Louise; The Mummy Mummy Site- Making Mum friends

Here are my experiences of making “mum friends”:

In 2013 I had my first son, B.
Throughout the pregnancy I had visions of making lots of mum friends, endless dates at coffee shops, texting each other daily, sharing every minute detail of motherhood, a sisterhood bond, nights out and our children being the bestest of friends, forever. (Delusional much?)
The reality however, was so far from this idea. I did all that I could to try and make that happen, I ventured to every soft play in the local area, I endured countless hours of trying to shove my massive post pregnancy bum through those tiny, tiny holes. I researched and tried most of the baby/toddler classes in the area, taking my tiny baby who couldn’t find his finger let alone sign the word “cat” to baby signing classes and dunking him under the water at the local swim class to encourage him to blow bubbles. I know you all understand this having probably done the same yourself.
Each time, I plastered a huge smile on my face and tried to look welcoming to any mother who so much as looked in my direction. (Here’s to realising why I never made any friends!) And the product of all this hard work? Was one friend, her name was Linda and she was a grandma, twenty-five years plus my age. Very lovely lady but the dreams of chatting in my living room on a Friday night, with a glass of Prosecco started to disappear.

After I had my second son, M, in 2015, I was determined to make some friends, purely for the company when shoving my still very large bum down the slides at soft play and to cry with about having two children under the age of three and the difficulties it brought day to day.
When M was around five months old, two ladies on Netmums, who had moved to local area, expressed interest in meeting up and so I rejoined Facebook and made a group. I invited these ladies to the group and then messaged everyone who had posted on Netmums in my area recently to join as well.
Seven of us started in the group and I met all but one on the first week, four of us met at a sensory room in a local children’s centre and the other two came to meet me at a local soft play at the weekend as they both worked full time.
The group now has over four hundred members on there, from all backgrounds and the amount of mums on the group who have personally thanked me for starting it, is unbelievable. What started as a selfish need for friends for me and my children has blossomed into many mums making friends, having company, getting themselves out of the house and getting through those dark lonely days as a mum.
I have met over fifty mums, who were once strangers and I now have a group of people who I would call friends.

Here are my tips for making “mum” friends:
· There are many ways to actively find likeminded mums – websites such as Netmums, Mummysocial, Mush, Babycentre, Mumsnet, Facebook pages/group, bloggers (these are great for the socially anxious of us, you can chat, chat, chat, before you go to meet someone)
· Join local classes, try local soft play areas (early mornings are busiest before the nap time hits.) You do not have to spend a fortune, children’s centres (if you can find one still open!) put on free groups, not everyone can afford NCT and the likes!
· Why don’t you start your own? It worked for me! I have seen one mum recently write on a local buy and sell group on Facebook, asking for likeminded people.
· Put yourself in the right places – Yes, we all know that playgroups can be cliquey, go and ask the organiser to introduce you to people, if the organiser cannot introduce you to one person, then they are failing at their job as an organiser, so move on to the next group!
· If you see your child playing near someone, try, and speak to them. They are not going to ignore you, unless they are strange! Go and seek the mum sat on her own, maybe she is doing so for the same reason you are.

Tips for meeting up:
· If you have joined a website or an app, you are in a great position to get to know someone before physically meeting. By the time you meet, you should already have some ice breakers, whether it is the name of their children, which soaps they like, a favourite band or just a general distain for men! You will already have conversation starters!!
· When planning to meet, take into consideration, the venue (don’t meet in a coffee shop if you have a lively toddler who will not sit still) plan a time where nap time is not looming and school pick up is not close. Think sensory rooms, playgroups, parks, mum fitness classes (we have a local wheelyfit, walking with prams) places where your children, can be children and you can have a chat.
· The best advice I can give is to CHILL OUT. Personality wise, I am not a centre of attention, social butterfly, kind of person. I prefer conversations where I get to know someone, rather than “are you going on holiday this year? What did you think of Eastenders last night?” (I do like Eastenders by the way) I don’t make noise for the sake of it and much prefer to listen when in a group, than talk to be heard. It is just who I am, but even being that person, I have pushed myself to meet strangers. And when I say pushed, I mean pushed both physically and mentally.
· Do not think for one minute that the other person will be feeling completely fine and confident about meeting you, they won’t. After all, they are meeting a stranger too.
· It is ok to be nervous and anxious and want to back out, there may well be awkward silences (I once misheard a woman say she had a six-week-old, thought she said six-month-old and started asking her about weaning, cringe.) You may not have much in common personally, or even think this person is your type of friend. However, it is an hour of your time, you have gotten out of the house and have company. You do not have to see this person again!
· Meeting another mum, you will always have something in common, you both have children. We can all talk about dirty nappies, tantrums, lack of sleep, funny anecdotes from the cherub’s mouths, can’t we? So, if all else fails, just talk about the children.
· Last question, how do you expect to make mum friends if you don’t put yourself out there to do so? Unfortunately, making friends takes time and you need to put yourself out there to get to know others and allow then to get to know you. Be open to making friends, stop the judgement of others, and be prepared to have some differences along the way.

Louise blogs over at https://mummymummysite.wordpress.com/


To my girls


First of all I want you to know that you have been the making of me. You’ve given my life meaning, purpose and you have given me a strength like no other.
If you become Mama’s yourselves one day you will understand that strength.

In my posts I make no secret of the fact that I find it hard, parenting… parenting you two. I use the terminology that is common today- I lose my shit… I have parenting fails… I swear.
But this is never a reflection of who you two are. This is a reflection of our lack of support and the lack of help that I receive. It is also a completely natural feeling for parents.

You two are so hard to parent because you have such strong personalities. You fight against every boundary I set. You question me and challenge the things I say. You explore your surroundings, you’re inquisitive and you’re minds are like sponges soaking up information. You know your own minds and rarely conform.
And whilst I often say you wear me out, that I’m tired and drained, that you take all my energy, I never complain about who you are.
This is because you are everything I ever hoped you would be and whilst you are extremely hard to parent now, whilst you’re small, you are going to be amazingly strong, smart women.
Whilst you are incredibly hard to parent now, I NEVER want to change who you are and your personalities because you are everything I ever hoped you would be.

I shout, I lose my shit and sometimes I just want you to go to bed because I’m trying so hard to show you the way, to fight you so I can set those boundaries that you have to learn whilst supporting your strength and your individuality. I’m trying my hardest to answer all your questions whilst juggling everything else and remembering everything I have to do.

I want you to always know that whilst I post about the hardships of my parenting journey, those hardships are only because of the way I’M raising you. They are only because I am encouraging you to challenge the world and to not conform. To not be led by others but to lead the way yourself.
They are also because I am your main role model. And I try to be all of those things too, but you both outshine me on every level and that is exactly what I’m proud of.

Parenting you two will never be easy, but it will always be a million times over worth it.


Back to School Top Tips

September marks the start of the school year so after lots of questions from first timers, I jotted down some notes for any mums who are newbies to school. After reading through however, I think they can still be applied to the start of the new school year for those of us that are no longer newbies at the school gates!

Keep the first few weeks low key.
There’s a whole lot of change going on and new routines to get used to. There will be lots of new feelings to navigate and lots of emotions running high. Not only for your child, but possibly for you as well.
Your child will no doubt be tired, possibly overwhelmed, unsure and quite possibly excited.
With all of these feelings present, expect a rollercoaster of emotions. Kids are resilient but usually not sure what these different feelings are and how to manage them- gosh, some adults don’t even know how to do this so we can’t expect kids to!!
By keeping out of school hours for the first couple of weeks generally chilled out, you’re giving them no extra pressures and time to relax and navigate all these new feelings.

Don’t bombard them with questions
You’re probably not going to get them answered anyway! Just think, if you were bombarded with questions about your day the minute you walked out from work you would get pretty annoyed too.
Give them some space to unwind from their day, during or after a snack usually works really well, and the chances are they will open up themselves. If they do need some prompting, open ended questions are more likely to draw information out of them than questions such as ‘have you had a good day?’.

Have snacks to hand
Maybe it’s just my daughter, but she is always starving when she comes out of school. And with hunger, comes a very short temper. Having just a little snack to hand cures the after school munchies and stops any hanger!!

Toilet Stops
I remember a mum telling me about this before my daughter started school- like the snacks, she always needs the toilet as soon as we’ve walked out of the school gate, no matter how many times I ask her as soon as she comes out of school. I regularly remind her at the start of the day to go before she leaves school but of course she rarely remembers!!
So if you’re walking home or not heading straight home, don’t forget to double check if they’ve been before home time and know where the nearest toilet is!

Be prepared
I know, I know… I can’t really say much about this BUT it is so much easier and less stressful if we’re organised in the mornings. These are things like prepping water bottles the night before, having uniform/shoes/coat/bag all together and ready to go, getting up on time and so on- you know, all the things you have the best intentions to do and then it all goes to pot at the last minute…!!

Encourage Independence 
Your child is taking one of their first steps alone when they start school, even if they’ve been to nursery it’s still quite a big change. They will be going from around a 1:8 adult:children ratio to a class with anything from 20-30 children.
The more independent they are, the less daunting it’s likely to be. Things such as using the toilet alone, getting dressed and changed, putting shoes and coats on, cutting their food up etc. Whilst they are not compulsory they are recommended for your child’s benefit.

Talk about feelings and emotions
If you’re not sure what that feeling is or don’t know that it’s normal it can be quite scary! So things like feeling excited and happy are fairly easy to navigate and understand whereas nerves and anxiousness are often brushed off or dismissed. It’s still important to acknowledge these feelings and what they mean, the reasons behind them and how to help ease them.


Starting School; Dear Parent

Dear Parent,

The first thing I would say is don’t worry! I can tell you this from the bottom of my heart. We do care about ‘our’ kids, even the most challenging.
I make sure I spend time talking with all my kids every week!

You aren’t overbearing- we love parents who take an interest!
But if you do have concerns, don’t leave it. Talk the teacher/ta, we are there to help and listen.

If you’ve labelled everything, then you’re more prepared than most! Be prepared for lost kit jumpers! They will be found but in the scrabble of home time there is always a misplaced jumper/bag or shoe!!

I’m lucky I’m a year one teacher so I see them at the very beginning almost of school and I love how much they change in that first year!

For first time schoolers, all I would say is read, read, read with them every night. Practice their phonics sounds and let them play/rest. They will be so busy all day, they may even need a little sleep.

And as a mum of a 12, 2 and 5 month old, all I can say is enjoy the time you haven’t got them because you deserve it!
Parenting is the hardest job.

I just want to put your mind at a bit of ease. Sometimes it might not seem like we care, but we are constantly thinking about how to help the kids in our class!

Year One Teacher

Starting School; Dear Teacher

Dear Teacher,

This is our first time at school. I say our because it’s my milestone too.
I have spent the past 4 years trying to teach all the right things to that baby that I grew inside of me.
I don’t know if I’ve done it ‘right’, I don’t know if they know ‘enough’ and most of all I’m scared. What if I’ve not done it ‘right’ or taught them ‘enough’? What if they need me when I’m not there? What if they’re scared or don’t make any friends? What if they struggle or don’t settle in?

I know them. They’re my child. I know them inside out- they don’t even have to tell me what they’re thinking because I just know.
But I wont be there to know, at school. You will. Will you know? Will you have time to know? With all the other children?

What if they don’t eat their dinner and they’re hungry? What if they fall and cut their knee? Who will comfort them?

I’m excited for this next big step- this huge milestone that is about to re-shape our lives with a routine we’re not quite used to BUT I’m not sure I’m ready. I’m not sure I’m ready to hand over to someone else just yet.
I look at my not so little one and at the mixture of excitement and uncertainty on their face. The determination that they are indeed grown up now.

I don’t want them to be grown up.

Will other parents cry at the first drop off or is it just me that feels like this? Is everyone else ready to let go?
Have I bought the right uniform- have I bought enough? Have I labelled it ‘right’?
Will you shout?

The uniform try on was brutal- how can you feel pure pride but heart break at the same time?

When I’m at work, how will I organise all these holidays? When I’m off what will I do with my time? Will I miss them? What if we’re late? Will they miss me?
It always seems so far away, starting school. Then bam it’s here and I’m not quite sure I’m ready.

You do this every year, but this is our first time. Please don’t think I’m overbearing or ‘one of them mums’. Maybe I am ‘one of them mums’ but I don’t mean to be a nuisance- It’s just because I care.

I grew them… I’ve always been the one to wipe their tears, hold their hand, hug them tight. This is the next big milestone- the first step in letting go.
Will they tug on your leg like they do mine? Will they slip their little hand in yours like they do mine? Will they come to you for reassurance like they do me?

I’ve done my best- I hope it’s enough. I hope they behave and remember their manners. I hope they try hard and are kind to their peers.

I know you know what you’re doing… but I don’t.
Please look after them for me…

First Time School Mum.



Back to School Worries

So, as the 6 weeks holidays draw to an end (yay we survived!!), it can often bring on a whole new bundle of emotions for both parents and children.
Where some of us (parents and children) may feel excited about the new school year, for many of us it can feel overwhelming and nerve-wracking.
I got in touch with Stef from Relax Kids Lancaster and asked her to share her knowledge on how to squash those back to school nerves…

relax kids banner

I love the 6 weeks holiday with my little boy but as we approach August and the weeks are flying by the thought of September starts to fill me with dread.
I always think it’s such a long, long time to have off and it always makes me feel really nervous going back even though I work in a fab school with lovely people.
Having always mostly worked in an educational setting that feeling I had as a child has never really left me so I totally get how children feel when September starts approaching.

What can we do to help us…

When we worry and have a negative thought we can put a positive spin on it. That way it starts training our mind to think more positively about it. Repeating positive affirmations is a great way to do this.
Positive affirmations are things such as ‘You are lovely’, ‘You are kind’, ‘You are strong’.
Giving each other a positive affirmation is lovely but it’s also good to get your child to practice saying a positive affirmation about themselves as it’s often easier to say it to others then saying it about ourselves… ‘I am nice’, ‘I am caring’, ‘I am amazing’, ‘You are brilliant’.
A positive affirmation is a happy feel good word.

Relaxation at some point of the day will really help even if it’s just two minutes. I prefer the end of the day but it’s at a time that suits you and your child the best.
Relaxation could be listening to calming music, massage, breathing or listening to a lovely meditation.

Keep in touch with friends from school so we still have that school link.

Write down or draw all the positives of going back to school so we can see it visually. This helps us visualise and see the positives.

It’s also the organisational side of it that stresses me a little. Getting ready for my little boy’s return to school, making sure the uniform etc has been bought and labelled and that he has everything he needs for when he returns.
I know some of my friends are super organised and have already bought their child/children’s uniform already. I’m not that organised and actually couldn’t afford to buy it out right so what I have done is I have written myself a list and I have been slowly ticking things off and making sure I’ve done something productive each week for the return of school.
Does anyone else write something they’ve already completed on a list just so they can tick it off?! Or is that just me!! Lists are great to keep us on track.

My little boy finds the 6 weeks hard, like me he loves it but he is also out of routine and once that routine is broken it’s always so hard to get back into it- getting used to the lazy mornings and the later than normal nights.
Together we’ve sat down and made a plan that 2 weeks before he’s back at school we are going to slowly introduce elements of our school routine.
This will include on week 1 going to bed at 8:30 and doing 10 minute stretches and breathing exercises or listening to a meditation instead and finishing by giving each other a positive affirmation.
Week 2; repeating week 1 and starting to get up earlier in a morning giving each other a positive affirmation so it’s not a massive shock when we return and will hopefully help us get back into our routine better.

These are just a few small pointers but they can really make a difference.

Head over to my Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/Relax-Kids-Lancaster-and-the-surrounding-areas-452135778262519/?ref=br_rs ) to find our Back to School ebook with lots more handy hints.

Stef, Relax Kids Lancaster

Bunny’s Bedtime Essentials

bedtime bunny boo

Bunny’s bedtime essentials… her ‘bag’, her ‘rag’ and her favourite for today her Bunny teddy.

Her sleeping bag is a new thing- since we moved house, it gets chilly in the night (good old English summers hey) so we got her a sleeping bag/gro bag to keep her toasty warm- and give us a full nights sleep! It’s safe to say she absolutely loves it 😂🙈 and if she see’s it during the day wants to get in it!

Her ‘rag’ as it gets called is basically a knotted muslin cloth. She has had this since being very small and becoming attached to a muslin. As I didn’t want to leave her all night with it, I googled and found lots of people knotted them- it worked perfectly and she is still as attached to them now. She doesn’t have specific fave, any will do although it does have to be that material- she won’t have her taggy or just any material knotted!

Teddies are quite a new thing and she’s not particular about a certain one- this is the one she wanted this morning!!

What are your little ones sleeping essentials?