Felix’s Birth Story

I seem to be surrounded by people sharing their negative birth stories at the moment – everyone is so quick to tell you how painful, awful and traumatic the whole process is, but d’ya know what? Mine wasn’t like that.

Whenever I tell my story, I’m told that women hate me. I’m told that I probably should keep quiet about it because people will be jealous.

But you know what? I want to tell my story. I want people to know that it isn’t all screaming, painkillers and a floof torn in two! That birth can be amazing!

I will admit straight from the start here that I was lucky. Yep, I was. I know that.

Here goes… Felix’s birth story, one year on…

Around twenty weeks into my pregnancy I suddenly started to panic. Not about the labour, but about how the hell you ‘parent’. How do you know which cry means what? How do you change a nappy and are you sure poop is supposed to look like a Korma?! Are they getting enough milk from my sore, swollen boobies? 

Worrying about the labour itself was just never a thing for me.

I had no idea what birth would be like, I literally couldn’t comprehend it so why would I sit and stress about it?

My birth plan was pretty vague.

Ideally a birth pool – I’m sure we all remember that amazing woman in the red bikini on One Born Every Minute who smashed a water birth, right?!

Painkillers? Minimal but I’ll take whatever was need. Who knows how my body was going to react?

We packed a speaker and created a playlist of some of my favourite tunes, getting hyped about what our little man might enter the world to.

Alas, this went straight out of the window…

The night before my 29th birthday, three days past my due date and two sweeps later, I was in hospital for the third time with reduced movement. It was at that point, at around 23:50 that they decided they would book me in for an induction. Expecting for them to come back with a date later that week, it’s fair to say that we were a tad taken aback when they told us to go home, rest and be back ready for 8am the following day.

I remember getting home at just gone midnight, my husband singing happy birthday to me, and walking into our house with the realisation hitting me that the next time I did that, our son would be with us.

We didn’t sleep much that night.

Both sets of parents descended on us early that morning to give me birthday presents – my sister insisting that I wore my birthday badge all day in case the hospital gave me special treatment, ha! – and wish us luck, knowing they were soon to meet their Grandson…

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Our last family photo taken as a twosome, as we arrived at the hosptial on the morning of June 12, 2016.

The induction process started at around 10am. Before I go any further, a midwife post-birth asked me what I thought of the ‘process’ because many women hate it. I’ll say now that it wasn’t exactly the exciting, waters-breaking, heart-thumping moment I expected the start of birth to be, but if you’ve already had a sweep, then it’s certainly no worse than that!

I was strapped up to a machine where we were able to monitor the contractions in little spikes on the chart. I loved watching this, and it was great for my husband, too.

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After two rather disappointing meals, three failed attempts at watching a movie and a game of cards later, we seemed to be really cooking on gas now.

The contractions were ramping up, discomfort kicking in. At about 7pm a student midwife suggested I take a bath to try and relax. It wasn’t quite the water birth experience I had hoped for but because of the induction that was a no-no now.

It was at this point I discovered the best thing I had packed in my hospital bag; a handheld fan.

OMG, seriously it was amazing. A must-have for sure.

It was a summer birth and hospitals seem to be hotter than literally anything, ever, so the use of a fan during every contraction was mind-blowingly relieving.

So there I was, chillaxing in the bath, fan on my face during each contraction, my husband by my side cracking jokes, when I felt something.

“Darryl, have my waters just broke or have I wet myself?”

Thankfully it was the former. I remember looking down over my whale-sized bump into the bath to a cloudy stream of liquid vacating my nether regions.

We grabbed a midwife, all dignity officially gone (although I suppose that’s the case the second you have a sweep anyway!).

As I stood up to get out of the bath, my body seemed to leak. And I mean leak. Everywhere.

My husband is pretty good with blood and gore, but as what looked and felt like half my insides fell out onto the bathroom floor he couldn’t help but laugh and gag. And gag again. It was hilarious but it was at this point I realised the discomfort had notched up a level or two.

The next hour or so was a bit of a blur.

It’s worth nothing that due to a lack of space, I was in active labour but not on the labour ward. So there’s me, contractions every minute or so, letting rip on a ward at about 10pm.

Classy.

(Apologies now to anyone else there at the time!)

It’s also worth noting that the only pain relief they had given and offered me was two paracetamol. Because obviously that’s effective in dulling the pain of childbirth…

At around 10.30pm they measured me and said I was about 3cm dilated. At this point I will admit I pretty much wanted to give up. I didn’t think I was up to the challenge.

Apparently I shouted “please can you just suck him out of me?”.

Yes, cos that’s a thing…

The next thing I remember was the Senior Midwife coming through and telling my husband to get all our belongings onto the bed because I needed to move. Quickly.

What I hadn’t realised was that they had lost track of his heartbeat and were quickly shifting me to the labour ward.

Once upstairs, I remember hearing the familiar sounds of my Community Midwife who happened to be working overtime that night on the ward. I couldn’t have asked for anyone better to help me through!

I was carted into a labour suite and transferred from the trolley to the bed.

“Are you pushing, Paula?” I was asked.

Now having never been in labour before I didn’t know.

I remember thinking that the pain levels had changed. That my body was doing something different, but I didn’t register it was ‘pushing’, as such.

She checked me and I was 10cm.

I had gone from 3cm to 10cm in about 30 minutes.

They couldn’t find his heartbeat because he was trying to get out!

“When you feel ready, just start pushing!”

It was at this moment I remembered something they said at NCT classes. Don’t waste your energy on screaming or shouting, scream inwardly. Channel your energy inwards and just push.

Let Mother Nature and your animal instincts take control.

I trusted my body, it seemed to know what it was doing. I could feel him moving, I could feel myself getting ready to push him out.

Now, just quickly back to the room situation – because they weren’t exactly ready for me, the room wasn’t setup. There were no stirrups and no way I was moving from my on-back position (despite having decided earlier on that I wanted to give birth in a different position!). And there were no painkillers available. I was too far gone for anything too strong, and the gas and air wasn’t ready for me yet.

With my husband clasping one leg and the midwife the other, after about ten minutes I was finally given some gas and air to suck on.

This was goooood stuff. Apparently I came out with some cracking lines and pretended to be an elephant once or twice, but mostly it was perfect for regulating my breathing.

The best way I can describe the crowning of a baby is it’s like having a big, solid poop.

I remember reading that before on a blog and laughing thinking that was a ridiculous analogy.

Actually, it’s bang on.

I could feel myself stretching, firm and taut. There was pressure and sure, it was hardly comfortable, but I wouldn’t describe it as unimaginable pain.

With every push, every pang of pain, I knew I was one step closer to meeting my son.

So at this point it’s about 11.45pm on my birthday and I was adamant that I wasn’t giving birth today. I wanted him to have his own special day.

The midwife and my husband had other ideas…

Encouraging me to push, to breathe and to push again when I was ready, his head came out at about 11.58pm…

I took a moment. I breathed. I sucked on the wonderful gas. I knew I could do this.

With one enormous breath, more strength than I knew I had in me, my animal instincts well and truly taking over, just one more push released his body from mine.

Our crying, slightly purple, 7lb 8.5ox baby boy was here.

The time was 23:59:30 on my 29th birthday. On his birth day.

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Less then five minutes old, my gorgeous little bundle of yummy-new-baby-ness.

Four days late, one induction, two paracetamol, 30 minutes of gas and air, no stitches required, no pooping myself. 

Felix Jasper Atkins had arrived…

I don’t know why I have never written my birth story before.

Maybe I was scared to share it with people. I know I was lucky and that not everyone has a story like this. But I want people to know that it doesn’t have to be this big, scary event, that it can be something incredible.

Trust your body. It was made to do this.

And it CAN do it.

A new direction for my 30s

Let’s first address the elephant in the room.

I am now 30. 

Yep, the big Three Zero. I made it! Hurrah and whatnot…

OK, now that that’s been dealt with, let’s move on.

I started this blog in Autumn of last year when fighting an inner battle on maternity leave.

I loved spending time at home with my tiny man but I struggled not using my creative side whilst being off of work.

Writing for me, about things I want to write about, in my own words and style was perfect. And it still is perfect, don’t get me wrong.

But the last few months I have been ridiculously slack with my blog.

In fact, I have been slack with a lot of things.

Maybe I was struggling with turning thirty, people suggested. Quite the opposite; I am proud of what I achieved in my 20s and looking forward to a new decade of achievements ahead of me.

Maybe that was the problem?

I am an ambitious individual. I always have been. I am also stubborn and, at times, impatient. I decide I want something and I want it there and then.

Unfortunately that doesn’t always go hand-in-hand with my goal-setting ways.

But here and now I pledge to change my ways. I will blog more, tweet more, and share more photos and videos on Instagram and YouTube.

I want to document my life, not because I want thousands of people to read my words or catch of glimpse of my not-so-exciting life, but because if the last ten years are anything to go by, then my thirties are going to fly by and I want something to look back on.

I pledge to write more, to speak out more and to share my thoughts more. I pledge to be more honest and less self-critical.

So, going into this new era of my life, I am manoeuvring my blog in a new direction. My aim – and please do hold me to it! – is to blog weekly on just what we’ve been up to, how I am feeling, where our lives are at, as well as to document the milestones in all our lives.

When I look back at this post in ten year’s time, here are ten goals I hope to have achieved:

  1. Regular blogs and vlogs detailing our ever-changing family and world
  2. Contentment with my work/life balance
  3. Mastered the art of creating perfect cake frosting
  4. Settled on a hair colour I am happy with
  5. Bought our ‘forever home’ – cheers Phil & Kirsty and Rightmove for this one…
  6. Having read every book on my bookshelf at least once
  7. No more self body shaming
  8. A brother or sister for Felix
  9. The ability to keep on top of my washing
  10. No meltdown at turning 40

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Google is great, but…

Google is great ‘n’ all that, but sometimes it can be your worst nightmare.

Suddenly, with nothing but guess work, blind speculation and a tap of the keyboard, you’re a medical professional, diagnosing your child with the worst conditions known to man.

Sometimes you’ve no choice but to assume that because you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, instead of it meaning they’re OK and to chill the f*** out, they must be a total anomaly and have the rarest condition ever…

Like I say, Google makes everyone a doctor and that is dangerous.

On about day three of motherhood, I diagnosed Felix with Bronchitis. Yep, there was no way that it could be a little newborn cough or an adorable baby snore. It was Bronchitis. Weirdly, the doctor said it was not and not to worry.

During week two of fatherhood, my husband was overjoyed that the horrificness of the leftover cord was dropping off. Instead of, you know, accepting that rotting flesh would smell, that it may well go a fit funky for the first few hours and to celebrate the end of that yucky little era and embrace his little innie, a little tap into Google told us to panic and call 111. We did and ended up in A&E because inevitably it had gotten infected. It had not got infected. We were sent on our way feeling suitably daft but happily cordless.

At around two months old, my husband wondered why Felix wasn’t making constant eye contact with us. A check on Google meant he had Autism. We casually mentioned it at the eight week review and the doctor laughed and said that it was because, you know, his eyes were still developing and maybe he couldn’t see as far as us yet. Guess that makes sense…

At four months, Felix decided to gouge a chunk out of his own face. We didn’t feel the need to Google this, babies scratch themselves, we knew that. We’re not that stupid! However the cut was so deep that it bled and left a mark. A mark that is still slightly visible almost six months later. Naturally we did research phrases like “Do baby scratches scar for life?”, “How quickly does baby skin heal?” and “Will the health visitor question why he’s got half his face missing?”. Other totally rational phrases were also used…

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Seriously though, that scar!

At around seven months we started introducing more exciting types of food; the odd dairy product, fish and exciting veggies. One day, he cracked out a rather odd colour poop. I can only describe it was a wishy-washy greyish colour. Delightful, I’m sure you’ll agree. Google instantly told me that he was suffering from liver failure. Luckily my mother was on-hand to tell me to get a grip with that one.

Ahhhh and then there’s the first time he smacked his head! I’m not sure who cried more; us or him! He was using his beloved door swing – something I should add that I was uncomfortable using from the off! – and he basically, somehow, completely not anyone’s fault… managed to swing into the doorframe. We panicked. That was it, he was going to have a concussion and potentially brain damage. Oxford and Cambridge were definitely out of the running now!

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Damn that door swing!

And just as you move on from that, they start to crawl and you realise that a little bump into a door ain’t got nothing on the mayhem, bumps, bruises and scratches that are about to be unleashed into your world!

Welcome to parenting!

Embrace the mess; all of it!

I’ve always loved seeing photos of babies entangled in spaghetti, head-to-toe in paint and exploring the joys of mud, so I was pretty keen to find out more about this whole ‘sensory play’ thing.

I guess I first realised that Felix was becoming more aware of his senses when he fully embraced the foil blanket. He embraced it so much that we put one in his Christmas stocking. For a cheap ‘n’ cheerful gift it provides hours – and I really do mean hours – of fun.

If you can get over the louder-than-is-strictly-necessary ‘rustle’, that is.

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I wish I found a foil blanket this hilarious!

Anyway… shortly after Christmas I discovered a group in our village called Splat Messy Play. I hadn’t heard of this before, but upon glancing on their Facebook page, I thought this was definitely something Felix would enjoy.

He was seven months old and becoming acutely aware of his senses. Everything was either eaten or explored with impossible accuracy with his tiny little fingers, so this seemed perfect.

The added bonus was that I was, of course, back to work so it would be my mother-in-law’s role to take him; something she was genuinely over the moon about!

Ticks all round; hurrah!

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Messy play with Grandma! Photo Credit: Splat Messy Play Lincoln.

I remember going to pick Felix up on the evening after his first class and being pleasantly surprised at how clean he was. I loved hearing about how much fun he’d had eating everything and covering himself in paint, and goodness knows what else, but felt a pang of jealousy that I couldn’t be involved.

There it is; mum guilt again!

Anywho… After each session Michelle, who runs our local group, shares photos of the class and it was amazing to see him in such a gloriously messy state!

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Apparently eating paint is his new favourite pastime. Photo Credit: Splat Messy Play Lincoln.

I’m a huge advocate of messy play. Not only is it another fantastic class for mums, dads, grandparents etc. to get themselves out to and meet and converse with other adults, but it’s been fantastic for Felix’s development.

He’s exploring the world using sight, touch, smell, taste and sound and it’s been amazing to see how this class has helped develop him in terms of his motor skills, social skills and general bonkers creativity.

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Photo Credit: Splat Messy Play Lincoln.

Every week follows a different theme, whether it be Mother’s Day or dinosaurs and pretty much everything in between, so there is always something to spark the senses.

Everything they use is baby safe which is so important and reassuring, and it’s definitely helped me to create activities for him that I wouldn’t have thought him ready for otherwise – probably just me denying that he’s growing up and not a teeny, tiny, helpless little baby anymore…

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This was ‘Easter Week’ – I’m led to believe he devoured most of the chocolate Shreddies and thoroughly enjoyed donning his bonnet for the hour! Photo Credit: Splat Messy Play Lincoln.

This post is in no way sponsored by Splat but I wanted to share with you why I love this class so much and how influential I think it has has been in Felix’s development over the last three months or so.

They have a list on their website of all the benefits to sensory play, if you’re interested, and also links to your local classes.

Again, not sponsored, just a fan!

I know that not everyone can afford to take up classes; there are so many available covering a whole range of things from swimming to sensory play, music to dancing, picking the right one for you, your baby and your budget can be tough, but there’s loads you can do at home, too! A friend of mine recently set up a page on Facebook where she posts fab daily ideas for sensory play using household items. Go check her out!

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The one session I have been to so far was aptly themed Mother’s Day. My husband and I both took Felix and it’s fair to say that we discovered his love of mud! Photo Credit: Splat Messy Play Lincoln.

 

Hindsight is a wonderful thing!

Sparked by watching the BBC’s ‘The Replacement’ last week (I must catch up on the latest episode!), it reminded me of all the completely sane, totally normal and entirely rational thoughts… ahem… that went through my head this time last year as the start date of my maternity leave was impending.

I will admit that, looking back, maybe they weren’t all entirely justified, but at the time, the struggle and the panic was very real.

1. My replacement would be better than me at my job

Irrational thought: Obviously they were going to come in and totally smash my job, the job that I have created and moulded over the last four years. They would show me up and highlight my flaws. They would get things done that I could only have dreamt of. I would never be able to do my job when I came back because they would have set such a high standard that I just couldn’t meet. I would hate them.

Hindsight: You want your workload to be managed and looked after; coming back to nothing being done would be worse, would it not? A replacement knows they’re filling big shoes, they don’t have the expertise and the knowledge that you do. They’re keeping things going whilst you’re TEMPORARILY not there. They are not ‘the new you’.

2. Everyone would like my replacement more than me

Irrational thought: Obviously they were going to be the coolest, friendliest, funniest, most lovable and intelligent person ever. They would intentionally find my quirks and make everyone hate me for them. They would be the best person ever.

Hindsight: Turns out they still like me! Imagine that?! Despite my quirks, my inevitable (though I can’t think of any right now) annoying habits or hormonal breakdowns, I slotted right back into the department as if I never went away.

3. I would lose control of my own projects – my ‘work babies’

NB: Important fact to note is that I am super protective over my work, my projects and I like things done ‘just so’.

Irrational thought: They would come in, leave me out of the loop (oh how I love the loop!), change my projects, ignore my suggestions and well thought out, detailed plans and just generally turn MY work into THEIR work. How dare they?

Hindsight: They were treading water, keeping things afloat. There was no time for deviating from my marvellous, well- structured plans. My plans saved their arse. This makes me happy.

4. My colleagues would forget about me and not talk to me for months

Irrational thought: My colleagues are more than that; they’re good friends who have been by my side through a lot. But they would, of course, dump me and forget about me, becoming BFFs with The Replacement in no time at all. I would be nothing but a distant memory.

Hindsight: They didn’t forget about me at all. Funny that? They still emailed and text me, they still included me in office bants. They bought me gifts when Felix arrived, they came and visited me. We even went out to lunches just so they could see him and cuddle him. They still like me (I think) and I was not forgotten.

5. I would totally forget how to do my job when I came back

Irrational thought: Oooh now this is a biggy. After working hard for years to establish myself as a respected, intelligent employee who knows what they’re talking about (that’s what I like to tell myself, anyway), a combination of post-baby brain, hormones, uncertainty, lack of confidence, seven months off, accepting other people’s judgements and insecurities would basically mean that I had forgotten how to a) do my job, and b) be good at doing my job.

Hindsight: I’m still very much winging it, but it took a surprisingly short amount of time to settle back in to my role. Whether it’s a good thing or not is up to the individual, but it very much felt like I had never been away. Sure, it takes time to fully get that much-desired control back over things, to get your feet back under the table, but it happens.

I think if I watched The Replacement this time last year, I probably would have had some sort of breakdown watching her fears on screen, but hindsight is indeed a wonderful thing.

My career is important to me, that’s well documented, so the fear is very much real. But, hopefully, next time I won’t be quite as on edge and my boss won’t have to give me quite so many “it’s going to be OK, Paula” pep talks!

Afterthought…

If you’re interested… I will be posting another blog later this week on how ‘easy’ I found it slotting back into the work relationships I had before I left. I know younger mums experience and talk about shifts in their friendship groups as they became parents, but at 30, I never expected it. Anyway, more on that soon!

I wish I was one of those women.

I really wish I was one of those empowering women who say they don’t care what they look like. One of those amazing women who can shrug off negative body image comments and feelings, like water off a duck’s back. Someone who could turn around and say (to themselves just as much as others) “I only had a baby eight months ago, I’m doing great”.

I am not one of those women.

I’ve tried. I’ve really, really tried. But I failed.

This morning I decided that my two pairs of comfortably fitting jeans needed a new, grey friend, so off I trotted to the shops to find a little treat for myself. After settling on a set of jeggings and a couple of cheeky dresses from the sale rail, I did what I never, ever do, and opted to actually try them on. After all, I might need a smaller size, right?

Wrong.

As I took off my comfortable, safe and suitably stretched blue jeans, I turned away from the mirror and the bright lights so I didn’t have to catch sight of my wobbly bits in, what I am convinced must be, magnified mirrors. On go the lovely soft, new jeans – the bigger size at first so I could happily shout to my husband for a smaller size.

Well that didn’t happen, did it?

Yes they were comfortable. Every bit as soft and stretchy as I had hoped. But, damn it, they were the bigger size and they fitted. Sort of.

As I let my oversized knitwear fall down over the waistband I thought they looked OK. I could pull this off. I turned head on to the mirror and that’s when I noticed the pull. Marvellous. The super stretchy material was, indeed, stretching (lots and lots of stretching) and pulling superbly over my thighs, creating a not-so stunning look.

Turning sideways to the mirror, pulling my top up slightly, there was The Bulge as my eight month post-baby body squished itself half over, and half under, the waistline.

It was a shit look and I knew it.

Being sure not to make eye contact with myself, I quickly got dressed back into my own clothes, and took the jeans and two dresses back to the rail.

I wouldn’t get anything new. Not today.

Fighting back the tears, I found my husband and we walked back to the car empty handed.

I’m not obese, I know that. My husband loves me the way I am, I know that too. And I know that my body did something incredible. That’s freakin’ awesome and I should cut it some slack.

I know all of that.

But it doesn’t stop me from feeling crappy about myself.

Sure, there’s more I could do.

I could join a gym! Hell, I could definitely find the time to go to the gym in-between holding down a full time job, being a mummy and a wife, right?

Maybe I could give up sugar! Who needs treats to get them through a really tough day at the office when you’ve had just three hours of sleep because your baby is teething/has a cold/is going through separation anxiety/all of the above and more?

I guess what I’m getting at is, is it even OK anymore to admit that you don’t love your post-baby body? The internet is full of the most incredible, inspirational women who have the balls to stand up and say they’re proud of their wobbly bits, and I salute you!

I wish I was you, but I am not.

Of course I am proud of what I have created. I love Felix more than anything and of course I am in awe of how my body has created and nurtured such an incredible tiny human.

But do I wish that I had the self-confidence to wear whatever I wanted and give zero f**** about what others might say, or how protruding my muffin top might be? You’re damn right, I do.

So tomorrow I will stand and stare blankly for ten minutes at my wardrobe and debate which pair of tired jeans to crack out, whilst lusting after a body that once was mine, envying the confidence and will power of others, as I tuck into my Double Choc Mocha and third slice of Nutella on toast, getting ready to load Felix into the car and off to my Mum’s, as I plan what we’re all eating for dinner for the week, make a mental note of what bills need paying before the end of the month, try to remember to have a chat with so-and-so at work about that last minute email that came in on Friday, give the cats a quick fuss so they don’t think we’ve abandoned them for a miniature human, pick up my pack up so I’m not tempted to go to the shop at lunch for yet more deliciously sugary snacks, seek out that missing shoe from the back of the cupboard so I don’t have to change my entire outfit as I am walking out the door, already uncharacteristically three minutes late.

Oh, and remember to book a consultation in at the gym.

Yeah, right…

 

When did he get so big?!

A close friend of mine recently announced she is pregnant – hurrah, more babies!

But this got me thinking about how much Felix has changed over the last eight months.

I know, eight months already. How did that happen?!

Will I remember how small he was? When he learnt to do different things? The first laugh he gave or the time he ate chocolate at Christmas in a Halloween outfit?

This prompted me to start my very own YouTube channel for Mummy, Mrs and Me.

Of course it would be lovely to have lots of views and share my journey and experiences with you guys, but mostly I want somewhere I can visually document all the awesome things he’s done so far and is about to do.

So here it is, my first proper attempt at YouTubing – be nice, I’m a total newb to this!

If you’d like to view my channel and subscribe (don’t feel you have to!) CLICK HERE!

Q & A a day: January 2017

OK, so back in October I decided I was going to write up my ‘Q&A a day’ every single month as a blog post.

My good intentions lasted for precisely one month.

Oops.

But we’re in a new year now and that means new starts, forgiveness and refreshed good intentions.

So, let’s start the year off as we mean to go on.

My Q&A a day for mom’s; January 2017…

January 1: What’s your resolution for your family? To enjoy and make the most of all the days we have together.

January 2: What’s your resolution for yourself? Stop sweating the small stuff! Enjoy life and stop thinking you’re going to miss out on things. You’re not. It’s gonna be OK.

January 3: I love seeing my child [blank]: Every day. Maternity leave ends today and it has broken my heart.

January 4: Who was the last family member to visit? My in-laws, Jackie and Keith, to deliver stair gates. Bring on the baby-proofing!

January 5: What’s something you’ve done for your child that you never imagined you’d do? Breastfeeding. It just wasn’t something I was passionate about but I did it for six months and now I miss it like mad.

January 6: How is your mum-esteem right now? Hmm. Well, I’ve just gone back to work after maternity leave so I feel a bit lost, confused and not sure where I fit in any more. So I guess not very high?

January 7: What’s a smell you associate with your child? I probably shouldn’t say ‘poop’, should I? He still has that magically wonderful baby smell. That mix of warmth, Johnson’s baby shampoo and slightly stale milk. Yummy!

January 8: What made your child laugh today? Daddy. It is always Daddy.

January 9: I was in awe when my child [blank]. Moved. Ahhh he’s so bloomin’ close to crawling!

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Damn it, just crawl already!

January 10: What was the best hug you had last week? Getting back home from work and seeing a smiley Felix hold his arms up for a hug. It makes it all worthwhile.

January 11: When was the last time you were at the library? Oh Jeez! Is it bad that I don’t know where my local library is? Probably about eight years ago when I was at Uni…

January 12: I’ll be honest [blank] drives me crazy. When people deviate from a plan. Plans and schedules are made for a reason, people!

January 13: What interests your child lately? Every darn thing! Mostly things he shouldn’t have like phones, remote controls and cutlery. Things from inside drawers he shouldn’t be able to open but magically can. But also balls, bubbles, faces, puppets, books, TV, leaves, cats. I could go on. He’s at a very inquisitive stage!

January 14: If you could have a parenting do-over, what would it be? What’s a ‘do-over’? Like a makeover? I guess an emotional makeover to be more OK with my inner work/life balance.

January 15: My floor is covered with [blank]. Toys. Lots and lots of toys.

January 16: Write down one thing you want to remember today. Felix has learnt how to say ‘mama’ and now doesn’t stop. Ever. And I love it!

January 17: When was the last time you thought ‘I didn’t see that one coming’? When Felix slept through the night, every night, the week I returned to work. He hadn’t done it in so long! Don’t worry, it didn’t last long…

January 18: What’s your favourite quote about motherhood? Winging it.

January 19: My bed is a place where [blank]. I find wet towels (cheers, husband!), fight for space, used to sleep and occasionally find solace.

January 20: What’s a parenting trick you recently discovered? It’s not a trick as such but we seem to have mastered day time naps at long last!

January 21: Our family needs to save money for [blank]. We’re off on holiday in June so I guess we need some spending money for that. I’m always trying to save up for a deposit for a bigger house though (a girl’s gotta dream!).

January 22: What makes you feel put together? A straight fringe, fresh eyeliner and a pair of boots.

January 23: Tomorrow I will [blank] because I know it will make [blank] happy. Give my husband a back massage. I’ve been promising for long enough…

January 24: What’s the most recent thing you’ve handed down to another mom? Does advice on returning to work count?

January 25: Describe a face your child makes. He smiles the biggest smile from ear to ear. His whole face crinkles and lights up. It’s gorgeous!

January 26: What’s a recent ‘first’? He says ‘dada’ as well as ‘mama’ now and is so close to crawling (still!). He belly flops and commando crawls everywhere though.

January 27: People might guess I’m a mom because [blank]. I don’t shut up about it. So I’m proud, and what?!

January 28: What were you thinking about as you fell asleep last night? My husband and I were playing an alphabet game (I know, we’re cool like that) and I think I was stuck on animals beginning with ‘N’. Damn, I’ve just thought of one! Newt.

January 29: Do you have rules? What are they? Yes, many! Gosh, I sound dull… My new rule for myself is to let things go easier.

January 30: What’s one piece of parenting advice you absolutely do not believe in? For when he’s a bit older, but bot to set rules. Everyone needs boundaries, even if it’s just so they can learn to push them.

January 31: What are your three most recent kid-related purchases? A lightweight buggy, a pop-up dinosaur book and some new pyjamas.

 

 

Sunshine Blogger Award: Answers and Nominations

So a month or so ago, the rather lovely Mummy Setra nominated me to for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Finally I am getting round to it, so here goes…

What has been your favourite post that you’ve written to date? I would have to say One Year On: A Letter to Felix. Reliving those moments and memories was just amazing. Life gets in the way and I never want to forget those little things that made my pregnancy what it was.

Who is your inspiration? I guess I have two really; a personal one and a celebrity. My personal inspiration is my Mum. She brought up my sister and me mostly on her own and life was not always easy. Far from it. I don’t know how she did it and I take my hat off to her. My celebrity inspiration(s) would be Tom and Gi Fletcher. They work incredibly hard but are so down to earth and honest. They make me realise that working full time and being great parents is possible, achievable and socially acceptable.

What is your favourite thing to do when the kids are in bed? Well that’s a tough one! Usually I do the housework, but I would not say that’s my favourite thing at all… I used to enjoy reading, playing board games, watching trash on Netflix with Darryl and generally just being a bit of a fool.

If you had to eat just one food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, what would it be? Oooh a tough one. Maybe mash potatoes. Or a curry. Oh, or my husband’s waffles. Or cucumber. Oh but then there’s chocolate… That one is way too hard to answer!

What one piece of advice would you give a new parent? Throw away the books, just do what’s right for you and your baby. You know best. There is no model baby and the books will just wind you up and make you doubt yourself!

What is your favourite movie? I have many! I love The Avengers series, but you can’t beat a good romcom like The Holiday and Love Actually. But I also love all the Disney Pixar movies. Oh and musicals like Hairspray and Chicago.

Wow, this is making me realise how indecisive I am! Sorry!

Which city would you love to visit? I would LOVE to go back to Vancouver. We went there on honeymoon and it was the most incredible city I’ve ever visited. If we ever got the chance to move there, we’d go in a heartbeat. I’d love to go to Sydney though, and to LA.

If you could be invisible, which famous person would you follow for the day? It’d have to be Gi Fletcher to see how she crams everything in!

What makes you happy? My son’s laugh. It is infectious!

Where do you see yourself ten years from now? Still winging my way through life, hopefully with a little friend for Felix. As long as we’re happy and healthy, we can be anywhere doing anything! Having said that, I’ll be just a few short months away from turning 40, so probably having some sort of mid-life crisis!

Phewf, I made it through!

I would now like to nominate:

  1. Stressy Mama
  2. Beauty, Baby and Me
  3. Dear, Mummy Bear
  4. NorthumMam
  5. RamblingsofMum

And my questions are:

  1. What’s the funniest thing your child has done so far?
  2. What was the worst thing about your pregnancy?
  3. What is one thing have you bought for your baby that you now realise was a waste of money?
  4. Who would you most like to retweet you?
  5. What advice would you give your 18 year old self?
  6. What one thing have you done that goes against all the parenting books?
  7. What makes you smile when you’re having a bad day?
  8. Where would you most like to travel (kid-free!)?
  9. If you could own one designer bag / shoes / item of clothing, what would it be?
  10. What would you most like to achieve for yourself in 2017?

Don’t forget to tweet me your answers @MummyMrsAndMe!

This is real life. And it’s bloody confusing.

It’s the end of January which means that my period of transition between maternity leave and full time working is almost at an end.

How do I feel about that? Guilty. Proud. Ashamed. Relieved. Like a bad mum. Like a good mum.

‘Confused’ probably sums it up nicely.

I’ve used January as a way to ease myself back into work, into normal life, a routine, or, as my husband put it, reality.

Maternity leave was the most incredible, special and amazing thing. It was like a little bubble of awesomeness! But all bubbles burst in the end.

This is real life. And it’s bloody confusing.

I have chosen to return to work full time and, as of February 1st, that’s exactly what I am doing. My month of easing myself into work is over and I am back, full throttle, foot on the gas, raring to go etc. etc. And you know what? I cannot wait.

My career has always been important to me. Not so important that I put off having children, mind you; it’s 2017 for goodness sake, why shouldn’t I work full time and be an amazing Mummy? Who says that isn’t possible?

I have worked hard to get where I am. I am lucky to work in a great company with fantastic colleagues and a supportive boss. To go to work everyday and do something I enjoy; how many people can say that? And why would I choose to give that up?

But it’s tough.

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Family time is extra special now.

Felix is still attending all his classes, just not with me. He sees his friends, just not with me. He learns new words and moves around for the first time, just not for me.

I struggled with this at first. Picking him up and hearing about how he had been unsettled at a group he used to love. Hearing how he’d learnt a new sound or developed a new facial expression. It broke my heart.

But then I learnt to treasure every moment we have together. We go out at weekends. We paint, play with animals and go for walks. We read books, play with toys and see his friends. We take hundreds of photos capturing the good moments and the not so good ones.

I was there the first time he said Mama and Dada. I’m there for him when he wakes in the night from a bad dream. I saw him sit up and play in the bath for the first time. I witnessed his first (albeit heavily aided) steps with the walker.

I’m still his Mummy and he still loves me. I know that.

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Baby steps!

Going back to work isn’t for everyone and I understand that. In fact, I take my hat off to those people who stay at home with their children. But it’s just not me.

I want a piece of me back, and I love it.

I have my own identity. Being a Mummy to Felix is my motivation. It pushes me to be the very best that I can be and it has taught me and changed me so much already. But being a mummy does not define who I am. Neither does being a wife.

I am Mummy, Mrs and Me. In that order.

Do I feel guilty about that? Sure I do. Is it selfish that I still want a part of my old self? Yeah, maybe. Am I ashamed of looking forward to returning to work? Definitely.

But, am I proud of the person I am? Of the Mummy I am to Felix and the wife I am to Darryl? You bet I am.

I’m not the best, but I am giving it my everything. I have good days and bad days. Most days I am just winging it as I go along. But I am loving every second of this new reality.

Bring it on!

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Love my Winging It sweatshirt from Selfish Mother!