baby, Family, maternity leave, mom, motherhood, Mum, newborn, Pregnancy

The truth about maternity leave

This time last year I was getting cleared up at work ready for a year off on maternity leave. As I look back on my fresh faced, naive self back then I can only laugh at the expectations I had for my year off!

Expectation: I was going to give the house a good clear out. To be fair I had already done a bit of clearing out in order to create a nursery but as I was quite heavily pregnant at the time a lot of stuff just got moved into our ‘junk room’ and I figured I would deal with when I no longer resembled a hippo!

Reality: The junk room is now worse than ever! All the things my son has outgrown- car seat, bouncer, jumperoo, baby clothes etc. have been added to the collection and I can’t even bring myself to open the door anymore!

Expectation: I was going to try lots of new recipes from the mountain of recipe books gathering dust in my kitchen and dinner would be sitting ready for my husband coming home from work.

Reality: Dinners have to be quick and easy as carrying a baby around in one arm doesn’t really lend itself to preparing dinners with 49 different ingredients! Often my husband comes home to nothing prepared so either gets a baby handed to him or has to make dinner himself!

Expectation: I was going to catch up with friends and have lots of play dates with other mummies.

Reality: I made plans to meet up with everyone but this often never worked out between children being sick, clashing nap times and general craziness of family life! The few times we did manage a meet up we probably had about 5 minutes of conversation between shouting ‘get that out of your mouth’ and ‘it’s not nice to bite your friend’.

Expectation: I was going to get out for long walks everyday. When people found out I was having a baby in July everyone said how great it would be to have a summer baby and I could get out in the sun everyday for leisurely strolls.

Reality: Firstly as I live in Northern Ireland there wasn’t any sun last summer, just rain! Secondly for the first few months after he was born I was lucky to find time to brush my hair never mind look presentable enough to venture out the front door! To fair as I have a dog we did manage to get a quick walk most days just long enough for the dog to do her business then dash home again before the baby did himself damage screaming for his next feed!

Expectation: I was going to catch up on all the sleep I had missed out on while pregnant. After all when baby sleeps, mummy can sleep! I had read that newborns sleep for 16 or 17 hours a day so that would give me plenty of time to sleep plus do some housework!!

Reality: My son obviously missed the sleeping module at newborn training camp as he only slept a fraction of the aforementioned 17 hours and naps were often in 20 minute intervals which made it impossible to get anything done! As I mentioned in a previous post his sleeping hasn’t got much better as the year has progressed so I am still seriously sleep deprived and there isn’t much chance of doing housework while he naps as I’m scared to move in case I wake him up again!

In conclusion if you are going on maternity leave soon and are planning on becoming super Mum and domestic goddess during your time off I’m afraid it isn’t going to happen. I know all the other mummies on Facebook have up photos of the amazing time they are having on maternity leave and it is true you will have picture perfect Facebook moments which you will want to unashamedly share with everyone but there will also be some not so pretty moments. So maybe my year off wasn’t productive in the way I had planned but I managed to produce another human being and watch him grow into a pretty awesome little person and that is better than anything else I could possibly have achieved this year!

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baby, Family, mom, motherhood, Mum, Uncategorized

You know you are a mum when…

You know you are a mum when…

Everything in life revolves around sleep!

Something that I used to take for granted has now become my number one obsession! This is mainly because as I mentioned in a previous post my son isn’t a great sleeper so if I manage to get 2 hours unbroken sleep I feel like I have won the lottery! Every morning my husband and I like to have a competition to see who has made it through the night with the shortest sleep, I am currently in the lead! Day time naps are precious too and it is a toss up between taking a nap myself or catching up on some housework! Dear help anyone who dares make a noise or ring the doorbell during this sacred time!

Talking about poo and cleaning up poo is perfectly normal

Before my son was born I could count on one hand the number of dirty nappies I had changed. Anytime I babysat for friends I had all my fingers and toes crossed that their little dears would hold off on the bowel movements until I was safely out of there! Once I had my own son though cleaning stinky bums was no problem. The only thing that turns my stomach during dirty nappy changing time is when my dog tries to eat it!! Talking about poo is also a pretty common conversation in our house, if I go out one of the first things I ask when I come home is ‘was there a dirty nappy’ then I need to discuss in more detail the consistency and quantity! Is this not a normal family mealtime conversation?!

You aren’t even fazed when you realise you have gone out with snot stuck to your top

I frequently look down to see some form of dried gunk stuck to me. Even though everything is clean coming out of the wardrobe I never seem to make it out the door without getting some kind of bodily fluid or mushed up food lovingly smeared over me! I love my baba hugs though so if they come with snot attached I don’t care!

Baby wipes are your best friend

Following on from my previous point baby wipes can fix everything.

Dirt on your top- use baby wipes

Dirt on your baby- use baby wipes

Dirt on your dog- use baby wipes

The housework you have neglected- baby wipes will fix that too!

Going anywhere by yourself feels weird

If I mange to go to the toilet or on special occasions get a shower by myself it feels weird. Even before my son was born I had a dog tapping the shower door to let me know I had been in too long so having the luxury of just standing under the water for the sake of it feels like a holiday to me! Leaving the house on my own is even weirder, I hardly know what to do with my hands with no baby/pram or nappy bag to fill them!

The wheels on the bus is playing on a loop in your head

For months my son would only take his feed when one particular nursery rhyme YouTube video was playing in the background. I knew every word of that video and what song was going to come on next, even after turning off the TV I couldn’t turn it off in my head!!

You go out to buy something for yourself and come back with a car full of baby things

I just can’t walk past cute baby outfits, cool toys or sweet baby keepsakes. As I’m on unpaid maternity leave the only way to justify buying everything is to forfeit what I was going to buy for myself. When you are out with your baby though no one even looks at you anyway so it doesn’t matter that everything in my wardrobe is from 2008!

Morning sickness, motherhood, newborn, Pregnancy, Uncategorized

How to cope with morning sickness

This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure here.

I should start by saying using these tips for coping with morning sickness weren’t a cure for me, I still felt pretty vile every day up until about 26 weeks of pregnancy but by using these few coping mechanisms I just about managed to function! My morning sickness started from I was about 5 weeks pregnant. As I had been trying to get pregnant for a few months I had done a pregnancy test as early as possible so I knew I was pregnant right from about 3-4 weeks. To begin with I found it an odd knowing I was pregnant because a plastic pee stick had told me so without having any other signs of pregnancy and having to wait weeks before I could get a scan. As a result the first day that I began to feel nauseated I felt a bit relieved that this was another sign that there was definitely something going on in there. In fact my husband suggested that maybe I was just imagining the nausea because I wanted to feel pregnant, he soon changed his mind when he didn’t have to imagine the puking at all hours of day and night! Which brings me to my next point that morning sickness is a very misleading name as I got no relief from it at any time of day!

Eat little and often

The first tip I learnt was to never let your stomach get totally empty. This can be quite difficult when nothing seems to stay down! I tried to eat little and often even if it was just nibbling on a plain biscuit or cracker. I kept a packet of ginger biscuits by my bed so if I woke in the middle of the night I could take a few bites and when I woke in the morning I would have to take another few bites before I could even get out of bed.

Keep hydrated

Keeping hydrated is very important. Again this is easier said than done if you are throwing up umpteen times a day but I went for the little and often approach here too. I had a bottle of water beside me everywhere I went and just kept sipping slowly.

Rest

Learning to rest is also very important. To begin with I felt that I had to keep pushing myself. I don’t know whether it was my imagination but I seemed to get the opinion that people think of morning sickness as ‘just one of those things’ as in woman have been pregnant since the beginning of time and felt sick but life goes on. I know everyone experiences morning sickness differently but sometimes you just need to stop and say I actually need to take time and rest. It didn’t help that on my first visit to the doctor the very first words he said were ‘pregnancy isn’t an illness and we don’t want to turn it into one’! At this point my morning sickness hadn’t kicked in so I was a bit taken aback as obviously I hadn’t said anything about being sick and I wasn’t the type of person to visit the doctor too often so there couldn’t have been a hypochondriac warning written in my notes! When my sickness really began to kick in though I would have Ioved that same doctor to call round to see me with my head stuck down the toilet and reassess his views on pregnancy then!

Acupressure wrist bands

I wore an acupressure wrist band right though pregnancy. I found that they did seem to ease the nausea as the odd day that I forgot to put them on I would have felt worse and then realised I was missing my new fashion accessory!

Keep a diary

Try to keep track of what you have eaten or when you feel worst as I definitely was able to see a pattern in eating certain things or different times of day when I felt worse. At the start of pregnancy I had a real craving for chips but soon found out greasy food wasn’t going to work! Another day I was feeling slightly better and was fed up eating bland food so tried a bit of my husband’s chicken korma but it didn’t taste so great coming up as it had going down so that was spicy foods written off for a few months! It is trial and error and everyone will have all sorts of weird and wonderful suggestions of what cured their morning sickness but it is just a matter of seeing what works for you and learning what your stomach is going to reject!

Medication

If all else fails don’t be afraid to ask the doctor for medication. To begin with I was very against the idea of taking any anti sickness medication. Most people I talked to assured me that once I hit the 12 week mark the sickness would magically disappear so I felt I could hold out until then but by the time week 16 had arrived and there was still no end in sight I had to admit defeat. I had been put off the idea of going to the doctor due to the reaction of the first doctor that pregnancy wasn’t an illness. Also on any of my midwife visits she had just run through a check list of symptoms with me and when she asked about nausea and vomiting and I explained that it had been all day every day for weeks on end she just merrily ticked the box and moved onto the next question. This gave me the impression that she must have thought I should have been able to cope without any medication. I am not saying that at the first sign of nausea we should all be popping the pills but don’t put off discussing the option of medication with your doctor. I was on anti sickness tablets between 16 and 26 weeks, I tried to take the smallest dose that kept the nausea under control and afterwards gave birth to a healthy baby boy who doesn’t seem any the worse for it.

Emergency sick pack

My final tip is to bring an emergency pack with you wherever you go with a change of top and a toothbrush and paste or mouthwash just in case you get caught out sometime and need to freshen up!

I know I haven’t painted pregnancy in the best light in this post and won’t lie when I say that the sickness was horrific. Having said that I just loved feeling my baby growing inside me and I definitely wouldn’t let it put me doing it all over again because as I look as my son now I can easily say it was all worth it!

baby, baby gift, baby shower, newborn, Pregnancy, Uncategorized

Baby gift ideas

This post contains affiliate links. Read full disclosure here.

I have always loved buying baby gifts even before I had my own baby. I loved checking out all the tiny person clothes and buying cute outfits for my friends to dress their new little babies in. Clothes was always my go to gift when buying baby presents and on having my own baby I received practically a year’s worth of clothes for my own little man in gifts which was great considering how fast he seems to grow! I did receive some more unique presents though which I really appreciated and before having my own baby would never even thought of buying as a baby gift.

Personalised baby wooden keepsake box
This is a beautiful, high quality box which is a great size for keeping all the little keepsakes I will want to hold on to as my son grows.

Sophie the giraffe gift boxed
Beautifully presented plus Sophie is a great teether, perfect size for little hands and the texture seems to be soothing on sore gums.

Baby handprint and footprint clay kit photo frame
A lovely frame with space for photos and baby’s hand and footprint. Very easy to use and will be lovely to look back at how tiny his little hands and feet used to be!

Baby milestone cards
Lovely cards with a wide variety of milestones to mark each
new stage in your baby’s development.

Hooded mouse baby towel and mitten
Super soft towel and perfect size for growing babies plus he looks so cute wrapped up in it!

Baby name in freestanding fabric letters
Stunning handmade letters made from fabric spelling out baby’s name, also came with matching bunting to brighten up the nursery!

Baby memory book
Lovely book which can be personalised with photos and even baby’s footprint. Will be a nice keepsake for my son to look back on in years to come!

My first year photo frame
Space for a photo for each month of baby’s first year- I just need to get my photos printed now!

baby, Family, Uncategorized

Happy Father’s Day to my husband!

Let’s take this day to celebrate

Why we all think you are great

But don’t be getting too carried away

Cause you’re only the main man for today!

We all know when it’s said and done

The boss around here is our baby son!

I want to take this time to say thank you

For loving us and for all that you do

It is a crazy journey raising a child

But I am glad I have you by my side

I love you and so does our baba

So Happy Father’s Day to the best Dada!

baby, Family, motherhood, newborn, Pregnancy, Uncategorized

Poem to my baby boy

Becoming a mother is the greatest love I’ve felt

To look at your little face makes my heart melt

I mightn’t be the best qualified as a Mum

But I manage to keep you fed with a clean bum!

Together we somehow muddle through

With a laugh, some tears and a cuddle too

As I look at you each day you grow up too fast

The weeks and months are just flying past!

It is exciting to watch the little person you have become

Let’s hope you turn out as cool as your mum!

I dream your road ahead is filled with love, happiness and joy

But wherever life leads you’ll always be my baby boy

Uncategorized

First days of motherhood

img_2571Now that my baby was finally here I just wanted to get out of the hospital and home to start our new life together as a family! I knew I hadn’t a clue what I was supposed to do with this little person but as soon as I had given birth high on adrenaline (and diamorphine!) I was feeling up for the challenge and told my consultant that I would be good to go home later that day! He made agreeable sounds but as it was 4 in the morning I think he was just humouring me so he could go home to his bed! Sure enough my ashen face in the cold light of day a few hours later was enough for him to confirm I would need to stay another day before they released me into the big wide world of motherhood! By that stage exhaustion had kicked in so I was happy enough not to have to drag my stitched up nether region out of bed! The next 24 hours flew by in a blur of feeds and changing nappies, my baby barely uttered a cry the whole day so by the next morning I figured I had got the hang of this mummy thing and was raring to go!

I assured the doctor I was good to go, hassled the midwife to sort out my discharge and had my husband get into hospital ASAP with the car seat. Somewhere in my new mummy haze I had forgotten how in the real world there isn’t a nurse coming round with a trolley every few hours handing out meals and cups of tea. I also hadn’t calculated into the equation that my docile baby might have been due to the diamorphine that had been injected into my bum a few hours before he was born rather than my ninja mummy skills! So it was with a false sense of confidence that I set off out of the maternity ward to start my new life! I hadn’t even got half way down the corridor when reality kicked in, my husband was striding ahead baby seat in hand and I was needed to sit down already! Other than shuffling back and forward to the bathroom I hadn’t moved too far in the past day and it turned out swollen, stitched together lady parts along with with piles as big as a bunch of grapes didn’t really lend themselves making the trek out to a hospital car park! However I somehow managed to get to the car and made the short journey home to settle our baby into his new home. I have to admit this was one of the most surreal experiences in my life. Before my son was born I didn’t read up too much on parenting or how to look after a newborn. Part of me was superstitious and didn’t want to jinx my pregnancy by getting too ahead of myself, I just hoped once my baby arrived healthy that my mothering skills would kick in and I would figure it out as I went along! So other than figuring out the essentials that I really needed to have ready for coming home from hospital I was pretty much walking into the whole baby experience blind! As a result arriving home from hospital with this tiny human I had been entrusted with I felt totally unprepared. I had left this home a mere two days earlier an entirely different person, responsibility free, I could go to the toilet when I wanted, eat when I wanted, sleep when I wanted. Even though at that moment when I arrived home I badly wanted to do all of the above I was very aware that my baby also had all these requirements and it was my job to tend to them! So I figured I would sort him out first and then I could get some time to sort myself out, how naive was I?! Little did I realise I was never going to have time to myself again and any basic requirements I needed to do would be carried out with another human attached to me!

I know for me the first few days and weeks of motherhood were a total blur of exhaustion and feeling overwhelmed but above all a feeling of love that I have never experienced in my life. I know that even if I had read every baby book there was nothing could possibility have prepared me for motherhood but it is the love that we have for our children and the little family that we have created that keeps us going and we manage to muddle through together!