Super Single Mum's Blog

Life and all the shananigins!

Too Posh to Push?

It’s all over the news today. All women in the UK now have the right to ask for a c-section if they want one. This has stirred up mixed feelings with me.

The idea is that by offering the choice, many women will make an informed decision and as such the amount of emergency sections particularly those due to mum’s who have fears about the birth, will in turn reduce. It is also suggested that if a woman requests a section and is then given all the facts, she is more likely to decide on a natural birth than a section. There’s plenty of debate going around saying that this just opens up the doors for the “Too posh to push” generation of mums. There is also debate that it is the mothers right to chose exactly what birth she wants and so if she wants a section she should have one. I can kind of see where these guidelines have come from but at the same time it does make me wonder if this will lead to sections that are not medically necessary.

As a mum of 2, both born through sections but in completely different circumstances I have to say I am trying to look at this impartially. B was breech and so was born by elective section 2 days before her due date. With H I wanted to attempt a natural delivery (VBAC). I was told of the risk of a natural birth and the risks were pretty low so I felt safe in my choice. It was only when I came close to my due date that I asked what the course of action would be if I went over due. I was told that I would be induced, they would use a lower dose so as not to start labour too fast but that there was no further risk. I asked about a section and was told that induction would be preferred as there was no medical reason why I couldn’t deliver naturally. I did go on to be induced. I did experience labour. And I was rushed into surgery for an emergency section, putting me and H at risk, as my uterus did tear. I looked into it a few months down the line and found most guidelines state VBAC mothers should not be induced due to it increasing the risk of uterine tearing significantly. Whilst I was dead set for a natural delivery, when I asked the question I should have been given the facts correctly, it may have made a difference. Whilst yes more expensive than a natural birth it would have been easier and cheaper than the 5 days in SCBU, blood transfusions for me and keeping us both in hospital for much longer.

I don’t think the issue is that women have the right, I think the issue is what is termed as medical reason. Up until now, the only medical reasons taken into account have been the physical health of the baby and mother. If you have a mum who has experienced trauma in child birth previously, and has a phobia or post traumatic stress or depression from the last birth this to me is medical reason, yet up until now has not been reason enough. If you have a woman who has previously had a section, whether she wants a section or not she should be given the risks specifically for her. If a woman is offered counselling and support to prepare for the birth but is still too anxious and fearful that she asks for a section, this is a medical reason. Mental health covers phobias, anxiety, depression the lot, and is a medical reason even if not physical. If a woman wants a section to fit in with her diary, this is not a medical reason and I don’t think in this case a woman has the right to this choice.

A woman’s body is designed for child birth. At the same time I wonder if it is advances in medical science which have led to 1 in 4 women requiring a section. I use myself as an example again. My body doesn’t make babies easily. I was on fertility treatment with B and I wasn’t able to safely deliver naturally. H was conceived naturally but my body couldn’t deliver naturally. In years gone by I wouldn’t have had children, but had I conceived naturally the first time, I would have most probably died in childbirth as B was hugging her feet rather than being in the foetal position. Sometimes we do override the bodies natural instinct with medicine and sometimes this can cause further problems. I wouldn’t change my kids and I wouldn’t say I disagree with fertility treatment, but I wonder if my issues are because my body wasn’t actually right for bearing children!

I have to conclude that I am on the fence with this one. I agree that every mum has the right to the birth she wants. I do worry though that some will see an elective section as the easy option as it really is not. H is 3 now and my scar still itches at times. Getting my tummy back is impossible. Recovery straight after the birth is very long. But I know some mums who I believe want a section on medical grounds have in the past been told no for the wrong reasons. So what do you think?

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November 23, 2011 Posted by | Parenting | , , | 2 Comments

Christmas is Coming

Yes I know, I said it and it’s only November.

Six weeks today we will be opening pressies, eating too much and having a great time, really that’s not all that far away! So I am really impressed with myself this year I have to say, because I have almost finished and I only started this month!

When it comes to Christmas I like to be organised but I rarely am. This year the girls wrote to Santa over half term, I emailed them to him and he has been in touch to say most things have been organised with the help of Amazon. The bits on the list that are seeming to be the toys to have this year, are sorted and I have even got most of the rest of people sorted too. The thing is though I now realise that the benefits of sorting things early can also be dangerous. I really want to give things to people already! I am so excited about seeing everyone’s face when they open their gifts! I guess I just have to be patient!!

My downfall as always is Christmas cards, I send to close family but I have given up pretending I will send them to everyone. But I’m not going to beat myself up about it, I don’t get many either so either people have decided as I don’t send they won’t send to me, or as seems to be the case, other people don’t send them either!

So how are you doing with Christmas preparations? Are your decs up yet? I think mine may go up in 2 weeks time so watch this space!!!

November 13, 2011 Posted by | Parenting | , , | Leave a comment

When to Step In

As a mum, I try my hardest to make sure my girls are growing into well balanced, caring and strong people. I’m not one of those parents who is constantly on the schools back because something isn’t quite right, I don’t get involved when B has friends over or when Mr D’s kids are here and there are heated debates about what to play. I think it’s just as important for kids to know how to resolve difficulties as it is for them to be polite.

Lately B has been acting strange. I can’t pinpoint a specific time as it’s been a gradual thing, but I would say the first things I noticed were around the time the schools all went back in September. B has always been quite highly strung, just like me. She has little patience with things and if she is asked to do something she will sometimes be very verbal about the fact she doesn’t want to. These behaviours have got worse lately though. Then there was the school residential trip where she came home every night for a week saying she will have to have her own room because no one wants to share with her. I’d been asking if anything was going on and got nothing from her but I had a gut feeling something was up.

B takes after me in many ways, she likes to be in a group of friends, but likes to have her voice. She isn’t a sheep and never has been. She won’t follow the crowd just to be “cool” and she will speak out if someone upsets her. She has also in the past couple of years, changed from being friends with everyone as kids are when little, to only playing with a specific group of friends. She never speaks of a particular best friend but it is clear that she has friends and isn’t a loner.

On Sunday, whilst at my parents for dinner, B announced that she is fed up of one particular friend who bosses her around, tells her to shut up, decides who can play with B and makes her feel rubbish. She went on to say that when they go to after school club, this girl then chases B round saying she will now be her friend and that she wants to play. After a bit more talking this came out as being because said girl knows no one else at that after school club so B is the only person she can talk to. With the help of my mum and a few hangover induced tears from me, B saw that I understand how she feels, after going through the same myself as a kid I really did mean it when I told her I know how she feels. I told her to stand up for herself and that if it gets too much to tell a teacher. B felt better about herself and I was confident things would be ok.

Unfortunately within 5 minutes of picking up B on Tuesday she was in tears again. She said she had asked this girl why it was that she felt the need to boss her about and this girl had then had a go at her again. B said she had told the teacher who didn’t know what to do as they have not had a falling out as such. I suggested that at parents evening on Thursday I speak to her teacher about it and B agreed this would be a good idea. Thing is though, just 24 hours later B is telling me the have sorted things out and she feels much better. Apparently the girls mum had also had a word with her saying her attitude and behaviour to others is out of control, the girl apologised to B and said she will try and be a better friend.

Now I know what is going on isn’t bulllying in the classic sense, but part of me knows this change in spirits from the girl in question won’t last forever. I want B to be able to fight her corner and stand up for herself, but we all have experience of people making us feel like crap and it really isn’t nice. I just don’t know at what point to step in. As it stands B is happy so I am happy. At what point do you step in with your children, especially when it comes to issues with their friends?

November 4, 2011 Posted by | Parenting | , , | 2 Comments

My Favourite Gadget for Family Life

Being a parent is a busy old job. As a single working mum it’s hard to find the time to fit everything in. Trouble is some things can’t be put off till tomorrow. We have to eat. I am also a firm believer that we have to eat well. Now I will hold my hands up and admit that I am medically obese. I take full responsibility for it. When I left home I was over weight in medical terms but I was a slim size 16. Years of eating what I want, no exercise and 2 children later….well that’s why I want my kids to eat right! It would be so easy to roll in from work after picking up the kids and shoving a pizza in the oven. There’s loads of ready meals out there to chose from too. It’s not the best but it’s easy isn’t it?

Before falling into that trap, I decided I needed a something in the kitchen that cooks for me and when I come home it sets the table and dishes up. I can’t afford my own chef so I got the next best thing – a slow cooker!

When I was a kid I remember my mum using a slow cooker on the odd occasion. It was always stew when the slow cooker went on. So when I bought my slow cooker a year ago, I decided I would cook other things in it too. I have 3 slow cooker recipe books and have made some fantastic food in it, including Cidered Pork for Valentines Day.

Now that Autumn is here and winter is fast approaching, my slow cooker is hardly ever off, this week it’s cooked us chicken and mushroom in gravy, beef stew and lamb in mint. It’s so easy to use, when I make the days packed lunches each morning, I also fill the pot with my ingredients of the day and add enough stock to cover. Then it gets switched on and left for the day. I’m saving money too, because it cooks so slow that I can get away with the cheaper cuts of meat and it is still tender by the time it is cooked! I’ve used it for chilli and bolognaise sauce in the past too and that’s just recipes I have made up myself!

The other good thing is my kids are getting the good stuff. You have to cook everything in a stock, and as such, the goodness from whatever vegetables in there goes into the gravy. H is pretty fussy and will only eat mushrooms, but the amount of “special gravy” she has on her bread at the end, I know she is getting lots of vitamins and goodness too. There really is no excuse for me now, and as a treat for being so good all week, Fridays are rubbish night – either a chippy or a pizza, whatever we fancy because everything is ok in proportion!!

I’d love to know what you cook in your slow cooker, new recipes are always welcome!!

November 3, 2011 Posted by | Parenting | , , , , | 4 Comments

My First Halloween

Ok, ok, I’m lying, I’ve obviously had Halloween before. I’ve never “celebrated” it though, until this year. Now I say “celebrated” with the old speech marks because I don’t actually believe I would ever celebrate evil, which is how some may view Halloween and indeed some of the reasons why I have never “done” Halloween before.

Let’s rewind a little, and I remember as a child I never went trick or treating. I think I did ask when I was younger, but I was told that there is no way I would be allowed to go knocking on strangers doors any other day of the year so why should Halloween be any different. It was also described to me as “begging”, give me a treat or I’ll do something mean mentality. Halloween as a child for me was trick or treating or nothing. I think one year I did go to a party with the Guides but that was it. Fancy dress costumes were home made in those days and to be honest, in our neighbourhood it wasn’t a biggy.

Fast forward to adult life and I took the standpoint of my mum, no way would I take my kids trick or treating and why celebrate the unknown world of spirits and darkness. I still stand by that. Don’t get me wrong I believe in the spirit world and believe I have had contact with it on a number of occasions and in different ways. I don’t however feel we need to ward of evil on Halloween and strongly believe whatever is out there is beyond our control Halloween or not! Thing is though, that’s not what Halloween stands for any more.

This Halloween has been the first that I have got involved in anything!

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Me and Mr D were invited to a Halloween party a few months ago. Mr D had previous experience of their parties and told me I would have to dress up. So I did. Saturday night came around and off we went to the party. Now I’m all one for getting into fancy dress when the chance arises and so I did get into the spirit! We had a fab time and the house was all decorated with ghouls and ghosts and it was a great atmosphere. In fact, it even made me fancy decorating my own house next year!

Thing is though, I’ve got into the Halloween thing for the girls this year too. H went off to nursery in her Pumpkin witch outfit this morning which she has been waiting to wear all week, and B is off to her Brownies Halloween party tonight. It got me to thinking I was being a little hypocritical that I’ve harped on for years that I don’t do Halloween yet here I am quite enjoying it. Times have changed though and now with the cheap access to fancy dress, and the culture to party at home rather than going out drinking, Halloween is just a great excuse to party. Lets face it, this is the time of year we start to feel a bit down – summer is over, the clocks have changed so it’s dark by tea time and Christmas is still too far off to get excited, so why not get together with friends, dress like idiots, have a laugh and relax!! I still stand by trick or treating being a no no, but when the girls are older I might change my mind and if I do I’ll be doing it with a twist – check out my top tip and other great ideas in the Clintons Haunt Guide! 

So what’s next to keep the winter blues away, well next weekend sees the first Bonfire Night I take the girls out to, watch this space to see how we get on!!

October 31, 2011 Posted by | Parenting | , , | 2 Comments

Project Kids Rooms

Over the summer I had a decision to make, to move or not to move. I live in a lovely 3 bedroom house but with all the stuff that comes with kids, it feels very small some days. The main issue I had was that B had no space to store things in her room and never spent time in her room so most of her stuff lived downstairs. Similarly with H, her room still felt like a nursery, although to be honest was just a dumping ground for things that wouldn’t go anywhere else. Her old baby toys were in there but nothing else. She slept in there and that was it. My tenancy runs out in November so I was thinking about moving. Trouble is, if I moved would it be just me and the girls or would the move involve Mr D? So we had the conversation and both agreed we like our own space as well as time together and now isn’t the time. Neither of us said it never would be the time so now my decision was 1 – stay put until we reach a point where we all move together or 2 – move, but then possibly move again in a years time if we decide to make that move! To be honest, I decided that November isn’t the easiest time of year to move house and so got thinking of how I could make this house work better for us.

For 3 weeks in the summer the girls were with their dad so me and Mr D had our adult holiday and then on the day we got home I decided over dinner and on no sleep for 36 hours that I would not only decorate the girls rooms but would swap their rooms over and get new bunk bed’s for B, and I would start the next day! I don’t know how I did it but I did, between work and decorating I didn’t miss my babies as much as I would have normally and now we are much more organised at home so mission complete!!

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This was H’s room, soon to become B’s room with a bit of inspiration:

 

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Kids rooms 032   Kids rooms 036    Kids rooms 012

 

Next up we have what was once B’s room, being transformed into a Princess bedroom for a Princess!

Kids rooms 016   Kids rooms 013   Kids rooms 018

Kids rooms 021     Kids rooms 024     Kids rooms 029

 

I still can’t quite believe I got it all done, who says girls can’t do blue jobs?? Although if you’re reading Mr D….B still needs her shelf putting up!!!

September 10, 2011 Posted by | Home, Parenting | , , | Leave a comment

Olive the Ostrich

Kids TV is great isn’t it? Ok, maybe some of it is and some of it can drive parents mad. Every once in a while a new show pops up and as a parent I think, yes, that’s a good one.

Nick Jr have just launched one of those kids programmes  and if you haven’t yet seen it look out for Olive the Ostrich.

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Olive is an ostrich with a huge heart and a big imagination. When she buries her head in the sand she goes on fantastical adventures, popping up somewhere new in every episode. She is friendly, enthusiastic and loves to solve problems wherever she goes.

Narrated by Rolf Harris, each episode of Olive the Ostrich features characters, props and backgrounds created by children aged 6 to 9 years. Selected schools from across the UK hosted workshops to inspire creativity and develop storytelling skills. Pupils learnt about the film making process and created artwork which was used in the finished episodes, after being brought to life by the show’s animators.

Olive the Ostrich is created in partnership with The Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts.

I was asked to review the program with H so this evening we sat after dinner and watched 2 episodes. H thought it was great, she commented on how colourful and happy it was. She then spent 10 minutes singing the theme tune!  Now in my eyes, that means she enjoyed it!! Even B watched it with us and she was engrossed, considering she is 8 that just shows how versatile this program is.

As for me, well I found myself chuckling along. Rolf Harris narrates wonderfully clearly, and hearing him reminded me of my own childhood. The episodes we watched saw Olive travel to a theatre to see William Shakesbear and to a cowboy ranch where she met a goat called Billy the Kid, oh and not to mention at one point we saw Olive crowd surfing!

Olive the Ostrich can also be found on the Nick Jr website where you can find colouring activities and clips to watch so why not check it out here.

Each episode is just 5 minutes long, which is ideal for little minds as it’s not to long that they lose interest half way through. At 8:15am and 6:30pm you can find Olive the Ostrich on Nick Jr, so let your little ones check it out. I’ve not got Nick Jr until my Sky gets installed in a fortnight, but I have already promised H that she can watch it once we have the channel!!

September 9, 2011 Posted by | Parenting, TV | , | Leave a comment

Back to school range at Clintons!!

It’s that time of year again and everone is shouting about their amazing Back to School range, it can sometimes be a bit daunting as to where to start and what your kids actually need, so when I was approached to review Clintons back to school range I thought that would be an ideal way to see what’s out there.

Clintons is here to help get the new school year off to a great start – from themed pencil cases, lunch boxes and notepads to thoughtful back to school cards, yes you really can get cards for everything these days! Clintons is also making it easier for parents by offering 3-for-2 on its back to school range from 16th August (whilst stocks last), helping you treat your little ones within budget.

I have to say I was really impressed when I looked at the products. Here’s some of the items in the range and what I thought:

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Stay organised with this colourful Boofle Notepad – £3.99

It’s so cute, perfect for any girl at school, whatever the age! B loves this and she is 8, but I would imagine many teenagers will like this too. It has a cute dangly tag on the spine and an elastic band meaning if your kids want to keep loose bits of paper in with their notebook, it will all be held together!

 

 

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This set of two Boofle Pens will help to inspire wonderful words – £3.99

Not only are these great for back to school, but they are of good quality, you could put these away for friends birthdays. Pens always go missing so the fact this is a pack of two is great – one for now and one for when the first gets lost!!

 

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Keep all of your school stationary in order with this funky Tokyo Toys Pencil Case£3.99

This pencil case is fantastic. The small pocket on the front is fab for pencil sharpeners meaning no annoying shavings getting all over those brand new pencils and pens! And they really have it right with the danglies, kids love them! This is great quality and just the right size for kids of the younger age range, who only need a few bits!

 

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And then we have the important stuff, lunch time is not just about food and Clinton have seen that and bring these fantastic products out. The lunch bag is priced at £7.99 and the bottle at £3.99. What I really love though is that the bag has an elastic strap in it, meaning you can put the bottle in, or anything else, and be assured it will stay upright by making sure it’s sat in the strap. It’s a decent size, I think I could even fit my own lunch in there!!

 

Clinton Cards is the largest specialist retailer of quality greetings cards, gifts and related products in the UK. Founded in 1968, Clinton Cards now has over 650 stores nationwide and two million shoppers through its doors each week.

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I have to admit, I wouldn’t have thought about going to a card shop for my back to school supplies, but after trying out some of the range, I will definitely be heading over there to see what else is about, and would recommend these products without a doubt!!

September 7, 2011 Posted by | Parenting, Product Reviews, School and Childcare | , , , , | Leave a comment

Sleep Nightmare Continues

Some of you may remember I recently wrote a post about the Sleep Nightmare with trying to wean H off her dummy so I thought I would update you all and also see if there are any other opinions on what I am doing.

In a nut shell, the attempt has been made for H to no longer have a dummy at all. Since then she has done really well in that during the day she doesn’t ask for it at all, it means the tantrums have hightened but even for her day time nap she no longer has dummy. Admittedly her daytime nap is now rarely in her bed, simply because we have been out and about during the holidays and she has napped in the car or pushchair.

Night time is a different story though. Since my last post she hasn’t improved and I have resigned to letting her have dummy at bedtime because I couldn’t deal with the tantrums in the day coupled with the crying to sleep at night and the waking 3 to 4 times a night. We stayed with family over the weekend, and the strange environment added to the whole issue. One night in particular she took 3 hours to settle even with her dummy. We got home on Tuesday and for 2 nights now she has slept with dummy, without waking and I have caught up on my sleep.

So now we are in the situation where the dummy is back and H is apprehensive every night as to whether she will have dummy or not and that’s putting us all on edge at bedtime. Part of me wants to forget the whole thing and leave it to settle down again for a while. She isn’t the sort of child who will have her dummy till she is 5 or 6 and I’m really not worried about her teeth, because once asleep she spits it out and she now only has it for bed. Thing is though she is back to her dad’s next week and I know he really wants her to be without her dummy. Plus he did put in alot of effort the 1st week to get her off it and a part of me thinks he will really hold all this against me. I just know he won’t see my point of view and that bugs me.

So am I doing the right thing in sticking with dummy so as to relieve us all of the bedtime anxiety and then give it another go in a few weeks? I know some of you will say I’ve done the wrong thing but I can’t help think now is just the wrong time, what with her being off nursery and visiting her dad’s and other family more often. I’m just hoping I’m not putting off the inevitable by waiting until she is back to the normal routine!!!

August 19, 2010 Posted by | Parenting | , , | 8 Comments

Sleep Nightmare

I have been lucky with my girls. B slept through from 8 weeks and H from 4 weeks and I was always thankful for this. Especially as a single mum, the evenings are my time and it has made things so much easier knowing that by 8pm they are both in bed and in general both asleep by 8:30pm.

A week ago the dummy fairy came and took H’s dummy. She had given up having her dummy during the day when she was 1 and now she had turned 2 the time was right. She was at her dad’s when the fairy came and I was getting nightly text updates on how she was doing. It involved tears and tantrums but she was doing well. Also, for the last 3 weeks she has slept in a room with someone else – we had a week’s holiday where she shared a room with B, then at her dad’s she shares with B and their half sister L.

Saturday they came home, they had been with dad for 2 weeks and I had missed them like hell but was looking forward to how the no dummy thing was going to work. Saturday night she went straight off no fuss and slept through. I was amazed but thought maybe it was just that the time was right. Sunday night she didn’t settle quite so easy but once she went off she was asleep for the night.

Monday H went back to nursery and managed a nap there without dummy, I was really beginning to believe we had cracked in but Monday night things changed. She went off ok but woke at around 3am. Now she is a very intelligent 2 year old and when I asked her if she was going back to sleep she said… “No I don’t want to”, when I asked her why I got various excuses – “I got tummy ache”, “My feet hurt”, “There’s a hair on my finger”, “My feet hurt” the list goes on. After an hour of attempting controlled crying, which made her worse, and sitting with her, which made her wake up more, I decided enough was enough and out came the dummy. Now maybe this was my turning point and I should have stayed strong. Thing is though, as a single mum it’s all me. I can’t share nightmare nights with someone else. I have to deal with it alone, feeling tired, frustrated and guilty for my actions. She went straight back off to sleep.

Tuesday night she played up as soon as she went to bed. She wanted me to stay with her so I did rather than her get upset because controlled crying has never worked with her even as a baby and sitting by her bed for 10 minutes generally relaxes her enough for me to say I need to go and do something and will be back in a minute. She then settles off herself before I come back!! She again woke around 3am and again I tried for an hour and ended up giving her her dummy.

Tonight the tantrum started as soon as I said the word bed. I struggled to get her PJ’s on, she was taking her top off as fast as I was managing to get it on her. Enough was enough, I am worn out this week and so I told her if she calms down she can have her dummy for bed. She did calm down so off we went to bed. I gave her dummy, said goodnight and left. Then the screaming started again. Now she wanted me to stay with her, because the last few nights that’s what I have done, and, like I say she has shared a bedroom for the last 3 weeks. I told her she had to chose between dummy or me sitting with her. She gave me dummy back and after half an hour she was in dreamland.

She woke up about 20 minutes ago. Same excuses for not wanting to go back to sleep. I gave in straight away. I am racked with guilt and I know her dad will thing I’ve undone all the work her did. I just can’t work out what’s best. Do I persevere, and hope that these sleepless nights are only short term. Or do I give up on trying for a while and just accept that as she only has it to fall asleep (she spits it out once asleep), and doesn’t have it for her day time nap or during the day, then actually it’s no bad thing for a little while longer.

Help, all advice gratefully received, what would you do? Persevere or give up on this attempt????

August 11, 2010 Posted by | Parenting | , | 7 Comments