An Announcement and Some Chicken Antics!

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I’ve got some news…Chris and I are delighted to announce that I am 13 weeks pregnant!  I have been feeling pretty shoddy the last few weeks, and the pile of juggle that is my life seems to be building and building, as I have little or no energy to do anything!  Needless to say, we are delighted, and are looking forward to our new arrival, who I expect to follow in Lylah’s footsteps and arrive promptly on their due date of 23rd April 2015!

For the odd day here and there, I have been feeling better, and luckily for me, Friday this week was one of those days, as I had the Somerset Business Awards to attend on Friday night (the first of many non-drinking occasions for the next 2 years!).  Friday’s are my day off with Lylah, and I had been feeling pretty rough on Thursday, so we, well I, decided that we would have a PJ day, lazing on the sofa, watching copious amounts of Peppa Pig.  It was a perfect lazy day.

I decided I would start getting ready at 6pm, leaving me plenty of time to get to my destination for 7:15pm (gone are the days of taking 2 hours to get ready).  This would have been fine, but at 5:45pm I decided to let the chickens out (yes we now have three chickens, they are…fun).  As  I was juggling a few different things, including getting ready, watching/playing with Lylah and changing the bed sheets, I decided that I could keep on eye on said chickens through our bedroom window.  Lylah and I watched them for a few minutes through the window; they were having a great time pecking around the garden and pooing everywhere (one of the downsides).  I turned to continue making the beds up for what seemed like two minutes, only to look back and realise that I was a chicken down – Dusty the grey one to be exact.  Thinking she was cowering behind the tarpaulin, hiding from the other two (she gets bullied by them, literally the bottom of the pecking order),  I dashed outside to check she was okay.  But she was nowhere, and I mean NOWHERE to be seen.  I quickly plopped Lylah in front of Peppa for five more minutes (I am very grateful to that annoying little pig) and ran around the outside of the house like a mad woman for a while, shouting out for Dusty, but to no avail.

I summoned my Nonno who came and joined the search straight away, swiftly followed by my Uncle Joe and then Chris when he got home from work (the benefits of having my family close by), but Dusty was no where to be seen.  Chris told me she had probably been eaten by now, and I was devastated!  Meanwhile, Lylah was flapping around the house shouting “Dusty gone, Dusty gone!”, and while all of this commotion was taking place, I wasn’t anywhere nearer to getting ready.

Time check, 6:30pm.  Dusty was nowhere to be found (I was sad, but also angry at her Chicken Run antics at the same time!).   After another 15 minutes of telling Chris how I had “literally turned around for 2 minutes!!”, I decided to get a shower.  At which point, I realised I had no shampoo left.  I had a mini tantrum in the bathroom and told Chris how I wasn’t going now, as “EVERYTHING WAS GOING WRONG” (hormones people, blame the hormones), when Lylah grabbed her children’s tangerine scented shampoo and thrusted it at me.  If she could talk more she would have said “seriously Mummy, stop moaning, take this, and get yourself together woman!”  So I washed my hair with Lylah’s shampoo, swiftly got ready, and left the house at 7:20pm (my team had already taken their places at the dinner table and it would take me half an hour to drive there, ah well, better late than never).

I arrived exactly half an hour late, my hair wet from the rain, trying to walk in my heels, and hoping my nausea would keep at bay until dinner was over at least.  I was stressed to the max, but I had made it (even thought Dusty may not have).  I approached our table and took my seat as the starter was being positioned on my place setting – perfect!

I had a lovely evening, but at the back of my mind, little Dusty kept squawking at me, telling me what a rubbish Chicken mummy I am.  The story was a great ice breaker for the night though!

The awards finished at 11:30pm, and pregnant me was ready to go home to bed (my bed times are MUCH earlier at the moment).

I didn’t sleep well that night, thinking of all the places Dusty could be roosting if she had been clever enough to not get eaten.  It was rainy and windy, and I felt so guilty.  Poor Dusty.

Chris was up bright and early the next morning, popping off to the gym, and Lylah and I resumed our positions from the day before on the sofa.  Around 8am, I took a quick walk outside to check next door’s garden, as there are lots of bushes and trees in there.  Nothing :(  Then, as I was walking away,  I heard a rustle, and saw a flap of a wing.  It looked white, not grey, so I wasn’t hopeful, but thought I’d check anyway.  And there she was!  Dusty was alive and well, living it up in next door’s garden!  The next hour of Dusty’s life was probably quite traumatic, and involved ladders, the highest branch of a tree, her longest flight yet, a capture and a wing clipping, but thanks to my Nonno and Chris, we have got her back :)  She wasn’t very sociable for a few hours, but was back to her normal, mental self this evening when I let them out in the garden.

Honestly, an evening out when you’re in the first trimester of pregnancy is challenge enough, let alone facing our very own version of The Great Escape – chicken style.

Lylah is well used to our manic, crazy lives by now, and hopefully this little one is looking  forward to joining the Jugglehood as well.

Chickens

Changes…

Lylah October

Wow. I am seriously bad at keeping this thing up to date. Can I use the excuse that we have had a busy summer and I have been spending my time watching in amazement as my little girl grows rapidly before my eyes! There have been so many changes, firsts and a huge amount of fun, as well as a few moments of ‘pull my hair out’, ‘what the hell happened to my Angel’, ‘I’m going to scream’ moments!

Now the summer is long gone (well-it is in my eyes, I wish this weather would start to flipping realise it), I can sit back and think of the changes that have really stood out for me.

The Wedding was simply amazing, Lylah was incredible all day, and really made us realise how grown up she has become. She walked down the aisle (for a little bit, then took my hand) and sat through the ceremony, she sat at the table and ate her lunch, she napped in the pushchair, and entertained everyone with her dancing!

The holiday that followed was incredible (bar the sick incident), and it was these two momentous occasions in Lylah’s short life so far that have made me realise that I need to give her a lot more credit than I sometimes do. As mums, we worry and worry about every minute little detail, and often find things like going out in the evening with our babies, or taking them out of their usual ‘comfort zone’ a real obstacle. When actually it isn’t, or at least it shouldn’t be.

Now, I don’t agree with the statement that your child should fit in with your existing, pre-child life, because quite simply they can’t. I learnt to accept that very quickly. For example, I’m not sure how comfortable Lylah would be with dancing on the tables in the local nightclub of a Saturday night. However, if you are relaxed with your child, I do strongly believe that you can take them anywhere you want, whenever you want, without very little hassle.

I might just be lucky with Lylah, and naive to think that all children can be like this, but I was worried about taking her abroad, and I really didn’t need to be.

Firstly – what do you take? Admittedly, this is a lot easier when they are a little older, as you don’t have to worry about sterilising etc etc. A quick google search told me what full fat milk was in Portugese, and I made that one of my first things to purchase when we arrived. Everything else was there. I didn’t need to bring food, or drinks, or milk, or even nappies (although I did), as you can buy everything you need. Admittedly this depends on your destination.

Amazingly, I managed to pack for 5 days, for Chris, myself and our toddler, in only 2 hand luggage cases. Along with the car seat and push chair this was enough to manage, but it is unbelievable how much c**p you end up taking if you have the space.

As for the holiday itself, Lylah was in her element. She ate great meals, both in the hotel and out in restaurants, and loved the daytime activities of swimming, swimming and more swimming.

The first evening worried me, as we didn’t go up to our room to change until nearly 6pm (at home Lylah is fed and bathed by then normally and gearing up for milk). By the time we were showered and changed, we didn’t sit down in the restaurant until around 8pm. Instead of looking sleepy and feeling grumpy, Lylah got stuck into the food (starving by this point) and then spent the first evening dancing around until she finally collapsed asleep around 11:30pm. It was brilliant. And that was her every night, enjoying herself until she dropped.

When we got home, we went back to our normal bedtime routine (which changes daily to be honest anyway), and she got straight back to it.

The next big change came a few days later, when Lylah decided that she had had enough of her cot. During the night, we heard her crying, and left her for a while to see if she’d settle. 5 minutes later, the crying was louder, and outside our bedroom door! She had climbed out of the cot and come into us! Shocked, I let her get in our bed and when she was finally back to sleep, I popped her back into her cot, panicking about what to do for the best. I popped to the bathroom, during which time, Lylah (who was ‘asleep’) decided to kamikaze out of the cot once again, this time jumping, and landing face first on the floor. Thankfully, she wasn’t hurt, but I wasn’t taking the risk again. The next day, the cot turned into a big bed, and a trip to Mothercare for new ‘big girl’ jammies and a pillow meant that Lylah was excited about this new adventure. She was perfect for a couple of nights, and then a nightmare for a week or so, but 2 months on, when I stand outside her bedroom door and listen to her chattering to herself for 20 minutes before she goes off to sleep, my heart could burst with pride.

Along with these exciting moments, we’ve had plenty of the new, moodier version of Lylah, the one who has no patience, gets frustrated at everything, and can throw herself against a wall in a fit of rage. This is not my favourite version of my child, but her tantrums have had Chris and I in fits of laughter. Not that it’s funny, I know, but when you’re trying to ignore your tantrumming child, as well as not look at them, and you can see the calculated thought behind every tantrummy moment, laughter is the only thing that helps! Thankfully, these have calmed down a bit, and Lylah turns into a very apologetic cuddly wee soul once she realises that the growly throat scream is not working. She has even learnt how to say “sorry mummy’, although the “sorry” part does tend to get a little lost under a mutter. Bless her :)

She changes everyday, in her words, her actions, her personality. She is turning into such a funny little character and I get on with her like she’s my best friend. She helps me bake cakes, and sweeps my floors (she has some fun too I promise), and is in love with Peppa Pig to the point that I might cry, but the main thing, through every change, she is getting stronger and more confident and turning into a wonderful little person.

Along with every big developmental change, there will of course be challenges, but give those little geniuses some credit, they will get there, adapt and do it when they want/can. I’ve every faith in my child, and therefore I’ve learnt to relax, and I think with that, she thrives.

Embrace the changes, and most of all, enjoy them!

Sick on a Plane

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The smell was horrendous. And it was dripping everywhere. Chris had a pool forming in his cupped hand, and Lylah was screaming in between each projectile shot. Yes, after a wonderful break away to Portugal, Lylah was sick on a plane.

Bless her though, it was awful for the poor girl. Not to mention her daddy. Or the unfortunate lady in front of him who managed to stick her elbow in the vomit between the seats! We had spent the last twenty minutes or so trying to get Lylah off to sleep. She had napped on the flight over, and fallen asleep on me by the Vilamoura Marina every night of our holiday, so I thought after a bottle of warm Portugese Full Fat (Gordo – get me) and the motion of the plane, she would be out like a light. Full Fat milk and motion – those are the things that did not mix well inside little Lylah’s tum. After nearly half an hour of scraping my legs with her shoes/feet, pulling my hair/necklace/eyelids, and jumping up and down to get a better view of Nonna and Nonna who were sat behind us, it was a welcome relief when Chris said he’d have her on his lap. Mwah ha ha ha. How did I escape that one?! A couple of minutes earlier and it would have been me dripping with sour smelling, apple chunk infused, regurgitated milk.

The initial fountain of sick made me jump 2 seats away out of my near slumber (thank goodness there was an empty seat next to me on the otherwise full Easyjet plane). I shot up, not quite sure what to do next, and then watched as Lylah continued to empty her stomach all over poor Chris. I grabbed some wipes off my mum (mine were handily packed away deep in the case in the overhead locker – FAIL) and started to throw them in Chris’ general direction. Realising that this was doing very little good, I grabbed about 3000 paper tissues from the lavatory, and started to mop up the mess. Lylah was screaming through all of this let me add. Oh and people were staring, and looking in the other direction all at the same time. The girl sat in the next seat over, who had chirped about how “cute” Lylah was just 30 minutes earlier, was now hiding behind her magazine and earphones; no comments now!

I shouted for the air stewardess who came to the rescue, and gave me a massive tub of blue wipes – which were like all my dreams come true. They were big, and smelled like cleaning stuff, and at least helped me block the pungent odour out. I heaved a couple of times whilst mopping the chunks, but I got through it. Lylah and Chris had to be stripped off, and while Lylah sat with mum and dad, Chris had his moment of glory and did a strip tease at the back of the plane (no doubt showing off his tan – he was secretly delighted!). I in the meantime am on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor. Just imagine this scenario if you please. It hurts my head to think about it too much.

The main thing is Lylah is fine. She quickly recovered and when everything was cleaned up, and we only fractionally smelt of puke, we settled down and tried to get her off to sleep again.

Within minutes she was down again, on the floor of the aisle (thank goodness we were right at the back), and proceeded to squat right down on her hind legs. You can guess what she was doing now. In a 2-hour plane journey, Lylah managed to empty her entire body of that day’s food contents. She squatted until she was finished, at which point we made a trip into the cramped up cubicle to get her cleaned up.

She finally fell asleep on daddy once she was content and comfortable, and we all managed to get a bit of shut eye.

We had an amazing holiday, details of which will come in a separate post, but needless to say this was the highlight.

Sorry if you were eating your dinner.

A Weekend Away and a Wedding

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Date of last post – 31st May!  Oopsy – this blog posting malarkey hasn’t been a priority of late, but as I was sat pondering over recent events, it occurred to me that now was the perfect opportunity to update you all on what’s been going on.

To say we have been busy recently is a huge understatement.  It has been a couple of months of firsts for Lylah, with lots going on including a very big family event – more to follow on that!

Being a working mum means that I am used to being apart from Lylah for a few days every week, but I still get to go home and put her to bed, and have some precious moments before she enters into her nighttime slumber.

So, three days away for my sister’s hen weekend back in June really didn’t worry me.  In fact, as awful as it may sound, I was really really looking forward to the break.  Jugglehood is extremely demanding, and as any mum, let alone working mum, knows, your time alone is precious, so even though I knew I would miss my baby, I looked upon the trip as a chance to unwind, have a drink and enjoy myself.

Sat on the the Eurostar on the way to Disneyland Paris, someone in the party asked me if I was missing Lylah yet.  And then it hit me.  My stomach churned and flipped, I felt sick, and I began to well up.  Before I knew it I was practically sobbing into my Prosecco.  From then on, I couldn’t even think about Lylah without crying.  It was then I realised…even though we are desperate for a break, in need of a glass of wine and a dance with the girls, and for some time alone to recharge, any time without your offspring is like being temporarily detached from something.  I felt Lylah’s absence the whole weekend.  I missed her face, her voice, her crying, her whinging, and her giggling and laughing.  I missed her clinging on to me and rubbing my chin, pulling my hair and giving me kisses.  To go to bed at night and not have her there to say “night night” to felt so unreal.

Don’t get me wrong, I had a fabulous weekend, and I have to admit that the break did me the world of good.  But it goes without saying that I missed my daughter and husband a huge amount – they are my life.  I would rather be with them than anywhere else in the world, and that’s how I know i am the happiest when we are at home together, pottering about the house and garden, just being silly and having fun.

So that was mine and Lylah’s first weekend apart, and it was safe to say that she coped with it better than I did!

Another first was Lylah’s moment in the spotlight as a Flower Girl for her Aunty Kay Kay at Kayleigh and Adam’s wedding on Saturday.  It was the proudest moment of my life.  Not only was I overjoyed for my sister and her now husband, but it felt complete with my little family by my side.  Chris, Lylah and I were all in the Wedding party, and I was so emotional about the whole thing!  We had a fantastic day, and apart from a few thunder storms, Lylah having a tantrum about getting into the limousine and a little power failure, the day ran smoothly, and most importantly, was filled with love and happiness.

Lylah was brilliant all day, and looked like a princess in her dress; the perfect little maiden for my stunning little sister in her perfect gown.  She ate lots of sweets, boogied on the chequered dance floor and stayed up late, and went down like a dream for the babysitter while mummy and daddy drank a little more and enjoyed the live band!

I am so proud of my daughter, and also for my husband and I, and in the same breath, for all the mummies and daddies out there, who work tirelessly through the first few, long hard months of sleepless nights, teething, juggling work and parenting.  We are getting there, and moments like we enjoyed on Saturday make everything worthwhile.

Now for our next family adventure, a few days on holiday in Portugal.  I’m sure that will make for an interesting next post!

Piles of Beauty

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If any normal, sane, thirty something, responsible adult walked into my house unannounced this morning, they’d look at me with a frown. They’d judge me. They’d turn their nose up at the pig sty that my daughter and I are wallowing in. They’d look at the mound of toys, the food on the floor and the general state of things in our dwelling.

And I’d agree with them. On my mission of cleaning the house up this morning, all I can see around us is a mess. Not just one mess, but a million messes.

If I let this get to me, then I would have lost my mind long ago. Some days are better than others. If I have been organised with my week, and everything has gone to plan, the weekend tidy up doesn’t have to take all day. But today I fear it will, and maybe tomorrow as well!

I’ve already been through the panic of turning my house upside down this morning due to a misplaced (not lost, just misplaced) passport. Thankfully, it has been found, along with £35 in cash – bonus! (That has made the stress worthwhile).

Lylah is pottering around with me. We keep stopping to play and have a mess around (all work and no play makes for a miserable Anni and a very bored Lylah).

I’ve just fed and watered her at the mid-morning pit stop, after which she wandered into the living room, leaving her bowls of snacks tipped onto the kitchen floor, and her drink bottle strewn somewhere else.

I look around the kitchen, searching for the drink to bring it in to her, when there I saw it. Standing atop a pile of perfectly aligned seat cushions (from outside – in the kitchen because of the rain obviously), was her gleaming pink water bottle, precariously placed on top, in the centre. The sight of it filled me with joy. When I wasn’t looking (too busy sorting out old receipts), Lylah had formed this beautiful mountain of a masterpiece, and left it there for me to find later.

With a baby comes lots of mess and therefore constant tidying and cleaning, but this morning, for the first time, I saw these messes as something else. They are hers, they are thought about, they are planned.

They are Lylah’s little Piles of Beauty. And do you know what they mean? What they represent? They stand for a happy child, a playful child; one who adores tipping things up to see what happens, and dropping things from up high to hear the sound. These Piles of Beauty mean that my child is exploring, learning and making messes along the way.

Looking around, these mini masterpieces are everywhere to be seen. In the pages torn out of her nice books, in the piles of toys hidden in the tent, in crumbs nestling on the sofa cushions, and in the things I find hidden in every nook and cranny around the house everyday. Even the little finger prints on my glasses are a sign that Lylah just wants to learn, to create, to be.  With every attempt at wearing my specs, she’s developing that little bit further.

Let your child make a mess, stop and look at it, and think about the effort they’ve put in. Before you get the hoover out, examine your child’s Piles of Beauty, or even better, contribute your own. They can be cleaned up later, when they are in bed.

Putting yourself out there

This evening, I thought I’d look into other ways of promoting my Blog, and so added it to a variety of blogging sites, forums, that type of thing.  The first comment I got on a Mumsnet blogging forum was “Im fed up reading this stuff and the name is cringey”

Ouch!

This is one of the reasons I took so long to start something like this in the first place; I was afraid of being laughed at.

I’ve done it now though, and I’m enjoying it so much, and it’s okay that not everyone likes it!  Im fully aware that Blogs like these are everywhere, being written by mums and dads all over the world, but I want to share my side of things, and so I will continue.

Putting yourself out there…In life you sometimes have to just give things a go, go with it, meet new people and experience new things.  This brings me onto a topic that I’ve long wanted to talk about…my brand new baby friends.

Now, I don’t often admit I’m wrong, but when it comes to this subject, I was the furthest from right I’ve ever been.

During pregnancy, I had a couple of conversations about meeting new friend with babies.  I recall saying on a few occasions that I wouldn’t need to meet new friends, that I have plenty of friends already, and that I wouldn’t enjoy going to baby groups and making small talk about the price of nappies and the latest must have Fisher Price toy.

I didn’t spend the small fortune required on the NCT classes, and therefore I didn’t think I’d ever belong to a group of ladies who sit around during maternity leave, babies playing happily while their drinking coffee and scoffing cake!

Chris and I attended one free ante natal class, which was pretty pointless in that we knew pretty much everything they’d gone through from reading Babycentre.  But it did make me think about the other ladies I was sat in that room with.  Who were they?  What has brought them to this momentous point in their lives?  Do they know what sex their baby is?  I wonder if I’ll be in the hospital around the same time?

i didn’t think anything else of it, and by the time the birth came, and after the first few weeks of sleepless nights and constant feeding hit,  I didn’t have time to think about going to baby groups or meeting people.

Then the health visitor advised that I go along to a free breast feeding group in the local children’s centre.  Lylah was 7 weeks old, and I was so nervous to attempt this outing alone, worried that everyone would witness how nervous I was, both as a new mother and also with breastfeeding in public.  Knowing though that it would help me out with the feeding, I went along.

It was at this group that I met my first very close ‘baby’ friend, Kirsty.  Our babies were 7 weeks apart, and she was going through all the same stuff I was.  We’d talk about sleep, feeding, babies crying, waking during the night, anything and everything that we could think of.  And I loved it.  I loved having someone to offload to, and someone who completely understood me.  It was through this group that I met other like minded mummies, including Rachael, Nikki & Shelley.  Our weekly chats helped me through some really hard early moments, and I’m so thankful to those ladies and the health visitors who were there every week.

I’d still talk to my old friends, but it was hard to relay to anyone who isn’t going through it, just how hard those first few weeks/months are.

Our local children’s centre also put on a free 6 week post natal course for us.  I was now looking forward to this!  Chris dropped me off to the first session, I think I even wore some makeup and put on a nice top, and off I went, transporting Lylah in her stripey car seat, ready to talk babies, with lots of other mummies.

At the first session, I sat next to Donna, who was bubbly, friendly and who made me feel instantly at ease.  We soon established that our little girls are only a day apart and that we were in hospital at the same time!  This group was fab – it allowed us to be open, in a private, confidential setting, and we’d all talk and share stories, advice and tips.  It was here that I met, along with Donna, Rachel, Claire and Naomi, along with lots of other lovely ladies and babies.

Other groups at the children’s centres, the local baptist church, and swimming at the local pools, meant that during our maternity leave, we all saw lots of each other.  We welcomed a new mummy, Jenny, to the fold, when she moved to the area and was looking for people to meet, and she soon joined us in weekly play sessions, coffees and general gossiping!

Since then, we have all spent lots of time with each other, and have watched our babies grow together.  It is comforting to know that Lylah will know these friends from a young age, and hopefully they will always be there for each other.

It’s also so lovely when ‘old’ friends, become baby friends as well.  A couple of people who I’ve known for a long time are also in the new parent category, and it’s great to have something new to share and talk about, on top of an already long and wonderful friendship.  Adele, it’s been fab to share my experience with you, thanks for always being there :)  Having Lylah also made me see what other friends of mine who have had children before me must have gone through!  Some of my hardest early motherhood moments were helped hugely by my oldest friend from school, Claire.  Her help and advice in the early days was invaluable – thank you.

After spending a beautiful spa day with 6 of these ladies recently, it hit me that I am a really lucky person to have met these wonderful souls, and that I get to share this special time as a parent with them, exchanging stories, sharing advice, and being an ear for each other when things get tough.

Thank you to my ‘baby’ friends.  No, scrap that.  Thank you to my friends.  As that is what you are.  Only 18 months in, and I feel like I could share anything with you.  Here’s to coffee, cake, poo stories, a shoulder to cry on, and babysitting help.  Love you all, and  Lylah loves you too.

Putting yourself out there – worth it?  Absolutely.

Balance

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I’m sat, on the sofa, comfy, relaxed. Typing.

My daughter is sat next to me, contentedly supping her warm bedtime milk.
My husband is cooking our dinner, having just bathed and dressed our daughter, following a day looking after her whilst I was at work.
I’ve just enjoyed 4 long days off with my little beauty, enjoying the bank holiday sunshine and having fun.

This is balance. This is something we’ve not had in a while, and it feels, well, balanced.

Summarising the above gives me a sense of relief, and makes me realise how very lucky we are.

Tomorrow, Lylah will be at my mum’s, enjoying a day at her Nonna’s, playing and being spoiled! Then on Thursday she will be with daddy again, tiring him out and making lots of messes!

Lylah benefits from spending time with different people on different days, with a healthy dose of mummy every morning and night, and across a nice long 4 day weekend. The point here is, that while Lylah is getting that daily variety, so is everyone else. Chris and I are both parents and workers, on different days of the week, and at last I think our lives are slightly less juggled.

Yes, we still have a lot going on, but there is now a more dominant sense of a daily family life – we’ve even eaten meals together recently! At the table!

For the first 15 months of Lylah’s life, apart from paternity leave and the odd burst of annual leave, Chris has worked over an hour away, juggling long hours, and because of this we didn’t spend a huge amount of time together with Lylah.

Hang on…Lylah has finished her milk…she’s on me…she’s on the laptop…

…I’m back, teeth brushed, cuddles and sleepy kisses done and she’s in bed, ahhhhhh.

So, I was saying, for the first 15 months of Lylah’s life, Chris has worked hard, commuted long hours and been generally exhausted every single day! Combined with the stresses of his job, this led to us both desperate for him to find a job closer to home, so we can make the most of our time with Lylah together. Up until now, I expect Lylah wondered whether Chris and I ever saw each other, as the three of us were rarely in a room together!

3 weeks ago, Chris started a job 10 minutes from home – that’s 10 minutes walking! It has made such a difference, and we now have something that is so very precious – time! Time together, time as a family with Lylah, and just as important, time to ourselves. We have joined the gym, we are getting exercise, we are having breakfast and dinners together. It is wonderful!

On Saturday, we met for lunch, had a coffee together, and had fun with Lylah. It makes such a difference to the day when you get to spend that little extra time together as a family unit.

It does make me feel for those who aren’t lucky enough to have their husbands and daddies at home all the time. Those in the military, working away and with jobs that mean they are working hours on end, starting early and finishing late.   I admire the mummies and daddies out there who are doing it alone, struggling day by day to provide everything that 2 people should for a child. A lot of the time, these situations are out of people’s control, but where you can, it is so important to have a balance.

Work, but not too hard that it has a detriment to your family. Play, but not too hard that it means you are hungover for your one day with your child at the weekend. Spend time together, but also spend time apart, to make you appreciate each other and to give your own mind some space and relaxation.

There is no one set way to be a family, no right way of doing things, but I’m just happy that in this moment, we have found the right way for us.

The “Perfect” Mum

Originally posted on jugglehood:

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I shared an article from The Guardian recently that provoked me to write about something that has long bothered me as a new mum.

The article, (read it here), talks about Peaches Geldof’s death, and the link that it perhaps has to her throwing herself into the ideal of motherhood.  If a heroin overdose was the cause, we will likely never know why Peaches chose to take drugs in the presence of her baby, and more to the point, why she chose to go down this dangerous path of drug taking having thrown herself into this new life as a mummy, and having openly stated that motherhood had made her feel complete.

The article links her death to Peaches’ need to connect in someway to her own mother, and suggests that perhaps she struggled with the ideals of being the ‘perfect mum’, but was too afraid to admit it.  Whatever…

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The “Perfect” Mum

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I shared an article from The Guardian recently that provoked me to write about something that has long bothered me as a new mum.

The article, (read it here), talks about Peaches Geldof’s death, and the link that it perhaps has to her throwing herself into the ideal of motherhood.  If a heroin overdose was the cause, we will likely never know why Peaches chose to take drugs in the presence of her baby, and more to the point, why she chose to go down this dangerous path of drug taking having thrown herself into this new life as a mummy, and having openly stated that motherhood had made her feel complete.

The article links her death to Peaches’ need to connect in someway to her own mother, and suggests that perhaps she struggled with the ideals of being the ‘perfect mum’, but was too afraid to admit it.  Whatever the reasons, the article sparked some thoughts in my head that I have had for a while about the definitions of being a mum, and the pure pressures there are in today’s society surrounding mums and their babies.

When I found out I was pregnant, I had just under 9 months to prepare.  My house was going to be the tidiest and cleanest it’s ever been.  We’d save lots of money so I could have a full year off with our baby.  I’d spend hours wondering what I’d be like as a mum, smugly thinking to myself that I’d be brilliant, and nurturing, and patient, and be able to survive on zero hours sleep, and wear my newborn in a sling whilst cooking and cleaning, like in that picture I saw of Kourtney Kardashian on Instagram.

And therein lies the problem.  We set ourselves up to fail.  Society sets us up to fail.  The media and celebrities set us up to fail.  And then we feel like failures, even though, really WE’RE NOT!

Lylah is now 16 months old, and every day brings something new that I worry about.  The sleep situation is much better now, but for months on end I was constantly tired.  I rarely get my hair done and it needs a good trim.  And as for my house, well…

The truth is, I want other people to think that I am doing fine, and that I cope brilliantly, and that Lylah is the perfect baby, and that I am the perfect mummy to her.  Social media is great for this.  A few pictures of Lylah looking smiley, and me wearing a full face of makeup (a rarity these days), and you’d think that my house is full of smiles and giggles, and Lylah is the perfectly behaved child.

However, there are no photos of the grumpy days, the days when the toys are everywhere and the washing up hasn’t been done since the night before.  There is no evidence of the constant struggle we’ve had with Lylah’s eczema, and the days that I’ve been in tears because she won’t stop scratching and she’s covered in sore patches.  There are certainly no videos of my screaming, tantrumming baby, sprawled on the floor, crying and kicking because I’ve taken the biro off her (I’d rather you didn’t tattoo yourself Lylah).  It’s unlikely that you’d find evidence of anything that was in anyway a little bit rubbish!

Scrolling through anyone with a baby’s newsfeed, and it’s likely to be the same story.  Lots of lovely pics, no rubbish pics.  And that’s fine, I get it, I’m fully with you.  But the problem is, it sets us up to fail.

Every new mum says “no-one tells you what it’s really like”.  BECAUSE IF THEY DID, YOU’D PROBABLY THINK REALLY REALLY HARD BEFORE HAVING CHILDREN AND CHANGING YOUR WHOLE LIFE FOREVER!

But it’s okay not to be perfect.  I’m so lucky to have a group of friends, all with babies around Lylah’s age, who I can be really honest with.  We’re all different mummies, with very different babies, but we’re all fundamentally the same, all struggling on with our little human beings, who are testing our patience and pushing us to our wits end, every single day.

I was recently chatting to a complete stranger in the hair salon (the one occasion I’ve been in there in the past 6 months).  She also has a baby daughter, and we started chatting about baby things, as new mummies so love to do.  It was refreshing to hear her say “I hope I don’t offend you if you are one of these mums, but I really don’t like the whole, going to every single mother and baby group, taking them to baby yoga, and hanging out with baby friends all day.  Me and my baby are fine, she travels around with us, as we have to work away a lot, and she loves it”.  Now, each to their own, and I do happen to LOVE hanging around with my baby friends, and taking her to play groups, but equally, I don’t think your a bad mother if you don’t do this!

if you are a mum, and you are feeling tired, drained, exhausted, impatient, ugly, chubby…then that’s good, because I do too!

Let’s stick together mummies, and pave the way for the new mummies of tomorrow.  It is the hardest thing we will ever do, and we’re all amazing for doing it, no matter how we go about it.  Let’s support anyone who is amazing enough to make the decision to become a mum, and most of all, let’s not judge them on how they do it.

Tell them you love them…

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I read the news about Peaches Geldof on Facebook last night. At first I thought it might be one of the fake death announcements that make their way around social media sites, but upon checking various news sites, I was shocked to discover it was, in fact, true.

Reading her father’s tribute made my stomach churn, then reading her husband’s brought about a feeling of such sadness for her beautiful little family, as well as the wider family she has now left behind, that I started to read more and more, trawling the internet and watching the news.

The news of Peaches’ passing has affected me in a way that I would never have imagined. I’m not a fan, I don’t follow her on social media, but I did recently watch the YouTube clip of her eloquently talking about attachment parenting on This Morning, defending her parenting skills to Katie Hopkins, and opening up about her family and her relationship. This side of Peaches was one that I admired, I had no real interest in her or her media presence before, but now she was relevant to me and my life, because we were both going through the same thing; Motherhood.

All of last night, I kept thinking about her two little boys, wondering where their mummy is, and the lump in my throat started to form. Some may think I’m being a little dramatic, after all, it is quite obvious that I don’t know her personally, but any mother, in fact, anyone with a heart, reading about yesterday’s tragedy was bound to feel some sadness and grief at this young girl’s passing.

All day, I have felt extremely anxious. Last night, I cried whilst looking through very recent pictures and videos of Peaches with her two sons on Twitter and Instagram. Crying? Yes, I was shedding a tear. For the extreme sadness I felt that this young woman won’t see her beautiful sons grow up. She won’t witness them starting school. She won’t ever again tuck them into bed. Nor will they ever be able to go to their mummy again when they are sad, frightened, hungry or thirsty. Looking through her pictures, I noticed similarities between our homes and daily routines. In the background of one photos sat the Fisher Price Jumperoo. Lylah spent hours in that thing; her boys must as well. She had videoed them in the bath, taking pictures of them splashing around and blowing bubbles. There were selfies, pictures of the pets and endless pictures of her smiling happy children. Yes, she was the daughter of Paula Yates and Sir Bob Geldof, yes she was a wild child teenager, yes she was a celebrity. But, most importantly, she was a mother, and that’s the part I can relate to.

The reaction to her death by some has astounded me, and that people can be so cruel and vile in these circumstances is astonishing to me. As some people have rightly said, things like this happen every day, and I’m fully aware that situations like this occur all the time without our knowledge. But she was in the public eye, therefore we do know about this one, and therefore it has provoked this reaction in me.

The thought of knowing that any family has to go through something like this is so upsetting, and when Lylah woke up this morning and cuddled me in bed, I was so thankful to God for my precious family, loved ones, and the small but important things in life. In a week where my parent’s have had sad news about the passing of a close family friend, the tragic story of a woman being knocked down and killed in a local town, and the untimely death of someone like Peaches, so young and in her prime with her whole motherhood and life ahead of her, I am very aware of the short time we have on this earth, and that we waste too much time sweating the small stuff.

Grab your loved ones, give them a hug, tell them you love them and be thankful for every second you spend together. Life is too short.

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