wanted to do something to help. My slogan ‘a superhero has my back’ reminds kids that someone is watching over them at all times even they can’t see you. Our superpower infused clothing features a Superpower Button (embroidered neon pink lightning bolt) which when pressed gives kids a burst of superpowers when they need it most. I created two Superhero Sleep Buddies (a dinosaur or bunny shaped cushion comforter) which sit on the bed watching over children while they sleep. There is a pocket on the back to keep a photo of someone they want to keep close. For every Superhero Sleep Buddy sold we donate another to a child in need, whether they’ve lost a parent or are seriously ill themselves. We have donated over 1000 Sleep Buddies to children so far since launch.
Is There Anything About Motherhood That Has Surprised You?
I had no idea I could survive on so little sleep. Pre-kids, I used to feel so broken if I had to be up early for an event and to catch a flight, and by early I mean 6 am! It is hilarious, as that’s now considered a lie in! I had no idea what was to come and it’s amazing how the body adapts and you realise you can survive (just!) on so little sleep.
How Do You Juggle Everything & Make Time For Yourself?
I don’t make time for myself! My time is split between my kids and Scamp & Dude. People often ask me how I manage to juggle everything, and my answer is that the reality is I am just about surviving in life! My husband runs his own life experience agency and works from home so we can share the load when it comes to school runs, which makes a huge difference. We are a team and without this, I wouldn’t be able to manage.
I found it so hard being away from my children for so long and wished there was something I could have given them to comfort them while we were apart. I wished I could have given them a superhero to watch over them.
I love mornings when they have both got into our bed, chatting away with their little sleepy faces. Also how proud they are of Scamp & Dude. They are so involved in the whole process, Sonny even comes up with ideas and tells me what characters he would like me to create next. They both came to visit me in our Instagram Pop Up shop at the weekend and watching them running around talking to customers about Scamp & Dude was so special.
What Is The One Thing You Want To Teach Your Children?
I want my kids to know the importance of being kind and being loyal. I want them to remember that life is short and they must live it to the fullest. To have adventures, to push themselves, to work hard and have no regrets. And to always remember to call their mum!
And Finally, What Advice Would You Give To New Mothers?
You may feel like you are losing yourself, and your mind when you have a baby. Everything changes and the sleep deprivation plays havoc with your emotions. But keep going, no one else knows what they’re doing either. Sleep when you can, and be kind to yourself. You don’t have to go to baby groups if you don’t like them, you are not a bad mother if you refuse to sit on the floor in a circle singing nursery rhymes while a woman strums on a guitar (one particularly low point for me). Look after yourself and try and do the things you used to love doing pre-kids, just take your baby along too. Everything changed for me when I stepped away from the baby groups! Life doesn’t have to stop when you have a baby. Find likeminded mums to hang out with while you’re on maternity leave, I used to go along to Mothers Meeting events which were great and kept me feeling like me, that’s the key to it all, don’t lose who you are. There’s a new app called Peanut which is great for meeting local mums who want to get together too if you want some company.
Instagram is also a great platform if you follow the right people they can make you laugh and realise you’re not alone. Follow people like The Unmumsy Mum, Giovanna Fletcher, Mother Pukka, and more who share the ups and downs of motherhood which is so honest and refreshing.
With thanks to Jo-Tutchener Sharp X