Thursday, 6 August 2015

Another baby? How do you decide?

Another baby or not? 

One minute I'm making my husband watch OBEM, the next I'm eyeing up which one of the thousands of baby toys I have accumulated in 7 years, can swiftly be put on freecycle, you know, to make room for that lovely new vase with long twigs and sparkly lights protruding out of it from John Lewis. I haven't had room for it until now.

Do we ever get to a point as parents, that we know enough is enough? Do we ever feel at peace with knowing that our DNA will never again combine and produce one of these tiny miracles? 

At the hub of all social, intellectual and thought provoking conversation, better known as 'the school playground' I have posed this question many times. 
I've been met with, I wanted more but we left it too late, I'm too old now, and those that said after their last addition they just knew it was time for a circumcision. I won't try and dress that last one up. 

As a mother to 4, I am in total limbo about the whole baby or no baby dilemma. 
I read a quote from a lady in America who said
"You can regret the child you never had but you will never regret the child you did" 
And it has stuck to me like a cheerio to a toddlers face.
 
What do you do when you can't quite decide? Should you keep going until you get the 'moment' when your uterus packs up and goes on permanent leave due to stress. Or do you stop when the desire to reproduce becomes a wish wash of maybes and what ifs? 

For now, my uterus is on vacation, not with indefinite leave to remain, but just a visa to have a holiday. It has had a battering in the last few years. 

Until I decide, I will just feed my slight pee on a stick addiction (poas to those of us on every baby forum know to man) and spend £10 on two tests every few months just to, you know, feel in the loop still and maybe test my reaction...

If you knew you were done, when and how did it happen? Was it a light bulb moment or did you always have a plan of how many mouths you would feed? 

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

The Blogger Interview

So here you can delve a little into my history with blogging, what I'm hoping for and what my opinions are on a couple of areas!

I have been nominated by the lovely Jemma over at the rather fabulous Living Life Nottingham to answer the questions below. Here I go:

How did you get into blogging?

It was about 4 months ago, it feels like a lot longer though! It just happened that one day I was reading an article on Mother Pukka and for some reason I decided to send in one of the many pieces I had stored in the 'notes' section of my iPhone. I would just write them for fun when the moment took me. And so I sent it and the lovely Anna said she would like to publish it! I was completely shocked and couldn't even give links to a blog etc, so the next night I went and set one up! And that was that and hear I am now!

What advice would you give to a blogger just starting out?

Get on Twitter! I had never been a member but thought it was the best place to get to know some other like minded people and read other blogs. It's been great. Try and get yourself involved in conversations, but don't cross the line of being pushy! Read other people's work and take time to tell them if you enjoyed it, it's always nice to hear! Don't stress too much about the 'pretties' I suppose it depends on what your going for, but with me, I'm so busy with my 4 children that I don't have time to worry about lots of pictures and my font. I just write whatever comes into my mind, that I think others will enjoy, and post it. I don't want to resent sitting down to work on my blog so I have to prioritise and to me content is they key. Although I do get jealous seeing some peoples beautiful sites! Also try and get involved with bloggers asking for articles from guests. It's great to link up and open new doors.

How has your blog changed since you started writing it? 

Hmmm I'm not sure on this one as it's still so new! I think it's become more 'article' based rather than an account of day to day life, which is how I wanted it but I didn't think I would do it! I'm getting my flow to the way I write as well.

What would be your dream campaign? 

I'm all ears to any campaign, but I need to like and enjoy the concept or the product and think it would be helpful for people to see a review on it. I would love to work alongside a charity (which I'm starting to do with Domestic Violence UK) to use my platform for things I feel need pushing out into the public eye. Of course like many bloggers, working with any well known company would be amazing and a great opportunity, and something that I hope I could give a lot to. We will wait and see!

What advice would you give to PR's wanting to approach you for a campaign?

Just send a friendly email! I'm really open to ideas so as long as I think it's a good fit.

Do you have a plan for your blog?

Not really! I'm just seeing where this blogging journey will take me and will go with the flow of it. I have already got involved with some other great bloggers, some who have become like old friends and some that have just been so helpful. Also I hope to pop up on some other great websites and publications one day. I have just recently been on the front page of Mumsnet Bloggers Network which was just amazing and I'm in talks (well emails!) with another great site so we will just see how it goes!
I hope to have some more variety in what I write about, to enter different topics outside parenting, but there is so much to write about I'm not sure I will ever exhaust it!

What do you think about rankings?

I have no idea as I have never checked! I don't know if I would like to know this early on as it may effect my mojo ;) unless I'm top. Then I totally want to know about it!

So now I'll nominate....

Emma at www.emmapullar.com
Natalie at Tales Of Tali
Emma at The Joy Of Five

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Large families. Are you judged?

When I had two children, the lady in the cue didn't bat an eye lid. 

When I had two children people walked past me, I blended in nicely to what they deemed as socially acceptable. 

I didn't cause a stir. 

When I was pregnant with my third daughter, my youngest was only just perfecting her ability to put one foot in front of the other. 
The looks started, the comments of 'how would I cope' followed, and the very endearing 'I just couldn't do it, I'd go insane' 

Aaahh, cute, thank you for that helpful insight into your family planning.

I just wanted to give those people a great big kiss, go sit and have a Costa with them, and hear all the concerns they have for me and my family.  

And then after take my Tomme Tipee bottle warmer out of my hold-all sized change bag and smack them round the head with it. 

Little darlings. 

Hey, I'm a chatter, I'm a people person, I'll talk to you about my kids, hell I'm even one of those that will let you touch my planet sized baby bump. 
I get all my kids to say 'byeeee' to every shop assistant. 
I'm a lover not a hater. 

But, if one more person looks at me as though I have no self control around men, and stored under my pushchair is an eight pack of Heineken and my drug dealers phone number, 

I will show you how I have no self control. 

I will call your bluff. I will stop in my tracks. I will ask you how many children you have (God forbid you tell me three, I mean come on..you have ONE less than me!) 
I will ask if you think I'm a bad parent and to explain yourself. 
I will ask how many siblings you have and rip into you and your mother, if you dare say above two. 

I will cry uncontrollably. I will sob in the trolley park of Tesco's, as I'm unloading my children from every available hole that could be used as a seat (they don't cater for three under three) to make everyone stare at how you've made a lady cry.

I'll tell you how judged I feel, how you have added to the list of people that make a preconception of my clan every time I leave my house, how I question what I wear so as to appear more of a 'nice' mum, to make sure I don't project the image of the drop out parent you view me as. 
I'll tell you how I now shop in M&S and wear chinos, when really I want to be in jogging bottoms and a GAP hoody. 

*and breathe* 

By the time we were awaiting the imminent arrival of daughter number four, I didn't want to leave the house. 

I told my husband of all the looks, the comments. 
How it was embarrassing, it was embarrassing being pregnant with our child. 

I stuck to the safety of play groups and play dates, feeling accepted and cloaked from the world by those who knew me, who knew I wasn't trying to up my up my benefit amount by popping out a child every year. 
People that knew our fourth daughter was the biggest shock of our lives, who knew how hard my husband worked to give us a good life, and how I actually loved and took care of my children. 

Now, after my fourth daughter was born, the lady in the cue, always stares. 

She tuts as one of them starts to cry, I obviously can't handle the situation I've created. 

I would turn a pale shade of red, praying in my head for my girls to just be quiet, to stand nicely, to not be dribbling that chocolate bar I bought them each as bribery, down their chins onto their already stained t-shirts from breakfast. 

Please, please help me look like I've totally got this down girls, like I run the van traps and I'm about to go home and bake apple pie. 

Let's look like they want us to. 

Then it all changed. 

Something snapped. 
A man I had never met before, changed my whole view, my worries, my self awareness and my confidence that had been knocked, piece by piece, chipped away by strangers. 
This man asked me on the school run 'have you figured out how that happens yet love, do you need a lesson?' 

First of all the 'love' just made it ten times worse.
I kept walking. Saying nothing. 

My 7 year old daughter turned her head, looked up and asked what he had said, had I yawned as my eyes were red?

I got angry, my daughter was now an age she could fully comprehend a sly comment. She could hear and understand things that were said. 

I stopped. I turned back to the man and said with an overly annoying amount of shaking in my voice..

'Yes I do, and you know I just feel happy I have four healthy children, some people aren't so lucky' 

Yes I know. 
Not quite the comeback you were hoping for right? 
Me neither. I was completely gutted as it literally fell out of my mouth. But it was the best I could do on the spot. 

He just shrugged and nodded. 

I walked away, my heart hurtling out my chest with every beat, tears swelling ten fold. 

My daughter skipped ahead merrily unaware and had forgotten her question as she was pretending to be a ballet teacher to her sisters. 

From that small moment, I refused to be embarrassed again. I refused to let people talk to me however they deemed fit, because I had 4 young children. 

I told my self if I want to wear yoga pants to soft play by damn I'll wear them. I'll even wear my trainers. 
If my child cries, I won't leave the shop in MI5 style, ducking and diving trying to avoid as much eye contact as possible, I'll crack out the mobile phone and put Peppa pig on. 
Like all good parents should. And I'll do my shopping.
I won't feel ashamed for having these four beautiful, bouncing mini me's all wanting to hold my hand. 
I'll tell you how utterly blessed my husband and I are. 
How much I'm looking forward to over crowded Christmases and 16 grandchildren, to the 4 birthday parties we will have every year and that we have a higher chance than most of one of them becoming a millionaire.
I know how my beautiful girls are loved. I know how I devote every hour and every fibre I have to them. 
I know how much fun and laughter our large family brings.

So go ahead now and look, lady in the cue. 

I'll pose for a picture ifyou like. I may even pull out my baseball cap. 

Just let me hide the bottle of wine in my basket first.