Tag: motherhood

A Birthday Girl, Bad Weather and Mary Poppins

Birthday Cake with Lit candles

I took a week off blogging because my little girl turned six last Friday.  I look at her now and wonder how did my baby suddenly turn into a “proper” little girl.  She suddenly looks, talks and acts a bit different now.  The “baby” is gone.  She’s lost her baby fat, can explain herself too darn-well, it’s amazing how much she’s grown.  I want to cry out “Oh do slow down a bit, I’m afraid mummy doesn’t really want you to grow-up too fast.  You may be ready, I’m not“.  Sob, sob.

I have a video of her barely two-years-old, she’s running towards me in the headland and stops and says “Mummy run!  Mummy run!”  She gets frustrated because I wouldn’t run and was too busy filming her.  If I could just freeze or go back to that day, that perfect summer day, when it was warm enough for her to wear a cute summer dress and hat and she was absolutely beautiful, my little baby.

birthday_girl

Now at six, she suddenly looks all grown-up.  I keep asking myself, how did that happen?  I spent the week doing absolutely nothing and everything with her.  We had some close friends visit early in the week too and had a lovely time with them on the beach.

There were talks of a beach party for her and her friend (whose birthday was six days before hers) but the Cornish weather didn’t allow it and so we opted for a spontaneous “camping birthday” instead and only invited a few of her closest friends.

On the day itself though, even as my husband and I pitched our tents on our garden and in spite glaring and shaking our fists at the sky “declaring war” if it decided to pour, sods law, it did rain as her little guests started arriving.  What was supposed to be a barbecue ended up a “grilled-dinner” inside our home.  In spite the wet weather, and giggling girls (and one boy), we all managed to get some sleep in our tents.

tents

After breakfast, the next day we sang little T “Happy Birthday” and had birthday.  The sun then decided to grace us, so I took the water-slide out and assembled it in our lawn and all the kids had fun sliding down before calling it a day.

water_slide

Little T opened presents from family when her guests were gone and before we knew it, it was time to get ready to go and see Mary Poppins at Plymouth.

mary_poppins

If you haven’t seen it and have little ones, go grab some tickets!  We were thoroughly entertained, the cast, the costumes, the choreography was just absolutely amazing.

My daughter is now six. I still can’t believe it.  She and I have this ritual after saying goodnight and exchanging “I love yous”, I say “On the day you were born, and T likes to end it with “It was the happiest day of your life”.  It’s certainly true.  And I want to say to her, everyday with her is a happy one.  And as author Suzanne Finnamore once said …

You are the closest I will ever come to magic.

Here’s a little video I decided to mark her “growing-up” years.

 Do you also feel that time is happening way too fast and you just want it to slow down?

Do share.

July Chat with a Mum: Charly of PODcast

Tell us something about yourself, your little one and your blog (age & sex).

Hi I’m Charly! I’m a business owner, blogger and photographer with 20 years experience in the marketing industry. Having spent many years working in London marketing agencies, largely at Marketing Director or New Business Director level, I set up my own business in 2012. While the focus initially was marketing and new business strategy, these days more of my time is spent helping agencies and brands with their content marketing. It’s a nice position to be in, knowing the industry and being a blogger!

Charly Dove - PODcast photo of Charly

Most people know me as Editor of multi-award nominated parent and lifestyle blog PODcast which has been around for four years now. I’m also Editor of family/adventure travel blog POD Travels, which launched in 2015, and Editor of the BritMums Photo Round-up. The Doves are a family of three living in Surrey – there’s myself, daughter ‘POD’, who was born on Christmas Day 2010, and husband Jonathan (aka ‘the POD Father’).

Charly Dove - PODcast 6 (1) What was your child’s birth story like?

It started well! As a ‘geriatric mother’ (their words not mine!), the consultant insisted POD to be born before her Christmas Day due date. While my contractions started an hour after securing a bed at the hospital, POD had other ideas taking a further 72 hours to arrive amid complications. The Salvation Army, who could be heard singing ‘Good King Wenceslas’ from outside the delivery suite, marked POD’s arrival. Having had regular scans from 5 weeks through to 38 weeks, with a detailed look at her brain and heart cavities in-between, we were relieved she was born healthy. When the midwife asked what we were going to call her, we both said ‘Poppy’ at exactly the same time and without hesitation. So Poppy she became.

What do you wish you knew about being a mother, before becoming one?

Oh gosh many things from those hazy days of being a first time parent! I remember having an endless list of questions like why doesn’t she nap, why does she cluster feed and why does she always spill up! Looking back we were pretty much winging it while ‘on the job’ and trying to figure out what makes a good parent. If I had my time again, I’d want someone to sit me down and tell me what brilliant fun kids are. We had POD late in life and I’d change that in an instant if I could turn back the clock.

Charly Dove - PODcast

How do you manage your “me” time?

Parenting, working and blogging leaves little “me time” per say but I love the great outdoors. Grabbing my camera and blowing away the cobwebs for a couple of hours works wonders. I love breathing in the fresh country air and capturing what’s around me without a care in the world. It’s a great way to gain some headspace although a massage or a facial wouldn’t go amiss either!

Charly Dove - PODcast 4

Do you have any favorite anecdote of your little one?

There’s a huge selection to choose from but slamming her bedroom door while shouting “you’re an old man and I don’t like you” at the POD Father has to be up there. She was three so I’m sure we have many more gems like that to come!

Charly Dove - PODcast 5

What is it about motherhood you absolutely love about?

POD’s a little adventurer and adores exploring. I love the expression on her face when she discovers something new, her excitable nature and her limitless imagination. Her enthusiasm and boundless energy are totally infectious. I’m totally biased but she’s one amazing human.

Charly Dove - PODcast 2

On the other hand, if there is anything about motherhood you dislike what would it be?

We had a period where POD refused to sleep, coming downstairs umpteen times a night until 10pm, sometimes even later. She’d appear in our bed in the early hours then refuse to get up in the morning because she was so tired. It continued for six months but thankfully we found a solution by changing her routine and putting boundaries in place.

What’s a typical day like for you and your child?

During the week, it’s very much about keeping to a routine before and after school. POD has after school club until 6pm most days with the middle of the week reserved for her swimming lesson. She recently completed the six-week #TennisForKids course with the LTA too which was great. Saturdays mornings are normally fairly busy as she has gymnastics followed by Stagecoach – both of which she loves. POD has bags of energy so a day without activities, outdoor fun or a play date usually results in her going stir crazy! We do have quiet days though too with colouring, arts/crafts or cooking on the agenda. She also loves Netflix and would quite happily watch all day given half a chance!

 Charly Dove - PODcast 3

Best advice you’ve ever received about motherhood/parenthood?

Make time for each other every day – chat, laugh and try not to take yourself too seriously.

If you could give yourself advice about motherhood before becoming one, what would it be?

Take on board all the advice you’re given but don’t forget what works for one child might not apply to another. Always trust your instincts, you know your child better than anyone else.

Charly Dove - PODcast 7

How do you manage your time, blogging/workwise and time with your family and other activities?

Paid work always comes first so the majority of my blog content is written in the evening and occasionally before the working day. Weekends are reserved for family time whether it’s heading somewhere locally or travelling further afield. I’m used to working in a high-pressured environment with many balls in the air – inevitably things don’t always go to plan! Blogging has enabled me to explore my creativity and work on projects that may have otherwise passed me by. I truly value the community spirit and I’m a firm believer that you should always stay true to yourself regardless of what you do.

Thank you so much Charly!

You can find Charly on: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Visit PODcast and POD Travels.

Click here if you’ve missed last month’s Chat with a Dad.

May Chat with a Mum: Tamsin of Chasing Esme

I admit I only feature bloggers whom I really read and follow over at Chats with Mums and Dads, so when the lovely Tamsin of Chasing Esme got in touch early this year, it was actually refreshing to say yes!  After all, I’ve never featured a young mum before (no offence meant to the past chats with mums, and it’s stimulating to hear the fresh voice of a young mum compared to ehem a mum in her 40s like me 😉  And like I keep saying, I do love discovering new bloggers especially when they turn out to be a wonderful read.

Grab a coffee or tea, and let’s find out more about this lovely young mum:

Tell us something about yourself and your family.

My name is Tamsin Mathias, and I’m a 20-year-old mum of one, living in sunny Pembrokeshire in West Wales.

By day, I work as a journalist for a newspaper entitled The Pembrokeshire Herald, and a news reader for a radio station called Herald Radio. By night, I’m a lifestyle blogger for Chasing Esme!

I’m the other half of a punk-rocker called Al, who is lead singer and guitarist in Trunk Shot, and we’re lucky enough to have a beautiful 1-year-old daughter called Esme, who is the inspiration for my blog and many other things!

IMG_5130

What was your birth story like?

I ran into some complications near the end of my pregnancy after having none at all. My due date was February 1, 2015, and that night I started having Braxton Hicks. I thought I was going into labour, but as morning came the contractions went away.

This repeated for two more nights, and I realised that my waters had started leaking. After contacting the midwife, I was booked in to be checked over at the hospital.

It was confirmed that my waters were leaking, and I was booked to be induced at 8am on Thursday, February 5. However, Esme had other plans, and at 2am, my waters broke. I felt, and I swear I heard, a definite ‘pop’. After running to the toilet, I realised there was meconium in my waters (baby’s first poo).

I didn’t realise that your waters leaked continuously, so when we arrived at the hospital, I walked around with Al, stopping after a few paces due to contractions, leaving behind me a little yellow trail of amniotic fluid. I felt like Hansel and Grettel!

After writing in my birth plan I wanted gas and air and pethidine only, I demanded an epidural at 3cm dilated. I managed to get a few hours kip during labour, and gave birth to my beautiful brown-eyed girl at 17.44 on February 5, 2015.

What do you wish you knew about being a mother before becoming one?

I wish someone had told me all of the grotty things that happen once baby arrives rather than sugar coating it. Not with the baby, but with your own body.

For starters, I didn’t realise that your belly didn’t go back right away. People had told me that I’d “snap right back”, and that they managed to give birth and “skip out of the hospital in my size 8 jeans.” I thought this would be possible for me, so felt a real shock when I looked down and saw what looked like a sagging, deflated balloon.

I wish that someone had told me how sore you would be “down there.” It felt like I was sitting on shards of glass every time my behind touched any kind of surface, and I was devastated at what I saw when I took a look with a mirror!

bath time kisses

In terms of babies, I wish someone had told me that sometimes they just like to cry all day, whether they’ve been fed, changed and winded or not!

How do you manage your “me” time?

I’m very lucky to have such a wonderful mother-in-law called Nanny Jill, who looks after Esme in the day. Esme also stays at Nanny Jill’s every Wednesday night, so that Al and I can have a bit of time away from parenting, and more time spent playing on the PS4 together.

nanny jill

Normally, Esme goes to bed between 7pm and 8pm, so we manage to watch a few episodes of our favourite TV shows, topped off with playing either Grand Theft Auto V or Destiny: The Taken King on PS4!

Do you have a favourite anecdote of your children?

We realised when Esme was born that she was tongue tied, and after much research, decided to get it snipped when she was two weeks old.

A few seconds and it was over. Esme handled it extremely well, whereas I found it difficult not to shed a tear!

IMG_5205

After the procedure we were put into a side room, and had to stay for half an hour to give her a bottle to make sure she was feeding okay. As I was feeding her, I noticed she was damp. Now, I have no idea when this happened, because she seemed to be clean one minute and filthy the next, but she was plastered in muck from her waist down.

But it wasn’t everywhere, it was in splodges! A bit on a toe, some on a knee, and absolutely filling the nappy she had on.

I thought I’d better tackle it quickly, however I hadn’t packed a spare change of clothes. I undressed her, and stared at her for about 30 seconds in utter shock, because I had no idea where to start! In the end, I armed myself with a load of baby wipes and went for it.

Al drove off to Tesco (which is quite a way from the hospital) to buy her some new clothes, while I tried to clean up the never ending stink coming from Esme!

It wasn’t very funny at the time, but now I look back and giggle at my naive self. Who travells 45 minutes away with a baby and doesn’t bring everything except the kitchen sink?

What it is about motherhood that you absolutely love?

Feeling loved! Esme brings with her huge amounts of cuddles, kisses and laughter, and she brings me so much joy! I love being part of a family and watching her play with Al. She’s a complete Daddy’s girl!

al and es

She learns something new every day, and never fails to make me laugh. She makes me proud to be her mum.

On the other hand, is there anything about motherhood you dislike?

Judgy people! I don’t understand why mums like to judge other mums. I don’t always dress Esme in what’s deemed to be girly clothes, mainly because I’m not girly, and I like to dress her like me!

Esme’s typical outfit is jeans, paired with either a superhero top, a Thomas and Friends t-shirt or something to do with music. Someone had the cheek to say that if I’d had a boy, I would be looking at dresses.

It’s not just clothes – people will judge you on just about anything.

What’s a typical day like for you and your little one?

If it’s a weekday, we’ll all be up and out of bed around 7am and out the door for 8am. I’ll drop Al off to work before continuing on to Nanny Jill’s house, where Esme will have her breakfast while I get ready for work.

I’ll be off out the door for 9am, and I won’t see her again until 5.30pm.

However, if it’s the weekend, we’ll be up around 7am as usual, and have breakfast for around 8.30am, followed by a bath, bottle and morning nap. She normally sleeps for around 45 minutes, and depending on the weather, we’ll either have a lazy day playing with her favourite bear, or we’ll go out to visit family members (with bear in tow).

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about motherhood?

When I started weaning Esme, I was told: “Watch the baby, not the clock.” I was always worried about how much Esme should be eating, and was concerned that it was taking a long time to get food down her.

However, after lots of patience and persistence, Esme gobbled down her food! I stopped looking at how long it took to feed her, and instead looked to her to tell me whether she wanted more or had had enough.

If you could give yourself advice about becoming a mother, what would it be?

It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to feel like things are all a bit much and that you’re struggling, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help.

There will be bad days, and there will be good. And, there will be days where you feel so happy that you could burst. Parenting is a fantastic experience, even if we do put ourselves through hell! We need to remember to look after ourselves, as well as our little ones.

It’s easy to forget about yourself when all you can think about is your little bundle of joy!

How do you manage your time, blogging/workwise and time with your family and other activities as well?

I’m not quite sure! Most of my blogging is done very late at night, leading into the early hours of the morning, whilst sat on the sofa in the living room. I should probably invest in a desk or something.

Family time is mostly had on the weekends. I don’t think that Esme misses out at all, because she stays with family 24/7! Any activities we do, such as going to the beach or the park is done on a Saturday or Sunday, weather permitting!

Thank  you so much Tamsin!

Do check out this young mum’s blog.

You can also connect with her over at twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

And if you haven’t had the chance to read last month’s chat with a dad, come and have a read here.

That Second Child I might never have.

My husband and I wanted a second child after little T.  Admittedly, we didn’t try right away.  We were just too caught up in loving every single minute with her that we forgot one important matter to parents of a certain age: t-i-m-e.  You see I was 37 when I gave birth to my darling girl.  We should’ve seriously tried after her first birthday.

He wanted another daughter, I yearned for a little boy.  We tried when T was around three, but I guess it just isn’t meant to be and I’m okay with that now (I think).  Though admittedly, for the longest time, it actually felt like I was grieving for the son that I’ll never have. And sometimes, when I allow myself the “maybe-it-can-still-happen thoughts”, I feel a tiny minuscule flicker of hope ignite inside me, but as the months turn into years, that already small flame is diminishing little by little.

We kept little T’s buggy and car seats (from baby to toddler) up in the attic. But last month, when we cleared old stuff because of the move we thought we were doing, we decided to give them to a friend who gave birth a few months ago.  They are all gone now. All her baby toys and clothes she’s outgrown.  There won’t be another baby to use them, at least not ours.  We saved a few bits that we really love like her first shoe, first winter duffel coat and other special things.

A week or so go ago I blurted another “What if once we finally move … with all the stress behind us … What if I get pregnant again?”  My poor lovely husband gave me a tired smile and said “Yes, you’ll never know, it might just happen”.  But I knew that sad smile also meant “My poor wife, she’s still hoping …”  Later on that very same day, I was happily chatting to one of our mum friends and I also mentioned it, she agreed “Yes, you’ll never know”.

Then that night, as I lay in a hot nice bath I tried to remember my age.  You see, I’m the kind who keeps forgetting.  (Now whether this is done intentionally, I have no idea 😉  I called to T who was just in the other room and asked her “How old is mummy, sweetie?”  She hollered back “43 mum” and then my heart sank.  Forty-bloody-three, who am I kidding?  I’ll never get pregnant again.  It took us ages to get pregnant with T.

It’s easy to write about the happy days, isn’t it?  Or about the awful English weather outside, how it paints a grim picture as I sit and type this. Or the sunshiny days we’ve been having lately, or how lovely it is to live in a small village by the sea.

But I struggle with the words to describe how I feel about my hypothetical other child.  The one that I’ll never have. All I know is this, every time it’s that time of the month, my heart breaks a little, even though I know the chances of me getting pregnant is slim and getting slimmer by the day.  Who am I kidding?  I’m afraid time is more of a foe right now.  Yes, I know it can still happen.  A blogger friend insists that it can still happen, because it happened to her.  But each year goes by and nothing happens and I’m slowly accepting that perhaps, it just isn’t meant to be?  And I know some of you may think, oh but you should be thankful that you have little T, some keep trying and aren’t even lucky enough to have one child.  Yes, I am thankful every single day that we were blessed to have her, but given the chance, I’d love to have that second child.

What’s the most difficult reality you’ve had to accept?

Do share.

Mummy Magic: A Mother’s Day Post

Does anyone remember this advert of a mum walking with her daughter?  I think it was a bank advertisement.  The mum would pay for everything using her phone, which made the child think that her mum has magic.

I was that kid.

When I was a child, I believed my mum had magic too.  She had this magical ability of making all my worries and hurts disappear.  As a mother of a young child now, I believe I have that magic too.  I think this mummy magic is passed on from mother to daughter, over one generation after another.

Like all children, little T believes that my kisses are magic.  If she hurts herself, any bit of her body, be it her thumb, her elbow, her knee, she’d offer it up to me, or I’d bend down and kiss it and just like magic, she’d stop sniffling.  In her heart she thinks that her mummy’s kisses has made them better.

She cries for me in her sleep, and just like magic, as soon as I touch her forehead, she calms down, turns around and falls back to sleep again.

Of course there are days when I think my mummy magic is fading.  After all, she is five now.  But she hasn’t said anything to me.  I think she still believes in it just as she believes in Father Christmas or the tooth fairy.

And I also know that the time will come when T will discover that of course just like Santa, mummy has no magic and that her father and I both have feet of clay, but at the moment though I’m revelling on the high this “mummy magic” gives me because I know it won’t last.

It isn’t Mother’s Day yet,  but I try not to blog on Sundays and I also know that most of  you will probably have plans, so I’m going to greet you all lovely Mothers out there a Happy Mother’s Day!  And a reminder to all of you, to all of us, that we are doing a grand job! 🙂  Now let’s pat each other on the back, pass the bubbly and say cheers!

My word of the week is Mother’s Day.

Does your children believe you have mummy magic too?

Do you have any lovely plans for Mother’s Day?

Do share.

The Reading Residence

Being T’s Mum

“It’s T’s mum!”  A group of kids chorused even before I saw them.  I had my headphones on and have just stepped out of the gate that led into the headland, that’s why I didn’t see them first.

They were a group of children from little T’s small primary school down in the village from our house. “Hi T’s mum!” I heard one of them say and the others all smiled and waved to me as they passed, obviously headed for the football field, probably an after school P.E. activity.  I smiled and waved back to them too.  The sweet thing about this whole scenario is that they were all older kids, not kids from T’s class whom I’m familiar with, down to their names.  These were older kids, probably between 8-10 years old.  But they all knew who I was, or rather they all knew that I was T’s mum.

I walked away with a big smile on my face and a warmed heart.  These kids are lovely, I thought and then wondered, have I lost my identity?  I no longer have a name, I’m just seen as T’s mum. Walking back to the house, I was checking my feelings.

Was I upset?  No.

Was I bothered?  A bit.

And here’s another incident, I overheard my husband phoning a builder to get quotes for the renovation to be done in our home.  Not so sure what this builder’s relation is to O, a little girl in T’s class.  We just know they’re related.  Anyway, this is how my husband introduced himself:

Hi J.  This is S, T’s Dad.  Yes, from O’s class.

I asked him about it, and he chuckled and said “Yes, that’s me.  I’m happy to be known as T’s Dad’.

But then I thought, outside the village, in his work with the OU and Oxford, he is still known to his students as Dr. S.  He still has an identity.  Whereas I’m just known as T’s mum, and to my husband’s students who often phone him at home, I’m known as Dr. S’s wife.

Writer?

If you’ve read my about me section on this blog.  You’ll notice that I still refer to myself as a freelance writer.  The truth is, I hardly get any paid work or writing contracts anymore.  My last proper contract ended in 2013.  To be fair though that lasted for about eight years.  I do occasionally get paid for blog-posts, but does that mean I’m still a writer?  I don’t really know. When filling up forms and I come across the item “Occupation”, I always stop and have a think. My husband always nudges me to write “freelance writer”.  I feel like a fake sometimes.  But it doesn’t really bother me anymore.  One thing is certain though, I am proud to be known as little T’s mum.  At the moment, I’m fine with that.

What about you?

Do you occasionally feel like an echo of your former self?

March Chat with a Mum: Fiona of Coombe Mill

If you are a UK Parent Blogger, chances are you’ve already heard of Fiona of Coombe Mill. Apart from running the lovely must-visit self-catering cottages specifically made for families in Cornwall, she also writes about country living in her blog and hosts the famous #countrykids linky which I’m a follower of.  Grab a cup of tea or coffee you lovely folks, and get to know the lovely woman behind Coombe Mill:

Tell us something about yourself and your children (age & sex)

Hi I’m Fiona, married to Nick, or Farmer Nick as all the children here on holiday call him. I’m a full time Mum to our 6 children, working full time at our holiday business and squeezing a little blogging and social media into my spare time, that’s a lot of full time jobs in one but thankfully I thrive on very little sleep. My children are all coming up to birthdays but are currently 17, 15, 13 and 11, the 11 being my triplets. Only the youngest (by minutes) is a girl so she and I are rather outnumbered in our household.

Family Team from Daily Mail

What were your children’s birth stories like?

I can sum my birth stories up as long, boring and conventional right up to the triplets. Each was 48 hours of hell as far as I’m concerned but reading the stories of others I know I was actually very lucky and felt right as rein straight after giving birth. I even took the older children to a 2 year olds birthday party in the afternoon after giving birth to my 3rd in the morning, so yes I was lucky. The triplets on the other hand were a pain free c section; though I still remember lying there watching the reflection in the rim of the ceiling mirror and seeing a distorted view of what was happening inside me the other side of the curtain! I was kept in with them for 3 weeks as they were born at 33 weeks and only tiny. It was only when I came home and had to instantly be on hand for the older children and the business I realised what a rest hospital was! Poor Farmer Nick had been amazing back home on his own with the other 3 children and the business in that time and having to furnish our first Scandinavian lodge alone; it still has a very minimalistic male touch to it! As for the next 2 years with 6 children under 6 and the business, I have only limited memory; survival of each day was my only goal!

KF2-2002

KF2-2002

What you wish you knew about being a mother before becoming one?

Oh everything! I didn’t even know how to change a nappy, I was as clueless as anyone could be and I wish I had put my first down more, sterilized everything less, and accepted every offer of help I turned down. I wised up with subsequent children. I think the triplets almost brought themselves up and I never sterilized a thing, they were my most healthy babies!

How do you manage your “me” time?

I’m addicted to fresh air and exercise. I can’t manage as much as a day indoors. I sneak an hour mid day most days to go for a run, cycle or swim or surf, often with a friend or with one of my teens if it’s after school or just on my own to think. It is one of the biggest benefits of working from home, having the freedom to take a break when I feel I need one. When the children were tiny I’d wheel the pram round my running route.

Do you have any favorite anecdote of your children?

Oh plenty, but I think the thing I find most amusing and annoying is never knowing ‘who did it’. Whatever the misdemeanor it is always “I didn’t do it” I” I saw ….” I”I wasn’t there” finding out who broke something or ate something I was saving etc is impossible, they cover for each other no matter what and Nick and I don’t stand a chance. I think it is probably a big family thing.

What is it about motherhood you absolutely love about?

I cherish the sense of belonging to a big family and of loving and being loved. The family bond is so very important to me.

On the other hand, if there is anything about motherhood you dislike about what would it be?

My biggest dislike is the 11 – 13 age when the children go through puberty, the mood swings and aggression is tough and for a while I feel I’m losing them, I now know it is a phase and to just love them and give them the space they need and they come back to you, the things they say along this journey can be hurtful but they don’t mean it. Fear not if you’ve not yet reached this stage, they don’t all go through it in such an obvious way but at least half of mine have and the triplets are right in it now. Like the terrible twos, there are of course lovely days too at this stage, it is just an emotional roller coaster.

What’s a typical day like for you and your kids?

Our days change throughout the year with the changing needs of the business, all the kids have jobs around the farm on different days though it is fair to say they do enjoy time off in the holidays except our busy Saturday changeover when they are all needed.

KF2-2002

KF2-2002

Best advice you’ve ever received about motherhood/parenthood?

Be consistent, make rules you can stick to and follow them through.

If you could give yourself advice about motherhood before becoming one, what would it be?

Use your intuition, do what feels right, take advice from others but don’t feel bound to anyone else’s word, every child and parent are different and there is no one rule that fits all; do what works for you and your child.

How do you manage your time, blogging/workwise and time with your family and other activities as well?

The age old work life balance! We have family time over dinner every night, meals often take an hour now as with teenagers there is plenty of humour, banter and debates that take place around our dining table, and this is our daily family catch up time. In summer family trips out are much harder as changeover and business needs take over, however we try for a family outing on a Sunday between the animal feeding and even train rides then in the winter close down period we value our weekends together. My blogging time is either mid week while the kids are at school and the guests out for the day or late in the evening as I’m a bit of a night owl.

Thank you so much Fiona!  

And if you’re planning to visit North Cornwall over the Easter break and looking for a place to stay with your family, why not stay at Coombe Mill?  It’s nothing like your usual holiday self-catering cottages – it’s a working farm and Fiona and her lovely family have fun  activities planned for your little ones that will surely make your holiday even more special. 

Click here to visit Fiona’s blog and if you haven’t read last month’s chat with a Dad, do have a read here

Cuddle Fairy

Five Life Lessons I’ve Learned from my 5-Year Old

My daughter’s strength astonishes me. I’m not putting her down, I’m proud of her, but I also know that she can be shy.  If you’ve been following my posts for some time now, you will know that she was the child who cried her little eyes out and desperately clung to me, for two whole weeks straight when she first started school last year.  She cried as if her little heart was breaking, as if I was going to leave her for good.  To be fair though, she cried and clutched, but would let go after, and would be led crying inside by her teacher.

For any parent who has school age children, and have gone through this, will know how difficult it was.  How we questioned ourselves as parents. It was heartbreaking. I thought that I had made the wrong decision about sending her early. She just turned four you see, two weeks just before school started. She could’ve stayed another year at home had we wanted. But I thought she was ready, but those two weeks, made me feel like I had failed her.  Yes, it’s true after a while, she was fine.  But those two weeks was one of the worst weeks of my life as a mother.

She also started her gymnastics lessons last year. And during her first day, I braced myself for a repeat performance of what she was like when she started school (this was months after), but surprisingly there were no tears, though she nervously chewed on her sleeve that first day, she came home with a very wet one, but with a big smile on her face.  She knew she did well.

She’s changed a lot.  She’s still shy.  It takes awhile for her to warm-up with strangers or in a new situation, but her strength as a person really is admirable for someone so young.  As an adult, I am learning so much from my five-year-old daughter:

1. Always Have A-Go: Be Brave

No matter what it is, especially if it’s something new and even though it’s a bit scary, little T will always give it a try.  She’ll look at us a bit nervous and say “I’ll have a go mum”.  We’ll ask “Are you sure?”  She’ll nod her head quietly and I too try to be brave for her, even though in reality all I want to do is cuddle her and say “Oh it’s fine. You don’t have to do it!”  Instead I bite my lip and take her lead.

I’ve already written about how she volunteered to read in front of a large group of people during a school activity and how she helped a friend who got stuck and couldn’t read the words on her paper.  Some her friends may appear more confident than her, but when push comes to shove and put on spotlight, they crumble and cry.  But not little T, who will always have a-go.

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2. Never Give Up

Little T had some friends from school who joined her in her gymnastics class every Friday.  These kids were seemingly more confident than her, but in the end, they gave it up, which was a shame because they seemed really keen, but seemed too scared, too uncertain with the big groups of kids in the class.  Not little T though, she would always stand shyly (and she’s also one of the youngest, not to mention shortest!) amongst her team-mates, but no matter what, come Friday, you would expect to see her there, standing with them.

3. Stand-up for Yourself

She knows how to hold her corner.  Whilst my daughter isn’t the shortest in her class (there’s another lovely little boy who is the same size as her), she won’t back off if someone puts her down.  Her teacher told us that she is vocal about her feelings and is not afraid to state her opinion, even if she has to raise her voice among all the bigger children in school.

4. Stop Worrying

As parents, we are all worriers, aren’t we?  We worry about the smallest little thing and my daughter is the one who patiently calms my fears down by saying “It’s all right mum.  It doesn’t matter” she’ll say, or “It’s going to be fine”.  I wonder sometimes, when did she become this wise?

5. Trust

My daughter has taught me to trust her, even though she is only five.  Most times I want to hide her away in my little bubble and not let her try anything new, or anything that she’s nervous about.  In her own little way, she lets me know that I can trust her.  Trust that she’ll be in her best behaviour when out on play-dates with her friends in their house.  Parents have commended her  with her lovely manners.  She doesn’t forget to say “No thank you, yes please” And thank the person for the lovely meal they’ve prepared.

She’s not perfect by any means.  No one is. She has her meltdowns too, especially when she’s tired and can be really grumpy after school. But hey, she’s five right?

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When she’s old enough, I know it will be difficult for me to let her go on her own, to allow her to experience everything life has to offer.  I know it will break my heart, but once again, I’ll take my cue from her.  I’ll stand by the doorway and wave her off, but I’ll make sure that I’m also there to welcome her back home.

For those who have children, what are the lessons you’ve learned from them?

Or what was the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn in life?

Do share.

Mama Owl

Get The World Ready: A Dettol Campaign for Mums

My daughter is five years-old, she’ll be six in August and yet I can still remember what it was like being pregnant with her, especially the last couple of weeks before giving birth.  I was a first time mum and was:

Excited

I couldn’t wait to hold her in my arms.  To see her face, to cuddle and kiss her.  I wondered: Will she look like me?  Will she look like my husband?

Impatient

The nine months felt like forever, especially the last few weeks, it went on and on.  I couldn’t wait any longer!  I wanted to give birth to her now!  Please let it happen now!

And then like all new mums, I was Scared:

Will I know what to do?  Will I be able to cope without any help from my family who lives so far away from me? Am I ready to be a mother?  Do we have everything we need?  Have we cleaned our whole house from top to bottom?  Is it clean enough?  Will it ever be clean enough?  I wouldn’t want her to catch germs.

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And then it happened.  I finally gave birth to her, she was out.  I remember looking at her in awe and wondering “Did she really come from me?  What now?”  I felt this over-powering abundance of love all over me.  This is my baby.  I love her.  I love every bit of her, every fibre of her being.  But the fear was still there. In the hospital though, we had help from all the lovely midwives, patient enough to answer all my questions “Why isn’t she latching?  Doesn’t she want me?  Why is she doing that? Is it normal? Why is she making that sound?  Is she supposed to sleep that much?”

Taking Our Baby Home

Once in the safety of our own house, I remember sensing Fear also settle in along with my new baby.  It also made itself at home, poured itself its own cup of tea, settled itself on the couch with me, stared at me while I tried to figure out what to do with this tiny, helpless baby who relied on me and my husband for everything.

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Then life happened.   Days turned into weeks, the weeks into months, the months into years and she’s a little girl now.  Fear still lives with us.  I still have daily conversations with Fear:

Am I doing everything right for my little girl? Am I making the right decisions for her?  What if I make mistakes?  Will I end up ruining her life?  Will she blame me and hate me for all the choices I made for her?

Five years down the line, I’ve learned to co-exist with Fear.  I know when to hush it, and also know when to trust my instincts which is far stronger and wiser than Fear.

In support of all new mums or mums-to-be, Dettol has come up with a campaign “Get the World Ready”.  They invite everyone to listen to stories from real mums, who share the same fears as me, you, them, us.  Yes, the good news is we are not alone, as mothers, as parents, we all share the same daily fears and Dettol is there to help us along the way, regardless of whether you are a new mum, or expecting your third child.

Do you remember what it was like to bring your first child back home with you?

Did you have any fears?  How did you cope with them?

Do share.

*This is a collaborated post, however words and photos are by yours truly.

An Invitation to a Good Night’s Sleep

Are you a sleep deprived parent?  I am.

Even though my little one is not so little anymore. T is five.  We co-slept with her when she was a baby.  And just before her second birthday, she moved into her new bedroom.  We made her room beautiful.  Decorated it with a feature wallpaper from Cath Kidston, her cot, was turned into a proper bed for a toddler.  When she first saw it, she squealed in delight, especially when she discovered that her cot-bed could be used as a trampoline.  Did she sleep on it? I’ll save that for another post.

Fast forward to the present.  She’s now five.  Is she sleeping on her bed?  Yes.  Does she sleep alone in her room?  Err… Depends on what day it is.

Hello.  My name is Dean and I am a sleep-deprived parent.

It’s easy to recognise my fellow sleep-deprived parents at the school-gate or school-runs.  We look like zombies. No, we don’t look like characters straight from ‘Shaun of the Dead’ movie.  Although we could easily pass off as a dead-person walking, as we drag our bodies heavily across the school grounds, wearing our spaced-out expressions on our faces. We mumble incoherently or with monosyllabic answers to “How are yous” from annoyingly cheerful parents who smile and greet us.  In our heads, we’re shoving them violently on the side and growling “Go to hell!” under our breaths.

Thank goodness, I don’t do the morning run, otherwise, I’d be known as “T’s crazy mother”.

In honour of the sleep-deprived parent, Yorkshire Linen recently launched a campaign called “The Patch up with your sleep revolution”.  It invites parents to share their tips on how to get that much sought-after holy grail of a goodnight’s sleep.

I’ll be honest with you, I don’t really have much tips to share.  If I did, I wouldn’t be sleep-deprived now would I?

One thing is certain though, I know what makes me happy.

I love beddings, clean, crisp, newly laundered bedding.  I may not sleep on it the whole night, but knowing that it is there, just waiting for me, fills me with absolute bliss.

I’ve mentioned this so many times in past posts before, how much I love beddings and soft-furnishings, how they are on the top of my list of “small joys”.  Suddenly the state of being sleep-deprived isn’t much of a big deal anymore.  Bring it on, sleepless nights!  Besides lacking sleep is like the “new normal” isn’t it?  At least in the land of parenthood, that is.  After all, Part of our job description as a parent: Must learn how to function with little sleep.  And you know what, I’m bloody good at it!

Do you have any tips on how to have a good night’s sleep?

Do share.

Disclosure:  This is a collaborated post.

Cuddle Fairy