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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Becoming a mother made me forget who I was

Becoming a mother made me forget who I was

Becoming a mother made me forget who I was and it was tough. I had to give up so much including my sleep, my full-time wage, jeans that fit and my perky boobs. The person I am today almost five years into motherhood looks very different to the lady I used to know. My make up isn’t done with the same care to attention, my clothes are more comfort than fashion and my hair is in desperate need of a trip to the hairdressers. Why did I lose myself in all this and become ‘just’ mum. Have I lost my true identity and become someone I feared?

The truth is my identity has changed and has not be lost, I have adapted, changed and evolved. I am now superhuman as I can cook a baby in nine months, nourish them with just my milk for six months and survive on little sleep.

Days before children were spent at either work, my bed or the local pub, it was all pretty meaningless and time was just a stop-gap until I started my real life. I know motherhood isn’t for everyone, but for me it was my purpose and my reason to grow.

I now spend my time juggling between being a mum, a worker, a home keeper and a role model and in honesty I do them all pretty well. I have learnt to divide my time (not always well) and priorities so I can give the very best of me. Time off is now appreciated, my days are filled with laughter, my heart is always full and my time is precious.

Becoming a mother made me lose my old self and discover a new self. I am better than before, smarter, happier, determined and focused. My family are my driving force and everything before just seems like a distant dream. My life before becoming a parent was enjoyable, exciting and often dangerous, but my life now has purpose and it’s helped me grow.

Becoming a mother made me forget who I was, but I gained so much more in return.

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mothers day

To my wonderful mum on Mothers Day

Mother Goose you have taught me everything about being a mum and I will always be grateful for your love and support you have shown me. I know at times you don’t understand me and my actions confuse you, but I know you are always seeing the best in me, even when I can’t see it in myself.

Since becoming a mother almost five years ago I now know how hard it really is. They say you never truly appreciate your mother until you become one and I believe this is true. Telling me your labours were like being constipated with some period pains and they were over and done with quickly wasn’t helpful and I often doubt if you must have forgotten how bad it really was. You love to tease me about what hard work of it I made it, when you were the natural earth mother who sneezed and popped a baby out. You’ve always had a way of making it all look so much easier than I know it truly is. I will never understand how you kept a big house so tidy with two small children and an even more demanding man-child (don’t tell dad I called him that).

I believe I share your core values and I parent the way I do because of you. You were one of the original ‘attachment parents’ before it even was a thing. You didn’t wean us until we were six months of age which was unheard of in the 80’s, you breastfed on demand without a care in the world about other people’s opinions and I know you spent many an hour rocking me to sleep and never letting me cry it out. I love your beliefs, your passion and values you have as a parent and I love the grandma you have become to my little two. Your ability to never say no to my children is pretty amazing and must be exhausting at times.

Thank you for showing me how to breastfeed, not judging me when I had to use formula and for supporting me through the difficult early days until I had established a routine. Thank you for teaching me to breastfeed in public and not give two hoots what anyone else was thinking. If it wasn’t for you I’m certain I would have given up in those early days. Thank you for listening to me cry over the phone when I tirelessly struggled to get Miss J to sleep in her own bed, night after night. Thank you for looking after my children on Fridays so I can work and thank you even more for the occasional over night stays so I get to still have a life outside my home. Thank you for teaching me how to make an amazing roast dinner, your gravy is still always better than mine.

One of my favourite memories as a child with you was the day that just me and you went to Argos to get my new Barbie and Shelley set with the pushchair and we went down to the river to have lunch and you let me get her out the box to play. I remember so clearly how you would take me to the Library once a week and let me pick a book, how we went in on the bus together on our own little adventures. We had some amazing trips out as kids on the bus to Wickstead and by train to Brighton, me and my sister never missed out on anything and always had the best girls days out. I hope i’m making it up to you by taking you out for our ladies days out with plenty of wine.

Once I reached twelve I had not only over taken you in shoe size, but also height and I became protective of you. You were my little mummy and I always had your back. We had our fights and arguments, especially through the teenage years and I know you were confused with what to do with me at times, but I hope you can now look back and see you did a good job as I am just doing fine.

You have been the best mother I could have asked for and an equally fantastic nanny. You have supported me through so much and even as I approach 30 I know you still we always be by my side and hold my hand when I need you most. I respect your work ethic, your patience and your confidence that you give to life every day. You really are an inspiring lady and if everyone was like you as a mother, this world would be a much better place.

I will always be your baby daughter, your little girl and your friend. I will be with you, by your side until the end and I hope to make you prouder everyday we have together. I love you mum and I am eternally grateful that I have been lucky enough to have you as my mum. Your soul is beautiful and your love is kind and thank you for helping me become the amazing mother I am today to my children.

I love you Mother Goose xoxox

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Mums on Tour, a rare night out.

I was thinking back to a recent night out I had with some mum friends and realised how things have truly changed.

Pre kids: Picking the shortest dress and highest heels I could find in New Look. Also needing to make the most of my tiny chest by wearing a gel bra. Who said you couldn’t have legs and boobs out.

Post Kids: Picking a dress out from Next that is not only comfortable, but is also wearable for doing the shool run. Wearing a nursing bra out or just a comfortable non underwired one as you don’t risk getting a blocked milk duct. Wearing your trusted Spanx the whole night just so your jelly belly is a little bit more controlled unlike your bladder these days.

Pre kids: Spending three hours to get ready by having a lovely long bath, then relaxing doing your makeup whilst having a drink and listening to your favourite music.

Post kids: Frantically getting ready whilst getting the kids dinners and one boob hanging out with the baby attached. Changing your outfit about ten times until you end up sticking to your favourite dress that covers your mummy tummy the best. Putting on your extra comfortable shoes with a gel insole just in case.

Pre kids: Rolling into town at 11pm for a quick drink in a pub then straight to a nightclub. Being pretty much paralytic before even getting in the nightclub spending the whole time on the dance floor or outside a lot in the smoking area talking to lots of random people about some kind of crap and posing for a load of pictures taken by the toilet lady and deciding to buy ten lollies from her. Leaving at 2am and deciding its time to sober up with a sub way. The night is still young so you head off to a house party around a friend of friends and sleep on the sofa.

Post kids: Starting off somewhere classy at 8pm with cocktails whilst you spend the whole time talking about your kids. Forever looking for your changing bag and feeling odd not walking whilst pushing something. As the night progresses you then get tipsy and want to find a good pub that you can dance to cheesy music in. You end up attracting random young people, which you decide to give them the words of your wisdom and show them pictures of your babies. The merrier you get the old you comes out and you think its a good idea to have a shot. You do some amazing mum dancing to Lady Gaga Just Dance thinking your back in 2009. Eventually the lights turn on and you get told its time to go home by the bouncer which you obviously flirt with and you get a taxi home which you either fall asleep in or talk the whole way home about your kids to the poor driver. You get home and pass out probably still wearing your makeup.

Pre Kids: Get up, get a lift home, have a bacon sandwhich and go back to bed till 1pm. Wake up around 3pm and be ready for it all over again.

Post Kids: Wake up with your head spinning and slightly confused. Taking some paracetomol and having the strongest coffee you can stomach. Having to pump your rock solid engorged boobs and letting the kids watch whatever the hell they like on TV for the rest of the day. The hangover starts to lift around 2-4 days after the event.

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Activities my kids love and I hate

Activities my kids love and I hate:

  1. Play dough! I hate the stuff as either Mr T is eating it or Miss J is rubbing into my carpets and sofas. I’ve tried desperately to only use a couple of colours at a time but they all eventually become one khaki brown.  I’m not sure I’ve met an adult who actually likes the stuff.
  2. Painting. I always dreamed of the day I had kids and we could paint together but in reality it is messy and every bit of work turns khaki brown with all the mixed up colours.
  3. Stamps. I thought one day it would be a good idea to get ink stamps, envelopes and make a post box. It wasn’t a good idea as every surface in my house was stamped.
  4. Stickers. Again I thought stickers would be a good idea but I haven’t enjoyed scrapping off the stickers on our kitchen floor and I don’t think Miss J’s brother appreciated being covered in them.
  5. Mr Frosty! As a child I had a Mr Frosty which I loved so when I saw the original retro one was back on sale it got added straight into my amazon basket. In reality I forgot how hard it was to crush the ice as I had made my poor mother do it for me. Miss J on the other hand loves it.
  6. Wendy House. It takes me roughly 15-20 minuets to build the Wendy house and around 10 minuets for my kids to get bored of it again. After all the effort of putting it up I then feel I have to keep it up in my cramped living room and throw all the toys in there at the end of the day.
  7. Hungry hippos. Hands down the shittiest game of them all but my daughter insists on playing it over and over again and has a full on breakdown if I accidentally get the yellow ball. I also spend a lot of the time from stopping Mr T eating them.
  8. Barbies. This is one of those things having a girl made me really excited about. I love my Barbies growing up and had actually kept some of my old bits. Miss J on the other hand insists they are all naked and their hair is all matted after trips into the bath. The Barbie house is actually more of a shit tip than my actual house is which I guess is comforting.
  9. Lego. We have just entered the age of Lego in our house which means we have a fair amount of  parent swear woods (fudge sticks, mudder ducker etc) as we stand on them. Again I have spent many a hour constructing these for Miss J for her to destruct them immediately. Don’t get me started on Mr T eating them.
  10. Soft play centres. I really enjoyed going to the baby bits when they just rolled around and were confined enough for me to sit and have a cup of tea, then one day they learnt to climb, then get out, then crawl to the big bit and then crawl up the slide. Now Mr T is 16 months and just walking, I spend my whole time acting like I’m doing a course on Ninja Warrior whilst he runs about not giving a shit of what dangers crawling up a slide may encounter.

Last of all I just wanted to say that I never knew how much of a control freak I was until I became a parent. Those rare moments when they are entertained and independently playing I fill with pride at just how cute they really are.

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The exhaustion of PND, anxiety and antidepressants.

The first steps of getting help

I feel exhausted and unmotivated every single day and have to force myself out of bed. Initially it was the PND and anxiety which were exhausting and not letting me sleep, now I think it’s the antidepressants and it really pisses me off. I hate waking every morning with a foggy, almost hungover state of mind and it doesn’t matter how much sleep I do get I still feel like this everyday. I’ve never been one of those types that springs out of bed at 6am and ready to go but I really wish I could wake up and at least get going in the morning without the battle. Most of my days off I struggle to get out my pj’s and out the house by 11am, but now with Miss J’s at school I’ll be forced to get up and I’m hoping this will change. I definitely one of these people (at least on the antidepressants) that need to be forced into doing things otherwise I’ll sit around all day doing nothing which does nothing for my low mood.

I’m hoping this blog will be a step in the right direction to give me confidence by being able to see that I can carry on with something I enjoy with out the self critical and negative thoughts keeping me locked away in my own form of hell.

This week so far has been more positive than negative which has really given my wellbeing a boost that it needed and it’s also taught me that I can actually do something for just me rather than just being a mummy, wife and housekeeper. I feel for the first time in a long time that I’ve got this!

 

 

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The first steps of getting help with postnatal depression and anxiety

The first steps of getting help with postnatal depression and anxiety (antidepressants)

After speaking with my Dr and getting a prescription of Sertraline things got much worse before they got better. I had been warned by the Dr that these antidepressants could make me feel suicidal which they did. I was feeling broken, hopeless and guilty, but I was still trying to keep up the impression to the people closest that I was fine.

Miss J had just started pre-school, which eased my guilt slightly knowing she could have fun at least two days a week away from me. The playground made me feel super anxious as everyone already seemed to know each other. I had Mr T strapped in the baby carrier against me almost like body armour, I would keep my eyes forward and march Miss J into her nursery room and get out as quickly as I could. I now know the other mums are actually nice ladies and some have even become friends, one in particular has become a very close friend and a huge help in my ongoing recovery, but at the time I was so scared to talk to them and so worried about what they thought of me. Any conversations I did have with Miss J’s teacher and other mums over the next few months I would replay in my head  constantly, so worried that I had said something stupid.

The days at home with Mr T were strained and not what I had planned in my maternity leave fairy tale. Washing was mounting with Mr T throwing up constantly from his reflux, the husband worked every hour he could so we could afford for me to be at home and I was alone and empty. Many a times I just wanted to run away and hide or even end it, but the fact this baby boy needed my milk to sustain him kept me going. I’m all for feeding your baby, which ever way suits you and your family, but for me breastfeeding made me feel like I had some use even in the dark days.

After being on the antidepressants for a couple of weeks I forced myself to go to my local children’s centre to get Mr T weighed and to speak with a health visitor. I told the health visitor everything and broke down in tears whilst she held me. It was such a relief to tell a stranger and not feel so alone and trapped. My HV was lovely and offered me lots of support and set me up by visiting me every week at my home whilst sorting out cognitive behaviour therapy. I was so thankful to have the HV for support, especially with the antidepressants still failing to kick in and a six week wait for CBT to start.

After this I started to feel ready to come clean about my mental illness and confided in my best friend who was also on maternity leave and able to offer me support and comfort without judgement. On a girls night out after a few too many glasses of wine I came clean to the rest of my group of girlfriends who were amazingly supportive and still make the time to check in on me from time to time to see how I’m doing. Realising that I had support and that I had amazing friends around me gave me a glimmer of hope that I could come out through the other side.

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