Autumn 2017 Edition
Welcome to the very first edition of The Mum E-mag, a magazine written by mums, for mums.
I'm Debbie Lucas, founder and editor of The Mum E-Mag.
As a mum of two little ones and a pre/postnatal fitness instructor who chats to other mums regularly, I know how important it is for mums to share experiences and help each other along.
I wanted to create a place where mums could showcase their talents, tell their stories, give opinions, educate others,ask questions and find support.
I hope you enjoy it!
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We have a great collection of articles and blogs for you to read covering a wide range of topics including beauty and fashion tips, Halloween recipes and crafts, poetry, fitness advice, cutting down caffeine, parenting guidance and lots more...
To all the mums having a bad day…
You turn up at the baby group looking and feeling a mess.
Hair unbrushed, no makeup on and unidentified substances on your dress.
Baby is kicking off, wailing in her pram for all to see.
Why does no one else look like they’re struggling? Why is it only me?
But looks can be deceiving and your perceptions might not be true.
Those who seem to have it together are probably struggling as much as you.
Sure they might look great right now but there’s a lot a smile can hide.
You don’t always get to see what those mums feel deep inside.
So stop being so hard on yourself, wondering what you’re doing wrong.
If you’ve been parenting with love – you’ve been doing it right all along.
Sometimes we have bad days with struggles that keep us up at night.
We’re all just desperately trying to do this mothering thing right.
When you have a tough day it’s ok to cry and have a moan.
This rhyming mum is here to tell you that you are not alone.
So never be intimidated by the other mums you find.
Stop comparing yourself to others – you are one of a kind.
You are doing a fantastic job with everything you do.
If you love your baby then they will love you.
At the end of the day, when all is said and done,
Your kids want a happy mum – not a perfect one.
Lots of love from The Rhyming Mum
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Frankie & The Lamb
So yesterday I packed mine and baby’s hospital bags and thought I would share exactly what went in them. I was hoping to get everything into one small suitcase but although I think I packed essentials it all took up a lot more space than anticipated. I ended up packing a small suitcase for me and put the baby stuff in our new baby bag, which worked out well as we won’t need to riffle through everything to get stuff for me when I’m in labour.
So here's what went in:
a birthing nightie/top- I got this from primark and it really isn’t too bad- it’s a long t-shirt with a cute little pair of shorts, but the top is definitely long enough and light/cool enough to give birth in I think.
a pair of regular pajamas for after birth, plus an extra couple of vest tops for comfort/ breastfeeding
a full outfit for going home in. I guess you never know what you’re going to be wearing when you go into labour or hospital and I know I’m going to want to be completely fresh and clean going home, so I packed leggings, a vest top, denim shirt ( I wanna channel the ‘fresh baby mamma’ look, nursing bra x 1 (Andrew can always bring in more if needed) and BIG pants.
five pairs of big pants
regular sanitary towels
breast pads x 10 (I didn’t want to pack a whole box!)
a wash bag- mini shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant for both myself and Andrew, 2x travel toothbrushes, mini toothpaste, lip balm, a tube of moisturiser, hair mousse ( If I want to wash my hair and I don’t have straighteners or blow-dry this will stop me looking like a frizzy mess!), make-up remover wipes.
bikini bottoms (in case I want a bath at the labour ward)
TENS machine with new batteries, checked and working. I got a TENS machine a few years ago when I slipped a disc in my back, and it really helped with the back and nerve pain then, so I figured it might help here. We’re going through our birth plan at week 36 with our midwife and I definitely plan to have the TENS on if it relieves any of the pain.
The Hospital Bag
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ipad, with charger- I probably won’t use this much but it does have some films, books and I can watch TV if wanted.
my V pillow- this has been such a life-saver throughout my pregnancy. It props me up well and it brilliant at wrapping round bump/ back/ under my bum to sleep in a comfortable position. Also it will have a smell of comfort and familiarity which I think will help with resting in hospital.
make-up bag- I’ll throw this in at the last minute. I like to think that I’ll have time to have a bath, blow-dry and make-up during the early stages of labour (everyone tells you how long the first baby can take!) but if I don’t, that’s fine. I will definitely apply some before going home though as I want to look nice for visitors and photos! Is it silly to think I’ll have a moment to do a quick foundation base and a highlight to go for the ‘dewy’ look? We’ll see!
cash and coins, for vending machines and parking. I don’t want to have to detour to the cashpoint on the way to the hospital.
electrolyte sports drinks and snacks- I’ll add these in nearer the time.
one pack of ten nappies- I have no idea how many we’ll need but again, Andrew can bring in some more!
One pack of sensitive first touch wipes. We debated on whether we should use cotton wool and water, but in reality I don’t think we’d be doing that very long. What do you do when you go out with baby?
a pack of muslin cloths
4 long sleeve vests
I’m planning to bring her home in a vest, sleep suit, blanket, hat and mittens. I feel sorry for her having to wear clothes after so long without them, so I’m sticking to soft sleep suits for the first few days!
So there we go! Did I forget anything?
A precious life
Having a child is one of the most magical yet scary times of your life. Before you know it you’re leaving hospital or the midwives are leaving your house and you’re left with your new beautiful baby and solely responsible for them. As a very experienced Paediatric Nurse having worked as a Paediatric Sister within a Children’s Emergency & Major Trauma Department for many years, I assumed I would be well equipped to manage my new born baby. However, no one prepares you for that overwhelming feeling of how precious they are and the worry you have should you ever be faced with an emergency situation, it really is totally different when it’s your own child.
A Precious Life (First Aid) was set up to teach parents, friends and family life saving techniques by qualified Senior Nurses who are currently working within Emergency Departments and so are best placed to provide the correct, relevant, and current techniques and advice should you find yourself in an emergency situation with your baby or child.
We teach how to manage a baby or child who is choking and how to do basic life support/CPR on babies or children and explain how and why we treat them slightly differently. We have plenty of baby and child manikins to allow for lots of hands on practice and parents are often commenting on how useful this is. We show you exactly how hard you must be when giving back slaps to a choking child and how tired you will get when giving effective CPR. It is always a good idea to practice these skills and be taught them properly, you may think that you will forget them, but if you ever find yourself in this kind of a situation you’ll be surprised at your automatic response if you have had appropriate training.
As well as lifesaving skills our courses are also tailored to include relevant first aid essential for babies and children, and lots of information regarding the common illnesses you may come across as well as how to recognise when your child is seriously unwell. With the experience we have working in A&E we able to answer any questions you may have and provide you with plenty of tips we have come across over the years giving you the confidence to care for your child and know when and how to seek appropriate help.
Keep them safe in the kitchen
Children are inquisitive and will always try and copy what you do, that is how they learn. You just have to let them copy in a safe way. The kitchen is a key area in the house with lots of potential hazards, it is also a room you will spend a lot of time in. It is important to fit the cupboards with child locks as this will keep them safe from cleaning products etc but it also provides them with a challenge to try and get in.
I found giving my children their own cupboard (or box if you’re limited on space) which had little pots, pans, spoons, Tupperware etc in helped because they could copy me when I’m busy in the kitchen but do it safely. I also got some little mini bottles and spay bottles the kind you get for going on holiday, filled them up with water and put a duster in their cupboard with them and then they could play at cleaning like me. This distracted them away from my cleaning products which ultimately can be harmful if ingested and meant we can all get on with our ‘jobs’ at the same time.
I did the same with dishwasher tablets and washing pods, these are like a beacon to children because they look like big brightly coloured sweets and ultimately they try to eat them. These can be extremely harmful to children if ingested and you should always go immediately to ED, never try to make them sick or wash their mouths out. I found if I saved the empty boxes and containers and filed them with sensory toys for example making a pull out bunting with different bits of material, pasta, bells, cotton reels etc (always secure things tightly so they don’t fall off and become a choking hazard) kept them busy exploring their box which looked exactly like mummy’s and distracted them from mine.
Babies do explore the world with their mouth and as soon as they are able to they will try to put everything and anything into their mouth, this is the age that you should be extremely mindful of things that are a choking hazard and learn how to recognise and treat a choking child, we have a little saying that’s easy to remember: Flick it, Slap it, Squeeze it!
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Back to School Beauty - The Power of Three
by Laura Lewis
Its 3pm and you still haven’t gotten round to brushing your teeth or washing your face. I get it, as a mum to a 10 month old, it’s been all too easy to forget to look after myself. Now the new born stage is over I’m slowly rediscovering myself, and you can too!
Whether you’re going back to work and need a pick me up, or just want to remember the old you, here are three easy steps to give your skin and make-up a boost.
Start the day right!
Great skin is everything when it comes to looking fresh and well. However, living on 3 hours sleep a night and leaving endless cuppas lying around means your skin is sallow and dehydrated. Not a great combo!
I like to look at hydration in three steps so before you hit the coffee, at least start your day with a big glass of water to plump the skin and kick start the digestive and lymphatic system. Once you’ve downed your water, massage a gentle exfoliating cleanser into your skin and rinse with cold water to bring a surge of fresh blood to the skins surface, giving you a fresh glow and a wake-up call that even coffee can’t rival! Thirdly, invest in a hydrating moisturiser with SPF to protect from the elements when doing the school run and assisting puddle jumps in the park.
Great skin and general health always begins on the inside, so look at incorporating some supplements to help with hormone balance to alleviate skin dryness and regeneration.
My favourite skin supplements are Vitamin E and Evening Primrose Oil, because most people can take them (always check first) and they are fast working to help with skin rejuvenation and ease PMT and those pesky spots that go with it. Most of us lack oils in our diet so add an a portion of Salmon to your meal plan to help decrease inflammation in the body, and invest in a hefty jar of coconut oil which can be used in cooking, smoothies and massaged into the skin for a natural boost.
Shake up your make-up
Before you invest in anything new it’s worth raiding your make-up bag and ditching anything passed its best.
My go-to product instead of foundation is Boots Soltan BB Face which is suncare cream but with the added bonus of a skin tint so it acts as a dewy foundation, filling in pores, and illumination the under-eye area. It’s also an SPF 50 meaning you can cut a step out of your routine.
For eyes, I think nothing works better to make you look awake than a blacker than black mascara so go as dark as you dare. I love Liz Earles mascara for a gentle formulation that still packs a punch. Add a bit of brow definition with a brow powder, and Poundlands own makeup range do a small palette to suit all colouring, so save a few pennies here!
For the last step its worth adding a small amount of blusher on the apples of your cheeks, going for a peachy undertone brightens the skin, rather than blue toned rosy shades.
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Must-have Mum Clothes!
Dressing after having a baby isn’t easy. If you’re anything like me you’re sick of maternity clothes, but the majority of your pre-pregnancy wardrobe just doesn’t work. Also, if you’re breastfeeding there’s the challenge of finding feeding friendly clothes. As a sleep deprived new mum all I wanted were simple clothes that made me feel good even when they were covered in puke!
So here are a few of my top tips on how to update your wardrobe, on a budget (and they’re all breastfeeding friendly).
Firstly there is one item in my wardrobe that I couldn't live without: a fitted, cami vest. I wear one under every outfit so I can do 'one up, one down' (making almost all clothes breastfeeding friendly). These vests keep my mum tum covered and, when tucked in, mean I don’t flash my pants when I’m crawling on the floor which is always a bonus! Next do a good selection for £5 each or you can buy them on a multibuy offer: 2 for £9 or 3 for £12.99. http://www.next.co.uk/g21150s23#980274 So the cami vest is my hidden wardrobe basic, the rest of my 'mum uniform' recommendations are:
Tees work hard in my wardrobe as they can be smart or casual depending on how they're styled. I tend to wear mine slightly oversized to avoid clinginess. For simple plain tees I head to Zara who do great 100% cotton basic v necks for £5.99. https://m.zara.com/uk/en/woman/t-shirts/basics/ecologically-grown-cotton-t-shirt-c861058p4758584.html#origin=banner
H&M is one of my favourite places to shop for tees. On my wish list right now is this long sleeved striped one: http://www2.hm.com/en_gb/productpage.0555211001.html
One moneysaving tip is to download the H&M app and join the H&M club. You get points every time you shop and these give you access to special discounts. I also recommend checking out the Next clearance section on their website. I picked up this striped v neck tee with ruffle detail for just £7. http://www.next.co.uk/clearance/726694 Now it’s getting colder I just add a slouchy knit or sweatshirt, Primark is a great place to look for these.
I love skinny jeans but my pre-pregnancy ones don’t love me back. I have cried many a tear in changing rooms trying to find some that fit. I found my answer whilst doing the weekly shop in Sainsbury’s. Tu Clothing @ Sainsbury's jeggings. They come in a range of colours and they’re high waisted (the holy grail for mums!). https://tuclothing.sainsburys.co.uk/p/Black-Denim-Jeggings/128830943-Black They're bargain at £12.50 and even better value if you can pick them up in one of the regular 25% off events.
Over the last few months I've become a bit of an Instagram addict and that's where I get most of my fashion inspiration from. This summer I was inspired to try a pleated midi skirt for the first time. I’ve ended up wearing them all summer with a tee and trainers and will wear them through autumn/winter with ankle boots, adding my biker jacket and leggings (underneath) for warmth!
You can find these skirts are all over the high street and online. M&S have a lovely navy velvet one, it’s quite pricey at £39.50 so I’ll be waiting for one of their regular 20% off events before I purchase. http://www.marksandspencer.com/velvet-pleated-a-line-midi-skirt/p/p60111594?image=SD_01_T59_4459_F0_X_EC_90&color=NAVY&prevPage=plp&pdpredirect
What I love is that these skirts can easily be dressed up, just add a pair of heels or statement flats, and a dressier top and you have a smart outfit that could take you to any event.
So there you have it, a few simple items that form the basis of my 'mum uniform'. These basics can work for baby groups, family days and with a few tweaks date nights and even interviews.
Post-natal depression: Saved by my daughter
By Liz Pusey
Towards the end of the summer last year, I began to realise I was having problems with my mental health. I’d had 10 days off with my family, I felt relaxed and happy, and yet I was dreading coming back to work, more so than I’d ever felt before. As the months wore on I was having bouts of sadness and feeling low, cancelling plans to see friends, and days where I struggled to even speak to people. Usually these things would shift or pass, but they were happening more often, and lasting longer. I’d completely lost the ability to deal with anything remotely stressful, like my brain had just shut down.
When I was eventually convinced by a friend to speak to someone, my GP explained I was suffering with anxiety and depression. I was just unable to cope with all the things I was trying to do or think about on a day to day basis.
It was affecting every area of my life, and particularly with my daughter Millie, who was around 18 months at the time. I began to feel disconnected from her. If I tried to say no to something and she protested, I gave in instantly. I normally feel guilty if she watches any TV or if she eats something I think is unhealthy, but I just went with the quickest and easiest option instead. I was lacking the mental energy to cope with anything.
That’s actually quite painful to admit to. Obviously she was never neglected or open to harm in any way, but if I’m honest our emotional relationship suffered for a time, because I had just begun to go through the motions. I had to remind myself to get more involved with her; smile when she did something funny and looked at me for a response, sit with her and cuddle while she watched Peppa Pig for the millionth time, and just not let it go when she refused to do more important things like clean her teeth.
I had been signed off work and had decided to keep Millie in her routine of spending two days a week at nursery. She also spent a day a week with my sister in law, and my Mum and Dad would help out and take her for odd days too. If anyone was able to give me a few hours to myself, I took it.
I was drowning and constantly dreamed of ways out. I often fantasised that I could book somewhere and go away to just be completely by myself, because all I wanted was for everything in my life to stop and leave me alone. I particularly remember a day when my sister was off work after an operation and couldn’t drive, and we were going to visit her. She lives about 20 minutes from me and I packed Millie and the dog into the car, and cried the whole way there. I genuinely considered what might happen if I asked my sister to take Millie for a few weeks and just drove away.
Afterwards I felt ridiculous and incredibly guilty. I felt guilty because I knew I was letting Millie (and everyone else) down and giving her far less than she deserved from her mother. I felt guilty because other people were coping with more children and more complicated lives than me, and yet I was crumbling. I felt guilty because there are people who would give everything to be parents, and I was wishing my daughter away. I felt like a failure.
One day my Mum came by to see us and Millie saw her at the door and immediately went to get her bag and shoes as if she was going out, and then cried when she realised her Nanny was staying in the house with us. That was a bit of a slap to be honest, because I realised just how accustomed she’d gotten to being taken by other people, and how my company was wasn’t enjoyable for her.
I slowly started trying to spend time with Millie one on one. We often do things with others, and I thought it would be good to be together with no expectations.
We went to a local play café, we went to the farm, we went to the forest. I tried to let go of everything else in my head and just see her. I would sit with her and talk, play, or do nothing, just watch her. Forget my worries about what she was eating, what else was going on that day, everything.
You know what I realised? I need her. Dear God, do I need her. All the time I had been pulling away from her, and yet when I began to let her back in, she was the one healing me. When I focused on her I could smile because I was happy, and laugh because I wanted to, not because I thought I should. Children are such unaffected, joyous little souls, and I was getting to share that, and see things the way she did.
She doesn’t give a shit if I didn’t shower today, or if she had spaghetti hoops for tea three times this week. Everything she does is interesting to her, or fun, and when I began to just follow her lead, I saw it that way too. I would come home from our times out feeling lighter, and a little at a time I was genuinely enjoying life more.
Millie and sleep have never been great pals and recently we’ve moved her bed into our room, has been really wonderful. It’s meant her sleep has settled and she no longer wakes nearly as much at night, which helps with my sleep deprivation, and I love being so close to her. Laying in the dark and listening to her breathing is very relaxing, and always makes me feel comforted and warm. Then in the mornings she doesn’t wake crying, I roll over and she’s right there, all bed head and chatter.
Living with and recovering from any kind of mental health problem is no easy road, and I’m still figuring things out, but I feel stronger in doing it and more able to see when I need a break now. I’ve read a number of times that having time away from your kids makes you a better parent, and it’s so true. If I have time to refuel myself I can give her everything when we are together, and I’ve accepted that now. I’ve realised that I can’t learn to manage my mental health issues without her, so from here on in, it’s a team effort.
Being Millie's Mum
Perfect for your Little Horrors at Halloween!
PUMPKIN AND CHOCOLATE MUFFINS
I first saw a recipe for this on facebook.com/pickyourownpumpkinsbednall
so was worth a try but I altered the recipe a little due to first time trying it.
These are so yummy, personally can not taste the pumpkin, so next time add more but really holds the moisture in them. My two normally only eat fruit cake but loved these.
So here's how we baked ours.
375g caster sugar
300ml pumpkin purée
300ml vegetable oil
375g plain flour
2teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda and
2 teaspoons baking powder
100g chocolate chips
50g coco powder
Beat the eggs, adding sugar, pumpkin, and vegetable oil.
In seperate bowl sieve the flour, coco powder, bi-carb, baking powder, cinnamon.
Slowly fold into egg mixture. Add in the chocolate chips.
Seperate over the muffin tins, we managed to get 24, however amount will depend on if muffin or cupcake cases.
Bake for 15-20 minutes on 200C oven, until slit spring when touched.
We iced with orange butter icing and Halloween themed sprinkles.
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Remember, remember, Be safe this November!
Find the full Fireworks Code here
It's coming up to that time of year again when commercialism takes over and we go all out for a spook-tacular Halloween. We plan parties, decorate our houses, allow our children to dress up and go 'trick or treating' and of course there's the inevitable pumpkin carving! Here are some ideas you could try out this year:
1. Pumpkin planning.
Let's face it, pumpkin carving isn't particularly child-friendly so why not let your children design their pumpkin faces on paper and allow an adult to transfer the image onto the pumpkin? That way everyone is involved. Remember, you can use battery powered flickering tea lights instead of real candles to make it safer too.
Oh, and you know all that left over gloop you have once you've finished scooping out your amazingly scary pumpkin? What do you do with it? Bin it? Well, why don't you try these lovely recipes I found instead?
Pumpkin Soup http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/pumpkinsoup_89904
Sausage, pumpkin and sage casserole http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/sausagepumpkinandsag_92737
2. It's Trick or Treat, not Trick or Sweet!
Children love to go from house to house collecting sweets and showing off their loot to their friends, however, as a mum, are you really happy about your child eating their way through a huge mountain of sugary sweet stuff? Not only is it bad for their health and their teeth but you have to deal with the sugar-rush, mood swings and constant demands for 'just one more - pleeeeaaasse?!'
Why not think about speaking to your neighbours and asking if they could offer something else instead? Its's so easy these days to get your hands on small party-bag filler gifts why not agree amongst yourselves to give those out instead of sweets?
The kids will have more fun if they are getting different things as well. They could end up with bubbles, crayons, stickers, stretchy monsters, Dracula teeth, wind up clacking teeth, eye patches, transfer tattoos, flappy bats and so much more!
3. Make to decorate.
Why not allow your kids to be creative and come up with their own Halloween decorations? There aren't many children that don't love to use their imaginations to make monsters out of loo rolls, kitchen foil, tissue paper, pipe cleaners and whatever else you have lying around.
Start collecting up your recycling bits and bobs now so you have a good supply for them to use by the end of the month. Apart from making sure you have some glue and/or sticky tape you don't need to buy anything else unless you want to. Give them a big bag or box of stuff and let them get on with it! If you have younger children this is a lovely way to spend some time together but make sure you let your child lead the ideas rather than you do everything for them.
Doing it this way means your children have fun, can develop skills, have an input into Halloween and gain a massive sense of achievement when they see all of their hard work on display.
4. Have a ghoulish gathering.
If you're having a party make sure you do something for the kids and the adults. Often it is either one or the other but this is a time of year for families to engage and enjoy themselves together. We're all capable of playing silly games so give some a go! There are some good ideas here to get you started. http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/holidays/halloween-ideas/g2618/halloween-games/?slide=1
Whatever, you decide to do, make sure it's safe for your family and friends.
I hope you have a pumpkin smashing time and enjoy lots of fun times!
A new kind of friendship
I always knew that becoming a mother would change my life irrevocably. But I never expected it to have an impact on my friendships. And yet, over the past three years, I have witnessed my ‘pre-children’ circle of friends steadily dwindle away.
I’ve never been the kind of person who finds themselves constantly surrounded by an entourage of friends. Rather, I’ve always had a smaller, closer knit group of people around me. But sadly, since having children, even those I once considered closest to me have gradually receded from my life. Meet ups turned to phone calls; phone calls turned to the occasional message. Months would go by without a word, then suddenly months became years and my friends became strangers.
That friends come and go is a sad and inevitable fact of life, and one that’s even harder to avoid when your respective careers and relationships scatter you across the country. But there was a time when all it took was a phone call to transport our somewhat erratic friendships back, albeit fleetingly, to the good old days.
Then my daughter came along and things seemed to change. Aged 24, I was at least three years younger than I had planned to be before having my first child. Coming from an ambitious, career driven group of friends, I was the only one amongst us starting a family at that time. The gap was beginning to widen.
I don’t feel entirely exculpated in this matter. My own family commitments and the prosaic demands of daily life certainly rendered me less attentive towards my friends than I might have been. But the growing distance between us wasn’t simply a question of practicality or even geography. On the contrary, as a former friend of mine once (rather bluntly) put it, we just didn’t have anything in common anymore.
Just like that, nine years of friendship were over. I’d always naively believed that friendships can survive the many changes dealt out by life. But that day, I learnt an important lesson. It doesn’t matter how much history may exist between you and a friend: a shared past doesn’t guarantee a shared future.
I’d just become a mother and was about to get married; she’d bought a house with her partner and had a successful career. We were moving on, but in different directions. She asked me once, when I’d gone on maternity leave, ‘what do you do all day at home?’ I remember feeling that she was completely out of touch with my life; that she simply didn’t understand me anymore. She might have been the one to come out and say it, but I think deep down I’d known for a long time that things just weren’t the same. Our friendship had reached an impasse.
Our lives were different now, and while I’d hoped that wouldn’t matter, it clearly did. She no longer valued our friendship – or, more accurately, she no longer enjoyed the time she spent with me (her words, verbatim). I guess you have to respect her honesty, notwithstanding the brute force with which it was delivered.
None of my other friends ‘dumped’ me in quite the same cutthroat way. Indeed, I don’t believe there was any kind of conscious, calculated decision on their part. Our friendships have simply been left behind as our lives have propelled us forwards. I’m learning to accept that some things aren’t meant to last, and to look back fondly on the good times – rather than focus on how they ended.
This hasn’t been the case with all of my friends, of course. I still have the precious few who share a mutual understanding that life can – and does – get in the way. And in between those interruptions, big and small alike, we still find time for one another. (I hope they know who they are).
The irony is that, while my life has changed, I don’t feel that I have. I still feel like the same person I was before I had children; just slightly less glamorous and far more exhausted. But despite how I might feel, there’s no denying it: parenthood changes you irreversibly. And those changes have extended to my friendships too.
These aren’t the bitter, self-pitying ramblings they might appear to be (honest). Although over recent years I’ve said goodbye to some old friends, I’ve also welcomed many new ones. I’m now lucky enough to be part of a really lovely, understanding community of mums whom I feel privileged to call my friends. Together, we’ve shared some great times and supported each other through the tough ones. Without my children, these amazing, strong women would never have come into my life – and I’m so very glad they did.
And yes, there are aspects of my life before children which have changed or even faded altogether, but these are far outweighed by the new and wonderful moments I share with my children everyday. So although I’ve had to make compromises and re-evaluate my priorities, I really wouldn’t change a thing. Because, in my children, I’ve got the greatest friends I could ever ask for.
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Mummy Muddling Through
I set up Mum plus One because I’m on a mission to get mums more active!
As a mum of two little ones I know how important it is to be fit and healthy to keep up with them, but also understand how difficult it can be to find the opportunity to exercise properly.
I realised that exercise needs to be more easily accessible to mums and qualified as a pre/postnatal exercise instructor so I can run specialist classes that mums can bring their babies and toddlers along to. Some mums also bring their dogs to the walking class!
For mums who can't get to classes I offer a Virtual Fitness Training scheme so they can workout with my support at home.
Mum plus One is designed to provide you with fun and relaxed mummy-friendly workouts that will improve not only your physical fitness but also your mental well-being.
Find out more about classes
and virtual fitness
Autumn is a beautiful time of year!
Make sure you get out there with your children and take a look at the amazing show nature puts on during this season.
Why not collect some leaves, acorns, conkers, twigs and anything else you can find and make an Autumn collage?
Or try taking some photos whilst you are out and help your children identify what everything is when you get home?
Become the best parent you can be!
I think that most of us can agree that parenting can be tough! We might feel that we can do a better job and that we would like to change and become a more happy, confident, fair and positive parent. However, we might not always know what steps to take. Or we might have tried, failed and given up! But the good news is that it IS possible to become the parent that you want & need to be for your family. Here are our 5 tips that will help you to become the parent you want to be:
1. Put YOU first: yes you heard right, make time for you. If you are healthy and happy, things will be ok. A tired and stressed out parent is a ‘good-for-nothing’ parent. Remember, that all our kids want is for mum and dad to be happy, as this must mean that they are good enough, worth being with and loved for who they are. So why not make an addition to your weekly diary; what you will do that makes you happy, relaxed and reenergised. More important, plan when you will you do it? Then schedule in with all the others things you HAVE to do!
2. Connected at all time: conflicts happen, but make sure you reconnect. If you and your child have had a battle, move on, forgive and connect afterwards with some positive time together. I know it can be hard to forgive and let go, but we need to move on from the battles and connect – otherwise we are developing a negative circle. Don’t forget that it is OK to say sorry if we feel we might have acted or behaved the wrong way. Say it as you mean it without adding guilt (guilt in the enemy to your happiness!).
3. Look for the good: As parent we tend to notice and focus on all the negatives in our kids the most. But remember that what we focus the most on we will cultivate and grow! So try to be your child’s ‘positive spy’. Catch your child being good, notice it and acknowledge that you like it and believe me, you will start seeing more of it, ‘Tom, I noticed that you hung up you blazer, I really appreciate that’.
4. Come from a place of LISTENING: you might not like what you hear and that is ok! But your child still deserves to be heard. Listening is the strongest tool you have in your parenting toolbox. When your child is listened to he/she is more likely to: listen to you, reason with you and accept what you have said. ‘I can hear that you are mad because you can’t watch more television’, ‘I can hear that you are sad because…’
5. Guide rather than punish: personally I don’t like the word punishment, or even consequences, but prefer the word ‘guide’. Try to agree in advance, to your household rules (expectations for ALL family members) and agree to what will happen IF someone does not stick to them. IF someone then breaks the rules, it is their ‘choice’ since they knew what would happen if they chose to do what they did. Then guide your child in a calm and matter of fact tone and body language ‘because you hit your sister you chose not to watch TV tonight’. This way they will learn that it is not worth doing again.
Why not try this Parenting Goal setting activity:
What am I doing well that I will continue doing?
What is not working that I need to do differently?
How will I do things different from now on?
We are here to help you make sense of parenting!
Tel: 07756 918126
Did you know that The Mum E-mag website hosts links to mummy blogs.
If you write a blog, or want to create one for us, that you'd like to feature on our website, please get in touch via email firstname.lastname@example.org
How much is it?
We are hosting blogs for FREE until end October 2017, after which time a nominal fee of £2.50 per link will apply.
What do I get for my money?
You will have your own 'card' on the website which features a picture, title and short intro which links directly to your blog post.
Isn't that classed as "Paid Links"?
Actually, I thought that too, but I have had confirmation from the software provider (Easy Magazine) that because the e-magazine is embedded in the site and we do not publish the urls, it doesn't affect rankings and therefore Google don't take it into account.
So what are you waiting for? Come and join our online community and be part of something great!
BABY SWIMMING – The Lowdown!
Turtle Tots Southampton are a baby-led swim school based in and around the Southampton area, with a non-pressure, fun, safe approach we can teach your little one the joy of water from birth!
We’ve put together some FAQs to hopefully answer any niggles you have about baby swimming (we all have them, I mean nappies + water -eek!)
Why baby swimming?
So where to start! Baby swimming has an incredible list of both physiological, psychological & social benefits, it’s great for nearly every aspect of their body from building muscle symmetry to stimulating their vestibular systems & helping with those balancing tasks (did you know it’s not uncommon for baby swimmers to sit, stand and walk earlier than non-swimmers?)
It’s great for parents too – the water provides lovely, gentle post-birth exercise for mum & classes are amazingly social for both mums and dads. Swimming is a skill for life, teaching those incredible potential life-saving skills, but mostly….we have fun!
When can I take my baby swimming?
NHS guidelines have changed so it’s now no longer recommended for babies to have their vaccinations before heading to the pool, woohoo! So babies can swim from birth! We tend to recommend that little ones under 12 weeks old swim in nice, warm hydro pools (which we have three!), they definitely tend to appreciate the extra warmth when they’re so new!
What do they need to wear?
All our swimmers wear a double nappy – layer one is either a reuseable swim nappy or a disposable swim nappy (which can be bought in the nappy aisle in the supermarket), on top of either of these goes a neo-nappy – these are the superheroes of baby swimming and have tight tummy and leg bits to stop anything sneaking out! A third layer in the form of a warma or wetsuit is then optional dependent on the temperature of the pool & if your baby wants one – some little ones feel the cold a little more than others.
Can both parents go in?
In most of our pools both parents are welcome in the water, it’s a lovely activity to share and do as a whole family!
Do they go underwater?
They do, but underwater swimming is just a very small part of classes. Underwater swimming can be a nerve wracking prospect for a parent, but you will never ever be forced or pressured into putting your little one underwater (but I promise you, once you see it for the first time you’ll be amazed!)
Turtle Tots are all about gentle submersions, we’re highly trained in reading your baby’s cues when it comes to underwater swimming & truly believe in listening & responding to your babies wants in the pool, the days of ‘’just dunk them’’ have long gone (thank goodness!) & our gentle approach to underwater swimming really helps build up trust & great associations!
Do you do the underwater photoshoots?
We do! Our underwater photoshoots are run usually twice a year and are completely optional, as a Turtle Tots swimmer you’ll receive info when a photoshoot is approaching & can then book a space if you’d like to, they are incredible and the photos are amazing to see!
How long are the lessons and how much do they cost?
Our terms are run in 10 week blocks, we’re progressive so in your Turtle Tots lesson you’ll build on what you learnt the week before, we start at baby level one suitable from birth up to around 11 months, then on we go to level two….all the way up to level five and beyond! Lots of little ones swim with the same buddies until they head off to school!
We cost three monthly payments of £40.60, some mums and dads like to pay their full 10 week term on booking at £120 (£12 a lesson) but lots prefer to spread the cost, every little helps on mat leave!
What if I can’t swim myself?
Absolutely no problem whatsoever, we encourage parents to take part as much as possible but we are completely non-pressure, you’ll never be forced to do anything that makes you feel out of your depth (pun intended!), all our pools are either learner pools or in shallow areas of main pools so you’ll always be able to touch the floor, your baby will never miss out on an activity – if there’s anything you’re not up for your Turtle Tots teacher is always on hand to have a swim with your little one!
What classes do you have and how do I book?
All our classes are online - you can check out our pools & see available classes from here as well as book your spot! You’ll then receive an email with all you need to know about the pool, what to bring to class etc. but if you have any questions or worries we’re always happy to help, you can pop us an email to email@example.com give us a call on 07919 145079 or head over to our facebook page Turtle Tots Southampton where you can see lots of pictures of our little turtles doing their thing & join in one of our regular competitions!
We can’t wait to see you in the pool soon!
Safe exercise for mums with bumps and babes
If you want to start following some safe exercises at home here are a few simple ones you can try during and after pregnancy:
Think about maintaining a good posture throughout day. Shoulders back and tummy in. This will make you look good and burn more calories as you engage more muscles.
Go for a walk around the block for about 20 mins at a pace which is comfortable for you. You should be able to talk whilst you are walking without struggling for breath.If you are pushing a pram, think about your posture, pull in your tummy and keep your elbows in at your sides with the pram close to you.
Stand with feet hip width apart, slightly bent knees, pelvis tipped forward, arms by sides, breathe in lifting rib cage, breathe out pushing the air out and pulling in your tummy as far as you comfortably can, hold for a count of 30, relax your tummy.(repeat x3).
Stand with feet together, step forward on one leg bending the knee as far as possible, bend back knee at the same time, hold for 2 seconds then push back to standing position. Make sure you keep your bottom tucked under and that your front knee is over your foot when you look down.If you need to hold onto something to help with balance you can put a dining chair at the side of you to rest your hand on. (repeat on alternate legs x4).
Standing Press Ups
Find a suitable wall or door.Stand facing the wall, place hands about shoulder width apart on it at shoulder height, move feet back to allow you to lean on your hands with an in-line, flat body, keeping a flat back slowly bend your arms to lower your whole body towards the wall as far as comfortable then straighten arms to push back up.(repeat x8).
Pelvic Floor (Kegels)
Stand with feet about hip width apart, tuck bottom under, isolate pelvic floor muscles, squeeze (like you are trying to stop your urine flow) and hold for 5 seconds then release, (repeat x8).
Disclaimer: Check with your GP to make sure it is OK for you to exercise. Listen to your body and only do what is comfortable. If you are pregnant or postnatal make sure your exercises are appropriate. Once you have had your baby only begin gentle exercises after your 6 week check-up if your GP says you can.
Get more inspiration by watching exercise demonstrations on my FREE video channel