Lifelong friendships or “seasonal” companionships?

As my little boy gets older and I start to notice him at the very edge of that toddler stage of making friends, it occurs to me that I haven’t really thought about my own friendships for a long time. I mean, I see my friends – they come round for tea, we chat, moan, deliberate and generally have good conversation. But I haven’t “evaluated” my friendships in a long while.

Should I? Do you?

You see, I recently had a sad moment where I found an old friend was no longer a friend at all. Or at least, she didn’t see herself as being that to me anymore. And whilst I can recall some of those moments of change with other friends, this one struck a chord.

So, I started to evaluate. In these early grown-up years, where motherhood and family life is so apparent and friendships almost take a back seat, I started to think about who my friends were – what type of friendship we had, if that friendship was lacking anywhere that I could fix. And, quite honestly, I feel I’ve made some progress with some of those. That makes me feel better.

But thinking about this sort of stuff often makes me want to sit and brainstorm/mind map/thought shower/whatever. I think best by getting things down on paper, in lists or plans or some other visual form. Anyone else do that?

I think I must be a visual thinker, because that’s exactly what I did. I got paper, I got my planner, I made a list of free nights, days and spare weekend time (which isn’t much when you’re a working mum in the late stages of pregnancy with a toddler and a husband and a family to see!) I made a few plans with a few people, threw in a few purposeful conversations and sent out a couple of texts. And I feel better.

Because it’s hard when you realise that what you thought was a lifelong friendship became a seasonal friendship, and even harder when that season ends. But maybe being on the cusp of creating some lifelong friendships makes that better, OK even? There was a time in my life where I needed someone and that someone was there. Maybe now I need someone or something else.

Maybe my son will still be friends in twenty years with the friends he’s beginning to make now (wouldn’t that be amazing?) but it’s unlikely. His friends now will be seasonal, until school or slightly beyond maybe. Then those friends may last until university. And other friends will come and go until he gets to the point where I am now – where I can list amazing friends who were there at the right moment. And others who’ve been there all along.

And now, in new moments, there are new friends. And that’s OK.

Thanks for reading! All likes, shares, retweets and comments are appreciated and I love seeing all of them! You can find me on Facebook at or on Twitter at @mumwriting. Thanks for being so lovely and listening to my ramblings on a Wednesday lunchtime…


The Stomach

IMG_3879 (2)

The Stomach. Is that one up there mine, is it not mine? Maybe I’ll never tell you. Maybe you’ll never guess. Maybe you’ll try to guess and get it wrong. But isn’t that the dream?

Yeah, I know, I know. Stretch marks are something to be proud of – to cherish and own because they prove that you carried your child for nine months and that is one heck of an achievement. I follow the Instagram account @loveyourlines and it is beautiful. I cannot stress enough how beautiful it is and how proud so many women are of their bodies.

But you see Cave, and Warrior and all these other fitness schemes make it so hard to be proud of excess weight. Slimming World and Weight Watchers are giving it to you from the other side. If it’s not the muscle it’s the pounds, if it’s not the pounds it’s the fitness. And I can’t get my head around any of it.

It comes at us from so many angles. And that stomach is why. Because before children stomachs like those are all over the place. Then you have a kid and you maybe make it back to that… almost. Then you have another and maybe another after that.

And it’s not about the weight. Yes, I snack a lot whilst pregnant. Yes, it worries me – not enough to stop me but it does cross my mind. But what it’s really about is being a good mum after you’ve given birth. Weight or no weight, being a good mum comes first. Always.

Sometimes it worries me to say that I want that stomach back (yes, it’s mine). It worries me because I don’t want to place The Stomach on a higher priority than my children. Cave, Weight Watchers, whatever…

So I’m reaching out – help me keep my children first. And help me to be proud of my body and what it’s done and is doing. But help me get The Stomach too. And mostly help me to keep those things in the right priority order.

Because I want to be a good mum.

And then I want to feel proud of myself.

And then I want The Stomach.

Thanks for reading! Come find me on Twitter at @mumwriting or Facebook at All of this is so new to me but the encouragement, the likes, shares, retweets and comments all help and make me smile! Thanks guys. There’s lots of good blogs on this link down beneath as well 🙂

Friday Five 30/01/2015

Five Reasons Why Snow Days Make Me Feel Like a Bad Mum.

Having worked in a school for the last four and a half years, I know the flurry of excitement that snow days can cause amongst staff and students. We are constantly on “snow watch” and love it when we get the early morning text to say school is closed.

However, then starts the Facebook mass of snowman photos and pictures of kids all togged up in hats and wellies, having selfies with parents and basically enjoying life to the maximum. But all of these add to why snow days make me feel like a bad mum.

1) Snow days become pyjama days.

I’m sorry, but the idea of getting a 20 month old all dressed up in wellies, a hat, gloves that don’t fit properly and and all-in-one snowsuit, just to mess about with cold water for 20 minutes until he gets too cold, complains and wants to come in is not appealing to me. Sitting in our pyjamas figuring out how to TiVo episodes of Zingzillas and having cups of tea appeals to me.

2) My Instagram Snow Pictures should all be entitled “The View From the Window.”

They will be there. You will find them. But they will be views from windows and not selfies of me and my boy outside looking cold and wet.

3) I Do Not Want to Build a Snowman.

Let me make this clear. I do not want to build a snowman, I do not want you to sing the song with me or for me to sing it with my child. That song has probably increased my bad-mum-snow-day factor as it actually makes me not want to even listen to the Frozen Soundtrack (a favourite in our house!) I would rather sing anything else.

4) I am dreading snowy school runs.

I’m no where near that yet, but I am absolutely dreading getting two boys up, dressed, and snow-geared amongst snowy excitement. And so many parents seem to get there only to find schools shut or get home to realise they have to go back to pick them up!

5) I don’t want to do snow crafts.

I love Pinterest but I hardly use it for stuff to do parenting. Why? Because parents like to show off on there about all the snowy crafty things they’ve made. An igloo or a food colouring rainbow or icy balloon spheres. No thanks. Show offs. Want to know why we’ve done so far? Eaten breakfast, watched Bing and the Zingzillas, I’ve had a cup of tea, taken one photo out of the window and for us, that’s a snow day.

Later, we’ll get the blanket out, maybe try making a cosy fort or doing some sticker books. We will probably only make it out of our pyjamas if someone texts to say they’re coming over. But even then it’ll probably only be me that gets dressed. No cares if your kid is still in pyjamas. Time for another cup of tea.

Thanks for reading! Please share, like, comment, retweet or whatever else you’d like to do! I’m on Facebook at and Twitter at @mumwriting. Come find me! Enjoy your snow day 😉

That’s My Normal


My husband is away with work this week. For some of you, that’s no big deal. Your husbands go away regularly for weeks at a time. It’s your normal. I do get that.

But it’s not our normal. I put off thinking about it until I actually woke up yesterday morning at 7:30am. Yes, I cried. I cried again as he left. Maybe it’s the hormones! I am 30 weeks pregnant after all. Maybe it’s the thought of being 30 weeks pregnant and looking after a little one by myself. Luckily I have a hugely helpful family and wonderful friends who are doing anything and everything this week to help us out.

As the little one splashed about in the bath and I got his towel off the radiator I started thinking about how our little person is actually a little piece of my husband. And, with a happy song playing on Spotify, I got him out of the bath, wrapped in a towel and we had a little cuddle and a dance. It was a really beautiful moment. I was watching him in the mirror and picking out the little parts of him that were his dad’s and not mine – his blonde hair, his blue eyes, his cheekiness.

The song ended and Spotify shuffled through the playlist landing on David Gray’s The One I Love – a song that is one of “ours”. You know, most couples have a list of songs that are “theirs”.

“Send a little prayer out to you across the falling dark…”

That did it. I was ruined. The tears started again and I wiped my eyes on my child’s towel as he watched me and blinked (it’s his new thing… blame Mr Tumble!) He never seemed upset by me crying, in fact I’m pretty sure he thought I was playing a game with him.

But today, my bad mum confession is that my 20 month old “read” his own bedtime story, whilst I composed myself enough to sing Twinkle Twinkle to him.

My little boy is a tiny piece of his dad that I can cling to when his dad’s not here and that is a beautiful thing. My bump is currently making the laptop move as it sits on my lap. I am not alone. But a little piece of him is not him.

Last week when I was ill and didn’t blog, I posted a link on my Facebook page to an article about putting spouses before children. Go and find it if you didn’t get chance to read it, it’s very good. It reminds me that although my children are such a huge priority in life at the moment, I must continue to put my husband first. And if I’m honest, for me, that’s easy. He will always come first. That’s my normal. That’s why breaking down over a line in a David Gray song doesn’t worry me, or waking up in the morning in tears because it was the day I’d been pretending would never come doesn’t seem like an issue.

I’m a mum, yes. But that ring on my finger makes me a wife first. That’s my normal.

Thanks for reading! Please share, like, enjoy, retweet, comment and (constructively) criticise if necessary! Head on over to my Facebook page at or at Twitter at @mumwriting. Thanks!

Face, Wall, Smack

10593374_302062070001428_1148104922_nI woke, uncomfortable because I’m pregnant with what appears to be a very tiny footballer who only likes to move when I want to be still, and needed the toilet. I know most Mums know the inner conversation between staying in the cosy, warm bed and getting up for what feels like the fourth time that night to hop across to the bathroom. Pregnancy has those moments and they suck. The choice is difficult. I chose the latter.

Awake but not quite awake, I reached for the dresser to steady myself as my other hand reached for the door to open it. Unfortunately the dresser was somehow not where I thought it was going to be. My hand slipped through the air just inches next to it’s intended destination and in those fleeting moments I realised that the wall was exactly where I thought it was going to be.

As I said… face, wall, smack.

Luckily, I have a husband who held me through the quiet sobs that followed as I held my poor head and my hip which had somehow found the dresser that my hand had missed. “It’s just the shock,” he told me as I started to check for bumps. Eventually I felt steady enough to actually make the trip to the bathroom and it was only then when I checked the time. It was 7am. Had I known it was so close to wake-up time (as I’ve previously mentioned, we have a good sleeper – 8am is not unheard of in our house, especially at the weekends) I’d have just held it in. Clearly our blackout curtains do their job well!

So apparently pregnancy makes me clumsy. This is the third time I’ve given myself bruises, the first two incidents involving the stairs. The first one confused the heck out of me as my foot turned purple on the top, even though I’d slipped and taken an open stair gate clean off the stairs with the edge of my foot (picture above).

Smacking my head on the wall is not something I intend to make a habit of. You see, after the “OhMyGoodness” and the “Ouch” and the “Are you kidding me?” thoughts had passed, the next one was “Please don’t let that have woken my child.” And it was the same thought I’d had as I sat crying at the bottom of the stairs, foot in hand, stair gate on floor.

Since becoming a Mum I seem to have been reprogrammed. “Please don’t wake my child” is a regular thought, every day – whether it be the postman knocking or the phone ringing or the microwave beeping. My washing machine beeps when it finishes so I don’t set it to finish after I’ve put N#1 down for a nap. My wardrobe is on the other side of the same wall next to his cot so I don’t open or close it after he’s asleep.

What is it I’m so afraid of? If he woke I could easily get him back to sleep. I often do if he wakes from a bad dream or for some other reason. It’s just the way I’m wired these days. My face hits a wall and I don’t fear I may have concussion, I fear my child will suffer from my pain by waking too early. I slide down the stairs and hit the stair gate – whether my toes can move is second behind whether my son has noticed the noise.

I’m trying to think of other examples where my thinking has been changed by becoming a parent and it all really bottles down to this – my child comes before me.

Yes, being pregnant does mean that I’m carrying a child and need to protect that one just as much. Believe me, I’m doing all I can not to fall down another flight of stairs! But I’m talking about in general, as a parent, my child’s needs and wants come before my own.

How strange. That I spent nearly 24 years of my life putting myself first. I mean, I’m a nice person (I hope!) and I’ll make you a cup of tea, bring a meal round if you’re ill, give you an old piece of furniture if you need if and we don’t anymore – but I was selfish. It was me first. It’s in our nature to be that way. You might not like to admit it, but you should. It’s kind of freeing to realise your own inner selfishness. But how completely ridiculous that the whole idea of that can turn on it’s head within minutes of meeting another human being. My human being. I made him, he’s an amalgamation of me and my husband. And now he comes first and I never made that decision, it just happened.

So now for every “face, wall, smack…”

there comes a “child still sleeping?”.

Thanks for reading! You can now find me on Twitter at @mumwriting, or Facebook at Come and find me so we can share posts, likes, comments and more stories about life!

From Attachment Parented Child to Ferber Mum (Part Two)

Last week I wrote about the first half of our journey into “sleep training” (of sorts). Thank you for all the responses, it was my most read and commented post! You can read part one here if you missed it. So here’s the second part of our journey, although I will say it is by no means the end of the road. Dealing with children and sleep is a major issue for many, many parents and goes on until they leave home! Enjoy reading the next part of our story…

And so something changed. We stopped spending hours per day or night rocking him…

My research into sleep training was extensive. No way was I going to do something I was uncomfortable with or put my child through anything that I thought could harm him. It took a while of reading different methods and people’s reviews and experiences but eventually I found what I was after – Ferber. Our boy had become dependent on being rocked to sleep. As Ferber described it, this was his sleep association. N#1 knew that when he was rocked that meant it was time to sleep. What he didn’t know, and what we’d never taught him was that saying goodnight, turning out the lights and putting him in his cot also meant it was time to sleep. He was waking up in the night and thinking “Hey, why am I not being rocked anymore? Mum? Dad? Why is no one rocking me? This isn’t right!” Ferber compares it to an adult falling asleep with a pillow and waking up without one. How annoyed would you be?

In my heart of hearts I felt that this was the right thing, but the more I researched the more I found the one thing I’d always been scared of – judgement. Boy, were some folks on the internet mean! The backlash that parents were receiving for simply admitting that they were considering using Ferber’s method was horrible. Why? Because it involves crying. Sometimes not much, sometimes hardly any, sometimes a lot. Having read and reread so many accounts of parents who have used Ferber’s ideas I am convinced that this method was not the right method for those children who cried a lot. Maybe they didn’t read Ferber’s book properly, maybe they didn’t read it at all, but “Ferberization” as it’s known in the States, is for training a child to sleep who has a specific issue. It doesn’t work for every child who sleeps badly. It won’t work if your child’s sleep concern is not to do with sleep association.

And you know what? The more parents I spoke to about what we were doing, the more parents opened up about their own experiences. People will generally ask “And does he sleep well?” but no one ever offers their own experience until someone opens up and does it first.

So, confident that we were doing the right thing, my husband and I set about on night one of “sleep training”. I fed N#1, burped him, sang to him and put him in his cot. He began to cry. I sat and listened as I waited out the first interval of five minutes. I went back in to him after the time was up, spoke gently, sang again and then left. The crying continued as we waited out the next interval of ten minutes. I started to cry. After the ten minutes I did the same thing again and left. Luckily we never made it to the fifteen minute interval – he fell asleep. He woke twice in the night and after a feed we started the same routine. Both times he fell asleep before the fifteen minute interval.

Night two came and I was terrified. I knew I couldn’t go through it again. I’d cave in knowing he was crying for the second night in a row. I needn’t have worried – he fell asleep as soon as I left the room. No crying, nothing.

I’m not saying it worked straight away, was a smooth transition or especially that we’ve never had to deal with a bad night since. Teething, changes to routines and all sorts of issues have messed with what we just call our “bedtime routine”. But at twenty months old we now put N#1 in his pyjamas, read a bedtime story, sing “Twinkle Twinkle” and he goes to sleep. Most nights, we don’t hear from him again until morning.

I can’t sit here and tell you to do what we did because it was so fantastic. It worked for us, and for all you sleepless Mummies out there that’s as much as I can offer. Find something that worked for you and your family, that you feel comfortable with – whether that’s co-sleeping, Ferberization, or a mixture of the two. Even now we have nights where something goes wrong and we sit and deliberate how to deal with it. With N#2 on the way I can’t even say we’ll do the same thing again. We’ll do whatever works.

I will give one piece of advice though – trust your instincts as a mother. I have never been so sure that as your child grows, so do your internal motherly instincts. Those gut feelings are usually right and I would suggest you go with them.

Thank you for reading Part Two – I hope you enjoyed reading about another part of my life as a mum! I know the idea of sleep training can be a touchy subject but all views and opinions  and encouragement are welcomed here! My next post will be up on Wednesday, focusing on writing (Mum Mondays, Writing Wednesdays, Friday Five). Your comments and constructive criticism (on the blog itself) are welcomed. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @mumwriting.

From Attachment Parented Child to Ferber Mum (Part One)

IMG_5433(Whilst my blog is still majorly small and at the beginning stages of it’s life, I thought I’d take the risk of posting something… controversial. This is Part One of a two-part blog on how and why we decided to “sleep train” our son – if that’s what you want to call it. Please read, please comment, but please be aware that I know this subject causes a lot of judgement. Comments of a bad nature will not be approved. Thanks for reading!)

When my sister and I were little we were always welcome in our parents’ bed. Nightmares, “can’t sleeps”, bedtime cuddles, even Saturday morning breakfast – our parents’ bed was the venue for all of those things.  I don’t know for sure if my Mum would say she followed the rules of Attachment Parenting or even if the term ‘Attachment Parenting’ existed back then, but if she looked it up now I’m pretty sure she’d say that’s what she did. My sister and I were happy. Our childhood is something we look back on fondly and we’re proud to say we have great relationships with our parents now. We wouldn’t change a thing.

So it came as no surprise that when I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy, it was my Mum that I went to for advice on pretty much everything. When my son (who I’ll refer to as N#1) decided he didn’t want to sleep on his back any more my Mum came, placed him on his side (as she had done with me when I was a baby) and looked after him while he slept peacefully, allowing me to get a couple of hours rest too.

I decided to breastfeed for as long as possible, and eventually at four and a half months started to introduce formula due to other health issues that I had. I was proud of my four and a half months and I think (hope) my Mum was too. She never questioned the move to formula; in fact she was on hand to help when N#1 refused the bottle, bringing me latex teats which were apparently the only ones that I would accept as a baby. He eventually got to the point where he took any bottle, latex or otherwise, like a champ.

It was no revelation for my Mum when I admitted that for his early morning feeds I brought N#1 into bed with me and my husband. After all, she’d done the same with us. It was a relief to know that there was some support out there for co-sleeping – the now official term for letting your children sleep in your own bed. Posters and adverts were constantly telling new parents about the risks of co-sleeping and the dangers it might bring about for your child. I worried that people would judge. Instead, I found that most were doing the same thing or had done in the past, it’s just that no one told anyone. We found something that worked for us as a family.

Then one day, it didn’t work anymore. We spent a few weeks noticing N#1’s gradually worsening sleep patterns. He refused to fall asleep unless he was being held, rocked, patted, or a combination of all three. Once asleep we would try to lay him in his cot and he would immediately wake and fuss. So we picked him up again and resumed the rocking and patting until we thought we could attempt the cot-manoeuvre again. This routine could take hours.

And it wasn’t just the beginning of the night either. My husband and I would find ourselves taking shifts in the middle of the night to rock and pat N#1 back to sleep after a feed while the other attempted to get some rest. It was hard and people that we spoke to about it were adamant – that’s just how babies are sometimes. But we were surviving on just a few hours of sleep a night and that set off other problems.

My lack of sleep was causing me to have seizures, a condition which I has suffered with through pregnancy but seemed to disappear after giving birth. So the return of my seizures meant that I didn’t feel comfortable co-sleeping anymore, an arrangement which had often been our 4am fall-back plan. One night, while rocking N#1 at something past three in the morning I had felt a seizure about to come on and had just made it to get him out of my arms and back into his cot before it started. I felt like an unsafe mother. Something had to change.

Thank you for reading Part One! Part Two will be up next Monday as is my schedule (Mum Mondays, Writing Wednesdays, Friday Five). Your comments and constructive criticism (on the blog itself) are welcomed. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @mumwriting.