2017 – a review

First of all, let me start by wishing you all a very happy new year. I hope that, regardless of how 2017 has treated you, 2018 will be amazing.

For us, 2017 was an amazing year. In February I gave birth to the most beautiful little thing. She has guided our life in a new direction and although some days it feels like we’re holding on for dear life, other days we’re thoroughly enjoying the ride. Every day with her is a gift. She is growing up so fast and I’m sure she learns something new every day! She keeps us in our toes now that she can crawl. She’s quite speedy too when she gets going. Her turning 10 months on Boxing Day means that we are about to begin the frantic process of baby proofing the whole house. She can now wave and can even say ‘bye’. That takes her word count up to four (Mumma, Dadda, Bubba and bye). If you make a gesture to kiss, she’ll lean in so you can kiss her forehead. She laughs at everything! She has 7/8 teeth. She walks when you hold her hands and easily climbs up furniture and toys so that she’s standing. She talks to her toys/herself a lot. She can recognise herself in a mirror or camera and laughs when we play back videos of herself. She’s beginning to throw tantrums too. Little strops if you take something off her or won’t let her roam freely. Soon she will be walking and we expect all hell to break loose. In a few months she will be one and that’s a very scary thought. It’s such a cute stage in her development though. Time is just going by too quickly and if I blink I fear I may miss it all!

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2017 also brought about a change of direction in my career. Unfortunately, many employers won’t make space for mums who are returning to work after maternity leave and who are in need of more flexibility. If I have one regret for last year. It would only be that I didn’t take more time off, even if it meant less or no money. In May I made the hard decision to leave my full-time job because as many will know, full time work (especially as a teacher) and motherhood do not bond well together. Whilst I fully appreciate family’s that can make it work for them, I think I’ve always known that I couldn’t commit to full time work. The decision was made with a tear in my eye. I had made friends, worked with some great people, made it through my NQT with grit, determination and a lot of bloody hard work. As well as all that I think it’s fair to say that I owe my teaching career to a couple of amazing teachers/HLTA’s who, without their support and guidance I would have easily given up in that first year. Naturally I was sad to go but I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t lose contact with these ladies. I also promised that I wouldn’t allow myself to be over worked and under paid anymore so in November (after having finished late October) I became a supply teacher. The money is good, the hours are massively better, I can choose when and for how many days I want to work. The positives far outweigh the negatives in that sense. Yes, there are some really hard days and some days I don’t know if I’m coming or going, but being able to leave at a reasonable time and get home to my family before dark is a real bonus. Knowing that I don’t have to continue work when I get home is good. It’s such a relief to enjoy teaching again.

We celebrated our first wedding anniversary in October. We went to Greenwich Park as it was somewhere we used to visit a lot when we first started our relationship. I’ve always loved Greenwich so it seemed only right that we took Zosia out for her first adventure there too. She celebrated her eighth month a few days later so we made it a double celebration. We wanted to go back to a restaurant we often went to but it had been closed down. It was sad to see it gone but it was going down hill in our last visit. Instead we went to Jamie’s Italian a little down the road. Zosia joined us at the dinner table in her own high chair for her first proper restaurant experience. She was so cute holding her dads hand across the table. It will always be a fond memory.

Being married has been the easy part. Trying to change my name has been the difficult bit. You forget how many loyalty cards you’ve got until you try to change your name on them all! Now don’t get me wrong, my husband is as much a pain in the arse as he was before we were married but he is now, as he always has been, my biggest support. He is by my side through every tough decision, when I hit the 24hr+ marker of labour and the Doctors we’re trying to make me take some form of pain relief, he stayed true to my prior decision and reminded them that it was my body and thus my decision if I took their offer or not. He held my hand through every contraction, every push, every moment of my exhaustion and my sheer jubilation at having finally, 51 hours later, given birth to our beautiful little girl! We stood together by her incubator, hand in hand. He dried my tears as I blamed myself. He held me up just as I felt the initial weight of motherhood pushing me down and helped me push back. He is and will always be my pillar of strength.

We have also just celebrated our first Christmas together as a family and it was just so magical. Zosia made a trip to another of our old haunts (Bluewater) to visit Santa and his elves. Although she didn’t seem too fussed about the whole thing, we will treasure the memories. We took her Christmas shopping and to have her first lunch at Ed’s Dinner. She only had a salad of course!

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Our Christmas Elf. Copyright of Monsterful Mama

We had our first Christmas Day to ourselves in a very long time. We got dressed before presents – something I’ve never done before. I wanted to make sure the photos were good for the future rather than a messy Mum. I know that sounds daft but when I also love to share pictures with our families so I was not going to share barless, unwashed and undressed pictures of me with anyone! Zosia was spoilt over the two days of celebrations. Families were visited on Boxing Day. She now has a mountain of toys and books. My house is awash with toys. My living room is an obstacle course. Luckily I got some nice storage boxes from the MiL so we can at least store some away. She enjoyed her Christmas dinner with us too. There was lots of love and laughter all day. It was perfect.

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First Christmas. Copyright of Monsterful Mama

It’s been difficult to keep up with the blog. Trying to find time between working and being a Mum and a wife is hard work. I’m trying to remain creative too, using my bullet journal more again and trying to make some prints to sell. I guess we’ll just have to see how the year will pan out as it goes. I’ve got plans in mind to help keep up the posts. Keep your eyes posted for a post about goals for the new year both personal and blog.

Thanks for listening

Peace and love

Monsterful Mama

Midwife and Life

 

JakiJellz
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Mama Rants 3 – Snobby Mummies!

Well, we all know by now that I enjoy a good moan but today’s post is a little more than that. It is more of a declaration that I am fed up with the crap some mothers put other mothers through.

We as mums, try our best to ensure our children have the best start in life, that’s the most natural thing to want as a mother. We read up on this and that, trying to decide which option will be best for our little ones yet we seem to be constantly bombarded with criticisms. It’s as if we aren’t hard on ourselves enough, other mums like to have a go too. In the short while I have called myself mummy, I’ve noticed a few things. There are mummies who believe that the way they are doing things, is the only way things should be done; there are mummies that will try to help you in heated discussions on social media but really are just trying to make themselves feel less guilty for that one Wotsit they gave their child three months ago and then there’s the ‘I don’t give a f**k what your kid eats/sleeps/does as long as they are happy and healthy!’ mummies. I am sure there are a few mummies in between. I find myself somewhere in the middle of most of these but I am not sure what kind of mummy that makes me. I often feel guilty that I’m not doing things ‘right’ or I haven’t chosen the ‘right’ path yet often think to myself ‘I don’t care what you think…’.

My issue today, is mainly with the first group of mummies. They shall be referred to as the snobby mummies – why? It’s because of this mentality of there being only one right way to feed/raise your child. Surely they can see it is what ever is right for your child and your circumstances that matters rather than their blinkered view of life. I recently encountered this parenting snobbery in a BLW (baby led weaning) group and I am sure some of you would have encountered some form of snobbery with regards to your early feeding choices – breast is best or fed is better etc. I personally fail to understand why I need to hear their opinions on what or how I feed my child especially if I am just asking for some advice. Yet you get bombarded by snobby mums telling you that’s not baby led weaning and you have to scroll through reams of mums having a fit because you’ve spoon fed your child a few times. Maybe it’s not BLW, but its our way of doing things and if we want to call it baby led weaning, we will. Our daughter leads us. She tells us when she is hungry and if she likes or dislikes food. She tells us when she has had enough. She feeds herself ninety nine percent of the time. It is the baby leading her own weaning with a little help from us to get her started. So snobby mummies, jog on!

As I thought more about this topic, it occurred to me that you can often tell a snobby mummy by the things they say or do. I am pretty sure I will have to get used to hearing this kind of nonsense when Zosia starts school or playgroup but it just drives me mad.

‘Little Jimmy only eats dairy, gluten, egg, sugar, salt, flavour free foods.’

‘She looks so tired. I bet her children are little devils.’

‘I cannot believe she lets her children play with plastic toys.’

‘Oh, she isn’t walking yet? My Jimmy was walking before he came out of my womb.’

‘You use Aldi/Lidl/Asda/Tesco/Disposable nappies?’

‘Oh darling, we never say the word no to our little Jimmy.’

‘Aw, she can count to three, how cute. Jimmy could read the entire Britannica Encyclopedia before he was one.’

‘Jimmy only wears high end brands. You won’t catch him in Primark/various high street clothing.’

‘Did you hear, she feeds her baby formula, in a plastic bottle?!? The shame of it!’

I really do not understand why there is so much of this behaviour in mums. We get slated for doing breast feeding or bottle feeding, feeding them totally organic, super healthy or giving them Maccy D’s, letting them run wild or being too heavy handed, the working mummy or the stay at home mummy, Yoga mummy or flabby mummy, doing baby led everything or keeping the routine strict; so why are we not doing more to build each other up instead or helping bring each other down? I guess you could say the mere nature of this blog post is just another mummy, bashing another group of mummies and you may well be right but to be fair, something needs to be said about these women. Some women fear going to those baby/mum groups that meet up in the Tesco café every Tuesday or whatever purely because of this kind of attitude. We fear being told we’re not doing a good enough job by the people who should be helping us, sharing advice and tips. Opinions shouldn’t be a part of parenting. Opinions should be kept to yourself. We should however, always welcome advice, tips and pointers, it’s up to us if we listen or not.

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Copyright of Monsterful Mama.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to confidently go to one of these groups, or even in the playground and over hear something a bit more like…

‘I heard she feeds formula to her baby, I’m sure she has her reasons for this so I won’t bash her for it.’

‘Aw, she’s progressing nicely.’

‘That Primark outfit is really cute and it only cost £3, what a bargain!’

‘You look tired mummy, that’s a sign that you’re doing a great job!’

‘You are such a good mum, what’s your secret?’

‘A little sugar now and then won’t hurt them.’

I also follow a lot of daddy bloggers on social media and one thing I’ve noticed there, is dads don’t spend countless hours in coffee shops slagging each other off. When was the last time you heard Jimmy’s dad bragging about how ‘advanced’ he is or how that mother isn’t eating all the awful lactation cookies in the world so that she can breastfeed? Why does it seem like only women want to bring other women down? Being a parent is hard enough without the added negativity and if you look close enough, most of us are actually doing a brilliant job of raising OUR children the way WE want to. So, to the mummies and/or daddies reading this, whether you are one of these mummies or like me, a sick of this mummy – you’re doing great. Believe in your ability to parent the s**t out of life. It’s time we start helping each other up instead of wasting energy tearing each other apart! Be done with the negativity and work towards a world where our daughters can grow up free from all of this crap and be the kinds of mums they want to be.

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Copyright of Monsterful Mama.

If you have had any experiences of this let me know in the comments.

Much love,

Monsterful Mama

An Apology

So, let’s start off with a small apology.  Since returning to work earlier this month, the blog has taken a massive hit.  Being a mum and working full time is as difficult as you’d imagine.  Despite not having the full range of teacher duties (marking, planning, data and assessment etc.) I still find that I have very little time left, and the little time I do have is spent with Baby and Daddy. The house is getting untidy, it is driving me mad but Daddy is also a full time worker so as you can imagine, it’s a struggle.  Of course it is about prioritising and unfortunately, a tidy house is not high up on the list.  That’s not to say that I live in a pig sty, this is purely my inability to deal with my interpretation of untidiness. We’ve barely got time for each other but our relationship is as strong as ever so we’ll manage as we always do.  We will soon be celebrating our first wedding anniversary, so that is something to look forward to.

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Anyway, like I said, sorry for not being so active at the moment.  I am hoping to be able to pick up the pace again after the October half term as I’ll be looking for a new job or, fingers crossed, already in a new part time job.  Life will always find a way over the bumps.  Perseverance is key.

Now, what should you look forward to between now and Christmas? Well, I have a few sponsored posts coming up, my first ever bloggers event, plenty of autumn, winter, Halloween and Christmas themed posts as well as a couple more in my ‘Mummy Rants’ series. I will also be looking at writing about our first year of marriage. I am planning on doing another spotlight post featuring my sister.  She is an awesome freelance illustrator.  I’ll also be doing a few other posts based around mindfulness, bullet journals etc. So keep an eye out for the next few months.

Again, thanks for sticking with me during this slight down time.  I will be back with a vengeance soon enough.  It means a lot to me that you’re all still here.

 

Peace and love,

Monsterful Mama

 

 

 

Mama Rants 2 – Parent Parking Bays

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So, today’s rant is bought to you by ‘twats that park in parent parking bays’.

So many times I’ve gone into town or to the local supermarket and stupidly driven down to the parent parking bays expecting to find a space. It’s silly of me to assume there will be any available spaces for us because it is quite obvious that the generously sized spaces that are conveniently located close to the store entrance are very enticing to some (lazy) people. Now, let me set this straight, this is not a parking ‘faux pas’. This is down right lazy and irresponsible. Most recently we witnessed a woman casually drive into a parent parking bay (she didn’t even straighten her car up – I also hate people that park REALLY lazily!). I watched and waited to see if she would try to get a pushchair out of the back of her car. She did not. She was wearing gym clothes so I assume her workout was so intense that she could not walk the few extra steps from a normal parking bay.

‘Won’t somebody please think of the children?!’

I’m honestly not sure why on earth you would do this. Are people really that lazy? Do they even realise the hassle of trying to get a baby or toddler out of a normal bay? The spacing in parent parking bays, or even a disabled bays are much bigger than normal parking bays for a reason. Not so you can haul your tired, post workout butt out of your car and so you can walk fewer steps to the shop. They are separated by a walkway for a reason, so that we can park and have clear access to our boots without the hassle of some twat who has parked right up our jacksie! They are placed closer to the shop so that there is less danger to any small children that may be walking to the shop with us. With cars reversing in and out of bays, many without double checking, the car park is an extremely hazardous place for littlies.

This young lady was not the first, nor will she be the last offender. Men are just as bad. I’ve seen countless men sitting in the parent bays, no child seat in sight, having a ciggi and a chat. These spaces are not a layby – if you need to pull up for a cigarette, do it somewhere else. I do not want my children having to breathe in your cancerous fumes. I am not sure how people can be so inconsiderate. Anyway, does anybody really know the law around these parking bays. We all know that you should get a parking fine if you park in a disabled bay without a blue badge and get caught (HA! I wish more people would get caught out by this!), but is there even a law or any rules to parking in parent bays? If not, should there be?

Should the government be able to ticket people who are taking up our parking spaces?

Well, after having a quick Google, it would appear that there is no law that is being broken (why on earth not?) when people do this. Although there are some leading supermarkets that apply their own set of rules for this (yay). The problem being, is how can they really enforce this rule without the help of the government? According to one source (Motor.co.uk), Asda have been known to hand out a Parking Charge Notice (not to be confused with a fine) to offenders for up to £50. This is however, fairly easy to avoid paying. Other supermarkets have their own rules in place but are quite relaxed about it.

So the question is, should the government; local council or even the police, be able to issue fines to people who are taking up our parking spaces? I think the answer has to be yes, not just for the sakes of us poor parents struggling to get a parking spot, but also so they can make more money to be able to fix the roads (pothole season is nearly upon us people), so that they can get more people out in car parks to help enforce parking issues and eventually make more money for the police departments (or Theresa May and her cronies back pockets more like) so they can better police our streets.

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As fairly new parents, I would like to add that for us it is purely about the space needed to get baby out of the car safely. We don’t mind having to walk a bit to the shop. We are the kind of people that even before we had our baby, we would park far away (less opportunity for simple folk to ding our car doors) from the shop entrance. I hate having to leave the push chair base at the back of the car in the road whilst I try to navigate a tight space to get Zosia out. I worry that somebody will try to steal the base, or the nappy bag etc. I am not silly enough to leave my handbag on the pushchair. I worry that if I try to put the shopping in the car first, somebody will either hit the pushchair or try to snatch her. I shouldn’t have to be worried about these things. I should be able to have my pushchair beside my car, not worrying about dinging the car next me or anything else, and safely get my baby into my car. Is that really too much to ask for?

I would love to hear about your parking woes (yes, I know it sounds dull) so let me know in the comments. Also let me know what you think about expectant mothers using these bays. Should they be catered for in these bays or have their own?

Thanks

Monsterful Mama

Mama Rants!

So there are many things that bug me in this world, because you know, I am human. For example; the lack of support from the government as a teacher, the old ‘I’m not racist/sexist/homophobic etc. BUT...’ line, judgemental people, trash TV like Love Island/Big Brother etc., the Conservative Party being in power, men who wear flip flops or shoes without socks etc., people that park in front of your driveway regardless of the drop curb or even on your drive! I mean, the cheek of it.  I think you get what I mean.  I could go on of course but that would be boring.  But there is one thing of late that’s really starting to get on my nerves.  Mum memes that imply all mums are raging alcoholics!

 

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I mean, why does every meme insist that to ‘survive’ her children a woman must drink copious amounts of wine?  WTF is that all about anyway?  Are people implying that as women, we can’t cope with the everyday pressures of motherhood?  I mean, yeah the worlds a pretty F’d up place at the moment, what with the likes of Donald Trump and Theresa May being in charge of entire countries (I know right!) but do people really still live with that kind of low level sexism?  We are currently being bombarded with sexist discrimination in the work place.  The BBC and its inequality in salaries between men and women is a hot topic on the news and social media at the moment.  Equality in the work place is very important.  Inequality is not something I’ve had to deal with but I fully support the women of the BBC in their quest.

 

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It just frustrates me more than anything because it kind of belittles the mental well-being of mums.  We can’t cope, so we must drink.  Not one ounce of support for any mother struggling.  No words of advice for us.  It makes me feel like our mental health as mothers is just a bit of a joke.  I don’t know, maybe I’m just over thinking this as a person that chooses not to drink alcohol.  I’m not here to bash mums who do have a drink at the end of the day, I just cant understand why this meme has become so popular.  Would I be as offended if it implied that as a mother all I need is a slice of cake (let’s be real, it would be the whole damn cake!) to get me through the day?  Or maybe even coffee. Coffee I would understand as we are mostly sleep deprived.  But also, why are there no memes that imply dad needs a beer after a few hours alone with the kids?  Is it because he is a man, he can ‘cope’?  Does he not suffer from mental illness because he is a man?  I think men’s mental health is a discussion for another day but you get my point.

Anyway, I hope I am not alone in this thought.  Let me know if you often reach for a bottle of wine or you also feel the same.  Remember that as a mother, you are never alone.  There are millions of us out here if you ever need a rant.  We know exactly what you are going through.

Thanks

Monsterful Mama