Tag: parenthood

The School Run

Ever since moving just out of the little village by the sea and into a 400-year-old cottage, school runs now consist of a short drive down a B road.  I use the word “short” lightly, because that all depends on whether we get stuck behind a tourist who likes to break in every corner and once they’ve reached the village, slow down and take a photo from inside their car.  Yes, that happened to us so that ten-minute drive can easily turn into a 20-minute drive!

We’re back in the grind now.  We leave the house around 8:30, if we leave early we always end up waiting around especially since little T’s school just isn’t really strict with time.  I told my husband the other night, as much as I love her school, it sometimes annoys me how long it takes them to ring the bell in the morning.  If they were going to take that long, they might as well serve coffee to the parents and provide chairs outside too!

T is happily settled in school and I also think I’m less of an emotional bundle now that she’s back and loving it again.  We’re all settled, except Doc.  He seems to want to join in the school run in the mornings and always tries to sneak in the car, one of these days, we might just take him along too.  And while we’re at it, might as well take Boots!

Our word of the week is: school-run

Are the school runs also maddeing in your area?

The Reading Residence

Confession Time: First Day School Blues

School Girl

It’s not T that’s for sure.  It’s actually me!  What’s even more embarrassing about this, is that this isn’t T’s first day in school, she came back as a Year 2 and is now actually considered one of the “older kids”.  I know I really should get a grip with myself.  I’ve been a bundle of emotions ever since she turned six.  Come on woman, stiff-upper lip!  No more of this nonsense! Yes, I have been trying to snap out of this soppiness.  I’m hoping it will be all gone come Monday morning.

Thank goodness T breezed through first day with nary a whinge or a tear.  Yes, she stood by my side and didn’t run around the playground like the other kids and only moved away from me when her friends came over to collect her.  When the bell rang, my husband and I said goodbye and she trotted off without even looking back, so different from the tearful reception girl two years ago.

As for me? I came home with a heavy heart.  I’m glad though that a good friend (mum of one of T’s closest friends) came home with me and as we chatted and sipped our coffee I felt a wave of emptiness wash over me.  My friend felt it too, even though she still has another child at home with her, we bemoaned what felt like the loss of our kids, even though in reality they were in school probably running around like loonies in the playground, not thinking about their over-emotional parents at all.

The truth is, if my husband and I had a choice we’d like little T to stay with us at home and wouldn’t mind homeschooling her.  I read blogs by mums who home educate their little ones and envy how much time they spend with their kids.  My husband and I love having our daughter with us. We love her company, doing things with her, and having little chats with her.  We genuinely like having her with us.  Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why we’ve never used a babysitter.  If we can’t go to a place or attend an event that won’t allow us to bring her, then we’re not going.  It’s as simple as that.  Our daughter goes where we go.  But as much as we would love for her to be home-schooled, I’m afraid it won’t be a good option for T.

My little girl is a lot like me, you see.  We’re both quiet and reserved people.  T is friendly and will smile at anyone who smiles at her, but she won’t run up to other kids like her friends until she’s feeling comfortable enough to do so.  It takes her awhile to warm up, but once she has, she’ll run around like a loony and be like any other child her age.

We feel that home-schooling her might make her feel wary of people and other children.  I’m not saying all home-schooled children are like that.  All kids are different and we know our daughter well.

On the one hand though, she has an inner strength I really admire.  When her friends were quitting gymnastics because it got too “scary” for them, my little T persevered and didn’t quit.  She’s not a quitter and I’m really proud of her.  At the moment, we’re lucky that the village school she goes to is a lovely one, where the teachers and students are supportive and she loves it there. We will only consider other options, if the wind changes.  For now, we’re staying put.

What about you?

Would you consider home-schooling your kids too?

Do share.

The Mummy Tag

The Mummy Tag

I haven’t done this in a while, so when the lovely Yvonne from Double the Monkey Business tagged me, I thought it would be fun to reply.  Do visit her blog if you haven’t, it’s a must-read!

1. ARE YOU A STAY AT HOME MUM OR A WORKING MUM?

At the moment, I’m a stay at home mum and also do a bit of freelance writing on the side, although I must admit I haven’t had a decent writing contract in ages!

2. WOULD YOU HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY?

When T was younger, no, but now that she’s older, would love to go back to work since I’ve always worked since finishing Uni.  But at the moment and because of where we live, there isn’t much available work for me.  Thankfully, I do earn a bit from this thing called “blogging” 😉

3. DO YOU CO-SLEEP?

We did, yes and still occasionally do and I wouldn’t change it for the world no matter how some “parenting experts” think it’s not good “parenting”.  I love cuddling her in bed and waking up next to my little girl.  My husband knows how much I love sleeping with our daughter in between us, so when he wakes up, the first thing he does is carry her to our bed and we snuggle together till it’s time to get up.

4. WHAT IS YOUR ONE MUST-HAVE ITEM FOR YOUR BABY?

T is six-years-old now, so we I don’t really have any must have item in my bag, although we do always have wipes in the car and when we do day trips out, I make sure I also have some wipes in my bag.

5. HOW MANY KIDS DO YOU PLAN ON HAVING?

I married late and had T when I was 37.  Would love to have another one, but looks like it’s not going to happen.  It took awhile for me to come into terms with it, but I’m fine with right now.  I’m just thankful that I have her.

6. DATE NIGHTS? HOW OFTEN DO YOU HAVE THEM?

I’m afraid at the moment the only date-nights we have are watching DVDs in our lounge with T asleep on her bed.

7. YOUR CHILD’S FAVOURITE SHOW?

Like most little girls, she likes “My Little Pony”.

8. NAME ONE THING YOU BROUGHT BEFORE YOU HAD THE BABY AND NEVER ENDED UP USING?

We bought a dummy for T thinking it would help soothe her especially when she started teething.  The first time she had it in her mouth, she spat it out and didn’t like it.  On hindsight, I’m so glad she did just that.

9. YOUR CHILD’S FAVOURITE FOOD?

She loves jacket potatoes.  I didn’t even know that till she started having meals at school and every time we’d ask her what she had for lunch, she’d reply “Jacket potato”.  The weird thing is, she doesn’t seem to like it as much when we cook it for her at home.

10. HOW MANY CARS DOES YOUR FAMILY HAVE?

Just one.

11. WEIGHT GAIN, BEFORE PREGNANCY, DURING, AFTER AND NOW?

Oh yes!  I haven’t even lost the additional weight I gained after having T.  I used to be a size 6 before getting pregnant.  Now I’m somewhere between a size 10-12.  I know some people may think that’s not much, but when you’re short like I am, believe me, it matters … A LOT!  I know I have to do something about it, but honestly, I can’t be bothered right now, especially since I’ve realised that the trick there is to wear the right clothes 🙂

12. DREAM HOLIDAY WITH YOUR KIDS?

We’ve been to Disneyland Paris and would love to go to the one in the States, either in California or Florida, especially since we have family and close friends living there.

13. DREAM HOLIDAY WITHOUT YOUR KIDS?

I can’t imagine going on holiday without little T.  I’ll end up really missing her.  It wouldn’t be a dream holiday if I didn’t have my little girl with me.

14. HOW HAS YOUR LIFE CHANGED SINCE HAVING KIDS?

A lot.  I used to work full-time.  I used to have a life.  I used to have friends.  My life is different now, but I’m loving it too of course.  I love being a mum, even though admittedly I don’t really have much of a life outside motherhood.  But I’m fine with that too.  I’m lucky I had a good career and life before getting married and having her, otherwise I’d probably be feeling different now.

15. FINISH THE SENTENCE “IT MAKES HEART MELT WHEN…”

I see my daughter’s face 🙂

16. WHERE DO YOU SHOP FOR YOUR KIDS?

I buy most of T’s stuff from Zara kids, because I find them really cute and affordable.

17. FAVOURITE MAKE-UP AND SKINCARE PRODUCTS?

I don’t wear make-up.  The only skin care products I use are moisturisers and lotion.

18. HUGGIES OR PAMPERS?

Neither.  T is six 🙂

19. HAVE YOU ALWAYS WANTED KIDS?

Yes!  Like I mentioned, it would’ve been nice to have more than one, but I’m just really thankful that I have her.

20. BEST PART OF BEING A MUM?

Being with my daughter.  I just love every minute of it, even when she’s being difficult.

Thanks for the tag Yvonne!

I’m tagging the following lovely mums if they want to join:

Laura of Dear Bear and Beany

Louise of Little Hearts, Big Love

Laura of Five Little Doves

Jordanne of Life of a Glasgow Girl

 Kim of Northumberland Mam

Over to you ladies!

What the Little Girl Said

Feeling emotional just after her birthday I told little T. “Where has my little baby gone?” And gave her an exaggerated sad face.  For more dramatic effect, I added “My baby is gone!”  Gave her another woebegone expression and repeated …  My baby is gone!  Ended it with wailing sounds, giving Meryl Streep a run for her money and awards.  Then I turned to T and said “Instead … I have a little girl now!

T sighed and looked at me in the eye “But mum, if you didn’t have me.  You’d be sadder”, she said matter-of-factly.  Wise words indeed.  Wasn’t it Antoine de Saint-Exupéry author of the much loved children’s book Little Prince who said:

Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.

T must have been thinking just that by the look on her face and the tone of her voice. Today, my ever-so wise child goes back to school as a Year 2 student.

Yikes!

Does your child seem too wise for their age too?

Do share.

Little Hearts, Big Love

September Chat with a Mum: Laura of Five Little Doves

Laura of Five Little Doves Blog

Tell us something about yourself, your little ones and your blog.

My name is Laura, I’m a 36 year old Mum of five, married to Gareth and together we live in Lancashire. I am a stay at home Mum to Lewis, 12, from my first marriage, Eva 4, Megan 3 and Harrison 2. My second son Joseph would have been 10 this July but was sadly stillborn in 2006. He is a huge part of our family and we feel his absence daily.

I started my blog last year during a time when I was struggling with ongoing health issues, battling fibromyalgia, ME, and undergoing neurological investigations that were, quite frankly, terrifying for my family and I. I felt that I needed something else to focus on, something to keep my mind ticking over, and writing has always been therapeutic for me, something I enjoy and in some ways, the only thing that, other than being a Mother, has ever come naturally to me.

What were your children’s birth stories like?

In a word – FAST!! Lewis was born very quickly, just eleven minutes of established labour, and for a first labour, I realise that I was very lucky!  Joseph was an induction and a long, gruelling, emotional one at that, but again, when I got to four centimetres he was born in just a couple of minutes. Eva, Megan and Harry were induced at 35 weeks due to being such high risk pregnancies and with all three, once I reached four centimetres they were born in under two minutes. Megan developed an infection at birth and was in NICU for the first two weeks and again, Harry needed resuscitating at birth and spent two long weeks, very poorly in NICU.

unnamed (1)

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

That it is the hardest job in the whole world, one which will push you to your limits, test your patience and your sanity. That there will be days when you feel you are failing, that you aren’t the parent you had hoped you would be, when as much as you love your children, you would give just about anything for ONE moment to yourself before you lose the plot entirely. But despite all that, no matter how bad things get or how hard the struggle, it will absolutely be worth it.

Mum and her two daughters.

How do you manage your “me” time?

Me time?? Remind me what that is again? I don’t think I’ve had a moment to myself since 2012! Having three under three was a huge shock to the system and now I consider myself lucky if I get to shower in peace, let alone use the toilet.

I do try to claw back some me time back when the children are in bed, working on my blog, writing, reading, watching trashy reality TV and eating way too much chocolate.

Do you have any favorite anecdote of your little ones?

Far too many to tell you about but one that happened most recently, during a disastrous shopping trip with the three youngest, was Megan pointing over at a rather large gentleman and shouting, “He’s got a big fat tummy like daddy pig!!”. Definitely a ground swallow me up kind of moment!

Little Girl6.

What is it about motherhood you absolutely love about?

Gosh what a difficult question, and one which I could answer in a million different ways. I think my favourite thing is when the children are all together, with their little heads bowed over a game or a book, when they are snuggled up on the couch with their bodies touching, holding hands, sharing a kiss or a cuddle. It’s those moments when I look over, or I spot them from a distance, and I can’t quite believe that they are all mine. After everything we went through, all those losses and all of that sadness, to know that they are all mine, that we have the family we never dared to dream of, that has got to be the thing I love the most.

Siblingsbrothers

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

Absolutely!! The sleep deprivation, the screeching, the incessant whining, the days when they just don’t listen to a single word I say? The mountains of laundry that they relentlessly produce, crayon marks on my walls, the fact that it’s a military operation just to leave the house most days.

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

In short, hard work!! Four children was never going to be easy, but three children in three consecutive years sometimes feels impossible! We try very hard to stick to a routine as that makes life much easier, but anything can throw it, a late night, a cancellation, a last minute change of plans. We do playgroups twice a week, the girls have nursery three times a week and in between we try and get out as much as possible if the weather is fine, if not we stay home and bake, play dress up and watch Frozen back to back, whatever it takes to get through the day. When I’m not refereeing another argument or being forced to sing my part of the Anna-Elsa duet, I try to keep on top of the housework, taxi Lewis to and from the many places he needs to be, and fit in coffee and cake with friends whenever possible!

Siblings playing dress-upBest advice you’ve ever received about motherhood/parenthood?

Nobody cares but you. It’s my favourite saying and something I remind myself of often. When the kids are playing up in public and I’m dying of shame inside, when my house is a complete bomb site and I’m cowering at the door, mortified that someone will step foot into the aftermath of a day without cleaning, I remind myself that nobody cares but me. Everyone is far too busy going about their own lives, and dealing with their own kids, to notice that my hair is un-brushed, that my kids have bean juice down their t-shirts or my carpets haven’t seen a hoover all week.

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

Trust your instinct. With my first I was so concerned with doing everything “right”. I read every book, every baby manual, hung on every word the Health Visitor spouted, and I actually ended up with severe post natal depression because of the pressure I put on myself. I wish I had known that my gut instinct was right, that nobody knew my child in the same way that I did, that the best thing I could do was simply go with the flow and find our own path, one that was best for the two of us.

mother and son

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

I try to blog when the kids are in bed, or on the rare occasion when I finally get an hour to myself. I struggle with the hypocrisy of palming off the kids so I can write about being a parent, I would much rather spend my time being a parent than writing about it. During the times when I feel that blogging is taking away from that, I take my foot of the pedal a little, sit back, re-assess my priorities and remind myself that as a stay at home Mum, the children will always come first. In that way, as much as I love to write, it is still very much a hobby.

Gaz and I spend very little time together on our own as a couple, something which we constantly promise to make more of an effort with, but in all honesty we are usually too tired, or too skint, when the opportunity arises! We tend to save up our babysitting offers for occasions we really don’t want to miss such as weddings, birthdays and anniversaries and remind ourselves that one day, when the children are grown, we will have all the time in the world!

unnamed (8)Thank you so much Laura!

For more of Laura’s stories, do head over to her blog and don’t forget to connect with her too over at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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

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.

August Chat with a Dad: Pete of M & M’s Daddy

Tell us something about yourself (your blog) and your little ones.

Well I began my blog a couple of years ago because emotionally I had reached a point where I needed an outlet for my grief after I lost my wife Mair to cancer when our son Merlin was ten weeks old and our daughter Martha was three and a half. I had (I thought) coped well for the first 2 years but a move from the house we shared and her second anniversary opened the floodgates so to speak.

I wanted to shed some light on what grief is like for a young dad bringing up children but also how the joy they bring in itself creates a balance.

People be it friends, family or otherwise were seeing a happy, smiling active person but underneath it I was curled up in a ball, in the corner of a room crying out for my wife to be back.

Martha is now seven (going on 17) and Merlin is about to turn four and they are a joy. Funny, cheeky, mad, full of personality and performance.

They have more activities than I can keep track of. We love our rugby. Martha has long since chosen to support Wales because that’s who mummy shouted for. Merlin, has of his own volition, chosen Ireland which I’m very happy about. We have the perfect Celtic balance. The girls (one in spirit) are Wales and the boys are Ireland

What were their birth stories like?

Ha ha ha – Martha was our first and I guess, as is often the case with the first, she arrived late but not before putting my wife through 6 days of labour. We had a home birth planned and my wife went into slow labour on the Monday evening…..which continued until the Saturday. I have funny images of my wife walking around the communal garden at the back of our terrace with me following her around carrying the oxygen for when the contractions came. Martha was as stubborn then as she is now at 7 and just wouldn’t turn enough so in the end we had to go to hospital and the bumpy ambulance ride was enough. She arrived very promptly and then we were back home again.

Merlin was very different because of what surrounded the entire pregnancy experience due to my wife’s cancer diagnosis.

She was induced in hospital to minimise the gap between chemotherapy but that said, the experience was a warm and wonderful one nonetheless. He arrived at exactly 8pm just as the midwife had predicted a few hours before. Both healthy, happy babies

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

Hmmm it’s a tricky question because my experiences of fatherhood have been of two extremes. The first, like any new dad, of the huge change it brings to your life, how identity changes, priorities change for good, for the better.

The second though is the loneliness, the isolation, the sadness of doing it on your own on a permanent basis. I know there are loads of single parents out there just like me and we do an awesome job be us male of female. Those moments when I cuddled our 10 week old, feeding him placing him in his moses basket, knowing that my wife would never again be there to do it too were heart-breaking in the extreme

IMAG1999

How do you balance your time between work/blogging and fatherhood?

I am very fortunate in that because I work from home I am able to get a great balance between the children, work and blogging. I’m not a prolific blogger by any means. Mine is more a case of when my head/emotions begin to spill over and I get a thought in my head and just start to type and before I know it theres 1,500/2,000 words down in front of me. It’s just how my head works.

What is great is that if the children have an activity or a club or sports or an assembly I can just be there 9/10 times and I love the joy on their faces when they see me there with the other parents, or being able to join in. Its something I am very grateful for and I think it gives me balance too because the nature of what I am talking about, what I am hearing and seeing in my work with Mummy’s Star is understandably emotionally difficult at times.

Any favourite anecdotes of your kids?

Merlin was being a bit whiny one afternoon in the car and I just said “Oh come on Merls, stop being such a whingebag”

Martha for some reason then responded to him with “Yes Merlin, stop whinging! Do you want to be put in the washing machine!”

I really should have said something responsible at this point in response to what Martha had just said but I just couldn’t stop laughing

What is it about fatherhood you love about?

I love seeing the interaction between my children, how they develop their own personalities, how what I teach them helps them develop.

Above all though I love the bond that the three of us have.

The loss of my wife has changed us all forever. I had 10 years, Martha had 3.5 years and Merlin had 10 weeks. But we bonded together to help us get through it together. Yes many people will say, but what understanding will he have with being so young when she died. He has what is explained to him. He has what he sees about her, the images of her. Martha has many memories.

134 (1)

Yes there are times when we share the loss and the hurt it causes us and we’ve cried together but there is also the joy knowing how proud my wife will be of them and how they know now when they achieve something that she is incredibly proud.

There are things in life that are simply unmistakable and one of those are when a parent personality shows through in a child. I know when I see my wife in my children. Martha much more so than Merlin but he definitely has her influence too and it is so heartwarming to see and feel.

If there is anything about fatherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

Doing it alone!

Don’t get me wrong, I have long since got used to it as it’s nearly 4 years since I lost my wife but each day nonetheless has heartbreak at some point. When you are happily married or in a relationship you look forward to bring your children up and watching them develop together. There are days when the kids are doing something funny and I want to shout “Mair, come here and watch this” and then there is that realisation that she can’t because she’s no longer here physically.

IMAG1904

Those conversations that you can’t have like “Oh she’s getting that from you” or “he looks just like you when he does that” Words can’t express how painful that feels like.

If you were given a chance to be a stay-at-home dad, would you take it?

A few years ago I would have said no because I found that the balance of parenting and going to a workplace ensured that I retained my individuality. That I was Pete, who is also a proud Dad, rather than a Dad who is also an individual called Pete if that makes sense

However because of how our life has changed against our will over the last few years I guess I now effectively am a stay at home dad to a large extent, and knowing the balance it gives me which I talked about earlier, then yes I think I’d have taken it

Best Advice you’ve received about Fatherhood?

I don’t think I ever really got advice about fatherhood because amongst our circle of friends we were probably the first to have a child.

If I were giving advice to someone about fatherhood/parenthood the thing I would say is don’t let it stop you doing anything. Yes children change your life, yes things need a bit more planning than when it was just two of you but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still do the things you did before (with a few exceptions).

I like to think that my children get to see and experience a wide range of things because I do what I want to do as much as I always have and the kids have learnt to love those things too as well as the things they enjoy

I find my children very intuitive in the sense that they know its tough without mum around for them and for me but they see what gives me peace and that peace is rather infectious

They are becoming more rounded as individuals

You can be as impromptu with children as you were without. We regularly have no plans during a half term/holiday period then within an hour. We’ve chucked a load of stuff in the car and disappeared somewhere for the day, for a night, a couple of nights, whatever

If you can give yourself advice before becoming a Dad, what would it be?

 

Enjoy the first 12 months. Yes you feel wrecked, yes you can both be at the end of your tether at times but don’t wish it away because its actually gone in an instant. Get out and do things, get the fresh air. Like I said above, do things you enjoy as well as baby

Thank you so much Pete!

Do check out his blog, you can also follow him over on FB and twitter.

And it would be lovely if you could also support Mummy’s Star, a charity founded by Pete in memory of his beloved wife.  It is the only UK charity that is dedicated in helping women and their families affected by cancer during pregnancy shortly after a birth.  Do drop by.

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

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.

My Cello Baby Debut

Little T and her fellow “Cello Babies” (that’s what their music teacher calls them) were supposed to have their debut concert on the duck race/talent show which is held yearly to hep fundraise for their school. Sadly, because of the bad weather, they had to cancel the talent show a few weeks ago. Thankfully, their headteacher decided to hold it instead on the school grounds after Friday’s class last week.  And the cello babies, finally had their much-awaited debut.

It took awhile though before they could begin, so T being T was clowning around with her cello.

funnyface_littlesteps

And of course, here’s my little cello baby making her usual funny-silly pose of the day.

bored_littlesteps

And this is T’s “I’m bored. Get-me-out-of-here” look.  And yes, of course, her hair was messy as always.

cello_littlesteps

And then it started.  They weren’t bad at all.  I love the way she closes her eyes when playing.  I asked her once why she does it even when practicing.  She says it helps her concentrate more.  One of the parents whispered “Look at T, with her serious face.  She’s really into this, isn’t she?”  My husband and I just smiled.

I think their teacher was proud of them and their performance.  As for the parents?  We were too busy taking photos and videos, but yes, we were all definitely proud of them.  It warmed our hearts.

I wish I could share some of the videos with you guys, but I respect the privacy of the other kids as well as the school.  I’ll tell you though, they definitely rocked!

What’s your proudest moment as a parent?

Or as an adult?

Do share.

3ChildrenandIt

 

June Chat with a Dad: Grant of Looking for the Postman

Tell us something about yourself, your blog and your little ones:

Historically, I’ve been involved mostly with the music industry. I worked with bands and artists doing remixes. I also worth with MTV, New Line Cinema, Electronic Arts and toured / DJ’d with countless bands. I still dabble with music, writing original tunes and soundtracks for short film.
In recent years, I started blogging. Initially, it was observations about online competitions. It eventually expanded into a blog on family life, told with tongue firmly in cheek. If you’re looking for advice on how to be a better person while nurturing your family, then I’m probably not the best place to visit. If, however, you are interested in humorous views on things that Dads encounter on a daily basis, you should drop by.

My family blog pieces are inspired by my Mrs, Emma, and our combined total of four kids. Rachel (my step-daughter) is about to turn 18. Jack is 13 and lives with his mum. Jenny & Eve are 4 and 3 and could power a blog by themselves with their antics.

dsd-04

What were their birth stories like?

I’ve written in depth about the births of Jenny, Eve & Jack. (Given that Rachel was born eleven years before I knew Emma, it would have been extremely awkward if I had been there!)

 Jack was born C-section. He went breach at the last possible moment and has been just as contrary for his entire life!

 Jenny went back-to-back and the docs were hanging around with an emergency C-section kit but didn’t get to use it. Emma got two horrible cuts and out she came.

Eve was trouble. Emma’s waters broke after 30 weeks. She was hospitalised because of risk of infection, but managed to hold on for another 5 weeks. Trooper. Eve was 5lb 5oz and wouldn’t eat. She dropped down to 5lbs and went to a specialised ward before she changed her mind and decided to eat after all. She was a long baby. Purple and not an ounce of fat on her.

What you wish about being a dad before becoming one?

I wish I’d been better with money before I had kids. I also wish I had learned about woodworking and suchlike so I could have made things for my kids – cots, beds etc. I didn’t appreciate things like that when I was young. Nevermind. There’s still time to make them things as they grow up!

How do you manage your time between work, blogging and fatherhood?

I try my best to write blog posts when the kids aren’t there. I’ve got to be in a particular mood to write. When I get into the zone, I can write quickly, but that level of concentration just isn’t possible with the kids around, nor is it fair to expect them to be quiet so I can blog!

How do you manage child-free time with your wife/partner?  Do you have date nights?

We cook for each other all the time. We do try, on a Saturday, to wait until the kids have gone to bed and then we cook something special. Even better is a date night where we go out for a meal. It’s all about sharing good food with the person you love!

11703296_10203207191339884_8426174138229633756_o

Any favourite anecdotes of your kids?

Jenny’s comments have me in stitches. She just waffles on and comes out with gems. Age 3, when talking about her little sister, she said “Eve is just an egg with shoes on”. When she saw a black and white cow, she described it as a “horse panda”.

11221420_10203076119503170_3222206582352052819_o

What is it about fatherhood you love about?

The best things about fatherhood are the relationships you develop. Watching my kids grow, and sharing that with my wife. Experiencing things through their eyes and watching as they discover new experiences. I spent almost all my time at Disneyland Paris watching my kids, wide-eyed, and loving it.

If there’s anything about fatherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

I dislike:
- being woken during the night.
- when the kids finish their dinner and it’s something I like so I can’t have the leftovers.
- arguments & having to put a child on the naughty spot.
- when a child hurts themselves, falls or cries.
- discovering that one of the girls has shoved nappy pants in with the laundry but only after its been through the wash and exploded.
- nits.

If you were given the chance to be a stay-at-home dad, would you take it?

Yes! I’ve been self-employed and worked from home before. If I could be a combination of a self-employed writer / composed and stay at home dad, then that would suit me perfectly.

Best advice you’ve received about fatherhood?

Not advice, per se, but I do take inspiration from other parents. Everybody remembers their own parents and makes their own judgements on what they remember. So, there’ll be things you want to retain from your own parents and some things you want to do differently.
 Out with that, my role model would be Emma’s father, Ray. He’s so patient with the children, self-less and generous. He just immediately says ‘yes’ whenever anything is asked of him and always says the right thing.

dsd-03

If you could give yourself advice before becoming a dad, what would it be?

Advice?
 Um, don’t worry about your kid’s behaviour too much. At a young age, everything is a phase.
 Be patient. If something is stressing you out, that’s your reaction to a situation. Since the reaction is yours, you can control it. Take a moment, a deep breath and then re-evaluate. 
Remember that your kids only get one childhood. Do everything to make it the best that you can.

Thank you so much Grant!

If you enjoyed getting to know more about the dad behind the blog Looking for the Postman, do check out his blog for more of his musings.

You can also follow him over at Facebook, twitter, G+ and Youtube

And if you’ve missed last month’s chat wit a mum, do come and have a read.