Well, can you believe it? #BlogCrush linky is now one whole year old! This time 12 months ago Lucy and I were stressing out over how to actually set up a linky, let alone host one every week and get lots of bloggers to join in. We did it though and over the past year a beautiful community of bloggers has been built with this linky, we have regulars coming back week after week and lots of new faces starting to join in with the fun too. Some of my favourite bloggers and talented, amazing writers that I have met through this linky. Over the last year there have been a few changes to #BlogCrush, the most significant being my departure as a full time co host in September and Alice, from Letters to my Daughter, stepping in to host with Lucy 3 weeks out of the month instead. We make a good team and I love being a part of #BlogCrush. View Post
Here at Naptime Natter HQ we love easy and convenient food, it also has to be healthy and taste amazing too though. I love spending time searching Pinterest and cookbooks for yummy recipes and writing out a weekly meal plan before browsing the aisles in the supermarket and dropping fresh and nutritious ingredients into the trolley. However, when it comes to weaning your baby, sometimes even cooking up a 15 minute meal feels impossible and it can get a bit complicated taking homemade baby food out and about with you – this is why I love using pouches. Ever since we started weaning Alex when he was 6 months old, we have used baby food pouches to help him get used to new flavours and textures; we teamed up with HiPP Organic and Alex has loved tasting their wide variety of baby foods as part of his weaning journey. Alex was so excited to receive a selection of HiPP Organic sweet and their brand new savoury pouches to try and we were introduced to the newest members of the HiPP family – the HiPP Buddies! View Post
Happy Friday lovely bloggers and HURRAH for February! I am so happy to see the end of January, it was a month full of rain, dark clouds, germs and serious scrimping as we tried to claw back some pennies after the big Christmas splurge. How are you? Thank you for joining Lucy and I for #BlogCrush – I am looking forward to reading all your posts.
I have this really vivid memory lurking in my mind, it has been well over a year since this day yet I remember it all as if it happened this morning. Alex was about 2 or 3 weeks old, I was bathing him in his tiny little baby bath and chatting to Oli at the same time. For a mere 5 seconds I looked up and met Oli’s gaze while we were talking and when I looked back down at my baby, Alex had his face in the water. In just a matter of a few seconds he had silently rolled his head to the side, his head was still resting on my palm but his mouth and nose had become submerged. A matter of seconds, that’s all it was. I took him straight out of his little bath as he cried and thrashed his body around in my arms. He was scared, I was terrified. I got him dressed, cuddled him close and while I was feeding him I reached for my phone. That was the day my phone began to mentally torture me.
Mental health after pregnancy – social media made my anxiety and PND worse
Alex was completely fine after his minor incident in the bath and as he contently slept in my arms, I did the thing paranoid, anxious and depressed new mums should never do: I Googled what had just happened. During my heart-breaking journey through forums, news articles and medical warnings about children drowning my anxiety began to reach the point where I kept having to check Alex was breathing, even though he was right there happy in my arms. I managed to drag myself out of the terrifying depths of my Google search and went to bed, full of dread that Alex was going to be dead when I woke up. The next day I was scrolling through Facebook and was met with a news article that had somehow made it’s way into my newsfeed, amongst the updates and photos from my friends and family. The article had a headline that caught my eye immediately, I was still on edge from the day before and when I saw the words ‘secondary drowning’ my heart sank. The story was about a child who had been swimming happily on holiday and 24hours after returning from fun at the pool he had drowned. Apparently it is possible to ‘drown’ hours after being in water if you manage to get some water on your lungs. Well, obviously my anxiety sky rocketed and I was convinced this was going to happen to Alex. I was scared for days that something bad was going to happen, all the while trying to outwardly appear fine and under control as I hadn’t yet found the courage to tell anyone I was suffering so badly with my mental health.
As if Facebook knew how I was feeling and wanted to torment me further, more and more news articles began to flash up in my news feed, each one pushing my anxiety up even higher and I was left feeling as though my baby was just never going to be safe again. For every 10 updates from friends and family, there was a mum posting in a mums chat group an article she’d read about the dangers of car seats/cot bumpers/prams/choking – the list of potential ways I was being told my baby could die was just unbearably overwhelming. There is not a single doubt in my mind that Facebook made my anxiety and post natal depression worse. I know I was struggling anyway, but this constant horrific barrage of stories and articles about awful things happening to babies just like my own unequivocally had a negative impact on my mental health.
It wasn’t only Facebook though, social media in general has on many different occasions affected my mood and mental wellbeing. I am better now, but when I was suffering with post natal depression I would go on to Instagram and as I was scrolling through everyone else’s photos I felt as though everyone else was happy in the world apart from me. I would see photos of mums holding their babies with smiles on their faces, captioned with tales from their lovely and joyful day. I would see photos of toddlers kissing and hugging their baby siblings and feel shit because my three year old was showing no interest in the baby at all. Everyone was smiling and everyone was happy and after 10 minutes on Instagram I could easily be left feeling inadequate and like a rubbish mum for days as I wasn’t smiling like everyone else.
Some days Twitter would grab my attention and I’d spend some time scrolling on there. People seem to tell it as it is a bit more on Twitter, which can be a blessing in some ways but also makes an easy breeding ground for keyboard warriors and internet bullies. Luckily I am yet to have to deal with the horrible experience of being trolled but that doesn’t mean Twitter didn’t also manage to play a part in ripping apart my self confidence and negatively impacting my mood during those months where I was suffering with my mental health. This time last year I probably had around 3000 followers on Twitter, not loads but not zero either. Occasionally if something was troubling me, I would try and sugar coat the issue slightly, pop it in a tweet and ask if anyone else was feeling the same. I understood I was opening myself up for potential trolling but I didn’t care, I just wanted to know that there were others out there who understood how I was feeling. As it transpired, most of the time there wasn’t. Every time I checked my notifications and not one of my 3000 followers had replied to say they too felt the same, my heart would sink a little deeper into the painful part of my chest and tears would threaten to spill from my eyes. Despite having followers on all different platforms, there were times social media made me feel so alone.
I am not holding Facebook, Instagram and Twitter responsible for the troubles I faced when Alex was a baby; it is unfortunate but I think getting post natal depression and anxiety was just part of my journey into second time motherhood. However, I do believe social media is responsible for intensifying my low mood and making my mental health worse during what was already a difficult time in my life. In the end I ended up deleting the Facebook app from my phone for months, the articles and good intentioned warnings from other mums about terrible tragedies involving babies just got too much for me. I wised up on the reality of social media in general too, the majority of people are only sharing the smile and the happy times online but that doesn’t mean they are not having the tough days too. I have also been guilty of holding back the complete truth of what is happening in my life and instead painted a very rosy and perfect lie over on my squares on Instagram. I don’t do that anymore, if things are shit then I tell my followers that I am feeling shit. If I have had a bad day then I will tell you, just like I would if it had been the best day ever. I never want anyone to feel lonely and anxious because of what they have or haven’t seen on social media and if I see a new mum reaching out for solidarity or reassurance online then, if I have been there too, I will a hundred times tell her that she’s not on her own.
I have written this post in collaboration with Head Talks, an amazing website full of useful resources to help inform, reassure and inspire people around the subject of mental health and wellbeing. Head Talks was founded by Oliver Chittenden (find out his story here) who wants Head Talks to be a safe online place for people who want to have healthier relationships with themselves and their loved ones by focussing on improving their mental health.
Fashion blogger Roxi Nafousi was interviewed for Head Talks about her opinion on social media and the detrimental effects it can have on our mental health. You can watch the interview, Beyond The Perfect Image, here and Roxi shares similar advice to me – if you are not feeling mentally well then it is best to stay well away from social media.
Today, February 1st 2018, is Time to Talk Day. So, wherever you are and whoever you are with, make sure you take some time today to have a conversation about mental health and wellbeing. Stigmas can only be removed and change can only be made if we all make an effort to raise awareness of the many mental health issues thousands of us suffer with every day.
If you feel like you may be suffering with post natal depression here is a list of resources and charities that can help and support you.
If you found this post useful you may also like to read the other posts about anxiety, post natal depression and mental illness over in the mental health section of my blog.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I have collaborated with Head Talks as raising awareness and helping people will mental health issues is something I am passionate about.
Eeep, I am so excited to bring you this news! I am launching my very own Instagram community today , #mumsthatgotthis . For all of it’s flaws (algorithm of doom just being one), I do really love Instagram and my favourite thing about it is the wonderful community feel the app has. I love that you can go on to Instastories feeling a bit rubbish and then DM after DM start to pour into your inbox, messages of reassurance and support that can completely turn a crap day around. My favourite places to hang out on Instagram are the hashtags started by other parent bloggers, they are a great way to catch up with everyone and to chat with other parents, whilst admiring their gorgeous photos too of course. One of my goals for 2018 is to build a community, both on Facebook and Instagram of parents all there to support, reassure and (hopefully) become friends with each other. I started Naptime Natter Mums on Facebook at the beginning of January (you can join here) and today #mumsthatgotthis is launching on Instagram – yay! View Post
Alex started walking just before Christmas, he was about 14months old and after months of cruising around the furniture and taking the odd tentative step or two, he finally got his confident strut on and now there is no stopping him. I had sort of been dreading the day that Alex found his feet, I find it hard enough chasing after one child and I was anxious I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the both of them. If I’m being totally honest, I had been dreading parenting a toddler again in general. Leo was an adorable baby and toddler and obviously I still love the bones off him now, but my firstborn really did embrace the whole ‘terrible twos’ phase and I really struggled to enjoy those toddler days at times. It would seem though that I have let all those difficult times cloud the truth of what being a toddler mama is really like. All the memories of biting, screaming on the floor of the supermarket, hitting, crying and total diva meltdowns had a cast a dark shadow over all the fun and joy that having a toddler brings to your life. View Post
If there is anything I regret from those newborn days with Leo, amongst a few other things, it is not persisting when it came to using a sling. I will ashamedly admit this to you now, as a first time Mum I thought babywearing was weird. I know, I’m sorry! I just didn’t understand, you have only just given birth and got your baby out of you, maybe you’re breastfeeding all the hours of the day too and yet in those moments you can reclaim your body back for yourself you’re choosing to strap a baby to your chest? I just didn’t get it. Fast forward two and half years, I fell pregnant again, realised the errors of my ridiculous judgement and decided to give babywearing a try when my second son arrived 9 months later. Alex is now 15 months old and babywearing has been such a life saver, so much so I still find myself reaching for the sling now, even though the boy is walking!
I absolutely adore babywearing (toddlerwearing now I guess) and am so glad I decided to shut up miss judgy pants and give it a try. When Alex was a newborn and I first started experimenting with using a sling I had not a single clue what I was doing and there were moments I almost slipped back in to the mindset that babywearing was a massive waste of time. BUT with the help of a few really useful and informative resources and people I persevered; I mastered how to wrap with a stretchy and how to get a big baby strapped into a buckle carrier and it was all possible thanks to these certain people. Want to know who they are? Well, I am all for making the lives of new mamas easier so here is a list of useful resources for those of you that are new to babywearing – I hope it helps!
If you have chosen to breastfeed your new baby those first few weeks can feel really overwhelming. I know when my first boy was a newborn I often worried whether I was feeding him enough/too much or if my milk supply was good enough or if he was feeding long enough on both sides (and I stressed about a million other things too). My second baby is now 15 months old and as a second time breastfeeding mum I can say I feel a lot more confident this time around. I thought I would write a post for all new breastfeeding mums and share my top tips on how to feel confident during your breastfeeding journey. I also want to show mums to be and new mums that those precious baby days don’t need to be spoilt by worries over breastfeeding, it is totally possible to feed with confidence. You can do this Mamas! View Post
As I draft this post it is a Saturday afternoon and I am sat, alone, in a cafe. I have just enjoyed an amazing salmon roll and cappuccino, alone. Read a whole magazine, a women’s magazine I might add and not the usual CBeebies one I’m forced to peruse with my four year old. I took said magazine out of my favourite handbag, the little one that I can only just fit my purse in and would never in a million years accommodate enough nappies, wipes and snacks for a Saturday out with the kids (trust me, I’ve tried). While I can hear the chitter chatter of other customers and shoppers, the tinkling of cups and saucers being tidied away and the background music playing, the whole place feels much quieter than I’m used to. View Post
For a very long time I have been searching for a book that could rekindle my love of reading. Being a busy mum of two, I really crave the escapism from real life that a book can offer but I have been struggling to find a story that was able to hold my attention. I have been on a mission to find a book that takes over my life, a real page turner worth staying up late reading and sacrificing my precious evenings binge watching Netflix for. I needed one of those books that’s leaves it characters and their lives lingering in your mind long after you’ve reluctantly put your paper back down to get on with something else. I did as anyone would do with a dilemma in this day and age and I turned to social media for help to find my perfect book. I had a fair few suggestions but when someone suggested a unknown title to me on Twitter, I knew it was the one, the book that could bring my inner bookworm back to life. That book was Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine and, if this paragraph hasn’t already given it away, I LOVED it. Here is my full review .. View Post
If you are a parent you will more than likely be familiar with the term ‘mum guilt’. As well as all the sleep deprivation, baby brain and the complete change of lifestyle we all experience when we have a child, us mums also get this positivity and self confidence sucking side effect of bringing a child into the world called mum guilt. This negative mindset sneaks in, loud and unwelcome, during your pregnancy, a time in a woman’s life that is often also full of some degree of anxiety, stress and worry. As your baby is happily cooking away in utero, a hard job for us mamas as it is, thoughts covered in guilt can begin to creep around our already hormone riddled brains. There’s a whole list of things that have the ability to make a pregnant woman feel like a rubbish mum before her baby has even been born: the food she is or isn’t eating, the amount of alcohol she does or doesn’t drink, the pregnancy yoga classes she’s not going to and the choices she makes on things like feeding, sleeping and what kind of nappies she’s going to use when her baby arrives.
Once baby finally does show up, feelings of mum guilt tend to ramp up a notch and we can be left feeling guilty about almost every parenting decision we make. The thing we all need to remember is, mum guilt isn’t speaking the truth – we are not bad mums, we are amazing mums trying our absolute best every day. Mum guilt is the manifestation of our completely unachievable desire to be the ‘perfect mum’, mixed with any self confidence issues we are already experiencing in regard to our parenting abilities. I have been a mum now for almost four and a half years and I have wasted too much of that time feeling guilty and questioning the things i do and don’t do for my sons. Recently I have decided to have much more of a positive mental attitude, I want to think this way about all aspects of my life but, mostly, I want to be a more positive parent and that isn’t going to happen if I keep listening to the judgmental, hurtful voice of mum guilt. To help quash these pointless yet damaging thoughts I am spending more time focusing on all the things I actually do for my kids instead of dwelling on the things I don’t and it is really working to feed my positive mindset.
Shutting up the mum guilt
If you are a parent who too has lived under the reign of evil mum guilt for far too long, I am telling you right now it doesn’t need to be this way. Here is what you need to do, are you listening? Sit down and write a list titled ‘All the things I feel guilty about’, if you are anything like me it is going to be a lengthy list so make sure you have enough paper handy. Now, once you have done that, go back to your title ‘All the thing’s I feel guilty about’, scribble it out and write ‘All the thing’s I don’t need to feel guilty about’ in big, bold letters and underline the ‘don’t’ atleast three times. My health visitor once told me, when I was battling with post natal depression, that the fact that I was spending so much time worrying over these things only served as proof that I was in fact a great mum, not the rubbish one I thought. We only feel guilty because we want to be the best possible parent we can be for our kids and we just care about them SO damn much. All the things you feel guilty about, I can almost guarantee you don’t need to be worrying about them as much if even at all. Us mums worry about little things so much because we are trying to be that ‘perfect mum’ I mentioned earlier, the one who does not exist. Chances are, you are feeling guilty because you are doing some of the things you said you would NEVER do when you had kids, back when you were living a life sans baby and had not a single clue what raising a child is really like. No parent is perfect and sometimes we all do what we do to just make it through the day, and that is more than ok!
So, are you ready to take back control and help shut up that stupid mum guilt once and fall? Grab your notebook and your paper and write out your list, you may think it is counterproductive writing down all those things you are feeling guilty about but now that you, hopefully, understand that you don’t need to beat yourself up about them at all because you are simply a mum doing her BEST for the children that she LOVES, you can look at this list and see with fresh eyes that they aren’t actually worth your mental energy worrying over. I always like to practice what I preach, so here is my list of all the things I don’t need to feel guilty about..
All the things I don’t need to feel guilty about..
– Giving Alex a dummy
– Letting Leo watch TV in the morning
– Giving Alex something else to eat for lunch when he chucks my first attempt of a healthy balanced meal on the floor
– Letting Leo drink squash instead of water
– Checking emails on my phone instead of building yet another tower of bricks for Alex to knock down
– Telling Leo off when he’s been naughty
– Giving the kids a piece of fruit and then going and hiding in the kitchen so I can eat biscuits without having to share them
– Having a movie day on the sofa instead of taking the kids to the park
– Letting Leo play on his tablet while I get on with housework
– Not taking Alex to soft play/swimming as much as I think I should
– Not having the time and energy to do as much with Alex as I did with Leo when he was a toddler
– Getting post natal depression
– Not loving playing imagination games with Leo and finding playtime in general a bit boring
– Leo refusing to try new foods
– Alex refusing to try new foods
– Only going to the baby groups I like instead of taking Alex to them all
– Leaving Alex nap for half hour longer than he should so I can get blogging work done or just have some chill time
– Not remembering how old Alex was when he got his first tooth
– Not having half as many pictures of Alex printed as we do of Leo
– Spending approximately £3 a week on myself so I can grab a coffee before I take Alex to rhyme time
– Picking a kids film that I can actually tolerate instead of watching the rubbish one Leo wants when we spend a Saturday morning watching a film together
– Feeling pissed off when the baby wakes up for hours in the night
– Feeling frustrated at Leo when he doesn’t do as he is told
– Not taking the boys off to do big expensive days out every weekend
– All of Alex’s clothes being hand me downs
– Arriving 5 minutes late to pick Leo up from school because I could’t find a parking space
– Alex having to use the pram we have had for almost five years that is only just clinging on to life
– Letting Leo watch YouTube on my phone when we are out and I need him to be quiet for 10 minutes
– Sometimes skipping pages in stories when I have to read them ten times in a row
– Saying no to Leo when he asks for the impossible
– Not always knowing what it is Alex wants or needs when he is crying
– Not making many school mum friends so I have no one to arrange play dates with for Leo
– Craving child free time sometimes
– Not having enough money to buy them all the toys they want
and most importantly
– wasting precious time with them feeling guilty instead of just living in the moment with them.
I told you it was a long list! I am trying my absolute best to stop feeling guilty about all of this stuff, a lot of which is really insignificant and unimportant, in the grand scheme of things. I love my boys and I know they love me too. They don’t love that perfect mum I’ve imagined, they don’t love SuperMum, they love ME. All these things I have been worrying about, my kids more than likely couldn’t give a crap about. My boys prefer me when I am happy, I prefer me when I am happy. I finally understand that if I am to be really happy as a parent, I need to turn the volume down on that negative voice in my head, take a look at my kids smiling faces and realise that, actually, I am doing a pretty amazing job. I am raising tiny humans, and I may not be perfect but I am their loving mum and, to them, that’s all they really need.
Do you suffer from a horrible inner voice and mum guilt? Do you feel guilty about any of the same things as me? Why don’t you try writing them all down, hopefully it will help you see that you need to stop beating yourself up and instead focus on all the amazing things you are doing every single day for your family.
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January 15th 2018 is a very important date for lots of parents, it is the deadline for submitting your child’s school admission form. Applying for your child’s place at primary school can be a stressful and anxious time for lots of parents: choosing which school to put as your first choice, will the school with the best OFSTED report be in your catchment area and where will you find the time to go to all the open days? There is a lot to consider and think about and, usually, this is a time of heightened emotions too as sending your baby off to big school is a massive step for the parents as well as their child. The anxiety surrounding your little one starting school can often be a lot worse if you have a summer baby. Leo’s birthday is in August, when we were first notified we needed to apply for his school place in November 2016, he had only been three for a few months and it all felt like everything was happening too soon. I was worried about him being the youngest in his class and there were fleeting moments when I considered holding him back a year. Leo has recently completed his first term of primary school and I am so glad we decided not to hold him back. If you have a summer born child due to start school in September, here is why you don’t need to spend so much time worrying. I definitely could have done with reading a positive story about a summer born child starting school when I was filling out Leo’s admissions form, wondering if I was doing the right thing, so I hope this post brings you some reassurance. View Post
Happy new year Blogcrushers!
Can you believe it is 2018?! I hope you have all enjoyed the festive break and are feeling positive and motivated for the year ahead. Thank you to everyone who took time out from eating Christmas leftovers and drinking prosecco to come link up with us last week. This week Alice and I are hosting again as Lucy is still enjoying a much deserved break. View Post
Today Leo went back to school after a couple weeks off for Christmas. The build up to Leo actually starting school seemed to stretch out for almost a year. In November 2016 we applied for his place at his catchment school, then in April 2017 we received a letter confirming he would be starting in reception at our first choice school in the September. Leavers parties at play school, a long summer break, lots of trips to town to buy uniforms and school shoes followed before Leo finally had his first day of primary school on 11th September 2017. After all of the build up, Leo’s first term at school has flown by in a flash. That first day where I sent him off into the classroom with freshly cut hair, dressed in a baggy uniform and shiny new black shoes feels like last week but in reality Leo first entered the classroom over 3 months ago.
As with every stage of parenting, I feel like the last 3 months have been an absolutely massive learning curve for me. There have been challenges Leo and I have had to overcome together but there have also been some amazing moments too that have made me feel so immensely proud of my little boy. While Leo has been in the classroom every day trying to master phonics, spelling and the correct way to hold a pencil, I’ve been busy learning a thing or two about school life too. View Post
Hello! Welcome back for another week of #BlogCrush , this week Alice and I are hosting as Lucy is having a well deserved break over the Christmas holidays.
Speaking of Christmas, how was yours? I hope you had a lovely time, we had a great day just the four of us and seeing the kids open their presents and get swept up in all the magic was just amazing.
So, if you have had time to write amongst all the festivities and indulged in some blog reading too then please come and link your posts up with us. #BlogCrush is the kindest linky around, you link up one of your own posts and one from a blogger you love too. It is a great way to get the work of the bloggers you admire seen by more people and get some extra love thrown your blogs way too.
As well as tweeting and commenting on your posts every week, we now also have a #BlogCrush pinterest board where we will be pinning all your posts and our featured bloggers will be pinned to our extra special best of #BlogCrush board – so exciting!
If you use Pinterest we would love for you to follow us over there
Grab yourself a cuppa, what is left of the Christmas chocolate and come join us for the last #BlogCrush linky of 2017.
Lucy’s #BlogCrush from last week is Miller in the City – Teaching children the gift of giving back
Alice’s #BlogCrush from last week is The Elephant mum – How I came to appreciate the Finnish adoptive system
Congratulations to you featured bloggers, if you would like you can grab the featured badge below to display on your blog. Also, if any of you noticed one of your posts featured as someone’s #BlogCrush in the last link up, feel free to grab the badge too 🙂
#BlogCrush – week 46
This week I am linking up my latest post Life goals and blog dreams for 2018. I know it seems a little boring writing a blog post all about your goals for the year ahead and some people can feel like setting new years resolutions is a little bit cliché but I actually find the start of a new year serves as great motivation for me and I love to set myself goals to keep me focussed.
Grab the badge and let’s get linking!
Remember to tag @naptimenatter @lucy_at_home and @L2MyDaughter on twitter for a retweet.
Here are the rules ..
* The linky will run every Friday 6am – Sunday 9pm (UK time)
* You can link up 2 posts per week – 1 of your own posts and 1 post by a blogger that you love, your #BlogCrush
* Please add BC in the inlinkz form when you add the link for your blog crush post
* Add the #BlogCrush badge to the post you are linking up from your own blog.
* Tweet @naptimenatter and @lucy_at_home on twitter and we will retweet your links
* Also, tweet your #BlogCrush to let them know you have added them to the linky
* Comment on one of my posts and one of Lucy’s posts, and 2 personal posts (not BC) – that is a total of 4 comments please. This linky is all about sharing the blogger love so if you want to comment on more posts too then please go ahead and of course stop by some of the BC posts too if you have the time 🙂
* Lucy and I will comment on all the posts and share them all on our Twitter accounts.
* Each host will choose a favourite post and feature it in the next linky post as well as linking it up as their #BlogCrush post in the following week’s linky.
* If you could also follow Lucy and I on social media then we will love you forever. Naptime Natter Facebook, twitter , Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube Lucy At Home twitter , facebook, Instagram , Pinterest and Letters to my Daughter Facebook, twitter, Instagram and Pinterest
Happy linking lovelies!
The new year is almost upon us, what the actual eff you guys? I really can not believe 2017 has pretty much come to a close and, as I do every year, it is time to look back on the last 12 months and to plan and write down all my hopes and dreams for the year ahead. 2017 started off bad, post natal depression was at it’s worst in January, but as the months progressed I started to feel better and more like my old self and now, compared to a year ago, my mental health is in great shape. Family life has evolved so much over the last year too: Alex has grown from a squidgy little newborn into a fully fledged toddler (he started walking a couple of days ago), Leo said goodbye to toddlerhood and started school in September and we finally moved out from living in work based accommodation to a cute little house in a lovely quiet little part of town. My blog has grown this year too, I have struggled to commit as much time as I would like to writing with two little people to look after but I have managed to write lots of posts that I am really proud of and make a bit of extra cash too. View Post
The year is almost over and, you know what? 2017 should have been a brilliant year for me but I have spent a good chunk of it feeling unhappy. When Alex was born last October I never could have imagined I would be spending so much of his first year feeling sad and battling with anxiety but yet, unfortunately, that has been the reality of 2017 for me. Being a parent is so hard at times and some days, even if you don’t have post natal depression, it can be hard to get a genuine smile on your face. Raising children is the worlds most difficult job and us parents give so much of ourselves to our little people that it is no wonder we can often feel run down, emotional and upset.
As the year has progressed I have started to feel better and I am a lot happier this December than I was in January. I am so relieved to be seeing the year out on a high note and no longer living under the heavy black cloud of PND. It hasn’t been easy to get to this point and I would be lying if I said I no longer have bad days, I don’t think anyone can say they have been happy for 365 days in a row though, can they? I have worked really hard on looking after my mental wellbeing over the past year and it is such a relief to be about to enter a new year as the happy version of myself I knew I was capable of becoming again – nice try PND but I knew I could beat you. My work is not done though, I am determined to keep up my quest for happiness and to become a more positive parent for my boys and for my own wellbeing too. If you too want to feel happier as a mum and want to try and ease yourself away from a dark place to somewhere more positive, then here is a list of things I have done and continue to do every day to try and keep negativity (from myself and others) away. Let’s all make 2018 a year full of positivity, happiness and confidence – we got this mamas! View Post
This time last year I was not in a good place. In fact, 12 months ago I was in a very dark and very scary place. Memories of December 2016 will always make me sad, I had a newborn baby and a three year old excited for Christmas and I felt as far away from festive as was possible. I didn’t know it at the time but I was suffering with post natal depression. I knew something wasn’t right, I knew I felt unbearably sad and anxious all the time but I hadn’t yet admitted to myself or anyone else what was really going on.
Post natal depression is such a cruel mental illness. Having a baby is supposed to be one of the most amazing things you can ever experience but post natal depression violently bursts that happy new mum bubble. A baby who loves you and who you love back completely unconditionally, what could be better? But when your own mind turns against you, makes you feel sad when you want to be happy and horrible thoughts taint those precious moments with your baby, it is a truly heartbreaking thing to experience as a mum. You feel like a failure (why aren’t I happy? I am supposed to be happy, am I an awful mother?), you feel robbed of this special time (Why can’t I just enjoy this time with my baby?) and you feel like things will never get any easier (I am never going to feel happy again). Feeling all these things any time of the year is difficult and just horrible but imagine feeling this way at Christmas? Imagine spending your baby’s first ever Christmas feeling like you are drowning in your own sadness and that you can’t talk about it with anyone because it’s Christmas and you don’t want to kill their festive cheer. That is exactly how I felt last Christmas and, unfortunately, that is how so many new mums will be feeling this December too. View Post
It is me and Lucy hosting this week, if you are new here then welcome and if you are one of our regulars then welcome back! I love reading everyone’s posts and finding out who everyone’s favourite bloggers are. So, shall we get started?
Well, we did it! One whole year of breastfeeding. It was always my aim since I became pregnant with Alex to try my best to breastfeed him for his first year and I’ve only gone and done it. It’s not always been easy, we had latch issues and I experienced a lot of pain during those first couple of weeks but I feel so proud that we pushed through and our feeding journey is still going strong 12 months on. With the rise of the mummy blogger there seems to be a lot more honest advice and stories online about what breastfeeding a newborn is like, which makes a nice change from the very impersonal approach most nhs leaflets and antenatal classes seem to take. I’ve written all about it myself in previous breastfeeding diary posts and have even written a guest blog for The Bshirt all about how to breastfeed with confidence. When it comes to the realities of feeding an older baby though the stories from other mums on their feeding experiences start to thin out. Just as breastfeeding a newborn comes with it’s own challenges, breastfeeding an older baby is not as easy as you may think either. So, as Alex and I have smashed our feeding goals and are still going, I thought I would share with you what it’s really like breastfeeding a one year old, in case you too decide to keep feeding your little one into toddlerhood. View Post
I’m so fed up at the minute. There, I said it. Lately, this whole mum thing has been really challenging for me and it just feels like I have been diffusing one child related drama after another, leaving no time for me to relax and actually enjoy time with my kids. Parenting kids of all ages is hard I am sure but looking after a very feisty four year old and an extremely clingy baby is exhausting. I have got serious mama fatigue and when you’re tired everything just feels a million times worse, doesn’t it? View Post
Having kids, it’s hard work. Unfortunately, you do not truly understand just how hard raising little people will be until you are thrown straight in at the deep end on the day you bring your first born into the world. It is so easy to let the tough times get you down: the sleep deprivation, feeding troubles, sickness, tantrums, poo explosions – I could go on. Parents can go days (sometimes weeks or months) at a time dealing with one baby related issue after another. Does this sound familiar to you – you worry about feeding your newborn/you eventually establish feeding your newborn, you worry that you’ll never sleep again/your baby eventually starts sleeping through, you worry their not reaching their milestones quick enough/they start smashing their milestones and you couldn’t be prouder, you worry they will only ever eat mashed banana or beige food/they slowly start eating more fruit and vegetables. It is never ending! View Post
Introducing lumps and more textured food to your baby’s diet can be pretty scary. I know with both of my boys I got really stressed about them choking as they progressed from their first tastes of puree onto more lumpy meals. I have always used a mixture of homemade and shop bought baby food when weaning my babies. As they transition from smooth to more textured food, I like to buy jars before making their food myself, it helps to give me an idea of what sort of consistency their food should be for this stage of weaning. Recently Alex was sent a selection of stage 2 and stage 3 jars from HiPP Organic to try out, these meals are perfect for introducing lumps into your babies diet and helping them figure out how to chew food properly. Here is a review of what Alex thought of the HiPP Organic range and some useful tips on how to successfully introduce more variety and texture in to your baby’s diet. View Post
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas and I don’t mean white with snow. I’m dreaming of white sand between my toes, sitting on a beach looking out at a beautiful clear blue ocean with the hot sun beating down on me. Christmas in the UK is a bit meh when it comes to the weather isn’t it? It’s very rarely cold enough for us to wake up on Christmas morning with snow outside as well as presents under the tree, more often than not it’s just raining and cold. Of course, taking my boys to Lapland is on the ultimate Christmas bucket list, I would love for them to experience snow for the first time and have a truly authentic Christmas experience: sleigh rides, snow ball fights and visiting Santa in his grotto – the works. BUT celebrating Christmas abroad, somewhere hot, is also something I would like to do at least once as a family. Last April we were meant to go on a big family holiday to Mauritius, for lots of different reasons it didn’t happen and we spent 10 days in Italy instead. While our Italia holiday was amazing, I was disappointed we didn’t get to go relax on the beautiful beaches of Mauritius. So, if I could have my once in a lifetime Christmas Day in the sun, Mauritius would be my dream destination. Need convincing that celebrating Christmas abroad would be a great idea? Here are 5 reasons I would love to spend a Christmas Day in the sun. View Post
Firstly, can I just say a massive sorry for going AWOL from this linky, with no explanation as to why I was leaving and what was going on. You lovely lot are an amazing and generous bunch of bloggers and it was so not cool of me to just ditch you all without so much as a goodbye.
Basically, things got pretty stressful back in September, Leo started school, we moved house and I was feeling overwhelmed with the heavy load of blog work I had to get through. Life has calmed down a bit now and I am in a much better head space and I am excited to announce that once a month I will be here, hosting #BlogCrush again with the, quite frankly, friggin amazing Lucy from Lucy at Home.
In my absence, Alice from Letters to my Daughter has joined the #BlogCrush team and she will continue to co host the linky three weeks of the month with Lucy as I just don’t feel able to commit to the linky every week anymore.
Anyway, now you know what’s been going on with me, shall we get this party started? View Post