The Winner Of The February Mum Of The Month Is…….

….Michelle Yardley-Eldred! Woop woop ! Well done Michelle, you have won our classic hamper 😉

Michelle was nominated by her fabulous pal Pam Champion. Here is a picture of Michelle and her beautiful daughter, Amelia (7)

I asked Pam to answer a few questions about Michelle. Here is what she said….
How long have you known Michelle? 
I've known Michelle for 20 years. As a neighbour firstly, then as a mum for the past 7 years as my daughter is the same age as hers.
Why did she deserve to win our Mum of the Month competition?
Amelia was diagnosed last August with a rare bone cancer in her leg. After months of chemo, she had to undergo surgery last month to remove her leg and had a rotationplasty. She now continues chemo for several more months, before hopefully getting a prosthesis.
What would you like her to know? 
Michelle has been amazingly strong and positive throughout, such an inspiration to everyone around her. This has definitely had a positive effect on Amelia who is also positive, strong and so happy despite her illness.
Michelle also volunteers within the community and supports groups who help the homeless, runs a local playgroup for young children and is very involved in a Sunday messy church group within our village. She has continued to do this throughout Amelia's treatment.  She also works part time! I actually don't know where she gets her time and energy from! She is a very valued member of our community and a true inspiration to us all. I am actually in awe of her strength and positivity as a mum and how she has coped with the last 7 months.
Michelle is also trying to raise awareness around the type of bone cancer Amelia has. For more information about it, please read more here.
What an amazing story, and another inspirational amazing mum. Honestly they are EVERYWHERE! I can't tell you how much I love reading these stories and sending out hampers to them. So so deserved. The only bad part is that I can't send every entry one…..for those who entered and didn't win this time remember there is always next month!
Michelle, our classic hamper for mum will be winging it's way to you this week. Enjoy it! You've earned it.

Golden Nuggets Of Wisdom For New Mums & New Dads

I’ve spoken a few times now about my take on being a new parent. About how it hits you like a tonne of bricks. How NOTHING prepares you. About how I think I have the answer to the best new mum gift you could get her, and how I found everything too focussed on the baby. But it's got me thinking recently about what advice people would offer if they could do it all again? What would they say to themselves the day they became a parent? I decided to ask my fabulous community on social media. I got a FABULOUS response! Here is a short selection of some of my faves…

 

“I’d loved to have known that the overwhelming amount of guilt you experience in the first few weeks is all quite normal and you’re not alone. Learn to swat that guilt fairy away. You are doing brilliantly.”

Rachel Persani

 

“Chocolate. Consume it. Don't google lack of sleep- it will tell you you're going to die. I wish I’d just known how hard it is. It's like the best-kept secret. You have a baby and feel like a failure because no one said how flippin hard it is.”

Louise Rose

 

“No matter how self assured or together they seem on the outside, every parent is just winging it.”

Jodi Murphy

 

“If you need to cry, just do it without feeling ashamed. You are normal, no matter the amount of tears.”

Claudia Benitez Diaz

 

“Cuddle the shit out if them! Don't expect to put them down”

Nina Stevens

 

“Don't worry if you don't love them in the first day, the first week, even the first month. It can take time. And don't feel pressure to enjoy everything – some days will be horrible and it's ok to say that. Get some time away as soon as you can – leave them with dad or gran for an hour or two when they're still tiny, so leaving them for the first time doesn't build up to be a huge thing. Oh and it's ok to let them cry sometimes.”

Lucy Dunkeyson

 

“Sleep when your baby sleeps. When visitors come round get them to make YOU a cup of tea. Get a nice dressing gown in advance-you’re going to be seen wearing it a lot.  Have a place where you can sit a feed comfortably. Put your phone/remote/book within reach because once you sit down you’ll need it.”

Caroline Budden Gibson

 

“Always point the willy down when changing a nappy”

Lisa Chapman

 

“Lavender oil and tea tree oil in a warm (not hot) bath will help to naturally heal a tear. (Ouch!)”

Caroline Budden Gibson

 

“I remember sitting down to eat dinner one night and my daughter started crying- I was totally overwhelmed. I thought nothing would ever be the same again and I panicked. Life WAS never the same…but it a totally fantastic way! The smallest thing may be overwhelming but it’s ok. It’s ok to feel like that.”

Beverly Ann

 

“Coffee is your friend!”

Chris Norton

 

“Feed, clean nappy, entertain, keep the right temperature (feel chest not hands) cradle and sing lullaby when tired to get them to sleep….repeat… keep repeating = happy child….”

Jake Sharpstone, who also provided this fantastic diagram!

 

“Toddlers want you weak but alive” (I know this isn't specifically new parent advice, but it made me laugh so much I included it anyway!)

Sam Magic-Lee

 

“Have cabbage leaves ready in the fridge and get a good supportive pillow”

Georgina Moonesinghe

 

“The path of least resistance is often your saviour. Take other people's suggestions on board if you've sought them out and they feel right, note them and file them away as you wish if they're unsolicited. Accept every offer of help that will actually be helpful. And above all follow your instinct, its usually right!”

Liz Hougham

 

“The best mantra is ‘everyone fed, no one dead’.”

Leila Jane Grayling

 

“You always look back and laugh at the bits that made you cry.”

Ben Edwards

 

Thank you SO much to everyone that contributed to this! I loved reading them all so much. If you are a new mum or a new dad, I hope these helped. If you're a not so new parent….I hope they resonated as much with you as they did with me!

 

Sally Bunkham is the founder of mumsback.com – yummy new mum hampers focussing on all the stuff they've been denied in pregnancy. £1 from every hamper goes to PANDAS Foundation.

Please note that our MUM OF THE MONTH competition is running at the moment (closes 20.00 on 17th February)! Nominate a deserving mum to win our classic hamper. Just fill out the quick form here.

 

My Wardrobe De-Clutter Detox With hspace

I realised I had a lot of clothes, but I hadn’t fully accepted the volume entirely! I had accumulated a lot of clothes over the past 5 years due to major life events. 5 years ago I was fit and sprightly. I was in fitness training and had completed many runs. I’d just got married and was the slimmest I’d ever been. I’d bought a new wardrobe to match my newfound physique. Not long after marriage I was pregnant. This, of course, needed a whole new maternity wardrobe. Many old clothes were stored in vacuum bags in the loft. I was determined I’d get back into them not long after the birth of my baby. Of course this didn’t happen. When my first was just 3 months old I discovered I was pregnant again. It was a good job I hadn’t even had chance to get back into my old clothes. My body expanded once again. No longer fit and sprightly, but a body in shock that it was having to grow yet another human. I bought more maternity wear, this time in bigger sizes. More clothes were confined to the loft.

My kids are now 2.5 and 3.5 and until recently, my clothes were a weird mix of new stuff I’d bought, maternity wear (which made me feel rubbish) and oddly fitted old clothes. My wardrobe and draws were literally over-flowing. I could barely shut any drawers or doors. I only wore what was the top layer of drawers, hardly daring to dig down any deeper. Partly because it was all so overwhelming, but also because I was scared I’d find yet another thing that wouldn’t fit and make me feel rubbish. My husband had tried to sensitively mention a few times that perhaps I had too many clothes (probably because he was living with the dregs of space…about 2 drawers left for him!). I’d bite his head off “NO I don’t!” Of course I did. It was just the thought of sorting it out myself was too overwhelming.

 

I met Helen at a business-networking event. I was immediately taken with her very warm and calm personality. I was intrigued by her business, which I learnt was in de-cluttering. I’d recently learnt about the de-cluttering phenomenon at a fabulous BelongCon event, where Frit Sarita Tam’s talk “Get rid of your sh*t” really seemed to make sense. Although sadly, with my 2 preschool kids at home, and a business to run, I’d not managed to implement any of my learnings from it.

When Helen spoke to me about her business, hspace, I immediately thought of my house and realised I was definitely someone that could do with her help. She told me how she had helped a lot of mums recently, struggling with their wardrobes since having kids. It was a relief to hear I wasn’t the only one with their clothes in such a state!

Helen came round for an initial free consultation, which took about 30 mins. She assessed my wardrobe in a brilliantly efficient and yet friendly, non judgemental manner. Saying “oh yes, it’s not too bad at all….there’s plenty we can do here”. She filled me with confidence. We popped a date in the diary for her to come back and de-clutter in half a day. She assured me I didn’t have to get rid of anything I didn’t want to, and there’d be no pressure. I felt really reassured by it all.

The day came around and Helen arrived with a smile. In she came with her props – a Brabantia clothes folding board (which I’d never seen before in my life!), several black bin bags, velvet coat hangers, and some folded down coloured baskets. We had a cup of tea while we discussed how it would work. Firstly, we emptied ALL my clothes into a big empty space and sorted it all into categories……dresses, trousers, skirts, T shirts, jumpers, leggings, sports wear etc. Now it was easy to see I had far too many clothes. The idea was to show me in one easy step how much of any one thing I had. It was a real eye opener. Next, category by category we sorted each individual category into 3 piles……’YES’, ‘NO’ & ‘MAYBE’. This was done on a very instinctual basis. If it wasn’t an immediate yes or no, it meant it was a maybe. Helen’s gentle questioning really helped with this. Did it make me feel nice? How often had I worn it? Does it make you feel confident? Helen made me reassess my attitude. There were some things I was keeping because I liked them….yet I knew they didn’t fit. Helen made me realise how much of a mental drag items like this were. Her philosophy is that everything in your wardrobe should fit and make you feel good. This is a philosophy I have now totally adopted. Helen also made me realise that it didn’t matter if some clothes didn’t fit….because I could buy stuff that DID fit. “Life is too short for clothes that don’t fit. If it doesn’t, let’s go out and buy a top that does fit”. My god she was right! Why hadn’t I thought like this before?? Helen also helped me see I only need a certain amount of stuff. Black leggings for example. Why on earth did I need more than 3 pairs? And socks? Surely 10 pairs was adequate? She was so right.

Once we’d sorted, I was gob smacked at how much stuff there was in the NO pile. Quite a fair old amount. I was really getting into the swing of it now. Next we went back to the ‘maybe’ pile for a second go. Was it still a ‘maybe’? Was some of it now a yes or a no? I soon realised a lot was a ‘no’. Anything remaining I tried on to see. Anything that didn’t fit or make me feel good was now a no. Before I knew it we’d sorted my whole bloody wardrobe. Most of it while I sat and had a cup of tea while stuff was held out in front of me. It was really cathartic! There were a couple of items I couldn’t get rid of despite not fitting – a top I was wearing the day I met my husband, and a dress I bought on my honeymoon. Helen said I should of course keep those, but perhaps in a special place, not my wardrobe. They are now kept in a special cupboard out of sight. Brilliant!

Next we had to get rid of the bin bags…….which were now piling high! It felt GOOD to get rid of this stuff now, because I knew it was all a NO.

Next was the fun bit. We completely rearranged my wardrobe space, and Helen taught me how to fold. I’d only ever seen clothes folded and put away like this in shops and hotels…surely I could never do it like that, could I? Oh yes I could! The folding board was absolutely genius. Helen helped me see that by doing it like this, you can always see what is in your drawer or wardrobe in the blink of an eye, and everything is accessible. It was a revelation!

 

I was utterly gob smacked to realise that I could neatly fit everything in what was once my “overspill” wardrobe. Helen also brought along some lovely velvet hangers, which are now the only hangers I use. They are really great quality and the clothes can't slip off. It was all neatly categorised and on view. I now have nearly ¾ of my chest of drawers totally empty so my lucky husband can spread out from the measly 1.5 drawers he currently occupies.

The best thing about the process is that instead of feeling like I’ve got rid of 80% of my clothes (which is what happened), I actually feel like I’ve been on a shopping trip. Everything now in my wardrobe actually fits! I can’t tell you how good that feels. I also unearthed loads of clothes I’d forgotten I had that are actually really nice and fit brilliantly. I was so scared of trying anything on that wasn’t in the top layer I’d totally given up trying! The de-clutter has put a stop to that. I can now see all my clothes so can plan outfits easily. I can see new combinations of outfits I hadn’t considered before and I feel confident in everything I wear. I am so chuffed with it. Mentally, it’s been such a freeing and cathartic exercise and I can’t recommend it more highly.

The added benefit I hadn’t appreciated is that I’ve given away a lovely amount of stuff to the charity shop, and my husband is so happy that he has some wardrobe space back!

The only down side to the whole experience is that I am now so on board with de-cluttering it’s making living with the rest of my house a little unbearable. I don’t think it will be long before I get Helen back to tackle the rest!

If you are interested in de-cluttering your house, business or wardrobe (or anywhere else!), then do contact Helen at hspace for a chat about how she can help.

This blog was written by Sally Bunkham, CEO and founder of Mum's Back – providing luxury gift hampers for new mums focussing on the yummy stuff not allowed in pregnancy, whilst raising money for PANDAS Foundation.

 

The Winner Of The January Mum Of The Month Is….

…the beautiful Melissa Berry as nominated by her mother in law, Marion Hill! How lovely is that?! Melissa has won a Mum's Back classic hamper, which she should hopefully be enjoying my tomorrow evening! And here are the lovely Melissa & Marion…

I asked Marion a few questions about Melissa, here is what she said

How long have you known Melissa?>
Melissa Berry is my daughter in law and has been with my son for 5 years

Why did she deserve to win our Mum of the Month competition?
I nominated Melissa as she is a very hard working mum. She has 2 daughters with my son,  Jessica is 3 3/4 and Amelia will be 1 at the end of January. Melissa works 30 hours a week and looks after her two children ( and my son) taking care of the house and everything
My son is working long hours at the minute as they are hoping to buy their first home together later this year so they are saving hard.
So mainly the day to day care of the children is down to Melissa as well as keeping the house clean and tidy i just thought she deserved a treat. The children are always so happy she does an amazing job.

What would you like her to know? 
I would just like to say to her thank you for making my son so happy and for the 2 beautiful grand daughters she has given me. She is amazing

My goodness I LOVE reading this!

Keep your eyes peeled for the launch of the February Mum Of The Month competition everyone…

10 Parenting White Lies That Have Landed Me In The Sh*t

You know those moments in parenting where you are so desperate for a tantrum to be diffused or a situation to be smoothed over that you make something up? Then a bit later it turns round and bites you in the arse? I thought I’d write my list of those occasions for your pleasure and also as an exercise in catharsis to cure my guilt! I hope you enjoy…

  1. The Christmas tree party

My 2 pre school girls were appalled at the thought of us having to get rid of the Christmas tree at the end of the festive season. They had grown really fond of it, and I could sense a really big meltdown from the 3 year old on its way about it. So the husband and I concucted a story about how all the Christmas trees get together at the end of the season for a huge Christmas tree party. This worked an absolute gem….perhaps a bit too well. All the way to the tree dump they were chatting about it. “Do you think there’ll be music and dancing mummy??” “erm, I don’t think the party is actually happening now darling, they’re just gathering getting ready for it” Now every time we see people carting off their trees they shout in glee “there’s another one going to the party!!”. I just hope no one bursts their bubble on this one…..

2.  Father Christmas leaving presents outside

Another seasonal one! My kids were not impressed about the idea of some fat dude with a beard entering the living quarters of their house uninvited, let alone their bedroom. So we had to tell them we’d cleared it with him to leave the presents on the doorstep and text us once he’d been so we could bring them in. We said this would be far more convenient for him anyway, as he’ll be incredibly busy. Santa is big on technology these days don’t you know!

3. Sleepy Bridge

We were on a long journey to Brighton where we were moving to. My eldest was so excited about it and very excited. We were absolutely desperate for her to have a nap in the car because she hadn’t slept for ages and we knew seeing the new house would be a bit of a sensory overload. But try as we might she wouldn’t relax. We decided to take the tack of going for a placebo effect. We were about 5 mins away from the big bridge you go over to get to the Dartford Crossing. “oooh Daisy….we’re about to go over sleepy bridge!” “What’s that mummy?” “It’s a bridge that makes you all relaxed and want to go to sleep as you go over it”. Yeah nice try mummy! She still didn’t sleep. But now every time we go past London she’s like “Will we go over sleepy bridge mummy?”. Oops.

4. The Poo Party

This is probably where we got the inspiration from the Christmas tree party tall tale. Our eldest has been known to go through periods where she refuses to poo. This leads to constipation and trouble all round. We ended up saying and doing anything to try and encourage her to go. We were desperate. One strategy was to tell her that the poo REALLY wants to come out because once it comes out her bum it joins all the other poos for a huge great poo party. It actually seemed to help quite a lot. But it has resulted in a few embarrassing moments in public loos when success occurs. “Yes mummy! There it is! Now it can go to the pooooooo paaaarty! WOOOOOP” Woop indeed Daisy, woop indeed.

5. All alcoholic drinks are called “grown up juice”

I suppose this one isn’t too far from the truth. It still makes me giggle when they occasionally check with me before drinking “this isn’t grown up juice is it, mummy?” or they catch a whiff of my wine and go “URGH! Grown up juice!” in disgust.

6. That ride is broken

Oh lordy this one is an absolute classic. You know the drill…you’re at the supermarket or some other shop with one of those rides that requires endless 50ps. “Can we have a go mummy? Please?!” “oh no darling, it’s out of order…never mind” Then you see another kid running for it with their parents. Oh god, oh god – SCARPER before your cover is blown!

7. The TV is going to bed

I’m pretty sure this yarn is recycled from my parents too. The old story of the TV not working past a certain time because it needs to have a rest and go to sleep. It worked pretty well until we were rumbled. The kids were really poorly with hand foot and mouth and needed cuddling pretty much all night, so we did anything to get through it. Including watching some late night telly. “I thought the TV didn’t work at this time because it needed to sleep, mummy?” RUMBLED!

8. The bird is asleep

The saddest tall tale of them all. The death avoidance chat. It’s only had to happen a couple of times. Once when they found a dead bird and once when they found a dead mouse. Luckily on both occasions the animals were still pretty in tact. “Oh look! What’s wrong with it??” NOTHING TO SEE HERE! “It’s just asleep darling….come on, we are late!”. Obviously I know I’ll have to tackle the subject of death and dying at some point…I’m just not ready yet!

9. Crocodiles in the bath

This one was passed down from my parents. I’ve forgiven them so I hope my kids forgive me. It’s always such a mare trying to get the kids out the bath as they’re usually having far too much fun and don’t want to go to bed. To get them out they too have been fed the urban myth about the crocodiles. As soon as the plug comes out the crocodiles start making their way up to snap you! It gets them out quick sharp. I possibly feel the guiltiest about this one, as on occasion they do appear quite scared of the fabricated crocodiles.

10. The guy with a sausage in his mouth

Yeah, you read that right. There’s been a couple of occasions where the kids have seen pics etc of men smoking cigars. One of which is bizarrely on a model of Groucho Marx. One of the kids goes “what’s in his mouth?!” I couldn’t quite be bothered to face the smoking discussion so for some reason “he has a sausage in his mouth” was the first thing that sprang into my head. A few weeks later we were reading the book “The Bad Baby” where the fruit barrow boy is also smoking a cigar “Oh look mummy, he has a sausage in his mouth too!” That he does, that he does.

Sally Bunkham is the founder of Mum's Back- luxury gift hampers for new mums focussing on the yummy stuff not allowed in pregnancy, whilst raising money for PANDAS Foundation.

 

 

Mental Health….looking after YOU

I did not realise I had postnatal depression for far too long. The symptoms I had did not tally with my understanding of what PND was. I wasn’t sad, it didn’t happen straight after having my baby (it was more like 4-5 months later that it began), I didn’t get anything like it with my first, and I had bonded brilliantly with them both. Additionally to this I wasn’t even thinking about my own mental health. I had two babies under 2, one of whom was incredibly upset and in pain with an undiagnosed medical condition much of the time. My health was very low down on my priorities list. Because of this I was hugely thrown off the scent. My PND wasn’t diagnosed until I hit rock bottom and in a terrible place. By then I had begun self-harming and was trying to come to terms with the fact I was (what I perceived anyway) a terrible mother and a horrible person. It took my husband spotting the marks on my arms and sitting me down and begging me to see the GP before I sought help. By then I was past caring. I went to the doctors feeling numb and hollow. I had nothing left to give and nothing more to lose.

The diagnosis turned out to be a bit of a revelation for me. Having a label on what I now knew was a condition was liberating. It meant that if I was ill I could get better. And that’s exactly what happened, all be it very slowly and very gradually. It was a significant and definite turning point for me.

So now I do what I can to raise awareness for others. I want everyone to seek help sooner rather than later, and not hit that horrendous rock bottom that I did. I reflect and look back on what could have helped me. What I needed was something to help me identify there was a problem. I spent so many months brushing my feelings under the carpet; dismissing them as “just tired” or “just stressed”. The thing with PND (and other mental health problems) is that generally they don’t just appear. You don’t just wake up one morning with the condition. They creep in slowly and gradually. So much so that you have no gauge for how you SHOULD feel, or what your “normal” actually is. This was the problem for me. It’s terrible that it took me beginning to self-harm before I admitted to myself there was a problem. This is where I see Moment Health being amazing. If I’d taken time out to think about how I was earlier, I’d have got myself sorted sooner. Moment Health provides that vital metaphorical yardstick that encourages you to measure exactly how you’re doing. Without no measure or encouragement to even think about it I was (again, metaphorically) swimming along blind, not knowing if I was even in the sea or a river or a swimming pool…and not knowing which I SHOULD be in in any case.

I love Moment Health’s ethos. You begin not having to assume there is an issue. It’s for everyone. It encourages us all to briefly take time out to focus on ourselves. Self-care is so very essential, and I think it’s fabulous to have a tool to help us do this, in a very practical sense. It’s an age old saying, but oh so true…you can’t pour from an empty cup. The best thing we can do for us and our kids is to be as content in ourselves as we can. It’s easy to forget this and prioritise them to the detriment of our own health.

One thing I also found really hard during those bleak months of PND was knowing if I was better or worse than the day before, or last week, or 3 months ago. It was all about survival, and on hardly any sleep. So when I did break down at the GP’s that day and got that diagnosis he asked me how long I’d felt like I did. I had no idea. It was all a total horrible blur. Moment Health tracks and records it all for you. Not only does it help and measure your feelings, it records it all. This would have made that first step of getting help, which is often so incredibly hard, so much smoother and easier.

 I’ve been on the road to recovery now for several months. I still have bad days, but they are usually very short lived. I have the Moment Health free app installed on my phone, as my own personal checker system. I now prioritise my mental health and ensure I dedicate a little time every day to check in with myself. I’d encourage everyone to do the same, no matter what stage of motherhood they’re at. I couldn’t be any more behind Moment Health’s strap line, to #makematernalmentalhealthmainstream.

Sally Bunkham is the founder of mumsback.com. Hamper gifts for new mums focussing on the yummy stuff not allowed whilst pregnant, whilst raising awareness of perinatal mental health issues. The Christmas range is available now.

The Top 10 Cringe Things My Kids Have Said (so far)

 

Having kids aged 2 and 3 is hard work, relentlessly so, but also amazingly brilliant. I did not thrive in those early baby months. My husband calls that period “the human slug phase”, and I totally get what he means. All the baby can do is drink milk, cry, sleep and poo themselves. I remember being absolutely DESPERATE to hear my baby say a word or smile….to actually interact and for her start showing aspects of her personality. Well now my babies can….My God they can. And sometimes, what they come out with is flipping hilarious. Well, hilarious in a kind of “please ground, swallow me up immediately” kind of way.

Every time they come out with a corker I try to make a mental note of it, but I usually fail and forget. So this blog is written of course to (hopefully) entertain, but also for prosperity’s sake. So here goes with my top 10 of those I can remember (so far…I’m sure there’s plenty more to come)

 

  1. My eldest went through a period of refusing to poo. Apparently this is really common. Now obviously this does not have great results. There’s been times when we’d do pretty much anything to get our kid to take a dump. This ranges from coming up with ridiculous recipes with high prune content, telling her outrageous things about how poos love to come out and they have poo parties down the loo together, to straight out bribing her with sweets and chocolates. When my eldest was around 2.5 she well and truly had her head round the “poo for a treat” concept and managed to inform the whole of a quiet arts centre café of it too. Announcing at top volume “I can feel it coming out, mummy! I’ve done a POOOOOOOOO, Mummy! HIGH FIVE! *sticks hand out ready* Come on mummy! I want a FREDDO!” Oh god.
  2. For some reason my eldest has a weird obsession with feeling the inside of my armpits. Now invariably they are always slightly on the stubbly side (who has time to shave their armpits every day for god’s sake?) and she is very intrigued by this. “It’s all prickly mummy!” ‘Yes I know darling. It’s because mummy has neither the will or the inclination to bother with that crap anymore’. This was all fine and a secret between us, until we met a nice little wiry haired dog on the street. The owners very kindly let my daughter stroke it. “This doggy feels like your armpit mummy!”. Oh goodness.
  3. This one is a simple but effective cringerama. Woman with short hair cut carrying something heavy just a few feet in front of us on the street. “Mummy….what is that man carrying?” Oh lordy….brush over it “I don’t know what SHE is carrying darling, it’s a box” “HE’S GOING TO PUT IT IN HIS CAR MUMMY!” Why do they always increase volume at just the wrong time?!
  4. Going round the supermarket with both of them and we reach the beer aisle. The youngest starts shouting “beer beer beer beer!” in a kind of football chant kind of way. As if that’s not bad enough the eldest chimes in loudly with “Daddy LOVES beer! And granddad!”
  5. On the theme of alcohol….me and some mates and our kids went on holiday to France for a week. We had a great time and needless to say, a lot of cheese and red wine were consumed. Being actual touristy idiots we started referring to the red wine as “vin rouge” in a very Del Boy/Rodney/Only Fools and Horses kind of manner. The kids heard the phrase a lot. So much so that on our return to Blighty, when a bar man asked what I wanted to drink Daisy answered for me “Vin Rouge! You love vin rouge don’t you, mummy? We call it mummy juice!” Oh sweet lord.
  6. It’s no lie that I find cooking for the kids really hard. Especially when I’m solo with them. I don’t really understand how anyone does much cooking when they are also trying to look after 2 kids under 3. Anyway, it has meant that I’ve resorted *uh hum* occasionally to a ready meal. I got completely outed on this when we were happily playing at the local children’s centre one day. There was a toy microwave there which was so realistic it even had the standard “ping” noise you get on microwaves. “Listen mummy! It sounds like when you cook our dinner!” *goes to hide in the corner*
  7. The 3 year old is going through a period of being incredibly sensitive to smell. It could be anything that revolts her….paint, perfume, air freshener, beer….if you can smell it, (and even if you can't) she can be disgusted by it. The embarrassing situations this has caused have ranged from walking into shops with her announcing very loudly “URGH! What is that SMELL?!” to being in friend’s houses when she suddenly clasps her hands to her nose in a dramatic manner and shouts “URRRRRGH!!!”. Thankfully, this reached its peak when I was alone with them. I’d had some blue cheese on a cracker and she was disgusted by this. As I put her down for her nap I told her to have a lovely rest as I left the room “I am so glad you are going now mummy, because you smell HORRIBLE”. Charming.
  8. This one is an absolute classic, and not uncommon I’m sure. However, it makes it no less embarrassing. Your mate or a member of the family will have popped round to see you. How nice of them! You’ll be there chatting away happily, when the little voice will pipe up “Mummy…when are X going?” CRINGE
  9. This little beaut was from my darling 2 year old. She is into anything to do with bouncing at the moment She is in heaven on a trampoline or bouncy castle. At home she’ll find anything remotely spongy, like the sofa or a bed and see how high she can bounce. I was lying on the sofa in my dressing gown when she discovered my stomach. “Mummy! You like a bouncy castle!”. Thanks darling.
  10. This was an absolute corker. So much so I’m even wondering whether to include it, but what the hell. The 3 year old is incredibly interested in the concept of how babies are made. I’ve tried to be as straight up with her as possible, without being too graphic. I’ve told her that babies grow in mummies’ tummies. “But how do they get there?” she asks. I told her that you have to have something like a seed planted in you. “But how does the seed get there mummy?” Oh goodness. “You need to have a daddy that loves the mummy very much and they plant the seed” “But HOW mummy?” Well, what could I say? “It gets planted in your bits Daisy, near where you do wee wees”. That was the end of that. Or so I thought, until her Daddy was putting her to bed and out of the blue she comes out with “Daddy…..will it tickle a bit when the man plants the seed in my bottom?”. Flipping heck. I clearly need to do a bit more explaining. 

Sally Bunkham is the founder of Mum’s Back. Hamper gifts for mums, while raising money for PANDAS Foundation. Check out our new Christmas range here

 

The Winner of the November Mum of the Month Competition is……

The gorgeous Mugz (aka Rebecca Card, on the left below) as nominated by her lovely friend Katie Parsons (to the right).

Huge congrats Mugz! You have won our classic Mum's back hamper, which will be winding its way to you this week. Enjoy!

I asked Katie a few questions about Mugz, and why she thought she deserved to win. Here's what she said

How long have you known Mugz? 
I have know Mugz since we started 6th form college 19 years ago but our friendship was cemented on a holiday to Portugal the following summer.
Why did she deserve to win our Mum of the Month competition?
Mugz deserves to win Mum of the Month because she never stops being an amazing mummy to her 2 beautiful children aged 2 and 3 while looking after her mum suffering from cancer and living with her own health issues. She even has time to listen to the likes of me moan about our mundane problems, all whilst keeping a smile on her face.
What would you like her to know?
I would like Mugz to know that she is a doing an amazing job as a mummy, daughter, sister, wife and friend and that she deserves to put herself first for a change and enjoy her Mums Back hamper.

 

Mugz – as a mum of 2 and 3 year olds myself, I take my hat off to you. A very deserving winner!

Keep your eyes peeled for the launch of the December Mum of the Month comp, everyone, which will have a Christmas twist. Get ready to get nominating those lovely mums again everyone….

Winner of the October Mum Of The Month Is…….

….the gorgeous Kerry Kilmister!

Congratulations Kerry, the classic Mum's Back hamper will be winding its way to you over the next couple of days! Thanks so much to your lovely friend Emily Henley for the nomination.

I asked Emily a few questions about Kerry. Here is what she said about this amazing mum

Why did you nominate Kerry?

“Kerry is a mum of three who's had some real challenges this year with her own health and that of her kids, and despite that she's been amazing at supporting me through my own issues (and my first pregnancy – baby due in February) as well as being a fantastic maid of honour at my wedding in September!”

What do you want Kerry to know?

“I just want her to know that the last 23 years of friendship are massively appreciated, and I hope for many, many more to come :)”

It was an absolute pleasure to read all of your nominations. Many had me in tears. It really did warm my soul to see how many amazing mums, friends and family are walking amongst us all, all the time.

Please keep your eye out for the launch of next month's Mum Of The Month competition, and get ready to nominate all those lovely mums again!

 

Swimming Avec Kids

Swimming with babies and toddlers is a WHOLE different experience to the swimming of pre kids days. Yes, it can be lots of fun. Seeing their little faces in the water, agog at the new experience. It’s lovely! My kids came out with some corkers when we took them last week. My 2 year old got in and was bobbing about shouting “Mummy! I’m in a bath! A giant bath!” It was very sweet.

There were elements, however, that were not sweet. Let me run through them.

  • Trying to actually get them in a changing room. The whole place is FAR too exciting for all that getting changed rubbish. “There’s the pool Mummy! Get in Mummy!” Sorry darling, there’s a little annoying thing called “swimming costumes” we have to get through first. My husband and I hurry along trying to find a “family room”. Obviously we haven’t thought far ahead enough to have our clothes separated perfectly so we can take a child each, so we all have to go in one together. We squeeze in eventually and operation get changed is underway.

 

  • Immediately all hell breaks loose. The 2 year old is grabbing my knickers and throwing them with abandon across the floor so they’re nearly entirely in next door's changing room. Nooooo! The 3 year old is examining the wrapper of someone else’s sanitary towel. No no no no no. The 2 year old looks up at Daddy half naked and starts laughing at his willy. A nice confidence boost for you there, Daddy. We finally squeeze them into their swimwear and it’s on to operation find a locker.

 

  • A locker is located. We only have one £1 coin so a singular locker is our only option. Getting all our stuff in one is it is a bit like giving birth in reverse. Finally I squeeze the last shoe in. The flipping key doesn’t work. FFS. Begin process again. This time I check locker before the giving birth in reverse commences. Whilst this unfolds the husband attempts to stop our 2 pre school children running around in excitement, bashing in to unsuspecting swimmers and slipping on wet surfaces. He half succeeded. With locker finally secured we’re pool bound.

 

  • Our actual time in the pool is quite fun. It’s absolutely heaving, with it being a rainy Sunday, and everyone seemingly having the same day trip idea, but it’s worth it. The kids are loving it. There’s a pirate ship thing and even an outdoor area you can go to, so you can swim from inside to outside at will. I say swim. Obviously I mean bob about with a small child attached to us. Occasionally my husband and I swap children, alternating throughout (I mean with our own 2, not anyone else’s, that would be weird). The 2 year old is upset she can’t go on the big slide. The 3 year old is a little troubled by the archway with water spraying quite violently, but other than that it’s a success. After an hour or so of excitement and bobbing we move on to the final and hardest stage of the expedition. Operation extraction from pool.

 

  • It begins badly. Neither child is keen to leave. They both try to run in opposite directions back to the pool. “NO RUNNING!” we shout panicked. We eye up a lifeguard staring at the kids, thinking about deploying his whistle. We finally grab them and manage to get them back to the changing room. No mean feat when they’re so damn SLIPPERY. They’re now both hungry and tired and a little overwrought too. We wait again for a family room, and eventually one becomes free.

 

  • This is where the hell of swimming with toddlers reaches its crescendo. Obviously there’s no time or inclination for showers for either adults or the kids (showers scare the crap out of them), so instead we resign ourselves to the fact we’ll stink of chlorine until we manage a wash at home. But mission getting dressed becomes quite a challenge. The first dilemma is who should we dress first; the kids or ourselves? We attempt to get ourselves done quickly and out the way. That was the first error. While we try to dry ourselves, the kids play with the changing room bin, which is now nicely full of nappies, sanitary waste and god knows what else. “STOP PLAYING WITH THE BIN GUYS!”. The eldest squeals in delight as someone next door accidentally puts half one of those swimming noodle float things under our locker. “LOOK MUMMY” she cries as she grabs it. “That’s not ours, put it back” I request desperately while hopping in one leg attempting to pull my jeans up while my legs are not quite dry. By now she’s on the floor. Legs under the door of another changing room, face peeping up underneath the other. “GET UP RUBY! PLEASE!”. I’m mortified imagining someone else getting changed and seeing a toddlers face the other side peeping up at them. Daisy now spots my sanitary towels in my bag from a previous occasion. “Oh look mummy! You brought your nappies!” she shouts. Oh god.

 

  • We, the adults are now dressed. That’s one good thing. But now we are dressed in a changing room that feels like its heating up like a steam room. It’s getting sweaty now. We try to wrangle the toddlers into their clothes. We’re all damp and it makes getting the clothes on really hard. “Oh my god it’s so HOT!” yells my husband. “I’m SWEATING! We have to get out of here!” It’s like a race against time to get the kids in their clothes before one of us overheats. It’s like being in the jungle. We both regret getting dressed first. “I need a poo!” Daisy tells me with glee. Typical. My husband is still attempting to get the leggings on the youngest child. I see the beads of desperation and sweat form on his forehead. We frantically complete the task and lob everything in the bag, stuffing it in wildly. The kids seem totally unaffected by the humid hell, where as my husband and I feel like we’re in some kind of pathetic and unenjoyable episode of The Crystal Maze. We both feel like knocking on the door, half dressed, having failed “I give up! I’m coming out!”.

 

  • We finally do make it out the door. The cool air of outside the changing room hits us. For a moment we experience relief. Until the kids spot the café. ‘ICE CREAMS! I WANT ICE CREAM!” Oh lordy. Why are cafes at leisure centres the unhealthiest eating establishments ever? We settle for cheese Paninis, wotsits, fruit shoots and ice lollies. I stare at their lunches feeling like a failure. A family sit at the table next to us. The woman is dressed in lycra. She’s clearly done ACTUAL exercise, not just bobbed about in a pool like me. She sits with her husband and her 4 kids. Yes FOUR kids. And she whips out the lunch she’d prepared for them to have with their coffees. Now I feel really rubbish. My husband and I eye up their lunch. Some kind of kale crackers and hummus. Yes, that’s right. KALE CRACKERS. How the flaps does she get her kids to eat that? It’s a mystery. Our youngest is screaming for her dummy now. She alternates between sucking her bright E number filled lolly and the dummy. I turn again and take a look at the kale crackers and feel rubbish. The eldest turns to me – “Mummy, I LOVE swimming. Can we come again soon?!”. “Ok I say! Of course.”

This blog was written by Sally Bunkham, the founder of mumsback.com. Gift hampers for mums full of the stuff they REALLY want. £1 from every hamper goes to PANDAS Foundation