I was tagged by Josie from Me, Them and the Others (about 6 weeks ago – oops!) to answer 15 questions about being a mum. It’s been a long time coming, so without further ado, here are all my answers:
1. Favourite mum hack?
I’m not sure I’m sufficiently sophisticated at parenting to have a mum hack, but I do know that the quickest way to get a 4 year old to do anything is to immediately follow your request with the words: ‘It’s a race!’. Does that count as a hack?
2. Most embarrassing mum moment?
There have been many of these, but my most recent embarrassing moment was doing the nursery run with dry baby poo on the knee of my jeans. I like to think no one noticed – I certainly didn’t!
3. What part of the day do you love the most?
Putting both children to bed. I love putting my 1 year old to bed because he’s so snuggly and falls asleep in my arms almost immediately (as he’s usually been awake ALL day and is exhausted). I also love putting my 4 year old to bed because I get so little time alone with her at the moment and it’s lovely to have those 15 minutes together to snuggle up and read a story.
4. What part of the day do you like the least?
The start of the day after the initial ‘good morning’, when I realise that I’ve got to get two children fed, dressed, washed and into the car to nursery, and I don’t know if I am mentally or physically capable, because I’ve only had 3 hours and 25 minutes worth of sleep!
5. The worst thing someone said to you while you were pregnant?
I don’t remember anyone ever saying anything bad to me when I was pregnant, although I often had people ask ‘Are you sure there’s just one in there?’ because both times I was huge! I’m only 5’2″ and normally fairly petite, but I had huge bumps with both children, so it was probably a fair question!
6. Baby name you didn’t agree on?
My granny passed away the same month that we found out we were pregnant with our little girl. I’m not particularly spiritual or religious, but I really felt she had something to do with us becoming pregnant so quickly. We both knew straight away that we wanted to name our baby after her, and I felt so sure that I was having a girl that we barely discussed boys names!
Finding a name for our little boy wasn’t quite as straightforward. I really liked Alistair but my husband was having none of it. We were still debating names in hospital while I was getting prepped for my c-section, but thankfully we got there in the end. Nothing like the pressure of an imminent birth to focus the mind…
7. Do you co sleep?
Never. For no other reason than I like my sleep and my space too much. Also, while I was pregnant with my first baby, a work colleague used to regale me with stories of his 8 year old who had never slept a whole night in her own bed. A good 6 months of hearing his horror stories gave me the fear!
8. Something you bought but never used?
A cup holder for the pushchair. Because I quite fancied the idea of leisurely walks with a cup of tea, while the baby slept soundly. You know, like in films. Where babies don’t really cry or need an urgent nappy change.
9. Three hospital bag must haves?
Massive comfy knickers, a comfy dressing gown and comfy slippers. The emphasis here is on comfy. The first time around I really had no idea. I remember stressing about what kind of slippers to take and whether my dressing gown was too ‘granny-like’. I wanted to look all stylish and effortless. You know, like those women in films with the pushchair cup holders. Anyway, it turns out that style doesn’t matter a jot when you’re wandering the hospital corridors, frizzy haired, barefoot and attached to a catheter bag after your emergency c-section.
10. Are you a routine mum or a ‘go with the flow’ mum, and what does bedtime look like?
I’m a stay at home mum, so I need to force some routine into my day or I’ll go round the twist. We don’t stick rigidly to our routine, but we all know roughly what time meals are coming and when bedtime will be. Bedtime usually starts with a bath for both children. Once they’ve fully soaked the bathroom floor, I tend to get the baby out first and get him dressed while the 4 year old has a bit longer to play. My husband usually gets home just after bathtime, so one of us will put the 4 year old to bed with a story and the other will give the 1 year old a drink of milk before he goes to sleep too.
11. What type of labour did you have? What pain relief did you choose?
I had contractions from the Friday night til the Sunday with my first and was all set to deliver normally when things went pear shaped and I ended up having an emergency c-section under general anaesthetic. Until the c-section I’d been managing on just gas and air but that quickly got swapped for morphine!
With my second I elected a c-section. I’d considered trying for a VBAC but I’d really struggled to come to terms with having to be asleep for my first baby’s birth and I was adamant that I didn’t want that to happen again. I’d felt so cheated the first time around and because of that I was determined to give myself every chance of being awake when my second came into the world. And thankfully everything went to plan, so I finally got the chance to see one of my babies being born!
12. Have you ever been mum shamed?
I’m not aware of having ever been mum shamed, although I’ve been fairly tired for the past 4 years, so I probably wouldn’t have noticed if I had! I do remember however, that when I was bottle-feeding my first, having struggled to breastfeed, I felt as if I was being mum shamed constantly. I wasn’t, but I felt embarrassed whenever I fed her in public and got quite paranoid. At the time I was sure that everyone was watching me and judging me for bottle-feeding my baby. It was an awful feeling but I realise now that a lot of it (all of it, probably) was just in my head.
13. The biggest challenges you’ve faced since becoming a mum?
Not having my own space and the general lack of ‘quiet’. I’d also never really appreciated how little time I would have for myself once I became a mum.
14. The best bit of advice you have ever been given – biggest piece of advice you’d give to a new mum?
Don’t compare your child to other children and don’t get hung up on milestones. Children all develop at different rates. My first never rolled over or crawled til after she learned to walk at 1 year old, and my 14 month old appears to have hit the terrible twos 10 months early! They all do things their own way.
15. Who’s your mum crush?
I have to say my own mam don’t I? But I’ve also been following Stacy Solomon on Instagram since she’s had her baby and find her honesty about her experiences to be so refreshing.
16. And who do you tag?
Have fun ladies!