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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.

Dealing With Living Far From Family

By Posted on 9 4 m read

Living far away from your family can be difficult for everyone no matter what stage of life you are in. However once you become a parent that absence becomes more obvious and difficult to bear.

I have aways been a very independent person. If I need to do something I will do it and will rarely ask anyone for help, even if I need it. That is just a part of who I am, something I am trying to improve but with some difficulty. However since becoming a mother I have found myself more than once wishing that I had my family closer. That I had the support that I needed at times of crisis. (Read my post about how Parenthood makes you appreciate your parents)

“There were times when I felt like I was going to break”

It is no secret that parenthood has its rewards and challenges. To the never-ending kisses you receive before bedtime, to the times I felt like I was at breaking point. I am the first person to say that if you choose to have a child then it is your responsibility to look after them and work your life around your child. I would never expect any one of our family members to take on that responsibility and commitment. They have their own lives to live however sometimes you just need that little extra support to help you get back on your feet.

There were times when I felt like I was going to break. Back when Gabriel was a few months old and he just wouldn’t stop crying. He was tired, probably overly tired. But despite him being tired he just would not sleep. I remember standing over the crib rocking him and patting him desperately trying to soothe my crying baby for what felt like hours.

The constant sound of the crying was sending me overboard until I finally cracked. For a split second I lost control of my temper. For a split second I wanted to scream and throw him across the room. It was only a split second. But that split second sent me into an emotional spiral of guilt. I left him to cry while I went to my room and cried myself.

At that moment. I needed my mum. I needed someone that understood me and that I knew wouldn’t judge me. Someone that would sweep in and help no questions asked and reassure me that I was not the worst mother on the planet. I needed my own family.

“I needed someone that understood me”

Having family nearby has its obvious perks(Babysitting and home cooked meals). But one thing that comes along with it is Family Influence. When I see Gabriel with his grandparents from my partners side. It is a lovely thing to watch. He loves his grandparents and he knows who they are and what they represent. He is growing up with the same influence his father grew up with. But what influence does he have from my side of the family?

living far away from your family

My partners side of the family are all very sporty. They love their sports and I can see this influence rubbing off on my son already. My side however are very musical, a trait that my partners side do not posses. My brother and I grew up with the Burmese culture and some of my most treasured memories are from our big family dinners with lots of traditional burmese food. Singing and sharing stories with all of my uncles, aunties and cousins. Music and food was the essence of my childhood. How do I give that essence to Gabriel when there is only one person around to represent it?

Steps to Survive

As difficult as it can be, i think the first step to surviving without your family is to remember why there is distance in the first place and to learn to accept it. Besides moving back to Australia there is nothing I can do to change it. And the reason I live so far is because I chose to live in Europe.The next step is to do everything you can to keep in touch with your family and implement their influence and culture. We are lucky that we live in a day when technology is at its best. I am able to video call my folks whenever possible, and though it is not the same as being face toface. My family get to see Gabriel as he grows up and learns new things.

And finally know that even though your family are not close by, you probably do have a lot people that are more the willing to help if you ask them.  I know that my partners family as well as some of my friends would have helped me if I had reached out. That was just my own pride getting in the way. Sometimes being away from your own family gives you the opportunity to become closer to others. Family doesn’t always mean blood. It is a bond that you can have with anyone if you are willing.

 

Dealing with living far away from family

 

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Parenthood makes you appreciate your parents

By Posted on 11 3 m read

As a child I never fully appreciated my parents. How could I ? I never truly understood the sacrifices they went through to have me. Everything was taken for granted. Don’t get me wrong I had respect for my parents but respect and appreciation are two different things in my view.

When I look back now at some of the things I pulled, I cringe. The days I faked a headache so that I could go home from school resulting in my mum or dad having to leave work to collect me. The times I would say ‘ Whats for dinner mum” as soon as she walked through the door after a long day at work. The automatic assumption that I would have clean clothes in the wardrobe . I really had no idea.

When mum would fall asleep on the couch my brother and I would roll our eyes. Whats wrong with you? You always fall asleep. Little did I know that I would be doing the exact same thing years down the line. It never crossed my mind how hard it can be to be a parent. How much they really sacrificed for me and my brother. Not until I become a mother myself.

I remember when Gabriel was born. The pure joy and unconditional love that took over me. The motherly drive to provide and nurture this child to the detriment of myself. Nothing else would ever be more important than him. I was willing to do anything to protect this child and give him the best in life. As I felt these emotions it dawned on me. This is how my parents feel about me.

This realisation is like having a lightbulb moment and very awkward moment at the same time. Everything that happened in your childhood seems to make sense. The reason why you were never allowed to go out late at night to join some of the other kids. The reasons why they were so strict. It is awkward to think that during all of these years I never got it.

I remember getting so angry with my mum because i didn’t understand why she was always worried. I would go out with friends she was worried. I would speak about boys she was worried. I would walk down the street to the shops, she would worry. It used to drive me crazy. I didn’t understand why someone would worry so much over seemingly mundane things. It was not like we lived in a war zone. But then I became her. I became the worried mother and I cannot help but laugh.

Now it is my turn. The child has grown and has now taken the place as the parent. Now I will be the one to watch as I try to shape my son into a respectable person only to have him resent me for it. I will be the strict uncool parent that will be viewed as the fun sponge. I will be the one running around in circles to make sure they have everything they need even though they won’t appreciate it yet.

Even though I know I have many years to go before Gabriel will one day appreciate what we do for him. I stand here ready to take on the challenge. My heart is filled with gratitude towards my parents.

Sorry I was such a little shit.

I now have my own little shit to raise.

Lets hope Karma is kind.

xxx

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My baby is addicted to Youtube! Oops

By Posted on 18 4 m read

When I was pregnant I was so clueless. I had all of these ideas of how I wanted to raise my child. Everything would be organic. Snacks would all be homemade. He would play with educational toys and my god, never would I ever let him play with my iPhone or iPad.

I didn’t want to have a child addicted to a phone so young. To be honest I didn’t want to have a child addicted to a phone period. No matter what age. For some reason I had deluded myself in to thinking that I could raise children in the age of technology without them actually using technology. I got up on my high horse and said I wouldn’t be one of those parents. Ohhh how I have eaten my words.

I am not even sure how it happened. It just happened. Somehow my iPhone landed right into the hands of my little one. Then all of a sudden Youtube was on and was playing a string of songs and cartoons especially catered to my son. I really have no idea how this happened, honestly. All I know is that it started to happen more and more frequently than I had ever planned.

My baby is addicted to youtube
Baby Selfie 1: Pose and smile for the camera

A trip in the car where Gabriel would scream for attention, out came the iPhone. The times when mummy was trying to cook, clean, work and Gabriel just wouldn’t give me 2 minutes. Oops out came the iPhone. When nothing else would distract him, out came the iPhone. Until it started to become a problem

I was in the kitchen trying to get dinner ready which, if you know my son, is an absolute nightmare because whenever he sees any sight of food he goes mental. You would think I had been starving him for days. Anyway as usual my little one started making a fuss. Getting a little bit flustered I gave him the iPhone and he sat there happily while I continued to cook. Then I stopped in my tracks. ‘Did he just scroll through Youtube and change the video’?

I must have been imagining things. He must have changed the song by accident. He is only 1 years old. But as I continued to watch him I was horrified to see that my 1-year-old son had mastered the iPhone better than my 52-year-old mother! There he was with his tiny finger casually scrolling youtube and choosing which videos he wanted to watch.

Later that night my horror continued. I received a text message telling me I had successfully signed up to Bounce Games ( I will never get my £1.50 back), had realised that Gabriel had sent gibberish texts to 2 of my friends and found a whole bunch of baby selfies in my photos! Selfies!!!!! Heres me thinking he was just watching Tinky-winky and Lala prance around a garden. I had no idea that my 1-year-old was posing for selfies!!!!

My baby is addicted to youtube
Baby selfie 2: Lets go artistic and add a filter! How he did this I have no idea but I am impressed.

I didn’t think I would have to worry about iPhone usage until my son was at least 14 years old but here I was with a toddler who all of a sudden started demanding for it. Whenever he saw it he would point and say Ta. When he managed to get his hands on it, he would immediately come to me asking for Youtube then would proceed to roll around the floor if I said NO. It came to the point where we had to stop using phones around him because as soon as he saw one, he would make a beeline for it.

We are trying now to limit his exposure to the iPhone and Youtube. But its a tricky situation. I feel like I am trying to fight a battle I cannot win. I am torn between not wanting him to be so tech savvy at such a young age. At the same time I love the instant peace and freedom it brings.

I would love to say that I will never let him use or play with an iPhone again. That I am taking a stand against screen time for kids. That I am not a lazy mum who sold her soul to the devil that is technology.  The truth is I am. I don’t have the patience nor the courage to fight it. I just want 5 minutes to myself so I can shovel that last piece of cake down my face without having to share it with him.

I can imagine a lot of mums are shaking their pretty heads at me right now. However I think we need to accept that this is the age of technology and that our kids are going to grow up a lot differently than we did. Smart phones, iPads, and social media are apart of this generation and there is nothing that anybody can do about it. All I can do is embrace this new way of life, and pray that I am not screwing them up somehow.

Baby Selfie 3 : In the car

xxx

Whats your thoughts on this? What do you do in your household?

 

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Importance of self-care: How I became a frumpy mum without even realising it

When I was pregnant, I said to myself that I would never let myself go. That I would live a life relatively similar to the life I had pre kid. That I would always look after myself. I vowed not to fall in to the frumpy mum cliché. I didn’t want to be a frumpy mum, I wanted to be a yummy mummy. I wanted to continue to be young and fun despite having kids. I wanted to embrace my sexuality and be confident in my body. The body that gave me my beautiful baby.

The thing that I failed to realise at that point was that no one ever wants to be a frumpy mum. No one wakes up thinking I want to look like a sewer rat. I want to look like I haven’t slept in years. I want to have a wardrobe that makes a potato sack look fashionable. But despite my intentions, I found myself turning into said frumpy mum and it happened gradually without me even realising it.

Being a parent is so fricking tiring. It really is and all the things that were so important to you before or no longer as important. Those of you who do not have kids will read this, smile and nod and think that you understand. But you really do not. It is impossible to understand how tiring and self-sacrificing raising a small child is when you do not have a child constantly stuck to one body part or another. I thought that I understood before, now I realise I knew nothing.

As you get used to your new role as a parent, you slowly get accustomed to putting yourself last. The babys needs always come before your own and then little by little all these other things creep in and take precedent in your list of priorities. The laundry, groceries, planning and cooking the family meals, trying to earn a living. Until when you actually get down the list to yourself, you just don’t have the strength or the motivation to do anything.

That hair appointment that is long overdue, gets pushed back again. That monthly eyebrow wax, turns into a quick tweeze or nothing at all. My once much loved passion for shopping, turned into shopping for my baby and me telling myself I would go back for myself when 1. Lost some weight 2. Had more time 3. Could be bothered. Until one day you pass yourself in the mirror and you no longer recognise who is looking back at you.

Today I had that moment. That realisation that after a year of pushing back schedules, I had become what I had vowed not to. My overgrown hair was now flat to my head with no shape or body. I hardly styled it and it was either in a quick ponytail or mum bun. My eyebrows resembled caterpillars on my face, I don’t even want to talk about other parts that needed grooming. My clothes were the same crap clothes I had bought when I was pregnant. When I told myself these will do for just a few months until I get myself back together.

How I became a frumpy mum without even realising it

As I stared at the person I didn’t want to be I glanced over at my future husband. There he was freshly shaved, wearing his new smart jumper and blazer, freshly cut and styled hair ready to hit the town with the lads. And I suddenly felt ashamed. I looked at myself and hated myself for what I had become. I was disgusting. That fashionable, adventurous woman he had met in Paris was now a dull plain mother in yoga pants. How did this happen? Why the hell does he still want to marry me? But my disgust quickly turned to anger. When was the last time I got to go out with the girls? When was the last time I even had the opportunity to dress up?

I look back over the last few months trying to pinpoint the time I gave up on myself. I couldn’t. It really was gradual. At the start I would always style my hair after washing, then one day I didn’t have the time. I was in a hurry. We had a baby class that we had to get ready for, Gabriel was being difficult and I was stressed and panicked about being there on time and I didn’t style my hair. I just left it. And then the habit begun. It was easier. Jump into the shower quickly and jump out, then start doing all the other things on my to do list.

Slowly my neglected hair turned into comfy easy clothes, then weekly beauty rituals being ignored and then my makeup. I usually never left the house without my tinted moisturiser, mascara and a bit of liner and gloss. Now I would rush out the house with nothing on. It become convenient. It wasn’t that big of a deal. I did it once because I was in a hurry and stressed, then a second time until eventually it became the norm.

So I picked up the phone and scheduled a hair cut. I sat there staring at myself in the mirror. Who are you? And then walks in this beautiful, immaculate woman. She is in her 40s and she is stunning. Hair on fleek, make up on fleek, everything on fricking fleek!!! As she styles my hair she proceeds to tell me she is a mother of 3, and after that I don’t know what she said. I zoned out. I wanted to shoot my self in the foot. A mother of three!! She has three fricking children at home but looks like a goddess. She nurtures herself. Takes time for herselfSomething that I haven’t done, and I realise this is all my fault.

As mothers it is our instinct to nurture our babies and those around us. But one thing we are guilty of, and I know it is not just me, we forget to nurture ourselves. It may feel like it is not that important to skip these little times for yourself because you have so many things to do. But in the long run, it is important. How can others respect you when you don’t respect yourself?? When you look good you feel good, and when you feel good, well everything is good.

So ladies, don’t turn into me. Take some time for yourselves. Your baby will be fine. The dishes can wait but realising you have turned into a frumpy mum way before your time will scar you like it did me.

 

xxx

 

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Why I Won’t Give My Son Cow’s Milk

As my son was approaching his 1st year, I could hardly believe how quickly time had past. My little chubby cherub was no longer a baby. He was approaching Toddlerhood. He could eat the big kids snacks. He could get fitted for his first shoes and of course he no longer needed breastmilk or formula. I was so excited to start this new journey. However when our health visitor strongly advised that we continue to give him 2 of bottles of full fat cows milk a day. My stomach turned. I didn’t want to give him cow’s milk and here is why

I am usually one to follow the advice of a health professional but this advice did not sit well with me. I hate cow’s milk. No scrap that. I absolutely love it, I could drink glass after glass when I was younger. Don’t even mention the word cheese to me. Having lived in France for 8 years cheese had become a part of my existence. No I love the taste of cows milk and all things made from cows milk, but its affects on the body, I hate.

Strong bones…or not

More and more health professionals are now advising against cow’s milk but why? With more research being conducted on the subject, new information about the real benefits of dairy have come to light. Previously praised for its bone enhancing abilities. Scientists now claim that it actually does the opposite. Countries with the lowest dairy consumption are those with the lowest rates of osteoporosis. How can this be? If dairy is full of bone fortifying calcium and minerals then how is it that the countries that consume the biggest amount of dairy and milk products have the highest rate of osteoporosis and lactose intolerance?

A study done on women in Sweden found that those who consumed more than 3 glasses of milk a day doubled their mortality rate.  The thing is that cows milk does contain a lot of calcium and vitamins. However our fragile little human digestive systems are just not able to process it like calves can. And that is where the problem lies. Cows milk is made for calves who have four digestive compartments in their stomachs. When humans drink it, it puts a massive strain on our digestive system. Causing inflammation which can lead to asthma, allergies and digestive issues such as IBS and even autoimmune diseases.

Better For Your Gut Without It

So why am I against dairy? As much as I love cheese, cream and yogurt, I have experienced a change in my health and digestion when I decided to cut it out. Once I stopped dairy my usually slow digestive system improved and general state of health felt a lot better because of it. My brothers who have suffered from severe eczema their whole lives have experienced significant improvements since cutting dairy. With them now being able to reduce their use of steroid creams and treatments.

So what do I do?

Considering all of the above, the idea of feeding my son 2 bottles of cows milk a day leaves a pit in my stomach. Could I be opening him up to digestive issues and allergies by giving him cows milk? If he no longer needs breastmilk, and I don’t want to feed him cows milk then what do I give him?

There are a lot of milk replacements out there, but which one is better for my son? In my household, we are nut milk drinkers. I drink almond milk and my partner drinks hazelnut. Though these are better than cows milk in my opinion, store bought nut milks are not as nutritious as homemade nut milk. Some brands only have 2% of nuts in their ingredients! Along with another array of ingredients I cannot pronounce. So do we ditch milk all together? Or do i start squeezing almonds to get the purest form of milk possible for my tot?

Got Goat’s Milk

With a bit of research i quickly discovered that Goat’s milk is a healthier alternative to Cow’s. Goats milk is easier to digest. It has less curd and contains less lactose. With fewer allergic proteins in the milk it does not cause as much inflammation in the gut like cows milk does and is full of minerals and vitamins. It also contains a higher amount of probiotics, which feed the good bacteria in your gut thus promoting a healthy digestive system.

My son loves it and while he is still young and growing. I will continue to use goats milk for his digestive system.

What are your thoughts?

 

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Has The Vaccination War Gone Too Far?

These last few weeks have been very challenging for me. I have reached the end of my tether on a few occasions and I am not ashamed to admit it. Being a parent is fucking hard no matter how any one wants to sugar coat it. Yes it is the most rewarding job on the planet but nothing worth anything comes easy, and that includes being a mum. I have to admit I hesitated before I decided to write this post. Why ? Not because I want to appear or pretend to be the perfect women, parent, mother with the perfect angel baby but because I was scared of what others were going to think of me. Having a blog means that I have an opportunity to speak my mind about whatever I feel fit but it also means that people all around the world get a glimpse inside my mind and may not always agree with what I am saying.

Parenting has become a huge topic in the blogging world with all these different approaches to raising our kids. People all over the world have opinions and views on the subject, and it has become an excuse to treat our fellow mummies (and daddies) like shit if they do not agree with your point of view. I am a part of a lot of online mum groups, not because I feel like I am fit to tell people what to do with their lives but because I have absolutely no idea what I am doing. I look for support from fellow mums who have been there before and I am there to support other mums who need advice or just someone to listen and understand the struggle. But recently I have been finding it hard to find support.

You see, Gabriel has been a nightmare the last couple of weeks. Clingy, crying, not sleeping and it all started after he got his jabs. Ahh are you starting to understand? The oh so controversial 1 year MMR and Meningitis jabs. Now I am not very opinionated on this subject, for me what parents decide to do for their own children is their business, I can understand both arguments, however I seem to be a minority. It has become a HUGE and to be honest, scary topic, where parents seem to go bat shit crazy at one another. I understand it, I really do. As parents our primal instinct is to protect our children but I feel this war between passionate pro and anti vaxxers has gone too far.

I, as you can see, vaccinate. My son has had all of his vaccinations and my partner and I are up to date on all of our vaccinations. That is what we have chosen to do but I am not going to lie that I have had my fears, as any mother would. There are so many stories out there about the pros and cons of vaccinations that as parents you have no fricking clue what to believe. You just make a decision and hope that it is the right one. So when my son started showing signs of destress after his jabs, I looked for some information and support and what I got back was astonishing. I in no way was entering the vaccination debate, I knew better and really didn’t want to go there, all I wanted was some reassurance that his symptoms and behaviour were normal and to have some advice on how to make things better for him and for me, however mention the words child vaccinations and you are immediately dragged into a tug of war of accusations and belittling comments.

I was not supporting the anti-vaxxer cause by asking this question, nor was I pushing a pro-vaxxer opinion, I just wanted to see if any other children were suffering as much as my little one. Weeks of crying, tantrums, high fevers and a massive hard lump on his leg had me worried. I couldn’t continue giving him calpol everyday for 3 weeks. What I didn’t want to hear was how I may have given my son autism because I chose to vaccinate, or be branded a stupid anti-vaxxer blaming the vaccine for my child’s illness and thus being the reason illness such as the measles are reappearing. I was just a concerned mum asking how others had reacted, my question was no different to me asking if your baby suffered with reflux when fed.

What neither camps fails to understand is that the motives for both sides are the same. At the end of the day, all parents are scared of making a wrong decision, of something horrible happening to their child. The pro-vaxxers believe that if every child and person is vaccinated then that would keep potentially fatal diseases at bay whereas anti-vaxxers believe that the side effects from these manmade vaccines are the cause of certain diseases and developmental issues in children. Maybe just maybe, instead of letting our fears and emotions get the best of us, try and understand that we are all in the same boat and we all want the same things and hopefully the next unoffending mum can be spared the crossfire.

Check out post on being a frumpy mummy.

xxx

 

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