A Different Sort of Mothers Day 🥀

A Different Sort of Mothers Day 🥀

So it’s almost been a full week since we’ve been in social ‘lockdown’ and we are probably all a few pounds heavier and have a few brain cells fewer for it. I’ve exhausted myself, probably everyone else in the household, with particular attention to my poor debit card.

The hardest thing so far has not been being all couped up together, but the general change of routine. Not being able to visit my own mum, and not have the freedom to do the things we usually do in the day is devastating. It’s mad to wake up everyday and think that I’m not able to set foot into even the local Tesco to get a pint of milk, and have to stay away from people at all costs. Even my own family. The worst part is, we have no idea for how long.

The cherry on the cake is that it’s Mother’s Day today. If I could just postpone it to another time maybe six months down the line where we’re not living under house arrest then all would be fine… But I have no control over national holidays, nor am I American. In 26 years, this will be the first Mother’s Day where I will not see my mum, and if I’m honest it completely sucks. For me and the hundreds and thousands of other people that don’t want to take any chances.

It would be a lie if I said that today isn’t a reminder that I feel like a failure. I know that I am obviously doing what’s best for all of us in the long run by keeping us away from normal life and the ‘outside world’, but a 2 year old doesn’t understand that. I cannot reason with a toddler, the answers aren’t simple enough for her to comprehend. She knows we’re not going out as much or making our regular trips and I can see she is clearly frustrated. The tantrums are becoming more frequent and explosive, and I can only hope that we all get used to this way of living.

I was looking forward to spending my second trimester doing lots of things with my daughter, before the exhausting bit of pregnancy took hold. I guess now I can look forward to spending all of that under one roof with the space we live in getting smaller as I progressively swell like a huge balloon. Oh well.

This whole thing is also making it pretty difficult to prepare for a new baby. I’m constantly worrying about what might happen, or if my baby will be okay. With this being my second pregnancy, naturally I have not paid as much attention to the actual pregnancy as I did with my first. That, I have learnt is an unspoken given. With this thrown into the mix, it could be easy to completely forget that we have another one on the way. That is a sad thought. The world is a scary place right now and I have so many questions. How the HELL am I supposed to prepare for a baby when it feels like I’m stuck in a recurring nightmare…

So here I am on the evening of Mother’s Day. Somehow I am exhausted, my hands look like E.T- if he was sunburnt and I am crippled with antenatal angst and anxiety. It would be a lie to say that things aren’t 50 shades of crap right now, but I’m sure that lockdown will teach us a few things and help us to appreciate our immediate family a little more. At least I hope.

The Lockdown Diaries Begin: Week 1

The Lockdown Diaries Begin: Week 1

Yesterday was the first time that I heard those dreaded words in relation to my my situation: self isolation.

When the government went from zero to a hundred real quick in relation to their stance on high-risk groups, it meant that my partner, daughter and I would have to self-isolate. Being pregnant in any normal circumstance is difficult, but finding yourself in the midst of a pandemic whilst expecting is nothing short of traumatic.

I guess I’d say you’d be really unlucky if two of your worst fears came to reality. Well here I was in my now very real nightmare world: A visceral fear of germs and a fear of small spaces. It was because of the first thing that the latter had to happen, and that ‘small space’ was our little London bedroom flat. ‘fortunately’ I am still able to venture out- just not to any shops and I have to make sure that I am 2 metres between other people. I just want to add that this extremely difficult for someone who doesn’t carry a metre stick or trundle wheel with them on leaving the house.

Its now Day Two of the ‘lockdown’ on pregnant women and those who are high-risk and I feel tired. Tired and drained. I was lucky enough to take Arielle to the field next door to our flat today and no one was there but a few dogs- I know with the impending school closures we might not be so fortunate. It makes me sad to think that I am having to be creative about leaving the house. Going out at 7 am would be madness, but if its the difference between that and staying in then I’ll take it.

It is seemingly hard to find a middle ground between spoiling my daughter and there being absolutely F all for her to do here. I must have spent 100s in the past few weeks on my daughter but I’m slowly feeling the walls close in on us as if we don’t have enough to entertain her busy mind.

My partner came back from a shopping trip with not even a loaf of bread. Shit has got real… Well that really takes the bread out of breadwinner doesn’t it. All jokes aside, I found it hard not to well up and really gave the rest of the day a dark undertone. No one wants to feel like they can’t provide for their children. We ended the day by watching approximately 4 hours of a Ted Bundy documentary. Surprisingly, it managed to not to sink the mood any lower. That’s really telling you something.

It’s Day Three and I’m feeling a sense of welcome calm which is… Welcome. Maybe I am in deniable about what is really going on in the world at the moment, or about the fact that we could be shut up in this tiny flat for up to six months. I decide to get out all the play animals and live stream footage from a zoo in the US. It was nice to see the word ‘zoo’ without the ‘nosis’ at the end of it. That was definitely a positive. A really kind woman bought us some full fat milk for Arielle as we couldn’t find anything – that definitely restored some of my broken faith in humanity. We then put our daughter to bed and rented that Zac Efron film about Ted Bundy. It certainly didn’t lift any spirits but gave us something to do for at least 2 hours.

Day Four: Its Friday morning and if I’m honest, I just don’t have that Friday feeling at all. The skin on the back of my hands is chapped and dry as hell, and the overall condition of my skin is just… non-existent. I take my daughter to play in the field across the road, we get some much needed fresh air and then retreat home for lunch. We spend the rest of the day doing different activities- I can already see that Arielle is bored. I decide it’s a great idea to spend the rest of next week’s budget (yes, you heard it) on a tuft tray and some sparkly sand for Arielle. Clearly I am deluded as she isn’t even two yet. Sometimes I think that I’m subconsciously getting these things for myself so that I don’t go off my head.

In other news, we decide that we’ve had enough of Ted Bundy programs for this week and perhaps a very long while and instead settle for some YouTube content from people probably way younger than us.

This week I’ve been alot more cheerful than I have been recently. This might be yet another delusion, or infact the calm before the storm but it’s been a welcome break. It could also be that I’ve been so burdened with anxiety for the last month about what will happen that maybe I’m actually surrendering to house flat arrest…

Malala, Greta, Rosa and err………me?? ♀️

Malala, Greta, Rosa and err………me?? ♀️

With International Women’s Day been and gone, I’ve been left thinking about my own role in all of this.

If I’m going to be real, it’s fairly obvious I am by no means an inspirational person- in fact, I am staggeringly average. By the age of 13, my strong point was probably answering back and wearing black 7 days a week. I certainly wasn’t putting the world to rights like Greta Thunberg. But my role is still important.

Being a parent means that I have a crucial role in shaping my daughter’s life. From the minute you give birth, that clock starts ticking and everything you do will influence your child however big or small. If I do an okay job, I have confidence that Arielle will grow up with little more than teen angst and an apathy towards her parents. If I mess up, my actions could have profound consequences on her future life. But this mustn’t be taken for granted.

A few years ago, I did what I want when I wanted to. I spent most, if not all of my money entirely on myself and going out. My biggest problems were probably who said what to who at the Student Union bar after a boozy night and the only thing that kept me up at night were the mounting essays. I was ‘young’ when I found out I was pregnant, but that didn’t mean that I could stay acting like a complete party head.

I had to effectively ‘snap out of it’ and spent 9 months preparing myself for the scary, scary world of parenting. Almost two years later, and I have an extremely healthy diva of a toddler who knows what she wants and when she wants it. I’m not in ANY way taking the credit for this, the point that I’m making is that being a role model starts starts at home. It doesn’t mean having to be First Lady or the first female astronaut. Being a good role model as a mother is gold- and figureheads are nothing in relation to this.

I am also not calling myself Mother Theresa. I am loud, sassy and was once described as a ‘Rottweiler’. I have had MANY mental health struggles and setbacks of some sort. But hey, I’m still here and I’m trying my best… And that’s good enough. I have days where CBeebies is on for waaay too long and I’m losing my shit somewhere in the background, and others where I’m completely hands on. I’m sure Jo Frost won’t be proud.

But I can safely say that I am a better person now… Simply because I had to take a good, hard look at myself when my daughter was born. Things like a negative outlook, a lack of responsibility for our actions and bitterness are all a goner. Obviously these things don’t make you a bad person but they really are toxic for children and that’s something I didn’t want for my daughter.

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the drama but also monotony of everyday life and slip into habits. Sometimes you do just have to check yourself. There have been times where I’ve caught myself unnecessarily bitching about someone and have had to think… Is this what I want my daughter to learn from? Being a ‘good person’ doesn’t come naturally to me, but I sure have to make a good go of it while staying true to myself.

By aspiring to be a good role model, I hope to teach Arielle some key things about life. In a world filled with uncertainty and mounting pressures, I want my her to feel like the world is full of possibilities for her and that there is always hope. I won’t however kid her into thinking it’s a perfect place. I don’t want her to become caught up in league tables and numbers, but I equally do want her to have aspirations- however big or small. What I want above all else is for her to be comfortable in her own skin- one of my biggest achievements after many years . In whatever she wants to do, I want her to occupy her space and that is something that I hope I can instill in her.

Selfishness: the pandemic that’s swept the world

Selfishness: the pandemic that’s swept the world

How your reaction to Covid-19 and your shopping behaviour says something about you as a person

When the Coronavirus became talked about in the Media, I remember the first thing people were saying was, “it’s in China, don’t worry”. Whilst at that point, the disease was limited to the far East, I struggled to understand some people’s lack of compassion. For some, the numbers of cases/deaths were nothing more than statistics in the paper, totally forgetting that this was many people’s reality.

In times like these, I really believe that people’s true colours begin to reveal themselves- it is easy to see the true nature of a person in these sort of situations. I get that we all have a base survivalist instinct, but when did that morph into selfishness and a complete lack of empathy for others?

Its only the old and the sick who are worst affected

This unfortunately has become a common phrase amongst many on various social media platforms. I honestly wish that I was making this all up for dramatic effect, but sadly I have seen this ‘saying’ used complete with the cherry on the top- “only” the old… it kind of reminds me of the phrase Stalin used when he explained that ‘only’ 5 million Russians died in the war…(hint: Stalin wasn’t a great guy).

Since when have we started to reduce the MANY people with underlying health conditions and the elderly to nothing more than a casualty waiting to happen. Everyone knows at least 3 or more people with basic health conditions. I could probably name at least ten. Alot of people, good and bad have health conditions- so we just leave them to it??!! Come on guys.

Ontop of that, the most of us either still have or have had grandparents in our lives- since when were the elderly ‘destined’ to go in this way. And guess what, believe it or not all of us will some day BECOME elderly….whaaaat. sorry to drop that bomb shell on you all, but how would you feel if no one cared about your well-being just because you were ‘old’. I hate to drop another one on you, but if you don’t care about the elderly then you are a bad person.

I’m going to stockpile everything I can in the supermarket.

Yep. We all know a few and have seen some self righteous selfies glorifying their exploits. In this outbreak, doing something like that will earn you the same status as a trophy hunter, I’m afraid. If you’re going to make a fortress of toilet paper, don’t take a selfie of it. Better yet, give some of it to people around you who can’t afford to stockpile food and are perhaps less able to clash around the supermarket and carelessly take everything off the shelves.

Stockpiling is not only selfish, it incites panic, and causes more people who otherwise wouldn’t have done so to… you guessed it, stockpile. When I went to the local supermarket, everything with any sort of anti bacterial property had been ‘erased’ from the shelves as if it had never even existed. Toilet paper, Baby formula, nappies, tinned goods, cleaning products, pasta… GONE. All that was left were the boxes which were in a huge disarray on the shelf. It looked as if someone had let a bunch of rhinos go to town in a store lock-in.

What made it worse, is most of the people I saw attacking the shelves were not rhinos, at risk groups or the elderly. They were fit and healthy looking young to middle age women. If this had been allowed to happen in wartime Britain, thousands would have starved to death. Those same people who adhered to the rations system in the ’40s’ are the same people now that we have to look after. Don’t be a hoarder.

I’m ill but I’m going to go out and go about my daily business as usual

We’ve all done it. But having the sniffles is a world away from spreading your flu-like symptoms everywhere. Until now, we had forgotten that people die at that hands of flu. It is no joke. I have heard stories of people walking into their GP after having travelled to at-risk areas, people not washing their hands, people ignoring self isolation. It’s a shame to say that some of us are so eager to ‘get what we can’ that we are happy to infect anyone an everyone we come into contact with, however vulnerable. Don’t. Be. That. Person.

If you’re reading this, maybe think about how some of your actions influence others. You going to work sick could result in someone getting seriously ill. You stockpiling could lead to a new mum panicking that she can’t feed her baby because there is no formula left. Just be a decent person and think about others around you too.

Is pregnancy overrated?

Is pregnancy overrated?

It’s a mediocre Thursday morning. I feel hungover- without the alcohol and good time. I get my daughter dressed into a fresh set of pyjamas and let her get on with her day.

As I go to dress myself I instinctively realise how much weight I’ve gained. I see a beer belly- not even a bump, and my arms look like someone has inflated them with a pump. Not a pretty sight. The irony of this is, is that I’ve been sticking to my exercise regime and eating rather healthily. Sure, I might be having a few more spaghetti strings than I would, but nothing too exciting. Still, I cannot ignore those new eager love handles.

I put my sense of injustice on hold and try to turn off the little Joe Wicks inside my head telling me to get some more exercise in. If it was just that, then maybe it would be one thing but in pregnancy it rarely is just the one thing. The truth was, I’d been suffering with heart palpitations from an arrythmia for weeks. This wasn’t dangerous but anything could set it off and it was scary. I’d do a single squat and my heart rate would be through the roof, the smallest amount of stress would have the same affect and I was almost blacking out when I stood up sometimes. I was told to ‘avoid stress’ which is impossible with a toddler and a looming pandemic and to lie down when I feel it coming on. This is all well and good, but I just don’t have the time for acting like a Victorian woman in the era of hysteria, who has her corset on too tightly. Life has to go on.

Maybe it was caused by the new angry persona I seemed to be modelling. Within 5 months I’d gone from being a reasonable and rational human being to the most highly strung person in the universe. Anything could set me off: rude people, nice people, rain, sun, bad news, good news. Waking up in the morning was enough for the mini Stormzy appear from inside of my head to the tune of Big for your boots . When it wasn’t anger, it was tears. Lots and lots of them. Suddenly, when I was the world’s most angry human, I was Mother Theresa. I would cry for anyone- I could feel anyone’s pain. I could also just cry pointlessly over sounds and shapes.

Some people love the feeling of being pregnant- like I loved my first one. You can feel empowered and beautiful, but you can also feel vulnerable, deflated and just rubbish. This time was definitely pay back for how I got away with it so easily last time. Someone somewhere definitely had a cruel sense of humour.

Being already a mum to an under two means that it’s alot harder to look after yourself in the way that you would with your first- pamper time is all a thing of the past. This was also a good thing, because this time I wasn’t so fussed about accidentally tasting a bit of unpasteurised cheese on my sandwich or about the temperature of my shower. But it’s impossible to have a mid day nap with a toddler.

Valentine’s Day: A day like every other

Valentine’s Day: A day like every other

Picture this: you are walking into a forest clearing. The weather is gorgeous and the leaves around you are a beautiful green colour. Up ahead the sun is roughly the same size as the moon shots in love island- suddenly you hear a crack. Except it’s not a crack, it’s the sound of your partner’s disgust as reality bursts into your dream.

“Arielle has peed the bed” he says with disgust. “It’s all over my back”. Great.

Not only has my dream been shattered to pieces, but I will now have to spend the next however long running after a damp toddler and after that, disinfecting half of our possessions. It’s Friday, and not only that it’s Valentine’s Day. I could be upset that was woken with a profanity rather than roses, and that the first thing I had to do that morning was clear up piss rather than prosecco (forgetting I’m pregnant)… Neither of us would exchange cards and presents until the end of the day. But did any of this bother me? Not in the slightest.

Being a parent in itself completely clashes with all the fundamentals of ‘valentines Day’. There is nothing sexy or glamorous about co-parenting. Cleaning poo off the carpet is not at all sensational. Valentine’s Day requires the very opposite: romance and grand gestures and probably clean carpets.

It could be sad to look back and think about how different your relationship was pre-children…when there was time to focus on the both of us as a couple. After the initial elation of having a tiny baby that was ours, reality set in like a bullet to the eye and times could be tough. There were arguments, dismal discussions, banal decisions and we realised that love and our relationship takes hard work like it never did before.

In the evening, we exchanged our presents and cards and ate a fabulous M&S meal that my partner bought back for us. There were no surprise engagements or last-minute long weekends, just a toddler arranging Playmobil animals on the TV stand while we ate. Would I change a thing? No.

Valentine’s Day shouldn’t really be all about romance because when you really love someone, romance can sometimes be dead. It should really be about friendship above all else and binge watching your latest TV fix into the early hours of the morning (and feeling crap the next day). Sometimes it’s more about “oh crap, we’re still here together” rather than Shakespearean sonnets and the moon and stars and all that.

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite from Pexels
5 Reasons why Pregnancy doesn’t have to suck

5 Reasons why Pregnancy doesn’t have to suck

I am by far no seasoned mother but I am not a stranger to the weird and wacky world of pregnancy. Until the complicated birth, my last pregnancy was pretty much perfect. Sure, I had some mood swings here and there, but I felt like a pregnancy goddess. I glowed hard. This time however, is a complete other story: my immune system has the strength of a pea and I feel like a drowned rat. It’s not all doom and gloom though- it’s easy to forget there will be a baby at the end of it!

1. There’s a baby at the end of it

Believe it or not, there will be a baby screaming at the end of that very long and dark tunnel. It is that baby that is the very reason why most of us get pregnant in the first place. Others might just enjoy the blanket warmth of the extra weight in the winter time.

2. You will have a sixth sense

Whether it’s your new found disgust at your favourite nandos dish, or the ability to smell better than your force’s local dog unit, your senses will go into overdrive. SOMETIMES, it’s because your body is trying to tell you something. I’ll give you two examples:

1. I have completely gone off meat… And I am no vegan. While I am still mourning over my favourite dishes, I realise that it’s my body’s way of telling me that these foods are probably not very good for me and carry alot of harmful bacteria.

2. I smell cigarettes everywhere- on clothing and upholstery. A few weeks ago I started sniffing at my clothes wondering why they smell of smoke. As I quit over 4 years ago now, I couldn’t understand this at all. After a bit of detective work, I worked out that our old housemates used to smoke in their room (now our room).

3 Becky with the good hair

Did someone say Becky? Well I meant you. The chances are that you might be feeling rubbish but hey, at least your hair looks good right? Pregnancy can make your hair look FABULOUS. It might feel somewhat inappropriate given how you feel, but just enjoy it while it lasts!

4 No filter alert

I guess this is also a bad thing, but pregnancy tends to delete your filter. This can be troublesome, especially in certain social or professional situations. But the truth is, there’s not much you can do. Obviously this doesn’t mean you can act like a total twat, but people will be more forgiving of your lip service slip ups. A word of caution: you might forget your outbursts, but other people won’t.

5 you have a free excuse pass out of exercise

I’ve decided to continue with exercise this time, but last time I did nothing. In fact, I went from being a serial gym user to being a serious slob. But seriously, no one will dare tell you to hit the gym when you’re expecting. So relax now, and worry about it later.

Photo by lucas mendes from Pexels