Becoming Mum

I’ve celebrated mother’s day for the fourth time this year. It’s a day that always makes me reflect on the rollercoaster ride I’ve been on since becoming a mother, the exciting highs and the extreme emotional lows.

A small tiny loud thing had just been thrust into my arms, it was the moment I became mum. I couldn’t believe he was mine. My own little human to look after and love for the rest of my days. I didn’t feel that overwhelming feeling of attachment, I thought I would right away. In fact I still remember in amongst the happiness that labour was finally over (why did no one tell me it could last over a day? 36 hours to be exact!), I felt an all over empty and slightly helpless feeling. He was here now and I suddenly realised I had no idea what I was doing. I naively believed everyone that said “It all comes naturally the second your baby is placed in your arms!”

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What a load of crap. I kept waiting for weeks after having him for it to naturally come to me. That I would just recognise which cry was a hungry cry, which cry was a tired cry. I kept beating myself up over the fact I still didn’t know what I was doing and made myself feel like such a failure and unfit to look after my baby boy.

I realise now that society places an unfair expectation on new mums. To be that perfect mum the second your baby is born; that knows instantly how to feed your child, knows exactly how to change a nappy. Even these simple things I didn’t have a clue. I was too scared to hold him the right way to wind him. He seemed far too small and delicate.  As a first time mum I beat myself up on a daily basis that I couldn’t get him to latch, that I had to use a bottle, that I couldn’t stop his reflux, that I couldn’t stop his crying.

It’s the hardest, toughest job I’ve ever had. I’ve wanted to throw the towel in at times, which is so not like me, I am not a quitter! However, motherhood is the most difficult, yet rewarding job, the most joyous but unforgiving role.

If anything motherhood has made me appreciate my mum all the more. She has done this three times over! For every time I felt I was falling apart my mum had been through the same thing, felt the same things and made me feel happier and better each time, all the things which she had gone through before I can ever remember. All the hardship and troubles we caused her and yet we all still turned out ok.

He makes me laugh with his crazy sense of humour, brings tears to my eyes with his cuteness, and makes my heart fill up with love and pride and that is when I realise there is no other job I would rather have.IMG_0837

So to all you mothers out there, who may be beating yourself up over not being the “perfect mum.’ Who cares, so what? You may not fit that mould, but you are doing a great job!

Have a wonderful mothers day! X

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Living Arrows 12/52

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

Kahlil Gibran

This weekend has felt very much like Spring is right around the corner. On Sunday we went to Monikie Park in lightweight jackets! We haven’t been to this particular park since a work BBQ in 2014 when Riley took his official first steps!

It has a big adventure playpark which is shaped a bit like a castle with turrets and this was a total hit with Riley. He made two friends as he was there and even encouraged an older boy to play dragons with him. He is such a confident wee boy and always seems to make friends wherever he goes. I only wish it were as easy as an adult sometimes!

I just so happened to capture this picture of him in-between diving in and out of secret hideyholes whilst fighting dragons. He is standing like a proper little model with his hands in his pockets. Its usually nigh on impossible to capture a photo like this of Riley. I usually have to have the fastest shutter speed and the quickest of fingers to capture this little wild one.

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He also dressed himself this morning, whilst you can see the new lego batman cap, what you can’t see is the lego batman jumper under his jacket. This kid is obsessed with lego batman!
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Living Arrows 11/52

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

Kahlil Gibran

I found myself taking a lot of pictures this weekend and have really struggled to pick just one.

Riley’s photo this week was from our trip to the park where he got to play football with his dad. Right now we are getting to appreciate the fact that Kevin is on secondment at work and no longer working shifts and every other weekend. Its to last for 8 weeks and I just hope it doesn’t go too quickly.

Riley loves having a kick about with the football so I decided it would be fun to take him along to the park where they had freshly painted lines on the pitch. He immediatly saw the goalposts and got very excited about the “score posts” as he has rebranded them. To true footballer style he took a couple of dives, skidded on his knees and got himself nice and muddy.

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Dirty jeans, tongue sticking out in concentration behind a massive smile; this is the look of a wee boy who was truly loving having his daddy back at the weekends again!

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Walking in your Daddy’s footsteps

I have always been one of those people that never thinks a baby looks like its parents. Everyone told me when Riley was born that he looked so like Kevin, I looked at this little bundle of perfection and didn’t see it at all! He looked like a baby to me. They pretty much all look the same at that point, little teeny wrinkly humans!

Two months down the line when people said he was looking more like me, I again turned to them and said really?! All I could still see was a baby!

Nowadays, at almost 4 years old it’s a bit different. I still think he looks like his own little person but there are times when I look at him and I see myself, other times I look and he is the double of Kev.

Back just before Christmas we went out to lunch with some friends that questioned how on earth it was possible for him to be the double of both me and Kev at the same time. This made me laugh because most of the time it is only his dad I see in him!

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I was always a daddys girl when I was younger, I wanted to do everything with my dad. Riley is the opposite. He is very much a mummy’s boy. Nothing but mummy will do. I do take great delight in being his favourite, but sometimes it is exhausting. So whilst he is a mummy’s boy through and through he does still loves and needs his daddy. I think whilst with me it is a comfort thing needing me around, with his dad it’s a looking up to him type thing. He is Riley’s role model, he admires his dad and tends to copy most things he does; whether its walking with hands in his pockets, pretending to play Fifa along with him on playstation or pulling funny faces at each other. It’s so special to see the man you fell in love with become so important to the new little man you have fallen in love with. Their bond is so special and cute to watch.

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Its in the little moments where you can see the friendship that they have and hopefully will always have.

Living Arrows 10/52

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

Kahlil Gibran

I have been away with work this week. Every time I travel with work I miss Riley so much and use the photos I have taken over the previous weeks to miss him slightly less. I am so glad I am one of those people who can’t help themselves but take a photo at every available opportunity.

The photo I have chosen this week is a typical Riley picture. Not looking at the camera and caught in the moment doing something cheeky. When I go away with work at the moment we tend to have a spate of bad behaviour after it, another reason for me to feel that all too common mum guilt! This weekend has been no exception to this pattern unfortunately and I became the shouty mum on Sunday.

I had no option eventually but to give myself a timeout away from him with a cup of tea and a few cheeky mini eggs. He came looking for me within a few minutes and sidled up to me with the look of innocence on his little face and apologised to me. Of course with that cute little face I couldn’t stay mad at him any longer. We had a cuddle and made up and he quickly wired into those mini eggs on the table. Should have known it was all to do with chocolate! He is such a little monkey and would pretty much do anything for chocolate, he has the worst sweet tooth. I tend not to have these wee treats in the house as he just begs over and over again if he spies something in the cupboards.

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Just look at those long dark eyelashes – why do little boys get the best eyelashes?!

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10 reasons why work travel shouldn’t make you feel mum guilt

I travel quite a lot with my job. Back before I had Riley it was common for me to be away weeks at a time and just stopping in at home for a quick day and a half before hopping back on a train for my next week away. Thankfully 2017 has only seen four trips from home for more than a day. Each time though, I still get wracked with that god awful “mum guilt.”

It’s been a routine part of my life as a mum ever since Riley was 7 months old. I was only back at work two weeks before I had to travel. The first time I felt the most crushing guilt and upset about leaving my little baby with dad for two days. Obviously not that I didn’t trust good old husband to take care of him properly, but it was the first time I had left him overnight. I sobbed in my hotel room for a good hour looking over pictures of my baby on my phone.

So when I met someone whilst I was away this week who was on their first trip away from their baby I felt I had to impart some of the awesome things she would learn to love after a few more times away.

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  1. Remembering that an alarm clock actually has a purpose!

I have lost count of the number of times I have crapped myself with Riley over my head looking intently at my face. Not being woken by a small child hovering over your face in the morning two hours earlier than you need to get up is a huge appeal to work travel.

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Living Arrows 9/52

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

Kahlil Gibran

I can’t believe we sit here nearly at the end of the second month of 2017. Time really is getting away from me already this year.

On Sunday, Riley made me realise how quickly not only this year has gone, but also the last three! We attended a christening for a work colleague’s son.

Riley was dressed up in a lovely little outfit from Next which I rush bought earlier in the morning. I may or may not have forgotten about the Christening and also that the last suit outfit we had for Riley had been long since grown out of.

I couldn’t believe how grown up he looked when I dressed him. I stood looking at him wondering “where has my little baby gone?” He is just looking more and more like such a wee boy every day, so tall and so grown up.

As much as I hate seeing my little baby becoming an almost four-year-old little boy, I love being able to watch him grow. He has become his own little person with an amazing personality, a love for tickles and giggles and an inquisitive nature with a penchant for asking “but why mummy?” over and over again.

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I really can’t stop looking at this picture and just thinking he looks so smart (despite him un-tucking his shirt just as I finished tucking it in) and beyond his 3 years. He likes his hair gelled up despite it being very fine and difficult to do much with. He seems to have his own fashion sense now; he picked out the smart shoes that go very well with his little suit.
As as much as I want time to slow down to let me cherish some of these moments that little bit longer, I am so excited to see how he will have changed this time next year!
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We’re going on a Gruffalo hunt

Everyone loves an adventure. They give us some of the best memories. To a three year old, most things feel like an adventure cause everything is so big and exciting and new when you are a kid

So when I told Riley we were going to a park to find the Gruffalo he was thrilled. I had been told about Rozelle Park in Ayr and that there was a Gruffalo hiding in a tree somewhere so I couldn’t wait to take him. The Gruffalo has been a favourite in our house for a good few years. If it’s not the Gruffalo, it’s the Gruffalo’s child!

On a cold winters morning I bundled Riley into the car we headed off to the park. It had been raining for a good few days beforehand, I’d made sure Riley was prepared with welly boots…but me being me came in very unsuitable for mud pair of Ugg boots. Bad footwear choice.

There are so many lovely places in this park, and it is full of wood carvings. You can see the first one as you drive into the park, it is certainly something to look at!

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We walked over to the duck ponds and watched all the birds in the water and squirrels that were bounding about in the trees behind us. Riley loves nature, and there certainly was an abundance of it here! At this point Riley decided to run off from me after one of the squirrels and fellin the mud. When I say fell, I mean he ran into it, got a foot stuck and then fell face first into the squelchy mud. He couldn’t get up and I had to try and rescue him. My own feet got stuck in the mud as I pulled him out and there went my clean ugg boots. Caked  I was!

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After cleaning Riley up, we came across some more wooden carvings of WW1 figures. It was a lovely area with lots of lovingly created figures.

What became quite clear to me at this point was that I should have probably asked someone where the daft Gruffalo was. Riley started moaning that he was fed up walking and we were about to call it a day until I saw a random tree stump in the middle of a clearing and wondered if that might be where this Gruffalo was hiding.

We were almost at the stump when I noticed two little ears sticking out of the top! The Gruffalo was inside the tree stump hiding.

Riley then, once again, found a stick to play with and took great delight in throwing it up in the air and trying to make it land on top of me! img_0631img_0640

I really do have a bit of a crazy child! He was busy shouting out “I’m crazy” as I took this picture.

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Another little adventure under our belts. Rozelle Park was beautiful, despite ruining my Ugg boots and it being rather cold! The wood carvings throughout the park were lovely and I’d love to spend more time there discovering all the other ones. I don’t think we even scratched the surface!

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

Kahlil Gibran

We had a really quiet weekend this time round. Kevin was working on Saturday so I decided to take the little out for a haircut and a walk down to the beach.

I am not really a beach person, I hate getting the sand stuck between my toes and finding it still in my shoes two days after my visit. Riley on the other hand loves it, well the whole three times we have been to a beach anyway. We live right by the sea and have access to a beach only 15 minutes away, yet we have never been to this one! We have been to the pebble beach plenty of times (the lack of sand really sells it!) but never the real beach with the sand.

Riley took his little vetch camera with him, this kid loves taking pictures, and of course is also partial to a selfie! When you check to see what he taken pictures of afterwards however, it is usually one of his feet, his forehead, or the ceiling, but occasionally he can take a good picture.

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He took his photography role very seriously this weekend however and told me he had to take pictures of every dog he saw. Him running about going “Cheese wee doggie!” sure made a few of the owner’s chuckle.

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His favourite photo from the day

If there is one thing I would love to instil in Riley it is my love for capturing memories. If he still loves taking photos even half as much as I do as he gets older, I will be a happy mummy!

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Living Arrows 8/52

Sunday roundup -19/02

This one has been a quiet week. I actually managed to finish on time at work for the majority of the week so I have been feeling a bit more relaxed and chilled out in the evenings.

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Riley has been relatively well behaved at nursery too. I am hoping that now we have had two good weeks in a row, that the behaviour chart is now working for him and driving his improved attitude. We shall see how it goes next week too!

At nursery Riley is learning about “People who help us” just now and Riley loves this topic. They have previously discovered everything about Doctors and I am so impressed with how much he is taking in. He knows how to put someone in the recovery position, how to phone for an ambulance and he can tell you the contents of a first aid kit. I have been blown away with how much he retains, can repeat and demonstrate back to me after he gets home.

They are now focusing on Police for the next month and they took a trip to the local Police station. They posted some of the pictures on their facebook page and Riley’s face in each of the pictures is beaming. It is so amazing to see something he takes such an interest in.

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Kevin has finished his last shift as a manager at work on Saturday. His shifts have been crazy all year which has left me feeling like I’ve carried the burden of everything when it comes to household chores and all things childcare. His shifts ranged from an 8am start till a 9pm finish and included nearly every other weekend, very rarely did he do a normal 9-5 working day. When the weekend is the only time you have to enjoy to enjoy with your family together, having that taken away from you is horrible. We weren’t able to plan as his shifts were likely to change with not much notice.

He is now going on secondment to another job which we are both hoping will turn into something more permanent. We will be fully taking advantage of his change in hours though, I will be able to get back to the gym (which is awesome as currently I feel so unfit!) and we can plan weekends again; I’m so excited!

Whilst Kev was busy working Riley and I headed into Broughty Ferry which is a lovely little fishing village in Dundee. We headed to get his haircut as it has been quite out of control and decided to head down to the beach afterwards. Broughty Ferry beach is somewhere I have never been before! Having previously lived on the opposite coast I have so many fond memories of long walks at the weekend from my parents’ house to the beach and playing there, I felt I had to take Riley. We spent a good two hours there walking the length of the beach, climbing the sand dunes and jumping out of the way of the waves.

On Sunday we had a lazy day where we stayed in our jammies till almost lunch time before heading into town. We were buying some new clothes for nursery for Riley when he found himself a minion umbrella that he absolutely “had to have.” He walked home with it up, twirling it about with the biggest smile on his face, despite the lack of rain.

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Riley wanted to play with his Toucan Box when we got home. I do love a bit of crafty time, so we got it out and Riley made his spider and spiders web.

I decided tonight Riley was going to bed on time so after the spider was made I went to run his bath. When I got back he had put his brolly up and was hiding under it with his ipad. How many years bad luck do you get for an umbrella up inside?!

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I’m currently listening to him reading books to his teddies in his bed so an early bed tonight has clearly been in vain!