Juggling

It’s not a new concept. I am sure every parent across the country feels like a top circus act, the amount of juggling involved with raising a modern family.

The question is how do we know we are getting it right? When we choose one thing over another are we making the right choice? Is the grass ever really greener?

Recently I was talking to a few friends about juggling the work life balance. I work from home, mostly around the children. Spending a few hours a day on my laptop, when I have a chance and the children are happily occupied. So, in reality, I load my computer 50 times a day and spend approximately 20 minutes doing any real work. My friends all do a variety of working patterns. Some work evenings, some weekends, some daytime and the children are in childcare, some are stay at home parents. All of us, without exception, worry about our choices….

To read more go to the new blog page

http://www.rootsandwingsparenting.com/2017/05/22/juggling/

 

Letter to new mums

new-mummyDear new mummy,

First let me start by saying congratulations! You have a baby! How does it feel being someone’s mummy? What a massive change. You are now on life’s longest and most important apprentice and so far, you are doing a wonderful job. You have brought a life into the world!! You are bloody superwomen and don’t forget that. If you have had a baby, there is nothing you can’t do!!

Unfortunately, I don’t have any words of wisdom, tips or advice, but you may be sick of all that already right?

This is just to say that some days you will cry and you know what, that’s ok!! This is the WORLDS HARDEST job and at times when your baby is crying, or unsettled, or you are exhausted, or your boobs hurt. Or you resent the freedom your partner has being able to leave the house without having someone permanently attached to them, or just because your hormones are all over the place, you will cry. Don’t you beat yourself up about that!

You cry, eat cake and know you may feel like you are getting it wrong, but your tears show you are getting it absolutely right! You care so much that you want to be doing the best job you can, and do you know what, you are.

There will be highs and lows, probably within each hour.

Things change all the time and when they do it is nothing you have done ‘wrong’, babies know their own minds early on. If they decide they don’t like sleep that day, there is probably little you can do to change it. If they want to spend the day eating, they will eat. It has nothing to do with your ability as a parent.

It is easy to compare ourselves, or our babies to others. The truth is no one has all the answers. In fact, no one really has any answers. We all learn on the job, and it’s trial and error.

For anyone struggling, or sleep deprived, or generally feeling guilt or worried about your ability as a parent, I set you this challenge…

Name one thing that you are proud of today? Anything; it could be getting dressed, making it to that group, popping to the shop for milk, making a new mum friend, conquering the world (aka getting your baby to nap). Then hold on to that, and keep reminding yourself that you are doing a wonderful job!

*If you enjoyed reading this please do share it with your friends, and check out my Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/rootsandwingsparenting/ I would love to hear your what you are proud of today so please comment or tell me via Facebook.

How dirty is too dirty?

too-dirty

This is not what you think… I’m talking about clothes.

Since becoming a mum my standards, when it comes to dirty clothes, have certainly gone down. And not just a bit. Long gone are the days I would whip off an outfit at the mere hint of a mark (by whip off, I mean at home or in private). I would have been mortified at the thought of going out in public in anything less than pristine. These were the same days I would change my bra daily.

Now I live in dirty clothes. Don’t get me wrong, I wash them. It feels like all I do is wash clothes, yet still I can’t seem to spend an entire day in clean clothes. Scrap that, I can’t spend 10 minutes in clean clothes with my children! It started in pregnancy and has escalated ever since. By the third trimester I was so big that I would regularly get stains under my bump, which I of course didn’t see or notice until I changed for bed. I couldn’t believe I had spent the day with food below my bump, or on my trousers and I hadn’t noticed. Now I can’t believe it if I don’t have some kind of stain on me.

Regular marks I am now sporting, or as I prefer to think of it, rocking…

          Snot (not mine) on my shoulders, legs, arms  – how does this stuff get everywhere? I am a human tissue!

          Mud at the tops of my legs from carrying my children with wellies on. I don’t seem to learn and never notice the mud right away.

          Dribble on my lower calves, shoulders and arms (not mine) Bloody teething!

          Food stains. Everywhere. The other day my friend pointed out some dried Weetabix on my back! How?? Probably because my children seem to mistake me on all fours cleaning the floor, for a horse ride and climb on top of me every time I am cleaning.

          Sick. Thank goodness this is now extremely rare but for the first year of my son’s life I had at least some sick on me, often so much that I would carry a spare pair of clothes.

Now, here is the challenge…am I alone? Do you know go out ‘rocking’ some bodily fluid or dirt that a small person created? And how dirty is too dirty? Did you used to go home and change at the first sign of dirt, do you now relax that? Share photos or stories on my Facebook. I’d love to know I’m not the only mummy in dirty clothes.

 

Perfectly imperfect

20170110_062114

Is imperfect something to fear? Should we show our children that we always try to look the best? Be the best? Perform the best? Is it ok to just be who we are? Are we allowed to be flawed?

Recently my daughter and I were getting ready for the day and she spotted 2 stretchmarks on my tummy, she asked what they were and I explained they were from growing her and her brother. She then said “Oh mummy. Shall we take it off and get you a new one?” to which I replied  “I don’t need a new one baby. This one is just fine.”

It struck me as funny and a little worrying that something that is not ‘perfect’ ought to be replaced with a new one. I guess this comes from her clothes, when they are mucky or stained we then put them in the wash and put clean clothes on. We live in a throw away consumerist society, but somethings can’t just be replaced because they are not perfect. It made me really think about the things they soak up at such a young age and the importance of showing them that we are not perfect and don’t have to be.

As the great Alice Walker said –

“Yes, mother. I can see you are flawed. You have not hidden it. That is your greatest gift to me.”

We, as their role models shouldn’t be afraid to show them what it truly is to be human. I worry about showing my children that I am upset, or cross. I berate myself if I go out looking like Waynetta (from the Harry Enfield and Chums TV series). Sometimes I cry at adverts or laugh too loudly at things others might not find funny. Sometimes I say the wrong thing (probably more than sometimes), yet, is this not exactly what we should be doing in front of them? Modelling that there is no one way to be and we accept each other for who we are and that it is ok to not be the best.

This is different to trying our best, I of course want them to try and be the best they can be, but this is not the same as being the best! There are so many things in between and all of those things are fabulous too. It is ok not to be the ‘ideal’ because there really is no such thing. We will all be happier when we accept this and ourselves for what we really are, and what we are each capable of. To celebrate our differences and imperfections as ultimately they make us unique and probably are the very things we love in one another.

To be flawed is to be human and anything else is a fallacy. That is what I want my children to know. That their father and I are not perfect but that’s perfectly ok. We are perfectly imperfect. And they are too.

  • I first wrote this piece for my monthly magazine column for etc – Horsham and Mid Sussex. October’s issue
  • If you liked this or any other post please do pop over to my Facebook page and say hi 🙂 @rootsandwingsparenting

Back to work…sort of…

back-to-work

The internet is full of posts about going back to work, but if you are on maternity leave or a stay at home parent then we can’t really say that. We can’t complain that we are ‘back to the grindstone’ or that we’re not sure how we get up in time in the morning. In all likelihood, Christmas is much like any other time. There is still bedtimes, cooking, cleaning, washing, nappy changing, playing, laughing, crying, more cleaning, nap times. Babies and toddlers don’t get that Christmas is having a break. Watching movies and eating chocolate, they are just being themselves, they have energy to burn and want to play. Yet this week does also feel like going back to work.

We can’t write the ‘I don’t want to go back to work’ statuses yet we are back to being primary care giver for a little one(s). Whilst this is a lovely thing, it is also a strange one. I love our routine and days with the children,  but this week I feel at a bit of a loss. I’ve forgotten what I do with the children when I’m on my own.  I haven’t made many plans as I thought we should ease back in!? To what I’m not sure. I’ve been home every day with the children through the holidays, yet when my husbands at home its different, we share responsibility and planning the day. We go out together and that’s enough. This week I have forgotten what I usually do, which groups do I go to? What day is it today? I can’t remember what a ‘stay at home mum’ does?

So, whilst it wasn’t hard getting up this morning, and I don’t have to worry about the commute or reading a backlog of work emails. I do have to remind myself what it is to be on my own with the children, to get back to planning the week. Entertaining the little one whilst the big one is at preschool, making play dates, attending playgroups, juggling the jobs that need doing and making sure I have some adult conversations too.

To all those who are home with a baby or children, welcome back to work 😉 Even if the work is a little different to average 9-5.

*If you enjoyed reading this please feel free to comment, share or check out my Facebook page

 

 

When Rhyme Time replaced a night out?!

20161210_082450

Today I found myself dancing with a little too much enthusiasm at playgroup. It was singing time at the end, and I noticed I was not alone in my overzealous moves, I had to stop myself fist pumping and throwing in the running man. Several of us were singing along, swaying, bouncing and even a bit of foot shuffling to ‘wheels on the bus’. I caught myself saying ‘oh we like this one’ and I didn’t really mean the children, I meant me!!! What has happened to me?

It dawned on me that this is it now, this is the closest I get to ‘clubbing’, this is where I get to boogie and strut my stuff; rhyme time!

I hope I’m not the only one who does this? I have certainly spotted other mums getting carried away with actions for wind the bobbin up. Who needs ‘big fish, little fish, cardboard box’ when you have ‘point to the window, point to the door’. If I do ever set foot in a night club again and a) don’t feel like I could have given birth to half the people there, and b) can stay up long enough to go out that late; I may introduce some of these new moves into my ever-expanding dance repertoire. Who knows, it might take off!?

*  If you enjoyed reading this please do pop over and follow my Facebook page. I love hearing your thoughts and experiences so feel free to comment. And if the mood takes you, share or just like the post. Thanks for reading 🙂

3 Little Buttons

Honesty is the best policy

20161121_085828

Imagine for a moment seeing a good friend in the street and literally screaming and jumping up and down with excitement. Or disliking the meal that your host has just served you; so much so, that you just spit it out. Not even into a napkin, just onto your clothes.  Sound odd? Well, not if you are a young child, this is standard behaviour and completely natural. They are honest and express however it is they feel at any given time; something, as adults we have certainly forgotten how to do, or more likely have learnt not to.

When my husband comes home from work my son screams at the top of his voice in excitement to see him, every single day! My daughter is at an age where she can express herself and say exactly what she thinks; she is beautifully honest. I can only imagine that speaking as freely as she does must be so liberating. She has no concept of social etiquette or hurting someone’s feelings and she, like others her age, just say it like it is. To them it is not rude or inappropriate. It is just purely what they think.

Of course this can lead to some embarrassment on my part, like when she says “can we go home now mummy, I don’t like it here” when we have just arrived at a friend’s, who has put a lot of effort in to hosting us. Or when she declares that she doesn’t like this piece of food, or item of clothing that she has just received as a gift.

It makes me wonder when did we stop being so honest? Of course we need some self-censorship and to be emotionally intelligent enough to know that what we say may impact on someone else’s feelings. However, do we self-sensor too much? Is it to our detriment that we don’t let ourselves say or express what we really think for fear of acting outside of the social norm?

I would love to feel so happy I literally jumped up and down in the street. To shout if I was cross; or spontaneously burst in to tears when my favourite food runs out (Ok, I may have actually done that). Wouldn’t it be great to be so free that we can behave and say whatever we want, whenever we feel it? Would we suffer with less stress and tension? Isn’t it heathy to express how you feel when you feel it, so that we can let go of negativity.

As adults we often try and teach our children how to behave, how to fit in and become the adults we want them to be. Yet, children don’t hold on to emotions, they are honest and express themselves really well. They let themselves feel and say what it is they need to and as a result the emotion is over in minutes. They don’t hold on to the feeling; it is felt and gone as quickly as it came. How freeing that must be? So, perhaps there is a more middle ground? Adults could let their ‘hair down’ a little more, and relax their self-censorship slightly. Whilst we teach our children that its ok to feel and think honestly but sometimes they need to do that in a sensitive way. Perhaps we should all join our little ones and jump up and down in excitement when we see someone we love, but maybe we ought to draw the line at spitting out the food we don’t like.

  • I first wrote this piece for my monthly magazine column for etc – Horsham and Mid Sussex. November’s issue.
  • If you liked this or any other post please do pop over to my Facebook page and say hi 🙂  https://www.facebook.com/rootsandwingsparenting/