My Motherhood Journey

Dear First Time Mum Me

[caption id="attachment_328" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Newborn Maisie Photo by MKR Photography[/caption] I've been thinking a lot recently about the differences I've found being a mum the second time around and what I wish I could tell myself if I could go back in time to those first overwhelming few weeks when you become a parent for the first time.  I have a few regrets from my first time around and I wish I had known some of what I know now, back then, but at the same time it taught me a lot about what to expect the second time around. If you are going to become a parent, are a new parent or think back to those days I hope this helps in some ways. Everyone has a different birth experience, breastfeeding journey, and parent/baby journey which is what makes us unique but if you have struggled with any of the below, know you are/were not alone. I've also asked some fellow bloggers what advice they would give themselves too!  [caption id="attachment_321" align="alignnone" width="300"] Rocking the Jelly Belly, leaving the hospital 1 day after Maisie was born.[/caption]

Your Body 

I knew after having a baby my body wouldn't ping straight back to how it was (although I hoped) but I wasn't quite prepared for how big my belly would be for a few weeks after, the first few days after I really hated because not only was my belly massive but it was just like jelly, and it really freaked me out how much it wobbled, how sunken my belly button was and I feared I would look pregnant forever.  I remember when Luna was 4 months old I saw someone from my school days and she went "ooooh are you expecting?!" I found that stung a little bit, but I was consuming a lot of cake at the time, and I realised I had grown two humans less than 2 years apart, that will take a toll on your body, but it also did something amazing. I still have a mum tum now, 9 months since giving birth BUT I'm pretty sure that's more chocolate than anything, and you know what, I'm cool with that, I have shapely womanly curves, and if I want to be slimmer I will exercise more and cut back on the chocolate but for now chasing a toddler and crawling baby is enough for me. 

Sleep 

You will sleep again, one day, when Maisie was first born John and I took shifts to hold her while she slept so the other could sleep, but with Luna we didn't have that luxury, we had a toddler to chase and we soon found our new rhythm which really helped our sleep. Yes I'm still tired and at 9 months Luna doesn't often sleep through BUT I am getting a lot more sleep these days , I'm mainly tired from chasing the terrors.  
"Follow the baby. Don’t try and put in a schedule too early. Just follow their lead and remember that they’ve never been in the world before and you’re their safe space." Laura from Mama, Eden and Me 
[caption id="attachment_322" align="alignnone" width="169"] Coping with the sleep deprivation better second time around![/caption]

Breastfeeding 

Before I gave birth, I envisioned myself as a bit of an earth mama, I would breastfeed my child, wean them on the best food, I would babywear, we would be a bit hippy-ish. In reality, I had a lot of issues breastfeeding, I got mastitis early on which led to sepsis, yet still, I beat myself up for giving up breastfeeding. When Luna came along I wanted to try again, and we lasted ever so slightly longer but I kept getting the beginnings of mastitis in the same breast , this time when I stopped, I didn't beat myself up, Maisie is happy and healthy  as is Luna. If you can breastfeed then fantastic, if you bottle feed for whatever reason then well done you, your baby is fed and well.  
"Nap when the baby is napping, the cleaning can wait" Lisa from  Less Stuff   
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By Nikki, ago
My Motherhood Journey

A Mother’s Day Shout Out

Being a mum blogger it would be impossible for me not to do a post about the impending Mother's day. I know they have been heavily commercialised these days and my social media is just full of "ideas to get mum" but for me, these days go deeper than that, especially now I'm a mum myself. The old cliche is true, you never realise how much your parents love you and how much they did/do until you become a parent yourself. I won't lie, growing up I was always very much a daddy's girl, I clashed with my mum a lot, especially as a teenager. I realise now I am older, some of those clashes are because of how alike I am to my mum, and it's since having children that it's really hit home. You see, whilst Maisie may look like her daddy, she very much has my personality, and already we clash, yet my hubby (her favourite) just has a natural way with her, and Luna who looks a lot like me, very much has her daddy's personality, and he often struggles with her, while I have a much more natural way. I realise reading this it sounds like favouritism, it really isn't because I love those kids fiercely and equally, but I can't ignore the fact that it can be harder to deal with a minature version of yourself, than it is to deal with a minature version of your soulmate, because I know my hubby, and understand his ways and vice versa if that makes sense, yet when you see yourself reflected back it is a lot harder to deal with. [caption id="attachment_315" align="aligncenter" width="225"] My Momma with the girls[/caption] When I fell pregnant with Maisie, I really missed my parents, they work full time, I work full time and living 2.5 hours away was hard, from the moment I told my mum I was headed to the maternity unit to give birth my mum headed up to our house to look after Pumba, when I eventually came home after an extra night in hospital my mum was there to help, she held Maisie for a while just so John and I could sleep, she made us food, she did the shopping, she cleaned, she supported me and in those days I realised how lucky I was to have her. After a few days my mum went back home and John's mum, Louise came up, I was worried about my mum in law (who has welcomed me like an extra daughter from day 1) suddenly turning into those nightmare MIL's (Mum In Law) but again, she let us have our time with Maisie, held her so we could sleep and cooked and cleaned and was equally marvellous. [caption id="attachment_314" align="aligncenter" width="169"] My Lovely MIL with Luna[/caption] I loved visiting our parents just to watch them interacting with our kids but I missed them more, when I fell pregnant with Luna and got sick with HG, it was the final straw, I wanted to raise our kids near our parents. Growing up I had one set of grandparents nearish (45mins away) and the other set lived in Cornwall, I have so many fond memories of both grandparents as a child and I wanted to make sure my kids have the same. So John asked to transfer to a nearby workplace and it was agreed. We moved back to Kent when Luna was just 4 weeks old. When I went into labour with Luna, once again my mum came up (she had literally just returned home having been up for the weekend for my nephew's birthday and waiting around in case I went into labour, typical). Once again she was amazing, even moreso because we had Maisie, Louise came up a few days later and was also fantastic. (more…)

By Nikki, ago
My Motherhood Journey

The First Snow of Proper Adulthood

I have always loved snow, I've always had the luxurious side of it, I've been on ski holidays where its thoroughly embraced and even when we've had it here in the UK I've welcomed it with open arms ready for a good old fashioned snow day, going sledging, building snowmen, snuggling up with hot drinks and treats that type of thing, you know the classic romcom style of a snowday? Well that was me, except, I haven't had proper snow for the last 4 years, which means I've not had any since becoming a parent, I have now come to realise a lot changes when you are a parent of small people and it snows..... This is my diary of the past week.... Day 1; Snowflakes start falling in the daytime but nothing properly settles still you've seen the weather forecast it's finally looking good for some proper snow, finally you can break out the sled you bought pre-christmas in the hope of snow and you can show the kids the majesty of it. It starts to properly snow in the evening and you get excited, you drag your hubby to the window to watch it with you, you write about your excitement on Facebook, part of you is a little sad, as pre-child you would have been out playing with it at night but it doesn't matter because tomorrow you'll get everyone out the house  EARLY and you'll have a grand old day in the snow. Day 2; You wake through the night to check the snow situation, when your toddler runs into the bedroom; you excitedly lift her up to the window to show her the magic and she, equally excitedly declares we need to build a snowman and daddy must get out of bed! You get downstairs and chuck some sausages in the oven for a good hot breakfast and go back to get showered leaving the hubby to feed the kids, you also dig out your old ski thermals and get the hubby in the loft to dig out your ski suit so you can truly make the most of it, your husband comments he has never seen you get ready this quickly, you decide it's best not to ruin snowday by getting arsey. By the time the hubby is showered and dressed (not as quicly as I, I'd like to point out) and the kids are all dressed, the baby starts lagging, this means she needs a nap, this is going to throw everything off, so the hubby suggests you go for a walk round the block with the toddler to assess the roads, great idea! You'll take the dog too as it's his first experience of snow as well. Your toddler excitedly climbs into the sled outside and you realise the rope is extremely short so you stoop at a weird angle so you can pull her along, meanwhile the dog is going mad on the lead like the snow is cocaine and is pulling your other arm out of its socket, no matter though because round the corner is a quiet path you can let him off the lead for a few minutes to burn off his energy. All is going well, until you reach the end of the quiet back path and you need to leash the dog again, he keeps running off ahead because your toddler has decided she would prefer to walk in the snow and admire her tracks which means our quick 5 minute walk is already about 15 minutes long and we're only halfway. As you round the corner the dog bolts off and runs right into the road because everything is white and despite us having done this walk so many times before he has lost all road sense in the snow, luckily there are no cars on this bit of road so you scream "PUMMMMBBBAAAAAA" like a banshee until he reluctantly returns and you quietly curse him while putting him back on the lead. Your toddler has now decided it would be the best time to just stop and poke every single snow covered leaf ever, as you cheerily try and cajole her on or into the sled, she is having none of it so you oh-so patiently feel yourself get frostbite as she slowwwwly makes progress, we are now only 5/8ths of the way round, whilst waiting yet again for the toddler you watch as two cars almost crash into one another and then stop to argue with each-other and wonder what happened to jollyness in the snow? Your toddler has now decided she cannot walk nor can she ride in the sled and you must carry her, your two year old that is actually nearer the size of a four year old....So you holster her on one hip, sled on the other with the dog lead slicing your wrist in half as the dog tries to greet every single person out. You finally see home, you convince the toddler to walk the last stretch and you can go and make a snowman on the patio when you get in, as you envision yourself taking a backseat sipping hot chocolate as she and daddy make beautiful memories while you maybe take the baby out to make a snow angel. You are greeted back home by daddy at the front door, the baby is still asleep and the snow has mysteriously melted from the patio so why not go make a snowman on the hill in the middle of the street. Off you go, and you managed to convince the toddler to go down the tiny hill a couple of times in your lap on the sled before she demands the snowman, except she doesn't want to build it, oh no, mummy must build it, she must project manage. So you message your parents asking if they want to come and join as you set to make this poxy bloody snowman.  After what feels like half an hour since your mum said they'd be over you give up on the snowman and check your phone to see where they are because you want to go in and get warm, it has been 6 minutes since said text....just as you message your mum you see them walking down the street. I will admit we did have some fun with Maisie in the sled with Nanna and Gog, before calling it quits and going home with the bribe of hot chocolate. The baby is still asleep. By this point the magic of snowday was over, the baby has missed it, but maybe tomorrow you can try again. (more…)

By Nikki, ago
My Motherhood Journey

The Start of this Week 

Being on mat leave married to a husband who works random shifts I tend not to get Sunday blues anymore, I don't often get a case of the Monday's in fact I quite look forward to them in some aspects because going places tends to be quieter unless it’s the holidays (I dread when I join that group).  However the start of this week has not gone exactly to plan, if you follow my social media (especially insta-stories) you may have a gist of it. It went so absurdly wrong that you have to laugh, so let's start with Monday; 

Monday 

Monday this week was my mum's birthday, we thought it would be nice to go for a walk at Keasrney Abbey, take the dog, let the girls have fun in the playground (ok mainly Maisie) and maybe get a nice cup of tea from the café on our walk. We arranged to meet there at 10:30, google maps told me it was a good half hourish away, I managed to get everyone out the door and in car seats at 10:08, which for this family isn't too bad, albeit we were still running late which I hate. In-between john sorting the boot of the car to fit the dog and double pushchair he informs me one of the tyres on the pushchair is flat, we decide it's fine we'll quickly inflate it when we get there and hope it holds out for the walk. I then get contacted by my mum to tell me that Junction 10 is queued back due to an accident, so I now know we will be even later. John hops into the drivers seat and starts the car, except it doesn't turn on, he tries a few times until the car won't even turn over. My car which just went out of warranty last month. John has a look under the hood, pulls his car around and jump starts the car(all the while I'm sat in the car with a whining dog, crying toddler and screaming baby, yaaaaay), I tell him to put the jump leads in my car just in case, and we're away, 20 mins later than we should've been. No sooner have we gone about 50 yards when we notice a warning light on the dashboard, we pull over, john looks it up and informs me it's where the battery needs to recharge, and as if by magic, we pull away after a minute and it disappears after another 50 yards. The good thing about our delay is that the Junction is now clear, yey.  Every Twunt and his mother is out on the motorway, doing that thing where they drive really slow then speed up when you go to overtake, or suddenly overtake back like it's cat and mouse. I will add, at this point Luna is way overdue her morning nap, we fed her just before we left hoping it would lull her to sleep in the journey but the screaming/waiting time in the car seems to have supercharged her.   Just as we approach the tunnel past Folkestone, we hit a big old traffic jam moving at a snails pace, which incites more angst from the small one and lots of annoyance from the bigger one, Maisie is of the belief the slow moving is because our car is broken so she starts saying "come on car!" And gets further frustrated when the car does not leap to full speed.   Luna is getting more frustrated but we're finally through the jam and moving again, which is when we think we can smell poo, not to worry we will change whoever has done it in the car when we get there.  We finally arrive, extremely late for our walk, I head off to find my mum with Maisie and Pumba while john is left to deal with what I am told is a very close shitastophe. Pumba meanwhile is pulling my arms out of their sockets trying to befriend other dogs and go and chase ducks, Pumba is a classic Marley and Me Labrador, which is the very reason I am hesitant to let him off the lead, however I can bear the arm stretching no longer and we have walked away from the ducks so I risk it, all is well, we are having a grand time until I hear a shout of "PUMBAAA" from john walking across to meet us, I got so wrapped up with watching Maisie with my mum I forgot about the pissing dog who is now running full pelt towards the duck pond where some mums and their toddlers are feeding the ducks, we are now both yelling "PUMBAAA" and sensing the danger in our voices and by some miracle of God the dog hits the brakes just before the pond and comes running back to go straight on the lead.  [caption id="attachment_286" align="alignnone" width="300"] Being distracted watching this gorgeous girl[/caption] After our walk we decide to get drinks from the café after John informs me he has not yet had a drink today, I offer to buy drinks and decide to be organised and dig my purse out of the change bag befoRe I go into the café, except I can find neither a purse or a wallet, because we both forgot to put one in.   Luckily our drinks were bought for us, as John and I have a small bicker over whose fault it was, feeling embarrassed. After that the day wasn't too bad apart from Maisie having a powernap in the car on the drive home meaning she absolutely completely refused a nap when we got home, oh and Luna did not nap either of the drives nor on the walk, will of steel that kid.    [caption id="attachment_287" align="alignnone" width="300"] Playing peekaboo with Nanna[/caption] (more…)

By Nikki, ago