Lessons From My 3 Year Old

My 3 year old said something that blew me away this morning. Something that stopped me in my tracks and made me choke back the tears. I’d just got back from my early morning walk. My husband had got the kids up and dressed and they were just on the tail end of their breakfast when I came in. Daisy came to join me in the kitchen where I was making my own breakfast.

“Hey Daisy! How are you? Nice breakfast?” I said, without much thought. She looked at me, pulled up her top and rubbed her belly in a comical way. “ooooh yes Mummy!” she said, “And look at my tummy…..it’s round and fat and BEAUTIFUL!”

She said it with no ounce of irony or shock factor. It was just a statement. She was feeling full, nourished and beautiful. I was suddenly hit with the beauty and simplicity of what she said. She was so untarnished by society and its shit narratives about our bodies and our own relationship with them. What she said was pure and innocent and true and I LOVED it. I wanted to bottle that mindset right there and freeze it, so it was with her always. How could I do that? A slight sense of panic set in as I realised that probably wasn’t possible.

The funny thing is, I’d just been listening to a podcast by Lola Hoad (One Girl Band podcast) about the Inner Critic. I’d been thinking about it all the way through my walk. About the evil things we tell ourselves…..I think we all do it. I’m terrible for it. My inner monologue is always at it “you shouldn’t have eaten that.” “You have NOT done enough exercise.” “You procrastinated SO much of the day today.” “You didn’t give the kids enough attention this morning, – that is crap parenting.” “You haven’t worked hard enough. Your sales are SHIT this week…what a joke” “You should just get a “proper” job and stop pretending you can run your own business”….It goes on and on. My inner critic….let’s call her Sue, (in the podcast Lola explained hers is called Barbara. I like to think of Sue and Barbara bitching and cackling over coffee) is a total BITCH. I’d NEVER say the things Sue says to anyone else. Oh no, they’re saved just for me.

But when did Sue start piping up in my head? I’m not sure. Maybe it was after another kid called me ‘thunder thighs’ aged about 8. Maybe it was when a boy laughed at me and said I had a moustache aged 15. Maybe it was when I noticed I was much bigger than everyone in ‘Just 17’ mag. Maybe it was when I couldn’t pronounce a word in an English aged 12. Who knows? I do know I can’t remember a time without Sue being there, lurking somewhere.

I don’t think Daisy or her sister have a Sue or a Barbara….yet. And I want to keep their inner critic bitches at bay as long as I can. All I can do is keep supporting them and encouraging them. I tell them I love them about a million times a day and I hug them and kiss them ALL the time. So much so my youngest’s favourite catch phrase is “NO WET KISSES!”. I tell them they’re clever and beautiful constantly. I sometimes wonder if I’m in danger of spoiling them or giving them big heads, but I realise that’s not possible. Not in this life where we are set to be filled with doubts. You can’t spoil a kid with love. So why don’t I give myself the same love? Why don’t I tell Sue to fuck right off?

We can all learn so much from our kids. When we are young we are so naturally great at so many things. They instinctively know how to eat and when they are full. They are naturally mindful. They are totally in the moment. They couldn’t give a shit if we’re late for a train, there’s a snail to look at NOW! THERE! They know exactly how to breathe. This sounds funny but it’s so true. Since having 2 babies in a year, my pelvic floor has needed…..work. To try and sort it out I’ve been going to exercise classes especially for postnatal women. A lot of it is quite technical and all to do with breathing. It’s so interesting. It’s about how we need to retrain ourselves to breath properly and exhale on effort. To stop holding and tensing all the time. Kids naturally just know how to do this. We gradually get it beaten out of us as we get older, habits we create. Women are so used to holding in their tummies we have to retrain ourselves to hold ourselves naturally and normally again in many cases. It’s a really sad thought. Kids naturally breathe and move the way we should, and I’m retraining myself to be like them now. It’s an amazing thing.

So, my lesson today is to be BE MORE DAISY! Not the tantrums over whether we can watch Paw Patrol before pre school part, or the fury over the sandwiches cut the wrong way, or the refusal to go to bed or tidy up bit….you can forget all that….but in the way she talks to herself. In the way she sees herself. And I need to talk to myself the way I talk to my girls. Remind myself I’m beautiful. Remind myself I’m clever. Remind myself I CAN do shit. Because that’s the first step in actually doing it and believing it, even if at first I don’t quite believe it. Because in the same way negative thoughts can become the truth, so can positive ones.

I’ll leave you with the thing Daisy said next. I was delighted with what she said about her fat beautiful tummy, but as her mum my next thought was “it’s not just your tummy that’s beautiful, it’s all of you!”…so I said to her “that’s true! And do you know what else is beautiful, Daisy?”. Quick as a flash she answered “Yep! ME!” Damn right Daisy, damn right. #BeMoreDaisy

Sally Bunkham is the founder of Mum's Back, luxury new mum hampers focussing on the yummy stuff denied in pregnancy. £1 from every hamper goes to PANDAS Foundation.

How Hounded New Mothers Really Feel

“Take Your Fancy Flowers, Fluffy Animals, Intrusive Photoshoot and Leave Me The F*ck Alone” – How Hounded New Mothers Really Feel , guest post by Denise Marshall

Before I had my first son I knew nothing about babies. I adored them, and never missed an episode of One Born Every Minute, but one thing I wasn’t under any illusion about was that taking a little human being home so soon after birth, without much chance to recover, isn’t easy. I won’t bore you with the birth story, but it was a bit grisly. In the hospital ward I was
deliriously happy, but two days later with gaping stitches, and a failure to get my little one to latch, I was struggling.

But the hardest, most unnecessary part, was the mounting pressure to welcome all family members and close friends immediately, so they could take lots of pictures and make comments that made me want to sear them with my own eyes. “The pain just melts away doesn’t it…” And “oh you look soooo tired.” If I’d only said, “look people this is the thing; I've had my vagina cut open. I can’t sit down so that’s why I’m perching on my folded right leg. I can’t walk very far. I need to be topless at the drop of a hat to try and improve my baby's latch because my raw nipples are really not working right now. So basically I need to be naked. And I feel faint because I am literally not sleeping, at all. So funnily enough I don't want my cousin's gormless boyfriend in my front room because he's ‘sort of family’.”

But I didn’t, because very quickly I realised in the hysteria that comes with the first baby in the family for decades, no one was that interested, so I just muddled through, enduring severe social media harassment. “When can I come for a cuddle? When can I visit? Oooh I've got a day off (the implication that you are doing nothing), so I can come over…” What and take even more snaps of my baby and grab him from my arms once again? Yippee!” And so it continued, over and over.

And I’m not the only one that felt a burning need for space.
“Why do you get up off the sofa so weirdly?” asked one friend’s sister-in- law after her C-section. A particularly patronising observation is; “you don’t seem yourself…” No shit!

Today in the doctor’s surgery, the fatigued mother of a three-week- old croaked, “she never sleeps at night. I didn’t realise you could be this tired.”
“And everyone wants a piece of you,” I sympathised. “They just don’t understand,” she sighed.

Another irritating part of the situation is being questioned about the labour by people who don’t really want an answer. The mere mention of my Ventouse delivery was greeted by; “oh that’s when it’s sucked out,” and howls of laughter.

Often, the trouble with our generation is the one before. Our mothers healed in hospital for up to a fortnight after birth. Visitors were limited so they got all day to bond with their bundles, got their laundry done, food served and lessons in how to bath tiny humans. They even had their offspring wheeled off into a nursery each evening so they could get plenty of kip. But in today’s NHS stretched world, unless you’re on deaths door, mums are lucky to get a cup of tea before being slung out of their stirrups.

I heard of one poor mum that even had a nervous breakdown because relatives popped in every single day for six weeks. But apparently they still didn’t get why.

A few months later while fidgeting on the sofa with nagging episiotomy ache, comedian Shappi Khorsandi came on the television and made a joke about the post birth bubble feeling like someone has taken to your genitals with an axe. I snorted. She immediately became my favourite stand up, one of the few women in the public eye admitting her first stroll with the pram had been a painful shuffle.

With baby number two everyone backed off, terrified too many texts would tip me over the edge. It was heaven. Complete no pressure bonding. Bit by bit, supportive callers were summoned. Not when it was convenient for them, but when it was right for our new family of four.

So don’t feel swamped by the impending stampede to secure a time slot. Over-excitement clouds judgement, but a newborn comes first, and then you do, because you’re the mother goddammit. And if your motherly instinct in the early days is that everyone bugger off, then so be it.

By Denise Marshall

Denise is a former senior editor on the Daily Express Saturday magazine, now a freelance journalist and content creator specialising in celebrity, parenting and travel. She is mum to Hayden, six and three-year-old Finley. Follow her over at Twitter, she is @nisecmarshall

Mum's Back provide new mum gifts full of the luxury stuff they've been denied throughout pregnancy. £1 from every hamper goes to PANDAS Foundation.

What Did You Miss Most In Pregnancy?

 

If you are on Instagram and follow me (it's instagram.com/mumsback come on over if you don’t!) you will know that I recently ran a competition with the fabulous and beautiful Mia from @cigarettesandcalpol, to win one of our new mum gifts. As soon as I saw Mia’s page I knew we were gonna get on….I mean, the name gave it away from the off, and she sent me a really sweet DM saying she loved the concept of what Mum’s Back are all about, which gave me a very nice warm fuzzy feeling. We hit it off and decided to do a give away for her followers. The question we asked to enter the comp was the title of this blog….”what did you miss most during pregnancy?”. The answers were incredible, very funny and varied. We are led to believe in the images we see in the media and on places like instagram that pregnancy is a beautiful, magical and romantic time. It CAN be, sure! But also, we go through quite a lot don't we? And we MISS an awful lot too. I decided to compile my favourites answers for you. Here they are! Enjoy

“Reaching my ankles”

“Not farting like a trooper every 5 minutes”

“Gin & Tonic, my regular clothes, going on girly boozy nights out and not peeing 5 times a night”

“My dignity”

“Shaving my foof by myself! My boyfriend did it for me once when I was about 38 weeks pregnant and it was 10000% the worst decision I’ve ever made”

“Pate and brie. Even though I eat them rarely anyway, not being advised to eat them made me want them more!!”

“I missed a cold pint of San Miguel in the pub with my husband and going longer than 10 minutes without needing a wee”

“I missed laughing and sneezing without a little bit of pee coming out”

“Chocolate as I was sick every time I ate it. I eat so much chocolate so what a bloody pain in the arse that was”

“Sleeping on my tummy”

“The ability to eat without dying of heartburn for the rest of the day/night/my life”

“Seeing my vagina and medium/rare steak with a glass of merlot”

“Having ankles”

“Random people not asking me what genitals I was harbouring”

“Being able to walk properly without looking like a penguin”

“Caffeine. And being able to poo”

“Lying on my back”

“High waisted jeans”

“Being able to do anything without vomiting”

“Prosecco. Oh god I missed Prosecco”

“Antihistamines. Both pregnancies fell over summers with crazy high pollen counts”

“I missed being able to put my own socks on. If I didn’t get my husband to do it before he left for work it had to be bare feet all day”

“People asking me ‘are you sure it’s not twins?’ ALL the time”

“I missed not being able to fit in the shower properly”

“Having normal dreams. I’d wake up after what felt like hours of debauchery fuelled by pregnancy hormones. I wasn’t able to look local shop staff, my children’s teachers or even my local doctor in the eye without blushing, remembering what had happened in my dream the night before”

So…I think what we can establish from this is that pregnancy…..beautiful and miraculous and amazing as it is…is also quite hard work. We sacrifice a fair old amount for those gorgeous kids of ours, don’t we? I think we all deserve some recognition for this, and ideally a little treat to say well done. I think we all know what I’ll suggest for the treat, *ahem”….a new mum hamper from yours truly perhaps? You know it makes sense 🙂

 

 

Mother’s Day Tales – The Best and Worst

 

As the founder of mumsback.com, Mother's Day is very much on my mind at the moment. In the run up I think back to Mother’s Days past and I realise they can be a little like Valentine’s Day or Christmas, in that there’s so much societal pressure to have the “perfect” day that actually we can end up having the opposite.

I’ve written a couple of blogs about what do when your baby doesn’t get the memo about Mother’s Day, and also about what I think the components are to the perfect Mother's Day gift, but I also decided to ask others about their experiences.

Here is a run down of others’ best and worst Mother’s Days…or a mixture of the two!

‘Best and worst in one- my 6 year old cooked me scrambled egg on toast for breakfast. I slurped up every bite, even using the toast to scrape up every last smudge of egg. When she came back to take the empty plate I said, ‘That was so delicious. And you know what was most impressive – that you washed up a plate. I left them all dirty last night.’ ‘Oh no, mummy,’ she replies, ‘the dogs licked it clean for you.’” – Ruthanne Garrett

 

“Last year was my first Mother’s Day and it was a bit of a let down. Kiddo had officially come to live with us from his foster carer only 3 weeks before, and we’d only met him 2 weeks before that, and even just being parents suddenly was all still a bit weird! We went to a pub we’ve been to for an excellent Sunday lunch before but of course we were all shoved in like sardines to squeeze every last booking/penny out of the day and the food was absolutely awful. My free pudding was totally inedible. Truth be told I felt like a massive fraud who wasn’t *really* a mum and the whole thing ended up being a bit depressing! Kiddo didn’t understand what it was or what we were doing and the change of routine so early on left him out of sorts all afternoon.  I don’t think we’ll be going out this year! Except maybe for McDonald’s breakfast because fuck it, that’s what I like and if it’s meant to be a day for me then I’m getting some hash browns” – Anon

 

“Last year was my first Mother’s Day and I’m a single parent. I wasn’t really expecting much but at least from my mum a nice ‘Happy Mother’s day’ would’ve been nice. Instead she said I’m a mum now and shouldn’t trouble myself with silliness. Got her a spa deal and scarf and while I don’t need this reciprocated, it was mean spirited of her.” Anon

 

“Haven't had too many as a mum of a 2 yr old but I am already feeling stressed about having to see my mum, the mother in law as well as feeling like its a day for me to perhaps be treated a bit!” Anon

 

“The one where everyone forgot. It probably didn't help that I'd spent the day cooking for my lovely mother in law (who did bring me flowers!) or that it was my first Mother's Day with my fourth baby (hubby is usually über thoughtful so I spent all day expecting a bit of a surprise!). Anyway that evening when no surprise was forthcoming I admit I threw a bit of a childish strop, bought my own wine and chocolates and flat out refused to share 🤣 To add insult to injury my eldest came back from uni a week later and tried to pass off my birthday card as a Mother's Day/birthday combo having missed both dates anyway.” – Anon

 

“My worst was when both kids and I had a stomach bug. We spent ages in out of hours getting them checked out for dehydration (false alarm, as it turned out) while I tried not to throw up in the nearest bin” Laura Poole

 

“My worst mothers day was my first one. My baby was about 6 months old, the whole day was pretty cheap because he had a stomach bug and was throwing up all over me since he wanted to be held because he was feeling so crummy. Around 6pm I asked my husband if he remembered what day it was, and he said “oh shit, I better call my mum. Thanks for reminding me”. Never once even said happy mothers day to me!” Anon

 

“I am going to share a great Mother's Day. My 1st Mother's Day was beautiful. Baby was maybe 3 months old. My husband enlisted the help of my sister to watch baby so I could sleep in, while he both stayed up late and got up early to make me (my favourite) vegan cinnamon rolls from scratch; it's a big job. As well as a lovely arrangement of flowers and a card from him and baby (complete with an inked footprint he somehow managed to get from our squirmy babe). I had a relaxed day at home where he took care of more than usual. Then my mum and grandmother came over for the afternoon so we could celebrate them as well. The only downside was that he set the bar so high, meaning I had my work cut out for me for Father's Day!” Risa Dietz-Kimmons

 

“This!! (see below) Husband thought would be a great idea to get a personalised t-shirt with the ugliest picture of what was a gorgeous little baby! Not to mention 2 sizes too small. It was so bad that even the boy was scared of it!”  Marina Chenery

 

“I think my favourite mother's days were the ones when my son was little and would buy me a box of chocolates and then “help” me eat them! My worst, realising after my aunt died a few years ago, I no longer had anyone to give mother's Day cards and gifts to, because the last of my surrogate mothers was gone. It's sad not to be a daughter. (Sorry Dad, but that a different thing!)” – Becky Moore

 

“My best Mother’s Day would be a memory from childhood and celebrating my own mum on Mother's Day. I distinctly remember her reading precious words about how much she meant to us in a card and bursting out crying. We gave her chocolates and flowers too. It's never left me. The worst would have been my first Mother's Day. I was suffering a traumatic birth and remember feeling like a failure”  – Vicki Psarias, Honest Mum.

 

Sally Bunkham is the founder of Mum’s Back, who provide luxury new mum gifts, focussing on the yummy stuff denied in pregnancy. £1 from every hamper goes to PANDAS Foundation. Mum’s Back currently have a Mother’s Day offer, where every single hamper ordered between now and Mothering Sunday (11th March) will receive a Raspberry & Prosecco Lip Balm in Rose Gold Box (worth £7.95) FREE (see below). Delivery (to mainland UK) is also FREE.

What Does a Mum REALLY Look For In A Mother’s Day Gift?

 

That time of year is coming round again where thoughts are drawn to Mother’s Day and what the hell to get the mum in our life. Of course, being the purveyor of hamper gifts for mums, I am of the opinion that mothers should be celebrated every damn day of the year, but I do get the trickiness Mother’s Day brings. After all, I am a daughter and have the same quandary myself when trying to find the perfect gift for my own mum. Here’s a little run down on what I think makes the perfect gift (and no, I’m not going to tell you to just purchase a Mum’s Back hamper, I promise)

 

Something that recognises her as a person not just as a mum

I started mumsback.com because the new mum gifts I received when I became a mum were all either very baby focussed (and lovely! Don’t get me wrong!) or very “mum” orientated. It was like people expected me to be a totally different person now I had procreated. Yes I’d had a baby, but it didn’t mean I must now enjoy floral patterns, lavender bubble bath and muslin squares. It was at that point I was really confused about my identity, and who the hell I was now supposed to be. What would have been fab was a little something for me that recognised me AS still ME (if that makes sense?!). It would have been fab if someone had come round and gone, “here you go Sal, I know you like The Chemical Brothers, so I got you their new album…well done for getting through childbirth!”. But understandably, no one did, because it’s not really the done thing.

I see Mother’s Day as a similar kind of thing. We are under societal pressure to get something “mumsy” on Mother’s Day, like breakfast in bed, or a bunch of flowers, or a massage in a spa. Now if you know she’s the kind of person to love that kind of thing, then GREAT, go for your life. But if she’s the sort who’d rather, for example,  have tickets to go and see The Sleaford Mods….or learn to brew her own beer, then for god’s sake get her that!

 

Her version of indulgence

People have different ideas on what luxury means to them. For some it could be a 3 course dinner at The Ritz. For others it’s the opportunity to have an hour’s peace walking in the country. Some may just want to scoff their face with gin and cheese (no prizes for guessing which category I fall into!). Maybe she just wants some time being HER again, not just a mum (often the case for new mums deep in the thick of those unrelenting early days of parenting I’d say!)? The point is to understand what makes her tick and try and deliver her version of luxury, not the textbook branded version of what luxury on Mother’s Day means.

 

Bought with heart

We all know we can get some pretty good shizzle from the big brands and from Amazon Prime…and all incredibly quickly too. Maybe even the night before! BUT….it can feel a little….soulless. A gift from an independent seller feels so much more special. It’s obvious when things have been hand packaged or curated by an individual. Even better if you can get a gift with some kind of social or charitable aim behind it. Of course at this point I will mention that £1 from every hamper from mumsback.com goes to PANDAS Foundation, but I’m not making this point because of that. I do that because I had a bad time with PND and now I want my business to do something to help others going through something similar. It shows the real heart, soul and story behind the brand, and I’m sure it’s the same with many other retailers that do a similar thing. It feels great to receive a gift that you know is doing good in the world.

 

Time Together

Of course gifts are lovely, but what gifts can’t give is actual quality time together. So whatever gift you choose, make sure you take time out to actually spend with her. Even if it’s just extra time on the phone, or a lunch out, or a weekend visit. There’s no better way to celebrate the love of motherhood than by actually being with her.


Of course I believe a Mum’s Back hamper fits the brief of the perfect Mother’s Day gift. We are all about the lady, not just the mum. We are about luxury and indulgence (so if basically if the mum in question loves a tipple, chocolate, prosecco and cheese you’re onto a winner with us). Mum’s Back is a small independent business, and supports other small independent businesses via our suppliers. At the very heart of our business is our social aim to raise more awareness of perinatal mental health issues and £1 from every hamper goes to support the brilliant charity PANDAS Foundation. But whatever gift you buy, take a step back and think about HER, not just the concept of Mother’s Day and what we all *think* it should entail.  

It would be rude not to tell you that we are currently running an offer for Mother’s Day. Every mum gift hamper you order between now and Mother’s Day will include a Raspberry and Prosecco Lip Balm in a Rose Gold gift box absolutely FREE (as pictured below). Delivery is always free (to mainland UK).

You can pre order now for the big day now (just let me know when you’d like it delivered when prompted). Have a fabulous Mother’s Day everyone!

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.