A Day in the Life of #ThisMum: Kate

It’s Tuesday again folks! (is it me or are these weeks flying?!) We are literally hurtling towards mid December at the speed of light; I’m sure the big man in the red is doing some lunges and star jumps to get warmed up for the big day already.

I am so incredibly excited to share with you today’s #ThisMum post. Today’s ‘Day in the life of’ post comes from Kate, a mum from New Zealand who has a slightly different family dynamic to the families that have featured in the series so far. I read Kate’s post with both real interest and admiration. Kate’s current set up, raising her five month old boy with both her and her husband at home just sounds so perfect. Those first months with your baby (the first year, even!) are just more precious than anything else in the world – it seems so harsh that one parent out of the two misses out on a lot of that precious time because they have to go to work. My Little Miss has just recently turned one and we are really feeling the ill effects of her spending so much time one on one with just me and not my husband. She won’t settle with him sometimes, she cries when I leave the room despite Daddy being there and she’s extremely clingy towards me. I think that had we have had Kate’s set up for even just those few months, things would have been very different. I think it is so refreshing and so beautiful to have both parents at home raising the baby – you are going to love reading all about it. 

Hello and welcome to a day in the life of our little family.
I’m Kate, from New Zealand and I was selected to be part of the #ThisMum series because my husband and I are both home together raising our only son- which makes us a bit different from what is considered ‘normal’.
For some Mum’s, having your husband home while caring for a 5 month old would be considered a dream, for others a nightmare but for us it is reality.
Like every family dynamic it has potential difficulties
1) Will we get sick of each other?
2) Will our son attach to one of us more or both of us equally (or dislike us both)?
3) Will we use our time at home together wisely and have adventures or will we stay on the couch being the stereotypical sleep deprived parents the world knows and loves?
1) To avoid getting sick of each other and to uphold the individual identities we had formed ‘PB’ (pre-baby) we each have valuable ‘me time’. I was working as a Manager and my husband worked as a Storeman. My brain was always busy and he was always active, we now reflect this in our hobbies. ‘Me time’ For my husband is being in the garden, working on something around the house or cooking an amazing meal. My time involves getting OUT of the house. I am the worst “stay at home Mum ever”. Before my husband had his hip surgery (which is why he has joined me on my Maternity Leave) I took Ted out daily. Catching up with friends, walking, coffee dates, drives to new places…. etc… this kept me sane. I can’t do nothing, I am useless at it. I have tried relaxing or sleeping while he is asleep but planning events/weddings and working on projects are far more exciting.
2) It has been 8 weeks with us both at home and Teddington has formed a special bond with both of us. When he is playing or sitting on someone else’s knee he will look to my husband or I to ensure his ‘security blankets’ have not left the building. Of course as a breastfeeding Mum I have an advantage when it comes to cheering him up (well.. I have two advantages ;-)) meaning the initial bond was in my favour. Prior to his hip surgery my husband would typically finish work and be home by 5:30 p.m. and Ted would be in bed by 7:00 p.m. Since both being home, Ted flashes us equally awesome smiles as we enter the room and knows he has someone else to play with when he gets a bit bored.
I love watching the boys interact. It is playful, exciting and informative. My interactions with Ted are cuddly, giggly and relaxing. We believe Ted will benefit from having different experiences with each parent. Our underlying approach to parenting is the same- our child should be able to choose what he plays with/explores and he should have opportunities to figure things out on his own. We want to raise him as a team. My husband recently said “I don’t want to look back on his childhood and describe it as Mum+Ted and then Dad sometimes, I want it to be the 3 of us“.
3) My husband helping with Ted daily means I have only had a couple of days where I have felt the full impact of sleep deprivation. I am really appreciative of everything he does around the house- he is a far better chef/cleaner than I am! We understand that not all families have (what we consider) the luxury to parent together- we will eventually both head back to work but we hope to work alternate days so Ted has time with both of us individually.
Contrary to popular belief, Mum’s do not just sit at home and drink coffee all day. My husband and I don’t even like coffee, but that is besides the point. A typical day for us goes:
  • 6:30 a.m.
  • Teddy wakes up. Mum feeds Ted before he hangs with Dad. Ted enjoys a nappy change, tummy time, laughing, playing/peeing on his mat on the floor
  • 8:00 a.m. 
  • Ted naps. Mum wakes up and gets ready for the day. Dad makes both of them breakfast and then heads outside to work on the garden or whatever project is at play
  • 10:00 a.m. 
  • Mum feeds Ted. Ted plays/pees on his mat some more. Mum does paperwork/event planning/emails. Dad does yoga for his hip, Ted copies and shoves his toes in his mouth. Everyone gets ready to go out (sometimes this includes our two dogs if we are heading out for a walk).
  • 11:30 a.m.
  • We go somewhere. Errands, a play date, visiting family, babies group, a drive… Ted naps then joins us around lunchtime. We all have our lunch.
  • 3:00 p.m.
  • Head home. Ted wakes up and will play with either Mum or Dad while the other does jobs around the house/ has some ‘me time’
  • 4:30 p.m. 
  • Ted’s last nap before his bedtime routine starts. If Ted doesn’t feel like napping him and Mum have a cuddle in bed and relax.
  • 5:30 p.m. 
  • Dad starts cooking Dinner. Ted showers with either Mum or Dad and Mum reads him stories (Ted’s favourite is Dr Suess).
  • 6:30 p.m.
  • Mum feeds Ted. We both say goodnight and whoever is last to leave puts Ted in bed. Mum and Dad eat dinner, chat, plan tomorrow, watch TV, eat chocolate, read by the fire or hang out with friends…
  • 10:30 p.m. Mum dreamfeeds Ted (Her favourite part of the day, he looks super cute half asleep trying to feed!!)
  • 2:00 a.m. Mum feeds Ted, Dad sleeps with his useless nipples
and repeat.
Until Ted changes his mind, we change our routine, he grows up or we go back to work.
I look forward to seeing which happens first 🙂
Kate xx
Told you you’d love it! I laughed out loud (I’m an LOL-Phobe hence the lack of abbreviation!) at the ‘Dad sleeps with his useless nipples’ – isn’t that just brilliant!!! I can’t thank Kate enough for contributing to the series and shining a light on a family dynamic we were yet to feature. I absolutely love the sound of Kate’s set up – it sounds so perfectly balanced and beautiful. What do you think?
If you’d like to follow Kate on Twitter and find out more about her, you can find her by looking up her Twitter handle @Quippybaby

A Day in the Life of #ThisMum: Helen from Welsh Mum Writing

Well hello Sunday, you little minx! And what is so great about a Sunday I hear you ask (apart from the fact that it is practically the law to spend Sunday in your pyjamas, not quite asleep but not quite awake either…)?! Sundays are bliddy brilliant because it means we add another gorgeous Mummy to the #ThisMum catalogue of wonderful mummies! And boy are you going to LOVE this little treasure of a read! Welcome Helen, from the Welsh Mum Writing blog. I am over the moon that Helen has allowed us a fast pass in to her life to see what an average day in her life looks like!

A lot of Helen’s post resonated with me. I have attempted to work from home for part of the week and the office the rest of the week in a bid to keep nursery fees down and spend more time with Little Miss. I found the ‘working at home’ days incredibly stressful; this surprised me. I had totally romanticised it in my head though. I would sit during my maternity leave and visualise me sat at the dining table with my laptop, typing with one hand, nursing the baby (who, funnily enough, was always impeccably behaved, happy and mega-cute in these visualisations!) with the other, sipping an espresso (that was the only bit I got right – lots of caffeine needed) and talking to my colleagues in my ‘work voice’ via speaker phone. In my head I was totally going to rock the hell out of multi tasking. I was to be a multi tasking warrior. With a baby that would just ‘slot’ right in with my work. Oh dear. What a long way I had to fall. Oh my how wrong I was. I’m not too proud to admit that I just couldn’t make it work. On the days I would work from home I didn’t like the mum I was on those days and I didn’t like the business person I was on those days. Life was hectic, disorganised and chaos on those days. Utter chaos. It would take me three and a half hours to reply to an email because I would manage two words before I would need to get up and see to Little Miss. I wanted it to work so bad but very quickly i realised that my Little Miss deserved better than that and not being the Mum I wanted to be on those days made me feel very unhappy in myself. I was just way too over stretched. And she deserved better than that. She deserved to have someone to play with her round the clock. She deserved to have the undivided attention she needed. I was sad to admit that I just couldn’t make it work but we quickly realised we were going to need nursery full time. I admire Helen so much that she has been able to make it work for her -she sounds so organised too! Working the early mornings and evenings sounds like a really good idea. 

Helen mentions meeting with a friend for a play date during the day and I think this is the first post in the series that a Mum has mentioned meeting with a friend and I know from personal experience how much brighter I felt when I met with a friend during my maternity leave. When I was at home with Little Miss during maternity leave there were times where I felt lonely, really lonely. We have one car in the family so my husband would take it to work and I would feel quite isolated at times. It was amazing how much brighter and better I felt when I met with a friend for a few hours though. It was good for both Little Miss and me. Socialising and having adults to talk to is so important as a mum. The days can be repetitive and lonely without that interaction with others. 

Anyway – I have warbled on way too much – here’s the lovely Helen with her day in the life of #ThisMum post:

About Helen

I’m a forty something first time in South Wales, trying to juggle home life and working. I blog about the stresses and funny side of parenting, along with things I’ve learned that help save me time and money. I occasionally rant. I DO NOT have this parenting thing down, but happy to share my muddle juggle.

A Day in Helen’s Life

It’s 5am and I’m awake. I’m almost always awake then. Small Boy is an early riser. I’ve been up at 5am for two years straight now. It’s now the norm and I’m even a little surprised when I tell people I’ve often started work by 5.30am and they look at me in horror.

I work full time for a large organisation on a flexible basis. My hours are compressed which means I work the majority of them over three days and work two shorter ones, with the shorter ones being at home and the time work split from early morning to early evening. This means I can work them around Small Boy and don’t need to pay for nursery two days a week.

I’m incredibly lucky. Working for a flexible employer means I’ve been able to change my hours and working pattern twice since returning to work last year. I have no burning desire to work full time, but with husband changing job and the uncertainty that always brings, along with needing to buy a bigger house now Small Boy is here, needs must.

The number of hours I work is calculated carefully as we don’t have any other regular childcare except for private nursery. The knife edge between making it worthwhile working X hours over the cost of Y days in nursery means I’m treading a careful line. I’m currently in a funk trying to figure out if I can afford to cut back my hours, but we are in the process of buying a new house and we need a new car so I might have to stay funky for a bit longer. Still, I don’t need to worry about putting food on the table; even though the cost of childcare means that luxuries like holidays require a good deal of planning and some of my best money saving skills.

Today is a home working day. It’s all a bit manic, and the flexibility rather than empowering feels pressurising somehow. Home working days are a bit more of a juggle. Office days are more straightforward, I get in to work early (around 7am, or do an hour or two at home and get in for 8am), and my husband takes Small Boy to nursery. I always do the afternoon pick up from nursery, normally around 4.30pm as it’s a long day for him otherwise.

So at 5am the laptop is open and I’m logging in at the dining table. I used to have a home office but it’s currently full of packing boxes as we are waiting to move into a new house (if solicitors can get a chuffing move on). I’ve already had a snuggle with Small Boy in bed, as he was up earlier than usual, while his Dad has a shower. This is how days normally begin. Dad showers and has Small Boy, then I shower and get dressed and then start work – either at home, or in the office.

Small Boy is eating his usual wake up snack – a wafer biscuit and a cup of milk. He takes after me and doesn’t like his proper breakfast straight away. He’s explaining something very important to his Dad while I check emails, book some meetings and review a paper that I’d drafted for a meeting when I was slightly less rested. As Small Boy is still up and about and in the background, the early morning tends to be the preserve of admin tasks. I’ve already had a minor melt down over how we will cope when Small Boy drops his afternoon nap and how we’ll manage to do the school runs – although that’s another three years away.

Dad leaves for work at 7.30am so I’m logged off again and it’s just me and Small Boy. We eat breakfast together, then he dresses and we potter about the house, draw on the chalk board or do some puzzles.

Today one of my ante-natal class friends is coming over for a playdate. She’ll be over mid-morning after she’s been to a playgroup. I used to go to them too but it’s practically impossible now (although I’ve set myself a task of finding one on my home working days, something local which I can squeeze in during an hour I’m not working).

I’m looking forward to seeing the as I haven’t made the most of my home working days lately. I tend to be off the clock from about 10am – 3pm on Mondays, depending on Small Boy’s naps. Usually we try and get out and go to the farm or soft play or just head into town and walk about the shops. I’ve worked in excess of my contracted hours the past few Monday’s. Others missed deadlines and I ended up trying to get things done when I wasn’t meant to be working. I wouldn’t have if I only worked in the office though.

By 11am our friends come over and a couple of hours are spent catching up on life. I love watching the kids at play and I tell myself that I need to make more effort to get out and do stuff with Small Boy and learn to say no to the day job more. I make cheesy breakfast egg cups and lay out a living room picnic with the savoury goodies, along with blueberries and soft cheese sandwiches.

They leave around 12.30 and Small Boy is ready for his nap. He curls up in his cot and I tip toe back to my laptop, making a detour to the kitchen to throw some stuff into the slow cooker for tea.

Small Boy loves his daytime sleep (if only he loved the night as well!) so he’ll sleep for around two hours. Lately he’s been poorly and going through a growth spurt so he sometimes goes to three hours!

This is when work proper starts. I’m highly caffeinated by now and my brain is working properly. I only need to do a few hours and I try and do them in the evening but it seems like a don’t waste of nap time to postpone it. Fortunately, I don’t have any meetings to dial into today – on Fridays I can have two hours back to back with my mobile phone burning my ear off.

Before I know it it’s 3pm and small Boy is awake. He’s been sleeping longer recently as he’s had a spate of illnesses. I have been able to use the time to conquer a spreadsheet and set up a Trello board though. I’ve managed several cups of hot tea which is a win.

He’s a bit dopey when he’s woken up so we have a couple of hours of just chilling with books and watching CBeebies. He’s in a good mood as he enjoyed playing with his girlfriend earlier. He has a snack and some milk while I wonder how long it would take for my blog to make enough money that I can reduce my hours. The funk begins to descend but I brush it aside as it’s now incredibly important that we do a Peppa Pig jigsaw.

By 6pm, Dad his home and I serve up tea from the slow cooker. Small Boy is currently refusing to sit in a high chair or on a booster but can’t reach the dining table, so we sit on the floor around a low table – Japanese style – and tell each other how yummy it is.

Dad does the bath while I clear up and quickly check my work phone to see how many emails I need to action – forewarned is forearmed. Thankfully there’s not much so I quickly reply to the essentials.

CBeebies is finishing and despite his protests, Small Boy is wiped out. I take him up to his room at 7.30 pm and we sit in the chair and I sing him a song. He has a selection of night time lullabies – some of them are old standards which he loves (yep, no kids songs for him), while others are ones I’ve made up. Tonight it’s his favourite – “Your Belong to Me” – the Patsy Cline arrangement. He’s beginning to wind down now so I put him in his cot bed, with his trusted rabbit blanky and he rolls on to his side.

I tip toe down the stairs and collapse on the sofa. My husband has a cup of tea ready for me. I take half an hour to write this blog post and Dad has a shower to wash the day away. By 9pm we are in bed ourselves – after all we’ll both be “on” again by 5am.

Helen Treharne

What a fabulous #ThisMum post! I can’t thank Helen enough for being involved and sharing her life with us; it’s a cracking read! Before you move a muscle, make sure you give Helen’s fabulous blog a visit – you can find it here

You can also keep up to date with Helen’s life by following her on her various social media accounts – you can find the links below!

www.twitter.com/welshmumwriting

www.facebook.com/welshmumwriting

www.instagram.com/welshmumwriting

www.pinterest.com/welshmumwriting

Coming up on Tuesday we add another fabulous mamma to the #ThisMum series! I am so excited to share with you a day in the life of the lovely Kate Radcliffe all the way from New Zealand. This is another fantastic post you are going to love, Kate’s family dynamic is different to any of the Mums featured on the series so far – you don’t want to miss it!

 

 

 

 

 

A Day in the life of #ThisMum: A Blended Momma

Brrrr! How chilly has it been today?! It is hardcore winter out there now, none of this cool autumn business – winter has full on arrived. Secretly I’m not complaining; I love nothing more than to get the PJs on, light some candles and wrap up in a cozy blanket on the sofa for the evening (baby and sleep permitting…) and what better thing to read whilst on that sofa than another fantabulous #ThisMum post! So, get a cuppa and cozy on in because tonight we have the lovely Ashlee from ‘A Blended Momma’ blog sharing with us a day in her life and you are going to love it.

Hey Yall!

I’m Ashlee and Im the author of A Blended Momma (website and blog). I am relatively new to the blogging world as a blogger but as a reader I’m a professional 😄 I think this post is a great idea as I too believe that not every mom is the same, not at all actually. So I am here to let you in on just a snapshot of a day in the Life of me! #ThisMum

My weekdays and weekends vary as I’m sure they do a lot of you but I’ll give you the most repetitive one. So I start most of my days by cracking open my eyes around 530am-545 about 10 mins after on EVERY morning my smallest child, Paislee (age 2 1/2) comes running to me and wants to lay with me on the couch and watch cartoons until it’s time for the others to wake up. This is mine and her special bonding time and it’s one of my favorite times.

Then at 6am I go and wake my 7 year old daughter up, Madison. I wake her up a tad bit earlier because she already takes the longest to get ready, and then I get myself and Pay dressed.

At 630am I wake my Bonus son up as he is normally ready in 5-10mins haha. My husband usually gets up at this time too unless he has a job going on and in that case he is up and gone long before me.

We leave the house dressed, bookbag in hand to go up to the end of the main road where the bus stop is (We live about a mile down a dirt road that connects to the main road). The bus is usually there within 10mins at most, as they head off to school me and Pay drive back home. I feed her (other 2 eat breakfast at school) finish getting ready and double check her bag and then I walk her over to my mother in law’s house who lives next door.

I go to work at this time it’s usually around 730-745 and I get there at 8. I do data entry and office work at an appraisal service.

Anyway I leave there a few mins before 12 as I have to get Paislee so my mother in law can go to work. I pick her up and we eat lunch then she goes for a nap. Some days I nap with her but those days are very few.

Usually I take this time to clean up, do laundry, blog, or prepare food to be ready at supper.

She wakes up usually after an hour or two and we relax usually or run errands until 330 at which time it’s back to the bus stop.

This is when things get hectic. We drive the mile ride home and there is NONSTOP talking from both kids. We get in the door they eat a snack and go straight to homework, which normally I have to spend approx 15 min each helping with issues, signing test papers, listening to them read ect.

Then after both of them are settled they know that after homework they have to empty their bags, pick their clothes out for the next day, get their lunchboxs ready if they want to take their lunch, and change clothes. While they do this I finish supper.

By the time they finish that its normally supper time. And normally the time my husband gets home. He always showers as soon as he gets home and then eats.

After we eat it’s normally around 6ish the kids always want to play outside, next door,  or just watch tv at this time and I totally agree.haha

At 730 it’s bathtime and at 8 it’s bedtime or atleast lay down time. I usually shower during this time.  They usually are all passed out by 9-930. When they pass out that’s when I have to finish up left over laundry and clean up the kitchen and any other messes. Once I’m done with that I usually go hang out in the shop with my husband if he’s out there or blog.  (We are both night owls)

So this is basically a glimsp in the Life of Me on a typical day with no issues or dramas!lol

For more of my post or to subscribe to A Blended Momma check out the site at ABlendedMomma.com website

I would like to especially thanks the lady from “A Baby & A Boardroom” for allowing me to post this as it was A pleasure and a wonderful idea!

Thanks yall!

Ashlee

The pleasure was definitely all ours Ashlee! When Ashlee expressed an interest in being involved with the #ThisMum series I was over the moon because it was important to me that the series represented lots of different family set ups. Ashlee’s blended family wasn’t a set up that we have featured before so I was really excited to read the post. I hadn’t heard the term ‘blended family’ or ‘blended mum’ before so I took some time out to visit Ashlee’s site and I read some really lovely posts which helped me to understand what the term meant. As someone from a blended family (my parents divorced when I was a child and my mum went on to re-marry the man I now call ‘Dad’ and he had a son from a previous marriage so I gained a step brother) I can’t tell you how touched I was to read Ashlee’s posts. For a new or ‘blended’ family to be created, a family unit has to break down and I think because of the negativity and the pain that we associate with family break downs, step mums / dads and step children and everything that goes with it can be spoken about negatively a lot of the time. As a Teacher for many years I worked with many children that gained a Step parent or step siblings and I never once heard one of them speak warmly or positively about them. I think that’s a real shame because if, like Ashlee, the parents get it right, the blended family stands to offer the children (and the adults!) so much love, care, support and kindness and love can never be a bad thing. Ashlee’s post (and the rest of her site) gave me a lot of food for thought and I realised that having new people come in to your life to love you following a family breakdown should and can be a beautiful thing.

Huge thanks to Ashlee for being involved with the series; I would highly recommend you go visit her site if you haven’t already as there is some brilliant stuff on there. You can find it here. Don’t forget to come back on Sunday when we will welcome Helen from Welsh Mum Writing to the #ThisMum series! Exciting!

A Day in the Life of #ThisMum by the ‘Almost Sane Mom’

Wowsers! It’s Sunday again! Where are these weeks heading? We are literally going to be shaking hands with Santa and singing Auld Lang Syne before we know it! There is one advantage to the weeks flying by though: I get to share with you another fabulous #ThisMum post! Today I bring to you a day in the life of Pnina from her blog Almostsanemom.com. It’s a brilliant post and Pnina certainly highlights the busy-ness that comes with having three children! I felt tired just reading about her day! I find it really difficult to get anything done in my house when it’s just me and the baby so I read with genuine admiration as Pnina described all the things she manages to do, helping the children with their homework, the after school clubs, the chores! I’ve never been very naturally domestic so I could definitely do with some tips from Pnina! Without any further-a-do here she is, enjoy it!

I wake up in the morning at 6:15 am by my live alarm clock (aka my 8 month old – Baby E). I change and feed him and go out to the living room. My 6 (J) and 10 (M) year old are already dressed for school (minus shoes – which I have to remind them at least 10 times to put on or they’ll be late) and waiting for breakfast. I pop a few frozen waffles in the toaster and pour glasses of milk while giving them their lunches to pack in their school bags. We say goodbye to my husband as he goes off to the office. While they’re eating and the baby is happily crawling around trying to get in to places he’s not allowed to, I run to my room to get dressed.

I drop them off at school and run to the grocery store to pick up a few odds and ends. The shopping takes longer than expected and Baby E starts screaming at the check-out line because it’s nap time. I finally get all the groceries in the car and buckle him in. As soon as I start to drive, he’s out like a light. I get home and try to transfer him from car to bed as gently as possible. As soon as his head hits the mattress, his eyes pop open and … morning nap time is over. So much for getting any work done in the morning. I bring him back out and start unloading the groceries.

Laundry, cleaning up and preparing dinner for later … and it’s time to pick up the kids from school. Baby E goes back in the car-seat and off to pick up J & M. E falls asleep in the car, again. There goes the afternoon nap. Kids run out of school and jump in to the car and baby wakes up. At least he’s in a good mood to see his big brothers. We get home and kids wash up and have a small snack.

I place E in his highchair and give him a few snacks (most of which end up on the floor or in his hair) and sit down with J to watch him do his homework while M works on his in his room. Once homework is done, it’s time to get back in the car for afterschool activities. Get everyone in and drop J off at soccer and then run to get M to track practice on time. By the time I get back in the car with the baby and buckle him in, it’s time to pick up J from soccer! Off we go with baby E wailing in the car – don’t blame him…I want to cry at this point too. Pick up J, run to pick up M and finally homeward bound.

Kids wash up and sit down for dinner. After they’ve eaten and cleared the table, they play on their ipads/computer for a bit while I give the baby his bath and sing and splash around. Hubby gets home in time to make sure M & J take their turns showering while I give Baby E his bottle and lay him in bed. Once they’re done and ready for bed, I go in with them to read them a story or sing them a song.

I come out and plop on to the couch while my husband serves us the dinner I’ve made and we talk a bit. Then, being the super romantic couple that we are … we sit next to each other on the couch, each with our laptops, and get work done.

I shower and before getting in bed around 12:00/12:30 I peek in on the kids and see my angels sleeping. I go to my room needing to get some zzz’s before E wakes up at 3 or 4 am to eat and then we start the day alllllll over again. I think I fall asleep before my head hits the pillow.

Thank you so much Pnina! This was a lovely post and it was fab getting to know you, your family and your day! Pnina has a fantastic blog and it is definitely worth a visit and a read if you haven’t already – you can find it here Massive thanks to Pnina for being involved.

Tuesday evening will see another Mum step in to the spotlight! This time Ashlee from A Blended Momma blog. You are going to LOVE her post!

A Day in the Life of #ThisMum

The second Guest Blogger for the series is Katie from the Twintessential blog. I was really excited when Katie expressed an interest in blogging as part of the series as I really wanted to have a ‘multiples mum’ represented. Katie’s boys sound absolutely gorgeous and I am sure you are going to love this little peek at her day to day life. Don’t forget to check out Katie’s blog too; you can find it Here

7ish: I can hear soft cooing noises coming from the nursery. They sound so sweet first thing in the morning. Hubby is off today so we bring the boys back into bed with us for ten minutes of raspberry blowing and giggles. A pretty good way to start your day. Then it’s downstairs for milk, breakfast and my first cup of tea!

0830: The boys are sitting in their chairs having a wee nap after finishing their milk. Hubby and I have our breakfast, 2nd cup of tea and discuss today’s itinerary. We’ve recently moved house so he is continuing with all the jobs that need doing while I take the twins to baby yoga for the first time. Excited and apprehensive!!!!! The last time we went, they were 4 months old and spent the whole class being sick!

0930: I’m showered and dressed, time to do some cooking for the babies before we go out. I’m making a big batch of cod in cheese sauce with spinach and peas. Tasty!!! Harry and Archie are happily playing away with a bowl and spatula I’ve given them. Wonder how long I can get away with that for?

1030: Mid morning milk for the boys followed by a nap. This is my break time. I sneak into the den with my coffee and chocolate biscuits and manage to get some work done on the charity Christmas party I’m organising for the local special care baby unit. And a quick peek at Facebook of course. And Instagram.

11.30: I hate waking the babies up but it’s time to head off to our yoga class. We get our mats set up and the babies are crawling around having a great time exploring the room. Except Harry. Harry is holding on to a column at the other end of the room. He’s laughing away to himself whilst doing what I can only describe as gyrating around the pole. The more everyone notices him the more he finds it funny. I can’t decide whether he is a future Magic Mike or Billy Elliot.

1330: Home for lunch and an afternoon nap. It’s not always guaranteed so I take advantage and actually sit down at the dining table and eat my lunch. How civilised!! Can’t sit about though, got chores to do. It’s the usual, tidy kitchen, empty and load dishwasher, washing machine and tumble dryer. Sweep floors. Put clothes away. I used to scoff at people who said my washing machine would always be on with two babies. I mean, their clothes are tiny and how many do they need?!? Ha, who’s laughing now!! Once weaning began it’s a given we’ll get through at least two changes a day. Each.

1500: Babies are awake and full of beans. Hubby and I have finished our respective chores, it’s not raining (for once) so we load the little people into the pram and go for a walk. This involves circumnavigating our little village, culminating in a shot on the swings. They love the swings. It’s a competition to see who can get their baby to laugh the most. My husband always wins as I chicken out and never push them as high as he does.

1700: The twins have their dinner. It goes quite well this evening. Minimal floor and wall coverings. You can never take that for granted though. Turn your back on them for a second and they’ve grabbed the bowl and now there’s beef casserole dripping down the wall.

1800: Playtime. As daddy is home, the three of them go into the den and do boy stuff. I think. I’m not allowed in. Cup of tea for me, then I get our dinner ready. It’s bath night tonight so I run the bath and get everything ready. I don’t know about anyone else, but bathing twins is the equivalent of a work out. You’ve got weights, cardio, circuits. And contrary to what the books say, a bath before bed does not calm them down. They go nuts. Hence the circuit training. You are now chasing two little naked people around the nursery trying to slap a nappy on them before they pee on the carpet. They think this is hilarious of course. By the time you’ve dressed them and wrestled the hairbrush from them you’re flipping exhausted. And needing wine. Mmmmm. Wine.

1900: Bedtime milk. This is when we have our dinner. We tried all kinds of variations but found this is the best time to eat without getting interrupted or indigestion. They are now ready for bed. At last. I love them so much but there’s a part of me that sighs with relief when they are tucked up in bed and you can relax. And drink wine. The next couple of hours are for us. So like any other busy parents, he plays games on his iPad while I watch my crap on the telly. Bliss.

Massive thanks to Katie from Twintessential for this beautifully written insight to her day to day life. The next Guest Blogger up is the lovely Rachel from the Nippersnips blog going live on Tuesday evening. You are going to love the sneak peek in to her life! 

 

A week in the life of #ThisMum

In the first of a series of posts from a diverse groups of Mums from around the world, I am very privileged to introduce you to the fabulous Cath from The Anxious Mama blog. I’m sure we have all experienced those days where nothing seems to go your way and life throws at you something that you weren’t expecting. Poor Cath had a week like that last week so she has kindly written a post about the challenges she faced last week and how she balanced the needs of her child, husband and work.

#THISMUM – by the Anxious Mama. 

Hello lovely readers and welcome.

My name is Cath. I live in Cornwall with my Husband Ryan, our nearly 2-year-old son Harry and our beloved black rescue cat Wilson. I’m the writer of the Anxiety, Motherhood and Lifestyle Blog – ‘Breathe’, a blog that talks openly about my struggles, not only as a Mum but with anxiety too. I try not to keep my blog too ‘doomy and gloomy’, though. I prefer to turn my experiences into something positive, so I also share my very own coping strategies too, alongside other light-hearted stories that hopefully most parents can relate to.

Please find my blog here: https://theanxiousmama.blog/

I am absolutely delighted to be writing a post for the #THISMUM series, where I’ll be taking you on a journey through my week in the life of a Mum. This fantastic idea was created by Mamma B, the author of ’The Baby and Boardroom’ blog, to encourage Mums around the World to share their different stories and daily routines – and I can guarantee not one of our stories will be the same! This is a great opportunity to showcase both our differences and similarities as Mothers, but to also gain an insight into our lives as individuals too, including our various passions, interests and jobs.

Mamma B is an inspiring, working Mum who runs a joint recruitment business with her Husband. She writes an honest account of what it’s like to balance a busy work life, alongside an equally busy home-life with her teenage son and one-year-old daughter.

Make sure you follow her blog here: https://babyandtheboardroom.com/

Here is my very own take of ‘a week in the life of a Mum’…

Ok, to be totally honest, no day or night is the same in the Saltern household. So, it’s pretty much a ‘let’s just take it as it comes’ routine. That may sound a little blasé on the routine front, but you’ll understand what I mean as I continue to explain. Here is a small background on our family-life…

My Husband is a postman and works 40 hours, 5 days a week. It’s a physical and tiring job but he enjoys it. Prior to the days of Harry, Ry was a Deputy Manager for a company who cared for adults with autism. He had a huge passion for his work, but the hours were extremely long and tiring…14-hour shifts aren’t fun for anyone! So, he changed his job shortly after Harry was born. The job change has not only been great for Ry, but Harry and I have benefitted hugely too! We are lucky to spend every evening together as a family, allowing us free time to play and enjoy our evening meals together. Ry and I also work as a team to tackle the bath & bedtime routine, which usually involves lots of singing, plenty of book reading and some very silly games.

My work life, on the other hand, is a little complicated as I work for two different companies and also for myself. One place of work is a private Hospital where I have worked for a number of years. I am currently a member of their bank staff which is great as it can be really flexible around Harry.

The second job is for a local country store, which is only a quick 10-minute drive from home. I have worked here since Harry was 9 months old as a member of their online team, and I am fortunate enough to be able to work for them both at home and in-store.

Once Harry has gone to bed, I tend to use my evenings and any other free-time to focus on my freelance work and any writing for my personal blog. My Freelance work usually involves writing blogs for companies who may need their products and services explaining more clearly. I have only just started this up within the last year but already have regular clients each month and I absolutely love it.

So although I have three jobs in total, each job is extremely flexible and easy to work around my own lifestyle, allowing myself plenty of time to enjoy being ‘Mum’ too. I feel really blessed to be in such a positive position but it’s only recently fallen into place this way.

Shortly after having Harry, I suffered terribly from anxiety, alongside various issues with my health too. I have a condition where different joints in my body flare up due to infections and any other stresses to my body. I breastfed on demand too, which was such an incredible experience – but it felt like I was literally having the life sucked out of me. It was a really tough time; therefore it took a while to develop a good routine with Harry. For about 17 months, his sleeping habits were torturous. There was no pattern and each night differed. Some nights he’d wake every 90 mins and others he’d be wide awake from 12am-2/3am. I honestly thought I’d never sleep again! But, things have improved massively. The sleeping can still vary each night but it’s so much better than it was. It’s such a relief to know we’ve overcome those hurdles and that we are finally living what we see as a ‘normal’ family life.

The ‘kind of’ routine…

Wednesday’s are now my Hospital working day, which is lovely for Harry as he gets to spend this set day each week with my Mum. I then tend to work my other shifts around Ryan’s schedule, which is whenever he has a day off in the week. However, his shifts differ and he doesn’t usually get his rota until the week before the next working week (I know, it’s a little complicated, right?) Therefore, I usually don’t know what other day/’s I’ll be working until I know Ryan’s schedule. Hence the blasé weekly routine…

I do however try to keep Thursdays free because I like to take Harry to a local stay and play group in the morning. I also try my hardest to avoid working Sundays because that’s our only ‘family day’. Although sometimes this day has to be sacrificed when extra funds are required!

On my other days off with Harry, we are usually either visiting family, meeting up with friends for play dates or heading out for lovely, long walks. It’s not all fun and games though, as I usually have to balance those days out with a few dreaded household chores too…Oh, the joy!

When it all went wrong:

Now that I’ve given you a basic idea of what a normal week is like in the Saltern household, I thought it was only right to share with you a recent traumatic experience of when a weekly routine completely goes to pot. In this next chapter, I describe what it was like trying to balance Mum-life, Work-life and Wife-Life – all at the same time whilst dealing with my own struggles, too. It was just one of those weeks where everything happens all at once and one I won’t be forgetting in a hurry. So here goes…

Monday:

Monday wasn’t a great start to the week if I’m totally honest. We’d had a terrible night’s sleep due to a certain little sleep thief. Plus, I was in a lot of pain due to an infection in my toe from an ingrown toe-nail (the bane of my life) and as a result, my joints decided to flare up.

I’d been to the Dr’s the previous week before where I was prescribed a new type of anti-inflammatory for my joints, and a course of antibiotics for my toe…but the healing progress was slow and I was really struggling with the pain. Therefore, our Monday morning consisted of PJs, cuddles, cheerio’s and Fireman Sam. Unfortunately, Ry had to leave for work fairly early though, so he was feeling pretty exhausted – bless him.

Whilst Harry napped over lunch-time, I managed to catch up on some much-needed washing and cleaning, whilst also getting up to date on any TV shows I’d missed. My iPad pretty much follows me around from room to room when I’m on a housework mission; meaning I can catch up on shows like ‘Made in Chelsea’ guilty free…please don’t judge ok?

Once the little man was up and had eaten his lunch, I decided to take him to my parents for a change of scenery. We spent some time with my Mum and took Pip, their gorgeous dog out for a lovely walk along the river. I love lazy days at home but I always feel guilty when Harry is inside for too long, so I always make it my aim to ensure he gets at least some kind of fresh air throughout the day. It took my mind off my own personal complaints too!

We then arrived back home to a very exhausted Daddy and the rest of the evening involved reading books, playing with toys, eating dinner, watching In The Night Garden and then the usual bath/bed routine. Once Harry was in bed, I then spent the rest of the evening getting ready for my training day at the Hospital the following day. Meanwhile, Ryan relaxed in his little ‘man corner’, whilst playing FIFA and catching up on FaceTime with one of his best pals. Then it was up to bed, lights out and time for some much-needed sleep!

Tuesday:

More like Traumatic Tuesday…

Tuesday morning was a very early start for us all. Harry was wide awake from 5am, which is quite the norm nowadays. However, unfortunately for Ry, he’d been awake most of the night with a terrible sore throat and was feeling pretty rotten.

I got ready for work as normal and as the morning progressed, I noticed Ry was going downhill more and more. I took a quick look at his throat before I left and noticed how large and inflamed his right tonsil was, so I knew he desperately needed to see a Dr. Therefore, during my park & ride bus journey to work, I decided to phone Mum to see if she could help at all. She was more than happy to have Harry whilst Ry went to the Drs. So, I left it in her hands and I went to work as normal…

It was only my second day back at the Hospital since Harry was born but it was going really well. I was really enjoying settling back in and catching up with some familiar faces. During my tea-break, however, I was in the cafeteria drinking my cup of tea when one of the chefs popped their head around the door and asked me if I was Cath. ‘Yes’, I said with a suspicious look. ‘Your Mum’s on the phone’, she replied…

That’s when my heart sank, ‘something’s not right’, I thought!

I put the phone to my ear. ‘Hello’.

‘Harrys had a little fall, Cath. I’m so sorry. I sent Ry home to rest after he’d visited the Dr’s because he’s really unwell and I told him I’d look after Harry for a bit. Shortly after Ry left, Harry tripped. He slipped on a book and flew straight into the corner of the TV cabinet. He’s hit his head. He’s ok but it’s been bleeding quite a bit and we just want to get him checked over. I’ve had to call Ry back and we’re now on our way to minor injuries. Ry’s got tonsillitis and has been given some antibiotics by the Dr. He’s currently driving but he’s feeling really unwell’.

My heart was pounding and my hands were shaking. I tried my best to reassure my Mum as she sounded so distressed on the phone. I told her to stop apologising though, as incidents like this can happen at any time and in any place. It was nobody’s fault.

I gathered myself together and explained to my both my manager and colleagues what had happened. Fortunately, they were very understanding and agreed with my decision that I needed to go.

I quickly left work and darted straight for the park and ride bus-stop, where I was instantly met by a bus…thank goodness. The journey felt like a lifetime but once we finally reached the park and ride car park, I flew off the bus and ran straight towards my car where I then started my drive to the Minor Injuries Department.

On arrival, I was greeted by a rather poorly looking Ryan outside. He looked terrible. His eyes were puffy, his skin was pale, he was shivering and could barely walk. As we swapped car keys, he told me he was going to sit in the car for a little while, but he would only drive home if he felt up to it. I was worried to leave him because in all the 11 years we’ve been together, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him look so ill.

I quickly walked into the Hospital, where I found Mum walking with Harry up and down the corridor. Poor Harry was sporting an impressive gash on his forehead, whilst also covered in quite a lot of his own blood. Although, thankfully he was in good spirits. He reached out and gave me a large cuddle and shortly after that, we were called in to see the Nurse.

The Nurse was so lovely. She was very kind and extremely patient with Harry, but equally very supportive towards me. She glued Harry’s head quickly and gave me some excellent aftercare advice regarding his wound. I explained to her about Ry’s condition too, so she told me to go and get him from the car as she would like to see him. But when Mum went to look for him, the car had gone and he’d obviously driven home. I was so worried!

Luckily he got home fine and spent the rest of the day in bed. Harry and I also lay low for the rest of the day, whilst also regularly checking up on Daddy. It was a long and tiring day for us all.

‘Surely tomorrow will be a better day’, I thought…

 

Wednesday: 

Poor Ryan literally spent the whole of Wednesday in bed with a nasty fever and a terrible sore throat. He actually didn’t move all day apart from the times when he needed to empty his bladder, or when he needed a drink. He could barely talk and didn’t eat one thing all day either. He pretty much just slept or stared at the ceiling for the entire duration of the day.

Harry and I, however, had to try and continue the day as normal as we were running very low on our kitchen cupboard and fridge essentials. Therefore we went to Tesco in the morning to do a food shop and we also bought some supplies home for Daddy to try and make him feel better.

Later that morning, Harry and I met up with my Mum and took Pip for another river walk. I was desperate to get us both some much-needed fresh air, but it also allowed Ry some peace and quiet to recover at home. I hated leaving him but I regularly did my best to check up on him and make sure he was ok throughout the day.

Fortunately, Ry’s Mum offered to come and help us in the afternoon as I needed to get to the Hospital for an appointment regarding my toe. My appointment went ok but I do need to have an operation quite soon, which will require an initial few days of foot elevation, and a few weeks off work to recover. This is going to be quite difficult to organise and will require some careful planning….

By the time I’d gotten home, it was pretty late and still no sign of Ry – he was still in bed resting. Thankfully Ry’s Mum had fed Harry his dinner, so I just quickly grabbed something for myself and then I began the commencement of Harry’s evening routine.

Once Harry was in bed, I checked on Ry, tidied up downstairs and then finally relaxed on the sofa with a cup of tea. I then spent the rest of the evening focusing on my freelance blog work, whilst also demolishing a whole large bar of galaxy chocolate (it was very much needed!) Then it was time for bed myself…

Thursday:

You’d think things would be improving by now, wouldn’t you?

Surely?

….So, Thursday was a very similar day to Wednesday really. Ry’s condition was very much the same, if not worse and he’d barely slept due to agonising throat pain and constant feverish episodes throughout the night.

The morning consisted of a few household chores, keeping Harry amused and regular checks on Ry. Although by lunchtime I’d had enough of seeing Ry so poorly, so I booked him an emergency appointment at the GP’s for the afternoon. Thankfully Mum offered to have Harry again whilst I took Ry to the Drs, so I gathered his bits and dropped him over to my Mums.

However, shortly after arriving at my parent’s house, Harry excitedly ran up to Pip the dog who was currently lying on the sofa. As Harry approached Pip, Pip lifted his paw to protect himself and within seconds his paw caught what was Harry’s ‘neatly glued head’. Suddenly Harry started screaming. Yep, you guessed it…the wound had reopened and blood had started to pour out.

‘Are you actually kidding me?’ I called out.

An overwhelming feeling suddenly came over me and tears started to roll down my cheeks. What do I do now? I thought. Suddenly I felt incredibly torn between my little boy and my Husband. I knew Harry needed to get to the Hospital, but I also knew Ryan needed to make his appointment which was due in the next 40 minutes. I decided to ring Ry’s Mum for help and explained I needed someone to take Ry to his appointment as I was just about to leave with my Mum to take Harry to minor injuries. Both of Ry’s parents literally hopped straight into their car and headed straight for Ry, thank goodness!

The Hospital staff were great once again and very efficient with their service. Harry’s wound didn’t require any glue this time but did need a little clean-up and some steri-strips. After his treatment, we headed straight home and went back to Ry who’d been given some more antibiotics to try. The Dr had told him that if he was no better by lunchtime tomorrow, he needed to come back and be seen.

It was gone 5pm by the time we’d got home, so it was then time for dinner, followed by our usual bed/bath routine, a quick chill and then bed-time for us all.

Friday:

Poor Ry wasn’t feeling any better. He couldn’t talk and his throat was causing him an awful lot of pain, he really was struggling. I had another look at his throat and noticed that it was looking much worse, so it was important he was seen again by the Dr.

Mum very kindly offered to come and sit with Harry whilst I took Ry back to the Drs. The GP was surprised that the antibiotics weren’t working and that his condition was getting worse, so she phoned our local hospital for advice. The ENT specialist said he’d like to see Ry, so we were told to come in and head straight to A&E.

We very quickly nipped home to update my Mum, and to pack an overnight bag for Ry. Ry’s Mum very kindly came straight over and offered to take Ry to the Hospital herself. Once again I felt very torn between my boys, as I felt I should be at the Hospital with my Husband. However, Ry told me he was fine and he’d rather that I was at home with Harry.

As the afternoon drew on, Ry was admitted onto a ward and given an IV drip, steroids and some more antibiotics. My Mum offered to come and sit with Harry in the evening whilst my Dad dropped me off to visit Ry in Hospital. Poor Ry was lying in his bed looking absolutely exhausted, whilst also rocking’ the colour grey. It was so sad to see him lying there so poorly, but the steroids and the IV drip had already started to make him feel a little brighter.

I stayed with him until the end of visiting time and then got a lift home with my Dad. Once I was home I continued with Harry’s bath and bed routine, and then luckily managed to get him settled fairly quickly.

It wasn’t until Harry fell asleep that I suddenly started to feel a little lonely. It had been such a hard week. I was exhausted and I was so worried about Ry. I needed to talk to someone so I spoke to a few of our friends; my best friend Millie and our other best friends Chris and Carla. After having a good chat (and also a good cry) I then felt so much better. I was then able to finally relax for the rest of the evening and get a good night’s sleep.

On Saturday, Ry thankfully came out of Hospital. He still wasn’t feeling his usual self and had a long way to recover, but he looked more like ‘Ryan’, again. The rest of the weekend involved a lot of rest for us all. It had been such a dreadful, long week that we just needed a few chilled days at home to try and recuperate. 

Things are getting there now. Harry’s head has healed nicely and Ry is certainly on the mend. My toe infection has settled and my joint pain seems to be easing. Our past week has mainly consisted of catching up with work, as we both lost a lot of work during that awful week.

I honestly don’t know how I would have coped that week without the help of our family and friends. We are so incredibly lucky to have such a supportive network around us.

Unfortunately, everyone will experience a bad week at some point in their life…this was just ours. However, sometimes you just need to put your positive pants on, take a deep breath and count your lucky stars that it was ‘just a bad week’. I sometimes have to remind myself that there are millions of people around the World experiencing far worse than what I’ve just been through. So, yes – you’re allowed to cry, you’re allowed to say ‘poor me’ and you’re allowed to feel sorry for yourself, but just remember ‘it was just a bad week, not a bad life and whilst it may be tough…so are you!’ 

 

 

A Day in the life of #ThisMum

A Day in the life of #ThisMum

Contrary to the popular belief that mums sit drinking coffee and watch Jezza Kyle all day, I believe that us mums are pretty special beings. Whilst we have one massive thing in common, there is such huge variation and diversity in the way we choose to raise our children, our family set up at home, our working situation, our culture and our way of life. I don’t want to get all poetic about it but it is in these differences where beauty lies. We are all Mums, and I’m sure we all view this as being our most important role in life, but we are also people in our own right, with different ambitions, dreams, priorities, responsibilities, hobbies and interests. To celebrate the beautiful differences between us that make every mum unique, I have launched a series called #ThisMum where guest bloggers share a day in their life.

I have already got some truly fantastic and inspiring Mums lined up to share a day in their life with us; I am so excited to read all about a day in their shoes. If you would like to contribute, I’d love you to get in touch with me via babyandboardroom@gmail.com

 A Day in the life of Me #ThisMum

My day usually starts between 6am and 7am when Little Miss decides to wake up for the day. If I’ve had a particularly rough night with her, my husband will get up with her and send me back to bed for an hour. She’s definitely not a fan of sleep and after fourteen years of being out of the baby game, it’s been a bit of a shock to the system! I take morphine to help control the pain I get from a chronic disease and it can make me feel a little spaced out if I haven’t had enough sleep so I try to get an extra hour of sleep if I can so that I can be more functional throughout the rest of the day.

Once up, it’s a case of all systems go to get my Big Lad fed and off out to school. Once he is on his way, I like to spend some time with Little Miss. I had to put her in to nursery and return to work quite early after maternity leave so I do like to steal at least an hour with her on a morning before dropping her off at nursery. I’m really enjoying the age she’s at now; she’s just turned one and she’s learning new words, new skills and new quirks every single day. At the moment she is totally obsessed with dolls or ‘babies’ as she knows them! She likes to kiss them and she makes an ‘Ahhh’ noise when she cuddles them. She’s very cute! This level of cuteness does not make it any easier to leave her and go to work!

As I work with my husband, we all leave in one car. We drop Little Miss off at nursery and head to the office. We own a recruitment agency and our office is in a business centre not far from where we live. Although we both work for the same business, my husband and I have very different roles. A lot of friends have asked how we manage to work together; I know it’s not an arrangement that would appeal to everybody but it really does work for us. Sometimes it’s difficult to avoid work stuff spilling in to our personal life, but this is rare and on the whole we work very well together. The way in which I see it is that my business is my livelihood and my children’s future; I would far rather entrust my husband with that business, someone with whom I share trust and understanding, than a complete stranger.

I spend most of the day working with candidates who have applied for vacancies I am working on behalf of my clients. This involves assessing candidates suitability, assessing them against the job spec and getting a feel for whether they would be a ‘good fit’ for the role with my client. I really enjoy my job. I feel very privileged that I get to work for myself and that I never ever feel work dread in any way. I have had jobs in the past that I haven’t enjoyed and the impact that had on my life was huge. Equally, the fact that I enjoy my work has a hugely positive impact on my life. I don’t dread the alarm going off on a morning (unless the bambino has had me up half the night singing Twinkle Twinkle on repeat for six hours straight, of course!) and I never feel the need to complain about going to work. If truth be known, I am the sort of person that needs work. For all I love spending time with my children, I am acutely aware of my need to pursue something for me and that something is work. Work helps me feel a sense of self worth and it helps me to feel fulfilled. I remember during my maternity leave, I would have days where I wouldn’t even make it out of my pyjamas (quite frequently in all honesty) and when my husband returned from work having done a day’s work I felt like I had achieved nothing with my time and there was a part of me that felt very unfulfilled. I would hate for anyone to interpret that as me taking my baby for granted or me saying that being a mum doesn’t fulfill me, because I don’t and it does. I will never ever forget how blessed we are to have two children, we fought for ten years for our Little Miss and she was a true miracle, so I will never ever forget how blessed we are to have her, but speaking frankly, I’m just one of those people that feels work plays a huge role in how I view myself, my self esteem, my self worth and my satisfaction and , above all, I enjoy it. I enjoy the days in the office where the phones never stop ringing and we have to work at a crazy ass pace to get everything done I time; I get a real buzz from that. And on the tough days, the days where stress is a huge factor, I remind myself that I am very lucky to have the privilege of building something that will hopefully be of value to our children in the future.

I do miss the children when I’m at work. I surround myself with their photographs, their cards and drawings (and nice stationery too!) on my desk and if ever I have a wobble and get an attack of the killer mum guilt, I look at my beautiful kiddiwinkles on those photos and remind myself that I do it all for them.

At around 4.30pm my husband and I shut down the computers and go to collect our Little Miss from Nursery. Our Nursery give us a little ‘run down’ of her day including the meals she’s eaten (or not eaten!!), the naps she’s had, the nappies and the amount of milk she’s had. They are really comprehensive which makes me feel like I’ve got a better sense of the kind of day she has had. There is no better feeling than opening the door of the Baby room to see her sitting there, all smiley and happy, reaching out her arms to me to pick her up. We then head for home where our teenage son is usually home from school already.

Our Little Miss and Big Lad have the most beautiful relationship and when we get home, the baby is always keen for cuddles from her Big Brother. The older she is getting, the more she is enjoying a bit of gentle rough and tumble play, tickling and rolling about with him, I love to watch them having fun with each other because when I was pregnant I worried so much about such a huge age gap that I thought a relationship so close as the one they have was highly unlikely.

We give Little Miss a bit of a snack as she has a light tea at nursery. She has a real thing for humus at the moment and would literally bathe in the stuff (she has, in actual fact, bathed in the stuff. Our bath has seen more chickpeas recently than it has water) all day every day if she could. She started out by dipping breadsticks in it and recently she’s just abandoned the bread sticks and is sticking her full on hand in it and lapping it up. She’s definitely not a ‘I like to be clean’ baby but who wants one of those anyway?!

We tend to get the baby bathed and down to bed before we have tea the three of us. I expect this will change when Little Miss starts staying up a bit later and then we can all eat together but at the moment it’s a real struggle to keep her awake until 6.30pm and she will not wait around for anyone! I always like to feed her a bottle before bed, in the nursery with the lights down. Sometimes we sing (Not ‘we’ at all – it’s more a case of ‘I’ and I do it very badly!) or sometimes I just like to rock her back and forth, cuddling her in close and breath it all in. Her first year has flown over so quick and as a working mum, I try to take every opportunity to just be present in the moment, make that moment special and take it all in. I think with my first I took those moments absolutely for granted. I suppose being much younger, I didn’t realise just how blessed I was and I did take all those moments for granted – something that I pondered, and regretted bitterly, during our battle with infertility when trying for our second child.

Once Little Miss is asleep I go downstairs and usually by this point the hubby has started to cook dinner. I spend some time with my Big Lad, sometimes supporting him with homework, sometimes listening to the kind of day he’s had, or sometimes we sit and watch TV together. This may be only last around half an hour but that time with him as one on one is so precious to me. Once the meal is cooked, we eat dinner together and then we tend to chill out. We sometimes have pressing work to do that won’t wait until the following morning and on these occasions, we have to get the laptops out after dinner and continue working but this only happens a couple of times a week. The rest of the time we enjoy watching all sorts of TV, sometimes as a three, sometimes just my hubby and I if the Big Lad is doing his own thing.

By about 9pm usually I am either curled up on the sofa already well and truly in the land of nod or I’m struggling with pain. I take more morphine on an evening before bed so I take that and usually end up in a very sleepy state with my hubby nudging me, telling me to stop drooling on him or something equally as undignified and tells me to get myself to bed. I am terrible for climbing into bed and then ‘just checking’ my phone for any emails or social media notifications. There’s been occasions where I have gone to ‘just check’ my phone momentarily and the next moment I look up and I’ve lost an entire hour to scrolling down Twitter or Facebook. I always get so cross with myself for sacrificing an hour of valuable sleep for pointless scrolling yet find myself doing exactly the same thing again the following night! I promised myself months ago I would leave my mobile phone downstairs in order to try and improve me quality (and quantity!) of sleep. Some promise that was, I didn’t manage it even once!

My day usually ends with the heavenly feeling you get when you swing your legs into bed, bury deep down in to the quilted duvet and slowly close your eyes, anticipating a purely beautiful night’s sleep. Then the baby monitor crackles. Then there’s crying. Then the eyes open and the legs are swung back out of bed and the ‘bedtime with a baby marathon’ begins!

Raising a baby fashionista in Autumn/Winter 2017

Here’s a truly scary thought: my Little Miss is almost one! I’m going to swiftly move on from that thought before I start wildly crying clutching a G&T in one hand and her tiny baby clothes in the other. She’s only been in her 9-12 month sized clothes for a couple of months but I’ve noticed that in some brands she is running out of room fast! The jump up to the next size seems huge. I think I’ll be doing a lot of turning up trousers and turning back cuffs for a couple of months while she fills out a bit! One good thing about Little Miss needing the next size up, though, is that it is the perfect excuse to shop! Before she came along I used to go straight to the ladies clothing floor in every shop we went in – now I don’t even look at where my stuff may be at, it’s a case of quick sharp to the childrenswear department where I could literally lose entire days to the art of ‘oohing and arhhing’ at all the pretty girls’ clothes!

Autumn is well and truly underway and it’s getting a little chilly out there. Little Miss definitely needed a wardrobe upgrade – the sort of upgrade that involves thick tights, long sleeves and cute cardigans! After fifteen years of the jeans and hooded sweatshirts that comes with raising a boy, I have to admit, I really enjoy picking out outfits for my Little Miss; my husband always jokes that I only pick outfits for her that I would wear myself. Secretly, I think he’s probably right! In a few years time, Little Miss is going to wake up one morning, roll her eyes at the outfit I’ve picked out for her and she’s going to tell me where to stick it (politely, respectfully and age appropriately, of course.) so I’ve got to make the most of the fact that she’s got no choice but to wear what I choose right now!

I love autumnal colours – in fact, autumn and winter is my favourite time of year for that reason. I love the mustard yellows, the burnt oranges, the warm reds and leafy greens. There is a huge range of beautiful autumn winter baby and childrenswear on the high street right now. Zara Kids, Marks and Spencer and Next are just three stores that are absolutely rocking the autumn winter range. I could have spent hours browsing the M&S babywear (if I hadn’t have had a screaming baby with me, obvs.); I loved in particular their dress and tights two piece sets. There were some beautiful knitted dresses with contrasting tights as a set and as someone who can never lay their hands on a pair of tights that are an exact match for the dress my Little Miss has on, these sets are absolutely perfect. I fell in love with a three piece set made up of tights, a knitted jumper and little dark red velvet shorts – absolutely perfect as a Christmas outfit.

As with every winter, the trusty old fair isle theme is out in force across kidswear ranges up and down the high street. You won’t hear me complaining about that, seeing all the fair isle jumpers and woolen dresses out and about gets the festive feels going! It might be two months away but my baby’s first year has gone in the blink of an eye so a couple of months is nothing! Christmas will be here before we know it!

I noticed a lot of applique and embroidery going on across the baby and kidswear ranges; there’s some lovely autumnal themed embroidered dresses and blouses available. Zara Kids have got some absolutely stunning embroidered blouses – if they did them in grown up sizes I’d wear them myself without any hesitation! Their mustard yellow corduroy shorts are worth a mention too. I would pair them with a navy jumper and some navy tights for a beautiful autumnal feel. I absolutely love Zara Kids – they sell some gorgeous pieces that border on being ‘quirky’ which is exactly why I love them. I think sometimes you see children and babies wearing the same styles, the same colours, the same fabrics – I love that there are high street retailers that are willing to push the boundaries a little and throw some quirky items in to the mix.

I was really pleasantly surprised at Primark. Usually I go to Primark for the staple items you need in volume with a baby – bibs, vests, socks and the like – but while we were there I spotted a number of gorgeous autumn winter outfits. I’d struggled to find tights in autumnal colours but Primark had a number of three pair sets including one set that included a cream pair, a grey pair and a burgundy red pair too. I’m a firm believer in the idea that you can never have too many pairs of tights when you’ve got a little girl. I mean, let’s face it, the washing machine seems to eat them, they never seem to come back from nursery and seventy percent of the tights in our house are constantly on rotation in the dirty wash basket. So we bought a couple of packs. I haven’t really ever dressed my Little Miss in jeans, I’ve always opted for leggings or tights, but Primark had a number of different coloured jeans and I came across a pair of burgundy ones that I bought to try her in. I also bought a twin pack of long sleeved polo necks – these have already proved really useful to match with little skirts and underneath pinafore dresses.

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There’s a lot of faux fur going on right now on the high street too – a sure sign the festivities are on their way if ever there was one! I fell in love with a pinky coloured faux fur gilet I saw in Next and I spotted a few faux fur jackets in the babywear / girlswear range too. The soft feel of the faux fur is appealing, particularly with my Little Miss still being very little, I like to think of her wrapped up as snug as a bug in a rug in something soft, warm and furry!

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I love the range of hair accessories available for baby girls these days too. I’m one of those dreadful mothers that had a bow on her baby’s head within a few hours of being born! I had waited ten years for her though, so I’m allowed! I particularly love this crocheted headband in the mustard yellow colour; it looks good and it keeps her ears warm! Win win or what!?!

Beau headband

With it getting chilly outside, it’ll be time for woolly hats, scarves and mittens I no time. Whilst we’ve got the milder weather, my Little Miss is having fun wearing a beautiful pink pom pom hat we bought from M&S. She never fails to get complimented on it when she wears it out and about and I love that it’s a bit of a statement piece that stands out.

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Finding the time to do ‘us’.

I left my full time teaching job almost three years ago. I absolutely loved my job but it left no time for my family. My son was already in to double figures and I was really starting to notice the absence of family time and quality time together. I would drop him off at Breakfast club at 7.30am, hot foot it along to school for meetings at 8am, do a whole day at school, returning to collect him from after school club just before 6pm. By the time we got home, it was a case of shoving something quick in to the oven whilst we’d hurry through his homework, then after dinner I would have to start marking books and planning lessons ready for the next morning. It occurred to me that as much as I loved my job, and I really really did, my life was becoming more about other people’s children and less about my own and that didn’t sit comfortably with me. I still believe to this day that if teaching had remained about the children and less about the paperwork, it would still have been possible for me to maintain my teaching career and raise my family in the way I felt was important but unfortunately teaching is not what it used to be and teachers are now under immense pressure with ridiculous workloads.

Three years ago I decided that the only way I could invest the time I felt my family needed, was to go self employed. My Husband, before this, had worked shifts and so we had done our fair share of him missing the important times as a family – Birthdays, Weddings, weekends away, Christmas and the like. We made a decision together, as scary as it was, for both of us to establish a family business so that we could work in a more flexible way that better met the needs of our family.

I’m not saying that we have the perfect work life balance because we don’t. Being self employed is not an easy road and it is by no means an easy way to make a living. We hadn’t fully appreciated the hours upon hours of work that would need to be invested to establish a successful business and at times it was all-consuming and physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting and there were a lot of times where I thought we were even worse off as a family but the more the business grew, the more we were able to relax in to it and find our momentum.

We are now in a position where we work Monday to Friday, office hours and any work that is needed to be done at home on an evening is done after the children have gone to bed. My son is almost 15 now and he is already choosing to spend a lot of time on his own in his bedroom and I do feel bad when I think of all the time I wasted during the years where it was actually semi-cool to hang out with your mum! But we have made the right changes now, even if I do regret not doing it sooner.

We now have a daughter who is almost one and the lessons I learned with my son are definitely holding value now. I am privileged enough to be able to have lazy mornings with her instead of having to get her changed, stick her in the car and race her to nursery for breakfast and often I get the chance to collect her early which gives us valuable time to play together.

I will never ever take weekends for granted. If you ask anyone who has previously had to work awkward shift patterns or weekends before, I am certain they would say the same. Weekends are just everything to us. Having to work full time may mean that we only have weekends to cram in quality family time but I am very grateful for that, some families don’t even have that. Having weekends means that we can make exciting plans through the week and those plans keep us motivated all week long. There is no better feeling than getting home on a Friday evening from work and school, knowing that we have the weekend together to make up for us all having to be elsewhere and busy during the week. We all feel that excitement, even our (sometimes) grumpy teenager!

 

Having two full days to just do ‘us’ is so important. During weekends we always make the time to be together. Whilst I do promote the importance of our teen socialising outside of school and building friendships away from school, I do think it is really important for us to reserve as much time as possible for us as a family. I am very fortunate that he doesn’t (yet!) view family time as a drag or a bore. I love that he loves spending time together as a family. I really do hope that his view on family time never ever changes.

 

I’ve always said that it doesn’t even matter what you do as a family or where you go – it’s the being together that really counts. So whilst we love to go on day trips or visit places of interest, see extended family and so on, there is also beauty in just being able to be together doing absolutely nothing. We call those days our ‘Duvet Days’. We love having duvet days together – sitting in our Pjs all cuddled up on the sofa, watching movies and eating treats.

 

We like to eat out together if we can on a regular basis too so we’ll often head out on a Sunday for Sunday lunch. Getting the kids out of the house, particularly for the little one, gives them a change of scenery and gets them away from the distractions at home – the noisy toys, the laptop, ipad, phone, television etc – and we can just focus on us. It’s then we can have uninterrupted conversations, discussions, giggles and fun together.

 

That family time keeps me sane. I know that when I was working round the clock, I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt for not spending time as a family and I really felt sad for not having that one on one time with my boy. Now we have that time, and my husband now works ‘normal hours’, it is so lovely to know that at the end of every working week, we have two days dedicated to just doing us. I suspect that some stay at home mums would consider two days not enough. And I would totally agree with them; it isn’t enough. But, I have no choice but to work. I hate that I see my children for all of a couple of hours before school and nursery and a couple of hours afterwards Monday to Friday but right now, that is just the way it has to be. However, because I miss them with every bone of my body whilst at work, I make every single minute on a weekend count with them. I value every memory we make. I feel lucky too. I am lucky that we have jobs that assist us to look after our family; I am lucky that I am now able to work on weekdays only, giving us that precious family time we need on weekends. Finally, I am lucky that I have children that value family time as much as I do. I really hope that never changes.

 

For advice on how you can spend more time as a family, check out this fantastic article! wooden-furniture-store.co.uk/family-first

Dear Perfect Parent,

Dear Perfect Parent,

I see you. But you already knew that; you wanted me to see you.

I see your posts on Facebook, Instagram and the like. Whether it be the perfectly poised photographs you post or the self indulgent status updates you put out there, they always leave me drawing comparisons. I try not to. I tell myself I’m a good mum, secure in the knowledge that my children are clothed, fed, clean, loved and happy, but sometimes your life appears to be so dramatically different to mine that I can’t help but compare.

Sometimes the comparison is even laughable. I read your ‘Yay! I’m back in to my size 8 jeans three weeks after giving birth!’ post whilst sitting in my maternity leggings almost a year after my baby was born. I saw the selfie you took in a nightclub mirror looking all glamorous with a full face of flawless make up, holding a pretty looking cocktail whilst I nursed a cup of tea in my frumpy pyjamas watching a boxset at home with the day’s mascara smudged across my eyes.

I see your ‘she’s only 7 weeks old and she’s sleeping through!’ posts too by the way. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for supporting ‘mummy wins’ as, let’s face it, we all know that parenting is a tough gig but when I’ve had all of about twenty minutes kip in three weeks, I don’t feel much like celebrating with you. On that subject, where do you find the energy to go out on a night time? I’m in my PJs by 4pm. I don’t blame you, though. You should have a social life. I’m glad you do. It’s just my eldest is almost 15 and I haven’t actually regained my social life yet. So it just makes me wonder where I’m going wrong.

Then there’s the mummy video’s. You know the one’s – the video clips of your child playing the violin on one foot whilst reciting the alphabet backwards. In French. You certainly make smart babies. If they carry on like this, one day they might run the country. I can’t even begin to imagine how many posts would be dedicated to announcing that on your social media if that happened.

And then there’s the photographs. Gah. The photographs. The ones where your kitchen looks absolutely immaculate bar some carefully placed icing sugar sprinkles across a home made cherry pie sitting proudly on a hand carved wooden chopping board or some jars of home made jams with hand written labels and gingham checked cloth lids. Your kitchen looks like something from the Bake Off tent whilst mine more resembles ‘the morning after the night before at Glastonbury’ type look. And the fact that you have your shit together enough to make homemade jam impresses me on a whole new level. My kids are lucky if they get offered a spoonful of Hartley’s for their toast. Not a single gingham cloth lid in sight.

The truth is that I admire you. I admire that you are doing such a sterling job of raising your family whilst keeping an immaculate home and I admire that you have a baby who sleeps through, an exciting social life, the energy to make home made jam and the time to document and video every one of your child’s talents. And so you should. That’s totally your prerogative.

But on the days where I am feeling really pushed. Pushed for time, energy, lust for life or whatever else, seeing someone making such an amazing go of being a Mum can only serve as a stark reminder of what I could be doing better.

So when I see the photograph of your family sitting around a pretty looking camp fire at the beach roasting meat on the barbeque to go with a side salad made up of organic vegetables you’ve grown yourselves at home, I compare it to what I’m seeing; my children, most likely sitting at my very chaotically laid dinner table, stretching their necks to see what’s going on on the television ,whilst they eat their very average pasta and cheese.

BUT (and it’s a big ‘but’) does that mean I love them any less than you love your children? Absolutely not. That’s one thing that is simply not up for debate. But it is part of my genetic make-up to be hard on myself, be self critical and continuously feel guilt at not being a good enough mum.

I do think that a lot of that guilt comes from being a working mum. By the time work is over and the nursery pick up has been done, it’s very usually a case of throwing whatever is quick and easy in to a pan for tea whilst running a bath for the baby whilst helping the big’un with his homework whilst trying to reply to five and a half work emails (and usually whilst pouring a sizeable G&T) all at the same time. It gets too much some times. In fact, it gets too much a lot of the time. And yet in the same vein it never feels enough. It doesn’t matter what I do, I always feel that my children deserve better than what I can give them.

So when I see your photographs or your posts on social media sometimes they serve as a reminder of the mum I would love to be one day. But one thing is certain: I may not have an immaculate house all the time, and I might not grow my own organic vegetables in the back garden and a year on I might not be back in to my pre-pregnancy clothes (there’s no ‘might’ about it actually, I’m definitely not.) but one thing is for absolute sure: my children know they are loved. They are loved to the ends of the earth and beyond and I’m sure if they were asked they’d say their mummy does her best by them. And that’s enough for me.

I have no doubt I’ll hear from you soon (via your chosen social media outlet),

Keep going Supermum! You’re doing an awesome job.

 

Mamma_B x