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Parenthood is so life changing that you almost don’t know what hit you. Raising a little one, whether they are babies, toddlers, pre-teens or teenagers is the most important and difficult job you will ever do. The MUM Life  consumes and becomes you.

I remember when I was a kid I would look at my parents and I thought they knew everything. I thought that had everything together. I had no idea the pressure and fear they must have felt every time I entered a new phase of life.  Now as a parent, I realise that no one knows what they are doing. Parenting is basically just winging it and hoping you raise happy, respectful kids. AND the scary part is that my son probably looks at me the same way and thinks I have all the answers.

This section of the blog is dedicated to all my fellow mothers. I don’t know what I am doing. I am learning as I go along. However here I will document what I have learnt along the way to hopefully help you. To give you hope and let you know that we are all in this together.

My Battle With My Mummy Tummy & Body Image

As women I think we all have bad days when we don’t like what we see in the mirror. There are days when you feel good and are oozing confidence and then there are days when…well you are not. I seem to be having the NOT oozing confidence day every day now. I’m a lot heavier than I would like to be and I just don’t feel good in my body. I look and feel like a completely different person than I did 3 years ago and it makes me feel like I am completely losing myself. My battle with my mummy tummy is consuming me and it is affecting my life and happiness.

Belly Donut

The day I realised I could grab the fat from my belly and make a belly donut was both a depressing yet strangely amusing day. Grabbing my belly donut has become a daily ritual. It is now my own built in stress ball. I cannot seem to walk past a mirror without doing it and it makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time. Talk about losing your identity. What is worse is that my mind still hasn’t really caught up with the idea that I am no longer a size 6/8. It still pictures itself as the Pre-gabriel confident and thin Kylie. Then gets shocked when it sees a picture of my arms side on and how they seem to engulf and eat my whole body. Wtf? I can picture and plan out outfits that i am convinced will make me look like a bombshell only to put it on and look like a walking potato.  Who am I?

Homebakes and Belly Shakes

It doesn’t help that since having Gabriel I have developed an unhealthy attachment to sugar & food. That my desire to be the modern day Martha Stewart has got me baking every week. Then stuffing my face with said bakes. Being an at home mum means that I have access to food at all times and the stress of daily battles with a toddler, while studying makes me want to eat the whole pantry. People come up to me and they don’t get it. They say “oh you are not fat, You look great” and I cant help but sigh. Yes i may not be rolling when walking but you have not seen me in my underwear. Plus I am sure that they HAVE noticed that I am 10kgs heavier and that they are just too polite to say otherwise or they are in the same boat and feel secretly relieved that they are not the only one. (don’t worry, I get it)

#BellyDonut?

So what do I do? Do I accept that this is my fate, that I gave birth (2 years ago), that I am getting older and this is part of the territory? That curvy is “in” right now and I should make the #BellyDonut Movement to encourage everyone to embrace their bodies no matter what it looks (or feels) like? Or do I get up and throw belly donut into boot camp. Tell him he is no longer welcome and get myself back to a place where I feel happy in my body? Where the picture of my self in my mind is actually aligned with reality?

Though I do believe that we should love our bodies the way they are. I also believe you should look after them and do what it takes to feel confident.  For me it is an on going battle. It’s not just about weight and the number on the scale, nor it is about trying to meet societal expectations that women face these days. It is about feeling good in your body and skin, about feeling good about being you. It is easy to make excuses. Lets face it motherhood is hard especially when you are working or studying as well as raising kids and keeping house. However we can’t lose ourselves and who we are because of the kids. We should set an example for our kids that looking after ourselves is essential to living a happy and fulfilling life and also for everyone around us.

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Is It Ever Ok To Tell Off Someone Else’s Child?

After a series of events and discussions I have had with other mums this week. It got me thinking. Is it ok to tell off someone else’s child?

I was at our weekly toddler group the other day where I was confronted with a situation that made me feel conflicted. My son was playing with one of his play mates whom he knows fairly well. I was sitting nearby when all of a sudden Gabriel started screaming. This was not a usual scream. I rushed over to see what had happened and found my child sobbing and holding his arm. He had been bitten.

I didn’t know what to do, I had never been confronted with this situation before. I’d dealt with the usual pushing and shoving from other kids ( and from Gabriel). But biting? My usual reaction would be to fob it off and comfort Gabriel until he had calmed down. However this was different. It was physical and I didn’t want Gabriel thinking that biting was an acceptable way to express himself. How do you teach your child that a certain behaviour is wrong without telling the other kid off? Or coming across as passive aggressive to the other parent?

There are times when I feel like a hypocrite when discipling Gabriel. He is often scolded for pushing or snatching from another child. However when another kid does it to him he often looks at me as if to say ‘ Why aren’t you scolding them too’? He is too young to understand the explanation.

So after a long conversation with my fellow mums. I have collected some tips on what is the most acceptable practises when faced with a playground dilemma.

Speak to the parent first

Most parents agree that they prefer you to come and speak to them first before speaking to their child. To be completely honest I get that. It is a natural reaction to stand up for your little ones. That said it should be within reason. There is often times when another kid will snatch a toy from Gabriel or visa versa. And I find myself asking the child if we can share the toys and not snatch. In the same way I would not be bothered at all if another parent said the same to Gabriel.

Know the circumstances

This is a big one. I think too many parents are quick to judge without knowing the circumstances. A prime example is from a friend of mine. Her child looks a lot older than he actually is. While playing at a playgroup amongst some older children he struggled with sharing and had a few temper tantrums. His behaviour was quickly judged by other parents. They had assumed he was a lot older than he was. Had the have known his age they would have realised that his behaviour was very normal for his actual age. Same goes for children who may have certain disabilities that cannot be seen, such as Autism or Aspergers. Know the facts before you jump in and find yourself in a difficult situation.

Remove your child from the situation

The easiest thing to do when a playground battle starts is to remove your child from the situation and explain or discipline them in private. This is my go to move and I find it effective and respectful to other parents and their children.

In the case of the biting incident, my only concern was that I didn’t want Gabriel to start biting other children because he was bitten. In no way was i angry or judgemental. I knew that the other child had learnt this behaviour because he had been bitten himself on numerous occasions. It is a learning process and I try to remember that kids will be kids. It is inevitable that there will be power struggles and upsets as they try to figure out their emotions and stance in this big world. Remember that we are all parents in the same boat.

Looking for more posts?  Check out my post on what it is really like living with a 2 year old

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Advice To My First Time Parent Self

By Posted on 7 4 m read

Looking back at the first time we brought Gabriel home, I can’t help but giggle at my former self. Both my husband and I really had no idea of what was ahead of us. We would panic at the mere sight of…well anything. We studied the way he breathed, how much he ate and what noises he made. God forbade that anyone use anything other than water and pure cotton on his bum for the next 20 years. And we were obsessed with the temperature in his room. Though these were all part of the new parent experience, I would like to give my former first time parent the heads up with some much needed advice.

 

 

PLAN PLAN AND PLAN

Did I mention plan? As obvious as it sounds it really isn’t. I thought I was quite organised but I never anticipated the amount of time simple things took. Like how impossible it felt to actually be able to leave the house on time. How feeding and nappy changes seemed to never end. Or how difficult it was to actually eat, let alone prepare dinner.

I had made and prepared meals in advance but those meals went by faster than i could blink. I released that I didn’t have anything quick and easy to snack on. And not to mention I went through my entire wardrobe in a matter of a few days! Don’t underestimate how many times this little one will spill his bodily fluids on you. So my tips?

  • Buy loads of cheap comfortable clothes for you to wear. This was the first time I bought from Primark and I was so grateful.
  • Make heaps and I mean heaps of meals in advance. It is a pain now but it will be a life saver in the long run. And don’t forget to stock up on snacks!!
  • Start getting ready 2 hours before you are scheduled to be anywhere. With babies that feed every 1-2 hours, by the time you have started packing all of the baby stuff and are finally ready to head off. The baby will be hungry again and will possibly need another nappy change.

 

 

EMBARRASING MOMENTS

This is a hard one for me as I feel I was really dealt the short end of the stick. Be prepared to lose your dignity as soon as you become a mum, heck as soon as that bun starts cooking. I was sick for the first 6 months of my pregnant and I tell you it was not a pretty sight. Vomiting and crying down the high street is not how I envisioned pregnancy. However do not fear as it does not end after the baby is born. Never in my life could I have imagined the trauma that would happen to me down below. And by down below, I mean all of down belowwww.

It was bad enough that my vagina was unrecognisable and that I winced every time I sat down. It was even worse that i had to figure out the hard way that Kegels are not just the muscles for your vagina but for everything!!!!! Imagine my horror as I head to the bathroom to find that I had semi shat myself without even knowing it! To top it off it was not easy explaining to my husband why I had just thrown my panties in the bin. So advice?? Work them damn Kegels!!!!

 

INTIMACY LIKE YOU HAVE NEVER HAD BEFORE

It is true, you will change and will do just about anything for your baby but some of the things I have had to do are things I never ever thought I would do in my life. Be prepared for the first time your little one catches a cold. Because not only is it worrying and a pain in the butt for sleeping. You also need to help your little one to…erm…unblock his nose. It is fairly simple if you are fully equipped with Vicks Baby Rub and Warm Mist.

However if like me you were not and the only way to help your little one was to suck it out of his nose, then chances are you are just as traumatised by that experience as I am. So avoid the trauma and make a little baby first aid kit with lots of Baby Paracetamol and a tonne of Vicks Baby Rub!

 

ENJOY THE MOMENT

Having said all of this, the biggest and most important advice I would give to myself is to enjoy the moment. Enjoy him as a newborn, a baby and a toddler. Don’t be in haste for him to learn and carry on to the next step. There were times we were so excited for him to progress that we forgot to cherish the step he was in. He would roll, we would say crawl. He would crawl, we would say walk. Until we realised that our little baby had grown up way too fast and we were not prepared for it. It is not a cliché. Cherish them. Hold them. Soak it all in

Check out my post on how we got our baby to love bedtime

Disclaimer : This post is an entry for BritMums #VicksBabyRub Challenge, sponsored by Vicks BabyRub. Specially designed for babies aged six months and over, Vicks BabyRub is available at Boots, Superdrug, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and all good pharmacy chains. RRP £3.99.
 

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MINI Countryman : The Stylish Car For The Stylish Mum

I underestimated the importance of a good-sized car when I first brought home our little bundle of joy. At the time I still had my little 3 door MINI Cooper and was struggling with the idea of changing it for a more family friendly car. When we finally realised that my car was far from practical. We opted for an AUDI Q5 based on the quality and space. However this terrified me. I am going to be honest, I am not the best driver in town! So the idea of driving a massive car sent chills down my spine. Even though I now find it a great drive and practical for a family. I still miss having a girly fashionable car of my own. So when John Clark MINI Aberdeen asked me to test out their New MINI Countryman 2017, I was more than happy to oblige.

 

Can you fit baby in the back?

MINI Countryman

 

The MINI Countryman is fully equipped with ISO FIX anchor points on the rear seats of the car. Which made it super easy to install our 360° Car seat. Our rather hefty 2-year-old had no problem at the back and had enough room to play with his toys and kick his legs about. The plus side was that we had room on the floor beneath his feet to put his changing bag and coat, leaving the other rear seats free.

Our car seat is a Group 0 / 1, meaning it is forward facing AND rear-facing. We had no problems with the seat in its rear-facing mode, though we didn’t test it with a baby inside as Gabriel is too big. A standard rear-facing car seat with ISOFIX base in my opinion should fit in with no problems. However I would still check with your local salesperson to be sure that your brand of car seat is suitable for the MINI Countryman 2017.

 

Pram? Groceries? Plus all the other never-ending junk you need when you are a mum?

MINI Countryman

 

One of my biggest worries about this MINI 4×4 was the boot space. As a mum, you learn very quickly that the bigger the boot, the better! So I was super impressed when I opened the boot to find it was almost the same size as our AUDI!!! Not only could I fit a whole weeks worth of shopping plus more in the boot. I could also fit our stylish but rather big and bulky pram.

The only down side is that you could not fit the full pram plus grocery shopping into the boot at the same time. So you would need to make use of your rear seats if you were to stop by the shop after a family outing. However if you were just using a collapsible stroller, then you would have ample room for both.

 

Is there space to change an emergency nappy at the back?

MINI Countryman

 

This was a question I never in a million years would have thought of asking before becoming a mum. However over the last two years I have appreciated the importance of this. Especially if you are travelling for long periods of time! Too often have we been greeted with the unpleasant smells and near poonamis while being on the road and have needed to perform an emergency nappy change.

Unfortunately if you are on the road travelling then I doubt you will have space to spare due to all the ‘necessities’ you will need. However on an everyday occurrence than you can easily change a smelly bum using the boots space or the rear seats.

Other features?

MINI Countryman

 

Besides the obvious safety features such as ISOFIX points, airbags and seat belts. What other safety features does the MINI Countryman have? Parking Sensors!!!! The sensors on The Countryman are easily the best non-camera ones I have seen (And perfect for a not so confident driver like myself). The whole dashboard lights up as soon you put the car into reverse. Green means you are good to go, Amber means something is in proximity and Red means stop. The only downside is that there are no front sensors which can be handy when you are forward parking.

Another feature that I love is the built-in bluetooth phone and audio connectivity. I can answer my calls with ease while driving. And am also able to play my tots favourite tunes through the speakers when he is getting restless.

 

What about room for mum and dad?

 

MINI Countryman

For me personally there was ample leg room and I felt very comfortable in the drivers and passenger seat. However at 5 ft 4, I probably feel comfortable in any car. My other half on the other hand is the exact opposite. Leg room is extremely important for someone measuring 6 ft 3 and i was surprised to hear that he felt totally comfortable driving the MINI. That said, he only tested the drivers seat with no one in the back. I would assume that it may be a tighter squeeze if he were to sit in the passenger seat with the baby seat at the back.

How I felt driving it

 

In all honesty, I absolutely loved it. Having grown accustomed to powerful cars I was worried that the horse power was not going to live up to the AUDI. I had test driven a few smaller cars previously and felt like I was driving a tin box that took ages to go from 0 to 60. However the MINI Countryman was a real pleasure to drive.

I felt fashionable and stylish as I cruised around the neighboured in it. The test drive coincided with my son’s 2nd Birthday, and I adored the attention it got from all the other mums querying ‘My New Car’.

 

MINI Countryman

 

Verdict

It ticks all of my mummy boxes and I am completely hooked. The car is a dream for any mum who needs a practical family car, but who also wants a splash of fashion and personality. The only draw back is that they can be quite pricey. If you are looking for a MINI Countryman for sale i suggest you check out your local John Clark Motor Group. Click on this link to check out their range of MINI Countryman on sale in Aberdeen and Tayside.

I hope you enjoyed my MINI Countryman Review. Now I just need to suck up to my husband to convince him I need one.

Check out my post on what it is really like living with a 2-year-old.

*This is a sponsored post

 

 

 

 

 

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What it’s Really Like Living With A 2-Year-Old

By Posted on 35 3 m read

We celebrated Gabriel’s 2nd Birthday this weekend and I still can’t seem to bring myself to admit he is no longer a baby. He is a toddler. Time has just flown so fast and it still feels like yesterday we were bringing him home for the first time. The last two years have been full of joy, laughs, tears and some pretty stressful moments. Being a parent is not a walk in the park but it is so rewarding. So to celebrate Gabriel officially entering the terrible twos. I thought I would share with you want it is really like living with a 2-year-old.

The Lil Chatterbox

The biggest change we have noticed is his increasing ability to communicate. The constant guessing game that we had when he was a baby is now a lot easier. He now tells me when he is hungry and whether he wants food or drink. And he has now started to tell me when his nappy needs changed! He is learning new words everyday and constantly surprises me with new phrases.

On top of his growing vocabulary one of the most amazing things is his ability to understand. Don’t be fooled! They understand almost everything we say to them. It has come to the point where my partner and I have to spell words out to each other in case he hears us and kicks up a fuss.

2-Year-Old

The Battle of wits

Did someone say terrible twos?? Yep this is when the battle starts. Long gone are the days of our sweet little compliant baby who will happily sit and play while you attend to dinner. Your toddler now knows what he wants and he is willing to test the limits to see how far he can go. This for me is the hardest phase of parenting I have so far encountered. It requires a lot of patience and consistency and can be quite hard when you are exhausted and alone with a strong willed toddler. Especially in a supermarket with everyone staring as your child screams the roof down.

As easy as it can be to give in to their demands at times, I remind myself that he is learning how to deal with new emotions and boundaries and that my job is to teach him.

The Parrot

Is there an echo in here? No, it is just my son repeating every single word I say. I didn’t realise how much he was picking up from me until I heard him saying “ahh suck”. I kept wondering what is he was saying? Suck?? stuck?? It wasn’t until I was in the kitchen and I dropped an egg on the floor and subconsciously said “OH F*#8$” that I realised. Oops! Naughty mummy.

The 2’s usually gets a bad rep, the Tantrums, the constant stress. Some of it may be true however it is also one of the most amazing ages you will ever experience. Their funny little characters start to shine through and the innocence and wonder they bring to your life as they discover the world is magical. Before we know it he will no longer be interested in cuddles and playing with mummy and daddy. So enjoy it. Soak it up before it is too late.

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The Busy Parents Guide To Valentine’s Day

Like most things, the Romance of Valentine’s Day changes after having kids. If you are anything like me, then chances are you 1.Didn’t even notice even though you have walked past the massive hearts display about a million times at Sainsbury’s 2. Have a million things to do and the idea of finding a babysitter for an overpriced crowded meal at a restaurant makes your toes curl. With our heavy schedules it is easy to fob off this romantic holiday, however as gimmicky as it is there is no reason why you cannot dip into the fun of Valentine’s Day. As parents we often neglect ourselves and this is a good excuses to get back to basics with your partner. So here is my Busy Parents Guide To Valentine’s Day.

Romantic Meal for Two ( in Your Dining Room)

Going out to a restaurant is probably not going to happen unless you are lucky to find a babysitter. So you need to be creative. If you are up to cooking a nice meal for you and your partner then there some some great recipes on Jamie Olivers Website or at thekitchn.com  to inspire you. However if you are like me and the best present anyone can give you is a night off cooking, then order a Take Away. Who says Take Aways can’t be romantic? Add some candles and a bottle (or 2) of wine and presto! Best Valentine’s Date Ever!

Date Night On The Couch

You don’t need to go to the cinema to have a Cinema Night! And after the whirlwind of the bath, bottle, sleep routine who even wants to lift there butts of the couch. Choose a romantic film, pop some popcorn in the microwave. Then cosy up on the couch with your partner and a nice cosy blanket. Cinema Night in the comfort of your living room! Plus if you fall asleep there is no embarrassment.

Quality Gifts….

Don’t buy me expensive gifts, just let me have a shower in peace. Nothing is more valuable to a busy mum or dad than having some ALONE time. Why not gift each other with some quiet time without the kids (and you) during the day. Maybe start reading the first chapter of that new book while your other half does bath time. Alone time is worth more than gold in the world of parenting! Find you and your partner argue over stupid things? Check out my post on the most stupid arguments we have had in the name of sleep deprivation

Shake The Dust Off Those Sexy PJ’s

Lets face it, being sexy at the end of the day is not a busy mums priority. Especially when you have been running around with a toddler all day long. However if there was ever a time to sexy it up, it would be now. At least you have got it over and done with right??. So why not slip into something a little more appealing compared to the usual yoga pants and hoodie combo to get the sparks going.

SHOP LINGERIE IDEAS

Make it a family tradition.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about the love shared between life partners. It can also be about the love shared with your family. Start a new tradition with your kids and have a Valentine’s Family Meal or Movie Night. Valentine’s Day is about love, and celebrating it with your family is a nice modern spin to this little holiday.

I hope these easy ideas inspire you to have a hassle free Valentine’s Day. I think we will have a Family Valentine’s Meal to celebrate with our little munchkin this year.

What about you?

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