So here we are, two weeks to go and then it’s the end of my last (planned) maternity leave, not planning on any more but can’t say it will never happen again but we are not planning it that’s for sure.
I can’t believe that my (extended) year is almost up, how did time go so quickly? It feels like yesterday waiting in the hospital eager to come home but being told we had to wait yet another day for more test results to come back, eventually after a week of waiting and multiple tests – which all came back fine, I was able to bring my youngest baby home and we started our life as a family of four. Going from a comfy one to a crazy two!
We have battled through readjusting and getting used to a new dynamic, I have conquered breastfeeding despite it not being easy for the first three months. We have endured (and still are) many many sleepless nights, and somehow we have whizzed by and celebrated our eldest’s second birthday (third was is looming) and the youngest’s first birthday.
I think out of the two maternity leaves I have experienced this one has definitely had the most achievements within it – not to say my first wasn’t an achievement as it very much was when coping with an almost 3 month prem baby and expressing exclusively for a year “The Fine Art of “Expressingism”, as well as coping with all things new as a parent – first time EVERYTHING was alien, second time round you had a basis of comparison.
However thinking back on the year or so that has passed I can think of many things we have done as a family and things I have done myself that I feel are an accomplishment.
- We have been lucky to have gone on two family holidays – one abroad, the other to Center Parcs – now if you’ve travelled with kids you know that holidays are no longer real holidays, but we’ve been lucky to have enjoyed most of the experiences and with a head of reality on our shoulders our expectations were exceeded in some moments – Although going on holiday three months after having a second baby doesn’t help body confidence issues (The dreaded beach holiday, Golden goddess or sweaty sea sloth). We will be marking the end of my maternity leave with another trip to Center Parcs (great way to distract myself from dwelling on the doom and gloom of going to work) this time upgraded to a lodge with its own hot tub and steam room – I will be making the most of that during nap-time. Lets hope its not as crazy as last time Pass me my cape – I’m supermum today.
- I started running – for someone who could barely run to the end of the road without feeling like my heart was about to explode in my chest and my lungs were ready to collapse, I managed a record 15km late last year, my aim is to try and reach 20km by the end of the summer but who knows, its not the be all and end all if I don’t, but the fact that I can run is an achievement – also a fantastic way to burn off the calories of the vast quantities of chocolate.
- I started this blog almost a year ago. It all stemmed from fellow mums who frequently commented on my blog like posts on the local mum group to start my own blog – so I did, and I’m so glad I have. I don’t claim to be able to write well, nor can I tell you the difference between an adverb and pronoun, but I like to be able to express what I am feeling and going through at that precise moment in time e.g Picture perfect moments descending into chaos, Help? no not me, I’m fine…am I? or A little ‘thank you’ would be nice.. It has given me the opportunity to remember things how they were rather than through memory faded, sleep deprived rose tinted glasses. It has only given me the opportunity to share moments that other people have also experienced, giving others solace in the thought that they weren’t alone – “Today I feel like a bad mum“.
- I became a Mum’s In The Know Superblogger, it may not mean anything to anyone else but it was my first recognition that my blog posts was more than just random bumblings and ramblings of my life but actually they were worthwhile to read – well some of them. I even got Superblogger of the month for “You know you’re a mum when”
- I gained confidence in myself as a mother and a person. First time round I was nervous, not knowing anyone, not knowing anything and learning as I went along, hoping to be accepted into a circle of fellow mum friends. This time round I have been much more confident in myself, I haven’t spent hours upon hours scouring the internet for answers I’ve just gone with my gut instinct. I also haven’t clamoured after every possible new mum to befriend and lean on along the way but taken my time in getting to know a smaller number of people. This is turn has led me to some more fulfilling friendships and ones in which we can say to each other that we cant be arsed meeting up today as we just want to stay home with the kids. Having that kind of honesty and confidence is liberating, plus I spent more quality time with the boys. Spending time on play dates is great and I do love them but you never really get absorbed into the moment with your children, I noticed this part way through the year and decided that it was OK to turn down a meet up now and again and just enjoy being mum.( I wish every day was a fairy tale day. , The greatest gift you can give your child is time.)
- Supporting my husband when he started a new job just as our youngest was only 2-3 months old, not only were we adjusting to being a family of four, we also had to adjust to a new schedule and demand from Ben’s new job. That’s not to say life is plain sailing now, in a few months time we will be entering another part of our lives as Ben embarks on setting up his own business – this will be bring many challenges and great accomplishments along the way I’m sure.
- I have become more patient and tolerant of the shitty times, not to say I haven’t completely lost it some days or not broken down in floods of tears because I have (It’s OK to not always “love” being a mum.), and I’ve consumed more chocolate than I have ever eaten in my life – but generally I have gone with the flow when times are tough, I’ve learnt to breathe calmly through the chaos and try and think of the positive in each day – even if I have only had 3 hours broken sleep and I’ve been dealing with more actual shit that you could dream of.
- I have breastfed for 14 months and I’m still feeding now, I was stubborn and stupid and didnt seek help when my youngest didnt latch well, instead of calling for help I tried to fix the problem myself – took us three months but we cracked it in the end, now it’s easy peasy, a little too easy that I dont know how to stop.
- I started a business (Pudding and Chops) with my wonderful friend Laura, united in shitty times together with our four children between us, we came together and brought an idea to life (Sister’s are doin’ it for themselves). Both of us are due back to work in the next week or so and rather than enjoy a more relaxing end to our maternity leaves we are frantically learning on the go as we market and pitch our business and deal with the orders and sales on a day to day basis, as well as run house, look after the kids and try to be amazing wives.
- And finally the icing on the cake – getting nominated and being shortlisted as a finalist in the Best Baby Blog for the MAD Blog awards 2016 for Tots100. Never did I think anything would come of a flippant entry and begging post or two for nominations, I was totally expecting to be pie’d in the face as finalists were announced and I was nowhere to be seen. But no, shockingly I saw my name as I stumbled across a few tweets mentioning the finalist announcements (I am no good at tweeting/twittering/ whatever, it’s not a platform I have mastered yet) and my god what a feeling that was – apart from feeling a tad over excited and almost wetting myself in delight I felt so humbled that people took the time to vote and that I had enough nominations to become a finalist – me! There are some fantastic bloggers up in the finals, some with mass followings of thousands on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc and then there’s me, I don’t have numbers to brag about but then that’s not important to me and its not the reason why I write. What is nice to see is that some people who I have not spoken to in years occasionally read what I write and connect with it, people feel like they are not alone when times are hard and have thanked me for writing about the tougher times. It feels like whilst I have been recording my experiences I have also guided or helped others along with theirs – feeling like I can reach out to people either in laughter or tears really means something.
So what’s next? I really don’t know, apart from the obvious returning to work and hating leaving my boys every day as I drop them off as soon as nursery opens only to see them at the end of the day to put them to bed and nervously planning my trip down to the MAD Blogs awards in September – yes there is an actual award ceremony (eeek – best practice my loser face)
Oh god what am I going to wear?
I’m hoping that Pudding & Chops will continue to be as successful as it’s started, it will take a lot of hard work and time, trying to juggle that alongside working and being a mum will be difficult but I would like the near future to have many changes coming its way. I want to be home more with the boys especially as my eldest starts school next September (2017), I don’t want to lose the early years before they are sucked into the education system. So hopefully there will be some changes in our lives, changes that will make our family better, stronger and happier.
But for the immediate future I am going to make the most of my final week with my boys, hope the sunshine stays so we can get plenty of fun days out to the Ice Cream Farm or to the Monkey Forest. I am going to enjoy our week away at Center Parcs as I think it will be our last for a while until the new business of hubby’s is up and running. And I’m going to hope that maybe in the sea of voting that will be taking place in the next four weeks that a few will come my way. (It’s easy to vote by the way – just enter your email address, select me in the Best Baby Blog from the drop down menu and boom -good deed done, also coerce all friends and relatives to do the same as well 😉 )
Hope you’ve enjoyed my blog so far, and I’m looking forward to recording more of our life as times change.