Being a stay at home mum – one whole year on.

Being a stay at home mum – one whole year on.

It’s no secret that after I had Elijah when he was about ten months old I returned to work. I was full of guilt and anxiety and I was riddled with stress from work too. When I stopped working it took away a bit of my identity and slowly I’ve been working to get my identity back. I don’t want to be known as just Elijah’s mum but Charlie too. A year ago I had officially left work and I look back with no regrets. Whilst I miss doing a job that gave me purpose at times I don’t miss the long days and being away from my family.

Now that it’s been a year my thoughts on me working have changed. At the moment as it stands it is financially better for me to not work. We do not take benefits or have any help just to clarify to those who think I just gave up my job and expected the state to pay. My husband funds everything. This was also a decision we spoke about and decided before anything was done.

Through me stopping work he has been able to earn way more than we earned collectively before I had Elijah and he is only getting more successful because I am at home. With me at home this means James doesn’t have to do the school/nursery runs and loose out on hours of work everyday. This means he’s able to work as early or as late as he wishes and we don’t need to worry about Elijah. Whilst Elijah will be starting nursery in January I will not be returning to work for now. Because nobody else can drop him off and pick him up and childcare is a big issue for us. Also if I went back to work it just wouldn’t really be logical aswell because with my career path I’d only want to work in healthcare again and the hours are nowhere near flexible which I learned before I left work. The issue would still remain most healthcare jobs need you to work 8-8 and that would mean again James doing the childcare run and I’d be on a crappy wage and we’d be worse of.

My view on stay at home mums has changed too. I invisioned it to be easy and happy. That I’d be doing all these fancy crafts everyday and baking everyday. But that was not the case. It was in fact draining mentally and physically. When you don’t have plans often you sort of fade into the darkness’s where everything’s a repeat and you feel like you’re on auto drive. I expected to have this perfectly clean house all the time but then reality hit. Sure my house was clean when I worked because I was never in it! Days off normally spent going out as a family or seeing friends so when I tidied up it was a quick and easy job. Now the house often looks like a bomb has hit it when I spend my day trying to survive and entertain a toddler who loves to make mess wherever he goes.

I underestimated what stay at home mums do too. Planning days out all the time trying to find new things to do so it’s not repeated is exhausting. There is only so much you can go for coffee before being bored of the activity. Not just entertaining your child out and about but also in the house is so hard. I’ll set up a activity I’ve spent ages thinking of and Elijah picks it up puts it down and walks of demanding something else.

There’s also a limit to how much I can teach Elijah before it becomes a chore. I try to spend a lot of the day teaching Elijah so we do learning games and play but sometimes I get so sick of repeating myself I want to rip my hair out. Like this is everyday. How many times can I repeat the same sentance before I turn insane.

There’s also the no escape from your child. One thing that lockdown has done is open peoples eyes to what stay at home parents really do. People really got sick of their kids crap and it showed. People understood what it was like to have no me time and children wanting their attention 24/7. They understood that silence was a thing of the past and you never get a moment to yourself even when they’re asleep you still tidy their crap up. There’s no escape and nowhere to send them if you need a time out so you just keep going hoping your head doesn’t explode with the stress at times.

However I try not to moan about my child too much there are elements I love. I love that I get this time with him and that I don’t have to share his milestones with others. I love watching him learn and knowing that I’ve taught him that. I love playing with him and making up games.

I love seeing him grow and watching how his mind works and grows with him. I love days where we have good days and we sit and play games nicely or cuddle on the sofa. I love that I am always there to wake him up and cuddle him before bed every night. I love that I’m always there to hear his stories and when he’s seen family for the day I get to be the one he tells me all about his time.

I like being able to be at home too and when I do housework around the house I enjoy it a bit more it’s not just a quick scrub ready to return to work where I’m cleaning the house at 10pm after being out 12 hours working and knowing I have the same the next day.

I’ve noticed a change in James too. He is more happy and likes not having to drop Elijah and pick Elijah up working silly hours and working twice as hard to get work done. He no longer has to come home and cook every single night and clean up all the time. I do not cook every night or clean everyday as we both understand that it’s our house and nobody’s responsibility to do everything.

I love that I’m able to see friends more and make more time for my hobbies. I. E this blog post I write now. I also love that I don’t have to miss out on a lot of things I used to aswell.

I also love the positive effect it’s had on my anxiety. I’m not full of stress and busy working all day making myself ill. I am able to concentrate on myself more and take more time for me and my self care. I take more care in my appearance and also in the relationships I have. I don’t hold on to toxic people anymore because I now am able to see my worth.

Although life can be hard and stressful as a stay at home mum I will always be thankfull to my husband for the opportunity. I know that when I’m older and look back on these hard times with fond memories of how perfect life really was.

Thanks for reading, Charlie x

The importance of adventuring the world with my toddler.

The importance of adventuring the world with my toddler.

Once they learn to walk there is nothing mote toddlers love to do more than explore. If you’re noticing your child getting increasingly more grouchy sometimes a trip out can be fun for everyone. One thing i find my toddler loves to do is explore. He loves to now pick up sticks and throw them and look for and point out all the animals. He also loves kicking around and throwing leaves in the air under a tree which has started to loose their leaves ready for the winter. Autumn is definitely my favourite time of the year and not just because of the return of gingerbread syrups and eating lots of comfort food. No i love autumn because of the temperature its cool enough you’re not hot or cold when going for a walk. You enjoy having a cup of tea after to enjoy where you’re warmed up and have that cosy warm inside feeling instead of being a hot sweaty mess. You get to wear cosy boots and wellies where you don’t get dirt under your toes of the sandels that look great on but have no practicality at all.

I always like to take my little boy for walks because that’s what me and his dad do. We always have loved walks and i want to teach him to love the world we are in. I like to go out and show him trees and wildlife. I like to point out pretty plants and views and tell him what they are. I want him to have a active life where we can instead of sitting around which we sometimes have no choice to do. I like to go to different places so we don’t get bored off the same view all the time.

Elijah loves running so we like to go and take him somewhere he can run loose and of course we chase as fast as we can to keep up with him. We normally take his trike with us so that if he is tired we can push him in his trike which he loves. We are quite lucky for where we live as there are lots of parks, nature walks, lakes, meadows and beaches short drives or walks away so we get to travel to new exciting places.

Walks are good for the well being and mind. Not only will you destress you’ll also feel more healthy. Its a activity of exercise for your toddler and you wont even know it! Talking toddlers through walks and pointing out things and chatting as you walk through is a great chance to learn. They’ll learn what things are and also chat to you as they go through with no distractions. It’s the perfect place for learning and taking in the full magnitude of the worlds beauty.

Sometimes we like going for walks to parks or places with play areas as there is nothing more our little guy likes more than completely going nuts. He loves climbing and going down the slide shouting “WEE” as loud as he possibly can. He giggles at high he goes on a slide and does a lot of exciting faces as he gets too excited using a toy stearing wheel on a model bike/ car or boat. We have one behind our house we try to go to regularly when hes good to have a run about and yes i mean behind my house i could jump my fence and be on the park. We like to spice things up tho we like to go to different parks so its different and the adventure is new. We like to try new places so it feels more like a day out and we will go with friends or weekends with daddy. The best thing about going for a walk is its a great bonding experience and memory making activity. Something ill always remember from my childhood is spending time in parks going for walks with friends and family. The fact that its free is just a plus!

A bit of self indulgent shopping can be therapeutic!

A bit of self indulgent shopping can be therapeutic!

In a bid to try and relax I went to catch up with a old friend and ended up splurging a little too much in town but who cares. Retail therapy is good for the soul sometimes! There’s nothing better than looking around shops choosing what you like and don’t and trying something new.

So today I brought my usual indulgement which is my shampoo and conditioner from the body shop. I love this range and it REALLY has made a difference to my hair it’s thicker and less greasy and smells great. It’s also softer and I could even say perhaps even a little less frizzy! I also buy the garnier ultimate blends masks in banana and coconut and shear and mix them up so I don’t get bored and hair feels so clean and bouncy when I have used it. It’s a little more pricey than a bottle of Asda’s own head and shoulders but I love the stuff! While in body shop I got carried away and brought a strawberry gift set on sale for myself and have already used 3 of the items and smell glorious!

A trip to boots where I probably should be banned from was next. I always end up buying a ridiculous amount of make up or skincare from there and guess what today was the skincare day. My most recent buy of some natural face scrub had been scratching my skin so I needed to buy something a bit better. I brought an old favourite I hadn’t used since perhaps high school so I thought I’d give the range ago again so I brought their grapefruit daily face scrub and their face wash from the same range. I also got their spot defence toner for when my toner runs out which is imminent (not really it’s full). I also saw two face peel masks on sale so I obviously had too buy two. Obviously.

After I’d come home we popped to shops to collect Elijahs Halloween costume we’d ordered in so required me buying chocolate and some new pjs. They’re very cosy and required me to pamper myself in bath using my new products and use some body lotion I found at the back of my cupboard that I’d cleared to make way for more crap I really didn’t need.

It definitely makes me feel better when I’ve brought new things and I get excited to try them so whenever I feel down I buy myself a little something. From a Fredo at the corner shop to a new outfit it can make you feel good and excited to use what you’ve brought!

What to feed a fussy toddler for lunch so they eat!

What to feed a fussy toddler for lunch so they eat!

As a mother I love talking to other mothers and getting advice on things, one of the most important things for me is what do you feed your fussy child? Every child eats different of course but sometimes you can pick up on what others eat and try and change it around to fit you and your child.

I try not to put to much pressure on meals as if he doesn’t eat or isn’t hungry I don’t want him to associate food with negativity when I want him to be a foody like his mummy and daddy! So today’s lunch was a dunker box. Breadsticks or crackers with spreadable cheese is always a favourite as he loves to dip! A cheese string. For little mouths cut up! A yogurt which is good for dairy needs! Hand full of raspberries and chopped mango. A glass of water to teach him we drink at meal times to get more fluid intake! And a slice of teddy bear ham he gobbled up earlier!

Some things I give at lunch time he enjoys.

  • Wraps.
  • Wrap pizza (outing tomato paste and cheese on a wrap and putting in over for three minuites to melt the cheese).
  • Toast
  • Toastier.
  • Pasta.
  • Rice.
  • Cous cous.
  • Shredded chicken.
  • Food that looks like things.
  • Breadsticks.
  • Cheese crackers.
  • Cheese straws.
  • Beans on toast or spaghetti.
  • Jam sandwiches.

We try to change it up everyday so he doesn’t get bored of what he’s eating which he seems to enjoy we do same for dinner times too!

A letter to my little guy at 22 months.

A letter to my little guy at 22 months.

Sitting here in bed with you watching hey duggee for the millionth time I feel so lucky to be able to spend my mornings with you. I love that you insist on cuddling close or putting a foot or hand on me to let me know that you are still there when your lost in the tv world. I love how kind you are becoming, I love that you love to spend time with friends and family and share your toys without any prompt. I love that you are so eager to share your knowledge and show other children and people what you have found and learnt yourself. I so love watching how your mind grows everyday, how everyday you say new words and I am so proud of you for even trying. You’re favourite thing to do is play with yours jungle animals and include mummy and daddy in the play. I love how you throw your head back and shout roar and we have a animal noise shout off even at 6 am when you’ve just woken up (not even sorry neighbours).

I love that you tell me if you’d like to go out and tell me you would like to go in a car or a bus which means go out. I love that when we go out you’re always so happy just to if left the house even if just to go to the shops. You tell me what you can see and get so excited even by the fat ginger cat that try’s to steal your buggy when we walk. You’re totally crazy and full of energy when we go soft okay or the park but you never want to be too far from me and I watch you look for me and happily shout mummy and run for me smiling when you get lonely.

Watching films and tv series something I’ve always do with my own finally happens. You will let me cuddle you for more than a second and my heart feels full once more while we watch the lion king AGAIN or something else. I enjoy how you play with toys differently. We used to just hold and look at cars but now we race them and push them and their buttons. We colour together now and use stickers and different colours now too! We play with okay dough and you will make shapes and play with the tools and not get bored and want to run around holding a blue ball for a hour screaming if taken off you. We use your toy kitchen and make fake food together and then you share with your guests when the come over and show them how to cook too. Animals are now given voices and people and not just something to run and hold now.

Even now as I lay here planning you and your best friends joint birthday party for two months time I’m still in shock you will be two. You may be already exhibiting the signs of the terrible twos but even when you have rolled around screaming all day over a toy, I will always miss you the second I put you to bed and check on you several times just to watch you sleep and kiss your sleepy head. How I wish time would slow down so I could enjoy you a little more.

Mental health and being a mum.

Since having a child i have felt a strong need to be the brave one. To put on a brave face and bury my feelings. But that hasn’t exactly been the best thing for me. I feel like there will always be this stigma around mothers having to be responsible and always happy, in the real world though being a mother can be hard and struggling with mental health even harder.

My blog is my safe space so i feel like i am more able to talk about my feelings here without judgement. I have depression and anxiety and its common many people suffer and i should be able to talk about it and not feel like im boring people either. Since becoming a mother i think it has hit me so much harder and i have developed more anxiety related issues from having a child. Little things more like worrying about my son all the time, my ability to be a good mother, a good wife, to not be judged when i go out and to be able to raise a smart, kind child. It can all get a bit on top of me at times and i am not afraid to admit it. Theres days i get strong mum guilt because i think am i letting him down for feeling down or that i am not giving him the happy fun loving mum vibes that i should be giving out. You know the ones the instagram mums who have a maticulsley clean house and bake cakes every morning while dancing round the house constantly.

Lately ive been feeling down recently and its been getting to me. I know i should be greatfull for everything around me but its caused a level of fear ill loose everything. Say for example some little thing will set me of and stress me out to the point i dont sleep for days or a reach for a bar of chocolate. I think the internet really has changed people and their perceptions of real life and i feel i struggle alot because of this i cling to my phone and somewhat base my life around others which i shouldnt do. We’ve grown up with this awesome tool which has connected so many people and been a monumetal part in our evolution as humans. However this has caused people to fixate on others. For people to only show the side of them that is happy 24/7 not the real life they have. We think do we have enough money, do we have enough friends, do we have enough fame? Does it really matter other peoples perception of us and how others are living their lifes.

Being a mum can be a real struggle because you don’t only have to deal with your feelings you have to deal with theirs. If they are being dramatic having a tantrum you have to push your feelings to the back of the que and handle their feelings when you can barely control your own. Being a mum you have more stress and more things to do. You cannot have days where you just lounge around in bed feeling sorry for yourself anymore. You have to get up early get them and you ready. You have to make them dinner when you don’t want to eat, you have to be happy and not let them see you sad as they may think its them thats making you sad. You also have to leave the house when tou want to just stay in and you socialise when you cant concentrate on anything else but your child and your feelings.

As difficult as it is to talk about my feelings writing this down has made me feel so much better. I’m struggling with my mindsets on so many things especially since leaving work I worry about letting my husband and son down. I worry am I screwing my son up by not taking him out everyday and being able to send him to nursery anymore till he’s three as I’m home now. I worry am I not tidying the house enough. I worry are my friends, family’s, neighbours, strangers going to hate me for no reason atall. I worry am I a failure, I worry about everything there is to worry about and I have no idea why. Maybe I need a break from social media and just to concentrate on me? My blog and those around me. Maybe I need to loose myself to find myself again.

Rosacea.

Living with rosacea can be difficult. It’s difficult to hide and it’s harsh to feel and control. What is rosacea? Rosacea is a skin condition of the face where your blood vessels don’t work as they should causing redness. This also causes pimples galore in certain areas around your face.

My nose is the main area I was affected and I spent years of my life calling myself Rudolph and being asked why my nose was so red. My nose had become so inflamed it looked bigger and bled with all the pimples that would form on it too. I developed it in my late teenage years but It normally affects woman in their 40s.

Being so young doctors Misdiagnosed me with acne for years and gave me cream and pill after pill which did nothing for me. In some cases it angered it it took several dermatologists to finally accurately diagnose me correctly and actually listened to me and changed my life.

Growing up I always had clear skin till I was 18 then the spots and redness came. The pain is something next level my face feels like it’s burning, It’s hurt so much I’ve had ice cubes to my face that hasn’t helped atall. The itch is next level there’s been times if I could I would of ripped my face of to cure the itch.

I still get a lot of stigma around my skin I have people telling me not to use bath bombs, not use products on my face, not to eat dairy, not to wash my face everyday you name it I’ve had it. I’ve had so many people think I’m unwell because my face had gone bright red when I’m flushed. Many people think they make me blush when it’s my rosacea because I’m hot or stressed which is causing the break out.

I find make up a real chore because I have to find a colour that covers the red without making me orange but also not too light you can see everything, it has to be light so I don’t breakout or sweat more causing more rosacea flare ups. I can’t go into the sun without almost bathing in suncream and protecting my face as I will almost always burn which wasn’t helped by previous doctors telling me the sun will help. The sun hurt and burned me so thanks for that guys!

My rosacea has become a part of me and people will always comment on either how clear my skin looks today or how bad it looks.its also spread to my eyes and they’re always red and dry and I regularly have to go to get my eyes checked with a specialist.

I’ve tried quite a few medicines and over counter bits and bobs which have really helped me which I’ll do a post on another day but for today I am Charlie-Jane and I have rosacea and it is a part of me and always will be and I accept that which has taken me years to admit.

Wedding talk: Part two-Invitations.

Wedding talk:  Part two-Invitations.

When we where wedding planning we knew full well we wanted an intimate wedding only with our nearest and dearest friends and family. No acquaintances just people who we where the closest too and people who didn’t just want a free meal and excuse to dress up. Choosing who to invite to your wedding can be VERY stressfull. They say that getting married, having children and buying a house are three of the biggest stressfull life events you can ever do and we choose to do all three in the space of a 2 years. FUN! Nonetheless we enjoyed wedding planning all the same. When it comes to inviting people you really need to decide who you are the closest too and if you want them involved in your special day. Do you want a massive event everyone will talk about or just a special day you will cherish…

You will get a lot of people wanting to invite their friends and dictate who can come and who cannot, it gets rather stressful and tiring when people think they have any say in your day whatsoever. Also the more people you invite the more expensive it gets not just the meal but the decorations to cater and chairs and sashes.

When you invite people you want to give well enough notice so when you have found somewhere i found that i benefited from save the dates. A save the date is a slip you send in the post which states the day of your wedding well in advance so people can take the day off work. I had a lot of medical staff and self employed people attending my wedding day so i wanted to get them out as early as possible. I sent these off 9 months before our wedding day. This gave people ampule chance to say if they could or could not come. We only received one person telling us they couldn’t come because they where on holiday but lucky for us they got pregnant and couldn’t fly that close to their due date (She was one of my bridesmaids so i was thrilled she got to be in my special day).

A few months after when i had started to finalise times and meal times i decided to then create wedding invites. I quite enjoyed the proceess of handmaking our own online. We put every relevent detail we could think needed to be noted. As i chose a local venue alot didn;t need saying but with my guests from outside of town i though important to state where to stay in the area near by. It is a good idea when making a invite to include a few details. i will list bellow

  • Time to arrive. Not the time of ceremony as guests who are late will end up missing your day. You also want your guests to relax.
  • Time of ceremony. So guests can roughly know how smoothly the day is going to go and if they are that late they arent coming in.
  • Time of food. So guests can know what time to eat before leaving and decide if they need too. People then wont be complaining about waiting and not knowing when they are going to eat.
  • Time of reception. To let guests know there will be a reception and that they are invited so they can plan their day and where it is if not in same place.
  • Time to leave. So you don’t have to kick people out and taxis can be pre-booked.
  • Local places to stay overnight. For out of town guests wanting to get wasted pretty much.
  • The venues address including postcode.Guests have to know where to go and don’t want to be chasing you up.
  • The date. Clearly so people don’t get confused.
  • Food options. So you can cater to allergens and needs.
  • The names of who are getting married. So people don’t get confused if they go to a few weddings or think whos wedding have they been invited too.
  • State plus ones or not. Name who is invited and if they can bring a plus one or not so people do not assume and you can have numbers before the day.
  • RSVP day. A day for everyone to reply to with contact details.

Where to buy your invites. You can get a lot of invites from shops such as paper chase and hobby craft as well as etsy. However i wanted to make my own online as i cannot write all that neatly. So i used vista print, i didn’t know until we looked online. I looked on their website and they have lots of templates and everything is completely customisation from material made on to the text and fonts. You can even add envelopes so all you have to do is write the names and addresses. They where also pretty cheep. I brought my save the dates with magnets so could be stuck to fridge so guests could keep the date clearly displayed in their home from here too. Both sets and envelopes for both with postage to my house cost 50 which was so cheep and my invites where double sided and made with linen. So have a good look around and choose what you want and only what you love!

Running a house with a toddler

Keeping a house tidy is so hard with a toddler. Whenever you get the chance to clean you’re exhausted from running around all day and you just want to avoid it as much as you can. I find utilising naps when he has them is helpful. If he naps I’ll normally do a quick job e.g cleaning the bathroom as harsher chemicals so can open window and shut door and take the monitor in with me and clean.

My favourite products to use are flash bathroom spray, minky sponge, bloo toilet cleaner, bleach, zoflora and antibacterial spray. I spray the whole rooms basins, and toilet basically with the the flash then I start cleaning the sink then the bath and toilet with minky (toilet I use a single bit or kitchen roll to not spread germs). I put zoflora down the drains after I’ve rinsed everything away to make it smell good. I put bleach toilet with brush then I put bloo down. I then spray everywhere with antibacterial spray the detol spray.

After that If he hasn’t woken up I’ll clean the kitchen wash up breakfast items and clean the surfaces. I’ll tidy up the toys quickly and wait for him to wake up. I dust while he’s awake as he doesn’t mind and hoover with him he enjoys fake sweeping and hoovering with us. I feel it’s important to clean around him so that he learns a house doesn’t run itself and that it’s ok to help. When he goes to bed at night I try to teach him to tidy away his toys and that’s when I normally wash up after dinner and clean everywhere down with febreeze and odour neutralising sprays. The bins get emptied too and sprayed down.

Deep cleaning can be pure hell. With a toddler they don’t want you to leave the room much and if you do they turn into gremlins and destroy whatever room they’re in. Things like cleaning oven and the fridge out is hard to do and I can never do it as much as I want to but a quick spray of oven cleaner or anti bacterial spray and fairy liquid is the way to do it quickly. I mop as often as I can but again when he’s in bed as he gets in the way and wet floor and toddler is not a good mix for success.

Shopping. I often get a food shop in for ease but sometimes I’m sent the wrong thing and the dates are terrible so some days I go shopping but it’s so hard with a toddler who needs entertaining the whole time or a snack so we choose supermarkets that give free fruit sometimes which is great! Obviously a house doesn’t run itself so shopping is unavoidable.

It’s all about finding your own pattern and what works and sometimes the housework doesn’t matter and you should just enjoy the mess as it means you have a happy home.

Toddler talk. Parent comparison.

Toddler talk. Parent comparison.

Sorry I haven’t been present I had a sick husband and a tantrum fanatic child the last few days so we’re kind of hoping me and the kid aren’t next on the sickness bugs hit list.

Today’s topic isn’t really that different to my normal speal but it’s something I’m really noticing more and more is people’s competition between children. I was speaking to my friend today about it and she said it still happens in primary school! Now I ask, can you tell by talking to your friends which ones walked first, wrote there name first or if they where bottle or boob fed? Because I can’t. It doesn’t matter in the long run!

Milestones are only put into place so that developmental issues can be found not who’s child is better than the next. We all do things differently and we all learn differently. Children learn at their own pace and they will master things in their own little way way. You cannot just expect a child to hit 9 months and be running around singing a song!

Why do we judge others either? Why do we care if this particular child does something ours can’t. There’s been many times I’ve worried about my child because of others yet he has been advanced in many other things. I’ve worried enough to go to doctors over and over and to worry and not want to talk about my child because of it. I think people love to bost as they are so proud of their children, who wouldn’t be! But there’s only so much someone should do. For example I got a lot of parents asking me oh is Elijah not walking yet at 13 months like he was damaged or something? He was just deciding when he was ready! Because of this I wasted so much time worrying about his walking when I should of been enjoying him learning and crawling and the peace and quiet of him not getting everywhere quicker! It becomes something we all do. James tells me he’s started to judge other parents at times when we are out and about in public and he hates that he has. You just start comparing when they start comparing and sometimes you end up getting s but mad and comparing your child as if they’re better. Let’s remember they are children and so long as they are happy, paid attention to and healthy that is all that matters. And even if a child is behind it doesn’t matter. I think from now on I’m just going to stop talking about developmental things and just talk about what we’ve been up too and how much of a treat or terror he has been! Because tbh nobody really gives a shit and neither do I!