10 years and heading forward

10 years ago I was 19. I went out drinking and dancing on a weekend. During the week I went to work. I argued with my boyfriend. I made up with my boyfriend. I went on my first girlie holiday with my friends. I was young and free.

9 years ago I’d just bought my first house and would be about to go through my worst break up with the person I thought I’d marry.

8 years ago I was falling in love with the man I’d marry.

7 years ago I didn’t know yet but there was a baby growing inside of me who was about to change my life forever.

6 years ago I was a brand new Mama. Wondering if I was doing it ‘right’.

5 years ago I was Mama. Learning how to juggle the realities of family life.

4 years ago my anxiety was beginning to take its toll and I began to recognise that it was becoming an issue.

3 years ago I was wedding planning. Invites were very soon to be given out and the stress of a wedding would kick in.

2 years ago I was newly married and struggling. I was desperate for another baby but each month mother nature appeared. Very soon she’d give up and give in to my demands! School was looming for our eldest daughter.

1 year ago I had just become a Mama of two. Learning how to divide my attention and juggle school runs and sleepless nights.

Now.
I’m about to turn 30. I’m married with two children. Two girls. My first house is filled with toys, noise and we have outgrown it. My heart is filled with love and my head is filled with worries. I have a handful of friends who I can call on when I need support. Nights out are rare. I talk about my experiences of parenting to help other parents, to support them and to let them know that they’re not alone.
I struggle daily with anxiety.

So much has changed in 10 years time.
This year I want to stop the clock. I don’t want to go back but I don’t want to go forward either. I just want to sit right here in my twenties.
Obviously going forward is inevitable.
Life has many twists and turns and you never know where your path will lead you. People may join you on your path or simply be crossing it.
But you can’t turn back, you can only head forward.

 

Baby Book Club

Baby book club is pretty much as awesome as it sounds!

A monthly subscription service from which you receive three hand chosen books a month for you and your baby to enjoy.
Seeing as Bunny (as most of you will know) is a hardcore book worm, reviewing March’s box was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse!

Everything was beautifully packaged, the box itself demonstrating that we weren’t going to be disappointed. The book’s were wrapped in tissue paper and bubble wrap with a little notecard welcoming us and explaining this month’s theme.
Bunny loves getting involved in opening … well anything… and this was no different.

March’s theme was Under the Sea and the books were fantastically colourful- something that instantly draws me to a book.
Bunny enjoyed exploring the books independently to begin with before she prompted me to join her and for us to read them together!
The books have since been read repeatedly (especially the ‘flip flap’ board book) and as the two picture books were suitable for a varied age range, the Wildcat was able to sit and enjoy story time too.

I absolutely love this idea as it’s not always easy to know what books to choose for your little one. I’m pretty savvy after working in a Nursery for a number of years but if you’re not up on your children’s stories it’s a pure minefield!!
The other thing I have to mention is the thought that has gone into the boxes, from the smallest details through to the theme and the products themselves.
You can immediately tell the care that has gone into choosing the books and piecing everything together. This is a top quality product which at £30 for a three month subscription is an absolute bargain.
There is even the option to give a subscription as a gift! How fantastic is that!!

Within this service there are so many little tips, quotes and ideas that also appear, you can’t not be enthusiastic about encouraging your little one to get stuck into a world of stories and discovering their imagination.

Checking out the website http://babybookclub.co.uk/ and the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BabyBookClubUK/ is a must.

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Saying goodbye to today

Every day I watch my children getting a day older.
I watch them growing, without realising they are growing… until that piece of clothing becomes too small. That outfit doesn’t fit. I hear “Mama my shoes are hurting”.

Then it hits me- BAM.

As I’m tidying their rooms and finding discarded toys that they’ve now grown out of. When the baby is getting her sister’s hand me downs and I can’t comprehend that they were last used over 5 years ago. 5 years!!!

Then it hits me- BAM.

As I walk into my eldest’s room whilst she’s sleeping and look around. I see Barbie’s, Monster High, Perfume, Roald Dahl books, real writing not squiggles. I see her fast asleep in a high sleeper bed. I see her school uniform ready for the next day.

Then it hits me- BAM.

When I look at that school uniform and think how it wont be long before she’s heading into year 2. YEAR 2! How her first day at school is long gone and the school run is the norm.

Then it hits me-BAM.

When that baby photo pops up on timehop. I start to reminisce and think of times gone by. Memories that I still feel too young to have as distant memories. Memories of a baby that are blurring with her baby sister’s memories. Memories that don’t feel like they happened six years ago. I look at pictures where at the time my eldest looked so grown up, but now she looks so young. Pictures where I was pregnant with the youngest before anyone knew. Pictures of me heavily pregnant with the youngest. Now she’s one and not even really a baby anymore.

Then it hits me- BAM.

Christmases, birthdays, Easters, holidays… Pretty much any celebration we’ve had.

Giggles are turning into laughter. Crawling is turning into walking and climbing. Words that have turned into sentences and stories. Nursery rhymes that have turned into chart songs and dance moves.
Each BAM is like I’ve been electrocuted. Volts running through my body. My heart. I feel a twist in my stomach and an ache of longing for time to just slow down.

So many days I’m just waiting for bedtime. I’m tired, I want a break and the pressure from every day is immense. But each day that I’m waiting and counting down the hours, I’m wishing time away that in a few weeks I want back. There has never been a truer quote than ‘the days are long, but the years are short’.

I think about my own childhood memories and where I was 10 years ago, 15 years ago. It makes me feel funny because although I don’t want to go back there, I can’t quite believe that time has passed so quickly. I think about old school friends and how my own daughter is making these memories of her own right now. I think about my parents and how they must feel to have grown up children and now grandchildren. I wonder if they feel the same as I do about time.
I think back to meeting my husband and how we spent our time before we had the girls. Our wedding day and each significant moment we’ve created together.

I find myself looking at my eldest daughter more and more and whilst my heart swells with pride, it also feels like someone’s squeezing it until its about to burst. I look at my youngest and see that fluffy haired baby morphing into her sister. I see me and my husband getting older. My parents and grandparents. Our friends.
Television programmes from when I was a teenager that are now played as the old shows- how I remember watching different old shows that are pretty much nonexistent now! Old songs that me and my friends hung out to, made mix tapes of, danced to at the Friday night disco. Changes in technology, phones, home décor.

Then I’ll hear a little voice or feel a little hand that will bring me back to the present and I remember that despite not wanting to say goodbye to today we still have lots more memories to make.

 

“I need a break” a mum cried…

“I need a break” a Mum cried at the top of her voice.
But no-one heard. Or maybe just no-one listened.
That Mum fixed her brave face firmly in place and headed out the door with the children.

Along the way, they met numerous people who she smiled at, talked to and went through the motions of what society expects. Oh yes I’m happy, I’m having a good day, yes I love being with my children day in/day out, I’m confident, yes everything is picture perfect.
But no-one saw the sadness behind the smile, behind her eyes. Or maybe they just ignored it.

The children ran around her, like children do. They demanded and expected everything, like children do. Sometimes they did as they were told and sometimes they didn’t, like children do.
People always passed comments- sometimes good, sometimes bad. Mum responded to the comments politely- sometimes feeling uplifted (whilst thinking you have no idea), sometimes defensive.

Some days Mum held her shit together and fed them healthy meals, gave them her undivided attention and had everyone dressed before 9.
Some days she didn’t and fed them crappy convenience food, had jobs to do and didn’t even comb the kids hair.
Some days they were late and some days they were on time. Some days something always seemed to go wrong and some days everything went to plan.
Some days mum was stressed and some days she quite simply didn’t give a shit about all the dramas as long as she was with her kids and they were all happy.

Everyday Mum was everything to her kids (or it definitely felt like it) and a lot of the days all the people that said they’d help, that were meant to help, were busy.
They all saw the brave face and didn’t look, or chose not to look, any further.
Even when she asked for help, they let the brave face excuse them.

Because she chose to be a parent right? She chose to have kids… she must of known it would be hard work, that she’d be tired and stressed.

Yes she knew all that and what she also knew was that despite the tough days, the tiredness, the hard times, there was more love than anyone could ever imagine. There were more hopes and dreams than anyone would ever know and there was an unbreakable bond.

But that didn’t mean it made her feel better on the tough days. Sometimes all she needed was a kind word, someone to make her dinner or a brew, someone to help ease the pressure.
Someone to show they knew. Someone to show they cared.

After a while she stopped asking for help because no-one ever came when she needed them to. There were people around but never when she needed someone. I mean everyone has their own lives to be getting on with don’t they…
So she struggled- powered- through on her own.

And she watched all the other mums with their shit together. She wished she could be like them.

The mum at the soft play actually running round after her kid and not just using it as a break. The mum who daren’t leave her child to run round because he was a ‘biter’ and became easily overwhelmed at situations.

The mum going off to work, all smartly dressed and on time, as she dropped her kids at the childminders. The mum who more than anything wanted to be at home with her kids but couldn’t afford not to work.

The loudmouth mum at the school gates who loved to shout about their picture perfect life. The mum who was so insecure that she felt she had to portray this lifestyle so that she could fit in.

The mum out jogging in her size 8 skinny running pants, not a sweat drop in sight or a hair out of place. The mum who’s relationship wasn’t great and she felt she needed to be in shape and looking her best in order to keep her partner when more than anything she wanted to be at home with her feet up.

When she stopped to look closely, to really notice, she saw that all of these mums who had their shit together, well like her they didn’t have their shit together everyday. Sometimes she caught a glimpse of their brave faces slip and a tired, worn out yawn. Once or twice she even noticed sadness behind their eyes.

And she realised. She was just a normal mum dealing with her life the best way she could. She took a long look at her children who all looked at her with such love that her heart nearly burst out of her chest with pride.
She started to accept the bad days and enjoy the good days. The laughter outweighed the tears and stresses because of this.
And she started being honest.
When someone asked how she was, she told them the truth, even if it made them uncomfortable. She started to look at others and offer support if she felt they had a brave face on, even if it was just a kind word or a knowing smile.

And by doing this she built her village. Her support network, her confidants and her friends. The people that knew when her brave face was fake.

And life wasn’t perfect. She knew it would never be that. But she had people to power through with, she had people to care and most of all, there was love. ♥