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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.

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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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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