Nap, please nap!

1467179017021-895728849Naps have been an obsession of mine since my first baby was born, she is now just over 2 ½ and I still spend a disproportionate amount of time worrying  about them. Getting the children to nap, wondering how long they might nap, and if they haven’t napped, why not?

This week my daughter has dropped her day nap. Making a 12-hour day seemingly double in length, and it reminded me of a post I wrote about 5 months ago. It was of course just a stage, and now my daughter sleeps in a big girl bed and my son naps in his cot or pushchair, but at the time I wondered if we may ever get to this point…….

As I sit bouncing my baby son up and down in his car seat, willing him to sleep and not wake up his sister, I wonder if other mothers have days when the monotony becomes a little suffocating? I love my children, in fact I truly love them more than I thought was possible, but some days are hard work, especially at nap time.

My son will only sleep in a car seat during the day, which at nearly 8 months is getting a bit ridiculous, not to mention extremely heavy when rocking him to sleep in that. Whilst my daughter will only sleep in her travel cot in the day. Despite having a cot and a ‘big girl bed’. Which basically means that I have to work around the child that’s less portable and more fussy (my daughter) and therefore am in the position of rocking my son to sleep in his preferred chair at least once a day (and that’s a good day). I’m sure I should be trying to work on getting him to nap in his cot, or encouraging my daughter off the rock hard travel cot mattress to a normal bed, but you know what, I haven’t got the energy right now. If that’s how that’s sleep then fine by me, as long as they sleep! In fact, more recently as my son has got more difficult to settle I have been finding nap times a combination of completely euphoria mixed with exhaustion! I honestly don’t know whether to have a party in this situation or curl up in bed.

I repeat to myself on a daily basis ‘this is just a phase, it won’t last forever, and one day I’ll miss them being so small’. Just when I am daydreaming about escaping to an exotic Island alone, my son will beam at me, or my daughter will hug me. In that moment I am reminded that, to steal a line from L’OREAL, they are worth it!  Especially if they have napped!!

 

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That guilty feeling

20160619_175938Before having children, I never realised that guilt and motherhood fit together like Gin and Tonic, one just isn’t right without the other. Pre children guilt was not part of my daily thoughts. In fact, unless I had clearly done something wrong I never felt guilty at all. Now guilt is such a common feeling I can’t remember not feeling it.

It began the moment I got pregnant. Had I had too much caffeine? Was I too late in taking folic acid and causing harm to my unborn child? Then in labour, would pain relief have a lasting impact on my child? This continued in the early weeks, the guilt I felt when my children cried because I hadn’t realised quickly enough that they were hungry, or overtired. In toddlerhood I’d feel guilty for losing the plot when my child had selective hearing and didn’t do as they were told.

I imagine this feeling to continue well beyond their childhood. My sister recently confided that she felt guilty that her oldest son has laryngitis as she worries it is linked to their argument the week before. She also said that after a recent visit to her dentist with her 8-year-old son the reason that one of his teeth is slightly discolored could have been defect from the womb! How did she feel about this? Guilty, of course.

So I say stop! We cannot and should not feel guilty for everything. We are doing our best and do you know what; it really is good enough. Indeed, the very fact that you ever feel guilty suggests that you are reflective enough to care and see the world through your child’s eyes. No one is super woman. We are people and people are infallible. Making mistakes makes us who we are and teaches our children that it’s ok to make mistakes and not always get things right. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, we can always look back and berate ourselves for what we did or didn’t do. But at the time we can only act on the information we have to hand and in a way that feels right at the time.

Perhaps we need to take note from our male counterparts, I have never heard my husband or any other father I know for that matter, ever even mention guilt in relation to parenthood. When I told my husband about this blog he seemed surprised that was an issue. So let’s find a new coupling with motherhood, hopefully one day motherhood and confidence will be the link we make rather than guilt.

Daddy day care – Arghh!!

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I hate that term! It is not daddy day care, nor is it babysitting; it’s called parenting! Dads, like mums, have a responsibility and duty to care for their child. With this in mind I want to share some recent experiences when my husband has had the children, a 2-year-old toddler, and 11-month old baby. He is a wonderful dad and so having time alone with the children is not unusual in itself. What is noteworthy is the reaction he got from strangers for doing what I, and thousands of women do on a daily basis. Why? Because he is a man. Now, don’t get me wrong, of course there are many stay at home dads, but I am sure they also get a different reaction to mums.

Here are just 2 examples of how my husband has been treated when taking the children out verses my experience in nearly exactly the same situation:

Situation: My daughter’s hairband has fallen out and needs it put back in. I would like to point out here that this happens almost hourly, usually because she manages to look like she has had a fight with her hair 10 minutes after it has been brushed and to stop her looking like a character from Annie we need to tame it.

Me – Put her hair up in the middle of a busy high street. People sigh that I have stopped in an inconvenient place. Most people don’t see me or the children and continue about their daily business.

Husband – Puts her hair up in the middle of a busy high street. A well-meaning passer-by come over to say how lovely it is to see daddy doing her hair and complements my daughter.

Situation: Toddler falls over after insisting on walking despite having taken out the double pushchair and holding shopping. Toddler is absolutely fine and just a couple of tears.

Me – Flap with shopping, scoop up toddler whilst holding on to the pushchair with the baby in and avoid getting in people’s way, kiss the affected area better and persuade toddler back into the double pushchair.

Husband – stranger comes over immediately and offers to help, asks what would make it easier for him and praises him for taking both the children out by himself.

So perhaps next time we see a mum or dad struggling, or just dealing with the everyday, then give them a nod, a smile, a pat on the back. We don’t need strangers to validate how well we are doing, but it would be nice to think that BOTH parents, whether it be mums or dads, are told they are doing a bloody good job! I say well done mums and dads! Well done for doing what you do every day and keep it up.

Generation Gap – The new world

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I was reminiscing and reflecting about my childhood with a friend and it dawned on me, there are so many things my children won’t know. The world has already changed so much that some of the things about my childhood will seem completely alien to them. Like when my parents used to play Vinyl records.

How did this happen? When did I become so old that some things I remember are almost extinct? Will my children see our generation as dinosaurs, so out of touch with things they have grown up on? I would like to point out here, I am only in my 30’s, not exactly ready to collect a pension, yet, the gap in our generations seems huge.

Here are just a few of the things my children may never know…

  • Tapes. Especially mix tapes. How will they declare their love when they are teenagers without presenting their Romeo (or Juliet) with a mix tape with all the songs that remind them of their chosen one?
  • Winding car windows down with the handle. You know the one, that took real muscle power to open even a crack. They will just touch a button. In fact, so much of the world for them will be at the touch of a button. I had to physically pull out the choke on my first car. They won’t even know what a choke is! They will think it’s a wrestling move (is wrestling still big? probably also an out of date reference)
  • Bars of soap, everything comes in squeezy bottles. Even hand soap has a pump! They may not know a simple bar of soap.
  • Video players. Everything is on demand; TVs record, there are ‘on demand’ set boxes and dedicated catch up internet sites.
  • Landlines that connected to the wall and phones with a cord. There was no hiding away to talk to friends after school, you could only go as far as the phone cord would allow. And on the subject of phones, remember when you could only call friends after a certain time in the evening when call tariffs changed. And no Smartphones, in fact if someone had told us 20 years ago that one day our phones would be able to tell the time, connect to the rest of the world and record videos we would have imaged something from Back to the Future!
  • No Google. I know this is going to make me sound like I am really old; I honestly remember looking through books to find the answers to my homework. We didn’t google. I’m not even sure there was google when I was at school, certainly not at primary school. When we did get the internet it was dial up and used the phone line so you couldn’t make a call at the same time.
  • Just having 4 channels on TV and thinking this was enough choice. If you missed a programme and had forgot to set the video recorder, that was it, you missed the programme and better hope the Radio Times had written a good enough description about what happened in the show.

I am sure generations before have felt similarly to me but I can’t help but feel that this is one of the most dramatic leaps between just one generation. The invention of the internet has given way to an instant gratification society. We don’t have to wait for anything. We don’t wait for answers, for contact with others, for information, for shopping, for anything we want.

We can find anything whenever we think of it. I, like many I know, am addicted to this new technology. Yet, I find myself in an odd position. One side of me feels like I need everything right on tap, especially my Smart phone, while the other is appalled by the lack of face-to-face connection. I am plagued by guilt for how much time I spend on this type of technology and therefore, not looking at my children in favour of checking Facebook updates. I try and give them the childhood I want them to have, yet they will inevitably have this childhood I may not be able to relate to. I just hope I can keep up and learn with them.