My gift to Adam for Nursery…

 

As you all probably know, if you’ve been following my journey with Adam for a while, our attempt at putting Adam in to nursery and me going back to work didn’t really work out very well for either of us when my maternity leave ended last December.

So I took some time away and had a good hard think about how we were going to make this process easier for the two of us second time around.  I knew that I wanted to step away from all the negative feelings I had when we went through all of this previously and make it as fun as possible so that it wasn’t such a shock to both of us when the time came for him to go back to nursery.

I came up with the idea of creating a little scrapbook for Adam to take to nursery, something that was only his and he could sit and look through if ever he missed us or wanted a reminder of home so I sourced a small scrapbook and got to thinking about what I could do/put inside for him and then I thought, Why not just put lots of photos inside for him to look at.  He loves books and when I’m not there to read to him he’s equally as content just flicking through the pages and pointing at all the different characters.

The four most important things in Adam’s life are probably Mummy, Daddy, Nala (the cat) and Cars so I got to finding all the pictures I could of those four things and neatly arranged them into his little scrapbook for him and I’ve been showing it to him every time I update it with new photos and he’s absolutely loved it!  I stuck the photos on with brightly coloured washi tape  to ensure they weren’t just going to fall out but also because washi tape is so easy to remove, so when hes all settled and doesn’t really want his little book anymore I can take the photos out and put them back in our photo albums again.  And if he always wants his little book near then I can continue swapping photos out and changing things in the book as he grows without ruining the pages or the photos.

Now that he’s settled into nursery the feedback from the staff is that he loves his little scrapbook and it’s such a great way for little ones to regroup when they’re confused about where family have gone.  He likes to slope off into a quiet corner at some point during the day and look through his book knowing that it is all his and he wont have to share it with the other children and we even give it to him when hes at home which he loves.  Mindfulness is my new favourite pastime and I love that by encouraging him to take a breath during his day and promoting calm moments it allows him to process his emotions without leaving him overloaded at the end of the day.  I’m in the process of taking more pictures of him with the silly cat so that I can print them and pop them in his book for next week and this will be an activity that we can both sit down and do together so he is always involved in the evolution of his little scrapbook.  Also I’m so happy that Autumn is here so that we can forage for crisp leaves and maybe pop them around his photos.

This is not in any way an #ad but I’ve been using the freeprints app to print all of my photos which is amazing because we get to choose 45 free prints a month.  I usually go over the 45 because I take so many pictures of Adam but it only costs a little bit extra.  And all i have to pay is the delivery charge and they arrive a few days later and look really good.  Both myself and my husband have the app so we get 90 free prints a month!! Use my referrer code and we both get 5 bonus free prints, you don’t have to but it would be nice :).  https://fpuk.app.link/invite?friend=sahmad155&end=end

I’d love to know of any other ideas for crafty things with toddlers if you have them and please tag me your pictures if you decide to make your little one a little nursery scrapbook.

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The frazzled Mother

I’ve had a little bit of a hiatus from writing on my blog recently and although it wasn’t planned I just haven’t felt like sitting down and writing.

The main reason for that is because I use writing as an outlet for all the frustration of day to day life.  I like being able to sit down and pen my worries and just leave them there for a while because it not only frees up my mind from all the clutter but it also brings me closer to a whole community of people out there who may be feeling the same way as me and a problem shared is a problem halved.

But recently I’ve found other creative outlets for reconnecting with myself and de-cluttering my frazzled mummy brain, mainly Instagram!

Some of you may not know but when my maternity leave ended I felt so overwhelmed with life with a baby, and the added everyday pressures of being a wife, a woman, a human being, that going back to work almost broke me.  I can talk about it now because I’m in a much better place personally, psychologically, physically and emotionally but at the time I just wanted to run away!

For quite some time I lied to everybody that asked and just said ‘yes, work is fine’ but my reality was I was barely half the person I was before getting pregnant and I was trying to spread that half person so thinly over my husband, my son, the house, my blog, life in general and it just wasn’t working.  I was granted a 6 month career break which suddenly freed my mind of so much emotional distress and all the stresses that came with being away from my boy.  I gave myself those 6 months to grow as a person so that when the time came to going back to work I’d be in the best position I could be to juggle motherhood and having a life.

Well that time has actually come! In three weeks time I shall be hanging up my mummy cape and heading off to work for 2 days a week and this time I feel ready for it.  We’ve found a nursery that is a bit further away but I feel Adam with thoroughly enjoy and I have had the last 6 months to free my mind of all the negativity I was harboring, surrounding motherhood in general and am in a much better place.

What has helped me the most is keeping myself busy, focusing my mind on more taxing and creative tasks so that I just haven’t had the time to obsess and fester on negative things.  I became obsessed about many things when I first my son like breastfeeding (I had to get it right and when it wasn’t I blamed myself for being a useless mother), Separation anxiety (I couldn’t manage even an hour or two without my baby) and lots more including his weight gain and his health in general (I worried about every little ailment and it made me an anxious mess!).

If you’ve followed me on Instagram for a while you’ll notice a bit of an evolution in my photography recently, I’m enjoying putting my focus on editing and taking beautiful photos instead of worrying but I’m not going to lie it’s worked brilliantly until now…

I’m back to being a nervous wreck and an anxious crazy loon but I think with enough planning, the transition into nursery life has been a bit easier this time.  I’ll be writing a post about what we changed and how we’ve made the whole process of enrolling him back into nursery much easier for him and for me so keep your eyes peeled for that.

 


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Reasoning with my anxiety…

When you value something, you take extra care of it.  You protect it and nurture it and hold it close because you value it’s very being and just how hard you worked to get it.  I think this is the reason for my anxiety.

The other day I’d been out to Sainsburys to do the food shop with Adam as we normally do every week. And when I’d packed the car full of the shopping, the child and myself I noticed that the first thing I did was check my bag to make sure my camera was in there.  It’s then that I realised that because I hold the camera quite highly in value compared to the other stuff in my bag I’m constantly checking to make sure it’s there and I even keep it wrapped in bubble wrap so it doesn’t get scratched.  If my fingers don’t happen to land on the camera as soon as I open my bag I begin to inwardly panic because I know how hard Ayaz worked to buy it for my birthday and he knows how long I banged on about the bloody camera in the first place.

Then it hit me like a tonne of bricks, the reason why I’m so anxious about Adam all the time.  It’s because he is THE most precious thing in my life.  As soon as I became a mum, he came first and I’m learning to be ok with that.  I look back at how hard we tried to have him (stop those dirty thoughts you perverts!).  I think of how hard I longed for him and how many days and nights I spent hunched over a toilet or sink throwing up while pregnant and the labour pains were just the beginning!

The real test began after he was born, the struggles with feeding, the endless mum guilt and the constant feeling of never being good enough for him.  It’s because I would move heaven and earth to give him the best in life and that is because I feel that when I took that step, and made the decision to be his mum, I took a silent vow to help nurture and grow him into the best that I physically can.

In discovering this I have moved on to the reality that I can’t possibly give him the best without being my best and Ayaz always says you wont be able to look after him if you’re dead! A bit of a harsh way of putting it babe but it’s true I guess!  I’ve written a post not long ago about how I’m putting a little more care in to myself here but now I’m taking a little more care than just eating well and drinking more water.  I’m learning to say no to things and people that don’t promote a happiness in my life or encourage me as a woman or a mother.  I found that people who criticised me on my life and parenting choices just caused unnecessary anxiety so I choose to stay away from them.

I’m taking more care of my emotions and my wellbeing, I will allow myself to feel low as long as I know I need to pick myself back up again for myself but also for my son.  I’m slowly realising that the more time I have to myself to sit and think, the more my thoughts turn to anxious ones.  Keeping busy and focusing on more physically challenging things allows me to become too tired to worry about the small worries and to focus that energy in to more positive tasks like taking photos for my Instagram which I’m really enjoying at the moment.  I’ve also signed up to Sara Tasker’s Bloom and Grow class and I’m really loving the positivity I’m gaining from focusing my energy on something other than constantly worrying.

I think the main thing I’ve come to accept about my anxiety is that I will never be able to rid myself of my maternal worries because it comes with the joys of being a mother.  Breathing life into a little human being you’ve helped to create means your children will always be your most prized possession and therefore worrying about them is part of the job description I’m afraid.  What I am learning is there are things that can wait to worry about and those that can’t, can be managed much better by focusing more on the positive aspects of being a mum.  The more time spent worrying about what may be, robs you of precious moments with your little one and those moments you will never get back.

 

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Adam’s sleep routine at 13 months…

So after listening to Adam scream himself to sleep because I’d stupidly decided to get in the bath once he’d gone down for his nap I decided why not write about his current sleep routine!  Now I’m sat here, hair still dripping wet and dressed in my pyjamas because I don’t want to now go in the room and risk disturbing him, feeling like the world’s shittest human being I’m thinking about his current sleep routine and how well it works for us.

It’s in no way, shape or form the best sleep routine and I’m not going to sit here and gloat about how amazing every night is because he sleeps through until morning as this isn’t always the case but I’ve read a lot of sleep related posts recently and figured why not write my own.

Adam turned one in January and so he’s coming up to 14 months in a week or two but we’ve been very consistent with his sleep routine from way back when he was about 4-5 months.  I do believe that’s helped us immensely when it’s come to how well he sleeps however every night is different and if you throw in a bit of teething or this nasty cold we’ve all been lovingly passing around to each other for about 8 weeks now, we have had a fair few sleepless nights of screams and tantrums.

What has taken me too long to understand is that no matter how wonderful your routine is and how amazing you think your parenting choices are, no one day will ever be the same as the next.  Something will always change and throw a huge spanner in your works and you have to learn to roll with that.  Now for somebody like me who likes her routine and freaks out at any deviation from that, this is a hard concept to comprehend sometimes when it’s the middle of the night and you’re screaming to yourself ‘But you slept all night last night?!’ ‘Why are you up at 3am?!’ But i’m slowly adapting to the fact that babies don’t come with instruction manuals and rule books, they just come with in built human instinct to rely solely on you for their physical and emotional nourishment and that should make you feel superhuman!

That’s not to say routines don’t work, I absolutely believe they do because with routine comes stability and the norm.  My baby knows that no matter how hectic our day has been once he goes up at 6.30pm for his bath he will be in bed soon after and I know he enjoys living in the knowledge that certain  events will eventually lead to sweet slumber in his own cot where GENERALLY he will sleep peacefully until the morning.  I know that he loves his routine as much as we do because whenever we do decide to cut out his bath in order to spend a bit more time in the evening or when daddy comes home late from work and wants to see him before he goes to bed, he never settles as well and I think the bath in the evening helps him unwind.

So just recently he’s cut out one of his day naps and only has the one nap during the mornings unless he’s in the car or out in his pushchair.  It’s hard to gauge whether he still needs that second nap because when he did he became a nightmare to wind down in the evenings and would basically chew my nipples off through share boredom because he wasn’t tired enough to fall asleep.  I still breastfeed him to sleep which isn’t ideal but he can be rocked to sleep or given a bottle if needs be.  Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to feed him to sleep but it works for us and he only has the one feed in the evening to send him off for the night.  Most nights I’ll feed him and have him in bed by 8pm and we won’t hear from him again until about 7.30-8am.

For now this is the routine that’s working for us and because I feel he still needs a milk feed before bed I guess this will continue for a little while yet, I mean if it ain’t broke don’t fix it right?! I think if he was still waking in the night for feeds I’d definitely be looking for other ways to put him to sleep but as he doesn’t I’m enjoying the evening feed and cuddle time.  Any advice for when we do decide to wean him from the breast? I’d love to hear your thoughts and sleep routine tips.

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Almost a year…

It still blows my mind that I’ve had my little baby in my arms for almost a year and now he’s not so little anymore.  This time last year I was heavily pregnant, spending most of my days either in the hospital having scans to check his growth or in town aimlessly wandering from shop to shop making sure I had everything I needed before my baby boy arrived.

So much has happened in the past year and everyday has been a whirlwind of highs and lows but I finally feel like things have started slotting into place and my life is complete.

Dont get me wrong my life was complete the moment I found out I was pregnant but when he came into our lives we had to very quickly adapt from being two very independent, carefree individuals to two very grown up, responsible adults with another life to sustain.  I’ve very briefly touched on my anxiety throughout pregnancy and motherhood but nobody really knows the extent of it but my husband.

For me motherhood not only came with lots of happy, fun filled moments but lots and lots of anxiety and it still does.  There may be some of you reading this that will think this is all just normal and how mothers worry about their children but to me it has felt like I’m trapped in my own mind at times.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt down or depressed post having Adam but my anxiety has definitely gone through the roof.  In the beginning it was all about feeding.  When he kept losing weight, I became obsessively anxious about how much he was feeding and literally exhausted myself with breastfeeding and expressing all through the days and nights to ensure that there was enough milk for Adam.  Looking back now if I’d expressed a little less and slept a little more I think we would have managed just fine seeing as I still have breast milk in the freezer from April!

As the days, weeks and months have gone on his feeding has just gotten better and better, he’s now eating like an absolute pro too and has such a varied diet.  He’s even turning into a little chunky monkey and I have definitely eased myself back on the feeding worries but there are still many many thing I obsess over on a daily basis.

I will not leave the house unless it is at a time that perfectly fits around Adam’s current routine.  For example if it is lunch time I will either not go out or ensure that I am only going somewhere with feeding and changing facilities.  I don’t think I’ve been out past 6pm in the past year knowing that Adam will need his bath and bed around that time and as much as it may seem this is a little bit obsessive, it’s what works for us and anxious people thrive on routines so it does help me feel much better when his routine isn’t disrupted.

I will probably touch on my anxiety a little deeper in another post but what I really wanted to say is that no matter how many sleepless nights I’ve had or how much hair I’ve lost from all the worrying, nothing would ever make me change my life. I will continue to battle my demons but since my baby has come into my life, I have a purpose, my life is complete and I can’t wait for what the future brings.

Here’s to you my beautiful baby boy, you’ve saved me from myself and everyday you amaze me with your funny little faces and the funny little things you do. When you say ‘Mama’ I feel like I finally have an identity.  I can’t wait to see what the years bring us but I know that with you by my side, we can rule the world! Mama loves you so much.

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