'The way you think you’ll be versus how you’ll really be is so different...'
Instagram star. Perfect mum. Dream life… Actually, midwife Clemmie Hooper is the first to admit that all is not all as it seems in her world.
Known better to most by her social handle – @mother_of_daughters – the 33-year-old mum of four (gorgeous) girls has become Insta-famous (with an impressive 466k followers) thanks to candid snaps of her beaut brood. And bumping up the stardom scale is her husband Simon, aka @father_ of_daughters, who boasts 819k followers.
Now working with multiple brands while still spending one day a week as a midwife, the body confidence champ (she sent the hashtag #LoveYourBabyLoveYourBody viral) is about to release her second book. This time it’s a pregnancy journal – How To Grow A Baby, out 5 April – and we want to know all about it…
Hi, Clemmie – tell us about your new book…
This one is my journal, encouraging women to document their pregnancy journey. I used my phone when I was pregnant, but I’m a sucker for notebooks. I was looking for a gift for a friend and couldn’t find anything I liked – everything was outdated, a bit twee, so I was like: ‘Maybe I’ll create one.’
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Is journaling something you like doing?
With the first two, I had a baby book, and with the twins I was blogging. But I wanted to come off social media, to make it private and make it more honest. I wanted to have something to look back on with the kids and say: ‘Guess what? My bump looked like this.’ It’s so nice when you get to hold the physical copy for the first time. Blogging is great, but print is so nice.
Why do you think you’ve been so successful, and so many women now follow you?
There’s a shift in new mums being honest, and mums sharing, and mums saying: ‘I haven’t got postnatal depression, but I still feel bad.’ I remember thinking, ‘Oh, it’ll be fine, I’ll be at home making cakes and my kids will play with organic wooden toys.’ [Laughs loudly.] The twins actually need an iPad to play with, just so I can have a shower. The way you think you’ll be versus how you’ll really be is so different.
Do you ever feel any of that ‘perfect mum’ pressure?
I think people need to know the reality around certain posts. I try and say how I feel. Simon tries to show the funny side of it – we do have a full-on life with the four girls. I would hate anyone to think we have the perfect life. I’m lucky, I love my job – but it’s hard, hard work. When I wrote the book, it was hard to grab two minutes to write it around the kids.
Do you consider yourself a pro now?
I wouldn’t say I’m a pro blogger. I don’t shoot with a pro camera. I don’t like the term ‘influencer’. I don’t even like the idea that I’m an influencer. I don’t mind encouraging. Sometimes, I’ll do a pic and I’ll spill my heart out, but then someone will comment and ask where the chair in the background is from, and I’m like: ‘Guys, I’m having a moment here!’
Is it difficult to keep some things private, or do you share everything?
I guess we’re careful about what we say and do. We could document the twins having a tantrum, but not my 10 year old any more – that’s personal. Lots of people don’t put their kids on social media, but we have our own rules. I won’t do nudity. I won’t tag where we are – we’ve moved – or show the girls in school uniform.
Are you the kind of person who can’t put your phone down?
I actually don’t spend a lot of time on Instagram, I don’t generally have a lot of time. I post a photo once a day, I don’t have a strategic time. I have a full-on job and life and I’m juggling lots. If I sit and scroll too much, I wouldn’t get anything done. I do a burst of posts, but then retreat.
How do you feel about social media now?
Instagram won’t be here forever. Simon and I are taking the opportunity while we can. We both have jobs we trained hard for, and I wouldn’t want to give those up entirely for Instagram. That would be silly. If Instagram ended tomorrow, we’d all be OK. I pay no attention to likes, I hate that anyone would think that. I can tell what will have more likes – anything with the twins is amazing. But anything really personal, or things I’m passionate about, if I put it out there, that creates conversation. People ask me how it feels to have so many followers? What’s important is that the content is good enough for people to read.
Do you ever get time to yourself?
Simon and I find it so hard to spend time together. Occasionally we go to the cinema, and we just managed to get a night away together. We have been bickering and we need a break – even just to sleep and have dinner. And be refreshed.
Are you heading away anywhere this year?
We have a holiday booked with university friends over the summer. We just went away to Florida, but it was a work trip. We decided we could do it on the basis that it was an opportunity that we couldn’t miss, as we might never be able to afford it in the future.
Can you see a time when you’re not doing this any more?
When it stops being fun. And when my girls start giving me their input. I don’t post as much as I once did, actually. I’ve been pulling back – I need to!