Thursday, 23 March 2017

Dealing with Mama Stress

I will be the first to admit, I am a massive stress head. I stress over things I shouldn't stress about. I stress before there's things to stress about. I guess it comes part and parcel with anxiety, I like things to go as planned and if they don't, my anxiety levels rise. I can't help it, it's just who I am, I'd like to think that over the years I have calmed down a bit or I have at least tried to. Pete is the complete opposite of me, he is so laid back it is unbelievable, I don't understand how he can be that way, not to mention this adds to my stress levels. Poor lad, good job he's so laid back really. Anyway, the point of this post is to talk about 'mama stress.' Possibly the worst kind of stress to ever exist! Mama stress doesn't seem to be something we talk about, but we really should!

I have a toddler, a very independant two year old that likes to do as he pleases. On top of his toddler ways, he is a very clever little boy who is always looking for something new to do. This results in him often becoming bored or frustrated and we all know this can be disastrous. Before Henry came along, this was manageable. I would become stressed when George would misbehave and I was trying to get things done. I would get stressed if we were running late for something, which inevitably happens when you have little ones.

I became pregnant, hormones took control, my stress levels would rise over the smallest things. It could be that George wouldn't choose a book, or pick something up that he had thrown. Luckily, I have laid back Pete, is always happy to take over in a situation like this. Crisis averted. Mama stress levels down. 

Then Henry came along, queue mega stress levels 24/7. When I had one child, I maintained a tidy(ish) house (I'm not the tidiest of people at the best of times) but it was liveable. Now I have two babies and oh my goodness. My stress levels have magnified by 100. We almost never leave the house on time, I have laundry up to my eye balls, the dishwasher is constantly whirring, there are toys scattered everywhere, and I hate it. I hate that this is out of my control, no matter what I do, things are never easy. Not that I expected it to,b but as soon as I think I'm on top of everything, I blink and I'm five days behind. 

Today I got my period, the first period I've had since before Henry was born, so it's been nearly twelve months. Just when I thought my hormones were in the process of settling down after the arrival of my squishy newborn, they're back. Oh and they're back with a vengeance. I'm sore, I'm grouchy and I'm torn between wanting to eat everything in sight or kill somebody. Pete went to work late afternoon, I was on my own with both boys, bear in mind, Pete had taken George swimming in the morning, I'd had some time to myself and I'd even had a bath. Well as soon as he went to work, both boys kicked off (I'm sure kids can sense when you're on your own - bastards!) and I could have cried. In fact, I snapped at George, my poor two year old, who wasn't misbehaving, he was just being two. I was instantly hit with a wave of mum guilt, it wasn't my boy's fault that I was miserable today. He doesn't understand about hormones and all the rest. I changed his nappy, I picked him up off his changing mat, gave him a cuddle and a big massive kiss and said "I'm sorry for being grumpy, babe." And you know what he said to me? "I'm sorry for being grumpy too. I'm sorry for waking Henry up." I nearly melted there on the spot. I didn't feel better, I felt even more guilty that I had been such a bitch. We sat on the beanbag, we cuddled and we watched a movie. I know he won't remember it. I know we have more fun times than miserable times but I do't want him to grow up and think I am a moody mummy. 

We can get so caught up in the stress of the moment, things that don't need to be stressed over, especially when it comes to our little ones. There are times when I let George run about in the garden, get muddy, get wet and don't bat an eyelid, that's childhood. So why am I so bothered if he accidentally makes a mess when he's eating (sometimes he does it on purpose, but not always)? 

I have been trying to control my mama stress - some days are easier than others but the thing I always remember is they are just babies. Babies that need their mummy and I love being their mummy. Some days I could cry because I just want one day to myself, a day where I don't want to answer to the name mummy and I will complain about it (mostly to Pete) but the truth is, I wouldn't want it any other way. I have probably said to Pete about a hundred times "no more kids - I hate them" today alone. Do I mean it? Well I'm not ready to get my tubes tied just yet ;) 

How do you deal with mama stress?

Rachael xo


Grey and Mustard Wishlist

I will be first to admit, I live in clothes from Primark, my boys live in things from supermarkets (clothes - not potato sacks) but every now and then I will have a little splurge in Next and their Spring range never fails to impress me. George had an absolutely gorgeous little collection from their which I can't wait to dig out and pass on to Henry for when the weather brightens up. 

It's no secret that I am a massive lover of grey (seriously, see my Instagram), a colour that goes with everything, but I adore it with mustard! Naturally, when I saw this collection in Next I fell head over heels for it and I want to buy it all. I added this all to my basked on Monday only to find out Pete has misplaced our vouchers but I love it that much, I might just have to buy it anyway. Seriously, how gorgeous? 

You can shop the collection here*

 Rachael xo

*not a sponsored post - I just really loved it and it is high up on my wishlist!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

10 Things I'd Like This Mother's Day

With Mother's Day fast approaching (this being my third, I know, how do I almost have a three year old?!) I thought I'd compose a list of 10 things I'd like this Mother's Day. Since becoming a mum of two, I barely get any time to myself, that was only to be expected though when I decided to have two babies! Although my boys (Pete) will have put a lot of thought into my present, there are somethings money just can't buy, so here are the things I'd most like this Mother's Day:

1. A lie in! This is every mama's dream yes?

2. The ability to drink a cuppa before it goes cold.

3. To have a song other than the theme tune to Paw Patrol stuck in my head.

4. Following on from that, to watch anything other than Paw Patrol.

5. Time to straighten my unruly hair.

6. To not wash and sterilise bottles - seriously, I hate that job.

7. Not to change a shitty nappy.

8. A meal cooked for me - since joining Slimming World, I've taken over cooking duties.

9. Time to read a book. I miss reading.

10. Not to be roared at - George really thinks he's a dinosaur.

So there you have it, a list of 10 things I'd like this Mother's Day. 
What would you like most this Mother's Day? 

Rachael xo


Wednesday, 15 March 2017

The Importance of One on One Time

For two whole years, George has been the centre of our world, and when I say 'our' I don't just mean, mine and Pete's, I mean everybodys. He was the first grandchild, the first great grandchild and the first great nephew. Needless to say, my entire family were besotted and I am so lucky in the fact my family have always looked after George, whether I be in work or not. I loved being a mum of one and to be honest, I wasn't ready for baby number two just yet (now Henry is here, I wouldn't have it any other way of course). I was worried I wouldn't be able to get the balance just right, splitting myself in two and having to share myself with someone else just as demanding as my toddler. That's why one on one time is so important to little ones. My friend recently went from one to two and she advised me that spending one on one time is so important for first borns so they still get your undivded attention, so we started implenting this when Henry came home from hospital. 

Pete would take George swimming or to the park and I would enjoy some time at home with Henry (mostly sleeping) and it was great. Then Pete went back to work and I was left with the two boys on my own, daunting right? Luckily, I knew what to expect because so many people had warned me how hard it would be. How was I going to give George as much attention as I had done before the arrival of his new baby brother? 

I try to keep him included in everything I do when it comes to the baby, asking George to bring me nappies/ wipes etc and making a big deal out of how he's my special helper. Sometimes though, this doesn't work because you know, two year olds are a law unto themselves. I will be the first to admit I am a massive stress head and there are days when George rattles my cage, for example, one day last week, he was just in one of those horrible toddler moods. You know the ones? Throwing toys in temper, smacking and refusing to do just about anything. My nan had offered to take Henry out for the day and when she arrived to pick him up, I cried on her about how horrible my toddler was. I didn't mean it, I was stressed, he was acting out because he wanted attention. 

When my nan left and I'd calmed down, George and I left the house and headed to soft play (which annoyingly was closed). George was NOT happy - obviously, but when he settled down he asked if we could go feed the ducks, so that's what we went to do. Four wasted train journeys later, we were back in our local park and going on an adventure as George liked to call it. We fed ducks, got chased by geese, climbed rocks, went on the swings, ate ice cream, played hide and seek and then ran in all the mud (my shoes still need cleaning ugh). It was amazing, we had such a lovely day and my two year old wasn't terrible, he was a dream. No tantrums leaving the park (as he was mostly bribed with the promise of a bath with mummy when he got home). And that's exactly what we did, we came home and splashed each other in the bath followed by lots of cuddles. It was perfect. It was like it was before Henry was born and George loved having his mummy all to himself. 

If Henry is on my knee and George is crying, he will tell me to put Henry in his basket so he can cuddle me. There are also times when George is upset so I make the effort to give Henry to his dad and make sure that I am there to comfort George and I want George to know this. That's why one on one time is so important and we love it. Plus, it's so much easier looking after one child - win win situation! 

What's your favourite thing to do with your little one?

Rachael xo

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

My PCOS Story


I recently attended an evening with Giovanna Fletcher where she spoke about her new book, Happy Mum, Happy Baby. It was here I learned of her struggle with PCOS and I couldn't relate more to what she was saying. It was such a relief to hear of another person who had gone through the same thing I had. So what is PCOS? PCOS stands for polycystic ovary syndrome and despite the name, you do not actually have cysts on your ovaries. PCOS is actually a hormone imbalance whereby the body produces too much insulin and testosterone. That's my understanding of it anyway! After hearing of Giovanna's experience I wanted to share my PCOS Story:

I've always known I wanted to become a mum and if I could, I would have liked to have been younger than 24 when I did. However, age doesn't really matter because it is when you're in the right position to start a family that's important. I digress. Pete and I had been together for 2 years when we made the decision to become parents, so in January 2013, I came off the pill. That's when my problems started and my PCOS story begins. 

After coming off the pill, I put on a bit of weight and my periods were really heavy and irregular. On the day of our engagement party, Mother Nature paid me a visit and after 2 months of no periods, she was back with a vengeance. Typical! I told my mum and she said my symptoms weren't normal and she expected I could have endometriosis so with that I went to see a doctor. 

The doctor I saw was a bit uncertain but suggested PCOS to which my mum challenged as I wasn't displaying any of the typical symptoms such as, excessive weight gain, hair growth on my face, chest and bum and acne. He then went for a second opinion from a doctor who had specialised in that area who then backed him up. I was informed I would need blood tests to confirm this and they had to be done on certain days of my menstrual cycle. Therefore, I had to wait for another period to make an appearance which of course, one never. A second trip to the doctors resulted in me being given a pill to induce a period so the tests could be done.

By this time 9 months had passed, I still had no baby and no diagnosis. I felt defeated and betrayed by my own body. I would see baby announcements almost every day (or so it seemed) and would see newborn babies everywhere I looked. I was miserable. I so desperately wanted to become a mum and it was devastating. Eventually scans and blood tests confirmed I had PCOS and I was referred to a consultant who prescribed a horrible drug, Metformin. It's actually a drug given to diabetics as it controls insulin but it also helps balance hormones (I think, again that's my understanding of it). The side effects were horrendous, I was nauseous all the time and had no appetite but I kept at it. I started taking Metformin early November time and must have fallen pregnant instantly! 

I remember on Christmas Eve, Pete had made himself a curry and the smell turned my stomach. I just put the nausea down to the medication and didn't give it a second though. It wasn't until I complained of having sore boobs to my mum that I then took a pregnancy test. Even then I still didn't think I could be pregnant. Due to it being late in the evening (around 10pm) the test was taking ages for anything to show up. I didn't even tell Pete I was taking a test! I went to bed with the pregnancy test on my bedside table, so the first thing I did when I woke up was check it. I almost died of shock when I saw two lines. I woke Pete up saying "I need another pregnancy test, I think I'm pregnant!" It was so exciting but I was so scared the test was a false positive. After all, how could I be pregnant when I hadn't had a period for months? Luckily, it only took us less than a year to get pregnant and there was talks of me going on another drug later on if the Metformin wasn't working for us. 

My story has a happy ending and I even got pregnant with Henry naturally. Infertility is a bitch but there is light at the end of the tunnel if you do have PCOS. There was a time when I was so consumed with self-hatred and now I am blessed with 2 beautiful boys. PCOS isn't something you hear of very often as it doesn't seem to be talked about but it affects 1 in 10 women! It can be really distressing to hear you may not be able to conceive but there are so many success stories out there and I'm one of them. Modern science is a truly wonderful thing. If you are struggling, just know, there are others out there just like you. Find someone to talk to and don't suffer through it alone. 

Rachael xo

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Becoming the Dreaded 'Baby Bore'


Hands up if before you came a mum you were guilty of accusing someone of being a baby bore! I am so, so guilty of this. There was a time (when I was younger) I would scroll through Facebook, see another baby related photo or status and think "wow she is such a baby bore!" I would even hide that person from appearing in my news feed so I wouldn't have to see it. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I was a baby hater, I've always loved kids, I just did not want to hear about other people's children all the time. I even vowed this would never happen to me, I would never be that person that just talked about their kids constantly. My mum would always tell me off for using the term 'baby bore' and justify it by saying "she's just proud" and I'd shrug it off, adamant you must be boring to talk about your children so much. 

Ha! How times have changed. If you were my friend on Facebook you would call me the biggest hypocrite known to man. Not only do I post photos and statuses about the boys, I have a blog dedicated to being a mum! Until you become  mum, I guess you don't really understand how amazing being a parent is. Every little thing your bundle of joy does is new, exciting and you guessed it, proud! 

I want to share all the new things my boys do, I want to share photos of how gorgeous they are and I could gush about them all day to anyone that would listen. If you looked through my Facebook you would mostly see photos and statuses about what we have been up to and I can't help myself. So if you're worried about posting too many photos or statuses of your baby in fear that others will think you're boring, fuck them. Seriously. You're proud and that's okay! 

To all the none parents out there, we don't do it on purpose! It's not because we have nothing else to talk about (okay some days that isn't true) it's because we've made little humans and taught them so much and that is something to be proud of. 

Rachael xo

Monday, 6 March 2017

The Real Motherhood Challenge


One thing I continue to see on Facebook these days is these 'mother challenges' whereby a mother is tagged in a post and 'challenged' to upload a photograph that makes them proud to be a mother, they then tag other fabulous mummies to participate. Is it just me or is this just not a challenge? I could go on and on about all the things that make me proud to be George's mum, just look at my Facebook and Twitter, he's practically all I talk about! 

For me, the real challenges are the things that are the hardest about being a parent. The things nobody wants to talk about on social media as they are in fear of looking like a bad parent. Nobody said becoming a parent would be easy, so why don't we talk about the meltdowns our children had in public? 

The real motherhood challenge is listening to your toddler say "no mummy work" and your heart breaking at the thought of leaving him behind whilst you head off to work for 8 hours day.

The real motherhood challenge is explaining to your toddler that you can't go outside today because it's raining and dealing with the multiple toys that will come flying at you in a fit of rage.

The real motherhood challenge is attempting to tidy your house that hasn't been tidied in two weeks because you both work full time and are exhausted every night, whilst your toddler is insisting on you play with him and your newborn is crying because he has wind.

The real motherhood challenge is waking up at 3am because your child has had a nightmare and you need to console him on top of night feeds for your newborn.

The real motherhood challenge is adjusting to life with a newborn after it being two years of you and your gorgeous toddler.

It is far too easy to become self involved and want to show off to others about how wonderful our lives are and paint this perfect picture, when in fact, the lives we share on social media only show a small percentage of how we actually live. At the moment, my living room is full of toys, the dishwasher needs fillings, I have a laundry pile as big as an elephant (clean and dirty) but wouldn't be showing you Instagram photographs of that. Maybe there's a niche there, who knows?

What do you find most challenging about being a mummy?

Rachael xo