A Yorkshire based parenting & lifestyle blog written by Claire Chircop.

HOW I'VE CHANGED DURING MY 9 MONTHS OF MOTHERHOOD.

I've been winging this motherhood gig for a whole nine months now & bizarrely it's felt like the longest but also shortest nine months of my life - It's been one hell of a ride, with high highs and low lows, but once thing's for certain and that is I'm not the same person I was nine months ago.

I'm different - And I like it.

I was thinking of writing a blog post along the lines of 'nine months of Amelia' which focussed on how she's developed over the last nine months, & although I may still do that, I thought what about me?.. I've had a journey too! I've certainly changed and developed since this baby of mine made her appearance, and it's about time we started celebrating the transition into motherhood - Because although there's good & there's bad, the evolution into motherhood is nothing short of amazing!


Before I entered into motherhood I thought it was going to be a walk in the park - I mean you see people out there just getting on with it, other mama's out there make it look hella easy & I suppose that's exactly why I want to be as open & honest as possible with my journey - Because it's not always like that.

I've loved my motherhood journey! But the last nine months have definitely been a tough ride.

Love.
I'm going to start with a positive, because if you're a regular reader of my blog, you'll know it's going to get hella deep a little later on - But the biggest emotion I've felt since having Amelia is a massive amount of love. I know everybody says it, but I wasn't quite prepared for the amount of love I was going to feel for her - Gahh, even just thinking about it brings a tear to my eye!
Along with so many other mamas out there, I've become such an emotional wreck since having Amelia.

Loneliness.
I've spoken in length about how unexpectedly lonely & isolated I've felt as a new mum. It's such a bittersweet feeling, and one I can't help but feel guilty about - I ask myself why? Why do I feel so lonely when my days are spent with the person I love most in the world.
It's such a conflicting thought, and one I'm only just getting my head around.

Achievement.
Achievements nowadays are daft things such as managing to brush both sets of teeth (mine & Amelia's) before dinner, or successfully leaving the house on time to get to playgroup. Every week Meghan Walsh shares hers #MumWinMonday which is a fantastic online community (I'll be delving  further into this a little later on) where we all get together and share our achievements for the day.
Sometimes it's that I've managed to smash out 3 blog posts that day, other times my mum win will be that I haven't lost my shit that day... And although very different, both achievements are totally creditable.

Productivity.
One of the biggest things I've struggled with since having Amelia is productivity, or quite frankly the lack of it!
I had such high hopes for what I was going to achieve whilst on maternity leave, but if I'm honest I've barely achieved anything I had planned. I'm the type of person who loves a productive day & I thrive of the satisfaction that comes with ticking off a to do list, but since having my little sproglet, days like these have been far & few between.
The disapproval in my lack of productivity completely conflicts my approval for celebrating lifes small wins, but if that isn't motherhood, I don't know what is.

Online community.
I'm in a position where I don't have family around me & the friends that I do have close by all work full time hours so a lot of the time it's just Amelia keeping me for company, apart from when Dan gets in from work of course. I've taken so much solace from the online community I've met since having Amelia - I'm surrounded by so many wonderfully honest & amazingly raw mama's that I can't help but feel positive in my own parenting journey, there really is strength in numbers.
My online mama community deserves a blog post of it's own, so watch this space!


Judgement.
Before having Amelia I was terrified at the thought of being out in public with her while she was crying or throwing an epic tantrum, and although it was hard in the early days, I couldn't care less nowadays about having people looking over at us. Babies cry, it's just part of it, and if anyone looks down their nose at us, well that reflects more upon them than it does me.
I've found I'm quite a strong person when it comes to being judged on my parenting skills; I couldn't give a rats ass if you don't agree with the sleeping technique we use, or how we sometimes feed Amelia from pre-made jars, she's happy, healthy & I'm confident in my own abilities to be a good mum.

Married Life.
The relationship you have with your partner since welcoming your bundle of joy is something I've only seen spoken about a handful of times.
I'd definitely say the relationship I have with my husband has changed since having Amelia - We're not each others priority anymore - And that's totally normal!
Dan's out of the house for 10 hours a day, and because he works in quite a high pressure environment all he wants to do when he gets home is chill with Amelia. Me on the other hand, I'm frazzled from being up since 6am with her, I've had little to no adult conversation all day & as soon as he gets in from work, it's as if I pounce on him (not in that way, you dirty buggers) and expect a full days interaction within the couple of hours we spend together before going to bed.
We don't see each other at our bests now & although we're strong & we're good together as a couple, I'd be lying if I said things haven't changed.

Gut Instinct.
The biggest thing I've learnt in the last nine months since becoming mama, is just to wing it! Sometimes there isn't a right or wrong answer & more often than not you've just got to go with your gut instinct. You can read 100 different articles online but essentially what works for somebody else might not work for you & that's totally okay, all babies are different & you've just got to go with it.
Remember mama's... You know your babies!

Nine whole months wrapped up in a few paragraphs. I actually can't believe how quickly the time has gone - It's actually crazy! My life has completely changed since becoming a mother & although some things have been expected, I'd definitely say there are a lot of emotions I felt were quite unexpected.

What's the most unexpected thing you've learnt since becoming a mother?

Claire.X

MAMA IN QUESTION: JESS ELDER.

Welcome to my mini-series Mama in Question, a 10 question questionnaire filled out by mama's all across the country, hoping to serve motherhood realness and show all new mums out there that we're all in this together... And in reality, we're all just winging it! Details of how you can get involved will be down below.


Q1. What's one thing you said you wouldn't do as a parent that you definitely have done?
One thing that I always said I would never do as a mother was to use baby food jars. I had this idea in my head that our weaning journey would be spent with me creating all these fabulous concoctions in the kitchen, using all organic ingredients and mixing a variety of flavours and foods for Jamie to try. It definitely didn’t happen like that. In the beginning, weaning was hard, and so I caved and actually found that using jars took a lot of the pressure off!
There are days when I spend an hour or two cooking Jamie a meal from scratch, but they’re far scarcer than I first imagined. 

Q2. What's been the hardest thing about motherhood so far?
The hardest thing about motherhood so far, for me, is realising that you can’t really have expectations when it comes to growing and raising children. I like to have a plan and to know what the general outcome of something is going to be - it eases my anxieties.
When you get pregnant you have all this excitement about motherhood and all you really think of is the positive aspects, so it hit me like a truck when we found out our little boy was actually poorly, and nothing about his delivery was going to be “normal”. He was born with a condition called gastroschisis, which was discovered at my 12 week scan. Basically, he developed with a hole in his abdomen and his bowels were on the outside of his body when he was born. Before finding out about this, I daydreamed about giving birth and having him placed on my chest, our first night at home and feeding him for the first time, but none of these things happened for us how we had hoped they would. 
And that can be said for a lot of aspects of motherhood.
Sometimes, you expect to feel or to experience things in a certain way, and often times it can turn out to be the complete opposite, or entirely different to how you’d anticipated.
Motherhood is wonderfully unpredictable, and that’s been quite tough for me. 

Q3. Have you settled into a routine with your little one? If so, how easy has it been?
It took months for us to establish a routine, although I’d say that’s fairly normal in the first few months. The first night Jamie came home from the hospital, at 3 weeks old, we spent all night trying to get him to sleep in his Moses basket to no avail. We struggled for roughly another two weeks before deciding to co-sleep, but this didn’t really work for me as he was constantly waking and I was always quite aware of him being there, so I struggled to get a good sleep. 
Suddenly, at about 4 months old, Jamie stopped wanting to sleep in the bed at nap time, so I went out on a limb and tried him in his cot. It worked, and we tried it again for his night time sleep. He slept for eight hours straight! Ever since then, he has slept in his cot. He goes to bed between 6-7pm and wakes at 6am. He has a morning nap and an afternoon nap, which tend to be at different times depending on our schedule for that day. He still has a bad night every now and then, though I put that down to teething and cold season.
It turns out Jamie prefers to sleep with lots of space around him, and moving him to his cot just solidified his routine. 

Q4. What's surprised you most about motherhood?
What has surprised me most about motherhood is that not every emotion is positive, and that’s okay.
I struggled quite a bit at the beginning because it seemed like Jamie just cried constantly and I just didn’t know what to do. I felt as though there was so much pressure on “enjoying your newborn” and how it was supposed to be such a magical experience, but I had my moments where it just didn’t feel like that. I didn’t realise that practically all mothers experience the negative, too. We all want five minutes to ourselves sometimes. We have all stood there and questioned why on Earth our babies are crying when there couldn’t possibly be anything wrong, and all the rest, but at the time I felt so alone. It was only through finding the community of mothers through Instagram who openly share the downs aswell of the ups of parenting that I realised that those feelings are normal, and they don’t change how much I love and care for my son. 

Q5. Do you think social media portrays motherhood correctly?
I think there are definitely still aspects of social media that portray motherhood as being this 24/7 exclusively positive happy thing, but I think a lot of that stems from a fear of how other people perceive us as parents. People can be so weirdly judgemental when it comes to the way that other people raise their children, most people just want to stay in line. 
Then there are the social media posts that share the reality - the happy times, and the nitty gritty all mixed into one. More and more people are beginning to open up about the struggles they experience as mothers, as well as sharing the most special parts of their days, too. I’d say the parents who share both sides definitely portray motherhood accurately, as it’s showing that no matter how clean, intelligent, well-behaved etc your children are... we all have our bad days. 

Q6. What do you think of your post-partum body?
I love my post-partum body! I got a bigger bum, more shapely hips and longer, thicker hair. I don’t mind the stretch marks as they’re only on the sides of my thighs and my stomach and everywhere else looks exactly the same as before I got pregnant, so I couldn’t be more grateful for that, although there are definitely one or two things i struggle with. 
Before I got pregnant, I was a UK clothing size 6-8 and I had a large bust. I stayed pretty small throughout my pregnancy, and slimmed down quite quickly after having him, too. I’m back to a size 8 now, but my bust has gone up to a GG and hasn’t gone back down at all which has just been crazy.
That definitely bothers me as they’re not exactly comfortable. 
And an emergency c-section that, almost 8 months down the line, has left me with a scar that’s still red and raised, as well as uneven due to my stitches opening during the surgery. I barely looked at it when I first got it because it reminded me of quite a traumatic part of my life - Jamie’s birth was difficult and we both got very ill very fast, so it was hard to see that reminder.
As the months have gone on, though, I’ve started to come to terms with it a little bit more. I’m sure in due time I’ll come to properly accept it. 

Q7. What's been your favourite memory so far on your parenting journey?
My favourite memory so far is the first time we got to hold our little boy. I had to be put under general anaesthetic for my c section, and Jamie was taken straight to surgery, so we didn’t get to hold him until roughly 24 hours after he was born, which was actually much sooner than we had imagined it would be!
My mum and two aunts were there, and they all captured so many photographs of me and my partner holding Jamie. They are so beautiful and I have framed one and put it in Jamies room for him.
I just felt so much love in that moment and I will never forget how it felt.

Q8. How do you feel you’ve changed since becoming a parent?
Since becoming a parent, I’ve noticed that I have no time for people who don’t have good intentions for me and my family, or for those who can’t be consistent and reciprocate effort.
Time is so precious, especially now that we have so many memories to make with our little boy. 
You will always meet those “friends” in life who think they can come and go as they please and, before I had Jamie, I was the type to let them. Since becoming a mother, I won’t let that kind of energy near me. I feel a strong need to only surround myself and my family with genuine, loving people who have our best interests at heart, and I can definitely tell when someone is being insincere.
Call it Mothers instincts.

Q9. What's been your proudest motherhood moment?
My proudest motherhood moment has been all of it, to be honest. I suffer with anxiety and OCD which can sometimes be extremely debilitating, but I fight through it everyday for my family. Its tough to struggle with your mental health whilst raising a child, yet so many of us absolutely ace it.

Q10. Looking to the future, what are you most excited for your little one to experience?
I am definitely most excited for when Jamie really starts to have an understanding of the world - I love to get outside and do nature based activities, and I take Jamie to do these things as much as I can, but at his age we are quite limited at the moment. It will be nice to be able to take him to explore the world and to be able to teach him about the things that I enjoy doing like reading, writing, walking etc and to have him be able to talk about it back to me.


If you're wanting to get involved please feel free to DM me @ClaireMacBlog or send me an email to clairemacblog@gmail.com as I'd love for you to join the 'Mama's in Question' party bus.

You can answer whatever you feel comfortable answering, all I ask is that it's honest! I wan't to show others how flipping hard this parenting lark is!... Because I don't think we give ourselves enough credit for it! And we should! I'll of course be sharing the ish out of your social medias & blogs etc, so let's let loose, connect with one another and raise a glass to all those mamas just getting by!

Claire.X

MAMA IN QUESTION: HELEN SPENCER.

Welcome to my mini-series Mama in Question, a 10 question questionnaire filled out by mama's all across the country, hoping to serve motherhood realness and show all new mums out there that we're all in this together... When in reality we're all just winging it! Details of how you can get involved will be down below.

Mama: Helen Spencer
Baby: Henrietta (9) Joshua (9) & Imogen (7).





Q1. What's one thing you said you wouldn't do as a parent that you definitely have done?
Giving the twins a dummy - My sanity was hanging on them sleeping, so it felt like the lesser of two evils. I was so very resolute that my kids weren’t having a dummy and yet within weeks, I had to retract this statement because I learnt that sleep deprivation is most definitely a form of torture.

Q2. What's been the hardest thing about motherhood so far?
Illnesses. I absolutely hate when Team Twiglet are poorly. I have had far too many ambulance trips and properly poorly small people. It's an impossibly hard position, primarily because I knew a hug wasnt going to make it better. I really wish that a Mama hug was all it took between now and eternity for everyone to be well.

Q3. Have you settled into a routine with your little one? If so, how easy has it been?
A routine, yes. 7am-7pm and I endeavour to implement it always. Except now they are older, my rules are failing me as its coming up 9pm and they are still here, annoying the living daylights out of each other. And me.

Q4. What's surprised you most about motherhood?
My constant feeling of inadequacy. The rest of life comes with a rule book - A manual if you will. But kids don’t. Children are passed over to a beaming parent, car seat in tow, with a pat on the back and a smile. And then you shit yourself. Oh yeah, I know how to bath a baby because the midwife explained it to me once, but I have no idea how to make them comfortable or even safe, I had no bloody idea. I am not sure if that would be classed as a surprise or shock though! 

Q5. Do you think social media portrays motherhood correctly?
No, not really. I dislike some of the insta-perfect “representations” of parenting. There aren’t many times in the last 10 years I have had the time to find a peg board or fill a balloon with sex appropriate colours. Its not that I don’t appreciate other peoples efforts, its just personally, I don’t seem to able to find the time. I utilise social media massively for my blog and waffle, but we definitely don’t live an insta-worthy life, and I am ok with that..

Q6. What do you think of your post-partum body?
I did really well on the post baby body thing to start with. Despite putting on 5 1/2 stone when growing the twins, I was back to my wedding weight within 3 weeks postpartum. And #BossBaby was 7 1/2 lbs of the stone I put on with her. Then I broke my foot and it all went tits up. I have an unjustified mum tum now. Which isnt actually anything to do with babies, its down to the fact that I am a fat bastard and can’t turn down a roast potato. 
I had my boobs “done” in-between my two pregnancies. It was something that I had planned to do much younger, pre kids, but that annoying thing known as the Big C got in the way. However, when I took the plunge (did you like what I did there?) It has far and away been the best purchase I have ever made. Confidence isnt my forte, and having gone from an AA to an EE and back again, I had ended up with empty teabags instead of boobies. Due to my medication I was unable to breastfeed, so whilst it was a selfish thing to do, it didn’t have any detrimental effects to my tribe.

Q7. What's been your favourite memory so far on your parenting journey?
Oh my gosh, there are so very many, I am not sure I can narrow them down to just one. I love the fact Team Twiglet enjoy spending time with us, and enjoy sharing memories with us. If push came to shove I would probably say the day  BossBaby came home. The twins were 2 and the minute we walked through the door, I felt complete.

Q8. How do you feel you’ve changed since becoming a parent?
I am not sure I can even recognise who I was before I became a Mummy. I have changed in every single way. My outlook is now entirely based on my children’s happiness. There is nothing more important to me than them having the best start in life that I can possibly offer. I can also negotiate with anyone, which is not something I could claim pre kids. I would happily be a wallflower at any opportunity before, but now, I have a tendency to face the shit storm head on and hope for the best.

Q9. What's been your proudest motherhood moment?
Team Twiglet being “them". Watching the pride on their faces when they have friends home. And if Daddy is there, we are on for a Brucey Bonus of dreams. I am honoured to say I can happily take my children anywhere from a parents evening to a Michelin star restaurant and all thats in-between.. I am privileged to be able to say that my tribe can behave(ish) wherever I drag them next.

Q10. Looking to the future, what are you most excited for your little one to experience?
Life, and all that it entails. I hope to see them finish school and fulfil even the most wildest of dreams. As my health isnt the greatest, I really want to enjoy future memories and be here to celebrate them with my tribe. All I want for each of them is their happiness, wherever and whatever that may be. After all, what is life if it is not happy? 



If you're wanting to get involved please feel free to DM me @ClaireMacBlog or send me an email to clairemacblog@gmail.com as I'd love for you to join the 'Mama's in Question' party bus.

You can answer whatever you feel comfortable answering, all I ask is that it's honest! I wan't to show others how flipping hard this parenting lark is!... Because I don't think we give ourselves enough credit for it! And we should! I'll of course be sharing the ish out of your social medias & blogs etc, so let's let loose, connect with one another and raise a glass to all those mamas just getting by!

Claire.X

LITTLE FAWN BOX: THE SUBSCRIPTION BOX FOR MUM & BABY (OCTOBER EDITION).

This post contains gifted products.

I was first introduced to Little Fawn Box when they first opened in August & quite frankly we haven't looked back since. I say 'we' because Little Fawn Box is a monthly subscription box for both me & Amelia - A tremendous idea, wouldn't you agree?


Little Fawn Box is a monthly subscription service which caters to ladies from their 20th week of pregnancy, right up until their baby reaches 18 months old - Little Fawn Box have recently extended their age range which I think is blooming marvellous & it can only reflect positively upon the new & upcoming brand.
Each box is tailored to you and your baby so when going through the ordering process you input details of how old your baby is as well as their gender, in order to receive something that’s going to be totally perfect for the two of you.
Subscription boxes are £12.99 each + £2.99 shipping each month, but the treats you’ll receive within the box are worth three times as much which I think is fab!



So what's in this months box?
I know that's what you're all here for, so let's take a peek into what Amelia & I received in our October edition of the Little Fawn Box.

Baby Town on the move book.
Although she has absolutely no idea what the words mean & I doubt she'd even recognise anything that's in it, Amelia will sure as hell will love playing/eating\dribbling on this little picture book.
Weirdly enough her childminder has a vehicle picture book very similar to this & she loves it, along with all of the other babies that go there - They all seem to fight over this one book bizarrely so it's nice that Amelia actually has her own that she can keep here - Because you're sure as s**t she isn't taking this book to the childminders with her as there's no way we'd be getting it back!
One of Amelia's favourite things to do at the moment is to flick books page by page, so even though she won't understand exactly what's going on, I know she's going to love playing with this baby town book.


Better You infant daily vitamin D oral spray.
Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about this one.
I don't know if it's weird of me to feel adverse towards products like this, but there's something that just doesn't sit quite right about them with me. I'm not really a vitamin or medication taker myself as I personally favour natural remedies over any sort of medical treatments.
I understand that my views on this aren't going to be suitable or possible for everybody, but I believe the best way to get vitamin D is to expose ourselves to natural sunlight, as well as eating appropriate food such as salmon, eggs or cheese.
I don't think we'll be getting much use out of this spray unfortunately - Not only is the product not my cup of tea, I can just imagine the fight I'd have with Amelia to try and administer it.

Kir Royale scented candle.
I'm a huge scented candle fan & I love the tin can design of this one from Kir Royale - I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it before! It smells blooming delicious too.
My husband hates anything scented, so candles or reed diffusers are normally a no go, but I'll definitely be burning this one on the sly - It smells to good to let it go to waste. My husband has quite bad asthma so anything like this usually gets on his chest & although I'm sure he'll realise I've burnt it straight away I'm still going to indulge with this candle for a bit of me time.
Does that make me a bad wife?


Sass & Belle postit notes.
Although I don't actually own or use a great deal of it, I'm a huge stationary lover!
I'll be taking these cutesy pink postits into work to put my stamp back on the place. - I've been away for almost a year and I'm going to go back and make everything all colourful and cutesy again - Which is a total me thing to do.

Baked chocolate brownie mug mix.
Would you believe it, but we don't actually own a microwave (sacrebleu) so this brownie mug mix will either have to be given away as a present or I'll have to remember to take it into work with me to have as a sweet treat.
Who am I kidding - It'll definitely be the latter!
I've never actually tried anything like this before, probably because we don't have a microwave, but I remember a time where these mug mixes were all over Pinterest! I'm not sure if they still are or not, but surely I need to see what all the fuss is about?


Afterspa hair towel.
Never in my life have I owned a hair towel, but now I have one, I don't know how I've ever lived without one - I can't wait to start using this baby.
I always think it's such a shame to drench a full towel with my wet hair, so something smaller like this goodie from Afterspa sounds ideal! I need to leave this out in the bathroom so I actually remember to use it.

Pop a Ball shimmer for prosecco.
Again this is something I've never used before - I'm beginning to sound like I live under a rock aren't I? I don't I promise!
I'm definitely a bubbles kind of gal, it used to be wine, but now I definitely prefer a bit of fizz so I'm looking forward to adding this shimmer to my next glass - It's going to be the epitome of being extra isn't it. I'm just hoping it's not going to make my bubbles look oily or slimy because that'd hugely put me off. The packaging says to only add 1/3 of a teaspoon of shimmer to your drink so with that small amount I can't imagine it looking too slimy.


Follow your dreams print.
Each Little Fawn Box comes with a print, that we seem to be collecting at the moment, and this months instalment is a dream catcher design which says 'follow your dreams'. I love the colours used within the artwork - I just need to decide what to do with it now.

What do I think of October's Little Fawn Box?
I hate to say it, but I can't help but feel slightly disappointed with October's offering - Although I think that's primarily down to September's box being so good!
What I noticed with this box as well is that the majority of the products inside were aimed at myself rather than Amelia, which I know I should be shouting hallelujah from the rooftops at, but I'd have much preferred it if this months box was more of an even split, like my previous two were. There were also a few items in this box which aren't 100% my cup of tea, in particular the vitamin d spray - That being said I'm completely aware that every box can't be 100% tailored to every single person that receives it, so please don't let my final thoughts put you off. I've had some brilliant boxes from Little Fawn Box and would love to receive more as I think the idea behind the brand is brilliant!

Have you heard of Little Fawn Box before? Would it be something you''d be interested in?

Claire.X