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.
Does my baby have colic? I imagine that this is one of the most google-d phrases from parents of newborns. If your baby is crying in discomfort it is the easiest conclusion to jump to.
We were lucky, Aria never suffered with colic, or at least we don’t think she did. Don’t get me wrong, she would often cry and seemed to suffer from bad wind after a feed, sometimes throwing a little milk back up, sometimes throwing a lot of milk back up. But she never really suffered, not like some poor babies, not like Lianne‘s poor babies.
You see some babies constantly cry, they cry non stop, they cry because they are in severe pain, severe pain caused by Colic. To the parents of colicky babies, I salute you.
Aria’s symptoms were easily resolved. We switched to Dr Brown’s Bottles for a little while and when it got real bad we would massage her stomach and pump her legs, as if she was riding a bicycle. This would usually bring the wind right up.
For some babies these simple tricks won’t work, very often the reason for this is because these babies are suffering with Transient Lactase Deficiency. This is where the immature digestive system of babies struggles to make enough lactase to digest the lactose in their feed, which induces colicky symptoms.
Introducing a lactase enzyme drop, such as Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops, with feeds can often resolve the problem without having to move to or change formula. Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops help make digesting lactose easier for baby without delaying the feeding process.
The drops can be used from birth, and are sugar, preservative and flavour-free. You simply add them to breast milk or infant formula prior to feeding and they work their magic without interfering with the feeding process.
Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops (10ml), priced at £9.99 for 60 feeds, are available from Asda stores or online at www.asda.co.uk and independent pharmacies nationwide.
If you think that your baby is suffering with colic and would like to try out the Care Co-Lactase Infant Drops for yourself simply fill in the Rafflecopter form for your chance to win!
T&Cs : The winner will be contacted by email, if I receive no reply within one week I will draw another winner. The prize will be sent direct from Care. UK only. Over 16 year olds only. If you claim to have submitted an entry which you haven’t all of your entries will be disqualified.
Confession time, I have never travelled overseas with Aria. The sheer thought of travelling abroad with a baby or toddler sends shockwaves of panic through me and makes me quite content with good old Barrybados (Barry Island for those of you who aren’t from around here).
Airport security freaks me out anyway, but trying to clear it with a baby and all of their crap? No thank you! Can you imagine the excess luggage charges for all their toys, nappies and possibly even formula, not forgetting the pushchair too! Looking after a overtired, hot and bothered toddler just doesn’t sound like a fun holiday to me, so I took to my fellow bloggers to find out just how they deal with overseas travel as a parent.
Hannah suggests that you take a list of key medical phrases in the local language, along with your families info. For example things like ‘He/she has a temperature’ ‘He/she fell and hurt his/her head’ You never know when your little one will have an accident and whilst they’ll most likely be totally fine you just don’t need the added stress of trying to translate at the hospital/clinic.
This advice ties in perfectly with a recent survey carried out by Holiday Autos which revealed that, despite many of us Brits travelling to Spain, the average holidaymaker knows just eight Spanish words. We sure know where our priorities lie, only 1 in 10 of us are capable of uttering ‘I have an upset stomach’ yet over a third can competently ask for a beer. Unfortunately 27% of us simply don’t bother to learn the language as we just assume that everyone speaks English.
Beth is always sure to only drink bottled water as drinking tap water can upset little tummies – and she always take sickness and diarrhoea tablets just incase of a dodgy tum.
Nicola suggests ordering your sunscreen online via boots.com to pick up at the airport. That way you can take a full sized sunscreen and it doesn’t count towards your luggage weight, plus you’re already past security so the liquid size limits don’t matter. Same goes for nappies, formula and pouches/jars. Harriet takes this one step further and says that you can get Boots to deliver out to your hotel for a fee.
Sophia suggests that you make sure you use your hand luggage wisely. Pack the essentials you need for your little one and divide any liquids like milk between the family hand luggage. She says make sure you have an emergency kit of medicines; we took Calpol, teething liquid and powders etc in hand luggage just incase we had any unexpected illnesses on the flight! If you won’t use it on the plane, stick it in your suitcase so you have more room to pack toys and books to keep your little one entertained during the flight. Download their favourite TV programmes so you can watch them offline on aeroplane mode, the Netflix and BBC apps are particularly great for kids TV shows that you can download and keep your little one occupied during a restless flight.
One in ten have lost luggage on holiday and struggled to communicate with the necessary people, and so careful packing is a must. Maria suggests packing a change of clothes for everyone in your hand luggage, in case your main luggage is lost, and Kelly‘s biggest worry is losing the passports, so she suggests keeping a photocopy of them in a different place, just in case. Kelly also uses three suitcases and spreads their stuff across them all to ensure that they still have clothes if one goes missing; which it did on the way home from their last holiday, but as it had a mixture of all of their things in it, it didn’t feel quite so devastating.
Alex is sure to always pack plasters and talc. You just know your shoes will rub or someone will graze a knee. The talc is great at removing sand, drying after a swim, or helping with sweaty feet.
It seems that savvy packing and familiarising yourself with the local language are key to a more relaxed trip overseas with a baby or toddler. Two thirds of British adults are embarrassed that as a nation we make such little effort to learn foreign languages, so getting to grips with the local lingo really is a must, even if just to avoid the embarrassing situations shown in this video, as, despite 35% of us attempting to speak slower when trying to make themselves understood it really doesn’t help!
“Having confidence leads to happier holidays — something which Holiday Autos believes in wholeheartedly, as we provide book and go car hire and we are committed to find the best car at the best price for everyone’s holidays.”
What are your top tips for holidaying overseas with a baby or toddler?
I’m sad that we’ve banned naps. Naps were my time, now I have no time.
We must be crazy! Stopping out toddlers naps, why would we inflict that on ourselves? You see we like free time in the evenings, and we also like sleep, preferably without a toddler in between us.
If we allow daytime naps our toddler will not sleep. Just the other day I gave into temptation. I knew that I shouldn’t have, but it has been so hot and she looked so tired and I had so much to do.
What harm can a small half hour nap do after all? A lot, it transpires.
You see our daughter has learnt to climb out of her bed. She has only previously attempted it in the mornings when she wakes up, climbs out of bed and pitter patters across the room into our bedroom. It’s cute and makes us smile in the mornings.
After a daytime nap it isn’t so cute. As she had napped during the day I let her have a later bedtime, 8pm. I gave her milk, read her a book and put her to bed. I settled down for a rare night off, a night of watching The Walking Dead.
Then, bang, pitter patter, ROOOAAAARRRR MAMMY!
My toddler had escaped her bedroom and decided to join me in the living room. This carried on until midnight and is exactly why daytime naps are banned.
I am sorry my darling toddler, we aren’t stopping your naps to be mean, we’re stopping them because we need time, just us, and you need to sleep.
There is an article doing the rounds today, slamming the ‘slummy mummy’. Said article criticises big mummy bloggers, bloggers who chose to share very real life parenting, bloggers who so many ‘normal’ mums look up to and relate to. These bloggers make people realise that they aren’t alone, they aren’t a shit parent. They are just normal. It criticises their choices and even refers to them as slummy mummies.
The thing is, like me, these mums aren’t slummy, they are just honest.
Honest parenting is on the rise. For far too long we’ve been made to feel useless when other mother’s share their perfect lifestyles on social media. While I would love to be the pinterest perfect mother who lovingly crafts and bakes with their child that just isn’t me. I mean, I do these things, but I don’t necessarily enjoy them and they always go wrong. To those looking in on the outside I will never be a perfect parent, but I like to think that my daughter will grow up looking at me as the perfect parent for her.
No one knows what goes on behind closed doors, and it is so easy to hide that on social media, it is so easy to sell yourself as perfect when no one really is perfect.
I bake with Aria and it usually goes wrong and I almost always regret it. I share this with my readers. Why? Because I want them to know that they aren’t the only ones who hate baking with a toddler.
As much as I love my daughter I love having time away from her, time on my own, preferably with wine or sometimes even lager. I share this with my readers. Why? Because they may feel the same and if no one else admits to wanting time alone they may question their parenting.
My daughter has strops, lots of strops. There is the drop and strop. The I’m tired but I’m not going to sleep strop. The wrestling when I put her in the pushchair even though she is too tired to walk strop, to name but a few. I share this with my readers. Why? Because there is a big chance that their child has had at least one of these strops today and that they are feeling like maybe they did something wrong. I want them to know that they aren’t alone and that this is just what children are like.
I also share these things because sometimes I need the reassurance that I am not alone. Sharing these honest moments often results in support from other mothers, mothers telling me that I’ve got this, letting me know that their day has been equally as bad, or sometimes even worse. Honesty brings with it support, and support is what we need, motherhood is bloody lonely after all. So, if my feeding my daughter fish fingers and chips in front of the TV offends you, I’m not sorry.
Sometimes, just sometimes I don’t like my toddler and quite fancy trading her in for a jägerbomb. Thanks to these ‘slummy mums’ I know that I am not alone in this. I am not a shit mam, just an honest mam.