The Modern Face Of Marriage

The Modern Face Of Marriage…

Tying the knot is, for most people, a chance to confirm their love and commitment to their partner in front of their family and friends. A chance to celebrate their memories and look to the future. It’s long been a tradition and for some it’s the traditional vows and commitment that make it so appealing. In today’s age, however, there isn’t just one face of marriage. From the ceremony to the commitment, marriage means something different to everyone.

Religious or civil, big or small the type of service you choose can be a reflection of you as a couple. And for some, marriage isn’t even on the agenda. Cohabiting couples and single dwellers are more than common in 2017 with a distinctive lack of pressure to get married compared with previous generations. Multiple marriages are no longer a taboo either, with many people choosing to re-marry if it didn’t quite work out the first time around.

Slater and Gordon, a family law firm in London, recently carried out a survey to find out what the modern face of marriage really is. Here are the results;

  • 69% of people believe the biggest benefit to marriage is the commitment to a relationship…

  • …whilst 42% see increased financial security as the main benefit.

  • 53% of those surveyed believe they would (or did) choose a civil ceremony as opposed to a religious one.

  • Out of all those surveyed, 54% of people have experienced a close family member getting divorced.

  • 23% of people have been divorced themselves.

  • 69% of people believe there is less pressure to get married compared to 10 years ago.

I was 21 when I married my husband, he was 20. I’m now more in love with him than I have ever been, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. But marriage is hard work, even more so once yo become parents, so I make a conscious effort to be a good wife.

When you fall in love you forget the world around you. Your every waking thought is consumed with this exciting, butterflies-in-tummy, love. Your world is a bright place, with kites and bunnies, sunshine and lollipops. You feel madly in love! The reality though is that this is not love, not real love anyway. Real love is not always pretty.

Some days my husband comes home to Mary Poppins; the kids have behaved, the house is clean, the kids are fed and bathed and already in their pyjamas, I have clean hair, my makeup is still intact, dinner is in the slow cooker, and there’s a smile on my face. Other days my husband walks into the lair of Cruella De’ville; the kids have misbehaved since morning, they don’t know how to share, they fight, they cry, they refuse food, they shout, every task has been a battle, there’s been wee on the floor, food on the floor, four million poops, sand all over my kitchen floor, chalk on the walls, paint in their mouths, things have been thrown, things have been smashed, inedible items have entered the digestive system, mommas had no time for breakfast or lunch, everything’s gone wrong, mummy wants to cry, mummy’s mentally packing her suitcase, mummy feels not up to the job, mummy didn’t have time to shower, mummy’s got greasy hair, and there is no food in for dinner. Whatever the mood, my husband gets the brunt of it both good and bad!

Some days I am madly in love, and can’t wait to see my husband, other days I feel so exhausted and just want to go to bed at 7pm to recharge, but this will not help my marriage.

Relationships are hard work. They require maintenance, and without it they end up being scrapped. They die, yet all they needed was a drop of water, something to revive it. I make a point of telling my husband several times a day I love him, I write him little notes to leave in his lunch bag, I send him silly pins on Pinterest. He deserves my best, not just my derailed self first thing in the morning with huge hair and mascara stained eyes, or end of the day stressed-out me. I want him to see me at my greatest even though he loves me regardless.

Being a mummy subconsciously robs you of some of your identity as a wife – not in a negative way, your children become your priority, and makeup etc seem less significant because time is precious and totally used up. This is why you have to consciously make an effort; wear makeup, wash your hair, look good, feel good – YOU still matter!

I’m a nightmare for going to sleep at 6:30 with our boys. Some days are hard, and tiring, and all I want to do is sleep (& sometimes I do), but I force myself to get up and spend some time with my husband, and our relationship gets invested in, and ultimately grows stronger.

When weeks are busy I get so grotty and unbearable, I snap at my husband, even his breathing irritates me, yet I always discover it’s because we’ve not spent any time together for a few days – I’m a weird one! The quote “Leave me alone, I’m lonely” describes me to a tee. Once we spend time together I feel so much better, united, revived, and loved. Even five minutes together makes all the difference.

This is our modern marriage.

Relationships don’t come with a lifetime guarantee, you have to keep renewing it. But I vow to forever.

#themodernmarriage

 

 

Rubbish Advice For Parents

When you become a parent you, unwillingly, attract the opinion of everybody you meet. Some people mean well, and others most definitely do not. You get advice during pregnancy, during the newborn weeks, during the terrible two’s, potty training advice, sleep advice, diet advice, school advice, advice about absolutely everything, and it drives you absolutely out of your mind!

Here is some of that advice I received during the first two years and what I thought about it…

“Get all the sleep you can before they arrive!”

Sleep?!? What is sleep? You lie down you have heart burn. You stand up you need a wee. You lie down and baby wakes up, with hiccups. You can’t lie on your side because it makes your hips hurt, you can’t lie on your back because you’ve heard it’s bad for the baby, you obviously can’t lie on your front because it is physically impossible 8 months pregnant. A pillow in between your legs is good, for 5 minutes, and then it’s back to aggravation about not being tired anymore, yet you’re exhausted. You take another swig of indigestion liquid and try again. Repeat all night long, every night. You try and nap in the day but the postman always knocks the door, or somebody visits, or you need to do the housework, or the thought of the ironing pile is making you have palpitations, and before you know it the day has gone and you didn’t catch up on any of this sleep you’re supposed to take advantage of when your baby is still in your belly.

Don’t let them them sleep in your bed, you’ll make a rod for your own back!”

What is this rod? Would it make a good pole to hang off and get some sleep because if it would then chances are a rod on my own back is just what I need. We all have different children, my first needed to sleep with momma, and my second needed his own space, and I obliged to both! Why you may ask? Because what it all boiled down to was I NEEDED SLEEP, and I didnt care how it came, I just needed it. So, unless you’re in my house babysitting at midnight and 1am and 2amm and 3am and 4am mind your own business about that rod on my back!

“Breastfeeding is better for your baby”

Breast is great, bottle is great, both ere food for my baby, and I’ll decide which is better for us both. I can’t even look at my nipples right now let alone imagine something using them to get their grub four hundred times a day, so don’t booby judge me!

“Let them cry it out!”

I tried this once, for 30 minutes, and I ended up crying worse than my baby, and I have never to this day done it again, I just cannot condition my child into knowing that if they cry it is useless because I wont come back until it’s morning. This is my choice, you have your own choices.

“Sleep when baby sleeps!”

Here’s a joke for you – Sleep…you don’t get it? Neither do I!

Six years on and I am still exhausted. Sleep when baby sleeps, say what?! So we better clean when baby cleans, and iron when baby irons, and food shop when baby food shops, and dust when baby dusts, and empty the trash when the baby empties the trash right? Just forget about sleep, at least for the first few years anyway! Sorry to rain on your parade, but it is normal.

Don’t keep picking him up you’ll spoil him!”

I’ll spoil him? With cuddles and love? Good! I want to, a baby never got spoilt by too much love. You cannot have too much love. My baby, my heart, my rules.

“Only give them homemade organic food.”

So, we tried this for a while, and it nearly made us bankrupt this organic stuff, joking, but you get my drift! Those pouches of freshly prepared food are amazing and convenient, and a momma needs convenience. There is hardly time to pee let alone whip up homemade cuisine daily. Don’t pouch judge me!

They should be potty trained by now (aged 2)!”

No way should they! They are all different, and until they are ready no amount of persuasion or anger or determination from you will potty train them, there are no rules, you have to follow their lead. I tried to listen to somebody’s advice once, and my floor was covered in pee on the hour every hour for 48 hours! And did Mrs Advice come help clean it up? Did she heck!

“Is he not walking yet? My child walked at 8 months!”

This backhanded advice really grates me! It’s like we have to have uniform children who reach each milestone at the same rate. No, my child walked at 13 months and my other child was too lazy to walk until they were 20 months, and both are doing just fine. Maybe your 8 month old has had enough of your comparing and needed to learn to walk to get away quicker! Oops, did I type that?

Don’t give your child a pacifier / dummy, it will ruin their teeth and slow down their speech development!”

Well both of mine had one, and they’re just fine, in fact they don’t ever stop talking, and I mean ever! I loved that pacifier like it was a child, it gave me a few minutes of peace when they were upset about teething, or they were tired and I couldn’t hold them both at the same time, or I just simply needed 2 minutes peace to buy a new jumper to replace the maternity one I was still wearing 18 months into being a mum!

Don’t ever let your children have candy!”

Have you seen the power of bribery a lollipop holds? It speaks for itself! Who’s with me?

 

Have you had any unwanted advice that was a load of rubbish? I’d love to hear it!

 

In-A-Minute Parenting

Life is busy, add children into the equation and it is crazy busy. Careers, house keeping, families, health issues, errands, chores, appointments, school, courses; there is just SO much going on! As a momma I know there is always something that needs doing, always.

There is always a grazed knee that needs kissing, a spillage that needs mopping, a letter that needs opening, a bill that needs paying, a snack that needs preparing, a call that needs making, a coffee that needs drinking, a pee that needs taking, a diaper that needs changing, clothes that need ironing, a lawn that needs mowing, hair that needs washing, a floor that needs sweeping, a car that needs cleaning, a meal that needs preparing, a job that needs attending, a list that needs completing, shopping that needs fetching, laundry that needs washing, laundry that needs drying, a fight that needs refereeing, and a poop that needs scooping (out the bath)!

Life as a parent is a whirlwind of fleeing from one thing to the next. Our time becomes so consumed with ‘doing’ that we rarely just ‘do’. I am a nightmare for this. I will start one job, and then see something else that needs doing so will start that job, and then will see something else that needs doing so will start that job too. This then leaves a trail of half-started jobs, and leaves me feeling more unaccomplished than when I started the very first job. It’s a viscous circle I visit hourly! Anybody else?

Often during the day I will try and catchup on a few chores whilst the children play, they’ll often say “Mummy I want you to play with me!”, and I will say “In a minute, I’m just cleaning first”. They often go away with a sad glint in their eye and I feel like a bad momma. Obviously sometimes there are certain things that I have to do, but there are a lot of other times when my kids matter more.

If I counted how many times I said ‘In a minute’ during one day I think I would be ashamed of myself.

Today my 3yo fetched an interactive puzzle from his toy shelf and asked if I would help him. I had literally just sat down with a cup of tea, so naturally I said “I will do it with you in a minute!”. He didn’t even question me, he just looked sad and went to put the puzzle back on his shelf. An instant wave of guilt and regret surged through my momma bear heart, and I thought ‘Hell no have I just hurt my babies feelings just so I can drink a cup of tea, the tea will be there tomorrow, this moment with my baby boy will not!’ I called my 3yo back and said “Actually no, we will do the puzzle now like you wanted!”. His face lit up. He felt worthwhile. I added another drop of self-esteem to his confidence bucket. I would give up all the tea in the world, infact I’d give up anything in the world to spend time with my boys.

In that moment, seeing my little boy walk away and not even attempt the puzzle alone because he wanted to do something with his momma, I had a big fat slap in the face. How many times did my children hear ‘in a minute’? Too many was the answer. The puzzle took ten minutes, and after we had finished it he happily played with his cooking set alone for thirty minutes, win-win situation there. My tea can be reheated, his little spirit is not so easily fixed, that’s why I had to change my mind.

When my 4yo asks me to read him a story when I am half way through an important email I will no longer say ‘in a minute’. The email recipient will not remember the hour I sent them an email reply, but my 4yo will remember the moment momma was too busy to read him a story. I am busy being a momma, not too busy to be a momma.

From now on I vow to be present, and vow to play.

Dishes can wait, emails can wait, social media can wait, everything can wait, everything but time. Time is precious, and I intend to make our time count. I will be the ever-ready momma, the ever-present momma. No more in-a-minute parenting!

Anybody with me?

Being A Depressed Mother

This week is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, a cause very close to my heart.

I have suffered with depression for a very long time, but have only broken my silence about it over the last few years despite suffering since I was around nine years old, and have only received medical help for it in the last seven months. The struggle has been horrific and nothing could have changed that, but it didn’t have to be so long. Shame held me back from speaking out, I felt weak, and often like I was just being stupid. I thought nobody could possibly understand me and my messed up thoughts, but I was wrong, and I only wish I had known this when I became a mother. I didn’t want to be a depressed mother.

I’ve suffered with depression secretly for a long time, although the odd red flag has maybe caused suspicion with my close ones, but I like to be the strong one, the confident one, the one who has it all together, the one who can manage on her own, when in reality none of those things are true. I’m not confident, I fake it, I’m not strong, I don’t have it all together, and I hate doing things alone. But I became accustomed to hiding my deep, dark secret, I was ashamed. And these feelings escalated once I had my first child, I had a constant voice telling me I wasn’t good enough, that I was going to ruin his life and upbringing, that he deserved so much more than me. I didn’t take care of myself, and put him first in everything, even to my own detriment, he came before everything because anything less than that meant I had let him down. I plodded on through and then ten months into being a first time mother my little surprise came along, and then after nine months I was left with a 17 month old and a newborn. It was hard. I had some real crazy thoughts and emotions, and I never told anybody, I kept it all inside for fear of losing my babies. If only I had reached out for help, it would have been so much easier. I won’t go into all of the symptoms and details this time, but I’d say it was pretty on par with post-natal psychosis, which is very scary now I look back, how I managed to come through it amazes me. I don’t know where the strength came from, or perhaps I was that good at faking a sane state of mind?

I really wish my midwife or health visitor would have made an appointment with me, a mental health appointment, and maybe I would have opened up. If they could have reassured me it was ok to suffer with mental health issues when you’re a mother. I wish I would have spoken out, reached out, cried out. I was so scared that my children would be taken off their “crazy mother”, but now I know that’s a lie. I wish I knew back then. I wish I knew it was ok to sometimes lock myself in the bathroom and wish for a different life. I wish somebody else would have told me that they too were close to running away, or that they wished their eyes would never open again. I wish somebody else would have told me they yelled too, and dreaded what the day held.

Don’t get me wrong, we all have bad days as parents, but if that cloud is not shifting, and odd thoughts creep in, or you feel overwhelmed and unable to get through the day, then please reach out and get some support before it escalates, it will be ok. It happens to lots of people and it is nothing to be ashamed of, not at all, in fact it takes tremendous courage to ask for help, so be brave, you deserve to be happy too.

It took me until September last year to seek medical help and try some medication, and i have to say i was petrified, I made and cancelled so many appointments, and then one day I went. I knew I had to, I was gripped daily by a black cloud and anxiety had became my best friend and worst enemy, I’d reached rock bottom and there was no way out on my own. I was worried I didn’t have any more fight left in me and my children would become motherless. I had to go for them. I was a sobbing mess, but it was the start of a band new way of life, six weeks into an antidepressant and my life radically changed, that chemical imbalance in my brain had been sorted, mostly. I’ve gone from 95% bad days, to 95% good days. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a miracle cure, and some days I’m left scared to death the tablets will never work again because the back cloud has consumed me, but to me it has been life changing, and to my children and husband no doubt too!

If you are reading this and anything resonates with you then please, please, please, go and see your doctor. Your life matters, and your children need a happy, alive mother, you matter so very much. Be brave and speak out, you’re not a failure admitting you need support, you are a warrior! Don’t fight your monsters alone.

 

 

Dear (Additional Needs) Parent

I know as a parent we all cry at one time or another over our child, each of us for very different reasons, but all of us because we love them so very much. Sometimes we cry happy tears, then sometimes tears of frustration stain our faces, and other times it’s because our heart breaks for them.

Every family suffers it’s own hardships and circumstances, some are temporary, some are long lasting, some of them are the cards life dealt you, and others are devastatingly permanent, but one thing remains to get us all through these hard times; love. Above anything else, just love.

Love can change your perspective on almost anything, and does the world of good for your soul, and sometimes it’s the only thing you have to offer.

One of my boys suffers with severe anxiety as well as Sensory Processing Disorder and is currently under assessment to see where he is on the autistic spectrum, and it often breaks my heart watching him struggle knowing that I cannot change things for him. All I can do is support him, guide him, and show him unconditional love. I cannot change the way his brain functions, but I’ve had a huge role to play in the way his heart functions. I fill it with love, encouragement, praise, solutions, confidence, and I try my hardest to ensure he has a healthy self-esteem.

Some days I can conquer the world with him, and we navigate our way through the problems, and the thoughts, and the behaviours, but other days I cry for him after hours of meltdowns and aggression. I peek at him whilst he is drifting off to sleep and I hear him sob. I ask him what’s wrong. Sometimes he doesn’t even know. Other times he has dreams that were so nice he didn’t want to wake from them, or dreams that were so scary he thinks they are real. Sometimes he dreams of another boy just like him who understands him and hugs him tight. This is the one that gets me in the gut and upsets me to the core, he must feel lonely, in his own world, and like he isn’t understood. I hate this feeling he has so much but all I can do is reassure him, validate his feelings and reaffirm his worth.

Some days I watch him play Lego, his familiar territory. He sets up scenes and recreates movie scenes. His eye for detail and accuracy astounds me, but sometimes it scares me. His little brain is so full and he is so hard on himself if any detail is wrong. I wish he would be easier on himself, but all I can do is love him, reassure him that it’s ok to think how he does, and try and extend his play to help him be more spontaneous. It’s hard teaching him that perfection is not always possible, his brain craves perfection at all costs.

School holidays are another time that often renders my heart broken, the dreaded night before the new term begins especially. The anxiety grips his tummy and he lashes out at everything and everyone. He goes into full flight or fight mode and nothing can soothe him, we have to ride the wave and hope it ends sooner rather than later. All we can do is reassure him, cuddle him, talk things through. It hurts my heart that I cannot help further.

There are so any routines and habits that have to happen in order for his world to feel at peace, some of them are cute little quirks that we all have, but some are a matter of urgency and must be done, and done correctly. I wish I could switch his little mind off and give him a rest. He must be so tired sometimes of the constant battles and urges.

As a parent it is heartbreaking not being able to help your child, and sometimes it gets too much. But that’s ok, we are not robots and we have feelings, strong feelings.

But, we have to be warriors for our children, and not worriers! Worrying drains the life from you, and your child needs that life, they need your hope and your reassurance. They need to share your courage when they cannot understand their own world.

I worry so often that I’m failing my boys, but when push comes to shove I’d give my last breath if it meant they’d get one more. I’d fight to my death for them. And that is what counts.

Sometimes I don’t have a solution or an answer, but I always have a cuddle, I always have a kind word, and I always have love. Love has seen us through many tough times, and I know it will continue to because it’s the only thing that never grows tired. My hope dwindles, my soul gets weary, my heart gets broken, but my love remains strong, and always will.

Additional needs parents you do an amazing job, and it’s a big learning curve too, keep going, keep loving, keep being their warrior! Never worry about being ‘normal’. Normal doesn’t exist! What’s normal for the spider is chaos for the fly!

Memory Making & Blah Blah Blah

Memory making. A major phrase used on social media, and in hashtags. Have you seen it? Of course you have!

If you’ve followed my site for any length of time you know I am all about the memory making, most likely OTT some of the time, but I am desperate to ensure my boys have a childhood full of happy memories, not full of money, full of memories; picnics, crazy desserts, snuggles, books read by flashlight, spontaneous parties, forts and mud pies.

But do you know what? Some days I don’t want to make memories! Am I alone in this?

The park? Ew, no, it’s cold, we have to pack four hundred snacks to avoid hanger, it’s muddy and I cba cleaning wellies after.

The cinema? Ugh, no, it costs the same amount as my weekly grocery shopping and everybody needs a billion pees!

A theme park? My worst nightmare, convincing my kids to get into a queue, and wait to go on a ride that they keep convincing themselves not to go on, the hook a ducks there that cost half my mortgage, and the high probability they will fall asleep on the journey home and not go to sleep ever that night.

The beach? Suncream, towels, changes of clothes, moaning, fighting, wasps, etc etc, hmm, no, not today.

A family board game? Oh Lord, no. The tears over losing, the arguing, the cheating. Shall I go on?

A picnic? Momma doesn’t feel like slaving away over a picnic ensuring everybody’s tastes are catered for, and the wasps that always plague us? Nope, can’t be dealing with those today either! And the dogs that always manage to run through our picnic and terrify the kids, nope can’t be dealing with you today either. The damp butt from the soaked-through picnic blanket, the four year old eating ALL of the cakes and traumatising his brother. A picnic? No, thanks.

All f the above we do, regularly, but sometimes, just sometimes I just don’t want to, and why? Because I simply cannot be bothered with all it involves! Am I a bad mum? Ha ha, please tell me sometimes you just cba to make life magical!

Here’s to the low maintenance activities we can throw our kids way that still score us brownie points; duvet nights with a movie and popcorn, chalks on the garden floor, water-painting the garden, drawing competitions etc etc blah blah blah.

Some days CBA is more than ok to be your motto, none of us are Mary Poppins, none of us! But it’s ok, you’re doing great just as you are, even with all of the cba’s! Sometimes those cba’s are memory making at it’s finest!

Kazoops On Cbeebies

We are huge fans of Cbeebies here, and have been for a very long time, even at aged 4 and 6 my boys still love the shows on there. I think the catchy music always helps! My boys love the show Kazoops, and I’m guessing yours do to if they’ve seen it? Today the first episode in a new series airs, and we’ve been lucky enough to have a sneak preview before it airs later today.

If you’ve not heard of Kazoops before here’s a little background info; Monty Kazoops is a little kid with a huge imagination and has a sidekick (pet pig) called Jimmy Jones. They use their imagination to try and solve problems, which in itself is one of the reasons I love this programme so much. Cultivating imagination is a massive plus side with any show in my opinion.

I think it is great to see a show that is so relatable and isn’t all about magic, but has some element of real life applicable skills in there. This episode in particular is about solving a problem with daydreaming, and I thought it was great, and very encouraging for young minds. I won’t spoil it for you though, so make sure you go watch it today at 16.20 or on BBC iPlayer if you’re unable to. We have set ours to record each episode just incase we aren’t in to watch it, to avoid tears!

Happy Kazoops watching!

 

This is Motherhood

Recently I saw a post on a social media site about motherhood and its reality, and it really struck a nerve with me. When you think of motherhood you picture children running merrily over hills flying kites whilst proud parents look on and smile, you think of wonderful picnics next to a lake with homemade cakes, you think of going on adventures,  peaceful visits to the toy store for a treat with happy and grateful children, you picture immaculate houses with children sitting and playing nicely, you think of craft activities and homemade collages, you think of family trips to the beach and building sand castles together, you picture homebaking with children who are eager to learn, you picture visits to the swings on hot summer days, you picture everything with rose-tinted-perfection glasses. Don’t get me wrong, all of these things can happen, but they’re missing a few details.

Motherhood is amazing. Motherhood is by far my most favourite journey i’ve ever embarked upon. Motherhood is the biggest privilege I have ever been given. But motherhood is hard, very hard. motherhood is picturesque. Motherhood is perfectly imperfect.

We are so hard on ourselves as mothers, we have so many unrealistic expectations of ourselves and failure of these is inevitable, but we don’t give ourselves a break. We think we are doing everything wrong, and worry that we are not creating enough good memories for our children, but if you’re loving them and are there for them then that is enough, more than enough.

Motherhood is not just the good times, not just the holidays, the treats, the games, the visits to the park, the fairground rides, the beach trips, motherhood is so much more than all of this.

Putting the fourth load of laundry that day into the washer and getting it out to dry, this is motherhood.

Wiping the spilt milk your 4yo spilt despite you reminding him to be careful three billion times, this is motherhood.

Sweeping up the stamped upon cereal for the third time that morning, this is motherhood.

Lying awake crying, worrying if you are really up to the job of being a mother, this is motherhood.

Filling out paperwork for nursery, and pre-school, and junior school, and senior school, this is motherhood.

Crying on the bathroom floor because you’ve not slept in what seems like forty years because your baby just will not sleep, this is motherhood.

Searching the house for a pacifier or a manky blanky for thirty minutes whilst your baby screams, this is motherhood.

Using baby wipes to clean everything in your house, this is motherhood.

Wearing the same pair of leggings and top most days of the week because you now spend all of your money on your children, this is motherhood.

Deciding to home-school because this is best for your children, this is motherhood.

Listening to your child talk about their favourite thing for what seems like 36 hours straight because that’s how long their stories take, yet you listen intently because you know listening now will mean they’ll know they can always talk to you, even when they have flown the nest, this is motherhood.

Lying on the floor all night next to your child’s bed when they have a fever, this motherhood.

Peeling soaking covers from your child’s bed when they have an accident, and reassuring them it’s ok, this is motherhood.

Kissing grazed knees and healing them with your kisses, this is motherhood.

Giving the last piece of dessert to your children when you so desperately needed that chocolate fix yourself when they’d already eaten their piece the day before, this is motherhood.

Placing a towel on top of a soggy sheet that your baby wet just so you can get some desperately needed sleep, this is motherhood.

Sniffing the brown, suspicious stain on the sofa, and licking it when smell alone fails, despite the possibility of it being poop, this is motherhood.

Using your scarf as a napkin when you forget to bring the baby wipes out again, this is motherhood.

Karate chopping the back of the knees of a flailing child so that you can get them into their car seat to get them home, this is motherhood.

Grocery shopping and children, need I say more? This is motherhood.

Looking your child in the eye and apologising when you yell, this is motherhood.

Kissing your child goodnight, and again, and again and again because they need ‘just one more’, this is motherhood.

Staying awake all night to take their temperature because they have a high fever, this is motherhood.

Working every hour God sends to provide a roof over your children’s heads and clothes on their back, this is motherhood.

Reminding them to wear their hat at school when the sun is out, this is motherhood.

Teaching them about safety, and strangers, and roads, this is motherhood.

Reading them stories at bedtime, at any time, this is motherhood.

Telling them you love them, hugging them, nuzzling them, sniffing them, this is motherhood.

Spending hours persuading them to take their medicine when they’re ill, despite wanting to give up trying, this is motherhood.

Cleaning mud off wellies, and washing waterproofs, this is motherhood.

Letting them play in sand, in water, in mud, on grass, outside, letting them explore, this is motherhood.

Holding their hand at the hospital and igniting their courage, this is motherhood.

The seen, the unseen, the heard, and the unheard, it’s all motherhood, whether daytime or early hours of the morning, everything you do for those children of yours is worth it, and they will remember. Their hearts will know. They will remember the mother who kissed the scraped knees, who made the world brighter with a snuggle, who said yes as often as was possible, who held them when they were scared, who never left their side when  germs took over, who listened to their stories and the things that were important to them, and the mother who loved them regardless of spillages and bad decisions.

Everything you do is important. It is not all about the fun Instagram-perfect memories, it’s everything you do behind the scenes that matters. Motherhood is the fun, but is also the mundane. Motherhood is the highs, but also the lows.  Motherhood is the picnics, and also the all-nighters.  All the things, big, small, happy, sad, challenging, they all weave into this beautiful journey of motherhood, all of them.

Motherhood is a little bit of everything,  so give yourself a break, you’re doing just fine in this gig called motherhood!

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A Video For The Mothers With A Different Story

What is a mother? A mother is a million things, all different, but all just as important!

Take a look…

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Whatever your story, you matter!

Share with somebody who you think needs reminding.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Activity

We love the story about The Very Hungry Caterpillar in our house we always have, and most likely always will. Over the years we have based so many activities on this story from paintings to taste testing, and this time story stones and play dough.

My six year is becoming an amazing reader, he is fascinated by books, and really gets lost in the story, I love watching him whilst he is reading.

I decided to make some story stones to use alongside The Very Hungry Caterpillar as a way to extend the story further, and to also help my little boy who fidgets quite a lot. I added in some coloured play dough, a piece of bark, and a laminated leaf.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Setup

I took a few stones away to aid imagination. I then invited my six year old to come over and read the story with me if he wanted to, he excitedly obliged but told me he would be reading it to me. When he reached a part in the story he thought there should be a stone for, without prompting, he placed the stone in a timeline order.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Activity

When he came to a part and there was no stone he decided to use the play dough to make his own interpretation i.e: the little caterpillar, and the leaf he nibbled through.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Activity

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By the end of the book we had the whole story lined up with story stones and play dough and a beautiful stone butterfly on a piece of bark at the end. He was so proud. It really bought the story alive for him.

The very hungry caterpillar

This activity is so simple, yet so effective, and my six year old really enjoyed it. This was one of our favorite story themed activities so far, along with our Gingerbread Man activity we did a while ago.

Here’s our ‘stone how-to’:

Or stones were so easy to make, we simply painted on flat grey pebbles with acrylic paint and then once dry we outlined them with a permanent black marker pen. After a few hours to ensure the pen was dry we gave them a coating of matte Modge Podge. We then left them overnight to dry thoroughly. The possibilities are endless with story stones.

This activity is part of the National Reading Month Book Inspired Blog Hop hosted by a wonderful lady called Amy over at Learning and Exploring Through Play. Go take a look at all of the other wonderful ideas to bring books to life.

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