A change is coming 

So, we moved into the new Mumsomnia towers around 18months ago. Boy2 was small and portable. You can read my tips for moving with a newborn here.

Now that we are settled we’ve decided to start making some changes to place.

First on the list is the bathroom and cloakroom under the stairs.

Bathroom is starting soon, but the cloakroom has already been completed. Yay!

We went for Ideal Standard’s Concept  Space range, which was created specifically for small or awkward spaces. It looks great and doesn’t feel too ‘small’. 

Tiles were from Topps Tiles who have centres around the country. They are a modern slate style

Next up is the bathroom!! 

Give it a go! 

This is my mantra for 2017.

Following in from last year and embracing the power of ‘yes’, this year I just want to give it a go. 

Nothing specific, but whatever random experiences and activities that spring to mind, I’m just going to try them. 

I’m currently on a busy train, drinking overly priced Merlot from a plastic cup, having missed bedtime, but I’m buzzing. Why? Because I gave something a go. Details can’t be shared just yet, but I’ve had a brilliant day trying something out. Not the best of outcomes, but I have it a go. 

In fact one of the reasons I’ve done this ‘thing’ today is to encourage my kids to give it a go. While it’s great to plan and be prepared, sometimes time isn’t on your side and you can’t wait for things to be just right, because that perfect time may never come. 

You have to seize the opportunity, especially if you can’t lose either way. Children need to see us trying new things and challenging ourselves. Showing them that it’s ok to ‘fail’, trying is the important thing. 

You can’t regret trying. The worst kind of regret is when you’ve done nothing at all. 

So, join me. Just give something a go. No matter how small, make that step into the unknown. You’ll thank yourself for it! 

Afro momma! 

As a child I spent many a Sunday evening having my hair washed, greased within an inch of its life, then plaited so tight I could hardly close my eyes to sleep that night. Pretty standard for most young girls of African or Caribbean origin, then and now. 

As a mum of two boys, I thought that I’d never have that Sunday drama. I’d just need to deal with me own hair whilst my boys bonded with daddy during a trip to the barbers for their short back and sides or a quick ‘shape up’.

But last year, at the ripe old age of 7 and a half, Boy1 decided to embrace his fro. Having always had regular cuts he decided to let it grow. 

One year one and we’ve fully embraced the ‘wash days’, mighty Afro comb and even that funny in between ‘what is going on with his hair?’ phase. 

He’s started to embrace my love for new hair products, but doesn’t quite get what they all do. He just trusts my wisdom! 

This whole process has meant I’ve been more involved in his hair management than the hubster and it’s actually been fun. We’ve had chats about all kinds of issues, not just his hair,but school, politics, Pokemon! It’s been a great opportunity to bond with my big boy whilst helping him to find his identity. I’ve loved every minute. 

I guess what it’s shown me is that you don’t need a dedicated, cash driven ‘event’ to spend quality time with your child. In fact as he gets older, it might be that we find more of these natural moments to bond, rather than forced fun. 

And now he has the most luscious of ‘fros and I’m so proud 😊

X

Ps – to anyone rocking an Afro I’m loving Shea Moisture products at the moment 

Goodbye 2016

So another year has gone by. It’s certainly been a year of mixed emotions, without a doubt. I know most people will be glad to see the back of 2016, but hey, if you’re reading this post, you’ve made it through the year. Isn’t that something to be thankful for? 

So in my bid to start the year with a positive mindset I’ve decided to list some of the good things I’ve experienced or learned over the past year. 

  • Family time is important – ok I knew this before 2016 but going back to work and having busy family schedules, really brought this home
  • I’ve learned not to feel guilty about personal time – reading a book, going for a swim, or even a night away can be a good thing! Switching off from the above mentioned schedules every now and then, is good for you. In fact, it’s good for everyone.
  • I can’t lose out by embracing opportunities and invitations. I got a real boost from taking on a speaking opportunity and doing a charity 10k walk. Both things I wouldn’t have dreamed of a year ago, but the feeling of accomplishment and the things that followed were great. Say ‘yes’more! 
  • I appeared on a daytime tv quiz show!! Ok I kept it quiet (I didn’t win) but given that it was something I’d wanted to do for years, I decided to go for it at the end of mat leave. I really shouldn’t have left it so long! 
  • I got a promotion! I’ll probably post more about this at some point, but it was a great way to end the year, knowing my first back at work had been a success 

In spite of all the random bad stuff that’s happened, this year has been kind of alright. At the end of the day, if you’re still here to read my little old blog, then that’s something. Plenty of people didn’t make it this far. 

Happy new year. Bring on 2017

”Twas the night before Christmas…

and all through the house, was an over excited toddler who didn’t really know what was going on, but given that he hadn’t slept all day, knew his only options were to give in to parents’ demands for bed time, or run/roll around the house screaming, singing laughing and crying (it is apparently possible to do all four at once). 

Yes people, this is my Christmas Eve. We had a lovely meal, thought Boy2 would fall asleep in the car. Got home and he was hyper!! 

But tomorrow is a new day. It’s Christmas Day. So even though we don’t get the lazy lie ins of yesterday, we are lucky to be woken by our two bundles of hyperactive love at silly o’clock.

However you are spending the ‘big day’, enjoy it. If you have little ones, take time out to just enjoy them. Because next year they’ll be that little bit older, ‘wiser’ and further away from being your babies. 

Merry Christmas everyone,

From Team Mumsomnia 

Why there won’t be an elf on my shelf, ever. 

It’s 1st December. The start of the countdown to Christmas. For most it’s a reminder to put up trees, realise you don’t have any pay days left to buy presents and start the non stop binge fest with your first advent calendar choccie. 
But over the past few years, today has marked the day when your social media feed (if you are friends with many parents) becomes full of images of an elf. In their home doing various activities each day to keep their kids entertained and well behaved until Christmas.

But there are no plans for an elf to make an appearance at Mumsomnia towers any time soon.

  1. It’s just plain creepy. The elf always looks a bit shifty, with those unhealthily large eyes. That side eye expression 👀 is the kind of look that brings back memories of 80s/90s horror films. Granted I probably shouldn’t have been watching these films but it still weirds me out! 
  2. It’s a LOT of work. I can just about think of something to feed my kids everyday, let alone a different activity for a fear-inducing elf with strangely long legs. You have to be fully committed to the process before it falls flat on its face. And even when that happens, you’d have to come up with a pretty good excuse as to why the elf left so soon. Why bother!
  3. Is it really for the kids? While we say it gets the kids to behave before Christmas, I have a sneaky suspicion many parents do it for the social media kudos of likes loves and lols. Whilst I am always impressed by the creative lengths people go to, it can start to breed parental competitiveness. 
  4. It’s another step away from the meaning of Christmas. I get that it’s not only christians that celebrate the festive season. But by basically bribing kids for a set period of 24 days, are we kind of telling them that’s the whole point of Christmas? Just Gifts? I’m yet to see an elf leave a quirky note telling a child to go and do something for charity or a homeless person. 
  5. It’s bribery without parental guilt. Face it. No parent wants or likes to tell their child they can’t have something. So by shifting that decision making to another party – in this case, a creepy elf – it lightens the burden. 
  6. Does it really encourage genuine good behaviour? Great if kids behave really well in the run up to Christmas in the hope they’ll get the goodies they wanted. But what about the other 11 months of the year? Why behave if there’s no reward? Either go full throttle and bribe them 365 days a year or not at all! Seriously though, shouldn’t we just be encouraging kids to be well all the time without it being linked to a reward. 
  7. It’s creepy. Yeah, know I’ve said this, but the idea of a toy just appearing in your home from out of the blue, watching your every move does feel a bit bizarre. I didn’t realise Christmas gave us free reign to encourage stalking or intimidation! 

Ok – I know it’s all a bit of fun, but with all the pressures of modern parenting, I just don’t have the time, energy or imagination for another unnecessary burden on my list. 

I’ll be keeping an eye out for your elf pictures though! 😉

God bless the USA, please

Regardless of my views of Mr Trump, America has spoken.

All change…

This time eight years ago, I remember holding a very little Boy1 as America took a massive step forward by electing its first black president. At that moment he was entering a world of progress and opportunity. He’d never know a life where the idea of a black president was unfathomable. There was a feeling of hope, progress, pride and most of all, unity.

Today, I sit with Boy2 and emotions couldn’t be more different. I see people angry, upset, shocked and disappointed. I see others boasting and laughing. I see a nation, in fact a world, divided and confused.

Regardless of my views of Mr Trump, America has spoken. Democracy is democracy and the majority has spoken.

We must now try to come together and teach our children about love and tolerance. We must embrace change and go forward with a positive outlook. We can not let negativity win.

Today might be stormy, but sunshine will return.

xx

 

Why 2016 Is The Year To Teach Kids About Democracy

2016 – the year politics and democracy changed. If anyone had told me at the start of the year that we’d experience a Brexit saga (oh, what a saga it is turned out to be) and that a property tycoon with no political experience would be within touching distance of becoming the next POTUS, I would have laughed in your face. Very loudly.

But with all the surrealism and confusion, on both sides of the Atlantic, I’ve realised we must use the period of time to engage children in the issue of democracy.

hands

Yes, you can have ‘family meetings’ to vote for which film to watch or what topping to get on a pizza. Pretty sufficient for a child, right? At the end of the day, they’ll probably be happy with either outcome, so no skin off anyone’s nose. But is that really a lesson?

What about when they’ve voiced their opinion and ‘done the right thing’ but things don’t go their way? What about when they see a parent, a family member, a commentator on TV is truly set back, shocked, angry and even upset at the outcome of a vote? Do we teach them to just give up, because they didn’t get their way? This is where the democracy talk really comes into its own.

I often like to say, ‘democracy is a chance to have your say, not a guarantee you’ll have your way’. Never has this phrase been so true.

The Brexit result fueled lots of anger, and every time my son hears Trump’s name, there’s usually some kind of negative story attached and it’s up to me to explain why these people are still ‘winning’.

My God, does it make me wonder if children might just lose all faith in democracy altogether when he hears people’s reactions to these victories. It might make many people want to give up, but as parents we have to remind our kids just how important it is to have the right to vote. Our western, first world freedoms often make us slightly complacent about voting because the differences between outcomes aren’t always life-changing, but we must remember that not everyone lives in a nation that lets people express their opinions.

We have the right to share our views and influence the direction our country takes through our democratic system. In fact, if we don’t like the system, we still have the right to debate it, challenge it and try to make changes by encouraging people to make a stand together and vote.

Children need to know that sometimes not everyone will agree with you. In fact, there will be occasions where that group is larger than yours so they will ‘win’. What’s great about democracy is the opportunity, not necessarily the result.

I read far too many articles about how young people have become distanced and disenfranchised from the political system – not just in the UK – and this is worrying. We should use this period of time as an opportunity to stir up more political passion in them than ever before. Ask them what they don’t like about the current political state, but also, what they think can be changed. We need them to stand up and attempt to change things. If they think politicians are ‘all the same’, then let’s encourage them to be the difference, rather than pleading ignorance. Be the change they want to see in the world….If now isn’t the time to teach this lesson, then I don’t know when is.

While debates, complaints, protests and strikes don’t always get the desired outcome, they are a step forward. They can be powerful weapon in making your voice and opinion heard. They can be liberating. A chance to engage in a conversation for better understanding of each other’s views and maybe persuade them to accept your view. Because sometimes just one extra voice or vote can tip the balance.

So whilst we wait to witness the clear up of the mess that is 2016 and ask ourselves if all this stuff really happened, let’s not forget to remind our children, democracy is good and that their one vote is always better than no vote at all.

XX

This blog post first appeared on HuffingtonPostUK

Cucumber

This single slice of cucumber caused a lot of distress in Mumsomnia towers last night. 

Boy 1, who has always been quite good with veg, suddenly decided cucumber was devil food. Boy2 on the other hand decided he now hates brocolli (which had been his favourite until 34min before) and only wanted to eat cucumber. 

So I’m there trying to persuade one crying child to eat said cucumber whilst I have another crying child begging me for it. 

In the end we reached a compromise. The cucumber was split in half. 

Half an hour of our lives gone. 

Then I had the joy of Friday night bedtime….. 😩

I’m shedding :(

A fellow blogging mama recently shared her experience of post-partum hair loss, or shedding, and it struck a chord. I realised I never shared my shedding story previously, maybe because it meant admitting to myself it was happening, maybe it was embarrassment, but it might have just been lack of time then totally forgetting (I had a newborn remember!)

This picture doesn’t even begin to represent the amount of shedding I’ve experienced over the past few months. It started slowly, but there were days when I was scared to touch my head out of fear I’d just be touching scalp.  My hairline is the worst – it seems to have receded at an alarming rate. Boy2 is 18 months and I’m still losing hair!

But in 9 or so months of shedding I have realised:

  • shedding is very common. Lots of women experience it post-partum, to different degrees
  • we shouldn’t be ashamed to share it. Sharing is caring afterall and just hearing about other people’s struggles, can make you feel a bit better
  • in most cases, other people won’t notice the loss half as much as  you expect them too. Even the hubster only really notices it by the random hairs  on the bathroom floor. I’m sure he thinks I’m hiding some afro-wearing dog in the house
  • I can get quite creative with my hair if I’m feeling a bit self conscious

I’m hoping this is just a temporary thing. My hair will eventually grow back and I’ll have a hairline again. But in the meantime its another change for me to get used to. Learning about my new hair (or lack of) and getting to grips with new products to help it grow.

Please let me know if you have experienced hair loss and how you are getting on!

X

PS – to all afro-mamas. I’m trying a combo of shea butter and castor oil for my edges and trying to up my water intake. Lets see how I get on