Being a Touched Out Mum


I wish I was one of those mums who can deal with spending every minute of every day with my child. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE spending time with Freddie when he’s not being an arse. But I can safely say that by the end of my weekend off work i am ready to run away with nothing but clothes on my back shouting ‘freedom!!!!!’

Sometimes I don’t even know how I managed before I worked when I never spent any time away from freddie. I thought I would be a bad mum if I left him with granny and pops for a few hours. But looking back now I can see that I didn’t cope very well at all and I am a much better mum now that I’ve started listening to my feelings the same way I listen to freddies.

I was always angry, teary and touched out and I would get frustrated with him so easily.  If I ever have another kid I know not to make that mistake. Fuck you society and all your standards of what being a good mum is. You know what, if I need to have a night off once in a.while in order to charge my batteries and be a better mum then that’s what I shall do and you can go fuck yourself if you don’t like it. 

The truth is; adults, kids and babies are all different. We as a society need to stop expecting all mums to fit into this one size fits all because it’s never gonna happen! 

Just because fanny Anne down the road spends every minute of every day with her 6 children and hasnt had a mental breakdown yet doesnt mean im a bad mum for losing my rag and needing time out. Because there are other times I’m splashing in muddy puddles with him, blowing bubbles, giving him kisses, making him healthy organic food for tea (after having McDonald’s for lunch ofcourse) and he knows I love him. He knows this because I tell him a million times a day, he knows this because I work my ass off for him and he knows this because I’m the only parent he’s got who hasn’t given up on him.

We give kids the opportunity of spending time away from the family home with their friends for sleepovers or even just playing in their bedroom on their own so why don’t we give ourself that opportunity without beating ourselves up? (I don’t mean playing in your bedroom by yourself… unless that’s what you want ofcourse!)

I take my hat off to the mums who don’t need time out to themselves. You are amazing and I don’t know how you do it. But I also take my hat off to the mums who admit they’re not perfect and they need time out every now and again. 

And before I get some negative Nancy comment on this; I’m not justifying leaving your newborn baby who has barely left your vag so you can go and get pissed up down your local pub. I 100% advocate spending as much time in the 4th trimester with your baby as possible as it’s such a crucial time to bond. I 100% advocate spending as much time with your kid no matter what age as possible but sometimes it is not possible when you are going to throw them head first out your fucking window. 

To all the touched out mums out there, do whatever you need to do to be the best mum you can be to your kids. They will thank you for it. 

There’s No Such Thing As ‘Tough Love’

Heather Wolf — ‘There is no such thing as tough love. Love is kind, love is compassionate, love is tender.”

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When it comes to babies, there is no such thing as ‘tough love’.

The closest thing to ‘tough love‘ I can think of is taking control of all finances whilst your partner who is a gambling addict gets help with his addiction.

When babies are in the mix there is either responding to your babies cues or there isn’t. I hate the phrase ‘tough love’ when referring to babies as if ignoring a babies cries is in their best interest?!

Babies have no idea how to manipulate their parents, as clever as babies are they aren’t THAT clever. Sometimes they cry for attention, and that’s okay. Needing attention is as much of a legitimate need as needing a drink.

And there is TONS of research proving that ignoring your children’s cries CAN be detrimental to their health. I don’t want to hear that you left your darling Peter to cry and he turned out fine. My grandad smoked 30 cigarettes a day for most of his life and he lived until 88. Doesn’t take away the fact that thousands of people die from smoking every single day.

Older children however, I have no idea as I haven’t reached that milestone yet, but if you ever hear me say that I’m leaving my 5 year old to cry himself to sleep then I give you permission to drop-kick me in the face.

‘But the more you respond to them the more they will cry for attention’ I hear you say. Well yeah. Obviously. Is it really such an awful thing that a baby trusts their parents to answer their cries? If you ignore your babies cries then they will eventually stop crying. It doesn’t mean they no longer need cuddling or attention, it just means they know there’s no point in crying as no one is going to come.

So yes, the cry-it-out method does work, I 100% agree with you on that, it doesn’t mean its ethical, loving or right though.

Before you get your knickers in a twist, I wholeheartedly believe that there is a massive difference between chucking your baby in a cot at 7pm and ignoring them all night because YOU think they should be asleep and putting your baby in a safe place for 2 minutes whilst you calm down, cry, get your shit together or call someone over to help you on a bad day.

Humans crave attention, we all like to feel loved and wanted. When we are babies, toddlers, children and adults. It’s normal.

 

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Our Gentle Bed Time Routine

A Gentle Bed Time Routine.pngFor most of us gentle parenting folk, the word ‘routine’ is a scary, scary word.

The word routine has such a bad rep now thanks to the likes of Gina Fraud, *vom* and Super Nanny *vom*, oh and I must not forget Tizzy Hall *vom*.

Their idea of routine is chuck your baby in their cot as soon as it his 7pm and then don’t communicate with them again until morning time. I didn’t realise parenting was only part time hours, some how I’ve ended up with full time parenting hours. Ah well.

Anyway, those of you who know me will know that we have been struggling with Freddie’s sleep for about 5 months now. It wasn’t really the sleep itself that was the issue. He would wake up literally every hour and I didn’t really have an issue with that as I know that for a lot of babies that is completely normal and healthy, it was the fact that during the day he was a complete wreck as he was so tired and grumpy. Oh, and because he was so over tired all the time he also stopped having day time naps so he was only getting around 9-10 hours of sleep in 24 hours. For some babies this is more than enough, but for Freddie this was clearly too little due to how grumpy he was.

I could not for the life of me work out what was wrong, at first I put it down to a leap or growth spurt but after 2 months I started to realise that it probably wasn’t that.

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know that I LOVE Sarah Ockwell-Smith. She is an author, gentle parenting expert and attachment parent advocate. I absolutely love her and think she’s the bees knees. She has a very gentle, responsive and child-led approach to parenting and she inspires me A LOT.

So when I was scrolling down my dashboard on WordPress I was quite shocked when I came across her latest Vlog. I’m not gonna lie, the title made me wince but I watched the video anyway as I am always interested in what Sarah says.

‘The Importance Of Bed Time Routines For Babies & Toddlers.’

 

 

If you don’t have time to watch the video or you simply CBA; she basically highlights the importance of the lead-up to the child’s or baby’s bed time. She mentions that the time itself is not that important. A general idea is a good thing so anywhere between 7pm-9pm for example but there is no point attempting to put a baby or child to bed when they are not tired and some days will be different to others if you are going out etc.

Unlike many ‘experts’ *ahem BULLSHIT* *ahem GINA FRAUD*, she says that rocking your baby to sleep or feeding your baby to sleep etc is NOT an issue. Body contact promotes bonding and security and there is NOTHING wrong with meeting your child’s emotional needs because us adults are equally emotionally needy and many of us will cuddle our partners to sleep (if you don’t have a baby in between you both).

Sarah reccomends starting with a wind-down routine after tea. Turn off the TV and limit electronics. Play with some toys or do some painting or crafts and listen to some music. After a while of winding down you can start the bed-time routine. The thing I like about Sarah’s example of a bed time routine is that there are no strict times or schedules. It IS baby led.

Gather everything you will need into the bedroom that they will fall asleep in. So a clean nappy, pyjamas, body lotion/oil and a few bed time stories.

Take the baby into the bathroom and get them into a nice warm bath. After a few days of doing this routine they will begin to connect bath time to the beginning of their bed time and will help them wind down.

Once bathed, take them into the bedroom and make sure the lights are dim and the curtains are closed in preparation for this. Sarah recommends giving the baby or toddler a gentle massage with lotion or oil. By ‘massage’ she doesn’t mean that the baby or toddler has to stay still because from 6 months onwards your baby will probably be moving around more! This massage is more about the skin to skin contact and meeting your child’s physical needs and if your baby/child has this skin to skin contact now they will be less likely to keep waking for physical contact and reassurance (although it’s completely normal for babies to wake up for this anyway!!).

Once baby/toddler is massaged and in pyjamas you can settle down and start to read them the book in a soft and gentle voice and of course, you can breastfeed or cuddle whilst reading to them.

This is pretty much all there is to the routine and I love how gentle and baby led it is.

After watching this video, I realised what the issue was with Freddie’s sleep and well being.

We would go straight from being a hustley-bustley bright, loud front room and taken into bed and boobed to sleep all in the space of minutes. Obviously I wasn’t allowing him time to wind down so he wasn’t getting a good quality of sleep.

Obviously every baby is different, some babies thrive off gentle and baby led routines whereas some don’t need it and can wind down by themselves.

Sarah also highlights in the video that even as adults we have some sort of winding down and bed time routine. And thinking about it, it’s certainly true in mine and my partners case.

It’s been over a week since introducing a gentle winding down and bed time routine and I must say we have noticed a massive difference already and it’s also reallllly helped with getting him to sleep without me there. I’ve recently started doing evening shifts and the first time I had my evening shift was a complete nightmare and ended in tears and a total breakdown from my partner! However, on day 4 of using this approach Simon got him to sleep in the Tula after following his winding down routine and he slept until I came home!

I think it’s important to know the difference between a schedule and a routine. A schedule is a very strict sequence of events at particular times. A routine is a sequence of events in a certain order at any given time and can also be switched and changed.

I’m feeling so much more positive now about leaving Freddie to go to work in the evenings and also about the fact that he is a lot happier during the day and also naps easier. It’s only been a week or so but we are starting to see a massive difference and there has been absolutely no tears or anything traumatic for either of us!

 

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In The Grand Scheme Of Things, Does It Really Matter?

'The word discipline comes from the word disciple. Disciples lead by example. What example do you teach a child by hitting them-.pngYou know what pisses me off? How so-called gentle parents who preach about the importance of being gentle to your children seem to be the ones always jumping on posts throwing insults and chucking in their 2 pence whenever possible.
I know no one can MAKE you feel anything but sometimes it doesn’t matter how positive and at peace you are with your parenting, people can still make you feel like absolute bollocks if you are clearly berating their parenting and I think most of the time that is their aim.

I’m not on about people giving you factual information and still feeling guilty or defensive over it.
I’m on about mums who think that just because THEY do things a certain way means that every other mum who don’t do those stupid things that don’t even really matter are wrong.

Like in the grand scheme of things does it really matter if you occasionally par your child off to their grandparents for a couple of hours so you can have some down time by yourself or with your partner? To me, it doesn’t matter. As long as your baby or child is HAPPY with this arrangement then who gives a shit? If it’s the difference between your mental health and flying off the handle because you’re so stressed and tired and THIS close to punching someone then I know what arrangement I’d be happier with!

In the grand scheme of things does it really matter that your child had chips and beans for tea for the 3rd night running? No it really doesn’t matter. If they usually have a balanced and varied diet then having beans and chips isn’t going to hurt them. Maybe you’re waiting to get paid so you can buy some moderately healthy food and in the mean time you’re trying to use whatever you can find in the freezer and cupboards. I know I’ve had plenty of those moments.
In the grand scheme of things does it really matter that you only use cloth nappies occasionally? To be honest, it probably does matter yes as disposable nappies aren’t ideal at all. But you know what? We tried cloth nappies and Freddie pissed through every single one of them and they made his bum go red. We were in no financial position to spend a big chunk of money outright to get a different brand of cloth nappies that may not even mix well with him so we’ve been using Aldi nappies ever since and I LOVE them.

Information is great, and informing other mums is brilliant too. But there is a way to inform mums without sounding like a massive dick head. No one is going to listen to you or take you seriously if you jump on someone who is giving their 4 week old breastfed baby a dummy and telling them that they’re going to ruin their breastfeeding relationship and that in a few months it will get easier and because you coped perfectly fine without giving your baby a dummy it means that every other fucker should too. To a new mum, a few months is a bloody long time and a mum should NOT have to struggle on for months at a time keeping her fingers crossed that things will get better just because Fanny Anne from the internet coped perfectly fine. She should be helped and supported and for some mums a dummy is the thing that stops her quitting breastfeeding.

This isn’t about justifying shitty parenting styles. Because lets be honest; some people make awful, selfish and ridiculous parenting choices. But for the most part, if mums are trying their best, if they are responsive to their babies and children’s physical and emotional needs, if they are mostly trying to do better than the day before, then isn’t THAT what matters? Not who feeds their baby tofu and grated carrots for tea every night.

I think everyone just needs to relax a little and CALM THE F*CK DOWN.

In order to educate about the importance of being gentle towards our children, We must be gentle towards other parents

 

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Thanks *Insert Family Member/Friend* But Your Advice Is Crap

Ever been given awful advice on how to care for your baby by a family member or friend?

Of course you have.

Bad advice from family and friends is sort of like a rite of passage into motherhood.

I can guarantee than you WILL get told that your breasts are not good enough to feed your child simply because darling little baby Peter has fed for the 3rd time in one hour. (AKA growth spurt)

Or you WILL get told that your little bundle of love is manipulating you because she dared to cry out for her mama as soon as you put her down.

And I can guarantee that you WILL want to punch this family member/friend in the face for being incredibly unhelpful. But I can also guarantee that actually punching them probably isn’t a good idea.

People always want to put their 2 pence in and they probably think that their advice is exactly what you need to hear or that because it worked well for them and their children seemingly ‘turned out fine’ that it WILL work for you.

( I don’t know about you but I want my child to turn out more than fine)

So thanks to the family member or friend who thinks they are trying to be helpful but are failing miserably. Instead of handing out unsolicited advice just offer a sympathetic smile and ask what you can do to help.

Source

 

 

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Attachment Parenting My Way

Attachment Parenting My Way

I’ve always had strong parenting views. Before I was pregnant I used to think smacking and leaving your child to cry was essential and I looked down at those ‘gentle parents’ and labelled them all as pushovers.

Now I am a mum myself, I am one of those ‘gentle parents’. I can’t imagine ever leaving my baby to cry or hurting him.

I think all parents have something that they hate. Whether that’s cry-it-out, smoking in front of children, leaving children of a young age to go out and party. Every parent ‘judges’ in one way or another, it’s how we make the choices we do to parent our own children. But there is a difference between disagreeing with someone and being a dick.

There are loads of labels these days for different parenting methods and I am guilty of using these labels. I label myself as an attachment parent and I try to be as gentle as I can, although some days I find it hard to not lose my shit.

Even though I class myself as an attachment parent I am fully aware that other attachment parents may have differing views to me; they may formula feed out of choice, they may have never used a pram in their life (we exclusively baby wore for the first 5 months, we still babywear now but I also LOVE my pram), they may never let their baby out of their site but they’re still attachment parents like me because they tend to their babies needs and they answer their babies cries every time they can, the same way I do.

Just be a real parent quote

 

No two parents are the same. That is a fact, no matter what type of parent you are, there will be someone else who does lots of things the same way you do but they also do lots of things differently.

I am an attachment parent, but I still look forward to Freddie’s bed time sometimes. After a long day of cluster feeding, full on melt downs, food being chucked all over the place, I look forward to having a couple of hours to sit down without being leapt on for booby.

I look forward to dates with my partner. Admittedly, our dates usually aren’t the typical 3 course dinner and cinema dates. They are a nice walk just the two of us, or a drive around the city, or a trip to the amusements to spend all of our lose change we have been collecting for the past month or so.

Just because I look forward to spending quality 1 on 1 time with my partner does not mean I am not an attachment parent. Our baby loves spending quality time with Granny and Pops and he hardly notices when we are away. If he had a full on melt down every time we left him and he was miserable whilst we were away then I wouldn’t leave him. But because he’s fine with being away from us for a couple of hours we make the most of it.

I have strong views in regards to breastfeeding and I feel that every baby deserves breast milk; that is what they are designed for after all. Saying that, I have plenty of friends who don’t breastfeed for various reasons. And you know what? We get on really well.

Recent research has shown that 80% of mothers in the UK start out breastfeeding but then stop relatively soon. Most of these women stop due to lack of support and they are failed by our system. They are given shocking advice from health care professionals and family members. I have learnt to throw my frustration towards them, not the mothers who were failed.

It’s okay to have differing views to someone. It’s okay to do things differently. I am strongly against cry it out and the next mother I pass down the street may feel strongly against leaving your child to go on a date with your partner. And that’s fine. But I have been told that I am ABANDONING my baby by leaving him with my parents every so often to have quality time with my partner.

Abandoning is a strong word. Abandoning refers to ceasing to support or look after someone; deserting. If you feel that I am deserting my child by having a date with my partner, who may I add LOVES spending time with his Granny and Pops, then so be it. But that is not only an insult to me and my child, but it’s also an insult and undermines all those babies and children who actually HAVE been abandoned.

It’s fine to have strong parenting views, just don’t be an arsehole about it. Be gentle, be kind and be patient. We are role models to our future generation. I don’t want my children to grow up and think that bullying another person because they do things differently is okay. Of course you can disagree with someone, but disagreeing is different to bullying and looking down on someone.

Haim Ginott Say Nice Things Quote

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I’m not on about those parents who don’t even deserve the title of being a parent. I’m on about the parents who try their damn hardest every day, who respond to their babies for the millionth time after taking a deep breathe and muttering ‘fucking hell’ under their breathe.

Lets just all take a seat back and think about what really matters, lets forget about the criteria you have to meet in order to be a specific type of parent. If in 20 years time my baby is suffering severe attachment issues as an adult because I dare to leave him every so often to go to work or to have a date with my partner then I will rethink my parenting choices and I’ll come and shake hands with you.

We’re all too busy thinking that we are right and every one else is wrong. Sometimes we are the ones making the right choices, sometimes we are the ones making stupid choices, sometimes we are the ones making mediocre choices and doing the bare minimum. But just because I may do things differently doesn’t make me less of an attachment parent. My baby’s needs are met, he is loved, he feels safe and secure and firmly attached to me- enough so that he knows he can be left without me for a while and have fun.

Every relationship is different; some couples don’t need to have dates to stay strong and nurture their relationship. But me and my partner do. We spent 6 months without spending any sort of decent quality time together and it broke us and ruined our relationship. We had to start from scratch and even had to seek relationship counselling because of it, so yes I do find it offensive if you tell me I am abandoning my child by spending time with my partner. I don’t find it offensive if you have different views to this, if you disagree with it then that’s fine. We can still be friends, we can still agree with lots of other things.

I am an attachment parent doing things my way, doing what I can to get by and sometimes that includes taking time to myself to recharge my batteries. And sometimes that means taking time to focus on my relationship with my partner.

 

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9 Ways To Create A Rod For Your Own Back

Nobody wants to create a rod for their own back. Ugh God forbid your children actually grow up to feel safe and well attached to their parents. What kind of world would that be?

The downside to creating a rod for your own back is your child or baby MAY be a happy and content baby who’s needs are met. But we all know how awful that is, we want independent babies who will happily sit in their bouncers for 6 hours a time whilst we crack on with more important things like housework and watching Jeremy Kyle.

However, for those weird parents who WANT to create a rod for their own back. Here are some tips you should follow. Do not take these lightly, I know how hard it is to respond to your babies needs, those selfish pesks. Ugh, God help us.

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  1. As soon as your baby so much as whimpers you must run to them flapping your arms about shouting ‘I’M COMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!’
  2. Buy one of those strappy pouch things that you put on your chest and your baby sits in it. (Some people like to call these slings or carriers, I call them rod-makers) Your baby must stay in this ALL day for the first year of their life.
  3. Buy one of those bed extender thingys, or better yet SHARE YOUR BED WITH YOUR BABY. I know, I know. This will 100% effect your sex life and you will never have rumpy pumpy with your partner again but if you want a rod, then you need to do this.
  4. Breastfeed. *shudders* We all know that breasts were made for men to ogle at and are only sexual but in order to become a committed rodder you will need to feed your baby from your breasts.
  5. If for some reason you cannot wear a rod-maker (sling/carrier) then you must keep baby close to you at all times. A pram is simply not good enough, I recommend putting them in your handbag.
  6. Feed them on demand. This one is really hard to get used to. After all, they should only be hungry when our schedule says so. But whenever they show their feeding cues you need to feed them. I recommend a cheese baguette if you want to keep them fuller for longer (or create life-long digestive issues)
  7. DO NOT let anyone babysit. AT ALL. No. No. No. They must be with you at all times in order for your rod to be super shiny. Want to go out for a meal with your friends? Tough titties. Want to send them to school? I’m sure Mrs Smith doesn’t mind you sitting at the back of the classroom.
  8. Baby led wean. Let them feed themselves their food. This is really inconsiderate of them to be honest, taking 30 minutes to eat their jam on toast can be tedious but stick with it. *Warning, baby led weaning can lead to awful things such as positive and healthy attitudes towards food*
  9. Respond to them at night time. I tried this once. Never. Again. I mean, don’t these babies realise that parenting is only a 12 hour job?! Once the clock strikes 7 my hours are over and they must tend to themselves until 7am. So if your baby dares to wake up during the night in order for their needs to be met you must respond to them.

 

 

I hope these top tips have helped you create a better rod for yourselves. Good luck for the next 40+ years, hopefully they would have finished breastfeeding and bedsharing by then but don’t count on it.

Don’t put your baby away, rod today!

Happy rodding!

 

 

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