If I could turn back time

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I don’t mean I want to forget about that guy I once dated or that job I hated, although there’s been a few of those. I’m talking about my life just 4 years ago.

Please don’t get me wrong I love Mr S and the Rockstar but some days, usually when I’m sleep deprived or searching for work, I do find myself thinking about my life before them. More often or not imagining my life with just Mr S.

We didn’t have much time as a two, we were pretty swift in becoming three and I don’t regret that for a minute. At my age it was a gift, which is why I feel guilty having these thoughts of my life before them.

I find myself thinking about how I’d plan my weekend after a really busy week at work, where I’ve only eaten bar snacks with drinks after work, hit the gym a few times and attended more meetings that I care to mention. My weekend would consist of a lie in, breakfast out reading the papers, shopping for an outfit to wear out with the girls followed by a lazy Sunday and a roast in a fab gastro or an afternoon in front of the TV. Yes, I admit it I miss those days.

We were looking for a holiday last week for the 3 of us and we’re lucky enough that Rockstar is at an age where we don’t have to go to ‘kidtastic’ so we can still stay in a reasonably grownup hotel, but we do have to think about the flight time. I would love to jet off to Thailand and reminisce over the holiday where I met Mr S or suggest we fly to my favourite family holiday destination of Barbados but things have changed. Maybe Vegas for the weekend or just a weekend at The Pig.

If we didn’t have the Rockstar then Mr S and I could jet off, he’d take some encouragement to be spontaneous but he’d go with it – we’d be living the DINKY life (Double Income No Kids Yet).

I had to take the car to the garage this morning during rush hour, I sat in traffic imagining myself driving to the office for a full days work, sitting at a desk, drinking hot coffee, being challenged and creative. I miss that. I guess I am still adapting to my challenges, the 2 year old gives you many, not working full time takes away you’re independents. I constantly question ‘ who am I now?’.

I’ve got a few girls nights and lunches in the diary over the next month – outings are a bit like buses, you have none for ages then they all come at once. I feel bad about leaving Mr S with the boy but I think I need it.

This Friday went to a talk with Giovanna Fletcher – you know that fab couple (she’s married to Tom Fletcher) who seem to have it sussed holding down two very successful careers and two kids. I went on my own which I was looking forward too, to just sit and listen to someone else talk about life experiences and feelings.

On Saturday I had a sleep over at my sisters, no kids and going out out! I’d rather we were cashing in those Virgin Atlantic miles I have stored up from my days of far away holidays and we were jetting off on a little weekend away with her somewhere sunny. Maybe next month if I can convince Mr S!

Is it wrong that I crave being at an airport? sat at the bar having a drink and a magazine that I know I will get to read from cover to cover, not worrying about whether we have enough toys to entertain the boy on the flight and being anxious about him screaming for 4 hours.

Is it wrong I crave to lay in the bath? with a glass of wine not listening out for the little man to wake or to organise more than 1 night away for some sight seeing and wine drinking.

Just to sit on the sofa and watch some crap tv WITHOUT the guilt would be great!

I do have a lot to be thankful for in my life, a great husband, a gorgeous child and a lovely home, in fact my gorgeous boy has just woken up and told me he loves me. One day he will be grown up so I will be free to do the things I occassionaly crave but as an older parent I will be so much older so will it even be possible.

So for now I will I just let myself be transported back and allow myself a sliding door moment.

 

 

 

 

Does he think I am ‘just’ a stay at home mum?

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Before everyone jumps down my throat – there is nothing wrong with being a stay at home mum, I am for most of the time. I have posted before about the pros and cons to stay at home vs work. I just worry about the effect it may have on my son.

I am really keen for my son to be a nice boy. I’m not saying a mummies boy just a nice, kind caring lad. As a family we have good values and morals, we help each other, we love each other and we all muck in when we need too so I think we will be ok on that front.

I worry that two year old has come out with some comments that have made me think about how I teach him about equality. He questioned why daddy was using ‘mummy’s hoover’, I asked the same question!

If he could write a diary of our day I worry it would go something like this.

I woke up in the night and mummy came in to see me, she stays until I went back to sleep. Daddy stayed in bed as he has work today although mummy did say she was super tired too.

When we all got up daddy went for a shower, mummy just got dressed, I don’t really see mummy in the shower much, she says she has one when I’m asleep or at nursery, which is just as well as I’m hungry and need my breakfast. Mummy rushes around in the kitchen making me three types of breakfast as I can’t decide what I want, I sit next to daddy while he eats his breakfast and watches Peppa Pig with me. Mummy is crashing around in the kitchen emptying the dishwasher and clearing up after daddy and me. She always nags daddy about wiping up the crumbs.

I cry again this morning when daddy goes to work, I don’t want daddy to go and sob for 10 minutes. Mummy looks sad that I cry for daddy and tries to make me feel better by saying we’re going to do fun things today. 

We go back downstairs, mummy said she just needs to have a quick tidy up and gets the hoover out. I rarely see daddy with this noisy toy, mummy whizzes around me. She’s good at not running over my feet or my cars.

We get ready to go out and jump in mummy’s big car. Daddy’s car only has 2 seats I love going in that car. I think mummy had a sporty car before I came along.

While we’re in the car, mummy calls daddy to ask him what he wants for tea and talk about Christmas shopping. Mummy said something about doing it on Saturday while daddy is at the rugby. I know daddy can hear me so I start shouting daddy at work, daddy at work.  Mummy gets a bit grumpy she asks me nicely to be quiet for a bit.

Mummy was right we do have fun today, we go to my swimming lesson, there is a girl with her daddy and I wish my daddy could come sometimes. Then we play at Mamma and Papa’s house I got all the toys out, mummy was pleased when Mamma said she would put them away. Mummy sat on the sofa and drank a warm drink. I don’t see her doing this much.

We had to pop home, as I needed some lunch. I was tired so mum had to feed me like a baby. I started to get a bit grumpy so mum popped me to bed. She said she was just popping downstairs; she looked tired so I hope she had a little nap. (She didn’t, she did some online Christmas shopping)

When mummy woke me up, she said we were going to the farm, it was cool, she said we both needed some fresh air. After that we had to go to the supermarket so mummy could buy our food. She let me have a treat as soon as we walk in to the super market; I knew we were going to be in here along time. Mummy made me practice my songs for the nursery Christmas concert while we did the shopping, she didn’t seem to mind that she looked silly doing all the actions.

We stopped to talk to a lady she knows, the lady asked if mummy was working at the moment – ‘of course she’s not, she’s looking after me’. Oh, maybe that’s what mummy does when I go to nursery. I thought it was just daddy that went to work. I never see mummy in smart clothes, we wear jeans and trainers everyday.

When we get home I decide to get every toy I own out on to the floor, I didn’t want mummy to do the washing or sit at her computer, so I ask her to sit on the floor and play with me. She does. She checks her phone sometimes and takes pictures of me playing.

After we’d played cars, trains and hide n seek mummy makes me some food and pops it on my table. She comes and sits with me with a cup of coffee. I eat it up like a good boy for her.

It’s getting dark outside and mummy starts to put all the toys away. She puts something quiet on the TV and tells me to get a book for a story. We sit on the sofa for a cuddle. I think I might be tired.

Then I hear the front door open and I hear ‘ Hello anyone home’, Hurrah it’s daddy, time to play. I jump off mum’s lap as Daddy comes running in. The room gets noisy. I watch mummy make dad a cup of tea, gives him a quick kiss and say she’s going for a wee. I don’t follow her and stand at the door as I usually do; I carry on playing with dad.

When mummy comes back, daddy and I have made a mess again; she walks through the lounge and starts cooking tea. Mummy keeps warning daddy that it’s bath time and bed soon, so we should calm down.

Mummy runs the bath and gets my pj’s ready. Daddy is the one that plays with me in the bath, mummy sometimes sits and watches, telling daddy about our day, there’s lots of things she tells him that I must have missed – she’s called the doctor, changed my nursery days, organised her birthday lunch. She always tells him I’ve been a good boy, I expect she tells him about my little tantrums later.

Mummy gets me dry and dressed in my pj’s, daddy doesn’t do it as well as mummy. He tries to play a game while he dresses me but gets in a bit of a mess. Mummy says it’s quicker if she does it.

Daddy asks if I want a story or to watch one episode of Bing. I go for the TV option the three of us lay on the bed and watch. Mum gets up to fetch my milk and comes back to take me to my room. I start to scream that I want daddy to do my milk, I want a cuddle from him. So mummy says good night and leaves us to it. 

I can hear mummy ask daddy some questions about food so she must be off to cook his tea. Daddy joked and said ‘ I’ll do it when I come down darling’. I look across my bedroom, my duvet is new and my clothes for tomorrow are all ready, when did mummy do that?

I remember all the toys are still out all over the floor. Poor mummy! I drift off to sleep.

Thinking he sees me as the stay at home mum already worries me, he doesn’t see my sitting at the laptop as working. I need my son to know that I do work, just like daddy. I’m not in an office and the hours aren’t as long hours as before he was born but I do work, he just doesn’t know it!

I also run the house, making sure everyone is fed, watered and clothed whilst organising all the fun stuff too. Maybe I need daddy to do a bit more cooking and tiding up in front of Rocco!

I want him to know that mummy thrives to be the best mummy and teach him how to cook, clean and use the dishwasher! I want him to know that working hard is a good thing but I will also teach him to be caring and loving while taking the knocks that life will throw at him.

Rocco doesn’t remember the days when I worked full time in an office, as he was only 4 months when I returned back to work before being made redundant. He doesn’t remember how I sacrificed spending days with him, for a job that gave me independence. I know our current lifestyle isn’t forever, there will be days where mummy does go out to work, daddy does more at home and Rocco goes to nursery more often – how will he see our family makeup then?

Social Media – As parents do we share too much?

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This week I posted a picture of my dad in hospital, he asked me to. It was after an emergency heart procedure, I think he was pushing for sympathy and comments – he got them by the bucket load. They helped him and us feel a lot better, knowing we had support from his friends and my friends. It felt strange to post something so personal but it felt good in the long run.

It got me thinking about how much I share online? I play around with my blog, just to ‘vent’ but I happily express my feelings and issues on parenting. On Facebook I try to be cryptic sometimes, it doesn’t always work. I vowed never to be that parent that posted pictures of my child, it didn’t work, I am that person.

How will Rocco feel about me letting the world see him in fancy dress outfits, covered in ice cream, looking super cute in a santa baby grow? On Insta I try and be more arty, it doesn’t work, the extent of me being creative is turning the image into black and white.

I don’t post pictures or topics that would encourage debate or be controversial. Some people post about how bad their week is, how much they hate their job or how their kids are driving them mad. Others write one liner cryptic messages, awaiting the sympathy comments.

If the status offers advice or knowledge then go ahead and post it, if you’re telling me what you’ve done today, what you had for lunch and what you watched on TV then I’m not sure I need to know.

The trouble is I know I do it and I hate it.

The parents I know tend to post about milestones in their child’s life – She rolled over, he walked, she used the potty. Sometimes it can sound a bit competitive or I tend to take it that way. I sometimes question my parenting skills or my son’s development just because of something I’ve read on social media. Ridiculous.

Around my son’s birthday I always get nostalgic about him being premature and super tiny when he was born, so found myself re-posting pics of him when he was born and how lucky I feel. I can hear my followers say ‘ oh no not again’, ‘I had a tiny baby and don’t go on about it every year’. Why would I share that journey? I was told we would regress and re-live that time of our lives, not sure it needs to be shared though. I hope sometimes that it helps anyone that is going through the same thing.

This week I spotted a ‘celeb’ posted a pic of her breast feeding her baby whilst playing with her niece. It was a super cute picture, they had matching outfits on but she got backlash she got from posting a picture of her breast feeding. She’s been an advocate for breast feeding in public but I wondered why she feels the need to do it.

Then another blogger has been ridiculed for posting pictures of her son wearing really cool unisex clothes. Personally I think he looks great but again she got backlash for it.

Product Endorsement is another really annoying social media gripe of mine. I understand how product endorsement works on social media. But I think the celebs should be honest and say they’ve been given the teeth whitening kit for free. Don’t set up the shot, people aren’t stupid. If you’ve been lucky enough to be sent product, as I have in the past, and you like it then by all means promote it on social media. Word of mouth is the best advertising.

I feel like a mass contradiction to be honest, social media is addictive: it sells, it allows people to communicate, you can share happy times with friends, you can gloat that you’re in sunnier climes by posting those gorgeous beach photos.

That said, maybe think twice before you post a status and before you comment. I am going to remember that not everyone wants to know my son has learnt to drive his go kart around a circuit at the age of 3 (here’s hoping) Social Media is real, you can hurt someones feelings and once it’s written or posted that it is it, it’s done.

Also published;

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/tamara-spurway/social-media-as-parents-d_b_13208644.html

 

Losing a parent

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This really isn’t something I’ve ever wanted to think about, I’ve still got a 96 year old Grandma – we’re made of stern stuff. Until this week when my old dad (not so old actually) was admitted to hospital for emergency heart surgery. He’d had a few pains and had some tests with inconclusive results, in hindsight for too long. Last week he was advised not to fly to Barbados on holiday in 2 days time and was booked into see a consultant instead. I did ask whether the fact he was flying Upper Class and could sleep all the way would help, ah no!

Consultant one day, heart op the next. Yesterday my mum, sister and I sat in his room waiting for his return from the op, we were all anxious and chatted about nothing, whilst all thinking the same thing. I worried about the outcome for mum but also for me and my sister, life without dad – we’re not ready to give the grumpy legend up yet. The surgeon said it would have been catastrophic if he hadn’t operated, no child needs to hear that.

I’m 46 soon and would obviously cope without my dad not through choice but it did make me think about how Rockstar would cope without me or his daddy.

When I am my dad’s age Rocco will be in his early twenties, he could be just out of Uni, finding his feet, house hunting, girlfriend issues, having all those wonderful experiences that I will want to be part of; whether he likes it or not. How would he cope with parents that aren’t fit and well? If I’d had him when I was 20 at least he’d be an adult when I’m in my ‘later years’.

I wouldn’t want him to have the burden of worrying about us if we got sick. He’s not here to look after us, we are too look after him. My parents have always been there for us, poorly or not.

This week I have had my sister to lean on, cry and whinge too, work out a plan to look after the folks and support mum. Rocco wouldn’t have that, so it made me re-question the whole ‘one child’ question, how would he cope in situations like this?

So Mr S and I are going to work a bit harder at getting fitter and eating better. We don’t know why my dad’s heart has given him this scare but I know it’s been a wake up call to us all.

Starting on Sunday I’m on a juice diet and digging out those trainers, after I have cried my way through Children in Need tonight and drank a bottle of mulled wine.

Thanks to The Spire for looking after all of us yesterday.

My fave wedding pic from Marcus Dodridge Photography

A Calming influence

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The little man has been a bit temperamental lately, not sleeping, few tantrums, lots of ‘No Mummy’ and ‘Aggh Disgusting’. Not sure there is a reason these challenges are being thrown at us, I keep hearing it’s just a phase. That said I have been thinking about how to overcome some of the issues. One of my worries is that we are too chaotic, well me actually.

The days Rocco is with me we do stuff, we go out a lot, we are a busy pair – do we do too much? should we have more downtime? educational time? movie time? I am sure he has lots going on in his little head and is constantly inquisitive.

I love the adventures me and the little man have, this week we picked Pumpkins and Sweet Corn http://www.sloaneandthedragon.com/single-post/2016/10/18/Half-Term-Fun I don’t know if I cram loads in with him because he’s not with me every day, it’s my duty to fill his life with experiences. I’ve been thinking about my age and how I may not beable to give him as many cool experiences when he’s older. Does cramming his day help or hinder him?

When Rocco needs a stern word said to him, I go down to his level, talk firmly (sister says I’m not firm enough) no finger pointing, no shouting. Mr S and I don’t have heated discussions infront of him (infact Mr S is so laid back we don’t have heated discussions at all). If we’re at home I try hard to calm things down from about 5.30pm, we put some toys away and start the chill time. Then DADDY comes home and obviously wants to play and have some rough and tumble with the little man. The volume goes up, energy levels are high and I’m the one being the nag telling daddy to calm things down, reminding them it’s bed time soon.

We’ve bought a oversized egg timer to use for downtime / sharing time when it’s needed, they use it at nursery so he’s already familiar with it. I don’t think a naughty chair will work for him. I can’t take toys off him as a punishment, we’re not at the negoiation stage yet. We’ve been sitting in with him til he nods off at night, we had 22 months of him self settling so this is a new one on us. I do worry we’ve been a bit soft on him and need to tighten those reins quickly before he runs away with his old mum!

My side of the family are loud, we talk a lot, we ask a lot of questions, we’re a bit full on. Mr S’s side are calmer and quieter. I wonder whether our own household should be calmer but there is only three of us, how full-on can we be.

I want him to be sociable, independent and have a voice. Should we have more days at home, just he and I. He’s an only child, I don’t want him to be a lonely child. But I also don’t want him to be a nasty boy, I hope for him to be calm, fair, respectful and kind. I can’t see our fab adventures stopping him being the boy I want him to be.

Maybe I need to read some more books and blogs on how to have a calm 2 year old – as if there is such a thing!

 

From NICU to NOW

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So the little man is 2 today and has recently been letting us know he’s a determined, strong willed kind of guy! I know there were babies more poorly in Nicu when we were there but our two weeks there was still tough for us and him. I remember him being delivered, getting a quick glimpse and him being rushed off. Daddy went with him. I knew it was the best thing but still hard. I didn’t see my son until much later in the evening, in fact most of the family had seen him before I was well enough to visit and then only got to push my hands through the holes in the incubator for ten mins before I was sent back to bed as I wasn’t well.

Fast fwd two years to last night where Rocco was his usual self at 1am – screaming out for Mummy ( he alternates between the two of us) crying for a cuddle, or ‘hand,hand’. I lay in bed as I have done for many nights willing him to go back to sleep when I am suddenly taken back to that day of becoming a mummy and not seeing or holding my baby. Sod the controlled crying and willpower tonight. I go into his room, he holds his arms out to me and I lift him out and hold him tighter than I have ever held him.

Within minutes he is asleep in my arms, his hand on my chest and his head nestled in. I remember his tiny hand being so small, as I grasped his fingers,  now he is on my lap filling it, with his legs cuddled in tight. Tears roll down my face, I’m exhausted but tonight I don’t care. I lift him back into the cot, I’ve held him way longer than I needed too.

As I lay him down he opens his eyes and says ‘ mummy hand’ and pokes his hand through the cot bars. More silent tears as I sit on the floor holding his much larger but still as precious hand through the bars.

Matt comes in to send me back to bed and I am in tears, he thinks my patience is wearing thin but actually my tears are of gratefulness and thanks. My patience is being tested too though!!

I rarely think back to the start of our journey, more so around his birthday but I realise how lucky I was to have great doctors to care for me and for him. It also makes me understand that time is precious, so if he continues this run of waking in the night I will try and remember those first 2 weeks I wished he was at home keeping me awake instead of us being apart.

That’s not to say I’m not desperate for him to sleep through again so I can too but this week, I’ll take every cuddle I get, whatever the time.

 

All cried out..

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When I was in my twenties I could live on 4-5 hours sleep if it included a few really good nights out, some vodka and a guaranteed lie in and Sunday roast at the end of it. Now in my forties it seems that the only similarity is the living on 4-5 hours sleep!

The little man has always been a good sleeper, when he came home from NICU he didn’t like it too quiet so we went about our evenings as normal and that’s the way its been. He has self settled after milk and a story and slept through. Teething gave us a blip but other than that we’ve been lucky. I’ve not been too ‘in your face’ about it and thank goodness I haven’t because it’s all changed.

I’m glad to say my son has our determination and staying power but he’s chosen to show it by screaming in the middle of the night. He practices all the great words he knows will pull at my heart – Mummy, Daddy, Cuddle, Out, Milk, Nappy. We have tried to stay strong and let him cry it out, whilst I have led in bed watching the baby monitor through my tears but last night hit all time low.

1.23am  Awake, screaming, tears, words. I whizzed in to pop his dummy back in, cover him up and pop on the lullaby sound track, along with a little ‘good boy, night, night’

2.33am He is still screaming out, he’s attempted to get out of the cot, he’s thrown out one of dummies, infact everything in the cot. In-between the crying he hears the music and stops and I hear him yawning whilst I’m led in bed willing us all to go back to sleep.

2.45am I know Mr S has gone in to his room because it’s silent. I don’t know how long he was in there with him because I went back to sleep. I praise our strength it would be easier to take him into our bed, we’ve never done it and I don’t want to start now.

Mr S and I have been going to bed (asleep) at 9pm after we’ve put the baby down, eaten and cleared up – that’s our evening, because we know what’s to come.

I believe the almost 2 yr old is pushing us to our limits but how long can we do this? I am exhausted, I try and catch a few hours sleep when he’s at nursery two days but I have chores and work to do, plus the guilt factor kicks in as Mr S is at work and he’s as tired as I am.

I’ve had lots of advice and right now I’m taking it all on board, change the bed time routine a bit, feed him before bed (he has milk but maybe porridge), wrap him up, do NOT enter the room at all.

Maybe the advice should have been not to have a baby at 44!