Being a parent in a pandemic

Being a parent in a pandemic

Good afternoon, i hope everyone is well today and feeling a bit more positive today. I am coming to you today from a more positive mindset then i was in last week which was me at a very low point. I was at a point in life i was struggling with both my mental and physical health and the lockdown did not help things atall. On a normal day parenting can be hard, but throw in lockdown, terrible twos and potty training to the mix and we are really struggling.

First of all i’d like to say i cannot praise my son enough for how well he has done with all of this. To be told you can’t see your friends, family or even leave the house must be such a horrible thing for a child to endure let alone if they’re too old to understand why they are stuck in. It seems everyday he asks to see his family and friends, i think it’s quite sweet because it shows he thinks about others and how much he loves them. We had a pretty active social life by anyone’s standards, we would be out everyday seeing friends and family or going or just as mother and son (or the three of us). We’d do different things all the time such as meals out at different places, go swimming, soft play, bowling, the zoo and to different parks. I think he struggles most with understanding that he can’t go for play dates at peoples houses or they come to play here.So i do feel horrid when we have to stay inside each day, infact i have major mum guilt that just won’t shift. I try so hard to come up with play ideas and to keep him in contact with friends that it physically drained me last week so much so that i didn’t want to try to come up with anything new and wanted to give up my creative side for a few days.

Obviously we still have all the same cleaning responsibilities around the house, in fact more. For some reason being locked in makes me feel i need to be productive and clean and organise the whole house in every nook and cranny. The issue with being a parent is you struggle to have time to clean or perhaps do some diy like everyone else seems to be able to do such as painting the whole house or doing something from scratch. I can’t say to my son entertain yourself i’m off to redecorate or to deep clean a different room then he’s in. It gets you a bit down watching others enjoy this time to be productive. Of course my house is always very clean but i feel there is more i could do. I did a big clean the other day and brought elijah in each room i cleaned (except bathroom and kitchen) and let elijah watch his tablet too entertain him and i felt so guilty for taking time to clean the house. Some positives of this have however been that my son has took more interest in cleaning and likes to help sweep, dust and wipe the surfaces down with me. He’ll even try his hand at mopping, hoovering,tidying his toys away and he even has started to make his bed. It’s good to teach him that houses don’t stay clean and we all must work together to keep it clean. Aswell my house does look a bit more tidier as I’m not out all the time and don’t find cooking and cleaning as much of a chore then I did before. Its enabled me to slow down and really appreciate my house, how we’ve decorated and who and what is inside of it.

It’s quite hard being on my own with elijah by myself everyday with nobody to talk too till james is home at teatime and weekends. It must be so hard for single parents in this lockdown my heart really does bleed for them and i have the upmost respect. I really struggle with feeling lonely in this time and I kind of spiral from that. I feel so alone, when i am not alone because my son is here but he is two, he cannot hold a conversation and has much better things to get on with like playing with his dinosaurs. I also feel a pressure not to let him know i feel sad and be upbeat which feels so fake and horrid but i want to make my son feel happy and safe in this scary world. The positives of this is we get to spend more time together just the two of us and I’m able to construct more learning through play as I have the time. We spend a lot more on the floor playing and try to keep busy the best we can. It’s nice that Elijah seems to be learning well and hopefully he won’t become shy when he leaves the house again.

We’ve started looking after our neighbours a bit more. I regularly ask my older neighbours if they need anything as they are being shielded. we’ve gone to fill there gas and electricity cards for them and shared our food and brought them bits from the shop. We’ve also ordered them a box of fruit, veg and dairy products to arrive Monday. It’s been quite nice as we’ve started talking to them more and getting to know them more. Luckily we can see them as our fence fell down but obviously it’s not getting done for a while now! It’s quite nice because she said she was feeling lonely because of it all and we’ve been chatting because her family can’t help either! We made them a card from Elijah as Elijahs starting to call them grandma because they have white hair! So we joked he’s adopted a set of grandparents. They even made us some delicious cheese and onion scones and we had them for our lunch today! It’s nice to feel like a community and everyone seems so much more friendly. Maybe it’s the missing of everyone’s family and friends that brings us together .

We’ve however sorted the garden mostly and that means we get to play in the garden more. Elijah’s fabric toys where all ruined from the storms but I was able to salvage everything else. Looks like I’ll have to order a new tent and paddling pool if I can’t fix the old one up! It’s been nice watching Elijah enjoy the garden and getting some exercise in. We’ve done lots of sensory play in garden too so saves my living room from the mess. I feel for people who don’t have gardens so try to make my play ideas adaptable for people living in flats as well. T

his weather is pretty nice to so I’m making the most out of getting out alone. I know I should take my son when I can but I only get one form of exercise a day. When i’ve endured Elijahs grumpy behaviour all day I need that me time for my mental health. I do take him out some days but I really worry about him getting the virus to be honest. The way people still get too close really makes me anxious and I worry about him or me getting it. I also worry about him having a breakdown he wants to do something like swim in the lake or play on some play equipment in the park. I don’t want to feel like there’s more no’s o have to say to him and it makes me feel guilty enough. I try to take him out when James is off work so that we can enjoy family time as every weekend we would go out and I want to keep some element of reality even if that is just walking to the meadows by our house.

When home I like to open all my blinds and enjoy the sun beaming in now. I like to feel like I’m not in a prison but I’m safe at home and the weathers nice and warm so I can go in the garden and relax. I like to get dressed everyday so I remember it’s a different day and it makes us all feel a bit more positive. I’ve got really into taking time to enjoy food and experimenting in the kitchen a bit more. I don’t want to know how much weight I’m gaining from all the cakes and bits I’ve been baking or cooking. I’m finding more time for me to do my skincare at night and finding new hobbies all the time. Although all of this is great I do still miss leaving the house and having social interaction. I miss going out with my friends for dinner without the family too because it was my little bit of freedom to be again except for mummy.

The thing is being a parent really is hard. When a child is upset they fixate on it and have a meltdown to process those emotions the only way they know how. Although we understand they are trying to express those emotions and want to be supportive it’s hard to push our feelings down. For example being upset about a tantrum. After a whole day of dealing with tantrums it can really upset you. Physically and mentally. It is possible to accept their feelings and your own and you should not feel guilt about that. You are allowed to feel stressed when your child is being a terror and that is okay to feel emotions about it. So long as your not taking those emotions out on your child it is okay to have these feelings. Just because other people want to paint a perfect picture that they never have any negative feelings towards a child’s behaviour that doesn’t mean that what they say and post is true. We are human and we are going through a pandemic. Everyday we must try and adapt to new changes. We are afraid of others and the world around us. When it will go back to normal I do not know but I wish that we could start supporting others and say it’s okay to be struggling. This reality we live in is new and you have done damn well to adapt to it. You continue to support yourself and your children through every emotion and take on the role of superhero to get through this. You are staying in to save others, to save your family and friends. If you got up today and got on with the day you’ve done all you need to do! So well done! Continue to stay safe and be proud of what you’re doing everyday. You’re allowed to feel stressed and you’re allowed to feel down. My inbox is always open. Be safe and stay well.

Things to keep your toddler entertained indoors

Things to keep your toddler entertained indoors

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen a few of my play ideas pop up on my stories every so often. If you don’t head over and check my play ideas as I’m always updating with new things we do together to play.

Being in isolation at the moment one thing is on every parents mind… How can I keep my child entertained? And the answer is simple. Just spend time with them. Get to their level to the best you can and play with them. For you parents that may at times struggle with mobility bring the games and toys to you at the sofa or on the kitchen table. For more able bodied mums and dads get on the floor as much as you possibly can and get stuck in and play with them. A child learns best from engagement with parents/caregivers and it can be anything from talking or actively encouraging learning though play and spending the time teaching that benefits them the most. All children are different and learn different ways so what may suit my child might not suit yours but if your child and you enjoy something I do that is good enough for me!

Get yourself down to or online to a craft store. Order the basics of crayons, paints, paintbrushes, paper and glue. Modelling dough or play doh is great fun too or you can make your own!Anything else you want to try is a bonus too! You can make so many things yourself to engage play with your little one. I like to make our own games and activity’s by drawing and cutting things myself and helping Elijah play games or colouring in what I’ve done earlier for him. Colouring books and sticker books are great for lone playing this teaches them independence while they learn. Reusable sticker books are great as you can make a scene and reuse them. Normal stickers are great too as these can be saved for reward charts too! Also if your buying anything I recommend a tuff tray for tidy messy play indoors.

Online resources. Look about online I am always finding free to print resources which I use to help teach Elijah things. Such as colouring and activity sheets. Many children’s centres and online community’s regularly share ideas of fun and interactive play ideas too! Some kids tablets have great educational apps to if that’s something your interested in too!

Emotions. Learning about emotions is important for all ages and something I am currently teaching Elijah now. We like to pull faces and talk about the emotions we may be feeling and also explain our emotions throughout the day so that Elijah can learn to communicate his emotions more accurately as he gets older instead of constant meltdowns. We also printed out some activity sheets of emotions on animals. We play a game by matching the emotion and using a peg to find the match. We talk through the emotions as we play this and ask questions like why may he feel like this and so forth and what makes you happy?

Reuse recyclables. Clean down old plastics and you can reuse them for craft. Keep your paper tube toilet rolls, plastic bottles and bottle caps and make something new! Tubes can become animals or a slide for toys. Keep bottles to make future toys or sensory bottles! I will be making some next time I get a bottle to give to friends with babies! Bottle caps (plastic) make great counters to teach counting or playing noughts and crosses. Keep boxes to make castles or hiding places, the possibility’s are endless!

Jelly play. Using jelly make a sensory explosion by following the instructions on the packet place some toys or objects in jelly as your about to leave to cool in fridge and in a few hours your ready to play. It helps to have a theme like dinosaurs or animals. Ask about the textures and let them go nuts they’ll enjoy fishing for there toys and the weird textures and colours of the jelly!

Sand play. A bag of sand goes a long way! Let little one explore a box filled with sand and let them feel and burry toys. Pop some toy diggers or hide some animals/dinosaurs in the sand for them to find. If you prefer less mess you could get some kinetic sand and recreate the play indoors. Although a bit less messy it still is with its mess!

Balloons. Always handy to keep balloons left over from party’s. You can blow them up and put words and numbers on to teach them whilst allowing to play with the balloons. Also gets rid of energy for some calm after.

Magnetic numbers and letters. Or cubes. These can teach a whole host of things from spelling to just learning to read and count. They can also be fun making figing games using a beer bottle opener on a bit of string or a magnetic fishing line if you have a toy one. You can also play with magnets putting them on white boards, cold radiators/ side of stair gates and the fridge.

Water play. Elijah loves our water table and if you don’t have one there’s so much you can use to have water play. You can use your washing up bowl and put toys in with sand dish soap and a sponge so your kids can wash their toys. You can fill a tubberwear box with water and put some toys or saucepans in and let them play. You can colour water with water paint and also fill a watering can and teach them to care for their garden.

Playing with food. Maybe when the pandemic is over you can cook and using food colouring, colour spaghetti for messy play from 6 months up. Kids love it and they can eat it. You can also dye rice and normal pasta for sensory play. You can set up toys with food or just let them explore with their hands. You can also make a beautiful piece of art using the food too if not cooked.

Painting pebbles or bits from the garden. You can paint pebbles collected from beaches and this is fun for all ages. Collect things from walks and use them in your play and arts and crafts I’ve collected flowers, leaves, twigs and conkers and used them for learning and play. You can also chalk on the pavements outside the house to create art. My brothers who are teenagers seemed to like this to😂

Get your toddler involved in the housework. You’d be surprised how much they like wiping, dusting, sweeping and hoovering. Give them little tasks of their own like making their bed every day and tidying up their toys. Not only are they learning about keeping their house tidy they can have fun doing it if you make a game out of it and don’t make it feel like a chore!

Set up there toys in a theme. Separate animals according to where they live in the world and make it a play session. Pre arrange a theme or selection of toys that haven’t been played with in a while and they treat these as new toys.

Cook with them! Make cakes and sweet treats but also get them to help you in the kitchen as much as they can using blunt utensils. Even if it’s just a stir here and there or helping put things in a bowl. It can make them feel important while also learning food doesn’t magically appear in front of them. You can talk about what your cooking and what steps you take and talk about they’re role in the kitchen too. You can buy little steps to help them reach to kitchen surfaces too if you want to let them help butter toast or something in the kitchen!

I hope you’ve enjoyed some of my suggestions any questions just drop a dm or comment. Check my Instagram stories and highlights for more ideas as they come to me. Stay safe and be happy!

Why it’s hard being ill when you’re a parent.

Why it’s hard being ill when you’re a parent.

When you become a parent you have certain responsibilities that come with the job role. From the day they are born you need to meet your own and their needs at the same time. That means feeding them, cleaning them and their environment aswell as keeping them happy aswell as taking care of yourself. But what about when you’re ill?

When you’re ill you are still a parent. Although unlike previously when you where childless you where able to just feel ill. You where able to stay in bed completely undisturbed and look after yourself untill you felt better. However when you have children that’s gone. You have to cook, clean, entertain a child and look after their every need while desperately wanting a nap or be able to just feel ill for a minuite. Also being a parent typically mean they catch your illness or you’ve caught there’s and not only do you feel rubbish but they do too. You then struggle with being ill and trying to keep them happy when they get really grizzly and do things like refuse food and water exetera. On top of this you have to cook and clean your house so you have a clean household to live in and keep your strength up. Typically unless you have a great support system from family you have to do the caring all by yourself. You can’t ship them off to someone else why you recoperate and even if you do they come back at the end of the day and still need all their needs met and all your energy.

It’s hard to want to still do things you would want to do when you’re normallly I’ll. for example if I was feeling a little under the weather I would still go to meet my friends for coffee or something but since having a kid I’m less likely too because not only will I feel a bit bad but I’m also grouchy because typically Elijah will pick up when I feel bad and be naughty and everything is ten times more exhausting. Kids really for some reason sense when you feel unwell and for some reason they get a little naughty and I have no idea why even if you act normal when feeling ill.

Also if you’re having a bit of a bad mental health day there’s no break from that either. You can’t just say please stop tantruming because mummy’s feeling a little upset today because they just wouldn’t understand. There is no personal space or dealing with your emotions in ways you used to be able to. Before having Elijah I used to have down days where I would relax in bed for the day watching greys anatomy with food and to be left alone. I would then normally feel okay the next day and like I’d calmed down. But with a child there is no escaping for the day or being able to feel your emotions out in the open as it upsets them too. You also have to put a brave face on every day and act like everything’s okay and it’s so hard. It’s hard to not be honest with your feelings or be able to take a break.

It’s okay as a parent to ask for help when you feel ill from family and your other half’s. It doesn’t make you a better mum for struggling in silence or a worse mum for accepting help. If someone is willing to help take the help because at the end of the day your health is so important. If you can’t get help I salute you too because a lot of the time I don’t get any help either and it can be so exhausting so I’m thankful when ever a offer is there.

Now that I’m 25.

Now that I’m 25.

With every year that passes you can’t help but find yourself looking back at your life and reflecting on what you’ve achieved. For many years I always felt I could have done better, that I wasn’t where I should be in life and that I could be happier. For the first time in years I can safely say that I am happy where I am. Although yes I am no longer in my early twenty’s but now (shock horror) my late twenties. I think I’ve finally got to a age where maturity has came and I’ve left my childishness at the door. It’s almost happened somewhat overnight.

This last year has been a whirlwind if you’d have told me by 25 I would of had the hardest but best years of my life I would laughed in your face. I’d recently gone back to work and was enjoying being back around this time. I wouldn’t of dreamt about being a stay at home mum. I had plans and I wanted a career. But things change. Your mindset changes when you become a mother. Work became too stressful and was becoming a place I didn’t feel happy and was effecting my home life by causing a spiral into depression. I decided I had to leave and me and husband spoke about options and decided it would be best for me to stop working. This has been the best thing for us. Although Elijah has grown older and become a bit more (understatement) stressful and needy I’ve been able to really enjoy and experience it. I’ve come to realise recently we all have down days so I can’t beat myself up everytime I feel like parenting is getting to much for me. I hit a snag of serious depression around Elijahs birthday I didn’t realise why but it turns out I was depressed because I had been reminded of Elijahs traumatic birth and a impending operation which I’ve since cancelled for now. This inspired my gynae to reach out to a counsellor for me and I see one now every week. It’s changed my life and it’s a bit of a understatement . I’ve realised there’s a lot more than just my birth trauma which I’m anxious for and the way I think and act has all been shaped and moulded by traumatic events in my life. It has not always been always sunshine and rainbows like my personality has made it seem so to truly accept that has taken a lot of work. I’ve come to realise I have been trying for so long to make others like and love me so that I don’t get hurt that I’m hurting myself in the process. It’s exhausting. So slowly I’m working on me and my mental health and trying to find out who the real me is.

I have so many things to be grateful for! I’m 25 and I have achieved so much in my short life. I have a husband who I adore with all that I am and who adores me. Someone who never makes me sad and always tells me just how much he loves me. We of course got married with our closest friends and family in a intimate wedding which was completely personal to us. We had a lovely day and a lovely honey moon in this last year and soon we will celebrate our first anniversary married. We welcomed our first child two years ago and celebrated him turning two. In this last year he has learned to walk and talk and so much more. He fills me with such love and he is something that really gives my life purpose. I may have stopped working but it gives me the time now to give all that I am so that he can be all that I ever wanted to be and more. We have a lovely home which we brought, we own, I know how crazy is that! And we will of lived here three years in may! We’ve made so many friends and kept in touch with old. We’ve became closer to friends and family and concentrated on showering others with the love we have to share. Life is too short and we must live every moment we can with love. I think of so many that don’t have as much and aren’t as lucky as me so I am truly grateful. I go to bed tonight with food in my tummy, in a bed under shelter. I may be 25 but hopefully I have a lot more time left. It’s time to start enjoying life, stop worrying about others perceptions of me and worry more about my own. Love yourself and love everyone else. Kindness is the first step to happiness. Here’s to the next birthday!

I identify myself as a mum and that is okay.

I identify myself as a mum and that is okay.

One thing that had came up several times in counselling is the feeling that I have lost my self identity. When my counsellor asked me “if I could describe myself what would I say?” and I said probably I’m just a mum. In itself it is not a bad thing but sometimes I feel like all identity has been stripped from myself because I am a mum now. In the simple fact that people ask about my child before me, my life is just a constant cycle of raising a child and when people ask me what I’ve been up to I can’t really tell them much that doesn’t involve my child. But I’ve come to think of it as not a bad thing that I identify only as a mum sometimes.

Because truth be told I’m not just a mum to my son. To him I am his whole world. Even if he’s screaming on the floor with frustration that I won’t let him have cake at 6 am in the morning. To him I’m there for him. I am always there for him. I’m there to teach him every little thing he needs to learn and I am there to wipe his tears when he’s sad. I’m there to always make sure he is happy and make memories that will last a lifetime for both of us and to shape him into the boy he will become. Yes my world may of changed and selfishly sometimes I may miss aspects of my independence but I have importance in my existence now. I have created this beautiful little life. He grew inside me, I gave birth to him and I have raised him. I have taught him to walk, talk and anything else that he does. I teach him as much as I can through play and telling him things I know. I get the gift of watching him grow up and sometimes my heart cries at how proud I am of him. I’m not just a mum. I am his mum. That makes me the luckiest person on this planet.

How friendships can change when you’ve had children.

How friendships can change when you’ve had children.

Obviously you’ll loose some friends and make some new ones when becoming a parent but you never really accept it when you first see those two positive lines of a pregnancy test. You want to believe your friends are well just that “friends” and will be as excited as you when you have a child. But sometimes it goes quite the opposite way.

When you find out your pregnant everyone is so excited and they can’t wait to call themselves auntie this and uncle that, but when that baby’s popped out it’s unread messages and less interest. Maybe it’s jealously or just not wanting to be around a crying baby but you certainly see who really is and isn’t your friend.You’ve had a baby and instead of celebrating having another little friend to play with some friends go darting the other way.

You’re no longer available all the time. You’re tired and need to get childcare to go out at certain times. Some friends expect you to constantly have childcare when you see them like your child isn’t a part of you now. Conversations can run dry because you’re exhausted from sleepless nights and busy days. You don’t want to go out too long because you want to go to sleep early just incase your up all night. They get embarrassed when your kid tantrums at the dinner table and seem to think they know what’s wrong with your child and wishes you could shut them up instantly if they have a tantrum.

However you do make closer friendships with the ones who stay. You see them more, they become more family then friends as they’re accepted into your family unit for hanging out. Your friends may have kids too so you have play dates and get to watch the children grow up together aswell as you growing with them. Your friends gain another friend and it’s a joy to have them in their life’s.

Sometimes people come and sometimes people go but it’s the ones who stay that matter the most. If they’ve gone they where never really a friend if they cannot accept your family now.

Decorating your toddlers room on a budget.

Decorating your toddlers room on a budget.

Decorating your toddlers room can be a bit confusing and a little stressful at times but fun none the less. We didn’t want to spend a fortune on decorating Elijahs bedroom as we knew he’d outgrow anything we decorated as children grow out of what they like so quickly.

We decided not to stick to a theme. Why do all bedrooms need to look the same and follow a whole style? Why stick to one thing when the possibility’s are endless! We decided to keep with a not to far out design and just accessorise. We brought vinyl stickers from eBay which are dinosaurs and easy to stick on. We got a personalised Jurassic park one two as Elijah loves dinosaurs. We also brought a light switch sticker which was from eBay too and all the stickers including some glow in the dark dinosaurs too for probably under 20 quid. We brought some blackout curtains from dunelm in a safari print in a sale again and we brought a dinosaur bedding set from there as it was lovely. Elijah loves dinosaurs but loves jungle animals even more so was so happy with his curtains. He then brought a lampshade in the sale at John Lewis also in a safari print so we then had our theme animals and dinosaurs and Elijah loves having both. It makes accessorising easier as you can choose from more than one theme.

We brought a tippee tent from a garden centre for 15 pounds and have put in the corner of his room alongside a rug we got from dunelm for 35. We’ve put some of our old pillows into a bean bag cover from eBay for 15 and living room cushions in their to make a cosy reading area. We read there every night and it’s so cosy I could sleep all night.

We recently brought Elijah a nightlight for 15 pounds which is simba from the lion king and is his favourite animal and film at the moment. Elijah also has a ottoman which is green to match his room which holds his toys and we’ve brought little Knick naks along the way. We got personalised prints made (by my cousin) so we saved money there. We brought Elijah a few more bedding sets in both styles which he loves when changed regurally.

We went to flying tiger and managed to get lots for only 16 pounds for everything pictured. A tiger head, boxes for organising toys or anything you want, hanging storage and a money box to save that pocket money. An absolute bargain for quite good quality and stylish items. If going really simple a lick of paint and these bits would be more than enough to decorate your kids room. There’s lots of other accessories and frames and prints for your kids room in the same style or other styles they sell there. If Elijah wouldn’t pull it down I’d consider a trailing plant in their and big cheese plant to make it look more like a jungle in their but unfortunately I’d end up going in to leaves everywhere. Have a shop around on Etsy and eBay and be open minded. Your kids bedroom doesn’t have to be instagram perfect because they change their minds every other day. Just buy what you think they’ll like and don’t bankrupt yourself. Enjoy! A lick of paint and a few prints is more than enough style!