This is The Mum Tag 2019! I was tagged by Twice Microwaved Tea to answer some questions about my experience of pregnancy and motherhood / parenthood, so here they are!
1. Favourite mum hack?
I have no ‘genius’ mum hacks – I think I need to learn some! My throw-it-all-in interim cleaning box in the toy room I do like, for those times when I just want to see the floor to hoover but haven’t got the time / inclination to go through all the Lego, princesses, superheroes and Playmobil. I also enjoy getting in the kitchen with Little C where, if we’ve not got the time or ingredients for baking fairy cakes, we cheat! We spread some ready-made icing on digestive biscuits and decorate with hundreds and thousands (no need for washing up!).
2. Most embarrassing mum moment?
My standards must have slipped as I often get dressed quite quickly these days, so it’s a treat to do my hair and make up. I’m not embarrassed when I go out though, most people I know are mostly busy admiring / looking after all of the little ones! One embarrassing moment happened when she was a baby though, one involving projectile poo. I was changing her nappy during a baby massage class. She was only about 3 weeks old, and managed to squirt poo across to the mortified new mum next to me, all over her white cardigan. Not nice. All I could do is offer some wet wipes and embarrassed mumbled apologies!
3. What part of the day do you love the most?
I love mid-morning. First thing in the morning it’s a little rushed and sometimes she can be a bit sleepy/grumpy, but mid-morning Little C is alert, happy and curious to learn. During this time, she can give lovely cuddles and is also fun to be with!
4. What part of the day do you like the least?
Tea time. The late afternoon / evening meal can be challenging to say the least. Sometimes she has zero interest in what’s on offer and is very reluctant to sit down and actually eat. It can be a little frustrating and it’s difficult not to tear your hair out sometimes. (This fab book ‘Get your kids to eat anything‘ is a great help though!)
5. The worst thing someone said to you when you were pregnant?
I didn’t appreciate hearing “enjoy your sleep now, as you won’t when the baby comes along” as I had terrible insomnia and probably slept as badly during pregnancy as I did through early motherhood! However, the worst thing someone said to me when I was pregnant came from a midwife. My usual midwife was away one week so someone was filling in for her. I get the sentiment, she was trying to explain that you can have a birth plan, but don’t expect it to always go to the letter.
However, I was a bit scared to hear a story about a woman with a life-threatened uterine rupture, and the midwife explaining how she had to basically ‘hold it together’ whilst the lady was wheeled in for emergency treatment. It was just the way she told it. I did a lot of research on most kinds of scenario, but this one was a little too graphic for a regular midwife appointment!
6. Baby name you didn’t agree on?
We mostly agreed on baby names, and those that we didn’t went straight off the list (and I can’t remember them to be honest!). I do remember one that we didn’t agree on though and that is the boy’s name Leo.
7. Do you co-sleep?
I never wanted to co-sleep, as personally I like the space in my bed, but when she was in the Moses Basket I was very close to her. Nowadays, we don’t share the same bed, but I do lie down with her every night while she falls asleep. Some people say you are making a rod for your own back, but I disagree. Both her Daddy and I will sit with her for as long as she needs us to. I doubt very much she’ll want us there in her teens!
8. Something you bought but never used?
I bought a changing bag when I saw it on special offer, it was an absolute bargain (so I thought) but it turned out to be totally impractical. I used it once, it was a satchel type bag with a flap, and right in the middle of a baby class I picked it up and everything fell on the floor. After that I went out and found a bag that was way more practical (with a zip and a huge comfy shoulder strap). You quickly learn that your changing bag is pretty much attached to you for the first couple of years of your child’s life so it’s important to get it right!
9. 3 Hospital bag must-haves?
I love music (as much as life itself sometimes!) so having a constant flow for labour and childbirth was essential, so having a fully charged phone was important to me. I used sleep-phones which are headphones you can sleep in (kind of like a head band) so as not to disturb others on the ward. My other must-have was a TENS machine which definitely helped me deal with the pain of contractions. I couldn’t narrow my hospital bag down to just three as there are way too many important things to remember!
10. Are you a routine mum or a go-with-the flow mum and what does bedtime look like?
I must admit that even though I am very much a ‘yes’ mum and like to get involved with lots of things, I am also a stickler for routine. Young children also thrive on routine and know what to expect so I think routine is key. After lots of activity / indoor playtime after dinner, we try to slowly start winding down as part of the bedtime routine, and have a bit of sensible screen time prior to going upstairs. We always aim to be upstairs by 7 p.m, although this is earlier if she is having a bath or a shower. Once upstairs, we might play one more game together as a family, then get changed into pyjamas.
Then we read several ‘big’ books out of bed and then clean our teeth. After teeth, it’s time to get into bed where we then read her several smaller books. We have lots of favourite books that she likes to read and I’m glad that we can share them with her. It is very enjoyable to read together and also get some extra cuddles! Then it’s lights out (usually about 7.45/8 p.m) and one of us stays in her room and lies on the floor beside the bed whilst she falls asleep.
11. What type of labour did you have? What pain relief did you choose?
I was almost 2 weeks late and was induced. I went in on Sunday lunchtime and after lots of monitoring was then given a pessary. Nothing happened for quite a while, but then, after lots of walks around the hospital and also watching some television (Strictly and Downton Abbey!) my partner went home for the night. No sooner had he gone home, then things started to progress and my labour was very quick and intense.
One episiotomy and forceps delivery later, Little C was born and we haven’t looked back since! Pain relief, I was hoping for pethidine and a Bob Marley soundtrack. What actually happened is a fast intense labour with no time for pain relief (or music). I just had gas and air and also used a TENS machine. I managed though, which is a good. Natural adrenaline and the heat of the moment also has a lot to answer for!
12. Have you ever been mum-shamed?
The decision to end breastfeeding was a hard one. Most people were supportive, but some people gave me grief about it. I think it’s difficult when people make fast judgements but each individual feeding journey is different. One of those mum-shaming me was also a midwife! The other time that I’ve been ‘mum-shamed’ was when Little C was giving up dummies. We did a gradual withdrawal with her, not cold-turkey, but a few people said that I was ‘ruining her life’ and it was not fair on the child.
13. The biggest challenges you’ve faced since becoming a mum?
Parenting is one of the most difficult jobs you’ll ever do in your life but also the most rewarding. Sometimes parents deserve that 9 p.m glass of wine (or anything you fancy!) to celebrate the highs and commiserate the lows. Some of the biggest challenges that I’ve faced are:
- Breastfeeding in the early stages
- Use of dummies
- Lack of sleep / poorer health in general
- Catching up with housework
- Dealing with frustrations and tantrums. Bedtimes and mealtimes can also be stressful at times!
14. The best bit of advice you have been given and the biggest piece of advice you’d give to a new mum?
Do it your way. Pregnancy and motherhood / parenthood is an individual experience, and where people often the share the same experiences, every parent and child is unique. Gather the advice for new mums and make your own decisions. You may not know what’s best, but everyone is also ‘winging it’. Just go with your instinct and enjoy the ride.
15. Who’s your mum crush?
Can I have two? (Oooh, my answers, my rules – go on then!)
(1) I really enjoy blogs and cartoons from Katie Kirby (Hurrah for Gin). Her cartoons about motherhood absolutely hit the nail on the head, and she’s unashamedly realistic about things. Being open about the highs and lows of parenting and having a great sense of humour are really positive traits to have as a mum, and she does it so well!
(2) I adore Fran (Whinge Whinge Wine). I’m far too much a softie compared with her, but I really like her do not give a flip attitude to telling it like it is. She writes with a great sense of humour and always seems to know what parents are REALLY thinking. When I grow up I want to be like her (except I’m probably older so that doesn’t work).
16. And who do you tag?
(Note: This is not a sponsored post, although does contain affiliate links. However, all views and opinions are my own.)