New Mama Tag

I got this idea from watching the new mum/mom tag videos on YouTube, which was created by the beautiful and inspirational Emily Norris, so without any further ado, let’s answer some questions.

1) Favourite Mum Hack?

This might not be too amazing but, I’d say teaching your child to perform basic clean up tasks as a game, has been my fave hack. Reuben loves wiping his high chair down and helping with the laundry for this reason.

2) Most Embarrassing Mum Moment?

I thought I could bottle feed in the nursing room in a shopping centre. I was wrong.

3) Favourite part of the day?

Going to get Reuben out of his cot after any nap/sleep. It’s lovely. Bathtime is a close second, that’s always a giggle.

4) Worst part of the day?

Cleaning up after mealtimes irritates me every single time.

5) Worst thing someone said to you when pregnant?

“you got pregnant so you didn’t have to work” and “just another useless mum on the dole” and also “you’re absolutely massive”. Yay.

6) A baby name you disagreed on?

Reuben. But, I got my way.

7) Do you co-sleep?

It’s only occasional now, when trying to get extra sleep in the morning, or when Reu is poorly.

However, when Reu was a newborn, I didn’t want to cosleep, but often, it was very necessary. There was many ways to make sure it’s safely done. I panicked about SIDS constantly but I found many tricks for making cosleeping as safe as possible.

8) Baby products you never used?

I didn’t really have everything I needed when I had Reuben, but I never used his newborn clothing. My 8lb 6oz baby was too long.

9) Name 3 hospital bag must haves?

Comfortable clothes, painkillers, pads.

10) Are you a go with the flow or routine mum?

I’m a bit of both. I have routines but I’m flexible about when they begin and when naps occur. I would love to be more a routine mum but I’m too lazy. Or laid back, rather. I am really lucky that my child has always been a good sleeper.

11) What labour and pain relief did you have?

I was induced, I had gas and air and an epidural. It was traumatic. I wouldn’t opt for another induction at all if I could help it. Future me: if it’s not 100% necessary, don’t do it.

12) Have you ever been mum shamed?

Yes. By a midwife in the hospital on the post natal ward for giving in and giving Reu formula. By a few people I know for quitting breastfeeding three weeks in. And recently, an old women decided to say I was a shit mother who didn’t care about my baby because I was using my phone on the bus, instead ot interacting with Reuben.

13) What have been the biggest challenges?

Healing from trauma /going through therapy, whilst being a single mother. Especially when I am studying. It’s so hard.

14) What is the best advice you’ve had or that you’ve given?

“You’ve got to take care of yourself too” and “don’t compare yourself to other mothers”. Also, if you can ask for help, or are offered it, take it. You need to take some of that pressure off yourself, Mama!

15) Who’s your mum crush?

Britneyandbaby and Louise Pentland are my ultimate role models on Youtube, but in real life, I have many mummy friends I look up to.

That was quite fun. I will tag fellow parent vloggers in my insta post!

Thank you for reading,

With love, Rebecca x

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This Time Last Year

I remember the way I felt this time last year. The way the air felt, the white noise of something mechanical humming at night (I still can’t figure out what it is), the way the lights across the city seemed crisper… It all reminds me, like the most wonderfully enchanting memory. There is no doubt in my mind that I’m remembering with rose-tinted glasses. But I know for a fact, also, that I remember that the person I was before Reuben was born felt a kind of excitement, naivety and apprehension that I’m scared I will never feel again.

The selfie I took before heading to the hospital to be induced.

I remember feeling dreadfully uncomfortable, completely DONE with being pregnant and massive. And moreover, I was done being told how massive I was. As if I couldn’t tell!? I was sick of the sickness, the acid reflux, the endless peeing, the pain I was feeling around my ribs, the ridiculous amounts of discharge and the sweating. You know, I was still trying my best to cherish my pregnancy but I think I spent more time trying to film baby kicks than I did actually appreciating the moments (something I will remember if I’m lucky enough to have a second). I would rest my hands on my bump, take endless photos, but by 37 weeks I was done. So when I was offered an induction days before my due date, I leapt at the chance.

I’d seen a lot of inductions on One Born Every Minute and I’d read the leaflet but nothing could have prepared me for the days that followed. I felt like I’d been in hospital for a week before I was actually induced – in a different hospital – on my due date.

But my mind seems to have fixated on the little details of the hospital I was supposed to give birth in, when I was waiting to be taken to delivery suite to have my waters broken. In all honesty, it was quite lovely but I was so impatient and being in a hospital bay all day waiting around was driving me a bit nuts. I wasn’t very well prepared, I hadn’t brought much to entertain myself – which is probably why I remember the space around me in vivid detail. From the way the light hit the blue flooring during the day, to the way the overhead lamp created a calming ambience at night. I remember bouncing on that big purple gym ball for hours hoping labour would come on spontaneously but I now realise, it was doing very little for me, and it was probably making me all the more impatient.

I was offered a transfer to the other hospital where I had a bed on delivery suite waiting for me on my due date, a few hours after my mucus plug went, and I jumped at the chance. I now wonder if my experience might have been different if I’d have stayed at the hospital that I wanted to give birth in. But nevermind, what good are what ifs? No good at all.

So there I was, in the delivery suite of this other hospital, taking a quick video of the room for my Instagram. I was telling people I’d no longer be replying. Although I did later on, at some point, I can’t remember when. And I had no idea what was coming as far as the syntocin drip was concerned.

I love that before they broke my waters and put me on that drip, I was blissfully unaware saying “whatever happens I’ll deal with it, as long as baby is okay”. I mean, that wasn’t a bad mindset to have but… Yeah… the girl on the ball in her nightie who just had her waters broken, and the girl on the bed who just got given the epidural were a couple of hours apart, and I can assure you the girl on the bed felt like she’s been through a kind of hell that she knew had changed her forever. The rest of it was a breeze though, if that’s any consolation – it was to me!

I gave birth to Reuben just over 12 hours after they’d broken my waters, and it was incredible. I felt the love instantly – it was euphoric! I felt the rush of love which I’d heard people say is indescribable and I was so relieved. I was so, so happy. When I had been waiting to push, I remember thinking “this is it, my dream is about to come true, I’m gonna meet my baby!” and that was an unforgettable moment too.

So is it any wonder that I feel this way now that Reuben’s 1st birthday is a day away? It’s so bittersweet. I feel happy and sad at the same time. I feel my heart aching so badly when I think back to it. I know this is common in mothers but I never really hear or read anyone talking about it.

Maybe it’s because I feel cheated out of enjoying those newborn days, maybe it’s because I had a vision of how I wanted things to be during pregnancy and it wasn’t like that. It’s not like my expectations were high but when you’re poor and feeling unsupported through both pregnancy and your newly made mother days, it’s very hard to feel like I got anything right at all back then… I don’t know. I guess I am overly critical but when I think back, I have regrets and I find myself saying “here’s what I’d do differently”.

Anyway, it’s hard to believe Reuben’s been on this earth for a year now. He’s turned into my little best friend & he makes me smile all the time. Even though we have been poorly recently, there’s still been smiles. And I’m far from perfect but I know I’m a good Mama.

I’m feeling very nostalgic and wistful about this time last year but don’t worry, I’m also concentrating on making this year’s memories count! Reuben’s presents are ready for Thursday, the flat is looking nicer than it ever has done (apart from the kitchen right now) & I’ve even put the Christmas tree up!

I love motherhood, it puts a kind of joy and resilience in my soul that nothing else can. I mean, there’s obviously sadness and mum guilt in there too BUT! Let’s focus on the good!

Thank you for reading,

With love, Rebecca ♡

Survival Tips When You’re Sick

We have been quite unwell this week. First, Reuben was sick through the night and then when he started to recover the next day, we went out, but then by the time we came home, it was my turn! It’s not been fun. I’d like to add Reuben has had a mild case of the sniffles and is teething too which hasn’t helped matters, but it’s nothing that can’t be eased with mummy cuddles (and Anbesol).

Anyway, we both recovered within 24 hours so I am assuming it was a tummy bug – which is a the technical term, for having an upset stomach. There’s been a lot of sick you guys, it’s not been nice.

It isn’t surprising that getting through the day (and the night!!) when you’re unwell and your child is too, isn’t a bucket of laughs. But I thought I’d write a list of tips on making it as bearable as possible – and it might just be a good reference to me in the future, but it might help you too!

  • Everything can wait! Stop worrying about the dishes in the sink and Mount Laundry Basket. It can wait. Same goes for the laundry waiting to be put away or the vacuuming. The moment you feel better, you can tackle it. For now, bare minimum (such as rinsing cups and plates and leaving them in a stack, or putting the sicky clothes and bedding in the washing machine) is a good start. I know we can’t all stay home and do barely anything because we have other kids and commitments, but if you can, I recommend using the little energy you have on looking after you and your child.
  • If you can get any help at all, accept it! My sister was visiting when we got sick which was quite the coincidence but this meant there was someone their to lighten the load. Whilst Reu and I took a nap, she did the dishes and tidied up without being asked and then we woke up to a little snack plate and drinks. This was appreciated since I hadn’t eaten in what felt like forever after a night of throwing up. So yes, you may have to ask for someone to help you but you even if it’s just someone picking up some groceries or running you a bath and watching the kids, it’s worth it.
  • Drink plenty, stay warm, and take your medicine… You don’t get any medals for not taking your damn medicine/painkillers, so do it! Rest is important but you’re not going to rest at all if you’re aching everywhere. I timed taking some paracetamol in time for Reuben’s naps and we snuggled up in bed together. I really did ignore the fact I needed to do housework and studies because I wanted to rest and sleep as much as I possibly could. I think the more you rest, the quicker you get better. So take the painkillers to help make yourself more comfortable (my body ached so bad this time around I felt like Mr Potato! I don’t know, if anyone will understand how that made sense to me).

Also…

  • What you eat when you’re poorly is important. Reuben lost his appetite for a while and so did I but when we ate simple food, we started getting better quicker. Things like fruit and chicken soup, in small amounts frequently, really helped. I always think eating whatever form of protein is best for you really helps you to recover.
  • Humidifiers, saline drops, baby paracetamol… These all help you and your baby lots but please, if there’s one thing that’s made this whole thing easier, it’s that I was able to snuggle up with Reuben pretty much all the time. I let go of a lot of rules… I let him watch TV in the early hours in his travel cot so I could throw all the sicky blankets, bedding and clothes into the washing machine (we were very low on wipes so I ended up using a blanket or two to catch and clean up sick) and he actually fell asleep in there.

I guess what I’m saying is, it’s best to just snuggle up and ride it out together. Everything else can wait. And if you have to go out, bundle up warm and don’t stay out too long. The fresh air will help but at this time of year, try not to be out too long if you are poorly. Eat nutrious food (when you can), keep yourself hydrated and stay warm. Those are my survival tips beyond the medicine.

Thank you for reading!

With love, Rebecca ♡

I’m Unmotivated

From talking to people I know, to reading people’s social media posts, it’s evident that a lot of us are struggling to stay motivated – so I’m not the only one, which is comforting, but it is a problem.

Maybe it’s because of the weather. Or, the more probable explanation, in my case, is the fact I am overwhelmed with pressure. Pressure, that I put on my self to get this and that done, and do it perfectly, and juggle all the balls.

Well I’m sorry, but I’m gonna have to break it to myself that I need to chill the 🦆 out!

When I write a list of the things going on in my life, I realise there’s not that much there and the reason I’ve made such a mountain out of a molehill, is because I expect far too much from myself.

Have I forgotten that I’m a one-man-band? It’s simply just not possible to do it all, not in one day anyway!

If I want to do the shopping and take Reuben to the park – or just be out for the day in general – I can’t expect a spotless house that night. Getting out and about as a parent is tiring and you don’t get a rest when you return. Suddenly there’s 53 things to do and the house is an absolute pigsty, then your child is in bed and you have to drag your exhausted carcus around tidying and cleaning. Or you leave whatever you can until tomorrow. Either way, it still has to be done.

And I’ve realised if I want to study, I can’t clean. If I want to clean the flat, I can’t go out. Or I can, but it’ll have to be a quick, cleverly timed trip out. Because there’s meal times and nap times that play a role in how you can both be ready to get out at a convenient time.

For the longest time, I was so angry at myself for not being an up and out in the morning person. Everyone else seemed to be doing it just fine, especially parents on the school run. And then I realise; what does it matter if I’m not able to be ready early in the morning? Who cares!? And that sorted that one out for me.

But lately, I can’t be bothered studying, or cleaning, the laundry is constantly getting on top of me. I’m putting this off, and that off. I’ve become the Queen of Procrastination – Case in point; writing this instead of getting on with nightly cleaning chores.

*big inhale, big exhale*

So, I guess what really matters is how I respond to this lack of dopamine in my system?

Well, first, I’ve got to understand why without being angry with myself. And since I’m barely taking care of myself like I was earlier this year, I’m going to say that’s a reason. Secondly, I’m overwhelming myself with unrealistic demands for how much I should get done a day. Thirdly, it’s because I want to focus on Reuben more than I want to do anything else.

So what’s the solution? I need to take better care of myself to increase all the happy hormones, stop putting so much pressure on myself and also, I think some kind of weekly rota or clearer time management would seriously help!

So that’s what I’m going to do – starting tomorrow, of course. Tonight, I need to sleep! Tomorrow is another day…

Thank you for reading,

With love, Rebecca ♡

Bonfire Night 2018

We stayed out pretty late so I’m going to make this snappy. This post is more about recording a memory than anything else. Nevertheless, I want to share good times with you all too!

Here we are at my Dad’s house, which is where we decided to be for Bonfire Night this year. Well, by we, I mean me. But yeah, I decided to walk down from mine to my Dad’s taking the longest route possible to give him a chance to get home from work. So I definitely got my exercise in before indulging in some traditional (I think) food.

Above, you see Reuben with the gingerbread man that my Dad bought especially for Reubs. He quite liked it! But he loved the Parkin on our plates much more – in fact he stole one of my dad’s slices of Parkin right off the plate which was a great source of amusement.

Soon, my Dad’s partner, Linda, arrived and so eating pie & peas, watching fireworks and bickering over keeping a fire alive was to begin.

As you can see, my camera isn’t great. Lol, it’s appalling. I am looking to buying a camera ASAP. But I managed to get one photo whilst dealing with a disgruntled baby. He didn’t mind the fireworks at first, I was stressing more than him, but it wasn’t long before he was getting over-tired and so we head back inside.

There was more food. I’m stuffed. I really am. My stomach doesn’t have a great capacity like it used to. But it was worth it.

Reuben refused his bottle again tonight, so I think I’m gonna call it a day on that one BUT he soon wanted to sleep so I bundled him back up in the buggy & he had a little snooze whilst I had a good strong coffee. I could have fallen asleep, haha, I did not want to move. But I had to.

So we set off, back home, in the dark. It’s been a long time since I’ve been out after dark with Reuben. I think the last time was Christmas last year or at least around that period, but definitely not as late as today. I think I have been overly weird about messing Reuben’s schedule up but now I realise it doesn’t hurt to change the routine now and again on special occasions.

The bus was late but once on, it didn’t take long to get home. We went straight up to bed where Reuben did actually drink his milk (I have been writing this entire post between settling Reuben and also I’m telling myself when it’s done I’ll make the bed – because silly britches here forgot to do it before she left!). Reuben’s now settling…

But only after another rendition of ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and confirmation I’m stuck in here until I make my bed. I mean, he’s in his cot now, it won’t be long before he’s asleep so I need to hurry up.

But, I tell you, I hold him sometimes on the edge of my bed and it takes me right back to holding him as a newborn. I got all teary eyed during our little lullaby session because those days went by so fast. I know I treasured him, did my best, cried when I failed to breastfeed, cried… And cried a lot actually. Nobody can prepare you for the emotional tsunami that’s gonna hit you straight into the crazy train after having a baby, can they?

Anyways, that’s a bit of a tangent! Let’s not go down that path again. Not in this post, anyway.

Other highlights of tonight were: discovering I’ve lost approximately half a stone, my Dad being in a good mood made me feel happy & the house that I grew up in felt like home today (for the first time in a long time) and I don’t know… It’s made me feel so warm inside.

Or maybe that’s the mushy peas. We are in for some gassy asses over the next 24 hours. Please send your prayers when you consider the next poopy nappy. Haha!

So from mine to yours, I bid you goodnight. Hope everyone’s had a good time.

With love, Rebecca ♡