Get real with Amy Gerard

Amy Gerard gets real with KIDDO ahead of the release of her memoir Strap Yourself In.

INTERVIEW: Liv Williams

In a world of highly curated Instagram pages and unrealistic expectations of motherhood, Amy Gerard is not just a breath of fresh air, she’s a gust! With her husband and three little ones in tow (aka, her tiny bosses), Amy’s life resembles more of a wild roller coaster ride than a picture-perfect Instagram feed – and she wouldn’t have it any other way. As she gears up for the release of her new book, Strap Yourself In, Amy invites us to join her on a journey filled with laughter, honesty, and a hefty dose of reality.

In her upcoming memoir, Amy dives into the nitty-gritty of motherhood, marriage, and everything in between. She’s not afraid to peel back the curtain and reveal the chaos lurking behind the scenes, from sleepless nights to supermarket meltdowns. But amidst the madness, Amy discovers that embracing life’s imperfections can lead to some of its most beautiful moments. We chat with Amy about how the bumps along the way are what make the journey truly unreal.

Q: In your book Strap yourself In, you openly discuss the unrealistic expectations placed on mothers and their lives. What prompted you to write about this topic, and how do you hope it resonates with your readers?

A:  When I was thinking about the play on social media (insta vs reality) I soon realised I could apply a similar view when it came to every season of my life. Very rarely do the expectations you have in life come to fruition. Especially when it comes to Motherhood. I had an idea of what I was expecting but life and my first newborn threw me a massive curve ball, (I’m still recovering). It was fun to write about my own personal experiences when it came to missing  the mark. I also think people tend to hide the truths and not often say what they are thinking or feeling and so I hope by reading my book and sharing my unfiltered take on my own journey into motherhood they can nod along with me, feeling seen and less alone and hopefully feel more comfortable to open up conversations around their own personal experiences, be it with friends or family. I also hope the book makes you laugh. A sense of humour is imperative when it comes to parenting.

Q: You share candidly about the chaotic reality of your life as a mum of three. Why do you believe it’s important to highlight the struggles and joys of motherhood authentically?

A: Because if someone had been more open and honest with me at the very beginning I wouldn’t have felt like I was failing or doing things wrong. I very rarely saw any Mums tell it like it is. It was all just aesthetically beautiful photos and softly coined love letters to their babies but no one talks about how sleep deprivation can almost kill you and that you’ll often just break down in tears in the middle of woolies, wearing your pajama shirt and no pants for no reason at all. When I had all 3 kids under 4 and things really went tits up, I had to laugh off the things I couldn’t control and work on the things that I could and so I wrote openly and honestly about my days. I never wanted my platform to be a highlights reel of all the ‘good’ things going on in my life, but more an honest look into parenting from a Mum who adores and loves her kids with all her heart but who was also rocking in the corner with a nervous twitch some days.

Q: You’ve mentioned in your book how the reality of motherhood sometimes contrasts sharply with our expectations. Can you share a specific example from your own experience?

A: My Mum had told me that giving birth was just like doing a large poo but after delivering 3 babies vaginally and 2 without any epidural, I can assure you that the only thing back door related to birth is the fact that my own butthole ended up inside out after each birth.

Q: You speak about embracing both the beauty and chaos of life. How do you strike a balance between appreciating the good moments and navigating the challenges?

A: Balance? Never heard of her?!! Motherhood is tough, working whilst raising kids is tough but I always try to maintain a positive outlook on life. (Try being the operative word). And it goes out the window right before my period arrives. But I normally practice gratitude daily and try to reflect on the things that I’m grateful for, no matter how small they may seem. Food on the table, a roof over our head and a warm bed to tuck my kids into at night. It’s so much more than others have and everytime I find myself having a pity party about something I just switch up my perspective. I also always make self care and stress management a HUGE priority. Outsource things where you can. Accept help from friends. Taking a break here and there is a game changer, it helps make me a better Mum who can handle the chaos with more grace and patience! If you aren’t booking yourself in for a massage here or there or taking a walk with a girlfriend you need to start putting yourself first asap. Find a hobby that you love or something that fills your cup up and do more of that.

Q: You’ve been very open about the intimate aspects of your life. What do you hope readers take away from your revelations about marriage, sex, and relationships?

A: I am no professional when it comes to marriage but I do think that marriage and sex and relationships are full time jobs that require constant work and effort. Just like there are many seasons to parentings, your sex life and your marriage will also be constantly evolving. There will be so many highs and lots of lows but if you’ve married the right person, with commitment and love, you should always be able to hold on to each other tight and weather the storm. Communication and sex are very important to me. Talk up about how you are feeling, when you need help or if there’s things on your mind…and sex so that it doesn’t feel like you are raising children with your brother.

Q: You’re known for your super funny and relatable content. How does humour help you navigate the ups and downs of parenting?

A: Humour is EVERYTHING when it comes to parenting. If you can laugh in the face of adversity you are pretty much bullet proof and kids will push your buttons like they’ve never been pushed before. Toddlers tend to be the most challenging because they are unable to express themselves so instead they just flap around on the floor like barramundi out of water in the middle of Woolworths and if you don’t laugh you’ll probably cry so you just hold space for your little fish out of water and try to laugh it off with your partner when you’ve put them to bed at night. Talk about your day, write about it, get it off your chest. Laugh it off. Shake it off. Then start again in the morning.

Humour is EVERYTHING when it comes to parenting. If you can laugh in the face of adversity you are pretty much bullet proof and kids will push your buttons like they’ve never been pushed before.

Q: Beyond the laughter, your book also delves into self-esteem and self-confidence. How has your perception of yourself evolved over the years?

A: It’s changed enormously. When I was younger I put so much emphasis on what I looked like and how I dressed. I would be self conscious over the smallest of things and cared too much about what others thought of me. As I’ve grown up, I’ve become more self aware of my strengths and weaknesses, I’ve faced challenges and achieved personal goals which has helped build my confidence. My priorities have also changed, I no longer care about the thoughts and opinions of those who don’t know me. I know my friends and family love me exactly the way I am and they are all that matter, but most importantly I know my looks don’t define me. Being a kind, inclusive, fun person who thinks of others is way more important to me than what is on the outside. That’s how I want to be remembered. And finally, becoming a Mother, growing humans and then keeping them all alive, I mean, I almost feel like I could be a peacock. This rig of mine is an absolute weapon, it’s been put through the ringer and back and still turns up for me every day, scars, stretch marks, incontinence issues and all. Women are just incredible.

Q: Your book discusses turning thirty-seven as a milestone. What wisdom would you impart to your younger self or to others approaching a similar age?

A: I used to think that 37 was so old. HA. I’d tell 17 year old Amy to pipe down. I feel like 37 is where it’s at. It’s where you know your worth. Your confidence has grown and is evolving every day. You feel more secure in who you are and what you have to offer and you play to your strengths. It’s also the age where you go out to a dance floor with your girlfriends and you can see all the 18yr olds looking at you like you are a pack of cougars and someone refers to you as Stifflers Mum and you won’t care at all.

Q: You’ve mentioned that your Instagram page is a space for “real and raw motherhood.” How do you decide what to share with your audience, and what’s your approach to authenticity on social media?

A: Initially I shared it all, especially when my kids were little. I shared the co-sleeping stories, waking up to bed visitors, horror stories, the tantrums, the poo smears on the wall. The lack of romance in my marriage and the fact that my libido had packed up and moved to Mexico. I shared the first steps they took and the challenges I faced with my middle child. I shared things on the platform like I would a friend and in turn I had an incredible community of women who were always there for me and offered advice or help when they could see I needed it. When things got hard, they were there for me and when I had a great day, they were there celebrating with me. Social media became sort of like a virtual mothers group for me and I’ve met some of the best women on earth from the platform. Now that my kids have grown and I’m no longer at home with all 3 of them, I’ve scaled back from sharing stuff with my kids. Now that they are at school, I no longer discuss certain things about them on the platform, especially now that it’s grown so much. I still share the family snaps and the adventures we go on but it’s less about being a stay at home Mum and more about where I’m at with my life right now. My life is constantly evolving and I still enjoy taking my community on that journey with me.

Q: What advice would you give to parents, especially mothers, who feel pressured to conform to societal expectations or the portrayal of motherhood on social media?

A:  I’d say, take social media with a grain of salt. If there are certain things or people on social media who make you feel a little bit crappy or who make you second guess yourself, unfollow them. Follow those who make you feel seen and heard. Who you can relate to, share in the highs and lows of motherhood with. Someone who makes you laugh. (I swear this is not a pitch to get you to follow me) but if certain accounts aren’t making you feel good, then it might be time to unfollow. Social media can be whatever you want. It can be a highlights reel. It can be pretty pictures from a Mum who is behind them struggling. Don’t conform to societal expectations, don’t think that you have to parent a certain way. If you want to give birth in a river and breastfeed till your kid is 5, DO THAT! If you want to be a little bit more structured and teach them 4 different languages by 4, DO THAT! The beauty of becoming a parent is that there are no right or wrong methods, it’s simply a choose your own adventure. Lean into your intuition and do what feels right to you and your own child. Surround yourself with like minded women who lift you up and never judge and most importantly, don’t compare yourself to anyone.

Strap Yourself In is a laugh-out-loud, deeply relatable memoir challenging our unrealistic expectations of motherhood and life, from the Instagram sensation and host of Beyond the Likes podcast. RRP $34.99


For more information:

@amy.gerard | @beyondthelikespodcast

 

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