I know we’re a few days into July now but I’ve been living in the olden days in that time as hubby broke the Internet. Not in a Kim Kardashian way, but in a threw a toy car down the stairs and broke the router way. The fool. But anyways, last month I resolved to eat better, drink less wine and do more exercise. I can now officially announce that I have successfully achieved none of these things.
I think the food thing is all going wrong because I am too disorganized and on my work days I can’t be bothered making a big meal so end up throwing together a wee quick thing for the kids and picking at things for myself. I even had a packet of crisps for dinner one night. This month I’m going to try doing meal plans at the beginning of each week and preparing things in advance so it doesn’t seem such a chore when I get home. Hopefully this will help save a bit of money too as far too often I’m dropping into the local shop on the way home to pick up bits and bobs.
The drinking less wine thing is not going well. Mainly because I really like wine, and honestly I’m not sure life with three kids is even compatible with not unwinding with a few glasses of wine at the weekend so I’m over that one now.
(This may not have been my first glass!)
I actually went out for a run one time last month, only to remember how much I hate running. Why people choose to do it for fun is beyond me. I obviously had to follow through with the farce when I was out with all the running gear on, looking a right tool in sight of the real runners. Felt I was going to pass away more than once and it was the worst. Think I’m gonna try joining the gym this month.
So this month’s resolutions will be
- Making meal plans for a week at a time
- Saving money by not food shopping day to day
- Joining and then actually going to the gym
In other July news:
It is now my last full month of my twenties 😖
The biggest will have her very last day of primary school. She’s already mortified in advance that I’m going to show her up by bawling like an idiot at her school leavers assembly. She has her final school disco, or ‘prom’ as they now like to be known as apparently! Also this week she has a full day visit to her new high school. I am really nervous, she seems completely unphased by it.
The biggest little one (3) will have his visit to preschool in preparation for starting his preschool year in September. He has a new found love for Harry Potter at the moment which I’m taking as a massive parenting success.
The littlest continues to be a little fierce princess who will not settle for not getting things her own way. She has no fear at all and now there has been a recent increase in fighting between the toddlers there is never any doubt on who will come out on top. There will be absolutely no messing with this one.
Hope you have a great July, and we finally get some summer weather now!
Whilst toddlers can be the cutest, funniest and most loving things around they undoubtedly have moments when they turn into the most irritating wee creatures in existence. So I have compiled a list of what I believe are the ten most annoying things toddlers do (to their parents, never anyone else. It’s all part of their master plan)
- Not letting you turn your back on them for a moment without doing something ridiculous no matter what they are doing, no matter how safe you think it may be, the second you are not watching them they will move at lightening speed to leave a trail of chaos and destruction behind them. If you have left them in touching distance of anything they can use to help them on their evil mission (e.g. pens, make up, sudocream, to name but a few) you’re screwed. Do not trust these angel faced little monsters. Ever!
- Deciding they really need a poo at the most inconvenient times So you have somewhere you really need to be. You’re running late, rushing and sweaty. You have finally herded the kids to the car and are ready to go. You can literally guarantee the moment you turn the key in the ignition “mummy, I really need a poo”. Another popular option: you have just stepped into a lovely warm shower/ bath, enjoying the first moment of silence you have experienced all day, you close your eyes then hear a crashing at the door like you’ve suddenly become involved in a police raid. But it’s only a crazy little human body slamming the door before shrieking “mummy, I really need a poo” and obviously the downstairs toilet couldn’t possibly do!
- Turning a shopping trip into a thing of nightmares Once upon a time I would have said that I really enjoy shopping. Now the thought of shopping with toddlers strikes fear in my heart. I tried clothes shopping with them a few times but quickly remembered why it’s not even worth it. They are like animals. Running wild, trying to hide in rails of clothes and that’s before you even get to the changing room situation. As if it’s not bad enough that you’re trying to squeeze yourself into something that turns out to be one size too ambitious in the harsh and unforgiving changing room light, they will throw the door open at the most unfortunate moment exposing you in all your granny pants wearing glory in some kind of horrific yoga position trying to break free
- Having selective hearing Honestly if you ask them not to do something you will have to repeat yourself about 7 million times while they ignore you. You try and hide in the kitchen and open a sneaky wee chocolate biscuit and they are there like a shot. No problems hearing a wrapper rustling!
- Showing you up in front of other people Whether it’s acting like lunatics while shopping (see above), loudly making comments about random strangers, “mummy, why is that man so bald?” or just completely ignoring you, it’s like they try (and often succeed) to make you look a total fool in front of others.
- Preferring daddy I mean, don’t get me wrong I married the guy so I clearly think he’s alright too but they have to take it to the extreme. As soon as daddy strolls in from work I don’t even get a look in. I can’t help feeling indignant though when daddy is proclaimed “best cook ever” after serving up some chicken dippers, chips and tomato sauce in his once in a blue moon cooking attempt. Aye never mind mummy who usually does all the cooking day in day out. Our three year old daddy’s boy is so disinterested in me when daddy’s home i’m not even allowed to tie his shoe laces or lift him out the bath because he “needs daddy to do it!” They really do think he’s the best thing ever. So nice to feel appreciated!
- Becoming less and less likely to sleep the more tired they become What is even with that? What’s not to love about the idea of chilling and having a nap? Apparently if you are a toddler – everything! And they will use every kicking, screaming, grabbing onto things tactic to avoid it. usually while screaming how they are not tired in your face. Also, it’s basically a scientific fact that there is a direct correlation between the more tired they are and the more demonic they become.
- Ruining meal times for everyone In one way or another meal times are always a shambles. They will request something for dinner and then as soon as you put it down in front of them tell you they don’t like it anymore. They will tell you they have had enough to eat, then if you dare to finish off a left over chip screech at you that they were still hungry. Or the worst meal time crime of all refuse to eat their own dinner then come over and start nicking yours off your plate. And don’t even get me started on going out for a meal with them!
- Not being remotely interested in something until someone else has it This is something i’ve really come to appreciate having 2 toddlers to contend with (what was I thinking?!). As soon as one of them spots the other with a toy, no matter what they are doing they instantly need to have that toy. In fact it doesn’t even have to be a toy to spark a baby brawl, even the silliest thing such as an empty toilet roll tube can lead to a vicious battle.
- Having a melt down over the stupidest of things They manage to turn the seemly most minor offence into the biggest drama. Try giving them the Peppa Pig bowl when they wanted the Paw Patrol one. While I do agree that Peppa is a little shit, it in no way warrants the almighty kick off that ensues. The list of things that will set them off is endless and ever changing. This morning I wouldn’t feed them ice lollies for breakfast. That one earned me a good 15 minutes of screaming for a really great start to the day.
- After a massive twenty minute hissy fit of tears, snot, flailing and stamping feet instantly switching as if none of it has even happened! After you’ve tried picking them up, comforting them, cuddling them, ignoring them, pleading with them to stop and nothing you can say or do is working. You feel like you’re slowly going insane and there seems to be no end in sight, then suddenly………nothing. They switch it off completely and resume normality (well as normal as toddlers can ever be!) After about 3 seconds there is no sign that there had ever been a tantrum at all.
And despite all their crazy ridiculousness you can’t even actually be annoyed at them because it takes them a split second to switch from little horrors to cutest things on earth. Well played toddlers, well played.
I have always wished I could be one of those mummies who are super organised, you know the kind who never look flustered, can do the school run with a full face of make up and heels on and you just know have meticulously documented every one of their child’s milestones in a beautiful baby book. Sadly I’m the complete opposite of this type of mummy. Of course it’s been so exciting to see my children developing and learning new things but I couldn’t give you an exact date or time that they said their first words, or took their first steps. Being a working mum I’m sure I’ve even missed some of these milestone moments but I’ve come to realise that as special as all the ‘first times’ are, they are not what’s most important.
My littlest is almost 2 years old now but an important milestone for me happened the day she was born. I was lying in bed asleep one morning, 37 weeks pregnant and having the strangest dream (I was in an underground station and was lost. I started to cry. Then the water started to fill up and flood the place, like that bit in Alice and Wonderland. Sorry, this is irrelevant but anyway….) All of a sudden my waters broke. This wasn’t ideal as I was on my own with my two other kids and my husband was over 300 miles away with work. Trying to remain calm I quickly called my husband, who couldn’t disguise how not calm he was, then went to have a shower. My plan at this time was to get ready, feed the kids, get them ready, take them to school and nursery and patiently await the arrival of my husband to go to the hospital to deliver our new baby. Foolproof, right? Well no, because I’d got up to the part where I get them ready and was starting to get some really quite painful contractions. I needed a plan B so called my mum to ask her to do the school run as now I was too busy being in labour. So my mum arrived to pick up the kids. The contractions were getting pretty bad now and by this time I was thinking perhaps even plan b was failing and plan c – just get to the bloody hospital should come into play. I asked my mum to take kids to school as planned and I would get my things together for the hospital. So my mum was ushering the kids towards the door and I went into the bathroom. Can you see where this is going? Having had two kids before I realised with horror the unmistakable feeling of the baby’s imminent arrival. I was so scared, I mean there is a very good reason that no one features being alone and the bathroom floor in their birth plan! And with that our dramatic little princess made her arrival. In that moment of checking she was ok and breathing was the first time she scared me so much I felt like my heart stopped beating. It was such an important milestone to me because it was in that exact moment of all the panic and fear I realised I loved this little human so much I could burst and would do absolutely anything to protect her and keep her safe. Thankfully my daughter was fine and healthy but I still can’t even bear to think about the what ifs.
The first photo: being checked out in hospital after her speedy arrival
I may not remember the exact time but I vividly remember all the overwhelming feelings I had and I think that’s so much more important, whether it’s fear (and you feel plenty of that if your kids are anything like my little monkeys who climb on everything!) or pride when they take their first steps, or joy the first time they tell you they love you. There are so many highs and lows, first times and last times as a parent I want to live in the moment and remember how I felt on this adventure. I don’t need to remember that my sons first fart was at 8.42pm, or that he took his first steps 4 weeks after Jill from down the roads cousin’s nephew, who I’ve never met but saw it on Facebook. I love every second of watching my kids grow and develop new skills, but I don’t want to worry about remembering the exact time of their ‘firsts’ and whether it was before or after other people’s kids. Rather than focus on the timing of their first smile or laugh, I just want to be happy seeing them smile and laugh every day and appreciate each moment with them as they learn and grow.
Maybe not the first, but still amazing smiles!
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
I was lucky enough to breastfeed both my little ones until they were over one. Breastfeeding was something I personally really wanted to do so I am really glad that it all went smoothly for us. I totally appreciate that isn’t the case for everyone though. While I agree the breast milk is the best option for feeding a baby, I’m sure we have all heard enough times about all the health benefits, I don’t think it should be to the detriment of the mother. If it’s going to be a source of lots of stress, upset and ruin the enjoyment of the magical time of having a newborn then it’s not worth it.
I always felt like breastfeeding for me seemed like the easy (and cheap, formula is expensive!!) option. It’s so much easier and quicker to just whip out a boob when your baby is hungry rather than faffing around with sterilizers and bottles etc. especially in the middle of the night. When loads of visitors descend upon you in the early days I always found it made a good excuse to go off to my room to feed the baby. Not that I actually had an issue feeding in front of people, it was just nice to enjoy some peace and quiet when I wasn’t feeling quite as social! Sometimes I also liked to use it as an excuse to sit back with my feet up and get my husband to bring me things like snacks and cups of tea (even a few times when I hadn’t let on that baby had fallen asleep already)
I have put together a wee list of facts and tips that helped me in the beginning of the breastfeeding journey
- The early days: Milk only starts being produced when a baby is born so it can take up to 5 days for a milk supply to come in. In late pregnancy and the first few days the body produces colostrum, this is a yellowy liquid which contains immune cells and antibodies, which can help babies fight off infections. Newborn babies have tiny stomachs which don’t take much to fill and colostrum has a very concentrated amount of nutrients in small volumes, which is why it’s the perfect first food for newborns. It is normal for newborns to lose weight in the first few days after birth so don’t panic and assume they are not getting enough milk.
- Finding a good postion: As breastfeeding can be a very time consuming task it’s really important to get into a position that’s comfortable for you. When babies are teeny tiny a feeding pillow can be useful, I’d imagine particularly if you had a c-section. They are a c shaped pillow that you can position under your boobs to help support the baby. There are lots of pictures available if you google it of different positions and holds, you just have to use trial and error to find what works for you and your baby
- Latching on: Making sure your baby is latched on correctly is essential for babies to feed effectively and also to avoid the sheer agony that occurs when a babies latch is incorrect. Feeding is new to babies too so it they have to learn what to do too. I was told by the midwife that you should aim to point your nipple towards baby’s nose to get them to open their mouth wide and the whole nipple and areola should be in the babies mouth. If the baby hasn’t latched on properly you have to use a finger to break the suction befor attempting to take the baby off your breast or you’re in for some extreme pain!
- No pain, no gain: I know you always hear breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful, and it shouldn’t be excruciating (if it is it’s more likely a latch problem) but honestly even with a good latch breastfeeding isn’t completely painless in the beginning and when your baby is cluster feeding, it does take a little while for your nipples to toughen up. During this time I couldn’t recommend Lansinoh nipple cream any more, it’s a lanolin cream and is made of all natural ingredients so you don’t even have to wash it off before feeds. It works so well to soothe sore and cracked nipples. You can pick it up in loads of places – like boots, superdrug or in supermarkets and it’s usually about £10 for a tube, but it lasts for ages and truly is worth every penny
- Milk supply: Breastmilk is produced on a supply and demand basis so the more you feed, the more milk you will produce. Also the emptier your breasts are, the quicker the milk is produced. That’s why you should feed from one breast until it is empty before switching to the other side. Some people write down which side baby fed from and for how long to keep on track, I’ve never been that organized. I’ve also heard of people putting a band on their wrist to remind them what side to feed for. I’ve never even been that organized. I’ve always gone with the ‘squeeze both boobs and go with whichever feels fullest’ method, although not sure this would be the one recommended by professionals!
- Enough milk? One of the worrying things with breastfeeding is not knowing exactly how much milk your baby is drinking. Newborns feed a minimum of 8-12 times a day, not because they are not getting enough milk but because it’s normal and important to establish a good milk supply, stop your breast from becoming engorgaged and nourish your baby. If you feed on demand, your baby has plenty of wet and dirty nappies and is gaining weight (after an intial drop) then you can be reassured your baby is getting enough milk
- Cluster feeding: Sometimes babies will feed lots of times close together and for longer. This is cluster feeding. It happens most in the evenings and it’s not because they are not getting enough milk, it can coincide with them sleeping for longer periods at night so it may not feel like it at the time when you feel like you’ve been feeding forever but it’s a good, and normal thing!
- Clothing: Feeding bras are essential for easy access, which unclip at the top and the cup flaps down. I had a few breastfeeding tops, but actually I found these weren’t neccessary. All you really need are cheap vest tops that you can wear under tshirt or jumpers and you can pull the jumper up and vest top down and you’re still all covered.
- Feeding on the go: One of my biggest concerns before starting breastfeeding was what I was going to do when I was out somewhere. I never fancied the thought of getting my boobs out in public but I soon learned that once you are used to breastfeeding you can be so discreet when feeding that no one around you would even really notice. A few things that made me feel better would be to try and opt for a seat in a corner or something rather than in the center of a cafe for example and I would use muslin squares, draped over my shoulder to cover myself just until the baby was latched.
- Expressing: After a lot of research I bought the Medela Swing electric Breast pump and it was brilliant. With an RRP of £134.99 (you can find it cheaper though!) it’s not a cheap option but they are very efficient and I found I could express a full bottle in no time. It’s best to pump in the morning, as milk is produced faster then and I also found it made a big difference to make sure you are nice and relaxed and with your baby or thinking about feeding. I didn’t express that regularly really but it was nice to know the option was there if I was ever going out somewhere, or sometimes just to have a break and an early night and let daddy do the feeding!
Hopefully some of this might be helpful to someone!
* This is all just things i’ve picked up from my experience, you should always speak to your midwife or health visitor if you concerns about your baby’s feeding, or anything else you’re worried about
There have been some big changes in our family life recently because after eighteen months of being at home with the kiddies I have started a new job. I absolutely HATE all the working vs stay at home mum debates because every family is different and you can only try your best to do what works. I think there will always guilt associated with whatever decision you make and having other people’s shitty opinion forced upon you uninvited is really unhelpful. I had mentioned to a woman from one of the baby groups I had been taking the kids to that I wouldn’t be able to bring them after the holidays because I’d be at work and she goes “When I had my kids I gave up a brilliant job because I wanted to be a mum instead.” Fortunately there is a very typical Glaswegian response to dealing with this kind of shit which fit in perfectly here “oh did ye, aye?” (Which can be roughly translated as ‘I don’t actually give a fuck what you did so could you kindly piss off’) The more I thought about it afterwards, the more it annoyed me. I was already feeling anxious and worried about leaving the wee ones but I absolutely don’t consider myself to be any less of a mum by going to work three days a week! Think that’s why the phrase ‘full time mum’ pisses me off a bit, working part time does not also make you a part time mum. When you’re a mum you are always a full time mum! Whether you are physically with your children or not you always think about them, worry about them and provide for them.
I do honestly feel like going back to work was the best decision for me and our family. I feel so lucky that I’ve been able to spend extra time with the children and not have to rush back into work after maternity leave but I really enjoy my job and missed it so I knew getting back to it was something I wanted to do. Also, being home with the kids 24/7 can be really, really hard . My mother in law describes life when they are little like feeling like you are on a hamster wheel, having to keep going and doing the same things day after day and not getting anywhere and I totally get what she means. Between my three year old refusing to do a single thing he’s told, my one year old drama queen with the most horrendous temper tantrums I’ve ever seen, a stroppy 11 year who is rapidly approaching the nightmare that is teenage years, no one ever wanting to eat the same food at the same time, don’t even get me started on the ever dreaded supermarket shop and everything about c-bloody-beebies (except Andy, who is a bit of a babe) I feel like some days all I do is shriek at them all day long like a crazy person while counting down the minutes til bedtime. I don’t want to be a impatient, shouty mummy and for that to be how my kids remember me when the grow up. I feel like getting some balance in my home/ work life will help me to appreciate and enjoy my time with them and I can be more like the parent I want to be.
Although confident in my decision to go back to work the first day was really hard and in the run up to it I cried and worried. A lot. Luckily though we have the most amazing childminder who reassured me, sent me lovely photos and I just know with all the fun things she plans for them the kids have a ball with her and the other children. I’m actually surprised they want to come home with me at the end of the day to be honest!
Anyway I think I’ve rambled on enough now but I’m excited about a new chapter and the challenges that go along with being back in the world of work as well as being a full time mum but I know it’s all going to be just fine! (Or at least that’s what I’m gonna be trying to tell myself when it’s all going tits up and I’m trying to wrestle the kids into their clothes in the morning and running late!)