Close your eyes and count to 10 

1 in 10 children and young people aged 5 – 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder – that is around three children in every class. 

So here I am, after a 4 month hiatus…I’ll be honest, I don’t think this blogging lark is for me. I love reading amazing posts and interacting with like minded people via social media but I just can’t get into “it” whatever it may be. 
So the purpose of this post today isn’t to promote anything, or tell you about my latest purchase. It’s more of a diary entry, or maybe even its me, reaching out for support during a really shitty time. 

As I’ve mentioned before my eldest who’s almost 11 was knocked over by a car 3 years ago, since then he’s struggled with anxiety as a result of the Post traumatic stress disorder. He’s had some therapy through our amazing NHS and their CAHMS which he initially responded well to. We are a very open family and believed that together we were beating the anxiety gremlin. But always in the back of my mind, I’ve known that he wasn’t 100%. You can’t cure an anxiety disorder, you can learn to control it but I know it will never just disappear. I’m also becoming more aware of triggers which cause it to rear it’s ugly head.

Little signs started popping up again recently, asking to sleep in my bed, complaints of sore neck/chest/tummy, panic attacks have increased again along with unrealistic/catastrophic thoughts about things happening to him or us. When I’m holding him at night as he shakes and cries uncontrollably, telling me he can’t breathe or he’s worried he’s got cancer I just want to take it all away from him. I want the world to stop for one second, just long enough so I can tell him everything’s going to be ok. He’s safe and loved. These things of course he knows, in his rational mind. But bedtime sets in and so does the worry. 

My gorgeous boy is smart, popular, sporty and caring. He has many friends and family surrounding him, he is a member of teams and clubs and has endless hobbies…on the outside he’s a happy boy with not a care in the world. But on the inside I know it’s crippling him slowly. It’s crippling me watching him suffer at night. I would sit up all night to watch him sleep, knowing he’s dreaming happy thoughts and not wondering if the bunk bed is going to collapse on top of him. (Yes, that’s a real worry of his). My precious boy has such an important year coming up, approaching secondary school transfers. I know only too well how important it is that he is settled and calm and ready for new challenges. But with him, it only take one small trigger…a school trip, a change in routine or an injury/accident at school. Now he is older he has become very good at telling me or his dad when he feels himself slipping into a state of panic. We have taught him calming techniques which he applies himself. He also knows saying his worries out loud helps him hear himself and deal with them. Other methods include positive affirmations, we find @theyesmummum mini pack particularly useful. We are also currently working through a CBT workbook called “starving the anxiety gremlin” 

But it’s a long road ahead. Children’s mental health is so important, and can be overlooked. Those who suffer as children are far more likely to go on to be adults with mental health issues. 

We are facing this and dealing with it now, reminding him how strong he is. All in the hope of preparing him for the turbulent teenage years and being there to praise him through every up and hold his hand during every down. 

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A letter to my firstborn 

To my Precious Prince, 11 years ago you came into our lives and changed them forever. Daddy and I were scared, we were so young and didn’t really have a clue how to raise a child. We were busy being children ourselves. But from the second I saw that little bouncing bean on the ultrasound I was in love and just knew everything would turn out ok. December 5th 2005 at 9.07pm you arrived, 9lb 2oz – a big pink chunk with a mop of dark hair. You had poorly lungs and we knew you’d eventually need surgery to fix them but for now you’d made it, screaming and wriggling ready to take on the world. As you grew up, I grew with you. I was learning as I went along, sometimes I made mistakes but you never judged and you always made things better without even trying. Daddy and I worked hard to give you everything you needed and more, we were so lucky to have our family around. They supported us in every meaning of the word. Mummy went back to work when you were still so young, younger than your sister is now. Your wonderful nursery nurtured you and taught you things as you grew. You even took your first steps there. Mummy felt sad that she had missed this but knew there were so many more precious moments to come. Of course you’d never be cross or upset with mummy for going to work but some days it was a personal battle with my own guilt. You started school and with that came a whole new set of challenges for both of us. Mummy felt different from the other mums, sometimes I felt jealous of them. They seemed to have it all worked out, they had mortgages and professional jobs with husbands. I remember one day you said to me how lucky you were to have a young mum because I would definately  win the mummies race at sports day. And there it was, your innocence and pure undiluted love without judgement was all I needed to shake any feelings of doubt I had, because when all was said and done you were all that mattered (and yep, I won that race).

I want you to know that just because Daddy and I aren’t married it doesn’t mean we love each other any less, you know that even marriage doesn’t always mean forever as you’ve seen some  of your friends with parents who separate or divorce. You being born made us even stronger, we knew that whatever obstacles we faced we’d face them together. Every decision we made was made with you in mind. We were a team and we were going for gold! 

Do you remember when we told you you were going to be a big brother? You cried, Mummy cried. I know you didn’t cry because you were sad but it was a big surprise you never expected! Ten years is a long time to be on your own, no brothers or sisters.  If you ever thought that it meant Mummy would love you any less or I’d have less time to do things with you then that’s ok. I had those thoughts too. Sometimes change can be scary but sometimes it shows you something you were missing without even realising. When your sister was born you really came into your own. Any feelings of jealousy that you may have thought you’d have disappeared. It became clear to me that she was the final piece to our puzzle. You are a natural protecter, teacher and of course a professional hugger. The way you scoop her up and kiss her gently makes my heart burst. You suddenly seem so grown up but please remember you will always be my baby boy. When I watch you with your sister I realise how lucky she is to have you in her life. She has no idea exactly how super cool and funny you are yet. Her first best friend.

Honestly my darling boy, you are the most kind hearted and caring boy I’ve ever known. You amaze me every day and everyone will agree you are truly special. You’ve already had to overcome so much, with many challenges testing you over the years but you’ve done it all with courage and positivity that any grown up would be proud of. You are brave and forgiving, bright and hard working. I know it annoys you but I will keep telling you I’m proud of you every night before bed and I will keep listing the reasons as long as you let me. If I can ask you one favour, it’s that you please don’t ever stop calling me Mummy. I know you are 11 now but you’re still my baby and Mum simply won’t cut it!

Thank you for being you, for teaching me how to be a mother. You are the only you, unique and special to me. 

Love you to the moon and back, your biggest fan,

Mummy X 

Pink Pear Bear
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The first smile, take two 

Since the day my little lady was born people have commented on how chilled she is, she’s a calm contented little thing who smiles at strangers. She’s a dream. Ok I will stop bragging before you stop reading! 

I remember the day she flashed her first smile at me, well it technically wasn’t at me it was at her big brother! But I was lucky enough to catch it on camera. She was 6 weeks old.

I know it’s a cliché but my heart literally skipped a beat. It gave me all kinds of happy feels and I will never forget it. But this is not the milestone I want to share with you, for my darling baby girl fought a battle at a mere 4 months old that temporarily washed her gorgeous smile away. So this is about her first smile, take two. 

After a 10 day stint of suspected bronchiolitis my little girl was showing no signs if improvement, she was refusing feeds, sleeping lots then not sleeping at all, she was just downright miserable. We were admitted into hospital so she could be tube fed whilst they did further investigations. Whilst in hospital (the amazing St. Georges, Tooting) she developed a terrible stridor, the sound of her hoarse, dry and raspy voice with every breath haunts me to this day. The amount of energy it must’ve taken her tiny little body to just breathe in and out breaks my heart. Steroids and nebulisers eased the discomfort but the doctors just couldn’t piece together this puzzle. It wasn’t  until we saw an ENT consultant (my hero) that we knew what was really wrong. I was alone when I found out, the other half was on the school run with our son. It didn’t occur to me I might need him there, that was until the sting of hot tears on my cheeks and sheer panic took over. My little girl, a tiny 4 months had a mass in her airways. It was seriously compromising her breathing and they were rushing her straight to emergency theatre. What? How? Hold on, this can’t be happening! Dressing her in a hospital gown that drowned her tiny body, surrounded by wires and plastic.

 Panic, fear,despair, the feeling of its not fair, why us.

 After the longest 2 hours of my life we were taken to recovery to see our little bean. The surgeon explained that the mass was a parapharangeal abscess, an infection in the deep nodes of her neck. They had drained almost 40ml of pus from it. It was a very rare condition, especially in babies her age. They wanted to do further investigation once she was well to see why she could not fight this infection and why it developed into something so serious. She spent 4 days intubated in intensive care whilst her airways recovered. This was the hardest part for me, I felt so helpless. I couldn’t feed my baby, change her nappy or even cuddle her. She didn’t look like my baby, a tiny little face distorted by tubes and plasters. Once woken up her strength and determination amazed me, my darling girl came on in leaps and bounds and we were transferred from PICU to the high-dependency ward. 

I wasn’t allowed to sleep at the bedside but was free to visit at all hours. The first morning after being transferred I rushed to see her, she was coming off a cocktail of drugs so I had been warned she’d be slightly out of sorts. But when I got to the cot and peered over the bars I was met with the widest, cheesiest grin, it was almost a smile of relief. My baby girl knew it was all over. Metaphorical sunbeams filled the room. There was my girl, that smile that I’d missed for far too long. She’d made it.

My baby girl made a full recovery, has been happy and healthy since and her 1st birthday is now a matter of weeks away! What a journey. I’m eternally grateful to all the amazing nurses, healthcare assistants, consultants, doctors and surgeons from our wonderful NHS that looked after us. 


So here’s to my special baby milestone, the first smile- take two. This post was written as an entry into the Tots100/Water Wipes competition. 

3 Little Buttons

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Club Hub UK – A parents bible 

You know the feeling, it’s 6am during the summer holidays and the kids are already pestering you to get up and out of the house. You’ve already exhausted the park, the zoo and the soft play and need something different! It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut doing the same old things to keep the kids busy.

Super woman Tessa Robinson came up with the idea for Club Hub UK when she was struggling to advertise her own musical theatre kids class. What if there was one app that found all the clubs and activities in the area for our kids? Launching in July Club Hub looks set to be a parents one stop shop for things to do to keep the smalls satisfied. Can’t wait to try this out for myself!

For now you can stay connected via social media:

Twitter
Facebook
Instagram

5 reasons we should be more like our kids 

Just do you.

Your kid doesn’t care if  you’re running late for work. If she needs to poop, she poops. She doesn’t care that you’ve got a 2 hour meeting in the morning, if she wants to play at 4am she will damn well play. My point is, don’t live your life according to others. (OK, easier said than done when you’re a parent) but at least try to dedicate some time to being selfish, get that manicure, eat the chocolate, get a babysitter and go out and get hammered or even check in to a hotel for some sleep (not gonna lie, it’s crossed my mind) 

Speak your mind. 

If something is bothering you, get it off your chest. Christ, if my little lady’s teeth are hurting her in the dead of night she sure as hell let’s us know. I recently changed my hair colour, I was unsure and of course could rely on my eldest to give his honest opinion. (He hated it) Don’t be afraid to speak your mind, it’s liberating! 



Eat well.

Ok, not all kids eat well but certainly in my recent experience of the weaning stage Baby I certainly enjoyed trying new things, eating it or just smearing in her hair and ears. My girl eats carbs like nothing you’ve seen before. She can inhale a bowl of pasta in 30 seconds flat. She’s not afraid to be adventurous with new foods, just the other day she sampled some gourmet dried mud from the bottom of her brothers football boot. Point being, eat well and look after your body. Lord knows we need the energy! 

 Be confident.

If you want to wear that dress, where it. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Forget about your muffin top or bingo wings and embrace your body for what it is and what it’s achieved. Baby I wears her skinny jeans with pride, chubby thigh rolls in all their glory. 

Smile.

Again, this doesn’t apply to all kids but baby I is at the age now where she smiles at everyone. She smiles at the postman, the shopkeeper, the old lady grabbing her cheeks. She even throws a gummy grin at people who aren’t even paying her the slightest bit of attention (true story) but my point is, just a simple smile can brighten someone’s day.  

Please note: this is her *actual* smiley face

We are all guilty of walking around with a face like thunder. I’ve certainly perfected my RBF (resting bitch face) but some days I feel better for just plastering on some red lippy and smiling my way through the day. 

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About a boy

You know that saying “he’s got an old head on his shoulders” and all those things people say about your kids. I’ve always smiled and agreed, my precious boy is overflowing with wisdom and compassion way beyond his years. I’ve had strangers comment on his impeccable manners and now seeing him bond with his baby sister just fills me with so much pride I could burst. But these people don’t know the half of it, they haven’t even scratched the surface of this courageous, caring and special soul.

What started this train of thought was a video I watched on Facebook. Oh. Dear. God. Do not watch if you’re low on sleep/carbs or feeling in any way over emotional. Its entitled “Slow Down” and it’s basically a lovely song about how fast our kids grow up, those blink and you’ll miss it moments and a lovely reminder to slow down and enjoy every little thing. Watch the video here and let me know how much you cried!

I guess I’m feeling proud, proud that I’ve managed to keep another human alive for a decade. Proud that he always says please and thank you and proud that he does well at school. What we all want and expect of our children. The thing is, my darling E has had some hurdles, a few hiccups and setbacks along the way. The first being before he was even born when he was diagnosed with a Lung Condition in the womb. This resulted in major surgery at 2years old. They say at 2 years old children don’t remember anything, however E is convinced his earliest memory is lying on white sheets looking up at a blue curtain and white circle lights. I’m not sure how true this is but it makes me sad nonetheless as my own earliest memory is a happy one.

Fast forward to 2013, he’s settled in at school, excelling in class and at sports. Every Wednesday myself and another parent would take it in turns to take the boys to football after school. It was the other mums turn so I finished work and went off to do some food shopping. I had no phone service in the supermarket and when I got out I had a missed call from the mother. She’d left a voicemail.

E had been knocked over at a pedestrian crossing. He stepped out at the green man just as a woman jumped a red light. He suffered a broken collar bone, facial lacerations and bruises. The next few hours were a blur, from rushing to the scene in the rain, getting in the ambulance and seeing my baby in tears, terrified. I had to be brave for him. He’d just celebrated his birthday a few days earlier and was sad the paramedics had to cut off his new Arsenal tracksuit. It’s funny the things that stick in your head.

We were discharged the following day to echoes of “you’re a very lucky boy” Doctors, family and friends kept saying how lucky he was, that it wasn’t more serious. But in my 8 year olds head, he wondered how?! How am I lucky? he asked me. He was right, I couldn’t answer. He’d just been knocked down at a crossing that every adult drums into you is safe. Wait for the green man, it’s safe. He did everything by the book yet this happened. He didn’t feel very lucky at all. As the days passed he listened to me talking to family members and friends about what happened, one morning he stopped me as I spoke and said “don’t be cross with the lady mummy, she will be sad too” This sentence alone sums up the solicitude and consideration he always olds for others, even before himself.

The bones healed, the scars faded but what was bubbling underneath and far more serious than I’d ever considered was his mental and emotional wellbeing. The stress of what happened took its toll, he became almost reclusive. He was going to school but wouldn’t go to friends houses, not even family without me or his dad. He’d turn down play dates and birthday parties, giving the reason “I’d rather be with you mummy”  The separation anxiety was worse than ever. He’d ask me things at night like “what would happen if you died?” Or “how do I know nothing will happen to you when you come to pick me up tomorrow” E also began suffering panic attacks, his heart would pound, palms sweating and inconsolable crying would ensue. I’d hold him, breathe with him and count with him. He’d complain of feeling sick, dizzy or short of breath. One night bizarre as it sounds, he was hysterical as he thought he couldn’t yawn anymore and the more he tried the harder it became. My special little soul was diagnosed with Post traumatic stress disorder as a direct result of the accident. Until it was staring me in the face I just always thought of PTSD as something grown ups got, soldiers after leaving warzones and that sort of thing. Not my child. He was offered some therapy which we attended, I guess it helped. But from a 10year olds point of view he wondered why we had to keep taking about everything that had happened as it just reminded him and made him feel sad again. I just think it’s been a natural progression for him and he’s finally leaving the past behind. He’s had moments of “why is it always me that bad things happen to” (I haven’t mentioned the split head, black eye and broken arm that have happened since the accident!) but generally he’s so much more positive.  One thing I do want to shout about is the amazing @yesmummum and her super special Yes Mum Mini cards. Positive aspirations are a simple yet effective way of reminding our little people of how awesome they are and that everything is going to be ok. The last year or so he’s turned a real corner and next week is our first big test. He’s off on a school residential! Think I will be the one crying into my pillow that night rather than him!

Petite Pudding
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The one with the birth story

 So after watching One born every minute, wiping away the tears of relief (that i never have to do that again) and shrugging off the ever so slight pangs of broodiness I decided to share my birth story. I’ve read so many birth stories, some of my favourites on the Gas and Air blog  by lovely Clemmie or @midwifeyhooper as she’s known on the social media scene or Sian at Quite Frankly she said shares lots of beautiful birth stories. 

Before I start the actual birth but let me just fill you in on my pregnancy, it was a much wanted and waited on pregnancy. We took two years to concieve then spent the first 26 weeks of the pregnancy worried about a few niggles, bleeding and fetal growth. By the 3rd tri my body had finally got used to being pregnant and my little bean had decided to do some serious growing.

So my actual story begins on a Wednesday afternoon in June 2015. I’m 37+3 and feeling pretty relaxed. My maternity leave had begun and the weather was glorious. I had a friend over for lunch, we scoffed tea and biscuits and I showed her my maternity leave project- an old pine ottoman that I was sanding down to paint white for a toy storage box. She was giggling as I shovelled biscuits in my mouth with one hand and frantically sanded this box with the other. “You’re going into labour tonight and that box will never get finished” Ha! I laughed, and reminded her that after 2 long years and this being my second pregnancy that I knew my body pretty well and this baby wasn’t making an appearance any time soon. That night the other half was working an overnight shift, his last one he’d promised until after the baby as I was worried about going into labour at home alone with my son. So off he went and I went to bed. 3.10am the following morning I woke to the warm trickle, the momentary panic that my pelvic floor had finally given up the ghost and I was actually just wetting myself subsided and I realised my waters had broken. There was no pop that some people speak of, no massive gush. With my first son my waters were broken for me so I never knew what to expect. So I snuck out of bed (son was sleeping next to me as he often did when daddy was on overnights, more for my comfort than his own I think!) and called baby daddy, he got home and off we went to get me checked out. I was having no contractions at this point but the water was still coming. 

I’d toyed with the idea of the birth centre, only off put being the lack of epidurals! But the midwife reassured me the labour ward was literally across the way so I could move if I decided. So I was examined on a beanbag type thing on the floor, all lovely and very non-surgical but I wasn’t sure if it was for me. I kinda like the security and glamour of hospital gowns and stirrups. The midwife decided it was not my waters at all and that I was just having “increased discharge” (sorry for that, I even cringed typing it) We left feeling pretty deflated with advice to wait and see. I was pretty sure I knew the difference between  water and heavy discharge (sorry again). At home I got into bed with my son and we watched 2 or 3 movies back to back. I was suddenly very aware that these were our last moments together as just us, a family of 3…and lazy movie days with him may be a thing of the past, at least for a while. By 7pm with still no pains I managed to convince A to take me back to the hospital. The water was still coming, I was going back and I refused to leave without a baby this time. On examination they decided and agreed that yes, In fact it was my waters that broke (almost 24 hours ago) and now I was at increased risk of infection they were inducing me there and then! Now I must admit, there was a whiff of “I told you so” in the air.

So off I went to the ward, phoned home to say goodnight to my eldest and delight at the possibility of a new baby sister in the morning! They didn’t have a bed on the labour ward for me yet so we patiently waited for one to become available. All the while I was aware that my waters had been broken for near on 24 hours. We waited and waited, 3am came and went. After this I had to sign some sort of release form stating I understood that my labour had not been started within the 24hours and the reasons were beyond their control etc…all a bit of a blur to be honest! By 8am I was on the labour ward and the induction was started. I had actually started having mild contractions on my own but was so ready to get this going properly. I was exhausted!

Epidural in (amen) Drip going, I managed to relax a little bit. As I was an infection risk I had two midwives by my side the entire time, God bless them! A couple of hours went by and my contractions weren’t progressing as they’d have hoped so they upped the dosage on the drip and we waited some more. They were hoping for 3 contractions in 10 minutes but my body was maxing out at 1-2 every ten mins. It is procedure also to keep internal exams to a minimum when waters have broken early so they’d examined me once at the start and decided once my contractions were more regular they’d examine me again! It was around 11.30am when my lovely lady broke the news that they were struggling to monitor baby’s heart rate so may have to put a clip on her head, now I’d seen this little metal fish hook like contraption in my NCT class and was so not up for this! But I understood it was for the best. We decided to wait another 10 mins or so and then push on (excuse the pun!)

Lying there, tired, dazed, and suddenly very nauseous I proceeded to vomit all over myself and the midwife who passed me a sick bowl just one second too late. Mid-vom my other half poked his head around the corner- “oh my god!” He declared. This was echoed by the two midwives who then hurriedly lifted the sheet covering my legs to reveal a little brown haired, blue skinned baby! Yes ladies and gentlemen, I vomited out my baby. Literally, threw up and out popped my little daughter. Just to set the scene- sick bowl in one hand, baby in the other, legs still all over the shop and blood everywhere. But for the second time, I had found my happy place. The final piece of our puzzle. My other half delighted in telling people that our daughter literally “fell out” but that’s another story.

The following few hours are a blur of visitors, nausea and constantly asking people “am I acting weird?” Convinced all the drugs had sent me to another dimension and everyone was looking at me like I had two heads. My lovely midwives could not get over how my little bundle had arrived and said they had never ever experienced a birth like mine, I vaguely remember telling them I was going to sell my story to Mail Online (lol)

So there you have it, Baby I fell into the world -26th June 2015/12.27pm/7lbs5oz to complete our little family.
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Pink Pear Bear

Admission Impossible

 

So the time is looming and I feel nowhere near as prepared or capable as I should be for the challenge. My 10 year old is about to enter his last year of primary school. You know, that cosy, familiar, nurtering bubble. Well that will soon be swapped for a school bag the size of a small car and a blazer ten times too big, bustling halls and public transport. My big fish is soon to become a very very small fish in a bloody huge pond.

I think he’s far more prepared than me, he was sold on the “massive playing fields and swimming pool” at one of the schools we viewed. Glad to see he’s got the fundamentals right. But for me, as for all parents facing the same its so much more than that. This is my baby, my first born about to embark on the next chapter. Secondary school is a huge stepping stone, one that in my opinion begins to mould the person into the type of adult they may become. Shits about to get serious.

So besides getting over the emotional, letting my baby fly the nest stuff (OK, he’s only starting secondary school..not leaving for Afghanistan!) I’m also extremely conscious that living in London puts huge pressure on finding and bagging a place at a decent school. TES.com states that London has the highest proportion of oversubscribed schools – 69 per cent – compared with 52 per cent in South-West England. Read more on this here. Bloody brilliant. My sister lives in Surrey and literally just applied for the local secondary (which happens to be amazing) and her twins got in, along with the other 28 kids from the class. London is fiercely but subtly competitive. I’ve been told to prepare for parents avoiding eye contact at the school gates, not wanting to disclose which schools they’ve applied for, rumours of cash incentives and inside knowledge. Not to mention, being Catholic means a lot of “hoop jumping” to ensure we meet the criteria. I find this a huge pressure as it takes away from the real reason we should be attending church.

We have 4 schools on our wish list, and to be honest I’d be happy with either of them. 3 are single sex schools with great history and reputation but also hugely over subscribed and the fourth is a co-educational, new school. One that was heavily campaigned for by our governers and will practically be a feeder for our current school.

My thoughts range from what if he gets a school none of his friends get to what if we choose a school based purely on an amazing reputation and it just doesn’t get him. Although the “choose” bit of that is a bit of a lie, the only choice we have initially is what schools to write on that bit of paper. That actual choice is made by boards, panels, governers. Anyone but us. Despite how it may sound, I am trying to stay pretty relaxed about it. Ultimately, what will be will be and I’ve said to my son that whatever happens, his happiness is paramount.

What are your thoughts, is it worth the hassle and hoop jumping for a “prestigious” school that looks good on a CV? Or should we get out while we can and move to the countryside?!

A Mum Track Mind

Penny for your thoughts…

  Keeping it short and simple for this post, wondering if anyone can relate. Here are just some of the thoughts I have on a daily basis…

1. Am I doing a good job? 

2. Who left me in charge of two human beings?

3. I wish I’d napped more when I had the chance.

4. Will she be as bright as her brother?

5. Will that even matter? 

6. I need to eat better.

7. How do women work, clean the house, cook dinner and care for more than 1 kid at a time?!

8. How the hell will I manage it?

9. Can we afford a nanny and/or cleaner?

10. Is my youngest going to grow up thinking my iPhone is an extension of my arm? 

11. Am I too old for topshop? 

12. Should I give up breastfeeding now? 

13. How am I going to ever give up breastfeeding? 

14. Why must I secretly compare my children to others when I know they’re perfect the way they are? 

15. Why can celeb mums pull off trackies with a top knot and look effortlessly stylish whereas I just look like a homeless person. 

16. I must drink more water.

17. Have they had their five a day?

18. Does anyone ever actually have five a day?!

19. How many organix carrot sticks is too many?

20. Why is so much baby food orange and why am I so shit at stain removal? 

90% of these thoughts are at 2am. 

Am I the only mama with a weird, over-thinking brain that struggles to switch off? Anything you’d add to the list?

Oh, and if anyone can actually answer some of these questions I’d be eternally grateful! 

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Tick box tales 

 Ever get that feeling you don’t fit in anywhere? I’ve got mum friends and non-mum friends and generally my life is pretty well balanced I’d say, but sometimes I wonder which box I would tick.

Having my fist baby young (20) automatically put me in that “young mum” category. Despite not being that young my baby face (soz about that) often meant I was faced with awkward questions like “are you the nanny?” Or “is he your little brother?” When he started school was when it became especially apparent as he goes to school in a fairly affluent part of SW London where your average mama is mid-late thirties. It never bothered me as such but one day my boy came home and said he wished I was older like the other mums. Why?! I wondered if it was because the other families seemed to have it more “together” at that point (whatever the hell that means) We were still in our mid twenties trying to figure life out, muddling through and raising our boy…these parents were knee deep in mortgages and life insurance plans. Luckily now my 10yo is grateful for his youthful (lol) mama who can win the parents race at sports day with her eyes closed.

So I spent my twenties hanging around the outskirts of most groups, dipping in and out when I felt relevant. My non-mum friends were doing what most twenty-somethings were, spending summers in Ibiza, jumping from job to job, boozing and the sleeping in every weekend. My mum friends, whilst we shared some interests that mostly revolved around the kids (football, homework, when little Freddie is doing his holy communion) that’s kind of where it ended. Me and the other half even dabbled in some socialising with some other parents and whilst a select few are actually some who i’d now consider real friends the majority of the time we just didn’t click. Not because they weren’t nice people or the fact they were 10+ years older but because we were just in different places in life with only one common denominator- the littles.

Fast forward 5 years or so and I’m on baby number 2. She may as well be baby number 1 as its been so bloody long I sometimes doubt myself and my ability. Saying that, you may think you’ve forgotten everything but then stuff happens and you go, oh yes I remember this. Like at 2am/4am/6am  when the little darling is clawing at my boobs for a feed I remember that my first was bottle fed and slept through from 4 months. Or when I’m scrubbing 3 week old broccoli from the creases in the highchair I remember that broccoli is a bitch to get out.

Anyway, with it being so long I decided to do the whole nct/antenatal thing and met a really lovely group of mums. All around my age and of similar interests. I decided not to be that annoying mum in the antenatal class’s that knew all the answers, turns out there was no fear in that happening! These first time mums knew it all, they were bright eyed, keen and eager to learn, armed with Google facts, bounty packs and pre-natal vitamins coming out of their ears. I was more concerned whether they were serving chocolate biscuits or digestives in the break and if I’d be finished in time for the school run. Don’t get me wrong, it was great to refresh my memory and I lapped up the round of applause I got for birthing a 9lb2 baby with no cuts or tears (I know, get me!) but yet again I was stuck straddling either side of this tick box. Yes they were the same age, similar jobs, interests etc but I was again in such a different place in my life. I’ve actually kept in touch with only one of these mums, her babe is a similar age to mine and hey, it’s never too early to start a mini #girlgang  We keep our friendship simple, sharing our common interests (our kids and wine) and that works! As I slide comfortably into my thirties I’m becoming more of a me-pleaser and less of a people pleaser.

I guess what I’m trying to say is we don’t have to tick just one box, and we don’t have to tick all of them. Sod it, draw your own box and start from there. That’s what I’m doing anyway.

X

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