Top Tips for Solo Days Out with a Toddler and a Baby

I’ve touched on this a few times in the past but as Noah is soon to be turning 5 months old I feel I have gained a little more confidence when going out with the boys together. When Noah was first born the idea of going anywhere with him and Freddie made me feel extremely anxious. I always thought the outing would end in me either loosing Freddie or having a breakdown trying to breastfeed in public. Yesterday I took both of the boys to the Zoo for the day and we had the best time, so I decided to write a little post on my tips for solo days out with a toddler and a baby. I hope you enjoy!

Plan- Its always good to have an idea of where you are heading before you leave the house. I’ve wasted copious amounts of petrol and brain power thinking of somewhere to go whilst driving around. Have a place to aim for and it will make the journey less stressful.

Take your time- Don’t rush! There is plenty of time in the day. I found in the early days that I was always eager to get out of the house before lunch. I would always become frustrated if I couldn’t leave on time because Noah demanded milk or Freddie had done a well-timed poo. I take it slower now, get our bags ready as I go and I don’t put too much pressure on time. I’ve found I leave the house in a much better head space.

Pack Lunch- I know a obvious one and I am usually first to say ‘oh lets just grab something there’ but swiftly find myself performing an awful balancing act with a tray of food whilst holding Noah and trying not to loose my 2 year old. I’m not suggesting all of the time but for places where you know there is limited pram space in the cafe or the tables are far from the counter. Taking lunch just gives you one less thing to worry about- if Freddie starts complaining he’s hungry I just whip out the snacks and there is no stress about whether we are near a food outlet or if I can convince him to eat something other than the chocolate cake. We are organised and have a stash of foods I know he likes so it makes lunch time a lot easier.

Pit Stops- If you visit places like the zoo you’ll know there is a lot of open space and walking involved. This often means that Noah is left horizontal for a long time which can be quite boring (I mean I’d love to be horizontal for 3 hours but that’s not going to happen!) I’ve learn’t to plan little ‘pit stops’ and head somewhere to get Noah out for a look around (more difficult in this weather I know.) At the zoo I left the pram outside and took him and Freddie into the Butterfly House- he weighed a bloody ton but loved every second and was mesmerised by the surroundings. It also made me feel good to include him and after a quick feed he was soon snoozing away again.

Take a double pushchair- If your toddler is a similar age to Freddie then walking around the zoo may be too much for their little legs. I tend to judge it based on where we are but, like today, I knew we’d be out for a while so I decided to take out the monstrous double pushchair. Yes its bigger than my car and weighs a lot but boy did it come in handy when Freddie decided he was too tired by the Giraffes. He then got in and out of it throughout the rest of our visit- I didn’t have to carry him and my back was particularly thankful!

Reins- I’m an anxious mother, I constantly think Freddie is going to run away from me. I mean he is pretty quick so reins have been a life saver. Freddie weirdly likes wearing them and always asks me to hold the strap. I know they’re not for everyone but it gives me peace of mind that if I have to check on Noah, for example, I know Freddie can’t go far. If your toddler is anything like mine they love to pretend they can’t hear you when you shout ‘OK, come back now- no that’s far enough.’ My particular favourite is when you pretend you are leaving them and shouting ‘bye’ only for them to shout bye in return. It’s just another little thing that has made my outings much more manageable.

Go to the toilet before you leave the house- OK, a strange one I know and difficult because our babies have weakened our bladders so we are fit to burst if we so much as look at running water- BUT- there is nothing worse than getting somewhere and needing the toilet desperately. Unfortunately most places do not have toilets big enough for giant sized prams- I mean it’s totally acceptable to pee with the door open because you can’t all fit in the loo- we’ve all been there.

Unpack the car slowly- As you all probably know days out with children require a fuck load of stuff. It takes me a good 10 minutes to unload the car and set up the pram- gone are the days of ‘ignition off’ and off I go. I’ve started to approach it with a calmer attitude- to not have the thought of dread in my mind knowing the effort that goes into getting us all in and out of the car and on our way. I take it step by step and think to myself, we will all get our coats and wellies on and make it out of here eventually so there’s no need to stress. This sounds so silly but I’ve sat in the car before completely lacking any motivation to move because of the mammoth task that faces me. Step by step- you will assemble that pram!

Mindset- Much like anything in life, go into these days with a positive mindset. Yes some trips out will be utter hell and you’ll pile the children in the car quicker than you can blink but I do believe going into these things thinking that you are going to have fun really makes a difference. I had the best day I have had so far with my boys at the zoo because I took my time and got myself excited to share the experience with them. I was looking forward to showing Freddie all the different animals and tried to ignore my anxious emotions and just enjoy the day.

I know these tips won’t be for everyone, some may think its odd that I need to think of tips for easier days out with my children BUT solo trips with a toddler and a small baby can be daunting for some people- I panic that Noah will cry the whole time or Freddie will have the mother of all tantrums. These things have just helped ME feel more confident on our outings and I hope they help you too.

Here are some photos from our day out to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

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Lots of Love

Karis

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Motherhood and Friendship

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about friendship. About how friendship changes when you have children. It’s necessary to find people who appreciate and respect how important your children are to you and the fact that life is different in so many ways. I used to go on nights out, drink stupid amounts of Disarrano and sleep until noon, fast forward 4 years I love nights in, takeaways and early bedtimes. Do people hang around through this life change? Well the important ones do.

I have been lucky enough to have friends close to me who embrace my new life as a mother. Who love my children and don’t complain about reading The Gruffalo’s Child 5 times in a row, who enjoy renting a film instead of heading to the cinema because Noah is attached to my boob. I am so grateful to these people. You make me feel less alone and support me in the fact that motherhood has changed me. I think there is a lot of pressure to make friends with other Mums, some perhaps you wouldn’t necessarily hang out with if you didn’t have children. I really struggled with this and still do now. I go to groups and find it uncomfortable when conversations feel forced and usually centre around how old your child is or how well they sleep. I can’t criticise because I am very much one of those people, not confident in a room full of mums. I find it hard to fish out the ones you know you would click with. Do you want to be friends with someone simply because your children were born in the same month?

I was one of the lucky ones, I met my friend Molly when Freddie was 2 weeks old at a bumps and babes group. We got talking and managed to work past that awkward ‘do we like each other stage?’ and 3 years later I see her every week. Our relationship is so important because she gets it, totally and completely. If I’m having a crap day, my toddler is driving me insane and I just can’t get out of the house, it’s not a problem. We don’t go out for lunches because with four under 3’s we agree it would be utter hell so we make lunches at each others houses. Where the kitchen can get trashed and you don’t have to apologise to any staff for the mess. These  relationships are the ones which make me feel less of that dreaded loneliness.

My Instagram is another platform, where in fact, I’ve already met like minded Mama’s who get it. Some watch my stories when I’m having the worst day and one simple message can completely change how I feel. I think what I am trying to get across here is that friendships will change when you have children, because undoubtedly you have changed. What’s important is to find people who know what its like. Those sleep deprived people who don’t pee alone and rarely eat a hot meal. These are the ones who will get you through those moments of loneliness. Whether its a weekly meet up or a DM on Instagram, they play a huge part in your highs and lows as a mother.

Friendship, it’s a complex thing. I’ve felt overwhelmingly lonely since Noah came along but I know I have an amazing network of people to fall back on. Whether its friends from University, people I’ve known my whole life or Mama’s I’ve met since having the boys- I want to say thank you. Thank you for keeping me sane on those low days and sharing my happiness on others. You keep me going and I am forever grateful.

Friendship is so important. If you are considering heading to that baby group or perhaps starting a blog of your own- DO IT. You could meet a friend for life or even help another mother feel less alone. We have to be there for each other in this remarkable but challenging journey that parenting is.

What does friendship mean to you? Have you noticed a change since becoming a mother?

Get in Touch

Lots of Love

Karis

x

 

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My Birth Stories: Part 1

I have chosen to write two separate posts about my births with Freddie and Noah, not because I plan on boring you with the gory details, but simply because they were completely different and I want to portray that. I’ll start with Freddie, as of course, he came first!

I had a pretty straight forward pregnancy with him. Besides one dodgy sickness bug which landed me in triage, I was glowing (apparently.) I had experienced a few episodes of reduced movements but followed the charity ‘Kicks Count’ and knew the importance of baby activity. I was 38+ 5 weeks pregnant when I was lying on my sofa after a quiet day kick wise. It was late, Adam had gone up for a shower and subsequently fallen asleep on the bed, and I was trying to decide whether to call the midwife. It’s funny looking back on it now because I don’t know why I even hesitated. It was after reading an article on Facebook about slow fetal movements that finally gave me the kick up the bum to call triage. They asked me in, it was really late by this point and the baby was monitored. After a normal trace and plenty of kicks they sent me home and told me to come back for a scan the next day. Adam was at work so my mum joined me. During the scan the Sonographer asked me if I had lost any fluid (I hadn’t that I was aware of.) They also commented on my ‘heavily calcified placenta- (basically my placenta was giving up the ghost and the baby was not very happy.) After seeing the Consultant they decided to induce me and I was booked in the next morning! I called Adam- we were a bit shocked- I don’t even think I’d packed my hospital bag! The midwives gave me a leaflet on what to expect from an induction and told me it could be a long old process.

Adam and I, all bright eyed and bushy tailed (back in the days of 10 hour sleeps,) appeared on the ante-natal ward at 8am! Nice and early. We were shown to our bay, got settled and discussed everything with the midwife. I had my first pessary (hormone to soften my cervix) mid morning, and we were told to take a walk and just ponder the day away. I remember going to the cafe and eating a giant sausage roll- healthy I know. We made copious trips to the shop and watched Netflix to our hearts content. Blissfully unaware of what was to come. They sent Adam home at 8pm and I got my head down for some sleep. Around 12am I woke up to a pop. It felt like a balloon had burst down below. No waters were there so I got up to go for a wee and as I did the fluid came. They don’t tell you this but when your waters break its not just one giant gush like on the films. They keep on coming! Don’t bother putting on all your clean underwear, you’re wasting your time. I was texting my Mum and let Adam know- we live about 30 minutes away from the hospital and I was worried he wouldn’t make it in on time. The lovely midwives let him come to stay with me (it was about 5am by this point.) I had a bath along with my lavender oil to relax me as by this point I was having period like pain. I was like a whale in a tub, not very relaxing at all but it smelt bloody gorgeous. It got to a point where paracetamol was not cutting it, I was in full blown labour and not dealing with it very well. I kept vomiting from the pain so they whisked me down to labour ward- and by whisked I mean I walked semi-naked- mid contraction down to the room. I was trying not to shout at my midwife who was making me breathe through the pain. IT WAS NOT WORKING. I got to my labour room, the room I would give birth to my little boy in, and I continued to vomit.

I had no birth plan in place and I’m so glad I didn’t because in my mind a water birth with no epidural would’ve been delightful but I had all the drugs and gave birth on a bed. I demanded the epidural as gas and air was just making me drunk but not taking the pain away. The image that sticks in my mind and probably everyone of those who was in that room as well was me butt naked- sat over the edge of the bed- mid contraction- gas and air on the go- midwife holding my monitor- whilst having the needle put in my back. Oh i must’ve looked a treat- Adam had a front row seat! Brilliant. I was lucky, the drugs worked instantly and I had a lovely nap. I woke up as and when I liked, had a chat with the midwives then dozed back off again. It got to about 3 in the afternoon and they decided ‘Yes you’re 10cm dilated you’re ready!’ The midwives got everything ready, towels and the like and I started to push. I was a dead weight, with no feeling in my legs and tummy it was hard to judge when the contractions were coming. I had encouragement from Adam who looked so excited he could wet himself and after 30 minutes of pushing he was here. 3.30pm on the 25th May. We didn’t know what we were having so the midwives told me that Freddie was a boy and put him straight onto my chest. I can only describe that as the best moment of my life (and of course when Noah was born.) I remember him crying for about 20 minutes and then just staring at me, his mummy. What a special moment that was, I will never forget it. There is nothing quite like giving birth to a baby that I knew was half me and half Adam. Our love that had made our boy. Its something I will never forget and a bond that will never break.

After a while of skin to skin a lovely lady came in with a bowl of water to help me wash and move me to a different bed. Dignified I know but it had to be done. We all moved up to the post-natal ward and had more cuddles. We changed his nappy and dressed him in a beautiful little outfit. My mum was desperate to meet our new edition and came for cuddles. I attempted to Breastfeed but Freddie wouldn’t latch but I did manage to give him some of the colostrum. Unfortunately Adam had to leave at 10- I remember that night so well in my head. I was exhausted, I hadn’t slept in over 24 hours and now I was left with my baby who didn’t like sleep very much. That first night was hard, my legs were still numb from the epidural so I struggled to even lift Freddie from the cot next to me. I listened to tears from other women through the curtains, it was tough. A lovely midwife came in at about 2am and took Freddie for a few hours as I physically couldn’t stay awake, my body wouldn’t do it. The next day Adam joined me as soon as he could and we spent the day having cuddles, sleeping (me) and waiting to be discharged. Adam’s mum came in for cuddles along with my sister and we took lots of photos. Later on that afternoon we were discharged and left to begin our lives as a family of 3.

Whenever I think about my birth with Freddie I just get all the feels. It makes me instantly want another baby. That moment when I held Freddie on my chest, I crave it. Whenever I am near the ward I remember my induction, my experience was pretty smooth for a first timer. I am going to write a separate post about Noah’s birth, because oh boy was it a different story!

Stay tuned! Here are some photos.

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With Love

Karis

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My Poorly Baby

I have been attempting to write a blog post about my birth with both Freddie and Noah but I am just not in the head space to do it justice. I would be rushing it and I know I would regret posting it! Instead I’m going to write a short blog piece on how my week has been. Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know Noah, my youngest, has been poorly since the weekend. It been a rough old week, I’ve probably had the grand total of 8 hours sleep over 3 nights and that’s exaggerating. Looking after a sick baby is tough, looking after a sick baby with a toddler is even tougher. I remember when Freddie was poorly, we’d been up all night- and even had our fair share of A&E visits. It was horrible but I recall getting home and going for a long sleep with him. On Tuesday it reached 4am, I was on the phone to the out of hours doctor, very conscious that in a few hours my toddler would be shouting ‘Wake up Mummy’ and wanting to play trains. I think this just made the night even longer because I was counting down the hours until morning knowing full well that I was not going back to sleep.

A lot of parents touch on the subject of sleep deprivation, but it really isn’t something we just moan about. I miss sleep, I crave it. I just want to go and lie in a dark room, in silence and sleep for 48 hours. I honestly think I could. As I’m writing this, Noah has woken from his 5 minute nap and is now screaming for me to pick him up. Why? Why can’t you just go down for your nap as normal. I am feeling guilty as hell this week. I haven’t been the Mother I want to be. My tolerance has worn thin and I have been so frustrated. Noah was fine all day Tuesday, fast forward to 11pm and he had a horrible tummy ache. After trying everything, tummy massage-gripe water- feeding- white noise- you name it we tried it! He was still crying. I eventually calmed him down, he had a long feed and fell asleep. About two minutes later he started being sick. In my head I thought he had just over indulged and his stomach was too full, but he carried on violently vomiting. He was sick approximately 11 times and started to bring up green bile, so I decided to phone 111. By this time it was about 1am, Noah was fighting to stay awake in between the vomits and I was patiently waiting to hear back from a clinician, not wanting to sleep in fear that he may choke on sick. By 4am my phone rang and I had a good chat with the doctor, everyone was fast asleep by this point. They explained I should take Noah into the hospital because of his age and the amount of times he was sick however that while he was happy sleeping to perhaps leave him be. They advised that if he fed okay, continued to have wet nappies I was able to keep an eye on him at home. I’ve been in this vulnerable position before, teetering on the edge of a decision whether to take your child to be seen or not. What is best? With Freddie it was due to his breathing, it had become very deep and slow following a viral infection. In the end we took him to A&E, his temperature was 38 point something and I was told if I hadn’t have brought him in he would’ve most definitely had a convulsion and been pretty poorly. I sat there watching Noah, remembering that night with Freddie, trying to decide what was best. What was my mothers instinct?

In the end, I laid down next to him and decided to leave him be, he was so tired and I knew he would be okay. The next day there was no more sick, just more griping and tummy ache. I didn’t know if I’d upset his tummy with something I’d eaten as I am breastfeeding but he was not happy. I spent the day dividing my time between a poorly baby and an active toddler. Freddie has been a star, hes spent most of the week playing independently whilst I look after his brother. He’s had 3 very busy sessions at pre school which has helped massively. We had a good day yesterday- Noah seemed a whole lot better, until of course my head touched the pillow then it was all screams and tummy ache. I’ve decided to take him to the GP later today to just get someone to check him over. I don’t know if my milk is upsetting him or he is struggling to poo but I’m worried about him. A few weeks ago he slept 5 hours all in one go! I was amazed- god what I would give for 5 hours sleep now. This post sounds so negative, but please don’t read it that way. I am simply battling through lack of exhaustion and a very (quite rightly) needy baby. The weekend could not come soon enough, I have family coming to visit and Adam is off so at least I have the option to go back to bed if I have a bad night, which I am expecting. I know I will sleep again (dramatic I know) but today it has dawned on me that I  am struggling big time this week. I need to pick myself back up, have a shower, put on something half decent, straighten my hair and maybe then I’ll feel slightly better. Or I could have that 48 hour sleep I mentioned earlier? No?

To all of those Mums and Dads looking after poorly babies, who may have had weeks like mine, you are not alone! I am sending all my love and positive vibes your way in hope we can all feel better soon! I’m sorry this isn’t the post I intended, I promise I will get one up as soon as I have time!

What are your plans this weekend?

Lots of Love

Karis

x

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If you go down to the woods today…

If you asked my mum and dad if I liked walking when I was younger the answer would definitely be no. Maybe not as a small child but once I hit my teens I think I was a bit of a nightmare to get outside in the fresh air. My dad always jokes that he would have to bribe me with the possibility of hot chocolate and cake in order to get me out. Looking back now I don’t know why I complained so much, walking is actually enjoyable and good for the mind. Especially when you have two small children.

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Freddie loves to walk. An outing to our local Sainsbury’s across the road is one of his favourite places to go at the moment, I struggle to get him in the car without him having a tantrum because he wants to ‘walk.’ Its lovely to see, he is getting to that age where he doesn’t need the pram but loves to stomp alongside. I usually put the reins on him if we are somewhere quite build up, mainly because I’m not insane and don’t really fancy him running off and smashing something valuable in John Lewis. Our favourite place to go is out in the countryside where he can just run around to his hearts content, it makes me warm inside.

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This weekend we had one of those cosy cliche Sunday’s where we all dug out our wellies and scarfs and headed for the woods. If any of you live near Buckinghamshire you may have visited Wendover Woods but if you haven’t I would definitely recommend it. One thing I will say is take wellies as it is super muddy this time of year! I dragged Adam along as well as the majority of my family (mum, dad, sister and her boyfriend) mainly for company and so they could run after Freddie! Noah came along too, I wedged him in the sling wrapped in his cosy snow suit, and he was out for the count.

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To say Freddie had fun would be an understatement. The cold and mud didn’t bother him, he was enjoying running after Grandpa and hiding from Daddy behind the trees. He explored some forestry with Grandma, touching the moss growing on the trees. In true Peppa Pig style he jumped in ALL the muddy puddles, soaking himself and splashing us in the process but to see him so happy was the highlight of my day. We walked for about an hour all in all, his little chubby legs could only go so far but he was cream crackered.  He had a quick snack in the car and a swift change of clothes but no-one could stop him from falling asleep. He had the rosiest cheeks and you could just see he really had the best time. Afterwards in true Sunday style we all gathered back at my parents house and ate our way through a roast dinner followed by sticky toffee pudding. What could be better than that?

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That evening I looked through the photos of Freddie on our outing to the woods and I decided I am going to make more of an effort to take him walking. Its simple, cheap and he adores it (plus it wears him out, an added bonus for me!) I am not the fittest person in the world, I get painfully itchy legs when I walk outside but when I’m sat feeling rubbish I will try to get us out in the fresh air and go to the woods. I know this won’t happen all the time, some days are just for pyjamas, movies and general cosiness. However I will take him out more, I loved how much he loved it, and I think everyone else did too. It was good for the soul.

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I took my camera along in hope to get some good snaps for this blog, however I forgot to charge the battery! I did manage to get a couple before it officially died on us.

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Lots of Love

Karis

x

 

25 Things I Have Learnt Since Becoming a Mother

Lately my posts have been a bit serious and glum, so I’ve decided to write down some honest things I have learnt since venturing into motherhood. Whether you’re a Mama already or due to become one soon here are some of the funny and hilarious things children throw at you, enjoy.

  1. Forget lone showering and peeing- A luxury I took for granted pre babies. I just had a bath on my own for the first time in months, granted I shared it with Zuma and his hovercraft, but it was lush. Adam goes to work at 7am so unless I want to get up and shower before 6 I have to have an audience- this also includes weeing yes, Freddie comes for jollies to the bathroom all the time.
  2. Clean clothes are not for me. Freddie and Noah are always nicely dressed. Me on the other hand, well if I’m not covered in sick, milk, poo or cereal cement (Weetabix) then its a good day. Its only when I go to hug people and they back away that I realise Noah has vommed on me and I’ve been rocking a sick smothered t-shirt for over an hour- stylish I know.
  3. Theme tunes! Oh boy do I love these! I know all of the words, Peppa Pig, Fireman Sam, Paw Patrol. I found myself singing Postman Pat Special Delivery Service in the car to myself the other day- its quite catchy. I also know the entire Gruffalo book word for word, I mean which Mama doesn’t? A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood…
  4. I was warned, everyone warns you but you really will never sleep the same again. Well actually I can’t vouch for when they are 20 but I’ll be older then and I’ve heard lie ins aren’t a thing. I get 4 hours if I’m lucky, sometimes 5 if Noah’s done a giant poo. Its the broken sleep I can’t stand, I just want a solid 7 hours, is that too much to ask?!
  5. A lot of you would laugh if you saw me leaving the house. Car seat, Noah, Freddie, Keys, Changing Bag, Pre-school bag, Phone, any other miscellaneous item we fancy taking with us. Travelling light is not a thing when you’re a mother. I miss my pretty handbag but can I be bothered, my phone will be fine in my jean pocket.  You should see us when we travel up to Liverpool- we look like we are emigrating to Australia! Babies need so much stuff!
  6. I watch children’s TV without them. Yes you read it right, sometimes I just forget its on. I’m so used to it being my daily background noise that when Freddie’s gone to bed it just continues on repeat. Most days I just can’t be bothered to search for the remote- I don’t watch my own shows these days, but I sure know whats going down on the Island of Sodor.
  7. Quiet usually means trouble. Freddie loves being cheeky, so when hes not making a racket there’s usually a reason. A lot of the time he has found left over food on the floor and thinks its hilarious to eat it- its not that funny Freddie, that Shreddie’s been there for a week.
  8. Eating out with a toddler is not fun at all– not one bit. Ask anyone, I love a good meal out. Wagamama’s, Nandos, a nice country pub? Hell no. Its like Freddie knows I love it so much. He refuses to sit still, I’ll order him something yummy off the menu and it ends up on the floor (cue the bribery of an adult chocolate sundae,) he wants to get down. If I stand any chance of eating my meal then I have to dig out the IPad and watch some dinner entertainment- Peter Rabbit is usually the show of choice.
  9.   Soft play is not how you remember it as a child. Sweet memories of soft play- the unknown maze of fun. Fast forward to adult life, it is similar to a sweaty work out at the gym and just reminds me of how unfit I am. I usually get wedged on the slide.
  10. Motherhood judgement is a very real problem. Everyone has a bloody opinion on how you should raise your little people. I usually ignore, I know what is best for my sprouts, they are mine after all.
  11. Poo, Baby Mustard Poo. It really does explode everywhere. Hands, Clothes, Hair, Face, Feet, Legs, Belly-Button- nowhere is safe. Best bet is to head for the bath- oh and don’t order a chicken korma afterwards as the resemblance is uncanny.
  12. Eating hot food- change that to eating stone cold food because your baby has a sixth sense that you are due to eat something. I swear Noah is tuned to start screaming the minute my fork touches that plate.
  13. Embarrassment- I never thought I could be embarrassed by my 2 year old. Until recently, where he’s taken to calling every man in Tesco his ‘daddy.’ Not subtlety either, full blown shouting! Most just laugh it off as I’m there saying ‘no Freddie he’s not your daddy, he’s at work remember?????!!!’
  14. Relatives are so very helpful. We are lucky, my parents live 5 minutes away and Adams parents are more than happy to come and visit to look after the babies. Yes please take them off me, a sleepover? go for it! Out for the afternoon? No hesitation. My parents took Freddie for 5 HOURS the other day, I didn’t know what to do with myself- I even had a nap.
  15. Mama Friends- making fellow mummy friends is so important. It can be weird at first, that awkward meeting at baby group. ‘Oh how old is yours? Oh she’s cute’- ‘Its a boy’- oh shit! No in all seriousness, once you get past that and get to know mama’s they can become an invaluable support network. They totally get it don’t they?
  16. Bad days happen. Some days I sit and think, this is so bloody tough- especially those days where you’re stuck inside. In these moments I usually scoop Freddie and Noah up (with our 10,000 bags) and head out. Even to the supermarket, at least its a distraction and you can grab some doughnuts to scoff in the car.
  17. Their birthday’s will resemble a 2nd Christmas and yours will probably be forgotten. We try not to go over board but sometimes you can get carried away- we had a peter rabbit picnic last year and it was lush- presents- party, the whole shebang. Freddie’s birthday is a week before mine so I struggle for a card these days.
  18. Toys will become your life- I pack away the same toys every night. Why? Simply to restore some adult order. I hate tripping over train tracks or treading on Lego pieces. However after time you’ll probably start eating dinner surrounded by Mega Blocks and Happy-Land village people- but that’s okay.
  19. My body will never be the same again. 2 pregnancies have taken hold, I mean I was never slim but I have put on so much weight. I have more stretch marks than I can count and I don’t think my boobs will ever be perky again.
  20. Bing bloody bunny is the most whiny bunny I have ever met. He is never happy with life, poor Flop has to put up with a lot. I guess there’s always a lesson to be learnt. Also what is Flop? and Ama? What is the family dynamic there?
  21.  Alone time feels like a day at the spa, just tons cheaper. I could watch a film in my lounge with Adam and I feel like I’m at the cinema. I have a bath alone, I really could be at the spa. Amazing how much you appreciate the silence and calm- surrounded by toys and ready for the impending chaos.
  22. Relationships will alter. I do honestly believe that if you can survive having children together, you can survive anything. Especially in those early days- I could be naive who knows. Children can be tough on a relationship, your quality one on one time that is so important is taken up by nappies and play time. The sleep deprivation adds to the fact you don’t get any time together- I’m too tired to stay awake for date night- sorry Adam!
  23. Noise is amplified when babies are napping. Why do things seem so loud when the baby sleeps? I could drop a pin and it would sound like someone has bashed a symbol. Also everyone talks so loud when Noah is sleeping? why! just don’t say anything, lets all just sit in complete silence with the TV off until the baby wakes up.
  24. Life really is a miracle and I see that every time I look at my children. Their subtle features and cheeky personalities. I grew them and gave birth to them. One big gigantic painful gory miracle.
  25. Motherhood, it will ultimately be the best, most difficult but hugely rewarding thing I will ever do and the love between me and my children is like no other and will never ever fade.

 

What have you learnt?

Love Karis

x

 

The tricks my mind plays

I am over the moon that mental health is no longer that ‘taboo’ subject. In fact more and more of us are opening up about our feelings, worries and emotions. Last year seemed to be a pretty epic year really. Mental Health was boldly talked about and it became apparent that there are more of us suffering from anxiety and depression than really known about. My own experience is still very real and plays a big part in my everyday life. I considered keeping it all to myself, inside my worrying brain but soon realised I shouldn’t be ashamed of my feelings. Anxiety is very real and I think a lot of us are suffering in silence, when really we could be helping each other.

I’m sorry in advance as this post won’t sound particularly cheery, but that is in fact real life. Some days aren’t all big smiles and happiness. Some days merely are just crap. I’ve always been a worrier shall we say, but my big no no subject has to be Death. Since I can remember I’ve had this negative relationship with it, when I think about it my whole self goes into sheer panic mode. However I have always seemed to keep those thoughts and emotions at bay and only think about it when I really sit down and choose to think about it. Unfortunately this is no longer the case, death is at the forefront of my mind, every single day and it is exhausting.

I noticed this change about a year after Freddie was born, I began to think about it a lot, all the time in fact. I attempted to figure out the trigger to this sudden surge in emotion, perhaps my job in healthcare hasn’t helped. In all honesty these thoughts were always there but having Freddie just made me worry more about life as I guess I have so much more to lose- sounds silly right?

Just before Christmas 2016 I fell poorly with my same boring tummy problems. I was signed off from work for 3 weeks and began to feel really low (although I had been battling these issues for a while before this.) I noticed a huge increase in my levels of anxiety- so I decided it was best to discuss this with my GP. After a few appointments I was put on anti-depressants and referred to Healthy Minds (NHS Mental Health Service), reluctantly I started to take these tablets and after a few months I began to feel more calm and overall a bit less unbalanced. I have to stress before this my mind was on overdrive, I began to have very irrational thoughts during mundane everyday activities. I wish to list some below just as an insight into my mind at the time, please note they all pretty much revolve around people dying! Again full of the cheer!

  • If I heard of a car accident on the radio or sirens when I was out driving I would automatically think ‘maybe my mum was driving near there? was she due to be in the area at that time?’ I would then have to call her to check she was okay.
  • If Freddie slept through the night- of course I assumed he may have died before any other thought entered my mind.
  • If Adam went into town perhaps he’d forget to look where he was going and be knocked down by a car or a bus.
  • Before I get in the car I think maybe someone will crash into me today?

I wont list anymore as I think you all get the gist- just imagine pretty much any daily scenario involving anyone close to me and the possibility of them dying. Its so morbid and writing it down is quite embarrassing but that is genuinely how bad my anxiety got. I was and still am petrified of losing someone close to me and I’m not sure that feeling will ever go away. My therapy sessions helped for a few weeks, however for me, I found over the phone therapy difficult and felt face to face contact would’ve been more beneficial. This of course is challenging when juggling work and children. Falling pregnant with Noah really helped me, it gave me something to focus on when I was feeling pretty low and I did start to feel a lot better.

I decided back in September to stop taking my tablets- in all honesty I felt a bit ashamed. When asked at every midwife or hospital appointment ‘if i took any regular medication’ I always felt silly saying ‘yes I take anti-depressants.’ I have to say there was never any judgement and I was never made to feel this way, it was just a natural emotion. The classic ‘I should be happy because I’m having a baby’ statement hung around my mind and it just made me feel awful. I am now 4 months without them and I can see those crafty irrational thoughts worming there way back into my mind. It is so frustrating but I think it will always be a part of me. Of course in the future I want to talk it through with someone professionally but for now I am doing okay.

My two gorgeous boys and Adam help me a lot, I have a brilliant family and can distract myself from it taking over like in previous years. My blog has been a brilliant aid, therapy in its own little way. I have realised how much I love to write about my life and feelings- how much I love to interact with fellow mama’s who are in similar situations. My mum always jokes that I always have to have something on the go, something to look forward to. Perhaps that may be how I cope with these feelings but I’m okay with that. Yes one day I hope to be happy living in the moment but for now focusing my mind helps me and boy do I have a lot of things to focus on this year.

I hope I haven’t come across as a Debbie Downer, I really am generally a happy person. Just some days I battle with this anxiety and these emotions that I’ve not quite figured out yet. I wish, in the future, that more and more people will open up and continue to normalise these mental health problems. I think more of us suffer from them than we are aware, and I also think we can help each other. I’ve come across some pretty cool people- via Instagram (shout out to Anna from Mamas Scrapbook,) who have some awesome reading material on all things psychological. So please if you can relate to anything I have said, then get in touch! I would love to hear from you. Or if you know of more fellow Mamas or Papas I should follow send the link my way. I would really appreciate it x

With Love

Karis

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