Why everyone needs a mum squad

It’s 11pm. Hubby is asleep, kids are asleep. You’ve had a horrendous day but still worrying about the colour of your baby’s poo.You can’t text your non-mum friends as they’ll be asleep because they have work tomorrow, or at some swanky bar launch. Who do you call? Your mum-squad. 

Being a new mum can sometimes be quite a lonely experience, but having a gang you can turn to makes all the difference. 

If you don’t have a mum squad, I urge you to find or build one. Here’s why: 

1. You can tell them anything and I mean anything. You see, a well established mum squad has this amazing ability to be non-judgemental. For some reason you feel so comfortable with this group you’ve known for 5 minutes, you’re happy to discuss anything from teething to the state of your post-partem sex life (or lack thereof) and they’ll just listen, or laugh knowingly. But they won’t judge. 

2. Because they don’t judge they’ll always try to understand or help. Nothing beats having friends that have always got your back. Or wipes. It’s so good to have a friend that carries wipes

3. You don’t have to join a new class alone. Even if it’s just to do a free trial, it’s great to have someone to go with. They’ll probably try anything once. For some reason a pack mentality sets in when you have a mum-squad. If one person suggests trying something new and a bit random, there’ll be someone happy to tag along. 

4. As time moves on, they gradually let you become you again because you’re on this journey together.

5. You have an excuse to dress your babies up in silly novelty outfits at every opportunity. 

 I had a great NCT group first time around so was keen to join again with Boy 2 and once again I’ve been really lucky – they are great. But I’m aware NCT ain’t cheap and not always the path people want to take. If NCT isn’t for you, then get yourself on Netmums or check out your local groups. Be bold and ask people if they want to go for coffee or a park walk after a class. Believe me, if you’re thinking about it someone else will be too.

I’m a picky parent!!

Before having children, everyone tells you about how your topics of conversation will change. Bodily fluids and let’s be honest, solids, will no longer be barred from dinner talk. In fact they’ll probably be top of mind. 

But what you don’t prepare yourself for is the amount of time spent picking and prodding at the vast array substances created by your little bundle of joy. 

Ear wax. Why do babies create so much ear wax?! The little caramel coloured balls that gather in their ears.

Boggies. I don’t know what the medical term is but my little one seems to have a lot. The flicker back and forth when he’s happy or upset, teasing me to try and catch them. Every time I think I’ve got it, it just bounces back into the depths of his little nostrils. I persevere for what seems like an age (once he’s crying I might as well carry on…) until finally it is mine! Delicately caught between fingernails, I pull at it gently to find it is HUGE! I don’t know how he is able to breath with that thing up there.

Cradle cap. Now I know the experts say there’s no need to pick at it, but it is soooo addictive. When you’ve spent half an hour with a baby on your boob, you need some entertainment. It’s starts with the odd flake that looks like it’s about to fall off. Before you know it, your baby’s shoulders and your lap are covered in dry flakes. 

I realise this is a bit of a gross, if not random post, but I’m sure most new parents will secretly agree. 

Keep on picking 😉

Saying goodbye to a special summer

Tomorrow Boy 1 goes back to school after 5 weeks of fun with me and Boy 2. Whilst he is ridiculously excited to be starting junior school and reuniting with his friends, I’m quietly mourning the loss of the summer. Not because of the blistering sunshine or an amazing foreign holiday (I live in Manchester remember), but the length of time we’ve had together. 

This has been the first and, as it has recently dawned on me, the last chance for me to spend an entire summer with both of my children. It’s usually a case of juggling a couple of weeks of annual leave, trying to find activities that my amazing childminder hasn’t already done, whilst wishing I could squeeze in a couple of hours’ rest so I don’t return to work feeling more tired than when I left.

Swimming, cycling, playing chess (he taught me!), museum trips, movie afternoons, afternoon tea, you name it – we’ve done it. The only restrictions being feeding and nappy changes. It has been so refreshing to see him enjoy himself and spend quality time with his new little brother and just be carefree. 

It seems almost unfair that with 52 weeks in a year, I’m only ‘allowed’ to spend 5 of those with my children. 

The only reason I’ve been able to have this special time is the arrival of Boy 2 and maternity leave. So I’ve been trapped between managing my tiny budget and trying to make this time as fun and special as possible.

Whilst we haven’t been able to do anything particularly expensive or extravagant, I’ve realised how fun it is to just have that time together. People always tell you to ‘enjoy every minute’ with your children and that phrase has never felt so true. 

We’ll never get this time again. Who knows when we’ll next be able to have a long summer together. And when we do, he’ll be older, cooler and (it breaks my heart to admit it) probably won’t want to hold my hand to cross the road or cuddle his little brother to the point of near suffocation. 

So, thank you boys. You’ve made my summer so special.