Category Archives: Motherhood

Life, it’s a risky ole business

So here we are on the eve of the big EU referendum. Many of us still on the fence, confused, baffled by “facts” that all contradict one another. “Facts” that are given to us by people that all appear to have their own agendas. Well here is my take on it all. A simple view. But one I hope will be gratefully received. 

When I moved out of my mums for the first ever time, myself and rob decided we would move an hour down the road. People thought we were mad. Moving to the sticks they said. It felt like a risk. But it was the best thing we ever done and many have since followed us for the quieter less chaotic life. A few months after said move, the commute was becoming a drag so I decided to resign my job in general hospital for mental health. “You’re crazy” many told me, “you’re backing you’re self into a corner” they told me. Eight years I spent working in mental health. Working my way up the banding a lot quicker than I would have in general. Increasing my earnings and allowing me to attend training weekends and to travel to a conference where I gave a talk on my role and how we used the company’s computer system to achieve my daily tasks. It felt like a big risk at the time, but it was the best thing I ever did for my career. After those eight years, my husband and I had a baby. A baby that was being introduced to our perfect 16 year relationship. It was going to change the dynamics of our relationship and potentially seriously rock the boat and who knew if it would be for the better where our relationship was concerned. I was dubious but at the same time it was what we both wanted. It was a risk I felt  but 19 months in and we are both so in awe of him. And still so in love with each other and approaching 18 years together. After returning from maternity leave and due to some health difficulties that were affecting my ability to do my job 100%, I made the decision to resign my post and become a stay at home mum. Not only this but my husband had just been made redundant and was starting out as self employed. It was a huge risk. It caused much angst with the deliberation of was it the right thing to do. 7 months down the line and the bills are still being paid, I’m not “bored” like “they” suggested I would be, and our son is thriving. 

Life is a risk. But without risks we wouldn’t have achieved anything in this world. 
I don’t trust politics. I don’t understand it. And overall I don’t have the time to waste on it. I’ve read many arguments online from your average joe debating in or out. And I’ve come to the conclusion that I want a change. A change has always worked for me when I’ve fancied one. Yes it’s always been a risk, but in the end it has worked out for the better. And so there you have my take on the EU referendum. 

Remember to turn up at the polls to make your vote count. 

Until next time…..

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Common as sense

I’m pretty common, I lack sense, I’m as common as sense of course.

If becoming a mum has done anything for me it’s certainly improved my common sense. This may be because before I make any mumsy decisions I tend to “research the crap” out of them first. And as for any non mumsy decisions, well they are few and far between now I’m a mum.

So maybe it would be fun for me to enlighten you to my ditsy past. I’m not one of those girls that acts stupid because she thinks it makes her look cute. I’ll be the first to tell you how intelligent I actually am. Alls that I’m lacking is some common sense. “Don’t be silly!” people say, “you have lots of common sense”. Oh really! Let’s see what you think in a few minutes then shall we.

common as sense

  •  I was easily 25 and over and had been driving around 4 years when I discovered, rather amazingly, that miles per hour (or mph) actually means how many miles you will do in an hour at that speed! I mean I still can’t comprehend it now. It actually means something. It’s not just a measurement for measurements sake. It can be used to calculate how long it will take to get somewhere depending on what speed you drive! Now having discovered this marvellous piece of knowledge, I rushed to share it will those around me, and you won’t be surprised to know that this wasn’t only a revelation to myself. So perhaps I am forgiven in the common sense stakes here.

common as sense

  • Before I had George I used to work in pharmacy. During our training years and college days, myself and my two, now very good friends for life, were released from college early one day. Realising this meant returning to work, we quickly talked ourselves out of it. By the time we travelled the hour home to change into suitable work attire, had lunch, travelled to work? It would be home time. No, let’s come up with a full proof story on what we want work to think happened. So we decided we needed to have a lunch break by which point we actually wouldn’t make it to work until after closing. So we all agreed that we would tell everyone we got released at said time and went to have lunch. My friend suggested we say we went to “Greggs” for a sandwich and then headed for home.

“But I had a sausage roll” I piped up.  

“What?!” My friends replied, still in the early days of us all get acquainted with each other.

“Yeah”, I continued “I’ll say I had a sausage roll, coz there’s no way I would go to Greggs and not have a sausage roll, it’s got to be believable!”. Chuckling as I type this. I honestly can’t lie so to me I had to imagine it as if it were the truth. Absolutely bewildered, my friends could not get their heads around my declaration and to this day they have referred to me as “Trig”.

  •  My new nickname soon got round at work, and I was soon being pranked with requests to remove labels from boxes, as I attempted to I eventually learned they were printed on. It was good fun though and I soon realised my gullibility added to my lack of common sense, I often found it as funny as everyone else. My husband also takes great pleasure when we are out in saying to me “drink up Trig, we’re leaving!”

  •  Now the piece de resistance as I like to think, although the tales are a plenty, happened in my early twenties when I was living at home with mum and my number two dad. I had a landline phone in my bedroom at the time. It hung nicely on a nail in the wall, until one day it didn’t. I hated to leave things looking unfinished. It just added to the mental to do list that I carried around in my head. Master of improvisation that I am, and lacking the motivation to go downstairs and get the hammer, I grabbed the most solid and sturdy thing to hand, my deodorant can.

Yes that’s right, for the more savvy readers amongst you, I had just picked up a pressurised aerosol can with the intention of using it to hammer a nail into the wall!

A few seconds later and there was a strange hissing sound. It took me a few moments but I soon realised that the hissing was coming from the, now pierced, aerosol can. In a complete panic with the impression that this was now going to explode in my hand, I ran down the stairs screaming at my mum. Her response to my hysteria was to tell me to “throw it out the front door”. Flinging it out the front door, I watched as it rolled under mums car. Doh! Mum assured me it was fine and before you knew it the panic subsided and the drama was over. That wasn’t before I realised that the fingers on the hand that I had been holding the can in, were now frozen together from the pressurised air that had been released from the can. Ten minutes with my hand in a sink full of warm water and no harm was done and I had learnt a very valuable lesson.

Of course there are many, many, many more tales I could share, but this is a blog, not a book so I shall have to leave it there for the time being.

Until next time……

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Bringing up baby : Unwelcome advice

We’ve all experienced unwelcome advice at some point in our lives. It’s only when I really sit and think about it, I realise we are surrounded by apparent ‘ experts’ in every subject.  And these experts love nothing more than sharing their unwelcome, expert advice.

Having became a Mum to gorgeous George, I have increasingly felt under pressure from almost everyone around me to be the type of mum they think I should be or to mould George to be like the other babies or like their babies were.
When I think about it though, this is nothing new! People have forced their unwelcome advice on me all my life! Any big event in my life, be it getting a job, buying a car, buying a house or planning our wedding, there they were, the orderly queue of advice givers, opinion makers and critiques. Many well-meaning, many not having a clue what they were talking about but liking to think they did. Many advising you on what you should do because that’s what they did, completely irrespective of whether that’s what will be good for me or not. Despite the fact when they last did what I was trying to do it was ten, twenty, fifty years ago! And some I sadly suspect were ill advising me as they didn’t want me to succeed at pulling off something they themselves couldn’t, wouldn’t, or hadn’t.

Now the good soul that I am, and not wishing to offend anyone, I’ve always taken each and every person’s advice on board. Added a pinch of salt to some, a splash of cynicism to others and just let some fly right over my head without so much as a thought. Because I knew how unsuited the advice was for me.

unwelcome advice

The problem is that each of these past life events were in the planning stage, then they happened, then there were over. I got a job, I bought a car, a house and we got married. But with George it’s different. George is an ongoing event. Not including milestones, George will always be a work in progress which I love. He can be anything he wants and develop at his own pace.

But what plays on my mind and makes my heart sink is that the advice giving and opinion making will never end. And as much as I feel confident now that I know I’m doing the best I can with George, I can’t help feeling guilty that I should be doing something else because that’s how so and so did it or that’s what so and so’s child does so why doesn’t George. I hear myself continuously and repetitively justifying the decisions I’ve made with George.
It’s a mentally exhausting battle. Like sifting through a large bag of slightly unwelcome fan mail sorting them into three piles of “ignore completely”, “take pieces and discard the rest” and finally “take wholeheartedly on board” wondering why I hadn’t thought of that myself.

unwelcome advice

So next time you are telling somebody all about what you did with yours, or giving your unwelcome advice that really wasn’t asked for, please realise that person is potentially going to think about your words for a lot longer than you did before you opened your mouth to say them.

Until next time……..

This was written when George was 16 months old (he’s now 27 months). At that point I was experiencing, its safe to say, undiagnosed postnatal depression. I over thought everything and had little confidence in my parenting abilities. I really now that I have always been an amazing mother to George and this unwelcome advice was really not helping the way I felt. I’m glad I spoke out about how I felt and with the help of family, friends and medical professionals, became myself again. If you are feeling emotionally unable to cope with life at any point, talk to the right people about the right stuff and help can be found. Love and strength. x 

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How not to heat up milk

As I write this post on how not to heat up milk, I can’t help thinking of a quote from the 1969 film The Italian Job in which Michael Caine famously declared;

“You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”

So I’m known to be lacking in a certain amount of common sense, something I’ve written about here.

https://www.gorgeousgeorgesmama.co.uk/common-as-sense/

Please do not confuse this with intelligence. Although I wouldn’t go as far to say that I’m intelligent I’m happy to state that I’m certainly clever. Now this common sense deficiency has provided me with many a comical tale to tell and seems to provide much amusement to those who witness it first hand.

My latest misadventure involved a baby’s bottle and a microwave. Some mums would blame it on sleep deprivation, the incurable baby brain, or just pure distraction. I’m happy to admit that I just don’t have enough common sense to anticipate the unfortunate result of my actions.

Having recently weaned George onto bottled cow’s milk, I were finding he was waking for a bottle a few hours after I went to bed. I was venturing downstairs to warm the bottle for him and then he would quickly drink this and go back to sleep. The same could not be said for me, who then proceeded to spend the next few hours laying wide awake. The solution, suggested by my mum,  was to warm the milk until it was too hot to drink just before going to bed and placing it in a thermal bag. By the time George woke, the milk was just at the right temperature, and right by the bed so I didn’t wake up too much and everyone slept happily.

I have always chosen to heat his milk in the microwave as although advice suggests not too in case of hot spots, I ensure I shake the bottle thoroughly to distribute the heat and test it before giving it to George. It’s a method that’s always worked and as we’ve only ever heated the milk for 30-50 seconds it’s always heated gently with the bottle fully assembled. To make the milk hot enough to take to bed and cool, I found 2 minutes was the perfect amount of time to spend heating it through.

On the first night of “operation more sleep”,with the bottle fully assembled, I placed it in the microwave for a minute and a half. I tested it and decided it could do with being a bit hotter so put it on for a further 30 seconds which brought it to a nice hot temperature but when George woke a few hours later and I tested it it was cool enough for him to drink but not so cold he wouldn’t like it.

On night 2, I followed the same process but this time I placed the fully assembled bottle in the microwave and set it for 2 minutes. Chatting away to hubby in the living room , checking he’d done all the locking up and turning off we both were suddenly interrupted by an almighty bang. I ran into the kitchen just in time to find the microwave door being blown open by the force, milk flying up in the air and spilling out onto the work surface and a great big hole in the side of the bottle. With only three seconds to spare on the timer. It was only then my hindsight voice kicked in. “Oh! I probably should’ve left the lid off, too much pressure”.

After settling the cats and hubbies nerves I explained what I had done. Much to his exasperation. After all the action of the milk explosion we were both full of adrenaline and then spent the next hour both wide awake.

Until next time…

Mummuddlingthrough
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A look inside my crazy mind

My brain is literally always on thought overload and I find blogging a great way to download some of those thoughts. After all, it’s selfish not to share! Here’s a look inside my crazy mind.

Do you ever have those moments where your thoughts go into overdrive? Not because you have a lot on your mind or you are stressed or under pressure. Just random thoughts that come all at once. Like a Duracell bunny on speed on a 100mph motorbike whizzing around your mind thinking about everything and anything.

No idea what I’m talking about? Let me paint you a picture. Myself and hubs are walking around central London, when I asked him what he was thinking. “Nothing” he replies. Nothing!!! So I explain to him EXACTLY what I’m thinking.

A running commentary of my thoughts if you will, for just a few moments as we walk down the busy London street through the lunchtime rush on a weekday.

And as Run DMC would say, now it goes a lil something like this…..

“Oooh I love that woman’s outfit, she’s bang on trend but she doesn’t look like she’s tried too hard, what the….what the fuck is that girl wearing! Why is everyone is such a rush?! How do people relax here!? Oooh look at those boulders,that’s a nice sculpture. Wooooow that building looks pretty impressive, I love the way the architecture differs so much down here. Oh god a homeless man, shall I talk to him? Why is he homeless? When did he last eat? Is he really homeless? Why is he holding a saying saying he had no food? Do the coffee shops here not have those honorary sandwiches and coffees that people have paid for? Why isn’t he getting one of those? Why are the pavements changing so much? They’re made of so many different things it’s disorientating.”

After blurting this out to hubs at the same speed it entered my mind, I expected him to run scared in the other direction. Thankfully he didn’t and we are still happily married.

It has left me questioning however if my thoughts and mind are somewhat unique or if there are other perfectly sane individuals out there with the same over active thoughts. Keeping them silently entertained each day. We know hubs mind is full of…nothing?! How does your mind operate?

overthinking, crazy, thought overload, crazy mind

Until next time……

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A belly full of nothing but a heart full of warmth. 

 A belly full of nothing, but a heart full of warmth I feel quite aptly describes how I felt returning to work after having George. The feeling most mums feel when they return to work can vary. For me it didn’t feel right. It went against my instincts and literally speaking I felt empty.

First full day back at work and the feeling in my belly is like emptiness. It doesn’t matter how much I’ve eaten or drank today, the emptiness is still there. And it’s not an emptiness I can fill because what I’m missing is my little boy. Not only is it my first full day back at work, it’s also his first long day at nursery.

We have done settle in days of two to three hours at different times of the day but today is the full shebang. And no matter how much I know it’s good for him and it will help mould him into a better person and prepare him for his life ahead at school blah blah blah, none of that fills the empty gap inside me. The gap that is usually dancing around, singing a variety of nursery rhymes and pulling silly faces, with a gorgeous little man, his own unique smell, tugging at my leg and demanding what he wants in his own little way.

My method at the start of the day was to pretend that me and this little man hadn’t become a part of each other’s lives. The less I thought about him, the easier and more pain free it was. But as the reality sunk in then suddenly this little man popped back into my head. I couldn’t eat and go out for walks when I wanted as I was now restricted to this structured day.

Then I found myself dialing the nursery to check up on him. Something which I justified by the fact that I always call to check if my cats are ok in the cattery on holiday so why would I not call to check my baby is ok in nursery!?

Hearing that he had been crying intermittently but was now napping was reassuring for me but my mind was now on him. I couldn’t concentrate fully. My imagination was playing ball and reading stories and blowing bubbles. Yet here I was in an office catching up on the last years standard operating procedure updates. Getting my qualifications back up to par.

As all my fellow mummies had reassured me, i did survive the day. I even managed to get through my new three day week without shedding a tear. My gorgeous man presented me with his first painting and a hug with lots of kisses.

I am yet to be convinced that I need this apparently fabulous thing they call “mummy time”. Unless i am misunderstanding, my perfect “mummy time” would be time spent being a mummy.

Until next time……

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Motherhood:Welcome to the jungle! We’ve got fun & games. 

Motherhood! As Guns and Roses described it so aptly, “Welcome to the jungle! we’ve got fun and games!”

It’s like having a very nervous, dependant, excitable and energetic puppy dog for some of the time and a very old, wise, independent yet loves his cuddles cat the rest. Speaking from an animal lovers perspective of course.

Throw in the occasional moments of your typical cheeky monkey that pees in your direction and throws his banana skin at you, mixed in with the obligatory goldfish that likes to suck your finger.

As you watch them grow you’ll find they begin to develop into a squawking, mimicking parrot with the temper of a chimpanzee who just wants his food and will bang his fists on the table to demand it then promptly nibble it and throw it at you if they’re not filling their cheeks full of it in true hamster fashion.

Followed by the beautiful moments they begin to emerge as a worm, wriggling across the floor, with the odd meerkat moment up on their knees and then one day they just walk across the room to you nonchalantly like it’s something they have done all their life!

Then there’s bath times. You’ll either get a cross between a dolphin, confidently flipping and flapping around without a care for how much water covers their face. Then there’s the occasions when your confident dolphin decides to be an extremely rigid and determined not to get clean moggy who will do anything in its power to avoid having that water touch them.

If you ever want a small inkling of the honest trials of motherhood just imagine you are in the zoo. As much as you’ll enjoy watching these creatures in their habitats and observing their behaviour, you’ll sympathise with the zoo keeper for the marvellous job they do at just keeping the animals clean, fed, watered and happy.

Until next time……

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How not to end a Holiday

This post will make you think twice about rushing around in a hurry. Our lives are so busy these days, but trust me, you can make your life so much more difficult in just a few seconds. Read more to find out how a holiday to Scotland became memorable for all the wrong reasons.

So it all started with a memorable (maybe for all the wrong reasons) but  lovely family holiday to Scotland to celebrate my mums 70th birthday. She’s not an old dear mind you, so do not by any means start conjuring up images of a decrepit old lady. Oh no! My mum has been likened to giving Helen Mirren a run for her money. Faux leather waterfall jacket and denim jeans and all.

The week had a few surprises, most of them nice and most of them for my mum. However, unfortunately, the last surprise of the week was going to be for me. To cut a rather long and painful story short I’ll break it down into one word descriptions. Packing, spillage, slipped, fell, arm, numb, crying, A&E, X-ray, pain, bruising and then we arrived back in England.

On the advice of the A&E department in Scotland, I kept my arm moving over the course of the next week, possibly too much. 8 days later the elbow began, rather unpleasantly, popping in and out of the socket. One trip to the GP surgery, one referral to my local A&E, one more set of X-Rays, one week with my arm in a sling and one follow up appointment at fracture clinic later and I found myself as an inpatient on an orthopaedic ward awaiting a place in theatre!

This was now 18 days after my fall. One overnight stay and a 9 hour fast later, the consultant decided he couldn’t fit me in that day and sent me home to return two days later.

Finally, 21 days after my fall, I was anaesthetised and wheeled into theatre where the consultant and his happy team were able to manipulate my elbow back into place and send me on my merry way with no more than a few cannula bruises and a feeling that I need to not rush about in future.

holiday

Until hopefully NOT next time….

Have you ever sustained an injury that brings home just how fragile we are?

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Baby led weaning… George style 

This post is all about our experience at the early days of baby led weaning, although we didn’t use this method from the start and it wasn’t an exclusive method for us.

[edit: since writing this post, back in the day, I have since realised that we wasn’t very good at baby led weaning at all. So if you would like to read a post about an exasperated mothers comical attempts at getting her baby to wean then this post is for you. However, if you want a comprehensive guide on how to do baby led weaning then I suggest you keep on scrolling because you won’t find that here]

After a week of suddenly refusing food, I was starting to think our Gorgeous George had become the first 9 month old to develop an eating disorder! I had tried every trick in the book. Although none of these tricks came to me from a book but rather from well wishing friends and family and facebookers.

He had suddenly turned from a one and a half pouch per meal kinda baby to a “you’ll be lucky if you get that spoon past my lips 5 times mummy” kinda baby. His milk intake was gradually increasing in frequency again and I was starting to fill with dread.

We’ve breastfed exclusively more or less for the last 9 months but this past week of having my nipple yanked and laughed at had completely made me wanna jack the whole thing in. So off I went to the local supermarket and guiltily picked up my first tin of follow on formula. There’s no reason to feel guilty and I would by no means recommend inflicting these feelings upon yourself but ever since I became a mum I constantly challenge myself for not being able to do right for doing wrong. Something I have discovered is normal Mummy behaviour, (whatever that is).

So overall we were in a pretty unhappy house with me wondering why on earth George wouldn’t let me feed him! He was holding his own spoon, he had plenty of high chair entertainment. His high chair did a tour of our small house to see if maybe he wanted to watch tele, look out the window, watch the washing machine, listen to the radio, anything to distract him whilst I slipped some yummy spoonfuls of the latest Ella’s kitchen past his lips. We were also trying a mix of baby led weaning and from near on 6 months old had been giving him little bits to chomp on. All of which scared the hell out of me. He was happy to pick them up and put them in his mouth but any swallowing of lumps was out of the question and he soon became a master at gagging.

It was only when my sister observed me giving him milk on demand not more than an hour before his “dinnertime” that she suggested when he asks for milk I give him food and give him the milk after. A fresh pair of eyes she called it. I  couldn’t believe I’d been tearing my hair out when the answer was staring me in the face.

The reality is that is doesn’t actually matter. As long as he is exploring different foods and textures, it’s not like we’ll still be spooning prunes, pumpkins and pear pouches into his mouth at 18 years old.

“But the pouch says from 7 months so he should be eating it surely! Why won’t he eat it?”

My poor exhausted mummy mind cries out whilst I give him the spoon to the tune of “George do it” and get showered in Lancashire hot pot before he smugly puts the empty spoon in his mouth.  His willingness to eat is slowly improving and his desire to explore new foods is extending to grabbing food off my plate. I even caught him eagerly tasting the cats biscuits today. It makes a change from tipping the bowls upside down and playing them like bongos.

He also quite enjoys sucking on the shoe of our latest visitor or testing out his two lovely bottom teeth by biting my big toe. He was even eyeing up my mum’s coal in the unused fire the other day, with me having to point out not to touch it, whilst my step dad pointed out not to worry because they all ate coal when he was little! The child has the bizarre cravings of a pregnant woman!

For now I will continue to offer him a variety, and persevere as many fellow mummies have highlighted to me “food before one is just for fun”. Don’t tell George though. Baby led weaning, it’s a George thing, or not.

Until next time….

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