Dear Mama: A Letter to All Mothers

Dear Mama: A Letter to All Mothers

Dear Mia,

Mama worries. She worries that she’s not enough. She knows she’s not alone in this because she has seen others ask the question and say “I am failing” or “I am not good enough”. I’m not sure yet when you’ll be able to understand this but one day when I think you can I will let you read this. 
It is difficult to comprehend a mother’s love. It is a love so great it scares you to your core. You become paralysed by the fear that you’re not good enough. I know it sounds a bit silly and in some ways it is; I should be grateful just to have you in my life, but I believe that my fear of failing you shows that I recognise your worth.  You mean so much to me and I want the best for you always. Sometimes I am definitely not the best; I am tired and grumpy and preoccupied with work or other things. You deserve better than that, but I am human and I make mistakes. Sometimes I worry about your development, it’s very difficult not to compare things that you do to what other children your age are doing; some are walking, some are talking more, but you are still so very young my love, I know you will do all these things in your own time. There is always a fear, however, that it is somehow my fault, that we’re somehow not helping you to achieve new things.
We are only a year and a half into this journey, Mia and I hope that I will be enough. I promise you faithfully that I will do my best, sometimes I will fall short, but I hope that you will always remember that Mama did her best. And please, if you ever feel that you’re less than perfect, remember that you are perfect to me.
Dear Mama,

You are enough. You are my absolute world, I adore you. All that I need from you is to know that you love me and I need you to make me feel safe. Yes, I need food and shelter and toys are nice, but just love and security is enough. 

I don’t mind that sometimes you are tired or working, as long as you’re here with me that’s what makes me happy.  I know that there are expectations about what I should be doing and when, but I am my own person and I must develop at my own pace. Becoming me is hard work and there is really not much that you’re not already doing to help me grow. 
I wish Mamas wouldn’t say things like “I am failing” because if you love us and protect us, you are never failing in our eyes. Sometimes you will make mistakes, sometimes I will make mistakes, but we will learn and grow together. If you’re doing your best what more can I ask of you? And if you ever feel less than perfect, please remember that you are perfect to me.

A Day in the Life: Mama & Mia

A Day in the Life: Mama & Mia

Mama:

6:30: Ugh. Why does this kid have to get up so early?! 

7:00: I put Ben and Holly on to avoid being hit round the head with a dummy and give her some milk to drink. Fight with her to change her happy, get her dressed and brush her teeth.

8:30: Breakfast. Fine until she’s finished; she hasn’t yet figured out how to say “done” so just chucks her food on the floor. Grr….

9:30: Drive to Aldi. I hear they have a baby event on at the moment…they may also sell alcoholic ice pops. Get there, realise I haven’t got a quid for the trolley. Have to carry 21lb non walking 18m old all round the shop. Why I don’t have guns is beyond me…

10:00: Drive a short distance to a retail park as I have a few things I need to pick up. Getting the pushchair out of a 3 Door mini on your own is no joke, who needs the gym?!

11:00: Drive home. She falls asleep on the way back. I’m not surprised; I mean sure it’s nap time but it hasn’t been a very stimulating morning for her has it? We need to do more, I need to try harder.

12:30: Lunchtime. I wish this kid would eat more. Half a sandwich, half a yoghurt and some watermelon is surely not enough to sustain her?

13:30: Park. She loves it, makes me feel slightly less guilty about our uneventful morning. 

14:30: It’s a lovely day so we go out in the garden, play with bubbles and play dough, fill up the bird feeders and let her explore the garden. She pulls herself up to stand between 2 garden chairs and actually lets go. Wow! This is new…and she definitely knows she did it because she smiles when I clap for her. Then she takes one step between the chairs, letting go for a brief second. Maybe this child will walk!

16:30: She always gets tired around now, so we watch some of her beloved Peppa Pig whilst I prepare dinner.

17:30: Dinner

18:30: Bath time. She loves a bath, but hates when it’s time to get out and screams the place down.

19:00: Stories, milk and finally…

20:00: Sleep

20:30: Watch EastEnders on iPlayer whilst eating aforementioned alcoholic ice pop…this feels very decadent, how times have changed!

21:00: Bed. She’s been waking up at 3am tossing and turning. I wish I knew why so I could help. Surely it can’t be second molars..I thought I had another 6 months before those? Probably a sleep regression, there seems to be one a month!

Mia:

6:30: Ah, a new day! I wonder what will happen! I start having a chat with Mama over the intercom so she knows to come and get me.

7:00: Ben and Holly and some milk, what could be better than this?! Argh! Why does this always get interrupted to take my clothes off and wipe my bum? It’s coooold! I was cozy! Then she sticks that stupid tickle stick in my mouth, I don’t like it! Then just when I’m getting back to being cozy she pulls my hair around, why?!

8:30: Brekkie, yum! Peanut butter toast, my favourite! And some Cheerios too, even better! Hmm..I’m finished, perhaps if I clear the food away Mama will know…

9:30: Car. Meh. Boring. Oooh where are we now? There’s lots of colours and people and wow, this shop is big, things are stacked high in here, there’s so much to see!

10:00: Car. Meh. Oooh where are we now?, there’s loads of people and all different colours. Wow, Mama is showing me a t shirt with Peppa Pig on it, that’s cool! Now we’re in a different shop, there’s so many different colours and shapes and she’s always talking to me explaining things, I don’t always understand but it doesn’t matter. I like it. 

11:00: Feeling quite tired. I’ll be fine as long as we don’t go in the car…

12:30: Lunchtime! Cheese sandwich yum! And my favourite yoghurt! Watermelon too! I eat until I am stuffed!

13:30: Park! Swings! Best Mama ever!

14:30: I love playing in the garden, there’s so much space and the colours are so bright. Mama lets me fill up the bird feeder, I love dropping the balls of food into the tube. Then she blows bubbles for me to pop and I can see rainbows in them. Then she gave me some pink squidgy stuff which felt funny and she made a Daddy Pig with it. It was amazing! Then I went all over the garden and then I stood up holding on to the garden chairs and I let go! Mama got really excited and it made me happy. I was very pleased, I’ve done it by accident before, but I actually tried to do it this time. I will gain control of my legs!

16:30: I started feeling sleepy and Mama let me watch Peppa. Best Mama ever! I love it so much. Daddy Pig is so funny, he’s so silly, just like my Daddy.

17:30: Dinner

18:30: Bath time! I love splashing and I love playing ‘where has ducky gone?’ where I push ducky over the side of the bath and Mama makes him appear in different places. It’s too cold when I get out of the bath though, I don’t like it!

19:00: Stories and milk. Bliss. I love Mama reading me stories, she does all different voices and makes it funny. She is my everything. What a great day, can’t wait to see what we do tomorrow….mmm…zzzz….

Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs
Daddies & Daughters

Daddies & Daughters

Mama: I carried Mia for 39wks 4 days. I heaved every time I brushed my teeth, I threw up and I got heartburn. I slept on my side (I sleep on my back) and my digestive system turned against me, as did my respiratory system. I had a permanently blocked nose. I was so emotional I cried at an Amazon advert (?!). I laboured for with her back to back for 12 hours, around 8 of those with zero pain relief (then I went straight for a glorious epidural – I don’t mess about!) I pushed her out into the world. 
Who is her favourite? Daddy. Who does she squeal with happiness to see? Daddy. Whose name does she scream with excitement? Dada! Who does she wave her arms around and give the best giggles to? Daddy. I am not surprised at this being a daddy’s girl myself; you know what they says, a daddy holds his daughter’s hand for just a little while, but her heart forever.

Mia: I love my Dada. He is the best. He runs the best baths; they’re always nice and warm and very deep. He waits until I’m ready to get me out of the bath and then he gives me a big cuddle. Dada makes the best toast too. He puts lots of butter or peanut butter on and it tastes really yummy. I like how silly he is too, he does funny faces and funny dances for me and he plays peekaboo with the coasters when we’re eating dinner with me.  He sticks his tongue out at me and blows raspberries. He lets me play on his computer even though I know it’s precious. I get so excited to see him and I call out for him as soon as we get home. I always feel safe when Dada is around, if I’m scared or wake up in the night he cuddles me and then I feel all better. I love him to the moon and back just like in the story.

Mama & Mia would love to hear about your little girl’s relationship with their daddy, or indeed your son’s; what’s a daddy & son relationship like?

This blog is dedicated to all the Daddies out there, but in particular to my husband. For everything you have done and continue to do for our little family. We appreciate how hard you work for us and we love you xxx

Toddler Parenting Hacks

Toddler Parenting Hacks

Mama:

1. Always have a back up meal, something that can be made quickly and easily and you know the kiddo will scoff. Mine is a peanut butter sandwich.

2. Hope that your child takes to one particular television show. Then hope that many, many episodes have been made. There are 5 seasons of Peppa Pig, I can recite the script of every episode, but it has allowed me to pee, make dinner, make phone calls, clean my house etc.

3. Try to find a song/ story book that relaxes them. For some reason, The Wheels on The Bus has the same effect on Mia as Handel’s Water Music has on others.

4. Always carry snacks. There is a reason why mums’ handbags are full of raisins.

5. Be prepared to make an idiot of yourself in public. You will find yourself singing The Wheels on the Bus very loudly in Tesco.

6. Grocery shop online. It’s not worth having that many people hear your rendition of The Wheels on the Bus.

7. If they’re having a tantrum, speak to them like a caveman; Mia angry, Mia hurt etc. It gets their attention long enough for them to stop screaming and you can then explain why they can’t have the biscuit now but perhaps they can have it after dinner.

8. Moan. A lot. Toddlers are a pain in the backside and letting off some steam will ultimately make you a better parent!

9. If there’s something they really hate, and in this house that thing is nail cutting, do it the same times (e.g. every Friday morning) it seems to cause less aggravation. 

10. Try and anticipate what they’ll go for and find a distraction quickly. I spend about 85% of the time looking for things to distract her!

Mia:

1. If in doubt, scream, that always gets their attention.

2. Try not to let on if you’re pooing, probably a good idea to hide to do it. If they find out they change your nappy which is clearly a waste of your time as well as being cold.

3. Try to learn pointing ASAP. Especially if you’re an only child. That way you get what you want quicker. 

4. Don’t eat anything icky looking. Chances are there’ll be a peanut butter sandwich later anyway.

5. Sometimes Grown Ups do important things when you’re asleep. Don’t let this happen, if in doubt, stay awake.

6. Demand the same show over and over again. I love Daddy Pig being silly on the ice rink and I will watch it many more times.

7. Always have a back up super cute smile you can pull out if you’ve done something bad.

8. If you’ve done something awful cuddles and kisses are usually a winner.

The Tactical Mummy

You Baby Me Mummy
18 Things we’ve learned in 18 months of parenthood.

18 Things we’ve learned in 18 months of parenthood.

Mama

1. This Too Shall Pass; teething, bad sleep, eating ups and downs. Most issues in parenting are temporary. Then you move onto the next issue…!

2. One step forward, two steps back. They sleep through, then they don’t again…you do make progress, though sometimes it may seem glacial.

3. Sometimes they won’t do what you want and you have to accept that. I wanted to breastfeed, Mia didn’t. I wanted to do baby led weaning. Luckily she took to it but I was prepared to abandon that plan and give her purees if it didn’t work out.

4. Their timing is usually totally inappropriate. They poo just before you go out, they don’t sleep when you’ve got a big day at work the following day. You just have to roll with the punches.

5. They are a part of you, but you’re not a part of them. They will become their own person, not what you want or envisage for them. 

6. You will not have a clue what you’re doing. And that doesn’t really go away, but you learn that nobody else does either and that everyone underestimates instinct. Babies are humans and you get to know them and what they like.

7. You learn as you go When Mia was a newborn, I had no idea that babies shouldn’t have honey under one. I learned that whilst reading up about weaning. They say a worried mother does a more thorough investigation than the FBI. They’re not wrong!

8. The Mummy Guilt is Real I’ve learned the best way to deal with it for me is to embrace it; it’s ok to feel guilty about things, everyone does and it doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent, then you push it away, like blowing a paper boat across water.

9. You will love more than you ever knew possible Even when they’re being annoying, one cheeky grin and it all melts away.

Mia:

1. The world is big, loud, scary and amazing so many colours, shapes, textures, different things to explore. I want to see everything and touch everything.

2. Learning to do new things is hard and it takes time. It’s very frustrating sometimes and I get very angry and then one day it all fits together like my animal puzzles and I can do it. Then it’s exciting!

3. Sometimes I make things difficult for Mummy I don’t mean to but my brain works in a certain way and I can’t understand how to do things the way she’d like.

4. Going to different places is fun Sometimes I get bored or I’m tired, then we go somewhere else, like for a walk or to Grandad’s and then I’m happy because there are different things to look at and explore and different toys to play with.

5. Everything is an experiment I like to test things all the time; will this gate open? What happens if I drop my cup on the floor? How do I take this tower of blocks apart? I test everything, lots of times to see if things change.

6. Sometimes Mamas and Dadas go away But it’s okay because it’s only for a little while usually and they always come back.

7. Being silly is funny I love to make Mama and Dada laugh. I like to poke out my tongue and make silly faces. I like it when Mama and Dada are silly too, like when we dance around the kitchen. Today I bent right over, put my head in the floor and looked through my legs. Then I took my hands off the floor and Mama cried with laughter.

8. Being outside is great I love going to the park and being in the garden. There is more space to play and lots of different things to see and the sounds are lovely too.

9. Mama & Dada are the Best They make me feel safe, they make me laugh and they cuddle me when I’m sad or scared by the world, they help me to understand things so I’m not afraid anymore.

Pink Pear Bear

You Baby Me Mummy
Mama Mia

Mama Mia

I’ve been cared for by you since I don’t know when

So I made up my mind, that we can be friends

Look at me now? Will I ever learn?

I don’t know how but I suddenly lose control

There’s a fire within my soul

Just one look and I can hear Peppa Pig

One more look and I can make Mama sing, wooooah

Mama Mama, here I go again, 

Ma-Ma, how can you resist me?

Mama Mama, please do that again 

How I’ll giggle when you tickle me

Yes, you’ve been broken-nighted

Tired, since the day you started

One day, you will have to let me go

Mama Mama, now I really know

My, my how you love to watch me grow
You make me happy and proud with the things that you do

But I can’t count all the times I’ve told you not to,

Throw your milk cup, it goes on the floor

I think you know, that won’t amuse your Mummy

So don’t you give me that look of glee

Just one look and I forget everything 

One more smile and I’ll forget your crying wooooah

Mia Mia, here we go again

My my, how can I persuade you?

Mia, Mia, to eat your food again?

My my, what else can a Mama do?

Tiring it is I’ll admit

But you make it all worth it

How, how? Will I ever let you go?

Mia Mia, even if I say 

You’re getting so clever

Mia Mia, you’re bigger every day

But you’ll be my little girl forever

Mama Mia, I’ve begun to see

Just how, we’re growing together

Mama Mia, how you challenge me,

Why why, are you such a monkey?!

You find new ways to test me

I’m being the best I can be

How I, really hope that you know

Mama Mia now we really show

My my how we love each other so.

Mama, Mia & Toddler Sleep Battles

Mama, Mia & Toddler Sleep Battles

Mama: This Mama is tired. Obviously not as tired as during the newborn phase (I’m not entirely sure that level of exhaustion should be legal…at least now I know why it’s used as torture) but more than a little tired. Mia is now 18 months old. She is stronger, sassier and more switched on than ever before but; She. Cannot. Sleep. Well she can, but she wakes up at 3am, sits up and screams her head off. She calms quickly but then has trouble going back to sleep again. Her little brain is firing off messages all over the place and the poor kid cannot get any rest.  Which means neither can Mama and Dada, who both now resemble zombies, with the temperament to match. One thing the previous 17 months of parenthood has taught me is: This Too Shall Pass.  Sometimes I am amazed at how far we have come; we went through the newborn stage, we handled the 4 month sleep regression (that one is an absolute killer!), the colds and the teething, the nightmares and tears. I didn’t do any sleep training, but not because I am against it, I just didn’t think it was a good fit with her. I wouldn’t rule it out with any siblings, because sleep really is essential and happy, healthy and functioning parents are imperative to the kind of supportive and active family life that a toddler needs.  But for now we will just keep going, fueled by coffee and love, in the knowledge that one day I’m sure I will actually miss our sleepy 3am snuggles.

Mia: I love sleeping.  I get all snuggly in my sleeping bag, have some nice warm milk and maybe a story and then go off to sleep.  When I wake up, I gather up my dummies and Mama or Dada comes to get me. Sometimes I can’t sleep though. Sometimes I have nasty dreams about dragons and dinosaurs and I get scared, then I wake up and it’s dark and I am frightened. Mama or Dada always cuddle me if that happens though.  Other times I can’t get to sleep, I keep thinking about all the things I did that day, like going to the park and seeing all the other children running around, going on the swings and then being at home and trying to stand up on my own and walking along the sides of the sofa.  When  I was first born it was like everything was black and white and there wasn’t much to see; Mama and Dada’s faces, milk. That was about it, but now I am older I see more and more things every day and it’s all so colourful and vibrant, it’s like fireworks going off and I get so excited I can’t go to sleep.  Mama and Dada are always there though.  They always help me when I can’t sleep and that makes me happy. Secretly I like getting cuddles from Mama in the night too, she’s all sleepy and warm and I know she’s happy and that makes me happy too. I won’t need snuggles soon because I’m growing up, but I know I will always have Mama there just in case I need her.