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.

Miss Normal

You know the drill, your three year old has a tantrum, he lashes out at you, you sit him out, several attempts are needed, and you count to ten whilst feeling the glares of people standing by or walking past. Their judgemental glances, and eye rolls burn deep into your heart, and you feel like the worst mummy ever, but they also burn into your little ball of rage you bury deep inside. This rage is fanned into flame by staring imbeciles who you want to fly kick across the park, or is this just me? Just kidding.

Sometimes another mum will give you a little smile, as if to say ‘don’t worry we are all in this together’, but sometimes an annoying perfect mother will dish out a sentence that you want to fling right back at her. A sentence such as ‘I feel sorry for you!’. I’m all like ‘What? Who? Me?!” She feels sorry for me? Who on earth would even think that’s ok to even say? Sympathy because my child misbehaved and I’m lovingly disciplining him? No thanks.

Mums what are we doing?! Don’t feel sorry for one another, build one another up. What I actually need to hear mid discipline is “Keep going, you’re doing great, you obviously love your child!” Not patronising sympathy.

And while we are at it let’s address a few more people I run into mid tantrum, mid discipline.

Mrs White-skinny-jeans-burberryhandbag-inappropriatedailyfootwear-backcombedhair-wehaveananny, I do not appreciate your glares over the top of your Raybans. Your shiny lips do not make you a better mother. I discipline my children publicly out of love, and I want them to grow up as respectable human beings, not run around being spiteful and rude like your designer children. How about a friendly smile? Being a momma is hard enough.

Mr Iwanttodrinkmycoffeeinpeace, I hope one day you get to drink your coffee in peace and quiet without any ‘noisy’ children around. I will never apologise for my children being just that; children. I suggest the best place is either your own home or a library.

Mr & Mrs We-have-forgotten-what-children-are-like, you annoy me the most. Do not stand and gawp. Do not look me in the eye and show no emotion whatsoever, because unfortunately, or not, my brain will be too slow in stopping my mouth opening and my protective momma bear instinct will kick in. Go roll your eyes at a real problem.

Mr Shopkeeper, my children are only small, they like to explore. They do not understand the concept of ‘buy before you try’. They don’t mean to pick things up and carry them around just to put them back in the wrong aisle, they’re just inquisitive. I assume you don’t have toddlers, but if you do then go take a long hard look in the mirror, and take your pettiness elsewhere. Your shop is not Harrods. My munchkins are not grownups.

Mrs I-park-in-parentandchild-spaces-when-I-dont-have-children, you frustrate me, you make my blood boil. Parent and child spaces do what the label says. Us parents need the extra room to manoeuvre little rascals out of huge clumpy seats, and get out car seats, and the four hundred items us mommas have to carry to ensure a calmish shopping trip. I wish shops would put parent and child spaces at the back of the carpark, we would still use them, because believe it or not it’s not about the convenience of how near it is to the shop. Next time go find another space, a normal one, there’s hundreds.

Mrs Advicecentral, I don’t need or even want your advice mid-tantrum thank you. Believe it or not it’s taking all my energy and patience to not throw my child across the car park (joke!), so hearing you’re opinion will only further my agitation. I may smile politely, but carry on and watch me go full-on hulk. Keep your advice for the people you know.

And then there’s Miss Normal, the lifesaver of the downcast momma. Miss Normal has her own little darlings, her hairs in a messy top knot, her face flushed, her shopping bags heavy, and her children are happy and loved. She gives a knowing nod, a smile, and strikes up a conversation about the tantrums she’s experienced that day. Miss Normal repairs your momma self esteem, she empathises, she knows! Miss Normal revitalises your patience, she encourages you to keep going, she saves the day. I like Miss Normal.

I want to be Miss Normal. She changes people’s lives. She helps people back up. She holds out her hand and pulls you back into reality.

Be Miss Normal next time you come across a momma having a hard time.

A Typical Day With Two Under Three

I love my children beyond comprehension, they also drain 99% of the life out of me at the same time. How about yours? I’m guessing I’m not alone in this. My children are generally well-behaved, but they’re children. Gorgeous, world changing, life sucking children.

Do you ever wonder what it is like to have two under three years of age? Well, wonder no more! I’m glad they’re now school age!

4:55am – One child needs a wee. He wakes up half the street on his two metre journey to the bathroom.

4:58am – One child jumps back into bed so loud that the other awakens and shouts “I scared!”

5am – They both drift back off to sleep. Daddy continues snoring. Mummy lies awake dreaming of sleep and winning the lottery. Mummy eventually slips into a half-asleep half-awake state.

5:50am – One child cries because he’s hungry and needs a ham sandwich. Mummy convinces him to watch a movie in bed. Mummy’s eyes hurt. The other still snores. Daddy still snores.

6:15am – The awake child is starving and needs food now before Hanger becomes an issue. Mummy fetches a pre- breakfast. The other child still snores. The awake child doesn’t want to eat anymore, he flails. Hanger reigns. We cuddle. We find a TV show. He now eats. Mummy’s fully awake. Daddy snores.

7am – Alarm is snoozed by daddy. Alarm wakes the sleeping child. He gets into bed with mummy, daddy, and his brother. Daddy snores. Daddy gets jumped on and wrestled by the two boys. Daddy is not a morning person.

7:15am – Alarm snoozed again. Both boys are now in full Wreck it Ralph mode. We go downstairs to play. Daddy snores.

7:30am – Breakfast, milk, blanket & movie time. One child doesn’t share. The other child pulls the blanket. My floor is full of butter side down toast and blueberries. One of them stands on the blueberries. We clean up. We play.

8:45 – Daddy leaves for work. The boys play Duplo. My eldest doesn’t want to share the Duplo, he whacks it off his brthers face. His brother slamdunks him. Both boys get sat out. It takes six attempts for them to sit out. This sharing / wrestling goes on until snack time. Mummy is referee. Mummy plays. Mummy tidies. Mummy puts the kettle on to boil.

9:15 – Bath time. One child agrees. One runs naked around the landing. Mummy ignores him. The complient child gets in the bath. He pours half of the water over my floor. He is in trouble. He laughs. I get annoyed. I drag a screaming other child into the bath. I plonk him in. He cries. He moans. He eventually plays. Shampoo time. They scream to have it on, they scream to have it washed off. One cries about the plug dragon getting his toes. One pretends he is the plug dragon. Mummy is soaked. We get dry, all of us, after two games of naked chasing. Mummy gets washed and dressed with an audience.

10:15am – Snack time. Mummy reboils kettle to have that first drink. One child needs a poop. One child wants snack. Poop then snack. Now the other poops. Poop then snack. Boys sit on sofa and eat snack. One child needs a bath from snack. He gets a baby wipe bath.

10:45am – We draw some pictures. One child draws a storm cloud, which he scrunches up and throws off his brothers head, apparently it’s raining on him. Luckily he ignores him and doodles away. One draws around his own hand. The other copies. My youngest tattoos his whole body with a Crayola marker before I can reach him.

11:15 – We build a fort. We watch a few minutes of a movie on the tablet in the fort. We have a tea party in the fort. One child is a dragon and breaks down the fort. The other child breaks down about the dragon. We rebuild the fort which is now a pirate ship. One child becomes a crocodile. He bites his brother on the foot. He cries. My eldest is still a crocodile.

11:45 – Mummy prepares lunch. One wants six ham and six jam sandwiches, the other wants cheese and ice cream. The boys eat a ham sandwich and a salad in their fort. Mummy reboils the kettle for that first drink.

12:30pm – One child makes a Duplo stadium. The other breaks it. He pushes him over. Both boys are warned. They repeat this. One cries for fifty minutes and the other goes on a rampage with the Duplo. Mummy counts to ten.

1pm – We bake cakes. One child sneezes into the mixture. One eats a tablespoon of butter straight out the packet. One cries his cakes aren’t cool enough to decorate yet. We decorate warm cakes. They eat 75% of the cakes. One needs a poop. Mummy reboils the kettle and grabs a biscuit to eat.

1:45pm – Snack time. One wants raisins. One wants chicken. We have yoghurt. Then raisins. No chicken. My youngest now wears a yoghurt face mask and so does my fireplace.

2pm – One drums. One sings Summer in the style of Olaf. One sneezes, it goes everywhere. The other cries because he has bogies on his arm from brother. We use more wipes.

2:10pm – Mummy reboils kettle, throws in some washing, and eats half a banana. One cries for half a banana. One poops.

2:30pm – Playdoh time. One child makes a ship. One eats a playdoh snake. We cut. We roll. We make a whole playdoh happy land village. He still eats the snake.

2:55pm – Mummy boils the kettle for that first drink.

3pm – One wants to play shops. He gets his cash register and trolley. His brother steals his trolley. He screams and throws the cash register. He apologises. His brother wants a kiss. He doesn’t.

3:15pm – Mummy boils the kettle, and makes a drink.

3:30pm – Mummy prepares dinner. Mummy drinks a cold cup of tea. One child cries for carrots and chicken. Dinner cooks away. They have a 15 minute technology chill. One wants the game that his brother is playing. He snatches the tablet and throws it over the sofa. One cries. One gets sat out. He cries. Mummy wants to cry.

4pm – Dinner time. One refuses to eat. The other eats his in one go and tries to steal his brothers. One knocks over his milkshake. Mummy cleans up. Pudding time. One child needs to be hosed down.

4:45pm – Mummy tries to clean up after dinner. Both kids throw the sofa cushions into a heap and shout “soft play!”. Mummy says otherwise. Mummy says otherwise again. Nobody listens. Mummy now doesn’t care less about her sofa. We have a soft play session. They wrestle. There are tears.

5:30pm – Chill out and pyjama time. Nobody chills. Nobody wants pyjamas on. Daddy is home. More wrestling, now with three children.

6pm – Bedtime. Nobody wants milk. One child has to be held down again for his teeth to be brushed. There’s bed jumping, screaming, wrestling, dribbling, sweaty boys, and tears. We persevere. Two boys snore.

6:30pm – Mummy sometimes falls asleep until morning. Daddy plays his Xbox.

Then cue getting up at 30 minute intervals until morning.

How does yours compare? Are we normal? I doubt it!

 

Do You Encourage Your Children Enough?

Do you encourage your children enough?

Being a momma can be such a tiring job. Don’t get me wrong, I am besotted with my babies, and I’d sacrifice my life for them, but it is an exhausting role being a momma, and it’s ok to feel like that. It’s ok to mentally pack your suitcase, it’s ok to dream of walking out the door, it’s ok to cry into your pillow every once in a while, and it’s ok to have regrets; you’re only human! What’s not ok is venting our own hang-ups, disappointments, annoyances, tiredness, anger, hurts, and negativity onto our precious babies.

We all have those moments, those outbursts we’d rather forget – the moments we turn into a Momster; you woke late, the kids woke grumpy, the iron blew up, the milk was off, the kids wiped a bogey on your clean clothes, milk got spilt, you have a headache, there’s tears over an unsticky sticker, there’s throwing, kicking, screaming, pushing, Cheerios are all over the sofa, nobody wants to get dressed, poopy nappies, and stress levels rocket. In those moments I try to stay cool and calm, and sometimes I do, but sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I yell, my frustration and tiredness take over, but one thing I never do is belittle my children. I never want to chisel away any of their confidence or self esteem. A good self esteem is one of the most important things you can nurture in your children.

Helping your child understand they’re not a failure, just because something they did failed, will give them a solid foundation to base their future upon. When they cry and yell because they’re frustrated they’ve failed at their favourite game, try offering your help and reassure them in trying again, instead of getting annoyed at the whining and the tears. Show them how to handle difficult emotions.

When your child sees you looking in the mirror, never criticise yourself, affirm who you are, they will then learn to affirm themselves. This is a key ingredient in leading a happy life.

I tell my children countless times a day that I love them, and this will always be the case. I snuggle them, I hold them, I high-five them, I tell them they’re the best things since sliced bread. They love being loved; it melts stubbornness, it heals hurts, it wipes away tears.

I get tired of hearing the way some parents talk to their children, and I have to bite my lip. My biggest peeve is hearing a toddler being scolded with “Who the hell do you think you are?!” I mean what kind of stupidity is this? Who do they think they are? Chances are with comments like this they think they’re a nobody. This corrodes self worth, even that of a toddler.

Our words bring life and death. We even have to discipline with love. Disciplining your child isn’t about making sure they know who’s boss and making them feel like a nobody and unimportant. Discipline is about showing them which behavioural path they need to choose, and the best teacher is Mr Example; they watch everything you do and hear everything you say so be very selective.

Our little rascals need affirmation constantly. They need praise; good listening, tidying, being thoughtful, good manners, artwork, trying something new. Praise goes a long way in raising a child who believes in themselves. It’s much easier to build self worth into a child than it is in an adult. I make a conscious effort all day long to praise my children for both big and little things. They’re little faces beam with pride when they know mummy noticed how particularly good they were. I want them to know they’re good enough just as they are, and always will be.

Take the extra few minutes for that second book they are nagging you to read, let them lick the spoon then dip it proudly back into the cake mixture, let them have a water fight in the garden, let them paint each other then throw them in the bath, just let them be. Live a life full of more yes’ than no’s. Live a life of love, lots and lots of love, it conquers all things.