How to be a more relaxed parent…

How to be a more relaxed parent…

If you’re after ways to help be a more calm, relaxed and chilled parent, you’re in the right place. The school holidays have prompted me to have to find my inner Zen to be able to get through the bickering, arguing, fighting, and loudness of my three kiddos.

kids bridge

So I’ve asked my tribe of mums what helps them, and here are some popular suggestions to help you be a more calm and relaxed Mumma or Daddy. Enjoy!

  1. Take time out for yourself
    This is a universally agreed way to help you relax. Being a parent is stressful even when it’s not and the constant putting someone else’s needs before your own can increase your stress levels. Some regular time out for yourself, even if it’s just a 20 minute bath or read a book for an hour in silence, can help you feel recharged and connected back to yourself. If you can have time outside your home to yourself too, then great, but if not then grab those important quiet times where you can. Housework will still be there after your time out but you’ll feel better for it.
  2. A wise woman told me not to intervene in sibling fights unless there’s blood or broken limbs/items
    I VERY much need to implement this, as my older 2 argue a lot at the moment. I don’t blame them, they are 15 months apart in age and have been together pretty much non-stop for the 6 weeks they’ve been off school. They’ve had I think a total of 2 days in the 6 weeks away from each other. I always end up getting sucked into trying to help them deal with their arguments but from now on, my policy is for them to sort it themselves. BOOM! Also I need to remember I am here to help them figure out a solution, not give them a solution.
  3. Stop comparing!
    Social media lives aren’t real and a snapshot of your friend’s lives don’t always tell the full story. Do not compare, everyone’s different and your life is yours and yours alone. Motherhood and childhood is not a race or competition.
  4. Don’t try to fix what isn’t broken! 
    With my first baby I remember being so caught up in what I was supposed to be doing. He co-slept unintentionally and I spent many months trying to get him to settle in his cot. Looking back I wish I’d just gone with it and thought – it works for us so why change it?! Instead I remember thinking everyone else’s baby is asleep in their cot so mine should be too! If it works for you – go with it! I’m glad that in the last 8 years things are changing and there is more out there to help support parents in whatever choices they make.
  5. Fresh Air! 
    One of the most underrated ways to relax for me is to just GET OUT. Go for a walk with the kids, I personally love the beach, it makes me feel so happy inside. Also country parks, and anywhere that you can breathe in a big lungful of fresh air and clear your head. Also the kids can run riot and burn some energy. Win/win.
  6. Tell people that you’re meeting up with that you’ll be late.
    I’ve just implemented this in life. I’m always late, someone is always needing the loo, time flies, and it’s just life with 3 kids. I’m not stressing about it. I’ll get there (In the end!) Tell your friends and family that you WILL be late. Or, tell them to tell you a time half an hour earlier than the actual meeting time! ūüôā
  7. Mum friends
    It’s important to have others that you can talk to who are going through the same things you are at the same time – it makes you feel less alone and reassured that your crazy days are happening to others too! Reach out to other mums and dads, even if it’s a chat in the park or a parenting forum online.
  8. Pick your battles
    You can’t win every battle, and you don’t need to make everything a battle. Kids are unreasonable and fickle and changeable and sometimes you gotta let it wash over you. I struggle with this!
  9. Running (or any exercise!)
    Similar to fresh air – exercise increases the endorphin flow to your brain and helps with your mental health. Anything that gets your heart rate up and makes you feel good is a winner!
  10. Lower your expectations
    Life with children is crazy, messy, loud, hard, frustrating, rewarding, emotional, draining, tiring. Expect it to be like this and you won’t feel so frustrated! But it’s also fun, wonderful, loving, exciting, fulfilling and downright amazing. Embrace the crazy, because before you know it you will long for those crazy days again. I already miss my older 2 being babies but I remember when I was living in that time, and the mayhem of them being 15 months apart, it felt HARD. I’d give anything to go back now, it was so amazing!
  11. Breathe and evaluate before reacting / interacting
    It’s so easy to react to something on a whim and afterwards think that you over reacted or handled it wrongly. I am the QUEEN of this. But if you can remember to just take a few seconds to really think and breathe before reacting, it can completely change a situation for the better. I read once that if you’re feeling like you are losing your patience, say to yourself “THIS IS NOT AN EMERGENCY” or similar “NO NEED TO PANIC” to just remind yourself to take a breather.
  12. You control your own actions
    Similarly, for those mums who feel like they lose their temper quickly, remember that you cannot change or control your child’s actions – but you CAN control and change your own reaction to it. Your reaction is what’s important, not the child’s actions.

Now I know if I can implement some of these my own life would be much less stressful and I’d be a better mum for it. But it’s easier said than done!

And if the above fails, some mumma’s have also said….

1. Wine! Gin! Alcohol
Highly rated in the list of ways to relax is alcohol! I think many parents find it helps to relax after a long day. Personally I’m more of a cup of tea kinda girl but whatever helps you relax, wine, chocolate, tea!

2. iPads/Tablets
Everyone has differing views on tablet/gadgets, but many parents agree that they have their uses. Long car journeys, to solve TV disagreements, YouTube (Obvs) plane rides, and general need for some quiet! Also you can download so many learning apps that they can be so useful at times, and help educate your kids too!

3.  Get a full time job!
The less time spent with your kid the less stressful life is right? RIGHT?
WRONG! I used to be a working mum and actually you cannot win. Working mums have guilt for being away from their kids, they have massive commitments to work and have the added stresses of work deadlines, commutes, being switched on at work when they may have had little sleep etc! There are massive pros and cons to being a mum who doesn’t work outside the home or one who does, and actually, both are hard, and sometimes a parent doesn’t have a choice in the matter, but one of the other might be the ONLY option for them.

Found this helpful? Please do share this post with your friends, and tell me what tips/tricks help YOU to relax/be more calm….

 

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CHRISTMAS REALITY WITH KIDS!

CHRISTMAS REALITY WITH KIDS!

So, it’s allllmost December. Up til now you would have been in one of 2 camps:

Camp 1: It’s not Christmas yet. Calm the f*ck down.
Camp 2: It’s the season to be jolly, ding a ling a long long, *vomits tinsel*

Anyway, even those in Camp 1 cannot deny that December is almost upon us and therefore it is ALMOST BLOODY CHRISTMAS YOU ABSOLUTE GRINCH!

For parents, Christmas is joyous, it’s the time of year when you get to see your darling children’s¬†little faces light up at the magic and wonder. You get to feel the anticipation of the day and all the excitement over again from when you was a child yourself.

Sometimes, the reality of Christmas isn’t quite what we imagine when we plan it out in our heads. Especially when involving Toddlers. Please see list below. I write this to prepare you for the reality. You are not alone!

christmas

Expectation: Excited Christmas countdown
Reality: Hearing “How many more sleeps til Christmas?” every day for what seems like 87 days

Expectation: Old school advent calendar
Reality: Nowadays its Elf on the Fricking Shelf. Exciting for first few days, annoying after that. Especially when you forget to move the Elf and have to get out of bed to do it.

Expectation: Christmas wish list wrote by child
Reality: Christmas list wrote by child amounting to over ¬£5,000 worth of gadgets. Erm, what happened to wanting a hula hoop and a board game? ¬†Having to prepare child that Santa can’t get you a Playstation 4 for every single room in the house, sorry about that dear.

Expectation: Watching your child in the Christmas play at school. How magical.
Reality: Watching the top of your child’s forehead in the school play because they’re at the back and you can’t see their face because TALL STAN in the other class is in front of them.

Expectation: Yummy food to be shared by family – boxes of Christmas choccies, drinks, nibbles…. joy
Reality: Toddler doesn’t care if it’s Christmas and WILL eat all the celebrations before you get to even smell them. Lucky if any Christmas treats make it to mid-December.

Expectation: Buying all your gifts in the January Sales or throughout the year thus being very prepared for this yearly festive period.
Reality: Did I mention panic buying? Buying crap that they don’t need just for stuff to open, of course your child needs more marbles for their stocking!!!!!!!!!!!! BUY BUY BUY

Expectation: Buying perhaps a Festive Jumper for the kids to wear on the day
Reality: Child needs a costume for the school play, a jumper for jumper day, to wear red green, and a special shade of brown on another day, money for the Christmas party, snacks, and a heap of other crap that you could do without

Expectation: Happy days visiting friends and relatives
Reality: Tired kids, enduring Uncle Ian telling you a story that you’ve heard 34 times already, downing alcohol to make it all bearable

Expectation: SNOW… children frolicking and squealing in delight at the white wonder before them on Christmas day
Reality: Cold, soggy if you’re lucky. They want to go and play on their new bike/scooter/skates in the pissing rain. Beautiful!

Expectation: Buying gifts for loved ones and wrapping them with care
Reality: Panic buying in mass and wrapping in haste when you realise it’s the day before Christmas Eve and you still haven’t got your shit together!

Expectation: Taking kids to visit Santa in his grotto. A nice picture as a keepsake.
Reality: Standing in a queue for 158 minutes to see a man who doesn’t even resemble Santa… Kids are scared shitless and cry. Picture is laughable.

Expectation: A beautiful Christmas Tree and house decorated beautifully to fill you all with the season of goodwill
Reality: A tree that looks like a child decorated it BECAUSE THEY BLOODY DID and decorations that are all REALLY high up otherwise the Toddler eats them. Tree ends up on side quite a lot and you wonder if maybe it looks better that way?

Expectation: Waking the kids at 8am on the big day because you’re so excited and want to see them opening their presents already!
Reality: Kids wake you at 3:06am and you wonder how you’ll make it through the day

Expectation: Kids playing with new toys all day, happy, laughing and full of wonder and joy
Reality: Kids are over tired, excited, full of sugar, and ungrateful. Especially Toddlers.

Expectation: A fantastic dinner
Reality: Squeezed around a table, hard to eat without hitting people with your elbows. Kids would rather have a Happy Meal

Expectation: Children have lovely new toys / gifts
Reality: Where on God’s Green Earth am I going to put all this stuff????????

So from me to you on this chilly November day. Merry Christmas parents. Hang on in there ūüôā x x

 

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Mother knows best… doesn’t she?

Mother knows best… doesn’t she?

When you have a baby, usually it’s because you are in love with someone and want to produce little mini humans to share your life, hopes, dreams and family with. Sometimes you find yourself pregnant by surprise, and you aren’t sure you want¬†a baby, but you decide to go ahead with the pregnancy and have a baby. Some people try for years to get their bundle of love in their arms, experiencing heartache, loss and many tears. Some fall pregnant easily. Some people adopt. Some have a baby via surrogate. Whatever your situation, however you found yourself here – you¬†now have a new role that you’ve never had any training in (even if you think you have!), being a ‘mum’ means all of a sudden you are the whole world to a tiny person, who needs you, every inch of you. Being a mum isn’t a job you can quit from, you can’t call in sick, and lunch breaks are few and far between.


Babies are hard work, we all know this. They need feeding, comfort, love, changing, cleaning and constant care. When you have a baby you think this stage lasts forever, it feels like sleepless nights and nappies never end. Oh the crying! You are trapped in a cycle that means you put someone else’s needs before your own. You’re exhausted.¬†It’s gotta get easier right? WRONG!
Then your baby grows, becomes a toddler (see here for my views on them at the moment:My Toddler is an asshole!) and the hard work continues, just in a different way. The toddler grows again, into¬†a child, and all of a sudden, there’s a LOT of questions. The child questions you about the big wide world, how did we get here, why does this and that happen, and¬†you start to realise¬†you might not actually¬†have all the answers. You in turn question yourself. Why don’t I know the answer to this? Should I? Where’s the mum manual? I don’t know all the answers! Help! Am I cut out for this?

 

There’s so much pressure to do things one way or the other. Are you a gentle parent? A routine based parent? Strict? ¬†Rewards/naughty step? Attached, comfort, love, no punishments? Breastfeeding/bottle feeding? Weaning early/BLW? Is your child allowed screen time?¬†Are you an outdoorsy mum? A craft mum? Football mum?¬†How are you going to shape this child into being a decent, loving, happy, rounded, emotionally stable human being…. when you’re not even sure that’s what YOU are at the moment?

 

Well the point of this post¬†(I’m getting there slowly!) is that yes you are the mum and you do know best for your own child. Trust your instincts. Of course ask for advice if you need it (we all need it!), but you are the BEST person to care for your child because no-one else loves your child like you do. No-one else has their interests at the forefront of their priorities like you do. ¬†You are absolutely the best mum for your child/ren. You know best. Doubting yourself is part and parcel with being a mum. That mummy guilt that niggles at the back of your mind with every decision you make is only there because you care. Do your research, ask people but ultimately YOU know what to do. Even if you think you don’t!

 

Also, with this in mind, and on the flip side. You are allowed to not have all the answers. You are the mum but you are not the information central of the world. You may have to sneakily Google stuff, we all do (thank you Google!) How did my mum survive without Google? But it’s OK for you to not know everything. I’ve found my Big Boy¬†doing stuff in first year Junior school that I didn’t do til Secondary. I can’t remember some of this stuff! But that’s okay. *

 

So this is sort of a shoutout to mums (and dads of course, but I’m a mum!) everywhere. You are amazing, you are exactly what your child needs and you are the best parent for your children. If you have the awful guilt or the constant worry about things then it just means you care and you want the best for them. Don’t beat yourself up for the little things, no parent is perfect. Even the ones that seem to be. Just be yourself, try to do your best every day. Some days you’ll shout, cry or want to run away. That’s okay, everyone feels this way at some time. Some more than others, but everyone is different, no two children or families are the same.

 

Trust yourself, give yourself the credit you deserve, and try to keep a positive attitude. Motherhood will be the hardest thing you ever have to do. But it also will be the best thing.

 

Please share this post with a mum who you think needs to hear those magic words:

 YOU ARE A FANTASTIC MUM!!!!

Disclaimer – I need to remember all of the above myself, as I am the worst for¬†thinking I suck at this job. But today I’m giving myself a pat on the back. I am a mum and I am the best mum to my three demons darlings.

*Please note I have no idea on the trials that come with having teenage or older children – my biggest is 7 and this is hard enough! Here’s a nod to the mums of teenagers, you did it this long! Keep going! xx
Friday Nights, mum style!

Friday Nights, mum style!

It’s the weekend! Friday night… oh this used to be my favourite night of the week. Before children, of course. ¬†When I used to go out and socialise and spend the weekend throwing as much alcohol down my neck as I could and laying in bed. Not at the same time…Obvs.

Now it’s the night I realise I have no school to bring light relief for TWO WHOLE DAYS….¬†and two whole days of trying to¬†entertain them and remain sane. ¬†But it’s also the end of half term so right now we’re in the middle of a whole lotta entertaining them.

As¬†I type right now, I sit in bed with The Toddler whilst he drinks his milk (in a bottle… no f*cks given!) and watch The Gruffalo. I do this every night now. It’s his new favourite thing to do. He screams “WATCH SNAKE!” at me around 30 times a day. ¬†He doesn’t speak too well so he actually says “WAH NAKE!” but I know what he means.

It’s quite nice actually. Coz The Gruffalo goes on for hours (or like, 25 minutes) so it gives me some time to snooze/gaze at my phone or generally be in darkness and quietness. Sometimes the big kids join me, sometimes they don’t. But everyone’s quiet whilst we watch the bloody mouse walking through the woods again.

Anyway, I hope your Friday night is as cool as mine. Here’s some interesting things I’ll be doing:

1. Clearing up food off the floor, muttering swear words to myself about why I’m the only f*cker who clears up around here.

2. Finding socks stuffed down the side of the sofa/behind the curtains/under the rug/anywhere The Big Boy thinks I won’t see them. He has a sock aversion. Takes them off and hides them.

3. Wondering how it’s already the end of the half term week and all that washing I was going to catch up on hasn’t yet been done. Poop.

4. Refereeing an argument between the Big Two kids over some inane subject like who smiled at who in a funny way or who was the last one to feed the fish.

5. Putting everyone to bed more than once and threatening something I probably won’t follow through with,¬†like no iPad for 2 years…..

I’ll also have a nice hot cuppa and hopefully watch some educational TV like TOWIE or Eastenders. Rock n Roll!

Have a lovely evening anyone who reads this. Remember when the kids are older we’ll all be doing vodka shots in the eyeball again.

Family Film Night… expectation vs reality!

Family Film Night… expectation vs reality!

Family Film Night… expectation vs reality!¬†

How should Family Film Night go down?

1. Children agree on a wonderful film to watch together “This film looks great, let’s watch this one!” ¬†“Yay!”

2. Parents and children prepare comfy area of blankets and pillows to rest upon whist watching said film

3. Wholesome snacks and drinks are provided to lovingly share and consume during film “Mum, this fruit medley is delicious, please may I have some more?”

4. Family relaxes upon comfy area, gazing at television, enjoying each other’s company and a good film. Happy and contented sighs all round.

5. Toddler falls asleep in loving arms of siblings/parents.

How DOES a Family Film Night go down?

1. Children argue over what film to watch “you picked last time!” “I hate that film its babyish!!!!” “I hate you!”

2. Children argue over where to sit during film “I want to sit next to dad, he loves me more!” “You always sit there!” “He’s touching my foot!” etc…

3. Kids want to eat every chocolate/biscuit/sugary snack in the house. Noisily. Whilst rustling the packet for an hour before opening the wrapper. Toddler runs around screaming.

4. Toddler thrashes about, kicks mum in the face, gets up and down to play a thousand times. Children bicker during the film over who ate who’s KitKat and who isn’t sharing their pillow and who likes this film the most. Mum huffs and wonders who thought Family Film Night would be a good idea. Isn’t it past their bedtime???? ¬†Children pick this time to ask mum and dad important questions like “what happens when we die?” and “why are you so old?”

5. No-one watches the film. Everyone is in a bad mood. Film lasts 4 hours. Or it seems that way. Mum wishes she had put the little angels to bed at their normal time and watched Sex and the City on her own!

Is is just my kiddos that do this? I’d love to know if normal families can sit and watch a film together in peace! ūüôā¬†