My Word of the Week is not the word I originally chose. I have a draft written about another word but today I just felt the post was quite negative.
So, the new word I have chosen is “Out”.
When I was pregnant my sister-in-law, who has three children under 14, said that one thing she thought was really important when you have a baby is just to go out. Doesn’t matter what you’re wearing, doesn’t matter if your hair is dirty, doesn’t matter if your house looks like a bomb’s gone off, just get out there, in the fresh air and be “out”.
I was terrible at going out when Gwenn was a baby. For the first six months she would only feed with nipple shields. It made feeding in public quite difficult and anybody who has had to use shields will understand why! So I just never went out. It makes me genuinely sad to think of that time.
Just before she was 26 weeks, Gwenn decided shields were for losers and things started to get better. But I must admit I’m still not particularly spontaneous (although to be fair, I never have been in 31 years so it’s unlikely to change anytime soon) and I don’t feel that we spend enough time just getting out there and going places. I spend far too much time structuring our day around my “things to do” list.
Today we had to go to my mam’s for a bath (long story) and as I was getting us ready to leave my step-dad asked “So, where are you off to?” I genuinely had no idea. “We’re just going to walk and see where we end up”, was my reply.
I kind of wandered for about 30 minutes until I reached a bridle path that leads to a pit heap and then onto a country park which has a really lovely cafe and visitor centre.
We (or rather I) had a really decent (largely uphill 🙁 ) walk through the park and I tried to explain as much of what we could see to Gwenn.
When we got to the centre the cafe was heaving but there were loads of tables outside, which was what I would have chosen anyway because it was a sitting outside type of day. I got us a sandwich each and we shared a slice of banana cake (although I feel the sandwich/cake ratio was skewed in Gwenn’s favour).
On the way back home I took this photo in which you can see all the way to Sunderland.
We walked past a supermarket and bought some “essentials” 😉 and Gwenn slept on the way back and I didn’t stress about it (usually I like to be home for her afternoon nap so I can catch up on housework).
All in all it was a great day. I think amongst the efforts to look nice and maintain a tidy house, my ability to just go out and enjoy myself has been lost somewhere.
We are just at the beginning of Summer and Gwenn has started to take her first few steps. If ever there was a time to be “out”, this is it.
Two things dawned on me when choosing the photo for this week’s BOOTD. First is that Gwenn is sitting in the exact same swing as she was in last week’s photo. Second is she is – inadvertently – wearing head to toe Marks & Spencer!
It wasn’t intentional. In fact, I usually avoid dressing her in one brand and whenever she’s received a “set” in the past, I have tended to spilt it up.
But, on this sunny Wednesday, it turned out that everything that was clean (we’ve just moved house and are washing machine-less) and matched just so happened to be from good old M&S.
The jumper dress was a present from my Mam before Christmas, and I bought the leggings, shoes and hat the other week.
Oh, and come to think of it, her bodysuit was from John Lewis!
Hat – M&S
Jumper dress – (also) M&S
Leggings – (yep, you guessed it) M&S
Socks & trainers – (this is getting silly now!) M&S
So, we moved house on yesterday. Or rather we moved from a flat to a house.
I’m so excited to have stairs!!!
We only owned the flat for 18 months. We bought it when I was 5 or 6 weeks pregnant. I had my reservations about it but if we had pulled out at that stage we’d have been technically homeless, having sold Andrew’s flat months beforehand. It needed a serious amount of work to be done in every single room (which meant it was cheap as chips to buy) and Andrew, bless him, did not have a minute of free time for months.
It was a lovely flat on a lovely street in one of the most fancy postcodes in the county. The rooms were big, loads of period features and because it was an absolute steal we really spared no expense in renovating it. But ultimately it was never going to be family home. There weren’t enough rooms; the layout just didn’t work at all (most narrow kitchen in the UK; no room for a table and chairs; the nursery was adjacent to the living room) and I think we had outgrown it by the time Gwenn was a month old.
It also became apparent fairly quickly that, when I returned to work, childcare was going to be it bit of a problem because I don’t drive and didn’t live within walking distance of my parents. To make everybody’s life easier, it made sense for us all to live close to each other.
In January we made the decision to be back to where I grew up, where we could afford to buy a house and could easily access childcare. It would also mean that, having put down roots, we could start thinking about nursery and school for Gwenn (I honestly had not realised how soon these things need to be organised!). We looked at three bed houses but we only saw one that worked and we could afford, but somebody got in there first. We bought a two bed on the basis that the rooms are massive and future baby and Gwenn could easily be roomies. It takes four minutes to walk to my Dad’s and five minutes to walk to my Mam’s and I think Gwenn is so lucky to live within walking distance of two sets of grandparents. There’s also a really good primary school around the corner, a shopping centre a stones throw from our front door and it’s ten minutes on the Metro to Newcastle city centre.
Okay, so we don’t have a front garden, and every so often a double decker bus drives past our window (although at least the bustop isn’t directly outside; my step-gran has to put up with that and it would drive me crazy!). And we’re no longer a short stroll from the sea and the whole cafe culture thing but you have to cut your cloth accordingly, don’t you? We made a lot of money selling the flat meaning the mortgage we have now will be paid off by the time I’m 51 and I will never have to work full-time if I choose not to. We might not be rolling in it, but it means I can spend as much time with Gwenn as possible.
So far, after a day 😉 , I feel like we have definitely made the right decision to move.
It’s been a while (about two weeks) since I did any blogging but I’ve been feeling like I should check in before I forget how to use WordPress 😉 and just say Hi!
Over the past fourteen days I have vacillated between “Thank God I’m not doing the blog anymore” and “I really miss the blog”. Today I am missing it and I am full of ideas of where I want to take it, hence the post.
I’ve decided to link up with the Mums’ List linky, hosted by Hannah at Mums’ Days even though this is a round up of the last fortnight, not just the last week. I’m sure she’ll forgive me?
On Easter Sunday it was Gwenn’s first birthday. We didn’t have a birthday party, but here are a few photos of the weekend.
Recently we have been all about moving house; practically every conversation and activity has involved the big move in some way shape or form. Fingers crossed, we are completing this Friday (until I have the keys in my hand I won’t believe it). We went to see the house again on Monday and it put such a spring in our step. It gave us a glimpse of how our life will be once we live there and despite not wanting to get too excited, I am TOO excited! I am planning to do a proper post about the move, once it happens and maybe some stuff about the renovations, if I have the time and feel like it’ll be of interest to anyone?
This has also been “shit mam” week. Basically, I have been feeling like my mam skillz have been fairly poor. What set it off was comparing Gwenn to other babies her age, and especially when I heard somebody talking about their baby’s speech. Not a single family member or health professional has ever suggested that Gwenn is behind with her language development but I got it into my head that the fact she only dadas and mamas at the moment is my fault and that I’m not talking to her or reading with her enough.
Then, I started to feel really down about how I look and I’m very aware that by this stage, I really shouldn’t be going around looking as bad as I do on a regular basis. But I have been prioritising sleep over everything else, so getting up early to go in the shower, wash my hair, whatever, has been the furthest thing from my mind and I don’t really give myself much time to make myself presentable before me and Gwenn go out for the day.
On top of that, I have been feeling guilty about how often we have been leaving her with my mam while we have been packing up the flat, going to buy new furniture, visiting the new house to take measurements, all the house move-y things. It’s bad enough that I’m at work three days a week, now I’m palming her off on relatives when really I should be with her on my days off.
So, all in all, I have been feeling really down on myself but I couldn’t really work out why all of a sudden I was feeling so vile when the things that have been getting me down aren’t exactly recent developments (trust me, I’ve been looking a clip for the last year 😉 ) Well, prepare yourself for TMI time but I think it’s all down to breastfeeding hormones, or lack thereof. I stopped breastfeeding completely the same week I went back to work (when Gwenn was about 9.5 months) but I was still lactating (this is what I meant by TMI!!) for at least 8 weeks after that. I stopped checking after two months because I knew that the day I did, and nothing came out (again, TMI) I would feel like the worst person in the world. But, after three months, I know I have definitely stopped “producing” and I have been feeling really upset and empty. I have been having really vivid and distressing dreams in which Gwenn is either still feeding, or she tries to but nothing happens and I’m in loads of pain. Now that I know that there’s no way we can ever breastfeed again I am feeling guilty for giving up but also useless because I now have nothing to offer her that she couldn’t get from anybody else. For example, when she was about seven months old, we were in the village and had about 35 minutes to get some lunch before Andrew had an appointment to have his hair cut. We bumped into Andrew’s brother and wife and they offered to take Gwenn while we got something to eat so we went into a pub while they took her for a walk. While Andrew was in the hairdressers, I had a walk around some second hand shops and got a phonecall from my sister-in-law saying that Gwenn was really distressed, that they had tried everything (and they have three children so they have the skills!) but she was going to have to bring her back. When I met them, Gwenn was crying so much she could barely breathe and I could not calm her down. So I sat in the waiting area of the hairdressers, and breastfed her, and within half a minute she had totally calmed down. She barely fed; she mustn’t have been hungry. She just wanted the comfort of booby. I can’t do that anymore. If she is sad, or scared, I can’t offer her anything different to anybody else.
I never knew it would be so hard to give up breastfeeding. The irony of this is not lost on me as in the early days of pain, tears, sleep deprivation, obsessive Googling and self-loathing, I hated every second of it and couldn’t wait until the six month mark so I could stop. I feel as if a part of me has died and I have lost a connection with Gwenn that I can never ever get back. But, this too shall pass and I’m sure that in a few weeks I will be feeling better.
I’ve been spending a bit (not enough, but every little helps) on my Pinterest boards and learning more about how to use it better. I’m hoping when I start blogging again properly I will be able to use Pinterest alongside the blog, rather than as an afterthought.
I think it’ll be another month easily before I can think about blogging properly because we’re going to have some much to do in the house, but working on the social media side of things makes me feel a bit better.
I thought that Blogging, a full time job? by Aby at You Baby Me Mummy was so interesting for bloggers and non-bloggers alike. I know that I will never ever be able (or willing?) to devote that much time to my blog but Aby’s site is a testament to the hard work she puts in.
“I will never forget the day Archie came back from a trip out with Daddy on a rare Saturday I had to work wearing, ripped joggers, a Pyjama top and Christmas socks … in May. My husband looked genuinely terrified when eyes bulging I asked “Did you see anyone we know?!””
The rest of the posts are just as hilarious; I promise you, it’ll be the funniest thing you’ve read all week!
So, that was me, and my weeks! Hopefully I’ll be back soon.
We have now been in the house for 6 days and already, I am starting to feel a familiar anxiety creeping in.
Ever since I can remember, I have been overly conscious of what people think of me. When I was younger my parents were always at pains to point out that “Bethan, nobody else could care less what you are doing” but unfortunately this has not been a lesson I have found easy to learn and still, at the grand old age of 31, I worry myself sick about how I come across to both strangers and people I know.
We bought this house from a developer who had previously let it to a young family. It’s not decorated to my taste and it has not been kept up to a standard I would have, but there is nothing horribly offensive about the decor (apart from the wallpaper in the bedroom possibly 😉 ) and after a good clean it was certainly ready to move into. That is, of course, if you are a normal person. But I am not a normal person …
After less than a week of living here, I am already dreading visitors. What if they think the light fittings in the hall and living room are of our choosing? I’ll have to make sure I tell them straight away that we are going to take them down in a few weeks. And the walls downstairs are kind of magnolia, and I only do white so I’ll have to make sure I let people know that we are repainting the entire interior as soon as we can. And that vestibule door; I hope they don’t think we hung that? Of all the doors to chose from, that would be the last one I’d have bought. And while I’m on the subject, maybe if I stand the new kitchen blind up in the kitchen, people will realise that the one already there is not staying. I could go on …
I honestly feel like handing out a leaflet (or audio guide – I’m down with the kids) at the door explaining to visitors what has and hasn’t been authorised by me. If I walked into somebody’s home with the knowledge they had just moved in, I wouldn’t even look at the paintwork or furniture or heaps of unpacked boxes; I would focus on the space and the potential. Why can’t I be so understanding of myself?
Here are a few photos that I snapped while Gwenn was napping. As frustrating as this stage is, I’m also really looking forward to sharing the renovation works as times go on as part of my (small but growing!) Simple Life series. Hopefully any future updates will show me in a slightly better light than these ones do!!!
Until next time …
(PS This post was written entirely using the WordPress app and 3G, as we are Wifi-less until the 22nd!!)
After having a shared garden for the last 18 months, even a foldy chair in a concreted yard is heaven!
It’s fair to say that searching “laundry room” on Pinterest have never resulted in anything like this:
At 6:30 this morning, an oak shelf (that Andrew made himself and was very proud of) carrying about 9 pint glasses and what turned out to be a few too many cookbooks, fell off the wall and sent tiny shards of glass flying across the kitchen. This is all that remains …
This is what happens when you turn up at the allocated spot in Ikea and there is just a blank space. All the chairs, no table.
Transom windows and sleeping babies do not mix. Thank God for microwave packaging!
Operation “Completely make over this God awful bathroom” begins this weekend!
I was tagged today by My Petit Canard in her Valentine’s Day related post, Love is... It was very unexpected – and very sweet – as I’ve never been asked to take part in anything like this before (feeling the love already!!!)
The idea is that us blogging mums write a list of what love means to us and how our perception of what love actually is has changed since having a baby (or babies).
These are mine; let’s see how many more we can get!
… going to bed with wet hair, and leaving the house the following day without so much as even looking at it, so that getting ready time doesn’t interfere with baby time (and seriously, if you saw the consequences of me leaving my hair to do it’s own thing you would know that it’s love!).
… going practically make-up free for 10 months so that no cosmetics touch baby’s face when she touches mine.
… only going out with friends once since Gwenn was born, so that she knows mama is always there for her.
… suffering the hell on earth that is soft play on a rainy Sunday despite being the most noise-sensitive human being EVER!
So, there they are. My new expressions of love. A love that has taken me by surprise and that I can’t believe I was ever without.