Kate Ritchie on Motherhood, Stories and Why It’s “Not Just Scribble To Me.”
She’s also a fiercely passionate mother of Mae, whose love has shone through in the other string she’s added to her bow – as the author of children’s books, I Just Couldn’t Wait to Meet You and most recently, It’s Not Scribble To Me.
It’s no wonder that her profile on The Grace Tales has been one of our most viewed – she is as inspiring as she is down-to-earth, and encapsulates what it means to be a modern mother.
We caught up with Kate to find out how motherhood has been (four years in), her favourite memories with Mae, and the books on repeat in her home.
I often speak of the fact that it feels as though Mae has taught me far more than I have taught her over these past four years. It has been such a period of change and development for me as a human and she has contributed to that without any awareness. Photographs I look back on, taken during my life before her, show me a woman who has no realisation of what was about to hit her! And isn’t that grand?! I would have to say the biggest life lesson has been around patience and resigning myself to not always needing structure and control. From the time I was an eight year old child I lived and thrived with incredible discipline and day to day scheduling (and I still need some/a lot of that) but I now realise it is not all about me and what I need. I cannot control everything. My days will sometimes feel unproductive. Sometimes the day calls for being completely present and completely open to disarray. It has been a challenge to alter my thinking around all this and my level of ease with it. Honestly, relinquishing control and just ‘being’ has made me a better and happier person.
When Mae first arrived I would dream of the days that I could hear her little footsteps running up the hall and feel her crawling into bed beside me. She now does that on a daily basis and some of my most fond memories now and always will be those times. Snuggled in bed, sharing stories and discussing the wonderful dreams we have had overnight. Simple yet the most special of all.
Everything by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler because I am a Gruffalo fan from way back and then currently our favourites are Starting School by Jane Godwin and Anna Walker, The Last Peach by Gus Gordon and My Mummy Is Magic by Dawn Richards and Jane Massey which is always a lovely gift for working Mums. My youngest sister gave it to me on the eve of my first work trip away.
Thank you. I have to say, hearing what other people think of me, my career and the things I have or haven’t done gets me thinking about the level of acknowledgement and credit I rarely give myself. So perhaps one of the lessons I would like to teach Mae is that it is okay and very important to be proud of yourself. Be proud of the mistakes as well as the triumphs and know that they all create the wonderful, balanced person you are.
I suppose, in light of the messaging of my new book ‘It’s Not To Scribble To Me’, I should be saying that my favourite pieces of her artwork are the ones she has chosen to adorn the walls (and sofa!) at home with… But we all know that is far from the truth! She is very good at drawing an octopus so I have what feels like hundreds of those stored away for safe keeping. But my favourites are when she draws herself… Or me… Or her Daddy. They really do fill my heart.