Lockdown….

Lockdown….

Good morning all!

My last post was over a month ago, so figured I’d best pop in and catch up again! 😂

How are you all doing during this tough time? I’m having good days and bad days. Having to stay home is tough, when it’s not by choice. I’m not the most outgoing and social person anyway, generally only leave the house to go to the shop, doctors or the school run. But at least I knew I could go out for other reasons if I wanted to, like for coffee with a friend or to the cinema. Now, it’s like being a prisoner in your own home. Getting groceries is difficult, as all the home delivery slots and even click and collect slots, are booked up for weeks. Going to the stores takes ages, with the queuing to get in and being mindful of social distancing whilst shopping. My anxiety is often through the roof, and there is a small element of cabin fever going on too.

I try to look at the positives of the situation though, to try and stay upbeat and hopeful. The positives I’ve realised are:

  • More time spent with my daughter. Making memories and really reconnecting with her.
  • More time to organise, decluttering and sort out things in the house that I’ve wanted to do for so long, but never had the time.
  • More time to try and practice self care. Not being in a hurry to go anywhere or do anything, and being able to just take our time to do things. Today I’ve done a full facial skin care routine and put make up on. It’s so rare that I make a proper effort on my skincare, and even rarer that I put on makeup!

There are so many things too, that you realise you all too often, take for granted or don’t do often enough. Things like texting a friend, or calling a relative. Visiting elderly family, and spending time with them. In normal every day life, there’s so much hustle and bustle, we’re constantly on the go doing something, and the call or text or visit you keep meaning to do, never happens. Times like these, really do make you appreciate what you have and what you should be thankful for. It also makes you realise how precious and fragile life is. Tomorrow is never promised, it’s something we hope for but have no control over. Life is shorter than you think. Days, weeks, months, even years, pass by in the blink of an eye, when we’re all too busy with daily life. We never stop to take in the moment. To take a deep breath, step back, and appreciate everything you can see, or hear. Mindfulness is a thing we should all be doing. I’ll admit, I’ve not ever really been truly mindful or practised it properly. But it’s something I’m trying hard to do more of. When you look out of the window today, look at everything you can see. Take it in, be grateful for it, and keep reminding yourself to never to take any of it for granted.

Times are certainly tough right now, and the coming weeks and months are filled with so much uncertainty and anxiety.

I think if we had an end date it would be easier to cope. But the fear of the unknown is so hard. We all like to know what’s happening next, so we can prepare for it and expect it. But at the moment, you can’t prepare for something you have no idea about. Uncertainty is difficult to get to grips with. Plans can’t be made, or plans that had been made have to be cancelled. Life as we knew it, has stopped, or at the very least, paused. But the world keeps on turning. The wind still blows, the rain still falls. The clouds still float across the sky and the sun still shines. The moon still comes up and the stars still burn brightly in the night sky. Environmental factors, don’t have a pause button. They can’t be stopped. They just keep going, day in, day out. Flowers still grow, trees still stand tall. Time keeps ticking by, and there’s nothing we can do to change that.

Every second of everyday, take in the joy, the positives, the good things in life, that are too often forgotten about. Mend that drawer or paint that wall. Life is a a seriously precious thing, don’t waste any part of it. Dream big, have faith and hope, and don’t take anything or anyone for granted. If you love someone, tell them. If you miss someone, call them. Don’t procrastinate, because it could end up being too late.

Stay safe all, and I’ll check in again soon x

A Different Perspective….

A Different Perspective….

Hi lovely peeps! Hope you’ve had a good weekend?! Thought I’d drop by and write a little about our last week and weekend, as things have been a little crazy, and I feel I need to process it a little bit. My blog is perfect for that 🙂

So, I last posted at the end of September, and a week has passed since then! Which is actually pretty scary, how quickly time can pass without you totally noticing! It’s been somewhat hectic, stressful, emotional, overwhelming, but also pretty good too. I shall enlighten you….

The start of the week was pretty uneventful really, the usual money in, money out scenario causing stress, but it is what it is, and I’m starting to take steps to get on top of that. As the week went on, our little miss started being a nightmare at bedtimes. Lots of screaming, shouting, crying and general defiance. We were honestly at our wit’s end by the weekend. The days were long, stressful, and she was being a little menace most of the time. However, I posted about my frustrations and emotions on my favourite Facebook group, for parents (well, mums) of only children. The support, advice and love I received were truly overwhelming. It made me feel so much better and less alone. It made me realise that what we’re going through is totally normal and that our daughter isn’t doing it on purpose. It’s natural to think sometimes, that your child is testing you deliberately, and sometimes that’s true, but most of the time it’s just them struggling with their own frustrations and they just need a little more love and respect. Like any human being. We all have times where we feel like we can’t cope with what’s going on around us, and for someone so small, it must be quite terrifying at times. So, it’s understandable that she has meltdowns, tantrums and gets upset over seemingly insignificant things. To her though, they’re big things, and she doesn’t understand why they’re happening and gets overwhelmed. Looking at it from a different angle, and putting myself into her tiny shoes, I felt so guilty. I hadn’t stopped to think about how she may have been feeling. I was getting frustrated with her demanding my attention all of the time, and not letting me out of her sight for even a minute. But, after chatting to one of the admins on the aforementioned group, she offered to voice message me some advice. She’s a family therapist, and so very wise. After listening to her message, something clicked in my head, and I looked at my daughter with a whole new perspective. It actually made me well up with tears, because I had such a sudden rush of emotions, and love for her. Since that point (this morning!), I’ve not shouted, lost my temper, or dismissed her demands for attention. I’ve been there 100% for her, giving her my all and spending quality time with her. Today has been such a different day compared to the last week. It was calm, chilled, I still managed to get things done (namely housework, how dull!), and I even had a bath. So the self-care really helped me and gave our daughter some precious daddy and daughter time. As the evening came around, we had dinner, and I did the usual tidy up and other little jobs that I usually do in the lead up to her bedtime. But then we did something different. Instead of then getting her ready for bed, and facing that nightly battle that we’ve had most of the week. We just sat down with her, and let her run around, burning off the excess energy, and having fun. She was happy, laughing and so were we. There was no drama, no tantrums, no crying or screaming. It was pure bliss, to be honest. It got to nearly 10pm, and she was starting to show signs of feeling tired. So, we suggested we get her PJ’s on and brush her teeth, which she didn’t mind doing. Whilst daddy was getting her ready, I got her milk ready. As soon as she saw the milk, she said goodnight to the cat, grabbed her favourite teddies, and went and stood at the bottom of the stairs ready to go up. So we all went up, had some cuddles on our bed whilst she drank some milk, then she got off our bed and started heading to her bedroom (with a few distractions and a bit of procrastinating along the way!). But, we let her do what she felt she needed to do. Then she came to me for a cuddle and a kiss, and I said the usual goodnight routine things, and daddy got her into bed. I quietly went downstairs, to tidy up, and daddy stayed with her until she fell asleep. She was so calm and didn’t make much of a fuss about getting into bed. In bed by 10pm, and asleep by 10.15pm!! It felt so amazing!! My husband came downstairs, and we actually high fived, we were so happy! There’d been no tears, shouting or protesting. We were all relaxed and content. It was truly a beautiful moment, and I feel so relieved. Whether it’s a fluke or one-off or not, I don’t know. But if we carry on with the same approach, I don’t see why it wouldn’t carry on in the same way. We can hope that it does start to settle down now, but we’ll just take each day as it comes, and try and not get too worked up over things. There’s honestly no harm in being child-led at all. It’s ultimately going to benefit us all, in many ways.

Our daughter is really strong-willed and fiercely independent, so letting her lead the way is a pretty natural approach to our parenting. We’ve always been in that kind of mindset to be honest, ever since she was born. We’ve always gone by her cues, for most things. It’s simpler and effective. I think recently though, we kind of lost our way a little bit, with other stress factors playing a massive part. We got too worked up over what we thought should be happening, when in fact, it didn’t really matter what time she went to bed in the grand scheme of things. Taking a step back, relaxing, and letting things just happen naturally, has made such a huge difference. It’s made us both feel far more confident about our parenting skills, we’re both happier, and so is our daughter. We’re going to try really hard to keep calm and go with the flow, as it’s honestly been a total game changer.

There’s a lot of developmental things going on around this age, and I can’t begin to imagine how tough it must be for someone so small to comprehend it all. If you think about how stressed and frustrated us adults can get about things, it must be all the more difficult as a toddler. They’re naturally curious and want to know what everything is and why it’s happening, and that’s a really good thing. We need to embrace that and encourage it. We’ve noticed our daughter really shine with confidence recently, she’s speaking more and more in sentences, she can tell you what a lot of things are, her grasp of letters and numbers is getting really good, and she’s genuinely a pleasure to be around. We just need to cherish her, enjoy her, and take comfort in the fact that hard times don’t last forever, aka the mantra of “This too shall pass”. The days are long, but the years are short. She won’t be little forever, and there’ll come a day when we’re sitting here in a quiet, tidy home, and missing the chaos and mess of having a small person running around. Children are a joy and we should make the most of every moment. It’s wonderful watching them learn and grow, their imaginations are fascinating, and I love watching my daughter playing and chatting away to us, telling us about everything. It’s amazing. I’m so overwhelmingly proud of her, and always will be.

I have to give huge credit and massive thanks to the amazing Charlene! You can find her website here – The Village Family Support

It’s thanks to her that my mindset and perspective has totally changed for the better. I think I’d just lost my way a little bit, with one thing and another going on in life, I was burnt out and run down. I let my head rule over my heart too much, and I became a frazzled mess quite frankly!! But now, I’ve really relaxed, taken everything much more in my stride, and feel so much happier as a result. I’m not by any means, a perfect parent, no such person exists. We’re all just winging it, and that’s okay! We all make mistakes, and we all lose our sh*t from time to time too, which is also okay! Just breathe, cry it out if you need to, vent to a friend or your spouse, shake the negativity off and carry on. If we get stressed or anxious, our kids pick up on that, and they too feel stressed and anxious. Keeping calm ourselves keeps them calm. Taking time to listen to them, let them express their feelings, vent their frustrations, and be there for them, not just in that moment, but always. Hold them close and cherish them, they’re so so precious. Make the most of every minute, and make every minute count. For me, being a parent is an amazing, emotional, breathtaking, crazy, chaotic, journey; but I wouldn’t have it any other way! ❤

^T.U.M^

 

My First, My Last, My Everything

My First, My Last, My Everything

As soon as my daughter turned two, that inevitable question from people started cropping up in conversation; oh it must be time for another baby?! Or, when’s the next baby due then?

Initially, the plan had always been to have 2 kids. My husband and I had always had that idea, that we’d be a family of 4.

But, that was back before we’d even started trying for a baby. As I’ve written about in a previous post (Who is The Unfiltered Mum?), it was a long and emotional journey trying to conceive. Followed by a bit of a tricky pregnancy, and a rather eventful and slightly traumatic birth.

Those 3 things combined, did change things a little bit for us to be honest. Life with a newborn was certainly challenging too, but as we adapted to this new life as parents, we did start talking about when we’d like to try for a second. Obviously it wasn’t going to be immediately! We set a rough plan of when our daughter turned 2, that we’d start then and see what happened. Over those first 2 years though, my mental health fluctuated from good to bad a lot. I had PND (Post Natal Depression) when my daughter was about 6 weeks old. Thankfully as I was already on medication for Bipolar Disorder, it was quite brief as it just meant a bit of a tweak with my current meds and things went back to normal fairly quickly. But of course, there’s been several relapses for me to battle through.

Also, we’ve had a few troublesome times with our little lady being poorly, resulting in a couple of A&E trips. So in a way, the stress and worry of that kind of put a negative feel to having another. Could we honestly go through such things again? Worrying about one is hard enough, to double that would be so much harder. Plus, the vaccinations have always upset me, as I hate seeing my baby in pain. I’m thankful she most likely won’t remember them, but it’s something I just can’t forget. Especially the first lot. That scream/cry she did was heartbreaking, and I can still hear it in my head if I really think about it. I couldn’t go through that again.

Financially, we’ve never been rich, and we’ve seen the black hole of debt too (regretfully, more than once!) Children are pretty expensive too, and we quickly learnt that it was going to need some pretty good budgeting and money management in order to keep our heads above water. We did have times where we struggled, and we had to ask for help. We were very lucky to have some great family supporting us, and a lot of the expensive things like pram/pushchair, cot etc etc were bought for us. But I couldn’t ever expect them to do that a second time, and honestly, with a toddler, and a lot of number crunching, we just couldn’t see how we could make it work if we had another baby. The fact that we’d had to resort to using the local food bank on more than one occasion, made me feel so rubbish.

So, taking all of that into account – my mental health, physical health, money, the space we have at home (not really enough for 1 child, let alone 2!), the long journey to have our precious girl, and what followed during pregnancy and birth – early this year, we had another conversation about a second child. But this time was different; we were being realistic, rather than trying to “live the dream”.

Our biggest wish for our daughter, has and always will be, that we could give her the best life possible. As many opportunities as we can, experiences and fun times. In order to do that, we just couldn’t manage if we had another child. So, with heavy hearts, we made the difficult decision, to just have the one child.

It still plays heavy on my heart sometimes, and I get really overwhelmed with emotion too. Especially when I sort through clothes that our daughter has grown out of, or things we no longer use like the steriliser and next2me crib, and we pass them on or sell them to people who need them more. I try to look at it as memories that we’ll always have, rather than placing too much sentimental value onto things. They’re just objects at the end of the day, our daughter is worth so much more than them. When people collect things we’ve sold/passed on, it is hard for me to see them go. I don’t think it’ll ever be easy, but ultimately it helps others and that’s important. There’s no point holding onto things that we just won’t use anymore, no matter how hard it is to let go.

As our daughter grows, learns, develops and changes, my heart swells with pride, but there’s always a slight feeling of sadness. Mostly that she’s not my little baby anymore, but also that she won’t have any siblings. Although, I grew up as an only child, and don’t think I turned out too badly haha! I just hope, when she’s old enough to understand and may ask about a brother/sister, she’ll be able to appreciate why we didn’t have another baby. But I guess we’ll cross that bridge as and when (or if) we come to it.

I find it hard too, seeing friends around me having 2nd children or more. I get jealous sometimes, and upset that I won’t experience pregnancy again. For all the stressful times, I’ll always remember the wonderful times. Like seeing our baby on the scans, or feeling those little kicks. Whilst I was pregnant, I felt truly beautiful and proud of my body, for finally doing what we’d wanted it to for so long. The female body is pretty incredible really, with the way it can create another life within, nurture and grow them, and give birth to them and bring them into the world. I loved my bump, despite being so uncomfortable and in pain by the end! Also, when people say you forget the pain of childbirth, don’t believe them! You may forget temporarily, but there’ll always be a lasting memory, deep within, that never goes away. I can still remember it like it was yesterday! But that too makes me proud, that I did it. I coped with the pain of bringing life into the world, and for that I’ll always feel like superwoman! 😀

I hope, as time goes on, I’ll deal with the emotions and it’ll get easier. I suppose it’s just a natural thing for most women, to want to have babies! I’m so thankful though, for being able to give my daughter 100% of me and my time, and to be able to give her the best life possible. She truly is my first, my last, and my absolute everything. My love for her grows every minute of every day, and it’ll never stop growing either. I’m a really proud mum, and I’m looking forward to seeing all the amazing things my little girl will do.

My physical health isn’t all that great at the moment, having lots of tests etc to see what’s going on. So that too is a big factor for not having a second baby. The results of the tests etc, may well cement the decision we’ve already made anyway, and take the choice away. More on all of that in another post!!

I have been judged, called selfish even, and other such things, for making the decision to have an only child. But at the end of the day, every parent has the right to decide what is best for them and their family. Whether it be 1, 2 or 3+ children. It’s totally a personal choice. Sometimes, that choice is taken away from people too. I honestly had begun to give up hope that I’d ever be a mum. Sadly for some, it’ll never be a reality for them. I feel truly blessed and lucky to have my daughter, my rainbow baby. She fills my heart with joy, and totally completes our little family unit. I couldn’t actually imagine throwing that into chaos with another baby now. Things feel perfect, just the way they are. We’re happy, content and living life the way we want to live it. We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

So to finish, I’ll say, always do what is right for you, your family and your situation. Never feel pressured by others, or social media even, to do or be more than you feel capable of. You don’t have to do what everyone else does. What’s right for them, may not be right for you, and that’s okay. Always, always, just be you. Sending you all lots of love and a massive hug, especially anyone reading this, who has been or is in a similar situation. Whether by choice or circumstance, I understand. Be kind to yourself, and if you ever need a listening ear, I’m always here. ❤

 

^T.U.M^