A mum and a wife and sometimes just me

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.

Monday 27 June 2016

What are you watching now?

It can be a bit boring the blurb about how fast children grow and wanting them to slow down. It’s just that it seems to happen without you noticing it and you can’t help but wonder where the time has gone. I guess as we are living it we just don’t notice it until one day you realise you are no longer watching CBeebies but programs on CBBC. He is outside in the garden climbing to the top of the apple tree before you have even had a chance to start risk assessing the situation. He is telling you all of the things he is learning at school and you suddenly realise it’s the end of the school year. You take him to bed at night and suddenly he is reading you his bed time story. Singing “twinkle twinkle little star” with a cuddle suddenly seems too “babyish” now. I can watch him from a distance now playing with his friends; he suddenly looks so tall and hardly needs me now. We will be at the park and suddenly he has made a friend all on his own. A play date now means you can actually sit down and have a cup of tea while the children entertain themselves.

I sometimes refer to him as my baby and he says "Mummy I'm not a baby" but I tell him "you will always be my baby!"

Friday 11 March 2016

Saying goodbye to baby centre

At the start of my first pregnancy I joined up with Baby Centre, read books and probably underlined and made notes. I was getting prepared after all. It's funny to look back on now.....I honestly had no idea what I was getting into. I still parented pretty much like a headless chicken the first couple of months but lucky me and the wee man finally relaxed about it all and the wee man and I fell into a happy routine. Baby centre has followed us all the way through and so it felt like a milestone when on his 5th birthday I got my last email! It was one of those emails that I used to religiously read, then on the odd occasion then it would mostly get deleted. The email itself started to get less complicated and detailed too. He is no longer my baby, no more a toddler and has said goodbye to preschool status. When I had the diva I quickly forgot what it was like to just parent one and it wasn't until recently that I realised what parenting just a five year old was like. The Diva was settling into nursery and the wee man and I could spend the half term together. It was well easy, not perfect, but the wee man has definately grown up. So many things you no longer have to worry about.... Naps, snacks, having lunch at specific times. He is no longer as quickly distracted and we sat together having the nicest chat and lunch at the café.

Parenting the wee man has changed. The why questions have become a lot more difficult now. He is so busy absorbing and learning new things that he impresses me everyday. The kiss shop has supposedly closed but we get lots of big hugs. So I am happily saying goodbye to baby centre but he will always be my baby anyway.

Sunday 7 February 2016

Feeding the Diva

This is the type of post that sits in your head but you are not quite sure how to write it, much less give it the right title. The thing is my breastfeeding journey with the diva has been a very large part of my journey as a second time mum. It started the same way like with the wee man, positive. She presented as a good feeder, we had a good latch, all the right things were being said. Yet a week in and I was being told again - the baby has lost too much weight - the baby is still not putting on enough weight. Tired enough from the lack of sleep during the night, craving for whatever rest I could get during the day I had again to express and top up feeds. Thankfully at least this time half an hour of expressing actually produced something. I cried as I could not believe it was happening again. I can't explain that feeling of defeat when you think you might have to give up breastfeeding. As ready as I was to accept that I may have to offer the Diva formula it felt "bad". That's why personally I can't watch videos which shows how natural and "beautiful" breastfeeding is supposed to be. Great if you appreciate and love all the artsy photos of mummies breastfeeding as it is no longer my cup of tea. For me and many other women I met it was hard work. So many stories of sore and bleeding breasts, difficulties with the latch, babies not putting on weight. Sometimes there did not seem to be a specific reason and there certainly weren't any straightforward answers! I joined a group run by my local children's centre and went every Monday. It's probably what got me through those first weeks and here I am a year later still breastfeeding. I am actually here with a Diva who refuses everything except the breast and finds it the best form of comfort but her "attachment" to me is a whole new post! I gave myself time limits... I can do this till 3 months.... Ok I can do this till 6 months. Yet it was constantly meeting other women who too really struggled with breastfeeding that got me through it. Sometimes it just felt like she would never finish a feed and no I don't miss constantly waking throughout the night as sleep deprivation was crazy real for me.

We did both get more confident at it and now that it's not a life sustainer a mum can relax a little. Latching and positioning are finally a worry of the past. Actually the question I get greeted with now is when am I going to stop. Being proud of how far we have come and squeezing those thighs and thinking "gosh this is from my hard work" has maybe made me a bit sensitive of the subject. It's a shame there needs to be any sort of hashtag about normalising breastfeeding because how else is my diva supposed to eat. That part of breastfeeding being natural makes sense as that's what breasts were made for. It's really noones business how you choose to feed your child so I don't take part in the whole breast versus bottle debate. I made my choice though and battled to see it through so when I hear of anyone having an issue of women breastfeeding in public it does pain me. I mean I lost ownership of my breasts long ago, they don't "pop" out when she wants to feed and if you see anything sexual about me feeding my child then you have a problem. I thankfully have never had a problem.

When it comes to parenting your child everything is up for debate and judgment, breastfeeding just one of them. Breast is best or breastfeeding makes your child smarter. There will always be different ideas of what is public and private and people sway in their argument depending on the topic. People will have different comfort zones of how they breastfeed in public. I'm heading back to work and probably leaving my breastfeeding journey behind and thankfully leaving this debate behind. I know though that the diva will give me plenty more to think about and plenty more debates to join in as she has a huge personality and I am sure she will continue to try and get the better of me!

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