Goals for 2018

As we all know, a new year means new goals, or rather refreshed goals that we may not have achieved last year, or the year before. For the last ten years at least my New Years resolutions have featured weight loss of some kind. Some years have been more successful than others, but nevertheless my weight has increased. Most recently I had lost 2 stone in the run up to our wedding. Naturally, having a baby has impacted my ever increasing waistline and here I sit, writing this blog post at my heaviest. So what’s to be done? Do I repeat the same old goal of weight loss as I do every year, no matter how much I’ve failed? Or do I mask it as something else? ‘Stop eating takeaway food!’?

One of the goals that I have already set myself is positive thinking. So I’ll take a more positive spin on things, I’ll make my goals steps toward positive thoughts rather than remarking on the negative. Having glanced around google, I’ll try to make my goals SMART. They will be Significant steps broken down to be Meaningful and Measurable steps that are easily Attainable. These steps will be Rewarding and kept Relevant and of course I will find ways to make them Trackable in my bullet journal so I can measure the time it takes to achieve them.

To begin with, I’ve spent some time thinking about what is truly important to me this year. Determined not to get stuck in the monotony of the seemingly unachievable ‘lose weight’, I looked for ways to make my goals much more positive. I think this year will be more focused on breaking bad habits. Changing how I think about my goals and how I feel when I don’t achieve them. I’ll need to break down each goal into smaller steps that are easier to achieve. I will need to review the goals regularly to see how I am getting on.  The plan is to review once a month. I will also be looking at ways to incorporate mindfulness into the everyday, a kind of ‘Practice What You Preach’ sort of thing. I will need to think about how I can be mindful of the things I am doing or thinking that will have a negative impact on my progress.

What Next?

As I’ve said already, I plan on using my bullet journal a lot more this year to help me stay on track (keep an eye out for a post on how to utilise your bullet journal for goal tracking later this month). I am in the process of creating spreads to help me manage this. I recently read somewhere that writing your goals down will help to make you more accountable for them. As if having them written down makes you more aware of them, less likely to forget them. I also read that sharing them with people helps with this too. I always share my goals with my husband so that he can help to keep me on track and of course, I am now sharing them with you. I should also mention that my word of the year is discipline and I aim to remind myself of this every time I slip up.

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New Year Goals in Bullet Journal. Copyright of Monsterful Mama

So with all that being said, what are my goals for this year? To start, I’ve broken my goals down into six categories. I’ve chosen these categories as I feel they are areas that need the most work.

Body

Mind

Creativity

Home

Finances

Blog

Hopefully this will make it easier to keep organised, to visualise each goal and each step within each goal. So let’s begin.

Body:

I know my problem with food stems from my mindset. I see food as a comfort so I need to break the habit of binge eating, and reaching for the snacks when I am bored or tired. Just looking at the scales is upsetting enough yet still I reach. However, as I’ve already mentioned, I don’t want to set a ‘lose weight’ goal. Instead I want to focus on how I can lose weight by changing some bad habits. I began to compile a list of things that needed to change. I thought about the poor food choices I was making, the lack of water I was drinking, the lack of exercise I was doing and how often we rely on take away food. Then I thought about how to make it positive and achievable.

  • Fewer Take Aways

– No more than one takeaway a month

(Can I make a tracker for this…?)

  • Make better food choices

– Start cooking meals from scratch again

– Make time to cook

  • Make sure you eat all three meals, no skipping lunch

– Stop making excuses, get up and do it.

  • Drink more water

– Get a glass of water (or squash at the very least) when you make your first coffee

  • Start Yoga at home

– Get a yoga app

– Make a yoga tracker in my bullet journal

– Use yoga at least 3 or 4 times a week

– Get up early to do it (even if you’re working)

  • Exercise More Frequently

– Create a tracker to monitor exercise

– Go for walks with Zosia

– Complete a ‘fun’ run for charity

  • Remember why you are doing this!

– Zosia

– Hubby

YOU

Mind:

How can I begin to change my habits? Habits I have had for most of my life. I think first of all I need to start thinking about my triggers. I already know all too well that my bad eating habits stem from three things; a lack of discipline, boredom and negative moods. Focusing on negative moods is where my mind goals will coming from.

  • Avoid drama

– Don’t create unnecessary drama

– Don’t get sucked into other peoples drama

– Remain calm in difficult situations.

– Try not to over react to the little things

  • Be thankful

– Remind yourself of the things that keep you going every day

– Help others in need more

  • Meditate

– Regular meditation time

– Spend less time plugged in. Step away from social media for at least 10 minutes a day (to start with)

  • Be more positive

– Think happy thoughts

– Keep a list of all the things that make you happy in your bullet journal

  • Learn to love yourself

– Accept the little slips and move on

– Remind yourself that nobody is perfect

– Stop making negative comments about yourself

– Be kinder to yourself, you know if you’re doing the best you can do or not

Creativity:

Last year my goal was to get creative more often and for the most part I was successful in this. I have improved my hand lettering and been braver using water colours more often. This year I want to take this a step further and hopefully start making some money out of it.

  • Write a children’s picture book

– Start with a book for Zosia this year, then go from there

– Work out how you want it to look

– Think about what the moral of the story is

– Make time to get this done

  • Start Zosia’s scrapbook

– Enlist the help from bestie

– Don’t be afraid to commit to it

– Make note of all the important milestones

  • Keep going with the bullet journal

– utilise the blog journal more

– Make sure it is as practical as it is pretty

  • Create more things to sell on Etsy

– Scan in work you have already

– Create a calendar for 2019

+ Scan it in to make a digital copy of it

– Finish setting up Etsy shop

– Share the s**t out of it on social media

– Create digital planners for bloggers to use

– Write more blog posts about my creative side

  • Believe in yourself more

– Remind yourself that you can achieve anything that you set your mind to.

– Remind yourself that if people get paid millions for calling stuffed sheep and upside down urinals ‘art’ then your few pounds for a hand made print is reasonable enough

Home:

There are a lot of things that need sorting at home. With the arrival of a tiny human chaos has ensued. So these goals feature a lot of tidying up and organising rooms.

  • De-clutter the house

– Go room by room and clear out stuff that either hasn’t been unpacked since we moved in or hasn’t been used in the last 6 months

– SPRING CLEAN THE S**T OUT OF THIS HOUSE!!

  • Sort Zosia’s room

– Go through the boxes and clear out the rubbish

– Buy and assemble new furniture

– Move crib in after 1st birthday

– Put up wall decorations

  • Buy better storage and new furniture

– Book shelf for under the stairs

– Organise kitchen cupboards better

  • Create a cleaning schedule for the house and put it up in the kitchen

– Try not to use the word ROTA

  • Start washing up after every meal. Make this a habit not a chore

  • Stop only tidying up or cleaning when people are due to visit

Finances:

With money, things are always tricky. Even more so when you have a child. Working part time is proving challenging so I need to think of other ways to save or make money.

  • Spend less on the things you don’t need

– If you do go shopping take your time to think about the necessity of the purchase.

  • Look for cheaper alternatives to the expensive brands

  • Start putting more aside for Zosia’s future

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Inspired by Little Coffee Fox at https://littlecoffeefox.com.

Blog:

My numbers are picking up again after a few months off due to work commitments. However they are still quite low. I will need to work on raising numbers before I can approach brands but I am hopeful.

  • Start seeing this as a business, not just a hobby

– Think about why you started this

– Think about a plan of action for 2018

– Be a full time blogger by 2019

  • Raise viewer and visitor numbers

– Promote more often

– Join more Linkies

  • Start writing content to cover busy periods so that you always have something to post

– Compile a list of potential blog posts

  • Create a list on brands that you would like to work with

– Create assets to promote yourself to brands

  • Work with Hubby to begin migration to self-hosting

– Learn how to create your own subscription emails

– Set up email list

– Add ‘Subscribe Now’ pop up

– Learn more about SEO

– Get Hubby to teach you how to code for yourself

  • Keep working on your ‘Mummy Rants’ Series

– Open it up to guest bloggers??

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Motivational Quote.  Copyright of Monsterful Mama

So, I know this makes your goals seem harder to reach as there are so many little things to worry about but trust me when I say that breaking them down into smaller more achievable goals as I have done above really does help. I still have the big goals in mind but I know that I will be able to complete them by creating little ‘To Do’ lists within each one. You will feel a sense of achievement if you are able to tick a box every now and then which ultimately will help with some of the other goals. Setting yourself goals is vital to stay proactive and productive in life and business. You don’t need to wait for the new to set or evaluate them either, it just feels good to start a new year with a fresh head on your shoulders.

What goals have you set yourself this year? More importantly how are you going to achieve them?

Thanks for listening,

Love and Peace,

Monsterful Mama

Midwife and Life

 

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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

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Merry Christmas. Copyright of Monsterful Mama.

So, how is it Christmas Eve already? Where has this year gone? When you have a child, time sure flies. I’ve always loved this time of year but this year is going to be something special. We’re all prepped and ready to celebrate our first Christmas as a family. I’m so excited to see how she reacts to her gifts. Don’t get me wrong, we’re fully aware that she has no clue about the significance of tomorrow but she gets so excited about new things, how can we not be excited?

There will be plenty of love and laughter in this house tomorrow and that fills me with such a feeling that I’m sure I’ll burst! We’ll document the whole day so that we can share it with her when she’s older and share it with the family during the day.

This year has been a roller coaster of emotions but I’ve enjoyed every single moment. I look forward to what next year shall bring too. I’ll be setting up my bullet journal for next year and hopefully more creative work will come out of it. I’ve got big plans for the blog but it’ll be hard work preparing for it all. I’ll also be continuing work as a supply teacher which I’ve enjoyed more than I imagined I would.

So, thanks 2017! You’ve been great. Here’s hoping 2018 will kick your arse!

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you all. Stay safe and enjoy it all.

Peace and love

Monsterful Mama and family!

 

Family

An Interview with Chloe Lee – Wedding Photographer

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If you know me personally, you’ll know that I don’t make friends easily. So, about a year ago I joined a little group in my borough. Most of the people in the group were older, by quite a bit. There was a few people nearer my age but admittedly I do tend to judge a book by its cover (I’m sorry, I know I shouldn’t but it is an easy way to spot people who may have common interests). So when I first saw Chloe, with her big glasses, tattoos and quirky attire, I knew I wanted to get to know her.

Long story short, were now very good friends. We have a lot in common so get on really well. I knew I wanted her to do our photography the moment I saw her website. It’s full of great images that are bright and colourful. So after doing a bit of on-line stalking, we finally asked her to be our photographer. But, Chloe wasn’t just our photographer, she also had a place at our wedding as a friend and was involved in a lot in the build up to the big day and even helped with my hen do and the morning of the wedding. We’ve spent many hours together sorting the creative aspect of it all, hand making a lot of the decorations. My hubby and I consider ourselves very lucky to be able to call Chloe a friend.

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Copyright of Chloe Lee Photography

‘I prefer to document the day as it happens. I’ll still capture all the little details that you’ve planned and made, the family photographs for your nan’s mantelpiece and of course awesome portraits of you having fun and being super loved up.’

Whilst sipping coffee and having a catch up, I decided to do a little interview with Chloe. Having the chance to interview a friend is a strange thing, but it’s a great experience. I took the chance to ask her some questions about her work and life, so I’ll stop gushing about our friendship so you guys can get to know Chloe for yourselves.

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Chloe and I. Copyright of Monsterful Mama and Chloe Lee.

About Chloe

Chloe Lee (26), born and bred in Essex, is a Harry Potter obsessed wedding photographer. She studied photography at college and went on to do it at degree level in Bristol. Having dabbled in fashion photography for a while, she then found her calling as a wedding photographer and has been for two years. Her image style is alternative, fun and quirky, and is pretty relaxed and informal. Chloe becomes apart of your day with her insane ability to mingle yet be invisible so that she can catch those candid photos of your big day. You can find out more about her here.

What hobby would you do if money was no object?

If I had all of the money, I would love to get into property developing. I love up-cycling furniture but renovating a house would take that hobby to a whole new level!

What skill would you like to master?

I would love to play the piano, especially classical piano. I think when played right it is so beautiful and such a hard thing to master. Although I maybe would say it’s much like art in that I do think it’s a lot about having musical talent than simply learning a skill.

What are some small things that make life better?

Chocolate, tea, cheese, Netflix…

When did you first know that you wanted to be a wedding photographer?

After I photographed my first wedding! I helped a friend on a wedding as uni term was nearly over and I wanted to get out with my camera and it was like I’d stepped into another universe and literally was that cliché light bulb moment of “Wow! This is so much more than I thought it would be,” and from then on, I spent a few years doing the occasional wedding or assisting job to build up my portfolio.

What are you most looking forward to in the next ten years?

Hopefully buying a house, travelling and meeting lots of awesome couples!

What habit would you like to unlearn if you could?

Nail biting… it’s my worst habit.

What has been your favourite experience?

Ah there’s been so many! Going to France to shoot a wedding was pretty awesome though!

List five things you always carry with you.

Phone, pen, notepad, lipstick and business cards.

Who would you have photograph your wedding?

I’m super lucky to have lots of talented photographer friends but from the moment I discovered Camera Hannah’s work a few years ago, followed her journey and then met her earlier this year so, it would definitely be her without a doubt!

How would you describe your photography style?

Alternative, Fun, quirky, informal, creative, and colourful!

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So, if you’re getting married, Chloe is available and doesn’t mind travelling the extra mile.  I would definitely recommend her to you all. You can check out her gallery here.

Chloe on Facebook

Chloe on Instagram

Thanks for reading.

Peace and love,

Monsterful Mama

10 Things That Make Me Happy

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Copyright Monsterful Mama

I know that I have recently done a post about happiness, and those being the three main things so let’s make this one a bit of fun.  Call it a ‘getting to know you’ kinda blog post!

The Ten Things That Make Me Happy are…

  1. Family: So of course this is a given. My little family are my world. You can read about them in more detail here.
  2. Pens: Lots and lots of pens. Brush pens, fine liners, fountain pens, highlighters, bright ones, pastel ones, black and white ones. You name it I will happily buy it for the right price, which leads me on to number three.
  3. Bullet Journal: I love getting creative in my bullet journal but it is also a fantastic way to get organised. My motto before was that I was an organised mess. My style was organised chaos but now with my bullet journal I can manage appointments without forgetting them, track progression of my blog in my blog bujo and get to keep on being creative with the many challenges in hand lettering etc.
  4. Food: I have a love hate relationship with food. I LOVE to eat it … all… but it does not agree with my waistline. I love cheesy pizza, stringy, gooey pizza, salted caramel flavoured thing, peanut butter on toast, a good old fashion roast dinner, cake of many varieties, coffee flavoured things too, chocolate of course… the list goes on. It actually surprises me that I am not bigger than I am! I do have a bit of a sweet tooth. If we go out for dinner, I will often chose a vegetarian option because my husband is a vege-phobe!
  5. Washi Tape: There are sooooo many different varieties of tape out there in the world, and like in Pokemon, I want to catch them all! I use them quite sparingly in my bullet journal but I just love to collect them. They are just so pretty!
  6. Video games: I don’t mind which platform but would prefer the PS4 and PC over Xbox. I used to love Nintendo but they have made their consoles big and clunky and unnecessarily so. They had great consoles with the N64 and the GameCube so I dont know why they had to mess about with it all. I love to play games such as; Skyrim, Terraria, Minecraft, The Sims, Stardew Valley, Starbound, Anno, Don’t Starve, Legend of Zelda, Fallout 4, WoW, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Civilization, Life is Strange etc. I love a bargain on Steam or on the PlayStation Store especially if it is an indie game.
  7. Taking Pictures: I love taking pictures. I’ve been referred to as the happy snapper before. I won’t go so far as to claim I am any good at taking pictures, but I do okay. My degree is in Photography but again, there are no guarantees that, that means I am good. I mostly take pictures of my little girl now but the degree has helped with setting up a few flat lays for the blog. I am currently in love with using black and white film in my Instax Mini. I’m now very jealous of my best buds skills in photography, so much so I got her to do our wedding! Chloe is awesome at capturing the natural quirkiness at weddings. I have enlisted her help many times when it comes to my own photography.
  8. Travel: I haven’t seen much of the world but I have loved seeing the bits that I have seen. Japan has got to be the best place we’ve been. We love going somewhere with lots of history or culture. There are sooo many more places on our list but, what with having a baby, we know it will be a while before we can tick the big ones off. Meanwhile, seeing a bit more of the UK will keep us occupied until Zosia is old enough to fly comfortably.
  9. Self Care Time: Because I have spent so many years living alone, I do enjoy a bit of me time, alone time. It is great to get to grips with thoughts and feelings and sometimes just to clear some of the cobwebs away. I will often take a coffee break on my own (mostly with Zosia though) in a café in town. I will mill around town with no real intent to buy things, although that doesn’t mean I won’t buy anything! It’s not really about buying anything, it is about being by myself.
  10. Creativity: I have always been a bit creative but never really known how to channel it. I’ve tried performing arts, photography, painting etc. I still don’t really know what my creative ‘niche’ is but I am loving the process of trying to figure it out. My sister is an illustrator so I’ve always been jealous of her mad skills for drawing and using watercolours. At the moment I am trying to learn new digital creative skills with my hubby teaching me tricks on PhotoShop, Illustrator and CSS/HTML etc.

 

Well, I hope you enjoyed getting to know me a little more. Here are my tags for bloggers that you should get to know!

  1. itsallzara.co.uk
  2. http://thismamacan.com/

Thanks

Monsterful Mama

Why I refuse to love my body as it is now.

“Your mum’s so fat, N.A.S.A mistook her for a planet!”

Today I saw myself in a full mirror for the first time since I gave birth and I did not like what I saw. In fact I was repulsed. What on earth has happened to my body? We we all know that after having a baby, your body can take time to adjust to the stresses of motherhood. Not all of us are able to bounce back in the first few weeks. Some of us even had a bit of a belly before we fell pregnant. Yet my body seems to have changed beyond recognition.

“I’ve always been a big girl.”

Having Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) has played a huge (pun not intended) part but so has my love of food. Sweets, crisps, ice-cream, fast-food and takeaways, all of which I enjoy regularly, have ultimately been the biggest contributors to my ever expanding waist line. Before I was pregnant I began a journey to size ten with Slimming World (other weight loss programmes are available). It was going so well. I was motivated by the fact I was getting married, losing on average three pounds a week. I lost two and a half stone and I was so chuffed! I felt good in my clothes having dropped three dress sizes. I was exercising and was happy to be doing so. I made a friend at ‘fat club’, we became gym buddies and now I consider her to be a bestie! Everything was going so well.

First Trimester

When I fell pregnant I decided to continue on with SW as a means to keep me on track but during the first trimester I struggled with nausea. I couldn’t eat anything without feeling sick, the smell of food alone was enough to set me off. I continued to lose weight in my first trimester which isn’t a bad thing just so long as its not too much. I continued to be happy with my progress. My bump hadn’t sprouted just yet so I felt good about my body.

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Including Zosia in the Wedding.  Copyright of Chloe Lee Photography and Monsterful Mama

Second Trimester

With the second trimester came the cravings. I was in Japan when the first one hit. I was desperate for carbs! I ate so much pasta in Japan I began to wonder if I should have gone to Italy instead. Garlic bread, spaghetti bolognese, spaghetti and meatballs; despite the heat and humidity of Japan in August, I wanted them all and an endless supply too. This was not so good for my waistline. I dreaded going back to the scales. Yet when I finally stood upon the scales of doom I had actually lost another three pounds. It turns out, growing a tiny person inside you is a lot of effort. That combined with endless walking and being a tourist also helped to counteract the calorie intake.

In my second trimester, I felt good despite being under a lot of pressure from work at the beginning. My appetite was back (with a vengeance) but I was seemingly able to maintain a healthy weight loss but it didn’t last long. The next week I went up a few pounds. I continued to go up at least one pound every week but I kept going. A little weight gain was to be expected. After all, I was growing a baby in my belly! The weeks went by, the weight went up and the eating habits I had spent so long working on went out the window. I craved sugar so much. I was extremely tired every day, working whilst being pregnant is hard work, especially as a teacher. Being on your feet all day every day takes it out of you at the best of times but as my belly grew so did my desire for a quick fix. Snacking on chocolate and high calorie foods kept me going through the day. Big lunches from the local café and even bigger dinners when I got home. My appetite was getting ridiculous. I was sure I would be the size of a blue whale before I reached forty weeks.

Third Trimester

By the time I got to the third trimester my healthy eating had gone completely to pot. I didn’t want to eat healthy food when I could stuff my face with calorific foods. I was so tired, every day I fell asleep on the settee even when company was round. I began to teach from the comfort of my desk chair. Getting up was hard work, navigating a tightly packed class was becoming hazardous. All I wanted to so was eat and sleep. When you imagine being pregnant, you imagine the glorious glow, the neat and tidy bump and the joy of growing a tiny human. You don’t consider the physical strain that it puts on your body. The back ache, the hip ache, the exhaustion, the hunger, the jabs in the ribs and… down there, the stretch marks! Oh the stretch marks! Being plus size before baby meant that I had stretch marks already but on my belly, they were minimal. Towards the end of the third trimester, my belly was the size of a house and the stretch marks were creeping up my stomach. It didn’t matter how much Palmer’s moisturisers I covered myself in or how many times a day I applied it, my belly was huge and the skin couldn’t cope.

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The Final Bumpie. Copyright of Monsterful Mama

After the Zosia was born, I felt pleasantly surprised at how quickly my belly went down but now as I think back, I’m sure that it wasn’t that quick at all. I’m not sure it even went back. The first two weeks of her life were stressful. In and out of hospital, living off Costa and Subway is not healthy. My body didn’t bounce back, I was just too distracted to notice that I didn’t have a huge bump any more! As the weeks went on, we went back to eating as we did when I was pregnant. I tried to go back to SW. It lasted all of three weeks before I gave in to sleep deprivation and ate my weight in ‘crap’ foods.

“It is my opinion that this is a bunch of BS

You read a lot about how women must embrace their tiger stripes. It shows how fierce we are as mothers, that we’ll do anything to protect our children. It is my opinion that this is a bunch of BS. I refuse to embrace them because it is not just the ones from being pregnant, they’ve just added to it. I will accept them however, as they helped me carry my beautiful baby. They are a part of me, I get that but no! I will not embrace them. I will not wear them like a badge of honour. I didn’t before I was pregnant and I won’t now. They are a reminder at how big my belly got. I only wish people would stop telling me that it’s a beautiful reminder. NO! I won’t embrace the saggy, empty boobs. I will accept them as they supplied food to my baby, they did a rubbish job of it but still. The fact they are slightly bigger does not help either. They don’t look like my boobs any more. My belly doesn’t look like my belly any more. It is loose and extra wobbly! My weight has continued to go up and up. I have no motivation to do anything about it despite hating my body every time I see it. How on earth my husband manages to call me beautiful every time I complain is beyond me. He tries to encourage me to do something about it but I just snap because I’m a stubborn moo and I don’t like being told what to do.

“SOD OFF!”

This post isn’t about me feeling sorry for myself, but rather a letter of complaint to all those who tell me to embrace my plus size/post baby body. SOD OFF! I’m fat. I’m over weight. I’m obese. The sooner I embrace that fact the better! My body is unhealthy and I have not treated it like a temple. Sure, my body is still in recovery from pregnancy and child birth but I wont be able to use that excuse forever. What I really need to do is accept that I am currently living an unhealthy lifestyle. The wrong food, the lack of exercise and society’s unhealthy obsession with promoting the acceptance of ‘plus size’ bodies is not helping any of us. Nor is the current obsession with unhealthily thin people. Size 4 (UK sizing) is not an acceptable size! I’m not shaming anyone here. If you are happy with your body then that’s great for you, it really is. I’m not here to lecture you about how unhealthy it is to be overweight or underweight, I’m sure enough people already feel its their business to tell you this. If we continue to promote obesity, then we are promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. I get that not all ‘fat’ people are unhealthy in lifestyle as they enjoy things like Yoga which is great for relieving the aches and pains that the extra weight puts on our bodies. It is not, however, okay to be obese (again, not shaming anyone here!). A healthy size 10, 12 maybe even a 14 (UK sizes) is where we should aim. We should not be dieting but seeking a healthy lifestyle of a balanced diet, balanced meaning that its okay to have a bit of the naughty stuff now and then so long as you are good 95% of the time. We must include regular exercise. Walking, jogging, running, swimming, yoga, team sports, sex! Its all enough to get your heart racing and thus burn some extra calories. I frustrate myself here, I know all of this yet I struggle to motivate myself to do anything about it. I had my breakfast this morning but I ate far too much. There were two cereals that didn’t quite have enough for one bowl so I finished both boxes off. That is not healthy and I know it!

The closer I get to the next stone up, the more I fear my weight will spiral out of control and guess what, it’s all my own fault. So here I am, not asking for acceptance as a plus size gal, not asking to be fat shamed either (I do that to myself enough thanks) but really just having a moan, because I am fat and I hate myself for letting it get this bad and feeling like I can’t be bothered to make the necessary changes. I need to remember that I have a little girl to live for now. I don’t want to be out of breathe just carrying her up the stairs. I want to be around for a long time, I want to see her grand children if she chooses to have some so change must happen. It is not a case of if but when. It is not healthy for my body or my mind to stay this way.

To my dearest Zosia, if you ever read this I want you to know that this is not about me hating my journey to motherhood. I loved every second of being pregnant. I loved every painful moment of child birth (I’m mad I know but it brought you to me!) I have loved and will continue to love every moment being your mother. There are days where I don’t like the way I look, and that is okay. I hope that you have your fathers metabolism so that you never know what it feels like to hate your body. We will tell you every day, just how beautiful you are, inside and out.

To my husband, who tells me I am beautiful every single day, I am so grateful for your kind words, for putting up with the self-loathing that happens nearly every day. Thank you for loving me the way I am but I hope you understand that, yes I am attacking myself, but I do it because you wont. I love the fact that you think I am beautiful, please never stop telling me this. I just need to be real with myself. My weight is unhealthy and if I am going to be the best mother and wife that I can be, then it is about time I stop hating myself and bloody well get on and do something about it instead of feeling sorry for myself.

Change WILL come!

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Change Quote. Copyright Monsterful Mama

Thanks for listening.  If you have experienced anything like this please let me know that I am not alone by leaving a comment below.

Monsterful Mama

My Liebster Award

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THE RULES FOR THIS AWARD

Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you.

Answer the questions from the blogger who nominated you.

Nominate some blogs.

Give them some questions to answer.

Thanks to Vanessa Jones for my first nomination. https://nudesky.wixsite.com/vanessa

Answering Vanessa’s questions

  1. Describe how did you first get into blogging?

    I’ve always kept diaries and journals and even a few old on-line journal things so creating a blog was the next step I guess.  I also needed something to stop my mind from turning to mush whilst on maternity leave.

  2. What would be your ideal working environment?

    Either on my own in a well lit space (hate working in darkness) or at a huge table with like minded people, preferable with a bottomless mug of coffee.

  3. How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?

    I would like to get back to losing weight ideally.  Otherwise it’s to continue with my personal growth much the same as I have done so far this year.  To keep creating and being mindful, and enjoying motherhood.

  4. What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from that?

    I always used to be a quitter, I never had the faith in myself so I would give up at the first sign of trouble.  Now I try my hardest to not let one bump in the road stop me.  As a mother you soon realise that there is no quitting, you cannot give up because your baby needs you 24/7.

  5. What is your greatest achievement outside of blogging?

    Well, I have to say my daughter and my relationship with her daddy. Those two are my world and to have maintained such an empowering relationship with my husband is definitely one of my biggest achievements. From a career point of view, sticking with university and becoming a teacher. Despite wanting to give up several times throughout training, I kept on going.

  6. Who takes the majority of your photos?

    Me, my degree is in photography but that doesn’t mean I am any good at taking photos!  I mostly use my phone too.

  7. How would you describe your personal style and is there a person who is a fashion inspiration to you?

    My personal style ranges from scummy mummy to Wednesday Addams. Black and baggy can hide a flabby tummy and large arse! I don’t keep up with fashion for many reasons.

  8. Which movie or book do you think is ridiculously overrated?

    Um, I’d have to say Star Wars (runs and takes cover). I know that’s not going to be a popular opinion amongst some of my followers but I managed to avoid the Star Wars series my whole life, until I met my husband who then subsequently made me

    watch the whole lot, in chronological order no less. Now, I wont go so far as to say they are terrible films, they’re watchable over a half term holiday kinda film but I just don’t get why they are so cult like!!

  9. Who would you most like to sit next to on a 10 hour flight and why?

    Can I get away with saying my husband again? If not him then well, an empty seat please. I’m not big on small talk and I spend most of the flight with my nose pressed against the tiny window so I wouldn’t be much company myself.

  10. What are two things you think you should know how to do but don’t?

    Um, put up a shelf properly and apply CSS to my blog without asking my husband.

  11. What makes you say “What was I thinking?” when you look back on your life?

    HA! Most of my ex boyfriends! Or how much I wasted most of my 20’s being drunk and skint.

My Nominees

Now, I chose these bloggers specifically because they have something in common with me. Be it parenting, gaming, reading, geekiness or creativity.

  1. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6CKxtJndQUGhXAx4nXCueQ

    Mommy Diaries, Space Writer, Graduate Space & Mechanical Engineer.

  2. http://whyamistillliving.com/

    Stephanie is a mum, a wife, and blogs about her battle with mental illness.

  3. http://www.klacole.com/about.html

    KLaCole is a 20 something book and travel blogger.

  4. https://sosisafe.com/

    Mel is mum to Sosi, sharing recipes and advice for children with allergies.

  5. http://www.thatssopresh.com/p/about-me_13.html

    Cherie is a Mumpreneur with a pretty blog!

  6. https://thisblendedhomeofmine.wordpress.com/

    Melissa runs her parenting blog for blended families.

  7. http://ipukekawaii.com/

    Imani is a super Kawaii artist.

  8. https://itsnotallcute.wordpress.com/

    Hayleigh is a mum, lover of books, crafts, Disney, music, all things considered as ‘geeky‘ and gin.

My questions for you:

  1. How did you come up with your blog name?

  2. What websites do you use most often?

  3. What are you most afraid of?

  4. What quirks do you have?

  5. Which Friends character do you relate to most?

  6. List 3 things you need more of.

  7. What Job do you think you’d be really good at and why?

  8. Who is your favourite blogger/vlogger?

  9. What are you most looking forward to in the next ten years?

  10. How do you add value to the world and those around you?

  11. Finish this sentence. I am the best version of me when …

Thanks for being apart of this! I look forward to reading your replies so don’t forget to tag me in them so I can read your answers!.

Monsterful Mama.

Husband, Father, Hero.

Not everyone is lucky enough to find their Mr Darcy.  Some of us have to get through many trolls before we do.  Now, I’m no Bridget Jones or Elizabeth Bennett but I sure do love my Mr Darcy. So much so, that I married him and had his baby.  Don’t worry, I’ll try not to get too smushy, I promise!

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Wedding Day. Copyright of Chloe Lee Photography and Monsterful Mama

If you’re reading this and know us personally, you will know what a great team we make.  I often use the analogy that I am the balloon and my husband is the weight.  Sometimes I need grounding, I am flighty and I day dream a lot.  My head is often in the clouds where as my hubby is practical and logical.  There are times where he needs my flightiness to help him let go of the control panel! This is why we work so well. We have many differences but also many similarities.  He is tall and slim, I am short and fat.  He is gorgeous, I am not so much.  He doesn’t like to read unless it’s subtitles to anime where as I would have my nose in a book all day long if I had the time.  We both love video games but where he loves games like Dark Souls, Final Fantasy, Blood Born and Nioh among many more, I prefer not to be terrified by grizzly monsters and play games such as, Skyrim, The Sims, Terraria and Life is Strange (other games are available to play!) where the monsters are less scary and more cuddly.  I need to leave the house every few days; he can go weeks without seeing the sunshine or breathing fresh air.  I take my time when doing the food shop, perusing every aisle; he is a grab and go kinda guy.  I could go on and on but you get the picture!

He is a wonderful husband, so supportive in all I do.  I have grown so much as a person since I met him.  I’ve put myself through university, teacher training, NQT year and beyond all of which was done with him by my side.  He is my best friend.  Through all of the laminating, marking, planning, summer fates, the snooty parents and days where you just want to flip the table over and run out screaming F**K YOU ALL, he was there.  And here he remains, through all the dirty nappies, the tears and tantrums (both from Zosia and I), through every inch of my self-loathing he has been there preventing my self-destruction.  He is an amazing father to our beautiful girl.  Sometimes I just sit and watch him interacting with her and my heart melts.  It even makes me shed a tear of happiness now and then.  To see a man being such a brilliant father makes you realise you’ve got yourself a keeper.

Don’t get me wrong, he has his flaws.  He winds me up so much I could scream.  He over-analyses everything.  He hogs the beds.  He doesn’t hang things up properly on the clothes horse so they go smelly and need rewashing.  He leaves his socks lying all over the place but he is still my perfect husband, my best friend and a wonderful father.  I would be lost without him.  My life would be empty without him; I wouldn’t have to do as much washing though, that’s for sure!  I know for certain that Zosia will idolise him as she grows up.  He will be the hero, the knight in shining armour that every little girl needs growing up and I cannot wait to be a part of it all.

Here’s to all the wonderful husbands, brilliant fathers and Mr. Darcy’s out there supporting their partners.  We are grateful, even if we don’t always express it very well.

Thanks for reading guys.
Peace and Love,

Monsterful Mama