Tonight we had soggy broccoli for dinner…

Tonight we had soggy broccoli for dinner. This would never have happened 3 years ago without me having a huge meltdown.

3 years ago, in the height of my postnatal depression with Bear, soggy broccoli would have been a disaster. In my mind it would be a huge beacon to the world that I was unable to look after my child and prepare a dinner. It would only have to happen once and I would be left feeling like a complete failure. Failing as a wife, failing as a mother, failing as a human being.

I was very fortunate that through suffering antenatal depression with Fox that I received Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). I learnt about my unhelpful thinking habits and how I could tackle this day to day. I still use the “Good Enough Scale”. Which I am sure my therapist would be very pleased to hear. I’ve learnt it’s good to have a balance and that I only ever need to be good enough. Even more importantly I’ve learnt that I am good enough.

I still feel sad when I look back on all the times I would have “neglected” Bear to maintain the image that I was loving being a mummy. That I could balance being a mother with working life and looking after a home. To be fair at the time it was the easiest option, I would rather have done these things than enjoy a lingering cuddle.

I am so pleased that that version of me is long since gone. Tonight my Fox wanted a cuddle. It was a sleepy cuddle. He is still squidgy. However the lengthy cuddles like this are slowly disappearing, as he gets bigger and wrigglier. I sat down with him, he nestled in for a cuddle. I remembered the dinner was on, broccoli steaming away. I didn’t care, I knew it would be over cooked. 3 years ago I would have put Bear down to sort it out. I would have missed out on that cuddle. I would have been left feeling guilty that I didn’t love my son enough. Today I enjoyed every second of that cuddle. I could relax, happy in the knowledge that the cuddle was worth so much more (to both me and Fox) than a perfectly timed dinner. And I’m going to keep enjoying those squidgy cuddles for as long as I can.

And to any parent struggling out there, remember you’re good enough too.


Brotherly Love

I can’t stop watching that video of the Brownlee brothers. If you haven’t seen it watch it.

Bear does gymnastics. He now goes to the independent class. Last week I watched him do a forward roll. Perhaps I should re-phrase. I watched him numerous times attempt to do a forward roll. He is very uncoordinated. I look at the other children, they are much better at it. He doesn’t care, he’s having a wonderful time rolling around all over the place, limbs not going the way they should. People always tell me he’s tall, I occasionally blame his incoordination on this, his arms and legs are so long he hasn’t learnt where they are yet. Plus he keeps growing, constantly changing. Anyway I digress. Basically I can’t see myself having a future sporting champion on my hands, definitely not 2. My Bear and Fox are highly unlikely to ever be in the situation the Brownlee brothers were in.

What wonderful brotherly love. Alistair said he would have done it for anyone in that position, who knows if that would actually be the case. But when it came down to it, he potentially risked coming further down the field to get his brother across that line.

I look at Bear and Fox and how they play together, I hear the reports from nursery about how they interact together. Fox idolises Bear. He follows him round, wants his toys, and tries to do everything that his big brother can do. Apparently Bear is pretty protective of him at nursery too. I love the relationship that they have. I know as the years pass, there will be arguments and fights. I just hope as they get older they can remain firm friends and look out for each other. Not only that, but they will put the other one first.

One of the reasons I love the video so much, is I feel it says so much about the character of the Brownlees’. In a world where it is easy to get sucked in to being “better” than the person next to you, whatever it takes. I think this shows how wonderful it can be when we help others along too. I only hope that my boys grow up to be good men. That is what would make me proud. Not to be rich, or athletic, or successful. But for them to have good character, an ability to think clearly how their actions can impact on others and basically be true gentleman. Any tips gratefully received.

Today I Felt Like Super Mum

Some days I feel like super mum (there are many others that I don’t). This isn’t me bragging, this is me recovering.

Part of my treatment for my depression was cognitive behavioural therapy (more about that another time). But part of the issue identified by my therapist was a lack of self compassion and low self esteem. It was hard to pin point when that had really begun. I don’t think I ever realised quite how bad it had become until he asked me the question “What do you like about yourself?” I just burst into tears, I couldn’t think of one thing.

I was perfect capable of being compassionate to other people and offering normal/sensible advice to those people. But I was unable to give myself that advice. If I was struggling, I saw it as failing. It was MY fault this situation had occurred. I was too hard on myself and as a result to try and compensate and make myself feel better for “failing”, I would try to do more. This is never going to end well, an endless cycle of trying harder and harder, putting more and more pressure on myself until eventually I cracked.

Now I realise that to be kind to yourself and promote your positive points isn’t bragging. Yes, I still very much believe in modesty, however you need to understand your positive qualities. If I was asked the same question now, I could come up with various things.

Anyway, today was a good day. I achieved so much more than I expected. I even managed to bake a vegetable loaf. That isn’t what makes me super mum. What makes me super mum is that despite the bad days, I’m still here, surviving, doing the best I can. I no longer look at the bad days as failed days. I look for the little achievements in the day. I’m not celebrating the mundane (like managing to get dressed), I’m learning that the things I do are good enough.

So for the parents out there, you’re doing fine. Even if you didn’t manage to get dressed today, we’ve all been there.

Baby’s 7 Day Guide to Antibiotic Administration

So my baby fox recently had an ear infection. Cue the need for antibiotics, 3 times a day for 7 days. These little things are wily, here is how the next 7 days went….

Day 1 – Oooooo what is that thing you have in your hand, of course you can put it in my mouth.

Day 2 – Ooooo what is that thing you have in your hand, hang on I remember this. Note to self be more prepared  for tomorrow.

Day 3 – I remember that syringe, I’m keeping my mouth tightly shut. Except when I scream to let everyone know what you’re up too.

Day 4 – Same as yesterday, need a new strategy.

Day 5 – Overnight I have perfected the mouth clamped shut, whilst still able to scream. Have fun today.

Day 6 – Of course I’ll be a good boy and take my medicine. Haha, I’ve learnt to spit it right back out, this is a much better plan.

Day 7 – Guess what, I’ve learnt to crawl, quite fast. Catch me if you can!

Hat’s Off to the Single Parents

I’m not a single mummy, never have been and hope never to be. I really don’t know how single parents do it and keep themselves together.

My only experience of having to survive without the support of a partner was when my husband went away for 7.5 months whilst I was pregnant with number 2. It was tough, but I knew he’d be home at some point. He’s currently working away in the week, but usually home at the weekends. It’s not the same as doing it alone 24/7. I long for the weekends when I know I can collapse into a heap in the corner and someone else can change the nappies, do the cooking, deal with the tears and tantrums. I know that at some point I can have “time out” from it all.

I was quite perturbed when my husband rang in the week to say that he now won’t be home this weekend. ITS MOTHERING SUNDAY! This is not fair, my first Mother’s Day with 2 and I will still have to make my own breakfast. I’m tempted to get the toddler to make me breakfast, he could do cereal or toast. But I’m not sure I want to have to deal with the aftermath of kitchen mess once he’s done.

Then I really thought about it. What if this was my life, all the time. For some people it is. My own mother became a single parent, being entirely responsible for an 8, 6 and 1 year old. Just her, and us, apart from a few hours on a Saturday. Having my own children now, I can only just comprehend how awesome she is and the fact all 4 of us made it out the other side in one piece.

It’s currently Friday evening. Normally, I would be bossing my other half around and would certainly have him cooking dinner. Instead the house is a state, I haven’t eaten and I have a large glass of red in my hand. I can have my Mother’s Day another time. But there are some people who won’t get it. So I’m going stop feeling sorry for myself. Instead I salute all the single parents out there (however you came to be one) and hope that when your children grow up they will realise how much effort you put in.

The Very Normal Mummy

A little bit more about me. I’m married and have 2 little boys (currently age 3 and 7 months). When I’m not on maternity leave I work part time and the boys attend nursery 3 days a week. I have had both prenatal and post natal depression. I’ve always enjoyed reading other people’s “parenting tales” as it helped me realise it’s hard work and to be fair I’m probably pretty normal.

Things that make me the very normal mummy

  • I think my kids are awesome
  • I live on (cold) coffee
  • I always have an audience when using the bathroom
  • I hang the kids “artwork” and “certificates” on my kitchen cupboards
  • I blame most things on baby brain
  • Mr Tumble has taught me a Makaton
  • You name a baby group, I’ve probably tried it
  • I eat way too much cake
  • I bribe my toddler with chocolate
  • My toddler is far to adept at using an iPad
  • I feel guilty about just how much telly I let my children watch
  • I am instructed by a toddler to dance round like a loon to the Paw Patrol theme tune
  • I attempt to tidy my house before friends come round
  • Most parenting decisions worry me
  • I would love a complete day off from being mummy every now and again

You must’ve been 20 when you had him…

Apparently I look young. I look back at photos of myself from university and think “wow, I look so young, no wonder I was always asked for ID.” I look at myself in the mirror now and wonder why on earth I still am.

The other day as I was walking out of the GP surgery, both children in tow. An older gentleman said to me “you must’ve been 20 when you had him.” I smiled politely and walked on. I’m not sure what the best response actually is to comments like this. Firstly, so what if I had been, nothing wrong with being a young mum. Secondly, I wasn’t. I was 27. Thinking about it, I wish I had been younger when I started having babies, maybe I would have more energy. Now my days are often fueled by one lukewarm coffee after another.

My favourite examples of times when my clearly youthful (good) looks have caused most amusement are as follows…

1) Going to buy kitchen scissors at the age of 28 with my baby bear in a pram and needing to show ID to purchase them. Old enough to be responsible for another human being, but not old enough to be trusted with scissors.

2) Opening the front door at the age of 29 and being asked if my parents were in.  Well I certainly won’t be purchasing a new driveway off you.

3) Having our university 10 year reunion and being singled out to provide ID on the door of the club. Not obvious to the naked eye, but I was 13 weeks pregnant at this point.

4) Getting asked for ID on the Christmas work do. I’m 30, this is my first night away from my second born, yes I need a glass of wine, no my ID is not fake.

One day I’ll miss being asked for ID. But until then I shall continue to provide amusement to my friends.

My New Favourite Photo

I took a selfie a few days ago. I’m not really part of the selfie generation. When I was at university, we used to take a camera on a night out and point it at our faces from arms length if we wanted a group shot. But this particular photo has become a new favourite of mine.

It’s not actually a very flattering photo of me. My hair looks quite dull, verging on grey. I look tired, with obvious bags under my eyes. I have developed crows feet. But I look happy. I have my chubby little fox in front of me and you can just see my smile peeping out. I really enjoy looking at this photo as I look happy, it makes me feel happy, it reminds me that I am happy.

Perhaps as I am getting older, I am becoming more content with who I am.

My Extra Hour

The clocks went back a few days ago, a whole extra hour was granted. This is how I spent “my” extra hour:

  • Washing up the undishwasherables (basically known as wine glasses!)
  • Feeding 2 children
  • Folding all the washing from the previous day
  • Emptying all the bins and the recycling
  • Loading the dishwasher
  • Putting on another load of washing
  • Emptying the potty 3 times and changing 2 nappies
  • Tidying up from breakfast

How childless people (AND MY HUSBAND) spent their extra hour:

  • Sleeping