Don’t judge a book by its cover is one of my favourite sayings.
You never know what someone is having to deal with. You don’t know what’s going on inside.
I remember the early days after I had lost Ethan, looking around and thinking that everyone who had a baby where lucky. That they had everything they wanted and they where lucky.
The truth was I had no idea if they had suffered before like me. If they’d lost a baby, struggled for years to get one or adopted because they couldn’t have one.
That parent in a shop who’s battling with her child yet again, who’s probably close to tears. Look a little harder. It might not be a naughty child, may be there’s underlying problems they aren’t discussing with anyone yet.
Maybe they are battling a long term health condition. Maybe a loved one died. Maybe they lost their job. Maybe they are struggling in ways you can’t imagine.
Never judge a book by its cover. You never really know what’s going on inside.
Like I wasn’t good enough………. Suddenly there were Christmas blogs, vlogs and posts everywhere and I had nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I love and good Christmas vlog and everything else that comes with it. I have a fabulous watch list on my youtube!
However, I suddenly got that Mum guilt. The guilt, that I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t doing enough as everyone else.
This time last year (2018) I had not long been out of hospital and Christmas was organized for me / around me.
This year I feel like I have got to prove something. Like I can still do it all, which is ridiculous because I can’t.
Social media is great and I love it. I really have found a great community on my Instagram account. I follow some amazing people with wonderful homes and ideas.
So why am I so god damn guilty of feeling like I am not good enough?! Before I answer why I think this is so let me share this with you….
I asked a few question on my Instagram stories and these were the questions and results…….
“Do you feel like social media constantly tells you it’s just about making memories”
63% of you said yes!
So then I asked………”yet you still feel like your not doing enough?” An incredible 92% of you said YES!!
I also asked:
1) “Do you feel like you are meant to have the picture perfect Christmas?”
2)”Do you feel a certain amount of pressure for Christmas?”
3) “Do you feel like you should have it all and do it all?”
Lots of you said yes, a few people said no and some gave more detailed answers which consisted of;
Feeling like everything should match, co-ordinated outfits, colour co-ordinated decorations and everything homemade.
Instagram is OTT about Christmas this year.
In real life no but for social media yes.
Feeling like family are out-doing you for your kids.
Keeping both parents happy.
Pressure to make it perfect for the children.
Now if social media keeps telling us it’s just about the memories then why do so many of us feel like we aren’t doing enough at Christmas?! Well here’s my thoughts……..
Despite the efforts that we all make as bloggers / vloggers / influencers to be real. I do think there is still an element of wanting to show perfection. I mean who wants to show a half done Christmas job? If you can’t manage a tree or a finished tree are you really going to be telling everyone than illness suddenly struck you down and this is what you have? Or that everyone argued on how to decorate it and you gave up? No! You want to be the one that influences someone else and have someone else copy what you have done. You want to feel loved and liked for all your efforts.
Another reason is, we watch one person and they’ve done elf in the shelf with great ideas. Then we watch someone else and they’ve done incredible advent calendar ideas all homemade. Then you see someone else who’s baking from scratch.
Now then, each of these is wonderful, however are each of these also doing the other things as well? Or are they just doing that one as best as they can?
Why do we insist on trying to do all these three at 210% and not just do one at the usual 100%? I’ll tell you why! It’s because you don’t want your child to be the only one that missed out on not having an elf, or not having the best activities planned or the best food served on the table.
I am 34 now and my only hope is that Alfie and William look back on their childhood with nothing but fond memories.
I remember Christmas when I was a
Child and I absolutely loved it. There was no elf on the shelf, no fight for the best tree, no competing for the best and most exiting activities!!! It was just me, the family and some mega fun Christmas games! In fact the Christmas games are what sticks out the most in my memories from being a child at Christmas.
I guess what I am trying to say is that, I know your putting pressure on yourself. You went your child to have the best presents, food, activities and the best elf.
However the truth is, as long as they are happy don’t worry. They really won’t remember the details, they will just remember that every year you always watch that film on that day with those treats.
Or that you always pick a new decoration after decorating the tree.
Or that you play those yearly Christmas games that you all love.
So stop comparing yourself to everyone else. It’s not all what it seems. So what if you having got matching pjs?! My hubby prefers loungewear and my step son is 14, they aren’t going to want to be in matching pjs so why should I bother wasting my money!
So here’s my motto;
You are good enough.
You do not need to prove anything to anyone.
Your Christmas is yours as well.
Memories are really all that matters in the end.
Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. They might be feeling the same and just not showing it.
That being said, if you do want it all and you can have it all easily. The matching pjs, matching decorations, every room looking like Christmas and the homemade cooking and baked goods then go for it! The rest of us are only jealous that’s all ha ha
We all talk about Christmas gift guides for children but what about us Mum’s too? I mean we work really bloody hard and put ourselves at the bottom of the pecking order all the time.
Then when it comes to Christmas it’s oh just money or vouchers thanks…….
Then what happens to that? Be honest……it probably goes to the kids or the house. I’m right aren’t I? I know I am super guilty of this. My mother in law was very quick to notice this and one year she got me a voucher where I had no choice but to spend it on me! Another year I was under strict instructions to buy myself something and not Alfie ha ha!
So why do we find it so hard to think of gifts for ourselves? Well I don’t know about you but I think it’s because, we put that much time and thought and effort into our children. Helping them through the world and being their voice when they can’t speak, we want what’s best for them. How many times have you shared your bath because it makes them happy? Or your food because they were still hungry? Or your drink because they wanted to be like you and copy.
I think the reason why we don’t have a big long list when it comes to Christmas is because ultimately the things we want are not much. After putting the kids before us every day and us to the back, we miss out on things that shouldn’t be a luxury but now are.
So when it comes to Christmas, these are my first thoughts on gifts for me……..
Socks and underwear. I really should update these, holes in my socks and
knickers that quite frankly have seen better days. I mean when the kids have growth spurts they comes first don’t they!? Well my eldest is 15 now and so that’s a long time to wait for decent socks and knickers isn’t it!?! (Please note I do have decent underwear if anyone is worried however some have still seen better day’s).
I’ve got slippers that have been used as a setting for pirate ships, a bridge and god knows what.
Right now a long hot bath or shower would honestly feel a spa day……
I can’t remember the last hot meal I had where I wasn’t helping Alfie eat because and I quote “my arms don’t work today” or “my fork is being funny” (FYI apparently laugh at it then is not an appropriate response to his just so your aware!)
I’ve got pictures on my pjs that are so worn you can’t make out the character anymore…….
And if Mario Dedivanovic ever saw my make up bag……..well I think he’d have a heart attack (he’s a famous make up artist – yeah I had to google one,I’m not cool lol)
I mean I ran out of perfume months ago and it won’t be replaced unless Santa brings some.
So to anyone reading this. If you ask a Mum what she wants for Chrsitmas, yes she might want a new mirror, dining table and a new unit in the hall because that one is broken. (this is genuinely me lol 😂 it’s all been moved to next years list now for us to save and buy ha ha!)
She won’t ask for them though and she won’t ask for anything else.
She probably wants the simple stuff in life, pjs, slippers, underwear, socks, perfume and maybe some chocolate and her favourite drink to herself! An uninterrupted hot bath with a face mask will feel like spa day!!!
If you let her have time for shaving her legs followed by a no kids allowed hot grown up meal (with green stuff if you like!) then my god let me tell you……..next year you will get the best pick of the homemade Christmas cards let me tell you lol 😂😂😂
Be sure to tell me what’s on your Christmas list year?
So as you have probably gathered I’ve been trying hard to get out a lot more at the moment.
We recently went to Legoland in Manchester.
We have been many times before but not for a while and Alfie has been asking so as it was a wet day, off we went!
Armed with my scooter and our passes, we figured we had cracked it.
Now, we love it there and the staff are great. However our recent trip wasn’t as successful but that was not the staff’s fault at all.
So disability access, they have a lift to get upstairs where the whole thing is based, downstairs is just the entrance and shop.
At the first ride we went on just as you go in, I was given a green lanyard to wear so I stand out to staff and also you get a card which let’s the staff write on how long you’ve had to wait for the ride etc.
Before I carry on I will say that they currently have a magical theme going on. So there’s Lego statues of wizards everywhere. There’s a magical carriage which you can get a photo in. There’s also a game to play where you have to find all the magical words in Legoland, at the end you can hand your results in to enter a competition to win the Harry Potter castle.
They have on display places from around the U.K such as London, Alton Towers and Blackpool, with moving parts. There’s even a football pitch! It’s incredible that some had built these.
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Moving along they have a virtual reality section.
You can build your own car of sorts and race it along the tracks they have then pose for 1st, 2nd or 3rd place.
They have a ninja’s soft play area, a cafe, go car area and a climbing wall!
During the magical theme event they have they have a magician on as well.
They have a duplo area for younger children and a craft room as well with set times of activities.
The 4D theatre is great as well! They’ve just changed the move so we where thrilled to see a different mini movie when we went.
I do believe you can have parties there as well.
Ok so, whet was it a bad visit I hear you?! Well apart from the fact that it was so incredibly busy, to the point where I couldn’t drive my scooter because of all the Lego on the floor………(doesn’t look much in the photos but trust me it was everywhere and I kept getting stuck!).
The air con had also broken! Not fun! I have to say though that the staff where excellent and still as helpful as ever. They gave out free slushies as the machine wasn’t working properly and also gave out play dough to all the children when they left. I have to say that they really worked hard to ensure that everyone still had a great day.
We unfortunately cut our visit short due to the heat and me not being able to drive around properly because of all the Lego on the floor. However we weren’t disappointed, Alfie still had fun which was the main thing. We did miss a lot of things I would have like to do with him however it couldn’t be helped.
We will definitely be going back as we love it, the staff are friendly and helpful and apart from Lego on the floor it’s really accessible for me. I can get on the rides, they have passed for disabled guests as well and accessible toilets.
They also have wristbands for all guests with a time limit, this is during their busy period so that there isn’t too many people at any one time and it keeps a constant flow of guests.
All in all, definitely worth a visit just be careful with the Lego on the floor!!!
I love my best friend so much.
My best friend makes me laugh, cry and smile. My best friend knows how to comfort me when I am down, my best friend knows how to give the best hugs.
My best friend and I love the same sweets and chocolate. We love the same films.
We love each so so much and also argue!
My best friend knows when I am sad and when I need a cuddle.
My best friend is just amazing, we really do have so much fun together.
We share a love of books, movies, chocolate and baking.
My best friend is utterly gorgeous!
My best friend doesn’t mind my snakes and my best friend has a unique sense of style.
My best friend accepts me for who I am no matter what and thinks I am beautiful even without my hair and make up done.
We love going out in the fresh air and we love our day trips out.
My best friend had such a unique funny and quirky personality and amazes my every day. My best friend is also absolutely hilarious and tells the funniest stories and jokes without even knowing it!!!
My best friend healed a part of me I never thought could be fixed.
I love you so much & I am so glad that we have each other and we are best friends.
Here’s to many many more memories together.
What I wish I knew before I became a Mummy.
I don’t know about you but about 80% of the time I am totally winging it with this motherhood malarkey!
I couldn’t wait to be a Mummy and have my own children when I was younger. I thought I would smash parenting. With always having homemade meals, taking my children 👶🏼 everywhere. Playgroups, outdoor play, groups, clubs etc. Being the so called picture perfect ‘Pinterest Mummy’.
There’s books and apps all about the different stages of pregnancy. Even help and advice on general new born stuff. Teething. Rashes. Temperature advice, and lots more. What about the rest though?
May be it’s just me and the way my brain works. I mean with three neurological conditions, things aren’t easy as you know and I work hard to keep my head above water most of the time.
Being organised is hard work as someone who’s dyspraxic. Not sure if that’s the reason I’m like this or if everyone is like this 🤷🏻♀️.
What I’m getting at is, the fun side of parenting. The part where some people just know where to take their kids, what groups are on, clubs etc.
It’s one of the things I feel really bad at as a parent.
Before I became a Mummy to Alfie I wish I knew where to find out what’s on. I wish I knew how to make new Mum friends without looking desperate!!! I wish I knew how to organise our time better. How to make the most of our time together while he’s young. How to know what’s on where, deals, where is best to shop.
I mean seriously, I look online and think oh crap that would have been good or I should have done that or he would have loved that. I’m the one that’s two steps behind and not two steps ahead.
I’m a bit of a last minute Mum I guess and always seem to do the same stuff.
I feel like everyone else has got a better grip on how best to entertain their children. That or they have a secret handbook I don’t know about! Not me. I look online in the evening to catch up with people and think oh wow that would be great, then the next day I forget about it. Or it’s already been and gone.
I guess you could say I wish I had a p.a to help organise and hunt things down for me. It just feels like a full time job trying to organise you and your kids to do stuff.
I mean I’m never ahead for anything.
I know I’m not alone though, I’m sure there’s others like me that feel like this.
The one who thought they were born to be a Mummy and would be that ‘Pinterest Mum’ where others admired. The truth is I’m far from that and I’m sure I’m not alone.
We are all winging it and not many of us find ways to fill our time where it’s forever exciting.
I mean we are all smashing this parenting malarkey but are any of us really a Pinterest type Mummy or Daddy? If you are that’s great. Just share the ideas with the rest of us so we have a head up lol!
Basically I could do with a guide book on what best groups and websites in my area are so that I can look back on Alfie’s childhood and think. Damn I was amazing and made the most of it.
What do you think?
Do you feel a bit like this?
Let’s talk about about self care but not in the sense we are all discussing at the moment. We all talk about looking after ourselves and taking time out from the busy stressful life but what about children?
We expect so much from them, we expect them to be on their best behaviour, to do and act a certain things, we plan their day, what they eat and wear. They spend all day at school or nursery where they have to be on their best behaviour, expecting them to be nice, learn things all day, repeat things, concentrate all day. We expect them to have constant respect and care towards everyone. We generally expect quite a lot from them but what about letting them have some downtime and do something for them to relax and unwind?
As adults we are only now learning about self care and we still aren’t very good at it. So how about we start at the beginning and teach our children how to switch off, unwind and love themselves?
I recently ran Alfie a bath with a bath bomb and a hot chocolate, he loves a bath anyway but generally only has a few toys and bubbles. This time I let him have as many toys as he wanted, blew the bath pillow up and let him have a bath bomb. He absolutely loved it. We also have movie nights with the kids where they pick a film and we get some goodies out and a drink they want.
It might be that sometimes we let them have a treat tea.
We let William have time on his x box to have chill out time and do what he wants to do. Being older William has more responsibilities at home and he finds Alfie as stressful as us ha ha so I think it’s important to let him have his time to himself where we aren’t breathing down him to be and act a certain way.
I also think it’s important as some children suffer with anxiety from an early age so it’s super important to help them learn how to deal with it.
Some good ways to help children dealing with anxiety that people I know have suggested are things like, yoga and smiling minds. Some children find drawing and colouring quite relaxing which is great as then you can get chance to chat to them.
Some people use worry dolls too, or those worry tree’s. Also there is a growing trend of parents and children having matching stars or dots on their hands so the child knows the parent is with them.
Also labelling emotions for them really helps them to understand what they are feeling. I mean we can’t expect them to understand their emotions straight away, we have to teach them everything don’t we and give them the tools they need to understand what they are feeling.
Life has a habit of throwing curve balls be it big or small and if we don’t help them learn how to take a step back then I guess we will never change in the world of self care and learning how to look after ourselves. After all things that happen in our life and the curve balls we get can have an impact on our children too. I ended up in a wheelchair and had to learn to walk again. That had a major impact on our children, so, if your not already starting self care with your little ones then give it a go. I really think it will help them not just now but in later life too.
I would love to know if you practise any self care with children.
Emma xx 💋
This is Alfie after his bath. He actually has hair that’s been tamed for once lol x
I couldn’t decide today what to write for my blog post. I feel a bit lost in my thoughts at the moment as Ethan’s birthday creeps closer and only weeks to go.
I thought about a few subjects but instead I decided to write about something a little more light hearted. As the ones that came to mind where potentially heavy hearted.
I’m going to touch on two small subjects, both on the subject of toddlers! The first being routine. We got Alfie onto a routine when he was first about two months old and I’ll be honest, my first thought was , why didn’t I do this sooner? Truth is looking back now I know it was because I was enjoying squishy baby cuddles and I was tired from the night feeds and couldn’t think straight. Obviously our routine has adapted over the years depending on circumstances and of course Alfie’s needs. The routine we have at the moment for him though works really well. So let me tell you our nighttime routine. Three days a week Alfie goes to nurser, I pick him up around 5 pm and take him home. I let him watch tv as he’s been playing all day and using his brain which gives me chance to make some tea. Ste normally gets home about 6pm so I try and make sure tea is ready for them just because I don’t want Alfie eating too late as then he won’t eat. Which I’ll go into later.
After we’ve had tea we let Alfie sit and relax and watch t.v.i don’t really want him playing with toys at the rate as then he just gets giddy and silly. We all know that silly behaviour before bed time is a big no no!
Now on nursery days, because it’s late and we don’t have long before bedtime, unless he’s super messy I won’t bath him on nursery days. He’ll sit and chill until about 7:20 when I give him some warm milk and then we go upstairs and get him ready for bed after his milk. We read him a story although it’s been known for him to bribe us for about 3 or 4 stories ha ha.
It’s usually about 8pm by the time we’ve done everything and then we give him kisses, cuddles and tuck him in.
He might not always go straight to sleep but he’s used to the routine now so he will talk to himself until he wants to sleep.
As for who puts him to bed that depends on how I feel and if Ste is working. It really works for us though this routine, we don’t have any messing now and it gives us a nice peaceful evening.
Just another subject I will touch on is eating. I really struggle with Alfie and food. He will try everything but actually getting him to eat is really hard. I recently bought a new plate from Aldi and I have to say it’s worked really really well. He eats from each section and eventually when he’s eaten everything he gets his treat from the castle at the end well worth the money if you ask me.
I would love to know if you have any tips or how you manage with your little one and eating.
I’d also love to know your bedtime routine with your children xx
One of the many things I get asked about with having FND is how I manage with having a toddler (a wild child toddler at that!).
Now I won’t lie it’s not without great difficulty. The first thing you have to try and wrap your head around is do not feel guilty. This is something I am getting better at but I do still have days where if I don’t do much with him then I feel really guilty.
Something as parents, actually scrap that, as human beings we are very guilty of comparing ourselves to others and how we should be doing things. We really shouldn’t do this, it’s not good mentally. On my days with Alfie if all I can manage is to help him get dressed, feed us, stick the t.v. on and may be help him with a jigsaw or something then I should be proud of what I have achieved as quite frankly in those days you can guarantee I probably feel like going back to bed and staying in my pjs. As a parent though I can’t do that!
So anyway. Let’s chat about staying in with a toddler and how to manage if your like me and have a chronic illness or may be your just not well and need tips on how to get through.
T.v. Majority of us have one, it’s not a terrible thing, it can be educational, fun, it keeps them quiet. It really isn’t the end of the world if you just let them watch t.v that day.
If people want to judge you then remember this 1) they are probably lying if they have never used the t.v for the day with their child and 2) they probably haven’t been in your shoes where you can’t physically move off the couch. Good for them but they aren’t you so stuff them lol.
Books! Interactive books especially. So many things to educate them, touch, sounds and visual too. Books are fantastic and we have so many for Alfie already and he loves reading anyway so winner!
Colouring is also a good one and requires minimal input from you, however you could end unfortunate like me and have a child that doesn’t like colouring! He will do some colouring but not much.
I recently got a bag of items that I had collected from eBay and Amazon that represent various nursery songs we can sing. I didn’t pay much for each one, but I tell you what we have so much fun with it and Alfie acts out some of the songs with the item he pulled out. See picture below for inspiration on the items for the song.
Alfie has a box of wooden train track and another box of toot toot car track. This is brilliant he loves playing with this and all I have to do is get the box down!
We also love doing jigsaws and playing some games particularly from Orchard as they are perfect for his age group at the moment.
The other thing we love to do is bake! We have been exploring a lot of Betty Crocker cake mixes. They make such gorgeous homemade mixes and they don’t take long to do which is perfect when your baking with a toddler!!!
The other thing I do is lead by Alfie. Let him decide what to play with. Whilst it’s good to guide children and give them encouragement on things to play with. It’s also great to let them free play and entertain themselves.
I would love to know how you entertain your children if your not well or you have a chronic illness.
Don’t get excited. I’m not pregnant. It’s rather personal this to be honest but something I wanted to share.
It really bugs me when people start asking personal questions about when are you having another baby, oh just one more, you can’t let Alfie grow up as an only child, it will be nice, two is great…….
Since when was it allowed for people to be so damn nosy about how many children people have?!
Then if you do have more all I hear from people is that they get told ‘oh you must have your hands full’ then when you are pregnant you get comments on how you look, if your bump is big enough or if it’s too small.
I mean really what’s wrong with people.
Firstly let’s just get this out there. Regardless of what you say, Alfie is not an only child end of.
Secondly we went through absolute hell and a real trauma to get Alfie. It was a blessing he was born healthy and alive!
Furthermore, unless you haven’t gathered by now, I’ve actually been pretty damn poorly. I’ve collapsed a few times, my husband dresses and feeds me some days and if I’m home alone I’ve had crisps for food because that’s all I can manage. So adding a newborn baby into the mix really isn’t a good idea is it when I’m trying to recover from this stupid condition and get to a better way of living for me and my family.
People forget that we have William as well, I guess it’s because he doesn’t live with us.
However we still have to pay towards him growing up and clothes etc, so combine that with the extortionate nursery fees then please tell me how we can manage another as well! Short of a lotto win it just isn’t happening!
I always wanted two children. Two of my own living children. You know the whole 2.4 children married crazy arse yet fun and loving family.
You don’t always get what you want though.
I have one child in heaven, one here, a step son who we don’t see as much as what we would like too but hey he’s a teenager.
Not exactly what I had planned out.
However I still love all three of my boys every much.
I would love another one yes.
Realistically it won’t happen. I’m not well enough and the risks would be too much. However having Alfie is just amazing and we are so truly blessed. I’m just not sure I could go through the trauma of having another baby again wondering if it will come home in my arms or if I take a box home. Wondering what more damage I’ll do to my body.
I could loose the use of my legs all together. Doesn’t sound fun really does it.
So yes, I would like more. I love our boys so much. The things is it just isn’t practical for us.
So next time you tell that couple about about how many kids they should have, think again.
I’ll be honest, it hurts and also, it really isn’t any of your business lol!