The Parent trap: GUILT

There are many things that people tend to brush over when they find out you are pregnant and decide to share with you their wealth of earthly wisdom. There are also things that people just can’t explain the magnitude of, one of them is just how much you can love this little being that demands every resource that you have available, to the point you often end up neglecting your own needs to ensure that theirs are met. 

The side effect of having such enormous amounts of love for said mini human being is something that I like to call the Parent Trap:Guilt. No one and I mean no one tells you how much guilt you will feel as a parent. Oliver is seven so I guess technically I am still in the early stages of parenthood… Considering it goes on for decades. When you throw my other two kiddies into the mix, guilt is probably in my top two emotions I have experienced throughout my whole life. 

I started thinking about this when I was talking to a very good friend. She has a gorgeous little boy, he is almost 3 and a little whirlwind, in the best kind of way. He loves his Mama dearly and it is clear to see that she loves him too. She has done everything she can to give him the best experiences in life. She breastfed him because that was the best thing for them, she used cloth nappies (and now pull ups), she uses organic lotions and potions and he has a wonderfully rich vegetarian diet. He is such a happy little soul. She did these things because they were what was best for them both. She hasn’t returned to work and has focused all her energy and resources on raising her young man. And yet during a conversation she said “Am I a good Mum?” To which I responded without hesitation “yes” and she instantly jumped in with “but, I shout at him and sometimes I lose my patience, I see other mums who have so much patience and when their children act up, they speak gently to them and talk them through their emotions”. I smiled and said wisely “that is something I like to call the parent trap”.

I went onto explain that NO MATTER what you do for your child you will worry, you are doing it wrong. That you are ultimately screwing them up, and we are, have you ever met an adult without issues? No, me neither. It’s just a case of trying to minimise those issues. Any way, I said you always worry what you are doing is wrong. Then to amplify that there is ALWAYS someone who will tell you, you are doing it wrong, they may do it with the best of intentions, but man that is soul crushing. When you are bottle feeding your baby and someone tells you ‘Breast is best’ or when you are co sleeping and they tell you about so-so’s Aunts best friends, dog walkers, brothers sister in law who almost accidentally suffocated her baby whilst co sleeping or the people who ever so kindly tell you that your baby should be talking by now and it’s because they spend too much time watching Peppa Pig and In the night garden, they don’t encourage proper speech don’t you know, or that your baby doesn’t sleep through the night because you spend too much/too little time holding them. yeah, thanks for the advice, I’m just going to stick my head in the fucking oven as I am clearly doing it all wrong. 

I said if you are child led and you try to meet your child’s needs as quickly as possible, eg feeding on demand, you are not giving them a chance to self soothe and understand that sometimes they have to wait. If you are not feeding on demand then you are then they are going to grow up with thinking that their needs are not important. If you don’t have your child potty trained by 2 years old then, they are not learning to meet the requirement of acceptable social behaviours and are ultimately going to be outcasts, if you spend time trying to potty train them and they take their time to pick it up, you are forcing it on them and they are going to have negative connotations with toileting and will eventually become bed wetters. I know I have completely over exaggerated, but often that is what we as parents feel. We feel insecure, unsure and guiltly and it gets amplified at different points. When your child isn’t ticking all the boxes you wonder if it is something you have done? 

Guilt is generally a horrible emotion, that doesn’t have many positive effects. However when it comes to parenting I often think the opposite is true and that your guilt keeps you on the ball, it doesn’t allow you to go into auto pilot and when something is off kilter you are quick to pick it up and rectify it. If you feel guiltly it means you are a good parent, that you care, that you are aware and that you often know what you need to change. Sometimes it even strengthens your resolve, When you think I won’t follow the crowd, I am going to do what is best for my family. 

So any new parents or parents to be. Be prepared to feel guilt, but that guilt is cushioned by the immense amount of love. Know that in feeling guiltly you are showing you are focused on your child. Know that your guilt is another way in that you give yourself to your child. Half the things you feel guiltly about wont matter in an hour/day/week or month. So your child has stayed up past their bedtime, you have only washed their hair once this week and they haven’t any had fruit or vegetables today. Your guilt is chance to change it. Tomorrow is a new day, a chance to change things that made you feel guiltly today and a chance for you to feel guiltly about something new. No one is perfect, that is why we feel guilt and remember that mum at the park, the playground, the doctor’s surgery that had it so together. She has her own guilt. You are not alone, it does not make you a bad parent. 

So my advice, if you already have children. Share your guilt. Talk to other parents and parents to be. I’m sure some of the things you both feel  guilty about will make you laugh. Talk to new parents and parents to be. Tell them where they can get information and advice. Don’t bombard them infomation or stories. Let them know tha you are there if they need to talk. Let’s stop the Intetnal Mum Wars. Let’s all join together, this is a hard enough job as it is. 

* I’m sorry if this post offends anyone (sorry for the swearing), but I stand by the sentiment of what I am saying. If you have opinions/facts/ideas to share. Feel free to comment!!

Thank you for reading

Cherrysnotmyname 🍒

Changing my point of view towards my third child

  

Ok, this post is going to be hard. No one wants to admit to being a Sh*t mum. But I think I may have been a little bit lately. I’m going to go back a little while and introduce you to my children. 

  

Oliver, Oliver, Oliver, what can I say about Oliver. He was the original, the first. He changed my life forever, taking me from me to we in a heartbeat. I can’t believe it’s been •SEVEN• years, I have watched him go through so much already. First steps, first teeth, first words (not quite first love just yet) and in return I have experienced many firsts too, first time being pooped on, first time having my nipple almost bit off, first time experiencing that mama instinct which tells you that something is wrong, he was only 5 days old and it turned out he wasn’t meant to be that yellow, even if he was a mixed raced baby. Oliver gave me a Mother’s heart and I am truly grateful for that. Oliver is kind, stubborn, loving, excitable, impressionable, funny, sarcastic, gorgeous, imaginative, thoughtful and so much more. 

  Zachary, our darling Zachary. He was our rainbow baby. We had 4 early loses between Oliver and Zachary. We were so thankful to see this little man when he came earth side. He was and is my only natural delivery. This boy knows how to make an entrance. Barely anything for 15hrs then BAM, the midwife was saying “I can see the head” and asking my bestest friend Rida to get some scissors (if I remember correctly) and basically help deliver him. He was born in the SAC this is supposedly lucky and is quite rare. I am very lucky to have him and he is a rare find, so maybe it’s true? He has ASD and it has preoccupied us for a while, but we are getting into the swing of things now. Zachary is a spunky, energetic, funny, loving, noisy, smiley, quirky, happy little chappy.

  Darwin, let me think how we introduce Darwin. “We thought Zachary was hard work, then we had Darwin, hahaha”. He is a mini whirl wind a tornado of destruction. “Don’t let that smile fool you, he is the worst out of the lot”. Darwin loves to smile. He has a gorgeous smile and he will smile whilst smashing you in the face with a toy, throwing his food all over the floor, walls and windows and causing a general sense of havoc. Don’t get me wrong he is a cutie, but he is hard work. 

So this post is about changing my point of view about Darwin, God forbid if he ever grows up and reads this post. He will have proper issues. No, in all seriousness, I love my little man, but I am tired. I’m tired from doing too much and not enough. I’m tired from giving him too much and not enough, I know it sounds crazy, but it will all make sense. 

For anyone that follows my blog, nothing in my life is simple and that goes for my parenting journey for each of my boys. It was around 6 months after Darwin was born, we began in the journey of getting Zachary diagnosed with ASD and SPD. During that time, we also discovered Darwin is bowed legged, allergic to Penicillin,has G6PD, is suspectible to bronchilitis leading to hospitalisation, nebulisers and inhalers. He is sensitive to cows milk and gets severe diaherrea when he has too much, he has random potential birthmark thing on his leg, he has had an ear infection for almost 3 months.

Darwin like any other 18 month old loves to climb, tables, chairs, people, bunk bed ladders, window sills, the higher the better. He loves to smash toys into eachtother, bang anything he gets his hands onto. He is frightened of the hair dryer and vaccuum cleaner. He swats instead of sitting and don’t even try and put him in the shower. All of this and a lack of speech, 3 clear words, has lead to a referral for his hearing to be tested and also an OT assessment to see whether he too has SPD too.

All of this and then at 14 months old, mum up and left and went back to full time work and Darwin was put in nursery fulltime. Then in the new year, mum up and left for 2 weeks (I was on training for my job, which I have now left). Darwin had to go cold turkey without his nightly (and during the night) breastfeeding sessions. Writing it all out here, I feel so bad for my wee man. 

I have done my best working full time (as has my hubby) caring for 3 children, 1 with additional needs. Trying to be a hands on understanding child led parent, but somewhere along the way I have fallen short. Darwin has become my scapegoat. Oliver is the eldest and he can do so much independently and Zachary has his needs, but we are far too busy celebrating his successes to use him. So it falls to Darwin, he is the one that we talk negatively about, sometimes even begrudge, when you sit down and say “I just want to eat my dinner in peace”. He is the one when you hear his crying begin at 10 o’clock and your heart sinks because you know you won’t make it back down the stairs again that night. I’m sorry, I’m sorry it’s taken so long to see and I am sorry I have wasted so much time. 

Yesterday, a day where I feel my eyes were really opened. Darwin is clever, very clever especially compared to where Zachary was at the age. He doesn’t have many words but he can sign, he signs, food, car, row row, In the night garden. His understanding is really good too, he knows where his socks go, I can ask him to get his shoes and he can, he nods if you ask if he wants to watch Mr Tumble. It was such a long time ago that Oliver was this age and Zachary has only mastered some of these skills in the past 6-12 months, so it seems far too early for my baby to be doing these things. 

I have started to realise that Darwin isn’t some out of control child, who just smashes and bashes for fun. He is trying to communicate, he wants attention! Yes we cuddle and kiss him, but he wants more structured attention, he needs time exploring and learning. When he pulls all the shoes out, it’s not just to make mess, but because he wants to try each and every one on, he wants to steady himself and work out how to twist and turn his foot to get it in and when he does he feels accomplished and he wants to show and share that by clapping and smiling and he wants us to notice and join in. 

So I am beginning to change my point of view and see past the tiredness that cloud my judgement and see what he really wants and needs. So when I introduce Darwin now we can me positive about him and take away our negative words, even if we did think we were joking, kind of. We can say, he is very clever, enquisitive, smiley, active, energetic, he communicates through signing and pointing, he likes books, being cuddled and spoken to and is learning the rules of the interaction. 

This is a very honest piece and I know many of my friends and family would jump to my defence, saying I was being too harsh and maybe I am, maybe I am expecting too much from myself? Nonetheless, I am going to try. I love all three of my boys so very much and I am going to try more and more each day to show them that. Who knows maybe if we get this right and sort out some of the chaos in our lives, somewhere in the not so soon future there might be time for baby number four? 

Mynamesnotcherry 🍒

#Wearenotcool

 Last week on my Instagram account [mynamesnotcherry go have a mooch] someone who I follow posted a picture of themselves with a sheet of paper with the hashtag #Wearenotcool she went on to write a list of uncool things that she had done. One of which was feed her child chicken nuggets, because she couldn’t be bothered to cook. It really made me smile and made me feel like I am not such a terrible mum.

I don’t use Facebook anymore for personal reasons, ok I have no self restraint and spend hours upon hours on there, but I love Instagram! Sometimes though when you are scrolling through and you see all these gorgeously stylised photographs it can make you feel a bit. Meh! I do it too, I don’t think a photograph is good enough to post, try and edit it, re take it at a better angle etc. every now and again it is pretty nice to see a real photo. A here and now, no filters, no editing kind of picture. 

 

                             Bucket Heads

The above photo wasn’t posted on Instagram as I was too embarrassed by the mess. Look at all that ‘crap’ on the window sill. The step stool is upside down, the door handle has been removed, the towel on the floor, the door needs a wipe, the floor needs a good sweep and mop. But, actually this photo is beautiful. It shows a rare moment, where my two littlest are playing and interacting with each other, where they are not fighting, there is no smashing, banging or hitting. Just smiles and love. I’m not sure who wore the bucket on their head first, but I love that the other one copied. 

I am new to this whole world of blogging, but already I love it. For some reason, I feel a lot more freer and able to do a ‘warts and all’ recollection of events than I ever felt on Facebook or Instagram. Maybe it’s because I don’t actually know who is reading it???  Anyway, whoever you are. I have decided to list something’s that I/We do as a family that make us, not cool! 

  1. Feed my baby cheap crisps on the bus so I can read The Green Parent magazine, oh the irony

  2.  Only keep my cat because she is beautiful. I don’t like her fur everywhere, I hate the noise she makes when she cleans herself. Also when she purrs it actually makes me angry! Once we forget (I do actually mean forget, I’m not being sarcastic) to buy cat food and she had to have tinned spaghetti… Ooops

  3. take before and after photographs when I tidy, seeeeeee I dooooooo tidy!!!

  4. Take photographs of my kiddies with dirt on their faces/ crying/ no pants on etc. The best Mummy award is NOT going to me this year, but I am ok with that. 

   

5. Say I am going to do these monthly challenges…. It never ends well

6. Choose blogging over housework 

7. Put the sugar ‘wrapper/bag’ thing in with the normal rubbish as I always forget it is paper and recyclable till its too late and covered in food scraps. 

8. Eat really healthy or just binge, there seems to be no middle ground for us. It’s something we are working on. 

9. We can often be as a family be found to be wearing odd socks, in our house we have at least 80 pairs of socks, that’s a lot of socks and because I don’t like boring plain black ones there are many many varieties of odd socks to wear! *on a side note is 80 pairs of socks excessive for a family of 5???

10.  Take myself far too serious and not serious enough at the same time. I am every cliché  going. 

One thing I know for sure is #Iamnotcool and as a family #Wearenotcool and you know what. That is fine by me. 

Thank you for reading

Cherrysnotmyname🍒

Paloma Faith and not giving a shit

  

I have one thing I want to say to Paloma Faith and it’s • T H A N K Y O U • 

As I may have mentioned in a previous article, I recently turned thirty. Well, one of my bestest friends bought tickets for her and I to go see Paloma Faith in Birmingham on March 19th. It’s funny how things work out as they were booked many moons ago and the date ended up coinciding with the last shift at my job. It had been a tough day, the safe had broke at work and I was unable to get it open we had to trade with only one cash till. Anyway, after I left work I was greeted with a text from the husband, due to an issue with our Porch doors and me not doing something I had inadvertently locked him and our 3 boys out. I just wanted the day to end. I almost cancelled going to see Paloma, but my God, I am glad Emily convinced me other wise. After going for food at Wetherspoons, I told Emily I wanted ‘meat and chips’ I ended up having chicken and a rack of ribs, yum yum yum. We went over to what I know as the NIA but apprently is now called something to do with Barclaycard? Meh. 

Paloma’s supporting act was a Rhythm and Blues/Rock band from America, the lead singer was a charismatic black gentlemen, who at points through out their set reminded me of a preacher from a small baptist church in some film I had previously seen. The band were called VINTAGE TROUBLE and the lead singer  Ty Taylor his vocals are like liquid gold, so silky smooth and a little bit sexual if I do say so myself, his range and grittiness were out of this world. Definitely a band to be seen live.

                Vintage Trouble’s Album  

Paloma was phenomenal in every sense of the word. She looked amazing, sounded fantastic, put on a great show and somehow made me love her a little bit more. The thing with Paloma is she is so, umm how can I put this??? • ORDINARY • it almost sounds like an insult when I say it out loud, but it is the biggest compliment I could give her. She has this big powerful voice filled with so much soul and has the confidence to wear all those amazing dresses, shoes and hair styles. She isn’t afraid to be herself. Yet she is totally normal. Emily and I spoke about how we could totally see ourselves with Paloma dancing away in some cheesy bar.

It’s a funny thing how stardom changes our perceptions of people. How they become our property, it’s our right to know everything about them, demand access to them 24/7 and pry into every detail of their lives and the justification is that they are famous. I do not agree with the normally anyway, but Paloma has this way of keeping her humanity. So when I was dancing away and Emily grabbed me a thrust me towards the aisle whilst I just looked a bit confused, only to look up and see Paloma singing and walking down the aisle where Emily had practically thrown me. I stood there and I could see all these people taking photos, screaming and touching and trying to grab her. For a moment it did cross through my mind to stick my hand out and touch her, but something stopped me. She is only human after all. She wasn’t asking to be touched, she wasn’t inviting us to touch her. I think maybe if she had her hand out to give people high fives, I may well have high fived her 👋. She performed for almost the whole set, there where no wardrobe changes/set changes… My god the set was gorgeous!!! Any way, the only time she stopped performing was to interact with the audience. She has such a funny sense of humour and her laugh, well it’s so ….Paloma. She spoke about politics; which I though was quite brave. She spoke about our need to vote and she spoke about her Mum being a socialist. She spoke about Tax evasion and how the rich would always vote as it was in their benefit.

Watching Paloma up on stage and listening to her speak passionately about the things that meant something to her. I felt, free. I sang out loud till my voice was hoarse, danced until my legs ached and it had the best time. There was a lady in front of me who obviously felt the same way and Emily did too. We had so much fun and we must have been the only people not drinking alcohol where we were sat, we were surprised how many people left to go and get more alcohol. Emily had so much fun and after I said normally I would have been too self conscious and would have needed alcohol to let me get to the point of not giving a shit. At some times I did start to think about what people might be thinking, but then I just thought I wanted to make the most of this experience. I just want to point out that I have nothing against drinking alcohol it’s just I have used it as a device in the past to give me false confidence and I was just so happy I didn’t need that. Paloma really inspired me to just be me, not to give a shit and be passionate about what I like (even if I am still finding out what these things are). So if I could say one thing to Paloma it would be 

                           • THANKYOU•

Thank you for reading

Cherrysnotmyname🍒

Fake it till you make:the smaller things in life

Today is one of those days where I just feel exhausted. Mentally, physically, emotionally. I’m not sure why exactly, although I guess there has been a lot happening the past few weeks. Last night I was up till gone 12am with my youngest Darwin, 18 months. He has some sort of ear infection, we are off to ENT on Friday, but that is a discussion for another post. So he was screaming and I was getting frustrated. I had been at work all day and wanted to finish my blog post, I know priorities right , haha. Darwin co sleeps with us and he had a restless night, he has a cold and his breathing keeps playing up, he has a history of being admitted to hospital when he gets like this. This all meant that I had a restless night too. 

Anyway, it’s almost time for me to leave to go to work and I am so tired. Sat in my comfy clothes with one last cup of coffee before I get ready to leave for work. I am having a nosey on Instagram and I keep falling asleep, albeit for milliseconds. These micro naps are making me feel terrible, I feel like I can’t function. I curse the coffee…. “LIAR” I can’t do it, how I am going to manage a 12-9 shift??? Standing on my feet all day. I feel exhausted and today just feels like too big of a challenge. I even ponder what would happen if I was to just fall asleep and not wake up for a few hours… Obviously this is just a silly day dream. I have responsibilities, priorities and a need to make money to help support my family. 

I got up went upstairs, straightened my hair, put in some make up and plastered on my biggest smile. I said to myself “fake it till you make it”. I pretended I wasn’t tired, I didn’t fall asleep in the bus and in actual fact my tiredness come 8 o’clock provided much entertainment to the girls I work with, when I couldn’t get a sentence out without mispronouncing a word or forgetting what I was talking about. And yeah, I’m on another 12-9 tomorrow and considering I’m not even home yet and Darwin has woken screaming I am in for another long tiring night. Tomorrow I plan on faking it till I make it and after all tomorrow will be my last 12-9. I’m sure tiredness will subside when I am in a better routine. 

Tonight, I plan to think of other areas I can plan to fake it till I make it! Being tidy and organised maybe???



This is me, After I put on my slap, I  plan on being a big faker!!

Thanks for reading

Cherrysnotmyname🍒