Deciding to stay home after maternity leave, my YOUNIQUE experience!

This has been one of the biggest decision of my life. Deciding to put my career as a corporate lawyer on hold to stay home with my daughter. It wasn’t a decision I took lightly and I knew that in making it, I would need to find ways to supplement our income and help support my family. What would I do? What would become of my career? Would my education go to waste? Would my daughter suffer for not having the experience of socializing at nursery school everyday? These were all questions running through my mind. It was not going to be an easy decision…

After months of thinking about it and speaking to everyone I could think of that would have insight into life as a stay at home mum, I made the decision to put my career on the back burner and stay home with my daughter. I decided to enroll her in as many baby activity groups as possible that she and I could attend together which meant we could both socialize with other mums and babies regularly. This has been great as I have not only made great friends, but Izzie is getting used to other babies and I find she is learning to be less possessive of me. 

In terms of my career, I am very fortunate that I had this as an option as I know many mothers out there would love to be able to stay home but for whatever reason cannot. I also know that there are many women out there who are grateful for the respite and adult socialization that their career provides them so they choose to return to work. For me it was definitely a toss up, I love being a lawyer and I LOVE being a mum. It was not easy. I would still need to earn a supplemental income to help with our monthly outgoings and I needed to figure out how I was going to do that and fast.  

Once Izzie and I had settled into our routine, I began thinking about all the ways I could contribute to our household income. I spent a lot of time focusing on home based businesses and asking all of my friends their opinions on the different possibilities. It needed to be something I could do in my spare time when I wasn’t chasing a little one around, feeding, changing and bathing her.  I have focused a lot of my time on researching home based businesses and I am even looking into the possibility of developing on some of my entrepreneurial ideas. It’s been a lot of fun exploring all the possibilities and coming up with my list of options. What have I chosen to do?! Well, I have decided to put my business mind and entrepreneurial spirit to good use and start my own businesses! Yep! That’s right! business(es!). My main source of income at the moment in my business with Younique Cosmetics and Skincare. I absolutely love working with and selling Younique! In addition to Younique, I am also in the process of launching a number of other businesses. It’s an exciting time and I love that I am taking control of my future and building my own dream rather than someone else’s. 

I never thought I would be able to do it. I have completely surprised myself and I am so proud to say that I am now well on my way to finding success in my own right. It’s amazing!

If you are interested in learning more about my YOUNIQUE journey, please feel free to contact me through my website: http://www.youniqueproducts.com/breejamiesonholloway

 

 

 

 

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GUEST BLOG: Going back to work after having kids

Before I became pregnant with Robyn, I had always thought that I would go back to work full-time, put my child in nursery, and be able to progress with my career as I had planned. But soon after I became pregnant and my research into said-childcare began, I discovered the ridiculous costs that would go into sending my child into the care of people I did not know and who would eventually spend more time with her on a weekly basis than I would… and I had a slight panic attack.

‘How will my one year away from work affect my career progression? Do I want to go back full-time? Can we afford childcare?’ These were only some of the questions running through my mind before going on maternity leave… and then something I decided to put on the back-burner once Robyn was born, as I had a few other pressing things to think about (like a new baby that I had absolutely no idea how to take care of!).

About six months into my maternity leave, I began to think about what I really wanted. I had launched into a home based business which was doing really well for mums that I knew, but I struggled to keep this going for myself. I originally began this venture to give myself the option of staying home with Robyn, and it really appealed to me. I wouldn’t have to pay for childcare, I would be around for all the major events in her life, and I wouldn’t have to worry about a commute into London.

Unfortunately, our financial situation dictated that I went back to work, and this led to a frantic search for childcare. The cost of child-minders and nurseries in my area is astronomical, and would not have been worth me going back to work. Fortunately, my mum-in-law who lived only 15 minutes away, was happy to take care of Robyn, and at a much lower cost than any other childcare option. It was a win-win situation – Robyn would get to spend time with her nan, and we could save money on childcare while also supporting my husband’s retired mum.

My first month of work was a struggle, both emotionally and mentally. Robyn was not used to being away from me so when I would drop her off, she would burst into tears, reaching for me… and the guilt I felt was almost unbearable. However, I needed to put that feeling to the side so I could get back into the swing of work things… and while some things I was able to pick up easily again, other things at work took a bit of a learning curve to get back into. I do not know if it was the fact that I was away for a year or if my mind was just preoccupied by other priorities, but there were certain aspects of work that were more difficult to grasp than they used to be. This then led to the feeling of insecurity, of whether I was still actually good at my job and whether I did deserve to be there… And after a day of work like that, I would then return home to my child who spent the entire day crying for me. Oh the guilt.

It was that constant battle – trying to be a great employee while at the same time trying to be a fantastic mum. And if I succeeded at one, it was at the expense of the other. How exhausting… It is true that mums do go through a lot of guilt going back to work. We feel guilty putting anything else above the priority of our families, but at the same time, we try to be the best at work, but feel guilty when we have to leave right at 5pm to pick up our child.

The first few months (well, really the first year) back at work was a struggle. My team had increased in size so I was supporting double the amount of people and work than before, the pace of work was much faster, the amount expected of me was much more and I was not meeting expectations… and to top it off, I was struggling with a toddler who was having problems sleeping through the night, trying to get housework and a social life and time with my family all squished into three days…

My struggles at work definitely impacted my home life. I would come home in a terrible mood, and I hated the way I was with my husband and daughter. I was not liking this person I was becoming…

But eventually, Robyn settled in with my mum-in-law, her sleeping habits became regular (or else I became accustomed to interrupted sleep), work began to get better… and life began to have a bit of balance.

Would I ever give up work to be a stay-at-home mum? I see so many of my mum friends who love staying at home and are so grateful that they are able to, and I am happy for them. For me, personally, I do like having a job to go to where I can use my brain and have time dedicated to thinking about things other than, ‘What activity should I do with Robyn today? How can I keep her occupied? Why isn’t she eating today? Why is she having such a tantrum today? Can I get five minutes to myself?’

I feel that I have achieved (or on the way to achieving) that balance of work and life. I am now at a new job working closer to home and for only three days a week. I have a job where I do feel appreciated and acknowledged and challenged. I am so much less stressed than at my previous job, and even my husband has noticed how much of a good mood I am in nowadays. I get Mondays and Fridays with Robyn AND the weekends, and I get to indulge her in things like JingleBops and Baby Bear Ballet as well as playdates (which I truly enjoy and cherish), and still get time to clean the house (obviously this is never going to be 100% perfect but it’s the effort that counts!) and see other friends.

I almost feel bad saying I need time away from Robyn, but all of us parents do think it. We do need some time away from our children in order to recharge ourselves and our sanity. We were adults and individuals before we had children, and it is important to be able to keep hold of at least part of that. And now, because I do have that time away from Robyn, each moment I do spend with her is that much more special. I pick her up from her nan’s and we cuddle on the couch at home for a half hour before I bathe her and put her to bed, and she tells me about her day (as an almost three-year-old can do).

And I do feel grateful that I can have the best of both…

Guest Blog from a brand new mum: Things I’ve learnt in the past 5 weeks

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We’ve made it to the 5 week mark and as things have started to settle down, I’ve done a Carrie Bradshaw and got to thinking about what I’ve learnt… if anything.

Shiny things – Like Magpies, babies love shiny things. You can try all you want to get your newborn to look at your face but unless you have wrapped yourself in tinfoil they won’t be interested. Family members may encourage you by saying “She recognises her Mummy” whilst pointing the baby in your general direction but you know the truth. If she does actually turn her head to look at you, you feel a flicker of warmth and then you realise…. you are sitting in front of a photo frame or a mirror or a particularly reflective light fitting. The same goes for windows and people with dark hair and ‘ghosts’ as I read on one forum. Not a big deal but don’t patronise me by saying she’s looking at me.

Boredom – Years ago I was holding my friend’s newborn and I shared this gem with her: “Newborns are boring, aren’t they?” She looked at me like I’d called her baby a gremlin and took said gremlin back immediately, just in case I dropped it out of boredom. Touché. Now that I have a newborn of my own, I cringe at my remark to that glowing new mother and as I hold my gorgeous daughter in my arms, I think….. I was totally right! Newborns are well boring!! There’s only so much staring at her face I can do before reaching for my phone/the remote/some food.

I didn’t really do myself any favours, my daughter was a stubborn little wotsit and clung to my uterine walls until she was evicted at 41+5. That meant that I had 6 weeks of maternity leave before she even showed up where I mainly stayed indoors and watched trashy TV. But that was okay because ‘soon I was going to be really busy!’ When we took her home, I found myself staying indoors and watching trashy TV. Sigh! Sure there was the nappy changing and feeding but newborns sleep …….. a lot……. “Why didn’t you get out and about?” I hear you say. “C-section!” I shout back at you. That meant no driving because you use your abdomen to drive a car, oh no wait, I have no idea why I wasn’t allowed to drive. Anyway, I kept going on walks but wouldn’t get too far. I was like Harry Potter – if my scar started to hurt, I knew something ominous was about to happen – so I would head for home having filled a measly 15 minutes.

So quiet frankly, prepare for the boredom; book in visitors, get lots of snacks, take up a hobby (A one handed hobby – this is where CandyCrush comes in useful) find a box set to get into or watch lots of trashy TV. Comfort yourself with the knowledge that the boring times won’t last forever (We’re now mobile and much happier) and all of that time indoors with your newborn is useful – it has helped you become an expert on hoarders and 600lb people.

Don’t have any expectations about the birth and you won’t be disappointed – This one particularly irritates me because I was very much blasé about the whole birth thing. I didn’t make a birth plan and had the opinion of ‘There are many ways that my baby can come into the world so there’s no point worrying about it.’ This attitude made me very accepting of the fact that in the end, I had to have a c-section. However, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that my baby and I would be separated and for a long time. I vaguely entertained the notion that they might have to go into special care but I never put that scenario together with the c-section scenario which resulted in me being immobile and my baby being on the other side of the hospital fighting for her life. Bad times. She’s fine now by the way. Good times. I had visions of my family coming onto the ward, me with my bundle of joy in my arms being showered with praise and love and champagne. Actually, my mum turned up when my catheter was being taken out and couldn’t hold her grandchild for 8 days to reduce the chance of infection. I’m not saying you should expect awful things to happen because they probably won’t, but just realise that your ideal scenario is just that, an ideal, and we don’t live in an ideal world. However….

You might get lucky –  I hate being asked “How is she sleeping?” for the ridiculous reason of my having to answer “She sleeps really well.” Ditto “Are you tired?” because I have to respond “No.” I feel like people think I’m lying to show them up or I’m a fraud, I’ve broken some kind of new parent code. However, she does sleep really well. When we first met her she was an incredibly sleepy baby, doctors said this was a recovery sleep to sleep off the effects of the hypoxia. After 4 days she was still sleepy but I was told to wake her every 3 hours to feed her. Then someone else told us to demand feed. I of course listened to their advice because it meant no more waking her, and me, every 3 hours. So, we put her to bed and then we went to bed, I turned my alarm off and rolled over. 6 hours later, I sat bolt upright thinking she had died! She hadn’t.  I fed her and put her down where she slept another 3 hours. This is how it has been since day 13 other than the 3 nights where she slept right through 10-6. I know we are very lucky, I can’t explain it, all I know is that I expected to feel like a zombie and actually I wake up most mornings feeling refreshed. Before you hate me too much, be comforted by the fact that I find it very hard to enjoy it. Typical. Cruel fate has me waking up and looking at my watch and instead of being pleased, I panic that she has overheated or dehydrated, or overheated AND dehydrated AND I can’t shake the ominous feeling that it could be something to do with the hypoxia……

Overwhelming love – Something that I was told lots but was of little comfort to me when it was actually happening was “Don’t worry if you don’t feel an overwhelming sensation of love for them straight away.” Lots of people do, lots of people don’t. I definitely did not. I didn’t see her come out, all I saw was them hold up this slumped, wizened, blue, grumpy old man caked in poo, lots and lots of poo. She went out of sight and got resuscitated, then she came back so “Mummy could have a cuddle”. Mummy didn’t have a ‘cuddle’. Mummy was lying down whilst a surgical team did the Handjive whilst holding her internal organs. Mummy just poked her nose and said “Hi”.

I then didn’t see my baby until 20 hours later, by which point I was beginning to doubt I’d even had a baby. Don’t get me wrong, I liked her, I thought she was really pretty and I liked holding her but she didn’t feel like mine, I had no affinity with her. I was worried about her and scared for her but didn’t mind leaving her and going back to my ward. I definitely loved going and getting coffees with my husband and not having to change her nappy. On day 5 she got moved into a room with me, no more nurses, “This is it” I thought, ” Bonding time!” but I just went through the motions for the next week or so, doing everything I knew I had to do but not knowing why. I worried a lot that I was a crappy Mum and a bad person and that because of this I was more likely to leave her outside Tesco or drop her or put Strongbow in her bottle, I’d already given her a dummy, where was it going to end!?  Slowly day by day we got to know each other and each day I loved her more than the day before and it all started making a bit more sense. I genuinely think it has only been in the last week or so that I’ve got to the point where I can say “I love you” to her and actually know that I really do. I can tell that I do in the strangest of ways. I hear a song on the radio and it makes me think of how I feel about her, I don’t listen to what my husband’s saying because I just want to tell him about the poo she did earlier and I can’t watch Jeremy Kyle anymore (Shame.) because I’m so scared that someone will break her heart. However I know that if that happens, I will be there to rip out their eyeballs and burn them. This is overwhelming love.

Sorry for being a *!@?

I think my fellow Gorillamums and I are all realising this at the same time. They may say it more eloquently than I, but my personal conclusion is that I was a bit of a kn*b to other mums before I had my own baby.

I want to say sorry. I want to say sorry for the time I went to my friend’s for dinner and when her hubby said she was upstairs feeding the baby before bed, I went up “to say hi” and started having a chat. The baby was turning round to look, wouldn’t feed, started getting all excited, I mean, it must have taken all her willpower not to throw her breast feeding pillow at me screaming “what sort of an idiot are you? Get out get out get out damn you or he’ll never go down!”.

I want to say sorry to all the mums who offered me their baby and I held it until it started crying and then gave it back straight away without thinking for one second of trying to quiet it myself so she could at least get a chance to shake out her back and get the feeling back in her hands.

I’m sorry for the time I said to my aunty that I’d take my 3 year old cousin out to Coney Island for the day and then being surprised when he poohed his pants as soon as we got home. I mean “I asked him if he needed the toilet and he said no” (when does a 3 year old ever go to the toilet when he has the option to cr*p his pants instead?). I feel that now might be the time to admit that all he had to eat that day was some cotton candy and a spiral lollypop “I asked him if he would eat the sandwich but he didn’t want it”.

I’m sorry to my best mate whose brand new daughter I was too scared to feed. What I should have done was say, like she said to me “I’ll take her for a couple of hours, you go and have a sleep”. Instead I fed her like a total moron, terrified I was choking her, then gave her back to my friend during winding because I was scared her head would fall off “it’s really wobbly”.

I’m sorry for all the birth stories I listened to and said “ew”. Instead of “you are amazing”.

I’m sorry for every time I walked through a door and didn’t even notice the woman behind me with the pram. That goes for stairs, buses and tubes too.

I’m sorry I asked to move seats on the plane that time because there was a baby behind me that had been screaming its head off for 3 hours. I’m sorry I didn’t either offer to take the baby for a walk so the mum could take some deep breaths or at least get that poor woman a large gin and tonic. I could just have offered a smile that said “don’t worry, no one on here minds, you just try and relax, the baby can probably sense that you’re willing it with every fibre of your being to Just. Go. To. Sleep.” but no. I asked the cabin crew to move me and they did and the worst thing ever is, I went to sleep. I went to sleep. That poor woman was at baggage claim five hours later looking like the living dead. I am so ashamed.

I vow from now on to fully and whole heartedly support the “Mum-sterhood” – I’m there with you now, I can take your baby and have it cry and not throw it back at you like it’s made of anthrax, I will try to make it happy again and let you have a rest. I can smile at you sympathetically when your baby is screaming and selfish little upstarts like the 19 year old me are giving you dirty looks. I was on the receiving end of one the other day and you know what? I just smiled to myself and thought, “you might be trying to celebrate the end of your A Levels in this nice pub with your mates, but you know what? It’s the only pub round here which has space for 4 prams, it’s walking distance from my flat, it’s raining and I have lost my pushchair’s rain cover and further more, little pup, in a few years time, you will be sitting over here with your mum friends trying desperately to make your baby stop crying and I will be sitting over there with my two children playing outside nicely and I will smile at you as if to say, “don’t worry, we’ve all been there”.

OR my kids will be running round screaming, having tantrums, throwing food and playing computer games and you will still be giving me dirty looks, but I will still smile at you. Because one day you will be the mother of a 7 year old and….and…oh we could go on forever.

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© gorillamums 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any material or media (including images) without express and written permission from this blog’s authors and/or owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to gorillamums with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I’ve become one of THOSE mothers!

I would NEVER give my child a dummy/soother.

I would NEVER feed my child from a jar or pouch.

I would NEVER let my child cry.

I would NEVER let my child leave the house in her sleeper.

I would NEVER leave the house with messy hair and no makeup just because I have a baby.

Do any of these sound familiar?

Prior to having Izzie I had a million preconceived notions of what I would be like as a mother. In my mind it was all wonderful  and I never had a stray hair or a bad day. I was just happy because I was going to have a baby and to do anything wrong would mean I was ungrateful for that gift I was being given and it would mean that I was not a “perfect” mother (inconceivable!). I would find myself walking in public actually judging other mothers in my mind for all the things they were doing “wrong”, I would NEVER become one of THOSE mothers. I was even guilty of doing this with my nearest and dearest and thinking back now the fact that I ever had those judgmental thoughts is really shameful and frankly quite naïve and pathetic.

Becoming a mother for the first time is daunting to say the least. You are on the steepest roller coaster and learning curve of your life and no matter how much advice people give you, ultimately you end up just having to figure it out on your own. You end up doing what works for you and usually those are the things that make life easier – “anything for an easy life” I can hear my husband saying. After all, why complicate matters. Isn’t it about doing the very best for your children and having a lot of fun doing it?!

The thing is, I know for a fact that I am not alone in this. I have had numerous very honest conversations with other new mums who have openly admitted to having been just as judgmental. I’m sure that some of you reading this will be internally acknowledging that this was or still is you. The lesson we ‘judgers’ all need to learn is that being a mum is hard work. Judging each other is so counterproductive. We should be each other’s biggest fans! I’ve never been able to completely understand why we as woman always seem to have an opinion about what others are doing wrong. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a primal instinct in that we are all innately fighting to be the most “perfect” woman, but perhaps it’s a simple as jealousy and envy as so many say it is. Whatever the reason behind this judgmental nature we seem to possess, we really need to work to change it. Why shouldn’t we be each other’s biggest fans?!

Since having Izzie my perspective has definitely changed. I feel I have in fact become enlightened to the trials of motherhood and it’s almost never easy! I have found my mummy friends to be my biggest supporters, I absolutely adore listening to their differing opinions and approaches to every aspect of child rearing. They have helped me to be confident in establishing a routine that works for our family and I know I always have them to bounce ideas off of. I am definitely their biggest fan and I can honestly say that in becoming a mother, I no longer look at another woman and judge her for how she chooses to raise her children. Instead I think about the things she is doing which I should perhaps try. Guess what?!? Sometimes, she’s right! I for one have proudly and quite intentionally become one of THOSE mothers.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

© gorillamums 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any material or media (including images) without express and written permission from this blog’s authors and/or owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to gorillamums with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Mum mates (if there’s a fire – I know they’ve got my back)

I wanted to write about the importance of having a mum support network. I started loads of times and couldn’t really find the words to truly emphasise just how important it’s been for me personally. I could just say “it’s really f*cking important”. But that’s a bit sweary and not very helpful. So I have decided to tell you about my own support network and you can fill in for yourself how you think they have each individually and together helped me, supported me, reassured me and made me laugh out loud at 4:20am.
Before you read this you should know that I’m not great at putting people in boxes and figuring them out straight away – in fact I’m pretty terrible at it. My technique for understanding people is to think of what they’d be like in a fire and work back from there. Don’t ask me why but it seems to work.
Nina – the cool one; looks cool, speaks cool, just is cool. But completely effortlessly. She’s that girl in the year above you at school who you tried to do your hair like, but failed. Motivational through her sheer belief that things will be great. In a fire Nina would be the one slapping you round the face saying “get a grip you idiot, and don’t forget the marshmallows for toasting!”.
Ruth – so together but with such a witty, cheeky sense of humour, she makes me want to type “LOL” and I never type LOL. Takes everything in her stride, seemingly completely unflappable. In a fire she’d be the person standing on the front lawn (maybe with a G&T) wondering what all that fuss was about and secretly wondering if it’s too soon to crack a joke about the fact I forgot to put on trousers in all the panic.
Raluca – one of the most nurturing people I have ever met, so caring, huge heart and seems to worry about herself last. You could bottle her and use her to heal the hardest of hearts. In a fire she’d be the one taking care of anyone that was singed and listening to your pathetic tale of the splinter you got in your finger trying to open the front door.
Bianca – a force to be reckoned with. I don’t think I’ve ever met a person more sure of their own mind or where they stand. If we were in some mythical time, she’d be the one wearing the skull of the last person that p*ssed her off as a necklace and leading the rebel army, possibly whilst riding a dragon. In a fire she’d be the person kicking the living daylights out of the person who started it.
Vicky – touchingly thoughtful, thinks of others constantly and one of those people you vow to be more like every year, you know, the one who never misses your special day and moreover whose card arrives on time, and is personalised. The one who makes you shake your head in wonder and go “…she remembered”. In a fire she’d be the one to save your most treasured item that you forgot when you ran out panicking.
Anna – the kind of person you are with for five minutes and just feel better about life in general. Infectiously positive with a thousand watt smile that just makes you feel OK about the world. The human equivalent of looking at a tranquil sea. In a fire Anna would be cheering you on whilst you tried to dig yourself out through the floor with a spoon, before gently drawing your attention to the fact that she’d unlocked the front door. Then reassure you that digging was a good plan though.
Bree – human ray of sunshine. Excited and vivacious about life, magnetic; draws people to her. Makes you feel energised and want to go and run through a meadow shrieking “everything’s going to be awesome” or make her a friendship bracelet and solemnly vow to become blood brothers forever. In a fire Bree would save everyone. Then make the firemen and cup of tea. Or glass of wine.
Sophia – Considered, intelligent, sweet hearted and completely stunning. So modest you could miss out on knowing her unless you really needle in there. The kind of person you could spend a whole day talking to and never run out of things you want to know about her. In a fire Sophia would be the one grabbing a can of beans, an oven glove and a bag of flour and fashioning an extinguisher. She learned it the time she ran a fire training camp in the Outer Hebrides for a year. The answer to your next question is “because you never asked”

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© gorillamums 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any material or media (including images) without express and written permission from this blog’s authors and/or owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to gorillamums with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Love daughter, hate nappies

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I need to get something off my chest – I know it’s controversial – but I hate changing nappies. Now, I’m very much a champion of the “mumsterhood” and I would do anything to support my fellow mums, but really, does anyone actually like changing nappies? Are you sure? There’s pooh there! Pooh is disgusting to me whether it comes from my darling daughter’s little pink bottom, the fluffy behind of a baby rabbit or the hairy a*se of a giant man. It’s pooh, it’s disgusting because it smells horrendous, it looks horrendous, it’s…pooh! 

My daughter, aka the sh*t machine poohs every day, sometimes twice a day. The only bits I like about this is that a) I assume it means she’s healthy and b) the funny red googly-eyed straining face she does when she’s curling one out. It’s pretty amusing, especially when she does it in public and everyone’s watching her. Poor girl is going to get some serious ribbing in adult life if people don’t forget about it before she’s old enough to feel embarrassment.
I don’t make a big deal about hating pooh (except dog pooh which will never have a place in my life) I don’t complain about changing nappies I just don’t like it. OK sometimes I will pass her to my husband right after she’s done one and when he goes “I think she’s poohed”, I act surprised. Very occasionally I just look at him with a sad face and say “she’s poohed”. But mostly I just adopt my coping mechanism which I’ve had for every stage of her pooh and get on with it. My coping mechanism in case you were wondering is this 1) Hold breath 2) Try not to look at it 3) If it’s really bad say “Oh my God, this is disgusting” repeatedly in my head.
Here’s why I did this at every stage; because there has been no stage that wasn’t disgusting. The black tar ones when she was first born were revolting and scary and almost as big as her. They took about 700 balls of cotton to remove – then once I’d manoeuvred her little bird legs back into her blasted baby grow, she’d do another – straight away. Then there was the “liquified alien” stage – the clue is in the name. Then there was the yellow curry-sauce projectile stage which was the worst, and dangerous to boot; I got poohed on (and screamed), my best mate got poohed on (it took 2 washes to get it off her white top), my husband had to deal with what can only be described as a butt explosion which went so far up her back she had to go in the bath. Which brings us to now, where we are in the semi-solid-sludge stage. Guess what? It’s still gross and it will continue to be gross – forever. My love for her is unconditional and endless; and so is my hatred for pooh.

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© gorillamums 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any material or media (including images) without express and written permission from this blog’s authors and/or owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to gorillamums with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Poo Nostalgia

Before continuing, I should point out that I am writing this post on the basis that you know and I know that mothers of babies find poo fascinating and could probably talk about it all day, so let’s not pretend we think that this post will really be disgusting.

On the way back from the monthly weigh-in (baby, not me) today I was chatting to one of the other gorilla mums about how quickly our babies are growing up. I found it rather frightening to be sat in the waiting room for the weigh-in to see at least 2 “baby babies” as I call them – that is, little babies who are probably only a few months old. I was frightened because that was Hannah just a few weeks ago, and that in that same amount of time I will be back at work, and back into my own routine. It made me think about just how true the advice was that I was given by sooooo many people that I should take time to enjoy Hannah when she is so small because the time flies by so quickly.

Anyway, I digress. Me and the other Gorilla Mum (it was Anna, actually) were talking about poo – as one does – and the effect on it of our babies eating solids. I, like Anna, was entertained and amused by the particular effect that banana has on it – poo with little black streaky dots in it, what’s all that about? The conversation then developed into how the substance of the poo has changed (a lot more solid than it used to be) as well as the colour (mainly orangey) and that we missed that oddly cute smell of a baby’s milk poo. My husband and I still quite like changing her nappy, and it’s even a favourite Grandma (my mum) and Nanny (his mum) task to perform.

Now, I’m a clever lass (or clever enough to think at least) and I know this is not going to last. I have very clear visions of the future based on the experiences of dealing with my (gorgeous) nephews for a start. However, I just don’t want the future to come too quickly. The poo is just one issue which, for me, symbolises the pace at which life is moving now. Hannah is in size 3s at the moment, but not for that much longer and there will be no going back. My little girl is growing up. Do I want this to happen? Yes of course – I want her to develop and grow into the fantastic young woman I know she is going to be.  But not too fast please, because she can never go back.

My grandma, after whom Hannah is named (one of her middle names), used to say to my mum that each age has its rewards and I think that’s true.  There’s nothing like the wonderfulness of a newborn, but then you don’t get the fun of playing with a newborn that you do with an older baby.  I guess Hannah will, as I am to my mum, always be my baby, but I’m not half going to miss those early days.  Especially when she hits the terrible twos……..

 

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© gorillamums 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any material or media (including images) without express and written permission from this blog’s authors and/or owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to gorillamums with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sleep deprived mama – How do I put a stop to the Boom, Boom, KABOOM?!

I’ve not had much sleep recently… but not for the reasons you might think. I’m lucky in some ways -my daughter has been sleeping through the night since she was about 3 months and my husband doesn’t snore or toss and turn. The reason for my lack of sleep lies in the boom, boom KABOOM! Every night Izzie goes down at around 9 and for the first 30 minutes she persists in banging her legs down on her mattress. Eventually this stops and she drifts off. This isn’t such an issue because we generally don’t go to bed until a couple hours later so we let her get on with it. It seems to sooth her.

The problem arises when at 3am I am in a beautiful deep sleep until BOOM BOOM KABOOM! I am jolted out of my lovely dreams to the loud bangs coming from my daughters crib. BOOM BOOM KABOOM! I leap from bed waking my husband and knocking over everything in my path. I’m barely awake, you might even say I’m practically sleep walking when I approach Izzie’s crib to find she is sound asleep banging away. It’s as if she is dreaming that she is competing in Olympic hurdles or triple jump!

Now you would think after a few weeks of this I would learn that there is no need to jump to attention at every boom, but come 3am when you hear a boom, you jump.

This nightly routine of Boom, Boom Kaboom has meant that in the past few weeks I am once again walking around like a zombie. Not fun!

Now I’m not complaining because like I said, I recognise how lucky I am that my not yet 6 month old sleeps through the night, but how do I stop the sound of an elephant herd coming from my daughter’s crib every night?!

 

 

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© gorillamums 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any material or media (including images) without express and written permission from this blog’s authors and/or owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to gorillamums with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Some New Parent Top Tips

Here are some shortcuts and other tricks we have found that make our lives as parents a bit easier

Prep bottles, for the night and the next morning, before bed

Bottles

Every night before bed I sterilise all the bottles, fill them with cooled boiled water and measure the formula into the dispensers so that when I get up bleary eyed at bitch o’clock in the morning, I can make bottles without burning my fingers off, spilling formula all over everything or having to boil a kettle and have my child get into a screaming huger frenzy waiting for it to cool. It also helps my husband to make bottles because unless something is in plain sight with a neon sign pointing to it, I have “hidden” it and it is lost to him forever.

Don’t call the mum police on me but I put the bottles in the microwave for 30s before I add the formula. As long as you make sure to shake the water to distribute any hot spots and test it before you feed it, you’ll be fine.

Have a separate laundry basket for baby things

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Keep it within throwing distance of the baby changing area. That way you separate baby vomit, wee and pooh from your clothes which are (possibly) not covered in these things. If you’re like me, most of your clothes will go on a dark wash but for some reason people get offended when I dress my child in black. I was battered into submission by all the pink clothes I received as gifts so I am now a raging gender stereotyper and most of my baby’s clothes are pink. Stick the whole lot, sheets, sleeping bags and your pink t shirts on a 1 load non-bio wash when the bag gets full. Easy laundry life.

Use fairy lights

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1. Babies are mesmerised by them, allowing you to place the baby into their cot at sleep time, ensure they are transfixed and then slink out of the room (you may need to do the “drop and crawl” at first. I tried emplyoing the “bed commando roll” once but the bed creaked and blew my cover).

2. Unlike a lamp, they only illuminate the baby, so in the night you can easily execute the “one eyed baby breathing check” without having to dazzle yourself or risk waking your bedmate/s.

3. If you use pink or red, the glow is meant to soothe the baby as it reminds them of the womb (if I was saying this to you in person I would be doing a lot of air quotes and a bit of eye rolling but Ewan the dream sheep works on the same principle so I guess I’m a believer)

4. It feels a bit like Christmas

Keep wipes in every room

wipes

 (Other brands are available….).

Your life as a new parent is/will be pretty skanky.  Sick, poo, other fluids etc. will find their way on to every item of your clothing and furniture and dusting will take a necessary back seat.   While I am not and never have been houseproud I can not bear limescale, water stains, and I realised that I needed a clever plan for dealing with stains and dirt when I told one of my friends that I was excited about my parents coming to visit because I could clean. I was actually looking forward to cleaning the bog.   My little solution – which fits in quite neatly with my love of buying cleaning products – is to buy wipes for every room and leave them in there.  Loo cleaning wipes for the loo, multipurpose wipes for the kitchen, cheap baby wipes to clean vomit etc. off the sette etc.  So when I do get a quick moment to nip for a wee (and I mean the deliberate sort – not the sort where you get a bit post-baby leaky) I can wipe round the loo afterwards and feel a bit more relaxed about people coming over to visit.  Honestly, you’d think I was best friends with Kim and Aggie the way I’m talking.  My mum will tell you I’m not.  Or you could just pay a cleaner to do it – which you should seriously consider if you can afford it.

Engage in some role play

nurse

Sorry, I couldn’t find a properly illustrative picture.  Anyway what I mean is that if you are co-parenting your child, or if you can regularly rope in a mate or parent, try to assign a regular task to them.  For example, it could be Daddy’s job to give the baby a bath every day.  That way he bonds with her, and you have 15 minutes to disappear and do something you want/need to do.  Or you could agree that your partner will do the morning/night feeds on a particular day.  That way you share in responsibility and both have time to bond with the baby in a way that limits how resentful you might feel, and which gives you some precious time to yourself.

Double up

calm

If you live in a house or large flat you might want to consider setting up 2 changing stations.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to pretend I’m not lazy (I am), but running up and down the stairs every time my baby needs a change is neither practical nor fun.  I therefore have the following in both her room and the living room – changing mat, wipes, nappies, tissues, sangenic changing bin, toys, change of clothes, blanket, bottles, feed, muslins, dummies.  So far it has saved my knees, back, and several hours of my baby crying.

Buy some medicine and a syringe

syringe

What I mean is Calpol, though other brands are available.  I think.

Anyway if your baby can take it, buy some before his/her first jabs.  S/he might not need it but it will save a dash to the chemists by a confused partner and precious time while your little one is crying.  You’ll also have it in your arsenal of supplies should s/he need something to help him/her along.  I’ve found having a syringe to give medicine invaluable. There’s a syringe in most packs of Calpol.  Firstly, it measures the dose more accurately than a spoon and if you are as paranoid as me it helps to reassure you that you aren’t poisoning your baby by accident.  Secondly, it’s a darn sight easier than using a spoon.  Giving a baby medicine is, however, still like trying to nail jelly to a wall so either invest in some kind of baby medicine giving device (they do exist) or try squirting some of the stuff in their mouth, giving them a dummy or finger to suck immediately, then continuing until it’s all gone.