Tag Archives: motherhood

Postnatal depression or normalities of motherhood?

There have recently been some new babies born to friends and extended family of mine. It’s led us to chat about the early days and months of motherhood and I’ve offered my support and shared some of my own experiences. I can’t help but constantly be on the lookout for their mental health. I don’t want another woman to have to be trapped inside her own mind wondering is it, isn’t it and struggling more than she needs to.

It’s only when doing this that I realise that I’m not as truthful as I’d like to think I am on this blog.

My experiences may have been tainted by the now obvious and apparent fact that I had some form of postpartum depression. This lasted well into George’s second year, if not beyond. I continued to believe I could fix it myself but it always crept back in. One good day would be marred by two bad days.

I have worked in and around the mental health sector for the entirety of my Pharmacy career the 11 years prior to George’s birth and solely being employed by a mental health trust the 8 years previous to leaving my job to become a stay at home Mum.

I knew the mental health system relatively well. I had been in close contact with many types of mental health conditions when people were at their absolute lowest. Yet when I myself felt that I needed help, I was so scared of seeking it for fear that I would lose George. It was never going to be the case.

If you are considered to be a threat to yourself or others you may be sectioned under the mental health act. Despite having very desperately low thoughts, I was avidly aware of them and it upset me that I didn’t want to feel like this but I couldn’t stop it. I wanted to just run away. I told my husband countless times I wanted to leave him when all I really wanted was to vanish. He was the only person I could fully confide in despite his own issues.

Not more than a month after George’s birth, hubs own father died suddenly of a heart attack. He was in his fifties, the same age at which hubs grandad also died of a heart attack. We now look back and realise that hubs always suffered with mild anxiety. Who doesn’t. But losing his father and witnessing me have a severely traumatic birth was the trigger to make him have what in the olden days would be referred to as a nervous breakdown.

He couldn’t even bear to be in the same room as his own mother due to the intenseness of his anxiety. Running upstairs in tears during a visit, leaving me to see them out. Quickly realising he couldn’t bear to be in a room by himself without feeling desperately scared and anxious of having an heart attack. Thankfully this intense week was exacerbated by the GP starting him on Beta Blockers which had the opposite effect to what they should have. (This can happen and is known as a paradoxical side effect). After stopping the tablets he slowly improved but it was a long road.

Having had an emergency Caesarean section and needing to stay in hospital with George with us both suffering with suspected infections for 6 days I was weak and in pain at the start. By the time of hubs breakdown I was healed and able to be strong for all of us. It was hard and we had some great support from family.

Hubs wasn’t able to work and I had given up my job due to struggles with health and being able to juggle what was expected of me in my work role and as new mother. This all added to his anxiety over needing to support his family and being unable to. Although self employed, the guys he was contracted to were very supportive and understanding.

As hubs grew stronger, my own mind must’ve relaxed and with it came flooding through all the negative thoughts. My mum said with what we had both been through it was a wonder we hadn’t experienced this sooner. George was now almost one years old. I could still cry several times a week. I remember if I couldn’t console him, feeling so helpless I would just cry. Then I’d feel better and he would soon settle.

I’d tell people and no one made it seem unusual. A few suggested I go to the doctors but I was so scared of explaining it wrong to the doctor and being sectioned or George being taken away. I was absolutely no danger to George and I knew it and deep down I knew this wouldn’t happen but the depression made me irrational.

In the end anyone who made me feel even slightly unhappy I shut out and pushed away. Even now I still don’t know if I lost friends because of my behaviour or theirs. I don’t know if I took my frustration at myself out on them or if they genuinely were not compatible with me now I was a Mama. I changed. I’m still me but I have changed.

The mask became a powerful thing. Sometimes I couldn’t hold it together and I found myself quickly rushing George to the car so I could hide the tears that I couldn’t hold back. I cried over the stupidest of things. But overall when I saw people the mask came up and I smiled and it was a brief relief from the negativity I dwelled in behind closed doors.

 

mental health

I no longer enjoyed things I previously enjoyed doing. I went along but just willed it to be over. I wasn’t interested. I was flat. I didn’t care. Eventually when George was around 16 months old I visited the GP and was put on Fluoxetine. It made me feel so, so nauseous. You’d think it’s a small price to pay but food was the only thing I found enjoyment in and to lose the willing and desire to eat made me feel even worse. What’s more they didn’t make me feel any better.

Antidepressants can take 4-6 weeks to have an notable effect. My GP agreed they wasn’t doing me any good after 3. Ultimately this was because they made me feel so nauseous, I lost my passion for food and eating. Food was all I had left that I enjoyed. The thought of losing that was just too much. I know it sounds ridiculous, especially since I need to lose weight. It was how I felt though. I had to stop the fluoxetine. From there the GP follow up was non existent. Presuming I would return if I felt low again, there was no further contact to see how I was doing.

mental health
Cake is the answer to everything.

Thankfully after that period of time, something changed. I don’t know if maybe even the short amount of time I took the Fluoxetine was enough to reset the chemicals in my brain. It also coincided with my neurologist introducing some new medication for my migraines. They happened to fix my long term vertigo and I was able to drive again. I had my independence back and I think this contributed massively to my self worth and happiness.

What I do know is that I feel better than I have for a long time. Stronger, fearless, happy. Once you’ve considered your life worthless you tend to lose your fear of things. You realise nothing is as scary as the thought of escaping your life.

So what’s the point of sharing this with you? I suppose I want mums out there to distinguish between what is normal and what really isn’t when you have a baby. If something doesn’t feel right then please speak to someone. Your partner, parent, friend, health visitor or GP. Okay,  my experience with the GP wasn’t wholly positive but I wasn’t completely honest with them and I should have been more persistent.

mental health

I got so good at the mask, my GP visits saw me sitting with a smile on my face. I felt stupid. No way someone sits there trying to explain how low they feel whilst smiling. People break down and burst into tears. But I’m too polite I just smiled. If you’re the same, maybe take someone along to the appointment with you who has seen you at your worst. Don’t suffer in silence.

Can you relate to any of this? I find it so hard to know if I can say I had/have postnatal depression. Does it ever go away? My moods are certainly more changeable but is that how parenthood feels? I genuinely still have no idea.

Meditating to distraction

Meditating seemed like a good idea at the end of an intense day. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately with a lot of changes life changing decisions being made at home. I’ve never meditated before, nor do I know how.

But briefly I figured that imagining myself on a desert island, toes in the sand, crystal clear water lapping around me was the perfect start. Eyes shut and lying back on my bed, I could see it. I have a pretty vivid imagination anyway but I could see how blue the water was. I could almost feel the warmth of the sand. The sun on my bare back. With my wind chime gently clinking in the back garden, the scene was set!

And then suddenly…a wood pigeon, yeah that’s right, the cooing of a wood pigeon. Then a bloody man rides past on a bicycle. Focus, focus. You are losing your way here. But I can’t get that orange fence out the corner of my eye. Just in the middle of my perfect beach scene. And then a neighbour pops their head over the fence, BBQ tongues in hand, and asks if I want a hotdog?

The to do list starts to creep back into my head and…fuck it! I’m back on the bed!

Next time I might try it with earplugs. I can see why a lot of Mamas opt for wine instead.

Please note, pinch of salt not provided with this post.

Until next time…

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

My life, The Comedy Sketch Show -Two Weddings, A Missing Diamond, And What’s That Clicking Noise!

My life often feels like a comedy sketch show.

“Who wants to read about your life!” I hear you cry.

Well, you for starters otherwise how did you find yourself here eh (winks slyly whilst dodging a virtual slap). So I’ve always had a knack for making my seemingly normal and pretty average life seem a little more entertaining. I don’t know if it’s my ability to see the positive in everything that allows me to give my everyday situation a lighthearted edge. But nonetheless I often feel like if I was starring in my own episode of “Friends”, in that I may get a few titters if anyone was watching in.

These past couple of weeks have been hectic, crazy, fabulous, stressful madness. We have attended two wedding weekenders, got some amazing shots in the New Forest, a week in the Isle of Wight, One airshow, visited several family members,and the rest of life in between.

Our trip began to Southampton to watch one of hubs maternal cousins get married. It was a beautiful day and anyone that knows me, knows how much I love weddings. I have recently written about my own wedding here .

summer loving

We managed to sneak away in between the wedding breakfast and evening ceremony to get George to nap. Hubs took us on one of our favourite and awe-inspiring drives, The New Forest. We first discovered The New Forest last year on a staycation at Sandy Balls (yes that really is the resort name). This time around and with me looking a bit better than my standard mum life get up, we captured some beautiful shots with the horses. This is one of my faves.

summer loving

As we headed back for the evening reception hubs programmed his satnav and off we went. It felt like we had been driving forever when I knew we had only gone 20 minutes down the road getting there. Suddenly hubs stopped.

Hubs: “Oh shit, Mum asked me during breakfast how far away the ferry terminal was for tomorrow. I programmed it into the nav to show her”

Me: “What does that mean?”

Hubs “It means we are just coming into the ferry terminal! We’re half an hour away from the wedding venue now”

Well you can imagine my face. We were using my valuable vodka drinking time after all.

The first of our beautiful wedding weekenders over, we headed on with the in-laws, straight to catch the ferry for a week in the Isle of Wight. This shall be known as the holiday were many “fucks” were uttered.

After our first day at our holiday home, I called my Mum. I was speaking to her when I looked down and realised my engagement ring, which belonged to my Nan and is over 75 years old had lost the diamond! The only diamond! Gone! “Fuck” My Mum told me not to panic and whilst everything in me told me I should be distraught and crying…I wasn’t. I’m so precious of my ring. It’s not worth much monetary wise, but sentimentally it means the absolute world to me.

Cue me and hubs crawling round on our hands and knees in a 4 storey townhouse with thick beige carpets! It was a dead-end before we started. It was never found. I suspect it’s now floating through the sewers of the Isle of wight. My Mum has since paid for it to be replaced and reset. It’s such a good feeling to have it back on my finger, looking its beautiful self. I hope my Nan loves it as much as I do.

summer loving

Our lovely little holiday home may have had 4 floors but they packed in enough furniture that tripping over things was easy. On the first day, pre diamond disaster, I walked into a chair leg and spent the night sleeping with my little toe throbbing. Our room was in the loft and it was so hot and stuffy even with the windows wide open.

summer loving

That night I woke up to a weird noise. It was a loud horn. I wondered if it was some sort of thing only Islanders knew about. Did we have to evacuate. Hubs was still awake so I asked him. It was a fog horn. No need to evacuate. Where the fuck we would evacuate to I don’t know. I hadn’t thought that bit through. The fog horn continued most nights on and off for the duration of our stay and I soon realised why the houses are so cheap there!

But my beautiful town house woes did not end there. We were on a budget due to the wedding hotel blocking some of our money accidentally. Hubs was eager to try the nachos when we went out for lunch but decided it would be cheaper if I made some that evening. Mine is better anyways. I picked up a nacho kit (which I never use!) and set about making us an evening snack. I found a cheese grater and the cheese grater found me.

It turns out this was the mo-fo of cheese graters. I’m used to a flat grater and this was round…. it wasn’t long before I lost something else….one of my knuckles! Fuck!

summer loving

This pic is the day after. It really fucking hurt! My Nan in law was threatening to try and flap the skin back over whilst hubs was asking if I needed stitches. It was comedic stupidity at its finest. Vom!

Just to top it all off, hubs and I have been trying for another baby but to no avail. No violin needed. My body is in such a state at the moment. So we kind of had the choice to stop made for us as I’m under a consultant for severe hip pain. I’ve had it the last 2 years or more but the last few weeks it’s got really life limiting and it’s not improving. So adding baby weight to my body wouldn’t have been sensible.

The doctor gave me some strong anti-inflammatories to help me deal with the pain. I read the stupid leaflet, which you should never do, because someone has always reported something horrific. And there it was;

…may affect your chances of falling pregnant as ovulation can be affected. Should you fall pregnant whilst taking these tablets, please tell your doctor immediately as they can cause mutations to the unborn child…

All sounding fabulous so far! So I decided I’ll take them to get me through the next month of events and hope everything goes back to normal, I’d already ovulated that month as I was due on my period the day of the wedding (what joy!).

Cue mid holiday madness in the house of horrors as I realise my period is 7 days late! For Fudge sake! Not now! Off to the shop I go, standard pregnancy test I always get (I’ve done a lot of these things ya know). Nothing! No literally I mean nothing! It’s a bloody void test! What are the actual chances? I’ve never had a void test. Back to the shop, I pick up 2 this time just in case…negative. Thank God. Although its weird feeling when only a month ago I was using all my eyelash wishes for the opposite. Do people still wish on their eyelashes?

One trip home from the Isle of Why Me! And another beautifully glorious wedding, whereby hubs tested the theory of whether you can sing church hymns whilst impersonating Johnny Cash…you can. And we are back home.

Whilst I love a staycation, I feel I’m ready to venture further into the big wide world for our future holidays. I feel I owe it to George. I’ve found some fab tips on How To Plan The Perfect Family Holiday .

summer loving

But wait… listen closely…yep that’s me. Everytime I stop my engine there is a weird clicking noise. Now it’s not the typical engine cooling down clicking noise, and we have actually discovered the clicking noise happens even if you just turn the key to ignite the battery and not the engine so who the hell knows.

What I do know is, I took it to the garage and approached them with the query;

“At the risk of sounding like a complete woman…there is a strange clicking noise coming from my engine”

I absolutely hate it when garages treat me like a “silly” woman. Like we can be fobbed of and spoken to like an idiot because it’s a car and cars are for men or some such shit like that. Ooh I wonder if I’ve just noticed a gap in the market for all female mechanics? You can get women only gyms and taxis so why not.

summer loving
Image courtesy of www.pexels.com

So the guy is none the wiser. Guesses at the throttle flap and says they will call me with a quote. They don’t. I also inform him that I’ve recently made a discovery via the wonders of Youtube that if your electronic car window is stuck you can close it with this snazzy trick.

Slam the door hard, whilst holding your finger on the window up button. It works! Something about jolting the connection.

So one week and no phone call later, hubs and I, ok hubs gets the credit for this. He discovers that the clicking happens without actually starting the engine. He takes it back to the garage and tells me they’ve booked it in for next Tuesday and will charge me £35 to “take a look”!

“Huh! They looked at it for nothing when I took it!” I say “what the heck did you do!”

The next morning I called the garage, and explained. The receptionist repeatedly asked me if I realised where they were and if had the right place. I was getting rather exasperated because I knew exactly who and where they were. They didn’t have any record of my husband booking the car in.

It’s now we find out the REAL reason my car was looked at for free! Whilst relaying the story to hubs when he got home from work, he pipes up that he had actually taken the car to a different garage. The garage that I shouted out “…and don’t take it to xxx garage because we had a bad experience!” That explains the fee! My garage doesn’t charge! Doh! The next morning I returned to MY garage with my tail between my legs to offer an apology for my idiot husband.

My car is now fixed, thankfully, and the clicking noise has stopped. Halejuah!

It’s all fun and games eh! I’d totally love to read about some of your recent crazy life tales in the comments below.

The dictatorship – life with a two year old toddler.

**This post has sat in my drafts for a while, forgotten and lonely.  My toddler model is now over three years old and still thriving. But before I tell you all about how “the model” has evolved, let me take you back to a year ago when I was living with a two year old. Continuing on from one of my more popular posts Life with a toddler – the 2014 model .Enjoy!**

As the parent of a toddler, I’m finding myself under the dictatorship of a two year old. In a similar fashion to a communist regime, I’m regularly told where to sit, who to talk to, how to play certain “games”. To be honest it doesn’t feel like playing when I’m being ordered what car I can and can’t play with, and exactly where to drive it. 

Mainstream music is limited to anything on the CBeebies or nursery rhyme playlist. Disney films and CBeebies get the seal of approval but otherwise the only other programme to frequent our screens are Paw Patrol and Blaze and the Monster Machines.

Our day begins at a semi reasonable hour but orders to “go downstairs” ring out on on the toddler tannoy before I have time to even open my eyes. His lordship dictates specific rules such as;

  • The bath must be completely empty of water before exiting.
  • Face washing will only commence once there are at least three toys in the sink of water.
  • Drinks will only be drunk if provided in a container to Sir’s satisfaction.

You may be familiar with the term “terrible twos”. It’s a widely used phrase that many people now know and use. Closely followed by the supposéd “threenager” phase.  As my parenting journey began as a follower of the gentle parenting regime, I was led to believe these were not ideal terms to label a your toddler with.

However, being a good few years into this parenting shizzle I can confirm that these are inevitable stages that your mini dictator will go through. At two years old you will have days that you will swear this model truly can be terrible to be in the company of. My own experiences are teaching me that patience and calmness help.

When your mini dictator goes into terrible mode whilst in a public setting, a huge dose of trying to ignore what’s happening  goes a long way. People may stare because they either don’t have this model or they haven’t for a long time and they have forgotten what it’s like to take it out. Remain calm, composed and patient and this will help settle your mini dictator back to it’s usual lovely self whilst showing the world that “you’ve got this shit”.

So if you’ve recently installed a future mini dictator into your fine self and you are reading this, never fear, we’ve all pretty much dealt with this in year two. For anyone going through year two with their model I hope my tips help. I’m learning that the cuteness mode is ever increasing and the fun mode has now been upgraded. This upgrade allows you to enjoy their marvel at everything and days out feel a lot more worthwhile. Gone are the days where you take your early model out, waving it at fish tanks in an aquarium hoping for a reaction.

If you have read all of this and have no idea what I am going on about, please rest assured that this is a tongue in cheek account of living with a two year old. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Can you relate?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

The truth about pregnancy

The truth about pregnancy is obviously my truth. I know every pregnancy for every person is different. I’m hoping some women or indeed men will read and relate to this as I like to think I’m being open about the parts people really don’t go into detail about on a daily basis. Let me know what you think. Did you experience anything similar during your pregnancy. Feel free to laugh. I did! Blimey when something less than always pleasant is happening to you for 9/10 months you’ve got to laugh or end up seriously peeved. So here goes.

Anyone else feel like announcing you are having a baby is a bit like telling your parents you lost your virginity. The slightly awkward realisation that everyone is congratulating you on having sex. Like we all know one another is doing it. But to say to the world “hey (little wave), we’ve had sex over here! I mean let’s get a high five for the sex yeah!”

For 9 months I feel like a walking advert for sex. Reasons to have it. Reasons to not have it. I don’t even get paid for advertising space, for the walking advert of magical crap that I’ve become.

Pregnancy

My pregnancy with George could’ve been worse but then if you had seen the state of me! I’ll still tell you now, as magical as it is and I loved feeling bubba move, pregnancy really wasn’t all it cracked up to be. It fucked my body in so many ways. Ways that will never be fixed. Have I come to terms with it? As much as I can. I look at the kid and he was totally worth it. But still.

I think some bodies were made for making and carrying babies and some weren’t. I was the latter. It took us a bit longer than average to conceive and I ended up not being able to feel or use my hands, with a nose even wurzel gummidge would struggle to contend with. Amongst the rest of the swollen crap. Elephants feet, grapes for a bum hole and the purple veiny things taking over my thighs of all places!

But otherwise yeah it was fab. Thankfully I didn’t experience morning sickness. I once vomited at 8 months pregnant and let’s say THAT took me by surprise. I had nausea in the first trimester and migraines but nothing a few fruity polos didn’t sort out.

Pregnancy
Photo courtesy of Little Smilers studio

Then there’s your poo. Everyone knows I love talking about poo. My sis actually feel pregnant 5 months before me so she was able to prep me on the stages of poo your pregnant self goes though. Starting with the “cow pat” phase and ending so elegantly with the constipated haemorrhoids phase. Honestly it’s so hard to poo when you have a ginormous belly in front of you and you ant adequately lean forward.

And don’t think you’ll be done with panty pads either. Oh no. There’s various levels of discharge stages you must experience on top of all the other uncomfortable magicalness. I must’ve wanted to escape my body at least once every 24 hours.

Then there’s the insomnia! Like what the actual fuck! It’s like your body says “hey! You wanna have a baby? Let’s get you used to this sleep deprivation thingy now”! Why! I won’t be growing a human once the baby arrives will I! Let me sleep!

Pregnancy

As glamorous as it sounds, it was. Snuggling into bed with at least 5 pillows behind me to prevent the reflux and heartburn whilst ensuring the Rennie’s could be found in the dark on my bedside table. Then more pillows between my legs and behind my back because oh my gosh your hips and back really like to let you know they are carrying a baby. Then win my hands strapped up in wrist splints for the carpel tunnel syndrome I would just start to snooze and relax. 20 minutes later and a swift lean on my bladder from my wonderful bundle of magic and I needed the loo. This would happen at least 12 times a night.

I often just stayed up because my hands hurt too much if I fell asleep. I’d wake up and have to pull my fingers and rubs and shake my hands in an effort to regain the feeling and remove the pain. Not forgetting the restless legs. Trying to relax and all my legs want to do is kick out and flip around. How hubs didn’t move out is beyond me. And sadly for him there was no spare bedroom. Thankfully I had. A family of foxes living in our garden that kept me entertained in the early hours. Not to mention some epic lightening shows.

But there was MANY positives to being pregnant. Playing with my bubba inside my tummy using a torch or music provided me with hours of joy. Watching and feeling him move inside me and being able to share that with family and friends. Feeling like a superhero being able to grow this amazing human being. Knowing I was their source of everything and taking the responsibility of motherhood the moment I conceived. Feeling so grateful that I had this opportunity that so many women don’t.

Pregnancy

My hair. Oh my hair. I mean it was rather unfair that at a time when my bikini line was about to become like a challenge on the krypton factor to shave, it also started to grow out of control. The boundaries stretched and suddenly my bikini line became a “let’s-venture-down-her-let’s-So there you have it. We had sex! And this is what happened. I’ll save the shit storm that was my labour for another post.
**Edit** I’ve since thought of more delightfulness experienced whilst pregnant. This wouldn’t be the truth, my truth if it wasn’t the whole truth.

  • The weird spotting you get during implantation that makes you think you are about to come on and then you do a test before a night out on the piss only to find you are going to be on the lemonade all night.
  • The way your mouth always tastes like you’ve been sucking on a metal pole for hours.
  • Your superhero sense of smell. You can smell any smell a mile off. I had lots of fun guessing what people were cooking in the next room at lunch break at work.
  • The way you think all your baggy pre pregnancy tops will fit you when your pregnant because it’s just a fatter belly right? Wrong! Under your bra thickens and widens as your ribs expand, sending your organs god knows where and you end up looking like a sausage in a skin that’s too small. And that’s why maternity wear is big business lol.
  • Hot flushes that appear out of nowhere and make you wonder if you are dying of flu whilst you stand there dripping with sweat looking like you’ve got the plague.
  • Your nipples getting strangely darker. Who the heck knows why.
  • The surprise you get when you have your first scan (12 weeks) and you expect them to be al over your belly like they are on the tele and in films and they actually do it under your belly button because surprisingly that’s where the baby is until it grows bigger.
  • The feeling of bubba move and thinking it couldn’t have been further from the “butterflies” people told me I’d feel. It was actually more like bubbles popping.
  • Wondering why my throat was burning of a night and finding out that’s reflux for you.
  • Having hubs have to cut my dinner up towards the end because the carpel tunnel syndrome meant I couldn’t grip properly or feel my damn hands through the pins and needles.

Oh the joys. Until next time…..

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Rhyming with Wine

Drowning emotionally

After feeling on top of the world Monday, this morning has just drained me. Having to justify George’s personality and behaviour to the swim teacher and all the other mums listening. 
I dunno. 
George has been doing marvellously at his swimming lessons and his teacher has taught us so many ways to get him familiar and content with the water. She did tell me weeks ago to expect him to have a relapse at some point but not to be concerned. 

Well that relapse happened. And why did it happen? Well it happened because she raised the pool floor to allow him to touch the bottom which he thought was wonderful and it was a development until the following week when he expected to be able to touch the floor. When he realised he couldn’t he went into fear mode and began clinging to me again, despite the fact he was wearing armbands and even with the aid of a rubber ring or pool noodle. 

Add to this the week following the floor raising his usual teacher was off. George is a stickler for familiarity and a new teacher was just not what he had in mind. 

All this taken into account, today’s resolve boiled down to the fact that I allow him to be to clingy to me. I’m not firm enough. And for someone I need to leave him with family and friends more. This all sounds idyllic but if he doesn’t want to stay with someone I’m not going to just leave him him there crying. But I should. Completely forgetting we had this relapse on the expected horizon and how did we even get onto the subject of who I leave him with? 

So feeling confused and embarrassed that my clingy child is in the class below his age group, he’s scared to let go whilst in the water. I now feel like the child I have given up my career to look after is supposedly playing me because I should be dumping him at everyone else’s house and be doing I don’t know what? Reading books on how to teach him to swim? 

Cut to the changing rooms and mine is the only child screaming about not liking the shower whilst everyone looks on like we are a pair of weirdos. He then needs a wee and when we get to the toilet the towel must’ve put him off because he couldn’t control the direction and the wee all went up the wall. I cleaned it all with tissue and left it pleasant. It was clear anyways. It was only the swimming pool water he drank. 

Teacher appears as we are are washing our hands and he’s screaming because the tap is so fast. She must’ve heard all the events so I tell her what just happened in the cubicle and she asks me which one and says she’ll get it washed down. An extremely helpful gesture. I recognise that but another way that I felt crap. As far as I was concerned I had cleaned it up. Now I felt inadequate for not thinking I should ask for it to be washed down. 

I’m really not laying the blame at this woman’s door. Her intention is to make my life easier and help us both. My perception is that I’m doing everything wrong and people can’t believe what a mess I’m making of this child. 

How can you feel like you are doing such a wonderful job of raising your child one day, and feel like a complete failure the next

The pathetic thing is I don’t even stand up for myself or my parenting choices. I just go along with agreeing that he should be the way this stranger says he should be 🙄😔 whilst everyone looks on thinking god knows what. 

Aside from being a bit clingy he’s doing amazingly well for his age. I know that. So what the fuck! Why am leaving the swimming pool holding back the tears and getting home as quick as I can to just cry so hard? 

It’s not even her fault. And I’ve always said I agree that the reason swimming teachers get such fab results is their tough love strategy. 

Pathetic. It’s not even like I take him to other swimming lessons because I can’t drive out of this stupid town due to ongoing vertigo. Ongoing for the last 4 years before you start chucking all your solutions at me. I’m under a neurology consultant but that’s another story. 

You know those days where you question everything. 

Tomorrow is another day. Although it’s quite scary not knowing what kind of day it will be. 

Has becoming a mum made me lazy? 

There are days I feel I’ve definitely fulfilled my potential as both a mama and a human being. And then there are days where I feel outrageously lazy. 

Lazy
These lazy feelings rarely happened when I worked a 9-5. I worked like a maniac as often my workload was more than the hours I could fit them into. Always working against a deadline. Patients needing their meds, doctors wanting the drug charts, the pharmacy closing for dispensing and so on. 

Evenings were for cooking and prepping for the following day at work. Weekends were precious down time, a chance to have fun (wink, wink) and to keep on top of the house work, most of which would be blitzed on a Sunday morning whilst hubs was at footie training. 

Lazy
Cut to life as a stay at home mum. Life feels like one big weekend. Although of course hubs only joins us here and there as he’s working working (a bit like out out). Unlike myself (rolls eyes, ha ha).  

The cleaning well it happens when I get sick of looking at everything, things start to smell or my feet are getting covered in too much grit when I walk around the house, bleugh. We live in a two up, two down with me, hubs, George nearly three and three cats who mainly live indoors. 

Lazy
My house isn’t filthy as such but I have no set routine. I just do stuff when I can be bothered. There feels like a permanent flood of toys flowing in my direction along with crumbs and chalk dusk, magic sand and pieces of cut up paper. Chuck in the tumbleweed style balls of cat hair floating my across the laminate in the toddlers back draft and thus sets the scene. 

Then there’s me. If we don’t have plans and I’m not stood at the kitchen sink (why the heck do I feel like I live at that sink!?) Then I’m sat on the sofa watching George play. Or reading him a story or watching a film together. Doing some something research, planning or blogging related on my phone. 

Then there’s the dust. I used to be the type of gal that dusted the tops of her door frames. I felt compelled to after watching so many episodes of “Four in a bed” and seeing how much this disgusted people. Now I don’t know where the dust goes but it’s not on the duster as that thing barely comes out of the cupboard. 

Lazy
Why not? I hear you thinking. I honestly don’t know. I’m sure I could fit it in but now I’m a mama maybe I’m just lazy. Every moment of my time that isn’t commanded by George, I mentally tell myself to sit and chill. 

“You deserve this” I reward my lazy self. 

Do I though! I used to be on my feet 8 hours a day at my job. Yes I was tired but I was a fit size 12. Ok so I’ve been on migraine prevention tablets that made me gain 3 stone and go up to a size 16 but could I shift that quicker if I just got off my arse? 

Genuinely I don’t know. I have to be sure not to over exert myself too much at times as it makes my migraines more susceptible. But excuses aside I really need to maybe make myself a cleaning routine. 

I put a ridiculous amount of effort into days out, playing with George, DIY, tending to and revamping the garden. It’s literally the cleaning and tidying that makes me feel like I’m the laziest mofo of the land. And yet I know that if I made a schedule for every task that I will inevitably miss, I’ll then proceed serve myself a lovely helping of guilt. 

What do you think? Are you a stay at home parent or working parent? Do you feel any lazier since becoming a parent? Do you have any tips for staying on top of the household chores? I’d love to hear them. If nothing else but to make myself feel a little less like the lazy biatch I probably am. 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

2017 – When every day is judgement day.

2017 has brought with it an increase in access to the internet, which, in my opinion, has increased our so called “knowledge”. We all think we are so damn knowledgeable about everything. Parents are literally the worst culprits of this.

Looking at my examples below, you’ll come to the conclusion that as parents we can’t do right for doing wrong. There will always be someone who doesn’t agree with what you are doing or have done. Is it any of their business? No! Are they with you 24/7? Doubtful! Should you give a toss what they think? Absolutely not! Will our children all turn out ok in the end? More than likely.

And those that supposedly turn out perfect may no doubt make some poor choices in adulthood. Perhaps they’ll make choices that mess up their lives and make us judge them moreover. There are many, many ways to live and grow. Very few are the “wrong way”. Please just stop judging.

Stop judging yourself, judging others. Stop making snide comments and passing hurtful looks. Instead try offering help to a parent that looks like they are struggling. Try offering praise to someone who looks like they are doing a “good job” by your standards. Appreciate that there are other ways to parent, and enquire with the person politely about their method. You may actually find a “better” method for your own parenting/grand parenting.

Any of these sound familiar?

Did you see that mum in the cafe, bottle feeding her baby? Poor kid is missing out on all those nutrients. Why doesn’t she breastfeed. Why doesn’t she want to give the best to her baby?

Did you see that mum in the cafe, breastfeeding her baby? Attention seeking she was. Getting her boobs out for everyone to see. Just so she can make the rest of us feel inadequate like we aren’t doing the best for our babies.

Did you speak to that that mum at the park? 5 kids she has and she wants more! She’s so selfish. Those kids will never get the attention and love they need with that many to look after!

Did you speak to that mum at the park? Her little boy is an only child and she doesn’t want anymore! She’s so selfish. That child is going to miss out on so much without a sibling to share it with.

Did you see that mum at the zoo? All her children drinking juice and eating chocolate and sweets. More fool her. All their teeth are probably rotten and it’s all her fault.

Did you see that mum at the zoo? All her children drinking were drinking water and eating homemade sugar free muffins. More fool her. First chance they get they will be stuffing their faces secretly with sweets, chocolate and fizzy drinks. And they’ll miss out at birthday parties. It’s all her fault.

My gosh did you see that mum letting her kid run along on the pavement? He could’ve run in the road and had an accident any minute. I was on edge just watching. She’s so irresponsible. (I’ve actually heard this one).

My gosh did you see that mum making her kid hold her hand and wear reins whilst walking along? Give the kid some space or he’ll never learn. She’s making a rod for her own back.

Did you see that mum ignoring her child and looking at her phone? Look at your kid for crying out loud! Watch him play.

Did you see that mum following her child on all the play equipment? Step back and let him breathe! Let him play by himself.

Did you see that mum shouting at her child in the supermarket? You should never speak to a child like that! She should always remain calm and composed.

Did you see that mum in the supermarket letting her child get away with lying on the floor screaming whilst she quietly stood there? She didn’t do anything! She’s teaching him it’s ok to be a spoilt brat.

The list goes on and on. Moral of this post…we all do things different. Every child is different and has their own needs. By all means if you are genuinely concerned for the safeguarding of a child then please take action by reporting to the appropriate authorities.

If you believe you may be guilty of being judgemental of your fellow mama, try our three simple steps;

(1) Take a moment to think of some of the reasons this mum is doing what she is doing. Appreciate that she knows her own children and her own mind. She may be having an off day. She’s made her own choices after weighing up the facts for herself.

(2) Close your eyes and walk away. It’s not your child. It’s not your way. If there’s no safeguarding issue. You are just being a bitch. Mind your own business.

(3) Do you remember when you had your first child and when you no doubt did exactly the same thing she did? You’ve since changed your style but it doesn’t make your choice any better. It’s YOUR choice for YOUR child at THAT time.

Just to be clear. None of the above opinions are my own. Thankfully I don’t hang in circles where opinions like this are expressed. You only have to click on the comments of most Facebook stories to see this type of know-it-all negativity.

Do you think we are giving each other too much of a hard time? I know I give MYSELF a hard enough time. I don’t have anything left to berate others and wouldn’t dare. We won’t judge here.

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

My potty training tips.

I present to you my potty training tips. I personally prefer the term potty practice. Training makes me feel like I have a puppy that needs teaching. From my own experience, George will do things when he is ready. It is my role to guide him and just show him a good way of doing things. Not to train him, not to show him the right way. To guide him towards a way that works for the both of us. All the while gauging what he feels comfortable with.

I am by no means claiming to be an expert. Blimey who really is! We are all so different, we have to adapt things to our own and our child’s specific needs and capabilities. But we have smashed this so called potty training in 5 days. After 5 days George was dry DAY and NIGHT. I will admit he had one night time accident, but I will explain how to try to avoid this later on in the post. I read so many mums saying how awful and horrific the process was. Aside from day 2 where I had to clean up 6 wees it really was easy.

  1. Look for signs your child is ready. However, this isn’t always a good indicator. At 18 months old George was telling us he had soiled his nappy and getting the bits for us to change it. I took this as him knowing when he needed to have a wee or poo. I introduced the potty, quite successfully for a day or two. Until he needed a poo. He was bare bottomed and started pooing in the kitchen whilst standing, he ran in the living room screaming, poo pebbles falling around his ankles.

Hubs and I used gentle voices and told him it was fine and tried to get him to sit on the potty. We told him not to worry and quickly cleaned up. From that point he refused to use the potty or the toilet. Preferring to stand and scream and cry that he wanted a nappy on. For fear of him hurting himself by holding on to his toilets, we reverted back to nappies.

We spoke to him lots and tried a few times in the months following that to get him to try the potty again. At his 2 year check-up at 23 months I told the health visitor what had happened, half expecting a “why isn’t he potty trained yet?” lecture. She was so supportive and told me to leave it a long while as he was clearly traumatised by the poo-cident.

Note our successful 5 days leading to the farewell nappy parade happened at 33 months.

  1. One of the most important things is to avoid making a big deal when accidents occur. We are all human. None of us are 100% perfect. I really believe this will only put your child off the whole process even more if they see you getting angry or upset over spilt wee. I know myself that if I am doing something and someone reprimands me for the way I am doing it, I am very reluctant to perform that task again in the presence of that person.
  2. On the flip side, complete over the top praise is definitely necessary during potty practice. Did you ever see “Look Who’s Talking Too” when John Travolta and Kirstie Alley sing the pee pee on the pottayyy song. This so needs to happen. Along with numerous hi-fives, cuddles, and stickers for the t-shirt and facetimes and phone calls to grandparents to tell them what you just did. Anything that makes them feel accomplished, special, amazing and worthy. They need this so much. I really believe this helps immensely.
  3. I’m not going to tell you to prepare as such but it does help to have a few items in place before you start. Personally the items that have got us through this transition are;
  • A potty. We don’t have the latest all singing all dancing character potty. We have a bog stand, white, cheaper than cheap floor potty.
  • A toddler toilet seat. This helps make the seat smaller so they can sit comfortably without fear of falling in the toilet bowl. A seat with handles is ideal. Ours again was cheap and cheerful, easy to sling in a bag and take out with us.
  • Pull-ups. Because if accidents are going to happen, it’s a damn site easier. Some people choose to remain housebound during potty practice, we still had to go about our lives. So for bedtimes, trips to other people’s houses, or longer than 10 minute car journeys, pull ups are a godsend.

I’d recommend the more expensive ones with a wetness indicator so your child can aim to ensure the indicator doesn’t disappear. Otherwise they will just try and use it like a nappy potentially. FYI, they don’t hold much wee compared to a nappy. If you can get them with a favourite character on, bonus points! The character helps to encourage them to wear the pull up. You’ve just won the “you aren’t going to wear nappies anymore” battle and yet here you are presenting them with something that looks very much like a nappy. Confused much. The character will help distract from the point. Emphasis this is just to catch accidents which won’t happen but it’s ok if they do.

  • Big boy/big girl pants or knickers. If you can get them with a favourite character bonus points!
  • Loo roll. You’ll suddenly go from the Queen/King of multiple uses for baby wipes to the Goddess/God of loo roll and lessons in how little you actually need to use.
  1. Rewards chart. I know many of you will shudder at the thought of such a system. I too was against them having followed gentle parenting methods for the first year of George’s life. As he evolved into a toddler however, I realised that no ONE method was going to suit us when it came to parenting. Instead we choose to take advice from parenting styles we agree with and then adapt them to our child and our way of life.

Don’t get me wrong, I was so fearful that as soon as he received ten stickers and got his hands on that new toy, the pants would come flying off and he would scream for his nappy back. One week later and he is still totally rocking the pants and has sampled so many types of loo and loo seat I don’t think he will ever contemplate using a nappy again.

How we used the reward chart was to give a sticker for every poo or wee on the potty/toilet. He chose the sticker and stuck it on himself. The chart was beautifully handmade by moi. With inspiration taken from Pinterest. There are a huge choice out there and many seem overly complicated. I chose a simple, ten stickers and you get a new toy. This meant he could literally complete the chart in a matter of two days, if you consider how many poos and wees you do in a day.

Tuesday morning saw the chart at 6 stickers but unfortunately so did Tuesday evening. We had so many accidents Tuesday, he only made it to the toilet the once, first thing. Wednesday being a new day, we discussed with George the idea of removing the stickers he had earned and starting again, in light of the accidents. He was more than happy for us to do this. And so we began again. By Friday lunchtime he had his 10 stickers. The last of which was earned at nursery.

I’m wondering if because the chart was so simple and short, this allowed us to accomplish the unthinkable so quickly and successfully. I could be wrong. It’s worth a try though.

potty6. Many other mamas recommended I provide a form of distraction for little one as he sat on the toilet/potty. Especially when trying to overcome the “fear of the poo”. Distraction suggestions ranged from singing songs to reading a favourite story or blowing bubbles. We opted for me to read him a story which we kept in the bathroom.

7. Take their potty with you. When we took George to nursery on day 3 of potty practice, we had discussed him using the potty their and he agreed. On collecting him they told us he had refused to use their potty and only wanted his own. We took his own in on the friday and this problem was solved.

When we came to going on our first trip out, we took our seat adapter from home. However, despite having familiarity with the seat, he was still upset the first time he needed a wee and stood in the toilet and cried. I placed him on his seat and explained it was the same as at home. Used my usual distraction techniques, song singing, look at that bug on the wall etc and he realxed and did his wee. After that there was really no stopping him.

8. If all else fails talk about how it looks. We discuss what shape his poo’s are. It gives him determination to try and do a different shape next time. We do a wee in the toilet first and tell him to do a wee on top of ours so they can be flushed away together. All things that make him feel safe and reassured. It can be tough for toddlers to let go of things, even bodily functions. Knowing they are with Mummy and Daddy’s or they are being big and copying you can help them relate.

9. Share the love. Get them to tell everyone you encounter what they have achieved and how wonderful they are doing. get them to recognise and brag about their own accomplishments with potty practice. Ultimately you are also encouraging discussion of bodily functions. Something that, as we grow older, can often develop a stigma. I’m a great supporter of nothing being out of bounds. Your bodily functions can tell a lot about your health and I don’t believe we should ever be embarrassed of them or teach our little ones to be.

10. Best of Luck to all you potty practisers out there. If it feels like too much hard work then stop and wait a few months and try again is the best advice I can give. There will obviously be people out there who have persevered and successfully said farewell to the nappies.I can only give advice based on our experience. I’m not here to play the smug mum or knock anyone else’s methods. I aim to help.

So take these tips on board if you will. Change them to suit you, completely ignore them altogether if they don’t suit you or your child. You know me though, I love to share so I couldn’t resist. Would be great to know my tips have helped at least one person.

Best of luck to you all. If you have any tips you think may help our readers please feel free to add them in the comments below.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

A tubthumping Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day in our household was seeming like an ordinary day. Hubs was having a lie in and I was going about my normal motherly , housewife duties when this just hit me.

Seeing fellow mummies share posts of breakfast in bed and showered with gifts (shame on me for having my birthday 6 days prior) I felt compelled to start writing.

And so a tubthumping Mother’s Day was born. Read this to the tune of Tubthumping by Chumbawamba. A hit with anyone old enough to remember the 90’s. Even better, pop the tune on in the background whilst you read my ‘alternative’ lyrics. I hope it brings a smile to your face.

Tubthumping – Chumbawamba

 A Tubthumping Mother’s Day


We’ll be singing, coz we’re women, we’ll be singing.

I get no sleep, I get up in the night, I’ve got a toddler who’s screaming “Milk!”
I get no sleep, but I get up at dawn, I ain’t never gonna lie in late!
I get him milk, but he won’t go to sleep, he wants to come and sleep in my bed.
I bring him in, but he won’t go to sleep, he wants the television on instead!

Wishing my life away…..tomorrows another day.

I change a wet nappy
I change a pooey nappy
I feed the toddler
I feed the pussy cats
I check my Facebook reminds me of the good times
I check my Instagram reminds me of the better times.

Ohhh…mummy I…mummy I..want my Paw Patrolllllll!!!!!!

I get back up and I sit down again….you won’t ever let me stay sat down!
I get your yoghurt….and then I get your drink
I’m feeling like some sort of waitress now
I get no tips
I get more whining
And Daddy is god knows where right now!
I’m thinking tea and something nice to eat
But I’ll just have to make my own in this house!

Putting the toys awayyyy
Putting the toys awayyyy

I clean the litter tray
I clean the bottles
I put the laundry on
I get the hoover out
I check my Facebook reminds me of the good times
I check my Instagram reminds me of the better times.

Don’t cry for me, it will soon be Fathers Day 😜

I get back up, and I sit down again….you won’t ever let me stay sat down.
I get some food
The cats done a poo
Will I ever get to finish my mouth
I sip my drink
And it’s gone cold again
I may just as well be nil by mouth
I get no break and then I hear hubs say,
Wish Mummy Happy Mothers Day!

Until next time…..

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday