20 parenting moments I don’t want to forget

20 parenting moments I don't want to forget

I’ve been talking a lot about some the harder parts of parenting, so I’m trying to add a few happy posts to balance it all out. To quasi-quote Obi-Wan Kenobi, I would like to bring balance to the force, not leave it in darkness.

Obi Wan Kenobi

Sure, I still have to wipe a lot of bottoms and noses and clean up the odd bit of sick. Yes, it’s true that they both wake up multiple times every night and I am always tired. But there are some wonderful things happening right now, and some things that happened not too long ago that I want to hold in my heart forever.

I wish I could bottle these things and save them for later when they’re long gone. There are hundreds of photos and videos, but some moments can’t be captured by a camera.

So here is my list of 20 early years parenting moments that I don’t want to forget:

  1. When one of them sits on my lap and I bury my face in his hair. The smell of the baby shampoo and the soft texture of the babyish hair (never mind the possibility of the odd nit).
  2. The half-a-minute each day when my boys show their brotherly love for each other – a shy little cuddle, sharing a bit of food, or playing nicely without it ending in a screamfest.
  3. The way my toddler dances with pure joy to any music at all. Even the ring of a mobile phone.
  4. All four of us snuggling in bed together in the early hours of the morning.
  5. The way my eldest never stops talking and loves to explain how things work (putting his own fanciful take on it, of course).
  6. Hugging both of them on the sofa and watching kid’s movies on lazy Sunday afternoons.
  7. The snorty mcsnuffles sound my youngest makes while contentedly sucking his dummy.
  8. The day each of them first gripped my finger with their tiny hands when they were newborns.
  9. The feeling of having them fall asleep in my arms.
  10. My toddler’s hilarious forays into talking (yelling ‘caaat’ at the cat and saying ‘beep’ while touching your nose), which he refuses to perform while the camera is recording.
  11. Watching CBeebies. My eldest is starting to move on to CBBC and I’m really going to miss Mister Maker and Iggle Piggle.
  12. The way my boys cuddle their soft toys. We grow up to think boys aren’t as sentimental as girls but that is not how it begins.
  13. Getting to choose what clothes they wear every day.
  14. Reading them stories. My eldest is starting to read the stories to me now, which is also nice, but I was loving the sound of my own voice. 😉
  15. Holding their little hands. Having them not be ashamed to hold my hand anytime in public.
  16. Having them jump into my arms when I pick them up from childcare/school.
  17. Answering endless “why” questions.
  18. The way they play so happily together when they’re in the bath. I often dread bathtime, but someday they’ll be too big for bathtime together with mummy presiding.
  19. The way my eldest says “I love you mummy”. And I say “I love you too”. Then he says, “That’s great.”
  20. Singing them to sleep.

What are your favourite moments with your children? If you could bottle one thing from their early years, what would it be?

Obi-Wan photo by Wacko Photographer [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Diary of an imperfect mum
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Tammymum
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Parenting skills I didn’t know I needed

I’ve got a little bit of blogger’s block. I’ve been trying to think of something vaguely funny to write to offset some of my serious posts. It occurred to me that there are all sorts of parenting “soft skills” that nobody talks about. Those little things you do all the time when you have kids, but you never ever did before you had kids. Nor did you ever anticipate that you would need to do such things.

parenting-skills

 

  1. Scraping toothpaste off of things (e.g. the sink, my bra, the cat)
  2. Jumping over toddler gates in the middle of the night (because those things are impossible to open when you’re half asleep)
  3. Explaining why you shouldn’t rest your penis on the sink (But why, mummy? I love to put it there!)
  4. Explaining why you shouldn’t put your finger up your bum (You shouldn’t, right?)
  5. Explaining why you shouldn’t put your finger up the cat’s bum (that poor cat)
  6. Defrosting and cooking sausages (the only thing they’re guaranteed to eat)
  7. Cutting teensy tiny nails without drawing blood
  8. Distinguishing poop from chocolate (harder than you might think)
  9. Cleaning crayon off of windows (impossible)
  10. Phonics (those things m-m-m-make no ssss-sense to me)
  11. Extricating back-arching toddlers from narrow behind-the-sofa hiding places
  12. Cleaning up a poonami without smearing it all over the wall
  13. Using a screwdriver to replace musical mobile batteries at 4am
  14. Carrying a handbag, changing bag, shopping and a wriggling toddler at the same time
  15. Carrying tired preschooler up hills at speed to reach toilet in time
  16. Secret kitchen biscuit consumption whilst preparing fruit for children
  17. Never leaving the house without snacks and wet wipes
  18. Not getting stuck when fetching children off playground/soft play equipment
  19. Oceans of patience and self-control
  20. Remembering to get lots of cuddles before they turn into stinky teenagers

Can you relate to any of these? What are your unexpected parenting skills?

Tammymum
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Birthing babies is a messy business – my postnatal anxiety

I’ve mentioned before in my breastfeeding post about the traumatic birth I had with my first son. Without going into too much detail here, I was induced, I had an emergency c-section and he was in special care with pneumonia for 10 days after he was born.

This all threw me for a massive loop. I had planned a natural water birth with only gas and air in a midwife-led birthing centre. I’d been doing pregnancy yoga and was convinced my body was a childbearing temple and I could have the birth I wanted if only I thought positively about it.

What a load of bull!

I had a drip and was strapped to a foetal monitor which kept bleeping in alarming ways that made me think my baby was dying. I had an epidural after being pricked in the spine countless times, and finally was rushed to theatre (after 20 hours of labour). I was so scared and addled during the surgery that I sang all the songs from The Sound of Music to my anaesthetist. Apparently, that was a first for him – but he was quite young.

And I hadn’t even considered, nor had anyone mentioned to me, the possibility of my son going to special care and being in one of those plastic oxygen boxes. I thought that only happened if your baby was premature. Turns out, special care happens to loads of mums for all sorts of reasons. But nobody warns you ahead of time.

Birth trauma and its effects

By the time I finally brought my son home from hospital, I was seriously messed up. I was convinced he was going to spontaneously die. We couldn’t fit his cot in our bedroom, so I slept in the nursery with him (away from my husband). I lost so much sleep, staying awake listening to make sure he was still breathing.

I remember that every night I would go to sleep repeating to myself, “Please God let him be okay. Please God let him outlive me. Please let him grow to be an old man.” My anxiety about his survival was all consuming.

And other times, when he had colic and wouldn’t stop crying, I wanted to throw him out of the bloody window. And as soon as that thought crossed my mind, I would be overtaken with guilt.

When I think of myself back in those days, I see a woman walking around in a sleep-deprived haze of constant anxiety around my baby’s well-being. Who couldn’t go on a buggy walk without me stopping to check on him every couple of minutes. I hated his rear-facing car seat because I couldn’t see him – we had to buy a mirror.

When well-meaning people would try to hold him or feed him a bottle, I was liable to hover and even yell at them, criticising their techniques – even though these were people who had children of their own and knew what they were doing.

I wore the same clothes day and night – a nursing top and baggy elasticated-waistband trousers. They were inevitably covered in baby sick and the crumbs from my attempts to eat toast without putting the baby down.

I was lonely but I couldn’t maintain a conversation. The days and nights ran into one another. Each day it seemed like I’d be stuck forever in my dark living room, curtains drawn, trying to soothe my screaming baby. Each night was spent begging forgiveness to the universe for being such an ungrateful and unworthy mother.

When I look back at the woman I was in those early days of first-time motherhood, I almost don’t recognise her.

Getting better

I never sought any help for my condition. I didn’t realise it was a problem. I thought it must be normal. In retrospect, I know it wasn’t normal.

As time passed, the trauma of my birth and my son’s illness faded.  Eventually, my son started crawling. Seeing him be independent and robust relieved some of my anxiety. By the time he was 1, I was feeling more like myself.

I was lucky that I got better in my own time. But it would have been much better if I’d realised what a state I was in and that there was help out there for me.

That is why this is the first post in what I’m hoping will become a series on maternal mental health. My next post will deal with the PND I had after my second son. And then I’m hoping to commission guest posts on the topic. Not just on diagnosed PND or anxiety, but about any mental health challenges you might have faced as a new mum. These could be shared on my blog anonymously if you like, or you can put your name to it.

If you would like to contribute a post on maternal mental health, please email me at themumreviews (at) gmail.com.

If you are feeling down, anxious, lonely or depressed after having a baby, you are not alone.

You can find support and information on http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk/. Please also consider speaking to your GP or health visitor, and seeking support from family and friends.

My Petit Canard
Tammymum
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Casting call: Actors needed to play the role of parent

This post might be controversial. Maybe people will totally judge me over it. But I am over worrying about being judged … and this post explains one of the reasons why.

Picture this:

You’re in the park and your son is playing confidently on the equipment designed for his age group. You’re chilling on a bench nearby – maybe you even check your phone. Another mum turns up and is keeping close to her son as he climbs the stairs, and she always catches him at the bottom of the slide. All the time she is talking to him loudly in a conversational tone, loudly encouraging him to continue being totally awesome at playing in the park.

What do you do?

If the answer is carrying on doing what you’re doing, then well done. You may be immune to the scourge of acting like a parent.

But you know what I’ve been known to do? I start copying the other mum I see at the park. I go and stand near where my son is playing, talking to him and stuff. Because I (almost subconsciously) worry that the other mum will judge me if I don’t.

I react to my instinct that in public I must parent in a way that other people – especially other parents – will approve of.

Do you ever change your natural parenting behaviour when you’re in public? Do you start acting like you think other people want you to? Some examples I see and/or do every day:

  • Correcting my children loudly when they misbehave in public, so that others know that I’m not letting them get away with it. But NEVER shouting.
  • Being excessively involved in my children’s play when I have an audience.
  • Acting more attentive than normal in making sure my child doesn’t fall over or otherwise sustain an injury. Hovering. Otherwise someone might think I am neglectful.
  • NEVER leaving my children alone in the car, not even for a moment while I put my trolley in the trolley park. Even if this means dangerously carrying armfuls of groceries along with a child and any number of other items.
  • Making loud comments about limiting screen time when they play with their tablets in public.
  • Worrying about whether others will approve of what food I feed my children. Making excuses for biscuits.

The parenting performance

I am perfectly happy with my parenting techniques that I use in private. There’s nothing wrong with them. And yet I almost compulsively adjust them in response to what I perceive as other people’s expectations. I’d be surprised to hear that I’m the only one.

Modern-day parenting is full of the expectation of being present and accounted for. “Helicopter parenting” is the fashion. We make sure our children are well-behaved and polite, are fed healthy food, play with educational toys, bathe regularly, brush their teeth, and are never put in harm’s way. Of course we do those things. I can’t speak for others, but I suspect I’m not the only one who’s totally insecure about this. I know I’m doing the right things, but I am so worried that other people think I’m doing it wrong.

And so my public parenting has become a performance. I feel as though every time I go in public, I’m walking onto the parenting stage.

I’m so over it

Is it all in my head? I don’t think so, actually. I’ve been known to judge other parents. I’ve heard other parents judging other parents. I’m almost certain that people sometimes judge me.

It’s human nature to be judgemental. We can’t judge people for being judgers because that just creates a big ugly judge-y snowball.

What we need – what I need – is confidence. Most parents are doing the best they can with the tools they have. We need to believe this about ourselves. Letting go of our parenting insecurities will make us happier – and happy parents raise happy children.

Parenting is hard enough without worrying about what other people think. So the next time you’re at the park – go ahead and hover if it makes you happy. But not because you think that the mum over there checking her phone thinks you should.

A Mum Track Mind
Quite Frankly She Said Sunday Best
My Petit Canard

Blog Toast Tuesday: 20 September 2016

Welcome back to #blogtoast Tuesday, my weekly feature where I offer a congratulatory toast to two blogs that I like. Virtual booze does not have the same effect as real booze, but perhaps my modest praise can take the edge off your day in much the same way.

The Unsung Mum: For the underestimated and unacknowledged rad mum

I’m realising that my very favourite blogs are funny and poignant ones that highlight the hard bits of parenting with a self-deprecating sense of humour, and try to make us all feel better about ourselves. The Unsung Mum is doing this right.

Her posts are written in the third person and feature hilarious illustrations that appear to have been drawn in Microsoft Paint or suchlike. They are usefully labelled in case you are in any doubt about (for example) which bits of a picture are shit and which bits are chocolate.

I particularly enjoyed “How to rid yourself of the mothers’ group Twatty McTroll Face“, about those women both online and IRL who make you feel bad because you use disposable nappies and don’t make your own hummus – and how we can defeat them.

Her most recent post, “The Unsung Mum and the PND disaster” describes the things that went through her head when she suffered with PND. I relate to a lot of it, but also appreciate her very wise statement that PND comes in many different shapes and sizes. The most important bit is how she says it was a friend that helped her the most, telling her “it’s okay not to be okay”. It’s a good reminder of what we should all tell our friends sometimes when we think they might need it.

Our Rach Blogs

In a Twitter conversation recently, Rach told me that people don’t like her (her exact words: “I’m like thrush”). Based on how interesting her blog is, I find this hard to believe. But then again, people don’t like me either. And I only sometimes like people.

There are lots of things I like about this blog, and as one of its features is Top 10 lists, I’m going to be all thematic & shit and list the reasons I like her blog. I’m only doing 5 though (I don’t have time/too lazy to do 10).

  1. She writes feminist stuff. Her recent post, “What do you mean you don’t want kids?” was brilliant. Nobody thinks being childless or choosing childlessness makes a man less of a person, so why are people always implying that about women?
  2. She questions everyday bullshit. I like this one where she wonders why we always say sorry to each other for stupid things like pressing the same lift button at the same time. I’m not British-born so I work harder than anyone to say sorry all the time (to prove my Britishness), but maybe I should stop that.
  3. She writes about mental health and PND awareness, a topic that is also close to my heart.
  4. She is a good writer. Every post unfolds just like you’re reading a really good column in a really good newspaper.
  5. She covers an eclectic range of topics. I’ve read a lot of advice in the blogging world that says you need to make sure you stick to a niche, but I’m sceptical about that. It’s my blog and I’m going to write what I want. I’m glad she does that too.

Please do join me in toasting the best blogs by tweeting your favourite this week with the hashtag: #blogtoast (and if you mention @themumreviews I will retweet you – it’s win/win!) – or let me know just what you think of me in the comments!

Feeling bad when teacher says my kid is naughty at school

Last week, my 4-year-old son started school. My post about that important milestone said that I didn’t feel sad, despite feeling lots of other emotions. But after a week and a half of him going, I’ve been experiencing an entirely unanticipated emotion:

Guilt.

Why guilt, you wonder? Is it because I’m enjoying the extra child-free work time I get while he’s at school? Hells no – not guilty about that at all.

I feel guilty because he is struggling to settle in, and I don’t know how to help him.

What’s going on

When I picked him up on the first day at school, the teacher took me aside to say that his behaviour is “challenging”. He doesn’t like to share and starts screaming in distress sometimes if somebody encroaches on what he sees as his territory. He has trouble transitioning between activities – he gets upset if they ask him to move on from something before he’s finished. And sometimes he just plain old doesn’t listen or do what the teacher says.

On the walk home from school on that first day, I was holding back the tears the whole time. My son wasn’t unhappy about his first day at school. But I was so disappointed about the teacher’s negative report. I didn’t want my son to know how much it upset me.

On the second and third days of school, I got more negative reports from the teacher. The teacher asked that I pursue a referral to a paediatrician that had been commenced back when he was at nursery. I felt like the only mum in the whole school whose child wasn’t settling in smoothly. I didn’t see the teacher talking to any of the other parents after school.

Over the weekend, we started using a pasta jar as a reward system. Good behaviour = a piece of pasta. Bad behaviour = lose a piece of pasta. Full jar = a special treat. It worked well for us at home and we told him that he would get lots of extra pasta for good behaviour at school.

The teacher reported a lukewarm improvement. Then I didn’t hear from her for the rest of this week. Apparently, however, she told my husband that his behaviour was “too complicated to say whether it’s good or bad”.

I’ve got all the feels (and neuroses)

Talking to the teacher makes me feel so uncomfortable! I feel like I’m the one who’s been naughty. I feel like my son’s behaviour is my fault. I feel a bit like it’s a parenting fail.

I also feel powerless because I don’t know how to help him. If I could be a fly on the wall and see what he was actually doing in class, then I might be able to better help the teacher manage his behaviour. But that’s not possible, and she is busy with 30-odd kids to look after. I feel guilty for taking up her time!

I actually realise that I’m overreacting a bit. Perhaps these feelings are rooted in my own feelings around school. I was also naughty at school. I had serious issues with authority, and I was a late bloomer in terms of social skills. My reports always said “does not play well with others”.

And I’ve worked hard to reform myself. At university, I was the perfect student. I’m good now and I follow the rules, and I (mostly) play well with others. I don’t want my son to be labelled as a naughty kid, or to not be liked by his peers.

I always blamed my bad behaviour at school on some of the dysfunctional aspects of my upbringing. I’ve worked hard to give my son the most “normal” family life possible. His upbringing is much different from mine and much more stable.

So is being naughty at school, like, genetic or something?

Why I’m sharing

The reason I’m sharing this information with my readers is that I suspect I’m not alone in getting upset about my child’s behaviour at school. I’ve talked to other parents who feel equally as powerless to help their children improve in areas in which they might be falling behind. These other parents often feel as though they are being blamed – that teachers and others have implied that bad school behaviour starts at home.

Is it our fault? I’m not sure if there’s a clear cut answer to this.

But I have to say that it makes me a little angry that so much is made of a child not behaving well in his first week at school. Starting reception class asks an awful lot of little 4 and 5 year olds. It entails long days, a new environment, new people, different food and a complete change of routine.

Was it really necessary to take me aside in the first week and already label my child as being naughty?

And of course there’s always the different implication that my child might have special needs, which brings more worry and the stress of the protracted diagnosis process you face within the NHS.

Ticking all the boxes

I feel our education system can sometimes suffer from a tick box culture. No doubt many of you will be familiar with the Early Years Framework, which is used in nursery and pre-school as well as at Reception. It aims to ensure that all aspects of the children’s developmental needs are meant, and has 6 areas of focus:

  • communication and language
  • personal, social and emotional
  • physical development
  • literacy
  • mathematics
  • knowledge and understanding of the world

If your child went to nursery, you probably received occasional charts that showed whether your child was achieving as expected for their age group in each of these areas.

It’s great that childcare and education settings are aware of important development areas for children, and that they’re trying to develop all of the areas and help to shape a balanced person as the child grows.

But what bothers me is that it seems like they are so quick to raise concerns if the child isn’t achieving in every area. My son has above average literacy and numeracy, but he falls behind in personal, social and emotional development.

Does that really mean there’s something wrong with him? Or could it be that he is only 4 years old, and he’s only human, and he’s developing in his own unique way?

So if you’re experiencing some of the same issues as your child starts school, just remember that you’re not alone. That you’re trying your best. And that every child develops at their own pace.

Featured image credit: Jonathan Khoo/Flickr; Creative Commons licence 2.0

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Blog Toast Tuesday: 13 September 2016

It’s time for my weekly feature, #blogtoast Tuesday, where I toast other blogs I’ve discovered and enjoyed in the previous week. I’m actually running a little late today. I like to queue up my #blogtoast post on Monday night and publish on my Tuesday morning commute. But last night I got my nails done instead. You gotta’ live a little, right?

So here I am blogging on my lunch break. I’m going to have to make it fast!

The Adventures of Beta Mummy: Doodlings and ramblings on what a f*cking disaster parenthood can be

Her blog’s subtitle just makes me feel safe. Yes, parenting can be a f*cking disaster. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who thinks so!

I’m also glad I’m not the only one who thinks an asterisk is the perfect way to write the f-word online. It’s like a swear, but not a swear. Nobody’s sure if it really counts as swearing. It’s Schrodinger’s swear.

Anyway, I love the concept of Beta Mummy, who just doesn’t look as polished and sorted as Alpha Mummy. Alpha Mummy attends all the playgroups perfectly coiffed and dressed, with no sick on her shoulder, and engages in sparklingly witty conversation with other Alpha Mummies. Beta Mummy comes rolling in late, with no money for the playgroup “fee” and some cheerios stuck in her hair. Beta Mummy illustrates these sorts of scenes with hilarious drawings.

But Beta Mummy knows that not all is as it appears – I love her post, ‘Even Alpha Mummies Struggle’.

She is also one of the hosts of the fab Chucklemums linky, where you can link up your funny posts. I’ve only linked up one that I thought was worthy, but someday I might write something vaguely funny again!

Little Paper Swans: A food + mama blog

A very different sort of blog – Little Paper Swans has beautiful photography and great lifestyle posts.

My favourite feature on her blog is her Weekly Meal Plans for under ÂŁ30. I’m always struggling to come up with new ideas of things to cook without buying loads of ingredients or making loads of effort! She packages it up for you nicely so you can pick and choose what you might like to cook. You can get further inspiration from her great selection of recipes.

She also has a great series featuring other people’s birth stories. I really enjoy hearing about other people’s experiences.

Please do join me in toasting the best blogs by tweeting your favourite this week with the hashtag: #blogtoast (and if you @themumreviews I will retweet you – it’s win/win!) – or let me know just what you think of me in the comments!

Not feeling sad on my son’s first day at school

I can’t resist jumping on the bandwagon and writing a starting school post. My big boy started school today. I expected to feel a bit sad because my baby is growing up, but I didn’t really feel sad at all. I’m wondering if I’m feeling the wrong thing!

We’re used to being apart. He’s been going to a childminder, nursery or preschool pretty regularly since he was 10 months old. So actually, for us, school is going to make very little difference to how much time we spend together. I felt so many things today, but none of them were sad.

More than anything, I felt proud. Proud as he ran away from me towards the school gates, full of confidence and excitement about his new adventure – not the least bit scared.

I felt excited. I’m so excited to face all of the new challenges ahead.

I felt geeky – because I’m totally looking forward to helping him with his homework.

I felt insecure. I want the other parents and the teachers and school staff to like me!

I felt worried. Will my son behave? Will he make friends? Will he be happy at this school?

I felt guilty – because I didn’t feel sad at all. I’ve got free childcare and a new way to relate to my son.

Babies are cute and cuddly, but I wanted to have kids because I’m just a big kid myself. I remember the kid stuff: kid’s films, kid’s food, kid’s games – lots of silly stuff. Now my eldest is in school, he will start enjoying things that I can still enjoy myself. If that is a little bit selfish, then you can judge me all you please.

As it turns out, my son was perfectly happy about his school day. He wouldn’t tell me much about it though. He said it was a secret.

His teacher told me that his behaviour was “challenging”. He needs to work on sharing and doing what he’s told. I’ve never been very good at doing what I was told either. But I won’t let him get away with it. He can be better than me.

We rounded off the day by dancing like total goofballs in the living room to some of our favourite songs. We left the curtains open so any passerby could witness our foolishness.

The baby days are gone for my big boy, but the fun has just begun.

My Random Musings

Blog Toast Tuesday: 6 September 2016

It’s time for my weekly feature, #blogtoast Tuesday, where I toast other blogs I’ve discovered and enjoyed in the previous week. I toast them like you do with champagne, not like what you do to bread, just to be clear.

I have been featuring 3 blogs every week, but that’s getting to be too much for my brain. At least it is for me tonight. So I’m only featuring two this week.

We’ve had a really tiring weekend:

  • We ordered our new kitchen for our new extension that’s being built. That was a nerve-wracking expensive purchase, full of lots of decision-making.
  • We moved my 22-month-old from his cot to a big boy bed. Someday he might even sleep in it – he certainly didn’t last night.
  • And we dealt with a wicked nit invasion. I’d never had or seen lice before so I found that pretty stressful!

So I think you might see a theme for this week’s post – two blogs with recent posts about staying calm!

Mindful Mummy Mission

I discovered this blog tonight while participating in the #EatSleepBlogRT linky. She was a featured blogger on Petite Pudding’s newbie showcase. I thought her featured post on mindfulness for mums and dads offered a really realistic approach to parenting. It sets goals but keeps in mind all of the challenges life puts in the way.

I have to admit that I have never thought seriously about mindfulness – it all sounded a bit hippy-dippy to me – but her site is very convincing about it. Her About page discusses the scientific evidence that points to mindfulness being healthy for body and mind. She also explains how it is easier to put into practice during our busy daily lives than you might think. And her tone of writing is down to earth and not even slightly worthy or preachy. She has changed the way I think about mindfulness and I’m going to make more effort to incorporate it into my life.

I also really liked her post about mindfulness for bloggers – it’s so easy to let blogging and social media take over your life!

alifeinpracticeblog.com

I first found this blog in the #KCACOLS Facebook group. She posted ‘Negative Automatic Thoughts, Part 1: What on earth are NATs?‘ I had never heard of NATs before, and I’m surprised about that. It should be something people are talking about. Feelings of inadequacy that intrude on your life and cause anxiety must be something that affects a lot of people. I can certainly see some of these symptoms in myself. And giving a name to this, instead of just passing it off as no big deal, can be a step towards coping with it.

I also enjoyed her post about ‘Finding Your Calm Button‘. It’s about finding the one thing that can calm and centre you when you feel your day and your thoughts are spiralling out of control. When I was younger and used to live in the USA, I would go for a drive to calm down. Now I live in the UK, that sounds like a silly idea! Driving here seems like much harder work – or maybe I’ve just realised that getting behind the wheel when you’re upset probably isn’t the best course of action. On the weekend when I was freaking out about lice, I stopped and had a cup of tea – I’ve obviously been well assimilated into British culture. But I am going to think about another way to calm myself when caffeine isn’t at hand!

Please do join me in toasting the best blogs by tweeting your favourite this week with the hashtag: #blogtoast (and if you @themumreviews I will retweet you – it’s win/win!) – or let me know just what you think of me in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Toast Tuesday: 30 August 2016

My favourite blogs of the week

Ouch, my brain hurts.

So as to avoid divorce proceedings, I promised my husband I would leave off blog writing for the bank holiday weekend. This blog has been going for just over a month now and it has changed our lifestyle a bit, due my burgeoning obsession with it. I needed to take some time off and give my full attention to the family for a few days. But getting back to writing after a short break is hurting my brain. Is it really that easy to get rusty?

Good thing I can fall back on #blogtoast Tuesday, my weekly feature in which I review a few blogs I’ve enjoyed over the past week. I get to write about what other people are writing without thinking of anything original. So here are three of my favourite blogs this week.

Katie at The Squirmy Popple

It’s probably because in her day job she’s an expert at writing stuff for the web, but everything about her blog makes me want to keep reading it. The look of her site is attractive, but simple and clean. Her writing voice is funny, clear and honest. She knows just what she’s doing, and she does it in a way that isn’t intimidating (really fancy-looking blogs about amazing Pinterest-worthy lifestyles make me stare at my toy-strewn lounge in despair). I relate to her – and not just because my snooping on her About page revealed she’s another American expat in the UK, just like me. A few recent highlights on her blog:

Claudia at Dr Mummykins

She is a qualified doctor and blogs about children’s health issues that all parents are likely to encounter. Her posts are short and easy to understand – no medical jargon. She offers useful tips on how to deal with common health related problems, such as when your toddler refuses to take medicine. All of this is delivered with a fair dose of humour as well. I loved her post on how to spot whether your child has shoved something up his nose. Mine shoved a pea up there once and required general anaesthetic to get it out. She also debunks lots of health-related myths, such as that you always need to lower a fever.

CĂ©cile at The Frenchie Mummy

I feel as though I hardly need to feature her because she is popping up everywhere, and everyone loves what she’s doing. Her writing is interspersed with French words and phrases, and I love that I can hear a French accent in my head as I’m reading. She writes authentically about a range of topics, from the funny (Help! I am dying!), to the heartrending (How I miserably failed at being a strong mum yesterday), to the ones that have you nodding along because you’ve experienced the same thing (Am I still a cool cat?). She will not be a petit poisson in the blogging world for long.

Please do join me in toasting the best blogs by tweeting your favourite this week with the hashtag: #blogtoast (and if you @themumreviews I will retweet you – it’s win/win!) – or let me know just what you think of me in the comments!