A hug for the past

3 children, several years and many tears has me stumbling upon my old words.

I am hit with the need to hug the mother of that baby 6 years ago.  The mother with PND who fought and fought and eventually made it out of the storm.  She did not like herself.  She did not appreciate her talents and she felt nothing but shame.

I want to tell her that things will get better, then worse again, then better again, and then happiness will be all consuming.  That she will have more children, that with three wonderful daughters she will be blessed beyond her wildest dreams.

I want to tell her that each pregnancy will take her on a journey, and each destination will be wonderful.  That, yes, there will be bumps in the road, but ultimately, she will reach her destination and happiness is as good as she hoped.

I want to hold her and take away her feelings of shame and embarrassment. To tell her that she never needed them.  That she is loved and she is safe and she always has been. To praise her, to point out all the wonderful things she has achieved.  I want to adorn her with garlands and celebrate her as the goddess that she is.  To succeed at all she has, with the weight she had upon her, is remarkable and worthy of praise.  I want to tell her that SHE is worthy of praise.

I want her to know that it’s OK.  No just that it will be OK, but that it is OK.

I want to tell her to stop comparing herself to others.  To stop wishing time would stop. To stop fearing others thoughts.  Others do not control her, they do not own her happiness, and, quite frankly, no one was ever judging her the way she felt they were anyway.  The shame was not needed.

And yet, she is me.  And that shame is back.


Switching off and Logging out. 

The era of technology has taken over.

And I’m fighting back. 

Before I start this post, it needs an explanation, a disclaimer perhaps.  

The TV is on in our house pretty much all day, and it’s rare that I don’t have a phone or ipad in my hand.  Even at the dinner table. I know far, far too much about the residents of Adventure Bay (canine or otherwise), and can identify each of My Little Ponies by their cutie marks alone. 

I basically suck at being with my children without technology. 

But, the increasing anger of my 3.5 year old is concerning me. And my observations show that she gets the most angry when she, or I, are plugged in. 

So we are going off grid. A bit. Just a tiny bit. In fact not off grid at all really.  Just switching stuff off for a bit. 

We’ve always done ‘stuff’ as well as watch TV, but it’s usually been on in the background.  This week it hasn’t.  

In the middle of the day my phone is put in another room and the TV is turned off and I engage Mummy mode.  Full mummy mode. I mean obviously, I’m always a Mummy, but I’m usually a wife, teacher, friend, person in my own right at the same time. 

It’s about being in the moment. Whatever I’m doing, I’m going to give it my full attention.  Be that playing a game with the big one, singing songs with the little one or having a conversation with my husband.  I’m going to be in that moment, and only in that moment.  

It’s early days, the moments are short.  But they are increasing. 

And, do you know what?  It’s bloody hard work! But do you know what else?  I’m enjoying it. More importantly, so are my children.  Tensions with my eldest are lessening.  I’m shouting less. So is she. 

“Mummy, it’s been a lovely day.  Thank you” 

So, the experiment continues.  Can we get our TV viewing down to once or twice a week? Probably not. I need it.  Paw Patrol allows me to wash up and Ben and Holly provide a chance to make dinner. But can we stop watching TV when we could be doing other things together? I hope so. 

Parental confessions that few will admit to….

I pretend to be asleep so that my partner has to deal with the baby. 

If I just close my eyes and slow down my breathing then maybe he’ll do his get up.  If I turn the phone face down on the bed he won’t notice I’ve just been on texting and he’ll think I’m still asleep.  

I pretend I didn’t notice the dirty nappy. 

Because I did the last one.  Yes, it stinks.  It’s full to bursting and clearly needs changing.  But I will ignore it until Daddy enters the room.  When he comments on the nappy I shall look surprised and say “oh yes, I think you’re right.” 

I want to wake my sleeping baby for a cuddle, or because I know breastfeeding will help me sleep.

I miss her.  Even when she’s near me.  It’s 2am and I’ve woken suddenly? Time to wake little one, I want a cuddle. It’s 2am and I can’t sleep? Time to wake little one. The breastfeeding hormones will send me back to sleep. 

I hide in the toilet to play candy crush. 

I just want a moment.  Just a moment.  I’ve been stuck on this stupid level for weeks and I just know I’ll beat it if I have a moment to myself. 

I actually really enjoy Bing Bunny. 

Flop is ace, Pando is annoying and Charlie is cute.  

Mr Bloom is hot. Fact. 

I won’t make inappropriate jokes about sowing seeds and getting dirty in the garden, but .. Yum. 

I eat cake quickly so I don’t have to share it.

I eat it quickly and I eat too much of it.  

I wee with the door open.

For several reasons.  I do, of course, want to hear where the toddler is. But I’d also like her to start to understand toilets. I *may* have even weed in the potty before so as to demonstrate how it works.  And if my partner walks upstairs? Well, he’s seen childbirth, there is nothing left now. 

CBeebies is amazing childcare

Just to give me some time to sit.  I won’t even pretend it’s so I can do with washing up.  It’s not.  It’s so I can sit. 

Sometimes, just ever so rarely, I remember my life pre toddler and think how much easier things were back then. 

Then I look at my daughter, and I remember, it was emptier then too. 

To the mums I met before I was one. I’m sorry.

Some things in life you will not understand until you have experienced them. Parenthood is top of that list. There is much I have said, or thought, before my daughter was born, that I am totally ashamed of now. To all those who embarked on the motherhood journey before me, I am sorry.

I am sorry for asking you “does she sleep through the night?”
I know now this was wrong. Not only wrong, but frustrating, inflammatory and down right none of my business. To start with, sleeping through means different things to different people, secondly, babies aren’t supposed to sleep through, and finally, my question set you up to criticise your child. I should never have asked you this. I am truly sorry.

I am sorry for tutting at your bed sharing.
I confess, I thought you were odd still sharing a bed with your daughter when she was nearly 2. I couldn’t understand why you didn’t want your space, or why you were not forcing independence on her. I realise now that being independent comes only after being dependant.

I am sorry for asking “how long are you going to do that for?” when you breastfed your six week old.
I really didn’t mean to judge, I just didn’t know. I didn’t know the bond created when you nourish your child. I didn’t know then, that the NHS recommends breastfeeding exclusively until six months. I had no idea that the World Health Organisation suggests breastfeeding alongside food to two years ‘and beyond’. I know now, now I preach what I once misunderstood. I am sorry.

I am sorry for judging your lack of “discipline”.
I had been fooled by TV personalities who taught me how to “tame” toddlers, (as if they were wild animals and not children). I had been misled and I believed that you were spoiling your child when you did not sit them on the naughty step, or leave them to cry. I know now I was wrong to judge. Yes it works for some, but not for you, and, turns out, not for me either.

I am sorry for thinking you were boring for talking about your baby all the time.
I am now more boring that you could ever be. And I am not sorry for that. But I am sorry that I didn’t understand your desire to share your pride, and I am sorry for not listening.

I am sorry for the sleep and behavioural “tips” I offered unsolicited when we met in the street.
I was a back seat parent. So much worse than the back seat driver. It was none of my business, I had no experience, I had no attachment. Yet I thought myself an expert. Thank you for not punching me.

I am sorry. I had no clue. I didn’t understand.

How true it is that you should never judge a person before you have walked a mile in their shoes.

Parenthood is one hell of a mile.

Breastfeed on, and stop pressing share.

NF, JC and the like do not need or deserve our time of day. Their opinions on breastfeeding are neither educated nor relevant to my life. What they are however, are dangerous and inflamitory.

Every time a public figure, (even those as ridiculous as NF) comments on breastfeeding, a vulnerable new mum is led to believe that it is OK to question and judge her parenting choices. It is not.

Yes, the London restaurant in question here made a big error, but so have we. By constantly discussing and quoting the celebrities and politicians we are giving these people and places more publicity, when we should instead be praising the many many wonderful places that support Mums, (however they feed their children.). I support a woman’s right to protest. I support a woman’s right to choose how to feed their baby. I do not support the use of discussing feeding for political agenda or publicity.

Breastfeeding is hard work, it is difficult and and exhausting. It is also best for baby and recommended by the World Health Organisation to two years and beyond. It is a a wonderful experience for mother and baby and it has innumerable health benefits. But, at its simplest, it is feeding a baby. For some reason, there are people in the public eye, (and out of the public eye) who feel the need to comment on this. Ignore them. They have nothing else to talk about, and, worse still, they are using their comments on this simple act as a way to get attention, publicity and potentially, your vote.

Do not give them your time. Let’s stop sharing. Stop commenting and stop liking.

Just feed. And if someone doesn’t like it, well that’s too bad. You have a legal right to do so.

End of.

I’m back- and this time it’s personal.

Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you when you think everything’s OK. (According to Alanis Morisette that is). In my case happiness had a funny way of sneaking up on me when I felt I’d never see it again. In fact, I’ve been so busy just living, that I’ve been neglecting this blog and currently have no less than 10 posts that I have started and not finished.

Winter is well and truly here and I have promised myself time to write. I hope I hold myself to this promise.

The next few weeks should see posts about…
Breastfeeding (no surprises there)
My mum
Tongue tie
The arts and education

Glad to be back. 🙂

Night time musings of the parent of a toddler…

It’s 3am and the toddler has been tossing and turning, feeding and cuddling, crying and snuggling for two hours already. The thoughts a parent experiences at this point as they try to get back to sleep;

Justin’s house, la la la la la la la, Justin’s house, la la la la la la, everybody’s welcome here in Justin’s house.

Who would win in a fight between the Octonauts and the Little Robots? I guess this depends on where the fight took place. Why would they be fighting anyway?

Ow, my arm, what do I do with them normally while I sleep? Surely they aren’t always this uncomfortable?!

I love you darling, but do you have to use my head as a pillow?

Justin’s house, Justin’s house. Arghhhhh I need to get that song out of my head.

What now? More milk? Really? I bet you need a new nappy, how long until Daddy wakes up and offers to change you?

Oh well, at least with being awake this much at night you are sure to have a lie in and I can get on with jobs before you wake.

If I go to sleep now I’d get a couple of hours before the alarm goes off.

Dusting for Justin, arghhhh that wasn’t what I meant. I didn’t want to replace one song with another!

Jobs for tomorrow, (well I guess technically it’s today), washing, washing up, sort through ironing, Toddler group, shopping, school work and planning…

You really do need a new nappy don’t you? But you are finally asleep and I don’t want to wake you.

You’re asleep! My turn, now why can’t I sleep?

Fingers tapping, Chuggington, chugger chugger chugger chugger Chuggington.

If I go to sleep now I’ll get an hour before the alarm goes off.

Yes! Daddy is up, nappy change for you, bad Mummy, I should have done that already.

If I go to sleep now I’ll get…

Beep beep beep