The supermum does not exsist

Since I became a mum five years ago I have noticed the media has shoved this supermum ideal down our throats, making us feel we need to compete and I’m so sick of it. I’m certain this idea has been around longer than I have, but I believe media, social and mainstream have so much to answer for. This competiveness takes the actual goal of being a good mum and instead turns it into some race that will cause upset and guilt. We need to stop comparing ourselves and instead enjoy our own journeys as mums and treasure the time with our children before they grow far too quickly.

Here our some common misconceptions the media want us to believe.

  1. To be supermum you need to ‘snap back’ into your pre baby body so you can ‘flaunt’ your ‘enviable figure’ on the school run. If you are lucky enough to get back into your pre baby clothes 6 weeks after baby or like me two years later you still haven’t, it really doesn’t matter and your child is not judging you by your mum tum, personally I find my mum tum handy for balancing Mr T.
  2. To be Supermum you need to have a job and be mum and do them both with 100% enthusiasm and never compromise. If you are working full time with a baby in nursery or you stay at home, you are working and it’s hard. Do what works for your family and don’t feel guilty if you can’t do it all, it’s hard.
  3. To be supermum you need to breastfeed your baby and have photographic evidence on Facebook showing everyone that you decided to give your baby the best. You also need to bottle feed when out so you don’t offend anyone with a slight nip slip.  Which ever way you feed your baby there seems to be some judgement, stick with what works for you and enjoy your own feeding journey.
  4. To be supermum you need a home like a show home, no toys in sights and everything in it’s perfect place. You also need to buy every new toy in sight and have photographic proof at Christmas and birthdays on social media. If you can afford it, buy it, but try and remember that time spent with children is more valuable.
  5. To be supermum you still need to look good, all the time, hair done, no roots, nails and make up should still be high on your to do list. Personally I do enjoy getting dressed up when I can and I make sure I take a picture for proof that I do actually look nice some time. If you just want to rock a messy bun for the next few years and make up is more like hassle then so be it.
  6. To be supermum you need be the crafting queen, sow, knit, baker, masterchef champion and sporting Olympian. Very few people can do them all, find something you enjoy and stick with it, don’t let Pinterest take over your life.
  7. To be a supermum you need to stop your child from having a dummy or a bottle past 18 months otherwise you are in the lazy parent category. It seems everyone has a opinion on this, but be realistic and do what works for you.

Social media is a polished version, no one is going to upload a picture with a pile of washing in the background, it’s edited to make it look better than it is. Media outlets will always pit women against each other as it get’s the clicks/sales and starts heated debates. We all supermum in our own ways and all have our own battles.

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The real struggle of living with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder)

The real struggle of living with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder)

This isn’t a post for attention or even pity, it is a post for understanding, making sense of my own thoughts and also helping others understand about different mental disorders, the one that less than 2% of people suffer with. I’m having a bad few days, and when that happens I try to force myself to write as it is more important than ever for me to make sense of my emotions. Having BPD (borderline personality disorder) can be very intense at times and often if I am struggling with BPD my anxiety and depression will be heightened too. I don’t get in this frame of mind often, but when I do it can be pretty dark and very scary. It will sneak up on me when I least expect it.

I have been feeling a bit out of touch with reality and have disassociated myself, which for me is normal when I’m in this state of mind. It’s not that I want to be left alone it’s just I feel unable to interact with the outside world. In truth this is when I do need people around to connect me, encourage me, but I struggle to let people in. My life can begin to spiral out of control and I have no power over it. It’s like I’m just there for the ride. I get frustrated with myself and hate having these thoughts and feelings, but feel so powerless to do anything about it.

You are 70% more likely to be diagnosed with BPD if you are female. 7 out of 10 people with BPD will attempt suicide and this figure does not surprise me. Even more frighteningly is that around 1 in 10 will succeed. 75% of BPD sufferers will engage in self harm. It’s a scary and confusing place to be in when you feel all alone.  Something else that often goes along with this is self harm, it isn’t just something a teenager does, it’s something many people do, especially BPD sufferers do as a coping strategy.

When my BPD is bad I struggle to trust many people, I have paranoid thoughts and I feel like I am being a burden to them. It’s a mentally and physically draining and I still always worry that one day BPD will win. I don’t want it to win, as I love my life and just want happiness I just want rid of this black and white thinking and these intrusive thoughts that try to ruin my life. I am trying to control it with the use of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) a form of the better known cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), but it’s a skill and I am having to relearn my thinking patterns., which will take time.

The thing is BPD isn’t always this way and I have episodes of being happy, organised, motivated, but then with little notice it can come spiralling out of control again back to the dark place where I feel vulnerable and alone. When I am in one of these episodes I withdraw from contact, this includes my own children, I feel flawed, I will even engage in risky behaviour and try to escape reality. I can see myself sabotaging and falling apart, but once in motion I cannot stop it. I am trapped in my own dark mind and don’t know how to make it right again, it’s my own version of purgatory where I am unreachable

One of my biggest fears is abandonment when I push the people l closest to me away. I have been incredibly lucky to have support people around me, but I do worry that eventually they will just have enough of me and leave. My biggest fear after that is that I will eventually commit suicide I know this is morbid and something many people cannot understand, but I do worry that one day when I am not in control that my demons will win. The truth is I want to live so much it’s just my brain that’s stopping me.

Each new day is new start where I can make a difference and shape my future for the better. I am doing everything I can to hopefully recover, which is a possibility with a BPD diagnoses. I have just got to try to stay positive and keep with the DBT classes.

 

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You are needed more than you will ever know

You are needed more than you will ever know

Please remember you are not alone, you are needed, you are cherished and you are unconditionally loved. Being a mother is exhausting both mentally and physically and sometimes it isn’t much fun. We can’t be the perfect mother every moment of everyday and we need to remember we are doing our best and that is just fine. Just making it through the day is achievement enough and something you should hold onto when days are tough. As much as the media would like to portray, the perfect mother does not exist and we all have our own bad days, own battles and own guilt, just some of us are better than others at hiding it. Every mother will cry because she doesn’t think she is good enough for her child at least once and that is what makes you the most wonderful mother to your child. You literally beat yourself up about being the best mother and you don’t realise that you already are.

Every stage of parenting from newborn to having a full-grown adult, brings its own challenges and when your child eventually flies the next you won’t just stop being a mother, this is a life long commitment like no other. Once you hold your baby in your arms for the first time you will carry them in your heart for a lifetime. You will see them achieve greatness, probably stumble and fall and you will feel their pain as your own. To be there for your child no matter what happens, whatever they chose and wherever they may go is something so beautiful. To watch someone you created make mistakes whilst you are helpless to stop them is difficult, but you can of course only guide them and let them fly free and become their own person.

Nurture them, love them, provide for them and show them acceptance when this world will try to show them differently. You are their first bond, their first love and you have the position in their life to make a difference. Show them that it’s ok to make mistakes, that apologising is healing not only for the recipient but also for themselves. Teach them what love is, form a healthy bond so they can base their future relationships on the love they have received from you. Show them that no one is worthless, everyone deserves an opinion that should be respected.

You really are needed so much as a mother not just from the moment they are born, but through every step and every challenge. Your love will be the key to their happiness, the roots you give them will ground them forever. You are like no one else in this world to your child, you are their mother and you are needed.

Returning to work

 

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Self-care with a new baby

Self-care with a new baby

My ‘baby’ is almost two now and I’m still very unsure if a baby number three will ever be on the cards so this is really a reflective post on self-care I wish I had implemented with a new baby. My daughter is now almost five and son was two a few weeks ago and my experiences were completely different, with my first I took to it easily and was back up in no time, whilst with my son I had terrible postnatal depression which I think was contributed to my lack of self-care in the early days post delivery.

If I do ever become a mother again this is how I would self-care better.

  1. I’m a pretty determined person if I put my mind to it and I was desperate to get out and about with the new baby and prove that again I was this perfect earth mother second time around. I was naive to think that two children wouldn’t be much harder and that I would heal in the same way. I was emotional and physically drained and I should have slowed down.
  2. I was pretty strict with my first with visitors and my second I let things slip. It was overwhelming not just for me but for my oldest. Miss J needed time to adjust to a new baby and we didn’t give her the chance.
  3. I wish I had treated my body better. I was so focused on keeping everybody else happy that I neglected myself. I had very low iron in pregnancy and required an iron transfusion after giving birth second time. I wish I had taken Spatone Iron earlier to help with my iron levels. If a third ever does happen I will be taking it throughout my pregnancy.
  4. My first labour was a real struggle and required a fair amount of stitches. The time it took to heal was long and using the toilet was a very scary experience. When Mr T came along I luckily only grazed, but second time I was clued up and had a jug of warm water ready for toilet trips and I took many salt baths which I really think helped make me recover so quickly.
  5. Breastfeeding first time was tough and I spent a fair amount of time crying through the pain.  With my first child I remember desperately waiting for our local shop to open on a Sunday morning so I could send hubby to buy some formula, whilst I was waiting for my milk to come in. I know some people are really against it, but it helped me carry on breastfeeding when I was struggling so much. With my second I had a carton just in case and never had to use it.
  6. Do your reasearch on a good breast pump. First time I went for a brand I knew and it was rubbish, second time I really looked into it and found a great Medela Swing pump which enabled me to pump and store milk.
  7. Close the curtains and air your breasts if they hurt and stock up on lanolin cream, Lansinoh seemed to work best for me.
  8. First time around I was desperate to get back into my clothes and I was ‘fortunate’ enough that I actually lost 20 Ibs in the first five months of pregnancy, so after delivery I was skinnier than before. Second time around I wasn’t so lucky and still haven’t lost it two years on. If there is a next time I will not got hung up on this and will embrace the leggings post delivery.
  9. Accept help if offered and ask for help when needed. I really wish I would have asked for help and accepted in more in the early days with baby number two. Miss J probably would have benefited from some time away from the new baby and I needed time to bond with my new baby.
  10. Make the most of box sets. I loved box sets with my first child, but with my second it was mostly spent watching kids TV. I wish instead of going insane watching Paw Patrol whilst I had a baby stuck to my boob that I had got out my tablet. There is no harm in watching TV and just staying awake.
  11. For some reason with my second I felt that I shouldn’t nap and as soon as my hands were free I would attempt to clean, I wish I had just laid my head down on the sofa and just rested my eyes for five minutes whilst my oldest watched some TV.
  12. With both children as I breastfed I felt like I had to be with them every moment of the day. I wish I had taken the time when hubby was home to pop out for an hour on my own between feeds or even go for a walk. Having a baby is all-consuming and sometimes you just alone time.
  13. I wish I would have expressed how I really felt. I bottled it up and I wish I would have been honest with myself and say how it really was. I didn’t feel confident enough to really start expressing my thoughts until Mr T was 16 months old and I started to write it down in this blog. Once I started to express how I felt, I then could make sense of it and let go of guilt.
  14. I really wish I had known about mindfulness earlier and took time out to mediate, relax and be present in the moment. It’s done wonders for my mental wellbeing and it really is one of the best self-care tools you can use.
  15. Own your parenting decisions and don’t let people make you feel guilt. Do what works for you and your baby and don’t let anyone else try to make you feel guilty. We are all trying to do the best by our children so don’t let someone limited perspective make you feel bad.

Having a new baby whether it’s your first or fifth is difficult and a big transition for you all. Be kind to yourself and remember unless you look after yourself first you can’t look after your baby to the best of you abilities. If anyone has any other self-care tips to add please let me know in the comments.

A special moment with both my children
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Becoming aware of childrens mental health care

Becoming aware of childrens mental health care

In my opinion as a society we need to become more aware of mental health care with children, even though massive leaps in recent years for mental health have happened, it’s still often forgotten about or brushed under the carpet, especially with the care of children. The statistics say one in four adults will suffer with a mental health problem, but I am certain that figure is higher. I think many of us have been parented in an anxiety inducing way that manifests as we become adults. I am working on my own mental health, trying to be more aware of myself and how I treat others, especially with my children.

People might not want to face up to the realisation that many mental health disorders are deep rotted from childhood or teenage years, this could be from parenting, discipline or even abuse (physical, sexual or mental). People often talk about the chemical imbalance in the brain of mental illness, but not where it could have started.

Parenting is tough and I for one I am the first person to admit it and I am certain I am not doing it perfectly much of the time. I have tried since first having my children to practice attachment parenting and gentle parenting, which helps form strong attachments with parents, which then gives your child security. I try to be conscious how I speak to my children, admit when I am wrong or have overreacted in a situation. I will make mistakes as a parent, but the important thing is that I explain to my child why I acted in a certain way and apologise when wrong. I don’t want my children to be anxious like me and I want to show them why it’s important to admit when you are wrong. I don’t believe we apologise enough as adults for our bad behaviour, yet we expect our children to be so quick to.

Three children in every classroom has a mental health problem and this is something that deeply saddens me. More needs to be done to recognise mental health problems in children by parents, teachers, health visitors etc. Children deserve the chance to get access to mental health care and support.

Something I have been focusing on recently with my oldest is mindfulness and yoga. I have found both have really benefited me and it’s something I want to share with my children to start health habits which will hopefully help them throughout life. Me and Miss J found a great website called Cosmic Kids which has videos of stories, yoga and mindfulness exercises, this has been amazing for Miss J as she is unaware that she is learning and is just enjoying taking part. I believe this will help her with her concentration and mental wellbeing, whilst it helps us bond over a shared interest. More schools than ever are starting to take part and use mindfulness in classrooms and I believe this will increase when people see the benefits it has.

I hope people are starting to realise that children should be seen and heard. They shouldn’t be expected to act in a certain way, be carbon copies of their parents and that every child deserves to grow and express their needs and desires. Children are the future and I am doing everything I can to make my future as self-aware, empathetic and mindful. Mental health care for children matters.

 

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