Sunday, 18 September 2016

Juggling work and childcare

Juggling work and childcare is a difficult task many of us parents have to deal with.

With myself being a full-time working Mumma I have often felt stressed and guilty. I have recently realised it was SO MUCH EASIER when Mya was at nursery 8am-6pm. Now she's at school 8.45am-3.15pm the feeling of stress and guilt has grown tremendously. 

The morning I returned to work, after being off for Mya's first week at school was emotional. The morning started off fine. I dropped Mya off to my grandparents at 7.30am as planned and made my way to work. Walked into my office and burst into tears. I felt like I was such a terrible Mumma. How dare I put that responsibility on my grandparents, how dare I go to work and not take and collect my child from school. I was an absolute mess! After 10 minutes of blubbering to my manager I calmed myself down. A bit of the guilt eased but it still feels heavy in my heart and I'm sure it will for a long time.

 

This week I have thought about asking to cut down my hours but financially I would struggle a bit. I would love to be in a position where I could but right now I just can't. I work hard to provide for my family and those who know me personally know I love to keep myself and Mya looking good :-D

I am lucky to have such support when it comes to myself and Mya and love how my family help in times of need. Without them I would have to hire a childminder. This will help out in the long run. I will be able to use the money I'll be saving on childcare to buy essentials and all the nice things I want as well as extra savings to go in my mortgage savings.

Parenthood is not easy but remember we are all doing the best we can!

Here are some tips to help find a balance between parenthood and work life whether you have to hire a childminder or not.

Sort out childcare
If you cannot rely on friends or family, research into childminders and breakfast and after school clubs. Some schools offer breakfast and after school activities and some schools only offer those services for children in years 1 and above. Annoying for us reception Mummas and those with children both in reception and above. Ask for recommendations from fellow parents and also ask the school. They may be able to point you in the right direction. 

Be organised 
Don't leave things to the last minute! Have a set day to do the washing (especially the whites). That way you are not frazzled trying to look for a clean shirt. It also helps if you have enough for each day of the week. That will help to keep washing days minimal as you can wash the whites all together at the end of the school week. Do the ironing for the week over the weekend and hang up the uniform or pack away neatly.  Sort out the packed lunches and book bags the night before. Also think about breakfast! Get a family wall planner/calendar but don't forget to add important information and to check daily. 

Have a chat with your employer/manager 
Explain the troubles you may have or experience. Be willing to take unpaid leave for those emergencies. There may be a time where your childcare arrangements fail or the unexpected illness. Discuss if you could have a shorter lunch break in order for you leave work a bit earlier. 

Use your spare time wisely 
Use your day/s off to complete unfinished tasks. Make time for your family. Have fun with your child/ren! Go on day trips or do indoor activities. Create special memories together.

Let go of guilt!
Guilt has to go! Jog on! MOVE! Think about it financially and the impact it will have on your financial future and try not to dwell on the fact that you can't take or pick up your child from school. 

I'd like to thank my family for their continuous help especially over the last two weeks. Thanks to Mya's dad, my parents and grandparents, my sister Shani, my cousin Chloe and my best friend Kyle x

Until my next post. 

Mumma who tries x

Sunday, 11 September 2016

The first week of primary school

That special moment many of us were waiting for... The first day and week of primary school!



This was a huge leap into the unknown for both myself and Mya. Almost as if it was a new beginning for us. Mya was going to a school where none of her nursery friends were going to. She was worried that she wouldn't make new friends and as a mother that made me feel anxious. I explained to her why children go to different schools (didn't really add that it's a luck of the draw from the local council) and assured her that she will make friends. 

I didn't sleep at all the night before. I experienced a roller coaster of emotions and many of them were unnecessary. I was happy but at the same time I felt upset and angry. Happy as well as upset that my little, big girl is growing up. Angry because I couldn't believe I had let my mind run wild and not just go to sleep!!!

I woke up extra early to make sure everything was ready and to mentally prepare myself. When Mya got up she was beaming and shouted "This is my day Mumma!". BIG smiles were worn by the both of us.

We got dressed and done an obligatory in front of the door picture that many parents take. After that we set out on our 15 minutes walk to school.



I had a very eager little girl who was excited to go in her new class. Her teacher advised those parents whose children were settled to leave... That was my cue... My baby didn't need me there. I stood staring through the classroom window and left when I was ready to let go.

The first week reception class was only there for half day so were to be collected after lunch. Those 3 and a half hours went by so fast and it was time to pick up my school girl. As expected she had an amazing day which turned out to be an amazing week. For someone who was afraid that she wouldn't make any friends, she now has many new friends and two new best friends.

Things I've learnt/tips in the first week 

1. Set multiple alarms for yourself and child/ren. To wake up, be ready by and to leave.

2. Plan the route to school beforehand and a plan b route.

3. Buy enough uniform if you do not want to be washing clothes more often.

4. Label EVERYTHING! Including shoes!

5. Immediately ask how their day was, what they learned, who they played with, what they ate for lunch etc. Sometimes getting information out of children is like drawing blood from a stone.

6. Check your child/rens book bag daily. You do not want to miss out on vital information such as trip dates, own clothes day, cerificates etc.

7. Get everyone in an evening routine (including yourselves). How ever it works for you. For us it's TV time, dinner, bath, story and bed.

Lastly... Enjoy every moment!

Until next time from the new school mum.



Mumma who tries x

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Starting to blog again and maybe start vlogging

WOW!!! My last blog post was back in April!

Gosh it's hard to stay committed to the blog when so much is happening in your life.

Well once again I'm going to try to post regularly. Not sure if it'll be weekly, fortnightly or monthly. But hey I'm Mumma who tries x, the least I can do is try.

Here's a little trailer I put together using iMovie. I couldn't sleep last night and found this app so had a bit of fun. Hope you enjoy and look forward to hearing from me soon.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=R5VO0ZW1kTQ



Mumma who tries x

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

The roller coaster ride of finding out our primary school place



This post is a timeline of my day. I felt empty, so sick and nervous.

1.21. Check site... Nothing 
2.30. Bladder is full. Should I hold it and try to sleep or get up
2.35. Get up it is 
2.36. Check site... Nothing 
5.40. Check site... Nothing
8am. Call gp surgery for an appointment for myself and Mya 
8.08. Moan at mum for calling me. I told her yesterday not to call me and that I'd call her
9am. Check site... Nothing 
10am. Check site... Still fucking nothing. Obviously there's nothing, results are not published until after 5pm
10.46. Shani sends a message on Whatsapp. Wtf is wrong with her and mum. I tell her not to stress me and that she shouldn't bother me 
11am. Gp appointment 
13.38. Call from Shani. Woke me up from a nice sleep. I was dreaming too. Not that I can remember what it was about 
14.43. Shout at mum for telling my Aunty to call me. I'm trying to block out the world (she already knew this)
14.49. Check site... Nothing 
14.50. Check inbox, junk and deleted to see if I've missed anything just in case. Groupon emails can do one!!! Today is not the day for good deals 
15.06. Check site... Nothing 
15.13. Phone vibrates and my heart jumps... Just an email from discount vouchers... SIGH 
15.55. Mum says grandma is coming soon. JESUS!!! I really don't need her here right now
16.01. Check site... Nothing. Ok maybe an hour later 
16.36. Ffs I can't cope. I can't be waiting all evening. This is not right. Why would you do this to parents???
16.48. Check site... Nothing... Feeling... My chest is tight 
16.53. Can hear mum telling grandma that I'm stressed and have 7 minutes left till 5pm. That gut wrenching feeling right at the pit of my stomach now. The thing is obviously I'd prefer my first preference but I just don't like the fact that the council gets to choose where MY child goes to school 
17.00. Check site... Nothing. Fucking nothing
17.00. *Ping* email. Heart racing. Junk mail kmt!!!
17.03. Email from pinterest
17.04. Check site... First preference!!!!
Scream and run to mum and grandma who are now panicking because they don't know what's wrong with me. I manage to tell them that Mya got in to our first preference school. (When I say our I really mean my). Tears of joy!



The rest of the evening was spent with a big smile on my face. I felt so relieved. Now I can start uniform shopping. 

A relieved Mumma who tries x

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Disciplining your child

As time goes by and Mya is getting cheekier by the day I have decided to write my first blog post of the month (I've been slacking with posting) about disciplining your child.

In this day and age we really need to enforce discipline into our children's lives. It is imperative! How you teach your children what type of behaviour is acceptable and what is not varies between different parenting skills. I will not comment on what I think is correct or not as every family works differently. However I do believe that having a loving and supportive family unit aids to effective discipline.


At the moment Mya does not have a proper daily routine. This is due to issues we are experiencing as a family and makes it difficult to keep the routine set in place. A problem with us is that the discipline is not consistent enough and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Us parents have a hard job raising a family whilst having to go out to work, setting boundaries and concentrating on other commitments. It is HARD!!!

There are conflicting ideas of discipline between myself and family members. In particular my parents and grandparents. It can get so frustrating when I'm telling Mya off but my parents and grandparents comfort her and tell her something different. What they need to realise is that them acting the way they are is not helping Mya learn right from wrong. Grandparents treat their grandchildren differently as it's a different type of love but when they comfort the children whilst they are getting told off it is not showing support to the parents. This is where we all need to work together and stay consistent.

Wherever we go I'm always complimented on how well behaved and polite Mya is. To be fair she actually is but there's silly little things that she does at home which is not acceptable. Discipline starts at home and us parents need to nip those little things in the bud before our children think it's okay to continue to do so.


My discipline tips

Timeout- 1 minute for each year of age or until they have calmed down. This teaches self-regulation. Pick a spot that is distraction free! Sending a child to their room full of toys will not be effective. 

Confiscate an item they use regularly-This sends a shock to their system as they will realise they have crossed the line and you are being serious. Decide how long is a suitable confiscation period. Based on 3-6 year olds I believe a day or two is enough as any longer they will forget why it got taken away in the first place.

Praise- Discipline is about identifying good behaviour and not just about punishment. Praise motivates everyone of all ages. It motivates us to keep up the good work. This works well with children. Be specific when praising children, explain what you are praising them for.

Remember to be consistent! I need to remind myself :-)

Mumma who tries x

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

How the time of Lent will help me love myself more

Lent is a very special time for many Christians. Lasting 40 days (not including Sundays) starting from Ash Wednesday and ending on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday. A time where Christians remember how Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights being tempted by the Devil whilst he was alone in the wilderness.

During the time of Lent many people fast or give up luxuries as a form of penitence. I will not continue to go into the religious side of things as it could bring up heated discussions and that's not my aim of this blog post. This post is a continuation of this months theme of LOVE!


Lent doesn't have to be related to religion. You could use it as a time to work on yourself and personal goals and growth. A good time to work on something to achieve.

During this time I'll be giving up fizzy drinks!!! Only problem is what chaser will I have with my brandy?

It's a perfect time for me to give it up as I have started to train back in the gym. I am working on myself. I WILL have MY perfect body! I said MY as I don't believe in THE perfect body. There is no perfect body! Everyone should aim to have their own perfect bodies instead of idolising others.

I'm out of shape at the moment and can no longer blame it on baby weight when my baby is 4 years old. These fizzy drinks have way too much sugar in them and are so addictive. Let's see how these 40 days will go with just drinking juice and water. I'm sure I'll feel better in myself and be able to see progression.

Along with giving up fizzy drinks I intend to eat more healthy foods and continue to meditate. Connect with the higher spirits and continue to love myself and work on being a better me.

Here are some things you could give up for Lent.
Chocolate
Coffee 
Smoking 
Friday takeaways
Overspending 
Social media???
Sex??? NO WAY!

Mumma who tries x

Monday, 1 February 2016

February: The month of love

January is now officially over! The warm up month has ended and we are now into the second month of the year.

As this month is dedicated to LOVE I hope to follow this theme throughout this months blog posts.



"Love" can be interpreted AND misinterpreted in many ways very often. How one describes love can be different to how another describes it. I personally cannot tell you what my definition of love is because... I just can't. Love to me is indescribable. It's a deep feeling that's overwhelming that I just cannot put into words.

In preparation for Valentine's Day we have been doing some arts and crafts which we will use for decorations, keepsakes and gifts. So far we have made bookmarks and 'made with love' pictures. They are easy to make and great activities to do with your children. I'm sure if you make them for loved ones they'll be truly grateful as they were 'made with love'.

Mya loves colouring and painting and would sit down doing this all day long if she could. This gave me the idea to make something that I wouldn't want to throw away. As parents we all get bombarded with multiple pictures and paintings a week from your children that you cannot possibly keep them all. Whether due to lack of space or even because you just simply don't like it (being honest). This is something special that you could hang with pride.



For this we used a heart stencil sheet on a blank canvas. Using acrylic paints we made our picture by finger painting. Mainly just by dipping our fingers in the paint and pressing gently on the canvas. Mya was really impressed with our art work and can't wait for it to be hung up. 

Being a mum is so rewarding. Seeing your child excited and happy to do activities with you is so amazing. Loving a partner is beautiful but when you have a child you just cannot compare that love for it is much stronger. That unconditional love... So bliss!

Mumma who tries x

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

When will it be the right time for me to have another baby?

This week has been rather hectic. I've been helping mum move and have felt overwhelmed with all the things I've found that brought back memories of my pregnancy and when Mya was a baby.

Seeing my scan pictures again made me feel so amazed. The things a female body can do is breathtaking. It's so beautiful that my body allowed me to grow and nurture my baby in my womb. It's still hard to believe that it is Mya whilst looking at the pictures. It's a weird feeling and I've heard other mothers speak about it whilst looking at their scan pictures too.


All of these emotions has left me feeling broody... Once again!

So when is the right time for me to have another baby?

I couldn't tell you how many times I've been asked when am I going to have another baby or that I shouldn't leave the gap so big. People seem to forget that there are no rules or laws as to when it is the right time to have another baby or not. What's right for one family may not particularly work for another.

Mya is now 4 years old and starts primary school this September. I feel like in the next year or two it will be the right time for ME to have another baby. I see this as a good age gap between the two children for myself to be able to cope with more than one child. I became a mum at 21 years old, now at 26 I believe I am more confident and wiser. It's a good time for Mya too (she has been asking for a sibling for 2 years now). Although she's already very independent I think it'll grow greatly once she has a little brother or sister.

Here are a few pros and cons of having children close in age from parents I've had conversations with vs the pros and cons of having a bigger age gap (4+ years).

Having children close in age

Pros
- get the tough early years over faster
- same naptime/bedtime
- easier to get siblings into the same school 

Cons
- constantly potty/toilet training
- not much one-to-one time
- competition between siblings

Having children with a bigger age gap

Pros
- a break between sleep deprivation in early years
- not having to worry about having more than one child in nappies
- the older child can "help out"

Cons
- siblings do not have a close relationship (not in my case. My sister is my best friend and she's 4 and a half years younger than me)
- siblings not understanding each other
- siblings find it difficult sharing attention 

There are plenty more pros and cons but please do not forget that every family is different! If you have any pros and cons you'd like to share please leave a comment below for others to read.

I've got some baby making practice to do ;-)

Mumma who tries x

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Not knowing your true self

I sat down and asked myself What do you truly like or love? What do you want from life? And I couldn't answer... All I had to list was greek style yoghurt. Five minutes later I finally listed 'being a mother'.

I wanted to cry. In fact I still want to cry. Why could I only list two things and why didn't I think of 'being a mother' first?

Why? Why couldn't I answer my own question about my own life?



Because I do not actually know my true self. Sounds silly because I LOVE being a mother and my life revolves around Mya. But deep down I'm much more than just a mother. I'm a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, a niece, a cousin, an aunty, a partner, a friend... The list goes on. Most importantly I'm a human being! A Mumma who tries on a journey of self love and self discovery.

I find myself constantly wishing for things to change and always praying. Through reading different quotes I've now realised things are not happening because I don't truly believe it will happen. This needs to change. I need to focus on the law of attraction!

As quoted in the Bible from Mathew 7:7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you". Just like in 'The Secret' Ask, believe, receive!



All of this relates to finding my true self. It's not going to happen straight away and not going to be plain sailing. I'll have to overcome many obstacles and most importantly to stay guided. A step I am going to take to find my true self is through meditation.

Meditating helps to bring peace and can help my life become more meaningful. It is the art of silencing the mind. Concentration levels are increased and you are able to experience inner peace.

What I hope to achieve from meditation?

1. Improved concentration
2. Better health 
3. Knowledge of self

Through meditation I hope to gain a better understanding of my life's purpose and through this finding my true self.

Mumma who tries x

Sunday, 10 January 2016

My top 10 favourite songs

This is a random post. I'll be posting random posts from time to time to help you all get to know me better.

These are my top 10 favourite songs. I do not have a favourite genre of music as I listen to many and enjoy most of them. 

Music is my escape from reality. When the words in a song relate to how I am feeling it reassures me that I'm not the only one going through this emotion.



Well here are my top 10 (not in any particular order). I've also included my favourite quote/s from the songs.

1. Bob Marley- Who the Cap fits
"Your worst enemy could be your best friend, And your best friend your worst enemy"
2. Simon and Garfunkel- Bridge Over Troubled Water
"When tears are in your eyes, I'll dry them all"
3. Gyptian- Serious Times 
"Said when you wake up this morning, You better give thanks, You don't know if you gonna live to see tomorrow, Life is much more precious than gold"
4. Alicia Keys- No One
"No one, no one, no one, Can get in the way of what I feel for you"
5. Beyonce- 1+1
"And I don't know when I'm gonna die but I hope, That I'm gonna die by you"
6. Lauryn Hill- Ex-Factor
"Loving you is like a battle, And we both end up with scars"
7. Joe- All the Things (Your Man Won't Do)
"Nothin' can be sweeter than the sound of makin' love"
8. Beres Hammond- There for You
"You taught me how to love again, you keep on talk to me babe, when i needed a friend, To love is such a wonderful thing, not every body knows, exactly what it means"
9. Jah Cure- Unconditional Love
"You never see it coming, then the next thing you know, unconditional love, unconditional love, she aint lookin for no diamonds, and digging for no gold, just somebody to love, unconditional love"
10. Troots n Ice- Mi Amor
"And I can't get you out of my mind, I think about you all the time"



How does music make you feel?

Mumma who tries x

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Preparing for primary school... 8 months early!

Why am I preparing for Mya starting primary school so early? To be honest I've been thinking about this for months. At one point I had an anxiety attack.



This is such a huge milestone. Not only for Mya but for myself also. This transition into "big school" is extremely daunting hence why I am writing this blog post 8 months before she starts. This is to mentally prepare myself until the panic starts in April when I find out what school she'll be attending.

Many people have told me it'll be easy as she's been going to day nursery since she was 11 months old. All I keep on thinking about is that it is going to be a new environment for her. She's been used to going to the same place 5 days a week for 3 years! I question myself whether I have made the wrong decision by keeping her at day nursery and not changing to a pre-school. I'm sure I'm not the only parent that has doubted themselves in regards to their children. It's something we naturally do. The question "what if?" will always be at the back of our minds. I should really stop pondering as I can't change anything now. I'll just do what I learned most parenting is about... I'll just continue to blag it.

To get prepared for September it's not too early to think about the practicalities!

Childcare 

Will I be working full time? Should I go down to part time? Would getting a childminder be better? Could I afford a childminder? Does the schools I've applied for have breakfast and/or after school clubs?

Do I want to take her to school and pick her up? Well ideally yes I do. Mya's my first child and I want to be a part of this stage of development as much as I can. But am I being realistic? This is why it's a good thing to be thinking about it early.

Uniform

Could I start buying uniform from now before knowing what school she'll be attending? Are the uniform lists for each school applied for similar?



Luckily the uniforms for each school are quite similar with the jumpers and cardigans being different. 5 out of the 6 schools applied for have a crested jumper or cardigan so that will be the last item I'll buy. Also 1 out of the 6 schools uniform is navy while the other 5 is grey. Thinking about it now it makes sense to buy it in April when I find out.

Where to shop and when to shop?

School uniforms are widely advertised and the prices do not seem to be bad.  I'll be looking to buy items that come in multipacks preferably as I am planning on having 5 of each items (one for each day). I'm looking more into buying pinafores as Mya's waist is tiny and that limits me to where I can buy skirts from.

I'm planning to shop for uniform in April and school shoes in July or early August. For uniform I'll be looking in M&S, John Lewis, Next, Asda, Sainsburys, Tesco and Matalan. For shoes in Clarks. Mya's worn Clarks shoes since she could walk and in my opinion are the best shoe shop for children. Especially those with slim feet.

Oh my!!! There's so much more to think about. Good thing I have enough time :)

Until next time.

Mumma who tries x

Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year!!!

We are finally in 2016!!!

I had an emotional 2015. I'm not gonna say the whole year was bad as I do have many happy memories from the year. But I'm glad it's over. To describe 2015 in one word... DRAINING!

Now time to move on and focus on the present and future!

For 2016 this 'mumma who tries' is going to try and be selfish... Yes you read correctly, I'm going to try to be selfish. Why? Because I'm forever putting others before myself and end up being left feeling like I never do things for myself. Well actually I won't be entirely selfish as I am a Mumma to a 4 year old lol. I do have to take care of myself first though because if I don't then I can't care for others. For me to succeed in life becoming selfish is critical. This selfishness is a positive move.

2016 is all about having a positive mindset!


How I am going to start being more selfish.

1. Include myself in the list of what is important to me and put myself at the TOP of the list!

2. Learn how to say NO and actually mean it.

3. Figure myself out... What makes me happy? What makes me sad/angry? Am I the person I want to be right now?

4. Identify obstacles blocking my path.

I can only live my life once I am willing to cultivate selfishness.

What will you do for yourself to help you in 2016?