What things did you vow never to do as a parent and have done? Run Jump Scrap

So forgive me, for I'm going to indulge in a but of smugface for a second.  I have seen others play that game and fail. If I had a pound for every time I heard someone say that their precious cargo would never touch sugar/ have a dummy/ watch TV only to visit and find the kid propped up in front of the complete works of Disney, dipping their dummy into a bowl of maple syrup, I'd have about £6 and I would really enjoy the chicken burrito I would buy with it. 

Therefore when I fell pregnant I was careful not to make any public declarations, of course I hoped I would make choices that were generally healthy and positive but my main aims were get through it and wear clean knickers. I did make two promises to myself. The first was that I would not expect anyone to care about my child other then myself and my partner; the second was I would not care about the opinions of anyone except myself and my partner. With only two vows, I broke 50% because as much as I try I just can't stop myself from taking on the judgement of others. 

I found having a baby like getting up one morning and accepting delivery of a dragon. You pretty much know all about drgaons, I mean you've heard all the stories - yeah, yeah scales; yeah, yeah fire but when you've suddenly got one in your back garden you realise you don't know anything about dragons! Are they nocturnal? Do they eat humans? So if someone, anyone, can offer you something, you bloody well listen.

I started taking to heart everything anyone said about my son, no matter how uninformed they might be. For example I have a friend, I'll call her Anna because that's her name. Anna's very caring but she's also not British so she does that thing of actually telling you what's on her mind rather than smiling wanely and then gossiping about it with their mates. Whenever I see her she offers me support or advice about my son. It's important to note that Anna has not had children. This doesn't diminsh her opinions in any way, in fact I find the child free to be far less subjective, but there are certain areas of life that you can't have full access to unless you've been there, done that and worn the tena lady. 

In case Anna's reading and that's the kind of friend she is, she'd read this even though the subject is probably as interesting to her as a blog about tripe recipes, I don't want her to stop offering me advice. Sometimes it's been invaluable - like the time I left the buggy cover on him and it ended up steaming up like a Turkish sauna but sometimes I know it's just not right for me, or at least I should. Currently Roscoe is waking at 5AM. The combination of earlier dawns, recent travel and general excitement about life means he can't or won't lie in. When I was sharing (read whinging about) this with Anna she very logically suggested I put him to bed later. Here's the deal, that won't work. Not only will it not work but it would cut into valuable G&T time. Yet despite this knowledge, I took on her words. I let them rattle around my brain like a moth trapped in a porch and the next night, despite my better judgement, I put him to bed just that bit later; resulting only in less sleep for everyone. 

Sadly it's not just Anna, it's the health visitor, it's a woman on the bus, it's my mother. Good gracious, it's my mother. Whilst this certainly isn't my only failing as a mother, it's the one that troubles me the most. I want to teach my son to be true to himself and to do that I really need to lead by example. So for now I have a three step plan for unneccessary advice: 

Say Thank you
Sleep on it 
Blame only yourself when it all goes wrong. 

I'd love to hear what you do with the advice and opinions of others. I'll try not to take it to heart.

This question came from the wonderful Sarah that blogs over at Run, Jump, Scrap and runs the 'Best & Worst' linky that opens every Wednesday.

If you have a question for The Moderate Mum get in touch using the contact form on the left. Don't forget to follow me on Instagram to see what Roscoe and I get up to all day! 

Let's Talk Mommy

The 5 People You Meet At BritMums Live

Photo courtesy of the lovely Run Jump Scrap! Far right.

If you don’t happen to know what BritMums Live is, it’s like a Star Trek convention for parent bloggers. Whilst it was somewhat overwhelming to see my Bloglovin’ feed come to life, I learnt so much about myself and this lovely/crazy/clever community. So I thought I’d share the 5 people you'll meet at BritMums Live:

THE OFFICE PARTIER: For those that have been there, done that, got the ‘I’m a blogger’ T shirt. Britmums Live isn’t actually about blogging, it’s basically an office Christmas party. They’re focused on having a ruddy good time and they’ve been sponsored to do it. They’re probably the most relaxed people there, just don’t try and talk about page views.

Where to find them: In the pub across the road from the conference.
Best intro: What’d you get up to last night?

THE BLAGGER: This blogger knows what it’s really about – free stuff. They don’t write about their lovely family for feels, they’ve got an empty holdall to fill and brands to be seducing. You’ll have to get up early to keep up with these chicks. Approach carefully, they may not want to share the secrets of their success – the mummy blogging community is small and there just isn’t enough minibreaks to go round.

Where to find them: By the brands.
Best intro: Do you know where the wine is?

THE NETWORKER: These folk work the room like a cold in a nursery. They’ve got a stack of business cards and they aren’t afraid to use them. Always up for a chat but perhaps not for more than 75 seconds. Get a selfie and move along sister.

Where to find them: Everywhere.
Best intro: I’ve just seen Honest Mum by the pastries!

    THE CRAFT HONER: This blogger’s here to learn. They’ve been blogging for a year and they’re ready to take it to the elusive ‘next level’. Might not be up for small talk and under no circumstances try and strike up conversation during a seminar.

Where to find them: Saving her seat for the next session.
Best intro: How did you find advanced SEO?

THE FLOATER: The floater started blogging a few weeks ago and bought a ticket on a whim. Now they have no idea what they’re doing at BritMums Live; they’ve suddenly remembered they’re an introvert and keep having flash backs to their first day at high school.

Where to find them: Standing in reception looking lost.
Best intro: Are you lost too?

In truth I think we’ve all got a little bit of each of these characters inside of us, parent bloggers are a versatile bunch. I’d like to think I evolved from a floater to a networker over the course of the event and I certainly got in touch with my inner blagger come wine o clock.

If you went to Brit Mums Live I’d love to hear how you found it, if you didn’t go I’d love to hear why and if you’d like to sponsor me to attend next year, I’m all yours honey.   

How can I stay cool when I drool? - Skibz (REVIEW)

My son's teething has been going on so long that it's less of a stage and more of a lifestyle choice. Every now and then I send a silent prayer that someone, anyone, can make teething a little more fun. This time Skibz and their funky bibs answered. Since Roscoe will be the one wearing it I'll turn this post over to the moderate toddler for his view...

Skibz Doublez Poppers Street Feet

WEARABILITY Despite the fact that I've been wearing them my entire life I have decided quite recently that I can't stand wearing bibs. Actually I want to state publically that they're a direct infringement of my toddler rights and if I must I will pull at them until I cut off my own air supply. This may mean that my drool soaks through all my clothes but I don't care as I don't know how washing gets done. That being said this Skibz bib has this lovely soft furry business on it and that that makes it very fun to wear. It's really thick so I don't have to have it changed every 35 seconds, which is a two thumbs up bonus. When I didn't produce enough drool I did try spitting a bit of juice on it but it kept up with me.

POP ITZ LIKE IT'S HOT Skibz also sent me this brilliant teether. Actually it's not a teether because I haven't yet found a teether that I can't destroy. This is a super tough, funky, bouncy, chewy toy. Cos it has this cool popper business, mum can add it to my Skibz bib and it's a toy that I can't chuck away! Look, I'll be straight with you, sometimes I get these rages. I've got a lot to deal with - early starts, constant changes and a really inept (buggy) driver. When I'm frustrated, I throw things. I'm not proud of it, okay sometimes I'm proud of it. Anyway this Teetherz just sticks onto my bib and I've got it whenever I need it; which is awesome because I'm dubious as to how antiseptic mum's spit really is.

Teetherz Note Royal Blue

STYLE FOR DAYS For the record, I'm not a baby. I might still be teething but I'm a toddler and I want toddler stuff. Some of the bibs and teething gear out there is a bit pretoddler for me but this Skibz stuff has cool shoes on it and with my Pop-itz medallion, you can't tell me I don't look as good as Adam Levine? (I don't actually know who Adam Levine is but Mum's always banging on about him). Check me out pulling some killer moves! E-I-E-I-O dude!

So if you're looking for a bib for your baby or still teething toddler Roscoe and I agree that Skibz bibs are the perfect baby accessory. And we all know, it's all about the accessories.

For more information about Skibz and their products check out their website and follow them on Instagram. Skibz sent me the Skibz Doublez Poppers and Pop-itz so that Roscoe and I could review them.

Life Love and Dirty Dishes

10 Things I Will Miss About Pregnancy: Guest Post From LesBeMums

When I first started writing this post I giggled to myself and thought that with all my pregnancy complaints I wouldn’t actually be able to find things I’d actually miss. That, however, soon became a lie when I started thinking back over these past 9 months…
NOT SEEING AUNT FLOFor all the niggles that come with pregnancy, this one has got to be my favourite. I must have saved a fortune on tampons! I know it’ll make up for itself once Fidget arrives but it’s been nice not having a visit from AF every month.
BACK RUBS: S hates giving massages and I’ll give her her dues, she does suffer from RSI – so a massage is probably the worst thing she can do apart from play on our xbox, but over the past few months she has been amazing at rubbing my back even without me asking. I’m going to miss being able to pull the pregnancy card on this one.
GETTING OUT OF CERTAIN JOBS IN THE HOUSE: Let's face it, who likes changing the bin? I don’t, but I get on with. Being pregnant, however, has now meant I got out of it pretty early on as the smell of it turned my stomach. As I got larger, things that then required bending over such as the bottle recycling bank, weeding the garden, and vacuuming the car were not for me. Score! I do, however, make up for it in making sure all the washing and cleaning is done (in case you’re reading this, S).
MY BELLY: I know on my last post I mentioned the attention my belly and said pregnancy got me, and some people have said some stupid curious things about my belly whilst I’ve been pregnant, but this aside I’ve still enjoyed having it around. It’s comforting and something really unique, and I’m sure when you see a fellow preggo you get a secret little wink that says “Yeah… I know”.
NICE SKIN, NAILS AND HAIR! For the first time in a year I haven’t had the urge to bite my finger nails and in return, I’ve got nails… nice nails. My hair also doesn’t need as much washing, and my skin seems soft for a change as it usually dries up over the colder months!
NOT CARING WHAT I LOOKED LIKE WHEN GOING OUT: This feeling was a first for me as I usually made sure my hair was at least done, but this went out the window when I fell pregnant and will probably remain when Fidget arrives. The amount of times I went out with old trainers on with the first pair of maternity jeans I could find, and bed hair – classy!
INDULGING: Let me start by saying that I have been so good during this pregnancy, I’ve continued my healthy eating and always made sure I’ve had more than 5 pieces of fruit and veg a day…. HOWEVER, if I’ve fancied something naughty like a cake or a chocolate bar, I’ve bloody well done it and not felt guilty about it either! I haven’t over done it but I’ve made the most of it at the same time. I know as soon as Fidget arrives I’ll be back on my bike and back on my usual diet… or I’ll at least forget to eat, so it’s all good!
NAPPING: I could never nap before as it would wake me up for the evening and I would have trouble sleeping later, but being pregnant found me a new love – napping. It really was amazing.
BEING ALONE WITH S: I’ve had 8 years of this, and now that I’m pregnant the realisation has kicked in that we will never be alone again… ever. Sure, we may sneak in the occasional hour after bedtime, or a date night, but I mean properly alone where all we needed to worry about was us. It’s a bit odd, seeing as we spent so long trying to change that, but I guess you never realise what you had until it’s going soon – not that I regret anything! But, you know what I mean…
KNOWING MY BABY IS RELATIVELY SAFE: Inside me they get everything on tap; blood, oxygen, food, you name it. When they leave their little room of requirement however, it’s up to us to make sure they’re safe, fed, and well. It’s a huge responsibility.
Of course no post like this won’t come without it’s sentimental side, and of course the things I’ll probably miss the most about being pregnant is seeing my baby grow by the size of my belly and feeling my baby move and kick. I can’t wait to see them move and kick in front of my eyes, and be able to physically touch them, but having them do all this inside me has been a special moment just between us and I’ll definitely miss it.
What did you miss about being Pregnant?

I loved this! As a card carrying member of the 'never again' club I'm trying to make an effort to keep this space pregnancy positive! This post came from the wonderful Kate and was first featured on her blog LesBeMums. She's the one looking all glowy on the left. Pop over to the blog to see how her and Fidget are doing now!

Super Busy Mum

The Dreaded T Word: Guest Post from My Mummy Spam

When I was pregnant I had very strong views on how I would raise my baby in those first few crucial months. I wanted to breastfeed, wanted to set up a routine, feed my baby all organic home made meals when weaning and help him develop through education play. I remember vividly saying that I didn't want to become one of 'those mothers' who just stuck their baby in front of an iPad or the even the dreaded TELEVISION! Well my friends, I was naive...oh so very naive!

I managed to do maybe one or two of the things I had originally planned like a routine but that is pretty much it. We didn't breastfeed for a few different reasons, play time consists mainly of Bubba hitting things or chewing whatever he can get his hands on and I have become one of 'those mothers'. Now don't get me wrong, bubba is by no means in front of a screen all day. We go for walks to the woods, go to a few different play groups and sensory play and one of his favorite things to do is sing songs but I will admit that there are some times in our day where bubba will sit and watch 10 minutes of baby TV so Mumma can sort his breakfast or dinner or even as a way to distract him whilst I get him dressed (the thing he hates the most!!). The other evening was a prime example of a time where baby TV was a savior...see below...

Now the story behind this is that it was dinner time, bubba was at the the start of a yukky cold and he was just generally miserable and groggy. I tried toys to distract him so he would eat his eat his dinner, tried singing songs and chatting to him but he was having none of it. So in an act of beef casserole covered desperation I opened the laptop and stuck baby TV on YouTube. Bubba then sat there very happily and ate his dinner with no fuss or mess at all!

Does this make me a bad mother? Does this mean I am lazy? Some people would say yes and would be horrified that I would do this let alone talk about it on the internet but I am human..I want an easy life sometimes and that evening was one of those times and if that makes me a bad person then so be it. Bubba had a full belly without any tears or issues which meant he went to bed at his normal time not hungry and I was less stressed and happy in the knowledge that he had eaten so in my opinion, we were all good.

Part of me thinks that the Mums who say that their child never watches TV are either bare faced liars, have a child that is a contented angel that is always smiling and happy 100% of the time OR they have some voodoo magic that calms their child whenever they get in a state (if that's the case then where can I get some!??!!!).

We were at a baby group recently and got speaking to a relatively new Mum that we hadn't seen before and she said shamefully 'I put *baby's name* in front of the TV the other day, just for 5 minutes, so that I could go and grab a drink. I felt awful!!'.

Instead of the disgusted silence and dirty looks I think she thought she was about the get all three of us Mums sitting with her laughed and explained how we have all been there. One my of friends even came in with 'Hell I don't think my TV is ever off!'

This made me smile as I love that I know such a down to earth, non judgement group of Mummies and think sometimes Mums need to stop trying to be the mothers that you read about in your baby books during pregnancy and just relish in motherhood and its ups and downs. Don't be judgemental or force your opinion on people, just be happy and support the other Mummies around you. And don't be scared of the dreaded T word :) sometimes everyone just needs a little help.

What are your opinions of the TV? Have you been Mummy shamed before for letting your little one watch it?

Ami Roberts

We've all been there! Has anyone got away without the digital babysitter? This post comes from the amazing Ami who shares top tips and cute pics over at My Mummy Spam  and is also a top tweeter.

Moderate Mum Guide to Year One: How not to kill your spouse when you're pregnant

   DON'T BE A HERO You’re growing a human life form, you can catch a break. I know you’ve spent a long time being all - I’m strong, I’m capable and girls can play just as hard as boys. Guess what boys don’t have to host a nine pound parasite. Milk it.

    DON'T DO ANYTHING RASH You’ll become consumed with all manner of ‘brilliant’ ideas such as moving to The Canary Islands, quitting your job to write a memoir and painting your entire flat lime green with purple spots. To your tiny impregnated mind these ideas may seem perfectly rational but I’m telling you now, they are not. Write them on a piece of paper, put them in your knicker drawer and read them again in a year. If they make any sense at all, knock yourself out.  

DON'T BRING UP THE PAST Hormones can do curious things to your memory. You might suddenly remember the time your partner locked you out of the flat in full technicolour glory accompanied by a sinister soundtrack. You might suddenly realise that this was not simply a careless act of stupidity but a passive aggressive statement representing their unwillingness to let you into their heart. Pregnancy is a time to look to the future. Can we just do some yogic breathing and let that stuff go.

DON'T BE A KNOW IT ALL These things are happening to your body, yes. No one will ever know the special brand of pain you are feeling but (shock, horror) you are not the first pregnant person ever. This might seem like crazy talk but your spouse may have insights into ways to prepare for the baby. This is especially true if your partner has been pregnant or supported someone else through a pregnancy. Even if you’re that chick in the pregnancy class that has read all the books ever (she was in your class too right?) you could learn something. Even if you don’t, listening to someone drone on about boring stuff you already know is great prep for motherhood.

ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT After more than a decade of testing this theory with my husband I’ve come to the conclusion that our partners cannot read our minds. Even if your other half is slightly more sensitive than mine, when you’re pregnant your needs vary so dramatically from normal that your partner will need guidance. If your favourite treat makes you feel nauseous or the smell of flowers gives you a headache, it’s only fair to give them a nudge in the right direction.

   REMEMBER IT MIGHT BE A TIME OF CHANGE FOR YOUR PARTNER It can be very easy to focus almost entirely on all the stuff that’s happening for you. I know that the knowledge that I was going to heave a mini him through my hoo haw kept me in a very self- focused place for quite a few weeks. You partner may also be overwhelmed by the changes that are afoot. Resist the temptation to roll your eyes dramatically.

REMEMBER IT MIGHT NOT FEEL LIKE A TIME OF CHANGE FOR YOUR PARTNER When you can feel a limb in your belly, it brings it home pretty fast that something significant is happening. Your partner might not feel this huge sense of shift. For them perhaps nothing’s changed but your belly. Don’t try and scare or berate them into action, they’ll get there – labour has a tendency to jolt people into action.

   DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR SPACE  A conversation with my husband when I was pregnant:

Me: Stop making that noise.
Husband: What noise?
Me: That noise with your mouth.
Husband: Breathing?

If you need space to think or cry or sweat, take it - it’s only temporary. If you have the space, sleep in a separate bed if you need to. Don’t worry about intimacy right now, that’s what got you here in the first place.

RESPECT YOUR LAST DAYS OF FREEDOM Please, please go on a picnic. Go to a matinee. Visit tiny, cosy pubs. You’ll need the memories.

DON'T RAISE YOUR EXPECTATIONS Don’t suddenly have ridiculous expectations of the partner you were once perfectly happy with. If your beau was a struggling freelance clown before conception, they’re not gonna suddenly become a Fortune 500 CEO because your egg got lucky. The same goes for sudden reinventions in terms of cleaning or lifestyle. Compromise can and must happen a personality transplant will not. 

Friday Frolics

Get a ring sling: Guest Post From Julie Dutra

I was so excited when Charlene asked me to write a guest post. Then the panic set in. What was I going to write about? Was there really anything useful I could offer her readers in terms of advice or life experience? I'm a first time mum with a 10 month old baby and although I have lots of ideas on how I want to parent, I quiver at the thought of telling anyone else what to do. 

I was about to send Charlene an email telling her I had moved to Timbuktu and would never blog again when clarity struck. There was one thing I could unashamedly write about. My one piece of personal advice that I have no qualms about sharing. It’s very simple:

Get a ring sling. Practice using it. Keep it in your changing bag.

Don't worry, it won't turn you into a granola mum overnight and yes, there are patterns that scream  "stylish" rather than "hippie". I'm not telling you to throw out your pram or cosleep with your baby on a giant futon (what weirdo would do that....whoops, that would be me!). Just buy a cheap ring sling and give it a whirl. Even if you’ve tried another sort of carrier and thrown your hands up in frustration because it was so bulky/your baby hated it/difficult to put on, please give the humble ring sling another try. The things are just so darn practical:

They fit in your changing bag. No other baby carrier I know is so compact.

You can put it on and insert the baby all by yourself without help and without having to put the baby down. This is a major advantage if you want to be out and about on your own with your baby.

All carriers these days have multiple positions but the ring sling is the only one where you can switch positions with the baby in place (i.e. sitting up to lying down when baby wants to nap)

It's easy to slip off once baby is asleep so you can put him down!!! Ok, a sleeping newborn huddled up to your chest is very cute, but sometimes you might need the loo or just five minutes to yourself...with a ring sling you can put the baby down and slip the sling over your head. Bonus feature: baby is already covered by a light blanket!

Even if you never wear your baby, a ring sling has so many other uses: as a picnic blanket, a sun shield in the car, to fasten baby into a dodgy restaurant high chair, as a blanket, burp cloth and to catch general bodily fluids, to cover your shoulders in the sun,… The older my baby boy gets the more uses I find. 

Babywearing is often touted to have numerous benefits for mother and baby, from closer bonding to easier breastfeeding. Sometimes I feel the babywearing community oversells things a bit: using a sling is not going to make you a better parent, prevent your baby from crying or promote world peace. However, in my experience it can make it easier to get out of the house and do the things you loved to do before the baby came along. Baby can observe from the sling, sleep and nurse while mum has a cup of coffee with friends, a walk in the park or even a meal in a restaurant. For me it means being able to attend to my baby's needs while getting on with life rather than being stuck at home, slave to nap and feeding times.

I could go on and on (and tend to do so on my own blog!) but I think you've got the gist: get a ring sling. 

Either from here or here. If you don't know how to use it go here or ask me a question in the comments. I'd be more than happy to help out.

Julie Dutra is mostly a mother and occasionally a writer living in Portugal with her husband and baby. She blogs at happymamahappybaby.net and can be found on Twitter (@JulieGDutra) and Facebook.

Super Busy Mum