Gossip Girl, sleepless nights… Oh, and a baby!

 So… It’s been a while! But for all who we’re waiting and wondering, if you haven’t already heard, we added another little boy to our bundle on the 31st March! A scheduled induction due to medical issues that resulted in a hard and fast labour and a baby boy who shot out like a rocket (though I distinctly remember saying “I don’t think I can push one more time”) resulting in a beautiful miracle who doesn’t sleep. Or at least, doesn’t sleep during the night!

I’m tempted to write my birth story this time, because I didn’t with my first, but I don’t know of people like reading that sort of stuff! And I would never impose that on any still-pregnant lady, although funnily enough they’re often the ones who want to hear those stories the most!!

But in between the marathon sessions of Gossip Girl that cover the marathon middle-of-the-night feeding sessions, I thought I should at least let you all know I’m alive and well! With three amazing boys who I love with all my heart. Outnumbered indeed, in the best possible way. 

So expect posts on how breastfeeding the second time around is completely different to the first, ways to settle a newborn that do (and don’t) work, what it’s like having two under two (for at least a couple of months), and how wonderful my boys are and how life would be so amazing if I could just sleep for more than two hours straight!

Thanks for reading! Come find me on Facebook at Facebook.com/mumwriting or on Twitter at @mumwriting and let me know what else you’d like to hear about! The first few weeks with a new baby at home are full of things people are Googling every day at 2am!! I’d be happy to add my voice to the list of opinions! 

How to Dress Post-Baby

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Aside from the “Great Dress Debate” of the past week or so (don’t ask me what colour it is – I’ve seen it both ways!) fashion is always something people are talking about. Whether it’s what someone wore down the red carpet or the tracksuit a celebrity was spotted in when they popped out to get milk, you can pretty much tell that someone is always watching.

When you make the decision to start having kids, you almost have to accept straight away that your wardrobe will change and evolve with your role. To start, there are the short-shorts and the bikinis that you know will have to go away for at least a while (if not forever – as a mum of boys I feel I may have to re-evaluate some of my pre-baby clothes).

Whilst pregnant you will, of course, opt for comfort over fashion, though it is possible to achieve both. However, there will inevitably be times when you can’t be bothered to put together an outfit and instead you just want to pull on pyjamas or leggings and a t-shirt. Fair play, I think, in pregnancy. Just the other night I spent half the evening in actual trousers (comfy ones) but switched to leggings because the waistband was digging in where I think the baby’s head has dropped to. Comfort is the name of the game, especially at this late stage!

But after baby comes a choice – return to fashion, stick with function (especially if breastfeeding) or try to merge the two. Having been through that period once before, here’s how I plan to handle it this time around.

Strappy vests and floaty tops: I’m not shelling out £15 for a specific nursing vest top. Call me frugal but I would rather buy 6 or 7 cheap vest tops from (shock horror) Primark, knowing that they’ll probably get stained with milk or baby sick and I can throw them away afterwards. They pull down easily and, with a range of colours, you’ll always be able to at least match something with them. Over the top of a strappy vest, I would pick a floaty top. That way, if you are nursing, you can pull that top up and the vest down, giving you great cover to be discreet and not draw attention to yourself.

Long cardigans: Again, great for nursing and gives you fantastic cover, but they are also great for your figure. Post-baby there’s always bits that you’d rather hide and long cardigans do a great job of that. Not only do they elongate your figure (especially if they come down past your bum!) but they will make whatever’s inside the cardigan seem smaller, so that post-baby tummy is buried beneath the woollen layers!

Tight bottom halves: whether it’s leggings, jeans or skirts, figure hugging bottoms can do wonders. For a start, wherever you’ve put weight on, you’ll lose it first off those places it wouldn’t normally be, like your face and/or legs. So choosing slim-fitting bottoms evens out the whole image, especially if you’re going for the layered look on top. If you feel stuck between your pre-pregnancy jeans and your maternity pair, think about borrowing or investing in a pair that feel good now, rather than ones that used to fit or ones that you’re aiming to fit into. You’ll always feel good if you have a pair of jeans that fit well.

Flat shoes: Carrying a baby and all their paraphernalia can be tricky, even more so with a toddler in tow as well. Think flat, comfortable but stylish. I will probably continue to live in the flat shoes I’ve been wearing throughout pregnancy – boots, ballerina-style pumps and converse-esque trainers. All flat, comfy and still fashionable.

Jumpers: There will be some days when you’ll feel so down about your body that you will just want to hide away under a jumper. That’s OK, on some days. But these will be the days when your husband needs to step up his game, tell you that you’re beautiful, how proud he is of you and how he can’t believe his luck. It’s good to have a few cosy jumpers on hand, but it helps if they’re ones that you like, rather than ones that make you feel frumpy.

All in all ladies, post-baby, you have to do whatever you can to make yourself feel comfy and good. The two can mix, and when you hit the right combination not only do you feel more like yourself, but you can see that hint of yummy-mummy appearing. And the more you see that, the bigger it’ll get until you can give yourself that title and feel proud of it.

Because you are a yummy mummy – after all, someone found you attractive enough to put you in this position in the first place!!

That’s my fashion-plan for the next few months – what are your tips and tricks for a post-baby wardrobe?

Friday Five 13/02/2015 – Five Reasons I Won’t be Seeing Fifty Shades of Grey this Weekend.

P0052_036Five Reasons I Won’t Be Seeing Fifty Shades of Grey This Weekend

So there’s this film coming out. You’ve probably heard about it. It’s based on a book written not too long ago. I know plenty of people who’ve read it. In fact, I started to read the first one because it came preloaded with some other best sellers on my Kindle. I think I probably read just under half of it.

And then I stopped. And despite “Mr Grey” being a Once Upon a Time actor whom I would have liked to have seen act in something else, Fifty Shades isn’t on our list of things to do this weekend. Why?

1) My husband and I already have Valentines plans.

They are to sit and watch the most recent episode of the Blacklist, to tick off another idea pulled out of our date night jar (which is to do a couples quiz and then discuss our answers), and to eat our favourite foods. That’s it, that’s all we have planned. Some may find that a bit sad. It’s not sad. Nor is it comfortable. We will be doing something we enjoy together, learning new things about each other and enjoying eating things without sharing them with our child!

We will be spending time together – time that matters in a busy life with a new-born on the way in a few weeks. What better Valentine gift to give than our time, that so easily slips away from us to other things?

2) I respect my husband and he respects me.

No one can escape the Fifty Shades articles that have been flying around recently, but I’ve done my best. Why? Because I’m not interested. I respect my husband too much to expect him to sit through what is essentially a film from a book written so that women can swoon and imagine what a different life would be like. I don’t need a different life.

Nor does my husband, and it’s not just the idea of the book/film, it’s the content. I think we’re all pretty clear where Fifty Shades goes. My husband respects me too much to want, need or expect me to act the way the characters in the book/film do. And I love that about him.

3) Things change when you have kids. Or maybe sons? I’m sure other mums can give their opinions on this, but I want to bring my sons up in such a way that I teach them to respect women. That will start with them learning to respect me and continue, eventually, with their future wives.

How the character in this story acts is not how I want my sons to act. It’s not how I want them to treat women, so why set that example for them now by going to see this film that’s whole intention is to make me want to be treated that way?

4) I am heavily pregnant and the girl in this film is a stick.

Nothing against skinny people – I used to be one! (Isn’t the word skinny awful? Slim, I should say.) But at 32 and a half weeks pregnant, I’m not sure seeing a tiny girl writhing around is going to make me feel any better about how I feel right now. My aching back and pelvis, the extra weight I’ve put on my face, my daily changing body shape is all a hugely amazing gift from God because it means I’m carrying a tiny (pretty big) boy.

But that doesn’t mean I want to be reminded of it by seeing a slim (see, that’s better) brunette, in gorgeous clothes who’s had her hair and make up done by a skilled team of professionals, being seduced in front of me. Because it reminds me that right now I am huge, aching constantly, dealing with Braxton Hicks regularly and feeling feet digging into my ribs. Happy Valentines Day (not)!

5) For me, Valentines Day means something else.

From a very young age, my sister and I both received Valentines cards. Every year. I’m not being big headed – they were from our dad. We knew that and he knew that we knew. But it made the day special. We went to school with smiles on our faces. Ever since then, Valentines day has meant reminding someone just how wonderful they are.

It’s a day to feel loved, to be made to feel special and wanted – just like every other day of the year. But people forget in the day to day chaos of life how special they are and sometimes need reminding. So that’s what Valentines day does. In the whirlwind of life that gets us all stressed, emotional and constantly bombarded with real life, this is one day, maybe one card, perhaps even one person or picture or greeting as you walk into work that says “Happy Valentines Day” and reminds you that you’re special. You’re someone to be remembered and treasured and valued. I’ll write one card for the one person who, above everyone else, makes me feel valued to remind him just how valuable he is to me.

So why would I spoil that intimacy with a film about a book that was written to satisfy millions?

Thanks for reading! I know there are a lot of opinions on this topic, so from this I’ll keep my mouth shut, but if you agree with anything I’ve written please like, share, retweet or comment. Your opinions matter. You can also find me on Facebook at facebook.com/mumwriting or Twitter at @mumwriting

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Reality Setting In – 32 weeks and counting…

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I’m registered with the What to Expect website, have the book and use the app when I forget how many weeks I am (apparently with baby number two it’s less “counting down the days” and more “where did the days go?”) Every so often I get an email from them. I usually delete it without reading them – after all, I read them all meticulously with the first. However, recently things have started to catch my eye.

Other mums due in April are packing hospital bags. If I’m 100% honest, packing a hospital bag hadn’t even crossed my mind yet. I mean, I haven’t been out to buy maternity pads yet or washed any baby clothes in readiness.

All of our baby clothes are in the loft.

The ridiculous amount of preparation that was a part of the build up to baby number one has drifted with baby number two. We said we were going to get our big kid in a bed before the baby arrived… no bed yet. Infant car seat? Loft. Pram attachment for pushchair? Loft.

The one thing I have done is ordered baby nappies – there was an offer. But only size 2 so we’ll probably want some smaller ones first anyway. I bought a nursing top to take into hospital with me. But only because it was on offer in Aldi. And now people are packing hospital bags.

Who are these people? And do they have two toothbrushes? Do they have special “hospital wear” that they can pack now and know they won’t need until then? Do they have an extra comb?

The other thing that I noticed the other day? Pain in my pelvis. Not in my ribs anymore, as has been the case for the past couple of months. Pain at the bottom, not the top. We’re moving downwards folks!

I got the gym ball out because it eases so much of the achiness and, when I can get it off my child who thinks it’s hilarious to throw around a giant ball, it’s really helpful. But I don’t think we actually bought the gym ball the first time around until at least 35 weeks and my stomach is definitely bigger now than it was at this stage last time.

“Have you got everything ready?” is the question people like to ask at the moment. “No!” The answer is no, because in my head I’m still somewhere between 12 and 20 weeks pregnant and think I have all the time in the world. I don’t even have anywhere for the baby to sleep yet. We could use the Moses basket from last time but if he’s another whopper he won’t fit in it very long and I’m not putting a 12 week old in a room with a two year old! I’ve been looking at BedNests but haven’t ordered one.

In fact, I’ve done nothing.

32 weeks and counting…

Thanks for reading! I hope you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read – take a look around to find posts on other parenting issues like the “Mummy Tummy” or how your friendships change when you have children. You can also find me on Facebook at facebook.com/mumwriting or on Twitter at @mumwriting. All of your likes, shares, comments and retweets are appreciated – you’re stars!

The List

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Friday Five 06/02/2015 – Five Things That Scare Me about Being a Mum of Two

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I can’t wait to have two kids. I really, honestly, can’t. I’m so looking forward to seeing them interact and learn about each other and, eventually, play together. But I can’t say the prospect is totally fear-free. In fact, there are a few things that I’m scared of…

1) Mealtimes

This is probably my biggest fear. I remember not long after having my first, being proud of myself for managing to get the tea on the table and the baby asleep at the same time so that my husband and I could eat an evening meal together. How am I going to do that whilst entertaining a toddler as well? Yes, he’s getting better at playing by himself and the likes of Peppa Pig are often a blessing – especially when I’m trying to make dinner! But with a baby too? A baby who, in the first few months, is going to be totally unpredictable in terms of feeding, sleeping and pooing.

Mealtimes are something we’re working on with my little one at the moment. He loves finger food and hates actual meals like Stir Fry or Pasta Bolognese. So we’re working on a schedule with him at the moment where one day we eat a meal that I know has at least two preferred foods of his in, and then the next day we have a regular family meal. He’s just having to deal with it and it’s hard. (Strategies welcomed!) But doing all of that AND feeding a baby? Aargh!

2) Bedtimes

We have a great routine at the moment, but that will all change as we hope to get the first one into a bed before baby comes! So it’ll be all change there. But it’s so handy having two adults and one child to deal with. We tag team and it works well. But what do bigger families do?

Do two-child families have a kid each? Do you take it in turns so that each parent gets a night off? Or is it just all hands on deck, whatever goes? Again, strategies for this kind of thing would be great! Can we bath a baby at the same time as bathing a two year old? (The eldest only has oil in the bath because he has dry skin patches). Or will we have to do two bath times, two bedtimes and two routines entirely?

3) TV Judgement

Can we be honest here for a minute? Yes, our child watches TV. He also uses the iPad. Now, out of the two of them, we actually prefer iPad time because of the interaction, but he does have a couple of favourite programmes and (as I mentioned) Peppa is a genius at getting dinner ready!

Of course, we won’t just plonk the baby down in front of the TV. And there’ll be the new added element of sibling interaction to take some attention away from TV time. But when our two year old needs that quiet moment with Mr Tumble after an upset or an episode (or two) of Peppa so that tea can be ready on time… that’ll be when the health visitor turns up and sees a baby in the same room as a toddler and a TV. My second child’s first word will be Tumble. I can see it now. I’m not looking forward to the judgement (as there always is) about screen time.

We will be as adept as we can be at providing other activities for the two of them. But I think there may well always be time for Tumble…

4) Getting ready to leave the house

It’s already hard enough to get “coat, shoes, hat…” sorted for the boy whilst finding my boots, coat, scarf, keys, phone, purse and whatever else. I swear we carry the world around in that changing bag! I downsized at Christmas and got an absolutely beautiful, patterned bag in readiness for the new baby. I chucked out everything unnecessary that had found its way into that blasted thing and restocked and reorganised my beautiful new one. It works lovely at the weekends. Not so much on Grandparent Days (currently my working days) during which they might want his wellies, or posher clothes, or clothes for getting dirty in, or a waterproof coat, or extra nappies or… anything! I never know, so I try to stuff it all in there. We’re still using the old bag for that!

Will my beautiful new bag stay beautiful and not get completely ruined by the addition of extra nappies, muslins, spare clothes and bottles? I’m sure our old changing bag used to be lovely once… How is it going to be possible to get both of them ready, not sick or pooey or muddy, but dressed and clean AND myself on days when my husband isn’t in?

5) This may well be us.

Number four. This could be it. The last one. There are no plans for another. There were always plans for another after the first, despite how badly pregnancy and birth treated me! Now there are no plans other than to keep the four of us healthy and happy.

I’m not sad about that. If I was sad there would have been serious discussions and we would have come to some form of agreement, even if it was an agreement that for now we wouldn’t talk about it but maybe one day… There is no “one day…” discussion waiting to happen. So if I’m not sad about it, why does it scare me that maybe this is it? Can other mums shed some light?

Is it just that I need other friends to continually have children so that I can always enjoy new-born cuddles? Or is waiting for grandchildren my next round of nappies and muslins? I hope not, I’m only 25!!

Is this just the motherly instinct? Will that always be there? For now, let’s just deal with getting this one out safe and the eldest used to all the changes. Because there are a lot to come…

Thanks for reading! If you share some of the same worries, or have ways of dealing with them, PLEASE share your expertise. You can find me on Facebook at facebook.com/mumwriting or on Twitter at @mumwriting. You guys are brilliant, and your likes, shares, retweets and comments make me happy! Happy Friday!

The List

Lifelong friendships or “seasonal” companionships?

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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 facebook.com/mumwriting or on Twitter at @mumwriting. Thanks for being so lovely and listening to my ramblings on a Wednesday lunchtime…

The Stomach

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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 facebook.com/mumwriting. 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 🙂