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#MOTHERHOOD MONDAYS FEATURING THE WAITRESS SITE

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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 and welcome back to #MotherhoodMondays guest post series. A weekly feature for mothers to share their stories about their incredible journeys of motherhood in all kinds of forms. For this week's feature we have the very honest Natalie from The Waitress Site who shares a personal post about not being a natural born mother and the struggles she faced as a first time mum. Being a mum to one I can relate to Natalie's post so much, I remembering feeling completing lost and if it wasn't for all the support we received from family and friends I don't think I would be the mum I am today. Thank you Natalie for sharing your post with us for #MotherhoodMondays.

Take it away Natalie...

Natural Born Mother

So this is a very personal post that has taken some time for me to have the courage to write. I’m not writing it because I want sympathy, I am writing it so other mothers (and also maybe dads) realise that its OK to feel the way I do and that we should help and encourage our fellow parents, rather than put them down.
I fell pregnant with my eldest daughter when I was just 19. I had been with the sperm donor ( I will explain that at a later date) for just over a year, we were both employed full-time and had the complete support of both our families. Throughout my pregnancy I read books, looked at articles on the internet and spoke to friends who had babies. I thought I had everything worked out and that I would be this type of super-mum who could do and handle everything. How very wrong was I!!
I gave birth to my beautiful 5lb 15oz bundle daughter and although when I first held her I knew I loved her I didn’t have this overwhelming feeling that I had heard so many other new mums talk about. It wasn't until she was about 6 months old that I had that feeling and that’s when I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression. I hadn’t really heard of it and thought I was a horrible person for not having that special bond with my daughter and the doctor that I saw was really shocked that it hadn’t been picked up sooner.
I got the help that I needed or so I thought, it wasn’t until I met my now husband and his family that I realised and felt like I was completely out of my depth being a mum and that I truly had no idea what I was doing. My daughter was 10 months old by now and I was still feeding her jars of food as I was petrified of weaning her and never really thought that it would have been more beneficial for her to be eating home-made meals.
This is where my MIL comes into it all. She took my daughter one day and sat her in the high-chair at their house and placed a home-made meal in front of my daughter. Her exact words to me were ” If you don’t like it then go in the living room” and that’s where I went. I sat in the living room where this amazing woman started weaning my daughter for me, because I had no idea what I was doing. And if I am honest I still don’t now, I often turn to her for help and advice, whether it’s for night-time routines, temper tantrums, behaviour issues or just ideas on what I can do with the children to stop them from making me want to pull my hair out!! Every time I think I have this parenting malarkey down, another thing pops up that's all new, that I have to try and get through.
I am far from a Natural Born Mother and I don’t think I will ever have the maternal instinct but I try my best to do best by my children and just keep learning on this journey. I have always said I wish there as some sort of instruction manual that you get given when you become pregnant!! I hope this post has helped even one parent to feel like they aren’t alone if they feel like I did and still do on many occasions.
Thank you Natalie for taking part! And you my lovely readers don't forget to check out Natalie's blog and follow her on all her social media platforms.
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If you'd like to be part of the series then please feel free to send me an email to mimiroseandme@gmail.com  and I'd be thrilled to get back to you with more information! Please get in touch even if you don't have a blog and you would simply like to share your story.

Do You Believe In The Dummy Fairy? | Do one DODO!

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Before having my daughter I thought of myself as an expert on children and would always be the first to offer my know it all expertise. I would bang on about what was good for a child and what was bad for them, a dummy being something that new parents shouldn't rely on. If I could go back, I would bitch slap that know it all me in the face! Becoming a parent is full of surprises. It doesn't matter how many books, parenting forums or articles you read, nothing can completely prepare you for parenthood. Being a parent is hard, harder than I had ever imagined. In the midst of bottles, nappies, cries and sheer exhaustion, I completely caved in and gave my daughter a dummy - she was only two days old.
And so the love for the dummy, or DODO as we knew it, began!
Both my husband and I agreed that around her first birthday we would try and ditch the dummy, but it was proving more difficult than we anticipated. We didn't consider that we would be facing, teething problems, separation anxiety and another bloody sleep regression. Our daughter loved her dummy, like really loved her dummy and became very reliant on her precious dummy and to some extent so did we! Around eighteen months old she dropped her naps and it was then that we began to wean her off the dummy and only allow her to have it for bedtime, which she took to quite well.
But we figured that she's two and half now and knew it was time to get rid of the dummy once and for all, we were also getting a bit worried about her teeth. As we knew that our daughter really loved he dummy we were keen on encouraging her to give it up all on her own with the use of her imagination, instead of going cold turkey that was recommended. By using a little bit of imagination with the dummy fairy we managed to get our daughter to give her dummies away, all by herself and to actually be happy about it.
We began to talk about the dummy fairy for a few weeks so that she could get use to the idea. December came and we told our daughter that the dummy fairy wanted to come and collect all of her dummies on Christmas Eve so that new babies could have a dummy. Our daughter loved talking about the dummy fairy to everyone, even people at the check outs in the supermarkets, she would tell them all about the dummy fairy and how she needed some dummies for the other babies. When we decided that once we had our Christmas up we would try and encourage our daughter to place one of her many dummies on a branch all ready for the dummy fairy to come and collect. She did this every week, happily! Then it came to the last dummy to go on the tree and she did it without thinking too much of it, we were so proud of her and its amazing what a little imagination can do to encourage a child to give up something that they love more than anything.
My advice to other parents who want to ditch the dummy is try to be patient and wait until they are ready. As you can see, we tried a number of times to help our daughter ditch her dummy and by introducing the dummy fairy, with the use of a little imagination seem to work best for us. By encouraging rather than making her go cold turkey was the best, she could get use to the idea and actually want to give them up all by herself. If your child is not completely ready and you have to go back to square one then that's OK. All children are different. Then main idea with the use of imagination is to try and encourage your child to want to give their dummy up rather than being told they have to. No one likes to give up things they love.
It took us 6 days to completely forget about the dummy, and that's all thanks to the dummy fairy.
Do you believe in the dummy fairy? What worked best for you?

It's The Little Things

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 The perfect happiness is listening to the laughter of a child, a walk along the beach to watching the sun set, sharing a moment underneath the stars. It's the little things that make happy moments. I have been inspired by other bloggers to take part  in a new linky It's The Little Things with the lovely Jodie over at Dear Little Daisy and Lauren at Dilan and Me. It’s so easy to forget and look past the tiny moments that bring us joy, so they wanted to create this linky so we can all fully appreciate and remember those moments that make it all worth while.


Puddle Jumping - I normally hate when my daughter gets dirty. I'm one of those mums who follow their child around tidying and with a pack of wet wipes ready for any dribbles. But as a part of some goals I made to myself this year, I wanted to take more of a relaxed approach to parenting and so we decided to go puddle jumping. It was freezing, we were filthy but we had the best time. I highly recommend puddle jumping if you need a giggle.
Being kind - As you may know, my daughter and I have been going to baby classes regularly and already I can see a big difference in her behaviour. My daughter is an absolute gem most of the time, but recently we have seen her not want to share her toys. My sister has two little girls and whenever we have a playdate with them my daughter is more than happy to share their toys, however when we host the playdate at our house, she doesn't want to share as much. So this week in baby class watching her share with all the other children made me burst with pride and grin from ear to ear. When the class ended she even helped the class leaders clear up all the toys while all the other children and their parents got their coats on, it was such a delight to watch my daughter be so kind and helpful to others.

Potty about the potty - This week I could have cried. Yes, my lovelies  I was so happy and clapped like a seal because my daughter did a poop on the potty. Is that normal? If it isn't heck I am far from normal but I was so proud of her and she did it all on her own. I am one proud mama!

Holidays - Last year, unfortunately we didn't get to have a family holiday. Bu we did manage to get away for a mini break with my mum and quality time with my mum is something to always appreciate. For this year my husband and I have been talking about going away for a mini break with my husband's brother, wife and little boy. Even though our destination is yet to be decided it's something that we all can look forward to.

All that is blogging - After what seems like forever after so much time...I brought my own domain, finally. For a person who hates changes or anything technical I am super proud of myself. I don't know what I was worrying about to be honest, next step going self-hosted. Also this week I have been building up some great friendships with other inspiring bloggers who are only too happy to help me whenever I need it.





RECIPE | Low Carb, Gluten Free Cream Cheese Pancakes

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Being as it's January most people are still on the health kick train and some have inspired me to try eat less sugar and cut down the carbs, and so these Cream Cheese Pancakes were born.
 
 

 

These pancakes are perfect for breakfast or for anyone who's on a low-carb diet or just prefers a light breakfast.  However the fun doesn't stop there. These pancakes are so versatile and can be used for a lighter options for a lunch or dinner. We have used these in place of tortilla wraps or pittas, they are very elastic and can easily being rolled up without any breaking. One batch of these pancakes are just 2g of carbs, 13g of protein only 253 calories.

What you will need:

56g of cream cheese
2 medium eggs
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Place all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk until smooth. Let the batter sit for a minute or two before adding to the pan so the bubbles can escape. If you don't your pancake will probably fall apart and we don't want that to happen.

Pour some of the batter into a hot pan greased with coconut oil, butter or fry light. Cook for two minutes until golden brown, flip and cook for one minute on the other side. Repeat for the rest of the batter.

Serve with honey, syrup, or fresh berries.
As you can see we love these pancakes, but don't forget to try our other pancake recipes. My daughter's favourite has to be our American Style Pancakes, or our two ingredient Banana Pancakes they are so easy to whip up. However if you're looking for a way to get your children to eat more veggies and want to be a little sneaky then our Sweet Potato Broccoli Pancakes are perfect.

Wheelchair or pushchairs: Who should take priority?

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Disabled Yorkshire campaigner Doug Paulley has claimed an important victory in his battle for wheelchair users to have priority use for wheelchair space on buses.  Read here.
 
 
At the time Mr Paulley attempted to board, a woman with a sleeping child in a pushchair occupied this space. She was asked by the driver to fold down the chair and move, however she refused, stating that her pram didn't fold down. Mr Paulley had to wait for the next bus and as a result he missed a connecting train for an appointment. Mr Paulley brought a case against FirstGroup after he claimed that their policy 'requesting, not requiring' able bodied passengers to move was unlawful disability discrimination.  
 
As a mum who uses the bus I have been asked to get off with my pram for a wheelchair user and I did so without a second thought. It's not the only time I have been asked to get off a bus, and I am sure that it won't be the last. I remember feeling very embarrassed the first time it happened, but with a little help from a friendly gentleman at the bus stop I was alright. Knowing that I had to walk the rest of the way wasn't the highlight of my day but I know that I did the decent thing and moved for someone who was in more need. I will always try and be accommodating to anyone, whether they have a disability or not.
 
I cannot actually believe that a case such as this had to go that far and to Supreme Court. Isn't it common decency to be polite to one another, not to think that one should have priority over the other. A person in a wheelchair has no choice about needing to take up that space, a pram can and should be folded away when asked despite its inconvenience. As I can only imagine how inconvenient it must be to travel by bus when you're a wheelchair user and only to find a mother and her baby in the space who think that their baby's comfort should come before your physical needs.
 
In light of all this victory for wheelchair users having a priority over parents with prams. It has left me with a few question being one of those parents who use the bus. Where exactly does it leave us parents? Being told and shamed off the bus, perhaps leading to more problems than actually solving. I know that not many parents asked to get off a bus would be too happy to pay for their fair again. I am so happy that Doug Paulley won his case, its a significant cultural change but don't you think  that in this day and age there is enough room for both, we all need to be more polite, considerate and accommodate others when their need is greater than ours.

What is your view on this?

Pretty Dresses, Little Curls, Thank Heavens For Little Girls

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For me, becoming a mother has been one of the biggest accomplishments that I have made and probably will ever make in my life. Any decisions that I have made has never brought me so much joy and love into my heart. I'm sure that many of you will be with me on this one when I say that a love for a child is like no other love known to man, it's an unconditional love, a love without limitations, a love that is impossible to break. But my journey into motherhood has by far not been one of the easiest.

From an early age I was told that it may be difficult for me to conceive and for years I convinced myself that I didn't want to children. I met my husband, fell in love and we got married but soon after the questions began. When are you going to have a baby? Is there a bun in the oven yet? I would always dream of the day of getting a positive pregnancy test and prayed for the day to come and could only imagine what it would be like to have a little baby bump. After months of a lot of heartache our future in becoming parents was bleak and it was then when we decided to stop trying for a baby. We began to focus on all the great things we had already achieved and made plans for our future, then something amazing happened. My husband and I had beaten the odds and we were finally expecting our first child.

Early on in our pregnancy we were convinced that we were having a boy. Thinking back to our second baby scan we thought all the 'signs' for a boy were there and we even said he a few times. But during our appointment the sonographer immediately knew the gender. I was having A GIRL!
I couldn't actually believe what she said. We both cried and couldn't believe she said we were having a girl. As a first-time mum, I didn’t know what to expect… in fact, I STILL don’t know what to expect!  Motherhood is still new to me and I am constantly learning and hopefully improving every single day. But one thing I know for sure, is that my baby girl changed my life. Babies are special and so unique! They can be exhausting, they are precious and they are perfect and so I wanted to tell you all the great things about having a GIRL...
MY GIRL IS A DELIGHT TO DRESS

Have you ever looked at little girl's clothes? From very early on I found myself mesmerized by all the beautiful options that were available. The beautiful dresses, the colours, the ruffles, the lace there's no doubt about it, girls clothes are way too adorable. My daughter's wardrobe is very impressive, I would probably go as far to say that I am very envious - mines mainly black, grey or white! But dressing her has actually taught me a bit about fashion and now I am finding myself paying attention to what I put myself in. Another great thing about having a little girl is the SHOES. Again there are so many fantastic options for her and I am already showing her the importance of a good sized shoe collection.


THE OH-SO-CUTE HAIR ACCESSORIES
When my daughter was born she rocked a granddad hairstyle for quite some time and then her hair started to grow and now it's crazy!!! *I must get her to the hairdressers* From the cute headbands, bows, clips to the oh so cute pigtails to plaits there are just so many options for beautifying my little lady's hairs. But do you know what makes this even better? My husband is great at styling her hair, no honestly, I'm not just saying this he really is.


MY GIRL IS VERY CHATTY AND A SOCIAL BUTTTERFLY
It's well known that girls start talking earlier than boys. My daughter has been chatting since before she could walk. Some days there are times where I wish she would be less vocal but it's lovely to sit there and actually have a conversation with her about unicorns, princesses and why they've decided to hide under the sofa. My daughter doesn't go to nursery yet but whenever we have playdates or go to toddler groups she is quite the social butterfly and I love to watch her play with other children. But being an only child and not in a nursery yet I did think that perhaps she would be the complete opposite and not want to leave my side, but no, as soon as she sees other children or those doors open at toddler group she off unless she wants food or a drink. Haha.

SHE HAS BECOME MY OWN MINI ME

I walked into my dressing room and saw her playing with my makeup brushes saying 'eyes'. I hardly ever do my makeup in front of her yet she figured out what they were and how to use them. I have even caught her with one of my handbags slung over her shoulders wearing my slippers *just to let you all know I have never ever gone out in my slippers* and as soon as she saw me coming in the room she started strutting around the room saying I am mummy.



MY LITTLE GIRL MAKES ME LOVE MY HUSBAND EVEN MORE

I can remember the new born days so clearly and the times where she would make it clear that my cuddles were better than Daddy's and that I would be the only one that soothe her if she was grumpy, hungry, or in pain. Even though some days this is still the case I have noticed that she's become quite the Daddy's girl and makes it clear when she wants Daddy to give her a bath, read her a bed time story or play make believe ponies. Most of the time I am not invited to play their games but I adore watching my two favourite people develop such a strong bond and seeing their bond makes me love my husband even more than I already do.


APPRECIATION FOR MY OWN MUM
Being a parent is hard work. Understanding their cries, figuring out when they are hungry, when they need soothing and most of all learning what is best for both you and your baby. Since becoming a mum to my beautiful daughter one thing that I can say is that I appreciate my mum and dad so much more. My mum had three children under four by the age of 24! When I was this age the thought of having three children under four scared me and I only just managed to move out. Both my parents were always willing to help and lend a hand when I had my daughter and never made me feel bad about dropping her off so I could get a few hours sleep. Now that I have my little girl it has taught me to appreciate my own mum.

MY DAUGHTER MAKES ME A BETTER PERSON

I have to say that my daughter has made me a better person, she has given me a purpose and has made me realise what is really important in life. I know that being a mum to my beautiful little girl inspires me to want to be an even better person. Being a parent you are faced with many challenges, some that you thought you could never endure, but because of my daughter I now know that I am more confident in my abilities and less likely to give up even when everything in my mind tells me to. Even if this sounds a little corny being a mum to my daughter has made me feel as if I can do anything and to always show gratitude to the simple things in life. I will continue my journey in motherhood knowing that my daughter makes me a better person and she reminds me of that everyday in all her cuddles.



#MOTHERHOOD MONDAY FEATURING MRS MUMMY HARRIS

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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.



Welcome back to 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, whether these are good, bad or ugly. This weeks Motherhood Mondays guest post features Lianne from Mrs Mummy Harris who shares some funny anecdotes she never imagined she would be saying since becoming a mum to Benjamin. I hope you enjoy and laugh lots when reading Lianne's post.

Before we get into her post I just wanted to share a little more about Lianne and her lovely blog, in which she shares her journey from being a newly-wed to a first time mum. Lianne lives in Essex with her husband Ashley, her two cats, Leo and Harley and her oh-so adorable son Benjamin. Lianne has just returned to work after maternity leave and she has very high hopes for her blog and wants to highlight all the milestones, the sleepless nights and the ups and downs of everyday life for a new mum. Thank you for joining us Lianne for Motherhood Mondays.

Things I never thought I would say.


As a mum I imagined phrases such as "don't touch that" "come back here" and "stop it" would be a regular occurrence. However, becoming a mum to Ben for all of seven months has made me say the following things:

1) "Ben get your foot out of your mouth." Since discovering his flexibility, his feet are his favourite things to try to eat.

2) "Well done, that was a massive poo!" - A very "mum" thing to say. But you don't realise it until you're in the parent club

3) "Shall we watch some more Scandal?" - I kid you not, he prefers adult tele to kids TV.

4) "your fingers don't go in the cat's bum." He loves stroking Leo our cat, but every so often he goes too near the bottom of the tail and fingers go wandering.

6) "Stop holding my nipple!" the last week or so he seems to have rediscovered my boobs, he sometimes puts his mouth over them to boob feed again (that hasn't happened in over three months) but I assume it's because he hasn't been well lately and it's a comfort thing.

7) "Stop picking my nose" - In his quest of discovery, he has found my nostrils and more so that I have bogies in them... though he can't grasp that by putting his fingers in them will always pull one out with the way he roots up there!

8) "Ben, stop moving your legs" - Ok, so this was actually Hubby when Ben was a newborn and he was trying to put on his nappy. When you hear this laying in bed its pretty hilarious.

9) "I've set up a playlist of Little Mix playing on loop for an hour." - I cheated a bit on this one - I actually said this to Hubby, not to Ben directly. But what sane person sets up a playlist of the same song 14 times just to keep someone happy? A sleep deprived mother that's who!!!

10) "No, you can't have the Sky remote. have the TV remote and be happy with that." He won't play with his toy remote and is itching to play with our sky remote to the point i have to hide it from him. Such a nightmare!!

So there you have it, in Seven months there are just ten phrases I did not expect to be saying! It's all rather amusing this parenting malarkey. I know that there is going to be so many more random things that will come out of my mouth (or hubby's). Watch this space!!

Thank you Lianne for taking part! And you my lovely readers don't forget to check out Lianne's blog and follow her on all her social media platforms.
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Linking up with Mumma Scribbles for Twinkly Tuesdays

THE BEAUTY EDIT | Beauty Promises

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Do you make resolutions? Being as it's January I am sure that those who do are busy setting those resolutions into motion. They could be hitting the gym, signing up to fitness class or eating more fruit and veg, but there's so much more to making resolutions than being healthier. So, this year I thought that it was time to ditch those types of resolutions and think of beauty promises instead.


ALWAYS TAKE YOUR MAKE-UP OFF

We all know sleeping in our make-up is bad, but we are busy people and sometimes we crash out. Make a beauty promise to yourself and take the time to make sure all traces are off your face to prevent clogged pores, break-outs, irritation and rough skin and even more importantly premature signs of ageing skin.  Being a blogger that tries new products regularly I have come across quite a few make-up removers in my time, cleansers, oils, creams and more recently micellar waters. But this one from Clinique does exactly what it claims and once you've tried this make-up remover, there's no going back.

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, £22


STOP PICKING THAT SPOT

I don't need to tell you that there's never a good time for a gigantic spot to pop up on your face. It's always at the most inconvenient of times -  a date, a wedding or just seeing friends and family. You just know that they will be staring at your big, red, angry spot all the time. Those little buggers have terrible timing, and so, it's a good time to have some excellent spot treatments so you can keep that beauty promise in 2017. This serum from Murad is fantastic it helps normalise the oil production to help your skin look and feel soft.



Murad Pore Reform T-zone Pore Refining Serum, £40


MAKE SURE YOU MOISTURISE

Using a moisturiser on a regular basis can be the answer to achieving silky smooth skin. However knowing how often to apply moisturiser can be difficult, and it's all got to do with your skin type. I have very dry skin and during the winter months I suffer with eczema, and so I need to moisturise everyday, but those with an oily skin type wouldn't need to moisturise on a regular basis. I'm a big fan of natural products and this moisturiser from Eugenia Shea which is a Ghanaian Shea Butter that promises to provide vitamins E and A all day long. It boasts in helping with skin regeneration by minimizing scars and pesky stretch marks. This all-natural, ethically produced Shea butter is simply decadent. Want to keep your skin glowing and shining for years to come? Eugenia Shea is your best bet.

Eu'Genia Shea Butter Gift Packs, $40


GROW YOUR NAILS

We could all take care of our nails a lot better. Growing long and strong nails is a multi-step process but if you take good care of your nails, you can grow them to the length you desire. I am more of a natural nails kind of girl and only use gel and acrylics for special occasions as too many applications can leave your nails dry, brittle and unlikely to grow. I do give myself regular manicures and always make sure that I take good care of my cuticles but something that I don't do too often is apply strengthening treatments. A new beauty promise for 2017. This growth treatment by Nails Inc is everything you will need. It has the perfect blend that will successfully protect and repair damaged nails while strengthening them against splitting and peeling.



Nails Inc Nail Grow Treatment, £15


ROUTINELY REPAIR OVER-STYLED HAIR

I'm sure that I am not alone when I say that I really over-style my hair with shampoos, conditioners, styling products and my poor straighteners have just about had it! Sadly, hair can be damaged quickly, but bringing it back to good health can take some time. But for me by having regular hair cuts, keeping the hot styling tools to a minimum can help, it's OK to let the bouffant dry naturally. But when I begin to see a few split ends I will switch my cleansing and styling products and use some that have been designed to help protect and restore damaged hair.
Tigi Bed Head - Rehab for Hair Recovery Shampoo and Conditioner , £20

Will you make any beauty promises for 2017?

#MOTHERHOOD MONDAYS SERIES FEATURING DEVON MAMA

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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. Welcome back to the #MotherhoodMondays guest post series. A weekly feature for mothers to share their stories about their incredible journeys of motherhood in all kinds of form, whether these are good, bad or ugly. This weeks Motherhood Monday guest post features Hayley from Devon Mama who shares her experiences of becoming a mother, her expectation of motherhood was completely nothing like she had imagined. I'm so pleased to be able to share Hayley's story with you all, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

A little more about Hayley and her blog. Devon Mama is run by Haley; a 30 year old mama, wife and recovering sleep addict. Living with her husband, baby and the world's bounciest dog in rural Devon, Hayley can be found attempting to cook, googling everything and embracing the strange new world that is parenting. Add in a house with 'a lot of potential' and return to her 'real' job as a company director and it's organised chaos at the best of times. Happy to have you, Hayley.
Motherhood - Expectation vs Reality
Pre-parenthood I had some pretty set ideas on what I thought it would be like. I thought I knew exactly the type of parent that I’d be, the style of parenting I’d adopt and exactly how I’d cope with every situation. Then I had the baby and that all flew out the window. Here’s how we got on

Sleep Patterns
Expectation: Newborns sleep a LOT don’t they?! For nice large chunks of time, waking only to feed before dropping back to sleep easily. Easy.
Reality: Clearly our baby has a massive case of FOMO (fear of missing out) because he hated sleeping. Genuinely hated it. The only way you could get him to sleep was to bounce him for a minimum of thirty minutes which resulted in major knee pain for both me and the husband for the next three months. Once asleep he would only sleep if held semi upright against the body and would wake every ten minutes just to make sure you were still having as much fun. Bounce, sleep, wake, repeat. For months.
And whilst we’re on sleep…
The Moses Basket
Expectation: Co-sleeping – yes. Bed sharing – never. Didn’t people know how dangerous it was? We set up a Moses basket by the bed and another in the lounge so that we didn’t have to keep carrying it up and down the stairs.
Reality: Smug parents, we were not. If we thought getting him to sleep was hard, getting him to sleep in the basket was harder. We managed two nights of pure hell before blearily agreeing to pop him in the bed with us. I sat bolt upright for nearly two weeks terrified to sleep in case I dropped him whilst he snored away between bouncing and feeds. Finally, we cracked and bought a co-sleeping crib which gave me something to jam my body on to whilst he hogged the bed. Entirely what it was meant for. What happened to the Moses baskets? They became laundry holders/clothes horses – definitely a missed marketing opportunity there.
Breast-feeding
Expectation: Breast-feeding is natural and easy. People have been doing it for centuries. It’ll be a little hard to start with but nothing compared to labour.
Reality: My god. Breast-feeding is anything other than the easy route. In retrospect, I should have known that any body part being mashed and sucked for 23hours of the day would get sore but wow. Talk about a painful awakening. We spent hours squishing and poking my boobs to try and get them into his (tiny) mouth and achieve the Holy Grail aka. THE PERFECT LATCH. We then battled cluster-feeding (ouch), mastitis (double ouch) and nipple thrush (unbelievable ouch) before finally appearing to hit our stride. Never before have I had so many people stare at my boobs or been quite so aware of the size of my nipples in relation to a baby (huge, by the way). That said, I’m quite proud to have exceeded my expectations and still be feeding at seven months. I thought I would have had enough by now but we’re still going strong!
My Body Image
Expectation: Yes, I put on more weight than I ever intended – no, it wasn’t twins, thanks for asking. However, breastfeeding shrinks weight off like magic so it will all be fine. The baby will sleep during the day and I’ll use the treadmill/go for walks to walk off the weight. Yummy. Mummy.
Reality: The first few weeks I lost a substantial amount of weight purely from water loss and the fact I no longer had a person inside of me. That soon stopped and since then nothing has worked to shift it. I’m sure breastfeeding would help you lose weight (the calorie burn alone) but it also makes you ravenous. When the baby wasn’t clinging to me, I lay on the bed willing myself to sleep rather than pounding it out on the treadmill. With that in mind, I resigned myself to putting up with things for a couple of months whilst life settled back to a new normal and generally avoiding mirrors. I’m probably due at the gym any time now!
The Maternal Side
Expectation: Everyone loves their baby but I genuinely struggled to connect to the fact that I was Having. A. Baby. So my expectations for how I would feel after birth were pretty low, obviously I would love them but I was scared that I wouldn’t be maternal enough or that I just didn’t have the gene.
Reality: It wasn’t at the birth that it hit but in the following few hours where my husband slept and I just sat and stared. That protective, awed feeling that is so difficult to describe. When he smiles, it makes my chest hurt. When he cries, it does the same. There really is nothing like that feeling and whilst it’s not been a walk in the park, my previous fears were completely unfounded.

Motherhood – it’s like nothing I could ever imagine!

Thank you so much for taking part Hayley! And you my lovely readers don't forget to check out Hayley's blog and follow her on her social media platforms.

LOOKING AHEAD | Goals, Hopes & Dreams for 2017

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Hello and a belated Happy New Year. Every year must come to an end and a new one must begin. I have to say that 2016 was a great year for us. We made so many changes to our home, finally got our little girl baptised and towards the end of the year things were looking great for my husband on the work front. 2017 we are ready for you!
 
 
Every January I love to make a list of resolutions for the coming year. I have found that this motivates me and gives me a good chance to reflect on the year gone by. I can pretty much say that I nailed last years resolutions except for the don't stress part, due to constant illness for all of us since October, it's been tough. But less stress is something that I can work towards with the upcoming year, and so I have been busy writing lists about my goals, hopes and dreams for 2017 that I'd like to share with you.
 
So looking at this very long list in front of me, it's a big one. I've decided to separate them into different parts of my life - the blog, being a parent and life!
 
THE BLOG
 
1. Grow my social media following. I believe in setting myself reasonable followers goals and I don't want my goals way above what I'll reach so I have set a goal for all my social media platforms to 8,000. Are you following me?
 
2. Get more involved with my blog series #MotherhoodMondays. If you're interested leave me a lovely comment and I'll get in touch.
 
3. Try and go self-hosted. Any blog posts will be welcomed, hit me in the comments.
 
4. Collaborate with some more fantastic bloggers and exciting brands.
 
5. Totally nail the photography course I've signed up for.
 
 
BEING A PARENT
 
1. Go to more toddler classes and sign up for that dance class that I keep putting off.
 
2. Say good riddance to that dummy! 6 days and counting!
 
3. Take little lady to swimming classes.
 
4. Nail potty training!
 
5. Prepare my daughter for nursery (Ok, prepare myself, but seriously already)
 
6. BONUS...my daughter asked for a kitchen, some ponies and a baby brother for Christmas. We got 2 out of 3 so for 2017 think about putting the last one into action.
 
 
LIFE
 
1. Eat healthier and continue weight loss journey - 2 stones and counting.
 
2. Book a night away for our fourth anniversary without the little lady.
 
3. Drive more, because I'm pants at driving.
 
4. Up my exercise game.
 
5. Have more time for myself
 
I really do hope that I can achieve all my goals for 2017 or at least most of them. Please keep your fingers crossed guys and wish me luck. What are your goals, hopes and dreams for 2017?
 
Happy New Year

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