Motherhood is……..

It has struck me lately how immensely exhausted I am.

Not just the general end of the day tiredness we all get, but a pure, absolutely shattered, all day consuming, can’t quite function enough to string a sentence together sort of tired.

However, one other thing I have noticed and think about often now I’m on my own is that I am absolutely in love with motherhood. In love with being mom and having that one special little person around me all of the time. If I could do it again I would. In a heartbeat.

I love to watch her, to play, to teach her new things, to learn together, to just be together. For some, it’s not like this, I totally appreciate that, but for me, I feel I was born to do this. To exist with her by my side. It’s the only thing I know I’m any good at. She was meant to be here.

I love it, yet I am worn by it in equal measure. I think we may all feel this way at times, especially with little ones running about. So here are a few honest thoughts on the pros and cons of life as a mamma. It’s not for those with a weak stomach. I’m straight. I’m to the point. I like to say it how it is. Of course it applies to all parents who are hands on and involved with the raising of their kids, but I think this one will hit a resonating and accurately truthful spot with a lot of the moms out there, who, lets face it, often do a lot more of the hands on kind of stuff! Here’s my tale of motherhood, worts, sick, mess and all. Good stuff too ūüėČ I hope it raises a smile or two. It made me smile writing it.

Enjoy ūüėČ

Motherhood is………

Sickness: Getting in from a shopping trip and cleaning up sick before your bag is even off your back. Knowing that the frozen peas in your trendy hessian bag for life are going to defrost before you have cleared it all up, acknowledging the simple task of putting them in the freezer first is something easier said than done when you have a daughter with a severe gag reflex, who will continue to be sick, making more mess to clean up, if it’s left to linger longer than a few seconds. Realizing that your wipe clean only new rug probably will not wipe clean at all and needs to now go into the washing machine. Feeling disheartened that you know the colours will probably run and ruin the whole thing. Discovering that you are out of washing powder, having to leave the rug to sit and fester for the rest of the day until you have the energy to go shopping again tomorrow. Contemplating washing the rug the next day when it’s pouring with rain and knowing it will take at least 3 days to dry indoors, keeping a dim glimmer of hope that it doesn’t smell damp again after that long and need to be rewashed. Scraping off what you can into the bin with a spoon whilst trying not to gag yourself. Sitting on your tired knees, literally scooping up chunks of vomit with your newly purchased packet of ¬£2.49 a pop water wipes. Feeling annoyed that you were hoping these expensive wipes, that you couldnt afford when she was a baby as she needed several packets a week then, so now buy as a treat, are now being used in great mass to clean up sick, rather than sitting for a few weeks in your bag as you had hoped, ensuring you got your money’s worth out of those pricy bastards, with an added feel good factor of being able to clean your little one’s face with a chemical free product. Having to change the bin before it’s even full so the smell doesn’t stick to the kitchen. Having to change your daughter’s clothes and give her a bath all before lunchtime, knowing all of these things should have lasted until bedtime, when they will have to be done again anyway.

Getting to comfort her and make her feel better after being sick or feeling unwell. Getting those somewhat desperate, feel sorry for myself cuddles off my little girl who really needs and wants me in those moments. Completely surrendering to what she needs and feeling that love and bond, whether it be letting her lay across my lap until she feels better or simply kissing her head and assuring her she’s ok before she runs off to play again.¬† Feeling loved and needed and knowing I’m helping her in that moment and offering love and security.20170530_143329

Above: Sick in all its glory. Sorry Emi. I write the truth ūüėČ

Tantrums: Watching your child have a major meltdown at the fact you have put butter on their toast underneath their layer of jam. Feeling pissed off that they are now refusing to eat the toast you have got out of bed to make at 6.30am especially for them after they have demanded it of you since about an hour earlier. Not having the patience to pander to a little dictator at that time in the morning, so casually making tea and switching off as they scream and slam the door in the other room, probably breaking things you rather like along the way. Getting worked up and frustrated inside and trying your hardest not to scream and slam the door in return. Snapping back at them when they throw the food onto the floor, them wanting that reaction, as you see it catching your furniture along the way, making more unnecessary mess to clean up. After 20 minutes of hell, realizing it has all gone quiet and going in to see the child happily chowing down on the now cold toast they were so against a few minutes ago, whilst giggling away to CBeebies on tv. Walking off in astonishment after hearing them say they are still hungry and asking for more of the toast they apparently so hated before. Feeling mentally drained before it’s even light outside, knowing the rest of the day could bring another 3 or 4 of these breakdowns and not feeling ready for it or able to cope. Wondering how the hell you will get through the day with a start like this. Praying for bedtime already at 7am. Doing breathing exercises to keep your cool by the kettle, as you reach for the normal tea, knowing you need it in a time where you would usually be happy to settle for decaffeinated. Hearing it all starting again because the tv programme she has watched has finished and you get the blame for turning it off, somehow from the kitchen without access to the remote control. Calming her down again and taking in her requested second round of toast, only for her to refuse it and say she’s not hungry anymore. Feeling your blood bubble inside but trying with everything you have not to show her she’s got to you. Begrudgingly eating the would be wasted toast so it doesn’t end up in the bin, even though you have tried to be good and have just a banana and some nuts for breakfast that day. Knowing its a losing battle and sitting back and enjoying the toast instead whilst looking down at your ever expanding mum tum you should have shifted 4 years ago. Knowing that putting the toast in the bin would bother you more than eating it, so accepting the extra calories you didn’t initially want are an acceptable second option to otherwise pointless wasting of food. Knowing you have had bread every day for the last week and really need to cut down on starchy carbs, whilst knowing you are gaining so much comfort from them at the same time. Waiting until you have eaten the last crust before hearing another meltdown when she realizes you have eaten the toast she didnt even want because it was hers.

The rare occassions when she has a meltdown and there is a good reason behind it. Those times she breaks downs and is angry and I am able to keep my cool and let her do what she needs in letting it flow. The patience I have learned over time in how to deal with someone who has no control over how to deal with their own emotions themselves at that age. The lessons I have learned in not taking it personally. The triumph of getting through a tantrum and coming out the other end still liking each other immensly. The fact they don’t remember these things 5 minutes after it has happened but will remember me being there instead.

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Above: The come down to a massive tantrum out on a day trip with friends. I am half eating, half trying to find the will to smile and half hoping she eats her lunch and stops being a diva…thats a strained face right there…the show must go on…second pic…the face says it all…early morning bad start, mom annoyed, picky nose kid not bothered

Bedtime: That same routine every night of fighting her to get up the stairs as she does not want to go to bed. Having to physically carry up a strong willed 4 year old if she refuses. Watching as she brushes her front teeth only, really hard and really fast within about 15 seconds to make a point that she has done them. Chasing her across the landing to bring her back into the bathroom so that I can help her brush them properly. Having to hear her fake cry as I try and brush her back teeth, with her exaggerating that I am making her teeth hurt and making her sick. Once teeth are done, rechasing her across the landing again to bring her back to the bathroom to have a wee before sleep. Having to physically put her on the toilet as she protests that she doesnt even need one. Fighting against her superhuman mini person strength and replacing her back on the toilet about 4 times until she finally sits there and has a wee that sounds as if it it has been stored up there for about a decade. Watching her smirk at me as she does so. Going into the bedroom to find she has taken off the pyjamas you placed on her 5 minutes ago and dumped them on the floor in a heap. Reading her bedtime story and leaving the room, only for her to refuse to settle or wake up an hour later so you lose any chance of an evening yourself. Never getting to sleep in your own bed as she has security issues, sleeping next to her in part every night and forgetting what it’s like to sleep alone and comfortably. Wondering if when you do eventually make it back to your own room, if it will be taken over by spiders from lack of use. Waking up each morning and finding you have no battery power on your phone, when you know you fully charged it the night before. Charging it again and finding 100 versions of the same selfie of you asleep in the background and your daughter’s big face up close and having to spend the morning deleting most of them to make space on your phone again. Wondering if you should install a camera to see what exactly she gets up to in the 2 hours she is probably awake before I surface unwillingly at around 7am.

Those evening that she does not fight to go to bed and looks forward to her routine. Those times she sets the timer to show me that she is learning and wanting to brush her teeth for 2 minutes, watching on at her little happy face as she proudly and manically brushes her teeth herself to show me. Those times she cannot wait for our one on one time in bed, curled up together, warm and cozy, with an arm around each other and a good book to share. The nights I will read to her and she memorizes the story front to back and reads it in her own way back to me. Those nights where all she wants is me by her side to cuddle her and feel secure in the knowledge that I am there for her. Those nights where she wakes up in the early hours, desperately checks that I’m still around, reaches over to hold my hand, says she loves me in a half-asleep croaky voice and falls back into a deep happy sleep. Knowing she feels loved and secure with me. Waking up to her beaming face wanting to spend yet more time with me. She’s always smiling when she wakes up. Waking up with her wanting to get on with the day and make more memories with her mom. Having some novelty funny pictures to look back on that I didn’t have to bribe her to get myself.¬†

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Above: One of many 6.30am selfies

Being just us two: Finding it hard some days to keep her occupied and do two people’s jobs in one. Seeing her dad on his days off and watching her love him and his time, then seeing the difference in her asking for him after times we may not see him for a while. Feeling bored with routine and no one to share daily silly things with. Wondering what the point of life is sometimes without someone to share it with. Shared life is just better. Sitting down at the end of the day after she’s asleep and having no one to share the day with and discuss or laugh about things she has done. Sitting down at the end of the day and not having any adult company to be with, to talk to, to touch. Staying mute all evening whilst knitting, knowing I’m only 30 and am already living the evening of a 75-year-old granny, yet knowing I’m too tired to do anything else anyway. Trying to keep on top of all the things we used to share as a team by myself, whilst trying to still ensure she is occupied and not breaking things. Constantly juggling money, housework, time. Feeling like giving in some days yet somehow keep being strong and doing what needs to get done. Keeping her busy so that she is constantly learning and happy, not feeling she is lacking in only having one of us here full time. Dealing with my own baggage and emotions, trying to stay positive for her and me. Establishing a new relationship with her dad, working to be both around for her and trying at the same time to not resent him too much on the long weekends he gets to not be here helping me. Constantly trying to put her before myself and what I may want. Wanting to go out but knowing sometimes it’s harder to enjoy activities with only two of us. Doing those activities you have pushed yourself to do for her and then being surrounded in parks, at theatres, by seemingly happy families and couples living the life you so wanted, and coming away feeling like utter shit. Like you are not enough for her alone.

Realizing that you can do anything when you have to. Feeling a sense of achievement when you manage something foreign to you, like building a lawnmower out of the box for the first time ever, having been given no alternative apart from not mowing the grass which badly needed doing. Knowing that you are capable and she is safe in your sole care. Having so much time together that she’s like a mini best friend and companion. Having been able to spend the really important first years of her life with her, never missing a thing. Getting to be there for all the crucial milestones. Coming together through times of grief to form an unbreakable close bond. Knowing that her not having much materially now will mean that she will appreciate everything she eventually will have in later life. Knowing that I will teach her to earn whatever she has in life and to work hard in all that she does, whether that be baking a cake or her later studies. Passing on my own life skills to her and watching her enjoy learning them. Being a little team and helping each other get through the days. Compromising together. Her insight into when I may not be feeling well and her care and love in giving me the space I need in those times, even at her tender age, she knows. Knowing she still has people she loves in her life, even if in a different capacity to the one she once knew. Knowing I am doing whats best for her. Loving how precious I am to her and she is to me.

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Writing this I have laughed and cried at what a menace and a sweetheart she is wrapped in one parcel. Kiss your babies goodnight and take nothing for granted. Parenthood is a bloody rollercoaster and it’s important we laugh at the struggles in order to get through them and appreciate the good bits in equal measure. Goodnight. I’m off for a cuddle x

Co-Sleeping with a child

Up until the age of one, my daughter refused to sleep by herself! She was so young and little, we just became accustomed to the fact our night time rest would be disturbed and accepted it would get better when she was ready. It became a way of life that we just went along with, often believing our patience couldn’t last when we fancied a bit of alone time and a crying baby would often put a stop to it. We always found humour with it though, as the second she was placed between us, she would close her eyes, smile coyly and drift off for the rest of the night in a wonderful cosy sleep, probably feeling pretty safe and smug. We didn’t mind really. Getting to squish her baby leg rolls in the night was a pretty good consolation prize. (We all enjoy baby rolls, don’t deny it.)

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Above: Who wouldn’t enjoy waking up to this?!

Then suddenly, when she was around 14 months, is stopped. She wanted to sleep in her cot and there were no more tears at bedtime, no more midnight wake up calls. We found ourselves for weeks after it started keeping on checking in on her, making sure she was still breathing, as we couldn’t get used to the quietness. We actually started to miss having her with us on a night.

People will often tell you that these things are just stages and the child will grow out of it naturally when they are ready, but I¬†don’t for one second think that most of us believe¬†it will actually happen that way. So when my daughter suddenly was very contented in her own cot, eventually also being happy¬†in her own big girls bed approaching 2, we couldn’t have been happier for her. Of course, for me as her mother, there was that secret hidden element where I also felt a little bit like she didn’t need me anymore and was getting her comfort elsewhere. That will always be there I now know, whatever new milestone she reaches. But I had a partner at the time, so no baby in the middle of us in bed was very much welcomed and it was nice to have time for each other again.

Then, as some of you know, our world was turned upside down when my partner left me for another girl, leaving me and our daughter confused and insecure.

From the day he left, my daughter has refused to sleep in her own room, never mind in her own bed. The first few months were really needed for us both. We drew comfort and security from each other, her still only 2 at the time and having been used to feeling secure ¬†since birth knowing daddy was in the next room, I can’t imagine the insecurities she must have felt at watching him go. Break ups are so confusing on the children and unfortunately, some people never do consider the children when they run onto the next greener horizon they think is awaiting them.WP_20140308_008.jpg

Above: Innocent little lives. So peaceful with what they know and are familiar with x

In terms of myself, I no longer had someone to hold me and make me feel safe at night. When you have spent 8 years with someone who cuddled you to sleep every night, it’s a real shock to the system to have an empty cold half of the bed. So having my daughter with me, at night, really pulled us through together. She wanted to know that I was there at all times and that I wouldn’t leave her also. I do believe she also wanted to protect me. She had seen first hand,¬†unfortunately, my devastation at what was happening, and the day he got into the van packed with his things and went, we sat on the hall stairs, where she cuddled me, wiped away my tears and said “We are together now mom.” At only 2, she was looking after me. And I needed it. And she knew I did.

These days, I never for one minute doubt a child’s intelligence. Some people say they are only 2 or 3, they don’t know what they’re saying, or they wont remember anything. Of course they will. They are like sponges.

This was a year ago. Its been a rollercoaster ride getting to this point. Some days are good. Other days not so good. We have fun together though. Since that time, I have tried to get my daughter to want to sleep in her own room, investing in a new bed for her and even redecorating it in her choice of colours. We have managed a few nights where she begrudgingly goes to sleep in there, but I always awake to the sound of little footprints running back into my room in the middle of the night, getting in, smiling, turning over and falling into a lovely peaceful sleep next to me. Sound familiar? WP_20150104_17_51_25_Pro.jpg

Above: Team work x

A few people have warned me off allowing this. They have said the child will become too dependent on me. That she will never sleep in her own bed if I don’t push her to now.

I think, this time, I am going to listen to my own instinct.

It is doing her more good than harm having that comfort from me. She sleeps rights through the night (7pm until 7am on a good night.) It has been a year but not a straight forward one. Try telling a 3 year old when its time to stop missing her daddy being there when she needs a cuddle. It doesn’t happen. They are natural creatures at that age, going from one moment to the next entirely on how they feel in that moment. If it brings her comfort to know im not going to walk out on her and im next to her, whilst she’s still young, I am all for it.

She wakes up rested, rejuvenated and happy right now. I have attempted a few times in her room and most of the night has been spent disturbed, crying or generally restless. She is then a misery the next day for lack of sleep which makes things twice as hard.

At three and a half, she is already getting embarrassed about me giving her a kiss on the cheek when I drop her into pre-school. This morning, she wiped it off with her hand and gave it back to me! It gives me hope that children follow their natural needs and that she wont always be hogging my bed. She has grown up so much in the last few months, she is different to how she was even 3 months ago. They are constantly evolving¬†and growing, something I don’t think they are given enough credit for when they are often labelled as spoilt or naughty.

I do believe that they will tell you what they need in their own time. Dont misplace my meaning, I do believe kids need structure and routine, which she has. They also need boundaries. Treats should be treats and not expected everyday, they should understand that hard work is the way to earn things they want and not just be handed it, and so on.

However, at the moment, with the sleeping, I don’t see it’s doing her any harm. I am pretty certain that pushing her away before she is ready would actually do more harm than good. I’m also pretty certain that in not so long from now she will be feeling even more grown up and will eventually leave the safety of my bed and want her own. That is a given, it will happen. And I will miss these baby years where she was completely devoted to me and wanted nothing in return other than love. Why shouldnt I enjoy this special time? Maybe if I had a partner I might feel differently, but I don’t. That’s my point, no one can say it’s wrong because each situation is different for each person’s individual life path.

Also, whilst I am not sharing my bed with anyone else, it’s of no great rush to me either. I like knowing she’s there too.

Co sleeping shouldnt be mislabeled as inappropriate or wrong. It also shouldnt be confused with co dependency. I am all for her being in her own bed and when she is it will be a relief not to be kicked in the face in the night. I’m just not going to bully her into getting there before she needs to. x¬†wp_20141107_08_30_10_pro