How Do I Stop The Guilt? - Mumology Vlog

Parent guilt. It's all consuming. Going out guilt. Having a bath guilt. Guilt. Working guilt. Enjoying yourself when the baby isn't around guilt. How do you deal with it and stop worrying about every aspect of your parenting? - Mumology Vlog

Hey girl hey! How you doing? Your hair sure is bouncy! I hope that lovely greeting helps soften the blow of me telling you that I'm not going to write about how to stop feeling guilty. That
would be like telling Jake Gyllenhaal to stop being a stone cold fox, futile and unnecessary. Parenting without guilt would not be parenting; it would most likely be an all day, booze fueled shopping spree, so as good as that may sound guilt is our faithful friend. Like leg hair it can never be eradicated but with careful maintenence it can be controlled. 

As you point out guilt is a very small word to represent a huge variety of situations. Compare your 'oops I had the last Hobnob' guilt to your 'I swear I just woke up with this tequila and these horses' guilt and you see what I mean. 

We'll cover a few varieties of guilt but first things first, know that tiredness and feeling run down can lead to low mood and low mood is like a steroid to guilt. A relatively minor problem will seem like an intergalatic catastrophe when you're down. So if you're staying up late watching Made in Chelsea on catch up or you've taken on too much because you've been seduced by the filter on instagram life, just cut that out. 

Once you've done the best you can for your personal wellbeing you need to tackle that little troll Guilt head on. First you have your level 1 guilt or Minor Impossible Guilt. These are the small things you feel guilty about but simply cannot change. For example guilt over past actions or enjoying activities that are necessary for your sanity. When you feel this start to bubble up you need a Minor Impossible Guilt Quick Deflection Strategy. I can state on good authority that a Malteser Bunny is the perfect size for this but you've gotta choose whatever makes you feel warm and cozy inside - a cup of hot chocolate, a dance in the kitchen or, go on then, one episode of Made in Chelsea. This action is to remind you that the best way to look after your baby is to look after yourself first.

Your level 2 guilt is the Minor Practical Guilt. These are the things we feel guilty about because we really should be doing something about them but then again it is getting late and I am quite tired and isn't it a full moon, that always throws me off a bit... You know, your exercising, your blogging, your tidying and your ironing. Minor Practical Guilt can only be challenged with action, so when it taps you on the shoulder make the commitment to do one thing. You could do five sit ups or iron one pair of knickers. Just do one thing to show guilt that you've got this covered and all will be done in due course. 

Level 3, is the place we all dread - Big Fat Hairy Guilt. It's the one that wakes you up at night and stops you believing in yourself. It's usually focused on how good you are, or how much you can get done and the wonderful thing is, it's the biggest liar of them all. The last thing you need in your armoury is a Big Fat Hairy Guilt Monitor, a partner or friend that you can call on when Big Fat Hairy comes around. Someone who will listen and then tell you that you're brilliant, because that's all that matters really. They can be at home, on the phone or even online and if you can't think of anyone head on over here, because I think you're fab.

This question came from the lovely Mumology! who vlogs at Mumology Vlog about day to day life with her little family. Unless you're allergic to cuteness check out her trailer and subscribe to her channel. If you have any advice on how to cope with the guilt of parenthood please do jump in the conversation.

Let's Talk Mommy

What's Mama Gonna Wear? - Moderate Mum

The Ruby slippers

Today the tables have turned because I really need some advice on a styling situation. Let me preface this by saying I'm fully aware I should file this in the ring binder of my mind labelled 'Too Shallow to Care', but this really did keep me up last night. I have a one year old, I don't need anything else keeping me awake.

I'm going to this wedding in a couple of months and I'm trying to find something mum/fun appropriate to wear. The bride and groom have been gracious enough to make room for Roscoe at the wedding. And I am hugely grateful because in no way whatsoever was I hoping for a no kids invite, so that I could stash him with the nearest child care provider and run into the sunset cradling a bucket of free wine. 

I need to be able to dance with a kid on my hip and crawl under a table if necessary. I have this dress I love, it was a gift from a family member. It's a made to measure, fifties style tea dress, fitted at the top, with a full pleated skirt. It's in a gorgeous, pale yellow vintage fabric - think sexy Von Trapp. I'm thinking of de-carbing myself into that but then I need shoes. I have some burgundy, suede, wedge heels that might look ace but they're super high. I have some trusty tan, suede, wedge ankle boots* but I'm not sure if that's too much of a contrast with the dress and I'd need to buy a new bag and I hate bag shopping. 

If I go new shoes, which way do I go? Ballet flats are practical and cute, but are they too cute, like cutesy? Low courts will be used again but will it be too tryina be on Mad Men. Then there's the real question - should I just accept that my boob hoicking days are over and get something cute and roomy in a jumpsuit and wear something statementy round the neck?

If you've managed to get this far, I'd really appreciate any suggestions. My advice about weddings is usually 'no one's looking at you' (this doesn't work so well with the bride by the way) but at the moment I feel like most of the time I'm just Roscoe's mum. In the park, at the supermarket, in the bath - I'm just Roscoe's mum. For one day I want to be Roscoe's mum in a really nice frock.

Want to follow one stylish mother? Check out The Two Darlings and her immaculately groomed eyebrows (post please) for your style/beauty/baby fix in one bloggy dose. 

*I've just this second realised I have a suede wedge problem. 

Fashion Friday on

There's so much pressure to breastfeed, how should I feel about it? - Mrs D

Baby Bottle

Apologies Mrs D, your question has been languishing in the Moderate Mum vaults for some time. You see I may be outspoken but I'm no masochist and I had no intention of unleashing the mummy wrath by addressing a subject as sensitive as breastfeeding. Until another guilt inducing report began floating round the web, claiming that breastfed children could read minds or something and attachment parents everywhere could hold their stance just a teensy bit tighter. And who could blame them? Aren’t we all looking for the neon sign saying ‘YOU’RE DOING IT RIGHT’ and when it comes to those that breastfeed their babies the media are happy to provide. I felt staying silent might make me part of the problem; the ‘we women totally support each other until you say something that makes me slightly uncomfortable and then I’m gonna ignore you and bitch about you to my friend Karen’ experience. And so here goes… 

My short answer is to get through most aspects of motherhood as unscathed as you can and decide what’s best based on your family, your abilities and your values and that may or may not include breastfeeding. Try not to be consumed with the anxiety that you won’t be able to do it. This may happen, this does happen despite the media suggestion that all women are producing like a dairy cow from the moment of conception. Since I did breastfeed my son I can't say what it would feel like if this were the case, be prepared for disappointment but to this I would say it will probably be disappointing in the way that bungee jumping off the Golden Gate bridge will be – undeniably a cool thing to do, but not something you’re going to go to your death bed harping on about. It is likely to be the first of a great many disappointments that parenthood will bring, so consider yourself lucky to have gotten one out of the way.

Despite its image formula is cow’s milk with extra stuff added to make it as close to breast milk as possible. I know you were waiting for tales of ground gunmetal or stats about how many coke cans it would dissolve through in 24 hours but that's just not the case. Of course we all know it's not as simple as that, there are differences but I feel the main ones to consider are that the antibodies in breast milk help to develop the baby’s immune system in the first few months and breast milk means less nooks and crannies for the germs that cause stomach bugs to get into. These two reasons are why the NHS is so obsessed with breastfeeding. Of course they want less sick babies at their door but if they spent a little more time educating about how to prevent these illnesses and a little less trying to manipulate women into using their bodies in the manner they dictate, it might not be as much of an issue.

Maybe you’re being coy, with this ‘goodness me the pressure’ business and you already know you just don’t want to do it. You can’t get past your boobs as fun bags or you’ve already booked onto three month booze cruise, for whatever reason it's not in the scope of things you want to do with your life. I had a similar experience around drugs during labour. I didn't want drugs, I was going to have a 'natural' birth. It was in my plan. I was sure, I was so sure I asked about fifteen midwives whether they thought I should take drugs and they all (quite rightly) told me to do as I wished. As labour kicked in an older, less diplomatic nurse came on shift and of course I asked her and she said, ‘darling just have the epidural if you want it,’ and I was calling for the anaesthetist faster than you can say 'take a deep breath Mrs Allcott.' I just needed permission, I needed someone to give me consent. So here it is - bottle feed the baby. Go to Mothercare and buy the biggest, fanciest bottle set and steriliser you can afford. It's fine, the baby will be fine. Here's a list of brilliant people that were bottle fed:-

David Beckham, Bear Grylls, Lady Gaga, David Duchovny, Prince Albert of Monaco. And okay then, I made that up and have no idea whether any of those people were breastfed or not but the beautiful thing is, nobody does. 

For information and support about breastfeeding check out the Yummy Mummy Breastfeeding Blog Facebook Group. And for information on formula feeding try the 'Fearless Formula Feeder' blog.

Brilliant blog posts on

How do I handle a negative experience of health visitors? - Laura

Nurse Smurfette

I went into parenting with the following mantra -  don’t expect anyone to care about your child except you. It might sound harsh, but what the heck it’s me - you should know me by now. It's served me well. It's stopped me blathering on about weaning to people that couldn't give a Farleys Rusk what he's eating. It means that when a friend voluntarily asks to see pictures of my kid, I'm overjoyed and when the girls organise coffee in a cafĂ© that's an obstacle assault course for buggies, I don’t take offence.

Similarly health professionals are just doing their jobs, you and your special snowflake of a baby are just another customer. I wouldn't expect the cashier in Sainsburys to stop mid swipe and advise me of the best accompaniment to my litre of Lambrini. I just want them to get me through the process of bagging my groceries as swiftly as possible. The same goes for midwives and health visitors. This isn't an opportunity for me to come down on the men and women that support us during pregnancy and birth - I couldn't have got through it without them. Particularly a midwife called Maria who held my hand and told me I could when I was literally screaming, 'I CAN'T' during the last few pushes, when my bloke was probably sobbing in a corner somewhere. Shout out to all medical and medical support staff everywhere. I salute you. But the ones with more than a few kind words, the one's that phone you out of hours and bring you a hot cup of tea just when you need it, they're going above and beyond. Unless you’ve never had a bad day or a forgetful moment or you’ve never responded to someone shortly when they ask you something insanely obvious and you’ve got raging PM, then you're not really in a position to judge.

Of course you deserve respect and an adequate service. And when you don’t get that you have my permission to go full scale mama bear on whomever is in the immediate vicinity. Just don’t let a few negative people mar the amazing experience you're having with your pregnancy and baby. That's what family's for.

For more information from a health professional that understands, check out Gas&Air by Clemmie

How can I have a child who is both cool at school and cool as an adult? - Urban Mumble

Loser Rosette by Dear Colleen

Most children who are cool at school become losers as adults. Most children who are losers at school become successful and cool as adults. How can I have a child who is both cool at school and cool as an adult and successful at school and after school. In other words, how can we eat the cake and keep the cake at the same time? - Urban Mumble

Let me tell you a story. There was this guy I knew at school. I don’t like labels but if I said the word ‘nerd’ and you forced yourself to conjure up all the stereotypes you could pull from the darkest recesses of your mind, the person you would be imagining would still be a bit cooler than this lad. My friends were an evolved bunch, he was never mocked or excluded but there was definitely the sense that he was on the fringes of things. Even at the time I thought, he’s gonna show us all; he’s gonna use that massive, misunderstood brain and discover some way to make gold nuggets out of belly button fluff and have billions and laugh at us all from his yacht in Aruba. From what I pick up from his obscure conspiracy theories newsletter, this is not the case. I tell you this story to let you know that despite the truth in your question, one thing is universal about both high school and parenting – there are no guarantees.  

Don’t let this frighten you too much because the dynamic you describe can sometimes be a ‘The Dress’ style optical illusion. That guy that had rock star status at seventeen is now working in a high street chemist and however respectable and beneficial to society that is, it’s still a fall down the ladder in comparison. If you were sidelined at the school gates a pair of heels and some decent highlights can make it seem like you’ve been catapulted up the the ranks of cooldom. My point is, if you were tempted to actively encourage your child to become an outcast in order to receive some sort of karmic cool points for later in life, this would be a risky strategy.

Anyway the reason for the loser flip phenomenon is the things that sometimes contribute to loserdom in school - doing your own thing, having your own personal style, having discipline, standing up for what you believe, nurturing your own quirky interests - are things that make you an awesome adult. So if your child is obsessed with Star Wars take them to a convention, if they can’t get enough of earthworms help them start a blog about it. Nurture their uniqueness and convince them that those things that make them a ‘loser’ are the things you love the most. Ultimately you will be their most valuable teacher, you will show them how to wave their loser flag high. You will help them see that one thing is true about both school and adulthood, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks it’s how you feel that counts. And at the risk of sounding a bit too Disney, if your child can feel cool about who they are, no matter what anyone else says, they’ll have cake to eat, cake to keep and some to share with everyone too.

This question comes from the wonderful Urban Mumble, who gives me something important to think about with every darn post. 

The Dad Network

How can I get baby back in her own room? Lorraine

Dean sleeping

You’re going to have to forgive me because I went out with a very old friend last night and, for me, very old friends deserve very many cocktails and I had a couple of delicious things called Lucky Irish and I’m feeling less than lucky today. As any parent that has been worse for wear knows, almost all your energy has to be focused on caring for your coincidentally far more fractious toddler*. So I may not have the wherewithal to dress anything up today, unlike my Lucky Irish I’m gonna give it to you straight.

First some background. My mother grew up in a house with five siblings and there wasn’t much room for choice. She carried that ethos through into parenting me. If we ever uttered even the vaguest of grumbles about being served spaghetti bolognaise for the forty second Thursday in a row, she wouldn’t placate, she wouldn’t discuss, she’d simple say, ‘Get it eaten.’ Whenever I’ve had a baby sleep dilemma I can't help thinking of my old mum, because the same rule applies - just get it eaten, not the baby, you. In other words WOMAN UP! I know you can do it, I have faith in you! Have faith in yourself, gosh darn it! Decide what outcome you want and go for it, because if you haven’t made a firm decision about what’s happening, how is your baby going to know?

Let’s say for example you've told someone you'll get up with the baby in the morning, for analogy’s sake we’ll say it’s your partner that you share a bed with and as you’e falling asleep they casually mutter, ‘Oh, I’ll get up tomorrow.’ But then tomorrow rolls round and the baby’s crying and they don’t move and they look at you and you look at them and no one knows what’s going on and I'm not really sure who’s the baby and who’s the mummy in this analogy but the point is in most areas of life you have to say and do stuff like you mean and actually mean it.

I know you think that your little girl’s just a smooshy, cutesy, little love bug but she’s actually a teeny, weeny emotional vampire. Every thought, feeling and insecurity that runs through your head at bedtime, she will know. If you're thinking, ‘I’m saying it’s bedtime but I’m just gonna get you up in ten minutes,’ she will know. If you're thinking, ‘I’m really anxious about putting you to bed and this whole process is freaking me out', she will feel it. So simply know there probably will be pain. Decide how much pain you can cope with and lock that business down. I’m not going to go into methodology such as controlled crying, except to say controlled crying is probably better than mummy crying uncontrollably in the corner clutching a bottle of gin. If you’re the sort of person that eats the whole family bag of crisps or peels a plaster off millimetre by millimetre, you might want to start with a more gentle option such as she will not leave her room. I will comfort her and sing to her and feed her peeled grapes but she will not leave her room. Keep saying it in your head if you must - she will not leave her room. At least say it until you believe it because if you believe it and she believes you, you’re more than halfway there.

This question is from the wonderful Lorraine who blogs about life with her bundle of fun Penelope over at Babyy Pebbles. Thanks so much!

*Bonus advice! How to deal with a toddler when you have a hangover. Go back in time. Shake yourself roughly and remind past you that you have responsibilities and force her to order soda water and not overpriced booze. 

The Dad Network