ParentOn

Parenting is hard.

Parenting is complicated.

Parenting is challenging.

Parenting is exhausting.

Parenting is rewarding.

Parenting is fun.

Parenting is exciting.

Parenting is never ending.

There are hundreds and hundreds of different ways to define being a parent. Being a parent is conditional and relative to circumstance**.

 At some point, every parent has a wobble. You consider whether or not you need to start saving up to pay for therapy for your kid when they become an adult. You worry about whether or not you’re doing the right thing. You worry whether or not they eat enough fruit and vegetables, or if they’re eating too much (yeah, some kids eat their fruit and vegetables and ask for more! GASP!)

Parent Guilt is a real thing; mom feels guilty because she didn’t breastfeed for long enough, or she didn’t use cloth diapers, or one day she lost her cool and shouted. Dad feels guilty because he doesn’t spend enough time at home and is always at work, or doesn’t do enough night feeds or bum changes, or one day dad loses his cool and shouts. 

Do I read enough to my kids, do we do enough imaginative play, do I allow too much screen time, and so on. Parenting is hard. There is no right or wrong way (within reason) and at some point every parent thinks they aren’t doing a good job, or needs to improve in some way or another; and then there are days when parents think “YES! I got this. I am a parenting wonder today!” Its all relative.

As a parent, you go through a range of emotions. You’re proud, and you’re happy, and you’re worried. You get angry, and stressed. You give praise but you also feel awful for telling off. You laugh, you cry, you hide in the garden shed for 5 minutes at a time, despite the spiders, simply so you don’t have to share your bar of dairy milk. Going to the bathroom is a grand affair, its like an audience with a miniature royal, who watches you poop and then demands to see your poop and congratulates you on said poop and the fact that you flushed the toilet. God forbid you ever crap in private again. Then there’s sleep, or rather, lack of it.

As a parent you ask a lot of advice from your peers. There are conversations and debates (HA) and everyone has an opinion. You second guess yourself, you trust your gut instinct; and everything in between.

So when I got a surprise package from Tommee Tippee, I didn’t quite know what to expect. A blue box containing the “Complete Parenting Survival Kit”; containing everything I need for bringing up babies. What? What was in this little box? I was completely and utterly perplexed; especially as I wasn’t expecting anything in the mail. 

 

 When I opened it, I was blown away.

It was a mirror.

Tommee Tippee, reminding parents that all you need to survive as a parent, is YOU.

There was also a small USB key, a handheld mirror, a little flag and a leaflet.

There is no instruction manual for raising children. You don’t need to be a genius. Trust yourself; trust yourself that you’re doing a good job. Parents, You GOT THIS.

I was pleased as punch with my surprise, especially as it was PERSONALISED.

 
Tommee Tippee is one of the UKs leading baby brands, and has been going for 50 years now. Loved by babies and recommended by parents, and a household name in the UK; we’ve been a proud user (and blogger) of Tommee Tippee products. My parents used Tommee Tippee products too; and no doubt, when the time comes, generations after us, will continue to use Tommee Tippee as well. 

 So Parents, continue what you’re doing, follow your instincts, trust yourselves. You’ve got this. You know you have. Parent On.

 

** it took me a LONG time to compose this sentence, because my brain went dead (probably on account of lack of sleep) so massive, MASSIVE props to some of the lovely members of the SANP group who helped me out when I thought I was going mad trying to find a word that I have probably made up.

Happiest Place on Earth

We are here and it is AWESOME.

I want to buy EVERYTHING. 

There’s so much to see and do, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow (not just because it’s my birthday either!)

We had a great start to the day, thanks to epic staff at Eurostar St Pancras International. The queues were pretty busy, we started to join a line, when one of the staff approached us and fast tracked us through. 

We’d booked 3 seats in a 4 seat section. The 4th seat stayed empty the whole trip!

Free wifi. Epic.

The hotel is beautiful and very peaceful. The food (so far) is delicious, even if The Husband did get the chicken nuggets and fish bites mixed up.

The fireworks and laser light show at Sleeping Beauty’s Castle was fabulous.

Can’t wait for tomorrow!  

The Glass Box

This was recently shared with me, by a fellow mama who had PND. She is remaining anonymous at her request. I’m sharing it with you. Not only is it a beautiful piece of writing, but it also is an insight as to how someone with PND feels.

PND to me was like being in a glass box. I could see people and people could see me. I could hear people and people could hear me. But ultimately I would walk around/sleep/live in a glass box all alone. I wanted to get out but couldn’t. I couldn’t understand why I was in the box and why literally no-one else I saw was in a box. In fact not only were they not in a box they were running around free as a bird, laughing, genuinely smiling in the breeze.

On a couple of occasions the lid would lift a little and I could stick half my head out. It would make me feel a little better, but then someone would push me back down in it and I’d be alone again.

Sometimes it would feel as if the box was getting smaller, closing in on me so I would want to take my own life to avoid my failure of being able to live in the box without getting squashed. My baby needed someone else other than me. Afterall how could a mother care adequately when she is always in a glass box. My husband didn’t like me. What husband would love a woman who could never leave her glass box and would moan about being in there all the time.

So I would cry alone in there. Not knowing why I was put there or when or if I was going to get out. Because to me the glass box was firmly nailed shut and had a padlock on it. There was no way I would ever ever get out, I would be stuck in it forever.

When I read articles about ‘PND’ or when a doctor showed me empathy, my glass box would move closer to another person who I could suddenly see was also in a glass box. That made me realise that in the world I wasn’t the only one. But ultimately I was still alone. I would walk the streets even surrounded by the glass box. I would drive inside it, go to baby groups inside it, even spend Christmas Day inside it! Whilst I watched my little girl who I adored more than the world in her pretty velvet dress unwrap presents. I wished I could get out just even for a day but I couldn’t.

Then one day someone came and unlocked the padlock. I felt a bit better. I was still trapped inside but the lid felt lifted somehow. It would lock again but bit by bit the unlocking incidents occurred more regularly. Eventually and over time, without even knowing it, the glass lid lifted and slowly I was climbing out. Then one day, I realised that not only had I got out but as I turned around to look at the box that was my prison I saw….that it had shattered into a thousand tiny pieces and I knew I would never ever go back in there again. I was free! Free to run in the breeze like other mums. As I turned, I noticed an egg timer next to the shattered glass. I had never noticed that before. And it was empty. I started to see other women in glass boxes and now I was the free one. I wanted to give them hope. Each of them had a different amount of sand in their egg timers, but I knew that they would run out eventually.

The only thing that helped me during my time in the box was to play music in there. Music that I used to love that made me feel happy. The odd glass of wine in there, reading loving letters from friends and texts of compassion.

Dettol with E45 – Review

Just before we were due to move, I received a new product from Dettol and E45 to review. THANKS!

Hand-wash.

I am constantly washing my hands, due to nappy changes, messy toddler clean ups, food preparation, general cleaning, and well, you know, using the bathroom myself!  Constant washing of hands, means constant moisturising of hands, which I often forget to do.

So getting a hand-wash that contains a well known moisturiser was a tad exciting (don’t judge me!)

Thanks to the lovely staff at Spink PR, I got a 250ml Dettol with E45 hand-wash with Lotus Flower in my mailbox.

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Firstly?

It smells DIVINE. There is nothing better than using a product that smells nice and makes your hands smell nice and clean.

 

Secondly?

It was like washing my hands with, well, I want to say silk, but I’m not sure it’s the right word I’m looking for… the feeling was silky, even after rinsing all the suds off. My hands felt soft and very hydrated.

 

Thirdly?  I LOVE IT.

 
Needless to say the hand-wash is pretty much done because I used it so often, although there were times when I had to use a different hand-wash, like when out and about or at work, and it’s probably a little OTT to carry your hand-wash of preference around with you in your handbag… or is it?

Will I buy it? YEP! In fact, normally this hand-wash is £2.50 RRP and you can purchase it at most well known supermarkets and places like Boots and Superdrug. HOWEVER, it has just come on special offer at Tesco.  It’s currently on sale at £1.25 until the 11th August 2014. Guess who’s due an online Tesco shop?  ME!

The product I received was with Lotus Flower, however you can also get it with Honey or Camomile.  I haven’t tried the other two products, but I’ll most certainly be picking up a few of them when I do my online shop.

I’d say overall that we (I say we, I mean I, because The Husband is all “its hand-wash…”) LOVE it.  I’d take it everywhere with me.

The only thing that I’m not happy about is that other places don’t have this as their first choice of hand-wash, but that can’t be helped, or likely changed! Come on everyone, swap your hand-wash!

Thank you to Spink PR and to Dettol for giving me the opportunity to *review this product.

Because I love this product so much (and I’m about to go and buy a lot of them) I am going to give away 3 bottles of Dettol with E45 hand-wash (did you see that there are 3 different ones! exciting!) to 3 lucky readers. All you need to do is share this post on any (or all) of your social media platforms, and comment here. Competition closes 1 week from today at 5pm GMT on Wednesday July 30th 2014. Open to UK and NI residents only. Winners will be selected by random.org

* I was sent this product free of charge to review and provide an honest post. The giveaway I am running is not endorsed by Spink or Dettol and is of my own doing. 

Ranty Friday

So, it looks like we are finally moving. To a bigger home, to accomodate the ever growing equipment that comes with having a child.

But this dear readers is not my rant, although I suspect in the coming weeks that I will get a bee in my bonnet over something that is related to moving. No. This rant is about the cost of travel.

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You see I am lucky enough that I get discounted travel due to my job. However because I have to work, I need childcare. It is not financially viable for myself or The Husband to be a stay at home parent. It is also not financially viable to put Emma into a full time day care (HOLY CRAP ARE THEY EXPENSIVE!) so my mother comes and has Emma a few days a week. It is a godsend. Emma has a great bond with her nana, and my mother, who cannot just sit still and chill for anymore than 5 minutes takes the time to dust, do a load of laundry or the vacuuming, and we are very grateful to her. We continually tell her that she doesn’t need to do those things, but my mother is like me, stubborn and headstrong and well, doesn’t listen to anyone!!

So instead of forking out my entire monthly salary to a day care (YES IT IS THAT EXPENSIVE!) I pay my mothers travel to us. Currently it is £177.80 a month. Not a huge amount, and when she isn’t coming to care for Emma, she can use it to go to her hospital appointments, or into town to shop/sight-see etc. Its certainly a hell of a lot cheaper than a daycare!

Now that we are moving further out (2 stops on the train) I expected the cost of the season ticket I buy my mother to increase. What I wasn’t expecting was to be told that a season ticket between the two stations does not exist and therefore the cheapest ticket is a travelcard between Staines and Zones 1-6. The cost £295.30. WHAT!?!?

It seems that my mother is the only person who will regularly be travelling between Kidbrooke and Staines. Understandablely hard to believe that out of several million people living in and around Greater London, that this is the case. She also has no need to use the underground or buses, so why a travelcard?

I did my research and discovered that a monthly season ticket between Feltham and Staines is £87.20. Add that to the monthly cost of the current season ticket of £177.80, you get a total of £265. Cheaper than the cheapest ticket I was told was my only available option! By £30.30. Granted £30.30 isn’t a huge amount of money in the grand scheme of things, but that £30.30 is a weekly fresh food shop for us. It could be used to purchase Emma new clothing, or shoes (kiddo is a weed i tell you!)

My rant isn’t the cost of the travel, but rather the fact that I was told the cheapest ticket was a travelcard by a member of staff, when it actually wasn’t. It is no wonder that people get annoyed by the cost of train fares.

When I started on the railway, I was always told that when selling a ticket to someone, you give them the best available fare for their needs. To my knowledge this is still the practice today, so why hasn’t it happened on this occassion?

If it wasn’t for the fact that I did a little bit of research, I’d be paying an additional £30.30, when I don’t need to.

It is frustrating and annoying and I am off to ask South West Trains why there isn’t a monthly train only season ticket.

Reminder to all, do your research before buying things. Don’t just assume everything you are told is the be all and end all.

Fabulous Tantruming

I wasn’t expecting tantrums to start this early.
Emma is only just one, but for the last 2 months, we have at least one tantrum a day.

I thought you didn’t get tantrums until kids hit the “terrible twos”, but I guess 1 is the new 2?

At only 1, Emma doesn’t understand how to express herself, nor does she understand why we won’t allow her to do certain things. So she reacts the only way she knows how.
Unfortunately for us, it can be challenging and a little stressful after the 6th tantrum in an hour. It can also be funny.

I know you’re not meant to laugh, but sometimes I just can’t help it. The situation and the style of tantrum is just sometimes very amusing!

There are 6 prominent tantrum styles that my darling daughter has.

The Disney Princess Style
This involves toddling as fast as her little feet will carry her, across the room, and the throwing herself face down, arms over her head on to the sofa to cry.

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The Are You Watching Me Style
This one involves mainly lying on the floor, face down and every so often stopping and looking up to ensure we are watching her, if we are, then she carries on. If we aren’t, she shouts at us to get our attention and then when she has it, she carries on.

The Floor Has Become A Trampoline Style
This one is usually when we remove her from a situation that could be dangerous, and as we try to pick her up and remove her, she suddenly starts bouncing her legs as though she is on a trampoline.

The Swimming Style
The is the most common of the tantrum styles. Usually involves laying on the floor and kicking arms and legs in various directions.

The OH MY GOD I GIVE UP Style
This is again, another common one. Kiddo usually throws her arms up in the air as if to say “oh my god, I give up!” And then crumples to the floor and gives up.

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The Petrificus Totalus Style
This one, is perhaps the hardest to manage. Kiddo simply goes as stiff as a board. She won’t stand up, lay down, sit down. She simply just locks up completely, and it’s difficult to pick her up and calm her down.

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I get it kiddo, I do, life is hard, especially when you don’t understand and can’t explain or express yourself. I am sorry that sometimes I chuckle, but you throw your tantrums with such flair and style, and well, sometimes mama finds it hard to express herself, but I do get it kiddo.

We can learn together and I’ll try not to laugh, but I might slip up, so sorry, but I still love you to the moon and back a million times.

The Baby Show

Thanks to Inspire Me Media, I got chance to visit The Baby Show at the Excel Exhibition Centre in London’s Docklands.

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When I was pregnant with Emma, I kept telling The Husband that we had to go, but we never did. So when I got a press pass for a PR event that included a ticket to The Baby Show, I jumped at the chance. The Husband on the other hand was like “do not spend loads of money, maybe I should hold on to your credit card”. He was probably right!

There was a LOT of baby stuff and loads of big brands, Mothercare, Cosatto, Tommee Tippee, Joie, Asda, Milton, Britax, Chicco, iCandy, plus loads of cute independent retailers. It was a parent and baby dream. I could have spent thousands if not more.

The layout was a little confusing and I found myself walking around in circles and often walking past the same area several times whilst consulting my map and trying to find where I was. Give me google maps and I’m good. Anything else, forget it.

I saw a lot of things that I really wanted to buy, but lack of need and space, and most importantly money to spend frivolously meant that I couldn’t.

Like this Claw Foot Baby Bath Tub

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Super cool, but at £200, it’s definitely a frivolous spend.
Wouldn’t it be totally awesome to have not only a cool Montessori baby nursery with a walk in closet and separate bathroom for your wee babe? Sadly I’m not made of money! Wishful thinking eh?

Then there was these.

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SUPER-AWESOME! Not a new thing to me, as apparently they’re quite common in nurseries and day cares, but still. COT BUNK BEDS! Again a frivolous spend, seeing as I only have the one child and by the time I have a second, the first should be in a toddler bed!

There were a lot of prams/pushchairs/buggies/contraptions you push kids around in.

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There were even a few sling and carrier companies there. As well as retailers that specialise in Babywearing, like Slumber-Roo.
I was a little disappointed in the selection of companies in general. I wanted to buy a ring sling, but I only saw one by ByKay at the Cheeky Rascals stand.
That’s where I met Emily who runs the South London Sling Library.
I finally settled on a Beco Soleil from Slumber-Roo to add to my collection.
That said I still want a ring sling!

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I could buy all the wraps and carriers. The Husband has said no however!

The Baby Show also piqued my interest in Cloth Nappies. Definitely a consideration for my next baby.

There were lots of nursery ideas.

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There were also lots and lots of stalls with hand made baby gifts and trinkets.

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I also got to meet David from Snugglebundl (if you’ve seen Dragons Den then you’ll know who I mean)!
He was absolutely lovely, and the product itself is genius! Definitely a fore-runner in the ideas for a gift for my sisters baby that’s due this September.

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Overall I had a great time.

The Baby Show is next at the NEC Birmingham on May 16th-18th and then at Kensington Olympia on October 24th-26th.

You can buy advance tickets online from £10.50

If you’re a soon to be parent, a parent of babies/toddlers, an aunt/uncle/grandparent, then I recommend a visit!

Thank you Inspire Me Media for the press pass.

*I was gifted a press pass as part of a PR launch.

Down and Up

On Wednesday, I relapsed. It was horrible. I spent the rest of Wednesday and Thursday trying to bring myself back up to an “ok” level.

Then today happened.

The most amazing high I have ever experienced in the last few months. It’s pulled me right out of my low.

Emma walked. Unaided for more than a couple of steps. She’s been cruising and using her push along walker for about 2 months now, but she’s not had the confidence to stand unaided for more than 5 seconds, nor walk unaided for more than 2 or 3 steps.

Until today.

First proper steps at 11 months old.

Proud mama doesn’t even BEGIN to cover how I am feeling right now.

Tommee Tippee Soothers

On Friday, I was lucky enough to be invited to The Baby Show on behalf of Inspire Me Media for a Silent Launch of Tommee Tippees new range of baby soothers.

Emma started off with a soother (dummy/pacifier) and then one day she just refused it. For about 4 months she just would not take it. Of course this was after she lost them all, and I purchased about 8 of them, and then found all the lost ones (behind the cot!)

Thanks to Inspire Me Media, I added 2 more brand new soothers to Emma’s collection. I opened the pack, and Emma looked at her two new additions, threw one on the floor and promptly stuffed the other one in her mouth.

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The new soothers were designed after listening to what mums and dads had to say on the subject.

* 1 in 3 mums struggle to choose when looking for soothers and often end up buying impulsively
* choosing the right soother is trial and error, babies often go through several types/brands before finding one they like
(it’s not like you can take them back to be refunded!)

With this in mind, Tommee Tippee came up with a new range of soothers, with new packaging and a teat that is more in line with that of a bottle teat; large, long and flat so that it’s easier for baby to hold in their mouth.

Research trials showed that 68% of babies accepted the new style soother the first time it was introduced, as opposed to 43% for the old style soothers.

Emma has 4 different types of soothers in her collection. Last count (Friday) that’s a total of 13. THIRTEEN!

As she’s teething, I suppose having so many of them isn’t a bad thing. She chews them for relief! Happy baby is a happy mama!

The new range of soothers comes in 4 ranges; Fun, Anytime, Night Time and Air and are available Nationwide at Tesco, Asda and Mothercare. They cost £4.79 per twin pack.

** In return for this post I was gifted a press pass for The Baby Show as well as a PR pack containing 2 Tommee Tippee Night Time soothers

Almost A Year

When I found out I was pregnant with Emma, I joined an online pregnancy support group, and I met some wonderful women.
I’ve met a handful of them, however there are three of them who have become my closest friends.
We talk every day, we laugh, we’ve cried, we’ve text, spoken on the phone, visited each other, sent gifts and cards and we’ve all been there for each other.

We made a plan to meet every 6 months at least with all of our babies, and well if some of us could meet up more often then great.

We first all met up on the 22nd of July 2013, when our babies were 4/5 months old.

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We met up again today, 6 months later.

We ate, we laughed, we played and it was great.

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