dating, Motherhood, Mums, Parent, single parent, toddler

Regression

Definition:

A return to a former or less developed state

A return to an earlier stage of life

It’s a strong word. When talked about in parenting circles, it’s usually pre-empted by ‘sleep’ as bleary eyed mums and dads find a fancy term to describe why their kid won’t pipe down. This is happening for me once again right now, but I will get on to that shortly.

First though, I am also regressing in my own life as I am reverting back to being single, moving back to my home town and likely to end up stumbling around some old and familiar haunts in heels that I can’t keep upright in.

Following the recent decision for me and TJ’s dad to go our separate ways, I find myself at the beginning of starting over after a decade of familiarity. One of the biggest changes in modern day living which has completely passed me by is the dating game. The apps, the swiping left (or is it right?!), the etiquette on that fine line between messaging and pestering – I am completely clueless on it all.

I have never been good at knowing what to do or what to say when it comes to courting and I have had little chance to hone my skills in recent years. I do find it easy to get on with most people, anyone who follows my blog knows I usually have quite a lot to say for myself and I truly enjoy meeting new people and discovering what makes them tick. Becoming a parent has also changed me for the better as I am stronger, more confident and more driven than ever before. So, that may be a winning combination to find another happily ever after.

I have no plans at all to throw myself into something too serious head first. I need time to heal, to recover and to learn to have some ‘me’ time again. I am also not looking for a replacement dad for TJ, he’s got one of those already.

But, I believe in love. In the words of SATC’s Carrie, I want real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, can’t live without each other love. Wanting more for my life is the reason I am applying for my own mortgage in the first place. But when that time comes, I know it will bring the phone checking, the self-doubt and the constant ‘is he just not that into me’ questioning. Online dating can only fuel that. Maybe I won’t have to resort to downloading Tinder and there is that person in the real world for me instead. I will keep you posted.

So, about last night. That parenting pitfall of sleep regression reared its ugly head again.

TJ has been a dream baby overnight for months now, and it’s been essential in order for me to function as a human being. So, when he screamed the house down at 1am one night last week, I resorted to pulling him in bed with me – two hours later when I had exhausted all other options. I prayed that it was a one-off and this wouldn’t be the start of the co-sleeping we abandoned way before TJ’s first birthday.

I was wrong. It happened again last night, at 2am. I didn’t even put up much of a fight this time, grabbing his massive Sleepyhead pillow and thanking God for the space afforded by the king size bed. TJ calmed down thanks to a combination of cuddles with his favourite soft toy and grasping at a chunk of my hair.

Despite the awful sleep deprivation (we both only grabbed a few handfuls of sleep in the hours that followed), it was blissful on fleeting occasions. When TJ let go of my hair and playfully felt my face and said ‘nose’, my heart leapt. When he woke up a little unsure of where he was but relaxed when he saw me and said ‘mama’, I took reassurance that I had done the right thing.

But what’s next? Is this the start of things to come again? It really can’t be as we both need our precious sleep to have positive experiences the following day.

What about you? Have you experienced toddler sleep regression and if so, any tips on how I can get through it?

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Parent

News.

I don’t know where to start.

I’m on my route to work trying to hold it together after TJ didn’t on the way to nursery this morning.

I’m feeling guilty because he was clinging to me – maybe because I didn’t make enough time for him this weekend.

I’m feeling concerned because I don’t know how his day at nursery will go. I’ll wait for their phone call later to hopefully tell me that my boy is happy and playing with his friends like he normally does.

I’m feeling sad because this is a sign of the future.

After 10 years, TJ’s Dad and I have decided to go our own ways. I’ve felt every emotion under the sun in that last decade and in the recent weeks since that decision was made.

We’re both house hunting. Our house is up for sale. We’ve planned childcare routines. And we’ve both bottled up how we actually feel about this huge change.

It was my decision. A thought which had been on my mind based on the difficulties we’ve faced together. I love him but I think we’re unhealthy and destructive forces to each other.

But now, in the words of All Saints, my head is spinning. I don’t know how to follow it through. I don’t know how to cope with missing so much of TJ’s life. I keep telling myself that it’s so common for this to happen – one in four children is raised by a single parent. But that doesn’t help. When it comes to me and my life, the thought of not seeing TJ every day wrecks me.

I am hoping for the best when it comes to how to maintain a relationship with TJ’s Dad. We can be grown ups, friends, and co-parents to the most amazing result of our time together. I think we can do this and still be civil, happy, and enjoy each other’s company when spending time as a family.

But TJ doesn’t know that. He won’t understand why his two parents aren’t around all the time anymore. He won’t understand why we will have to spend lots of time driving up and down the M3 between mummy and daddy’s separate homes. I think the battle I just faced to get him to nursery will be a drop in the ocean compared to what those journeys may be like.

So what do I do? Do I abandon the plans of separation and try even harder to make my relationship work? Or, do I bite the bullet and hope TJ is young enough at 17 months to accept the change and grow up not to know any different?

Answers on a postcard please.

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Motherhood, Mums, Parent, toddler

I never thought I would say this

But I am sick of Disney.

The happy, clappy music can just bloody piss off.

And I didn’t see this coming.

I love(d) Disney. I own more Disney DVDs than I can be bothered to count. I’ve been to the theme parks countless times (my literally and metaphorically speaking poor parents). I even used “so I can watch Disney more often” as a legitimate reason why I should become a parent.

But, now, when I Just Can’t Wait To Be King is one of the only ways to get TJ to pipe down on a car journey or during a nappy change, I’m hearing these damn songs on repeat every day, from around 7.30am.

Being a child of the 80s, it was the 90s classics (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and The Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King) which have always been firm favourites for me.

But there’s nothing worse than Prince Ali making his grand appearance on the streets of Agraba over and over again on a trip to the supermarket.

I’ve tried other stuff. Shrek made a brief appearance. But it didn’t work the same magic of calming my tantruming little toddler (see future blog post on how the tantrums began at 14 months).

This is also without a detailed mention of how I know all the words to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, which is taking up more storage room than anything else on my Sky box.

Ok, the one cute thing is when said programme is on and TJ picks up the Mickey Mouse toy which my parents (obviously) bought for him.

So until TJ gets as fed up with it all as I am, I guess I’ll just have to Hakuna Matata my way through. And save up for that pricey trip to DisneyWorld.

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Motherhood, toddler

The truth.

I never want to lie. I haven’t intentionally perpetuated any myths about parenthood. I’ve actually gone out of my way to be real about all of it.

But, just to be clear, here’s the facts.

Motherhood is hard.

I’ve just spent two days with TJ and they were much more tiring and testing than the prior two days in the office. I feel like applauding myself for getting through the 10 months of maternity leave if this is what it was always like.

Of course, it wasn’t always like this. TJ has changed, developed and grown both in size and personality. It’s easy to look back at those newborn days through rose-tinted glasses but I know that’s not the case – I’ve still got the bags under my eyes to prove it.

Yesterday, I willingly did a big food shop just for something to do.

I’ve also gone to two baby classes a day just to get out of the house as TJ is apparently bored at home. He loves other people and children and I’m prepared to indulge him in that to avoid meltdowns, to give us some fun time together and also to keep me sane.

During these outings, several people have commented on how happy my baby is. My stock answer is that he’s happiest when we are out of the house.

At home, the following are currently a battle:

Feeding – spoon feeding is off the menu for TJ so I’m ransacking Annabel Karmel for finger foods which my limited cooking skills and budget can take on.

Nappy changes: This particular battle starts around 7:30am, the first change of the day. This is usually a code brown, and I have to forcibly pin TJ down so I can clean him up.

Sleeping: as always. This one has never changed for us. Thank God TJ’s Dad usually looks after bedtime so it’s just those precious day naps which are the issue for me.

Leaving the house for a car ride or pram trip: This is when I also have to forcibly get TJ strapped in and endure a few tears from him before we can go on our way (usually to a baby class).

Moving around: TJ is constantly on the move – finger walking being his preferred mode of transportation. So, I spend my life crouching down to hold him upright by his wrists. I would hold his fingers (as the name suggests) but TJ has taken to carrying some random treasure around with him, like my shoes. Or a coaster. Or a toy which he doesn’t play with.
If he’s not walking, he’s desperately trying to crawl but then he just ends up frustrated, crying, face down on the floor, resting his face on his arms in a proper toddler tantrum style (which I thought he was too young for!)

That doesn’t leave much time for anything else does it? Well, yes it does. This I must remember.

It leaves time for cuddles, which he has learnt to climb into my lap for.

It leaves time for uncontrollable giggles when I tickle him by his ears or on his tummy.

It leaves time for how he insists on holding a bit of my hair when I give him his bottle whilst he’s sitting on my lap.

It leaves time for me to love TJ more than I thought possible.

Motherhood isn’t easy. Despite what TV, Instagram and all the rest of it make it look like through a good filter, it really is the hardest job in the world.

But would I change it? No. Well, I say this whilst TJ is snoozing. Ask me again at a nappy change.

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Mums

Green with envy

My road to parenthood was a bumpy one.

Although admittedly smoother than some, we still hit an obstacle or two – namely taking a long time to conceive and a rather nasty c-section which I’m still smarting from.

I know I’m incredibly lucky to have a beautiful, healthy and happy little boy in my life. I count my blessings every single day and I shall never stop being thankful for that.

But that horrible green-eyed monster rears its ugly head when I hear stories from people who fell pregnant after the first time of “trying”, those who had easy deliveries and especially those people who saw their Size 8 figures ping back overnight.

With a cupboard still full of ovulation sticks, a red c-section scar and a diet of Nutribullet green smoothies to lose that mum tum, I’m not a bad person for being a little jealous of those who took the journey to parenthood in their stride am I?

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Motherhood, Mums

The knowing look

I walked passed a fellow mum today and we exchanged a glance which said a thousand words.

It said that we knew why neither of us was wearing any make-up.

It said that we knew why both of us were wearing leggings.

It said that we’ve not had a full night of sleep for too long.

It said that we’re both finding our feet in parenthood.

It’s a good knowing look because we’re all in this crazy mess of marvellous motherhood together!

Do you know the look I mean?

Image credit – The Mirror

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