Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

"You'll make a rod for your own back!"

I am willing to put a lot of money on the majority of people not hearing the phrase "rod for your own back" much, if at all, before they have a baby.

It's not really thrown around when you start drinking coffee every morning. I don't think I heard it when I started having a glass of wine on a Friday night. Looking back to my days as a smoker, I don't think I heard it then. The lady at the Yves Saint Laurent make-up counter didn't use it when I went to treat myself to some high-end war paint for my wedding. Not a soul said it to me when I started seeing Steve. 

Yet in all of the above cases I DID make a rod for my own back. I did or do depend on these things. I needed to do these things regularly after I started them. 

Then I had a baby.

You know you can get all that "Welcome to the World" paraphernalia for newborns? Someone should start a line of gear for new mums that's "Welcome to the World Where EVERYONE Will Tell You EVERYTHING Will Make a Rod for Your Own Back". Because apparently it does.

Fairly recently a friend of mine had a baby. I remember my first visit to meet the baby, she sat there with a 48 hour old newborn and essentially apologised for herself as she explained that she had cuddled him all night the night before. Not to enter into a co-sleeping debate. But in a "oh I KNOW I'm making a rod for my own back, I've been so stupid" way. 

Why is a new mother of 48 hours, after nine months of growing her baby, apologising for holding her baby close to where all it has ever known? She's not alone. I think I remember almost all of the women I was pregnant with saying very similar things when their babies were very young. I even know of someone who refused to rock their baby AT ALL because she didn't want to make a rod for her own back! 

Two things are at play in that. First is the age old problem of women placing unrealistic or unattainable expectations on themselves to become the vision of mother earth perfection HOURS after birth. Because creating beautiful, wondrous life isn't quite enough for one day.

The other is something probably beyond my literacy skills to express. It's the months of enforced advice through pregnancy, sometimes not entirely well meaning and often with the threat of "just you wait" about it. It's the social, cultural and economic pressure that being a mother is not enough at this time. You should want to or will have to work too. Build a career. Be "YOU". Socialise. Live a life where you are the perfect mother without looking like, sounding like or somehow seeming at all like a mother. What I mean is there is a lot more pressure to leave your children today and somewhere we have interpreted "one day they must be able to be without us" as "they must always be able to be without us". 

I am NOT entering in to the working mum vs SAHM debate. It's too personal, with too many factors and I respect mothers from both camps too much to form a summative opinion. 

The debate I am entering into is this guilt related to comforting your baby. It was triggered this morning when I read a parenting forum post from a woman celebrating not being a "human dummy" as she had weaned her baby off breastfeeding. Babies DO need to self-settle. Mums and babies/children DO have to give up breastfeeding at some stage. What I object to is this feeling that sometimes there can be too much pressure on mothers to foster too much of their babies independence. My baby is 7 months old. She has literally YEARS before she needs to not need her Mum. If I do something once, she will not need me to do it 8 times a day, everyday until she is 30. She rejected the dummy herself after 4 weeks. She stopped sucking her fingers after 2 months of having them permanently in her mouth. Not everything becomes an immoveable habit.

In some instances she will tell me when enough's enough. We do not need to make so much of our measure of successful parenting about how little our babies need us or how often they comfort themselves.

I'm not saying these things don't need to happen. Just arguing the flip side for a little change up in thinking. Essentially just allowing a little less guilt if your tiny one needs a little more of you today. Mine has a cold. Today self-settling does not exist. Today she is a baby and I am a Mummy and I am going to do EVERYTHING I can for her.

Lesson:

1. Next time I'll know there's no such thing as making a rod for your own back with a brand new newborn.

2. I'm going to tell every single brand new Mummy I ever meet to cuddle their baby without apology or guilt for as long as they want!

Monday, 29 October 2012

I'm a Nuby UK Blogger! :D

Ta da!!! My first real bit of blogging success has come to fruition this week in the form of me winning the Nuby UK Bloggers competition!!! WAHOO!!! I got some wonderful feedback about my photos which I was particularly pleased about too!

What do I win? Well it makes me an official Nuby UK Blogger and I will get the opportunity to test out, photograph and review a bunch of super duper Nuby products!!

"For me??"

Yes Euna! YOU! Look at all the fun we have in store...

So I thought I would share as I am feeling super proud and clever! You can check out Nuby UK on their website and on their Facebook page (on which Learning Lessons in Mummyography has been mentioned today :D). I will be feeding back on a variety of Nuby toys, weaning and teething products for the foreseeable and even considering a little giveaway in the not too distant future... Ooooo!

Note: Whilst I get to grips with how I should write some kind of official testimony on my blogging ethics PLEASE KNOW THE FOLLOWING...

1. I will always say when a product is a freebie.

2. ALL my opinions are MY OWN. I will ALWAYS be honest, so you guys (my WONDERFUL followers who have recently made me half way to awesome) don't need to worry about anything I write being compromised. Brownie promise.

Happy Halloween!

Halloween was celebrated a couple of days early here with thanks to my wonderful friend who threw a baby Halloween party! What a way to celebrate baby girl's first Halloween?! We have a wonderful time and the efforts my friend went to with baby sensory  bits, games and even a spooky ghost tent!

So here's a few pics from all the fun... HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

The obligatory photo-shoot before the costume is destroyed...

Yea yea I know... A strawberry... Not very scary... Does it help that we called her The Strawberry of Doom?

So this is what they call pushing your luck...

On arrival...                                          The spooky ghost tent...

 Baked goods curtesy of the Goody bakery...

 The HORRORS that lie within the spooky ghost tent...

WOW!

Baby sensory turned lunch... That's my girl!

 Baby's first apple bob...

Oh I love her...

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Well in the throws of Autumn...

I've done some posting about getting "Autumn Happy" and gaining "Autumnal Balance". Well we're well in the throws of autumn right now and I am simply adoring the season this year! I always do but as photography is becoming more and more of a medium for me to absorb things I really feel like this year I have a serious tool for celebrating it.

I may or may not have mentioned this but one of the reason why we bought our house is that, although we are reasonably central to a large town and we are on a new build estate, the builders spared a strip of woodland and it's right in front of our front door. Apparently it's to conserve some endangered toad species (of which I have never seen though it's a huge goal to find one and take some AWESOME toad portraits!) well here's some Autumnal celebrating from the wood outside my front door...
Leaves of change...

Leaves dropping and we start to think about the W word...

More leaves...

The stuff that's making that brilliant CRUNCH under your feet...

Snail trails...

I'm not sure this is a "good photo", I created sharper images, but I love the pop of the amber against the light background...

Beautiful fungus...

I LOVE this, the shapes and the structure, it looks like a sculpture or architecture. Couldn't this totally be an opera house...?

I like the layering of "blur"...

And all of a sudden PURPLE is added to our Autumn palette... 

Leaves collect at the kirbs... (and less idyllically, on my doorstep...)

From where things decay, new things grow... Round and around we go... (little LOL to myself... It's %$@£ing mushrooms Charlie, get a grip)

Friday, 26 October 2012

The Point is Family, Part 2...

A while back I wrote about The Point is Family... When I wrote the post I nearly didn't post as I was worried it was more intense than my typical post. Well I did and I got some lovely feedback (thank you!) but the sentiment has come back to me this week.

At the moment we're playing host to my Dad's knee operation recovery. He'll be here for a few weeks... It's great! Don't get me wrong I'll probably want to beat him with his crutches in a week or two but for now, in the honeymoon period, it's lovely. Euna is loving the extra coo-ing, Grandad is loving really getting to know his grand-daughter and how her day goes, how our family goes, I am loving the chance to do a bit of parental pay-back (at a time in my life when I am more aware than ever of what parents sacrifice) and Steve is loving the extra "man vote" on the tv. Win all round. Though I reserve the right to write a "OMG I Beat My Dad With His Crutches" post later in a fortnight.

So here is a little photo dump from the last few lazy, domestic days I've spent as Nurse Alexander...

 My favourite part about her crawling, the fact she WANTS to be with her Mummy, she crawls up and tries to climb up my legs like a little koala bear, sweetness...

Some Frugi wear...

Her first yoghurt, her first food from a "pot", I had a minor meltdown and had to be told to get a grip (thank you Char) she LOVED it...

Eating with Grandad...

Nom!

Daddy home early enough for dins...




"Mummy had yoghurt earlier... YOGHURT! You expect me to slum it with shepherds pie after the dizzying height of YOGHURT!?!"
Lesson:

The point IS family. Not just in a "I'm feeling all sentimental after a bad day" kind of way but in a practical, logistical, making tea 8 times a day, showing sympathy when your own patience is low and paying it all back kind of way. If it's not family then what is the point...?

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