Wanted : Mum Friend for Boozy Nights, Rants & Support

Must live within walking/stumbling distance. We will be drinking and we don’t want a taxi time limit.

Must enjoy drinking.

Must enjoy sharing chocolate.

Must enjoy pizza/Chinese/Indian/*insert other fatty takeaway options here*

Must enjoy drinking.

Must be willing to listen to my husband and child related rants whilst nodding at the appropriate places and remaining impartial, regardless of whether or not I am being unreasonable.

GSOH essential.

Must appreciate cheesy music from the 90s, cheesy films and pyjamas.

Must enjoy drinking.

Know it alls need not apply.

Time wasters need not apply.

Judgement neither passed or appreciated.

Genuine support and advice welcomed.

Must enjoy drinking.


Reclaiming me After Motherhood

It has taken over two years, but I finally feel as though I have found ‘me’ again, not just mam, but me. Don’t get me wrong I love being Aria’s mam but boy I have missed being me, being Leanne.

People used to say that I was funny, I made them laugh. I lost that person, I struggled to make conversation let alone make people laugh. I became lonely and boring. The only thing that I was able to talk about with any enthusiasm was Aria and my parenting wins and woes. This very quickly became my go to subject, became who I was.

I always have struggled to make friends, unless I’m drunk and then I can talk the hind leg off a donkey. Small talk is not my forte.

Before becoming a mother I worked in an office for over ten years, an office full of women, women who I knew very well. Women who I would regularly engage in conversation with and just be ‘me’ with. In fact I was often pulled up on for talking too much!

I left these women behind to work from home, and to look after my daughter, the only regular adult conversation that I had (apart from my husband) would be if I attempted to make small talk at baby groups. I missed regular free flowing conversation, I missed gossip, my baby became my security blanket and I lost myself. I forgot who I was, I forgot how to just be me.

More recently I’ve made time for me. I’ve made time to reconnect with old friends, time to connect with new friends. I’ve found myself again. I’ve found myself over those small moments. Bonded with other mothers over a coffee and an eye roll when our kids had that similar strop, smiled with other mother’s when our kids became friends. Those little moments are the ones that count. The ones that helped me find me again.

Whether it’s meeting up with old friends, some who are now parents too, some who aren’t, or making new friends through common interests, and of course, children. It all helps to find you again, to reclaim yourself.

Make time for adults. Even play dates and baby groups are important, they are when you bond with adults, when you get to become you again. Even if it is while keeping one on eye on your wild child.

Motherhood, The Lonely Truth

Isn’t it strange, how you can be so lonely yet rarely alone? Motherhood sure is a strange, and very often, lonely place.

I was lucky, there were several people who I knew on maternity leave at the same time as me, we bonded over our new found common interest. We went to baby & toddler groups together and it was lovely. Then maternity leave came to an end. We work different days, our child’s sleeping patterns clash and we rarely see each other. I tried attending one or two mother and toddler groups on my own once everyone else had returned to work. I hated it. I didn’t chat to anyone. Just sat there like a nervous wreck. Everyone had already formed their friendship groups and I was alone. Much like that lone mother would have felt when she walked in and saw me and my friends sat together, laughing and joking, in a happy group. We didn’t mean to alienate people; but I’m sure that we did.

Working from home is great, I love the flexibility, I love that I get to spend more time with Aria, I love making money doing something that I love. But I hadn’t realised quite how much I would miss gossiping while working in an office along with forty odd women. Those women weren’t just colleagues, they were friends. The harsh reality is that people are busy, people have their own things and you rarely keep in touch.

I am so grateful for my online friends, my blogging friends who keep me sane by flooding my WhatsApp with conversations, advice and banter on a daily (more like a minutely – is that a thing?) basis. Without these girls I really would crack up. These girls have become my rocks, my friends. I may not see them in the flesh, but I see their words and feel their support.

Despite having this amazing support network I still feel lonely. I need to see people, I need to converse and use hand gestures, rather than just typing a sentence and staring at a phone screen.

I have found one baby/toddler class that I enjoy and now try to attend weekly. It is a music and dancing class which takes the pressure off as I just sit there singing and dancing with Aria. I have made pleasant chit chat with a few of the people there, but it has never progressed to anything outside of class. While I won’t be calling these women up for a chat anytime soon, they are there. They may not realise it but just a simple hello and small talk can make a lonely mother feel that little bit less lonely. I just can’t make friends, unless I’m drunk, I make loads of BFFs in those pub toilets, but unfortunately turning up drunk to a baby group isn’t really acceptable, and would doubtful make me any friends.

Next time you go to a mother and baby group and sit there feeling left out because no one is talking to you, just know that there is likely someone else sitting there thinking exactly the same, but they’re just too shy to approach you and remember that a smile and a simple hello really can go a long way.

The Twatty Twos

aka, the terrible twos. That’s right, my sweet little daughter is officially a twatty two. She isn’t even two until next month, she is behind with pretty much everything else but she just couldn’t wait to get this ‘phase’ started. I use inverted commas because I really hope that it is just a phase and not an actual personality transplant.

Blog header image baby crying with header text 'the twatty twos aka the terrible twos' blog post all about the struggles of a tantruming, clingy toddler

So what do the twatty twos involve…

Well my darling daughter has a tendency to be an angel in front of others, people often look at me in disbelief when I tell them that she is in fact the devil reincarnated. She is actually shy at times, when there are lots of people about she often looks to me for help and guidance. We attend a regular music and dance class and she won’t even go and get an instrument herself, I have to go with her.

Well, I’ll let you in on a not so secretive secret. It is all an act.

At home she is clingy, stroppy and demanding.

She hands me the remote and says ‘Peppa’, she cries when adverts come on in the middle of Peppa, I get that adverts are annoying but come on!

She has perfected ‘the drop and strop’ in remarkable style.

family photo, mother given up toddler stropping and dad just lying there

Just the other day she decided that she wanted to sit on my lap to eat her food instead of high chair, she cried, and cried, and cried, so I took her out of her highchair and put her on the floor. Of course that wasn’t giving her what she wanted as she wanted to be on my lap. She looked me straight in the eyes and… threw a pea at me as hard as she could, which isn’t very hard but still.. devil reincarnated. Where did she get the pea I hear you ask? It was one of many that she had thrown on the floor when I sat her down to eat her tea of course.

She is clingy to the point that I can’t do anything. She cries when I leave the room, even if just for a drink. She refuses to nap, unless of course it’s on me. She cries in pushchair when she is tired as she wants me to carry her so that she can sleep on me. She will cry all the way home, even if we are an hour away.

People say that I should make the most of my little cling on, why would you moan about your baby wanting to spend time with you and giving you constant cwtches, they ask. Because, I am a person and I have a life and I have things to do that aren’t really doable with a toddler clinging onto my yoghurt covered leggings and screaming.

Don’t get me wrong, a clingy day here and there is nice, it means sitting on the sofa watching films and not doing much else, but when it comes to day eight of not even being able to go to the toilet without an audience it really gets quite shitty (sometimes even literally..).

Other twatty behaviour includes crying because she wants a yoghurt rather than the pizza that I’ve given her (why!?!), crying because she is tired but doesn’t want to go to bed and crying because my iPad is allowed to be used for nothing other than Peppa Pig related activities.

and don’t even get me started on Earl the twat cat.

From Sleeping Angel, To Sleeping Demon – My Toddler, The Sleep Thief

My daughter slept through from the age of two months, and oh how smug I was about that. I had the perfect baby who slept like a dream and everything was lovely and happy. Fast forward to today, she will be two next month and she hates sleep. She is a sleep thief and everything is grumpy and miserable.

from sleeping angel to sleeping demon - my two year old has started refusing to sleep in her own cot - a plea for advice

We are at a complete loss as to what to do with our darling daughter, the sleep thief. Every night gets a little less bearable. We are all exhausted, we are all grumpy, we are all snapping at each other. We all need sleep. Even the sleep thief herself needs sleep. Now that she is over tired she is sleeping less and needing sleep more – it is a vicious circle.

It’s been building up to this gradually. Quite a while ago Aria went from sleeping through to waking once or twice during the night, she would usually have a bottle and go straight back down, no qualms. On the odd occasion she would be really upset, we would assume she was teething and if hubby was dealing with her he would stay with her until she fell asleep. If I was dealing with her I would bring her in our bed – I have no patience, especially not at 3am, and definitely not at 5am.

This week it has escalated. She will go to sleep fine with her bottle and a book. Then she wakes up during the night and all hell breaks loose.  She will not settle. She hates the person who goes to see her, she hits and kicks so that she can get to the other one of us. She will absolutely not go back in her cot. Even hubby has started to bring her into our bed – which of course he says is all my fault. When she comes into our bed she has to be close to me, she literally lies on top of me and presses her head into mine, until she eventually shuffles off down the bed and settles at the bottom of the bed.

Then last night it blew up out of control. Her bed time came and went. She would not go to sleep. I tried giving her a bedtime bottle and she refused, just climbing down from my lap and running away. I tried reading to her and she cried. I tried putting her in her cot and leaving her and she screamed and screamed and screamed. She stayed up until around 9:30pm when I decided just to go to bed myself and bring her in with me. Then it was party time.

She went hyper in our bed. Pulling the duvet off me, walking across the bed and then throwing herself down, bouncing all over the place, singing, punching me, kicking me, pulling my hair – all while laughing hysterically.

At 11:30pm she eventually shuffled down to the bottom of the bed and fell asleep, where she stayed until the alarm went off at 7:30am. Eight hours sleep is not enough, not for a toddler. She has gone to nursery today with big bags underneath her tired little red eyes.

I am hoping she will have one of her famously long naps in nursery, the longest one was four hours. She needs it. And me? I’m getting drunk tonight in the hope that I sleep through everything.

We went to Bluestone in December and she slept through every single night, which has us thinking that maybe she just doesn’t like her cot? As a result we are getting her a new bed, her single bed should arrive today, I’ve also ordered a Peppa Pig duvet cover and some Peppa Pig wall sticks because she is obsessed with that bloody pig, I’m sure she prefers Peppa to mam & dad so hopefully she’ll happily sleep with Peppa!

She also loved veg, particularly broccoli, a quick look at the dried up veg splats across my dining room floor will show you how wrong I was to be smug about that…