1. YOU CAN'T PREPARE
You can read all the baby books in the world, google everything, talk to other mums but nothing can prepare you for the whirlwind of black poos, mustard poos, the first solid poo, the exhaustion, routine-stress, naps, cracked nipples, when your baby first smiles (your heart will stop), when they laugh, the constant worry - you can’t prepare for any of it.
2. NAPS AND ROUTINE OBSESSION
You will spend a large majority of your time googling sleep routines, ‘why won’t my baby nap?’….it will become your life's obsession.
3. SLEEP REGRESSIONS ARE NOT FUN
Who knew? Apparently there's one at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9...months, you get my point. Coffee is life.
4. HANGOVERS ARE EVEN MORE HORRIFIC
I'll just leave that one there. You really don't want that second tequila shot love.
5. MUM GUILT IS REAL
You will feel guilty for feeling guilty about feeling guilty. And judged. So judged. Do what is best for you and your baby.
6. THE LOVE FOR YOUR BABY IS OVERWHELMING
The love you feel for your baby will some days take your breath away. Like literally stop you in your tracks, you have never known a love like it.
7. WOMEN ARE AMAZING
We all struggle some days and it's nothing to feel ashamed about. Just because being a mum might not be joy every second of the day – it doesn’t mean you’re a bad mum, or you love your baby any less. And you’re never alone. Remember that.
8. THE WORLD IS SCARIER
You will be so much more aware of the tragedies that take place in the world and you will worry much more. The world does seem scarier. All you want to do is protect your child forever.
9. RESPECT PARENTS MORE
You love your parents more because you know how much they really love you. They have been through the four-month-sleep regression and survived – that deserves a medal.
10. CBEEBIES IS LIFE
Mr Tumble and his spotty bag, Bing (ANNOYING), that guy with the floppy hair who loves dinosaur adventures. This will become your world. Enjoy your Netflix while you can!
1. THE FIRST NIGHT 'ALONE'
I remember my husband driving us back home from hospital and I was looking at my baby and I was TERRIFIED. I don’t know how to look after a baby? But you get through it – and the next night and the next night…
2. THE BLOOD
Although my friends told me to expect lots of blood, I was unprepared at how much there was. Maternity pads are your new best friend. You feel sooòoo sexy in those 6 weeks.
The exhaustion is like nothing you have ever experienced. You will feel like you have sand in your eyes and you will be amazed how excited you get when you have 2 hours un-interupted sleep.
4. YOU ARE A COW
If you are breastfeeding, you will feel like a cow. Boob out, biscuits in mouth, just roll with it. It’s relentless and hard but remember it won’t always be this intense and you won’t always be a cow, though your boobs may look like udders forever. #ripboobs
5. THE FEAR OF THE FIRST POO
Never in my life have I been so scared to have a poo. That first poo after-birth nerves is one you’ll never forget.
6. HUSBAND HATE
My friend wisely told me that once you have kids you realise how much you hate your partner. 😂 But you equally fall in love with them more when you see them with baby, but when they snore during the night feeds you wonder whether the patio is big enough…
Those night feeds at 2am can be so lonely. But remember there’s another mum out there at 2am, doing the same as you – you are not alone. ❤
8. MOURN OLD LIFE
My doctor said to me that once the flowers and cards dry up, everyone gets on with their own life – but you. Your life has changed forever. You will feel unrecognisable and there will be times you will mourn your 'old life'.
Other people will coo and cuddle your baby but you feel like you’re getting the ‘hard’ bits – the exhaustion, the cluster feedings, the explosive poos.
10. FIRST SMILE
Through all the blood, sweat and tears, your baby's first smile will complete you in ways you can't ever describe and make every explosive poo worth it.
You've got this mama 💪
1. YOU CAN’T PLAN ANYTHING
Want to book a holiday? Want to know how long they’ll be away for? Want to know whether you need to shave your legs on Friday? Ha! Things constantly change and you can never plan anything with certainty. And if you do - it will change!
2. YOU KNEW WHAT YOU WERE GETTING INTO
Did I? ‘You chose this life,’ did I? A what not to say to a military spouse.
It is lonely. Whether you are on your own, have children, live on a patch or live close to family. It is lonely. Once the day is done and you sit on the sofa in the evening the one person you want to talk to is more likely to be away than be there.
4. COUNTING DOWN THE DAYS
You go between counting down the days until they are home to when they are home, just wishing time would slow down. How is it Sunday again?
5. PART OF A UNIQUE CLUB
Whether they are your neighbours, you have never met, you’ve been friends for years - you’re part of an amazing group of women who are the only ones who truly know what you are going through and will be there for you whether that be a phone call, message or a wild night out.
6. YOU LOSE COUNT OF POSTCODES
You finally get settled and then it’s time to move again. Lucky to see so much of the country but equally - you just want to stay put for longer than 2 years.
7. MAGNOLIA WALLS
Married quarters are a beautiful mix of well, magnolia. You will come to loathe those magnolia walls!
8. MISSED PHONE CALL IS HEARTBREAKING
You end up being glued to your phone but if you miss a phone call, well you will cry - a lot. Especially if they’re overseas and you don’t know when they can ring back.
9. SUNDAY DREAD
The Sunday night dread is real. Having to watch them pack their bags, knowing you’ll be flying solo for a week, weeks, months. It’s hard.
10. YOU FEEL LUCKY
As much as it is hard, you get to experience the butterflies that are sometimes lost in long-term relationships when it’s been months and they're finally on their way home. Nothing beats deployment coming-home butterflies.
10 things nobody tells you
Pregnancy is undoubtedly a life-changing part of anyone’s life and like all things in life, everyone’s experience is different. But hand on heart I can say that feeling your baby kick for the first time is one of those moments where time really does stand still. But amongst the highs, there’s some symptoms you can experience that leave you feeling quite far from that ‘pregnancy glow’.
I was quite troll like during my pregnancy to be honest – sweaty, hair and angry.
So here’s my ‘top 10’ things nobody tells you when you’re expecting…
1. MORNING SICKNESS
I still do not know why this is called morning sickness when it is in fact, morning, noon and night sickness. And ginger beer. No thanks – don’t want it near me when I’m not pregnant, never mind when I’m pregnant. (Tip another mum told me: Dry crackers – take some to bed with you. I used to nibble on one when I woke up as I would always feel worse first thing. Wild times having a cracker in bed each morning).
2. PREGNANCY RAGE
I don’t think I can actually put this into words but pregnancy rage is real. It’s the REAL DEAL. I would mostly get rage at my husband and I honestly thought I would explode some days – over absolutely nothing. But at the time it was EVERYTHING. So partners if you are reading this. DO NOT ARGUE BACK. DO NOT SAY I THINK YOU’RE BEING UNREASONABLE. WHY ARE YOU SHOUTING? I THINK YOU’RE SLIGHTLY OVER-REACTING. WHY ARE YOU IN A MOOD ALL THE TIME? I REALLY THINK YOU NEED TO CALM DOWN. Just let your pregnant partner lose her shit over the most trivial of things – just step back and feed her chocolate. (Fun fact – When I was pregnant with Rafe, I also got rage at McDonald’s when they didn’t serve me my breakfast hash browns quick enough so I wrote a 2-page letter of complaint. Got an apology and a voucher so win win really).
3. FACIAL HAIR
Having dark hair, I’ve always been partial to a bit of a tash but I had some delightful hairs on my chinny chin suddenly appear when I was pregnant. Hormones apparently. And hate to break it to you – the facial hair stays. Yummy mummies all round!
4. I’M BRINGING SWEATY BACK
For me, pregnancy was less glow and more sweat. Especially extra boobie sweat – so yeah, full on glamour-puss I was.
5. PEOPLE TOUCH YOU MORE AND ARE OPENLY OFFENSIVE
So apparently when you’re pregnant a) strangers can touch your stomach and comment on your bump as much as they want b) People can be openly offensive to you and it’s ok. ‘YOU’RE SO BIG! IS IT TWINS?! YOU’RE MASSIVE! WHAT - YOU’VE GOT 5 MONTHS LEFT! I WAS TINY COMPARED TO YOU. Erm, thanks.
6. SWOLLEN VAGINA
Probably too much information but I’ve just told you I had sweaty boobs so one side affect (for some) can be a swollen lady garden. All about increased blood flow during pregnancy apparently. It was particularly bad if I’d been on a long walk. I’d literally end up walking like John Wayne – fun times.
7. HORMONES ARE MENTAL
As pregnancy rage proves, emotions can be all over the place. Probably not the best example but we watched a film about a dog that kept dying and coming back to life and I literally lost it. Was hyperventilating through the whole film. So yeah, you’ll probably cry a bit more.
So that pregnancy glow could be embarrassment from letting off more trumps than normal. This is because your body produces higher levels of the hormone progesterone – who knew?
9. MATERNAL INSTINCT
For me, this started from the moment I found out I was pregnant. You become so in-tune with your baby and body – you just get a feeling if something isn’t quite right. Always, ALWAYS speak to a midwife, even if your concern may seem small, they’d much rather you rang them than not. Trust your instincts.
10. UNSOLICITED ADVICE
People can be amazing during pregnancy and offer you some great advice, the kind of advice you really need for reassurance or to just know you're not alone. But equally, they can inadvertently make you feel like poo. Someone told me when I was pregnant to just put some people’s advice in the fuck it bucket! And don’t compare yourself to other people, your experience is your own.
So yeah - I was just a delight really. But honestly – I would do it all again in a heartbeat. (Husband just three-wheeling out the drive now). Those first kicks outweigh any extra hairs on your chin though.
Till next time,
So hopefully this is helpful. I’ve also included other things we brought that we found useful for both our little darlings in those early weeks.
And on a side note, ladies you don’t have to get waxed, shaved, fake-tanned to give birth – unless you really want to of course. With Rafe I had my hair done, waxed from head to toe, nails done…where in reality by the end of it I couldn’t have cared less – nor do the midwives. And second time round, well they were lucky if I shaved my big toe.
On that note, what is the one thing you are glad you packed?
What I packed in my hospital bag
You can pick and choose what you want to take – at the end of the day you will probably have so many people saying ‘you need this, you don’t need that’ but this is what I packed.
And for when the fun begins at home….
(I've went for the 'little' things here -not necessarily the big essentials i.e. cot or pram but happy to share what we have, just holla.)
This is a tough one as babies really don't need as much stuff as you think they do - but equally you somehow accumulate so much stuff. In the same note, just because Grandma Audrey slept in a chest of drawers when she was a baby, it doesn't mean you won't want to buy a cot.
I breastfed Rafe and I'm still breastfeeding Elijah so I’m really not that clued up on bottle feeding at all but the list below is what we brought when pregnant with Rafe. I knew I wanted to try and breastfeed but thought I’d prepare for both just in case.
The main thing I would say after looking back is if you want to breastfeed – do some research, as much as you can! I literally didn’t have a clue, I just thought it would be relatively easy. Lucy Webber, a lactation consultant recommends the following books - The Positive Breastfeeding Book - Amy Brown, You've Got It In You - Emma Pickett, Dr Jack Newman's Guide to Breastfeeding - Jack Newman, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding - La Leche League.
Anything else/present ideas for people to get you
Hope this helps. I know the list looks daunting but like I said, you can just pick and choose what you want. Feel free to share this with anyone expecting!
Next blog post is WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING...
Till next time,
P.s For those who have been reading my blog for a while, I will still be writing about my 'here and now' (send wine) but those posts will be more on Facebook and Instagram. I will be doing a bit more 'general mum posts' on here. Just for a few weeks, see what people want to read to be honest. If there is anything you want me to cover, PLEASE just message me.
When this is all over, let us not forget,
The people who kept the world turning, are the ones we owe respect,
It wasn’t the richest, or the ones who wear false crowns,
It was those who kept us afloat, when little hope was to be found,
The doctors, the nurses, the teachers, the bin-men the supermarket workers, those who often hide,
It was your postman, your delivery driver, your butcher, the World War II veteran who walked those extra miles,
The children who couldn’t go to school, or see their grandparents or friends,
But don’t forget it was you who made them feel safe, it was you who held their hand,
Money didn’t save us, it was the kindness in their hearts,
It was those we don’t often notice, who held us in the dark.
When this is all over, remember how the roads were quiet, not as many cars in sight,
And you didn’t have to listen closely to hear the bird song, morning through to night,
The flowers never looked so beautiful, the sun never shone so bright,
The fish kept swimming, the bees kept buzzing, nature didn’t lose its fight,
Beauty shone through and were we able to see,
That we need nature, more than it needs you and me,
Nature kept going, when we were on our knees,
Showing us that life goes on, to look for the light amongst the trees,
Don’t forget that sometimes a little, can save so much,
So keep the birds singing and the oceans alive, give back to nature what it gives to us.
When this is all over, we can’t bring back those we lost, or change the past,
But we can mend the broken hearts, find the good in this and make it last,
This does not discriminate against race or religion, the rich or the poor,
But people who always suffer the most, need us now more than ever before,
When this is all over, hold your grandmother closer, raise a glass with those you love,
Do the thing you keep saying you’ll do, keep looking for the light above,
Remember those who gave so much, who are normally out of sight,
The ones who you stood and clapped for, every Thursday night,
One day we will all look back and see, that this storm eventually passed,
And how we will be remembered, is how we found the good in all the grief – and made it last.
So potty training is easy apparently, who knew? Ok, maybe slightly challenging and we haven’t quite took the plunge yet but so many people have messaged and asked me to share what tips people gave me yesterday (thank you to everyone who messaged ❤), so here you go! Like everything, people’s advice differs and in the end what works for your child, might be different to someone else’s. But one running theme was to stock up on chocolate buttons and ALL THE WINE. GOOD LUCK!
So we are definitely going to do a sticker reward chart (and chocolate after so many stickers). I’m going to see if I can get the pirate book but delivery on things at the mo is hit or miss so I might just show him the YouTube videos. Over the next few days I'm going to try getting him to have a wee in potty when he gets up and then before bath. (Though he just threw the potty in the bath before so doesn't bode well.) Then nappy off and go free for a few days and see what happens. I fully expect my cream carpet will be green and brown by the end of it and I’m still not sure he is ready but just going to try. No pressure – if he isn’t ready just try again in a bit. I’ll let you know how we get on!
Wrote this super quick while Elijah was asleep on me so hope this all makes sense!
Somedays the kids have chocolate before it's 9am,
Somedays we'll read books all day and make a den,
Somedays I'll throw them the iPad for hours, just to have a break,
Somedays I'll make meals from scratch and teach my toddler how to bake,
Somedays I will swear under my breath from morning through to night,
Somedays we will play in the garden, until the sky loses light,
Somedays I feel like I'm just not cut out for all this, my patience is done,
Somedays I'll realise that I'm all they need, I'm a good mum,
Somedays are hard, somedays are long,
Somedays are full of tears, somedays are full of song,
Somedays we will dance, somedays we will smile,
Somedays I need to remind myself it's all worth while,
Someday when the world let's us back in, I hope to look back and see,
That every tear, that every smile - that every day, was just how it was meant to be.
No rolling pin? Use the next best thing. Wine - once again coming to the rescue.
How is everyone? I wrote on my stories a few days ago that Rafe had become very clingy and hadn't been sleeping well since the 'lockdown'. So many of you said the same about their toddlers. He follows me around, will only let me push the pushchair and cries if my husband tries, he doesn't always - but cries when I leave the room or he will say, 'coming back mama?' for reassurance. He has gone from being a good sleeper, settling well and mostly sleeping through to needing my husband to lie next to him to get him to sleep. Then he wakes up numerous times in the night crying and when either my husband or I go in, he will say 'lie down, lie down' and we have to lie down till he falls asleep again. It's like he has seperation anxiety, maybe this is a phase - but I do think it has to do with what is going on. He can obviously sense something is happening, his routine has completely changed, he doesn't get to see his grandparents unless it's through a window/end of a driveway, we can't go to the park or any of his favourite places. And he doesn't understand why and it's hard to explain to a 2-year-old. Hopefully it will settle in time, guess like everyone - he just needs to get used to the new 'norm'. Just not looking forward to when my husband has to go back to work but will deal with that when it happens.
In the meantime going to dust off the flour off the wine. It's 5 o'clock somewhere right?
Love to you all x
Royal Marine Wife. Mum to Rafe.