Mums, Parent, toddler

Baby buddies

My best friend is having a baby. The girl I met on a school trip, the girl who I had (landline!) telephone conversations with, the 20-something who I stayed out until 2am with, and the woman who was bridesmaid at my wedding is having a little girl of her own.

I couldn’t be happier for her. She will be an amazing mum and I can’t wait to have baby chats with one of the most important people in my life. We have (of course!) already made provisional plans for her little bundle to¬†marry TJ when they are older but, before we start wedding planning, I have a baby shower to think about.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time and money planning purchases in preparation for TJ’s arrival. Much of what I bought hasn’t been more than a metre away from me for the last two years. Some of it was absolute tosh which I question my rationale for buying in the first place (stupid wipe clean floor cover to go under a high chair, I am looking at you.)

The internet is to blame (probably). Mums are a (metaphorically) rich market and we are bombarded with lists of ‘essentials’ which we won’t be able to keep our children alive without.

However, there is one website I have come across which offers up a perfectly honed baby shower range – This lovely American company (which does ship to the UK – hurrah!) specialises in handmade, recycled and organic products. They also don’t sell leather or fur, strive to maintain a small carbon footprint and even donate to charity. Tick, tick and tick in my book. Here’s my picks from what they have to offer.

That best friend of mine is seriously super duper intelligent – she has an actual PhD – so this little scientific beauty should appeal to her sense of humour.

Not all restaurants, or indeed friend’s houses – come kitted out with a highchair. So this clever invention can make any venue ready for feeding time at the zoo.

I had a baby memory book. Like most parents, only the first few pages are filled in. Whenever I catch sight of it, I am racked with guilt about the wasted opportunity to chart TJ’s development. But, funnily enough, I haven’t had much free time with all the actual parenting I have been doing. This wishing ball solves that problem. Scribble something down once a week and by the end of the year you’ll have plenty of special stuff to reflect on/cry over.

Every parent needs to be able to laugh through the ups and downs which inevitably come with raising a small person. This flow chart could be just the comedy antidote required.

Instagram is full to the rafters of parents snapping pics of their kids with these signs. Whilst my iCloud is packed with pictures and videos of TJ, I regret not getting some of these to remind me of just what was happening as the days of maternity leave blurred into one.

I use one of these food mats every single meal time – it’s the only way I’ve found to ensure crockery and food don’t end up (completely) all over the floor.

So whilst I don’t profess to being able to impart any wisdom when my bestie becomes a mummy, I can help her to buy some stuff which will make life with TJ’s future wife just that bit easier.



Real love.

The penny has dropped.

I’ve been in denial about what a separation means.

I’ve been locking up all my feelings about not seeing TJ every day whilst focussing on sorting mortgages and money rather than my own mind.

I don’t know how I am going to cope without seeing my little boy every day.

What if I miss something? A milestone, a moment or simply just some time when he will need his mum?

I’m going to be an hour away. Although I will move hell and high water to get to him if something ever does happen, it won’t always be possible. Like at 3am when he has a nightmare while I live in one of my own creation.

I am doing this for the right reasons – for a better life for all three of us in the long-term. I don’t want TJ exposed to any of the negativity between me and TJ’s Dad that I fear he would experience (and in some ways already is) if I did stay.

I don’t want to be selfish but I am doing this for me too. I want more. After getting my head straight and enjoying some singledom, I want real love with someone who is on my wavelength and who will make me happy, positive and fulfilled. Not sad, negative and soulless. That will make me a better parent in the end anyway and set a positive role model for TJ, I hope.

But I’m trading that for precious, precious time with my baby. Time I will never get back. Time which is going far too fast anyway and that’s before I only get 50% of it.

I keep telling myself that it’s not that much less time really. I will still have at least two whole days a week with him – and on alternate weeks I’ll have my little man all to myself for four days. That hasn’t and doesn’t always happen now as I go out, see friends and do the other stuff in my life that keeps me sane. Time without TJ will, of course, stop on our week days and weekends together. Even on the worst weeks, when he will be with his dad on weekends, we will still have Thursdays and Fridays together – so that’s two full days a week which is all I would get if I worked full-time anyway.

But what about the other stuff?
What about the snatched and sleepy cuddles in a morning before nursery? What about the sofa snuggles and tickling fights at the end of the day before bath time? I won’t have those around my working day anymore and that breaks me in two.

His dad can do that stuff now. That’s a good thing as I hope it will develop and nourish their relationship in ways which it’s hard to do when I am there as he’s a clingy little mamas boy (and I wouldn’t change that for the world).

My family can also be more involved in his life. My parents and sister adore TJ and we will be just around the corner from each other. I’m lucky they want to play such a big part in his life and I intend to make the most of this. TJ will also go to school in my home town, so my family can help with the school runs around my working hours. It also means the current plan for how to split the time is only temporary for the next couple of years.

Only time will help me to get past this. When I am in the swing of a new routine, balance in my life can be restored and I’ll hope it won’t all be a mistake. Until then, I’m fearing every minute until TJ is taken away from me.

That’s real love.