Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Acceptance and YouTube!

Sometimes words on a page don't quite do justice to the craziness that is our house, for a while now I have been thinking about picking up a camera and just letting you see what happens here. However that requires a level of acceptance that I haven't been able to acquire before. Acceptance that with 3 young children my house spends more than 50% of the time looking like a stampede has torn through. Acceptance of the way I look and sound and acceptance that we aren't a Stepford family. 

I'm still struggling with these things, but we've spent this week putting some footage together in the hope that as time goes on it will get easier! Sit back and enjoy, and please subscribe to our YouTube channel!

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Thursday, 8 January 2015

Sleep Deprivation

Today started as any other day, I woke up at 5am after just 4 hours broken sleep, blearily came downstairs with the 3 little ones and turned on Cbeebies, my eyes closed while they played together and watched tv. Today I just wanted to sleep, months of less than 5 hours of sleep a night are catching up with me and I could feel my patience was already thin. 

Around 11am we went upstairs to get dressed and Big girl slyly picked up a pen from my bedside table and said to Baby Girl 'come on, lets go!' without skipping a beat I said 'put that pen back', 'but I just wanted to measure us' came the response, 'not with a pen you don't' I replied, feeling quite pleased that I had managed to divert a minor incident. Dejected she started leaving the room and just as she reached the door, stopped, spun round and looked at me 'what about a pencil then?' she asked with all the innocence of a 4 year old. I laughed and shook my head, looking back I probably should have been more clear, she wasn't allowed to draw on the walls, the doors, the door frames or any other upright and standing surface in the house. But I was just too tired to answer a 4 year old's why questions, so I left it there. 

A few hours later as I was making lunch for everyone, I had 1000's of thoughts spinning around my head I needed to get them out so, I asked big girl to go and get my note pad and pen from my bedside table. She looked at me, guilt plastered all over her face and said 'I drew on the wall?' I stared at her unable to understand what she was saying, until she went on 'I was just making a surprise for you mum, I just wanted to measure us'. I should have made myself clearer.

From then on the day got worse, Baby Girl burst into tears at every opportunity, Baby Pop got his finger caught in a drawer and it swelled up to the size of a sausage and then Baby Girl threw the phone at Baby Pops head. By 4pm my patience was wearing thin and I was ready for bed, and to be honest, the girls were too! I started making some pitta pizzas only to discover just moments before putting them in the oven, despite the pittas going from shop to freezer, they were mouldy! The whole lot went in the bin and crumpets went in the toaster. Cue much whining and disappointment from the girls while I held back the tears unable to do much else.

Today has just been one of those days where its felt like one thing after another, one of those days where I just want to crawl back in bed and sleep until tomorrow. However when you have an 8 month old who sleeps like a newborn, the chance of catching up on sleep is a rare one. I'm just hoping that tomorrow we all wake up feeling happier, more awake and in a better mood than today. 

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Mincemeat Brownies

Now that Christmas is over, The Husband is back to work and we are getting stuck back into school work, it’s time to take the decorations down and have a little clear out. I just love a January clear out, getting stuck in and throwing away all the 'stuff' that has accumulated that actually I don't want or need! I especially love going through all of my kitchen cupboards, getting rid of all the out of date or open packets and giving the cupboards a good clean before neatly stacking everything back in again.

In clearing out my baking cupboard I came across a jar of mincemeat I bought before Christmas, I had plans to make mince pies with the girls, but we became so busy in December it just didn't happen! So what do you do with a jar of mincemeat in January? You make mincemeat brownies! A slight festive twist, but not too festive that it feels wrong eating them this side of Christmas, but festive enough to save the recipe and make them all year round!

You will need

100g Dark Chocolate
90g Butter
90g Sugar
1 Large Egg (separated)
30g Plain Flour
250g Mincemeat

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Melt the chocolate, butter and sugar over a low heat, once melted transfer to a large bowl and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
Once cooled whisk the egg yolk into the chocolate mixture, then in a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the mixture then fold in the mincemeat.
Place the brownie mixture in a square pan and bake for 45 minutes.

They go perfectly with a dollop of mascarpone cream or a scoop of ice-cream, of course, if you are on a January health kick this is a recipe to avoid! 

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Monday, 5 January 2015

Am I A Lazy Mother?

Last week I posted this on a Facebook postnatal support group, for mums with babies who were born in May 2014:

“I feel like such a lazy, half baked slattern mother! My kids get bathed hopefully once a week, [Baby Pop] wears pjs and baby grows during the day, the girls often (at least once a week) have a pj day, just so I can catch up on the washing. Feeding [Baby Pop] actual food (as opposed to milk) only happens when I have time (today he's had a couple of choc buttons!!) I have no schedule what so ever and no regular timed naps- he sleeps when and where he falls (although I am working on this!) I aim to leave the house twice a week and think it's been a fantastic week if I manage once! I feel like I may be failing at motherhood, is anyone else like me? Or am I really just a crap mum”

At the time I was feeling really guilty, like I wasn’t doing enough and I felt like I was failing my kids. I had some lovely comments from friends in the group saying that I wasn’t failing and that actually they felt the same. Since then one lady has posted asking if she is failing at ‘baby led weaning’ if she introduces some baby porridge or spoon feeds her baby what the rest of the family are eating in the evening. Another has asked if it’s ok for her baby to still be feeding at night, because the health visitor told her off and said there was no need for it any more. The group is full of instances like this where the guilt kicks in and intelligent, capable women suddenly start to doubt themselves.

I’ve been wondering recently where this mummy guilt comes from, is it from the media and TV programmes like super nanny which tell us how to raise our children and are overly critical of those who are reaching out and asking for help. Is it coming from the mountains of baby and child rearing books that tell us co-sleeping is bad, napping in a cot with the door closed is the best way to do things and a routine should be achieved from day one, while another tells us attachment parenting is the way to go babies should always be with their mother or primary caregiver, pushchairs are the work of the devil and co-sleeping is natural and normal. Or is it coming from the health visitors who are there to support parents, but instead (and I stress this is some not all) put pressure on mums to be back on our feet by 8 weeks, feeding the right foods, getting into the right routines, doing messy play with our children, ‘socialising’ them at play groups every single week and getting babies sleeping through the night by 6 months.

Wherever this mummy guilt is coming from it seems to me mums are putting too much pressure on themselves, and by extension each other, to be perfect. I think it’s time we all gave each other some slack, we’re all in the same boat here whether you are on child number 1 or child 17, no child comes with a manual, they are all different and bring their own challenges. We are all doing an amazing job raising little people who will one day take over the world.

…And I’m not just saying this because I am a half-baked, lazy, slattern mother! 

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