Beyond the mother.

When you become a parent, suddenly your whole life revolves around someone else. Babies and young children are completely dependent on you so your days are often just about keeping them alive. Everything you do and every decision you make has to have somebody else’s needs factored in first.

Which is all fine, I mean, you kind of know that when you get the job but I think it’s all too easy to completely lose who you are amongst the chaos.

It can be so difficult to have little control over your body when you’re pregnant. It is miraculous and incredible and such a blessing but that doesn’t mean that it’s also easy. I really struggled physically with sickness and heartburn but also mentally as my body was changing and I was putting weight on. This was even harder with my second pregnancy as I’d worked so hard to lose weight after the first time so seeing myself getting bigger again really upset me.

You spend approximately 40 weeks growing a gorgeous baby and then, obviously, it’s time to get them out. It doesn’t matter how you go about that, I think whatever happens your body is left in a right state afterwards! I had two completely different labours but both times I was left with stitches, bruising, swelling and a sad looking, deflated belly (NOT deflated as in small, you understand. More like a 6 month pregnant belly but saggy. Lovely.)

In the early days you obviously have this new person to get to know and look after whilst healing from the birth and dealing with insane hormone fluctuations. Naturally, you’re probably not putting your heels on or hitting the gym (but fair play if you are!) and nobody would expect you to, you’ve just had a baby! But I think it’s so easy to continue like that until you feel a bit lost.

At some point, whenever it feels right, you need to start finding yourself in that postpartum fog and do things for yourself and not just your children/partner/house/job.

It took until my baby boy was about 9 months old for me to remember myself. I started just by buying a book and actually reading it. I know. Shocking. And it felt great. A few evenings a week I would have a long shower once the kids were in bed, use a face mask and lie in bed with my book. It seems so trivial but it’s almost like it kickstarted me making myself a priority every now and then. That famous saying ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’ is so true.

When you’re feeling good, you can give your best to your family.

I was still wearing a lot of maternity clothes just because they were comfy and convenient so I packed them all away and forced myself to actually look in my wardrobe and buy things for me when I was shopping. It wasn’t anything expensive, but it felt good to shift some of my focus back onto myself.

I walk at least 40 minutes every day now as my daughter is in nursery but I also like to try and get a couple of workouts in throughout the week. Again, it’s good to focus on myself and look after my body as it’s served me well over the last few years! I also find I’m more positive and patient after a bit of exercise which is always useful when I spend my days refereeing a cruising baby and a threenager.

This is something that is obviously different for everyone, it’s just my personal experience. I’m not writing this to ‘show off’, I just hope it can encourage one mum to ignore the laundry for an hour and have a long bath or buy that bag that you loved but put back on the shelf.

Basically, you’re important too, Mama!

Thanks for reading,

Knight Mummy x

The second born.

When I had my first baby, she had my complete attention 24/7 (which is good as that’s when she was hungry!). From a very young age we had Parent and Baby groups, Baby Massage, swimming lessons, Tumble Tots and would often go out for long walks which would involve a coffee shop.

This time things are a little bit different. My little boy’s “social life” is basically being dragged along to his big sister’s activities and going to have his immunisations. What a hoot.


I would often just sit and cuddle my daughter whilst she slept and we could spend hours snuggling on the sofa. My son rarely has that luxury as I have to feed/clean up after/play with his sister so if he’s not being fed himself, he is often in his bouncy chair or on his play gym. Which were actually bought for his sister and now they’re his.

I made sure I wrote in Little Knight’s baby record book fairly regularly whilst Baby Knight doesn’t even have one.

Before I sound like the worst mother on earth, the one thing he has exactly the same of is love. Oh my goodness. This boy is absolutely delicious and I adore every ounce of him.


I had been feeling very conscious of the fact that he hasn’t had the same treatment (oh hey there mama guilt!). But when I really think about it, I think he has a pretty sweet deal.

For a start, I’ve done this mothering thing for a few years now and whilst I’ll never claim to be an expert, I know a lot more than the first time! With Little Knight I was always worrying about how much milk she was getting or if she’d napped or the temperature of the room or if she had socks to match every outfit (true story). Whilst I obviously enjoyed her babyhood, I am so much more relaxed this time round. I can SEE that’s he’s happy and healthy. Nothing else actually matters.


He also has my shining star of a daughter as Big Sister right from the beginning and she ADORES him. Their relationship is really incredible and I’m so happy that they have been blessed with a sibling, it’s a bond like no other.


So maybe he doesn’t go to loads of classes or have my undivided attention all day but he does have a (mostly) calm and confident mother who knows now that time goes so quickly. When I’m feeding him or if he does snooze on me, I make sure to really drink him in. They are babies for such a short time and I want to enjoy as much as I can. Also, Little Knight starts nursery in September (whole post on its own) and I’m determined to try some sort of baby activity.


This sweet boy has come in and made our family feel complete. It may have taken us nearly 4 months to get any photos up of him but who cares? He lights up when we talk to him and has started gurgling back at us. My boy wants for nothing and is surrounded by so much love.

Matching socks are boring anyway.

Thanks for reading,

Knight Mummy x

You can’t pour from an empty cup.

This week is Maternal Mental Health Week. Now I do think that we have come a long way in talking about mental health BUT that discussion can never stop as there will constantly be new women embarking on motherhood and experiencing all these new emotions.


How often do you get through a day and realise you can’t remember when you last ate something? Or you lose track of when you last washed your hair?

It’s like spinning plates. We try to keep on top of all of our commitments and often it’s looking after ourselves that is the first to drop off the priority list and smash.

I know that between children and the house and going to work and all of our other obligations, time is scarce. This is why we need to consciously set aside some time to focus on ourselves and recharge.

Once a week, we go out for a walk to our local florist and pick some flowers for the living room. We all get some fresh air, they brighten up the room and it feels like I’m treating myself.


Maybe you could read a book? Even if it’s just a chapter when the kids are in bed, I find that it feels much more soothing than zoning out on my phone or infront of the TV.

This might sound like an annoying one, but a workout always puts me in a better mood and it’s time spent on yourself, even if the children are present. Personally, I aim for 3 workouts a week and they vary from 10-30 minutes depending on the kid’s moods. I can’t get out to the gym anymore so I have a few DVDs to do at home but you could always use YouTube. I also try to get it done in the morning because as the days goes on, I know I get less and less likely to do it.


If you can, GET OUT THE HOUSE! Go and meet some friends or sit in a coffee shop and just enjoy not having to think for a while. These children don’t half take up some head space!

Everyone has their own way of taking out time for them self. Maybe meditation is your thing or something as simple as painting your nails? Whatever it is. Do it. Sometimes the washing up will just have to sit on the worktop a little bit longer and THAT’S OK.

It is completely normal to feel exhausted, overwhelmed, bored, lonely, sad or scared. Or all of the above. In the same week. This having babies business is HARD. Never feel like you have to be a hero who can do everything on your own. Nobody is handing out medals, ask for a break!

I always feel like I’m a better parent once I’ve had a chance to think about myself and recharge, so everyone benefits. It’s so true that you cannot pour from an empty cup.


1 in every 5 women experience PND. This is something that an hour off will not fix so if you feel like you are drowning, please speak to somebody. There are numerous organisations and charities that will help you as well as your GP and Health Visitor. Just don’t suffer in silence.

If you can’t seek help for yourself, remember that your baby needs you to be fit and well.

Thanks for reading,

Knight Mummy x

And then there were two.

I have been the mother of two for one whole month now and whilst the days are often long, I can’t believe that our boy has been here for all that time already.


People often ask how we are getting on now that Mr Knight is back at work and I just reply with “yeah, we’re all fine!” Because we are. But wow, it is HARD. I feel constantly split between the toddler, the baby and the house whilst still recovering from giving birth (which you can read about here) a few weeks ago. It can be a bit overwhelming!

Have you ever tried to breastfeed whilst wrapping Teletubbies up in Play Doh? This is my reality now!


My house is constantly a mess regardless of how much time I spend cleaning. My to-do list just seems to keep growing. Little Knight’s tantrums are getting ever more epic. Baby Knight is sleeping less and feeding more in the daytime. My husband just gets a ‘freezer tea’ every night. It takes us FOREVER to leave the house. Sometimes I feel like I may as well have 20 children!

But when I see my two gorgeous babies together, all that just becomes the details. And it’s completely true that your love for your children doubles and not halves.


We’re still figuring out our own routine but it’s all good fun. I’ve learned to lower all of my expectations, so what if all we achieve in a day is being dressed and fed? I have two happy and healthy babies. Nobody wants to be washing up anyway!

If someone offers their help, I take it! Nobody is handing out medals for doing it all on your own.

I also now do a weekly to-do list as I found I was feeling rubbish when I wasn’t ticking anything off when I did a daily one.

Most importantly, I recognise how difficult it all can be and try to remember to be especially kind to myself on the tough days. Of which there are plenty! I swear that a cup of tea and the biscuit tin are soul cleansing.

 

 

Thanks for reading,

Knight Mummy x

Feeding a toddler.

If I’d seen a post like this two years ago, I’d’ve thought ‘how ridiculously dull!’ Fast forward to now and they are some of my favourite posts to read, I follow about 5 toddler meal idea pages on Instagram and I’m a regular on Pinterest.

It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut and feel like you’re serving the same things over and over again so I enjoy seeing what others are feeding their children.

Little Knight can be quite reluctant to try new things but I aim to put a little something new on her plate most meal times with no pressure to eat it. This has worked with some foods, for example she wouldn’t touch grapes for ages and has only recently ate cheese. If she refuses to eat something I just take it away, I don’t want meal times to become a battle between us both. She still won’t touch meat or banana but we’ll persevere.


She has a metal fork and spoon but she still prefers to use her hands most of the time. I can’t say I blame her. She’ll get there in her own time.

There are thousands of articles about feeding children but I’ve found so much conflicting advice. As with anything I think it’s a case of following your own parenting instincts. I’ve read so many posts saying to eat with your child which will encourage them to try things. Little Knight could honestly not care less what I’m doing when she’s got her food. We nearly always have a different breakfast and sometimes we have dinner in the evening at a different time and she doesn’t care.


Here’s a few examples of what I feed  my 19 month old.

Breakfast

  • Toast with peanut butter or honey (not for under 1s).
  • Milk soaked shredded wheat.
  • Scrambled egg. (DEFINITELY NOT with cheese. Don’t even think about it!)
  • Weetabix
  • Yoghurt


Lunch

I tend to do a bit of a platter with different things for her to pick as we have a cooked meal in the evening. she’ll have some sort of combination of the following things.

  • Waffle
  • Toast
  • Sandwich (often cut into shapes, just to look more inviting)
  • Cucumber sticks
  • Red pepper strips
  • Grapes (cut LENGTHWAYS until she’s about 24 years old)
  • Apple
  • Beans
  • Organix crisps
  • Yoghurt
  • Courgette fritters
  • Pom bears


Snacks

  • Cheerios
  • Rice cakes
  • Organix gingerbread
  • Chocolate (on occasions. Sorry to the Mummy Mafia)
  • Ella’s Kitchen 100% fruit smoothies

Dinner

In the evening we normally all have the same thing. Her favourites are pasta and a homemade curry. I have all of the Ella’s Kitchen cookbooks and find them brilliant for family meals. She has a child friendly ready meal occasionally, like when Mr Knight and I are having a takeaway!

She also still has breastmilk on demand, maybe 5ish feeds a day but they are very short now.


I would love to hear what you feed your child! I’m always looking for new ideas,and sometimes it’s the most obvious things that you don’t think of, so please get involved.

Thanks for reading!

Knight Mummy x

Good days and bad days.

There are some days when I feel like I really have my life together. I will be on top of the housework and will come up with cute activities for Little Knight to do. We’ll play all day and I’ll get a healthy tea cooked for when Mr Knight finishes work. After Little Knight goes to bed I’ll get a good workout in before we relax in front of the telly.

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Oh yes. I got the paints out!

 

And then there are the days when getting dressed feels like an achievement. Little Knight will throw her food on the floor and I’ll be so exhausted from being up with her in the night that I’ll just let the dirty plates pile up. I make several cups of tea throughout the the day but probably drink just half of one. I take a pizza and waffles from the freezer and throw them in the oven for tea.

But that’s ok, isn’t it?

These days used to get me down  and make me feel like I was doing a rubbish job but now I keep telling myself that you can’t be ‘perfect parent’ everyday. It’s just not going to happen. Children are hard work. And I only have one! I just need to accept this and try to strike a balance. Give myself a break!

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Turning the lounge into an obstacle course.

 

Next time you’re having a not-so-great day, try not to get frustrated and just accept it for what it is.

There are a few things I do to try and make the harder days more bearable.

  • When I can I try to prepare some food for the freezer so that I have back up options when I don’t have the time/energy to cook. For example if I have some vegetables that need using up I throw them together, call it ‘Winter Soup’ and chuck it in the freezer.
  • I have a list of different activities saved in my phone for when I need inspiration. For example, cornflour dough or the bubble machine.
  • When Little Knight has a nap, I grab a hot drink and watch Modern Family. Forget the housework for a day and just look after myself.
  • When the weather permits, just get outside. 10 minutes in the fresh air can make such a difference.

Please make me feel better about serving frozen waffles and tell me I’m not the only one! Do you struggle to strike a balance?

Thanks for reading,

Knight Mummy x

Breastfeeding, so far.

I’ve been quite reluctant to write about breastfeeding in fear of unintentionally offending or upsetting someone. But it’s such a big part of my life now that I feel it’s ridiculous to keep shying away from it. It’s National Breastfeeding Week so that seemed as good a time as any to chat about our breastfeeding story so far.

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We were really fortunate that Baby Knight took to breastfeeding straight away. I was really worried about it as we missed out on skin-to-skin due to her spending time in neonatal but she latched perfectly. HUGE RELIEF! I was convinced we’d got it and would have zero issues from then on. Bless me! Whilst I was still in hospital, Baby Knight refused to feed for HOURS. A few midwives tried to help but in the end the breastfeeding consultant visited us and helped me express colostrum on a tiny spoon. Once she’d got a taste for it we were back in action the same day. The hospital staff were brilliant so make sure you ask for help and support if you need it and don’t leave until you’re happy.

So we went home and settled into life with Baby Knight feeding every 40 minutes in the early days. Seriously. That kid can eat! (Just like her mother) So it’s no wonder really that I then had to deal with the horror of cracking and bleeding. My health visitor was really helpful and with a combination of lanolin cream, silicone shields and the fact that I am stubborn as hell we made it through. But I don’t want to make light of those early weeks as it was really difficult and I know a lot of women struggle at the start. I would dread having to feed her, my heart would sink when she would cry as I knew it would hurt. At times I would bite on a rolled up muslin to cope with each feed. Then I would be left feeling like the worst mother ever as I didn’t want to feed my own baby.

It was difficult but I had a lot of support, I knew I could move onto formula at any time but I just knew I could battle through this. The best advice I had was someone telling me it would get better and to just persevere. Now, please don’t come after me with pitchforks! I know that it is not the case for so many women and this is not a post bashing mothers who use formula straight away or only breastfeed for a short amount of time. I honestly believe in doing what is best for your own family and I was really nervous about putting this up for this reason. This is just my personal experience.

All mothers are amazing and should be confident in the choices they make for their family.

For me, it did get better. Not over night but gradually the pain decreased and now it feels like the most natural thing in the world. Baby Knight is 11 months old and we’re still going strong and I have no intention of stopping any time soon.

Multi-tasking

Multi-tasking

I’ve always used a breastfeeding cover when out and about which I would really recommend. For me, it was perfect in the early days as I could sort myself out and get her latched on without feeling like I had to rush to cover myself up. I never felt uncomfortable breastfeeding in public and I’ve even had people compliment on how pretty the covers are. I have a lot to cover up too so they help me to feel confident that I can feed her wherever I am, regardless of who is around. Now she is older they stop her from being distracted by what’s going on around her and allow her to concentrate on feeding.

I also use an app to time her feeds. This was useful in the early days as midwives/health visitors would often ask about her feeds and I was able to tell them roughly how many she had in a day and through the night, how long she was feeding for and the time inbetween her feeds. I also found it useful to know which side she was due to feed on next, when you’re sleep deprived it can be so difficult to remember! I still use the app just because I’m one of those mothers who likes a record of her feeds. Obviously I don’t know how much she is having so I like that I can see a rough guide on how she’s getting on.

So! To conclude, if you are struggling, PLEASE ask for help. I’m super lucky as one of my good friends is a breastfeeding buddy so if I ever have any questions she helps me out. You can find support from your midwife, your health visitor, find your local breastfeeding support group, use one of the many breastfeeding helplines, chat to other breastfeeding mothers. Nowadays there is so much help available that if you do choose to breastfeed, you don’t have to struggle on your own.

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It is one of the most natural things in the world but it doesn’t always feel like it. It’s so hard sometimes! So pat yourself on the back, regardless of how long you breastfeed for, and be proud of yourself!

Thanks for reading,

Knight Mummy x