After new years eve last night and having a slightly fuzzy head from drinking a bottle of prosecco, I’m in much need for a lazy day. Mr T went to bed at 8 (very late for him) and Miss J passed out on my lap at 11pm, after desperately trying her best to stay up and see the new year in. Obviously because I let them stay up they got up earlier than they would any other day (sods law or kids law) and tumbled into bed with me, demanding that they are fed right away. Mummy consumed a whole bottle of prosecco and stayed up until 1am so I’m feeling pretty poo right now and in no mood to parent today. The children are passed off with biscuits for breakfast and Disney Junior is quickly turned on whilst I make a hot tea. I also have biscuits for breakfast and I snuggle down in my dressing gown to catch up on the outside world through Facebook.
After not getting my few hours child free to myself like I do every other night and watching my own programs I am feeling pretty frazzled. Obviously the weather is crap and the kids are pissing each other off. The cat got poo stuck to its bum and dragged its bum over the kitchen (that was steamed the day before), Mr T has thrown a wooden brick at Miss J’s head and the kids are turning the light on and off as we speak. Why won’t they just let mummy have a nice relaxing morning to myself and let her drink her cup of tea hot. Mr T has now done a poo and is ripping out Miss J’s hair.
These children have been fed, watered, cleaned and have half of Toys ‘R’ Us in their living room (I would say mine, but it’s basically theirs these days). Why can’t they just let mummy be lazy, just for today. I’m sure it’s more stressful attempting to have a lazy day than it is taking them out for the day.
Miss J is now 4 1/2 and Mr T is 19 months and has just learnt the art of hitting his sister, pulling her hair and throwing random objects at her head. I think he’s showing sign of being a fantastic rugby player in years to come, which I know his football mad daddy won’t be too pleased about. This is the first time I’ve had to deal with fighting siblings and I can only assume this is just the start and I have many years ahead. I am unsure on whether to discipline or just leave them too it. Miss J is a bit of a wimp and probably deserves a few of those whacks her brother gives her. Giving Miss J a gift of a brother is probably the best thing she could have given her, otherwise I’m sure she would have been even more of a diva by now.
Society tells us we should feel guilty when we stick the children in front of the TV (electric babysitter), give them biscuits to keep them quiet and we are not spending every waking moment interacting and nurturing them. Well I have no guilt, my children are happy between fighting, fed and I am not doing any lasting damage by ignoring them when I have spent every day solid for over a week in their company. Sometimes you need to do what you’ve got to do to get through the day.
I think it’s time to admit defeat and actually parent today. It’s going to be difficult and will probably involve tears from all three of us. I don’t think we can get lazy days as parents, but at least I got a blog post out of it. Roll on the usual bedtime this evenings so I can catch up on Greys Anatomy and not have to share the chocolate with them.
I have been quiet vocal about how Miss J didn’t accept her baby brother when he was born 19 months ago. It’s something quiet common, but it’s not something you want to really talk about. Miss J was just over two when I got pregnant with her brother and was such a mummy’s girl. She was my mini me and always wanted mummy to put her to bed and read her stories. Whilst I was pregnant we did everything we could to prepare her for her new sibling, by talking about what was happening, taking her to our gender scan and letting her pick baby clothes and toys. She seemed to be understanding and kept asking when baby would ‘pop out’. When ever I did hold another baby she would get extremely jealous, so I did wonder if it would take a little adjustment initially. In preparation for her brother arriving we bought Miss J a fairy locket for her brother to give her and she picked out a blue ‘snuggle bunny’ the same as her much loved bunny. Everything we could have possibly done to prepare for his arrival was done and it was just now a waiting game.
At 37 weeks my waters broke without sending me into labour so after a 24 hour wait I was sent to hospital to be induced which didn’t work the first time. I had a long wait waiting for labour to kick start and was feeling really emotional and sad about not seeing my daughter. I had decided I didn’t want Miss J to see me in hospital and would let her meet her brother in her own home. Mr T arrived safely and we were able to leave the next afternoon to get home. Miss J was being looked after by a friend and was bought home to meet him. Her initial reaction was ‘it popped out’, she gave him gift and went off to play. I wasn’t expecting much from her and that was fine, as I knew it would take her time to adjust.
Miss J wasn’t interested in her little brother and was getting quiet jealous of me breastfeeding him. I was prepared that this could happen and spent as much time as I could with sitting with her and spending time with her and at first it was manageable as my husband was off work for two weeks to help. When my husband went back to work on twelve hour shifts things became a lot more strained. Everytime Mr T would cry she would put a muslim over his face and I was trying to explain to her why she couldn’t do that without making her resent him more. She would scream when I was holding him, refuse to walk if we were out and I was pushing him in his pram. She refused to even call him by his name and refered to him as ‘the baby’. I was having to bribe Miss J with sweets so I could get the occasional picture with her brother and I was trying desperately to get her to bond, but nothing was working and I knew it wasn’t something that could be forced.
My own mother suggested Miss J stayed over every Friday so I got a break, she got a break and I was able to bond with my baby. Miss J loved going over for the night, but when it came to coming back home she would scream that she didn’t want to, which was breaking my heart. I felt so guilty for bringing this baby into her life who she resented. I was struggling to get out the house and I was struggling to bond with my baby, looking back now it’s not surprising that I got postnatal depression.
There was nothing I could do, but to keep on trying to show Miss J that her brother wasn’t all that bad. I was getting her involved in any way possible, by getting nappies, letting her feed him a bottle, help wash him. I was patient with her and excepted that a bond for her would take time. I encouraged her to sit and communicate with him and to show him her toys or dancing and gradually I was seeing something happen. The real turning point was when Miss J started pre-school for two and half days a week. She loved going and having time to play with her friends and I loved being able to bond with baby or go shopping with ease. I remember taking Mr T for his jabs and had no choice, but to take Miss J with me, she insisted on holding his hand and became so worried and upset when he was crying. She was feeling his pain and was showing real concern for her little brother. Even though watching your baby have injections is usually a horrible experience it was something quiet special about that day as Miss J showed for the first time that she loved her brother. She still gets a bit jealous at times as he does of her, but I think that’s just natural for siblings. When Mr T wakes first in the morning he shouts her name and goes to find her in her bed and when she’s up first she climbs into his cot for cuddles. To watch them now you would never know what a struggle it was for her to bond with her brother, she’s extremely protective of him and loves to sit reading him books and play with his toys. They have their moments like any siblings do, but I can now see I’ve given her the greatest gift in the world which is her brother.
Taking Miss J home from hospital for the first time was nothing short of magical. She was beautiful, happy, content and feeding well. My husband was lucky enough to be able to take two weeks off and we spent those couple of weeks visiting friends and family and going out for lunches. When my husband went back to work working 12 hour shifts and the visitors died down I started to realise the reality of being a mum with a husband who worked. I started to get lonely and realised that being at home with a baby all day long, with no one else to speak to was lonely and isolating. At first when Miss J came along we had so many visitors, but as she got older they dwindled, not for any fault of their own it was because life moves on and people have their own lives to live.
I didn’t have postnatal-depression with Miss J but I did struggle with anxiety so for me to go to baby grows was pretty scary experience and something I would get myself really worked up over. I forced myself into these groups but in the village where I lived at 24 I was one of the younger mum’s who went and felt a little bit unsure of myself. I continued to go and did make some lovely friends through these groups and me and Miss J loved doing the baby massage class together. My year at home with Miss J was pretty jammed packed full of different groups sometimes even two in one day and it honestly was the best year of my life. The baby stage is very short, even if at times it feels never-ending probably because you haven’t had eight hours sleep over three nights let alone one night. I felt it was important and helpful to me to find some friends who were going through the same stage as me so baby groups and also Facebook groups were so invaluable to me. When I did have to return to work when Miss J turned one I was honestly gutted that I wouldn’t have that time with her again. I went back to work three days a week and I cherished my days off in the week with her.
When Mr T came along I was naive to think it would be the same. I thought having Miss J at home would be helpful and would be nice as I could now have a proper conversation with her. Miss J wasn’t particularly impressed with this screaming and pooing thing that I spent most of my time feeding. She because quiet jealous and wouldn’t acknowledged his existence. As a mum you immediately feel guilty and that you have betrayed your first born child and with my husband going back to work I had never felt more alone and isolated. I tried desperately to get out the house but I found toddler groups just exhausting, as I had to keep an eye on Miss J whilst carrying Mr T with me. I wasn’t actually able to talk with anyone and found the whole experience stressful. Miss J decided to perfectly time stopping napping when her brother was a week old which made me I feel I was unable to have anytime to actually bond with my new baby or time to be able to appreciate my daughter and I desperately lonely in my house all day long. We tried getting out with walks to the park but Miss J would refuse to walk and want picking up whilst I tried to push the pushchair. I found that I wasn’t seeing or speaking to people for days and I would just sit at home crying and feeling like I was letting both of my children down.
When Mr T was 5 months old something had to give and I excepted that I needed to get help for postnatal-depression and anxiety. Luckily Miss J had started pre-school at this point and I was able to get a little bit of a break from her and she could get a break from me and her brother. I started taking antidepressants and started CBT which did help my anxiety. It has been a constant battle and something I am still battling. I’m enjoying my time more with the children and I am able to appreciate them more, but I do still have times where I feel isolated and lonely. Miss J now loves her little brother and also loves to go to school whilst Mr T has got a little easier and is happy to entertain himself for short periods of time so I can just about keep on top of the house.
The point to this post is that it does get easier and it is all momentary and will not last forever. They will soon grow, need you less and became their own little people. It’s important to involve yourself in local groups, even if it means trying out a few until you find one you really like. Connect on Facebook with local groups and also baby groups and you will soon realise you are not alone and that your feelings are quiet normal to feel lonely. I have made some lovely friends through Facebook, some who I have met a few times and some who only live in my phone, but these people are real people who care for me and support me as I do for them. Do what you need to do to get through the day and don’t feel guilty as you are doing a lot better job than you think you are. If someone offers to babysit, take them up on it, if no one asks, then ask them, if you can put you child in a crèche whilst going to the gym, then do it and if you can put an older child in preschool or nursery then do it. A happy mummy equals happy children so make sure you are looking after yourself so you can look after your children properly.
I’m not writing this blog post to get anyone’s backs up or to debate which way of feeding is better. Both breastfeeding and formula have their places in society and we are lucky enough that we can make an informed choice on which way we plan to nourish our babies. For me I had planned to breastfeed before I had even got pregnant. My own mother had breastfed me and she always described it such a wonderful thing to do, that I knew I wanted to at least try it and hope that I could do it.
I understand many woman cannot breastfeed through inadequate milk supply, medication, latch problems, lack of support or wrong advice given. Some ladies decide they don’t want to do it and again that is completely your choice to make and not something anyone should ever make you feel guilty about. What upsets me most is so many people I know who have tried to breastfed have not been given the right advice and have been told something different every time they have seen a different midwife. Lots of people fall into the top up trap and find milk supply dwindles further and late diagnosis of tongue and lip tie are stopping ladies from being able to sustain a good breastfeeding relationship that will subsequently end too soon. In the UK we have one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world and I think us ladies are being let down with support that we need.
Like many other new mums I struggled at first to breastfeed my daughter Miss J, she latched fine but I was in agony with cracked and bleeding nipples and spent a few days pumping on one side and even did the occasional top-up of formula until my milk had properly come in. I spent a lot of time crying and unsure how long our journey would last. I was lucky to have done the NCT antenatal course and had been given great advice on breastfeeding. I phoned up the helpline when I needed support and was lucky enough to be helped out and encouraged.
Mr T had problems with reflux and was forever being sick and choking so I took him to the doctor at six weeks old and because he was gaining weight well they weren’t worried about him and the doctor advised me he was a piggy baby and I needed to limit his feed time and the space between feeds, which is appalling advice to give an exclusively breastfed baby. For one he would have been in distress and screaming, secondly it would have effected my milk supply and thirdly it wouldn’t have fixed the reflux. I had told the doctor I wouldn’t take his advice and was spoken to like a foolish idiot and reluctantly given a prescription of infant gaviscon. If anyone else has tried to give a breastfed baby gaviscon will know what a pain it is to do with each feed as you can’t just slip it into a bottle. I did my best and gave it a go but unfortunately it made things worse as he was now choking on his now thickened sick and I realised we needed to see another doctor quickly. Second time around I got to see a lovely lady doctor who prescribed us something that actually did work. He was still sick a lot, but it was little and often and he was no longer screaming in pain. Mr T’s reflux has only really now gone and he ended up in hospital at 12 months old after going blue from his reflux.
I exclusively breastfed Miss J until she was six months old and then went to combination feeding until she was a year old and I returned to work. I didn’t realise at the time that there were also so many amazing breastfeeding groups on Facebook, with mums who have gone through any kind of issue you can imagine and if I knew then what I know now I would have continued to breastfeed when I went back to work.
I felt insecure about feeding Miss J in public and would often sit in smelly changing rooms feeding her, sitting in my car or even go home so I didn’t have to. When Mr T came along and I already had a three-year old with me, everything had to change and I fed where ever and whenever I needed to. For me it was easier to feed than to make a bottle and I often fed one-handed whilst making Miss J’s lunch and out and about in the baby carrier. I wish I would have had the confidence to do the same with Miss J and not worry about someone else’s opinion. I have only had a couple of comments from people when feeding and have had a fair few stares, but have also had some lovely words of encouragement from strangers.
A few times I have thought my breastfeeding journey would have to come to an end after being prescribed antidepressants and then antipsychotics, but I have luckily been given information to show my doctors to show them that I can still breastfeed and take these drugs. Please check with the Breastfeeding Network if your doctor has told you that you need to stop feeding.
For me I have loved both my breastfeeding journeys and am still continuing to feed Mr T at morning and night at 19 months old. I have loved seeing Mr T’s rolls grow knowing that I had made them myself like some kind of super hero. I’m not a morning person and I don’t do well being woken in the night so for me being able to feed my baby with little interruption has been so perfect for us. I would scoop Mr T out of his cot and lay back on my side and feed him whilst my darling husband would be none the wiser. I didn’t have the worry of disturbing my husbands or daughters sleep and didn’t have to go downstairs to get a bottle in the night. I’ve found it great when they have been sick and wanted extra milk or when they have gone through a growth spurt after previously sleeping through the night. I love the fact I have it on tap whenever and wherever. I have still had nights out drinking and have even gone away overnight on hen parties, so I really haven’t found it constricting. I have pumped my boobs a few times when being a little worse for wear.
One thing I didn’t enjoy with Miss J was finding nursing clothes that I liked, but when Mr T came along I found an amazing Facebook page for breastfeeding mums sharing their high street, breastfeeding friendly clothes ideas, they now have a fantastic website too. It really was a god send and I wish I had known about it earlier. Second time around I’ve also found having a decent breast pump so important. With Miss J I struggled to ever pump much and hated sitting there for up to an hour doing it, but with Mr T I invested in a medela swing pump and was pumping so much that I managed to donate over 100 oz’s of milk to Oxford hospital milk bank.
For me breastfeeding has really been amazing and something I am so thankful I have been able to continue. I cherish mine and Mr T’s time every morning and night where I give him his milkies and he snuggles in close to me. One day he will no longer need me and I’ll accept that and let him go, but for now I still nourish him and he still needs me.
If you read my blog you may have noticed that my recent posts have been a bit on the depressive side and you might think that I’m not actually enjoying parenting much right now. I going to write a series of posts on stuff that I love about parenting which I hope will be uplifting for me and you.
The first of the series is about why I love CIO and I don’t mean cry it out, I mean cuddle it out. I’m a firm believer in cuddling babies and not to let them cry it out to sleep. This is a personal choice for me and something I have read a lot into and I think it works best for all of us in our family. I completely respect parents choice to either do cry it out or controlled crying as I know it isn’t a choice you have made lightly and every child and family is different. What works for one doesn’t work for all.
For me when my baby has cried it has been my job to comfort him, I will feed him, cuddle him and let him fall asleep in my arms before placing him in his cot. I can’t listen to him cry as I become agitated and can feel my stress levels rising which is not good for my mental state of for my child. Now he’s 18 months he will sometimes have a little winge, but will settle himself in a couple of minuets. I am strict with our bedtime routine and we always have a story in his room, his milk in the dark and music cuddles before I transfer him to his cot. I did the same with his older sister and for us it has worked most of the time. We have had times with teething or sickness when things have been a little harder, but if I’m honest I have enjoyed the extra cuddles those times have brought and we have gradually phased in the old bedtime routine until he is settled enough to fall asleep.
There isn’t much I’m organised with, but my children’s bedtime is something I am strict with as for my own mental wellbeing I need to have my own time to unwind. We always have the battle at bedtime especially with oldest, but if we stay firm and consistent she accepts it, eventually. I find that bedtime is one of my favourite times of day in our house as Mr T goes up at 7 and has his milkie cuddles then it Miss J’s turn for a story and cuddles in her bed whilst she tells me about her day. These are the only times in the day where I get proper one on one time with both of my children and I love it. I want to enjoy the moment with then both and enjoy the hour it takes me every night to get them to sleep.
I personally think that CIO is conditioning a child to sleep who’s emotional needs are not met. research has shown that this is damaging. I’m very aware that I have anxiety issues which I think have stemmed from my own childhood relationship with my dad. See my dad isn’t a bad person but the way he acted around me has made me extremely anxious. The reason he is that way he is probably from the way that he was parented and so on. I am trying to break the cycle by gentle parenting my children and I want them to grow up feeling confident, reassured and content.
It has been proven that children who’s needs are always met are more confident whilst some people still think it’s the opposite and makes a clingy child. Miss J was a shy baby and toddler and wanted lots of reassurance, she wanted me close and was often clingy, I refused to leave her with people unless I knew she was comfortable and I never pushed her into a situation she wasn’t happy with. Even now when she’s a little shy she still stuffs her hands down my top as its a reassurance thing to her that she did as a baby. Miss J on her first day of school looked around, cuddled and kissed me and walked off on her own. Everyday she has been happy and confident to go out into the big wide world without me so I’m certain all those cuddles haven’t done her any harm to become an independent little girl.
Mr T is a pretty confident toddler and is more than happy to be left with anyone. He’s much easier to get to sleep as a toddler than his sister and will happily lay down in his cot awake with some music and fall asleep. Sometimes I wish he would want cuddles more, as I love them so much, but his sister is still the cuddlier out of the two. Mr T is still breastfed and shockingly still confident and not attached to my nipple every second of the day. I think a lot of it is down to personalities as Miss J is very sensitive and like me which is fine.
I’m not the perfect mummy but I give the best mummy cuddles in the world according to Miss J and her opinion is one a care deeply about. I love to cuddle it out with both of them.
I am open to admit that I have a dummy addict! Mr T loves his dummy as much as he loves his boobie milk, which again he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Mr T is 18 months old now and I’m feeling the pressure when out that he is being seen as too old from some people to have the plastic thing shoved in his gob.
Am I a lazy parent for still letting him have his dummy? Possibly on some level I am, but it provides him comfort when tired or teething and means that my ears get a break from him whingeing for five minuets then that’s fine with me. If you don’t like it then shove off, as I honestly don’t see the problem. Too many people seem to think that they can tell you what to do on parenting when we all know that one size does not fit all.
My own mother hates dummies and I never had one as a child so instead I used to try to fit my fist in my mouth (I can still do it now, classy) and my teeth were ruined. In total I had four braces from ages 9 through to 14 and I still have one on the back of my teeth. I think I would prefer that my child has a dummy which van be taken away instead of a thumb, fingers or fist. Since Mr T has come along she has changed her stance on dummies.
For me in the baby days it gave me a chance to comfort my baby whilst out and about when I didn’t have the chance to feed my baby immediately. I know for many breastfeeding mums they have felt able to feed where ever and when ever, but for me I wanted to be sat somewhere comfortable and discreet to feed. That is purely a personal preference and I admire people who can feed openly.
Mr T was given his dummy a couple of days after being born just like his big sister. I was told by a midwife with Miss J that I may as well give up breastfeeding there and then for giving her a dummy before we were established breastfeeding, well she got to year breastfeeding so I believe that to be a load of old tosh. If it wasn’t for the dummy and me getting a break from comfort sucking I wouldn’t have probably carried on past a couple of weeks so for me it was my saviour.
Mr T become very attached to his affectionately called ‘doo-doo’ soon after birth, as with his reflux the suckling eased the pain for him. Now he’s talking more I am making a conscious effort to take it away from him so it doesn’t hinder him in any way, but at bed time the dummy comes out plus a spare for his hand and he happily sleeps a full twelve hours for me, every night.
The time will come when we have to say goodbye to his dummy, but whilst he naps in the day happily we won’t be parting ways anytime soon. I had made the promise with myself that when Miss J stopped her daytime naps we would say goodbye to her dummy and at 3 years and 2 weeks old it happened and she accepted it well. We said goodbye to them and chucked them away and she happily become a ‘big girl’. I think Mr T might be a little harder to get off the dummy when the time comes, but as it stands now he is happy which makes me happy.
Taking a second to appreciate my children is something that should come naturally, but unfortunately with postnatal depression I have struggled to connect with them much recently besides meeting there basic needs. I have felt terrible guilt in this, but now I am seeing clearer again I am able to see that I was unwell and it wasn’t my fault. We still have a long way to go, but I can see light at the end of the tunnel and make plans again.
As any mum would say I really do love and appreciate my children, but it’s so easy to become distracted with life and technology at times that you forget to sit back, watch them giggling and playing and letting your heart fill with love and pride. Mr T has especially become so independent over the last few weeks and has started to want to go on outside walks and to explore and learn about the world outside my arms. I love watching him grow and learn from new experiences, but my heart does ache a little at the prospect of him growing up so fast. He chats along to me now, coming out with new words daily, he’s learnt how to spin and dance and has really found how to be cheeky to get all eyes on him. I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again that he’s been a shock to the system which he still is, I am forever moving things out of his reach and having to kiss and cuddle various bumps and scrapes. He is not for the faint hearted and he is definitely a stereotypical boy with his snot covered face, fascination with his winkey and the bucket loads of mess he creates. I’ve always been a girlie girl and enjoyed having a relatively clean home without sticky finger marks on everything and I’ve always loved having a home filled with pink, pretty girlie toys, but now I’ve learnt to embrace, sticky doors, the paw patrol toys and the endless noise from the toot-toot cars.
Miss J has been particularly challenging the last few weeks and I think it’s because she has been able to pick up on me not being well and she hasn’t been getting the attention that she needs. Now she’s at school I feel sad that our quality time is limited and confined to such a small window from 4pm-7pm. I find in this time I am so busy with getting dinners ready, bath time and bedtime it’s hard to actually enjoy this time properly. I’ve been trying to take a step back and not wish for bedtime to hurry up so I can put my feet up for the day, but instead sit down, play, listen to her stories, read our books and treasure the night-time cuddles in bed together. I know the day will come when she doesn’t want me for cuddles anymore and I need to appreciate her still needing me in this way. Between 7-7:30pm me and Miss J have our only one on one time together and its lovely. She tries every trick in the book to keep me in bed with her for a little longer with a funny story, telling me about her school day (she never remembers anything when her ask her on the walk home from school) and telling me over and over again how much she loves me and needs me to stay for one more cuddle. I really do appreciate our weekends now and how important and special they are especially with my husband only being around every other weekend.
My children are tough and I’m not the perfect parent, but everyday I try, and that’s how I know I love them so much. I have always put them above my own needs and that’s why I have struggled so much at times. I know that I need to look after myself more so I can appreciate them more and be a better mother to them. The mummy guilt never lifts unfortunately, but I am finding it easier to rationalise. unfortunately in our society mums are made to feel guilty in every way possible. If we chose to stay at home or go to work, if we decide to breast or bottle feed, if we co-sleep, if we do cry it out, someone will judge you. I have felt judge many times of the years of being a parent and I don’t expect that will change anytime soon, I know other people’s opinions of my parenting may not be favourable, but honestly I no longer care. My worse critic has always been myself but I remind myself if I wasn’t a good parent I wouldn’t feel guilty. Do what you need to do to get through these difficult and such rewarding first years and take a step back and appreciate your children and what you have sacrificed for them. You’re an excellent parent and you are unconditionally loved by them. See also Becoming the role model my daughter deserves.
Motherhood is my greatest achievement and also my greatest challenge. The hours are long, stressful and the money is poor, but the benefits far out weigh anything else and my colleagues (mummy friends) are bloody amazing. I have sacrificed my body, nights out, free time, money, sleep and mental health, but what I have got back in return is worth so much more. See my blog about support http://themuddledmother.co.uk/breastfeeding/supporting-mothers/
I was 23 years old when I found out I was pregnant with Miss J and had been married a month. I went into it a little blind and just assumed it would all fall into place and come natural to me. The whole falling into place wasn’t as easy as I had seen it and going from a full-time wage and being independent to relying on someone elses wage was a shock. I was happy to be back at work after my maternity finished, but with a part-time wage and childcare to pay for it hardly seemed worth it at times. We’ve made it work though and we are now a family unit with a routine.
Motherhood has made me shed many a tear, made me doubt everything I knew, has made my heart hurt so much it could break and fill with love that it could burst. Until you have become a mother I don’t believe you can feel true unconditional love. I have cried myself to sleep at night thinking I am doing it all wrong and that I am mentally scaring them for the rest of their lives because I shouted at them and they’ve cried. As a mother I have a special chance to be someones role model, to teach them, guide them and love them so they become mentally balanced and happy grown ups. My job won’t finish when they finally say goodbye and leave our home, my job will carry on until I die. Being a parent is a lifelong commitment I have taken on and something that I am happy to always be to them.
I have cupped my hands and let my child vomit into them, I’ve been pooed on, peed on and sucked snot out of their noises so they can sleep. I have spent many a sleepless night holding them perfectly in my arms unable to move over fear of waking them. I have learned to be selfless and put two little people’s needs always in front of my own, I’ve also learned that to be the best I can I sometimes need to take a break out for myself.
I love that I can wake up in the morning and have two little people climb into my bed for cuddles who love my wobbly tummy, they don’t care that I have no make on, that my hair is a mess, all they care about is that I’m their mummy. I may doubt myself as a parent constantly and worry if I am really giving them the best, but these two amazing cheerleaders love me and think I am the best thing in the world.
Why do strangers seem to want to give me their opinion on parenting when you never asked. Today whilst shopping in Boots and picking up some dummy clips to stop Tristan from launching them out his pushchair the lady serving told me I needed to break thay habbit soon as he’s too big for a dummy. Mr T is 17 months old and when hes tired or teething i am more than happy to let him have a dummy and until he stops napping in the day i will make no plans to take it away just like i did with my daughter. I’m sure the comment didnt come from a nasty place, but I get so fed up of always feeling judged and being made to feel I need to justify my parenting choices when my children are happy and healthy. Miss J happily had her dummy until she was three years old until she stopped napping in the day. I didnt want to risk her dropping her nap in the day for my own selfish needs because I was heavily pregnant with SPD and that hour rest is what kept me going through the day.
Mr T is STILL breastfeeding at 17 months old, whilst showing no signs of stopping and i have felt I’ve had to justify this for many reasons as surely as ive gone this far I will probably have to move into his halls at university so he can have his ‘bitty’. It was my intention to feed until 12 months, but when I went back to work he adjusted so well to just feeding morning and night I’ve carried on. The world health organisations recommends breastfeeding until 2 years and if Mr T wants to then I’m fine with that. Am I selfish for wanting to go this far? Possibly i am, as when my baby wakes first thing in the morning I get an extra ten minutes cuddle time and at night or when he’s teething I can comfort him in a minute. It works for us and thats all I care about.
Parenting choices are personal and have reason. Whether you co-sleep, formula feed, or cry it out, who has the right to tell you that it’s wrong? No one should feel that they have the right to undermine a mothers role with critical opinions. We all need to support each other and respect other peoples choices. Parenting is hard so let’s try and do what we can to make it easier for everyone.
I was so scared about the possibilities of bringing a child into this world and how I would cope as a parent. What kind mum did I want to be? How would I parent? Would I try and breastfeed? I found all the information from parenting books, NCT antenatal groups and other people’s advice overwhelming and confusing. I wanted to be the best mum I could be, but I was unsure what that actually was?
I wish I could have told myself to just follow my instincts and that if something didn’t feel right then to just try something else. Whichever way I turned I was made to feel like a failure as a mother especially by Health visitors. I was told I shouldn’t give my daughter a dummy as she would refuse my breast and when I gave in and gave a bottle of formula when I was still waiting for my milk to come in and my nipple were bleeding that I had failed and wouldn’t be able to get back to breastfeeding. I spent so much time crying and made to feel like I had given up already, but I was lucky enough to have a supportive mother who reassured me and gave me the support to keep going, if it wasn’t for her I would have given up a week in.
I started to go to baby groups as soon as my husband went back to work and felt so overwhelmed with the competition with who’s baby had smiled first or slept through the night. I was one of the youngest mums going to the groups and felt bit out of place whilst they talked about their new BMWs and recently renovated kitchens, whilst I was driving a 3 door Fiesta living in a rented two bedroom terraced. I felt our world’s were apart and was unsure how I could make friends with these women when all we had in common was a baby. The truth is I did make friends with some of these women and the support and help they have given me over the years have been invaluable.
Something that took me a long time to realise was that us first time mums are all as clueless as each other and just trying our bests to be good mums, just some are better at pretending they have their shit together than others. We’ve all been out with a baby who won’t stop screaming no matter what we have tried, we have all done stuff and felt judged for it whether that is breast feeding in public, formula feeding or giving a dummy, but at the end of the day we have done what is best for us and our babies and what we needed to do to get through the day.
I have been a loving mummy, a patient mummy, a happy mummy, a yummy mummy, a shoutty mummy, a grumpy mummy, a sick in my hair mummy, a crying mummy, a lost her shit mummy, but most of all I have been a muddled mummy and that is fine with me.
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