Who Supports You?

13901550_10157352401710232_3710594009223921771_n

Hello all, a bonus blog for you this week to talk about some fabulous awards that I think are a great idea!

One of the key words surrounding this whole parenting journey we’re all on (apart from sick, poo and sleep) is support. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve talked/thought about how vital having a great support system around you is. Life can be confusing, worrying, stressful and hard even when you just have yourself to care for; throw in a tiny person who can’t do anything for themselves, doesn’t stick to a schedule and produces a lot of poo and sick (see I told you those words were pretty key too!), and it’s quite frankly an absolute miracle all us new moms manage to function on any level!

Anyone who’s read my past posts will know I didn’t get the start most moms get. I didn’t walk out of hospital in the first couple of days, have two weeks with Dylan on paternity leave and then get left mostly by myself to figure out how to keep the baby alive weekdays 9am til 5pm. Our start to family life was a lot more complicated and that’s why I am more grateful than I can ever say to everyone who helped us during that time. Of course, there was the fabulous Dylan who became Mr Mom and did everything I should have been doing, everything he should have been doing and a million, billion other things. There was my mom who took months off work to be there every day for Alexandra, for me and for Dylan. There was my sister Henrietta and her other half Ben who stopped at ours, did overnight feeds (and cheered me up – the first thing Henrietta said to me when she saw me in intensive care was ‘nice eyebrows’ – they were pretty horrific to be fair!). There was my dad who took every Wednesday off work when I got home to come over and help me run errands. There were my besties Manda and Beccy who had a girly sleepover with Alex – all the more remarkable seen as Manda doesn’t actually like babies!

There were the NCT couples who were just beyond fabulous: they organised food parcels for Dylan that we were still making our way through weeks after I got home! They looked after Alex and took her to baby sensory and were just the most supportive friends you could ever hope to have in that situation even though they were all new parents themselves. There were countless other friends who stepped in to have her for an hour or two. There was Dylan’s family who came over to help out, do night feeds and keep Dylan somewhat sane. There was the rest of my family. There were many, many friends who kept our spirits up, dragged us through the worst days and helped us along the way to being reunited as a family.

So you see, support is a massive, massive thing for me.

That’s why I think the Real World Parenting Awards are such a fab idea. There are two categories: one for a health professional who has gone above and beyond to help a new mom, and one for supportive family and friends.

If a nurse, doctor, midwife or health visitors has been dedicated, compassionate and hard working – making a real difference to your life as a new mom, then do think about nominating them! The awards are supported by an educational grant from Infacol and the winning professional receives £1,000 from the Primary Care Society for Gastroenterology to further their career or chosen area of research. Those nominating them are in with a chance of winning a short break at Knoll House.

To enter, simply e-mail competitions@satellitepr.com with the person’s name, workplace (if it’s a health professional you’re nominating) and the reason you’re putting this person forward by Wednesday, August 31. Winners will be announced in November.

Harriet and Alexandra x

Going for Gold: Baby Olympics

13920910_10157352401510232_4547636799188292284_n

Have you been watching Rio 2016? I have and I’ve absolutely been loving it! My favourite is watching the swimming but of course I tuned in to the athletics to see how Mo, Jess, Usain etc got on (yeah I’m clearly on first names basis with them all!). I didn’t see as much of the tennis as I’d have liked (missed all of Wimbledon as well!) but never mind. What a fab few weeks of sport!

Anyway, to get this back on topic and relevant to babies. While I was watching I got to thinking about the Baby Olympics and what kinds of sports they’d have which Alexandra would definitely excel in. I reckon she’d be a gold medallist in the following:

Baby Throw-down: the idea of this sport is to throw as many items on the floor in two minutes as you can, while your opposition (ie mom) attempts to put the items back into their rightful place. Ten points for every item on the floor when the buzzer goes.

The crawl off: the rules here are you must wait until the second your nappy is taken off (it counts as a false start if any competitor begins while their nappy is still on) and then crawl/roll/shuffle as far a way as possible in the quickest time. Points accumulate the longer you manage to escape for.

The nappy wiggle: this can be played just after the crawl off and involves you suddenly becoming an octopus while your competitor attempts to put your nappy back on. Extra points if you escape more than once. Triple points if you manage to reach and spread around the deposits in your last nappy. Automatic gold if you can poo again while your nappy’s off.

Hide and seek: we all know putting a bright pink blanket over your head while you’re sat a metre away from your opposition (ie your parents) renders you invisible to the human eye. The longer you can stay sat there with your blanket on your head, the more points you gain. Extra points if you can shriek loudly throughout the game and/or fall over as you’re so excited while your parents continue saying ‘where’s Alex? Where’s she gone?’ because they DEFINITELY can’t see or hear you.

So there you have it, some of my initial ideas for the Baby Olympics!

Harriet and Alexandra x

Motherhood: The Rivals

She's actually thinking about really complicated things you wouldn't understand.

She’s actually thinking about really complicated things you wouldn’t understand.

Essentially life is one big competition (it shouldn’t be, but it is!). From the day you step foot over the threshold of a school you’re being pitted against your peers to see who comes out on top. You spend your life aiming to be ‘the one’ – the one who gets 100 per cent on the test, the one who gets a first at university, the one who breaks all targets and records at work, the one who runs the fastest, the one who jumps the highest. But I feel nowhere in life are women pitted more ferociously against each other than when they become mothers.

I’d like to make it clear I am not at all talking about my mommy friends who are all lovely and supportive before anyone starts feeling paranoid! But I feel having taken up the role of ‘mother’ a year ago (because it does start the second you announce you’re pregnant), every tiny thing has suddenly become a competition. It seems like we have to compete to have the ‘best’ baby. Oh my baby slept a trillion hours last night, my baby actually crawled out of the womb it’s so advanced, my baby was doing trigonometry and reciting Shakespeare plays in their entirety from a week old.

Well guess what, no matter how fancy you think your baby is I guarantee you’re still spending most your days wiping its sick and poo. Fact. No matter how amazing you’re trying to convince everyone else your baby is, I guarantee you’ve sat crying at least once with a mixture of dribble/vomit/other bodily fluids in your hair wondering why the hell you thought parenthood would be such a blast.

Cause I’ll let you into a secret, I REALLY like my child. Honestly, she’s pretty immense. I get all the feels when I think about how much I love her. 99 per cent of the time she sleeps through the night, only cries when she’s hungry or tired, will settle for anyone without fussing and smiles and giggles constantly. But it’s still hard work! I spend my whole day trying to remember to take 57 gazillion things with us when we go out, there’s the endless routine of ‘feed baby, change baby, entertain baby’. If anyone asks, I will tell them that Alexandra’s a fantastic baby and we’re very lucky she is golden. Other people praise her endlessly. But I don’t feel the need to wear a massive badge saying ‘world’s best mother’. Cause you know what, it’s pretty much diddly squat to do with me! (The kid doesn’t even look like me! I basically just carried her round for a few months and now feed her while her daddy’s at work – I know my place in life!) At this stage it’s largely down to luck! Luckily I’ve passed on my love of sleep to our tot, she had to be babysat by anyone and everyone (think the postman had a turn one day!) when I was in hospital and Dylan needed to be by my bedside, she has a lovely temperament. All pure chance and luck, not because I’m playing Mozart and reading Dickens to her every night (I can’t even remember any nursery rhymes so I generally sing 90s indie music to her, what a joy!).

I realise I’m very lucky but I really don’t feel the need to brag about it, I’m only sharing this all now because I’m on a right rant about rivelry! When I hear of someone struggling to settle their baby, I might try and give them tips if I’ve found something particularly useful, but some people seem to think it’s fine to brag about how their child can recite the entire encylopedia and founded Google.

So my plea is: mothers, why not be kind to each other! Pass the tissues to mothers you meet who are struggling and try and support them a little. No one cares that your baby knows pi to the 100th decimal place or can juggle knives while fire-eating. No one wants to hear you brag about your ‘perfect’ life because you’re not fooling yourself or anyone else!

Harriet and Alexandra x