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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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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17 Top tips for a happier life with a new baby

17 Top tips for a happier life with a new baby

A new baby is something really special, they smell gorgeous, are tiny and cute and they completely over haul your lives for a while. It takes some to time to adjust to a new baby in your home, as you get to know them and they get to know you. It’s hard work, exhausting and emotionally draining. I’ve written some tips I would have given myself as a new baby arrived.

 

  1. Trust your instinct it’s usually right.
  2. If in doubt ask for a second opinion. Always feel strong enough to ask for a second opinion about your baby, see another doctor or see a health visitor and make sure you feel comfortable with the advice you’ve given.
  3. Sleep when the baby sleeps and don’t feel guilty about it. A tired mummy is no good to anyone.
  4. Breastfeed your baby and if that isn’t what you want to do or it doesn’t work out, then bottle feed your baby.
  5. Own your parenting decisions and don’t be made to feel guilty. We all have to make difficult decisions around are parenting choices and we need to be confident in them.
  6. Let the other stuff slide. cooking, cleaning friends can all take a bit of a backseat whilst you adjust to motherhood.
  7. Make sure you still do stuff you enjoy. If that’s getting out with some friends then so be it or if you’re a home bird and not ready to leave the baby then have a nice bath or read a book whilst someone watches the baby.
  8. If you don’t already have them, make mum friends. Join a group on Facebook or go to a local mum’s group, these women need you as much as you need them.
  9. Your baby probably wont sleep for a long time and that’s normal. Try and ignore anyone who says that their 2 week old sleeps through for 12 hours as the chances are when that baby is teething, sleep will once again be a distant memory.
  10. Hold your baby, let time pass by, breath in that smell and remember the perfect moments.
  11. Every mum 1st, 2nd, or 6th time will make a mistake so don’t let it upset you. Your baby won’t remember and guilt is every mum’s worst enemy.
  12. Take everyone’s opinions with a pinch of salt. Take your time to make up your own mind.
  13. Don’t compare your baby to another baby.
  14. Sometimes are own mother’s and grandmother’s want to pass on their words of wisdom, but please remember advice has changed hugely over the last 20+ years. I’m sure the advice is meant to be helpful, but please make sure the advice you are given meets current guidelines. No babies sleeping on tummy or thickened formula please.
  15. Muslins clothes are amazing and you can never have enough. Great for all sorts of spit up and mess and also double as handy breastfeeding cover tucked into your bra strap.
  16. Ask for help. You don’t need to be a hero and you won’t get an award. If you need help, please ask for it.
  17. Always have baby wipes around. I honestly don’t know how mum’s managed before baby wipes, as they really are amazing for cleaning anything! If you don’t fancy shop bought ones you can always make your own.

Little babies don’t stay little for long so try to remember those special moments as when you look back this is what matters. The night-time feeds, screaming, baby sick and tears from you and baby will fade much quicker over time, but those little moments of happiness will last a lifetime,

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10 facts on why you are a better mum than you think

10 facts on why you are a better mum than you think

No doubt if you’re a great mum you are probably questioning your abilities as a mum through one decision or another and you are trying to think of ways to be a better mum. We are expected to do it all, raise a chid, run a house, have a job and still look presentable. Some people make it look easy, whilst other like me just look frazzled. I guess some of us are better than others of keeping up the appearance of keeping your shit together and that’s great, but for others we burn out, struggle and we question ourselves as a mum. I’ve written 10 facts on why you are a better mum than you think.

 

  1. Because you care enough to even read this. Just by questioning your ability as a mum shows how much you care.
  2. You have sacrificed something in your life, probably lots which makes you selfless.
  3. You priorities your money and pay your bills to keep a roof over your children’s home. You will go without to make sure your children have security.
  4. Your children are fed, warm, have a safe home and probably have far too many toys.
  5. You have a child who loves and needs you. That makes you special. In their eyes you are amazing and they idolize you.
  6. You are teaching your children important life skills everyday. You show them  understanding, empathy, patience just to name a few.
  7. You are showing your children love. Your love for them imprints and shows them what to base love on as they grow.
  8. You have made mistakes, but you have also learnt from them. You are showing your children how to learn from mistakes and that no one is perfect.
  9. You don’t give up, you keep trying to be better parent.
  10. You love them fiercely like you could have never imagined and would protect them with your own life.

You are a better mum than you think and your love for your children is unconditional. We all have moments when we shout too loud, let our emotions get the better of us or have to make a sacrifice in one way or another. We are not bad mum’s, we are human, we have little ones dependent on us and it is hard work at times. Be kind to yourself, you’re doing a great job.

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Parenting through the tough stuff

Parenting through the tough stuff

I never knew how tough it would be to be a parent until I became one. I was naive before children and thought it was something I would find easy as I was certain I had maternal instinct. In truth the maternal instinct kicked in straight away and I learnt quickly how to nurse with minimal nipple on display, how to pull a vest down rather than over after an explosive poo and how to ninga move out of a sleeping babies room. That stuff is hard to some extent and takes time to learn but parenting is so much harder than I could ever had imagine and something no one could have really prepared me for.

Parenting through sleep deprivation is hard. I have had to function on little to no sleep many times. I have been so tired I have walked around like a zombie unable to complete the easiest tasks like adding orange juice to tea instead of milk. People always assume you are most sleep deprived with a newborn which can be true and you tend to get some sympathy, but when you have a 2 year old who won’t sleep because of his teeth unfortunately you are own your own and just have to suck it up.

Parenting whilst adding an extra child. I thought it was tough, but manageable when I had one child. I could still get the washing done, have a shower and do my make-up with just a little juggling. When you have two or more there is no rest bite in between and they have a tendency to tag team you. Mr T is great at destroying something just as his sister needs to help having her bum wiped after a poo. Some days I literally feel touched out by having constant contact with one little person and I feel like hiding in the kitchen cupboard, unfortunately that is not an option as I’m too fat.

Parenting through sickness is bloody tough. My children have a knack at throwing up directly down my top so my bra catches it, coupled with Mr T doing an explosive poo and me being sick myself, things can be a bit minging and extremely exhausting when you are ill, but when you have children sick too is just relentless.

Parenting alone is something all us mum’s have to do to some extent but lots do it every single day, with little, to no break. I can’t comment on being a single parent as it’s not something I have been, but I can comment on the loneliest of having a husband who works twelve hour shifts, often nights. I have spent many a long day with the children just wishing he was there to take over for ten minuets so I can have a quick shower without my daughter watching, commenting on the size of my big wobbly bottom. It can be extremely isolating and the best way to deal with it is to complain with other mummy friends through play dates and the powers of social media.

Parenting through a mental illness is by far the toughest thing I have ever had to do. Dealing with postnatal depression after the birth of my second child was really tough and something I am still struggling with now 20 months later. On days I feel emotionally and physically weak, I still have to get up, still need to feed the children and still be a mum. I can’t just take the day off or hide under my duvet as much as I want to. I have hidden in a locked bathroom more times than I care to remember with tears pouring down my face, wondering how I will make it to bed time, but I always do.

Through the days of tough parenting I try to remind myself that I have a 100% success rate of completing these days. I have survive and I will continue to survive these days.

 

 

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The great dummy debate

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.

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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.

 

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What Motherhood Means to Me

What motherhood means to me

What Motherhood Means To Me.

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.

http://themuddledmother.co.uk/mental-illness/embracing-rubbish-parent-inside/

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Supporting mothers from mothers 

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.

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Advice I would have given my first time pregnant self.

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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