Sunshine after the storm

I’m not ok and I haven’t been for a long time. It has taken me years to realise it. I haven’t told anyone this, in fact the first time that I honestly admitted it to myself was only a week before writing it all down!

I have been living in a fog. Playing with my children but not truly engaging. Talking with friends but not truly participating. Spending time with family but not truly being there. Life has been going on around me but I’ve not truly been a part of it. I’ve not been unhappy per se, it’s more that I haven’t really had emotions. Everything has been dulled as if hidden behind a veil. There is a constant headache and life can seem as if it is happening in slow motion. Some days it is all I can do to get myself and the children ready and fed whilst other days are fairly normal but there is always this fog. That is the only way I can describe it really. A fog. Sometimes thick and sometimes misty but always there, surrounding me.

The fact that it has taken me years to realise all of this is perhaps unbelievable for some. I suppose that I knew something wasn’t right at first (or maybe I didn’t, I can’t remember) but it just became normal. It was how things were and I just got on with it. I learnt to cope and put on a smile and act how I should act in social situations. It is my life and I just carried on.

Realising that how I am feeling isn’t normal has come about slowly. To be honest I’m not sure when I first started to realise or why but it has slowly become clearer. Things are improving now that I know. I can stop blaming myself on the bad days and really make the most of the good days. I can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel, some sunshine after the storm.

I’m not ok but I will be!

 

 

 

Brelfie Craze


There is a new craze doing the rounds at the moment – The Tree of Life Brelfie. For those of you who don’t know what a brelfie is, it is a breastfeeding selfie. These pictures use an app called PicsArt to superimpose a tree with roots onto a breastfeeding picture before using different art styles to add an effect to the picture. 

They are incredible pictures to look at but I have to admit that I was dubious at first. I was worried that despite being visually stunning and despite being a symbol of a proud mother, they would soon just become the latest fuel on the fire of the whole breast vs formula feeding debate. Usually calm and centred women would once again become enraged because they perceived a beautiful picture to be slighting their choice of feeding. Now due to a number of issues I formula fed my children exclusively after the first few weeks and I was at times shamed for this. However, I really do not see the need for any such debate or  ill feeling. Babies need to be fed and as long as they are fed then end of story!

I will happily say that I have so far been wrong in my prediction. All of the pictures that I have seen have been viewed as the beautiful, life affirming, proud mummy moments that they were meant to be. And so do you know what, I decided to do my own. Even though it didn’t work out for me, I did try. I am proud that I tried. I never got a picture of me feeding baby boy but I did get one of me feeding baby girl and so I am celebrating that fact! I am a proud mother!

Share your brelfies proudly ladies!

Mother in Law or Monster in Law?


We’ve all heard the Mother in Law jokes. You know the ones:

What is the difference between outlaws and in-laws? Outlaws are wanted. 

What’s the punishment for bigamy? Two mothers-in-law.

I used to think that Mother in Law jokes were just a bit of a cliche. That they didn’t really have a grounding but were the result of too much stereotypical daytime TV. Endora from Bewitched for example is the ultimate stereotypical Mother in Law. I mean you have to ignore the magical background but looking past that she pretty much sums up the whole Mother in Law image portrayed by many a spouse. Now I am quite an active participant on online parenting groups and forums and I cannot believe some of the stories I hear about Mother in Laws. From interfering in parenting decisions to openly telling their child to get a divorce, the sheer audacity of these women is mindblowing. One woman who posted was seriously contemplating a divorce if her Mother in Law didn’t stop calling her ‘the barren one’ and telling her husband that he should leave her for someone fertile (they weren’t even trying for a baby!).

It is whilst reading these comments, written by sometimes desperate women, that I realise just how lucky I am! My Mother in Law is amazing! I’m sorry if you were expecting, or wanting, me to rant about her, to moan about the awful things she does and says or tell you how terrible she is to be around. I’m afraid that I can’t do that. I can’t do that because my Mother in Law is actually lovely. She does not fit the stereotypical Mother in Law image at all. 

So here are 10 reasons why I love my Mother in Law:

1. She is kind, fun and caring. 

2. She treats me like a daughter.

3. She lets me moan to her when life is rubbish. 

4. She is a godsend when I need a few hours break from the children.

5. She never interferes in my parenting decisions (although I’m sure she would like to sometimes when i’m doing an awful job of it). 

6. She never tells me off about my messy house.

7. She doesn’t tell me that I don’t look after her son well enough.

8. She is a fabulous baker (and doesn’t judge when I eat more than 1 slice of cake).

9. She loves my children unconditionally.

10. She is the reason I have my husband!

This Sunday, 23rd October, is National Mother in Law Day (fairly sure this might just be in America but as we usually end up stealing most of their traditions anyway, let’s just go with it) and so as we sit down to our Sunday roast let’s raise a glass to all of the amazing Mother in Laws. Here’s to you fabulous women who have defied the stereotypical image and who treat your child’s spouse like the family they are. You are great! And to my Mother in Law, a great big thank you. Thank you for raising the man I married and thank you for welcoming me to your family. I appreciate you more than you will ever know.

Image credit – https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/245401881/in-law-card-funny-mother-in-law-card?ref=shop_home_active_74

Failing Working Mummy

You can have it all, they said. A fulfilling career, a loving family and a beautiful home. You can be a successful woman. They lied!

Juggling. Balancing. Trying. Failing.

That is probably the best way to describe how I feel at the moment. I’ve never been in the running for Mum and wife of the year and I’ve definitely never been able to call myself a domestic goddess but my children have been happy and Mr K has been safe in the knowledge that the house, if messy, has not been harbouring a deadly disease under a pile of washing. Since returning to work however, my just about balanced life has tumbled over, my spinning plates have come crashing down and my life raft has deserted me (it was probably eaten by the large stuffed animal shark that baby boy has developed a new attachment to). I am sinking.

Of course I can handle a job as well as raise 2 young children and keep the house in a liveable condition! Those infamous last thoughts when I accepted the full time teaching role have played on my mind every day. Well fair play to you life, the joke is on me. Was I being too cocky? Did I need bringing down a peg or two?  Whatever the reason, you have certainly done your best to knock me off balance. Well played, life, well played!

On a typical week day at the moment I probably see my children for a grand total of an hour and half. It’s not quality time. That hour and a half is spent getting them up and dressed, giving them breakfast whilst preparing their packed lunch, driving them to the childminder, picking them up from the childminder, giving them a bath and putting them (with firm opposition from baby boy) to bed. Not exactly the fun family life I dreamed of. The weekend is slightly better. I at least get a day with my family, amidst trying to get semi on top of the housework, before spending Sunday doing planning and marking ready for another week at school. I am missing out on so much. I am missing out of the fun and laughter, on trips to the park, on collecting conkers, on jumping in muddy puddles, on learning to wave, on kicking leaves and countless other small things. Don’t get me wrong, my children are still doing all of these things. They are doing them on a daily basis but with a bunch of lovely ladies who look after them with fantastic care and love. I know that my children are doing these things because I get to read about them on the information sheet that comes home when I pick my children up each evening. My relationship with my children has become an hour and a half of necessary tasks and a daily log!

At least I have a great job, right? Well maybe I’m the most ungrateful person in the world but I am really starting to resent spending more time with other people’s children than my own. Teaching was my dream job and maybe my dreams have changed or the reality of staying up past midnight every single night to complete the necessary marking and paperwork is just unfeasible since the children arrived but I am feeling the love slowly dissipate. The daily stresses and insane workload that a career in education bring seem to have trebled since I qualified just 6 years ago and I am just not sure that I am cut out for the totally life consuming dedication that is required and expected from today’s teachers.  The bills still need to be paid though and despite regularly applying for jobs in other sectors, it seems that I am now only qualified to teach. I just don’t know how to escape!

Life has a way of throwing everything at you all at once and then adding in that extra little kick whilst you are down. It happens to all of us but that doesn’t make it easier. In fact, the knowledge that others around us have their own problems just pushes us to keep our own struggles to ourselves. Not wanting to burden our loved ones we push on through the daily grind, burying our true feelings. It’s just the way it is. Ok, so maybe I am generalising and that is not true for everyone. Maybe there are people out there who openly admit that they need support and not let themselves be bogged down. I applaud those people and if I’m honest, I’m a little jealous of them. I myself, just try to plod on through with a fake smile and a nod of my head when asked if everything is well. I’m just not sure how long I can keep it up this time.

Image credit – http://www.thebackoffice.eu/lisas-top-tips-for-working-mums/

 

Car Seats – know the law!


There are certain topics that are always sure to start a debate (or argument) amongst parents. Forward facing car seats is one of those hot topics. Now I am a keen advocate of extended rear facing car seats (my first post on the subject). Baby boy has a car seat that will keep him rear facing until roughly the age of 5 and baby girl will have the same. These car seats have been shown to be 5x safer in the event of an accident and the crash test footage, for me, just confirms my choice. That being said, if a parent chooses to move their child to a forward facing seat at a younger age then that is up to them. No one should judge or condemn them as it is a valid parenting choice – AS LONG AS IT IS LEGAL!

Over the past year I have heard so many parents say that they don’t understand which car seat to use. There are countless posts on social media and parenting forums asking for car seat advice and twice as many answers giving bad advice! I am shocked at how many parents don’t know the law with regards to car seats!

On 1st April 2015, i-Size (a European safety standard – ECE R129) became official UK legislation. I personally don’t feel that this law has been properly explained to parents and it certainly hasn’t had the media coverage that it needed. There are far too many people who either have no idea of its existence or just don’t fully understand it. The i-Size law means that children using a height based car seat (i-Size car seat) must stay rear facing in this seat until they are at least 15 months old. At the moment this only applies to i-Size car seats so don’t start to worry if your 12 month old is forward facing in a non i-Size seat. However, if you do have an i-Size car seat and your child is facing forward earlier than 15 months old then you are breaking the law.

Some i-size car seats:

Maxi Cosi Two Way Pearl, Maxi Cosi Axissfix, BeSafe iZi iSize, BeSafe Modular, Joie iAnchor, Nuna Rebl, Concord Reverso.

http://www.goodeggcarsafety.com

If you don’t have an i-Size car seat then the ECE R44/04 law still applies. This law allows your child to use a forward facing car seat once they weigh at least 9kg. If your child is in a forward facing car seat below this weight limit then you are breaking the law!

It really is that simple. If you have an i-Size seat your child stays rear facing until 15 months and if you don’t have an i-Size seat then they  must rear face until they weigh at 9kg.

Now as I said, I am a firm believer in children rear facing until at least age 4 and if you want your child to stay rear facing for longer that’s great. There are some fantastic extended rear facing car seats on the market now and they are becoming increasingly budget friendly! However, if you choose to have your child forward face that’s fine. It is completely your decision. Just know and follow the law!

Image credit – http://www.mylittlecar.fr/lhistoire-hallucinante-du-siege-bebe/