Becoming a Momma

Having my first child was a shock to my system. When you’re pregnant you receive so much advice it is unbelievable. Now, I’m not really sure who wrote this rule but, being pregnant means that any Tom, Dick, or Harry, known to you or unknown, can give you advice about how to rear your child “correctly”!

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As a first time momma you worry about every single thing. You worry if you’re eating the right things during pregnancy (will that one stray bitesize piece of nut that somehow appeared in your carefully dissected cake give your child a nut allergy or a serious illness?) or will lying on your tummy somehow harm your baby. You spend every waking thought conjuring up worst case scenarios and how you would deal with them.

As a first time momma you plan all the things you’re going to buy; the cot, the moses basket, the bumper set, the bottles, the steriliser, the cot mobile, the pram, the car seat, their first outfit etc. You plan all the baby crafts you’re going to do and all the memories you’re going to make. You look forward to maternity leave and the lunches you’ll have, and the trips to the park.

As a first time momma you are very unrealistic. Nobody told you that you’d be so sleep deprived you’d sit on your bathroom floor crying uncontrollably at 2am because your baby will not settle for the sixteenth night in a row. Nobody told you that’s normal. Nobody told you how colic tests you to the limit. Nobody told you your laundry basket would never be empty. Nobody told you that the ‘sleep when baby sleeps’ advice is rubbish advice because it never happens. Nobody told you a simple trip to the grocery store would take you three hours just to leave the house.

During pregnancy nobody told you that you’d feel unattractive. Nobody told you you’d feel distant from your husband because your brains constantly running on overdrive mode. Nobody told you that you’d rather spend your days locked away in your house wearing your pyjamas. Nobody told you that you’d feel antisocial. Nobody told you that sometimes you have to rewash the clothes in the washing machine for a third time because they’ve been in there wet for two days. Nobody told you going to baby groups would be as nerve racking as starting high school.

Being a momma is hard, it’s a learning journey. You have to learn how to juggle being a momma with housework, appointments, grocery shopping, being a wife etc, whilst trying hard not to let go of the person you are also. If you achieve all of this then let me know your secret!

When you become a momma you compare yourself to so many ideals, and you aim unrealistically high, so sure enough you fail to reach your impossible standards. It’s very easy to fall into that trap, but if you do then you have to pull yourself out of it! Motherhood is a personal journey, a unique journey. Your motherhood journey will never be the same as anybody elses, and that is something to cherish; you write your own story. You don’t need to compare your story with anybody else’s, and especially not to another mums highlight reel!

My first child was a shocker to my system, but a good one don’t get me wrong! Nobody can prepare you for the experience though, and nobody can write your story either. You suddenly have this little human for whom you’re responsible. They come before everything, everyone, and even yourself. You burp them. Feed them. Bath them. Clean milky spew. Make bottles. Worry when they have a fever. You know everything about them, every detail. You wipe their tears. You cuddle. You snuggle. You sniff them. You fall asleep with them. And you turn into a momma bear if anything compromises their safety or their feelings!

Being a momma is hard. Being a momma is sometimes stressful, you worry constantly if you’re enough for them. You are! You’re perfect for them. The only momma they need! And that perfectly tidy house you think you should have!? That’s a load of rubbish too! Obviously don’t live in filth,
but if it’s a choice between nurturing your child through playing etc or mopping the floor choose your child every time. With your last breath you’re not gonna wish your house was cleaner!

Enjoy your journey, it’s something no one else can experience!

You are enough!

I actually began writing this post last week and then broke away from it. Circumstances that week made me slip into a dangerous self-loathing zone, and I felt like a fraud writing an upbeat blog telling people they are good enough as the are, when infact I actually felt ready to give up. I felt beyond inadequate. I felt worthless. I eventually crawled out of the rut, and ignored my heart for a few hours until it finally came into line with my head. All is now good, until next time, I am, after all, human. Here goes…

At one time or another we all feel below par and not good enough, that’s part of life, but what if the feeling lingers and seeps through into every area of your life? That’s what happened to me, and sometimes still does.

Motherhood makes you very vulnerable in regards to your emotional health, and you have to adjust to a crazy amount of changes.

Pre-motherhood I wasn’t exactly on a platform of emotional stability anyway, not that everyone could tell though, I’m pretty good at faking confidence and a carefree attitude, as you have already read a little about in one of my previous blogs The Silent Struggle.

Before I became a momma I spent the majority of days feeling inadequate, and I felt a constant need for gratification. I was a closet people pleaser, I guess I still am to a certain extent. I cannot stand to think that someone doesn’t like me, no matter how bad they treat me, I take it very personal.

Then I became a momma and I called a halt to various situations and people which were having such a negative impact on my life. Writing this now is easy, implementing it a few years ago was heartbreaking yet also necessary. It’s hard when the people who should innately love you beyond comprehension don’t. It leaves you feeling inadequate, and constantly worrying why they couldn’t. Self loathing permeates your very being, and a poor self image reins.

Even removing yourself from situations that are damaging emotionally does not eradicate the pain caused and it certainly does not change your inner thought processes, not over night anyway. Changing your mindset from inadequate to enough is a long, hard journey, but a very possible one!

Once you’re a momma a new ‘Am I enough?’ journey begins. And I’m not sure it actually ever ends, it just changes. There are so many stop offs on this journey. Here are three popular places I’ve stopped off at so far:

Pinterest Park – I love Pinterest, and have spent numerous hours pinning ideas for crafts, parties, outfits, my garden, and general humorous and inspirational quotes. Pinterest is a great tool, however it is also a great discourager. My house never looks shabby chic like the pins do, my cakes don’t look like the pins do, I don’t make my own household cleaners with vinegar and lemon juice like the pins do, my puppets didn’t work because I can’t thread a needle, my body is way beyond the five steps to a bikini body pin, I don’t know how to make furniture from pallets, my house isn’t always photograph ready like the pins, and so on. Pinterest makes me sometimes feel like a not good enough momma, it shows me everything I cannot do. I long to be the perfect momma; chirpy, homemade muffins for breakfast, several craft activities planned, spotless house, no laundry left to do, perfect garden, and flawless hair and makeup. This ideal doesn’t actually exist – life is not a Pinterest board. Give yourself a break – you’re good enough just as you are!

Opinionville – I stop here quite often, although not nearly as often as I used to. Anybody who knows me will know I am quite confident with telling people what I think, however, I usually make sure I have experience in the subject at hand first. One thing that really grates on me is uneducated over-opinionated people who put their mouth in gear way before their brain. These kind of people let you know the correct way you should be disciplining your child, how many hours sleep they need, what they shouldn’t be eating, what clothes they should be dressed in, how children should not be messy etc etc. They basically tell you that everything you’ve decided to do for your children is wrong and unless you bring up your children using their suggestions then you will raise a criminal. Let me tell you now, you do what you gotta do, momma knows best. You are good enough just as you are.

Showroom Lagoon – I visit here for a few seconds most days, but rarely do I set up camp and stay. Showroom Lagoon tells me my house should be spotless with everything in its place. Showroom Lagoon shows me dazzling fireplaces, clean windows, like-new beige carpets, freshly baked cupcakes in the kitchen, a sparkling oven, and a dust-free zone. My reality is the opposite; windows I planned to clean two months ago still remain neglected, dust is settled on most things above one metre high, toys on the floor, toys under the sofa, toys on the window sill, fingerprints on the mirror, jam on my tv screen, chalk on my wall, cushions scattered around the room, and general disarray. But hang on a minute…I’m not auditioning for the best kept house, I’m bringing up my children. My babies won’t remember if momma dusted the fireplace, they’ll remember when momma helped them build a volcanoe and the cavemen got attacked by the dinosaurs. You won’t have time to live up to Showroom Lagoons expectations and memory make too, but that’s ok, you’re not a failure, you’re good enough just as you are. Choose the memory making every time! Before you breathe your last breath you won’t be worrying if your cushions are neatly on the sofa!

Don’t let anything dictate your worth. You are more than enough. Despite the tired eyes, the unwashed hair, the spotted-by-yoghurt thighs, cheerios stuck to the sofa, and half-emptied dishwasher, you are enough and doing just fine! Keep going momma!

The grass is greener when you add a filter

We all know the saying that the grass is greener where you water it. Today I made up my own; the grass is greener when you add a filter.

My life isn’t perfect, my parenting skills are below par, some days I moan, some days I cry, some days I don’t do any housework, yet social media photo uploads rarely portray real life.

Some days I post photographs of our messy time, this photo captures one happy second when all was going well. It doesn’t capture the glue all over my chair and in D2’s hair, or the tantrum D1 threw when I told him he couldn’t put glue on the cat, or the billion sequins D2 scattered around my kitchen, or the snotty sneeze that D1 did that resulted in new pieces of paper all round! Social media life plus one point, real life minus one point!

Some days I post a photograph of a coffee shop stop-off. This photograph shows two cute little brothers sitting nicely eating a cakepop and sipping a babycino. Those few seconds are magical. Little do you know the minutes after are often a nightmare. The photograph doesn’t show the tantrum D1 had about a pecan slice he wanted yet doesn’t actually like, or D2 drop his lollipop and it land in fluff central,  or the karate chopping at the back of the knees I have to do to get D2 to sit down, or the babycino being spilt and momma having to queue with two kiddies to get a new one, or D1 needing a poopoo after one sip of my latte.

Some days I post a photograph of two boys running around the park having fun. This photograph captures my boys having fun, being free,  it doesn’t show the grazed knees I had to kiss better, or D2 running off at every opportunity, or D1 refusing to walk because his legs hurt so much, or D2 crying because his brother whacked him on the back with half an oak tree, or D2 eating the starting-to-mould bread which was for the ducks.

Some days I post photographs of my two boys snuggled on the sofa for movie time. That moment is perfect. What you don’t see is the full on wrestling match momma had to referee and instead of time out for the four hundreth time that day momma decided it was movie time instead, or the melted piece of chocolate D2 was sat on that ends up all over my new cushions, or D1 headbutting D2 because he’s up in his personal space, or the race to the front door to grab the ever so exciting bills the postman has just delivered.

Some days I post a photograph of a date night with my husband. This moment is magical, relaxing, totally needed. What you don’t see is pre-date stress, or bathing two boys who like to reenact the Noahs Ark situation, or momma trying to make her face resemble a human whilst two tinkers jump up and down on the bed she’s perched on, or D2 getting out every toy they own, or D1 needing a poopoo with his momma present, or running out of nappies and frantically sending your husband to the shops, or getting snot on your clean date outfit. You don’t see the cross words between two flustered parents.

What you see online is not always the full story. No one has a perfect life. The photograph may not tell the whole truth, but it will tell the nicest truth, and that’s all we need to remember.

Even in the midst of chaos try and snap a memorable moment, either physically or just in your mind, life will seem a lot more enjoyable. And remember life is not always greener on the other side; a photograph leaves a thousand words (& tantrums) unspoken.

Next time you feel like your falling short in the memory making be rest assured you’re not, you’re totally normal and life is NOT a Pinterest board!

Instaforgranted; private memory making

This is just a quick little post.

I love taking photos, I love capturing a moment, and I especially love sharing them on Instagram. Memories are so important to me, I never want my children to have bad memories of their time with me or their daddy. Photographs are also important to me,  I don’t really have any of my childhood, so I am determined my children will have hundreds, as it’s something I long to have had.

I love capturing messy moments, funny moments, snuggly moments, duvet moments, water moments, fun moments, every moment, but lately I’ve become very aware of how I am capturing all these memories. I’ve become very aware that by capturing the moment from behind the screen, I’m actually not in the moment myself. By photographing the moment, I’m missing some of the moment.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying I won’t be taking photographs anymore, just not as many as I used too.

I went out for the day with my eldest a few weeks ago, just the two of us. A momma and son trip to the seaside. I’d usually take several photo’s of everything we did that day, but I didn’t take any. I decided to turn off my phone and not take one single photograph. I enjoyed every single minute and so did he. He had my undivided attention for the whole day and he thoroughly enjoyed it. We had the most loveliest conversations, all frustration free. Instead of photographing the sandcastles, I helped build them without pausing. That day was so important to me, and it’s lovely to think our day is a private little memory between momma and son. No social media whatsoever.

Don’t take your everyday life for granted, stop snapping away constantly. Facebook doesn’t need to see every detail. Some days your babies need an uninterrupted momma, you’ll feel amazing for it too. Be in the moment not just present for it.

Our kids notice everything, let them notice you taking in their every word sometimes.

Memories are precious; make great ones!

Father’s Day; Happiness & Sadness

Father’s day is a happy/sad day for me, as I’m sure it is for countless people. I thought I’d share my Father’s day feelings with you, even if to just reassure other people that they are not alone if their weekend was tinged with a fraction of sadness.

The role of a father is so important,  yet so overlooked by many of them; they make or break their children. I’m guessing there were thousands of broken hearts feeling extra tender this weekend, all for very individual reasons; your dad may have been taken away too soon, you may never have known your father, you may wish you’d never known him, it may conjure up painful memories, there may be bitterness, resentment,  and maybe even regret.  Whatever the reason for your heartache, know you’re not alone, and know there is always hope.

Father’s day for me was pretty average for my first sixteen years; a once a year celebration of someone who was my dad by blood, and it usually revolved around alcohol,  pretty normal to an abnormal me.

Once my parents parted ways it became a different story, a much harder occasion to get through. Up until 16 my mother had sorted the plans, the presents, the cards, but now it was up to me. How do you celebrate someone who has caused you so much unacknowledged hurt and brokenness? Not very easily is the answer.

By the time I was 21 the tiny fragments of a father-daughter relationship had been completely lost, and Father’s Day became a constant reminder of what I lacked and my constant feeling of not being good enough reigned. Memories would erupt into full volcanic swing, and the only solution was to act as though I had no heart,  noway could I deal with the emotions, I didn’t know how to, not in a healthy manner anyway. This went on year in, year out, and I thought it was a day destined to bring me sadness for the rest of my life,  but I was wrong.

In 2010 my little bundle of loveable rogueness entered our world, and my healing process was in full swing. Little did I know that Father’s Day would never be the same for me again, thankfully. My husband becoming a father was like watching a duck take to water; I may be biased but he is an amazing daddy. He totally revolutionised my concept of a father, he showed me how a father loves, protects, and sets an example to his children. He is patient, kind, never aggressive, creates beautiful memories, and sacrifices everything for his family. His children are not scared of him, they enjoy him being around, they do not tremble at the sound of his key in the door, they jump up and down with excitement.

My children have never seen their daddy disrespect and hurt their momma, they see their daddy love and cherish their momma. My children don’t lock their bedroom doors before they sleep, they know they are safe. The darkness doesn’t scare my children, they know no harm will come to them. When they have bad dreams they run to their daddy, he isn’t their worst nightmare.

My husbands selfless fathering has taught me that I am not the reason for all I lacked growing up, and that I am enough. My mindset of what a dad is has forever been changed, and I now know I’m not the problem. This makes Father’s Day a happy day for me, obviously you cannot eradicate your past, but it no longer holds me bound in misery and self loathing. However, I cannot lie, it still has a tinge of sadness, I’m not sure if it’s for the father I lost along the way, or the father I would have loved to have, time will tell.

Whatever your reason for a heavy heart concerning your dad, please know you’re not alone, let’s support each other. Your story may be of terrible loss for a loving father, very different to my story, yet our hearts hurt all the same. Keep going, hope is very much alive.

Small, unseen sacrifices

When you become a momma there are so many things you gain, but let’s be honest you lose a few things too, and lots of things definitely change. Here are six things that I’ve lost, and things that have most certainly changed,  see if you relate to any of them:

1 Clean hair – Pre-children, my hair used to be washed daily, or every 48 hours on the odd occasion. It used to be cared for, trimmed, moisturised with hair masks, lathered with designer conditioner, unfrizzed with the latest serum, tamed with GHD’s, and often treated to luscious hair extensions. Washing my hair was a relaxing, thirty minutes minimum experience. Nowadays my hair is washed once or twice a week with whatever shampoo and conditioner was on offer that month at the supermarket, trimmed once a year at a push, never straightened, and is shoved up in a top knot at least 26 days out of every month. It’s no longer a relaxing experience, it’s a quick one, 90 seconds on a good day, 10 on a bad day, and it is never a solitary experience, ever. I either shower with a two year old, a three year old, Partysaurus Rex, or all three if I’m extra lucky!

2 Three meals a day – Pre-children I had three meals a day, all at the normal times. I had breakfast type food for breakfast, I had lunch type food for lunch, and dinner type food for dinner, sometimes supper. Nowadays I rarely eat breakfast, somedays I forget lunch and only remember around 3pm when I wonder why my heads pounding. Somedays I skip breakfast and lunch, unintentionally, and swap them for a biscuit or whatever my children left on their plates. Most of the time we eat dinner around 8pm, I used to cook it every day, my husband cooks more than me lately.

3 Hot drinks – Before my munchkins arrived I used to drink a lot of hot tea, this is no longer true. Sometimes I boil the kettle seven times before I have chance to make a cup of tea, other times, which is actually all the time, I forget about my tea until it’s unintentional iced tea. When I say forget, what I actually mean is ‘I’m doing one million other things for two tiny little bosses’.

4 Watching the Soaps – Pre-children I used to watch every single soap going, I loved them, knew all the characters, all the story lines, and even got excited waiting for them to come on tv. Nowadays I couldn’t even tell you the last time I watched one, probably 2012 some time. I don’t know any characters, or story lines, or even the days of the week they are on. What I do know is Chugginton story lines, the words to every Sheriff Callie song, the plot of every Disney movie, and every dance move of Zingzillas.

5 Clothes shopping – Before my babies, I loved clothes shopping, a little addiction of mine. I loved sales, I loved grabbing a bargain, I loved rummaging. D1 didnt mind up until 18 months old, he was a quiet little shopper with momma, D2 wasn’t and still isn’t, not at all. If I so much as even turn the pram wheels slightly towards the entrance of a clothes shop D2 yells, and shouts, and moans. Clothes shopping is now only done out of necessity, or better still,online. Clothes shopping used to make me feel warm, and fluffy. Clothes shopping now makes me agitated and sweaty.

6 Phonecalls and texting – Pre-children you could reach me 24/7, and I’d reply pretty much straight away, but today is a different story. I no longer reply quickly, this will be due to various reasons; I read it and forgot to reply, I started to reply but had to prepare a bath, or snack, or wipe a bogey, or clean up spilt milk, I read it and then had to referee a wrestling match in my lounge etc. The list is endless, it’s no reflection on how I view you, it’s me failing at multitasking. I reply, eventually, but my time scale can be up to seven days. And phonecalls?!; they just don’t really exist in my life anymore, I rarely have the time or two hands free to answer a call.

These six things are actually nothing in comparison to the joy my munchkins bring into my life though, but they’ve happened nonetheless. I wouldn’t trade any of it back though, they’re the most important things in my life, and their health and happiness comes before everything, even clean hair!

Keep going momma, you’re not the only one with bogof hair products!

Grazed knees and booboo kisses

Being a momma is a powerful job, even your kisses are magical!

Today my three year old grazed his knee scaling a wall to join some bigger boys. His immediate reaction was “Argh, mummy!!!! Kiss it better, quick!” I don’t hesitate, I don’t care about germs and blood, my momma instinct kicks right in and I kiss that booboo all better.

In that split second of a graze and a booboo kiss you reach deep down into your child’s heart, and that booboo kiss makes him feel secure and safe again after a painful experience. Psychologically, a momma kiss restores his safety, and ensures no emotional damage or fear buries itself in his little heart. A booboo kiss is a very important thing, never overlook it.

Your toddler will never bore of booboo kisses, and your booboo bucket should never run dry. Sometimes ten booboo kisses are required, sometimes only one, but their magic is mighty!

A booboo kiss is a little security blanket each momma should offer their child the very first time they experience physical pain, they’ll soon learn how to regroup their emotions and feel safe again. It not only helps you connect with your child, it also let’s them know how important they are. It let’s them know you’re available to help them whether their need be big or small. Don’t downplay their booboos, their little worlds are not as complicated as our grownup worlds, that invisible booboo bothers them, let it bother you too!

Our toddlers are too little to guard their hearts, so we have a huge responsibility to guard it for them. This doesn’t mean shielding them from all danger, but it does mean acting as a filter for psychologically harmful emotions, and fears. I want my children to run to me, not from me.

Next time your little ones hurt themselves, minor or major, offer a booboo kiss, they work wonders! Love is a powerful healer.