6 articles Tag motherhood

When Your Last Baby is No Longer a Baby

Burrito Baby is growing up. For many people, January is a time of new beginnings, however I always feel like September is that time for me. Summer is over and we move into a new school year and a new season of cooling weather and falling leaves. I always start September feeling inspired to do more, and my creativity seems to rekindle itself in Autumn for some reason. This September has been no different, and a lot has been happening in our house. Husband and I have both had new projects at work, Sausage went into Year 5 and 11+ prep, but perhaps the biggest change is BB starting nursery.

I’ve been adamant for months that nursery was the right thing for BB as she has some shyness that she needs to get over as well as some attachment issues, but it’s been a lot tougher than I anticipated. She was fine for the first two days of her settling-in week, then had tears on the Friday. The next week was hard too, with tears on Monday, culminating in almost-hysterics on the Wednesday which led to me taking her home early. The following week, she got tonsillitis so missed a whole week of sessions, and she even said to us that she was glad she felt ill because it meant she didn’t have to go to nursery. To say it was breaking my heart is an understatement.

For us, it’s a really fine line between getting her used to being away from us in preparation for school and traumatising her when she’s barely ever been away from us. Helping her confidence to flourish is a big part of the growing process. However, I also don’t want to give her the idea that she can have a tantrum and get out of ever doing anything outside of her comfort zone, and the point about her getting prepared for school still very much stands.

When Sausage started nursery, she was always quite happy to go, so leaving her was a lot easier;  it was only by the time she got to Reception that she started to hate it, and by then it was compulsory, so I didn’t have the option to just take her home again. Nursery isn’t compulsory, and I can’t shake the feeling that I’m losing out on precious time with BB which I won’t have the option to have back once she’s at school next year.

I think the fact that she’s my last baby is having an impact on my mindset. Husband and I agree that two kids are enough for us and that we like the dynamic of our family the way it is, and besides, having the health conditions I have mean it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to have another pregnancy anyway. However, it means that I’m having to deal with the fact that this is the last time I’ll do nursery drop offs, the last time I’ll have a three-and-a-half year old, the last time I’ll do any of this. Our family is growing up and while I love that in many ways, it doesn’t mean I don’t feel slightly sad about it, too.

BB is pretty advanced in a lot of ways and having a big sister means she’s probably growing up a bit faster than Sausage did, so coming to terms with the fact that our last baby isn’t a baby anymore is tougher than I expected. She still loves a snuggle and still holds onto my ear when she’s tired. She still asks for help eating her porridge and putting her shoes on, and still wants company while she’s on the loo. But she also refuses to watch Paw Patrol anymore, because it’s “for babies”, and wants to be a “big girl” all the time. It’s an inbetweeny stage for all of us and she’s charging towards school-age a lot quicker than I ever expected her to.

She went to nursery again today after her week off ill and went in with minimal fuss – I waited around the corner and spied on her after five minutes and she was all smiles. She came out full of beans, having baked a cupcake and made a new friend, so we’re hopeful that this positive experience will help going forward. I guess I need to just enjoy the little remnants of her baby-hood while they last, because I don’t think they’ll be sticking around for too much longer.

Being Mum – The Self-Worth Special

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my ‘worth’ as a person lately and how that ties in with me being a mother. It’s been an eventful year, this 12 past the 2000, kicking off with me losing my job in April and Sausage starting school in September, two things which have contributed massively to my introspection. When I was working, I was a ‘working mum’ – I did a job and kept home and life ran to a schedule, Tuesday to Thursday at least. Then I lost my job and I became a ‘stay-at-home mum’, using my days to spend time with Sausage and do things together. But now she’s at school, am I still a stay-at-home mum, considering that between the hours of 8.55am and 3.20pm, I have no one to mother?

On a totally base level, since losing my job my contribution towards family life has been much less. Sure, I’ve been available for more housekeeping, but I’m not actually adding to the family coffers and I’m acutely aware that every time I spend money it’s usually been earned by someone else. I do have a small amount of income but that tends to get swallowed up as soon as it comes in on car insurance and my phone bill. I was able to do so much more before and it made me feel good.

My self-worth is obviously closely related to what I perceive as my use  to other people. I’m always offering to do things for people which are of no benefit to me, just to be the one who’s helped someone out, like I rack up ‘person points’ every time I offer help. I need to be needed. But I think I was like that before I ever became a parent.

As a mother, though, I know for a fact that I tend to put myself last in a lot of situations. Like mealtimes, for instance. If I’m cooking, Sausage gets her dinner first, then Husband and I tend to sit down rank last, after fetching drinks, condiments and all of the other mealtime accoutrements, with my meal being lukewarm more often than not. Don’t get me wrong, Husband often offers to do things, but I tend to insist he sits and eats while his food is hot and do the running around myself. So, does this mean that I put my worth at less than that of my family? Well, yes, I think I do. They deserve a nice meal, a hot meal, and if my is ruined well then so be it. It’s only me. 

My Nan does something similar, bowing and scraping even when there’s no need for her to do so, and I don’t know if it’s always been this way but with her, her martyrdom seems to be something that’s done so that she has a reason to moan. Her and my Grandad have a highly toxic relationship and it’s hard to know what came first; the bitterness or the hatred. Does she hate him and it’s made her bitter or has her bitterness morphed into a ball of hatred? Who knows, but either way, she’ll act like a timid servant (or did before she got too blind and disabled to do it all) and then loudly slag my Grandad off for not moving out of his chair.

I certainly don’t feel bitterness or hatred about my self-imposed lower worth, but then to be fair, I’m 28, not 78 so what’s to say I won’t be a walking hate-factory in 50 years time? Fortunately, the difference is that I have Husband who is NOTHING like my Grandad and I feel appreciated by him and Sausage on a daily basis, and I also have a modicum of reflection in my soul, which means I can see that way my life could go if I allow it. I’m not saying I’ll serve my dinner first or stop being ketchup-wallah, but I will try to consider myself a bit more at times when I feel like I don’t deserve any consideration.

Am I making even the slightest bit of sense? TELL ME YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I MEAN!

Guest Post: I’m a parenting expert…

Yesterday, I put out a call for help. My blogging mojo is having a week off and I asked my blogging chums if they’d like to step in and write some posts for me and gawd bless ’em, I had lots of offers, which made me love our little community even more. Today, I’ve got a post from the lovely Fi who blogs at Childcare is Fun, who I must confess is one of my secret blogging crushes, I totally want to be her and have her hair and have her be my best friend, all at the same time 🙂 So, here it is: 

Parenting. The minefield of mothers and fathers doing their best in a conflicting world of advice. Hands on parenting, comfort parenting, practical parenting, attachment parenting, oh the hokeycokey parenting. It’s a headache before you’ve even popped out your first baby isn’t it?

Having the opportunity to guest write here on the lovely Jayne’s blog, I decided to open up, take off my professional cap, and talk frankly.

“You must have it so easy” someone once said to me, “you know everything and anything parenting, it must be a breeze!”

No. It’s really not…

I’ve 21 years experience working in childcare, I have a degree in Childhood and Youth studies, a diploma in Childhood studies, I’m a qualified Nursery nurse, I’ve a gazzillion training certificates from baby signing to special needs practicals, and I’ve a few awards for my work with children, but I’m also just a mum.

I wake up tired. I go to bed tired. I often feel like hiding under the duvet when my two under 3 are wrestling on the bedroom floor over a postman pat van. I cry when things seem too much, I hurt when they tell me I’m ‘horrid for turning off Cbeebies so we can go do something creative’ and I sigh when I have to do mundane household chores daily.

I eat too much cake, drink wine, gossip, moan, sometimes lose my patience and wear baggies and no make-up on days when nobody is coming over and we are having a home day.

Daily I advise parents who ask for my advice through the FREE email service via my website (www.childcareisfun.co.uk) based on all those years of experience, and qualifications, and I love putting my professional head on to help them. I love writing my ‘Top Tips’ and guest appearing as a ‘parenting expert’ on BBC radio and local stations, I’ve even done the odd TV appearance which is so exciting and something I’d like to pursue one day, but above everything, I’m a stay-at-homemum. A mum to a 2 and 3 years old born 364 days apart who rock my world and wipe bogies on my jeans.

I clean up sick, wipes snotty noses, scrub spaghetti sauce off the walls, do the washing, shopping and cleaning. So when you hear the word ‘parenting expert’ and you roll your eyes and think “Oh, another know-it-all” remember I’m actually just a parent like you. I’m still learning all these years later.

I’m a parenting expert. I’m a housewife. I’m a domestic engineer. I’m a mother. I’m me.

Thank you so much to Fi, I love Childcare is Fun and think you should all go and subscribe to her email service immediately! Oh and show some comment love, yeah?!

Running Back to Motherhood

I want another baby.

Anyone who has read this blog over the past 2 years or knows me at all will know that this is a big statement. After having Sausage and the PTSD that followed, I honestly thought I’d never want any more children. The thought of going through a pregnancy and birth as hideous as my first was just too much to bear, let alone the thought of being unable to hold yet another baby for the first week of their life, having to view them through wires and tubes. I told myself I didn’t have enough love in me to share it between Sausage and another baby, I told myself that it would spoil the relationship I have with her, I told myself that I just couldn’t do it.

But, something has changed, be it the passing of time or seeing friends with babies or simply my biological clock, and it’s telling me I’m ready. I almost feel overwhelmed by that single thought, I never thought I’d be in this place or ready to do it all again, but I am.

Mentally, anyway. Physically? Not so much…

When I fell pregnant with Sausage, I was 23, about 3st overweight but generally healthy.

Now, I’m 28, diabetic, have an stupidly under active thyroid and am about 5st overweight.

If I thought the last pregnancy was hard, any future ones will be terrifying in my current physical state. I’ve written plenty of times about my intention to lose weight and nothing has ever come of it, save for dropping half a stone here and there, only to put it back on again. But I need to do this, for many reasons.

The main one is Sausage. She’s been around for 4 years and has witnessed my unhealthy relationship with food, no matter how much I kid myself that I hide it. Yes, she’s four, but that’s still plenty young enough to change my ways and for it to have a really positive impact on her.

Also, while I want my body to be healthy enough to cope with pregnancy, I want to be able to still be Sausage’s Mummy. I don’t want to have to change what we do because of being pregnant, so getting fit and strong will be a real help with that. Last time around I suffered with SPD, hyperemesis gravidarum, high blood pressure, swollen ankles and hands and gestational diabetes, all of which I’m hoping will be improved by being fitter and stronger. It may all still happen, but at least I’ll be able to say that I did everything I could to prevent it.

So, what’s the plan?

I’m going to learn to run.

I realise I already know how to run, but for someone as unhealthy and unfit as me, it’s not as simple as putting on some trainers and pounding the pavement (or maybe it is?) but I’ll have a little help from ‘Get Running’, an iPhone app designed to get you from couch to 5km in nine weeks. That’s right, if I start today I could be running 5k non-stop by 23rd October. Exciting, eh? So I’m going to start later today and will blog about my progress with this program in the hope of inspiring anyone else who wants to give it a go but just doesn’t feel confident enough. I’m going to hit the ‘Thinking Slimmer’ hard again too in the hope that I can sort out my dependence on food.

As well as being fit and healthy, I have a secondary goal, which is being able to do Race for Life in 2013 at a run, rather than a fast walk. In 2011, my time was around 45 minutes, 2012 was about 42 minutes – I want 2013 to be nearer the 25 minute mark.

Wish me luck!

When Did Your Parenting Instinct Kick In?

Don’t mess with this Mummy!

Last night, Husband and I went out for dinner with some friends after going to see a house that a couple of them had bought, and over dinner a few of us started talking about this post. I wrote it on Friday before last and since them my blog has seen its busiest day ever and the most comments I’ve ever had on a post. There were opinions from all angles, all walks of life and certainly lots of debate over the issue.

What was interesting to me though, was the opinion of my real life friends. One of my best friends, Jamillah, commented on the post and quite frankly, what she wrote is deserving of a whole post of its own, to follow later.

Continue reading →

We’re Fine.

Through my work with Maternity Matters and involvement with the Birth Trauma Association, I read a lot of stuff by women who’ve suffered similar trauma and disappointment to what my family went through when Sausage was born. I read about people who are let down by a lack of care, poor facilities and a health service which treats them like a number. I talk to people who feel alone, like no-one understands their feelings and thoughts and I do my best to let them know that I know exactly how they feel. I know Susanne won’t mind me saying that she does the same and I’ve seen her counselling others through their heartache on many an occassion.

It’s Sausage’s 3rd birthday in just under three weeks and I have something that I wanted to share with anyone who may read this. It’s really important that I get this out there and I genuinely hope that people read this and are comforted by my words.The thing I need to say is this:

We’re okay.

Three years ago, I thought my heart would never stop hurting. I thought I’d be consumed by my rage, feeling at times that I fully understood spontaneous combustion, convinced that it happened to people who spent their waking hours burning with white-hot rage. I thought that every time I looked at my daughter I’d see the tubes and wires that covered her the first time I laid eyes on her. I thought I’d never be the same again.

But we’re okay.

Yes, I’m still angry, I still have huge chunks of my memory missing, I probably won’t ever be the same again in many ways. But I don’t want to be. I wouldn’t wipe my memory of all of the bad things that happened because I’d be doing my daughter a huge disservice if I did. I need to remember. But all of that doesn’t detract from the fact that we’re fine. That doesn’t give credence to the insensitive morons who say that we should just be grateful that our children have turned out okay. I just hope I can give some of you some hope, when it feels as though the black cloud will never clear.You need to know that it’s OKAY to feel this way.

One of the things that I was adamant about in my birth plan was that I wanted to have skin-to-skin contact with my daughter when she was born. Because I was unconscious and she was so poorly, this wasn’t even vaguely an option, but what I need you to know is that it hasn’t affected our relationship one iota. We’re as close and two human beings could possibly be, despite the fact that I couldn’t hold her until her 7th day of life, so anyone who worries that a lack of contact early on will have a detrimental effect on your relationship needs to try to remember this.

I’m not trying to preach and I’m certainly not trying to demean or belittle the feeling of anyone who is suffering the effects of a traumatic experience. I’m just hoping that my experience can help others and let you know that you will be okay. It may never go away completely, but it won’t always be as fresh and painful as it is now.

It may be a cliché, but time really is a great healer.