So, during preparations for my earth mother experiment (real nappy, breastfeeding and sling research) I came across a fantastic article on extended breastfeeding, this got me thinking about how us mothers are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts with you:
- Are you breastfeeding?: This question, if coming from genuine interest, maybe a curious mum-to-be or a health care professional is all well and good, but if it’s to gauge my suitability to join your baby gang you can sod off!
- Are you still breastfeeding??: So, you’d judge me if I didn’t but beyond the age of 12 months there must be something wrong with me for continuing…. Right!!
- You’re doing baby lead weaning: Won’t your baby get really hungry? Throw most of it around? Won’t he choke? no I wont look at the book you bought to understand it better.
- You’re mashing his food: Oh,how will he learn to feed himself, you’ll never get him to eat lumps, you’ve made a rod for your own back (agrahhhh I hate strongly dislike that saying).
- Make noise around your sleeping baby so he gets used to it: who really feels like hovering when you have a new born? and at 3am I’m not risking it….sorry
- Sleep when he sleeps: I thought I was meant to hoover?! (also this advice only counts for the first 3 weeks after that, no matter how little sleep you’ve had, you’re lazy for wanting a nap)
- Is he still not sleeping through? No, I like my two hour a night cuddles. (if I’ve not offered up the info, or said I’m struggling its NOYB)
- Its psychologically damaging to let your baby cry it out: agrahhh I can’t win
Can you think of anymore??
I’ve been a bit MIA of late, I call it mum flu, not to be confused with the male variety of this illness, mum flu is very different. For a start Mum flu is real, it’s the weight of the world feeling which creeps up on you after a week of insomnia, that run down ache which means that you crawl into bed at 8pm leaving the previous night’s washing up on the side and setting you out of whack for a good few days to come. Having recovered enough to be up at 5am with a cupa tea I’m able to reflect on how colds and flu affect our household, because you can be sure, we all act very differently.
The man of the house: now I’m very lucky that the man of this household doesn’t suffer from man flu. Instead, his bunged up snoring could keep even the most run down of partners awake, a little shove in the side serves only to irregulate the rhythm….
When the OH has a cold you can be sure it’s a gamble at night, do you leave him to his earth trembling wheezes? or risk awakening the snot ball with a jab in the ribs? My husband is far too polite, which increases my annoyance, a quick poke and request to stop is very often followed by a heartfelt apology, a few blissful seconds of peace then a volcano like explosion of the snores withheld during the altercation…..ill just leave him to it, maybe leave a passive aggressive note on the notice board in the morning…… I can’t possibly send him to the sofa if he is ill…. Can i???? Might have to get a sofa bed for his man room/office, I’ll put that on the to-do-list!
In the day he’s fairly good at getting on with things, now, this may seem ideal to you mummies who’s other halves lay about on the couch demanding Lemsip and sympathy, however, to me, when the hubby is ill and trooping on, that means the cold can’t be that bad.
Inevitably he starts the cycle off meaning not only does he get the blame for giving me the lurgy, he is more than likely two days ahead of me in its development. No matter how I feel, he has been there and done that 48 hours before…. No lolling about for me.
The only thing I can possibly find to fault this annoying man with is, that rather than use one tissue until it disintegrates, which I’m charged with doing, he manages to: a, sneeze once into every tissue in the house leaving me with kitchen roll and b, leave a loo roll on the dash board of both cars, not great if you’re trying to play yummy mummy on the school run that day! This annoying bugger always remembers to put his tissues in the bin though… far too perfect if you ask me!!
Baby Roo: Now this little monster is always bloomin ill, a mouse could sneeze 10 miles away and you can be sure ‘little boy’ will turn into a giant ball of snot by the end of the day. Does he suffer in silence like his daddy?? Oh no! he likes to mix it up a bit, see what other ailment he can add to it, just to get maximum attention. So far this week (and remember its only Tuesday) he has had the cold, appears to have an 8th tooth on the way (ridiculous as he is only 9 months old) and has decided to try his hand at letting go of the sofa when cruising about, that’s not an ailment you say? Nope but tripping on your own feet or head-butting the stair gate is….. therefore my day is spent (remember I’m ill too) changing snotty clothes locating the loo roll from the cars, and allowing the baby to latch on for most of the day. Does this send him into one of those ill, but cute 2 hours naps? Nope he sits on boob, trying to breathe through blocks nostrils, playing with his toes…. The rest of the time is spent feeling very sorry for himself and rubbing is little eyes, demanding to be carried and refusing his cot…. Sensitive, serious little boy!!
Big girl H: What a miracle child, she’s like Bruce Wills in that underrated superhero film, Unbreakable, this little girl never gets ill, she sneezed once but I think she just had a tickle under her nose…. She’s fantastic at playing the big sister/caring nurse maid, inevitably it is her who: retrieves the loo roll, tuts about the disintegrated tissues left in various locations, and sneaks the occasional soother from the packet (she thinks I don’t know). Harriet is a smart girl, far too wise for her own good, she had learnt from who knows where, various phrases to use when the rest of us are ill. These include….. ‘the best thing you can do is let the air get to it’ (we’re talking about a sore throat here) ‘an apple a day, mummy, you don’t eat enough fruit….’, and ‘pull yourself together, it’s not the end of the world’. All these sayings while v v funny, neglect the real issue…. That is to say, you can be 99.9% sure SHE was the one who carried the beastly virus into the house to begin with.
WHY? You scream, surly the never ending merry-go-round of childcare, washing, cooking, cleaning, work, blogging and the wiping of little noses, is enough to send us into a coma as soon as our tired little heads hit the pillow of our unmade beds… I wonder if the constant night feeds, puts us out of sync? If grabbing those 30 mins to yourself each night to watch re-runs of Dawson’s Creek (just me?!) mean that, like our offspring, we miss that tired window sometimes….. Unfortunately, unlike baby Roo this issue can’t be cured with a bit of boob and a snuggle with my blanky (v v v odd and disturbing if it could). So what to do??
Well I’m heading downstairs to grab a Horlicks…. I vaguely remember seeing it in the cupboard recently, which given that I must have been the one to unpack it after the ‘big move’ a month ago, shows just how sleep deprived I must be. I don’t even know if I like the stuff……. Here are my tips to motherhood insomnia
- Grab a Horlicks oh for the love of…. Don’t, don’t grab a Horlicks, it tastes like feet!
- Remember, those self-aware angsty teens with a vocabulary far beyond their years can wait…. Yes even Pacey!
- Don’t check on the children, yes I know they look beautiful when asleep but don’t let that cloud your memory of the other 12 hours a day
- Don’t start fretting that there is no way your children sleep for 12 hours (neither do mine, It just sounded good)
- Do, make a to-do-list
- Don’t write to-do-list then sing ‘Hang me on the wall’ to the tune of ‘Fly me to the moon’, (you’ll never get to sleep if you’re being a silly billy)
- Don’t do some cleaning…. (If I’d have said DO some cleaning you’d feel guilty for not, so better me take the option away from you)
- Do make a delicious Options wicked white chocolate
- Don’t let it go cold while you write a blog
- Noooo, don’t make another one; you’ll never get to sleep!!!
We overslept, a rarity in this household. Mums don’t need alarm clocks you see. At 6:45 each morning we are awoken by the children, either the eldest asking about what’s for dinner next week or the youngest cooing accusingly into the baby monitor. For 10 seconds this morning we congratulate the children on letting us sleep in…. then the realisation kicks in: its 7:18 and we are quite possibly going to be late.
I have plans for today: I was going to try for the yummy mummy status, get up at 6 have a shower, do make-up, lay each child’s clothes out ready, maybe make the pack lunches…. Find some co-coordinating jewellery, locate my chic scarf. I may bake some cupcakes when the youngest has his morning nap later, I could unload and load the dish washer while they cook…sort out the washing that I’ve refreshed twice in the machine. Maybe I’ll start a blog on craft projects…. We have recently moved house you see, I’m quite into the idea of blogging my interior design ideas. I have written a list!
Despite sleeping in, the baby is tired…. Maybe he’s having a growth spurt? We are nearly out of bread. “its ok mummy, I like the end crusts” (thank goodness). I feed the baby porridge and throw a cup of coffee down my neck…. And dressing gown…. (see that’s why it’s good not to get dressed until the last min).
We all troop upstairs, I have no clean clothes, I really should sort out the wash…. Maternity wear it is then….. the coordinating jewellery is in a box somewhere…. I’ll go for the naturel look today… nothing worse than turning up for the school run looking like you’re going out for the night.
The husband leaves to catch his train; he breaks into a jog as he passes the garage…..
Throw together a packed lunch and I sort out some money for a school trip. The baby cries, he doesn’t want to get dressed this morning, He doesn’t want a banana, he doesn’t want his sister to play peek-a-boo with him, he doesn’t need his nappy chan….. oh wait, yes he does.
We’re late, we had better drive to school (actually no quicker, but these maternity trousers are a bit big for me now, would hate to expose hideous m&S underwear while pushing pram down the road).Made it to school, just in time. forgot lunch box!! As baby sleeps for 2 hours at 9:30, we will have to break into school trip money….. Harriet likes school lunch better anyway.
HOME!!!! Ooooo postmans been
Baby doesn’t sleep at 9:30, baby fills nappy (again). I empty all my pockets placing remaining trip money with the post and lay down to feed him….. 10 mins later I awake with him fast asleep and still attached. We begin the cot lowering mission. Slowly_creep_into_babys_room_gently_lower_him_into_cot_back_away and trip on a oh so stylish vintage crate……BABY AWAKE
I abandon my baking plans and spend the next hour trying to get him to nod off again. He keeps smiling, we give up, I empty, reload the put the dishwasher on with him in my arms….
Side note: how do other mums get anything done with a baby? This is the extent of the housework while he is awake….. a bit of dirt is good for building up his immune system anyway, don’t want him to be one of those sickly children who sees a speck of dirt and comes down with stomach flu….. Incidentally, if you were a child like this please put me in touch with your mother so I can ask her how she managed to keep such a spotless home…… maybe you had your nap at 9:30?
We have no bread, I have to boil up some pasta and stream some veg for little mans lunch…. Dish washer is full of clean stuff, I leave saucepans on the side, fill one with water to ‘soak’ I’m good at doing that, did you know, some need to soak for 24 hours atleast??
Moving house equals lots of phone calls; I aimlessly open the post while on hold. Baby seems happy, he’s playing with some paper….. OMG it’s the trip money, He’s eaten Harriet’s £10 note…..
So there we have it
Hours spend napping (baby) 0
Cupcakes made 0
Phone calls completed 0
Gain: 2 dirty nappies
Washes done 0
Dishes on the side in the morning 9
Dishes on the side in the afternoon 9 (but different ones)
School trips paid for 0