Savouring every moment

This seems like a strange title to be inspired to write when I’m in bed at twenty past eleven at night, with a very awake 5 week old who has just had to have a complete pj change plus mini hair wash due to bringing back up milk, while hiccupping and having a nappy change!!! (The multi tasking capabilities of a baby!!)

But these moments are also the ones that it is important to cherish. No, not the clearing up after all of the above, but the baby in my arms, the big eyes staring up at me, the closeness as I hold him. All moments which I am very aware will one day just be a distant memory. I want to make the most of every stage. 

Looking back over the last 6 weeks of my life I can already see how my baby has changed. Small things like growing big enough to now fit into some new born size baby clothes. Seeing how he is taking in more of what is going on around him. Watching him experience a new texture or sound. Seeing the way he studies his reflection in a mirror. No these things aren’t big enough to make it onto a baby milestone card, but they are big in his life journey so far. Each moment just as precious and a building block. But rather than racing him on to the next stage, I want to savour those we are experiencing now.

Maybe I am more aware of this as a second time mum than I was last time. Last time I still appreciated every step, but it also felt like it was always a competition on who would get to the next milestone first. Who would do it best.

I understand that there are development stages, but I want my boy to get to them when it’s right for him, not cos I want him to beat his peers. To me he’s not mummy’s chin, daddy’s eyes, grandad’s nose . While he might have those traits, he’s a little person, unique in the world and making his way along the path set out before him. He’ll get through each stage at his pace, I’m just walking the walk with him.

My prayer for my boys

I pray the Lord will hold you close and keep you through the night,
That you will wake up smiling in the early morning light,
That He will always comfort you and make you brave and strong,
I pray that you will follow Him your whole life long.

I pray that you will grow up to be wise and good and true,
I pray that you will please the Lord in everything you do,
I pray that you will hear His voice and learn to sing His song,
I pray that you will follow Him your whole life long.

I pray that you will follow Him,
I pray that you will follow Him,
I pray that you will follow Him your whole life long.

I pray the Lord will bless you with His presence every day,
I pray he will protect you every step along the way,
Help you love what’s right and lead you far away from wrong,
I pray that you will follow Him your whole life long.

I heard the words of this song by Twila Paris this evening while settling my baby and know that this is my prayer for both of my boys.

Anxious parenting

Am I getting it right?

Is my baby growing ok?

Is he developing at the right rate?

Is he sleeping too much? Not enough? Is he feeding enough? 

So many questions are constantly running round in my head at the moment. I never thought I’d be an anxious parent, but this time around I am anxious. Last time I was incredibly laid back. I took each day and each development step as it came. Now I’m constantly wanting to know if I’m doing it right.

As one friend very helpfully said, looking at the pregnancy I’ve had and the end of pregnancy being very stressful, plus the first few days of my boy’s life were not plain sailing so it’s not surprising! I need to take the pressure off myself. Also what my mummy friends and I have noticed is that the professionals that we have regular contact with can be very picky. We celebrate the gaining of 2 or 3 ounces of weight. They are concerned because they aren’t tracking against the weight chart line in the way they “should be”. In our house today we celebrated getting to 6 pounds! The professionals want him back on a line on a chart! I know they are doing their job, and I know if they missed something important I’d be holding them to account, but maybe they need to learn to deliver their thoughts/advice in a more supportive way?

Like any parent I am, and always will be, fiercely protective of my boy’s. I not only want what’s best for them, I want everyone else to want what’s best for them and to help them on their journey of life. I also feel like I’m having to prove something. To myself, to the world. Proving I can do having a baby again after 15 years. I know that’s another pressure I’m putting on myself that is unnecessary. I know I need to stop doing it, but that is hard. I know a lot of this comes from my insecurities and no one can fix this but me believing in myself. I will get there. 

I love being a mum to both my boys. They give be such joy. I wouldn’t swap the role of being a mum for anything, I just need to step back sometimes and be less hard on myself!

When sleep suddenly means so much!!!

So like all parents of new babies I have spent the last 2 and a bit weeks discovering just how little sleep I can function on, and how much sleep I need to feel “human” or “normal”!

Thank goodness it’s no longer the 8 hours I needed at least 3 nights a week before having my first child! And I am in a small way grateful that my eldest son was a sleepwalker, and did not give me more than 2 consecutive nights of more than 6 hours until 2 years ago! It means my body has not fully gone back to expecting lots of sleep. Plus add in to that the joys of pregnancy and the aches and pains, and constant toilet trips needed in the night, that do prepare you for having a baby and losing sleep.

However, less than 2 hours is a limit I’ve never even hit when my insomnia was bad. And when those precious two hours are not even consecutive I’m really starting to struggle. Plus in my waking moments I not only have to function for myself, but I also have to function enough to provide for a small person who is totally dependent on my. I also have to still function as a parent to my elder son, and at times be able to help with GCSE homework.

Last night was the first night of me doing the majority of the work in terms of changes, winding, settling the baby back to sleep, on my own. Hubby has been a great support, but he is back to work today. For the last couple of weeks he has taken the baby early in the morning allowing me a longer block of sleep – as much as is possible between feeds! Yes I have been very blessed by this, and I know not all new parents are able to share the load in this way. But boy do I know about the difference this morning.

All the health professionals, and mums out there are probably now screaming at my post that I need to sleep when the baby sleeps. Yes I know this theory. I’ve even shared this wisdom with other new mums, but it’s hard to do when your body has decided it is now up and awake for at least the next few hours and sleeping at this time of day is an alien concept that the brain has not yet processed. I also know I still need to eat and drink and do all those other things you need to do just to function as a mum each day.

Am I unique in these feelings of tiredness…..nope! I know other new mummies that are part of my amazing support network are feeling it too. I know mummies all over the world feel the same on a daily basis. So why am I writing about it?

I am writing it down because it helps me process what is going on. It ¬†helps me rationalise and realise I am just normal. I don’t have to be super mum and achieve everything in the first day of being on my own. I just need to do enough that my children have what they need to survive the day. I don’t even need to worry that they and I have what we need to get through tomorrow (tough when I am a control freak at times, and like to be planned and in control!) I just need to worry about today. About the now. This for me is the biggest challenge in many ways. Yes a new baby comes with many new challenges, but the biggest ones are the personal challenges, where you have to learn to let go.

A 15 year gap….you must be mad?!

Do you know if I’d been given a pound for every time I’d heard that phrase, or similar, in the last 6 months I’d be very well off by now! 15 days ago I became a mum again for the second time. My son is the greatest Christmas present that my husband and I could have asked for.

This pregnancy I have become very aware of how much our society likes to label and pigeon hole people.

15 years ago, when I chose to have my first son, I was labelled a young mum.I was put into the special care group so I saw the health visitor from much earlier on in pregnancy, and I was offered support they mainly offered to teenage mum’s in the area.

This time I ticked other boxes.I’m an older mum. I’m a second time mum, I’m a mature mum, I’m brave, I’m crazy, and the list goes on. Every time I met a new midwife they would ask “How old is your little one?” And would then make a comment like “oh not so little then” when I said he’s 15. I know to some people it is a big gap, and isn’t necessarily the life choice they would have made, but they don’t stop and think about whether there is a bigger picture to consider.

What I have realised is that being an older mum isn’t easier or harder in general terms, it is different. But it is different for lots of reasons. It’s different because I have a second child to consider. It is different because my life situation is different. Different hospital. Different home. Different life from 15 years ago.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The way my life has unfolded over the last 15+ years I know I couldn’t have had another baby. Life would have been so different to how it has been for many reasons. 

This blog is going to be some of my parenting reflections. Parenting a new born and a teenager! Both challenges in their own rights and together. Balancing the needs of my two boys, my husband, and me. I don’t claim I will have all the answers or that I will get it right, but I will be honest!