Odd comments and passing judgement

I have thought long and hard before deciding to publish this poem, for it to be out there in the digital world. But i’ve felt it important to do so for myself more than anything else.  When reading this, read it with no judgement, read it as is, a poem from a mothers heart about raising a child in todays world.

I’ll be honest, it came to my one night as I was putting my son to bed, after my mind drifted to a place which recalled all the odd comments I have received over the year about raising a son.  Little things, about how much energy he has, or “oh my doesn’t he scare you with how bold he is?”, “does he ever have a calm moment?”.  I’ve had moments where others have made me doubt my mothering towards my son, until I realised HANG ON! There is NOTHING wrong my son at all!  How dare others make me feel as though there is.  My son is bold, he is full of energy and wants to explore the world…as he should!  He absorbs everything around him, he plays and laughs and smiles, he gives cuddles and hugs and kisses.  He loves playing with other kids, and he loves caring for other babies.  Especially babies, and this is important to me, to watch my son be so gentle and kind and calm when he is around a baby is just incredible to me.  It is not something my husband or I have taught him because he is an only child.  It comes from within him, he sits next to them, he cuddles them, he puts toys next to them and wants to show them what he is doing.  He sits next to them and giggles and lets them touch his face and pull his hair, all without getting agressive or feeling threatened.  You can’t teach a 2 year old this behaviour.  It is so special to watch, and then for those with babies to feel then need to ‘protect’ their babies from my son makes my heart sink to the floor and it took a lot for me to realise that actually it doesnt matter what they think.  All that matters is that we raise our son right, with good values and morals, and watch him blossom into a happy and energetic boy.

So, without anymore rambling on, here it is.  I hope it inspires those who also have low moments in parenthood to brush off the weird and negative comments and to look at your child and just smile, and be so grateful that they are they little person that they are.

Thank you all so much for reading :).  Until next time!

He is my son

His soul is gentle, his soul is calm,
His soul is caring and filled with regard.
His gentle nature is pure and joyous,
he carves a path of peace and nurtures all of us.

He is caring, daring, free and loving,
some see the beauty while others see a brashness.
For those who find him loud and reckless,
for those afraid of his carefree nature,
for those who feel he needs taming, calming,
to  you I say this…

Turn around and walk away from me,
for I am mother lioness to him.
Your thoughts towards him are words to me,
no disrespect, but he transcends all you beings.

Watch him grow beyond your moral laws,
beyond your hypocritical codes of conduct.
He will respect all regardless of gender,
he will protect all because that is his nature.

Watch him grow and be unabashedly free,
this I say to you with confidence,
because he is my son, and I am me.

Nappy rash, baby products and whats worked

As a new mum, I found myself standing in the aisle of baby products, looking at various products and labels and what each claim to do for a baby’s skin and hair.  Yikes! I felt overwhelmed to say the least.  Reading endless labels was driving me crazy.  So, by the power of elimination here are the 5 products I use with Neel, my 14 month old son, and have used since he began taking baths.  They work for us, they are not expensive, and they last a long time (which is great for the wallet!).

1 Avoiding that dreaded nappy rash
I feel truly lucky that I have been able to avoid Neel getting a nappy rash in his first year, woohoo! No sore bottoms, no cranky baby because of having a sore bottom.  And this has all been down to 2 main things I’ve done right from the day we brought him home from the hospital.  The first is to always wet your nappy wipes before using them.  Nappy wipes are great, but they can get a bit dry.  Those first few weeks and months when their skin is so delicate rubbing away those 100 poos (yes that’s what it feels like) a day can take a toll on their little bottoms.  Try running your wipes under warm water so they are nice and soaked and that way baby gets a warm wipe and avoids the friction of a dry wipe.  I also always make sure his bottom is dry before then applying nappy cream and then a fresh nappy.  The 2 nappy creams I love to use are Bepanthen and boots own brand nappy rash spray.

Bepanthen is amazing!  I love it far more than Sudocrem for an everyday barrier against nappy rash.  It is creamier and it sinks into the skin rather than sitting on top of the skin. It keeps Neels skin protected and soft through the day and night.  In my mind, using this everyday has helped me to prevent Neel from every developing a nappy rash.

The other barrier cream is the Boots own brand Nappy Rash Spray.  This product is really cool.  And it is especially good for those who don’t like to use their fingers, or dads who get a bit squeamish doing so like my husband!  You don’t have to rub this product in, just spray the area and pop on a nappy, that simple.  It’s light, it sinks into the skin and again protects Neel through the day.  It is also handy to keep in your nappy bag for on the go and for travelling.  It saves you getting product on your hands, and the whole process of changing a little simpler when you are out and about.

2 Baby bubble bath
Hands down, this category is hard!  So much choice, so many claims, so many fragrances or no fragrance, sensitive skin, normal skin, good for this or that.  Hmm,  I’ll be honest I went with my gut on this one.  Ok ya I did do a bit of research, and looking around this was the best option I found.  The Child’s Farm bubble bath for sensitive skin.

bath.jpg

This stuff smells amazing to begin with!  It has organic tangerine and the moment it hits the water the entire bathroom fills with that sweet smell, it is gorgeous!  I love it because it is so gentle on Neels skin.  It is good for sensitive skin and eczema prone skin.  It has Vitamin E to gently moisturise the skin and organic tangerine oil to calm and soothe the skin.  It has no artificial colours, free from parabens, SLSs and mineral oils and has over 98% of naturally derived ingredients.  It’s simple, smells amazing and doesn’t leave Neel dry after a bath.  This bottle will last me months! A good 2 months of everyday use.  You don’t need a lot of it, a little goes a long way and gives off lovely bubbles in the bath too for baby to play with.

3 Shampoooooo 
Again, so much choice, and I followed suit with the Child’s Farm baby shampoo which fragrance free and for sensitive skin.

shampoo.jpg

It is a lovely shampoo which doesn’t make Neel tear up at all.  It is suitable to use from new born and upwards, just as the bubble bath is, and is free from all the nasty things like the bubble bath.  It is fragrance free and very mild and gentle, but still effective in lifting off any mess from the day.  It is simple, and effective.  This bottle lasts me around 3 to 4 months depending how often I have to wash his hair.  You don’t need a lot, a small squeeze goes a long way!  Me love!

4 Moisturiser for babies 
When Neel was a new born i used Aveeno baby moisturiser on him for the first 4 to 5 months.  I just felt safer using it, and it smelt amazing and suited his skin really well.  However, it isn’t the most cost effective product around.  Not so long ago Dove launched their Dove baby range, and in that range is their Dove baby lotion for sensitive skin.  It is fragrance free, and gently moisturises baby’s skin all day.

dove-cream.jpg

It is hypoallergenic, dermatologically tested and Paediatrically approved.  It’s not thick which I like, and it sinks into the skin pretty quickly and doesn’t leave Neel all sticky when I’m then trying to put his clothes on after.  I use it on his face and body and it suits him really well.  It isn’t expensive, and it lasts a fairly good amount of time.

 

Those are my 5 favourite products I’ve been using with Neel.  There are others I have used and loved to, the Aveeno baby range is beautiful, the Burts Bees baby bubble bath smells divine and is gorgeous too.  I have used the Simple baby shampoo and found that very good for a baby as well.  If you are a part of the Boots club it is a great way to trial out a bunch of products with 3 for 2 offers or buy 1 get 1 half price offers on certain products.  It’s also a great way to stock up on a few products that you may need, or split them for gifts as well.  My biggest tip, don’t feel overwhelmed by choice.  Find a product which is simple, not too many ingredients and that works for baby and you.

Thanks for stopping by!

until next time xoxo

Mum hacks for busy mums

We all know how hectic and busy it gets with a baby.  Whether you have 1, 2 or 3 children, working, stay at home, or a combination of all, life isn’t straight forward!  So to keep my sanity and my household going at a relatively normal pace here are a few things I do so that everything doesn’t pile up on me.

1 The diaper change
Changing a toddlers nappy is a challenge, getting them to stay still, stay lying down and to not get their feet or hands in the nappy…dear lord!  My biggest tip is to always change their nappy in the same place at home.  I always change Neel in his bathroom.  Whether it’s his nappy or clothes, it happens in his bathroom.  This way when I say nappy change to him now he recognises that he has to walk into the bathroom.  It also keeps the mess contained.  If anything should spill over i can mop the floor rather than carpets getting dirty.  I keep a few toys in the bathroom for him to mess about with and keep him distracted to make the whole experience for me smoother and with far less tantrums.

2 Clean as you go
This may sound silly but it really does help stop everything piling up on you at the end of the day or week.  For example, as I’m cooking and feeding Neel, I’m also cleaning as I go.  I’ll wash dirty dishes, put away dry clean dishes and clear away whatever needs going in the fridge so the counter tops are clear.  This way once Neel has finished eating I just have his high chair to clean and mop the floor quickly.  It also means that when Neel goes down for a nap or to bed I’m not wasting precious relaxation time tidying up and cleaning the kitchen!  Let’s face it, a hot cuppa is far more comforting to think about than cleaning a kitchen when you’re putting your little ones to bed!

3 Tidy up with your toddler
This tip is also so that once I come back down after putting Neel to sleep I can just put my feet up for a bit.  Before heading up for bath and bed time, I ask Neel to pass me his toys so we can tidy up the living room.  He understands the word “Pass” now so he will happily make a game out of it and pass me one toy at a time to put away in his toy chest.  I’m secretly hoping this gets him in the habit of doing it himself when he is a little older!  This way when I come back down the living room is all tidy and I can eat my dinner or just put my feet up for a bit.

4 Keeping the bathroom and bath tub clean
We all know NOT to leave your baby unattended or unsupervised when they are in the bath at any point.  But this doesn’t mean you can’t be productive while watching them and singing songs together.  When Neel is in the bath I will give the sink a quick wipe and clean, disinfect the toilet and wipe the outside and mop his bathroom floor all without walking away from him.  When he is done with his bath, I drain the tub and turn the shower on low.  He loves playing with the shower, so I’ve turned it into a bit of a game.  We give the toys he has used a shower to get rid of any residual soap from the bath, we shower the bath tub down and shower down his non slip mat till all the bubble bath and soap has gone.  Neel loves doing this,  then It’s out and ready for bed!  All clean for tomorrow :).

5 When baby goes to sleep, SIT DOWN!
This really saves me from going insane.  No exaggeration!  When Neel goes to sleep, before doing anything else, I sit down and have a hot cup of tea or something to eat in peace.  This gives me the mental calm which, lets face it, is very needed to then get going with whatever needs doing and before he wakes up for the madness to begin again.

6 Multiple toy boxes
We all have jobs to get on with at home, there is always something that needs doing, and it couldn’t be more boring for toddlers.  To stop Neel getting cranky on me during these times I keep multiple little toy boxes in the areas I need them.  I have an old large biscuit tin in the kitchen with a few toys, I have books by the side of my bed for when I’m changing sheets or tidying away clothes, and a few in his bathroom for changing times.  By doing this he doesn’t get bored when I’m cooking, hanging out laundry, tidying away clothes or changing sheets etc.

7 Be organised the night before
This is simple, keep bags packed and ready to go the night before.  I keep Neels nursery bag, his sweater and coat, hat and shoes all together on the sofa so we aren’t running around in the morning.  I keep his set of clothes he is going to wear in the morning ready in his bathroom too.  Also keep your own work or day bag ready.  I pack my work bag and keep my lunch ready boxed in the fridge so I just have to grab and go in the mornings.  It just makes your mornings go smoother and you don’t forget anything in the hustle of things.

8 A family calendar 
This is by far my favourite.  Get a family calendar!  I have one which has columns for each of us.  It keeps my husband and me on the same page as to who is doing what and what appointments we have.  Everything from our work shifts, Neels nursery times, doctors appointments, any upcoming events or groups we go to,  meet up with friends, it all goes on the calendar.  This way there is no confusion on dates, and we can both refer to the calendar at any point to know what is happening that week or month.

So folks, these are my words of wisdom!  There is nothing ground breaking about my little tips, but they are small steps which have really helped me keep on top of things at home while working.  There is no handbook, just us mums and dads who can share what has worked for us.  What works for you?  Share away!

Thanks for stopping by,
until next time xoxo

Top 5 baby products I’ve loved using

The list of ‘must haves’ and what you should buy when you have a baby is endless! Every advert, every store, every person (like me now) will have their opinion on what you must have if you’re having a baby. And each of us is different. Some mums like to have it all, and some mums like to keep it minimal and simple. But here is what I’ve genuinely enjoyed using over the past year with Neel. Hope it helps!

Baby swing:

Now, Neel didn’t use it for very long I’ll admit. But for the first 4 to 5 months it was extremely helpful. Especially the first 6 weeks while recovering from my episiotomy and not able to walk much.  When he was a newborn up to about 5months I could put him in and gently have it swing and play music while he slept. I would put it in the kitchen if I was busy in there, in the living room, outside the loo (we all need to go!). I was grateful to have it because I knew he was strapped in and safe and not going anywhere while I got some jobs done, or even just needed a cup of tea!

Product: Starlight swing

Store: Mamas & Papas swing

Price: £99

 

Baby changing unit:

I loved mine. I used it right upto Neel being almost 11 months old and not wanting to lie on it anymore. It was extremely well used. We bought a unit with open shelves underneath which was great. It stored all his nappies, wipes, creams, shower things. I would keep towels on the bottom shelf and spare cotton pads and other things all self contained in one place. It also has a baby bath which sits neatly underneath the changing mat. It was very handy when Neel was a tiny baby. I would either sit it in the big bath tub or keep it attached to the table. It was a good height too, up to my waist, which meant I wasn’t breaking my back bending down to change his nappy or get him ready every time. And when he could sit up it was perfect too.  In the picture you’ll notice i used to line the table with a waterproof mat.  This was a clever way to catch any leaks and also keep Neels back a little warmer while on the mat.

Product: Babylo changing unit with bath star pattern.

Store: Babies R Us

Price: On sale £69.99

 

Play mat:

I wanted something colourful and full of fun things. And this was the perfect one. It was bright and colourful and came with so many attachments to hang from it. Neel loved rolling around on it, lying down and listening to the music, getting his tummy time. I liked it because it was compact, for our living room it was tidy. I could fold it up and slot it away in the cupboard to problem when he wasn’t using it too.

 

 

Snuz Pod:

The best bedside cot in the world for me!! I loved it! It’s so nice and slim, very sturdy, lovely storage shelf underneath and most of all safe and comfortable for baby. I loved that the side zipped down and attached right up to my side of the bed. Neel felt cozy and slept well in it. I would also detach the top bed part and take it downstairs for him to nap or play in it during the day. For me, best invention ever! We bought the mattress to go with it and the bedding too. Cute and practical, in my opinion anyway. And the little duvets don’t go to waste once they outgrow the pod! I keep them in the car, perfect to cover his legs and feet in winters and keep the crumbs off his clothes!

Product: Sunz Pod in white

Store: Fenwick

Price £129 (bought during sale time)

 

Silver cross travel system:

Prams…oh the world of prams! Whether you have a £30 budget or a £1million budget, there is something for everyone! Lets face it, once they start eating and drinking that pram is going to get messy! Drool, drink, crumbs, sticky fingers, the lot! So for me, it had to be good quality but not crazy in price. Our travel system is lovely. For some it may be heavy, but I didn’t mind that…the price tag swayed me! It came with the basinet attachment and the car seat. It also came with the rain cover, a tiny changing bag (you will need a bigger one!), sun shade, foot muff for the basinet and has a decent size basket underneath.   I went for black and white and kept it simple. It’s still going strong 1 year in and I’m glad we chose it!

Product: Silver cross 3D monochrome travel system

Store: Mothercare

Price: £249.99 (bought during sale time)

There you have it, my most used and most loved products this past year.  Thank you for stopping by!

until next time xoxo

My start to motherhood

What can I say about 2017? In all honesty it has been the biggest roller coaster year of my life. It is the year I learnt a different kind of love, found a new purpose, and also lost a part of myself.

Giving birth to a child is the single hardest thing any woman will do in her life. Undoubtedly it does something to you on the inside and you walk out of that hospital a completely different woman. I can tell you now that having a child has changed me. I put my son first above all else, including my husband and myself. It’s about the baby and the baby alone. And 11 months into this phenomenal journey of motherhood I have learnt a few things, and also observed a few things. Now keep in mind, what I am sharing with you is my personal experience, for every one of us mums this story will read differently and your journey undoubtedly will vary to mine. I just have this burning desire to share my side of the story and hope that you reading this find it amusing but also relatable to some extent. So, here’s what I’ve found so far:

1) EVERYONE has an opinion. And boy do I mean everyone! Never before in my life have I had so many people comment and bluntly tell me how things should be done. And I’m talking about opinions you didn’t ask for. From parents to in-laws, to friends who don’t even have children! Heck even the postman will find it in him to tell you how to be a mother or how a child should be raised. From how to feed them, how to teach them to how they should sleep or develop, everyone will have their opinion and gladly give it to you.

2) You can never be prepared for the kind of mother you will be. You know that conversation you have with your friends late at night where you idealise yourselves as parents in the distant future? Where you are the perfect mom with the well kept house, a baby that sleeps for 10 hours and you maintain a certain lifestyle? The one where you are on top of everything and nothing can rock your boat? Ya that conversation… how’s that going? I’ll tell you how mine is going, my boat sunk! I learnt that once baby is here and in your arms it is all back to square one. So, lets not set ourselves up for disappointment ladies, there is no perfect way to be a mom, there is just you and how YOU choose to be with YOUR baby.

3) There is nothing wrong with putting your baby first. The number of women who immediately say “My career and life is equally important to me right now” – really? This is something I, on a personal level, cannot relate to. This first year of your child’s life will never come back. The little warm cuddles of a tiny baby, the first time they begin to smile, when they begin to laugh and get their little personalities, the eating and crawling and teeth and walking…you don’t get it back. So please don’t be in a hurry…savour every moment of it, bask in its cuteness and embrace the warm and fuzzy bubble of motherhood.

4) Baby groups are amazing! Those first 9 months can be hard! Especially once your little one hits 4 months and wants to start doing stuff. Not only does this get you out of the house, but it’s great bonding between you and your baby. I did a lot with my son in his first 7 months. From baby massage, baby yoga, baby art class, music class with singing and dancing to swimming! It kept us nice and busy. You also meet some amazing moms and dads who are going through exactly what you are, and that kind of support keeps you sane and gives you the will power to keep going.

5) This is the biggest point, and something I will talk more about in another blog post. Childbirth is a B****. My biggest advice, just go with the flow. Don’t be that know it all woman and set yourself up for major disappointment. Let the professionals do what they need to in order to keep you and your baby safe. That’s not to say don’t have a plan. Have a plan, birth plans are a great way to think things through. Mine was short but changed quickly due to circumstance and my birth story is something I would like to share with you soon.

6) You do not have to be perfect on day 1. Like I said earlier, forget the house and all else, just focus on you and your baby. You’ve been through enough bringing them into this world, so take the time to just recover and be with your baby.

7) People will pass judgement. Oh boy do they! Is he not sleeping? Oh dear… he is still in your room? Hmmm… Oh he doesn’t eat himself? Tut tut! My response to all of this… F OFF! Just drown out the noise – you are doing an amazing job and doing your best and that is all that matters.

For the most part I love being a mom. Yes I said most part, and I know you will feel the same. Of course I have days where I feel great, but I also have my down days where I feel depressed sometimes and wish I could undo it all. It’s natural to feel this way. It is an extremely difficult journey, and nothing prepares you for it. And when you are in a position like me where you do 90% of the parenting because your husband works crazy hours with his job, the judgements and comments are harder to swallow and staying positive seems impossible sometimes.   I found myself moving away from crowds and becoming closer with my parents. They are my biggest supporters and always manage to lift my spirits. I still have my tiny fist of friends and my 3 amazing new mommy friends from our antenatal classes who keep me staying positive and reassure me that I am doing a good job with my little one. And lets face it, every new mom out there needs to be reminded that they are doing amazing… agree?

Now, with 3 weeks left of my maternity leave, I find myself feeling nervous and terrified at the thought of not seeing my son for 3 days a week while I’m at work. Crazy right? As much as I am excited to have those few hours a day away from being on mommy duty, I am also sad that he is at that point of his journey of not needing mommy 24 hours a day. This is why I say, savour every moment. My boy will be 1 next month and if you had asked me last February if I thought this point would come…I would have said never. And here it is, my little baby is a crawling babbling toddler ready for his first steps into the system we call life.