It’s a phrase heard by so many women and families, and one that many of us are now keenly aware of, trained to avoid and to challenge at all costs. A simple, well-meaning phrase that can shatter, destroy, devastate. Think I’m being over dramatic? I’m not. Telling a new mum that the horrendous, life changing experience she has encountered is ‘just one of those things’ can be hugely damaging. Telling her that her feelings are not valid, she’s not entitled to feel that way and she needs to focus on the positive can be huge damaging. Telling her all that matters is a healthy baby can be hugely damaging. Because the thing is that is all matters. All of it. Every word spoken, every note written, every slight glance given. This is her experience, her moment and her once in a lifetime pregnancy. It’s not just another day. It’s not a little blip in the road towards a positive outcome. It’s not all that matters….
One of the most challenging aspects of parenting, hands down, is mealtimes. I won’t lie, having four children only increases that challenge and with all four of them being fairly fussy eaters, food has often been the source of many tears, frustrations and arguments over the years. The thing is, I’ve tried really hard to make sure that any associations the kids have with food is positive, and with two of them having allergies and intolerances its not always been easy. There are so many pressures piled onto parents when it comes to feeding their kids- and news reports on childhood obesity and related illnesses are increasing the overwhelming necessity to get it right.
The Infant & Toddler Forum has been featured on Ghostwritermummy before- check out my posts on toddler portion sizes, and the Tot it Up food tracker here. The latest development on the site is the launch of their really hand guide Ten Steps for Feeding Babies, an amazing resource designed to help parents feel confident in all aspects of feeding, right from the word go….
Years ago, as a child, I read the amazing poem Not Waving but Drowning by Stevie Smith and the words have stayed with me since. It’s so powerful, and has the ability (as all great written works do) to stop you in your tracks and contemplate the world, the people in it and your own position as a tiny fleck of something. To know that nobody can hear you and yet you still keep making a sound. You still cling to that desperate need to be heard, to be saved. To signal so desperately for help help HELP but to be misunderstood instead. To have people smile, nod, wave back to you. Nobody has the time. Nobody wants to get involved. Nobody wants to save you. To prefer to believe excuses instead of accepting that you stood by and did nothing. Nothing. Wow. It’s little wonder this poem haunted me for so many years, and probably always will.
And it’s been pertinent for me, because for a long time after my son was born I was that man in the water. I was the one trying desperately, in the only ways I knew how, to attract attention and to make people understand. I was the one who was still moaning, long after they’d turned their backs and walked away. I was the one waving madly in their faces like a loon, while they simply waved back with a smile. I’m sure we’ve all been that man before.
I’m not saying I’m ‘cured’ or that I am 100% a new person, but I do feel I’ve changed my perspective. That’s the only way I know how to put it! I haven’t moved on because I’m not sure I ever can, nor that I ever really want to now. But I HAVE changed my perspective, in that now I am not downing, but waving….
For the third year in a row, we will be away for Christmas and we really cannot wait! For years and years I had wanted to be away for Christmas day. I always loved the idea of just taking the whole day as easy as possible, and to eliminate all the pressures that Christmas seems to bring. Now, with four children and family scattered all over the country and the world, my husband finally agrees! As the children have grown both in size and age, it’s become more and more clear that Christmas day needs to revolve around THEM rather than the rest of our extended family. That might sound selfish; it really isn’t meant to. But we have four little people who rely on us to make Christmas magical and that just doesn’t happen when you’re either stuck in a car all day visiting or you’re away from your presents. So, we go away and this year we’ve booked a log cabin with Forest Holidays! And just to reiterate my point a little further, here are three reasons to go away for Christmas. Who knows, maybe you’ll do it yourself next year?…