Here’s one for Daddy’s with Daughters

Okay, so I’m a mother, with a son. (And an unknown gender on the way, yay) I know as a mother with a son I am going to make some mistakes. I don’t know what changes my son will go through or the general social issues he will face and I am going to make some mistakes. And it got me thinking about mistakes my Dad made with me.

My Dad became my Dad when he married my mum when I was 8. Now, most parents can make their trial and error mistakes in, discipline, tact and other such parental things when the kid is too young to really remember. So mistakes my dad made are far too many to name them all so I’ll just focus on the mistakes he made with me being the first of his 4 daughters.

As a girl, our interests are different and for some reason it’s more acceptable for us to keep our teddys and toys longer than boys. When I turned 11, my Dad gutted my bedroom, he threw away my dolls, Teddy’s, games, play sets, everything. It didn’t matter to my Dad that some if those dolls and accessories had made it years from my mum, aunties and cousins to get to me, or that the majority of those dolls I had collected over the years were hundreds of pounds worth of toys that I has taken such care of from back when it was just me and mum and mum worked 3 jobs to give me these toys. Or that some of my Teddy’s had sentimental value, like the last vacation I took with my great grandma when she bought me that horse. I have nothing remaining of my childhood, and I blame that for my crazy hording. It actually still affects me now, my husband has given our son a monkey he’s had since he was one, and I have nothing to give him.

It should really apply to both genders, don’t throw away your kids toys all willy nilly. At least keep the important things, put them in a box out of the way, for them to look through when they get older, maybe even pass on to their own kids one day.

My husband actually has a story about this too, he actually put away a few toys as a kid, thinking they were to great to just give or throw away but knew he was getting a little too old for them. One day when he wasn’t home his Dad got them out of storage and gave them to his nephew….then sent it home with his nephew…where his nephew proceeded to break it and smash it into pieces. And the worst thing is, they still did it to my husband till we got married and bought a house.

Our bully’s are very different, boys bully’s tend to be more brutal, weather that’s physically or verbally. And girls tend to be more cruel. Catty is a very appropriate word! Girls will pick on other girls weak spots that we all share. ‘You’re ugly, you’re stupid, nobody really likes you, you’ll never get a boyfriend’ my Dad never understood this. Just stand up and punch them just doesn’t always work as a girl. The girl I eventually stood up and hit left me alone but it only spurred on her awful friends.

Now, I’m going to talk about the most important one, the taboo that a lot of men squirm at and don’t know enough about.

Periods.

The worst mistake my Dad made was not being informed enough about periods. My Dad knew they happened, he knew when my mum got hers but that’s where the knowledge ended. So when I turned 12 and started getting periods regularly my Dad had no idea that, it was quite early, he had no idea that it hurt, or that it could hurt so badly. He just saw my mum got them and carried on with her day as normal. No idea that everyone experiences periods differently or taking into account that I was 12 and new to the whole thing. One day I came home from school in agony, I felt like my uterus was being ripped out and stuffed back in. My mum, knowing how bad it can get, got me a hot water bottle, a blanket and ibuprofen and set me up on the sofa. Then my Mum had to go pick up my sisters and my Dad came home from work. He came into the living room, looked down at me and said ‘what’s wrong with you?’ I told him, period pains dad, they really hurt. He snorts at me and goes ‘you fucking puff, you’ve got period pains? Don’t be so fucking dramatic. Get up and go put your garden clothes on.’

My Dad had me doing garden work till dinner time as punishment for coming home from school for ‘such a pathetic reason’. And my mum didn’t say anything because she was trying not to undermine him.

Respect your daughters and her period.

Same for mothers and their sons, your sons body will go through changes too, just because they don’t bleed once every 28 days doesn’t mean what they’re going through isn’t confusing or difficult too.

Salutations

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When are you trying for the next one?

I hate this question. I had this question thrown at me from every angle and my son was barely 3 weeks old. 

‘So when are you planning on giving him a brother or sister?’

Why!? Is the one I just forced out of my body not enough for these people? I mean, I still felt like I had a wind tunnel between my legs and I was peppered with enquiries on when I’d have another. 

However now, I hate that question even more. But I’ll get into that a bit later. 

I know some women have gone through much worse labour than I. But, my labour was one of the most traumatic experiences I’d ever been through, to me, it was horrific. And I didn’t fail to tell these people about the complications, the botched epidural (they’d given me 3 times too much and in some freakish horror they’d only managed to numb the outside of my legs. I felt everything) the midwives and doctors not taking me seriously when I said my baby was coming, the after care when the midwife humiliated me in front of the whole ward (being induced I was incapable of producing enough milk), and even before labour when I lived in constant fear of my baby being still born because of gestational diabetes. 

Now, I didn’t go around spouting to every stranger what was going wrong, this was mostly friends and family (I told my sister in law and she told EVERYONE else) so people were aware, people knew.

But still, I got those questions, my perfectly pink and squirmy new born, practically still wrinkled from the long stay in the womb, was in my arms and they were asking me when I planned to have another. 

Okay, so a couple of my friends asked me this I think to gauge how bad childbirth actually was. I told them to ask me again when I could walk without wincing. But for the most part, it was  genuine fucking question.

I beg of you, if you’re looking for idle chit chat, stay away from that question. 

I was sore, I was tired, I had a tiny life form that didn’t have a goddamn clue what was going on, the last thing on my mind was having another baby. All I wanted at that point was a nice meal, a nap, for all the housework to be done by magic and to screw my husband properly for the first time in months! 

Also when I eventually said, we’re going to wait a couple years till our LO was a little more independent. They laughed right in my face.

‘What do you expect? At 2, he’s going to cook his own tea? Do his own washing? Apply for a mortgage!?’ 

No of course I don’t expect that Claire! I mean when he’s at least able to walk around by himself, maybe even feed himself, or have a decent sleep and routine down so that I’m not stretched totally thin by 2 totally dependent children. For fuck sake woman. 

Let’s move on to the whopper though. 

My son is now a year and a half, and I get asked a lot when we’re going to try again. When my son turned 1, my husband and I decided to try for a new baby. That was October, by January, I was pregnant.

By March, I was not. 

I haven’t told a lot of people about it. My parents know, my best friend and my sister in law but all after the fact. My husband and I took it hard, in some ways it pulled us closer and in others it pulled us apart. But I’ve been dealing with it silently, because it’s painful and if I talk about it, I lose myself all over again. 

Just like most women who suffer through it. Silently

So I still get the question, I even got it, while I was still bleeding.

And it was awful.

It is awful. 

So just, think twice before you ask someone, that undeniably irritating and absolutely heartbreaking question. 

Salutations

Parenting hacks-couple of useful tips I’ve picked up

As a first time parent you get given a lot of advice on how to make life easier or better for you and your Kid.

For the most part it can be total crap. Like how feeding them cup after cup after cup of water supposedly cures every ailment known to man.

Some of the most useful tips can come to you in spur of the moment and some can even be from posts on Facebook or YouTube videos!

My son is 1 now, so here are a few things I have picked up in the first 18 months.

Become the crazy bag person

Zip lock bags have become a typical resource in our house. They can be great for organising your nappy bag and protecting the spare clothes you pack for you’re LO. I always keep a zip lock bag with a pack of wipes and a few nappies in the car, I’ve lost count the amount of times my husband has left with our son but without the nappy bag, but now I know no matter what at least my poor boy isn’t stuck with a mucky bum till he gets home.

My mum also says nappy bags are a Godsend. You should always keep a little stash of them in the car and your bag. To store wet/dirty clothes till you get home, sick bags for car journeys and general rubbish bags to keep the car tidy.

Don’t like the stores? Mix your own!

I’ve struggled to find a decent snack and finger food for my boy, these ‘safari snacks’, ‘veggie puffs’ and ‘crisp crackers’ just don’t cut it for him anymore, he hates the safari snacks for I have no idea what reason and he’s had every flavor of the others (and there isn’t many) and of course kids hit that stage of ‘I’d rather have a cookie than a carrot stick’.

So I mixed something together myself, something sweet but full of good stuff, it turned out to be a great finger food, teaching him about texture and delicate eating, he now doesn’t tip the bowel over…all the time.

Multi grain cereal shapes, dried cranberries, raisins, dried pineapple, dried mango  and mini marshmallows.

Cookie cutters

When it comes to lunch times my son loves chocolate and banana sandwiches, but come cutting the crusts off all the filling squishes out the side. So instead I use a little cookie cutter to out small sandwiches the right size for little hands and stops all the filling squishing out the sides. And you can use different shapes to make their lunch more decorative. No need to spend out specifically on special  sandwich cutters.

Bottle cosy 

The thermos bottle cosy which can be very handy, doesn’t need to be retired when you switch to solid food. That little bag can fit a jar of food, small yoghurt and spoons, keeping the food nice and cool before feeding time.

Get a big bag

As they get older you realise you don’t need to pack 10 nappies for a supermarket trip, or an array of different toys, spare dummies and emergency bottles. You don’t need the nappy bag and a handbag if you’re taking  trip to town. So just pack one or the other and. And 1 toy will do.

Don’t spend out on a playpen. Your travel cot is a 3 in 1

1 you don’t need an expensive play pen, our trusty travel cots are good enough 3 uses in 1 piece of equipment

So I have a couple friends that spent out the money on expensive play pens and foam mats. But I just resort to my mums trick, and use a travel cot, my son plays in there when I need to know he’s somewhere safe while I cook or do other housework. That’s use number 1, 2 I use for naptime, clear out the toys and voilà. And use number 3, obviously, cot for travel.
Trust your judgement
At the end of the day you’re the one that knows best the way to handle things with your own child.

For example, I’ve had many people tell me that my son is too young for crayons, the boxes say 3+. However I don’t intend to just dump my kid with a box of crayons and go have a latte. It’s good opportunity to sit and do something that will benefit him later when he learns how to hold a crayon.

But if I always stuck by the ages written on toys my son would have nothing but Teddy’s. Instead, he has cars, trains, blocks, play sets. Things that are helping develop his motor skills. I’m not stupid, I don’t give him toys with things he can swallow or hurt himself with.

That’s it for now,

Salutations!

Gestational diabetes:The worst thing for cravings

At around the 7th month mark of my pregnancy I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. It’s a pretty awful conversation to have, the specialist I saw was pretty blunt. The bad effects of gestational diabetes is you could end up with a permanent case of diabetes, your baby could be born with diabetes or, could be stillborn.

That’s not something that is not in any case easy to hear.

In fact when I heard it, it was really upsetting and unsettling, if I remember rightly, I didn’t even sleep that night.

Every day I was on edge, if my baby didn’t move for a couple of hours I was on high alert, it almost drove me and my husband to insanity.

After that, they sent me to see a dietitian, who looked at me sceptically when I told her my regular diet, I didn’t eat a lot of junk, I ate a lot of salad. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts I’m a chubby woman. But I am so due to a contraceptive implant, not because of poor diet, I do binge on my days off with my husband but when I say binge I mean I could eat a big bar of chocolate once a week or 2 cinnamon buns for breakfast. She did not believe I didn’t eat piles of fries and burgers and huge bowlfuls of pasta. I ended up telling her I did actually eat a lot of pasta just to appease her scepticism. She told me to quarter my pasta intake, avoid white bread and to count carbohydrates.

Easy enough right?

Wrong, we went out and bought seeded bread, sugar free juice and sweetners. But easy meals with the right amount of carbs can be tough. So here are a few tips, meals, snacks and even treats that you can get away with if you’re like me an have to deal with diet control.

So-Breakfast-

So a few easy breakfast start ups which are good for the light eater

One slice of seeded bread, toasted, with peanut butter

Chocolate wheatabix 1 with a 1/4 cupful skimmed milk

A little more filling breakfast with taste can be

1 slice of toasted seeded bread, 1 egg scrambled (add skimmed milk), with chopped cherry tomatoes and feta cheese. (If you don’t have a taste for feta a handful of cheddar will still give it better flavour)

The scrambled egg is one of my favourites, but you can add anything to the scrambled eggs, spring onion, or even 1 sausage, even just Italian herbs to the mix will give it a good flavour.

(The ‘safe’ feta cheese you can get from tesco)

Lunch-

Any type of salad sandwich, on brown bread/breadcake (Even a squirt of mayo or salad cream)

1 rustlers burger (for those on the go)

1 slice of seeded toast, 1/2 cup of beans/tinned spaghetti

1 slice of seeded toast and 2 poached eggs

(No cold cuts, no ham, nothing that hasn’t been cooked thoroughly. Asda’s own mayonnaise is made with pasteurised eggs)

Dinner-

(These are quick and easy meals for the busy woman, totally plausible if you’re having to cook for not only yourself)

Asda’s own beef lasagna and salad (With mayo and salad cream is acceptable)

Chicken grills (Try birdseye or similar, with bbq, sweet chilli or original) Sweet potato fries (A handful) and salad (With salad cream or mayo)

Birdseye or similar Fish cakes, 2 or 3, with sweet potatoes (Fries, mash or roasted) with salad. (Boil in a bag fish with parsley sauce is also very good)

2 or 3 sausages with sweet potato mash and peas and a little gravy.

For roasted sweet potatoes, chop sweet potato into cubes at least 1 inch thick, use frylite spray to line the baking tray and spread the sweet potatoes evenly, spray the top with frylite, dice 1/2 red onion and sprinkle over the onions (to maintain moisture) and bake for 20 minutes at 200′ (180 for fan ovens)

Snacks

Fridge raiders chicken

Baby bells

space raiders

skips

For a treat, Thorntons low sugar chocolate (Preferably dark, even if you don’t like dark) and munch on one after dinner with a decaff coffee, letting the chocolate melt with the coffee in your mouth good to satisfy a sweet craving without over doing anything.

Also for a quick fix of sugar, a teaspoonful of chocolate spread or peanut butter.

I hope these tips are helpful, I know that it took me a few weeks to get to grips with my new diet, and being mostly on plain food at the beginning of pregnancy to help with my morning sickness felt like I’d been a little cheated. All I wanted to do was drink ribeana and eat a cinnamon roll for breakfast. It’s a lot easier to cope with diet control when the food you’re eating isn’t tasteless.

Any questions please don’t hesitate to comment.

Salutations

 

 

Baby snipers; you’re doing it all wrong

First off, you’re not.

The best person in the world to take care of that baby is you.

You prepare yourself, you have fears you’re going to be terrible that people might judge you. But the thing you are never prepared for is when someone you didn’t expect to, tells you you’re doing it wrong.

Mine was my Nanna, a couple of weeks after my son was born my Nan tells me she thinks I’m over feeding him, that I’m going to hurt him. My son was early and very small, in the first few weeks i tried to breast feed but because I’d been induced my body just wasn’t up for the task of my sons enormous appetite. So after every attempted feed we topped him up with formula from a beaker. It was the only way i knew for sure he was getting the food he needed. It was out of my control, it wasn’t my fault, my son was just very, very hungry. Within a couple of weeks his feeds had doubled in volume, after every feed he’d sick up the tiniest bit of milk with his wind.

But my nan outright told me i was going to hurt him.

now i was exhausted anyways, the midwife had told me i had to feed him every 2-3 hours, even though I’m sure he’d have slept through his first night home i had to wake him to feed, he was just so tiny, i hadn’t eaten properly for days or had a solid hours sleep, my baby rarely cried, he was clean and content and well fed, i felt like i was doing really well. But that comment knocked me straight in the chest, it winded me and i honestly could have just crumpled with tears right there.

The next day when i went to see my doctor, in tears i told her what my nan had said and she told me it’s impossible to overfeed a newborn, because whatever doesn’t fit, they just throw up.

That made me realise i was doing a good job. My baby only cried for food, and he got that, he was clean and content and most of the time sleeping, he was settled and that was all me. My nan still makes comments like that too me today and my response is ‘i’ve been doing this for seven months now, this isn’t new to me anymore’

We are prepared for criticism from strangers, our health visitors, our doctors and the know it alls that are in our lives, but when it comes from someone you thought had more faith in you it’s a pretty devastating blow.

I’ve had many examples of criticism, from people who just think they know better because they’ve got kids or even from people who don’t have kids. An uncle of mine who I haven’t spoken to in 7 years, with no children sent me a video link to tips to calm your baby!

Nobody knows your baby like you do. So fuck em. You know what they need, nobody can do what you do for your child, nobody can tell that a little wiggle means they’ve got winds, or a little groan in their sleep means they’ll be awake for dinner soon.

Don’t let the snipers get you down. They’ve probably got it from some website anyways.

Salutations.

Let’s talk about sex, baby

After giving birth many women are pretty fragile. The results of labour are pretty traumatic to the body and nobody tells you about the immediate after affects. Like after all the pushing and crying and cuddling, when you start getting the feeling back in your legs and you go to the bathroom nobody tells you that you could still be heavily bleeding down there. Which i discovered horrifically, the private bathroom looked like a set for texas chainsaw massacre. They also don’t tell you the damages down there, the effects of them or a way to deal with them.

If your midwife did, please pass around her number.

You could be fine or you could be torn, or like me, you could be grazed.

Apparently grazed is worse than torn, because if you’re torn they can stitch the exposed  nerves back together, if you’re grazed it’s just open, like when you graze your knee or elbow, it’s a shallow open wound. And nothing makes you feel more unsexy than every time you need to pee having to completely undress your bottom half and get in the bath or shower to pee, or the having to lean totally forward with your hands on the floor sat on the toilet.

For the most part sex is off the table but with all the hormones raging around inside of you, we can pretty frustrated and impatient. Sex was probably off the table near the end of pregnancy anyway, i know that the closer i got to my due date the more incapable i was to reaching climax, which is just your body reacting to pregnancy, you’re already pregnant why would you need sex? Or you could just feel too big for sex. Either way, it’s been a while. I was comfortable enough for sex about a month after birth, i know they tell you to wait at least 2 but every woman is different in their ability to recover.

First time me and my husband had sex it was a little weird, like having sex for the first time again. I had a fear of the experience being similar to throwing a sausage down an ally way, i hadn’t exactly been vigilant in my pelvic floor exercises, i had enough going on than to remember to tense ‘down there’ and count to 10. But it was good, maybe a little bit like losing my virginity again, but with someone who already knew exactly what they were doing.

I think my main issue with the after baby sex was my stomach, I’ve never been a skinny woman but my belly sat differently, hung lower, felt squishier. I have wide hips so i looked bigger than i actually am, but i was proud of my shape, though chubby i had a lot of muscle. Now I’m….flabby, and that really kicks down your confidence. I became paranoid my husband no longer found me attractive, that the reasons we weren’t having sex was me. Well it was me, but it was me getting into a onsie before bed instead of my regular nighties.

After a couple of months i felt a disconnect in our relationship and one night in bed i broke down i tears and told him i felt ugly and grotesque.

My husband told me to stop being silly, how could he think of me that way when my body was used to produce our beautiful son. My belief that he didn’t want me anymore was in my head.

Now the only reason we don’t have sex very often is the because we’re tired. Not the made up reasons i came up with because of my posts baby body.

Ladies, motherhood isn’t what we thought

Okay so i don’t know how many people this will reach but it’s essential I put this out there.

An important message, our struggles are the same, we are not alone, help is never to far away and, don’t let anyone make you feel less than you are if you’re struggling.

I am a first time mum, I’d say new but 6 months in I can’t really say I’m  new mum anymore. After my little angel was born, i went through the many stages of emotion we all do.

Euphoria, love and the eventual baby blues.

I think a lot of baby blues stems from that initial lack of sleep, if you have a partner sometimes you can split the load but they don’t always understand that through the night you wake up to every sound they make, every sigh, every sneeze, every movement.

And probably feel like you’re doing everything on  your own. If you’re unlucky enough like me, when the paternity leaves over your husband goes back to work on a nightshift, and then you really feel like a single parent, alone all day and then climbing into bed on your own on a night, i know it certainly didn’t help my case of baby blues.

And I’m not going to be a….insert insult of your choice….and say, you ladies with men who don’t work a night shift have no idea how lucky you are and shouldn’t complain or be as tired or down in the dumps as me, because that’s crap.

My husband can be pretty helpful, you could have the most helpful husband ever when it comes to the baby, but your frustration can just shift to something else. In my case it’s the housework, i have piles if clean unfolded washing waiting for my attention, my husband can’t wipe down a kitchen countertop, or put a new bag in the bin after he’s taken the rubbish out, he leaves cups and glasses all over the house. Now it drives me insane, it is his fault but it shouldn’t bother me as much asvit should.

This is apparently sign if depression.

Now, I love my LO, he’s the light of my life and just looking at him just gives me the warm and fuzzy feeling we’re all supposed to feel constantly, but we don’t. We get frustrated, we get annoyed, we get sad. I think the biggest stigma to mother hood is that if you feel a little low, if every now and then you give yourself a little mental confirmation that they’re worth it, you’re a very bad person.

Mums are allowed to feel bad. You are.

I’ve realised that most of our basis for what parenthood is like is TV/film. And they don’t represent correctly. Full time Mums are usually seen as the comic relife, oh look at that full time mum she looks like crap and says repeatedly to never have children because it’s hell, then there are what I like to call, wind up Mums, so shelfed and by the book, the stereotypical won’t discipline my kids so they don’t listen to me and i act like it’s okay but the tension i have in my forehead gives me migraine, but ha ha ha aren’t kids such a gift. These women are comical and people laugh at them because how ridiculous but those are our representation. If i go into all the sub categories I’ll be here all day.

But the main one i take issue with is ‘stepford mum’. The perfect Mother, after giving birth there’s only a fair mist of sweat on her brow and her hair is still perfect, she has no remains of the baby bump immediately after birth, she doesn’t spend time in front of the mirror before a rushed shower for weeks after examining stretch marks. Nope, she breastfeeds but you never see it and it never interferes with coffee with her friends, the house is always spotless and she looks perfect every second of everyday.

And ‘stepford mum’ doesn’t exist, not in the common woman, she exists in the space of Nannies and house keepers, in a lot of money. If this is you, well done, because i wish i had that. Time.

But sadly no, i am, piles of laundry, sweatpants are my day wear, i tie my hair up but i rarely see the point when my son just pulls it out and coffee with my friends fits into his schedule, between feeds and naps and dirty nappies.

Because that is the common woman.

And it’s okay, it’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to have a messy house and to not look fantastic.

Help is never too far away, you are not alone, we’re in it together ladies.

Salutations.