A Day In The Life Of A Mum On Maternity Leave As Told By GIFs

Maternity leave is amazing. I get to spend lots of quality time with the kids, wear leggings or PJs all day long and watch tons of daytime TV (I’ve watched so much HGTV I’m positive I can now redecorate a run down farm house on a $50 budget). Living in Canada means that I am able to take a whole year off to stay at home with the kids on maternity leave which is fantastic! I cannot imagine being in work right now especially as it would mean washing my hair and putting on real pants. No buenos. However some days I feel like I am going to go nuts from being stuck indoors with a baby and a toddler and only Joanna Gaines for company (let me clarify that I understand that she is on the TV and not actually in my living room talking to me). My husband often comes home and asks “how was your day?” and honestly some days I can’t even put it into words.

Here is a little collection of GIFs to explain what my day looks like.

  1. Wakey wakey Mummy. Forget those peaceful alarm clocks that wake you gradually from your slumber with the peaceful sounds of birds or whales. If you have an infant you’re getting full on screaming to jolt you awake every morning.

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2. COFFEEEEEE

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3. Make breakfast for everyone. This task will usually involve at least 34 different types of cereal, 52 changes of cups for juice and being told “I don’t want orange juice, I want ORANGE juice”. What does that even mean?

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4. Husband leaves for work. I’m on my own now.

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5. Try to get the kids to do something educational like read.

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6. Nope, that was fun for 10 minutes and now she wants to get out the Playdoh.

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7. Get kids ready to go out

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8. Get self ready. Hair is a little crazy but it works

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9. Have a snack as I probably didn’t eat breakfast. Toddler hears wrapper and promptly seeks me out and steals my snack.

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10. Story Time at the library. Mamma gotta show off her moves.

“Open shut them, open shut them, give a little clap”

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11. Baby has fallen asleep in the car on the way home. Gotta get this puppy into her crib without waking her.

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12. Baby wakes up

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13. Make lunch and throw away pretty much everything because your child got distracted by shadows and now refuses to sit at the table and eat while she investigates.

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14. Afternoon activities. I wanted to try some pinterest crafts but I’m EXHAUSTED so I pretty much let my kids do whatever. Insanity has set in as this point. You want to try that Indian ink calligraphy set on the white carpet …

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15. why is it still only 2:30?

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16. Try any means possible to get baby to sleep but they wont.Gluten Free Crying GIF

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17. Make your child’s favourite dinner. Oh you thought pasta was your child’s favourite food? Think again. You are wrong.

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18. Husband walks through the door. TAG.

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19. Observes the chaos

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20. He plays calm games with the children.Wwe Spinning GIF

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21. Bath time. Hope you got the bathroom floor waterproofed!

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22. You get the kids to bed. You’re freeee!Baby One More Time Dancing GIF by Britney Spears

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23. Your toddler has an existential crisis and wants to get out of bed but you’re too experienced for that nonsense. Not after I’ve clocked out junior.

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24. Pour a small glass of wine
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25. Do fun and exciting things with the hour you have before you fall asleep.
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26. Try to go to sleep but your head is spinning your to do list and you think you just heard the baby.

Black And White Sleeping GIF by FilmStruck

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So how does your day look? Do you put on proper pants?

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Little frequent flyers. Activities and advice for surviving long haul flights with toddlers.

There is nothing more humbling than a screaming child at 37,000 feet. As you “shh” them desperately through gritted teeth and offer them everything from stickers to your kidney if they just cooperate all you can think of is “why the fresh heck did I put myself through this?” Pretty much anyone who has ever flown with a child has been through this and if they say that they haven’t then they are either lying or actually have an angel for a child.

Flying Alone With A Baby

I remember going on my first flight with a baby ALONE. That’s right, in the throws of postpartum fog (not to mention the postpartum anxiety I was feeling) I thought it would be a great idea to head back home to the UK. Honestly, I was so homesick after having a baby I didn’t care. I needed to get out of Canada and to my parents’ house to lounge around in my tracksuit bottoms and be fed wine. So armed with a 4 month old baby and an arsenal of things I was told by numerous online resources that I MUST have, I started the 7 + hour journey to Cardiff. Oh did I mention I threw a stop over in there? Lay overs are not ideal with kids. However we made it and so began a lifetime of flying with kids.

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This is HONEST TO GOD what I thought I needed for a flight with a baby. This is what Pinterest tips tell you to pack when you are flying with a baby. Life hack – you definitely do NOT need all these things. Why did I think I’d need 5000 breast milk storage bags?

Navigating the airport with a million different things and a baby

Getting through security was my first challenge of flying with a baby alone. I had so much stuff, a baby and just two hands. It is unreal how unhelpful people actually are when you’re flying alone. I definitely made a mental note to offer my assistance to others more readily at the airport in the future as a business man pushed past me and dumped his crap into the tray I had put out for myself (I made some other mental notes but I wont go into that). As I struggled to collapse my stroller and get it onto the x-ray machine all while holding my baby I was slowly regretting what I had gotten myself into. We made it to departures, Mummy had a nice BIG glass of wine and snapped the obligatory “we’re going on holidays” passport Instagram photo. Next thing I know we’re walking down the walkway to the plane and I take up my residence in the tiny seat that would be my prison home for the next several hours. Emerson was asleep pretty much as soon as I sat down and I optimistically got out my headphones and book and settled down to smugly spend the flight with a sleeping baby. That lasted until the cabin pressurized and her eyes popped open and she screamed until we were up in the sky and there was no escape. I frantically apologized to all those around me “she’s usually so good”, “she wont scream long” as beads of sweat appeared on my brow. Finally she did stop screaming after what seemed like hours but was in actuality about 15 minutes and she did indeed sleep all the way home.

What I wish I knew before heading on a long haul flight with kids solo

  1. Peeing with a baby in a plane toilet involves Gwyneth Paltrow yogi level flexibility. You have to hold your demon you don’t want to wake sweet sleeping child while pulling down your pants, doing your business, flushing that crazy loud flush that makes you feel like you’ll get sucked out, wash up and leave the bathroom. Trust me, this is no easy feat.
  2. You can’t wear your baby for the whole flight. For take off and landing they must be out of the carrier and on your lap. Fun times if you just got your child to sleep.
  3. If you lucked out and got a bassinet seat, you can’t use this during turbulence. I guarantee this will happen several times when crossing the Atlantic. Cue screaming baby who has been woken up.
  4. If you are in these bassinet seats that you upgraded to people will use your extra leg room to walk through, stand in, do stretches in, .
  5. Collapsing your stroller and car seat combo will be the hardest thing you have ever done when you have a line on antsy people behind you and a baby in your arms. Start practicing now if your flight is in a year.
  6. Your stroller and car seat will likely get lost/broken/look like it survived a tornado.

There’s a lot to learn and I’m sure I haven’t mastered it all but I do have some tips to help you get through what will feel like the longest flight of your life

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Emmy is a little frequent flyer. This Christmas will be her 8th flight at 3.5 years old. Better get her an Airmiles card.

Advice for getting through a long haul flight with kids

  1. Don’t pay attention to all those packing lists, they are totally crazy. For a baby you literally need milk, bottles (pack 2/3 so you don’t have to wash on the plane), a change of clothes, diapers, wipes, antibac wipes, a blanket, a dummy, one toy.
  2. Make a busy bag for your toddler (blog post to follow) with colouring books, stickers (PACK LOTS OF THESE), a small toy, water painting books.
  3. Get to the airport EARLY. I used to stroll through security without a care in the world 90 minutes before my flight but that’s not going to fly with kids (get it?!) You’ll need a lot of time for diaper changes, bathroom breaks etc. Rushing will not help your stress levels which are probably a little higher than usual. Sit and have a beer before the flight and relax!
  4. Take the stroller and check it at the gate. It is a great way to lug all of your duty free items baby crap around the airport.
  5. You will want to get a stroller bag and car seat bag if you value these items at all NO offence to ground staff at the airport but sometimes it looks like they’re practicing for log throwing when they load your items on to the plane. I saw my car seat sitting in the pouring rain on the tarmac at Cardiff and I was really happy I had it in a bag to keep the water off it. I got mine off Amazon and they survived loads of flights. I actually just got new ones for this flight and this time they’re a pretty grey colour! They actually seem a little sturdier than the last bright red ones I had. If you click on the picture it will take you straight to Amazon.
  6. Take advantage of priority boarding. I know it seems crazy to sit on the plane longer but this way you guarantee that you can put your diaper bag or purse above where you are sitting rather than having to fight with the people in row 43 who have thoughtfully filled your overhead bin space with their full sized case.
  7. Your technology rules are going to have to go out of the window here. Take an iPad if you have one for the love of God, it will save you. My husband actually forgot to pack ours last time we flew and I think we set a new world record for how long you can be salty.
  8. Do not pack toys that are loud, roll, bounce, rattle, squeak, are valuable. It’s not fair to those around you if your child is playing with something that is bleating in the middle of the overnight red eye flight. Also planes are black holes and I guarantee you that you will lose something. Honestly my kids played with plastic cups and the headphone wires last time we flew.
  9. Those pacifier clips make great toy clips and stop your child lobbing Sophie at unsuspecting passengers’ heads.
  10. Get some nice big headphones for your kid so they can easily listen to the TV. Earbuds are not nice for littles.
  11. If you’re alone then take your carrier so you can wear your baby as you board the plane and you can strap them to you when they fall asleep. I have also gone to the bathroom with a baby strapped on me but that wasn’t easy or sanitary.
  12. Wear leggings or sweatpants. Yeah like I need to tell you twice. If you are alone with a baby you will probably only have one hand and buttons aren’t your friend in this scenario.
  13. Pack ALL THE SNACKS. Whatever your kid likes, pack it. Favourites are Goldfish, gummies, chips, crackers and granola bars.
  14. Lollipops are your friend. They’re great to pop ears and I am yet to meet a kid that wont step into line at the promise of a lollipop.
  15. Take water or juice for your kids so they don’t have to wait for the drinks cart to come around.
  16. If you have room, pack an extra blanket. Planes are cold overnight and those static polyblend monstrosities the airline provides have the tog factor of toilet paper.
  17. Accept the help of strangers. You will be so surprised with how many people are happy to lend a hand if you just ask. You will also be surprised at how clueless other people can be but focus on the positives!
  18. Know that you might not get a lot of sleep so try to have someone pick you up at the airport if possible or arrange to stay over night at an airport hotel.

Flying with kids can be done!

I’m not going to lie and say that it’s easy but for lots of us travelling with kids is a fact of life. Don’t ever apologize for taking your child on a plane. I’ve yet to experience a flight with a kid (mine or someone else’s) screaming the entire time and honestly people aren’t as bothered by a kid on board as you might think. Even if they are, you bought a ticket just like them and you’re entitled to travel.

Do you have any amazing tips or tricks for surviving a long haul flight with kids?

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Tips and Advice For Surviving The Colic Storm From A Mum Who’s Been There

“It’s just colic sorry”, my doctor said to me with a casual shrug as I sat in his office with red rimmed eyes, wearing leggings that I had worn for more days than I care to mention and unkempt hair bouncing my crying baby around. “But she won’t stop screaming, please diagnose her with something so we can make it better” I pleaded with him. I listed off what Google told me might be the reasons my baby was crying nonstop (top tip, this is probably not the best idea when talking to a MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. Newsflash, Google does not make you a Doctor)

Why is my baby crying all the time? (according to Dr.Google)

  1. Dairy allergy
  2. Reflux
  3. Silent reflux
  4. Soy allergy
  5. Allergy to some other unspecified things
  6. The baby is broken
  7. Your baby hates you and you are an awful parent

He turned to look at me like he probably looks at so many frazzled mums and told me first of all to stay off Google and that she was just colic and she would get better by three months. THREE EFFING MONTHS I almost screamed at him. Aria was 6 weeks old at this point and I was slowly but surely losing what remained of my marbles from my first child. This was NOT what I wanted to hear after hardly sleeping and listening to the not so mellow sound of my baby screeching for 3 hours a day.  Let me tell you, that noise is hardly whale music and would probably be suited to CIA torture techniques. That’s right 3 HOURS A DAY.

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So what is colic?

For a colic diagnosis you have to follow the rule of 3. Uncontrollable crying for 3 hours a day, appearing at or after 3 weeks, occurring at least 3 days of the week for 3 weeks. 3 is not such a magic number after all.

I wasn’t having it. I was a second time parent. I was a smug baby rearing expert seeing as I had managed to keep my first born alive for over 3 years. Everyone knows the second time around is meant to be easier. IT WASN’T FAIR. THIS ISN’T WHAT I ORDERED. As I went to reel off my Google list again he finally suggested I cut out everything and anything that might be allergenic from my diet and to test over the next few weeks to see what made her colic worse.

Could an allergy be causing the colic crying? Allergens included but were not limited to:

  1. dairy
  2. soy
  3. ANYTHING that contains milk protein (crackers even have this sneaky bugger in it)
  4. broccoli
  5. beans
  6. tomatoes
  7. peppers
  8. spicy food
  9. red meat
  10. nuts
  11. any food that you might currently enjoy

Yet again he told me that it was “just colic” (at this point I searched the office for something to hurl at him but my arms were full with a screaming baby and I didn’t think throwing the tongue depressors that were at arms reach would make much of an impact) and it would probably just go away on its own. Sensing that I wasn’t going to get much further and conceding (begrudgingly) that perhaps I wasn’t as smart or experienced as the Doctor (despite what Google told me) I set off home with my list that would suck every ounce of fun out of life of what I couldn’t eat and headed home. After a very fun week or so of partaking in the “what will make my baby scream like a banshee for hours on end?” experiment I gave in and gave her hypoallergenic formula (side note, can we talk about how I felt like I “gave in” by giving her formula? I truly believe that fed is best but my Mum guilt prevailed yet again). It was like a different baby had taken Aria’s place within two days. I was cautiously optimistic as I had two nights in a row without the piercing colic cries reverberating around the house from 5-8pm. After a week of no colic crying I decided to try her on my milk again, just for kicks. Well that was a gas as the screaming returned. My dear Watson, I think we found the culprit. So back to the formula it was and I’ve never looked back. Aria is happy and thriving, she is sleeping through the night and she is happy to be awake whereas before it seemed like she was in pain constantly. Moreover, my husband and I are happier. We are getting more sleep, I can take Aria out of the house without worrying about a colic episode and we can play together happily for hours on end. It feels so indulgent to be able to bathe her, give her a baby massage and settle down with a bottle without her screaming. I also am getting to the point where I can take a shower without suffering colic PTSD (when I think I hear the baby crying even when she is not).

What can I do if I think my baby has colic?

Research into colic hasn’t produced any definitive answers and what has been produced is conflicting. What seems to be overlooked is the impact colic can have on mum’s mental health and this is perhaps the most important consideration of all. Merely telling a mum who is clearly distressed that it is “just” colic isn’t helpful. Maybe the child does have this weird affliction that no one knows much about but we need to be more mindful of using the term “just”. When this mum has agonized for hours about what on earth she is doing wrong, sometimes she needs someone to truly hear her and understand (or at least empathize) with her struggle. Because let me tell you, the struggle is REAL.

So mums of colic babies, I promise you it gets better. We made it through the colic trenches and whilst I am positive I have aged at least 15 years and have taken to bouncing bags of potatoes and other produce in the supermarket like a strange tick the crying has stopped.

Surviving the colic storm

    1. Take all the help you can.
    1. Know it’s OK to put the baby in their cot for a few moments so you can take a breather. Come back when you’re calm and try again.
    1. Also know that you aren’t doing anything wrong. Colic is strange and unpredictable and until it vanishes as quickly as your dignity in the birthing room you just have to roll with it.
    1. Try talking to your doctor about a possible milk protein allergy.
    1. Try the anti-colic bottles from Avent. I only just stopped using them for Aria and you could see the air bubbles dissipating. They’re on sale on amazon!

  1. Have your partner do the night shift so you can sleep. You are much better equipped to deal with screaming when you’re rested.
  2. Take time for you when you can. Do your nails, get out of the house, have a bath.
  3. Know that it will end and colic will go away.
  4. Drink all the wine you want.

You’ve got this

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How to get your toddler out of the house in 38 easy steps

Congratulations, now that you’re a mum you will perpetually be running a little late. Tardiness is a fact of parenting like how you will lovingly prepare your child’s favourite food for dinner only to be met by gagging, tears and the revelation that it is no longer their favourite food and you are a disgrace to motherhood for even thinking that they would eat it. I don’t know about you but no matter how good my intentions are to leave 10  minutes early or how organized I am, I am always running around yelling “GET YOUR SHOES ON, NO NOT THE FLIP FLOPS IT’S MINUS 20, SWEET LORD LOOK AT THE TIME, MOOOOVE” pretty much every time I need to leave the house. There really is no easy way to get your toddler out of the house quickly.

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“Sure honey wear what you want just for the love of all that is holy get out of the house.”

If you somehow reached this post through a search engine I’m going to applaud you for being realistic enough to bypass the posts that promise that you will be able to get your toddler ready and out of the house in 10 easy steps with minimal tears. I’m calling BS on those posts, there is no way on God’s green earth that Emmy is going to get into that car and let me get onto the road in anything close to 10 steps. Whenever we leave the house she packs like a middle aged mother going for a two week holiday to Greece. None of what she takes is of any use but for some reason she feels like if it doesn’t come with us to the supermarket then something dreadful might happen. I guess there might be a time when she might need a plastic onion and an old receipt? So let me share with you my ultimate guide to getting your child out of the house in a realistic number of steps.

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An example of the “essentials” Emmy packs.

38 easy and simple steps to get your child out of the house

  1. Chase the olympic 100 metre sprinter  your toddler around the house while pleading with them to just go into their room so you can begin the process of getting them dressed.
  2. After much coercion and a negotiation battle comparable to what I imagine goes on during a multi-country trade deal get your child up the stairs and into their room. You now owe your child a puppy, a Kinder egg and a trip to one of those intolerable indoor play places.
  3. Chase child around the upstairs for 15 minutes. I guess you welcome the exercise and now your fitbit can stop telling you that you’re a sloth.
  4. Catch child, put them under your arm and march to their room in a most authoritative manner.
  5. Wrestle child to the ground, be sure to pin each limb down or you will get sucker punched in the throat, head, stomach, genitals or boob.
  6. Pick out clothes for your child to wear.
  7. Wrong choice.
  8. Ask them what they want to wear. The answer will be totally inappropriate for whatever season you might be in and will almost certainly include an item of clothing that is sat in the washing machine.
  9. After more negotiating, dress child in something that is somewhat appropriate (or you can at least live with). This is the tricky part as dressing a toddler is akin to trying to dress an angry octopus (watch out again for those limbs).
  10. Now move into the bathroom to brush teeth and wash their face.
  11. Put toothpaste on toothbrush, have child eat toothpaste off brush and demand more.
  12. Tell them tough luck and turn attention to something else for a millisecond during which time child has turned into a ninja and is eating toothpaste directly out of the tube.
  13. Shove toothbrush in child’s mouth to keep them occupied so you can turn attention to their hair.
  14. Arrange hair into some type of pony tail and gather the strange short bit of your kid’s hair with a clip haphazardly.
  15. Rub washcloth over your toddler’s face as they streak out of the room towards the stairs (you notice that you didn’t close the baby gate during the battle to get them upstairs so you probably have a small heart attack, die for a moment and then realize that you’re a mum and don’t have time to be dead).
  16. Ask your child nicely to use the potty so they wont pee in the car seat (that’s a gas) or scream that they need to use the potty while you are out and then refuse to use a public toilet.
  17. Ask your child to use the potty again with a little more force.
  18. Morph into The Beast and shout at your child to use the potty because you’re now late which will make them cry (ego depletion strikes again). You feel bad and promise them you’ll buy some sort of toy when you’re out.
  19. Give up on the potty. Maybe they don’t really need to go? Right what’s next? shoes.
  20. Go to put on your child’s shoes.
  21. Wrong choice. How could you not know they wanted to wear one rubber boot and one ballet shoe? GOD MUM.
  22. Finally squash their incredibly rigid foot into their shoe. When did their bones turn to cement?
  23. Coat time. Put it on backwards first. Then put the wrong arm in the hole. Finally get it on.
  24. Toddler takes off coat. Your head explodes.
  25. Get coat back on. No time for mittens and hat. You are now officially late.
  26. Throw snacks into a bag and get your child to the door.
  27. Your toddler says they just want to take one thing with them. You concede and let them choose ONE toy. They come back looking like a Sherpa. Whatever.
  28. Your toddler says they just need one more thing. You refuse and they start to scream again.
  29. Your patience is totally thinned out now so you tell your toddler that you’re going to put the Roomba on and it will suck them up if they don’t leave the house IMMEDIATELY (just me?).
  30. Get out of the door FINALLY.
  31. Just kidding, you need to back inside because your kid has decided they actually do want to use the potty. Is it too late to leave them on the church steps?
  32. False alarm.
  33. Get child into car seat. Go to do up buckles and child suddenly decides that they are auditioning for Cirque Du Soleil.
  34. After folding them in half, quickly do up buckles tight enough to constitute as a straight jacket. They will complain it’s too tight, don’t fall for it, they want some slack to escape when you’re driving at 100kms/hr on the motorway. “Look mummy, I’ve climbed into the trunk!”.
  35. You did it, everyone is in the car and you’re on your way!
  36. Realise that you’re wearing your slippers, run back inside.
  37. Toddler screams that they need to use the potty.
  38. Give up, you’re a week late anyway.

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Take the Timbits, my soul, whatever, just get into the car seat PLEASE.

So as you can see with my easy 38 step plan getting your child out is a cinch! Once you’ve mastered this you might want to consider adding another child into the mix for kicks.

May the odds be ever in your favour.

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Reasons Why It’s OK To Take Time To Yourself As A Mum

I hear “MUMMMMMYY” echoing through the house just as I sit down to spend a quiet few minutes checking the backlog of messages from my friends back home (my lifeline to my old life in the UK). I do the best I can to plaster on my mum smile, leave what I was doing and push my “me time” to the back burner yet again. Turns out Emmy needed me to put a sticker on her foot. I can see how that was a life or death situation. Fast forward to nap time. No one is more full of false hope than a parent who wants to achieve something during nap time. For me, I just want five minutes to drink a hot (or even lukewarm) cup of tea and watch something that doesn’t have an animated pig in it. I think Emmy is in her room taking and nap and I just get Aria down to sleep (which is no easy task, the girl is the energizer bunny) and I feel like super mum. I can practically taste the indulgence of hot caffeine running down my throat. My heart is pounding at the thought of watching some grown up TV. It’s finally happening, my five minutes is coming. I turn to leave the room and I spy Emmy standing in the doorway with her extremely loud roaring dinosaur toy, her little finger poised on the button that will emit a noise level comparable only to the launch of a space rocket into the room. I look at her pleadingly but this is where I make my first mistake. Toddlers can sense when you don’t want them to do something like a shark sensing blood and something in their DNA prompts them to do exactly what it is that you don’t want them to. As the deafening noise fills the room waking my little sleeping grenade I think to myself “I just want five minutes”. Then I feel guilty. All those Mom blogs tell us to cherish each and every moment with our littles. “Hold them as long as you can”, “you’re a mom now”, “they grow up so fast” they preach. It is true, my children are growing at an alarming rate and I want to soak up every sticky, paint covered messy moment with them. However, these blogs designed to show us we’re not alone in parenting sometimes do more to perpetuate the cycle of Mom guilt than they do good. As much as my cold heart is melted by poems about “letting them be little” and “holding them longer” I can’t help but feel like they make those of us who need to put a sleeping child down to do menial things like pee or shower feel like they’re committing some heinous mum crime. It’s not fair and just because you want five minutes alone does not make you a bad mum and does not mean that you’ll miss out on the important moments. It means you’re a human, you’re exhausted and you are an entity apart from your children. That’s OK.

Guilt is a terrible thing and it is something that we all battle with on an almost daily basis. As an expat, I feel crippling guilt pretty much all the time. I know that sounds dramatic and maybe I do have a penchant for hyperbole but I really do struggle with guilt. When I moved here I felt guilty that I missed out on birthdays and Christmases and other things that were important to the ones I loved. When I got married I felt guilty that most of my husband’s friends and family couldn’t make it to Wales to celebrate with us. When I’m in the throws of homesickness I feel guilty that I’m short with my husband and resentful that I live here.  But nothing compares to mom guilt. I didn’t think it was possible to feel so guilty about so much until I had children.

Things I feel guilty about as a mum

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  1. The fact that my child has too much screen time. I try to do pinteresty parent things like painting, crafts, playdoh and drawing but when you’re in the depths of a Canadian winter and you’ve exhausted your energy reserves for pretending to be a dinosaur sometimes you need the throw the TV on and watch a movie. Full disclosure, my child is on the Ipad now while she uses the potty and while I take five minutes to write this post.
  2. The fact that I spend too much time on my phone . I am CONSTANTLY worrying about whether I am looking at my phone too much. The truth is, as many of my friends live far away, I message them daily to maintain contact and it’s an important coping mechanism for me. I feel so guilty when I sneak a look at my messages when my daughter is occupied with something else only to be greeted with her eyeballs burning into my hunched back as I look through my messages like an addict.
  3. My daughter’s diet. Emmy LOVES fruit, vegetables and dairy and will pretty much eat anything from those food groups. Sounds like the dream right? Well not quite. She refuses most meats apart from chicken nuggets. Put your pitchfork away Susan, I feed my kid McDonalds from time to time because it is pretty much the only form of meat she’ll eat and at a tiny 31lbs, I worry that she’s too light. She also wont eat most carbs. I feel guilty when I am firm and refuse to give her anything else to eat after throwing another plate of uneaten food away. I also feel guilty when I let her eat crackers for dinner to try and get calories into her.
  4. Second child guilt. Now this one was a doozy.  From the minute my eldest cried that she wanted a baby dinosaur and not a baby sister when we told her our happy news I felt guilty about adding a second child to the mix. We were so happy as a family of three I agonized whether I making the right decision. In those first dark few months when Aria’s colic meant she needed my full attention almost 24 hours a day I felt awful when I saw my first born playing alone or when she would ask me to play and I had to say no as I manically rocked, bounced and shushed her screaming little sister. I would burst into tears about it all the time.
  5. feeling guilty about second child guilt . Now we’re through the colic and we’re rocking our new normal I feel guilty that I ever felt guilty about having a second child. Aria is the sweetest little thing and when I look at her squishy cheeks and gummy smile I feel guilty that I ever for a moment questioned my decision to have another child. This is mum guilt at its finest.
  6. Not being able to breastfeed my second child. Aria would scream bloody murder pretty much all day and was diagnosed as colic. Every time she ate the screaming got worse and her gas and reflux were causing her so much pain. After crying to my doctor and begging for a diagnosis of something to prove I wasn’t crazy he suggested going dairy, wheat, soy free. In my fragile mental state after zero sleep and a lot of screaming I made the decision not to test the waters by eliminating food from my diet and switched to a hypoallergenic formula. I cried for days about not breastfeeding and I convinced myself that I was ruining Aria’s life. I would justify my decision to anyone that would listen. “Oh hi checkout lady, yes I’m buying formula but it is only because my child has colic and I feel like I’m going to pull my hair out by the roots if the screaming goes on much longer. Breast is best!”. This guilt wasn’t made better by nosy dental hygienists that told me I should be breastfeeding. Why does everyone feel like they can comment on your life as a mum?
  7. The fact that my kids don’t see much of my parents  This is more of expat guilt than mum guilt but it keeps me up at night. I feel bad that my children only get half of the grandparent experience. I grew up so close to my maternal grandparents and it was such a wonderful upbringing. My children see my parents a few times a year and it is hard to accept that.
  8. The fact that my fitbit keeps telling me to get off my arse and move. I don’t know why I thought that buying a fitbit was a good idea as it only adds to my guilt. I’m only 5670 steps away from my daily goal? Grand, I’ll just go out for a run with all the extra time I have. Oh great, now I feel guilty that I’ll die young and leave my husband as an attractive widower with two gorgeous children who will struggle at to call the glamorous American “mummy”  at first but soon will forget about me and they’ll have glamorous new years eve parties with their glamorous new friends. Wait, this is the plot of “The Holiday”, I’m clearly spiraling here.

These are just a few things that I feel guilty about and I’m sure if I opened up my anxiety and things that I can’t control but still feel guilty about vault I could come up with more. But you know what? No matter what you do you will still feel guilty because as a mum we are constantly bombarded with images of perfect families and blogs with perfectly put together houses and women who have it all together. I bet these women need five minutes now and then. We all do.

Three reasons why taking time for yourself every day to yourself is important

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  1. Ego depletion is real. What is this fancy science term of which I speak? Well basically, we only have so much willpower and once it runs out we struggle to make good decisions. As a mum, you are constantly at battle with your willpower. It is the thing that stops us screaming “GO THE F&^K TO SLEEP” or “WHAT THE ACTUAL F%$K?” every second of the day. If you have toddlers, you will know that you are constantly shoving these urges down as your little dictators do charming things such as pee on the floor, poke their sleeping sibling, magic marker your quartz counter top, colour on your couch, cry because you did the thing they asked you to do etc. I’m a teacher by day so let me tell you I am fresh out of ego by the end of the day. Taking five minutes to yourself helps you reset and gives you time to not have to make decisions and to just do something you truly want to do. You want to eat that candy bar? Go for it girl! You want to watch Gossip Girl? Get on it! You can read more about ego depletion here.
  2. Dedicating every waking moment to other people is exhausting and will make you feel bitter. Just because you are a mum doesn’t mean you don’t have other interests outside of wiping bums and watching Peppa Pig. If you enjoy reading celebrity gossip the news and have did it every day before you had kids you really should try to carve out five minutes to do it still. If you enjoy long baths and you find them good for your mental health then this is important to your well being. If you are a yogi and get peace from twisting your body into strange shapes then this is part of who you are and you must make space in your life for it. Taking time to yourself helps you reconnect with the person you were before kids (and she’s still in there I promise).
  3. YOU DESERVE IT. I get it, keeping other humans alive is exhausting. You deserve to take time to yourself every day whether it be for 5 minutes to read an article or for an hour to work out.

So mums, what I’m trying to say is just because I feel like you need five minutes away sometimes doesn’t make you a bad mum. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t soaking in every minute and it doesn’t mean that you will magically push the fast forward button on time and miss out on the important stuff. You are important, remember that. Some days all you’ll need is a five minute breather, some days you just need to go to the store alone and other days you need a night away in a luxury hotel. It’s OK to feel that way. It’s normal and it’s nothing to feel guilty about.

Now I’ve got to go because I feel guilty that my laundry has been sat in the dryer for 4 days.

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