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.

The pressure to have more children.

The pressure to have more children.

Quite often the subject of having more children inevitably comes up with family, friends and even strangers. I’ve written previously on whether i want another child or not in a previous blog post but i think i guessed things would change as Elijah got older. I have always wanted a few children but since having Elijah my opinion has changed. At the moment i’m unsure if i want another child. If i was to fall pregnant again i wouldn’t be sad or anything but at the moment i am happy being a mother of one. I quite like being able to give him all my time and energy and i think he thrives from that too. I don’t want to feel obligated into having anymore children.

However as Elijah has gotten older more people have told me i should have another child just so my son doesn’t feel lonely. First of all this is not a reason to have a child. You don’t have a child to make a little friend, you make a child because you want to bring life to the world and expand your family. It is possible to be a only child and happy. I have experience of both being a only child and then a sibling. I grew up with my mum and i was her only child and until i was 9 and i didn’t have any siblings (that i see). I can honestly say that i did not ever feel lonely and i only really felt somewhat lonely when there where 2 tiny babies around the home and i was a bit lost in my role as a sister at this age.Obviously my brothers and I are close and i love my with all my heart but i don’t think my mum decided to have another child because i was lonely.

I kind of feel a bit anxious when people talk to me about having more children. I get alot of family members like my parents and grandparents telling me to have more children. I know they don’t mean to cause offence but i kind of feel like is that all i am now? a baby maker? I also kind of think do they not think Elijah is enough or something? Has he become boring to them or do they want another newer model to play with? I am sometimes left questioning why it is brought up so often aswell i at least hear it from a family member or two at least once a month. Is me saying i’m happy as we are at the moment not enough? Like i am not going to have another child just to please my family.Which to be honest sounds like something i would do to the extreme where i have this need to please everyone and not offend anyone. Family seem to forget sometimes that people do have control over there own lives as they get older.

Strangers also have a big role in talking to you in public when with your child and say oh when will you have another one? First of all i do not know you and i will never speak to you again so why do you need to know or care? It is a bit odd going up to a stranger and saying when will you have another one or oh they need a baby brother/sister! If you have to say something talk about how happy my child is or something!

Also i have noticed a lot of media /films/ tv series and the online world only really shares family as at least four people. It is really rare i will watch a film or series when there is someone be it a child or adult that a only child and doesn’t have some sort of brother or sister. I also find as well that people seem to react better when people have more than one child like it means you’re a more wholesome family or something like that.

I think as well as other people putting pressure onto us i think we put pressure on to ourselves. Like when i give Elijah clothes to charity sometimes i feel guilt like i should be keeping his clothes just in case we have another child. I also sometimes think about being pregnant again and having a newborn and then i feel somewhat pressure like that’s what i should do again just because i have a thought that pops into my head. I also feel like i set plans in my head when i was younger of the perfect family of four and because of that i think my mind sometimes still thinks that’s the dream. Even though dreams can change when your reality changes. I think my health has a part to play also since being diagnosed with endometriosis i have a slight concern i may not be able to have more children one day and that means I need to rush it.

Maybe one day i might change my mind and want another child but at the moment we are happy. That is okay. I never say to my friends or family oh you should have another child because i know it can trigger people sometimes.Also remember when you may be saying this to people they could possibly be going things and not telling people such as miscarriages, IVF, fertility issues or mental health issues.

It is okay to not want more children and even a child at all if someone has decided not to have kids. It is not our business what happens in anyone else’s life but our own. So lets not try to pass our opinions to others that can cause upset. Having a baby is a BIG responsibility that lasts the rest of your life. It is not something like getting something that is temporarily cute and little like a puppy.

You also should not have to defend if you do not wish to have anymore children and you are also entitled to change your mind. If i was to wake up tomorrow and want to change my mind and want a child that is okay and my choice. It will not be because someone told me too. Remember your life is your life and your choices are your own and you do not have to justify them.

Mum shaming is a real issue.

Mum shaming is a real issue.

One thing i see a lot of on social media is mum shaming. People who hide behind a keyboard and publicly put mothers down because of how they are raising their children.This isn’t limited to social media as people will do this in public, on the playground, playgroups and just about anywhere. People really feel that motherhood is a competition now. Being a mother is so hard these days because not only have we got to try and raise a tiny human but we also have to do it in a digital world where people judge every last thing you do.

I really hate seeing people mum shame. Especially online or loudly in public so they can be heard. E.g at a restaurant when someone loudly moans about someone’s toddler crying and how the mums dealing with it. I mean sometimes you can’t help but to judge someone elses parenting style as it is different to your own but you absolutely do not say it to them as that may cause upset. I feel really horrid for celebrities sometimes. Because peoples jealousy turns them into keyboard warriors that feel they can hide behind a screen while being horrid to someone else. Take the kardashians for example whatever they do upsets someone. They could feed their child a carrot and someone would be upset and call them uptight for buying a organic carrot or evil because its not chocolate. It must be so hard having your parenting ripped apart by others every day constantly and being able to see what people say as well must take you to pretty dark places seeing this over and over. I once was trolled and it felt awful. I was told i was a terrible mother because i once spoke about how we shouldn’t judge how people feed their babies. I have no idea where they got that from but just the words where enough to make me cry and make me want to delete my blog which has been therapeutic for me. I honestly can’t see why people have to directly mum shame knowing that this will cause upset.

I’ve also seen quite a few people i follow on Instagram be given a lot of grief on Instagram for simply posting things like toys, days out exetera. It’s like people can’t do anything to please these people. A lot of it is competition i think. I don’t know why people need to get so mean to try and win some make believe contest in their heads. It doesn’t make you a better parent to mum shame someone. It doesn’t set a good example for your children or for yourself. I want to teach my child to be kind and not to bring others down. I would never want to make someone feel sad or doubt their mothering style or anything like that. You already as a mother have to contend with the thoughts i’m not good enough, am i doing enough? can i be better?Without someone telling you that you aren’t good enough like it is at all constructive. Obviously if your worried about something you could always politely message them in a kind way and speak about your concerns but nasty comments especially publicly are not acceptable ever.

Be kind always. Just because someone parents differently than you please do not upset someone by telling them your thoughts. You are entitled to your own thoughts but please just keep them as that just thoughts. You never know what someone is going through so try to spread happiness not sadness.

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.

Why I don’t feel bad for wanting to get married and have children young.

Why I don’t feel bad for wanting to get married and have children young.

Something I’ve somewhat been made to feel ashamed of by my single friends is that I’m married and have a child. While my dreams are different to there’s they’re not the only ones who have perhaps judged me for wanting to be married and a mother earlier.

Way back in the past it was the normal to be married early and have lots of children. However as generations have changed with the environment we live in I find people are leaving it longer to want to settle down. Maybe it’s the fact we have dating at our finger tips now, less expectations of commitment, more divorce and experience of broken homes But it’s unclear why it’s become something done later in life.

For people who want to date and just have fun I salute you. Living your best life is something you should never be ashamed of and if all you want to do is be single or stay in and out of short term relationships then you do you. If you’re happy in your own company then that’s an amazing thing being happy as you are and loving/putting yourself first.

A lot of my mum friends understand my choice to get married and have a child younger in life. They understand how it feels to be in a committed loving relationship and have goals for that to blossom. For example getting married and having more children or being happy with the one. I think being raised by a young mum has made me want that myself. My mum was 19 when I was born which meant she had lots of energy and is still quite young now. Now although I didn’t want children at 19 I had always planned in my head I wanted them about 22. I grew up pretty quickly and was always mature for my age so I feel it’s been a great asset in deciding when to become a mother. When I met James I knew I loved him and wanted to spend my whole life with him and when he proposed I was over the moon. This has meant that Elijahs grandparents are still quite young and can enjoy him as much as possible also. There’s even currently five generations in my family!

But it would be silly to make others feel bad for choosing to have a family at such a young age. Your hopes and plans may be different to others and that’s okay but we cannot judge someone for wanting different things in life. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit there’s aspects I miss of my life before becoming a mother like nipping to the loo in peace or being able to do what I want when I want. But I have been changed into this caring loving mother who is a better person. My heart has grown ten times bigger and I’m glad I’ve got to experience it for longer in my life instead of stretching it out waiting for the right time to have a child. So I don’t feel bad for wanting a baby and marriage and a house. My upbringing and my personality gives me what I want in life and I am going to enjoy where it has taken me. At the end of the day I look at my son and husband with so much love it makes me feel like I’m crying with love on the inside and that’s something I’d never want changed. Even when I’m dealing with public tantrums and the expense of a wedding it’s all been worth it.

Mum guilt when children hurt themselves.

Mum guilt when children hurt themselves.

Yesterday Elijah and I had gone for a nice trip to the park to feed the ducks and run around. All was going well until Elijah fell over on the path. He didn’t seem to hit the floor hard but when I stood him up he was bleeding and crying a heart wrenching cry. Immediately I felt awfull and like I could of done something to stop this from happening. In reality he would of fell over no matter what and there’s nothing I could of done as it was a complete accident. Elijah fell and his tooth cut through his lip to the other side and scraped his chin at the same time. now it’s starting to scab over everytime I look at him I feel so helpless and can’t help but keep cuddling him even if he’s completely fine. I feel absolutely awful for no logical reason whatsoever.

I always say to my friends when they’re kids hurt them self’s it’s not their fault and can’t be avoided but here I am sat in a mountain of guilt. Could I have dived for the floor to catch him when I didn’t even know he’d fall? Could I wrap him up in bubble wrap, a helmet and shin pads and send him out like that? Obviously I know kids are going to bump and hurt them self’s. They’re super clumsy and it’s how they learn to say for example not to run head first into a wall or nose dive down a slide. I think I’ll always be this over protective mother who feels pain when my son does like my heart weighs ten times the amount it should. I’ll always end up feeling terrible his hurt himself and giving him snacks or toys to make it better but that’s just me. I just have to accept he’s learning and accidents happen especially to his beautiful little face!

Things to help parents/Carers with blood tests for babies and toddlers.

Things to help parents/Carers with blood tests for babies and toddlers.

First of all I’m sorry you and your little one is having to go through this and I hope everything comes back okay. I’m giving some tips to help parents survive as we’ve had many including one yesterday. This is what helps me.

Try to book blood appointments at an okay time. Not a nap time or lunch time. I’ve had several appointments where Elijahs gone to hve bloods and cranky already as tired or hungry. These things do not help matters and can make things a struggle after too. If you can’t choose after a meal time take snacks for immediately after.

Bring bubbles or a favourite toy. Something to distract them from what’s happening. It’s horrid when they watch the blood being taken and as they get older and understand more it’s even worse. They want you to help and you can’t.

Sit in a chair with them. At the hospital we go to we sit In a chair and I cuddle him holding one arm to make sure he doesn’t grab and move about.

Keep talking to them. Distract them with things in room and tell them it’s ok and acknowledge the situation so your child understands it will soon be done.

Praise good behaviour and make a big deal about how well they are doing or did. they need to feel they’ve been brave even when they’re scared.

Explain what is happening too so they understand you are not hurting him and that it’s okay to be scared but it’s important.

Don’t wear anything that you care about getting blood on, sometimes accident happen and I’m lucky it hasn’t ruined either of our clothes but try to avoid the favourite tops and jeans. (If you get any blood on anything a bit of elbow grease or Milton for whites should take care of this). Bring spare clothes for babies and toddlers just in time.

Reward they experience if you want to. I always feel terrible I’ve put him through it so I say we’re going to go get a treat when we are finish and he gets excited. It’s normally a new toy or maybe a treat of a biscuit at the Costa at the hospital but I like to show he’s done a good job and I’m proud of him. When I give him a reward I explain why and tell him how proud I am too.

Stay calm. You’re child’s going to cry because they will feel pain. We’ve had blood tests since Elijah was a hour old and they never get any easier but just remember the blood tests are needed and for the best of their health. It’s over quite quickly and then you can go back to cuddles.

Any other questions please do ask!