Blog post written by a mother of a two year old toddler who is considering having another baby

Two under two will never be. Two under three is unlikely. Two under four is what I am hoping for.

For probably the first six months of Aria’s life I was broody. I would see expectant mothers bumps and be super envious, despite having an awful pregnancy I wanted to be pregnant again. I would see happy couples excitedly showing off their scan photos and wish that the excitement was mine again.

Then things changed. Aria needed feeding actual food, she slept less and needed entertaining more. Motherhood was now all consuming. The thought of another no longer entered my head. It wasn’t that I didn’t want another, I just had no time to think about wanting another.

Fast forward another year, Aria is two and I am broody again. She is still all consuming but I have realised that a little brother or sister could be the making of both me and her, the making (and possibly completion) of our little family. Aria would have someone to play with and someone to laugh with. She will also have someone to fight with, I’m not naive after all.

 

I want another baby. There I said it. Spencer doesn’t want another baby, not just yet.

 

On our recent holiday we went with a friend and her eight month old daughter. Watching Aria with her daughter melted me. She tucked her in, cwtched up with her and even shared toys with her. She was like a different child and every morning the first thing she would say was ‘baba’, she was so excited to see her and to spend time with her. It changed her. Or at least it temporarily changed her until we came home, back to reality.

For now I have put the baby on hold. There are a lot of birthdays in our family around February, including Aria and Spencer’s and so ideally I want a baby from April onwards, preferably in the Summer. I know from experience with trying for Aria that you can’t plan these things to the month but we can try. I have it all worked out, we will start trying in around five months time, it will take a month or two for us to catch and I will be blessed with a Summer baby. Now to persuade Spencer…

Blog post sharing six family day out essentials

Days out with children require a crazy amount of thought and advance planning, if you don’t plan for every possible extreme scenario (and one more just in case) you can pretty much guarantee that you will need something that you don’t have, usually when you are in the middle of no where. In a bid to ensure that both me and you never end up facing the regret of not bringing exactly what we need to deal with our tantrum-ing/messy/ill toddlers I’m sharing this handy family day out essentials guide.

Spare clothing

On days out we can pretty much guarantee that Aria is going to do something to get dirty, whether it be mud, food, or something else, a spare pair of clothing is almost always required. Going out without a spare pair of clothes is almost as silly as going out without a supply of nappies.

A picnic

As much as I love popping into cafe’s for a coffee and a cake you really can’t beat a home-made picnic, especially when you are on a budget! Make a picnic fun (and take the pressure off yourself!) and get the whole family involved in choosing the picnic items, making the sandwiches, and packing everything up. If, like Aria, your children are fussy eaters, packing a picnic that’s full of their favourite foods can make the day a lot easier and less stressful.

Waterproofs

It doesn’t matter how clear the sky is or how warm and sunny it is when you set off, there is always a chance of rain, especially living in Wales. A decent waterproof jacket is essential when out on family adventures. Top tip, buy lightweight fold up jackets like the ones from Target Dry as there is a huge chance that you are going to be lugging them around all day!

A spare toy

Whenever you go anywhere with a small child, you can guarantee you’ll have an additional guest; Peppa Pig in our case. Despite kicking off at the sheer thought of leaving Peppa at home Aria soon gets bored of her when we are out, usually distracted by muddy puddles or food, and will quite happily drop her anywhere without even realising. This often results in us losing said Peppa Pig which is why we stock up on the small (cheap) ones for when we are out and about.

A camera

Obviously being a budding photographer, blogger and Instagram-er I absolutely cannot go out without the camera. No one should, there are so many amazing memories to capture and treasure on family day trips. Keep a camera (or even your phone) at hand so that you can capture some perfect memories. You never know when the perfect photo op will arise.

Emergency supplies

Keep your handbag well-stocked with first-aid essentials such as plasters, bandages, antibacterial wipes, and Calpol just in case there’s an accident.

And whatever you do – DON’T FORGET THE WET WIPES (yes, I have done that, yes it was a disaster).

*Disclosure – Collaborative Post*

motherhood the lonely truth - motherhood is lonely

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.

toddler running along road - road safety teach them young

Aria being a late walker has meant that I haven’t had to worry about road safety, she has always been safely strapped into her pushchair whenever we have been out and about. Fast forward to month three of walking and I am a wreck. As she becomes more confident road safety is becoming more of a worry, both at home and out. You see, we don’t have a front garden, our front door opens out on to the pavement. All it would take is a split second for Aria to break free and be out on the road.

I try to make safety fun for Aria, but it isn’t always easy. We always look for the green man when using traffic lights which she loves, especially when the lights make the beeping noise, but being forced to hold my hand when walking along a narrow pavement isn’t quite as much fun. Thankfully there are so many resources to help, such as this free interactive road safety quiz. The game guides them through safe crossing, safe bike riding and much more – they even get a certificate at the end. Books are another great way of teaching them and can be referred to time and time again, you know, so that you can really drill it into them!

 

I reached out to some of my fellow bloggers and asked them to share their top tips, phrases and tricks for keeping their children safe on the roads :

KellyI often say, whether crossing or not, ‘Look where you’re going, not where you’ve been…’

Danielle – We always talk about the green man and what it means. And comment on how some people cross when he is red and how you shouldn’t do that. It upsets biggest a lot sometimes as he really needs people to stick to the rules!

Emily – I always tell my littles that ‘we must always walk when crossing roads, never run’. I’ve started applying it to scooting too now my eldest likes to take her scooter everywhere!

Samantha – Lead by example – don’t cross the road if the green man has yet to appear (even if there is no traffic and it feels like it’s taking ages).

Niki – I always emphasise that we’re not in a rush, there’s no need to run across the road (even if we are running late!)

PaigeI’ve always taught both my children from a young age to never run by the road and to hold my hand, press the button and wait for the green man to appear, hold my hand crossing the road or the pram. If there isn’t a crossing look both ways, listen for any cars listen again then to make it fun we run to the other side.

Sharon – Don’t trust drivers on zebra crossings. My teen daughter was hit (not badly) by a motorist who failed to stop. Wait until they have completely stopped before you step out.

Sarah – I always get mine to get off of their bikes or scooters and walk across the roads. I’ve always said look right, look left and look right again. Always encourage them to walk and not run across the roads!

Kirsty – This song sticks with me from my own childhood, my mum played it for me and I’ll be playing it for my little one: it’s catchy and has a solid meaning. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIHsS160aDo

Samantha – My daughter is only 2.5 but she already knows and understands the phrase ‘cars on the road, people on the path’. Trying to start small and build it up! She repeats it whenever we are out and about.

Lauren – From since they were little, we’ve always said ‘check all around for moving cars’ and been very serious about waiting for the green man, then checking for moving cars before crossing at traffic lights. Seb actually told off a policeman once who was about to cross before the green man arrived!

Julie – To the tune of ‘Here we go round the mulberry bush’:

This is the way we cross the road,
Cross the road,
Cross the road,
This is the way we cross the road,
We stop, look and listen.

What are your top tips for teaching children road safety? Please leave them in the comments!

 

*Disclosure – This is a sponsored post*

 

parents the real superheroes

npower Parenting Super Powers

Do you know what, parenting is flipping hard. We, as parents, are the unsung super heroes. Watch out Batman and Superman; the parents the real superheroes are coming for you – dirty nappies in tow!

 

What makes us parents the real heroes I hear you ask? Plenty!

Parents have an inhuman amount of strength that kicks in during emergencies. You have a wriggler on the changing mat and need to prevent them smudging their poo everywhere? No problem! Super parent can hold them in place with one super strong hand whilst cleaning up their mess with the other. Your toddler falls over and refuses to walk? No problem! We’ll just carry them all the way home.

Super hero parents have an insane talent for stomaching smells. Right from the very second they are born those babies stink. In fact, one of the things that most shocked me about having a newborn was the stench of her poos and even her farts! As parents we just deal with this because we are heroes.

Parents have a fantastic ability to keep calm, even when we really, really want to lose our sh*t. Let’s be honest, if anyone else walked in your house, threw food everywhere, fell all over the place and back chatted, maybe even slapped you if my daughter is anything to go by, it would be hard to resist the temptation to go spare. Not when you’re a parent. You just roll your eyes and nicely ask your child to behave.

We have an unnatural ability to run off zero, to very little, sleep for extended periods of time. Newborn waking up every two hours for a feed? No problem, I’m a parent I can deal with that and function like a normal person (while looking after a newborn) during the day. Toddler still not sleeping through the night? Pfft, sleep is for the weak anyway.

Do you know what makes us superheroes thrive? Our children. They are the Robin to our Batman and the very reason that we develop these miraculous powers.

I would love to hear all about your parenting superpowers, and so would npower, so much so that if  you share a video or image of your parenting super powers with npower at familysuperpowers.com you could win one of three UK theme park resort breaks, don’t forget to share on twitter too using #familysuperpowers and @npowerhq.

 

*Disclosure -I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. I will be receiving a voucher as a thank you for this post*