This is a post dedicated to my gorgeous, headstrong and beautiful son.
Dearest baby boy,
It seems that I have blinked, and you are no longer my red faced, tiny newborn. You are now three years old and boy, what a ride the last three years have been.
It’s the strangest, most wonderful ride that I’ve ever had the opportunity to join. You made me a mother, and I am so grateful for you. I am grateful for the smiles and the struggles. You have defined me as a person.
The day you were born and placed on my chest, life as I knew it changed forever. Instead of only having to look after myself, I was given a new job to keep you safe, happy and away from harm.
Did I ever tell you that the favourite part of my day for the last three years has been waking up to your perfect face? I may have moaned that the moon is still full, and that my mummy head was tired, but my god, the years are short. I used to gaze into your eyes during a night feed, hearing those loud suckles and smelling that sweet smell of milky urine. (I know it’s weird to enjoy the smell of wee, but hey ho. It was your smell.) I used to lay away, listening to those little grunts, squeals and yawns. Now, I lay awake waiting for you to call out my name so that I can come and stroke your little head and make those nasty night terrors go away. You are always safe with me.
Instead of pooping and peeing in your little baby nappies, you do your business on a potty. The last bit of my baby boy is slipping away, and your big boy pants signify that you are now so independent. Soon, I’ll be writing posts about buying your first school uniform and shoes. The years are short.
Instead of taking you out in your buggy for some fresh air, we are wearing our wellies and splashing in puddles together. The buggy is now redundant, living in the car boot, waiting to be given to someone else that could make use of it. The years are short.
Instead of porridge loaded air plane spoons, you are eating crunchy nut and coco pops without my help. You are eating marmite on toast, and requesting snacks at every given moment. The years are short.
Instead of cooing and gurgling, you are chattering away about Thomas the tank engine and Lego and anything else that captures your imagination. When I tell you that I love you, it is almost always responded with a “I love you too, Mummy.” I could cry every single time that you tell me you love me. My heart is full with so much love, that I could float up to heaven. The years are short.
Instead of trying to crawl away from me and finding everything else more interesting, you request cuddles from me. You throw your arms around my neck and give me the biggest hug in the world. Nothing can touch us in that moment. We are one again. The years are short.
When you’re poorly now, you can tell me where it hurts. My cuddles soothe you and you can sit and love on me until you feel better. You’re so brave. You give me strength.
I secretly love it when you creep into my arms in the middle of the night. I know I should put you back into your bed, but nothing beats sleepy cuddles with you. Just five more minutes.
I adore it when you start the day with a; “Morning, Mummy! Did you have a nice sleep? Can I have a cuddle and some breakfast?” You make my heart sing. The years are short.
And now you are three. I can’t wait to see what the days have in store for us until you’re four. You are my angel, my life and my world. I love you more than anyone could love anything else. Thank you for being you.
Forever and always,
Your Mummy xxx
When you become a mother, everything changes and continues to change.
This same rule applies to the people in your life. There are people Pre-Baby that I thought would stay with me forever… But they didn’t. They became disinterested in me either when
1. I stopped being available to go drinking because I was pregnant/too tired/ I had a baby that needed me.
2. Said baby became a lot more mobile and sticky and less interesting.
Sometimes, I sit and have a think about all of the purple I surrounded myself with before I became a mother. That more than halved when the baby came along, and has depleted ever since. And that’s ok.
It’s just such a shame that after three years, these people continue to leave my life. But it’s not just me that I have to concentrate on anymore. Watching N develop relationships with special people in his life and watching them have better things to do is more than aggravating. It’s fucking heart wrenching.
My child at nearly three years of age shouldn’t be dealing with people ‘just coming and going’. It’s my responsibility as his mum to protect him against timewasters and users until he’s old enough to do it for himself.
You see, as a parent, you have to look out for every aspect of your child’s PIES. Their physical, intellectual, emotional and social wellbeing, until they are at such an age to be able to do so independently.
That’s the sad bit over with.
The friends that stayed, are the ones worth more than just a mention. The ones that we see bi-daily or weekly are the ones that matter. The ones that love and care for your child the way you do is enough to bring you to your knees at times. The ones that know when you’re struggling, so they come and make you a cup of tea and do the dishes for you without asking? They’re the ones that matter.
And these friends are the ones that will stay with you forever. I mean, anyone that has seen you sleep deprived, in need of a wash and an emotional wreck are keepers. And you don’t need many of them. These people become family. Your child’s unofficial aunties and uncles.
And then there’s the equally important friends that send you a message to check in with you, the friends that go off on their merry way but you can just pick up where you left off with them, friends. They’re so important. I love hearing about all their different travels and lifestyles, and they seem enthusiastic enough about my #mumlife tales. They’re fucking wicked.
We all have those special few friends, and it’s important to let them know how much they truly mean to you.
At risk of sounding cringey and ridiculous… I wouldn’t have gotten through some incredibly shitty times without those special few people. I really wouldn’t. The real way to tell if someone is a true friend is to know whether they’d come to you and 3am if you called them.
And I’m lucky enough to have more than a few of them.
My son was little under 8 months old when my maternity leave was up and it was time to return to work. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was looking for, but when I saw a nursery near to my workplace, I just knew it was ‘the one’. I suppose in a weird, non related kind of way, finding the right place for your child is like finding the ‘dress’ for your wedding, or the ‘perfect’ house. Some people, however, still think of child care placements as an inferior option to the child staying at home with a family member, or that it’s completely unthinkable for you to even think about returning to work at all. Whether or not a mother is confident or uncertain about her decision to pop her baby into childcare, here’s 10 things that she doesn’t need to hear.
1. Are they registered? This seemingly innocuous question is accusatory on two levels. First of all, some families cannot afford registered childcare, which is not ideal. But let’s not pretend like our country has ever prioritised affordable childcare… So, unless you’re prepared to follow up such a ridiculous question with “here, I’d LOVE to give you £1000 a month to afford somewhere registered” I’d suggest that you keep your mouth shut, because you’re going out of your way to be a parent-shaming arsehole. Not only that, you make it sound like we’re just letting our kids take crystal meth with the local drug dealer.
2. “People are so materialistic these days. With just a bit of budget-balancing, you wouldn’t need childcare.” Usually, this sort of insult comes from the over 50s, where “back in their day” the Dad worked and the Mum did the childcare. This is insulting on two levels;1. This is 2017, not 1917. Daddy doesn’t earn enough to keep us all going. 2. I fucking budget enough as it is. I’m not sure how cutting out a can of coke here and there is going to stop me from having to work. Also, it’s not selfish for a working mother to be able to spend some of her own hard earned cash here and there on a box of hair dye, or a night out with the girls, and anyone who assumes otherwise is just a wanker and you don’t need that sort of negativity.
3. “Did you hear about that little girl who died at nursery?” It’s true. It happens. Whether it’s due to a freak accident or neglect, children have died at nursery… But they’ve also died at home with their parents. There is absolutely no way to 100% guarantee a child’s safety. (Especially if they’re as feral and adventurous as mine!). Parents, by nature are hard wired to worry about the safety of their children. So, just as it’s awful to talk about a huge plane crash to someone who’s about to fly to another country, it’s also just as unkind to stir up images of harmed children in the mind of a parent. Just don’t do it.
4. “I’d be so afraid of missing out on an important milestone of my kid’s life”When you begin a parenting-related sentence with “I’d be” or “I could never…” then the chances are you’re on the train to sanctimonious city. Yes, with a child care setting, you might miss the first official OMG moment… but if the parent didn’t witness it, or it wasn’t caught on camera, did it really happen?! N’s nursery staff definitely witnessed a couple of milestones before I did, but it wasn’t delivered to me with a tone of shame, but instead a tone of excitement; “N showed us all his amazing crawling today! Can’t wait for you to see it too!” A little, tiny bit gutting but it’s great to share the excitement and joy with someone else too!
5. How many children are actually in this child care setting? This question may be asked in perfect innocence, but the odds are that the parent you’re asking this to will hear “you’re ok with letting your kid get lost in amongst the zoo of children that are already there?” All registered child care placements have allocated people with a safe amount of children.
6. “8 hours is a long time to leave your kid with some stranger. Your life must be so much easier!” I’ve yet to meet another mother, even the most privileged ones that don’t have a really hectic life. Unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury of choosing my working hours. Yes, 8 hours is an extremely long time to be away from me, but I have to work. You might find me on a rare “day off” (where I’m sick, or in the half term) that I have a few hours to myself, but I don’t need to be punished for that. Fucking hell, I work enough hours to spend a few having a cup of tea and watching Jeremy Kyle in peace.
7. “It’ll be interesting to see how much it changes him.”This to me, is a strange and ominous observation. Couldn’t you argue that any difference changes a baby? From new toys, clothes, destinations etc. It also implies that by handing your kid over to a childcare provider, you’ll get a different one back. One that is not yours, and one that is much less loveable. The biggest ‘changes’ in N since he started childcare is that he brought home more germs… germs that can actually be acquired anywhere, and that will (god willing) make his immune system stronger in the long haul. He came home with more food on his clothes, which happens on the hour at my house, and it means he was being fed! And the most important change that I witnessed was his social skills. They were so strong. He loves other kids and is rarely shy with them. He might get his tummy out and parade himself like a tiny little peacock, but I think it’s just great. I never once thought “holy shit, what is this horrible little thing that I’ve brought home?!”
8. “Why even have kids if you’re just going to put them in childcare?!”A personal favourite of mine(!). Indeed, why get married if you don’t spend every waking minute staring into your spouses eyes? Why buy a house if you’re just going to go outside? Why get a pet if you’re just going to leave it at home for a spare minute? I’ll tell you why. Because we all have lives that divide and demand our attention. Modelling a balanced life for a child, whilst opening up a world of people that will love and care about isn’t exactly abandonment. Generally, anyone that says this, has been extremely fortunate in life, and has enough income and sanity to spend every waking minute with CBeebies on in the background or they’re childless. I mean the childless folk aren’t really in the same league as us parents. Until they pop out some kids of their own, their opinions don’t count, and they will do well to keep them to themselves until they’ve had a Thomas the tank engine toy thrown at their head.
All I know is that, childcare providers, as pricey as they are have been nothing but great for my family. They have aided me in this journey. They helped me through the teething, they helped him to drink from a cup and to use cutlery. They gave me a hug when I cried about him crying and leaving me. They sent me messages of encouragement when I was racked with guilt about leaving him. They were fantastic. N is now with a childminder. Something a lot different to what he was used to at the nursery. She is also fantastic. He loves going to her house and having more of the attention on him. He has friends that I’ve found hard to provide him with since having anxiety and a hectic work schedule. I am able to work and make a difference to children’s lives because these people have been there to look after mine. I am forever grateful.
I've been blogging for quite a while now, and it seems there's been a bit of interest in my birth story. I'm not sure how or why I'm about to tell you how I pushed a human being out of my vagina, but here we are. So, buckle up, we're about to get personal!
I've touched on how hideous my pregnancy was. In the last 10 weeks, I was admitted to FMAU (fetal maternal assessment unit) with reduced movements from the baby. It was decided that I would be induced at 38+3.
Now, it was actually quite handy to know that once we'd leave for the hospital, that we would be for sure coming home with a small person. Daddy and I were able to clean the house from top to bottom and make sure that everything was prepared for us to step over the threshold as a family of three. Blah blah boring, I know. You're all waiting for the juicy bit!
On Monday the 16th of February, I had to prepare myself for induction. For those that aren't familiar with the procedure, it's basically where a midwife shoves her whole arm (okay, I'm exaggerating!) up your fanny to place what can only be described as a small, hormone filled tampon behind your cervix to try and get it to open and ready for labour.
Things started to happen, and it was all very exciting and slightly uncomfortable. But, that's as far as it went with that part of the induction. The pains were irregular and not actually that painful looking back on it. All it did was make me quite cross and sweary. I couldn't sleep, so naturally, I didn't let Daddy sleep either. We spent that first night just wandering the corridors of the maternity unit whilst I moaned how fat I was and how unimpressed that there wasn't a baby here already.
After a night of no sleep and with me becoming increasingly more sweary, the lovely midwives of Exeter decided to break my waters for me and stick me on a drip of pitocin. This is where it all became very painful. The pitocin had me from 0-100 in about twenty minutes. I swore at a (probably very lovely) student nurse who questioned my sky high contraction chart, and asked if I was actually having a contraction. Apparently the student nurses that I said were allowed in pre-pitocin were caught on the end of my labour fuelled rage… and I didn't see much of them after that. I feel a bit bad for that, but I can't apologise for what happened during childbirth. I had lost my inhibitions.
During labour, I mooed like a cow, I cried for my mum, I told Daddy to fuck off… then to immediately come back. I wanted to bounce on the ball, I hated the ball. The list was endless. I was a mess. That shit is not for the feint hearted. Anyway, after about two hours on the gas and air (great stuff by the way), I needed something a bit stronger.
About ten seconds after having a pethidine injection, I begged for an epidural. Now, here's where I made my fatal error. Understandably by the time the anaesthetists got to me, the morphine was beginning to take effect. I felt like I had drank about 3 bottles of wine and couldn't sit up right (which is really important to do!) for the needle to go into my back. I remember people talking to me but I couldn't hear what they were saying, and it sounded like my ears were under water.
The midwives managed to lie me back and I had lost the ability to talk and to even open my eyes. Just before I went into a big pissed up sleep, I heard the midwife say "yep, she's gone" and I immediately thought I was dead and having an out of body experience. Obviously this was just the drugs that had sent me off. The next eight or nine hours were just filled with me sleeping and waking up to vomit.
I never imagined the worst part of labour to be the sickness. I had all sorts of anti sickness but just I was still pregnant after all, and instead of it being a bloodbath, it was just filled with my vomit. If N hadn't arrived when he had, I can almost be certain that I would have puked up a kidney.
After the morphine wore off, the epidural did too, and it was time to push at midnight. I can't really tell you what pushing an 8 pound baby out of your foof is like, but I can tell you it is only slightly like taking the biggest shit of your life. I pushed so hard I was sick. I pushed so hard that afterwards, my anus 100% looked like a bowl of grapes. I didn't believe the midwives or daddy when they said that the baby was coming. I was in complete denial until I put my hand down and felt a head between my legs. A very strange and scary feeling.
I demanded gaviscon of all things whilst I was pushing. I refused to push anymore until I had some. Apparently, birthing a baby's head can make you request some strange, strange things. I got my gaviscon, gave a few more pushes and out popped baby N at 12.59am on Wednesday the 18th of February.
He did some damage on the way out, with a nice second degree tear and a lot of 'grazing'. I was back on the gas and air whilst the lovely midwives stitched me up and then whisked off to the maternity ward.
Now, why was the epidural the fatal error, I hear you ask? Where I couldn't sit up straight not only affected the effectiveness of it, but has caused permanent nerve damage and it still very tedious to this day. I 'put my back out' several times a year and now have sciatica as a result of it.
If and when I have another little one, if I can help it, I would try and avoid induction and an epidural. I am pleased with how my labour went, and how it went without any hitches. I have heard many horror stories from my friends and othe brave ladies but I am so happy to report that through out the pain and the swearing, it was such an intimate experience for me and Daddy… But next time, I'd really like to not have a mind block from the drugs.
I suppose that since I’ve had such a terrible night sleeper for two years, that I often felt a bit gloaty about the fact that I knew I’d have 2 glorious hours the next day to catch up on some Z’s. “we’re usually up a few times in the night, but he loves his afternoon nap!” I’d tell my friends.
On my days off, I usually count the hours down until nap time… until about a fortnight ago, where N decided he absolutely, categorically, 100% was just NOT TIRED. Picture this; I’d put N down to bed, creep into my room, close the curtains and just as my sleep deprived head hit the pillow… N would screech at the top of his little lungs; “MUUUUUUMY!! DRINK! DOWNSTAIRS!!!” And I’d die a little bit more inside.
Today, N insisted that he wanted to go to bed at 10.30 this morning. I’ve quickly learned that he doesn’t actually want to go to sleep, no sir. He wants his dummy. Bed is the only place where the dummy is allowed these days (excluding the huge embarrassing public meltdowns where it’s used as a last resort).
You see, naps are great. I fucking love a nap, me. My whole life has been based around naps. If you asked me where my happy place is, then it’s in my bed. The only time I didn’t nap, was when (in the eyes of society) I was supposed to. When N was a newborn, he slept all the bloody time. I’m not sure why, in my sleep deprived state, that I chose the pissing washing up over a nap. I regret that now, and I’ve learned my lesson.
N might be ready to drop his naps, but I am not. Picture the crying face emoji, that’s me right now. I’m heartbroken that life as I know it to be is about to change once more. The only good thing about N dropping his nap is that I won’t have to wait to go out and do things, or have to worry about being back in time for his nap. 12pm is quite an unconvinient time to sleep, if I’m honest.
We are in the transition phase at the moment, and I keep trying to convince myself that this is just a phase, and he’ll go back to those lovely, long naps soon enough… but the realistic side of me knows that this is it. Another part of my baby is leaving me. And he’s now even more of a little person.
Pps- scientific research has shown that toddlers who have less than ten minutes sleep in the car, can add about another 10 hours awake time. These kids can run on fumes alone. (I lied, it wasn’t scientific research. But it is definitely true.)
Since becoming a mother two and a half years ago (well, shit. That’s gone fast!), I’ve been asked some pretty strange and personal questions. I’ve made the conscious decision to share some of them, and my replies. NB that some of these questions/comments have been left on my blog posts… so they are very real!
1. Do you actually have any kids?
Yes, yes I do. I’d be a pretty shit ‘mummy blogger’ if I didn’t have a kid to write about… I am the proud owner of a hilarious, headstrong two year old. His name is Noah (yes like the boat and the two by two thing…) moving on…
2. How do you find time to blog?
If I want to write about something, I’ll generally do it there and then. Currently, I’m sat on the toilet typing this. (Real life, right here!). It takes between 30 minutes and an hour to write one whole blog post. Dependent on N’s temperament and whether he’s asleep or not can be contributing factors on how quickly it takes for me to write.
3. How do you blog?
I use the WordPress app and do all of my blogging from my phone.
4. Do you actually like being a mum? You don’t deserve a kid
What sort of question is that? Of course I like being a mum! I love it! One can only assume that this question has come from someone with no children. In which case, I’m not sure why you’re looking at ‘Mummy blogs’ because that’s just fucking weird. My kid is a blessing.. but the sooner you learn that kids can be arseholes, the better. Come back in five years or so, when your kid is drawing biro all over your brand new corner sofa and tell me that they’re a pissing blessing, then. I love my son more than life itself, but if you’re telling me to embrace every tiny little detail of motherhood, then you are high off of your ass. I defy anyone to enjoy getting up every hour in the night (when the books promised that they’d be sleeping through by at least 10 months old) to get their toddler a drink and sing old McDonald sweetly into their ear until you’re a sobbing mess. Tell me that they’re a blessing then. Other parts are blessings. The cuddles in the bed, the exciting walks and adventures, the joy in hearing your name being called (only in the day time), the book reading (even if you have read it about 12 times in the last 5 minutes). He is a joy, but the life that comes with him sometimes isn’t. To say that someone doesn’t deserve a kid because they openly admit that kids can be dicks, is just a dickish move on your part. #cyahun
5. What do you do in your free time?
Usually, I clean my house. Toddlers are very good at making a mess. I generally spend my ‘days off’ cleaning and drinking (cold) tea. How an a small two bedroom house need cleaning all the time? Ask my son. He clearly has a “let’s piss Mummy off and get all of the mega blocks out again” schedule that he likes to stick to; along with a “she’s just hoovered, let’s stamp my cheddars into the carpet for bants” anywhere between 10am and 2pm. When N actually falls asleep in bed, you’ll find me vegetating on the sofa watching reruns of the walking dead trying not to fall asleep.
6. Did you breast/bottle feed?
If you don’t know the answer to that question, it’s probable that you don’t NEED to know. He was fed and fed is best.
7. How many cups of tea do you drink a day?
Around six cups a day… All with two sugars. My dentist is going to fliiiiiip his shit the next time he seees me.
8. Are you this outspoken in real life?
I like to think of my blogs as my own personal outlet. I write how I talk. So yes, I have a mouth like a sewer in real life. I can control it at work and generally in front of N (although I’m sure he said ‘shit’ when he dropped his cookie the other day…) well. I don’t tend to force my opinions down people’s throats unless they ask for it. A bit like this here blog post. I’ll post the link, and whoever wants to listen to me ramble on, will do just that.
9. Would you be financially better off if you didn’t work?
Unfortunately, it’s quite probable. Not working just isn’t an option for me. I love going to work. I’d like to tell you that working part-time is the best of both worlds. In a sense, it is… but I generally feel mum and work guilt through out the week. On a Monday, Thursday and Friday; I feel mum guilt. That I’m paying someone else to look after my kid whilst I go to work. I feel guilty that I’m missing out on these baby years that I won’t ever get back… and I get serious mum guilt that brings me to my knees when I have to leave N tearful at the door for me.
On a Tuesday and a Wednesday I feel work guilt. I feel like I should be at work doing something productive instead of watching the same episode of Peppa Pig all day. I feel work guilt that is sometimes rather be there than having to deal with a small person meltdown because I gave the wrong drink container. And I feel work guilt because I feel like I could go full time (if finances would allow it).
Sometimes, I feel that I cannot give 100% in either of my roles, which can be pretty dehabilitating.
10. When is number two on the way?
Not just yet. Again, finances won’t allow for another member of our family right away. Also, I’m not sure my sanity will take another pregnancy with a toddler. Kudos to those that can and have done it… I just don’t think we’re quite ready right now.