5 Ways to Beat the New Year Blues

Oh my don’t you think Christmas flies by faster and faster each year? All the planning, preparation, wrapping and cooking; then before you know it, it’s gone. You are left sitting in your pyjamas on Boxing Day morning surrounded by bags of wrapping paper and enough leftovers to see you through to the end of January. If you are like me post-Christmas can leave you a little flat! So here are my top tips for picking yourself up in the New Year.

Top Tips for Beating New Year Blues
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  • Make a pledge to get active – yeh I know it’s a cliché and that January sees an influx of gym memberships (that are never used after February) But you don’t have to join the gym to get fit. Just a promise to take the dog out more often, or to walk to school on those cold bright mornings. Keep your goal achievable – you don’t need to set yourself up to fail!

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  • Clean out your wardrobe. Come on admit you are never going to wear that dress ever again. And those shoes? What were you thinking. Be ruthless – if you haven’t worn  it in 6 months get rid of it. Better still bundle the best bits together and get yourself on eBay. With all that extra cash you can hit the sales, buying things you actually want to wear!

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  • Book a holiday – I was doing this whilst cooking Christmas dinner! It doesn’t have to be the holiday of a life time (unless you got a Christmas bonus in which case go for it!) But just a weekend away later in the year will give you something to look forward too. Loads of places take a deposit these days so if you are strapped for cash you can book now and pay a little later in the year when your finances have recovered from Christmas.

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  • Set a goal – what do you really want to do this year? Sky dive, feed a meerkat or something more simple like read a book or spend more time with family. Decide what 2017 is going to mean for you and set yourself a target. It doesn’t have to be life changing – but it does us good to have something to work towards. Pudding, for example, has decided that she is going to curb TV use at HQ by chewing the buttons off the remote. You have to have goals people!

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  • Appreciate what you have. It’s not always about striving towards the next thing. Sometimes it’s learning to enjoy what’s around you. Taking the time to really make the most of friends and family. Finding joy in the little things, is the beginning of true of happiness. So whilst the New Year is a time to look forward and plan, it’s also a time to reflect.

So there you go a few simple ideas to banish those New Year Blues. Have you got any others you would like to share?

To My Baby Now You Are One

Dearest Pudding,

Today you turned one. It has been a year since a nurse laid you on me and I met you for that first time. My squashed, slightly potato shaped Pudding. I knew I loved you before I saw you. But once I could feel you on my skin, see your face and feel your hand clasp round mine, I knew I would love you forever. My troll haired Pud. You have completed our family. We are now the awesome, foursome.Mummy Tag

It hasn’t been easy. I can’t deny there were times when I thought the PND would beat me. Would drag me down, tear our family apart. You wouldn’t let it – your smile got me through those darkest of days. Knowing you needed me kept me fighting. You will never know how low I felt in those early days of your life. You saved me Pud, saved me from myself.

I don’t know how a year has passed this fast. What a crazy year it has been. My little squashed potato you have blossomed into an independent little diva. The troll hair remains but that helpless newborn has gone. I remember those early cuddles, you curled into my neck. Fast asleep on my chest. Long gone are those days. Now I am lucky to get more than a passing wave as you crawl off on your next mischief-making adventure!

You are the cutest little thing right now. You always wake with a smile and a giggle. I love walking into your room and finding you babbling to your bears. You are an adventurous, plucky little lady. Forever climbing the stairs and diving off the sofa head first. The sausage dog loves you. She totally dotes on your every move, rolling over to allow you to stroke her tummy. Suffering you sitting on her and pulling her ears. You two are thick as thieves as she sits under your highchair scoffing scraps!

I know your brother has loved you from the beginning. But today watching you together as he helped with your presents I felt so proud. I knew then how much you loved each other. How important you are to each other. I know you two will fight, I know it won’t always be a rose garden. That’s ok, it’s what you do with your siblings – but just try not wind him up too much. I can already see he is going to be the sensitive one out of the two of you.

So now you are one my gorgeous Pudding. What excitement will the next 12 months bring? I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that this year has gone so fast. I can almost feel the time running through my fingers like sand. I want to catch it. To stop it, to have one more sleepy cuddle with you. One more moment listening to you babble. I know you have to grow-up, that you will continue to amaze me every day as you do so. But I will treasure this year in my memory. Remind myself of how you felt curled against my skin in the delivery room. For now though my Pud, you are one and to you my darling Happy Birthday.

Love Mummy x

This Is My Time and You Won’t Take it From Me – PND

It started when Pie went off to school. I knew it would be hard but a little part of me was looking forward to some peaceful days. Well peaceful days have turned into peaceful weeks… With out realising it the low mood has crept back in. Slowly, unnoticed but as dark as before.

I recognised it quicker this time. The rising irritability, the lack of motivation and I am sorry to say but a slight slide in personal hygiene. Maybe I did realise it earlier than I wanted to admit. I knew I was struggling. But I figured it was normal to feel a bit lost when your child first starts school. Lost yes – totally derailed no.

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The school provides Pie with a routine and me too, to a certain extent. But the 6 hours he is away leaves me able to stew in my own juices quite uninterrupted. To torture myself with what I should or could be doing, but ultimately doing nothing. Feeling uninspired to eat, socialise or indeed shower.

I force myself out of the house on occasion. For Puddings sake I attend a class, potter into town or if its a particularly bad day we just about make it to the corner shop. I speak to no one other than my husband or my mother. If friends ask I maintain I am ok, just busy. Yep just busy sitting staring blankly at the TV. I can’t even pretend I am busy blogging! Maybe if I could concentrate long enough I would blog. But my mind flits about, not able to settle to anything. Like a constant turning cog, of a machine that keeps slipping it’s gears.

On the outside you would never know. I function. Childcare, work, chores, sleep, repeat. A robot going through the motions.

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This time I caught myself getting frustrated over everything and nothing. Spotted the signs in my own self. From somewhere I found strength enough to say to my husband ‘I am not doing OK’. It’s only half the battle though. Now I need to act. To pull myself back and to get a grip on the darkness before it sucks me back in. I can do it – but I need to want to.

Tomorrow I will get up. I will shower, maybe even straighten my hair. When Pie wakes up I will be dressed, downstairs and breakfast will be ready for him. Let’s start small and work up from there. It’s time to crawl out of my well and stand in the beautiful autumn sunshine.

I will not be beaten by you PND, this is my time. My time with the children, to enjoy them and to nurture them. I only get this chance once and you won’t take it from me.

Finding Us, With A Little Help From Just Us Box

I was sent an amazing treat from Just Us Box a few weeks ago. Ok let’s be honest several weeks ago! It has been sat teasing me on my dining table, whilst Mr Pud and I try to find an evening that is ‘just us’. With our work schedules that’s a pretty rare occurrence (I could make a reference to rocking horse dung but you get the picture!)

Finally this week we had two such opportunities. So I dived into the box to see what we would be doing…img_2580The box was themed and had everything you would need for a romantic night of Stargazing! There was a lovely thermos for taking hot chocolate out, the required picnic rug and binoculars. There was also an envelope of activities and some handy conversation starters. The whole date had been planned beautifully, giving both of you a little nudge to help you connect or reconnect in our case.

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All the stuff in the box looked amazing. Everything we would need for a night of stargazing. However, what Just Us Box can’t guarantee is the weather! So in the usual vain of British Summer, it rained. Hard. Both evenings 🙈

I was not to be put off – ok so we couldn’t stargaze as such. We could put down our phones, lie on the blanket with hot chocolate and talk. Like we used to before the children. Just talk. We lit some candles, brought the cushions off the couch and our hot chocolate and we caught up. For the first time in ages! We used some of the conversation starters too. Just to move us off of the constant talk of the children (who doesn’t talk about the kids on date night?!) We also used this cute little jar to remind each other how lucky we are. I think this could become a firm favourite in the future.

Overall it was a lovely evening. OK maybe not exactly what we had planned but isn’t that just the way life goes sometimes? A big thank you to Just Us Box your ideas helped us make more time for each other. I am ever hopeful that we will get out to stargaze soon.

If you fancy trying a Just Us Box head over to their website. You can order a one-off or why not try a subscription for a monthly date night?

*I received the Just Us Box for free in order to complete this review. All opinions contained within are my own *

To My Baby on My Return to Work

Dearest Pudding,

I have something to tell you. I can’t say it out loud because I can’t bare to hear it spoken. I know I have whispered it into your ear at night. My darling Mummy has to go back to work this week.


I won’t be here when you wake. I won’t be there to respond to your cooing. To wrap you in my arms and kiss you. Too peep round the corner and say ‘morning’ in that way that makes you smile. I will miss that first ‘eeeeEEE’ of excitement at a new day. There will be no snuggles on the bed while we both have a drink.


In fact my sweetheart you won’t see me all day. I won’t be back before bed time. You won’t get to splash me in the bath. Or dance around the kitchen to some amazing 80s pop. There will be no last bedtime cuddle before we put Ewan on. No last minute whispers of a I love you before you close your eyes.


I am sorry Mummy’s girl. But I have to go. Just know that I will miss you. That I will think of you far more often than you think of me. I will picture your smile and hear your laugh. Of course I shall bore my colleagues with pictures of you. Unfortunately there are other babies who need me too. Smaller and sicker, more fragile than you. I know it’s not easy for Mummy to be gone all day. But Daddy and Pie will be here to play.


I will be back tonight, although you won’t see me. You won’t hear me creep into your room and kiss you goodnight. Just remember I love you, my beautiful girl. You and your brother are my entire world.

Love Mummy

Diary of an imperfect mum

The Other Side of the Operating Table

Tomorrow Pie will be having his operation to have his tonsils and adenoids removed. He is also having grommets inserted. I know that this is the right thing for him as he is deaf as a post. He also snores like a beast!

I am nervous, more nervous than I thought I would be. Mr Pud is doing the hospital bit. Not out of choice but someone has to stay with Pudding. She totally plays Mr Pud so she has to stay with me. Meanwhile I am sending my gorgeous boy off to the surgeons. I have been the nurse in these situations many times. But this is different. This is my child.

Operating Table

I know how the whole thing works.  How they will arrive and be greeted by a lovely nurse. Pie will meet his surgeon and have everything explained. Daddy will dress him in his hospital gown and together they will go down to the operating theatre.

I want to be there. I can’t. This is the joy of having two children and family to far away to help. I am his mother and he needs me.

So many times I have comforted parents. Steered them from the ward. Promised to call as soon as their baby is in recovery. Offered empty words or cups of tea. Held their hands. Given out hugs and tissues. Usually in circumstances much more serious than a tonsillectomy.

This time I am on the other side of the operating table. I don’t like it. It’s my baby, my boy who is at the mercy of someone else. I have no control over what happens. All the risks run through my head and crash over me like the tide. My rational brain is fighting with my emotional neurosis.

The boys are staying over night in the hospital. In a way this is good. Really all I want to do is scoop Pie up and tuck him in his own bed. I want to hold his hand and stroke his hair while he sleeps. Rock him in my arms like I haven’t done since he was a baby. Tell him Mummy loves him. Apologise that I couldn’t be there.

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Being the other side of the operating table is hard. Harder than I ever imagined. My heart goes out to all the other parents whose children go through this. You are so brave. Braver than me. I can’t imagine what I would do if this was life saving heart surgery. Or one of several operations. I have been lucky to have a strong, healthy boy. I am sure he will bounce back like the trooper he is. But tonight? Tonight I will squeeze him a little tighter. Keep him up a little longer and read just one more story…

 

I left my Heart…

So here we are sat in 1st class en route from Birmingham back to the Mother Lands (Aka London) for our first grown up weekend since the Pudding arrived.


Some mixed emotions as we leave both kids where their more than capable but slightly crazy grandparents. I have made lists, organised food, shown them how to make milk and work the pram – in all honesty it felt a bit like leaving the dogs at kennels – ‘yes 6 scoops for 6 ounces…’ Luckily they are used to my control freak nature and humour me by listening intently and nodding along, giving only the occasional dig that they have actually raised two children themselves. Of course they know babies, but they don’t necessarily know my baby, all her quirks and peculiarities, her preferences and cues. But then does it matter? Do they have to do exactly what Mummy does? No, they don’t, as long as she sleeps and eats and is reasonably content then that’s fine. I mean it’s not like I want them to upstage me!

I am not worried that the kids won’t survive one night without me, I can’t quite put my finger on what gives me that little knot in my stomach. My rational brain is screaming just relax woman, you have two days of quiet, hot meals and a lie in. Two days of uninterrupted adult time with your amazing husband who has planned and executed this trip with laser precision. (He is already looking at pictures of the kids…) When did we become these people? 5 years ago we would have been on this train, prosecco in hand and not a care in the world!

I know it will be fantastic when we get there and that all our old haunts will soon bring back those fabulous memories of being young and childless – but in the back of my mind I know that I will have left a piece of my heart in Birmingham, even if it is just for one night.

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Dear Pie – A letter to my 4 year old

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Dear Pie,

I wish you could explain to me why you have woken every morning of your entire life with a scream. When you were little I knew it was hunger that made you wake squalling. But now you are nearly 4 and still most mornings the first thing Mummy hears is a whinge and a few sobs. I think this probably happens before you even open your eyes! If you don’t want to wake up at 7.30 then you really don’t have too, don’t think you are doing this for my benefit, I would quite happily lay in bed until 8-8.30. Are you hungry when you first wake up? I understand that hangry is a pretty serious problem but flinging yourself into my room and screaming into my face as your Dad opens one bleary eye in shock is not really the best way of requesting your breakfast. In all honesty it makes me feel less inclined to get up and make it…

I wish I understood where all your raging comes from. You can be so sweet and loving, most of the time I just want to wrap my arms around you and give you a big squidge. But the monster is always hiding underneath – an ill timed request to use the toilet, a slight struggle to get your socks on or worse still a wet sock and the world is on its head! It’s not just a quick scream, it’s a full on total melt down, even the Sausages take cover as you fling yourself all over the floor and scream. The neighbours must think we are torturing you, they don’t realise I only asked you to go to the loo and wash your hands before lunch. A very simple request requiring full riot control.

Your Dad and I can be tired and we understand we have good and good enough parenting days. It must be hard when we disappear for 2 or 3 days at a time to go on shift leaving you with the other parent before everything swaps over again. We know you can’t understand that we have stressful jobs or that we only got 2 hours sleep and aren’t at our best, we only ask that sometimes you are kind to us. Could we perhaps watch Harry Potter on these occasions without having to constantly protect our eyes from a wand? Better still maybe we could just sit together and cuddle.

I know you truly believe that everyone loves soft play and biscuits as much as you do, and that may be true of biscuits! However; Mummy does need to tell you that although she enjoys taking you to soft play, the bit she really likes is when you go off to play with the other children and Mummy can have a hot coffee and 5 minutes without you asking her why. Now Daddy, he loves nothing more than jumping round the play area and chasing you…

Finally I wanted to say You have been so great with Pudding since we brought her home, Mummy and Daddy can see how much you love her. It’s been a difficult time for you coming to terms with having to share Mummy and Daddy with someone else, but we are so proud of how well you have coped. Such a helpful sweet boy to your sister, she already adores you and we promise that it won’t be long before she is a big girl and can play with you. I know you get cross sometimes when Mummy cannot drop everything she is doing, it can be hard to be a big brother but you are doing a fab job!

Lots of Love

Mummy xxx

Introducing Pie

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Hi Pie here, I am 3 and have recently been lifted to Big Brother Status, this is quite exciting but it’s not quite what I thought it would be. For starters Mummy and Daddy told me that I was going to have a baby brother or sister months and months ago and they kept taking me to see this greenish blob thing on a screen and trying to tell me this was the baby. Then there were all those times Mummy said she was tired and then she got too fat to help me put my shoes on or chase me round the soft play, she also got quite poorly and I was scared to leave her alone. Daddy said that my baby sister would be here just before Christmas, I thought maybe Father Christmas would bring her, but she arrived a few days early. Mummy said Pudding came out of the little red line on her tummy, and that the red line would be sore for a little while and that she wouldn’t be able to pick me up and that we would have to have low down cuddles. This made me quite sad as I love to play rough and tumble with Mummy and Daddy. I got to be the first person to see Pudding at the hospital, Daddy took me in to see her and Mummy. She wasn’t very interesting she was asleep, I was a bit disappointed as I wanted to play with her, luckily Mummy had saved me some biscuits!

The first few weeks home with Pudding was really hard for me, I love her lots and like to give her cuddles, but she takes up lots of Mummy’s time and sometimes I feel a bit sad when Mummy can’t respond immediately to my demands. Daddy and I have done loads of things together since Pudding arrived, we have made an awesome den in the park and we have been doing lots of soft play together. Its been really cool to have him at home to keep me entertained and to play with me when Mummy is sorting out Pudding or trying to get some sleep. I think Mummy has been a bit sad and has been crying quite a lot since Pudding was born, Daddy says its not my fault but that I just need to be as nice to Mummy as I can be. This is quite hard because I feel very cross at the moment and little things get me so mad, sometimes I find myself raging for no reason at all and it takes Mummy a long time to calm me down. I didn’t really like Mummy feeding Pudding either, she used to try and read to me  when she was feeding but Pudding kept messing about and ruining story time. Its much better now that I can help to give Pudding her bottle. I love picking out little outfits to dress Pudding in and I am great at finding all the things Mummy needs when she is changing Puddings’ bum. I had few problems with my talking and my toileting when Pudding was born, I really struggled to get my words out for a few weeks. It was very frustrating for me but its starting to get better now. I am still having a few accidents in my pants but I am getting lots better and Mummy is trying very hard to help me.

Life with Pudding is getting easier now, she smiles at me all the time and has started making funny noises at me. I am enjoying having Mummy home and not at work, we get to do lots of exciting things with my friends and I love going to preschool. Can’t wait for our holiday in a few weeks!

Love Pie xx

Mami 2 Five