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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.

How We Got Our Baby To Love Bedtime

It was a lovely evening and we were having a few drinks with friends at our house. Gabriel was his usual show off self, dancing and singing for our guests. As I get up to check on the meal I was preparing. Gabriel comes over and says nigh nigh and then proceeds to wave goodbye to everyone before heading to the stairs. “He wants to go to bed”, I turn and say to my husband. “Ok let’s go”. And with that Lee tucks him in bed and we carry on with our evening peacefully. Gabriel was only 15 months old. This is how we got our baby to love bedtime.

This is a normal night for us, but judging by the reactions from our friends and family. Is isn’t so normal. “I can’t believe he asks you to go to bed” a lot of them were saying. “Whats your secret?”.

It is an age-old question that all parents seem to be desperate to find the answer to. How do I get my baby to sleep at night? I have lost count on how many times this same subject has crept into our many  conversations with other parents. Everybody wants a good nights sleep. We have had our fair share of sleepless nights however we have rarely had trouble putting him to bed. As soon as he knows that it is bedtime he complies and a lot of the time he is the one telling us when he wants to go.

HOW WE GOT OUR BABY TO LOVE BEDTIME

So as requested, here are the techniques we used which made our son to love bedtime

1. Bedtime Routine

In every parenting book the first thing they always say is to have a routine and I tend to agree with them. Having a rough routine in place helps your child understand and predict what is going to happen next. If they already know, then they are less likely to fight it. We started Gabriel on a bedtime routine from 2 months old. Every night at 6:30 he would have a bath, followed by milk and then he was put down to sleep at 7pm. To this day, this is still his routine.

2. Sleep train, Sleep train, Sleep Train

I cannot emphasise this enough. You need to put the work in to reap the rewards. I spent hours teaching Gabriel to fall asleep on his own in his cot using gentle sleep training methods. It was tedious, and time-consuming but I knew that it was necessary. The aim is to teach them to fall asleep on their own without your assistance. The work paid off and from 3 months we could put Gabriel down in his cot and he would put himself to sleep. Pick a method and stick to it. Be consistent and patient and you will start to see it working.

3. Never use the bed or bedroom as a punishment

When Gabriel started to throw some of his epic tantrums my first reaction was to put him in his cot as punishment. I did it twice before I quickly became aware that it was affecting his sleep. What was usually a happy and peaceful place had for a brief moment become a place of despair for Gabriel. I realised that by punishing him in his room I was giving him mixed signals. When he was put to bed he wouldn’t understand if it was bedtime or if he was being punished for something. So my husband and I vowed to never use his room as punishment again. I proceeded to try to make his room a place of fun and peace again. And now it is his happy place again. Make their bedroom a happy place so that they feel that going to bed is a good thing and not a punishment.

4. Code word

Since I was a kid my mother used the term nigh nigh for going to sleep. I used it, my brother used it and so it was only natural that Gabriel used it. From the day he was born I referred to going to sleep as nigh nigh. This innocent little word is now his reference for sleep time and has proven very powerful in getting him to bed. He knows the moment we say ‘Its nigh nigh time’, that he needs to wind down. It was one of the first words he learnt to say and helped us to communicate when he was starting to get tired. Instead of him reaching the overtired stage or us having to guess why he is in a bad mood, he now immediately tells us by saying nigh nigh. Using a consistent and easy word for bedtime can help facilitate communication when you child is still too young to properly talk.

5. Reassurance

For us this is one of the most essential parts of parenting Gabriel. When I started to sleep train, I had decided very early on that I didn’t want to cry it out. At least not until he was a lot older. My view was that I wanted my baby to know that his parents were there and for him to feel safe. I felt that if he felt reassured that mum and dad were there if he needed us, it would give him the confidence to sleep on his own. This went hand in hand with the sleep training I did with him. Though I encouraged him to fall asleep on his own, I always made sure that he knew I wasn’t far away. We continue to use this tactic even now.

You will hit obstacles with sleep regressions, growth spurts and separation anxiety as they get older. However what has always worked for us is consistency and reassurance. I hope this helps

Happy Sleeping

Got an impatient toddler? Check out what worked for us

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How To Deal With An Impatient Toddler

When you first have a child it is human nature to put their needs above all else. I remember feeling like there was nothing more important than my baby. He needed feeding, I would feed on demand. He needed cuddling and comforting, I would drop everything and make sure he knew I was there. However now that he is older his needs are more complex. They are not so much needs per se, but more wants. I have quickly discovered that though the drop everything approach was essential to building my infant sons confidence and trust in his parents, it is not doing him any favours now as a toddler.

There are times in my household where I seriously have to ask myself who is the boss here.  It can feel like we have raised a mini dictator who will have no mercy on us unless we do what he wants.

 

The Rise of Our Mini Dictater

It came to my attention one night after Gabriel’s bath. His routine has always been the same, dinner, bath, bottle then bed. However this time Gabriel had decided that he couldn’t wait the few seconds it took to warm up his bottle. He needed it 5 minutes ago! Little did I know that me giving in to him this one time opened the door to something far worse. My son from then on became hell bent on dominating everything!

It wasn’t just his milk this time, which may I add I have never been able to warm up again since that day. It became him dictating to me when we left the house, when we had dinner, what TV show we had to watch and when we refused?  All hell broke loose. Tantrums because the bath was not filling up fast enough, because he wanted to go downstairs at 5am. Or because he wanted his dinner now even though I told him it is still hot ( I am a horrible mum for not letting him eat his food while it is burning hot!). This child had no patience and we were exhausted.

Time to Nip it in the Bud

How is this happening? My sweet little boy was developing a character, and a fierce one too (Where did he get that from? *cough *cough), and if we didn’t start making boundaries he was going to walk all over us. So we decided it was time to teach him how to be patient. Teach him that he is not the centre of the universe. He is not the boss of this family. He is a member of it. But how were we going to do that?

As ironic as it sounds, it required that Lee and I be patient with him in order to teach him patience. We both set out to explain to Gabriel when he needed to wait and why, and we vowed to not give in no matter what. When he become angry because he wanted his toast now. I would explain that the bread needed to be put in the toaster and we needed to wait for the pop. He now patiently waits for the pop and asks to put the bread in the toaster.We encourage him to play independently at times while explaining why mummy and daddy are busy. To our surprise it he quickly got the memo.

What to do when your toddler is impatient?

At first he resisted and there are still times when giving in feels like the easy option. Trust me, I know there are times when you just do not have the energy and you will do anything for a little peace and quiet. However we knew it would make things harder for us in the long run. We didn’t want him to grow up thinking that everyone everywhere needed to do what he wanted at all times. I am scared to raise a son who would grow up believing that the world revolved around him all because his parents gave in to him his whole life. Check out my post on Helicopter Parenting

 

Better to start earlier rather than later

One thing that has really helped in developing his waiting skills is his Gro Clock. A clock that is used for sleep training toddlers. The sun indicates when it is daytime and the star means it is bedtime. The idea is to teach the child to stay in bed until the sun appears. It has proved wonders with Gabriel. It didn’t take him long to understand the concept and he will now sit and wait for the sun to appear before he calls out to us.

I know that his behaviour is very normal for his age and it is still a work in progress. Parenting will always be a work in progress. However I believe it is necessary for us to start teaching him to be patient and learn to respect others around him sooner rather than later. They understand a lot more than we give them credit for and us nipping it in the bud early on has potentially saved us from a lot of problems in the future.

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Helicopter Parenting : When You Should Speak Up And When You Should Shut It

As I browse around a lot of the parenting websites that I often frequent. The term ‘Helicopter Parenting’ has come up quite a lot. At first I thought the term was quite funny and more tongue in cheek about parents who can sometimes be a bit paranoid when it comes to their little darlings. However I quickly learnt that there was a lot more to it than that.

So what is helicopter parenting? The official meaning according to google is a parent who takes an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of their child or children. Said like this, I don’t see what the big issue is. In my view, how other parents wish to raise their kids has nothing to do with me or anyone else but the parents of that child. However Helicopter parenting has evolved somewhat, and is now seen as nosy parents intervening in the raising and/or discipline of other people’s children.

So when is it ok to helicopter parent? and is it ever ok?

I remember when I was in Paris, and I was walking down the street. Down one of the Parisian side streets was a man dragging a young boy down the road into a car while the little boy screamed to the high heavens. At first glance I assumed that the man was the child’s father and that the boy was just throwing a tantrum for some reason or another. I continued to walk until a heavy feeling appeared in my stomach. What if he wasn’t the father? What if I had just witnessed an abduction but had done nothing because I had assumed it was nothing. I felt conflicted.

What was the right thing to do in this situation ? If this was the child’s father and I came in to helicopter over the situation I was surely going to piss him off. And rightly so. I would probably be a bit annoyed if my son was throwing a mega tantrum and some random came over to question what I was doing. But what if there was something sinister happening? How would I live with myself if my fear of upsetting someone and being seen as a nosy bystander stopped me from helping a child in need.

On the other hand there is the extreme of helicopter parenting. I have heard of many a story from fellow mums about nosy do-gooders intervening in things they have no place to intervene. I have heard of a stranger calling the police on a mother that let her pre-teen 12-year-old daughter sit in the car while she ran into the store to buy milk. Or have seen others criticize other parents choice of wipes, toiletries and child snacks to the point of bullying.

So is it ok to helicopter parent?

Thanks to a handful of overzealous parents overstepping the mark there is now a stigma around speaking up when you truly feel you should. I can see both ends. I know as a mother, if someone took it upon themselves to helicopter my child and challenge my parenting choices I would see red. But on the other hand if my child was in trouble, I pray that someone would have the guts to helicopter the situation and help my son.

So should we helicopter parent? If the situation truly has you fearing for the child’s safety. Then HELLYes. It is worth possibly feeling embarrassed for 2 minutes than to realised you could have helped a child when they needed it and didn’t. But if you do not agree with another parents approach to parenting their child and there is no danger to the child. Then butt out! If a parent chooses to let their baby cry it out, go down the attachment parenting route or make their own parenting plan. It is NONE of your business!

There are too many stories of children getting hurt and nobody speaking up because they were scared to be seen as being a busy body. So lets stop helicopter parenting over trivial things, and encourage all of our fellow mummies and daddies to support each other no matter if you agree or disagree with their parenting method and speak up only when a child truly needs a voice!

Check out on my post on when my son burnt his hand under my supervision, despite being a vigilant parent.

 

 

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My Toddler Burnt His Hand On My Hair Straightener, And The Guilt Is Killing Me

I would like to think I am a very switched on mother. My son always comes first with everything, and I always make sure he is safe from harm. I walk into a situation and assess the surroundings to make sure there is nothing he can get his hands on. But despite my constant vigilance, my son still got hurt. My Toddler Burnt His Hand On My Hair Straightener, and the guilt is killing me.

Now that Gabriel is a toddler I feel like he is changing and growing every single day. Every day he seems to have learnt something new. Whether it is suddenly speaking new words, or showing off his sporty side by playing golf and kicking a ball around. Yes he plays golf. However fascinating it is to see them quickly learning, it can also be a challenge. They suddenly are able to do things you didn’t realise they could do.

It was all my fault

Toddler Burnt His Hand On My Hair Straightener

It was another Tuesday as normal and Gabriel and I were getting ready for playgroup. Usual routine. Get Gabriel dressed first, then quick shower while he plays in my room watching me get ready. We have done it a thousand times. And we will probably do it thousand times more. However this time ended up with me rushing to A & E in a panic as my son screamed in pain.

As I was getting ready I looked at myself in the mirror. My hair was a mess. I am sick of looking like a frumpy mum so I decided to style my hair. Gabriel was across the other side of the room playing with a book when I took my hair straightener out. I quickly straightened a few stray strands and then unplugged the straightener and put it in the middle of my bed to cool down, out of reach and view of Gabriel, or so I thought.

He didn’t let go!

Talking and singing to Gabriel while I quickly put on some makeup. I heard him scream. Strangely it was not the pain stricken scream I would have thought. It was a scream he does almost every single day, and at first reaction I thought he had just fallen over or gotten frustrated with his book. Peering out to see what the fuss was about I saw him with his hand on my hair straightener. Fingers right on the hot plates. SHIT!

He had burnt his fingers on the hot plate, and to make it worse he didn’t have the reaction to let the plates go. He held onto them while screaming, making the burn worse. Panic took over me as I tried desperately to keep his hand under cold water while he wriggled and kicked around. My Poor baby who was so happy just a few moments ago was now shaking his hand and crying in pain.

I hated myself for letting it happen

Heading to A & E, panic turned quickly to guilt and I hated myself so much for letting this happen. Were all the nurses going to look at me and deem me as an unfit mother and call child services? How could I have let this happen? How the hell did he get hold of it?

Luckily the plates had already significantly cooled down and he got away with just a bandage on his hand for a week. When we got home I couldn’t shake the guilt and the wonder of how he reached it. Sitting at home after the ordeal I looked up to see Gabriel playing with my phone. How did he get my phone? It was on the counter top! Realisation kicked in. He can reach the countertop, hence he can reach onto my bed. He had grown faster and taller than I had realised.

Moral of the story. No matter how vigilant you are or how good a mum you are. Your child can still get hurt. Don’t underestimate your kids. They are more resourceful than you can imagine. This mama has learnt her lesson the hard way.

 

xxx

Your child gets hurt under your supervision

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Toddler Tantrum: When your child throws a tantrum for no reason!

By Posted on 7 3 m read

So it finally happened. I am finally apart of the tantrum club. I have to admit that I didn’t think it would come around so quickly. But what can i say, my boy is gifted.  I have always sympathised with parents whose kids have gone into total meltdown, even though I found it extremely entertaining. It must be hard for them. However I don’t think I fully grasped how frustrating it is until it was my own kid.

Gabriel has always been a good tempered baby. As long as his tummy was full and he had his naps he was as good as gold. It was a breeze. If he ever got grumpy I knew what to do. But now my 15 month old baby has mistaken himself for a 15 year old teenager. He knows what he wants and isn’t afraid of letting me know that he is not impressed with my mummying skills.

Toddler Tantrum

The First Time

The first time it happen is was a day like any other day. He had his naps, had his snacks. He was a happy chappy. Around 5pm he came over and gave me sign that he wanted dinner. (We taught Gabriel sign language so he can tell us when he was hungry) It was a half an hour early but i was willing to make an exception. So I pop him in his highchair and warm up his food and get him ready for dinner. He is excited. I make sure it is not too hot and then i start feeding him. A few mouthfuls in he lets out a massive scream and nothing I do can stop him.

OH MY GOD! Whats wrong? Did I just burn my baby’s mouth? No. Was there something sharp in the food? Nope. Were the bits too big? No way. Did he want some water? None of the above.

 

I couldn’t find a reason

My son was hysterical and angry. He started throwing his water cup on the floor. Hit at my hands when I tried to comfort him and refused to eat anymore. I didn’t understand. He was hungry, and now he won’t eat. Why won’t he stop crying. A hour and a half later he finally stops  and then casually waddles off and starts laughing and smiling, while my stress levels have sky rocketed.  What the???? I am scared, What just happened?

I put him into bed and he happily goes to sleep like nothing happened. Did I give birth to Damien from the Omen? Puzzled and a bit weirded out, I leave it and hope it doesn’t happen again. Except it does.  Dinner time again, he is hungry but chucking a major angry fit. Then it happens. He stops and I realise what this is about. Apparently mummy isn’t shovelling the food into his mouth fast enough!!!!!!

Toddler Tantrum

Apparently I am just an asshole parent

It can’t be? He refused to eat! He was so worked up that he didn’t want anything. So I experiment the next few days to see if this is the case.  And sure enough, when I wait a bit between mouthfuls he goes into full meltdown. Hating on me because how dare I wait for him to chew before giving him the next spoonful.

This wasn’t the only meltdown I have been experiencing. Apparently I don’t do anything right. Won’t let him jump down the stairs, meltdown! Won’t let him run out onto the right. Total Meltdown! He eats all of this snacks and there are none left. Complete Meltdown. Changes his dirty nappy, How dare I? Don’t even mention my iPhone. Check out my post about my sons iPhone Obsession here

Keep Calm

So fellow mums and dads, I am now part of the club, I feel you. I am sorry I laughed. Tantrums are no laughing matter.

Take comfort in knowing this is only a phase. He is learning to deal with his emotions and it is necessary for his development. Keep calm, and if all else fails it is ok to leave him to cry a little if you feel you are on the edge.

Has your child ever freaked you out? Tell me your tantrum stories..

 

Toddler Tantrum

 

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Is my child eating too much? When your kid eats everybody else’s lunch

By Posted on 40 4 m read

We often hear about the struggle some parents have with their children who are fussy eaters. You just have to type fussy eater in google and almost a million results pop up. Fussy eaters tend to be every new parents worst nightmare. Who chooses to have a kid who refuses to eat anything but french fries? But what about the opposite? Is your child eating too much?

My partner and I both come from big eater families.  We love our food, maybe a little too much. I grew up in a culture where food was a way of life. My grandmother would slave away all day in the kitchen and we would all come together to bond over food. The more you ate the better it was in my family. ‘Eat’ my grandmother would say. ‘Eat, eat eat’. Even though I was already about to tumble over in a food coma.

” I was worried my child would be a fussy eater”

Is my child eating too much

So when my son was born, I was adamant that he was going to be a good eater and have a healthy relationship with food. I didn’t want a fussy eater. I wanted a healthy little boy who would enjoy eating broccoli. The thought of having a child that only wanted to eat junk terrified me. What would I do? How do you make someone eat when they don’t want to?

I wanted a child who would be happy with fruit for dessert and love his veggies. So I made sure that Gabriel was fed healthy food packed full of veggies. No dessert pots, just fruit. And I was delighted to see that he gobbled it up with no protest.

“The struggle wasn’t to get him to eat. The struggle was to stop him from eating”

What i didn’t realise was that Gabriel would just about gobble anything up that was edible. My fears of having a fussy eater quickly went out the window. The struggle wasn’t to get him to eat. The struggle was to stop him from eating. Today I was told at Nursery that he ate all of his lunch (no brainer there). However he also ate another kids lunch, plus the vegetarian option and a few pieces of toast that they make for the fussier kids. I didn’t know what to say. I couldn’t help but burst out laughing to be honest but apart of me felt like I needed to apologize.

Do you try to stop it? Or do you just accept that he eats a lot. To be perfectly honest I wasn’t bothered. He isn’t overweight for his age and he eats a very healthy and varied diet. But other peoples comments started to make me doubt myself.

On a playdate with a fellow mummy, my boy ran up to me holding a biscuit and saying TAAA. I opened it and gave it to him. The other mum was shocked and said “You let him eat snacks so close to dinner time”. The thing is, I don’t have to worry that he will not eat his dinner because he will eat it…..and mine….. and his fathers.

Is my child eating too much

“Is my child eating too much?”

But when I kept getting comments from people about his eating habits I felt like I was somehow mum failing again. So i decided to try and limit his food consumption. However he seriously seemed to outwit me at every move. He knows where the snacks are kept and regularly digs out a biscuit or rice cake. Even when I hide them he finds them! I once couldn’t find him anywhere and then found him inside the cupboard desperately trying to reach his snacks. So I stopped buying his snacks, only to have him start opening the fridge and bringing bananas to me to open.

He is very resourceful. My partner and I find ourselves trying to hide while we try to eat our breakfast (or anything we don’t want to share) but he always finds us. I don’t even know how on earth he knows that we are eating. He can tell at any given moment and he is quickly on the move to hunt us down. He is so resourceful that I took him swimming and put him in the play pen while I changed. When I came out he was eating a rice cake!!! Where the hell did he get a rice cake from? Turns out he had stolen it from another kid. Sorry!

” I accept he is a mini muncher”

So what do I do? Trying to limit his consumption wasn’t working and to be honest, it made me feel horrible having to say no to him all the time when he asked for food. So i decided to accept my son for what he is. A mini muncher.

The day he refuses to eat his dinner because he snacked too much will be the day I limit his consumption. But right now he is doing just fine. He is healthy and happy. Everything I could want for my child. So if you see me giving Gabriel snacks before dinner time, please don’t judge me.

 

xxx

Is my child eating too much

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