A mum and a wife and sometimes just me

Sunday 26 January 2020

I made a rod for my own back

I work at a children's hospital which has a lot of rules about co sleeping. It's brought back a lot of memories about my early days with the Diva. I end up talking with colleagues about my own journey with co-sleeping. Something which admittedly still happens. Ha some nights I would go up to bed after I thought I had settled her into her own bed to find her settled in ours. I was constantly told when she was a baby I was making a rod for my own back...I guess this proves them right? Apparently I was spoiling her because it's a thing spoiling your baby with too much love?

With the wee man I put a lot of pressure on myself to follow all the 'rules'. There was no way he was sleeping in my bed. With the Diva I think I broke them all! I kept getting asked if I was an attachment parent then and was given all sorts of labels. For me it was just survival though as I was just THAT tired. It wasn't even just co sleeping. She hated the pram so she was pretty much always attached to me in the sling. Getting a break was hard as she didn't want anyone else except her mummy. Leaving her with the grandparents for Mummy and Daddy date nights was just not the done thing.

The irony though is that she has grown to be fiercely independent! She does most things on her own terms and if she is not ready to do something yet she will let you know. When she is ready though she doesn't do half measures! She is loud and confident in herself. When the day comes to an end though that's when she let's us know something is maybe not quite so right in her world. Most nights she sleeps in her own bed but there is still the occasional night it's just not happening or it just takes ages to settle her to bed. It's her though and if I go back I doubt I would change much.

Tuesday 21 January 2020

Winning or taking part?

Getting back in the pool always brings back reminders of when I used to swim when I was younger. I loved swimming but I was definitely not made for competitive swimming. I especially remember in high school when I always came 4th in the inter house competitions on sports day. Worse when I did the inter school competitions! There you were made to swim everything if you were willing because every participant would gain their school a point. I vividly remember me embarrassingly swimming the backstroke just relieved when the race was over! Now though I am so glad that I am a relatively strong swimmer because in adulthood it's all about the exercise and the stress relief. Enjoying holidays by the sea and being able to support my kids in the water. 

The wee man now loves sports. Give him the opportunity and he will want to give it a go. At the minute his passions are tennis and rugby. He actually wants to be a professional tennis player when he is older and his inspiration is to be the next Nadal. I am not sure if he is good enough for that but that has never really been the incentive for us for him to learn any sport. It's always been for him to experience a wide range of opportunities, exercise, making friends. He's started to compete now and my introduction to competitive tennis has been an eye opener. I never realised the amount of pressure that could be put on a bunch of 8 and 9 year olds still only playing with an orange ball! Rugby is a team sport so it's not as intense as becoming competitive in tennis. The limelight is not solely on you
and they actually don't start keeping score yet. In tennis it’s just you out there with your opponent and not even a coach on the sideline. The responsibility is on them to keep score and call the ball out. Sometimes I secretly wish there was an umpire. I have seen some kids chucking rackets about, shouting and crying. I like to think Francesco knows the behaviour I expect of him. I would hate for him though to get so stressed about the losses that he decides to give up. I have been told that there is nothing wrong with him being competitive and I guess there are a lot life lessons to learn through it.

My only hope is that he will always enjoy playing tennis and continue to learn to play tennis well. Hopefully when he is older and can join his local tennis club wherever in the world he is he will be appreciative of having learnt to play well.

Sunday 12 January 2020

What time is it?

Well hello blog. Goodness it's been a while. So it's new year, new decade...same me. I found a challenge for 2020 that I can actually achieve and for a good cause too and it brought me here to memories of venting on this blog. I don't do New Year resolutions, I don't do fad diets or any kind of diet really. I have not given up alcohol or meat for the New Year. I have always loved swimming so when a friend sponsored someone to do a swim challenge I looked it up. Nothing like a bit of motivation to get me in the gym and use my membership so I don't feel guilty about wasting hundreds of pounds every month. 

I am doing Swim22 and will be swimming the equivalent of 22 miles in my local pool. It's the width of the English Channel. I will also be raising money for Diabetes UK. I am pretty excited about it now actually. Swimming is so much more than exercise and getting fit. It's amazing stress relief and actually a great space to clear my mind. So watch this space and if you fancy maybe even sponsor us.

Thursday 16 March 2017

For the love of mud and swings

Well the Diva has definately reached that stage where she can't pass a muddy puddle without jumping in. The muddier the better. We literally live in our wellies now just in case! She has also discovered the joys of sticks and stones and playing with water. It's great that our local parks have rivers running through them so we can go for walks getting closer and down right dirty with nature! I love how she doesn't mind getting her hands dirty. Even I tend to come home after one of our outings covered in mud. It's also a good distraction from our other passion 'the swings'.

She has an interesting obsession in trying every swing and then turning to face different ways, there is obviously a subtle difference in each swing that I just don't get. The higher she gets to go the better. I'm afraid she is the child that hogs the swings and refuses to give anyone a turn. I just manage to convince her that the slide is just as good but after one shot she is racing over again! 

Tuesday 28 February 2017

Reality of being a school mum

It's like with everything with parenthood you don't understand what other parents are going through at different stages of your child growing up until you experience it yourself. I am in full swing now of the primary school stage where I curse the school run but dread the what are we going to do during school holidays.

Year 1 means we are being broken in gently into the realities of homework. I know there can be quite heated debate about how much they get, they need time to play and so on. The reality for me is that my wee man doesn't know how to break the rules so if he knows there is an expectation for him to do something it means he has to do it. Of course that doesn't mean he necessarily willingly does it. I still need to remind him and make sure time is made to get it done. When it's due date and he doesn't have anything to hand in he looks at me because apparently it's my fault! I should be grateful that I get quite a few weeks notice for things like the termly school project but it's never really enough time. Obviously it's simply about my child learning and not worrying about what the other parents are doing! People the competition can be stiff and they don't even get a reward for it! There is nothing like the pressure of walking into school on the morning of when the project is due when you get to compare with what others have done.

It's the extra curricular activities that get me, the ones that raise money which you technically don't have to do. Heavens forbid if my son were to turn up at school and discover that he didn't do anything to contribute to said activity! Oh the pressure! I never new I could be so creative. What did parents do before Pinterest? You can win prizes for these ones but obviously we are still waiting.

Thankfully though I am lucky that I seem to have a son who is actually enjoying school. He is making some really good friendships and playdates can actually now make life easier. He really has a joy for reading and is pretty good with his numbers. Parents teachers evening always go down well and make me truly proud. This is the reality of being a school mum which matters the most.

Monday 11 July 2016

Carrying the guilt

I'll admit that I really don't want to miss any part of my children growing up. I am not even talking about the milestones of rolling over, first smiles and walking and talking. Ironically the pressure then is less as they have no expectations of you to be a part of it. The wee man though has entered a new era of firsts that I have found I don't really want to miss. School has a lot to answer for as they like to mark every occasion and then add how they would love to see you there. He also expects mummy and daddy to be there. There was the school Christmas Play and it was his first school sports day, then his class did the school assembly. My heart breaks at the thought of missing any of them and the door opens to some serious mummy guilt. 

He came home with his part to the school assembly and dutifully practiced every day. He was counting the sleeps. I had to work and was quietly crumbling inside that I was not going to get to see the live performance. I was pretty grateful when my shifts changed at work and I could get the time off. Admittedly I had a few tears in my eyes throughout the performance. I was proud to bursting at how confident he was to say his lines. Gone the days when he would break down into tears and just want to be by my side. 

I know that I probably won't be able to be a part of all the new experiences and the learning. You hope that they understand and sometimes I will probably be more upset about it than them. It's been impossible to ignore so learning to carry the guilt has always been  and seems to always will be part of the job. 

Tuesday 28 June 2016

Glossy memories

I would often read stories of mum's reminiscing about the baby days and how it all went too fast. The sleep deprivation was part and parcel of the "job" and could be treasured as more time spent together. Don't rush your little one to grow up as it's time you will never get back. 

Nope they have truly glossed over the memories. Maybe it's the unconditional love that makes us forget the reality of it all. The first year with my Diva was hard. Sleep deprivation was real and had a real impact on my daily functioning levels. It didn't seem like a phase with an end in sight. 

I didn't enjoy my late night dates with Google. I was scared of the stories that told me I just had to accept my lot, even worse the stories of those still experiencing the same scenarios at age 2 and 3 years. We co slept pretty much all of the Diva's first year. It wasn't rosy snuggles but a baby latched onto my breast for comfort as the only means of surviving the night. It's tiring and draining not beautiful. I tried every trick in the book to make it easier. You try to be strict with yourself to follow things through but at 3 in the morning with no sleep you just do what works to get you some sleep. What sounds like sound advice during the day is distorted nonsense at 3 in the morning.

I lost interest in the debates of what was best for my baby girl. Making a rod for my own back and all that, I was also not particularly following any philosophy of attachment parenting or reading the baby whisperer. I was managing from day to day. The day times had the baby stresses as well. She screamed at any idea of her milk coming from a bottle. So I could never go that far as she was pretty indiscriminate about when she wanted a feed. I then probably became a part of the problem as I became nervous about leaving her anywhere with anyone else worried about how they would manage.

I found a job and things had to change and I think she must have realised it too as suddenly things started to change. My job involved nights so it started there as my husband had to be able to settle her at nights and she actually responded very well to the changes. One change led to another. She settled into nursery a lot easier than I feared. They could settle her down for a nap without a boob then so could I. She may or may not sleep through the night but we will usually only have one wake up call. She LOVES whole milk and will drink bottles of the stuff meaning family can now settle her to bed and not just me. After 13 months I actually had an evening out on my own with friends.

Writing this now I can smile. Time suddenly seems to be moving fast. She's still my Diva and pretty high maintenance. Suddenly the first year though wasn't so bad and I am beginning to gloss over the memories, a little bit at a time anyway.

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