Category Archives: Lily

Mum Guilt – Does it ever fade?

What is “Mum Guilt”? You know, it’s that overwhelming feeling of doing something wrong by your child, for example, going to work, going out for the evening, first day of school. Have you ever had that peculiar wave of emotion come over you when you leave your 6 month old at Nursery for the first session so that you can go back to work, or to the gym? That’s “Mum Guilt”. Now just because this has been titled “Mum Guilt”, doesn’t mean that its a female emotion, I know of some Dad’s that feel this too.

As a single parent, aged 21, I experienced “Mum Guilt” on a daily basis. Sometimes it was my own fault and sometimes others made me feel bad. Older women who state that I should have waited to have a child if I couldn’t cope. Coupled up Mums who state that their other halves supported them through this. Yes Thanks. So helpful! Parenting is tough, we shouldn’t be making each other guilty when our own conscious does enough damage.

My first “Mum Guilt” struggle was in May of 2012…Lily’s first session at Nursery at 6 months old. Now we had done 3 settling in sessions but this was the first official “see-you-later” time. It only lasted 5 hours but felt like it was ages. Walking away from her little face (who hadn’t noticed I had gone) gave me this overwhelming sense that I was doing something wrong.

I wasn’t.

I was doing what any other mum does, allowing her daughter to socialise and learn. I wasn’t due to start work until August, however wanted to give Lily the time to settle in, and in case it all went tits up, enough time if she needed to be moved. I went back 4 hours and 45 minutes later to reports that she was perfect and seemed to really enjoy herself, well as much as a 6 month old can. I told myself that “Mum Guilt” was unnecessary. The key workers at nursery were fab and Lily stayed there until she was almost 5.

Another guilty day was the first trial day at Primary School in June 2016. People forget that when the children go to school, they are only 4  (sometimes 5). They have only been on the planet 4 years, and yes Lily had been to Nursery but this didn’t make this new stage any easier on me. We arrived not knowing anyone (Nursery was in one county, school in another), Lily was quiet and could probably sense my high-running emotions. We walked into the Hall to introduce her to her teacher with her hand getting tighter around mine. Yes the guilt was starting to rise…who are these teachers? They don’t know Lily and what she is like. They don’t know me or our situation. I was trying harder and harder to make it seem exciting for my slightly anxious 4 year old. The announcement came that all parents were to leave and the children would be taken into their classrooms. I popped a sweet in my mouth (was once told that sucking sweets reduces the chance of tearing up due to the same muscles being used) and tried to get Lily to go with this teacher.

After 10 minutes of my best persuading and this teacher eventually grabbing her hand and leading her away. “Mummy” being shouted down the corridor whilst I walked away and tried not to look back. Yes the tears came, and it still makes me choke even now and she has almost finished her first year there.

“Mum Guilt”

I did the whole convincing myself speech on the walk back home. She has to go to school. They know what they are doing. They do it all the time. I’m sure they are lovely. She will have fun. She won’t have even missed me.  And true to that, she had a great time.

So after these two, and many other, experiences, how do I cope? Well I started with distraction techniques, going shopping, watching a movie, going out for tea. This was fine until I had two minutes to myself, usually on the loo, and the tears would appear again. I then tried spending time with family who have been through this. But when I thought about it, I actually found that my “Mum Guilt” was worse in the build up to an event rather than while the event was happening.

So I did what any normal person would do…try not to think about it. Does that ever even work?

I found that I needed to do my research. Ask the questions I needed to ahead of the event and that it was the “unknown” that was making me feel this way. What was my child going to be doing? How can I prepare her for this? As her mother, what can I say?

My advice to you is to talk about it. Talk to other mums about how you are feeling, talk to your child about how you are feeling. Yes they are younger and less mature but you will feel better talking it through with them.

You aren’t doing anything wrong. You parent the way you believe is best, and you are doing your best! Don’t let anyone or anything make you feel that you aren’t. Like I said, parenting is tough…but let’s support each other through it.

You can do this!!

Good Luck!

Over and Out

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The Best of Christmas TV (UK only)

I am not alone when I say Christmas is the BEST time of year for TV. You have everything from Christmas special programs, Christmas films, re-runs and my ultimate favourite…

Like any normal human being, I picked up my copy of Radio Times at the beginning of December and dutifully *starred* all of my interests. If you haven’t managed to get one, use this link to the actual website to organise your evening entertainment – Radio Times Christmas TV.  This post is anticipating all of the excitement of the TV for the first week, 19th to 24th, then I’ll do a separate one for 26th to 30th…

So what I am looking forward to? Here I list two shows a night for you to tune into (freeview):

Monday 19th December

Jamie’s Ultimate Christmas – 8pm, Channel 4

Everyone loves a bit of this Essex Chef. His ideas and food are all amazing and look yummy (even though I’m Vegan). He also shows ways to make the standard meal slightly more exciting, both visually and in flavours.

The Prince Harry Documentary  –  9pm, ITV

Prince Harry…the people’s royal. Ignoring everything going on around his personal life, Harry is dutifully finishing what his mother started. This program follows his work in Sentebale (his charity). Watch this to see how important Charity is to the Prince.

Tuesday 20th December

Mary Berry’s Absolute Christmas Favourites (1/2) – 7pm, BBC2

Yes, she is getting old. Yes, some of her recipes are questionable. But we all love Bezza. Here she is showing us some traditional seasonal recipes…and some new ones. Part two airs on Wednesday 21st.

Inside the Christmas Factory – 9pm BBC2

I love programs like this, where they show us the ins and outs of Business’. Gregg Wallace is the lucky duck that gets to spend a whole day with a Cake factory finding out how hard it is to produce over 2,000 mince pies..and Cherry Healey spends time with a factory who produces over 400million meters of wrapping paper!

Wednesday 21st December

Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas (3/3)- 8pm, Channel 4

I have watched the other two episodes and this is the last one this year. This time she’s in London where she visits the night marked in Hoxton. I love Kirstie’s passion for everything hand crafted and local.

24 Hours in A&E – 9pm, Channel 4

Can’t really say what’s going to happen in this, as it’s different every week. It is an incredible insight into what the NHS Doctors, Nurses, Porters and other staff members go through to save our lives. Not only do they sacrifice their own time, they go above and beyond to do everything they can for us. (Yes I wholeheartedly support the NHS)

Thursday 22nd December

Grand Designs – 7.55pm, More4

Yes it’s old…Yes it’s a repeat but I still love this program. Kevin’s love for architecture is contagious. Plus this one is local to me on the River Thames. The house is spectacular and has a really ingenious way to combat flooding.

The World’s Most Expensive Toys – 9pm, Channel 4

How Much? I will yell this at the TV at least 10 times during this program..much to the annoyance of my other half.

Friday 23rd December

Saving Mr Banks – 8.30pm, BBC2

When this movie first came out, I refused to watch it. I love Mary Poppins and this Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is one of the most amazing words ever! But once I watched this, I loved it. The idea that Walt Disney isn’t as shiny and melodic as the Disney franchise is today.

Casino Royale – 9pm, ITV2

Bond. Enough Said.

Saturday 24th December aka CHRISTMAS EVE!!

Michael McIntyre’s Big Christmas Show – 7.25pm, BBC1

The funniest man on the planet as a Christmas Show. Two of my favourite things. It is the last of his series that has been showing on a Saturday night. The best part is his “Send to All” texting skit. Completely taking control of the chosen celebrity’s phone and sending a generally embarrassing text to all of the contact list. Love it!

8 out of 10 Cats does Countdown – 9pm, Channel 4

I much prefer this to the original 8 out of 10 Cats. Jon Richardson is a odd crush of mine…the way he solves the maths questions without even writing out the method; Genius.

So there you have it…my top two shows for every evening from Today until Christmas Eve. Hope you enjoy…I’ll let you know my verdict in the New Year.

Over and Out

-x-

 

 

First Day of School

Hey Everyone,

With it being September and most children have either gone back to school or started school, I thought I would do a post about your child’s first day of Primary School.

Lily started school this September and having been at Nursery since she was 6 months old, there was mixed emotions about this next chapter. In this post I’ll go over what we did to prepare for Big School, what we did on the Day and how to convince them to go back the next day. Yes it will be emotional but all mum’s go through it, so you aren’t alone.

Prep for the Big Day

Now I could go into the whole applying for schools etc, but that is a long story in our case and will save it for another post, in short, we didn’t get any school on our list and ended up at a school 15 minute drive away. Luckily, the local council allowed our top school to increase their intake and we were given a place at my preferred choice.

Once I had confirmed the place with School Admissions, I started talking to Lily about school, making new friends and leaving nursery.

About 2 months before school started, I bought uniform. I decided going to Asda with Lily and other stressed parents wasn’t my idea of fun, so I did what most other parents now choose to do and bought online. I went onto Asda’s clothing website, www.george.com, and chose a few different styles in a couple of sizes, knowing that I would need to return some.

Here is my shopping list:-

  • Grey Dresses
  • White Polo Tops
  • White Blouses
  • Grey Tights
  • White and Grey Socks
  • Black T-shirt and Shorts (for Drama/Gym/Sports)
  • Black Plimsolls
  • Black School Shoes

I chose to get the Black Plimsolls and Black school shoes from John Lewis, www.johnlewis.com and the Partner on the shoe fitting was extremely helpful and patient with us. The pair we ended up choosing were Start Rite Charlotte in Black, http://www.johnlewis.com/start-rite-charlotte-leather-shoes-black/p2103245, as apparently a T-bar style is better for children with wide feet.

When the parcel arrived, I explained to Lily that it was a present for her and, of course, this causes a certain level of excitement. I let her open the parcels herself, browse through them, try them on. I then asked her what they were for…School was the answer I got. Woohoo…she sounded quite excited.

The next and possibly the biggest step of this whole process was to leave nursery. Lily had been at this Nursery since she was 6 months old and they were brilliant. The support they gave me as a single mum was totally unexpected but very welcomed. You can find more information about them here  http://nurseries.childbasepartnership.com/nursery/victoria-house/. I tried to turn this into a good day rather than a sad one. Lily and I chose cards and flowers to give to certain key workers that were particularly special to her. I dropped her at Nursery that morning, went about my day, arrived a little earlier than usual so that we could hand out flowers to everyone. This went much better than I had imagined and the only tears were from her key workers. It didn’t hit Lily until we had driven away…and then the tears came. And Bless Her. I explained that we could go back and visit and this seemed to calm her.

Finally my preparation was done and we were ready for Day 1.

On the Day

Well actually the night before, we laid out her uniform including pants and hairbands. On the morning of, we got up, showered, got dressed, plaited her hair and did our teeth. The whole time, we were talking about school and what she was going to have for lunch, what people she would meet and what time I would be there to pick her up. We got our shoes on, a couple of sweets in my pocket, and off we went. Now please don’t be alarmed, the sweets weren’t for Lily, they were for me. A woman I used to work with once told me that the muscles you use to suck sweets are the same ones that relax when you cry. Therefore keeping them tense by sucking, reduces the chance of the mum-tears.

The school is 10 minutes walking from our house and I think this helped because she saw other children going as well. We arrived to the Headmaster giving a quick welcome speech and some guidelines, including no climbing on the Pirate Ship and where to drop off/pick up from. Once this was done, I quickly took Lily to the classroom gate and gave her a little push and off she went. Simple as that!

Now I know everyone’s experience will be different but one thing I would suggest is to make it exciting! Children are adventurous and curious by nature and it really helps to play on this and get them involved and excited about each step.

 

I hope this helps somewhat and remember, All mums are going through the same thing so you are not alone. And if you feel those tears coming, pop a couple of sweets in your pocket. You can thank me later 🙂 Any questions, please comment below and I will aim to answer them as best as I can.

Over and Out

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