Thursday, 18 January 2018

The Year of the Threenager


I always knew the terrible twos were going to be difficult, you hear about it all the time. From relatives and friends to strangers in the street. It is completely normal when your toddler starts to assert their independence but what about the year of the threenager? By definition, a threenager is a three year old with the attitude of a teenager. So how do we deal with this?

George turned three in September and since then I have noticed a huge change in his behaviour and he is pushing boundaries like never before. Nobody prepared me for this. His attitude stinks worse than one of Henry's leaky. teething shits and I am just about ready to rip out my own hair. My once happy boy can now be extremely solemn at times, not to mention the foot stamping, the growling and the foot stamping.

The "Thinking Step" doesn't work because he think it is funny. Telling him off sternly won't work because he either lashes out or hisses. Seriously, what's with the hissing? I am at my wits end with him already and still have another nine months of this shit! He refuses to listen properly making up words in response to anything I say. He has also started dropping the letter 'T' from words and that in itself is enough to make me want to strangle him. I'm sure he does it all the more because he knows how much it annoys Pete and I.

If you though two year old tantrums were bad just wait until your three year old screams and cries for fifteen minutes because he can't have a packet of sweets at 6am. Just this morning he sat on the step sulking because I wouldn't let him have a snack bar before breakfast. I served him the porridge he eats almost daily only to be met with "this porridge tastes disgusting. Bleurgh!"

Not that I am wishing his life away but this is a stage I cannot wait for him to grow out of . Even his teacher in pre-school has pulled me up on his behaviour, she wants to speak to the SENCO about maybe introducing a reward chart for him because he doesn't fear any consequences.

Here's to all you parents surviving the year of the threenager!

Rachael xo

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Why I Could Never Be a Stay At Home Mum

When George was eight months old my maternity leave had finally come to an end and the time had come for me to return to work. I remember vividly the night before, I was emotional and cuddled him to sleep. I didn't want to leave him every day, I was racked with guilt even though I knew I was leaving him in good hands in the form of family. My request for part time hours was denied and I was miserable. Fast forward a year, I left that company, unknowingly fell pregnant with Henry and started a new job of which I thought there were part time hours available. Alas, I was informed the job would be full time but I ended up enjoying it there and didn't mind too much.

I found out I was pregnant with Henry a month after I had started said new job and I panicked. I had gotten so used to being a working mum, my first thought was childcare. I know, pretty selfish right? See, we were incredibly lucky in the fact both my sets of grandparents and my dad provided childcare for George but with my grandparents getting older it would have been so unfair to expect them to look after two babies.

Eventually, albeit reluctantly, I came to terms with the fact I might have to find a part time job to work around the kids. Ideally, I wanted something early morning that would fit in with Pete's working hours and I could spend my afternoons with my boys. I was adamant this was what I wanted. The perfect balance between work and family.

That was until Henry arrived of course. Balancing a newborn and a toddler was far more difficult than I expected. I longed for a break, time on my own. If you thought getting out the house with one kid in tow, try it with two! I was soon back on antidepressants because my mood instantly deteriorated.

I was upset, angry and resentful. I had practically given up a job I was finally happy in after two years of misery and many more of temporary positions. I yearned for the routine of getting up, dressed, going to work with nothing but a handbag.

See the thing is, I am just far too selfish to be a stay at home mum and I appreciate my boys far more when I have had that little bit of time away from them. I also like earning my own money, drinking a cup of tea while it's still hot and having actual grown up conversations. I like the fact I am not constantly relied on and can actually sit on my arse without getting up every ten minutes.

I admire those parents who do stay at home with their children and those who want to. I actually got to return to work in September for two full days a week as Pete went self employed and I find that to be the perfect balance for us. The boys get to spend time with both their parents and also Pete and I get to be someone other than mum or dad.

How about you? Could you be a stay at home parent?

Rachael xo

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Goals for 2018

Although it may be a cliché, each year I try to set myself goals then reflect on them at the end of said year. It's not something I did last year due to being absolutely exhausted from being so heavily pregnant. This year in an attempt to become more organised, I am starting again. My plan is to actually write down my goals on paper this time to remind myself of them and therefore mark them off as I complete them. The motivation is real.

  1. Pass my Driving Test
    I started lesson in the summer so I am absolutely desperate to pass my test now, especially so I can take the boys places when we're off in the Spring/ Summer and Pete is working. I just can't wait to have that freedom of being able to take them places.
  2. Update my Blog More Often
    I really want to improve my writing skills because it's something I love doing and in order to do that I need to create more content for my blog. My blog is a year old now and I definitely should have bashed out more than 50 posts by now.
  3. Improve my Photography/ Editing Skulls
    There's nothing I love more than seeing gorgeous Insta photos and beautiful blog photos and it makes me want to brush up on my own skills so I can capture pretty images of the boys.
  4. Lose Weight/ Tone Up
    It wouldn't be a complete list of goals without this one right? Last year I joined Slimming World but left right before Christmas. I have slowly gained the pounds since then so I am determined to shift them.
  5. Sort The House Out
    We have lived in our house for three and a half years and it is still unfinished and untidy but we're getting there slowly. By this time next year, I want the entire house to be immaculate and finished. Well as immaculate as can be with two toddlers running about!
My list of goals is short but sweet and I living in the hope that by keeping it this way they will be more achievable. Cannot wait to review them at the end of the year! Wish me luck!

Do you have any goals this year?

Rachael xo

Monday, 1 January 2018

2017 Roundup

2017 was the year we welcomed our second child into the world. The baby I was unprepared for, our little surprise. Adjusting to life as a mother of two was something I found incredibly difficult mentally, therefore 2017 was the year my mental health took a dramatic dip.

No sooner was Henry born I was back on my antidepressants. There was a certain time in particular when Pete and I had a particularly bad argument, I snapped and walked out of the house. I've screamed, I've shouted, I've cried and I have threatened to leave my significant other more times than I count.

Despite all of the above, I actually had an amazing year minus the blips. I gave birth to another gorgeous baby boy and watch my toddler grow and develop into the most incredible and loving big brother ever. Watching them bind and play together every day melts my heart. George can make Henry belly laugh like nobody else and I cannot wait to watch them become best friends as they grow.

My best friends and I got together for the first time in forever and we drank all of the wine and ate all of the pizza, even if it did end up with me becoming absolutely smashed and falling asleep in a club and crying in the toilets. Yes, I was a mess.

One of my closest friends and I went to Cardiff, ate all the sushi, shopped and drank all of the cocktails to celebrate an eight year long friendship and reminisce about our gig days in one of our favourite cities. We sat in the park and chilled on the Sunday and it was so nice just to gossip and catch up.

I had the opportunity to visit Amsterdam, not once but twice and never have I fallen in love with a city so much. The place is so beautiful and completely different to what I expected, every building is so pretty and I basically laughed the entire time I was there on both occasions.

We had our first holiday as a family of four. We stayed in a caravan near the beach, had BBQs, visited the beach which was literally right behind some dunes next to our caravan and drank ciders until our hearts content. The four days we were there were so good and it was nice just to spend some together the four of us.

My best friend got married and I was so proud to be called her Maid of Honour. It was the most perfect day, every last detail was so perfect and of course she looked stunning.

In September, I took my twelve year old brother to meet his all time favourite drag queen which is easily one of my highlights of the year. Watching the two of them interact was so heart-warming and it is something that I will remember forever.

Pete and I watched two of our friends get married in November which was just another stunning day and it was so good for the two of us to do something together without having to worry about being parents for a whole day. I was really drunk (a recurring theme of the year) and danced the entire night away.

December was a bit of a whirlwind but we celebrated Henry's first Christmas and as George is now three, he got to appreciate everything that little bit more so Christmas extra special for us this year. Now I just need to find homes for the hundreds of toys the boys received from the big man.

To conclude, although parts of 2017 were a huge struggle, I still had an awesome year. Here's to 2018, lets make it a goodun.

Rachael xo


Thursday, 28 December 2017

On Friendships After Kids

They say if a friendship lasts seven years it lasts forever. I am not entirely sure who 'they' are but I like it. I have three best friends, my coven, and they have all been in my life for over seven years now - lucky witches!
I have known Emma since we were in pre-school and even though I left that school, we still saw each other once a year at a mutual friend's birthday party. Then when we started secondary school we were placed in the same form and have been best friends ever since. I think that's called serendipity.

Grace and I started a beautiful friendship during Year 10 Science class where we would constantly belt out Busted and Blink 182 song. Finally, when we hit drinking age we'd head out to our local rock club where we would neck 2-4-1 bevs and dance to pop punk. She's since grown out of her emo phase but I liked her so I kept her around.

I don't know how I became friends with Lauren but we would spend summers at the beach or nights in her attic gossiping, playing some Harry Potter board game or winding up boys on MSN. Remember MSN? God, I'm old! Again, we became good drinking buddies spending our hard earned cash on £1 drinks every Monday and dancing to cheesy classics (our common ground) at Aquapop, vowing each night to not get "Med Drunk".

I see many a post online whereby women are complaining they have lost friends after they have become pregnant and had a baby. Most of it seems very passive aggressive - "have a baby, you'll soon find out who your real friends are" - that kind of stuff. Although part of me does feel sorry for these people, I also get quite annoyed by it. I want to know how much effort is put in by the person with child.
I understand that I am lucky in the fact my girls are still around after two kids.Yes, two of us now no longer live locally due to work commitments and we don't go out as often as we use to but that comes with age and life getting in the way. The four of us have a Whatsapp group in which we talk in almost every single day, we meet up as often as we can for a catch up or a night out and have even  managed a couple of weekends away.
Without sounding too soppy or gushy or cringey, I am truly blessed to call them my friends, they are all unofficial aunties to my boys. I mean, does your mum even have mates if you don't call them all auntie?

I am a firm believer in that it works two ways, you still have to put that effort into any relationship after having a child. Whether it be catching up over coffee or something as simple as sending a quick text. You might be surprised!

Rachael xo

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

"I Don't Want Kids"

I've always known kids were going to be part of my future, especially being the eldest grandchild on my mum's side of the family. I was only eight years old when my first cousin was born and I was smitten, my mum was his child minder for a while and I LOVED it when he came to ours for the day. I guess my maternal side kicked in when my twin brothers were born. In fact, I can remember the exact moment my parents told us they were expecting, they took us out for dinner, sitting opposite my brother and I, they said "we have something to tell you" and my brother said "you're pregnant aren't you?" my mum said "yes but there's something else" without missing a beat "it's twins isn't it?" I said. And that was that, we were expanding! I was fifteen when Harry and Elliot entered the world and I fell in love, they were just so small and precious. I spend a lot of time helping out with the twins and my mother would jokingly say she had a built in babysitter - which wasn't really a joke. We have an understanding though, my mum and I, I never say no when she asks me to babysit and she never says no when I ask her to! Whenever my parents were working and their shift patterns clashed (joys of NHS workers hey?) I would get up in the morning, give the boys breakfast and dress them for school. They were three and I was eighteen by this point, so I was fairly confident in making sure they were clean and fed. Life was great, I vould have babies to look after and play with, wind up a bit then hand them back over when I'd had enough. 

There were many a time when I was a young, innocent naive eighteen year old that I just thought everybody would want children, why wouldn't they? Babies were cute. One of my best friends told me she never wanted kids and I was shocked "you'll change your mind, everyone wants kids!" Oh how stupid I was. It wasn't for the fact I was ignorant but I just thought she was saying it because she was young and wanted to live her life first. To this day, she still does not want children. And that's okay! She isn't some spinster woman who lives on her own with a million cats (she just has the one yet so there's still time for that) but she's great with my boys and has nieces and nephews of her own who she's equally amazing with. 

Another close friend on the other hand doesn't like children at all and that's okay too. I don't really like other people's children myself unless they're tiny babies who I can just snuggle with. She's a good friend though because in all her awkwardness, she asked to hold George when he was born and she's put up with being slapped and kicked by him as well. Who can blame the girl for not wanting kids when she has been subjected to that?

Some women are maternal and want children. Some women don't. It doesn't mean they hate children, it just means they do not want to become a mother. Society just expects women to become mothers but why? We don't expect all men to become fathers and it seems totally okay for a man to be a bachelor, but when a woman says they won't want children why do we react like they're about to shoot us in the face? 

If your response when someone says this is like mine when I was younger, stop and think first. I actually know someone who has been asked "what's wrong with you" because she doesn't want children. How is that an acceptable thing to say to anyone? It is so disrespectful! Women who do not want children are only the same as people who don't want pets. If I told you I didn't have any pets or didn't want any pets in future, you woudn't ask why or tell me I may change my mind, you would accept it. 

That's what we should be doing for these women. Respect their choice and if you can't, just keep your mouth shut and smile :) 

Their body. Their life. Their choice.

Rachael xo


Monday, 18 December 2017

The Christmas Tag

Christmas is my favourite time of year, as soon as Halloween is over, I'm ready to embrace all things Christmas, the Christmas songs come out and I want to dust off the decorations and get them up so I can enjoy them for as long as possible! I was tagged by the lovely Lyndsey from Fizzy Peaches to take part in the Christmas Tag so here goes!

What's Your Favourite Christmas Movie?

I absolutely love The Santa Clause trilolgy, I watch it every year wheen I'm wrapping presents, it's become a little tradition.

Have You Ever Had A White Christmas?

I think we have but because I live on a peninsular, we're really lucky (or unlucky if you hate snow) if it sticks. I do remember falling over on the ice in 2010 so maybe that was the last time we had snow.

Where Do You Usually Spend Your Holiday?

On Christmas Day we go to my parents' for dinner and spend the day there.

What's Your Favourite Christmas Song?

Okay I have a few because I love Christmas songs. My top three are, Baby Please Come Home - Michael Buble, Driving Home for Christmas - Chris Rea and River - Barry Manilow.

Do You Open Any Presents on Christmas Eve?

Absolutely not! And the boys won't be doing it either. Everyone does get new pjs though, I mean is it even Christmas if you don't get Christmas Eve pyjamas?

Can You Name all of Santa's Reindeer?

Unlike Lyndsey, I'm not going to cheat! Comet, Vixen, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Rudolph, Blitzen, Cupid and Prancer. I think? How many does he have?

What Holiday Traditions Are You Looking Forward to This Year?

Having steak and prosecco for tea on Christmas Eve, bathing the boys, putting their new pjs on, taking a photo in front of the tree, watching The Snowman and putting out some prosecco and a cake for Santa! Yes, Santa likes prosecco in our house.

Is Your Christmas Tree Real or Fake?

We have an artificial tree because I like it to be quite full and I don't really like the look of real trees!

What Is Your Favourite Holiday Food/ Treat?

I do enjoy a pig in a blanket, there's just something about sausage wrapped in bacon isn't there?

Be Honest: Do You Prefer Giving or Receiving Gifts?

I really do enjoy giving! I love buying presents for other people that I know they will love, it makes me really happy. Although I'm not going to lie, I do like receiving just as much!

What's The Best Present You've Received?

My mum made this photo book online of all the photos from mine and Pete's engagement party and it was so perfect, I might have cried.

What's Your Dream Place to Visit for the Holiday Season?

I would LOVE to visit New York at Christmas, I know it sounds cliche but it just looks so dreamy. I want to see the tree at the Rockerfeller Centre.

Are You a Pro Wrapper or Do You Fail Miserably?

I'm definitely a pro because I have to wrap EVERYTHING. Pete only has to worry about wrapping my presents!

What's Your Most Memorable Christmas Memory?

When I was 12 my mum and dad presented my brother and I with a little Christmas gift bag and inside where our passports and a message telling us we were going to be spending New Year in Disneyland Paris.

What Made You Realise the Truth About Christmas?

I was quite old I think and people in school were talking about whether or not they believed and my mum and dad decided to tell me. I remember being secretly upset about it actually.

What Makes the Holidays Special for You?

Spending time with family definitely! Not that I don't anyway but it's just nice to keep up traditions and not stress about anything for a week or two!

So there we have it! I can't believe Christmas is a week away, I am so excited to celebrate this year as a family of four, it's Henry's first Christmas and soon after he'll be one!

I tag:

Louise - Wee Ohana
Sophie - Vitiligo Mum
Karina - Mums The NerdKim - Brummie Gal in Cardiff
Jemma - Mayflower Blogs
Amy - All About A Mummy
Jenny - Edspire
Jess - Mrs Hible
Claire - Bumps, Babies, Tots and Teens
Siobhan - The Baby Boat Diaries