The Importance of Mum Chums

Becoming a mum for the first time is probably the most life changing and overwhelming thing that will ever happen to you. The second you hold your baby in your arms, you are different. Some of these changes are obvious (‘I have stretch marks WHERE?’) but some are so small you can hardly put your finger on them to start with. If you are lucky, you will have friends at a similar stage in life and you will navigate that change together. But it can be extremely isolating if you aren’t. 

I’m not saying you can’t maintain your old friendships; of course you can. Just because you are at different stages, with a bit of effort and a lot of love your relationships can evolve into something new. But I truly believe now that in order to really embrace your new life and be completely content you need to find a great group of mum chums. 

This isn’t always easy though. Baby groups can be daunting, especially if you’re shy, or your baby isn’t the placid, sleepy, laid back type and you spend the entirety of each session jiggling them round the room in a sweat whilst watching all the other mums coo and massage and generally manage to participate. Apps for mums can be like dating apps – slightly embarrassing and with a high risk of rejection. There was a time I never thought I’d find my support network. But I have, and they are WONDERFUL. 

It’s slightly unconventional. We started as a group of strangers on a popular online baby forum, brought together only by the header ‘April 2016,’ our expected birth month. Through tragedy, we moved over to Facebook and those anonymous strangers became women. Mums. Lovely, kind, empathetic ladies with families, and little profile pictures, and amazing senses of humour. Day and night, there is always someone present to give advice, to sympathise, to reassure. These ladies have become a lifeline. 

They were the first people I told when I got my positive pregnancy test with this baby. We have been through so much together over the last 10/11 months. It is thanks to them I started this blog. Thanks to them I am contemplating starting my own business once life as a mum of two settles down into some normality. Really, I cannot thank them enough for their constant support. Somehow, I have been lucky enough to gain 260 mum chums, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! So this one’s for them. 

New mums: my advice to you is this. Put yourselves out there. Be it physically, or via the Internet, whatever you feel comfortable with. But I promise you, with a group of similarly minded mum chums, you will be able to tackle anything motherhood throws at you, and have a good old giggle along the way.

No Mess Shake-It-Up Mother’s Day Art

I must admit, now I’m at the tail end of this pregnancy (35 weeks!) I’m finding it harder and harder to motivate myself to find fun new things to do with the Monkey. However, it’s Mother’s Day coming up at the end of this month (of which I am painfully aware, since it will be my first!) so I really should do something crafty for the Nanny’s. 

After racking my brain for a new technique we could try, I decided to stay simple and mess free. Noah LOVES shaking things at the moment; musical instruments, blocks, boxes – anything at all that he thinks may make a noise is getting vigorously shaken back and forth whilst he wears the cutest little grin. So let’s use what he’s good at!

In my teaching days, I’ve done many a jigsaw piece craft, and I love them paired with the line ‘I love you to pieces.’ So during a nap, I quickly sketched out two puzzle pieces (one for each of his Nannys!) onto card and cut them out.

Then, I gathered my materials. A selection of paint (I just used my normal bog-standard acrylics), some baking beans and a tupperware tub with a lid that clips on nice and firmly! 

Next, I blu-tacked the puzzle pieces to the inside of the tub. I squeezed a drop of each colour into the bottom, and then dropped in a layer of baking beans, enough to cover the paint. I secured on the lid, and we were ready to go!

Once he’d woken up and had a bottle, I handed the tub to Noah, and let him do his thing. With Bunny and Fox helping (of course!) he shook, rolled, and banged the tub across the floor. He loved the sound of the beans clattering around! I did wonder if an extension to this activity may be to add some cheap jingle bells (I have some loitering around) but actually on this occasion he was having enough fun with just the noise from the beans.

Look how happy he is! And note; no paint on my lovely carpet haha. I could see at this point that the colours were mixing to create a bit of a murky brown in parts, however he was having so much fun and this is process art, so I let him carry on until he was bored.

The only clear-up required was to gently pull out the card and set it aside to dry, whilst filling the tub with warm, soapy water to soak.

Once the paint had dried on the puzzle pieces, I simply stuck them onto the front of some more white card, folded and wrote my (I mean, Noah’s!) message. For extra involvement and future nostalgia, I may get him to pop a squidgy handprint on the inside before sending. Happy crafting!

TOP TIPS: Make sure the tub you use for this activity can be easily picked up with little hands! Or else you might find they get frustrated quickly 😊

Pregnancy Paranoia: Highs and Lows of Week 34

So this week I turned 34 weeks pregnant. I started by feeling pretty positive! It’s March now, so that means with my induction, I’ll definitely be having my baby this month!! The end is in sight. As lovely as it is to grow a little human, I am not good at pregnancy, and I’ve been pregnant for pretty much 18 months solid now with such a tiny age gap. Physically, and mentally, I’m ready for a break!

But by Monday evening it all started to go downhill. I am sure some women are wonderfully calm during their pregnancies, and float along in a happy, glowy daze of excitement. Ladies: I am so jealous of you! Me? I flit between all laid back and positive…and oh my God, what was that, it’s all going wrong isn’t it, we can’t possibly be this lucky! Pregnancy paranoia: it’s a bugger.

I don’t think it’s helped by midwives and the like telling you to listen to your body, trust your instincts, etc – I get the sentiment, totally, but I’ll be honest. I haven’t the foggiest what I’m listening for half the time! Me and my pregnant body are misunderstanding each other somewhere along the line. I can only describe it initially as starting to feel ‘weird.’ My digestive system was in bits (we won’t go into too much detail there…no glamour!) and I felt weirdly unsettled. 

On Tuesday, I was continuing this weird, on the edge feeling, and toilet hopping. I told Jim to keep his phone on him, though I wasn’t sure why. My appetite left me completely. My nighttime sleep was worse than ever, waking up suddenly as though I had somewhere urgent to be. By Wednesday night, I was getting bad lower back pain and pain in my bump. ‘This is it,’ I’m thinking, ‘this must be how natural labour starts!’ The only thing that eased it was a lovely, warm bath.

Thursday morning I was an emotional mess. The week had took its toll. Nothing had ‘progressed,’ pains had eased, my stomach was still rejecting all food (which makes diabetes control great fun!) so now I’m into full panic mode. What is going on with my baby?! I’m ashamed to say I started blubbing to Jim and for the first time ever, really needed him to stay off work. I needed help with Noah so that I could focus fully on figuring out what was happening with bump. With Noah’s pregnancy, I was much worse in terms of panic- it still felt like we were too lucky, things could go wrong at any moment, right up until the end. I think I’ve been loads better this time because I’m just too distracted and busy. But yesterday? I was in a tizz. 

The hospital didn’t want me in. They decided over the phone I must have some horrid bug that they wanted to keep well away from the wards, thank you very much. I get that completely, I do, but I needed some reassurance. So I saw my community midwife. And thank goodness, she let me listen to baby’s heartbeat. She also informed me baby is well and truly engaged now, so my pains the previous night could well have been him literally ‘burrowing’ into my pelvis. Cheers bubs! All my other tests came up the same as usual, and so I have been slightly mollified. For now.

Honestly, being pregnant is stressful. I don’t know what’s going on in there! I am emotionally exhausted after this week, and wishing away the next three so that I can hold him safely in my arms and keep the little monkey where I can see him. Because that’s where the worry ends, right? Ha ha ha…