family

Now you are two… 

This time 2 years ago, I was getting my last minute bits and pieces packed to go to the hospital to be induced. I don’t think I quite grasped how much my life was going to change, for the better of course! I went in as a wife, a daughter and a friend, but 3 days later I left as a mother. 

I always had my guesses about what motherhood would be like: I’d read the books, attended the parent craft classes. But I don’t think anything could prepare me for the changes I was about to experience. 

I’ve become a better version of me, the version that puts one little person before herself,  in everything she does. The version that understands that sometimes it’s ok to do iPad parenting and to feed your children beige food. The version that strives to make each day happy for someone other than herself. 

I’ve learnt to be more patient; That sometimes he isn’t being ‘bad’ and that he’s just struggling to express himself. 

I’ve learnt to be more understanding. Understanding that to him, I am everything. When he cries in the middle of the night, he just wants love from his mummy. Understanding that his tantrums are (sometimes) the only way he can express himself. 

I’ve learnt to be more loving. The minute my precious little bundle was placed in to my arms, I just knew I’d never felt a love more strong in all of my life. Two years on, I still feel that way… Every single day. My love has grown. Each day I find a new thing to love about him, even more so than the last! 

My tiny, squishy faced newborn has been replaced by my big, handsome, loving and mischievous little boy. 

The past two years have been a roller-coaster of emotions. There have been times that I’ve felt that I’ve got this parenting thing sussed. That I am Supermum. There have been times when I question what I’m doing wrong, and doubt that I’m cut out for being a mum. 

There are perfect days, and there are not so perfect days. And that’s OK with me. Each day that we are blessed with Adam, is a little bit more perfect than the day before. 

And now he is 2. How have two years passed already? They say time flies when you’re having fun. How true is that statement? Watching the tiny human that you created grow, learn how to roll, how to crawl, walk, talk and everything else in between is magical! 

I’m excited to see how he gets on at school, excited to see what he ends up doing with his life, excited to watch him grow further and explore the big bad world on his own. But for now, I’m enjoying helping him, nurturing him and teaching him how to be the best version of himself, just as he has taught me. 

Emma xx

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The friends you meet in the strangest of places… 

Have you ever watched the show Catfish? Where people have online relationships and hope that they are talking to who they think they are?!

Well, luckily, we aren’t going to be appearing any time soon.

I have to firstly apologise to my lovely husband, who has been ignored for the past few weeks, while I chat to other women online.

These women are the ones I talk to about dirty nappies, huffy toddlers, the need for a large gin some nights and when the other half annoys me (sorry Phil 😉)

Is it strange, that until today,  I’d only met a handful of them?

I talk to these girls almost every day, share bits of my life with them, yet I don’t really know them.

Today, Adam and I took ourselves up to the Junction in Antrim, where we met 7 mums and their beautiful kids for a little play date! All but one of them I met through Instagram!

The JCB Young driver centre was the perfect place for a meet up. With 8 adults and 13 kids to squeeze in, there was plenty of room for us all, as well as plenty to keep the kids occupied!

It’s funny how a few years ago, the thought of meeting up with strangers online would have petrified me! Goodness only knows who you could be talking to. But from sharing snippets of our lives online, I feel you get to know people, without actually meeting them in person.

This bunch of girls are at the other end of the phone every night, to keep me calm on the nights when Adam won’t go to sleep, they’re there to cheer with me when he goes to sleep like a little angel (like tonight, thanks Adam 😉) They’re there for giving totally non judgemental advice when it comes to all things parenting, and for that I’ll be forever grateful!

With my anxiety at the minute, it’s hard for me to put myself out there and meet new people, but these girls made it so easy today!

We’ve already planned our next meet up, plus one without the kids is in the pipeline too 🍷 😉.

So put yourself out there, don’t be scared to talk to that stranger, you never know, they might have more in common with you than you think!

Emma xx

family

Is this the real life? Or is it just fantasy? 

“You never know what’s going on behind closed doors.” 

How true is this statement?

On my Instagram, I receive some lovely, uplifting messages about how happy our life looks. 

Yes, we have our downs as well as our ups, but who doesn’t? But do we always share our downs? I know I don’t. They get swept under the carpet and I put a brave face on and face the world. 

So here I am, sharing the lows as well as the highs… 

A while ago, I was diagnosed with depression. Something that I’ve only really shared with close friends and family. I am attending counselling sessions to help me through it, as I would like to stay off antidepressants if I can. 

I’m yet to figure out where it has stemmed from, or what has caused it, but as I continue along the journey,  I have figured out what makes it worse. 

Sweeping things under the carpet – this definitely does not help. It has taken me some time to learn that a problem shared is a problem halved. 

Comparing – I have found myself comparing my life, weight, everything to other Mums on Instagram. Until I realised that, like me, most of them are probably only sharing what they want people to see! Their perfectly clean and tidy home probably has a pile of dirty dishes out of the shot. The trim mum with the 6 pack probably has as many body hangups as I do. It’s not always ‘real life’ and all is definitely not as it seems! 

Admitting it – I felt down for quite a while before I actually decided to do anything about it. It took a lot for me to walk in to my gp and say how I felt. I cried, I felt silly, but by admitting it I got the support I needed!  

As I sat with my counsellor today, we laughed together. To her, I have everything a lot of 26 year olds would want! I have a hard working and supportive husband, a beautiful, clever and loving child, a wonderful family and extended family, a nice house, a nice car and a steady job. So what is there to be sad about? 

Well, that’s just it. Happiness can’t be measured by the things, or the people, we have in our life. 

I think, in a world that has gone social media crazy,  that’s what we need to remember. Just because somebody seems to have it all, doesn’t mean they do. Behind those little squares is real life and it isn’t always as picture perfect as it looks. 

Having depression and anxiety is hard at the best of times, I’m sure! But having it as a parent is really tough. There are days when I can barely rustle up the energy to get myself ready, never mind get Adam ready and try and make the day fun for him too! But part of my job as a mother is to make him happy. How can I do that when I feel so low? 

I just have to get up and get on with it, as hard as it may be. I have to continue to post uplifting pictures that show that everything is ok. Because that’s what I want my boy to remember; the mum who, while fighting her own battles, put him first and continued living life to the full. 

And that’s what I’ll continue to do. So for those of you who think my life is ‘perfect’, there is no such thing. You have to create your own version of perfect that is personal to you, not what is deemed perfect by the rest of the world. 

Emma xx

If anybody is feeling low more often than not, please speak to somebody. Whether it be a friend, family member, or a health care professional. There is help out there in many varieties, all you have to do is ask xx

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When did we become grown ups? 

A (very) rare night out with friends has me wondering, just when did we become grown ups?

Long gone are the days where we only went out after 10pm. Now 10pm comes and we’re discussing whether we can manage to stay out for another drink or not!

I’m sure part of the reason that I haven’t managed to stay out past midnight since becoming a mother, is due to the fact that we’re baby free and want an early night!…. No, not that sort of an early night, an actual early night.. With plenty of sleep!! I’ve said it before in posts, Adam’s a great sleeper, always has been. But it’s still lovely to know that there will definitely be no little feet wandering in to your room in the middle of the night as they’ve had a bad dream/dropped their pillow off the bed/they’re too warm/too cold/need a drink, etc.

It’s also nice to know that your body can wake up when it’s ready to, even though when given the opportunity, my body still wakes up at the crack of dawn. 😴

Adam doing a fantastic impression of a parent with a hangover 🙈

Maybe it’s down to the fact that deep down I know that parenting with a hangover is definitely not fun. Especially not with a toddler to keep amused. I have done it once, over a year ago, and I swore I would never do it again! Lesson well and truly learnt!

We don’t have many nights out anymore. I could count on one hand the amount of nights we have been out since Adam was born, half a hand would probably do it actually. 😂 It takes far too much effort to make myself look presentable enough for a night on the town! I used to love nothing more than getting my glad rags on, getting all dolled up and heading out for the night. But these days, a cosy night in front of the television in my pyjamas, trumps any night out 🙈

Does this make me boring? Or does it just make me a grown up?

I can’t decide, how does everyone else feel about nights out, or the lack of, these days?

Emma xx

family

“Mummy, Mummy!” 

Those little words that I longed to hear.

Since I was a little girl, I always knew I wanted to have children. Never did I think that the road to becoming a mother would be difficult. I just assumed that women had babies when they were older.

Even at a young age, attending an after schools club in a day nursery, I was allowed to go to the baby and toddler rooms and ‘help out’ with the children. I think it was then that I decided, yep, that’s it. I’m going to be a mummy when I’m older.

So fast forward several years, I met the man of my dreams, got married and we quickly decided to start trying for a family. Luckily, he wanted to be a parent as much as I did!

Proud parents on Adam’s christening day

A year had passed, and still nothing had happened. We were hurt, confused and a little worried, but we didn’t want to give up on our dream of becoming parents.

Another 6 months passed and with each negative test, each month of heartbreak, we were becoming increasingly worried. We decided to go to the doctor and find out where we were going wrong. Several weeks of tests followed, we were told that we were both the problem!

At that time, we thought, well that’s it. It just isn’t going to happen for us!  We were put on the waiting list for IVF and I was told I’d be starting a fertility drug called Clomid in a few months time if we hadn’t been called for IVF treatment by then.

Those months we spent waiting for a letter to start treatment were painful. To tell the truth, we just gave up. We couldn’t cope with the disappointment each month and were slowly coming to terms that it was always just going to be the two of us (and our two dogs!)

The letter finally arrived in mid November, and informed us that treatment was due to begin on Friday 4th December 2014. We were ecstatic, nervous, happy, excited and every other emotion under the sun when we received it.

On Monday 1st December, I had been feeling a bit odd. I’d been sick that morning, and just didn’t feel ‘normal’. We joked that I could be pregnant, not a joke we usually made with each other, but due to the fact we were starting treatment in 4 days, it felt ok to joke.

I still have these in Adam’s memory box!

Then this happened! I think we were in shock at first, then fear hit in! All the what ifs going round in our heads. We couldn’t understand it. I was told I didn’t ovulate, so how could this be possible?!

But it was, a quick visit to the doctor the next day confirmed it. Our dreams were coming true and our little miracle baby didn’t want to keep us waiting for him. Making the phonecall to the fertility clinic was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. Hearing the total stranger on the other end of the phone’s genuine excitement and happiness for us, as I told her I was pregnant and would no longer require our appointment in just 3 days time was great!

Our pregnancy announcement

Now that Adam is very nearly 2, hearing “Mummy, Mummy” still takes my breath away sometimes. Not at silly o’clock in the morning, or the days he repeats it constantly, but the times when he follows it up with, “love youuuu”, or when he calls out to me when he needs something. They are truly special words and I don’t think he’ll ever understand how much a simple word means so much to me!

Being a mummy is exactly what I dreamed it would be, and so much more. Of course there are hard days too, but anything worth having isn’t going to be easy!

I hope if anyone going through fertility treatment, or struggling to conceive, reads this, they get a little bit of comfort from it.

Miracles do happen: Never give up on your dreams!

Emma xx

family

I suck at being a friend right now.. 

Following on from my mum friend post, I realised just how hard it is to make time for the friends you already have, never mind trying to make new ones!

I absolutely, wholeheartedly, suck at being a friend right now!

I work (granted it’s only part time and 3 or 4 days a week), I run a house, I am ‘Mum’ and, when we actually get a day off together, I am ‘Wife’ too. So where, in our week, do I get to be ‘friend?’

As mentioned, I get 3, sometimes 4, days off a week as I work part time; which I’m pretty lucky to be in a position to do! On my days off I’m trying to catch up with housework, running errands, trying to have fun with Adam and spending quality time with my family, to name but a few tasks!

So where do my friends fit in to this?!

I’ve said before, and I’m not ashamed to admit, I have a very small circle of friends. A circle that I value more than they will ever know. I do try my best to see everyone regularly, but sometimes it just isn’t possible!

This week for example. My days off are already planned to perfection. Between catching up on the pile of washing that’s been waiting on me for a week, to birthday parties that we must attend, to returning clothes before my 14 day window runs out… You catch my drift!

Sometimes, I physically don’t have the time to make plans. And sometimes, this is where me being a rubbish friend comes in to play, I just don’t want to. Sometimes, all I want to do on my days off is have a lazy day in the house with Adam, with little or no distractions, or plans to stick to!

But it’s oh so important to me to keep the wonderful friends that I already have!

So this post is for my wonderful, loyal and understanding friends. I’m sorry I’m not always available to meet up. I’m sorry I’m not always able to reply to your messages. I’m sorry for probably not keeping in contact as much as I should.

I’m thankful for you always being on the end of the phone, even if we haven’t spoken in a week or two. And most of all, I’m thankful for you always being there and still trying to make plans, even if I can’t always keep them.

True friends are never apart, maybe by distance.. But never by heart ♥ 

Emma xx

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W5 Belfast 

Enjoying the view of the River Lagan from inside W5

After wondering whether Adam would be too young to enjoy w5, we finally took the plunge and paid it a visit earlier in the year. He loved it, and so did we!

With so much to do, for adults and kids alike, on our most recent visit last week, we decided to purchase season tickets for the attraction. (If you visit regularly, these are definitely worth the money!)

Under threes go free so there really is no excuse not to pay them a visit and have a great family day out in return!

Our favourite part of the experience is the Discovery area. This is an area designed for under 8s. They have everything you could ever need under one roof for allowing children to use their imaginations. There’s a shop, a car garage with a real car to explore, as well as a section to build a formula one car, an interactive art section, a huge train set, a farmyard, building and megablock areas, dolls houses, a water section and so much more! We have been there twice and still haven’t managed to fit every section in.

Each light that you walk under makes a noise, this is one of Adam’s favourite things here!

Aprons are provided at this section to keep their clothes dry, however a member of staff offered to tumble dry Adam’s top as he still managed to get it wet. Now that’s great service!
Testing out the Fiat 500 in Discovery

With a cafe serving scones, sandwiches and tray bakes or an indoor picnic area for you to bring your own food along,  it really is a great place for a day out for all the family.

Emma xx

family, new, parenting, Uncategorized

Mum friends

As a child, you could walk up to your chosen human and say, “Do you want to be my friend?” And if they said yes, then that was that. Best friends forever, well, until you fell out over a boy/whose turn it was to do something/etc.

As an adult, it just doesn’t work like that.

I have a very small group of friends. A group that I treasure and trust with my entire life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with my friends, they wouldn’t be in my life if I wasn’t! But sometimes, I just wish I had more ‘Mum friends.’

Friends that just get it when you’re having a bad day, and can sympathise with the tantrums.

Friends that also have to plan ahead for trips out.. Is there somewhere for my child to get suitable food, do I have nappies, wipes, a drink, a change of clothes, a muslin cloth, a toy car… Or ten… The list goes on!

Friends that understand that you can’t keep to the plans you made as your little one needs you.. But they still ask you out the next time.

Since becoming a mum, I’ve noticed my invitations to head out for a drink, or to be involved in nights out, have dramatically reduced. Yes, there are many nights when I can’t get out as my husband works late. There are many nights when I don’t want to go out, and all I want to do is be at home with my family. Yet it seems that people forget that you’re still you, even though you are ‘Mum’ too!

We still enjoy having time off from being mum too!

I am quite an introvert, I’ve always been that way. Making friends and even starting conversations has never come easily to me. I tried the baby classes, I tried the mums & tots groups. But yet, here I am, without my mum ‘tribe’ that everyone talks so much about.

So, how are we supposed to make mum friends?

On Instagram, I like to think I have made some!  It’s a fantastic place for meeting like minded people. There really is a wonderful community of Mums on Instagram, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t so grateful for the ones I follow and class as friends. They’ve been invaluable to me during my journey through parenthood, especially in the past year!

Can we muddle through this parenthood journey with just friends that we talk to online?

Do you have your ‘Mum tribe?’ How did you find them? I’m sure I’m not the only one in this position, motherhood can be lonely at times!

I’ll always have my beautiful boy, and he’s my best friend. Sometimes, however, it would be nice to have more adult conversations and not just chats about cars, animals and farts 🙈

Emma xx

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Mum guilt 

Some days Adam gets fish fingers, chips and if he’s really lucky, beans for dinner instead of a lovingly home cooked roast dinner.. And that’s OK!

Some days I stick the tablet in front of him so that I can have 10 minutes peace… And that’s OK!

Some days I consider sticking him up for sale as the terrible twos are a killer… And that’s also OK, as long as I don’t go through with it 😉

He’ll hate me for this photograph when he’s older!

Motherhood is a tough journey, there are lows, but there are also so many highs!

Photo credit : Pinterest

So, you didn’t breastfeed, you don’t only cook organic food, and you’d give your right arm for a day of being just you, and not mum. So what?

I think we’d all agree that we’ve had bad days, but the good outweighs them. You are doing a super job, Mama! Don’t ever forget it! That little person thinks you are fabulous, and he/she is the only one that counts.

We all have different expectations on parenthood, and different ideas on how our children should be brought up. Our end goal is all the same though; to have happy, healthy children!

Be supportive to each other, praise the highs and sympathise with the lows. We’re all in this together!

Emma xx

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Time spent with loved ones is time well spent 

I’m lucky enough to be able to work part time. Ever since I left school I’ve been in full time employment, but when Adam came along, I just knew that I wanted to be at home as much as possible!

With the support of my husband, I changed jobs after maternity leave was over. And with the support of my mum, who looks after Adam when I’m at work, I was able to go part time without worrying about hefty childcare costs taking most of my salary!

Being a working mum is difficult. Trying to split your time between working, running a home, being a mum and being a wife is hard. Women have been doing it for years though, my mum managed to hold down a full time job, look after the house and be a super mum all at the same time!

Finding the balance is important. To Adam, it’s not about how much money we make and spend on him. All he cares about is having us spending time with him. With our shifts, it’s not always possible to have proper family time.

So that’s why we try to make the most of the time that we do get! This weekend, we were lucky enough to both be off (this NEVER happens!) I’ll apologise now for the beach, park and goodness knows what else that will be spammed on my Instagram feed. But my goodness, isn’t family time just great for the soul?!

On Saturday, we took a trip to my husband’s family caravan in Waterfoot. Six members of the family all have caravans on the same site, and most people on the site have been there since Philip was a child, so you’re always guaranteed to run in to somebody you know! Luckily, this weekend near enough his whole family were down, that meant plenty of cousins for Adam to play with. (It also meant plenty of adults to watch the kids playing so hubby and I could steal a rare 5 minutes alone with a cuppa!)

He was all proud of himself for scoring goals

We played football, played rugby, splashed  in the sea, built sandcastles, ate ice cream and chased ducks (Adam, not me 🙈) We even got to watch some dirt bikers do their thing on the beach! And no trip to the seaside would be complete without chips in the paper.. Slimming world starts again today!

He can’t even go in to the sea without bringing a car with him…

The sun was shining and it really was a perfect day!

Philip and I actually got engaged when we were on a trip to the caravan 6 years ago! The place doesn’t just hold so many memories for Philip, growing up and spending his childhood summers there. But also for me, as it’s where I said, “YES!” to the man of my dreams!

Waterfoot Beach – our second home!

This weekend cost us less than a fiver for a portion of chips and a few ice-creams (minus the diesel used)! And, if I’m honest, it’s been one of the best!

For Adam, being outdoors playing and having both his parents there, is what makes him happy.. along with a biscuit or two 😜… And that’s all that matters!

A weekend well spent brings a week of content… And this mama is hoping for no tantrums this week!

A girl can dream…

Emma xx

family

Being a mum.. 

What does being a mum mean? 

  • It means no longer putting yourself first. You are last in the list of priorities now. There is a little person who is relying on you for everything, so what if you don’t get your hair washed for the third day in a row!  So what if you resemble a Halloween costume instead of your usual pristine self! Your little human looks and feels good, and that’s what matters now! 
  • It means it being socially acceptable to discuss bowel movements and bodily fluids over a meal! Working in a nursing environment, this became the norm for me quite some time ago, but for mums that haven’t discussed poo over lunch before, this can be a shock to the stomach! When I come home from work and ask my husband what him and Adam got up to today, I like to hear about the fun stuff, but I also want to know: did he eat well? And did he poo? (please tell me it’s not just me?!) 

I’m not sure why I like to keep tabs on Adam’s bodily functions, I think it just reassures me that he’s going regularly and not uncomfortable. 🙈 

  • Being a mum means that you let a little piece of your heart walk around outside of your body for the rest of your life. Adam has completely stolen my heart, and well and truly ran away with it! Not a day goes by when I don’t thank my lucky stars that we have him in our lives. 
  • It’s knowing that somebody loves you as much as you love them… Unconditionally. Adam currently thinks it’s hilarious to say no and shake his head when I ask him if he loves me. However, I know he loves me. I don’t need him to tell me so! The way he looks at me melts my heart, you can’t deny the love then. The way he reaches out for my hand for reassurance if he’s unsure of something, the way only mama’s cuddles will do when he’s upset and the way he shouts out for me if he has fallen or needs something. Those things show me he loves me. So, Adam, you keep playing your game, I know you love me 😉 

    • Being a mum means being totally overwhelmed almost every day. I was never an emotional person before I had Adam, but now I cry almost daily. Happy tears usually,but there are moments when it all gets too much. I fill up with pride when he says a new word, or learns something new. In the early days I cried from lack of sleep. I’m not going to dwell on this point as I’ve had about 4 weeks worth of sleepless nights in the past (almost) 2 years, and many are still enduring them daily. We’ve been very lucky with regards to sleep, I don’t think it’s something we’ve taught him as such, I reckon we just hit lucky! If we have another baby, we’ll probably get a bad sleeper! In those early days, lack of sleep was awful! To go from a full night’s sleep, every night, to one or two unbroken hours was extremely hard, but being a mum means that you get up and get on with it. Fuelled by copious amounts of coffee, of course! 
    • Being a mum means constantly feeling guilty about something. Some days I feel guilty about not breastfeeding for long enough, other days it’s because I didn’t cook him a completely healthy, organic dinner! Guilty for going to work and leaving him in the care of my family, guilty for going part time as that means less money coming in to the house. Guilty for not having time on my days off to just turn off and spend them totally with him. Guilty for not taking him enough places and guilty for not making mum friends, which means very few baby friends for Adam! 

    I’m only 20 months in to this motherhood journey, there’s many more experienced women than me, but I’m guessing that the guilt will never go away, that what I feel guilty for will just change as he gets older. 

    Being a mum has changed me. I didn’t know I needed to change, but he’s taught me how to be a better version of myself and for that I will be forever grateful! 

    Emma xx