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#MOTHERHOOD MONDAYS FEATURING PICKLE AND POPPET

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 Motherhood is a complete whirlwind. Sometimes finding the joy and smiles is easy and sometimes it's a little harder, but amid those times it's not so easy we owe it to ourselves to savour those moments forever.



Hello you lovely lot and welcome back to another instalment of the #MotherhoodMondays guest post series; a  weekly feature for mothers to share their stories about their incredible journeys of motherhood in all kinds of forms. Don't forget to get in touch if you want out get involved, we're always looking for some more mamas to guest post for us.
 
For this week's feature we have my lovely friend Jo from Pickle and Poppet who is a newbie blogger. I am so excited about Jo taking part in our guest post series and with a wonderful post that she has kindly offered to share with us for #MotherhoodMondays. But before we get into this post with Jo, shall we get to know Jo a little better...
 
Hi, my name is Jo and I’m a 30-something year old mummy of two and wife from East Anglia. I work part-time in insurance but am currently on maternity leave, enjoying the madness of a new baby whilst juggling the busy life of a 3 year old. I have recently found a love in baking and love trying out new toddler friendly recipes. Some of my favourite things to do include family walks (especially in autumn when the colours are so beautiful), reading, and knitting (although I’m still practising this one).
 
Please Don’t Feel Left Out; You’re Still My Boy


When you have a baby you know your life is going to change, but nothing really prepares you for it. The instant love, the bonds you grow and your completely new outlook on, well everything.

This is what happened when Reuben came into our lives.

Everything changed and it all happened so fast. Suddenly we were responsible for this little bundle. Everything that he needed we had to do for him. He grew so quickly and today he is a complete handful, so independent and head strong. We have such a great bond; all three of us.

After Sam and I got married we decided we wanted to have another baby and a few months later we were lucky enough to get the positive we had been waiting for. We agreed not to mention anything to Reuben until after the scan and then we would tell him.

When we told him, he didn't seem very interested. He wanted cake. He was two, so could blame him.

Sam and I agreed that Reuben should be included in everything.

He needed to see that a new baby wasn't going to replace him or change our love for him; and so he came to every anti-natal appointment and every scan. He watched me grow and he became so excited that he was going to be a big brother. He was happy to cuddle up to me and my bump when I was tired.

As my due date approached we spoke to him about how Mummy would need to go to hospital soon so that Jessica could be born and that he would be with Nana and Grandad. By this point he was bursting, he couldn't wait to meet Jessica and we were happy with how happy he was.

He was with us at my parents the day I went into labour and he wouldn't leave my side, he became protective and clingy.

He knew things were changing.

When my waters broke he was going to bed; and as my contractions were painful we were then going to go to the hospital. Ever since he was born I have always sang him "hush little baby" before bed and he wanted me to sing it. I had a contraction and knew I had less than two minutes before another one came, but somehow I managed to sing him that nursery rhyme and he went to bed.

He came to the hospital the next day. He hugged me and realised I had no bump, turned to the cot and beamed. He had his sister.

I was glad when it was time to come home. I wanted us to bond as a four.

Those first two weeks were hard for him, and for me. Our relationship had changed. Not in a bad way, it was just, different.

I was breastfeeding and Jessica was feeding every two to three hours but each feed was taking anywhere between thirty minutes to an hour. I was struggling to get comfortable and she was struggling to latch correctly.

Reuben wanted to play but I was feeding, or was tired, and I still couldn't get on the floor so I would cuddle with him when I could and read him stories but he started asking Daddy more and less of Mummy; Mummy was busy.

It would be bedtime for Reuben and Jessica would want feeding. I would tell Reuben I would go up to sing to him after I had finished feeding Jessica, by that time he would often be asleep and so no nursery rhyme.

It upset him but it crushed me. I had been naïve, I had thought that everything would be the same but it wasn't.

One bedtime that Jessica didn't want feeding I took Reuben to bed and he chose a book but then he told me he didn't want me to read he wanted Daddy.
I burst into tears, I couldn't help it. He was sad that I was crying and I cried more that I had made him sad. I did read the story to him in the end and sing to him as I normally would have, but that had hurt me like nothing had hurt me before.

Eventually, after two weeks it was time for Sam to go back to work, time for us to get some kind of routine. Things got harder, after all now there was just me. Jessica still needed feeding but Reuben needed me more now that Daddy wasn't there.

I'm not going to lie, we are still fumbling through, making it work but I can tell that sometimes he longs for it to be just us two again. When he throws himself into my lap because Jessica is crying so that he has a cuddle, when he cries for no apparent reason when I'm feeding Jessica. Those are the times that it is hardest. But we will get there, each day it gets a bit easier.

I want him to know that no matter what, he is still my boy. We are still the same and I love him dearly. I want him to know that it will only be a short while until Jessica isn't so dependant on me, when she starts to take a bottle then we can have some time on our own, just the two of us.

I do tell him but at the minute it's just words, he doesn't understand, he's three.

So for now, we fumble through. I tear myself in two. I feel guilty.

Guilty he doesn't get the same attention he is used to.

Guilty that I'm tired

Just guilty.

It wont last forever. I know that. So for now I hug him as hard as I can whenever I can and tell him I love him. I can only hope he isn't feeling left out. I can only hope he will understand that I've done my best.
 
 
Thank you for your post Jo. If you liked this post don't forget to share, share, share. I'm sure that it will be more than appreciated. Remember sharing is caring. You can find Jo over at Pickle and Poppet and I will link her social media platforms below.
 

TODDLERS AND DINING OUT | Love it or Hate It?

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When my daughter was a baby going out for a family meal was pretty straightforward. I would be able to take her in her pushchair, have  handful of toys and a dummy and I wouldn't hear too much from her. Now she's a toddler and when you decided to take a toddler out to eat, you will be including a guest who finds it difficult to sit still, who is prone to a tantrum or two and probably has a limited interest in being quiet while eating their peas. So I can understand why many parents of young children avoid eating out and prefer to eat at home, when thrown food will only hit members of the immediate family or the poor dog. But sometimes going out for a family meal is necessary so if you are the lucky owner of a toddler and you feel uneasy about dining out, I have a few suggestion to help make the experience less stressful.
 
Before you go you have to have a bag full of tricks to keep your toddler occupied while dining out. So bringing a variety of reliable amusements such as their favourite books, toys, some games is essential. If you know that you'll be an hour or so pack a bag that is equipped for two hours.
 
A BAG OF TRICKS
 
As you will know toddlers can become bored quite easily and so as you can imagine this one comes as no surprise. To help avoid a screaming meltdown, being embarrassed or flying peas make sure you take a bag full of tricks. These could be their favourite toys, books and if child is especially energetic or restless, pack a couple of new small toys that will hold their attention at least until their food arrives. It's always a good idea to keep some paper and crayons stashed away in your car. Children love nothing more than to doodle to their hearts content, even some restaurants supply paper and crayons which is a big bonus for those who forget. But it's always best to keep a watchful eye on your toddler in case they decide to try and eat the crayons or doodle on the restaurant's menu.

PLAN YOUR TIME CAREFULLY

Always try and avoid the busiest time when dining out with a toddler. We have found that the best time to eat out at a restaurant with our daughter is during the early evening or opting for a late lunch as there are less people about to try and annoy. A meal that you didn't have to cook + happy toddler = happy parents!

ORDER YOUR TODDLER'S FOOD FIRST

Children don't like waiting too long for their food just like hungry husbands but at least the husband won't scream at the top of their lungs...too much! So when you go order your food ask your server to get your children's food out first out so all tantrums can be avoided. It is always best to try and order their food as soon as you arrive because babies and toddlers prefer eating tepid food and most restaurant's pride themselves by serving hot piping dishes.
 
YOUR HANDBAD MAY COME IN HANDY
 
One for the mums, sorry dads. When the novelty of their toys or creating a masterpiece has worn off the next thing that I would do would be to dive into your handbag. It's not as if it's short of a couple of distractions that will sure to keep those little mischievous minds occupied, my daughter loves my keys because it has a picture of her and Father Christmas and a fluffy sheep. My daughter also loves to play with my compact mirror and makeup brushes so there is always something to help keep her occupied whilst dining out.

ALWAYS BE CONSIDERATE

Yes, your child is your world but they are not everyone else's so try and be considerate and let others enjoy their meals as much as possible. You can never predict when a toddler has a tantrum but do whatever you can to try and minimise it. Take them for a walk around the restaurant, load the kindle with lots of apps to help and keep those tantrums to a minimum. When you have finished your meal always try and clear around the destruction that your toddler leaves behind, it only takes a couple of minutes to look back and clear away. Even if you don't leave your table spotless I am more than sure that the staff will appreciate the gesture. Some days you are unable to keep these under control so you have to keep in mind that sometimes you may have to leave, it's just something that you expect when you become a parent.
 
TAKE A TREAT

This one may come as a surprise as you know that you'll be eating in a little while. But you can never guarantee a short waiting time and be served straight away so prepare a few snacks, however keep them light. Rice crackers, breadsticks or even cheerios are great way to keep those hunger tantrums at bay until their food arrives.

There are many ways to keep your toddler busy and entertained in a restaurant. When you arrive prepared with a bag of trick you may be able to enjoy your meal without a toddler having a tantrum. Happy dining!

#MOTHERHOODMONDAYS FEATURING BETTER TOGETHER HOME

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Motherhood is a complete whirlwind. Sometimes finding the joy and smiles is easy and sometimes it's a little harder, but amid those times it's not so easy we owe it to ourselves to savour those moments forever


Hello you lovely lot and welcome back to another instalment of the #MotherhoodMondays guest post series; a  weekly feature for mothers to share their stories about their incredible journeys of motherhood in all kinds of forms. Don't forget to get in touch if you want out get involved, we're always looking for some more mamas to guest post for us.
 
For this week's feature we have the lovely Alex from Better Together Home. Last week Alex kindly tagged me in The Sunshine Blogger Quiz and so it worked out well that she has been scheduled in for #Motherhood Mondays this week as she has been waiting a few weeks to become a feature and finally it's here. But before we get into the post shall we get to know Alex a little better? Over to you Alex... 
 
Hiya everyone! I’m Alex and I’m a mum to seven *going on 17* year old Lily-Rose, a wife to my super patient husband Scott and I blog over at Better Together Home; a lifestyle and parenting blog. I am making a move towards living a simpler lifestyle, am focusing on saving up to travel and my mantra is ‘experiences not things’ which I’m hoping will curb my shopaholic tendencies! My dream would be to refit an Airstream or trailer, buy a pickup truck and spend the rest of our lives travelling the World! Aside from blogging I also write short stories, the first of which was published in 2016, sell hand-crocheted and knitted gifts, and I work full time in an incredibly stressful corporate job. When Kelly-Anne got in touch I was thrilled to join in with Motherhood Mondays as I love to read about how other mums feel and handle everything life throws at us, and so with that thought in mind I thought I’d share with you how life is when you have a million ‘jobs’ and have to juggle working full time, part-time and spare-time with raising a family!
 
 
 
 
First up – I do not have my sh*t together.

I am not going to sit here and say ‘oh if you make your kid’s lunches and get your clothes ready the night before working life will be so easy’. Yeah that’ll help but I honestly don’t think any working mum gets the balance 100% right, and if they ever do it’s a fluke not something that happens with ease. As you can see this isn’t a guide on how to have it all because I’m not sure you even can, or should want to ‘have it all’.

My job requires me to be super organised and is centred on lots of deadlines – its high intensity, high stress and it can be so easy for me to feel the burnout from that alone. Most other people in my role are, funny enough, a lot older than me (so their kids are grown-ups) or don’t have kids which means I never had somebody to look at and model my life balance on. I work in a 24/7 corporation and unfortunately they seem to expect people to work the same hours that the company does, and I’m guessing that’s the same world-over. I’m *relatively* good at my job but it was only last year that the organisational skills I have at work started to leak over into life – I now have a planner, a family calendar and various other ways in which I can ‘organise’ our lives. That being said its life – its living and you can never really plan it out in a way that would make it simpler and easier – life always throws you curveballs!

In all honesty if I could pack in my day job tomorrow I would – I pretty much hate it and last year came so close to burnout it’s a wonder I didn’t leave scorch marks whenever I sat down! But keep at it I will because I know I’m working towards a better future for my little family.

Organisation

Like I said above it’s only last year that I started to make a conscious effort to be more organised at home and it started with a move to actually working from home. Suddenly I needed to have a space in which I could work in our tiny London flat – we were given a foldout dining table by my parents and that became my ‘office’. I invested in two planners – and I am completely anal about filling the, in - one is for work and one is for life and the only time work infringes on my personal planner is when I need to travel for work. We found a family calendar app online too – both me and my husband have synced our phones to it and we add in appointments that are colour coded depending on who or what they are for and that has been really great.

There are a million blogs out there listing ways to get organised but honestly it’s all about finding what works for you. For me if I don’t write something in my planner then it ain’t happening!

Stuff

Another thing that really has been working for me but I know isn’t for everybody is clearing out stuff. I can’t focus on anything when the flat is a mess and my shopaholic tendencies mean it’s full of stuff and clutter which we are now in the process of getting rid of. I want a simpler life, less stuff means less stuff to clean and tidy, less need for organisation, less money being spent and above all means our tiny flat feels a million times more spacious. This applies to clothes too – less clothes means less time spent on decisions (I’m developing a kind of uniform a la Obama!), it also means less washing and ironing yay!

Prioritise

I’ve had to learn to prioritise – what is truly more important at this precise moment? Do I need to go to the supermarket? Wouldn’t it be better to order my food shop online and spend that time on doing Lily’s homework with her instead? I multi-task when I can so for example my 'me-time' is socialising with friends (it keeps me sane and means I get to spend time with my friends!), writing (either my blog or short stories) and having a nice long soak in the bath (after Lily is in bed or I inevitably end up with company!).

Reality

Reality as in real life. Not the selection of life that you see online, on Instagram or even what people say. Everybody struggles, it’s perfectly normal. I have friends who are stay at home mums and they have daily struggles just like me – they say the same things ‘there’s never enough time’ or ‘I don’t feel like I’m doing a good job’. There is no such thing as a super mum and regardless of your working situation we are all going through pressure and trying to juggle it all. I think it’s really important to recognize this and to get support wherever you can - also to stop judging other parents! The amount of times I've had people make digs at me for being a working mum; it's not ok and I wouldn't do it to SAHMs - think everyone should just follow that saying 'if you can't say something nice then don't say anything at all'!

Community

I’m a big fan of people building each other up and helping each other out – there have been times when people I know have stepped in to help me look after lily when my childcare arrangements have fallen through, and likewise times when I’ve looked after their kids in return. In 2017 I hope to develop my personal community more – I’ve removed people from my life who were negative influences (don’t worry I didn’t go on some kind of killing spree I meant more metaphorical removal!), and I have chosen those people who are my priorities to spend time with. And community doesn't just mean the people who are family or live near you - I have an incredibly supportive group of friends through Instagram and Facebook groups who are really helpful - giving advice, providing inspiration or simply just being there to let me rant. I’m also lucky that I have a very supportive husband and family as without them I wouldn’t be able to get through the days let alone the years it has taken to build my career. If you have the right ‘team’ you can accomplish anything I’m sure of it!
 

Thank you for your post Alex. If you liked this post don't forget to share, share, share. I'm sure that it will be more than appreciated. Remember sharing is caring. You can find Alex over at Better Together Home and I will link her social media platforms below.
 
 

The Sunshine Blogger Quiz

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Happy Sunday everyone,

I hope that you all are having a fantastic weekend and enjoying your adventures. I'm busy feeling sorry for myself because I have a cold. But this mama hasn't got the time to be ill and so I thought that I would bring a little sunshine into my life  (see what I did there!) and take part in the sunshine blogger quiz.  I was nominated by the lovely Alex at Better Together Home to answer ten questions that she has put together for The Sunshine Blogger Awards. There's just something about these types of posts that I love, and so I jumped at the chance to take part. It's a great opportunity to get to know other bloggers.  


1. What is the meaning behind your blog name?
 
My daughter's name is Amelia Rose and one day I called her Mimi and it sort of stuck. Even when I call her by Amelia she will reply 'I'm Mimi Mummy!' When it came to a blog name I knew that I wanted to use some of my daughter's name as she would be the main inspiration and so Mimi Rose and Me just had a lovely ring to it.
 
2. What makes you feel accomplished?
 
Oh, this one was tough. There are so many things that make me feel accomplished, like keeping my little person alive, haha. I would have to say that being mother is definitely accomplishment, simply because it's something that I never ever thought would happen.
 
3. What book would you recommend other people should read and why?
 
This one for me is quite difficult because there are so many I could recommend. But I think that in all honesty I would recommend Harry Potter, because you can easily find yourself getting lost in those. Most people have probably already read these but for those that haven't you so need to.
 
4. What is your dream holiday?
 
Cuba, Cuba, Cuba did I mention Cuba. We went to Cuba for our honeymoon and it was the perfect destination and I would love to be able to go back there with our daughter. It's a beautiful country, it has beautiful beaches and the people are so friendly. It's paradise. Honestly!
 
 
5. If you could eat one type of food forever what would it be?
 
As hard as eating one type of food forever would be I would choose fresh bread with cheese. When I was younger I would call it a cheese nubbin, don't ask me why I haven't got a clue. But I could eat fresh bread all day. Yummy!
 
6. What is your favourite song?
 
I'm going to cheat with this one. I have two favourites. My first one is our wedding dance which was 'Far Away' by Nickleback and my second favourite is 'One' by Ed Sheeran because this was the song that was playing as I went into labour with my daughter.
 
7. If you could live in a book, TV show or film universe, what would you pick?
 
Live in a book for sure.
 
8. You are stranded on a desert island with five things of your choosing - what are they or why?
 
Can I take my husband, is that fair to call him a thing? If I can't then I would choose to take music without a doubt, take a book as it would allow me to travel with my imagination to other places other than the deserted island. Sunscreen would be a must for someone who has fair skin and burns like a bugger, a hammock I hate creepy crawlies and a knife, it would be quite handy would it? Haha.
 
9. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
 
Damn Alex, this one is difficult because I am awesome. I'm kidding there's so much but one thing that I would change would be that when my ability to never being able to make decision. Say for example we are getting a take-away I will always let my husband decide first and then I would decide what I want based on his choice. I don't want to be getting myself a pizza if he decides to get a healthy jacket potato. I always, always make the bad choice.
 
10. Describe your dream home?
 
My dream home is a cottage, in the countryside. On the ground-floor there are three rooms. One is the living room with a brown sofa, coffee table and plenty of copper décor. There is a standing lamp, an entertainment unit, big windows and a view to the garden. My dream house will have a fully-equipped kitchen along with a big dining table for all the family. Finally, there is a study room complete with a desk and computer with a blush pink and copper theme throughout. On the first floor there are three bedrooms and a bathroom. In my bedroom there would be a super king sized bed, a white walk in wardrobe (just for me and my shoes) along with matching bedside tables. There would be a bedroom for my daughter and a play room. The bathroom would consist of large free standing bath tub, a separate shower and a toilet, sink and towel rails. So, I haven't really thought about my dream home at all.  


I'm tagging a lot of lovely bloggers for The Sunshine Blogger Quiz,
 
Caroline from Carter Family 4, Nadine from Then I Became Mum, Sarah from Boo Roo and Tigger Too, Naomi from Life By Naomi, Susie from This Is Me Now and Sarah from Whimsical Mumblings.



O v e r   t o   y o u . . .
 
 
1.What's the best thing about blogging for you?
 
2. What is your happiest memory?
 
3. Do you have a favourite season?
 
4.Are you an early bird or a night owl?
 
5. If you have children, share your favourite photo of them.
 
6. What's your favourite TV programme?
 
7. How do you relax?
 
8. Tea or coffee?
 
9. What inspires you?
 
10. What would be your dream holiday?

WHAT TO DO WITH OLD BABY CLOTHES?

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Children grow out of their clothes at an impressive rate and you're often left wondering what to do with them. Not only do you need to find new clothes for your little one, but how do you take care of the clothes and what to do with them once your child outgrows them?
  
 
But it's easier said than done. Being a mother to a nearly three year old it's something that I have become accustomed to every few months. We love her so much, she's pretty amazing but she owns to much stuff. I thought I knew what I was in for, in terms of how much stuff we were going to accumulate when she was born, but my goodness, that doesn't even compare. Over the course of three years, our daughter has accumulated more clothing than both my husband and I have combined. I literally saved everything my daughter grew out of and now our loft consists of many vacuum packs full of tiny baby clothes, and now the time has come to actually go through them and figure out what we will do with those old baby clothes.


Organise and store...

Not sure about another baby just yet? Well you still could organise and store those old baby clothes away, just in case. Before you do it's always a good idea to go through and throw away any clothes that are stained, ripped or beyond repair. After you have gone through them all try and organise all the clothes you are keeping into sizes - New-born, 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-12 months etc.. For me the best option was to store all the clothes in vacuum bags because they are a great way to keep your clothes fresh and clean while protecting from all the dust, cobwebs and creepy crawlies. We have nine giant bags full to the brim.


Hand them down...

However if the time has come to say no more babies then it may be an idea to try and hand them down to members of your family or any friends that are expecting a new baby. I think that this is always a lovely gesture and can be really helpful for those who cannot necessarily afford brand new clothing for their baby. If there are no family or friends that are expecting you could also offer them to someone online. On social media there are quite a few pages, groups and the general word of mouth to let others know that you may be able to offer them baby clothes and I am pretty sure that someone will soon snap them up, and be very appreciative.


Sell them...
 
However, if you want to make some money out of all those tiny clothes your baby grew out of in a week, try and sell them. You could put them on selling pages or groups, eBay or even holding a car boot can help you make money. But bare in mind that you must have the time, patience and courage to meet up with people or wait in line at the local post office, so you may have your piles of clothes for some time. But, even so, it worked out well for us recently. My husband has lost over four stone in a year and as you can imagine doesn't fit into most of his clothes. I asked my husband to go through and donate most to charity, but we did keep a few things of his and ended up making a little profit on eBay. 


Donate them...

There are so many local and national charities that will gladly take your old baby clothes. Some charities can distribute the clothing to parents who need them through local hospitals and support agencies to some of the most vulnerable families. You could also take them to local baby banks such as Stripey Stork which is a volunteer run charity that is committed to seeing valuable resourced being re-used in communities. The charity works alongside a number of agencies who ask for donations of baby equipment, clothes, toys and other baby essentials - a baby bank such as this are a great alternative
 

Be creative...

If you are one of those people that can never seem to part with anything, then the best option for you would be to up recycle them, in a creative way. You can get creative and turn them into a memory quilt, a patchwork piece, a toy all made from your baby's favourite clothing. Baby clothes are so adorable you could alter those small baby onesies into t-shirts, pillows or even doll clothes. I really love the idea of creating a memory bear how great would that be? Creating a unique momentum that your little one can play with. There is so much more information over at Love, Keep, Create about creating a special little keepsake from those first moments.
 
What do you do with your old baby clothes? If you have anymore ideas please let me know in the comments, I'd love to know.

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