Blogger Event 101 – What to Expect.

You’ve got your first PR invite, all looks legit, what happens next?

I was positively ecstatic to receive an invite to a blogger event from a bona fide PR company.  Having only been blogging for four months it really was a great surprise. You may have seen posts from bloggers about events they have attended and products they have been sent to review and it all looks very exciting. They have worked hard on their blogs and worked up a big following but how does it all come about? And what actually happens at a blogging PR event?

If you’re a newbie blogger like me, here is the lowdown (you know, from my extensive experience).

 

What is a Blogging Event?

It will differ wildly depending on the product and the brand. For example this Tefal event – A Moment With Franca was in a house in North London as it was for cookwear. If it was a film pre-screening it may be at a cinema. The one I was invited to was for Smiggle which is a kid’s stationery brand so it was at their Cardiff store. It was in the morning 8.45am-10am and the store was closed to the public. There would be competitions and free goodie bags and the invite extended to my family too; so the kids could try the products.

 

How do you get invited to a Blogging Event?

I registered with Tots 100 which is a blogging community website which links with PR companies. I registered, messed it up, emailed someone and then forgot about it. That is where the PR company who organised the event (Beattie Communications) got the details of my blog along with my contact email. To register just outline your blog in one paragraph, add your social media links, and tick the box that says you’re happy to be contacted. At the event I met some other mummy bloggers, one of whom Heledd from Yummy Blogger invited me to join a facebook group for parent bloggers local to my area. Event opportunities are often shared on that page too which is really handy.

What happens at a Blogging Event?

It was all very exciting and felt very exclusive. Thankfully I wasn’t the only blogger there who hadn’t been to anything like this before Madeline from This Glorious Life was a newbie event blogger person too which I was glad of.

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Me, Madeline & Heledd.

 

I went with my family; hubby & 2 kids. We got there early to find the store roped off with a chalkboard sign at the front saying ‘Welcome bloggers!’chalkboard sign

There were a few other people nervously loitering so we said a quick hello to one another. The rep from Beattie Communications said hi, ticked my name off the list and let us in. There were free coffees and breakfast baps on offer which was a nice touch. I couldn’t eat/drink them as I am currently dairy free for babba so hubby had 2 instead. The cheek of it! While he was eating me and Beg got down to business perusing the goods. I took a load of pics while Beg sniffed everything as she had discovered some things were scented. The Manager (who had an Australian accent – Smiggle is an Australian company) gave us a quick talk to give some background information about the company. She highlighted one or two things they were keen to promote; mainly their back to school range. This was when we found out there was a £200 gift card up for grabs and one of our names would be pulled out of a hat to win it later. Oooh. Then we looked round a bit more while a staff member demonstrated a toy for the kids and helped them with their entries to the design a backpack competition.

Then the big moment for the gift card raffle. The name was drawn and it was me! I couldn’t believe it. So while everyone else made their purchases and left, Beg went on a trolley dash (basket dash) and shopped, shopped, shopped. Everyone had a goody bag at the end and just like at a kid’s party we knew we could then politely exit. Then we went round the corner by the loos and did some silly posed pictures with our haul but you don’t have to do this bit yourself if you don’t want to.   

What happens after?

I emailed the PR company to say thanks for inviting me and used the event hashtag #backtosmiggle on my social media. Then a few days later I wrote up the review and published it and also emailed the PR company to let them know it was live.back to school

The Best Bits.

The obvious highlight of the day was winning the gift card. Seeing Beg so excited because of something I had done and feeling a great ownership of my blog was good. Also I was thrilled to meet other local mummy bloggers that I had previously only met online.

Hopefully this post gives a little insight into what these type of events can entail. I hope there will be more in the future to write about but until then here’s a video of me ‘unboxing’ the free goodie bag.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Back to School with Smiggle

If you’re a bit of a stationery fiend like me who can spend happy hours online poring over pretty flamingo print notebooks and such like then you probably enjoy the stationery part of back to school shopping too.

Needless to say I was very excited to be invited to Smiggle (where a smile meets a giggle) to try their products and see their back to school range for 2016 called ‘sidekicks’.  I’m happy to report that school stationery has moved on from maths ruler sets and mustard coloured rule lined books. 20160825_083700

Filled with bright neon colour, the store is instantly recognisable. The shelves are filled with loads of  fun things that kids will love like lunch packs and fold-down drinks bottles, key rings, glitter pens, lip balm, and fluffy pencil cases and backpacks. Scented pencils and rubbers add to the cool factor with scents like candy floss. Cola was my personal favourite.

At the back of the shop there is a trying station set up where you can try out some of the pens and pencils to see which ones you like (perfect for finding that perfect ‘write’ of a pen) and the staff demonstrated one of the creepy crawly starfish toys that ‘climbed’ down the wall and lit up too. I felt welcome to pick up all the stuff and didn’t feel like I had to keep telling Beg not to touch everything because the store is set up for kids to be able to have a good look.  At the front of the shop there is a post box to post your entry into the design your own backpack competition. If your entry is chosen as the winner Smiggle will make your back pack for you-how exciting is that?

I really loved all the products, everything had a good quality feel to it and there were lots of things within pocket money budget (lots under £3).

I had an exclusive preview of the Spikeys 2 range. These are collectable ‘Smiggurines’ there are 12 to collect. They are £7. each and all come in the same packaging so you don’t know which one you are getting. I love that element of excitement and I think kids will too. If you ever have doubles you can take your Spikey to any Smiggle shop and trade with any of the 3 on the trade table. There is also a mega mystery one even the staff don’t know what character it is. So lucky you if you find that one! I had a goodie bag given to me with freebies in and I had the ‘Kong’ Spikey.

Smiggle do a different back to school range each year, and you just know it’ll be the one all the kids will be talking about. For 2016 it’s the ‘sidekicks’ range. Five cute characters -a penguin, puppy, cat, dog and dinosaur, and each has lunch packs, drinks bottles, pencil cases and more.

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I was fortunate enough to win a £200. gift card.20160825_100107 I was so excited and me and Beg had a massive shopping spree which was so, so fun. I’ve never done anything like that before so I was really made up. So we got a fair few bits and pieces (there is some left on the gift card honestly!) and since getting them all home I’m really impressed with the quality of them.

 

My favourite thing we got was this trolley case. The hot air balloon design is so pretty and it will fit all Beg’s things in for future holidays. It can be worn as a back pack-which is great for getting around airports- but also has an extendable handle and wheels that light up when they move. It’s so cool! It’s priced at £42.

Beg’s favourite thing was the spy pen (£4.00). Normal biro one end, but the other end is a white marker that doesn’t show up until you shine the UV light onto the page. She has been writing secret messages all weekend!

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Smiggle has really impressed me and it’s really geared up to what kids will love. Loads of products to choose from and really funky and bright designs.

 

Check out my first you tube video of me ‘unboxing’ the freebie goodie bag here.

*Disclaimer: I received free products for this review, though all views are honest, and my own. *

Check out Smiggle for yourself!

 

 

Validation.

Finding validation as a stay at home parent.

My husband said something really interesting to me the other day. It wasn’t so much what he said so much as the way he said it that struck me.

He told me that he thinks that what I do being a stay-at-home-mum is much harder than what he does going to work. Ahh how lovely, right? Which is what I usually think and carry on with my day but this time it was something about the way he said it that made me realise he actually genuinely means it.

The conversation was nothing to do with our home life, he was talking to a friend at work about paternity leave. This friend and his wife are sharing maternity leave so he was asking for advice about how much time would be good to take off work. So they were chatting about it and Rich said I wouldn’t like to stay off too long (back hackles up) because what my wife does is much harder than what I do (phew rescued yourself there son). Now, I have heard him say this before and always just thought that’s nice of him. But I could see he really meant it this time (mostly because he was laughing that said person was naively shocked that stay at home parenting is hard). But I was quite taken aback. I realised that all this time he’d actually meant it! And I felt really proud of myself!

Gin
Some days are easier than others.

Rich gets a lot (a lot) of validation at work. He works hard and is good at his job. As it’s a sales job when he hits his targets he gets bonuses, if he wins a big account his phone buzzes with well done messages from his team, there is a camaraderie and ‘in’ jokes and nicknames and so on and so on. But sahm mum’s don’t get that. Nobody ever walks past me doing the laundry and says “great job Kate, I see you are going out of your way to boil wash the sicky muslin, well done not slacking and just doing a quick 40 wash.” I don’t get a text message from my mate calling me Mrs Wonderflaps saying “Well done you’re killing this whole motherhood thing” and I certainly don’t get vouchers at Christmas or a bottle of fizz. But did I ever get that kind of pat on the back in my old job in the office? Not really. Do any of my hard slogging wonder mummy friends get any kind of notice in their day jobs or their home lives “You just helped that older person with dementia get the right care package and you’re an amazing mum too, here’s a £100 bonus.”

Award
He actually got a real life trophy.

I had my first ever PR invite for the blog a couple of weeks ago (keep your eyes peeled) and I was so excited. It felt good to have a little validation from outside the home. As a stay at home mum a pat on the back isn’t usually on my radar. I love staying home with my children, and I truly feel so happy to be able to. We work as a team in our house and I really do feel like that. But there was definitely something special in realising that my husband thinks I’m awesome. There was definitely a spark of excitement to receive an email about my blog because it’s something only I have done. And there was definitely something special about nagging my 6 yr old to keep her room tidy because I just cleaned it and getting the reply “Thanks Mum”.

Dear Bear and Beany

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday 

Mummy Needs Some Me Time.

Today was a bit of a wash out and in trying to complete 100 things I only managed to do one.

I think I got a bit excited it was the weekend and husband is home. The prospect of having another adult around to well, adult with me, got a bit overwhelming and I messed up the whole day. Our plans for this Saturday got cancelled so we had planned instead to get some DIY done. Then I had a brilliant idea

Continue reading “Mummy Needs Some Me Time.”

The Not-So-Wonderful

The not-so-wonderful things about having a baby.

So we all know the snugly baby cwtches are totally lush and the cute little baby noises they make when they’re sleeping or practising talking almost brings a tear to the eye but let’s take a minute to talk about the bad and possibly the ugly side of having a new baby in the house.

Hair loss- What is that about? I’m constantly covered in the stuff. It’s like I’ve just walked through a cobweb, especially in the mornings, not to mention the amount strewn about across the floor. But the worst part is peeling them off the baby. They get caught in between his fingers and in his neck. I actually shaved the underneath of my hair in an attempt to abate it but to no avail.

Teething – Urgh teething. Poor babba. Just come through already and let my little man have some peace! There is a Christian song that goes “Your love is relentless.” Replace the words ‘love is’ with ‘teeth are’ and that’s what I’ve been singing to my baby all week.

Cradle cap – Itchy and unsightly this stuff just kind of makes my stomach wretch a little bit every time I have to brush it. Sorry boy, it’s true.

My skin – 5 months of broken sleep with ne’er a chance to catch up = bad skin. I always thought the skin care industry was a bit of a con but that will teach me.  I’ve noticed in all the pictures of me and babe my skin is a sort of greeny/greyish hue. Enough said.

Kissing the baby – A man in the park KISSED my baby on the head! I recognised him from a toddler group and said hello and then he kissed the baby! It was slightly offset by the fact he is a grampa-don’t ask me why, let’s not get into that. There is a theory that suggests the reason babies are so irresistibly kissable is because we pick up some natural flora and fauna from the skin to skin contact and mum’s amazing breast milk is then tailored to fight any bugs. New rule:  if you’re not making milk for my baby, please don’t kiss him. Side note: And touching his hands too…2 words people, hand hygiene. ‘Aww he’s holding my finger.’ Yep, he’s 5 months, he’s grabbing just about everything within reach right now, he doesn’t particularly care if it’s your hair or your hand that just touched the lift button, or the public toilet tap or your phone that you take into the toilet with you. And guess where his hand is going straight after touching yours? Yep into his mouth. Mmm tasty. I’m going to start packing a fly swatter in the nappy bag.

Not being able to do some things – Admittedly this is a temporary hiatus but worth a mention. Swimming with your 6yr old and baby? Sounds fun but baby’s lips are going blue because he’s so cold. Daddy gets all the awesome fun brownie points now mamma. No more rainy-day Saturday am’s at the cinema because everyone knows cinema & babies don’t mix. Just generally going anywhere is a bit of a hassle, there’s something really irksome about getting a baby in and out of the car. In and out, in and out….Abseiling? no.

I’m sure there are many more and many more things again that are so awesome about having a baby. I love the laughing, I think there’s nothing on this earth more joyful than a baby laughing, especially when it’s your own. What have I missed? Comment below.

 Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

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Baby Products Top 5

Baby products review. The best things and more useless things plus what not to buy.

A round up review of my best and worst baby buys.

  1. Top of the list definitely has to be the BEDNEST. I hired this from the NCT. The moses basket or crib is one of the more bulky baby items but is used for such a short time so when I saw an advert for the hire of this bedside crib I thought it was perfect. £79 for 6 months or as long as you need it or until they grow out of it whichever comes first. Both sides of this crib drop down and the height is adjustable so it can sit alongside any parent bed. The sides are mesh which aides airflow and you can adjust it so it is tilted. Absolute Godsend for us with babba’s silent reflux. The Bednest is delivered to your home on a day you specify and sent with brand new sides (that are material), brand new mattress and 2 new cotton fitted sheets. I can’t exaggerate enough how easy it is to assemble it basically pops up which also makes it great for travelling. Then when you want to send it back you just keep the box it came in and email them and they arrange a courier collection. I have just extended my rental period – for free! You can buy them also if you would wish to. Far and away the best bit of baby gear ever.
    Rent here: http://www.bednest.com/
  2. The MOBY WRAP. Bought this one in advance this time around as it was so useful with my first baby. It’s basically a long stretch of fabric that you tie around you in a certain way to carry the baby on you and once you have you tubed it and tied it once it’s really easy. I’m a BIG fan of the Moby wrap. It keeps newborn babba close which is lush in those early days and it makes you hand free so you can make a cuppa. Another absolute Godsend for silent reflux as my baby needed to be kept upright so he basically lived in my Moby wrap for the first 3 months. There’s loads of colours, I grabbed mine on Amazon for about £40. Don’t be lured by the cheap imitations, I’ve tried a couple of them and they had too much give in them.
  3. ‘Sterling Baby’ SWADDLE blanket. I picked this up in TK Maxx on a random pregnancy induced shopping spree. Well I have used it every night. Baby kept waking himself up flinging his arms out with that newborn baby reflex that makes them look like they think they’re falling. Wrapped him in this and hey presto….sleep. It’s lovely and soft and has Velcro tabs. I’m sure you can buy these in a lot of places. Super cute too.
  4. The MAXI COSI PEBBLE car seat deserves a mention in the top 5. Easy to use with their family fix base which you can also use for the next stage up car seat, the Pearl. It has a reclined position that I just haven’t found in other brands of car seat. Also top company who fixed our 6 year old family fix isofix base free of charge so we could continue to use it with baby number 2. Big thumbs up Maxi Cosi.
  5. Lastly the FISHER PRICE BOUNCER CHAIR. Really vibrant bright colours, lovely positioned seat for baby, foldable so great for travelling (or moving house) and rocks easily with no dreadful squeaking. My baby is 5 months old and I think he will have a few more months usage out of this still. Great buy.

The not-so-good:

  1. The GRO-HUSH baby calmer. Gro Hush Baby CalmerCan Gro really let me down? One of my most trusted brands when it comes to baby stuff I thought it seemed a bit far fetched but bought it to try anyway (there’s a reason there’s money in products that claim to help a baby stop crying)! I really like this little gadget, even if it is on the not-so-good list. It’s a hand held device with a soft cushion on one side that plays 3 different types of white noise; heart sounds, rain and waves. It is designed to be held against baby’s ear i.e. sound levels have been checked. It comes in a very useful little case so you can pop it in your bag. The instructions do say to continue regularly using at first to allow baby to get used to it but it didn’t really work for us. To be fair, my baby had pain so wasn’t just your run-of-the-mill unsettled, he actually needed medication so I would still suggest this product but wouldn’t necessarily recommend.
  2. Mothercare’s own brand spotty BABY BOUNCER chair. Husband bought this one due to the more upright position compared with other baby bouncer chairs but it was too small and so we only got about 3 months use out of it.

    The left picture is Mothercare’s own brand spotty chair compared with the Fisher Price chair on the right picture. It was only a tenner so good for the price but probably better off buying a bigger one to begin with.

  3. Large SWADDLE MUSLINS. These were a part of my TK Maxx shopping spree. I got them thinking they would be good to swaddle baby in the hotter summer months, being rather clever thinking ahead to his size, however, he just pulls them apart. They are very useful though after a bath for drying baby.
  4. MEDELA SWING ELECTRIC BREAST PUMP. Ooh controversial! I was a massive Medela fan until I tried the Ardo. It’s just more comfortable, quieter and I would totally recommend it.

Things I didn’t buy:

  1. DOUBLE PUMPING BRA I made my own one of these by cutting holes in an old sports bra and it worked a treat! Double pumping every 3hrs round the clock went from being a hassle to time for a cuppa and texting marathon. I measured up by eye whereabouts the funnels would go, marked with a sharpie and cut. No hemming and it held in place brilliantly.
  2. A new PRAM. Don’t get sucked into it! The amount of times I’ve seen a mum at soft play wince every time a sticky toddler runs past the limited edition print of the new pram. It’s just not worth it. I chose to buy 2nd hand from a friend and it’s fab. Babba has hardly used it as he is generally carried anyway.
  3. ELECTRIC STERILISER another pretty non essential item in the early days if you are breastfeeding due to the lack of use it will probably get. I have a cold water steriliser which works well and sterilises in 15mins with the milton solution. I’ve never personally used an electric one and would think it’s probably more to do with personal preference. There’s always the old boil in a pan of water technique to make one less baby item to buy.

Hope this helps you not buy most things twice like we have along the way! Have you bought any of these things for your baby? Let me know in the comments. 🙂

Run Jump Scrap!

You Baby Me Mummy
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Settling In. 

Tomorrow it will be 2 weeks since we moved into our new house. We have done so much and there is still so much more to do.

We got up the trampoline we had been promising Beg forever and sure enough she loves it. We bought a cheap box of outdoor games from Tesco and spent the whole weekend in the garden it was lovely and just what we had envisioned for our new home. 

Lots of friends and family came to visit and it felt like the house was open doors it was wonderful. We’ve moved into a new build house on a massive new estate in the next town over, and we have 2 friends who live here too so we are literally round the corner from them both and from church which is great. 

I’m a believer in good energy so I was thrilled to have friends & family round warming our house up and making it a home. Even though there are still lots of boxes to unpack friends don’t mind do they! So I am hoping it is a trend that will continue. 

Getting used to living in a new area is a big change for us as me and hubby are both born and bred in the town we lived in and even though it’s only over the hill it’s a different council and schools and such like. It’s tempting to stay in and sort the house out and I do walk around it mentally listing all the things I have to do which is an anxiety ridden activity! I am caring for a 4 month old and generally laundry-ing as per too. But I have also been trying to get out a little bit and explore the area, and I suppose claim it for home. 
There is a library literally accross the road which is a bonus for me. It’s typically Welsh too. By that I mean it’s in an old chapel. We went over and joined up last week as Beg was off school with tonsilitis and we started her first Roald Dahl book – James and the Giant Peach. Which actually opens with the death of a child’s parents which was slightly disconcerting. Anyway, I also went for a walk today too and it dawned on me how much I take for granted living in Wales. The views around here are stunning, lush green mountains and there’s a big old church just up the road I must have driven past a hundred times. Exploring on foot gave me time to have a good nosey. (I’m just snapping on my phone I’m afraid I need to up my photography game.)

My husband is away all this weekend watching car racing. Really bad timing as there is so much to do! But I suppose there is always, always so much to do isn’t there.
Have you moved house? How did you make it feel like home in those early weeks? Leave a comment and let me know. 🙂 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

The Lead-up.

It has certainly been a very busy week in the Davies household as we have been packing up to move house. Hubby has taken on most of the responsibility and has been running around like a blue-arsed fly sorting out all the paperwork and such like, while I have mostly been on childcare. Moving house with a 3 month old baby is not recommended although I do stand by my comment that I’m glad I’m not having to do it whilst pregnant.

Usually, with things like this I’m the organised one. I’m a planner and a see-er through-er. I’ll get an idea in my head of what’s to be done and roll my sleeves up and get stuck in. Which is why I’ve found this house move particularly frustrating as I can’t do much until baby is asleep. And as you can probably guess baby has decided sleeping in his crib during the day is totally over rated. Sleeping in the sling is fine but I can’t do much lumping and bumping with him on me. Then of course everyone still needs to eat, laundry still needs to be done etc. etc. On top of the general manic busy-ness of a house move my car needed it’s MOT this week, eldest’s school was closed for the EU referendum vote one day and half of today was taken up with sports day too.

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Winner!

Thankfully we’ve had a lot of offers of help from friends and family which we’ve gladly accepted. I’m still getting to grips with readily trusting people will help us but sure enough they have and we are so grateful! Rich’s sister has been on hand to mind the baby while my 6yr/o was at school and it turns out she has ‘the touch’. Baby fell asleep on her for hours. I actually think he’s missing her today! That was great because it meant I could do some physical stuff and get some boxes packed and get some kind of organisation in my head. I felt a bit removed up until then.

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Packing chaos.

We knew we had loads to do but there was even more than we thought. Having lived here for 9yrs we have filled every nook and cranny with junk. So alongside packing our belongings there was a lot of clearing to do too. Hubby had help from his friends to clear the attic and the shed and that was a good few tip runs. I was glad of that because our shed was like a bush tucker trial. Eww.

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Junk! Junk everywhere!

So there has been a lot of lasts here this week and we got the keys for our new house today. Tomorrow we will be saying goodbye to this house and moving into a new chapter of our lives in a new town. We have been very happy in this house and I’ll admit I am quite emotional about leaving. My wedding car picked me up from the porch here, we returned here the first day as a wedded couple, brought our first baby home here and my 2nd baby was born in the bathroom here. We’ve gone from coming home drunk and loud together every weekend to making it our family home.
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It’s going to be a crazy day tomorrow. See you on the other side!

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The Day of the Silent Reflux Diagnosis

My daughter and I are both up and dressed. Baby has been crying all night and I’ve hardly slept but I’ve arranged to meet two friends at a soft play and don’t want to cancel on them.

Last night was the first night since bringing baby home from NICU that hubby has had to stay away for the night with work. The baby has been fretful for a few days, probably about a week now, we’ve been giving him colief. Yesterday though, he was bad all day so I booked in with the GP. I’m now thanking God I did. After a 4am google session I’m pretty convinced he has silent reflux. Which means his immature gut is not coping with digesting the milk but instead of throwing it up it only makes it so far up the gullet causing acid heartburn. Now I’m pacing the kitchen with him on my shoulder and he is screaming. It’s really loud. Dear God, why does he have this pain after everything he’s just been through. Logic kicks in “pain is the body’s way of telling us something is wrong.” There is definitely something wrong. Screaming, writhing, arching. I can hear the acid bubbling up, can feel it through my hand on his back. Oh my baby is in pain and there’s nothing I can do. He’s really screaming, do I go A&E to get him something to help? No, take it easy, it’s probably acid, try and calm him, he needs to sleep. Shush shush shush, switch on the oven extractor fan for the white noise. Still pacing, still screaming.

Shit I’m now half an hour late and still haven’t dressed the baby. It’s alright, it will be OK once we get out of the house. What else can I do? We have to ride it out until the GP appointment at 4pm. Everything will be OK then.  Can I expect him to be in this much pain for another 4 hrs? Am I just going to let my baby be in this much pain? I’m shit. No, it might get better. Get him in the Moby wrap see if he will sleep. Still screaming. “Mum when are we going out?” my 6 yr old calls from the living room. I go in “we are still going don’t worry” I shout over the baby. I get him in the wrap and keep pacing the kitchen. He manages to drop off. “Thank you Lord. Take the pain away from him please Lord.” Right, quickly text the girls see if they’re staying much longer. We’re really late now. Don’t give up, keep trying. It will be OK. Shit I’ve had about twelve messages. Reply to first one. Sorry baby ill. Second one says: “You OK,I’m quite worried now”. I reply “sorry baby ill”. I give up. “not gonna make it”. Baby wakes up crying bless him. Oh my God it’s actually woken him up. I feel so bad for him. I’m proper knackered. Shit I’m still crying. “Are you crying Mummy?” Oh God what is that worth in therapy terms, a month, two? “Yes babe I’m just sad that baby has pain and we’re not going out today I’m sorry.” She nearly complains but looks at the tears streaking down my face and just returns to watching T.V. instead. My six year old is way older than her years in emotional terms. I feel bad about that. Keep pacing, put him on my shoulder that seemed to help the most.

Manage to get the baby back off in the wrap when my friend calls about half hr later. “You alright?” “No, not really to be honest.” “Right, I’m coming up. You want a Big Mac?” She knows me better than I thought. My default kicks in. “No it’s alright, I got docs in an hour.” Would be nice for Beg to be able to play with my friend’s girl but I can’t help wondering what million things she has to do that she’s casually waving off. “I’m pretty sure it’s acid reflux.” My friend has recently been through the same with her youngest. She tells me some of her experience. She asks me questions, asks if I’m OK. She talks me down.

We get to the doctors and the afternoon sun is blaring through the window but the heating is on too. That is not helping. Babba is crying. I try to feed him but I think it makes it worse. He starts to scream again. I stand up with him. We’re both sweating. Beg is immersed in some awful game on my phone. “Dear God please let this not be affecting her.” Everyone is staring at me and the screaming baby. I’m stood up shushing him, trying to keep him upright. My bra is still undone. We finally get called in. The doctor asks what’s wrong, I start crying again while trying to explain. “You have to help me” I say. Shit she thinks I’m mental. She asks me to lie the baby down so she can strip him off and have a look at him. I’m dreading it, lying on his back is a no-no. She coos at him. He smiles! The biggest smile I’ve ever seen him do! A rush of love washes over me. I notice the quiet. My girl is reading a Peppa pig book on the floor. She looks up. She’s as surprised as me. The doctor says “Is mummy fibbing about you?” I know she’s joking and I almost laugh. Thankful. It’s hard to describe the non-stop-ness of the past 2 days. She prescribes medicine. “Thank you God”. Baby starts to cry again as she is explaining the script to me. I can’t hear her, I’ll read it later. Come back in 2 weeks she says. Thank you.

Babba drops off to sleep in the Moby wrap on the walk over to the chemist. He’s exhausted. He wakes up crying while we’re still waiting for our prescription. People are staring so I sit down to feed him again although I don’t know if it will make it worse. I can hear the acid bubbling up. A lady who works there comes over “I’m not asking you to move but if you would like to use the side room you can.” “My 6yr old is enjoying looking at the lip gloss” I reply. Internal dialogue adds –it’s the only thing she’s had just for her all day. The lady goes over and helps show Beg the lip glosses. I am insanely grateful.

Finally we get back home and my husband is back. I realise he has no clue about anything as I haven’t had time to speak to him or text. He takes the baby. I feel relieved, then guilty about feeling relieved. Beg shows him her new lip gloss. She doesn’t seem too traumatised. I don’t really speak to him just go to prepare the medicine. It seems to work. Baby falls asleep. I update hubby. What a day.

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A Community of Women

Seeking support as a new mum.

Time and time again this last week the word ‘community’ has popped up in my daily life.

For instance, the Vegan Supper Club I went to was held in a community building; an old building that would have been knocked down or left derelict had someone not decided to put the time in and make it a community cafe. The school we visited this week to have a look at for Beg is a community school which means it is open to various clubs like football and Tae Kwon Do after school hours – I didn’t even know there were such things as community schools. This word keeps cropping up and it got me thinking about the community of women I became a part of when I became a mum.

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Me trying to work out my mum.

My relationship with my own mum has always been ‘unique’. Have you ever seen goats on the side of a mountain? They scale sheer rock faces – with hooves not claws- and make it look easy. It seems if they stopped to think about it they would probably fall off. That is just the conditions they are used to and that is kind of the best way I can concisely explain my relationship with my mum. I try to honour her especially for Beg’s sake. Point being I don’t have the luxury of the close knit support that a lot of my friends seem to have with their mum’s. Now before you get the violins out, it’s really fine, remember the goats? This is my normal. BUT it came to be that I had to seek out my own forms of female peer support which is why this post is actually going to be very positive.

When my girl was born 6yrs ago I went to approximately 102 baby groups. Happy hands & twinkly toes, tots play, baby massage, ti-a-fi (that’s a welsh language baby group called you and me *I think*) my local breastfeeding support group (where I did the breastfeeding peer support course) and my local La Leche League group to name a few off the top of my head. Beg had a very busy social schedule. But I didn’t get it. I would go to these groups but not make an effort with any of the other mums. I told myself I was there for Beg’s development and socialisation and the rest of it didn’t matter. I met a few other mums through these groups that I am still friends with now (yay for mummy friends) but it was more through their effort than mine (thank you!).

When my baby boy came along, I knew things were going to be different. In hindsight I realised I got so much out of all those little groups, most of them entirely run by volunteers, that I was excited to join them again this time around. I didn’t sign up for ante-natal classes with Beb’s pregnancy so instead I got in touch with other friends who were pregnant too. That was great because we had a right old moan about our differing pregnancy ailments! Not only that, I hired a doula who was a great source of support for me throughout my pregnancy and during Beb’s traumatic birth. My doula invited me to the home-birth meet she facilitates where I met other mums who were planning a home-birth and through that I also met a lady who hires slings and I hired one which helped no end with Beb’s silent reflux. My doula also helped me tap into my ready and waiting support network-my friends- by organising a Blessingway. The work of a doula is often referred to as ‘mothering the mother’ which is exactly what I needed.

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Now Beb is here and at home I am still consciously seeking out woman to woman support. I realise the importance of hearing other mums’ experiences and being able to share mine if I want to. The La Leche League is my top favourite group for this. I am really fortunate that my local LLL group has been run by the same leaders for years so when I went back recently, they remembered me. The leaders happen to be very well regarded locally having each done lots of training, however, the emphasis is that the group is ‘mother to mother support’ and the leaders are there as mums to support other mums. I love that we’re all there to help each other brand new or 5 kids in; I love the whole ethos of mums helping other mums. There’s definitely a power in it when women support each other so open heartedly.

You may assume that actively seeking out support means I have been buzzing about meeting lots of people at different groups, but actually I have been a lot more selective this time round. I know which groups are likely to be most beneficial to me personally and so have prioritised getting to those ones over other things. For me this has included prayer meet at church (even though I’ve only made it once so far). Not just as some consumer type person who turns up gets what they need and leaves but also contributing my experiences and a listening ear to other mums there too. Some days I might be having a difficult day and don’t have much to say, some times I might not make it because I didn’t make it out of the house, but that’s OK too.

I have also accepted (and asked for) help a lot more this time from hubby’s family, which they are happy to give 🙂 When I had a tummy bug, my mother in law did 3 or 4 school runs that week. When I couldn’t face Beb’s first injections my sister in law came with me and took him in for me.

There is support out there but you have to be brave and go and actively seek it! Most groups have facebook pages now so you could introduce yourself on there first. I sent one message that said “I’m visiting your group on my own for the first time today please do say hello!” It feels funny to do but we’ve all been there and most of us know what it’s like to be a bit nervous going to a group for the first time.

I find these days I’m much more social and will chat to other mums wherever I am. I feel like we all have our different challenges and parenting styles but essentially we’re in the same kind of life stage. I might not know your story and you might not know mine but a smile to say we’re doing it, we’re here in Tesco, doing the stuff that needs doing, can make all the difference in a day.

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Wondering about hiring a Doula? Check out Doula UK

Breastfeeding? Any age…check out La Leche League to find your local group.

Admissions Of A Working Mother

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday