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

Plum Stone-Gate And Other Threenage Disasters

I’m not sure exactly when it was that my eldest daughter turned into an actual dictator, but I’m pretty sure it was close to her third birthday. Suddenly, I could ruin her (and my) day by seemingly benign actions. You know the kind of thing…..I cut her panini in half and she “WANTED IT WHOLE MUMMY” *excessive sobbing, falling to floor, shrieking, wailing, lying on floor on back and flapping. More sobbing, shouting etc etc., resulting in me having to drag her out of a café embarrassed while diners look on, appalled.*

You get the idea. I use that example because I think that was the exact scenario that launched her foray into the role of irrational, horrendous, threenage mogul.

These days it’s at least a weekly occurrence. It’s like walking on eggshells. Never quite sure what will bring on an episode of the small miniature tyrant. It could be that the skirt she wants to wear is in the wash. Or perhaps she “HATES THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING MUUUUUMMY”, *uuuuuuuuurgggggh excessive sobbing, falling to floor, shrieking, wailing, lying on floor on back and flapping. More sobbing, shouting* etc etc. I use those as examples because they’ve both happened.

The thing is, instead of trying to rise above all of this, and write it off as ridiculous, my husband and I actually scrabble around, bowing down to the Commander, doing anything,…ANYTHING we can to avoid another panini-not-in-half-but-whole-gate. It’s outrageous. Sometimes we have to take a step back and just bloody LOOK AT OURSELVES. If her skirt is dirty and she makes a suggestion that she wants it we find ourselves panicking. “She wants the skirt *panicked looks*….quick get it out the washing basket!” “But it’s all damp and covered in baked bean juice” “JUST WET WIPE IT! For god’s sake just GET IT. Please?!! It’s not worth it. You and I both know it’s NOT WORTH IT” *begging expression*.

Sometimes one of us will feel strong and try to fight the oppressor. And almost immediately regret it. The other will step in.

“what’s happening? What’s with this shrieking? Why is she flapping on the floor in a ball of fury?”

“She wanted crisps with her dinner, I said that was ridiculous and that no, she couldn’t have any”

“I’ll go and get the crisps”

I am writing this blog because just yesterday I found myself sinking to a new low under the rule of the mini dictator. I’d been pushing her and her sister up a huge hill in the buggy and she dropped a stone from the plum she was eating. We went about 5 steps before she complained. Well, there was no way I was turning round and going down the hill just to push them (her 2 year old sister was there too) up again to get a sodding plum stone. That was my first mistake. She went on and on and on as I trudged and sweating up that hill. She wanted THAT plum stone. No another plum stone would do. She was “SAD MUMMY! You have made me “REALLY SAD”. By now she was almost inconsolable. There was snot everywhere. It went on. On and on and on. The 2 year old sat there bemused. “oh god, this is going to be YOU soon isn’t it” I thought, as I tried to block out the mini dictator. She was not letting up. She was succeeding….she was making me think of ways..ANY WAYS GODDAMIT that I could get that sodding plum stone back. I found myself promising her I would find a way. That’s when I wrote it -the text message of parenting shame to my husband.

“Daisy dropped a plum stone. Bottom of Ditchling Rd. Near office block. Left hand side. PLEASE find it on way home if you can. Don’t ask”

He didn’t need to ask obviously. He knew. He bloody knew.

During these times, I find gin helps. Check out our fabulous Mother's Ruin hamper, among many other booze filled treats (and a few without too) here.

 

 

New Mum’s Back Range is here!

I’ve been a bit quiet on the Mum’s Back blog recently. That’s due to a few reasons. Moving house for one. Oh my goodness, I’d forgotten how stressful that is! Every time we move I say “never again”, and then somehow I find myself doing it again. Anyway, we are now halfway there. Aside from moving and all the other shizzle that goes along with running a business and having 2 toddlers (Double potty training for one, what was I thinking?!), I have also been working on getting our new range of Mum’s Back packages live, and I’m really excited to say they are now ready to go!

Not only that, but Mum’s Back are now a partner with the fabulous NOTHS, and you can find our storefront live and kicking over there too. This is a bit of a dream come true for me. When I was planning the launch of Mum’s Back earlier this year I had an ambition of appearing on that site as a bit of a long-term goal, perhaps in a year or two once we were more established. So you can imagine my surprise and delight when I got the call from them to tell me they’d like to have us immediately.

I have to admit I had a great time choosing the products in our new range. As always, we are focussed purely and solely on mum. At our core we are still very much all about new mums, but the new range focuses on gifts for mums at anytime of the year, simply because they blooming well deserve them all year round.

You will find an amazing “Mother’s Ruin” package (obvs!) that includes some TwoBirds Gin that really hits the spot, along with Folkingtons tonic to accompany (it was SUCH a hard job tasting all those G&Ts and deciding which made the cut, as I’m sure you can appreciate).

There are some sweet treats and energy balls to give any exhausted mum a real lift, featuring the fabulous Cocoa Loco Chocolate and Boostball.

A lot of people were asking me where the hell the Prosecco was? A very fair question! So you will now find a delicious Santa Margherita Prosecco included in our offering.

Here at Mum’s Back we love our foodie treats, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. But I’ve added a couple of non-food related items into the mix that I am very excited about. The fabulous Emily-Jane Clark and her blog “Sleep is for the Weak” got me through some very rough times with my non sleeping babies in the early days. Her facebook posts cheered up some pretty bleak times for me. It was fate that the release of her brand new book tied in with the planning of my new range. So here we have it, her fabulous book is now available as a stand-alone item for Mum, or as an addition to any hamper. It’s absolutely brilliant. A bit like a laugh and comforting hug with your best mate in book form.

Lastly, when I found out about this I had to include it; teething jewellery from the funky East London Baby Co. Yes, this is for baby too (it’s especially for baby to chew and chomp on while teething – how clever is that?), but the main reason I’ve including it in the Mum’s Back range is because it looks so damned cool, whether baby is there or not.

Check out the brand spanking new range on our site here and on NOTHS here.

While I'm at it, I'd like to give a HUGE shout out to 2 men in my life that have made all this possible. Firstly my husband, Paul Bunkham. He is not only an amazing Dad but also a pro geek and built this site for me. And to the skilled and talented photographer and friend, Simon Evans, who took care of all the beautiful images you can see here of my products. I am very lucky to have you guys!

A Mum in the Modern World – The Blessing & Curse of Social Media

I’ll admit it, I am a bit of  facebook addict. I probably over use it. I am an over-sharer. By personality I am somewhat of an extrovert and I thrive from interaction with others, so facebook is too tempting a place for me not to be. That was especially true during those lonely maternity leave days when I just craved adult interaction. As a Mum it has been a great place, but also occasionally a source of confidence sapping depression, guilt and frustration.

When we are feeling fragile and insecure social media has the ability to lift us up, make us feel comfortable, supported, and happy that we are not alone. But if we are not careful it can also bite, knock us down and make us feel like a kid, bruised and injured in the playground. When we are feeling vulnerable and tired, and let’s face it that happens a lot as a parent, it’s really important we use it in a way that is healthy and productive. I have a few tips about social media in general, which are basically rules I’ve made up for myself. I try to follow them, but admit I do still slip up, despite knowing what is best for me!

  • Don’t believe the hype! You know what it’s like…you hop on to check out your timeline and you see so and so having an educational craft morning with little Johnny (craft morning, eek!), or someone else taking their kids on a beautiful walk amongst nature in their new Boden snow suits, or that girl from blah with her son having a home cooked healthy meal they’ve made together, and suddenly you feel rubbish. All you have achieved so far is avoided the older one whacking the little one round the head with a wooden spoon, watched CBeebies solidly for 4 hours straight, avoided a tantrum about a bit of toast being cut the wrong way, and eaten a ready meal pizza….which the kids all hated. What we MUST remember is that these snap shots do not replicate real life. They represent a brief moment in time. 5 mins later they, like you, were probably doing something mind numbingly boring or disgusting, like cleaning sick from the cracks of the car seat, or arguing with their other half. Life is not perfect and social media profiles are usually far off from reality. I know mine is, and I even try to mix up the good with the bad.
  • No more late night facebooking/tweeting/researching! My youngest daughter was a TERRIBLE sleeper for the first 18 months of her life. If you watched my recent live chat about it you'll know how bleak it was. She is still not great. During that awful period of no sleep I blamed her (the poor thing!) for my terrible lack of rest. I spent many an evening (when she did finally sleep!) researching all the things that could be wrong with her, or chatting with people online about what it could be. This always happened just before bed. I was so tired I always believed I’d drop off straight away. Wrong! I’d lie awake, thoughts rushing through my mind full of anxiety and stress. She would wake any minute anyway, what is the point of sleeping? It was a horrible, anxiety filled state of mind to be in. What I didn’t attribute to really hindering my sleep was that before bed screen time. It played havoc with my shutting down systems. These days I have a cut off of no screen time 1 or 2 hours before bed, and try to be as strict as I can about it. That includes the TV too! It really has worked wonders in helping me drop off.
  • Find the right tribe for you. There are so many groups and forums you can join these days. There will be one (or a few) that is a supportive and healthy environment to be in, but it’s important to find the right one, as many are not. Some can simply make you feel like s**t. I remember reading some posts on social media in some forums from mums having trouble with their baby, who was waking once a night at 8 months old, for example. This was when my baby was 10 months old and waking hourly screaming blue murder. I wanted to strangle the poster. What I’d give to have ONE GODDAM WAKE UP! But I did find a tribe for me. The Sleep Thief Victim Support group, started by “Sleep is for the Weak” blogger Emily-Jane Clark. Here were women with babies of all ages in sleep deprivation hell. I made many friends in that group. We laughed together, cried together, and generally supported each other. It was a group not for advice or judgement, but a group purely for support. It helped me a lot. Another group I joined was ‘The Motherload. A group for non-judgemental women, supporting each other through the highs and lows of motherhood. Both groups have clear rules and admin will step in if anyone is not following the #dontbeadick ethos (which I LOVE). Research the group before you join, look at the “about” page and check it really is the right group before joining. If you join and it’s not, quietly leave, no harm done. You need to do this to protect your sanity.
  • If you don’t agree, scroll on by. Oh my goodness, the number of times I’ve become horribly embroiled in one of those awful facebook “debates” with people you either hardly know or do not know at all. Someone writes something you don’t agree with. You’re exhausted and feeling fed up. You give them your opinon. They write back. It’s begun. Everyone wants the last word. It gets personal. That little notification symbol gives you a little shudder and your heart goes a bit faster each time you see it. Urgh. I’ve been there and done that. I’ve said things I regret. I’m sure I’ve come across as a dick . You write things that can’t easily be taken back. It’s SO NOT HEALTHY! Try not to get involved in things like this, and try not to say anything online that you wouldn’t say to someone in real life, while out in the pub for example….or more likely, at a baby group!
  • People don’t post photos of loneliness. Ok that might be a bit dramatic, but it’s true. When you scroll through twitter or facebook or instagram and see all those pictures of friends and acquaintances out partying, or having big family meals, or having play dates with their kids together, all probably through a beautiful filter (who doesn’t love a filter?!) it is easy to think you are missing out. I have done it myself. You start to dwell on how rubbish your social life is. How little you see your extended family. How you never get invited anywhere. But I bet if you have a look at your profile, it tells a different story. People don’t post photos of themselves shoving hobnobs down their neck having FINALLY got the kids to sleep at 9pm on a Saturday night. Or photos of them worrying about how they haven’t spoken to their best friend in weeks, but are feeling too tired to even move to get the remote control for the telly, let alone pick up a phone. But that kind of thing is more often that not going to be the reality.
  • Take a break. Social media can be a pretty consuming place. All that information. All those articles to read. So many notifications to respond to. But if we didn’t, just for a weekend for example, would the world fall apart? No. In fact, regular breaks from it are more than likely going to make us feel much healthier and happier. Scientific studies (From The Happiness Research Institute for example) have proven that people who take breaks from social media, or disengage all together are happier. For me, I think the benefits outweigh the negatives. I have met some really good friends on social media, found out about some excellent events and activities, read some really thought provoking articles, and reconnected with some old friends I probably wouldn’t have without it. However, breaks are definitely important. I now try to turn off notifications and log out for a set period of time a week and stick to it. I try and live in the now a little more. It works and the more I do it, the less I miss it.

This blog was written by Sally Bunkham. Founder Mum’s Back, who provide gift hampers for new mums full of (but not exclusively) all the yummy things you’ve not been allowed whilst pregnant. £1 from every hamper goes to PANDAS Foundation to help in their important work supporting families going through perinatal mental health issues. To take advantage of our launch offer click here. We are also running a COMPETITION to win a classic Mum’s Back hamper. UK entries only.

An Ode to Men (or more specifically…Dads)

 

I have been writing so much recently about my journey as a Mother, and reading so much about other Mums and their incredible stories too. But it struck me today that not a great deal is often written about the men folk in these circles, and their journeys as Dads. I am a member of a fair few mummy/parenting groups online, and I get to see the bad press that men get a lot of the time. Not all negative of course, but a fair amount is. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not doubting for one minute that these women aren’t exaggerating the rubbishness of these men. There are definitely some right rotters out there (as there are women I should add). And my goodness, some of the stories I’ve heard! I’m also not doubting that men SHOULD step up when they have a family. They absolutely should. Parents both have a responsibility to their family. We aren’t “extra lucky” because Dads parent as much as the Mums. It’s just my concern their struggles aren’t often recognised or spoken about as much as us Mums are allowed to. And when I think about it, I realise how lucky I am to have such wonderful men in my life, and it seems a shame that they are hardly spoken about in this whole parenting journey malarkey (or maybe they are and I need to open my networks more). So as a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, I want to say thank you to the men (and also Dads) in my life.

Firstly; My Dad. My lovely, stable, steady, reliable, loyal, ever-present Dad. He turned 70 just the over day. He has been with my Mum for over 40 years. Just for that alone I am grateful. In this day and age, that kind of stability is quite rare. My Mum tells me he was always the patient one when my brother and I were young. He would be the one to pace up and down the landing jiggling us at night. He was the one that I’d make stay in the sea with me in Cornwall when I was little until he turned blue with cold. He was the one that read to me night after night in all his brilliant and funny voices. He always helps me out when I’m in trouble. It’s only now we realise how much our parents must have gone through bringing us up, now we are parents ourselves. All those worries and bills to pay. I was never really aware of those worries growing up. I’m gratetul.

I married into this stability lark, because my father-in-law has been married to my mother-in-law for over 50 years too. Amazing! They have been through a lot. My husband had a hole in his heart when he was younger and went through many procedures and major surgery. That kind of diagnosis 30 odd years ago had much worse implications back then. I can’t imagine how they got through all that stress. But they did, and they did it together. My father-in-law, like my own Dad, was also a pretty modern man as a Dad by all accounts. Or maybe lots of Dads were and it wasn’t spoken about then for fear of it not being ‘manly’ enough? Society leads us to believe gender roles were very polarised back then, anyway. But my father-in-law is a great cook and I’ve always seen him chipping in with housework. He tells me stories of how he’d be up most nights with the children and would sometimes commute straight to London to go to work after an “all nighter” (something my husband knows ALL about! And not just the party kind, sadly!). His reasoning was that my Mother-in-law had the kids all day, so it was his turn at night – amazing or what?!

My big brother is another pretty awesome guy, and brilliant Dad too. He’s built up his business from scratch and him and my sister in law have produced 2 of the most beautiful kids I know. All this after going through a pretty terrifying experience of testicular cancer, which now, thank goodness, is over.

Great Dads come in many forms. I’ve been reading some amazing stories recently about Dads that have come into kid’s lives later on. Dads that may not be biological fathers, but still fathers in every sense. Amazing men that love those kids so fiercely and protectively it makes my heart sing.

Some may not even label themselves as Dads at all. I have a friend that happens to be a refugee from Afghanistan. He travelled to the UK with his young brother, who was just 7 when they arrived. He has cared for him, loved him, protected him from danger and simply been there for him through so much. To me he will say he is his brother. I know that he has also taken on the role of his father, his mother, his friend and his confidant. The respect I have for that man is endless.

My best friend’s Dad is another hero of mine. He lost his wife and mother to their kids when my best friend and her sister were both very young. It’s only now, having had 2 children myself, that I realise how hard that must have been. Not only emotionally but practically and logistically too. But do you know what, he did it. And he did a damn good job. Those girls are the kindest, most lovely pair I know. You don’t get that good without awesome parenting!

And finally, I could not write this article without mentioning my husband. It would be easy for me to gush for England here, so I’ll try and rein it in a bit. All I can say is that I’m not sure what I’d have done without him. We will have been together 10 years this year. The last 4 have been very eventful, what with marriage, 2 pregnancies, the birth of 2 daughters, relocation, postnatal depression and the launch of a business (amongst other things). During my postnatal depression I was a bit of a mess (to say the least). He not only had 2 girls under 2 to cope with, but he also had a wife that was falling apart at the seams, a full time job, and to top it off he was only getting about 2 hours broken sleep a night. But he took it in his stride. I’ll never know how. All I know is that I am incredibly thankful to be married to the best husband and most brilliant and loving Dad there is.

So for every one of these amazing men, I know there are hundreds more out there just like them. They’re out there right now doing their thing, loving their family, working through their own issues and being brilliant. And to all the men I mention above and those in the world like them, I would like to say a massive thank you. You are blooming brilliant.

Sally Bunkham is founder of mumsback.com, providers of delicious hamper gifts for new mums. Take advantage of our 20% launch offer here

We are also running a competition to win a hamper throughout May (last day to enter is 24th May) Entries are free. All you have to do is answer the (pretty damn easy) question.

 

Top 3 Gifts for New Mums – The Cream of the Crop

Here at mumsback.com, we are totally, unashamedly and completely all about new mum gifts. When I started the company I didn’t think there were enough gift offerings available aimed solely at a new mother, and I did a lot of research to back this theory up. I was right, the market certainly isn’t saturated. However, what is available right now is pretty darn cool. I’ve put together my top 3 gifts for a new mum, each focussed on the different stages of that early journey into parenthood. Check them out!

Early pregnancy – dontbuyherflowers.com

Those first early weeks are so exhausting and pretty stressful. Many report it being the period where they feel the worst. Yet it’s the time when many opt not to let the cat out of the bag to their wider friends & family, making their situation hard to explain. What us ladies really need during this time is some good old-fashioned TLC. In fact, this gift works brilliantly for anyone going through a bit of a rough time, whether it be through pregnancy, perhaps trying to conceive, or any another stressful factor that life has chucked at them.

The Care Package at £27.50, plus £3.98 (min) delivery in the UK. In the beautifully presented box you get

 

  • Luxury Caramel & Cranberry Flapjack
  • Green Tea with Mint and Everyday Brew Tea
  • Triple Choc Brownie Truffles
  • Large Printed Scarf
  • Glossy magazine (choose from either Red, Glamour or Good Housekeeping)
  • There is also the option to add extras, such as Cook vouchers, for an additional charge.

I’ve purchased this gift 3 times recently for different friends, and they’ve all absolutely loved them. It delivers just the right mix of yummy treats for the tummy, scarf for warmth and comfort, and a bit of reading for relaxation – the perfect mixture to give the soul a boost!

Dontbuyherflowers.com was started by mum of two Steph Douglas back in 2014. Steph recognised the gap in the market for treats for mum, and has now also branched out into beautiful hampers for all sorts of occasions and situations, like “The Recovery Package” and “The Man package”.

 Mid to Late Pregnancy – applesandpips.co.uk

Now is the time when mum is starting to think a lot about the new arrival. It’s also likely she’ll be feeling the strain of the pregnancy as the baby gets bigger. At this point in the journey, a gift that combines the focus on both the mum and the baby is perfect. The ideal gift that delivers is a Mum-to-be Gift Hamper from the fabulous Apples & Pips (£55, includes delivery in the UK)

 

Included in this brilliant package are these thoughtfully handpicked items

  • A soothing lavender body heat wrap
  • Bamboo Washable Breast Pads
  • This Mama Does parenting milestone cards
  • ‘Follow your dreams, they know the way’ lined notebook
  • A handmade vegan soy wax lavender candle
  • A beautiful Boo Chew teething necklace
  • Cool It Mama body spritz
  • A sample of our best selling Kokoso organic coconut oil
  • 4 heart shaped milk chocolates
  • A £10 voucher to spend at Apples & Pips

Apples and Pips was started by mum of two Hannah Clarke. All products have been lovingly selected by Hannah and are of a fabulous quality. This particular combination is perfect for that mum to be. Apples and Pips also have a whole range of hampers and products available for parent, baby and toddler. They include teething jewellery, clothing, wraps, affirmation cards, journals and cosmetics, among many more! Check them out at applesandpips.co.uk. 10% of all Apples and Pips’ profits go to MAMA Academy, to support their fabulous work into the prevention of stillborn birth of babies.

 

After the birth – mumsback.com

Hurrah, the baby is here! Mum is now likely to be feeling rather tired and emotional following a beautiful, but crazy journey of pregnancy and childbirth. In my opinion, what she needs now is a treat just for her. Now the baby is born, she can enjoy a little more freedom to once again enjoy those treats she was abstaining from during pregnancy. The mumsback.com launch hamper (usually £55 including free delivery anywhere in the UK) provides just the right level of treat for a new mum to enjoy.

 

It’s usual for mum to get lots of gifts focussed on the baby, which is lovely, but a Mum's Back hamper really is a nod of appreciation just to mum and acknowledges the hard work involved in growing a little human being! It includes

  • A delicious half bottle of Rioja red wine
  • A creamy block of Vintage Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese
  • Cottage Delight Duck and Armagnac Paté
  • Cottage Delight Oval Albert biscuits
  • Deerview Fig Chutney
  • A handwritten gift card (optional)

I knew how much I missed the things I wasn’t allowed when pregnant, and felt there was a real gap in the market for a hamper like this, hence the formation of mumsback.com. £1 from every hamper sold goes to PANDAS Foundation to support their amazing work helping families experiencing perinatal mental health issues. I myself suffered postnatal depression following the birth of my second daughter, and now I’m through that tough time I felt it was really important to help support others going through something similar. We still have our launch offer running, so you can grab a hamper at 20% off (£44) including delivery anywhere in the UK. We can deliver immediately or you can pre-order now for delivery later (once the baby is born!). If you would like to let the recipient know you've thought of them, we can send a postcard letting them know the hamper will be on its way once the childbirth bit is done.

Launch Hamper

10 Annoying Phrases That Drive New Mums Nuts!

I do not want to be unkind to the folk that utter these phrases, because I’m sure that 99% of the time, their heart is completely in the right place. However, as a weary, fragile, exhausted, burnt out mum, there are phrases we hear, sometimes on a daily basis, that just wind us up something chronic. Let me begin….

  1. ENJOY EVERY MOMENT! Really? You expect me to enjoy every moment? If it’s all the same to you there are some moments I would like to bury in a very very deep hole never to see the light of day again. For example that moment when my toddler was screaming with hand foot and mouth disease in one room, while the newborn was screaming for milk in another, and I had no idea who to go to first. Or the moment when I’d been woken up for the 8th time in a row in the space of 3 hours, and my eyeballs were so dry and sore from exhaustion I thought they would actually fall out. There are moments I will definitely enjoy, sure! But every damn moment? I think not. On your bike.
  2. ONE DAY YOU’LL MISS ALL OF THIS. Yeah, please see above. Maybe some of it. But definitely not all of it.
  3. AHH IS HE/SHE GOOD? Is my 4 week old baby good? Erm, I’m not quite sure how to answer that. I mean, as far as I’m aware they haven’t shoplifted yet and I certainly haven’t had to send them to their room without any pudding. I think what they’re perhaps asking is am I blessed with an easy and sleepy baby? And the answer is NO I’m bloody not.
  4. YOU MUST SLEEP WHEN THEY SLEEP. Mmmmmm, nice idea that. Only if I did that I would wake up to absolute utter chaos! When they sleep I just about have a teeny tiny opportunity to get on top of things like eating, sterilising bottles, or washing up, or hanging washing out, so that I don’t live in mayhem. But as I say, nice idea.
  5. UH-OH, YOU’RE MAKING A ROD FOR YOUR OWN BACK THERE! Well, if that includes ensuring my baby is warm and comfortable and content, and it stops the blooming screaming, then stick that rod up my back as FAR AS IT WILL BLOODY GO! This one used to really get my goat. And do you know what, it’s also utter bollocks. All the apparent “rods for my back” where actually just really successful methods in making my baby feel happy, safe and secure, all of which they grew out of in their own time.
  6. BREAST IS BEST! Don’t get me wrong, I understand and appreciate the value in this message, I really do. It’s just that it’s not always the most useful statement to make. If, for example, the mother is having an utter nightmare trying to breastfeed, someone repeating how marvellous it is constantly, but not actually helping in HOW to do it is about as useful as a chocolate teapot. And for some (me included here), breastfeeding is not always possible, no matter now much they wish it were.
  7. THAT BABY IS USING YOU AS A DUMMY. Now not being able to breastfeed, I never had the pleasure of this little gem. But I have good friends who did breastfeed and I’ve been told how often they got this, and it makes me furious on their behalf. Look pal, if being attached to my boob is making the baby happy and is keeping them quiet and content, let them get on with it would you? I’m fairly confident they won’t be asking to do it when they’re 16.
  8. YOU THINK THIS PHASE IS HARD? JUST YOU WAIT! Yes, so useful! Because when I’m finding something tough, the best thing you can do is tell me how awful the next part is! This begins in pregnancy. “oooh you think pregnancy is hard? Wait till you’ve had the baby!” and then it doesn’t stop. Newborns are nothing compared crawlers, crawlers nothing compared to walkers, talkers are nothing compared to terrible 2s, terrible 2s are easy compared to threenagers. ARGHHHH!
  9. DO THEY SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT NOW? Just don’t even go there. Please.
  10. IS DADDY BABYSITTING? (on the rare occasion mummy makes it out the house alone) No, Daddy is not “babysitting”, Daddy is “parenting”. I’m pretty confident last time Daddy went out on his own he wasn’t asked if Mummy was “babysitting” so I’m not quite sure why it’s acceptable to be asked the other way round.

Sally Bunkham is the founder of Mum's Back, who provide new mum gifts focussing on the luxury stuff denied in pregnancy, while also raising awareness of perinatal mental health issues.

 

What’s the most annoying phrase you heard as a new parent? I’d love to know! Tell me at my Facebook page or tweet me @MumsBack

Fancy winning a Mum's Back hamper? check out our comp here