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.

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 .

Keeping organised.

Keeping organised.

Being a mum there’s nothing more stressful than trying to retain things like what day it is and your availability of the top of your head. I’ve found since having a kid I’m a bit more organised and able to structure my life a bit better without planning to see someone and forgetting. I owe it all down to my new organisation.

My favourite thing is my diary. Until a few months ago I was rechecking texts to remember when I was seeing people and getting mixed up stressing myself out in the process. I brought myself a lovely diary which has lots of space. I have a big part for each day and then 4 small boxes on the next page to write things I could be doing or have planned also. What I do is write my day and evening plans and then in a box sometimes cleaning jobs I need to do and then in a box meal prep and what’s for dinner. My diary also has a convenient reminders check list at the side of each week so I can write what I need to do each week and tick it off. Very handy when needing to call doctors, run an Errand or a reminder to pick something up in town. The diary also comes with a month overview so I can write clearly where I am so I don’t have to look through weeks to find the dates which I think is so handy. My diary makes me feel safe. It shows me I’m actually quite busy and have friends and am loved. It shows me I do a lot around the house when I think I’ve done none.

I also have a large quantity of notebooks. My favourites are magnetic ones I keep on fridge for writing shopping lists and quick reminders. I love my menu planner which I think is really good for reminding me what meat to get out, what to buy for shopping and have a routine that is not the same grub every night .

Having a family Callander can be good too. If one of us want to do something we write on diary that way if one of us want to go out with friends childcare’s left with the other person so no arguements. However James forgets to read and has several times booked to do things on days I’ve got a paid for show or reunion to attend that’s been planned for months.

I really find that keeping organised has really helped me and my life to stay on track recently and gives me a lot of comfort when organising. I feel on top of myself and writing to do lists can really help my mind and make me stop being anxious and focus on a task. I get satisfaction crossing things I’ve done out and adding new things to my diary and note books makes me feel as though I have a life when sometimes I feel I don’t.

1000 blog views!

1000 blog views!

First of all I want to say a big thankyou for each and everyone of you who have took the time to look a my blog! I’ve hit over 1000 views and I couldn’t be any prouder that people actually want to read things I have to say!

This whole experience for me has just been a fun way to express myself and sort of relax in the form of blogging. I have always just blogged about anything that pops into my head no matter if I think I’ll get any likes or views on it! It’s been a bit daunting at times thinking “should I have written that?!” But then I remind myself this is my blog and my safe space. I’m a normal 24 year old stay at home mum and wife just trying to enjoy life as much as I can and blog a bit when I’m there! I want others to feel safe here too and know they are not alone in their feelings and can come here for both positive and negative things they may experience. I want to give people ideas on things to do and to eat aswell! With that I’m back to my cup of tea and kindle to enjoy some free time while Elijah is playing round his nans. So thank you again and stay tuned for more!

It is called co-parenting not baby sitting.

It is called co-parenting not baby sitting.

One thing i find quite often since having a child is the gender roles women and men are placed into. The man goes out to work and is the one with the least responsibilities for the child while the woman is expected to not only look after the child but the dad/ house and entire world all of the sudden. Don’t get me wrong there are dads out there that are not hands on dads, who see it as the mothers job to look after the child/ them and that may work for some family’s. But i feel it is a awful amount of stress to put on someone.

When we planned having Elijah we always knew we would be a team. I have always said we are team and so has James. When he was born we have always been equal in what we do as much as we can. Ever since the early days James spending time with his son would be referred to as baby sitting. People would say to me when i was at work ” oh is the dad baby sitting?” or if James took Elijah out just them two for some bonding time the comments ” i see your baby sitting” or “i see you got left with the baby” is said. Why is the world still so sexist? I’m still a big believer in the fact that mum and dads should be equal.

I didn’t have a dad growing up until i was about 9 so having just one parent i missed out and longed for so much growing up. I was jealous of people spending time with their dads or people being walked to school by their dads. It was just the little things like when my brothers were born hearing them having dad (stepdad) read to them at night reminded me on how much i missed out on. So i guess that is why now its really important to me and to James that we do things together and make memories together aswell as having our own time with our son and specific jobs.

One thing i find is such a touchy subject is nappy changing. For some reason people make such a big deal about it. Its poop and pee clean it and get over it. Nobody bats a eyelid if the mum changes the nappy and immediately hands the baby to the mum to change a dirty nappy even if the dad is in front of them. We have had comments made about how James changes his nappy like it’s my job to change every nappy he ever fills. I just want to put it out there that yes a man can change a nappy. It is not weird. It is not for girls. It is taking care of your child. I also have found numerous times when we have gone out and James has offered to change Elijah nappy that he cannot do it because toilets in public are not always accessible to men changing a nappy. This means that there is no where to change a baby other that inside a womans changing room and that is the womans job. James has had to come home early once when he took Elijah to a play centre because there was no mens nappy changing facility so Elijah had to sit in a soiled nappy. This is so wrong on so many levels i can’t even comprehend why all places don’t just pay the few quid for a extra table in a mens toilet or disabled toilet. I always think as well what about those poor dads that have lost their partner/ or in a relationship with a man and cannot change their baby it must be absolutely terrible for them.

Taking time to do things like bath time, reading, playing games, dressing should be done by both parents so that they get to enjoy both of your company at different times or together.I cannot ever be more proud of James than when he is looking after Elijah. It is so lovely to see him and Elijah doing things together and Elijah really enjoys it. James is so hands on and i couldn’t imagine him not being. It’s nice that Elijah goes to daddy for things as much as mummy and can be soothed by the both of us.

Maybe one day we will live in a world where men are thought as much as a parent as the mum but for now we don’t. Hopefully things will change a bit more one day and dads will step up a bit more when they don’t if there wasn’t so much stigma around it. I want to raise Elijah to know its okay to be a man and look after a child and develop good relationships with his kids when they’re older if he chooses to have them. With that i’m off to go quietly sob at the fact that James came home from work early and Elijah screaming yeah that he woke him up from his nap not me and its the cutest thing ever while i type this out proving my point that daddys you mater!

The importance of adventuring the world with my toddler.

The importance of adventuring the world with my toddler.

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

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

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

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

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

A bit of self indulgent shopping can be therapeutic!

A bit of self indulgent shopping can be therapeutic!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some things I give at lunch time he enjoys.

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

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

Super quick and healthy Bolognese

Super quick and healthy Bolognese

Something everyone in my family loves is a bolognese so if we’re cooking for just us three or quite a few it’s a sure crowd pleaser. I make everything from scratch that goes into it so I can have it for little babies that done round ours and my son loved when weaning!

What goes in it?

  • Peppers 3 different colours a yellow, green and red.
  • Onion.
  • Mushrooms.
  • 2 garlic cloves.
  • Tinned tomato’s.
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato purée.
  • Oregano a table spoon.
  • Basil a tablespoon.
  • Sprinkle of chilli flakes or more if you like spicy.
  • Chives a sprinkle or one diced stick.
  • Mince 250 grams for saucy or 500 for little sauce or quorn.
  • Garlic granules a sprinkle.
  • Vegetable oil or 1 cal spray which I use.

Method:

Cut all your veg, the smaller the better especially the mushroom if you dice it picky eaters who don’t eat mushroom (but aren’t allergic).Shove everything in pan then oil or spray on top and mix in. Add your mince ( I use 5% as it’s healthier and tastes so much better). Stir and heat on high till browned then drain juices. When juices are drained shove in your tinned tomato’s. Add purée and seasoning. Stir around until fully spread and keep on high stirring every few minutes. If you’re making pasta with this the time to do is now and when then pastas done the mince is too! The mince and sauce will combine and everything will mix nicely and it should be done in ten minutes. Simply serve and anything you don’t eat can be frozen and defrosted and reheated later! Perfect way to get toddlers to eat there vegetables as they can’t see the coloured veg as well covered in a tomatoey sauce! The meal is quite cheep and all veg and mince can be brought for about a fiver in aldi except the spices but they’re cheep enough and last many different meals!

Trip to Jimmy’s farm!

Trip to Jimmy’s farm!

We’re quite lucky to leave in a countryside town. They’re no shortages of beautiful countryside walks, farms and animals if you have a look about nature. We’re also very lucky to live quite near by (ten minute drive) to Jimmy’s farm! If you live in the uk it’s probably one of the most famous little farms there is. Jimmy the owner is friends with Jamie Oliver and has had a few tv shows.

It’s a lovely little farm that’s spread out. The animals all seem as happy as they can be at a farm and there is plenty to see and do. I would rate this probably one of the most toddler friendly places to go as there is so much for them and children to do. It’s not overly expensive either and there’s plenty of homey shops and cafes. The restaurant sells the best sausage and mash I have ever had! The pens are quite spaced out so lots of room to run around and no crowding on busy days. There’s lots of different pens with different animals. You can tell the farmers really look after their animals and clean up constantly as it doesn’t have that horrible farm smell you get when you go to a farm and you’re not having to watch your feet for animal poop!

The play areas are quite nice there’s a sandpit with a pirateship, sandcastle equipment, tires and a massive bouncy pillow for kids to jump on aswell as little slides. There’s also a really big play frame for kids too and more play equipment. There’s a little snack shed next door to play bits so can buy little bits for sitting round watching kiddos play. There’s also a little animal trail where you look for statues of animals and make dens with sticks. There’s a hobbit house complete with toy utensils perfect for little ones. The place is very inclusive aswell and has BSL signs for each animal to teach children the signs too aswell as hell those who are deaf! Plenty of space to run round too! There’s a little picnic area with pretend cars and tractors kids can get in and pretend to drive.

Some of the animals that we could see!

  • Ponys
  • Donkeys
  • Ducks
  • Chickens
  • Tortoises
  • Birds
  • Emus
  • Ostrich
  • Goats
  • Sheep
  • Wallabies
  • Pigs
  • Cows
  • Butterfly house
  • Lizards
  • Snakes
  • Crocodiles
  • Reindeer
  • Llamas
  • Bunny’s
  • Meerkats
  • Camels

Overall a lovely day out and somewhere we go again and again. If you’re ever in Suffolk and want to see a farm this is for you!