Half Term!

So we are well into February half Term and like all other half terms I start off with the best intentions. I WILL take the kids out for walks (no matter the weather) easier said than done when you’re a Mum who hates anything other than scorching sunshine! I WILL keep on top of homework (because listening to H read the same school book everyday for a week is so exciting)! Anyone else found themselves spelling things out phonetically to other grown ups since kids started school?!

Anyway, I always see these Mums on Facebook, Instagram etc who have “taken the kids to get sushi” or “we took the kids skiing in half term”! Yes, you all know the ones…. the sort that give you mother guilt that you do not do enough with your children. However like most of us, people only show what they choose to show on social media. This doesn’t include the meltdowns ( both Mum and child)… the fact that a “family skiing holiday” actually meant “we took the kids with us but booked them up for the hotel crèche all week”

I am a full time Mummy. I know I am very fortunate to be able to do this, I wouldn’t be able to without my incredibly supportive Mr.
It is what I always wanted to be and has exceeded my expectations. I couldn’t imagine going off to work whilst my little ones are still “little” and leaving them in the care of someone else. Someone else who sees them play, someone else who hears their funny but rude comments, someone else they call for when a graze needs cleaning or a sibling fight broken up. (As I write this there is currently a major cushion fight going on)

The kids don’t care how much we pay to take them somewhere, they’d actually prefer the freedom of a walk in the woods.

My Husband & I have definitely learnt that boys are like dogs, they benefit from getting out, letting off steam and being allowed the freedom to whack anything and everything with a stick or if that fails the couch cushions make a pretty good wrestling ring on the living room floor.

My youngest is 10 months and a GIRL so that will all be new to me, what will future half terms hold, making bead necklaces, colouring in oh so neatly between the lines, days out to the ‘Build A Bear Workshop’ !!!!!!! Oh god I hope she’s a tomboy!

But for now our half terms will continue to consist of sibling arguments, getting out when we can, prying their little hands off the Apple TV remote and then all of us detoxing from the FGTeeV YouTube channel.

Throw in a few seconds of Play Doh and den building and we’ll be fine.
Oh and play dates. We do do those occasionally (only with people we really really like)!

Let the iPad detox begin! 

So in our house the iPads are kind of a big deal. 

Who could blame them, they can play games, take photos, watch other kids play with toys on YouTube (that’s a popular one). We also have them loaded with Disney Life, Netflix, Amazon Prime… you name it! 

Our three year old can within reason take it or leave it, don’t get me wrong he loves using it….. playing all the games his big brother does and watching Hobby Kids Tv & FGTEEV over and over again. But if he’s told no, he’s ok with that. 

We used to have a really relaxed attitude, where basically the kids could pickup and use an iPad whenever they wanted. Then sometime this year it went to ‘weekends only’ due to it being the start of many sibling arguments and more importantly it was all they talked about!

They couldn’t wait to finish Preschool and school to get home and play the latest game that had become an obsession or watch some random kid on the other side of the world unbox their new toy which had magically appeared from the inside of a giant surprise egg (think Kinder Egg but on a much larger scale)!!!! 

My five year old had certainly become attached to the iPad in a big way. He would even carry it up to the toilet with him!

I’m not saying that if  given the choice of going to the park with friends or using the iPad he’d choose the iPad, but if he had any spare time or days where we had to stay home the iPad would definitely be found in Harrison’s possession.

I know this probably doesn’t sound like too much of a big deal, it’s the norm now to see a kid no older than three or four being pushed around in a buggy whilst they display a vague brainwashed look across their face as their chubby little digits hold on to an iPad for dear life. Hell I’ve even done it myself, a way to pacify them whilst watching the eldest at their sports day or getting through a trip to the hairdressers. 

However it had led to a bit of a obsession here, there were tantrums if it was a ‘no iPad day’ or tantrums even if it was, but something on Minecraft hadn’t exactly gone to plan!!

It was all he started to look forward to the weekends for. We definitely noticed a real greed culture starting early when it came to kids toy buying, we are by no means “tight” with money. If the kids want something, 9 out of 10 times we buy it for them, either sooner or later. God you know what it’s like being a parent, you even buy them stuff they don’t  ask for sometimes!!!

But the boys were expecting life to be like all these toy review videos (especially the big time YouTubers who were endorsed to buy everything). I am most definitely guilty of overspending on my kids, but even I was gob smacked to see SACKS of toys being given for EASTER!!!!!!!! Having said this I have to admit I did enjoy sitting down with the kids and watching these videos too, to see all the new stuff the boys were getting excited about and to get ideas for birthdays, Christmas or just plain old treats! What can I say, I’m a pushover! 

We both definitely noticed a change in behaviour on iPad free days. Not so much attitude,  I’m putting this down to school influences and the fact he’s turning 6 (going on 16)! I’m a big fan of letting kids be just that, little kids! They have the rest of their lives to be all grown up and hopefully by that point (whenever it may be)I’ll be glad to see them fly the nest and stand on their own two feet. Plus going out without having to arrange babysitters would be pretty awesome!! 

It may be early days and summer always helps but less time on the iPad is definitely starting to work it’s magic, they are getting out toys they forgot they had. Spending  more time using their imaginations and just generally acting their ages, not the age of some computer geek who still lives  with his mum and thinks it’s the end of the world as we know it  when he dies in a game! 

My boys are perfect and it’s just finding the balance between technology and keeping them little. As it is Fathers Day I should probably mention that without their Dad this would all be so much harder as he really is the one that gets us all outside doing stuff. Boys need that, they need a strong father, someone who spoils them with love but also is tough and says when enough is enough and shows them how to get out into the great outdoors and actually live life!! 

Getting back to basics!

Thrilled to have a girl!!!!

This is something that’s bothered me for quite sometime, since I was expecting my second child. 

Today a little old lady (don’t get me wrong, she was very sweet) was complimenting me on how beautiful my daughter was and how lucky I was. During our brief conversation I mentioned I had two sons also. To which she replied with pure delight “oh so you must have been absolutely thrilled to have her then!”

Yes. Yes I was. 

Although I would have been equally thrilled to have had another boy also!!! ……. today I did not say this, I just smiled politely and said “yes”.

I know these are harmless comments, maybe even natural to presume we are all looking for what we don’t already have to “feel complete” or as a popular one goes “complete the family”!! But I find it a little rude. I know this is surely no ones intention, but would she have been so happy for me if my child sat in the pushchair was a boy and my third boy no less?!! 

When I had Harrison I  just knew that I wanted a brother for him ( and me) two boys seemed like it would be wonderful and it has exceeded my expectations!! I even love seeing them wrestle each other as I know it will be followed with a cuddle and all is forgotten. They have each other’s backs.

When I had Morgan I remember like yesterday bumping into an old collegue with both my gorgeous boys side by side in their pushchair. 

The conversation went like this… 

“Oh I didn’t know you’d had another one”

Me: “Yes, another boy, this is Morgan”

“Oh. ( insert sad face here)….. were you trying for a girl?”

What the actual f#*k?!!! How could anyone be so rude?! I can’t remember what I said at the time I think I was so shocked, but I do know what I’d wished I’d said! “No actually, I was trying for a healthy baby and that’s what I got!”

Maybe it’s just me but I would never say something like that to somebody, something so personal and potentially hurtful! 

I know for some people gender IS a big thing and I have known people who have suffered with gender disappointment, and I would never pretend to know how much that can hurt someone but at the same time I’m afraid to say I don’t understand it. Surely we all want healthy babies, regardless of pink or blue?! Yes we may have a dream of a white pickett fence and inside our darling children of each gender playing in harmony but that’s just a template, a desire, an ideal (for lack of a better word). But although I know of friends who would have loved a little girl or that one extra boy I have never heard them say, “oh I really wish so and so had been a girl instead, I would have loved him much more” or ” I regretted having a second once we found out she was a girl!” Maybe this does happen, I don’t know but I’d like to think if a child is wanted whether planned or unplanned it is loved for who it is, not resented for who it wasn’t! 

I had my two perfect boys and in my mind and my Husbands, our third would be a boy too. It wasn’t until just before our 20 week scan we had noticed differences in my feeling sick (with the boys I couldn’t keep anything down, with the third I HAD to stuff my face to stop from being sick!) all speculation I know but we suspected this one may be a girl. 

We were right and at first I was a little thrown. It took me a few days to get my head round the fact I was going to have a daughter. WE were going to have a daughter. I had never seen my Husband hold a baby girl, I had never raised a baby girl before! It was on one level this whole new door opening but on another it was all the same. I was having another beautiful healthy baby and that was all that mattered to me and that, I would more than happily take any day.

I was never disappointed or felt I wasn’t getting what I wanted, it was simply ‘what you know’. Had I had two girls first, the thought of having a boy would have been slightly weird. 

I do know without any doubt that I would have been as “thrilled” and happy as I am now if Harper had been a boy but I also now feel very fortunate to have a daughter as well as sons as I know to some people this is a huge thing and I feel very lucky to have been blessed with both. 

I usually make a point of saying to people “oh we wouldn’t have minded another boy, just a healthy baby” when I get the strangers congratulating me and my Husband on making a girl!!! But today, today I didn’t. I smiled and politely agreed. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what anybody thinks, what matters is I have three beautiful children who are wanted and loved more than they will ever know.

Also…. clothes shopping for a baby girl is pretty amazing!! 😉 

Mum Strength!

I have wanted for a while now to write about what it means to me to be a mum and what better day than International Women’s Day!!

Obviously you don’t have to be a mother to be an amazing,valuable strong member of the female species (but for me this is my super hero role)!

I had always wanted to be a mother, even through those teenage years where you just shrug off those nosey comments or questions from family members with “I don’t know” or “no way” rather than “one day maybe”!

I also knew I’d want a few kids, and most importantly close together in age was a big one for me. I used to love staying round friends houses where they had siblings around the same age. There always seemed to be so much energy and positivity around, even amid the bickering of who’d borrowed whose clothes or gone into the others bedroom without permission!

I had my first baby in 2011, 9 Months flew by with a very textbook pregnancy. To say I was amazed at what the female body goes through during those 9 months would be an understatement. I finally met my baby after a 32 hour labour that resulted in an emergency c-section. I remember lecturing my Husband in the weeks prior to Harrison’s birth, stressing that if needs be, if something awful were to occur that I wanted baby saved rather than myself. Truth is I hadn’t even brought my baby into the world yet but was already experiencing a love so selfless I didn’t know what had hit me.

Anyway forward on to 2013  and we welcomed Harrison’s baby brother Morgan. Much quicker and easier natural birth (although he’s more than making up for that now!)

I now have a beautiful daughter as well as two handsome handfuls. But before Harper arrived I had suffered a miscarriage, something that until experiencing it first hand I had always imagined would kill me. Don’t get me wrong I was an emotional wreck and would have been much worse without my Husband who as corny as it sounds truly is my rock! I could still tell you when he/she would have been due and all the details of the day it happened but I HAD to carry on. I had two little boys who needed me and it wasn’t until then that I realised how strong I could be if I had to be. I think Mums are some of the strongest women out there, because they have to be. They have to get on with whatever shit gets thrown at them. Some of us are lucky enough to have amazing support from our Husbands, partners, friends or family but for those who don’t… I really take my hat off to you. You can’t wake up one morning and think ” I don’t feel like changing the baby today or setting out for the journey to school” these things have to be done despite whatever frame of mind we happen to be in that day. I’ve taken the kids to play dates when all I’ve really wanted to do is stay home and not have to smile at anyone. Or done the school drop off with a raging migraine. Yet we still smile and say all the nessasary pleasantries to the other mums at the school gates, only to then have to deal with a toddler tantrum thrown in for good measure!

I really didn’t know how strong emotionally and physically I was until I became a mum! For that I wouldn’t swap being a woman for the world!