What if I don't want to be a yummy mummy? - C

Rarely do I return to a submitter and ask for clarification. Mainly because although we dress it up in many forms - crunchy, attachment, tiger - we’re all thinking the same thing: Am I doing it right? So I went back to my questioner and said,

‘Wait, do you actually feel pressure to be a yummy mummy?’ And she said,

‘Yes! Don’t you?!’

So I had a little ponder, first of all I had a think about what this yummy mummy creature actually is. I’m thinking she has the sort of figure that says anything but ‘mother’ maintained through some mysterious, undisclosed process. She may or may not work but she doesn’t have to work. She’s always groomed; she never seems tired. Her children are neat, well behaved and well fed. Her home is tidy and organised. She never eats cold pizza or stays up late watching ‘Don’t Tell The Bride’.

I can say in all honestly that I feel no personal pressure to emulate such a creature. For a start it makes no sense to desire something that sounds like hell on earth. Not the results, yes I’m partial to a beautiful interior and stylish exterior but not when the effort it takes to get there sucks the joy from my life. Look, I sometimes catch a tennis game and I’ll see Serena Williams rocketing around the court and I know how impressive she is but I immediately recognise the years of training and sacrifice it took to get there and I don’t got time for that.

If you don’t want to be a yummy mummy please pat yourself on the back because what you’re saying is, I don’t want to sacrifice things important to me to achieve largely superficial results, and that makes you a great mother. This yummy mummy thing is related to another fallacy that follows women around like a bad smell –  we  can have it all. I’m telling you now that you cannot. Not only can you not, you shouldn’t want it all. Dudes do not sit around worrying about having all of the things like some hyperactive toddler cramming all their teddies into a back pack. They think about having a few really nice things and ignoring the other stuff. This is why they can’t put their dirty clothes in the laundry basket. It’s really very clever. You see for a very long time women had nothing, in many cases women had less than nothing. So we fought and fought and fought some more and eventually society went, okay look have everything if you want it and like fools WE TRIED TO.  

Of course there will be some woman somewhere that effortlessly glides though motherhood looking beautiful and stylish and taking stunning unfiltered Instagram photos and more power to her but if she exists she will never know how wonderful it feels to be offered support from other mothers; she’ll never understand the glow of achievement from setting a goal for your health and body and achieving it; perhaps she’ll never know what it’s like to be so tired that all you want to do is snooze and snuggle and sneak M&M’s into your mouth and just how lovely that feels.

I don’t know about you but I feel kinda sorry for her.

For some tips on doing just enough sign up for my free webinar, ‘The Lost Art of Stay at Home Parenting’ on Monday 3rd August. If you do you can enter the competition on my last post! Don’t forget to come chat to me about how you feel about yummy mummyness on The Twitter.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com
Pride linky on circus mums blog

Lessons from the changing room floor (THIS COMP IS CLOSED Y'ALL)

Roscoe striking a pose

My mum worked full time and so did my dad. We didn’t have grandparents close by so with a busy household my mum had a lot to do and only the scant weekend hours in which to do them. Mum, ever the multitasker, did a lot of her parenting on the go. By this I mean she got on with her life and took us kids along for the ride. One important aspect of her life was, and still is, being immaculately turned out. This meant a lot of time shopping. There was no online and for any of my younger readers the 80’s meant none of this individual changing room business but one big space with multiple mirrors and much knicker flashing. I spent a lot of time sat cross legged in the corner of communal changing rooms, whilst my mum sought the perfect party dress or work outfit and these were my lessons:

LOOKING AFTER YOURSELF IS IMPORTANT – Parents can be prone to a spot of martyrdom. Somewhere along the line we get the memo that parents must be selfless and then we feel guilty if we so much as sneeze without considering the impact on our children. The truth is if your child never sees you doing anything for yourself they learn that self-care isn’t important and they don’t discover how to make themselves happy.

EDUCATION IS EVERYWHERE – One of the advantages of taking a small child shopping is that you have your own errand service. It might have seemed like I was just being sent to change the red one for a size twelve but actually I was employing observation and memory skills.  Also there’s never a wrong time for an impromptu spelling test.

DON’T BE ASHAMED OF YOUR BODY – As I mentioned the changing rooms of the 80’s were just that – rooms full of changing women. You really had no choice but to strip in front of several other people. There was little point being self-conscious about it because it had to be done. I guess the fact that it was a necessity and that everyone was in the same boat stopped people getting embarrassed about it. I never saw my mother trying to hide or commenting negatively about herself. Now I’m not saying we should find opportunities to disrobe in front of our children but I’m saying that when they arise – at the swimming pool or on the beach, we want them to believe that everyone has a right to flash a bit of flesh out if they so choose.

WOMEN ARE SUPPORTIVE – Mum was always asking other women if what they thought of the colour of her dress or the length of her trousers and was happy to give her own opinion on whatever her changing room buddy had chosen. I never heard more compliments thrown about then when I was in that changing room corner.  Perhaps it’s easier to say nice things to strangers than those we know and love but the changing rooms were full of supportive sistas.

WEAR NICE PANTS – When there’s a chance that you might have to get undressed in front of someone you wear nice pants but even if you’re fairly sure that the only person seeing those kecks will be you, it’s great to start the day with the right foundation.

I’m lucky enough to be able to spend less time working outside the home than my mother but I’ve still embraced the lesson that children need to see parents live!

To celebrate my wonderful mum and the launch of my free webinar, ‘The Lost Art of Stay at Home Parenting’ I’m giving away a £25 voucher (UK only) for one of her favourite shopping haunts, M&S. Please enter below, anyone can enter or attend the webinar and you don’t have to be a stay at home parent to get some top parenting tips from the event. 

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Baby Brain Memoirs
Super Busy Mum
Modern Dad Pages

Before I had a husband

So I was offered this tag by Troy of the awesome ODaddy Bee. If you don't know who that is, where've you been? Seriously, click on the link; I can wait.

The tag is supposed to chart your life before your significant other became a part of it. The problem is I didn't have a life before I met Graham. I don't mean that in a Jerry Maguire monologue kinda way, I mean I literally had no life - I argued with my mum and watched Dawsons Creek reruns. Fine, I still argue with my mum and watch Dawsons Creek reruns but on my terms dammit. Really I was so naive. After our first date he invited me in for coffee and I refused because I didn't like coffee. Dating faux pas aside - I didn't like coffee!! Now coffee is the the rope that keeps me from drifting out to emotional sea each day. Honestly Graham didn't change me, he grew with me, which in and of itself is a beautiful thing. 

We almost didn't get married. He had issues with the some of the misogynistic connotations and felt it was much more significant to choose to be together rather than bow to societal pressure. And I thought, whatever dude I want my ring. So we got married. One snowy morning in December we just snuck off and did the deed

It took ten years for me to break him by which time we were very established - we lived together, we were cat parents, the lot. Really we just went from rock solid to solid as a rock. So I thought it might be helpful to let people know if it really was any different, before I was a wife (rhyming enforced): 

Before I was wife...
Call centres weren't hell cos I had a name most people could spell

Before I was wife...
No one would presume it was reasonable to question the state of my womb

Before I was wife...
I'd ask, 'D'ya like me in red?' and actually give one jot what he said 

Before I was wife...
I took out the bin but his socks actually went in the laundry bag thing 

Before I was wife...
I waxed now and then and I sent him texts that read more than 'BUY BREAD'

But before I was wife... 
Each day didn't start with the promise he made me aglow in my heart.

So there's that. 

I'd love to hear how meeting your other half changed you. Thanks for the tag ODaddy Bee. Follow me on Instagram for a glance into my life as a wife and join my free webinar for tips on how I make things work for my family. 
The Dad Network

Moderate Mum Guide to Year One: How to have your first post baby night out

HAVE THE MORNING COVERED Do whatever you can to organise childcare for the morning after. Manipulate or bribe your partner. If you don't have anyone at home offer a friend breakfast and then fall asleep on the sofa as they eat it. 

READ A BOOK or skim the paper. If you really don't have time just google some stuff. Really, at the very least flick through Heat magazine. No one wants to know about the consistency of your kids outputs. Please be prepared to have adult, outwardly focused conversation. 

GET DRUNK OR DON'T GET DRUNK Don't spend the whole night stressing about, or worse talking about, the fact that you might have to get up early. Either accept your motherly status and nurse that spritzer or get mashed and pay the price - the middle ground is no fun. 

CLEAR THE SCHEDULE Do whatever you can to have a basic schedule the next day. If it's your first night out in a while it will be harder than you remember. Make no concrete plans. Have the DVD in the player the night before. Cereal, sandwiches and pasta for the win.

HAVE SOMETHING YUMMY PLANNED You might be able to buy some time but eventually you'll have to get up. Have something waiting that will help propel you from the bed. I'm thinking awesomely expensive coffee or the ooziest cream filled cake you can find, even a new lippie - anything to remind you that you live to fight another day and perhaps, eventually, another night out.

For more tips on making your day great (even when you're hungover) register for my free webinar 'The Lost Art of Stay at Home Parenting' on Monday 3rd August @ 7:30pm 
Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Moderate Mum's Best of the Net 19/07/2015

The Frugal Trial - Here at The Moderate Mum, I'm about living life authentically and you don't get more authentic then posting a month by month update of your debt down to the last penny as well as the sterling (pun intended) efforts to repay it. With most challenges in life the first and most important step is acknowledging the problem. I do love blogs recording personal change, sometimes we all need a reminder that the longest journeys start with a single step. 

Lycra Widow's - It Takes a Village to Raise a Baby reminded me how important my breastfeeding friends were to sustaining my feeding journey. I think that we sometimes try and protect each other from some of the horrors of pregnancy, labour and early days but actually when people don't share it can all feel so lonely. Lycra Widow shares the highs and lows and gives some super practical advice for current and future boob feeders. 

Life as our little family - Be known for what you love... If you're a blogger, scrap that if you do anything creative, Kerri-Ann provides an excellent checklist to book mark as a reminder for when you're in a bit of a fug. We hear a lot about online haters but Kerri-Ann addresses the issue of real life negativity. Some great advice in the comments for those of use feeling unsupported by those close to us. 

Moderate Mum Guide to Year One: How to travel with your bundle of joy

YOUTH IS ON YOUR SIDE There's a lot of fuss made about kids being too young to travel. Folk out there that will try and convince you that it's impossible to go further from home than the corner shop. I've decided this is baloney. I'd much rather go away with a tiny, portable newborn that the flailing, screaming ball of snot I have to accommodate now. Particularly when I was breast feeding travel was a doodle because I didn't have to think about taking or storing food. Stop focusing on the potential for disaster and think about the memories you will make. 

LET GO OF YOUR OLD HOLIDAYS Before you go take a scroll through your old Facebook pictures and have a private farewell ceremony to the old holiday you. Awww mojitos and clubbing and sunbathing for five minutes without shouting 'Don't eat that!' Holidays with children are not holidays, they are holidays with children. You'll have a much more positive experience if you embrace that fact before you leave.

PROTECT THE INNOCENT Be prepared to shield those that have decided to travel in peace. If you're staying in a fancy pants hotel your offspring will be expected to be behave with decorum. If you can't handle the stress of containing them then rethink your location. I give two big thumbs up to Whinfell Forest CentreParcs. How your child behaves on a long car trip is how they will be on a plane multiplied by a million. Time the flight for the least offensive part of your routine. My son is a decent sleeper so we try and go for a late flight. Even still we give the passengers near us a little treat. It's harder to complain with a mouth full of chocolate. 

LONGER IS BETTER Jet lag is bad enough when you understand what's going on. Now imagine someone put you in a crowded room for six hours and for no apparent reason, and when they let you out night had become day and day had become night. You know how the kid gets in a tizzy if bathtime is moved by fifteen minutes, a holiday is like chucking your routine into a meat grinder. You need a day to get settled, three days to reestablish a new schedule and then at least two days to enjoy the new schedule. With travel, that's a week minimum to reach optimum child acclimatisation. 

SHORTER IS BETTER Day trips are cool. 

THEY HAVE SHOPS THERE You don't need to take 700 nappies. Children in Spain also wee. Also how much fun is it going to source what you need in a new place? It's a mini adventure (and a pretty infallible excuse to go shopping). Take the essentials and if you really can't bring yourself to do that maybe you need to ask yourself, is taking the baby essential? 

If you want to know what I get up to on my next holiday follow me on Instagram.

Friday Frolics

A Letter of Pregnancy Kindness - Guest Post

Dear Pregnant One,

Whatever trimester you are currently rocking my advice to you is dispensed below...

Be kind to your body. As women I know we carry a lot of messed up, mixed thoughts about our wonderful bodies. We worry what they look like and feel like. We spare little thought for developing our own appreciation for this vessel.
If you are Pregnant, you will be aware that your body is going to change. If you are anything like me it will creep up on you and scare you to death when you casually walk past a full length mirror, on your way for your 5th wee of the night.
You will wait for that bump. You will stand by a mirror seeking it. One day, you wake up and you are a pregnant woman. Some days this is great, other day's particularly warm ones, you will long for your old body, the one that could fit into summer clothing because you've limited your maternity wear to 2 dresses and 2 pairs of skinny jeans. Bad move.
You may get stretch marks, you may not. This is the human version of buying a lucky dip ticket on a friday night. My mother has none. I had them before I was pregnant. Life is unfair. You just have to roll with it and keep slathering on the cream.
You will get spots, they will go. You will develop a lot of hair that wasn't around before and at some point you won't be able to get yourself into the required positions to deal with such things. You will swell so much that at times your hands may look like a packet of Richmond sausages.
Some days you will feel that Pregnancy glow. Most day's you won't. I suggest finding some women who have already given birth and sharing such symptoms and thoughts with them. Trust me, someone will always one up you and you will again feel human.
Be kind to your significant other (don't come at me with a pitch fork) I can't believe I'm writing this one but the sensible, thoughtful part of me knows it must be said.
If you have a male partner there is a good chance he will not understand what the hell you are going through. Some will try and others won't. Pregnancy will start to test your relationship for the craziness that you are about to go through as parents. You will probably feel like you have hooked up with the most selfish, useless male put on this earth. You haven't. 
I have had conversations with my other half where I discuss my swollen Richmond-like extremities, my utter exhaustion and inability to carry out day to day tasks. He has taken all this in, nodded and asked me if I want to walk up the shops and get him some cola and some cheese slices! This is a true story.
This man will never have his bladder beaten by tiny feet. He cannot comprehend how tiring, stressful and strenuous being Pregnant can be. Some days you will want to kill him, you will find it hard to communicate with him. Ultimately he's just as scared as you are, maybe even more so as he's completely in the dark. He won't know what to say, he will struggle to empathise and let's face it, some days he will try and it will probably wind you up even more.
Now, if your partner is a woman - Lucky you ;)
Last and by no means least, Try and be kind to you.
You may not have realised it but you have a short space of time to attempt to get your head round what is about to happen. I don't think I've managed it yet but you will spend most of your time trying.
Go away somewhere just because you deserve the break, even if you think a 'baby moon' is a nonsense made up word. Treat yourself, it may be the last time for a while.
Stop giving yourself a mental kicking because of your inability to eat well. You will eat what you want, when you want and you have your whole life to sort that stuff out. I've survived for days on end with an overwhelming desire for ginger beer and fresh cream. It happens.
Do not spend time worrying what your birth will be like but be informed of your choices. Try not to think about your lady parts or listen to too many mothers talk about theirs. It doesn't help you.
Enjoy it. it is short - even if you feel like it's a life sentence. 
I'll let you into a little secret, none of us know what we are doing.
Slow down. Relish small moments. Do not, I repeat, do not beat yourself up because you have been acting like a crazy woman. We all do.
And remember, Please, Please be Kind.
Me x
This post was delivered by the beautiful Ceri at Life With Bumps. She is due to deliver something else shortly so why not hop over and send her some love.

If you've recently received your own special bundle and you fancy some tips for a stressless maternity leave please register for my free online seminar 'The Lost Art of Stay at Home Parenting' Going live on Monday 3rd August @ 7:30pm. 

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

What Is Good For Low Energy? Anon

I'm going to do that annoying thing where I ignore your question and answer an entirely different one. The first question you should ask is - what am I capable of doing with the energy I currently have? I mean maybe you don't have low energy. Maybe your energy is fine, it's the amount of stuff you're expecting your energy to take on that's the problem. If anyone has said to you recently, 'I don't know how you do it!' or 'Do you even sleep!' You don't have low energy, you have high expectations. Forget about adding the chore of 'get more energy' to your list, I want you to make a list of ten things that you can stop doing immediately. Force yourself to come up with precisely ten and drop them today! Here are a few examples to get you going: ironing bedsheets, cooking all meals from scratch, visiting people you don't really like, blowdrying your hair every day, cleaning skirting boards... More dust but instant energy. 

I understand this isn't the case for everyone. If the last time you exerted any energy was to fish the Dorito crumbs from the bottom of the bag then maybe you do need a boost, here's how to go about it: 

FUEL Nothing's changed with this story, you get out what you put in. I can't remember if the official number is 5, 7 or 9 but basically you need a buttload of fruit and veg to feel fab all day. If you're knackered the last thing you want to do is peel and steam veg, not with Dominos on speed dial, so my best advice is get them in fast and get them in early. Unless you've been living under a very well insulated rock, you've heard about morning smoothies. My mum talks about her Nutribullet like it's her fourth child but I do fine with a bargain blender my husband came home with when I sent him out for milk. There are lots of yummy recipes on the net, but seriously just a buttload of fruit and veg and get it down ya.

SUPPLEMENT Yes you can buy your energy in a bottle, you'll have to wait a few weeks for the results of vitamins to kick in but it's worth it. You'll have to spend a little bit of money to make sure you're getting good quality ingredients and you're also more likely to remember to take them if you've splashed some cash! Iron is always helpful for energy levels and coenzyme q10 can be expensive but a lifesaver but to cover all bases just get a great multivitamin. Find one with someone really perky on the packet. 

GOOD QUALITY SLEEP If you have a newborn you might want to throw something at my head but you can't escape the fact that sleep is the fastest route to feeling fresher. If you know that your sleep will be interrupted do your best to make the brief time that you're in bed good. Beg, borrow or steal the nicest pillow and duvet that you can, get some black out blinds (Ikea do good value ones but in a pinch I've used tin foil and masking tape) and GET RID OF THE PHONE. It is not humanly possible to simultaneously sleep and play Candy Crush, just put it away. Personally I don't have access to the time in my bedroom I always find the day harder if I know I only had three hours sleep, rather than suspect. 

FAKE IT Don't say to yourself 'I'm too tired to go out'. Say 'I'm going out and if I feel tired I can come home.' Maybe you only make it to the end of the road but if make an effort to behave like a person full of energy your mind might catch on. I remember a woman from my baby group that was always the perkiest, happiest one there. She knew all the songs and all the moves. When I asked her how she did it she confided in me that she was not really zany and fun but delirious because she was so tired. And that's the most important thing to remember, if you're worried about your energy because you're comparing yourself to others, don't be - we're all knackered too.

If you have any tips for boosting energy please leave them in the comments. Don't forget if you have a question for The Moderate Mum, please use the contact form in the sidebar or email moderatemum@gmail.com

Baby Brain Memoirs

5 Unexpected Joys of Motherhood

STYLING PROJECT When I was a girl my mum got me a doll, actually it was just disembodied head with a vacant stare and a head of beautiful, golden hair. I loved her. I immediately set about giving her a very up to the minute eighties mullet and then sadly my fun was over. Now I have a doll with hair that grows back! And feet that need shoes! And tiny ears that need covering with comedy hats. Life is good. 

BECOMING A MORNING PERSON I've always wanted to be someone that starts the day, well, at the start of the day. No matter how many techniques I used I couldn't get up with that darn lark. Genuine things I have missed because I was snoozing: a minibreak, an earthquake and an eclipse of the sun. Now I'm responsible for a human alarm clock I get up first thing nearly every day! I feel so productive! Or I would if I wasn't so flippin' tired. 

INSTANT ACHIEVEMENT I've never been one for competitions or challenges, seriously I just crack under the pressure. I've failed four driving tests, basically because the word test instantly reduces me to rice pudding. As a consequence my trophy drawer is pretty empty. The wonderful thing about becoming a mother is that you get tons of back pats for minimal effort. The whole baby growing thing was really passive and as for child rearing, trust me my son runs the show. 

PART OF THE CLUB There is something beautiful about recognition from someone in your tribe. With an increasingly mobile society it can be tough to foster that cosy, everyone knows everyone's business sense of community. When I became a mother it didn't take me long to realise that other mothers could see me, I mean really see me - recognise the madness behind my exhausted eyes. I love that wry smile we throw each other as we wrestle the buggy down the high street, it's like when Mini drivers honk at each other but maybe less cool. 

PERMA EXCUSE When you have a kid, you don't have to do ANYTHING. It's awsome. Don't wanna go to your wedding? My kid can't travel. Don't wanna take your call? The baby won't sleep. You don't even have to lay it on thick, just mention 'my kid' and everyone backs away with their hands in the air. Your child free friends won't question you and the ones that have children must know you're lying but if they admit it, what excuse will they use? 

If mothering ever gets tough, I remember these five facts and it keeps me going 'til bathtime. What unexpected joys did you find in parenting? 

Friday Frolics         The Dad Network

Moderate Mum Guide to Year One: The skinflints guide to baby gear

When I found out I was pregnant with The Moderate Baby I really resented his impact on my shoe budget. I wasn't an extravagent spender but I had enjoyed a Friday night chicken chow mein and a new boot in winter for many years. Not to mention that fact that there seemed to be baby tax on everything and I felt horribly manipulated into buying things I didn't need or want. As a consequence I made a lot of effort to have a minimalist baby experience but I still made mistakes along the way. Here's my guide on when to save and when to splurge for your baby's first few months. 

SKIMP - CLOTHES If I told you to choose an outfit to puke and poop on you wouldn't pull rush to get your favourite dress from the dry cleaners. In addition baby clothes can have as little as a two week cycle; I resorted to cutting the feet from the bottom of baby gros to gain me a few extra days. Look babies are cute no matter what they wear. Go basic and save the designer gear for your first post baby night out.

SKIMP - COT Go second hand, they're only sleeping on it clean freaks! If you really can't deal with that get something cheap as chips, they'll be in a bed before you know it. Whilst we're at it I can't deal with decorating nurseries in an overtly new born designs. Trust me they're newborns for all of five seconds and you will weep with regret when your kid's slapping Bubble Guppies stickers all over your designer wallpaper. 

SKIMP - TOYS Roscoe's favourite toy is a dustpan and brush I got for a pound from Asda. Car boot sales and supermarkets are ace for budget play things and buy bargains in the sales that you can pull out in a few months if necessary. 

SKIMP - PRODUCTS Here's one where I got sucked in by claims of organic, magical potions that would give me baby baby soft skin. Spoiler, babies already have baby soft skin. That's not to say that in some cases a more expensive product might be best but meet your new addition before committing to a whole range. It turns out my son's skin is happy with any old fragrance free bath wash and a monster tub of cold cream. 

SPLURGE - NAPPIES If you're doing disposables you will weep when you realise how much they cost and how many you will go through. There will inevitably come a day when you spot a range that offers one million nappies for £2.50 and you will think you've stumbled across a goldmine. This is not a bargain, it's a false economy. What you save in nappies you will spend on washing powder, ruined clothes and therapy sessions after you deal with the aftermath of cheap nappies. I personally have never found a range better than Pampers and at this stage I'm no longer willing to try. 

SPLURGE - SLING I learned the hard way and only got this right three carriers into the game. I thought the expensive ones were a con for overprotective mothers until I attempted to carry my little one in my bargain find and found him hanging somewhere around my knees by the time we got to Sainsburys. Finally on advice of another mother I got a Manduca and although I felt sick with guilt at spending nearly £100 on something I could do with my arms,I never looked back. Roscoe's nearly two and I still use the Manduca to take him to nursery or pop to the shops. I also have it on good authority that you should try a ring sling. Think about borrowing one before committing because some babies don't like to be carried but if it's something your family will use, invest - your back will thank you.

SPLURGE: BREAST PUMP I had a second hand manual breast pump from a friend (sterilised clean freaks!) It was fine for my pumping needs which turned out to be three bags that I stuck in the freezer and forgot about but if you plan to be or circumstances dictate that you become a professional pumper then do invest in something a little special. The main thing a good pump will do is save you time, when you've got a new baby time feels like a mystical unicorn always just out of reach. I also understand that you can rent breast pumps! Which whilst more expensive in the long term could mean that you could get a hospital grade one, think the Rolls Royce of the pump world. If you're exclusively breast feeding this option may still be cheaper than bottle feeding, so make sure you compare costs before making a decision. 

So there you go. You will thank me come the January sales. If you're planning for a new arrival and feeling apprehensive about the black hole known as maternity leave, please register your interest in my free webinar 'The Lost Art of Stay at Home Parenting' - How to get organised, find joy and feel fabulous at home by emailing moderatemum@gmail.com

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Moderate Mum Guide to Year One: The 4 questions to ask before you get pregnant

AM I FINANCIALLY SOLVENT? You don't have to be bathing in dollar bills but babies do cost money. I know they're small and you might think you can just empty your knicker drawer and make them a little bed but in this situation love won't see you through. The costs mount up fast, especially in the first few months; not to mention the fact that you may want to pay for childcare in the near future. No matter the source of your income if you're struggling to support yourself it might not be the most responsible choice to add another little person to the load. If you're in doubt why not consider giving yourself six months to save a goal amount of money. This will help you pay for the essentials but will also let you know if you have the discipline to keep to a budget.

DO WE RESPECT EACH OTHER? If you plan to have the baby with a partner then it's essential that you can show them RESPECT when they get home. You don't have to love them, heck I'm not sure you have to like them but you have to be able to be honest with them, share their values and agree on parenting decisions. Sorry to jump on board the negativity bus but the fact is that even if you're more in love than that couple from 'The Notebook' you might not be together forever. You will, however, continue to be parents. Parenting is a hard when you place the other person on par with pond scum.

AM I FACING UP TO MY EMOTIONAL CHALLENGES? You don't not have to be perfect to be a parent, in fact it's probably best to be knowingly imperfect. When you're living for yourself it can be easy to tuck the fears, lies and bad behaviours into the back of your shoe cupboard. Children shine a light on all those dark corners and it's much easier to clean up your mess (literally and spiritually) without a needy baby to be present for. That thing your mum, your ex and your doctor keep bugging you about; the things that you think about at 3AM - confront them now. 

AM I TRYING TO FIX SOMETHING? One of the most unkind things a mother can do is allow their child to be born with the burden of fixing her crap. There is no guarantee that your child will make you feel loved, important or worthy. Really question your decsion to become pregnant. Mothers are sometimes placed on a pedestal by society; held up as these wonderful, selfless beings whose every waking thought is for their darling offspring. Anyone with a mother probably knows this isn't the case. If you're searching for something do your hypothetical child a favour, give him a break,

Of course if you're reading my blog the chances are I'm a little late to the party but the beauty of these four questions is it's never to late to ask them. You can spend the early days of motherhood in a bit of denial (Sure I can survive on two hours sleep!) so don't miss the opportunity to be really honest with yourself and your new baby.

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