Before I became a Mama, I loved nothing more than planning a bit of 'me time'. This could take many guises, from a trip to London for the weekend to see my besties, to getting my nails done regularly or just curling up on the sofa with a sweet treat and watching countless episodes of Downton; sheer self-indulgent bliss.
I'm really lucky in that my husband is an absolute treasure of a man and knows that if I don't have a bit of time to myself I'll start to go a little bit barmy. Looking after a one year old and being six months pregnant do seem to lend themselves to feeling pretty tired by 4pm and, come Thursday, my brain is a bit fuggy. I find myself sitting at the kitchen table unable to make simple decisions about bathroom cabinet choices, and I think we both know that I need a few hours off.
The hunksband doesn't work on Friday afternoons so this has always been a golden time for me. I take a nap, get my nails done, attend a beginner's adult ballet class ... and just veg out. Recently, I've started tutoring an A-Level English student in this time (I was an English teacher for a decade, pre-motherhood) and this gives me a chance to engage the brain and do a bit of work. I also try and use this time to work on my blog and my other freelance commitments, plus plan a really unhealthy Friday night dinner. Afterwards, I always feel great. Tired, obviously, but much more like 'me' and ready to tackle the next day.
are too proud to admit when they’re feeling knackered/stressed/lonely/frustrated and I really don’t think it’s healthy. So, rather than allow yourself (or others) to lead you into thinking that a bit of time out is a failing, I say go and indulge in it. You’ll be so much better at being ‘in the moment’ afterwards.
We love hearing your feedback about the boxes, and seeing your photos. The lovely Kate from our blog team purchased the October mamaME Box and kindly reviewed it on her blog Mama Staying Sane. Have a read HERE.
Thank you Kate! We are so glad you enjoyed your treats!
Returning to work after a two week holiday can be hard enough for some, so imagine returning after a considerably longer time off. We’re talking nine months away from your working environment, maybe even more than that! I count myself as extremely lucky having been able to spend around 13 months watching Harris grow and develop every day, from a teeny newborn squish to a mischievous little man, without having to rush back to work.
Tip #1: Do some KIT days
I think I made a mistake by not doing any KIT days which meant I felt so overwhelmed when I did go back to work. By the time I was due back I’d had barely any time away from Harris and it all seemed like a case of ‘too much, too soon’ for all of us. I definitely think that doing some KIT days, even maybe one or two, would have eased me in to going back to work and made me feel a lot more at ease leaving Harris for longer than a couple of hours.
the start when he would cry as soon as we dropped him off. Starting him earlier may have helped me feel a lot more at ease on my first day back to work!
Tip #3: Weigh up your options
Going back to work is really scary. It certainly was for me, and I’m quite happy to admit that. I think it’s important to weigh up your options. Do you need to go back full-time or will you survive on a part-time wage? Could you afford to not go back at all? If you had a stressful job that you can’t face going back to is it possible to step down and change role? For me, I was always going to go back part-time purely because it wouldn’t have been worth it to work full-time and pay for a 5-day nursery placement. I originally handed in my notice before really thinking about our finances properly and although I would have loved to be a stay-at-home mum it just wasn’t feasible for us. Now that I’m back at work and we’re in more of a routine I do actually enjoy working, speaking to other adults; and not having to chase after someone ALL DAY!
the park, because swings are awesome even when you’re a mum! However, it just seems more special and time together seems more precious because there is less of it!
Tip #5: Speak up if you’re not okay
Don’t paint a smiley face on every day you’re at work, when inside you’re crying about being there and leaving your baby. After one day back I spoke to my lovely new manager and told her how I was feeling, and what I wanted to do about it. I’m not one to lie about how I’m feeling and I’m also not the type of person to pretend everything is rosy when it’s not working out. I stepped down after just one day back, and it’s the best thing I could have done. Yes, I earn less money, but I also have the chance to pick up extra hours if I’m able to do them (I couldn’t really have done this in my previous role) and I’m no longer bringing my work home with me. Less responsibilities at work is exactly what I needed when I have more responsibilities at home. Remember – it’s all about balance. Some women are absolutely fine about returning from maternity leave, but feelings of fear, anxiety, guilt and worry are so much more common than we are led to believe. Life changes vastly once you have a baby and priorities change monumentally. If you are having trouble coming to terms with the idea of going back to work, you are not alone with these thoughts. So hats off to the mamas who are working full-time jobs, hats off to the mamas who are working part-time jobs; and hats off to the mamas who stay at home tending to their littles’ every needs day in, day out. Nobody said that being a mama would be easy, but it really is the best job in the world.
Stacey and Harris
I am super religious about my nightly routine however more recently i have tried to enforce a morning routine as well. My nighttime routine helps me unwind and relax, and my morning routine helps set my mood for the entire day. I don’t consider myself a morning person, which really only makes my morning routine all the more crucial. In recent months I’ve loved putting a routine into place giving me a feeling of calm. I also like to feel like I’m ahead of the day so that annoyances and irritations don’t get to me like they would if I wasn’t feeling grounded. Here’s my routine broken down:
I have two kids, four and two years old, and they wake up very early. So the night before, I prepare breakfast smoothies - banana, non-dairy milk, oats, linseed & peanut butter. This way I know they are both getting a healthy breakfast even if we wake up late. Olivia's school bag is packed and I organise clothes for the day.
morning, so I choose to ignore my phone for at least an hour or two. And the longer I stay off social media in general, the better my days are. In fact, I’m hoping to try a digital detox!
This comes later in my morning usually whilst Sofiya has her fruit snack. I love reading a few pages of inspiring books every morning. If you follow me on Instagram, you can watch my Instagram story every morning and read along with me. I am thinking of sharing snippets of the most inspiring parts of what I read. Right now my favourite is “Who says you can’t you do” by Daniel George.
My other favorite read in the morning is The Blogosphere Magazine It’s a really unique magazine printed on high-quality and the most beautiful photography and inspirational interviews from the Blogosphere. It’s a publication written by Bloggers for Bloggers and a great way to discover new talent.
incredibly proud mama but I soon became overwhelmed. This workbook really helped find myself!
I genuinely believe morning worksheets are an incredibly powerful way to bring your intentions and desires into your life experiences when you're otherwise preoccupied.
And that’s my morning self-care routine! It takes less than an hour, and most days I do have interruptions because my girls will require attention but it still recharges me and really helps set the tone for my day.
House of Blossom
There is nothing quite like having kids to take away all of your free time. All of a sudden you are no longer a priority and the prospect of having even a moment to yourself can seem like a long lost memory. Hell, you cant even go to the bathroom on your own! When Sonny was born my biggest struggle was the fact that I didn’t get a moment to myself. I thought I was going to lose my mind. Thankfully my partner made me put in two hours a week where he had Sonny, and I did whatever I liked on my own, to recharge my batteries and bring back my sanity. I know two hours doesn’t seem like the greatest amount of time but its all I could spare and was just enough to make me feel relaxed and rejuvenated.
I LOVE a good pamper session and personally that is my ideal way of relaxing. There is nothing quite like soaking, scrubbing, preening and polishing to make me feel brand new. Whatever your way of using your ‘Me’ time is, I have put together my top tips to make it count and truly rejuvenating.
If like me you love a bath and some pamper time head over to the Beauty and Pamper section of the mamaME Store as there are plenty of fabulous treats for Mums.
Just Another Mum Blogger
I never thought this would be my first mamaME blog entry, in fact I did draft up a pretty riveting and hilarious pregnancy hormone-induced rant about parent and child parking spaces that I may have to revisit in the future when I'm feeling particularly fiesty again.
So this is day 17 post birth of my second set of twins. Roux and Etti entered the world via my vagina as opposed to their siblings entry through the sunroof, and although I’m grateful of the VBAC experience, neither method will be done again in a hurry, or ever, actually. The whole thing was not what I expected, but thats a whole other blog post!
Since their arrival it’s been, without sounding too cliche, like a rollercoaster. From the highs of them finally being here, healthy and bloody beautiful, it feels like we are floating on cloud nine or still high from the gas and air (I’m not 100% sure which). From those highs we dive deep to the lowest lows. Just today I cried 4 times before I even left the house this morning, full on wailing like a baby, my life is over tears, and it’s moments like that that leave me doubting my abilities to do this job that has been bestowed to me.
Every single twin mum will tell you the phrase they hear the most is “Oooh Double Trouble”. I bloody hate it, I usually retort with “No no, its Double the Love” or if we are feeling less social then I grit my teeth and give them my best bitch face- at this point they usually back off before asking me if my boy/girl twins are identical. But the thing is, deep down, I am aware that that irritating phrase rings true.
Finding out we were expecting our second set of twins was pretty mind blowing. Everyone wondered if it would be twins again but I genuinely thought there was just the one in there, a cute little loner baby that would be super easy and calm compared to twins. I was so looking forward to pushing around a single pram and not dragging every single item of clothing off the rails in Primark. Hell it would be so much cheaper! Just one cot to buy, one set of clothes to purchase! Breastfeeding is going to be a breeze with just the one mini body to worry about manoeuvring onto my nipples. But nope. Two beautiful little flickering hearts greeted us that day as we stared at the screen, and all we could do was laugh. We laughed and laughed and laughed because if we didn’t do that then we would probably cry.
You also get to complete your family in a short amount of time. In less than 4 years I have birthed 4 kids in just two pregnancies, I’m done and I feel really content about that, especially as the end of this last pregnancy was really really hard on me, that and the fact and I really don't want to have to buy a minibus.
The attention you get with twins can be a positive and a negative, it really depends on what mood I’m in if I’m totally honest, but either way, people think you and your babies are special, and even if some people are irritating AF it is nice to know that they take their time to talk and are genuinely interested.
But with all positives, come negatives. And jeez those negatives are hitting me hard this time around! I really did forget how difficult these first weeks are, every tiny little thing I try to do is a battle. Some days we win, others...not so much!
Getting out of the house with two 3.5 year olds and two newborns is like a military operation. The most important thing you need to do is make sure those humans are fed, even if it means going hungry yourself, because hangry kids are loud, irritable banshees that will push you to your limits. You either end up locking yourself away in the bathroom, sobbing in a pool of tears on the floor or just getting in the car alone and driving to a car park just to scream as loud as you can where no one else can hear you.
Then there's time. Time is not on my side. I admit I can get a little obsessive over the hours, minutes and seconds in the day. I get anxious if I’m running late or if my routine gets knocked slightly out of sync, but thats only because the way I personally cope with having twins is to have a strict timetable for the day.
These first few weeks have been completely out of sync, my mind is mashed because of this and I can’t think straight half of the time. Feeding the babies takes a while, and as soon as I’ve gone over an hour of feeding time with just the first baby I can feel that anxiety creeping up and taking over. Trapped is the best way I can describe how it makes me feel, and because I’m usually a get up, get dressed and get out kind of person, its been taking its toll on me. Some days I feel so lost and it seems as though this stage will never end, I will become a feeding slave to my milk obsessed ravenous little beasts and my arse will permanently mould itself to the sofa.
Apart from having more time it would be super convenient to grow another pair of hands. Words can’t describe how torn you feel when your attention is on one baby, whether thats feeding, changing or burping, and the other needs it too. Some people ask how do you do it, do you leave one to cry? The answer is yes, sometimes I do and unfortunately I have no choice. It literally breaks my heart knowing that one of my children, a tiny, helpless little person that depends entirely on me, is laying there crying his/her little heart out because of my inability to grow extra limbs. I dread going out in public because of the risk of running into a feed time while I'm out, and it sounds so stupid but I don’t want people to see me struggling with them and assume I leave one baby to cry because I don’t love them, or think I cant cope. How ridiculous is that? Having twins shouldn’t make you an agoraphobe but sometimes it does feel like you could head that way.
Everyone keeps suggesting I get out and meet other mums with babies the same age, but baby groups are the most unappealing places to me at the moment, a lot of other mums with just the one child tend to look at me like I'm an alien with three heads. Maybe not intentionally but that alongside the fear of looking like I only have enough love for one child is a factor which has stopped me venturing to my nearest session. Wrestling the doors with two car seats, while everyone else sits and stares at the un-showered, sleep deprived twin mum also plays a part in my reluctance. I worry that while the other mums happily chit chat with each other with their immaculately dressed, clean and well fed singleton babies perfectly balanced on their hip, I will be sat alone unable to pick up both babies for fear of messing up, feeling totally out of place while waiting for someone to say the dreaded Double Trouble phrase as soon as one of mine starts to wail. Putting myself in that situation is certainly not on my to do list for the near future. I’ll be a hermit for a while thank you, at least til they start walking?! Maybe til they are 5, or 10?
I don’t want people to read this and think I’m an ungrateful ice queen that doesn't appreciate her double blessing (for want of a better word), I want to be totally honest and for people to know how bloody hard it is. Especially those that catch me on a good day when I’ve actually managed to plaster some makeup on my dishevelled face and they tell me that I make it look so easy and that they struggle with one. I struggle too! The makeup is just covering up the broken woman underneath. I want those ladies that are struggling to feel like they’re not alone, even if they only have one child, everyone struggles at one point or another and you shouldn’t feel bad for that or question your abilities. I also want those women that tell me I’m doing an amazing job that I appreciate their words so, so much they will never know how much it means to me and how much it lifts me up. Your kind messages keep me going on the dark days.
But most of all I want those people that unknowingly greet me in the supermarket with “Ohh Double Trouble” to maybe take a second and rethink those words. You never know how much effort it has taken to leave the house that day, how many times that twin mum has been pooed on, how many times she has reapplied her mascara before leaving the house and how much crying she has endured throughout the night. Double Trouble may be true sometimes but these children also bring me so much joy and fill my heart with so much love you will never understand.
So the next time you see a twin mum, dragging those clothes off the rails with her humungous double pram, help her out, tell her shes doing a good job, and that those babies aren’t Double Trouble but “Doubly Lovely”. You might just make her day.
Sweet Tooth Super Mum
My blog (Severnside Mum) began in April this year when we moved into our new house. The house we’ve bought is 160 years old (with a new extension built in 2000) and so we knew we’d have lots of renovation work to do on it. The previous owners lived here for over 30 years and the décor isn’t to our taste, which was super exciting because it meant that we could tear it all down and do it the way that we like it. This didn’t faze us – quite the opposite, in fact! My husband is a dab hand at DIY and finds sanding, making things out of wood and jobs involving power tools relaxing after a day at work. For me, I love researching colours, fabrics and furniture to finish a room off but I, also, love the step-by-step approach to seeing a room transform that you get when you do it yourself. We did the same to our old house, just on a smaller, quicker scale.
I wanted a way to chronicle the work as we went along rather than taking lots of random pictures on our phones but not doing anything with them, apart from a before and after shot of each room, like we had done before. Because of the history of the house, I thought a blog would be the perfect way to chronicle the stages of change. So I began by writing about each step that we took as they occurred. We have started with our living room and, so far, my blog follows each improvement as it’s happened. From clearing the chimney of a huge bee infestation (I still shudder to think about what was lurking behind the 1990s gas fire!) to taking up the original floorboards and levelling them, it follows each step as we go.
It was during this weekly process that I began to realise how much I like writing. I find it really therapeutic and it seems to allow me to clear my head; it’s a creative outlet after a day of activities, making food that ends up on the floor and nap schedules. Before I became a Mama, I was an English teacher for ten years so words and language have always been around me, I just hadn’t really taken the leap to start writing them myself. I found that, once I started, I had the bug.
Writing about parenting is something that comes naturally to me at the moment, because I’m writing about personal experiences as they happen. Becoming a parent has been the biggest shift I’ve ever gone through and to write about it is hugely cathartic. It’s through other Mamas’ blog posts on similar subjects that I’ve managed to keep the ship afloat, I think, and if I can contribute to that conversation then I’m very proud to do so.
Moving forward, my aim is to try and teach myself a few new technological-type skills so that I can improve the layout, features and content of my blog. I want to continue tracking the house developments as we do them and just try to personalise my blog a bit more. I’m still only six months in and am really excited about how much there is to learn; I’d love you to have a butchers and let me know what you think. Now, if only there was more of that illusive little rascal for me to do all of these things in…… childfree time!