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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A mothers unconditional love for her baby

The day I met you, my darling baby, everything changed. I would never be able to just think about me anymore as my actions would directly affect you. I will be the role model to you and I will be the first person in this world that will show you what love is. There has never been anyone like you in my world before and I still can’t believe how instantly I fell in love with you. When someone says they don’t believe in love at first sight they must not have been lucky enough to become a parent like me.

I will never forget the way you smelt as you were laid on my chest for the first time. I felt exhausted, relieved , overwhelming emotions of love and fear of how I was now responsible for this tiny person for the rest of my life. From that day I became a mother which is something I will cherish dearly until my dying day. I had to learn quickly how to wash a baby, dress a baby and how to feed, which was hard to begin with and nothing like when I had played with dolls as a child. You needed me and were relentless with your needs, but I sacrificed it all as I wanted to do it all for you.

I cherished my time feeding you, taking you for walks and rocking you to sleep, as you are not just my child, but also my friend. I would sometimes get you out of your cot, still asleep and sit with you in a chair rocking you and stroking your face, desperately trying to remember the way you felt in my arms. You soon grew, much quicker than I had anticipated and were soon toddling around my house, causing destruction. We started going for walks to the park, just us two, to feed the ducks and I can honestly say I was so happy in your company. We spent many a day cuddled on the sofa, playing dolls and painting together, then the day came where you had to leave me.

You ran off without a second look back through your classroom doors and began a life away from me. I wasn’t there all day to help, guide or teach you right from wrong and I missed you terribly. I still had your baby brother at home, but I missed having my darling little girl with me. When I collect you from school my heart fills with love and I’m so happy to hear your stories and what you have learnt today, but I’m secretly jealous that someone else gets you. I loved the day you told me about the dinosaurs and how they were ‘stinct’ and then asked if I knew any of them.

The days we have together are not as often now and when I reach for your hand to hold, you soon let go to be free, ready to explore the world on your own. I know at bedtime no one does bedtime stories as well as me and that you will make any excuse to keep me in your bed just one more minuet longer. I will hold you as long as you let me, kiss you on the forehead, stroke your hair and breath you in. You will never stop being my little girl and the promises I made to you when you were born will be forever. You are my love, my darling, my baby and I will be with you forever.

 

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I am the selfish mother

I am the selfish mother, which is something pre children I would have never dreamed of becoming. I make sure I have adequate time away from my children, I buy myself treats, I go to the gym and leave my child in a crèche. I am more than happy to book weekends away with friends and have nights out getting drunk and I feel no shame in this. I go to work and feel no guilt leaving my children for the day, as I get adult conversation and money to treat myself. I lock myself away in my bedroom whilst my husband watches the children so I can write my blogs or even sit on Facebook in peace. I even have long baths and leave my husband in charge of the chaos. I sometimes ignore my children and I don’t jump up for their every request. The playdoh and art supplies stay firmly in the cupboard and comes out if I can be bothered.

I am a selfish mother and that suits me fine. I spent so much time trying to give my children every ounce of me and the consequences were not good. I tried to do too much and I got to breaking point and wasn’t able to care for my children properly because of this. I will never become that emotionally and physically drained mother again as my children were not getting the best of me. For me to be a good mother I need to look after myself first so I can look after them. I am again enjoying being a mother and I am again capable of giving my children quality time that they deserve.

I used to force myself to take the children out constantly and felt guilty if they were stuck in whilst I had to do the housework. I used to spend every penny I had on my children’s clothes and shoes when I reality they didn’t need as much as I was giving them. I am strict on bedtime so I get my evenings to myself again, as this is my time and it is important to me for my mental wellbeing. My children are my priority, I love them dearly and their needs are met but I can be selfish whilst this is achieved. As a mother we are told we need to sacrifice everything, our bodies, our looks, our time, our friends, our money and that really isn’t fair. My husband has given up a lot to be a father, but he isn’t the one who has to drop everything at the drop of a hat if a child is ill, or plan his whole life around school pick-ups and after school clubs. I am the one that keeps this house running not because of my money I put in, it is because I plan every aspect of our lives to fit in and work perfectly. I had forgotten for some time to plan myself into this time for me to have a break, but I now am.

2017 will continue to be about me, my wellbeing, my happiness and the happiness pf our whole family. I deserve a break as much as anyone and I will take it.

 

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The last year of my twenties and reflection

So on the 3rd of December I entered the last year of my twenties, eeekkk! I am now a year away from being a fully fledged grown up in the eyes of my ten-year old self. I always assumed that at thirty I would be married and starting a family and at 29 I have managed to be married for over five years with two children. My twenties have had their ups and downs and I have learnt so much in this time, but I am happy in myself to say goodbye to them next year and move on to the next chapter of my life. Will I feel any differently turning thirty? probably not. Will I have some grey hair? most probably.

I welcomed my twenties in true 2007 style by hosting a ‘Moulin Rouge’ themed birthday bash in good old’ Bedford town centre. We graced the presence of the sticky floored Litten Tree and then moved onto the crappy club over the road. Looking back at pictures on Facebook (I still can’t believe I’ve documented my drunken pictures for almost a decade) I can still see lots of familiar faces which makes me feel so happy that a decent amount of my friendships have lasted the test of time and the test of parenthood. At twenty I was carefree, single, living at home, at college and working in my now local pub The Fox and Hounds. I was single for a whole three months of my twenties until I met my darling husband, but that is a whole different story to blog about.

Welcoming in my twenties 'Moulin Rouge' style 2007
Welcoming in my twenties ‘Moulin Rouge’ style 2007

At 23 I got to marry my soul mate and love of my life. I may have been too young in some eyes, but for us we were just killing time until we said ‘I do’. Six weeks after getting married we found out we were expecting Miss J and we quickly had to grow up and become parents. It really has been such an amazing adventure making our own little family and becoming ‘The Goodwins’. I never would have believe at twenty, that I had all this to look forward to and that I would get excited about making our own Christmas cards and staying in every weekend whilst exchanging foot rubs.

The day I became a 'Goodwin'
The day I became a ‘Goodwin’

My twenties have taught me the value of friendship and how important the ones who have lasted the last decade are to me. My friends are basically my extra sisters and we’ve been through marriage, divorce, plenty of babies, breastfeeding, drunk nights out, miscarriage, depression, mental breakdown, loss of friends and loss of family. We have all stepped up for each other and supported one another when we’ve needed it. We have cried together, laughed together and cried laughing together. I have also learnt that it is never to old to make great friendships with new friends and to make friends with your friends, friends. I really am so luckily to have the most amazing ladies around me who will always have my back.

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Me and my babies

I spent my 29th birthday a bit more low-key to my 20th. I was on holiday in Fuerteventura, had a lovely meal out with my husband and a slight hangover the next morning. On my actual birthday we flew back to England and it was written off until the following day where we spent the day in pj’s and watched Disney. It was a perfect birthday as I had my family with me and a box of Lindor Chocolate Truffles.

We may have gained a few pounds and one of of us has lost most his hair, but we are still in love
We may have gained a few pounds and one of of us has lost most his hair, but we are still in love

The last 18 months haven’t been the best for me, obviously I am so happy and grateful to have Mr T in my life, but I’ve struggled so bad with anxiety and postnatal depression, that it has tarnished the memory. It has honestly been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with and something that has pushed me right to the very edge, but I survived it and fought it. I plan to make 29 a really great send off of my twenties and will embrace everything it throws at me. Not everyday will be perfect, not everyday will be easy, but I know I can find my happiness. I plan to keep blogging and giving it everything I can, as it really has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my life.

Bring on the next year of my life, my journey, my family, my friends and my thirties.

 

 

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The things I never appreciated before children.

The things I never appreciated before children.

Becoming a parent is a whole new world of emotions and it doesn’t matter how prepared you are you have no idea until you’re deep in nappys. Going back over my time hop app from six years ago I seemed to loved to update people on how tired, skint or ill I was. Obviously this was before children and I had no idea what those things actually meant. So many mum friends told me to enjoy the date nights and sleep, but I just shrugged it off and thought it wouldn’t be so bad.

The day to day tiredness of being a mum is relentless, but when you have a newborn who is up all night or a three year old who gets in your bed and fidgets all night it is beyond exhausting. The fact you can’t just call in sick and that you still no matter how tired you are have to get up and look after the needs of another human that relies on you is relentless. I now understand why sleep deprivation is a form of torture and that you can cry just because you are so tired. The days of a decent lay in and naturally waking up are long gone and something I miss terribly. I have been a mother for four years now and will never be or become a morning person. As much as I do love waking up to Miss J snuggling into me I do miss waking up, checking the time and just rolling back over to sleep. I just never appreciated how good it was whilst I still had it.

Being able to make spontaneous plans to go out for dinner, a weekend away or even a trip to tesco are long gone. The planning and packing to get out are enough to put you off even making the effort and don’t get me started on how to plan the logistics of a date night with work shifts, childcare etc. It’s true though as much as I made the most of this whilst pregnant I didn’t miss it until it was gone.

Hangover days are just not quite the same anymore. I have tried many a time to plan a night out where I get some hangover time on my own the next day without any luck. Gone are the days of Hollyoaks omnibus, eating junk food and staying in bed all day and now I spend the days watching Minions on repeat whilst letting my children eat anything they like so I can get five minutes peace. No hangover in my early twenties has been as bad as one since I’ve had kids.

I now look back at before I had children and wonder what I did with all that free time and I remember the moments of loneliness. I remember the emptiness of another night out going to the same places and seeing the same people. I remember how my life didn’t seem to have a purpose and that something was always missing. I used to look at families and get a pang of jealously and hoped and wished for the day that I could start my own family. I know not everyone needs or wants for children, but for me it’s all I’ve ever planned out for myself. Becoming a mother has been the hardest job in the world, but the reward from it has been tremendous. My children are my life and that’s how it will always stay.

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Embracing the rubbish parent inside us all.

Since having postnatal depression and thinking I was the worst mother in the world something amazing has happened. I’ve actually for the first time in my life stopped caring about what others think of me. I am so liberated that I am finally at a stage in my life where I am comfortable in my own decisions as a parent. I have stopped judging others by their parenting choices and am very much in the mind set that you do what ever you have to do to get through the day and be happy.

I felt so much pressure as a parent to be the perfect parent, but by trying that I was unhappy, alone and failing in every aspect. Having to revaluate my whole beliefs and ideas after making the change to be more consious of my mind, I know have this freedom that I once didn’t. When  I go to the school playground I know some people will not like me and I honestly no longer care. I do not live in a big house and have a fancy car and I’m no longer ashamed of that. I have so much more of value than material things and every day I feel blessed to be married to my soul mate and have two beautiful children with him, but believe me when I say that he and the kids can be right idiots at times.

I love facebook and Instagram but now I’ve realised how I too crop a picture so it looks it’s most perfect. Who’s bribed an older child with sweets to take the perfect picture with their sibling? Who has chucked a dirty nappy in the corner so it doesn’t ruin a perfect photo opportunity? No one’s life is perfect as soon as we remember that we realise how much better ours really is.

 

A great example of a picture where sweet bribes have been exchanged.

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the muddled mother

My favourite purchases with a second child.

One thing I really enjoyed when pregnant with a second child was buying the little special extras I couldn’t afford first time around and updating stuff that I didn’t like with Miss J. I’ve compiled a list of my favourite purchases and the reasons why.

Babymov Cosy dream

This product was amazing for a peaceful night sleep and especially for a baby with bad reflux like Mr T. I loved how he was cosy and his legs were raised upwards to help ease discomfort that reflux caused. One of the best bits about this is that its machine washable and dries pretty quickly and I can vouch that it last well after washing it most days and using it for six months.

Joie Mimzy Highchair

I wish I had bought this product sooner and not tried to manage with my old one which just wasn’t practical. This highchair is amazing and so comfortable. Not only can you adjust the height, you can take off the whole tray to clean, it folds down for storage and the plastic has an almost velvety texture so even cheese spread wipes straight off. I love how you can recline this so you can have baby up at the table before they are ready to start solids.

Medela Swing Breast Pump

If you do plan to breastfed I really do recommend this breast pump. I went for a cheaper one with my daughter and it was useless compared to this. Its easy to use, clean and transport. I used it everyday for six months and it became my breast friend.

Mam Bottles anti Colic

At first I had my reservations with these bottles but after I was sent one free and Mr T refused any other brand I tried these and he loved them. I was put off my all the bits, but they really do work well and didn’t seem to aggravate his reflux too much or cause nipple confusion. Its great that you can self sterilise the bottles in the microwave.

Breathablebaby Cot Mesh Liner

I know not everyone likes cot bumpers but after having a good look around I found these mesh liners that Velcro on. I didn’t use them when Mr T was newborn but I used them when he went in his own cot from six months and they are great at keeping his legs and dummies inside the cot at night.

Ergo Baby Carrier

I have no idea how I would have managed without this carrier. It was great for holding a reflux baby upright when I needed to do some jobs and so easy for doing the school run. Mr T is 16 months old and we are still using the carrier everyday for the school run.

Milton Travel Sterliser

This was so handy on holiday that I used it when I was home for doing his dummies, rather than having to put them all in the steam steriliser every 30 minuets.

Milton Mini Soother Steriliser

These make life so much easier when out and about. Easy to set up before you go out and also handy to take up to bed with you with a spare dummy.

Nursing Chair

I love my nursing chair and couldn’t be without it. I’m still using it 16 months on for good night feeds and a story.

Mamas and Papas Armadillo City

I bought this when Mr T was 10 months as I wanted a small pushchair that I could keep in my downstairs toilet. This pushchair is lovely to push, folds easily, look good and fully reclines. my only regret was not buying it sooner.

Please see links to Amazon to the side for current prices.

 

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How PND damaged my relationship with my daughter

PND and how it damaged my relationship with my daughter and how we got it back.

My daughter Miss J has always been the sweetest little girl and when she was born eight days late, after a three day labour all was forgiven as soon as I held her. My bond with Miss J has always been so strong and she really has been my sidekick and when my anxiety has been bad just having her by my side gives me strength.

The first twenty weeks of pregnancy with Mr T were fairly easy besides a few hospital trips early on, but after twenty weeks things started to get very hard as I was diagnosed with SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction) and later Polyhydramnios. Abruptly the walks to the park, chasing around and sitting on the floor playing stopped. I felt incredibly guilty that I was unable to play with my daughter or even push her in her pushchair, but the pain got too much.

I think this is where my depression started and then escalated. Towards the end of my pregnancy I was having to lean on my mum for help with my daughter as I just wasn’t able to give her the attention she craved. Miss J wasn’t wanting me anymore and was crying when I took her home from my mums house, which made me feel like a terrible mother. I kept telling myself that once the baby was here it would be so much better as I wouldn’t be in pain anymore but I was very much wrong.

When Mr T arrived 3 weeks early I felt a huge relief. I had been induced and been away from my daughter for two days so was extremely emotional and wanting to get out of hospital as soon as I could. I left hospital too early as I was still extremely anaemic after a iron transfusion and was having dizzy spells constantly, but I pushed to leave as soon as I could. With Mr T back home I was so excited to introduce him to his big sister, but the reality wasn’t as I had imagined. Miss J only being three wasn’t sure what all the fuss was about and kept asking me to put him back in my tummy. She didn’t bond with him and ignored his existence besides trying to cover his face with a muslin when he cried.

The rational side of me knew that this was normal behaviour but inside it was killing me. I was patient and didn’t force her to be with him but it was so frustrating and making me stressed. Miss J was getting jealous that I was breastfeeding him so I would encourage her to feed her doll but she was acting out trying to get my attention anyway possible.

Mr T was not a good sleeper and would be up most the night screaming. He had bad reflux so I was forever changing his clothes and feeding him. My husband was working 12 hour night shifts so I had no way of getting help. Miss J was fobbed off with TV as I was too exhausted to entertain her and between me breastfeeding and holding a reflux baby upright I was failing her and was feeling terrible mummy guilt. I was resenting her for not letting me bond with my newborn and I was resenting him for ruining our relationship. Something had to give before I broke which is when my mum stepped in.

My mum didn’t work Fridays so we would go out or I would go to hers and she would take care of Miss J, where I would leave her for the night and collect the next day. It meant that once a week I only had to put one child to bed and I could nap when Mr T napped. It worked so well that she still does it now. I felt at first I was letting her down and worried that she would love my mother more than me, but its been the best solution for us both.

Eventually once Mr T could interact with her at around four months she started to take an interest in him. It was extremely slow and frustrating, but she now adores her brother, will take care of him and is incredibly protective of him. Once she started to bond with him and I sought help for my PND our relationship slowly improved. She started preschool when Mr T was 4 months old, which meant she got a break from us both and I think that was the best thing possible at the time.

Sixteen months on from Mr T’s arrival and the mummy guilt seems to be lifting. Miss J and me are best buds and I focus on spending some time where it is just us two when I can. She’s an incredibly kind and happy child and even though she can be a madam she is mostly very well behaved.  I thought she would remember it all, resent me forever and that her and her brother would never be the best of friends. Its amazing how PND can make you think so irrational, but I can now see it from the other side and we are now one big loving family.

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