Social anxiety about solo parenting in public.

Social anxiety about solo parenting in public.

Sometimes we all have such busy schedules that we never really just spend the day with our child out and about on our own. I am forever guilty of spending lots of time with friends or as a family out and about. This isn’t a bad thing because Elijah loves spending time with others and asks to go out everyday. However normally on days we have no plans we stay at home watching tv and learning. Again this isn’t a bad thing either as we love spending time together at home. But one thing i have always been anxious about is going out just me and my child. When he was a baby it was fine. I loved pushing him around in his buggy and going to community centres and baby groups. However as Elijah got older the tantrums started.

Of course it is natural for children to express their emotions in the form of a tantrum. With the amount of emotion they are feeling and the incapability of explaining their emotions they become upset and warrants a screaming on floor session. However i have always been someone who cares about other peoples opinions whether i like it or not. So a tantrum would cause my social anxiety to go into over board if i was alone because well all eyes would be on me and there would be nobody else to help distract him.

The thing is when a child has a tantrum. It is natural to stare and look, not to judge as so many people do but to see where the noise is coming from. Curiosity always wins, if someone was to scream in a supermarket or shop would you not ping your head round to look for the route cause of the noise.When you have social anxiety if anyone looks at you it is your worse nightmare. Frankly i dislike being in any sort of a attention platform so also don’t really like when we are out and Elijah is being good and many people come to talk to me about him. I don’t mind being nice to others and speaking to strangers but it does make me feel uncomfortable. Especially when people touch him (even before covid) or don’t take the hint the conversation is over.

Because i suffer from a chronic illness as well i sometimes don’t have much strength as apposed to other parents. I can’t always pick him up and carry him long when he flops to the floor. We have also gotten rid of his buggy because he wouldn’t sit in it and also i think he is too old for it. He is sometimes tired which causes more tantrums and because we often go for nice long walks he can sometime get bit touchy. However when i go oit without james i never take him anywhere which will over tire him because of this.

I always panic about taking Elijah to restaurants because when he is bored he acts up and misbehaves. But however i have found that if i take him a bag of toys out with us he is normally quite well behaved. I have been known to take games and even playdough if needed. But being alone again is still stress full.

However i have been trying to go out of my comfort zone a lot more these days . I have been forcing myself to overcome my anxiety and take Elijah out just the two of us at least once a week. I started by taking him to the library, then to soft play and then out for meals and trips into town. I have started to slowly build up my confidence and i just try to keep myself calm if Elijah does have a tantrum. I try to remain calm and speak to Elijah calmly and explain things clearly to him, i try to distract him or structure my day so we don’t go out when he is sleepy or going to get tired walking around too much. I will not let my anxiety control me or my sons life. Lock down affected me a lot in regards to going out because i am so scared of covid but the more i go out the more i journey outside the more i feel a bit more comfortable. I teach Elijah to distance as well as hand washing regularly. I just have to accept this is the world we live in now and it’s not healthy to stay in one place for the rest of our lives, so long as we are careful and i overcome my anxiety then we are able to live a relatively normal life.

If you are feeling anxious about going out solo with your toddler remember you are not alone. Baby steps can help at times and things do get better. Things are not always as bad as our head makes it out to be. Yes there are times i take him out and his naughty but sometimes he can be a complete angel. He will be the best behaved little boy ever. It is rare he is naughty but when he is the odd time it makes me still feel anxious and stressed but i try to remember this is just a bad day and we will get through it.

Thanks for reading, charlie x

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

How having a traumatic birth and NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) baby affected how i bonded with my child.

How having a traumatic birth and NICU (neonatal intensive care unit)  baby affected how i bonded with my child.

When you get pregnant all you can do is imagine bringing your perfect little baby home the day you give birth. You can almost smell in your imagination that newborn baby smell and your heart aches for time to move that little bit quicker. Of course you wait patiently because well you have no choice and wait as the excitement begins to build. Nobody expects when you are pregnant that things can go wrong. Because well in honesty you can’t predict the future. As my pregnancy progressed i was so worried something would be wrong when the baby was born. I could sense it. I was called crazy for worrying and i was even prescribed anti anxiety tablets later in my pregnancy. When i was around 34 weeks pregnant i had reduced movements from Elijah, Basically i couldn’t feel him move all day for some reason. I was made to think it was all in my head and that i was crazy. Still i did as you’re supposed too i called the midwife switch board that always told me to go to hospital to be checked. I would sit in a busy or empty waiting room panicking. I was good at hiding my emotions but inside it was pure panic. What could be wrong with my baby?

Of course nothing was wrong that was seen from fetal monitors, but i could still not feel my baby. After the all clear was given i was sent home. Feelings returned the next day but then the same happened again and again and it got to the point i didn’t want to go to the hospital but i knew it shouldn’t be avoided. I went again and again and sat and sat until one day i was taken to the labour suite and kept a bit longer, deciding i wasn’t in active labour and no feelings they arranged me to have a scan the next morning. Despite the many, many people touching my stomach they did not pick up that my child was breach until the scan and this is why i didn’t feel him. After this it was decided by all that we would try and have him turned. After the most painful experience of my life and the little bugger not moving at all we gave up and booked in for a c-section.

When we booked the c section that was it for me. Anxiety through the roof and panic. I was convinced i would die or something would happen to the baby. For two weeks i didn’t sleep and pretended to be excited despite being so nerve wrecked i didn’t know how i could go through with it all. On the day i was booked in i felt strange, i was still convinced i was going to die or something drastic but i also felt like perhaps it was all in my head. That i was wrong, it would all be okay. I was right as i normally am when my anxiety is involved and things did go wrong. Firstly the medicine to paralyse me and stop feeling basically didn’t work and you can guess the rest in regards to feeling. I was put to sleep screaming and panicking and missed my sons birth. This is something that i will never, ever get over. Missing the birth of your own child is something i cant describe. When i think of it now my eyes swell up in tears, my stomach hurts where Elijah was and my throat goes hard. It is something i would not wish upon anyone.

Elijah was fine at birth and everyone was in love with him. James and my mum told me how beautiful he was but i was so gone from the drugs i thought i had imagined this whole thing and couldn’t really accept the baby was mine. I mean how could i? I hadn’t seen him be born. They could of stolen him for all i knew. It was weird to accept and everything still felt like a dream i barely remember this wet thing latching and trying to appear present when i was still so scared and didn’t know what was going on. As i said before i am very good at acting like everything is okay with me when it really isn’t. As I started to come round and after James parents had visited the baby he became unwell. Quickly. His blood sugars dropped dangerously low and as i had started to look at this new child and start to warm to him he was ripped away from me and taken downstairs to the NICU. I sent James with him because to be honest i didn’t know what would happen and didn’t want the baby to die alone if that was to happen. Obviously i couldn’t move. I was paralysed from the drugs. I sat in worry not knowing what was going on and nobody would tell me. Everyone had left, nobody came to tell me what had happened and those few hours where the hardest of my life.

Eventually James came back with basically no information and someone came in and said i could see Elijah in the morning but i explained if she wasn’t going to help me into a chair i would fall to the floor and drag myself there. I was helped into a chair and wheeled down to see him. Nothing will ever prepare you for seeing your newborn baby in a incubator. Nobody will ever be able to explain what it’s like watching your child’s chest rise and fall as machines and wires come out of every limb and bit of skin you can see connecting to medicine or monitors that alarm constantly causing a panic. I thought then and there he would die. Immediately i closed myself off to him because i didn’t want the hurt.

As the days went past Elijah would get better and then worse again. I had no hope past the third day. Seeing your child scream in pain as blood test after blood test and heel prick after heel prick is done. I struggled to breastfeed. I mean i couldn’t i was of course unsure of how and being in a busy ward with other people constantly looking at wires and alarms going off every time i tried put me off. I tried to get him to latch but he would barely ever. He would scream he couldn’t get enough from me and refuse to remain latched. I remember sobbing trying to pump and getting barely anything out. I would pump all day long to get as much as i could for him which was barely anything so i would have to top up with formula.I had never felt like more of a failure as a mother and as a person. Why didn’t my body work? Why could so many others do it and i couldn’t? Why where there people who refused to even try! I would frown when i would give a pathetic amount of my milk to my child and rely on something else to feed him. I wanted that bond of feeding him everything he needs but I had failed him.

My body was so exhausted from the surgery but i never rested i would sleep four hours a day and stand as much as i could possibly bare to change and feed Elijah. I wanted so hard to feel like his mum and not like another nurse on the ward to him. I felt he didn’t know who i was despite the fact i stood there feeling my stomach rip apart as i soothed him when he cried. I didn’t like being away from him i was terrified he would die so would barely go back to my bed to sleep or eat or drink only when doctors did there rounds.

Even when Elijah started to get better after a week i was sure he wouldn’t be. When they said we could go home we still had no answers as to why he was ill and i couldn’t accept no answers. My rational mind had nothing to hold onto. When we got home it wasn’t the glowy memory i once had it was panic. I sat watching him breath panicked that sids would happen. I was meticulous about him drinking enough and sanitising anything and anyone who entered my house. I was worried every time he made a sound or moved. I was so adamant he would die. I was worried we would be back to the hospital every time he didn’t finish a feed or had reflux down me.

When James returned to work and i was alone i had never been so scared. A part of me wanted so hard to love this tiny human but the other part of me was in panic and was controlling my feelings out of fear of being hurt. I was on auto pilot just doing everything for the baby and not being present in my mind to enjoy it. I don’t remember much from the early days except the pain of over exerting myself when i was recovering whilst also trying to keep everyone around me happy. I remember having many visitors and seeing family because i was worried i’d upset someone when inside i was so panicked someone would get him ill and he’d be back to square one. I remember needing to be alone but in so much company I was alone.

As time went on and Elijah grew i eventually learned to stop panicking as much. I realised Elijah wasn’t going to die any time soon and i calmed down. Slowly i became more attached to him. I accepted that he was my son and that i was his mum. I stopped trying to not feel hurt and accepted it and in time i became more and more of a mother. Then one day it just clicked and i suddenly knew that i loved this child with all of my heart and that i would die for him. I realised all that worry he would die was because i was being his mother and caring. I still doubt myself as a mother everyday and i think everyday how would my relationship of changed with Elijah if i was to see him be born and then to of took him home the same night healthy and happy. Would i of breastfed and bonded better? Would i be less worried even now almost three years on when he gets a cough or cold or goes to spend time in anyone else’s care but my own?

Who knows but all i know that is that the experience effected me to no bounds. That i wish that things had been normal and that i could be normal but they weren’t. I wish i has someone to talk too about it. Explanations and reasons why things happened. I wish i had understanding when i would have to tell my health visitor that i had to give formula as my body wouldn’t work. I think this post has been one of the most raw posts i have ever wrote. I may even show my counsellor this because i am having counselling for my traumatic birth!

I am as time goes on healing slowly and i hope one day that i can accept what happened to me. But i think there will always be parts of me that constantly worries about me as a mother, my son and the bond that we have. Whenever Elijah has been ill in the past my brain flips out i want to take him to a hospital straight away and when a hospital in past has confirmed he is ill and needs admitting my brain had shut off again taking me back to the newborn stage where i was present but not feeling and incredibly closed off. But for now i am so proud how far me and Elijah have come with bonding and he is not just my son he is my best friend who i love with all of my heart, something at the start i could never of imagined. Although I will perhaps never understand what happened to us both I will be forever thankful we are both here today and healthy.

Thanks, Charlie x

My social needs still exist after becoming a mum.

My social needs still exist after becoming a mum.

One thing that is a constant since having a child is that once you have a kid, the kid is all that is spoken about. Even when I’d just had my baby and had recently been ripped open and feeling awful at home the phone calls never started with how are you? it was hows the baby? It’s something that still happens today. Straight away people ask how Elijah is and never me. Or people call and straight away say can I speak to Elijah or hows my boy before I’ve barely even answered the phone.

There’s no talk to me just Elijah. Also many people are disappointed if I see them without the kid. If I pop by someones while child free or meet up with someone they moan that they wanted to see Elijah and they’re disappointed and I’m like sorry? shall I just go home then? I forgot I don’t exist other then to assist my child’s social life.

If I try to talk about myself it’s kind of returned back to the kid. It can be really frustrating and a bit upsetting to be fair. Sometimes it feels like your existence doesn’t exist beyond your kid. My friends are quite good and don’t start conversations with hows Elijah because they know I exist and have feelings too. Although my friends adore my child they would never dream of telling me they’re disappointed it’s just me who’s come to see them.

I still want to be invited out too. I found since having a kid I had lost a few friends because people just thought that’s the end of Charlie. But no it wasn’t. It was the birth of me. Having a kid enabled me to be more confident in myself. To want to actively go out more and have a social life instead of hiding in my room on my days of work. I wanted freedom to be alone and be me again in the strongest light. People worried all I’d speak about is the baby and I don’t think I’ve ever been that person to only gush about my kid either. If someone asks I tell them but I know lots of people who don’t have kids just don’t care. They’ve in fact told me they love that about me that I don’t bore them with talking about my kid all the time. People without kids just don’t care. Like I didn’t when I didn’t have kids.

I still have a personality. I still want to meet up with my mum friends with our kids but I also enjoy meeting up with friends and family alone at times. I like being able to talk about myself sometimes. I’m not vain but it’s quite nice being able to talk about adult subjects without a little earwigger.

I choose to become a mum but I did not choose to not exist beyond that title.

I still enjoy going out for meals with friends, cocktails, date nights and shopping trips. I still love the cinemas and going on walks too. I miss getting dressed up and not being dressed down because my child will destroy my outfit.

Just because we’re mums doesn’t mean we can’t struggle to. Ever noticed that a lot of mums don’t talk about themselfs so therefor don’t express their own feelings. It is so important to appreciate that there is someone behind the child. Mental health issues exist in the silence and it’s because this that depression can hideaway. I know for a fact my depression got so much worse after a child. Because it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, it’s sleepless nights, puke and a lot of attitude from your child.

Tbh my child is pretty cool and I could talk about him all day but tbh I don’t want to. Not only will I bore others but it also creates that weird online vibe where people think another kids better then theirs. Or worse I’d come across as one of those parents that I hate which think their child is a god and the best child to grace the planet ever. No child is perfect. Sorry not sorry. You also look like a bit of a tool. Still not sorry.

So when your friends and family have a kid ask them how they are. Ask what they’ve been up to. Talk about things not related to their children. Ask them if they want to meet up with kid or if they prefer child free time. You do get the odd parent who never wants to leave their child and that’s okay. Start a phone call talking about the person who’s number you rang and then ask about the child. Never tell someone your disappointed their child isn’t with them. Remember they existed before a child and they’re still the same person. You don’t have to meet up with the child all the time either. It’s a bit nicer for a parent to not have to worry about the child’s behaviour all the time so seeing someone in their child free time is a privilege which shouldn’t be wasted insulting them and making them feel bad about themselves.

Thanks for reading, Charlie x

Guest post by @alifetwintastic- A new routine:

Guest post by @alifetwintastic- A new routine:

Ellie is a mum of three from Gloucestershire, UK. A wannabe perfect housewife, to-do list checker and mental health advocate with dreams of a healthy lifestyle, unburnt cookies and mini adventures. Find out more at alifetwintastic.blog here.

I’m usually all about the routine. It’s embedded into my DNA. The need for structure and organisation. To know what’s coming next and to feel a sense of control. Routine has served me well in the past {hello baby twins} but as with all things, life changes and routines adapt.

When the boys were babies I quickly realised in order for me to survive {mentally} I greatly needed some stability and control in the way of a routine. This worked to a certain extent and it got me through that seemingly impossible first year but not without sacrifice. I became highly set on our schedule, blinkers on and my anxiety at an all time high. I struggled to see past the next job on our list and became irritable and stressed when the routine was messed with {including snapping at my mum in the car one day when I was trying to get the boys to nap}. Having the boys in the same routine was my coping mechanism. Being a first time mum of twins and being naturally inclined to like control and structure caused a huge wrecking ball type effect.

It’s hard to admit it but those days were dark. Postnatal depression crept in. Not accepting any kind of help, feeling like a failure and distraught

With Penny I have always been more relaxed. Be it being a second time mum, a single baby or her generally chilled personality. I don’t know. Again probably all of these things. Penny’s start to life was anything but straightforward. Almost constant morning sickness throughout my pregnancy, a breech baby, emergency c-section, diagnosis of hip dysplasia and subsequent Pavlik harness and then CMPA. But these things didn’t phase me in the same way as they probably would have done the first time round. Don’t get me wrong it was hard. There were dark days but overall the whole experience was much more relaxed and enjoyable.

We have never had Penny in any kind of routine. She woke up when she liked, slept when she liked and fed on demand. She fitted in with our lives as younger siblings do. As a result we were all a lot calmer and relaxed. She made her own daily routine and adapted it when needed. I felt like I could read her better and knew what she needed. This is not to say things were easy. Another bout of postnatal depression hit but this time I was more accepting of it. I accepted help more readily and didn’t blame myself in the same way.

Fast forward to today and I still have a strong sense of routine {on paper} however my mindset has shifted in recent years. Be it an age thing, a family thing or personal growth – probably a mixture of a lot of things. The boys have just turned 5 and P is in full toddlergedon mode. We are in the midst of a National pandemic which has seen us basically locked up at home for the past 7 weeks.

This is a time of surviving and supporting. People are putting their health at risk to keep the majority of us safe. Routines have changed. For us it’s been a time of stepping back and slowing down. Time to spend with our little family and letting the days merge into one. No alarms set. No set bedtime. No real routine. There has still been work and homeschooling but everything seems to have slowed down and relaxed. Increased flexibility it will be hard to let go of when life gets back to normal. Different ways of connecting and supporting one another. Retreating into our bubble and taking time out from being constantly busy. A taste of what life could be. Maybe not all the time but certainly some of it. Time out. A new normal. A new routine. 

Ellie xx

www.alifetwintastic.blog Instagram: @alifetwintastic

www.alifetwintastic.blog Instagram: @alifetwintastic

Gift guide for your paper anniversary.

Gift guide for your paper anniversary.

Now that we have officially celebrated our first anniversary I can officially put together a gift guide. Why paper? Well I have only been married a year and that’s the token gift for a year. Not very glamorous but you know, you can make it work!

So first of all if you’re sticking to theme obviously you want the gift to be some kind of paper gift. So here’s a few ideas on what you could get on theme.

I got my husband a print. I got a illustrator, the lovely novell_designs to design me a print for our anniversary which was to bring a photo of the three of us together in a photo alone. On our wedding day nobody took a picture of our family of three so me and James absolutely love what she’s done. If you enter quick I have a giveaway with her at the moment that ends at 9pm tonight so hurry up to my Instagram if you want to win!

That’s not to say it has to be something like this. I got this as previously me and James have got each other quite a lot of similar gifts. We’ve had prints made and photos printed and I even a few years ago got James a print of the words of his favourite song in the shape of a cd which he loved! so I wanted to try and be different. I have recently brought for a family members anniversary a star and they got a certificate and everything which I thought was cute! We have also designed a star map which makes the perfect anniversary gift seeing the nights sky of your wedding night for all of eternity!

Keeping on theme with paper you could make some little notes on why you love them and even write them a letter. Aswell as that you can even make some vouchers for things like household jobs and letting them pick the movie for once.It’s free and nice. You can also get some photos printed or make a collage of your favourite photos together! My husband shocked me with the cutest gift he has ever gotten me which was a little box filled with notes he had made telling me reasons why he loves me. This may be the sweetest thing I’ve ever received and it’s not just a gift for the day it’s something I’ll read over and over again especially if I am sad.

None paper gifts are also a easy one too. Not everyone is into lovey dovey stuff and that’s okay! You can always buy them their favourite sweets or a bottle of gin. Whatever you know they like get it. Following somewhat tradition of anniversary’s (we got married on five years of us being together) I have always received flowers from James. This year he completely outdone himself and they are the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen. I think this isn’t just a gift for me but everyone in the house as I really think flowers boost everyone’s mood. If you’ve got hayfever get fake ones! I still have my wedding bouquet in my living room because it was artificial and I smile at it everyday.

Whatever your thinking of getting don’t put too much pressure on yourself. It’s your anniversary enjoy it. Congrats on being married a year and enjoy a life time of happiness! Charlie x

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.

Six months married!

Six months married!

Six months of being married today. Time goes by so fast and I can say although things don’t change in big ways I have felt a change in our relationship. I am insanely proud to refer to James as my husband and not my partner like previously. I always feel my heart skip a beat whenever James refers to me as his wife to other people. I’m always like oh hi I’m the wife! He chose me and we’re totally grown up because we’re married. I feel closer then before, I don’t know how but something just shifted. For us we spoke about marriage since we first got together and when we got engaged I wanted nothing more than to become married to each other. When we got married I remember crying walking down the isle as I was so proud and full of love and I kind of worried James had ran off but he hadn’t. He was there handsome as ever and both our hands where shaking and tears fallowing we were so nervous and happy. Marriage was never about the ceromony for me it was always about us becoming husband and wife and making a life long commitment to each other becoming equals. I am happy whenever I look at my rings or whenever I look at James. Maybe one day I’ll get bored of our rings and the words husband and wife but for now I will continue to adore it. Today we’ve been together 5 and a half years aswell which is such a long time. It feels like it’s gone by in a heart beat and no measure of time with James will ever be enough. Here’s to always being more in love each and everyday. May we make each other smile and laugh at the most pointless things and forever be as happy as we are now.

Let us give each other chins from laughing for life.

It’s hard not to miss your old life.

It’s hard not to miss your old life.

Elijah went for a sleepover at his nanny’s yesterday so me and James could go cinemas and destress as we had a very stressful week and needed some time to just breath. It got me thinking that sometimes I miss our old life. When it was us two. I obviously don’t wish away or regret having Elijah but sometimes I ache with a need to just be us sometimes.

Nobody really warns you when you try and get pregnant that you will no longer have time just the two of you anymore. You get told from everyone they’ll be there for childcare but once baby exits your body nobody wants to know. Childcare is a few hours of peace and it’s rare to get anymore than that. I can count on one hand the nights away from Elijah we’ve had. In two years that’s not a lot of time. Although I love our family time and cuddles on the sofa I miss life in the slow lane.

It’s the little things you miss, waking up at the weekend after a lay in. Slowly waking up and scrolling on your phone and chatting till you decide to get up and go have breakfast. Having a a slow breakfast eating whatever you want with no mess to clean up after, hands to wipe or hands grabbing at your food. It’s deciding what you want to do and just going out to do it. No packing a massive bag and cramming with snacks and nappies. No thinking do they have baby changing? Is it kid friendly? How long should I be there before I need to come home and get the kid to nap?

It’s missing out on dates. Where you used to randomly decide at 7 you where going to cinema and just get in the car and go and now it’s can you have the kid in a weeks time for two hours please and we’ll pick and drop you off? It’s going to a restaurant and spending the whole time worrying about other people judging your kid for going on your phone or making a noise or something like that. It’s also cleaning the floor and sides after eating a meal. Something you’d never do just the two of you on a date.

It’s the conversation being calmed down. Not swearing except for when the kids in bed and talking about certain subjects so they don’t learn the words and go round using the c word or something like that. I will say however I find it hilarious when kids swear by accident it brings my soul pure joy!

I miss not relying on anyone to do things just us two now and when we go and do our old hobbies not having to rush them because Elijah grows bored or tired. I miss going to bed when I wanted and not waking up exhausted. Not having to listen to baby alarm in a light sleep and waking at every roll in his bed all night long. I miss when 7 am was early to me on days I wasn’t working.

Overall I love our life now and wouldn’t change it for the world. I love our family and how much better life has got since having Elijah but sometimes, just sometimes I miss when it was us two and we could be just a couple .

My experience owning a African Pygmy hedgehog.

My experience owning a African Pygmy hedgehog.

After years of talking James Into it he finally allowed me to get one. After finding a breeder willing to drive to me from a hour away for extra tenner we got our little guy milo. I named him and we got him a few weeks after he was ready to leave so was still a baby. He was a pedigree and sent us his birth certificate (which traced his great great grandparents) alongside some food and bits we might need. We had already gotten him a large cage, heat mat and washable carpet fo protect his little feet and keep the warmth and cut up blankets for him to snuggle in. (Yes adorable)

It took him a while to get used to us and would be very scared around us and Puff into a ball but with some guidance from the breeders we learnt if we tickled his spine gently he would enjoy a massage and sometimes even lick us. Some hedgehogs love to be held but milo didn’t do so we just let him really do his own little thing and handle him with oven gloves till he was comfortable with us.

We brought him cat toys which he loved playing with he’d play noseball pushing a bell ball around and enjoyed play fighting with little toys on a string. He also loved to chew and play with empty toilet rolls. His favourite thing however was his wheel he would run all night long!

He ate dried cat food and ate chicken as a treat which he absolutely loved and would eat so fast. Bathing him was a bit of a task! Despite videos online hedgehogs do not like water and should never be on their back in water and the water should never be too deep they breath water in their noses or they sneeze constantly and could get ill. Also they have to keep warm so baths need to be warm and dried quickly! We started bathing him in our bath but it was to slippery for him so we brought another washing up bowl just for him and bathed him with a toothbrush and baby was to get gently under his bristles and to get his feet we also once a month had to trim his toenails which he hated but needed doing.

Despite him being a part of the family he was very difficult to look after (we also had a hamster to look after too). He would need constant spot cleans of his cage and he would need cleaning every other day as he would stink as his wee and enormous pops would smell horrid. (His cage was disgusting to clean every time as his poo was awful Constance’s and would go hard especially on his wheel).We where constantly having to shake of his mats and blankets for poo then clean them and dry them quickly ready for next day to be changed! He would constantly tip over his water bowl so had to replace it constantly incase he didn’t get enough to drink. He was also quite grumpy so cuddling wasn’t his thing which is cool but hard when your working so hard to look after him!

When I fell pregnant I couldn’t get down on floor to clean him out and he’d always escape his playpen and hedgehogs run bloody fast so my husband had to take over which became tiring and when our baby was born we had to get family to look after him while we where in special care. When our son was a few months old we decided to Rehome him because of the amount of cleaning and care and little attention he was getting because of the baby!

So we decided to go with a friend who I got to prove her knowledge on hedgehogs before he went to her. She still sends me photos now and it’s very cute he is happy and loved. I felt so sad when he left us but it was for the best for all of us. Would I get a hedgehog again? In short no. Although I loved him they are so much work and while it was ok when I didn’t have a child and wash to do having a child and a hedgehog just won’t do and whenever children came to look at him he wasn’t very happy too see him so I decided that he probably wouldn’t like my son when he was interested in him either. Also the electric bill and cleaning products we used to clean him out expense is quite high too and our hamster was so much easier to care for. I’d say this pet is suited for people with children 5 and above!