At Home Mums' Blog

Take a light hearted look at the issues faced by mums home with the kids. Read some personal views on the challenges of raising children today, and the pressures mums face. My website - - has some more serious and hopefully useful stuff on all these topics. I'd love to get your comments and advice. If anyone out there can help this mum maintain her sanity, it would be much appreciated!

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Monday, 15 December 2008

Welcome to the At Home Mums Blog

Welcome to the At Home Mums Blog! My website, at Home Mums is aimed at mums who are home with the kids, and may be looking for part time work or how to earn a little money, while still being there for the children. It also looks at some of the difficulties mums face when they move from full time work to full time motherhood and includes information on child care options, government benefits, health issues and much more.

This blog will include my personal thoughts and experiences on a range of topics affecting mums today, and I hope it will prompt some feedback and discussion from my readers.

When I was setting this up, I tried to think of a catchy name for the Blog. I came up with two potentials, that made me think.

'Mother Knows Best' seemed like a good option. After all, I know what Holly and Michael should eat, I know when they should go to bed, I know they aren't safe crossing the road or swimming without an adult. I know when the television should go off, and the jumper should go on. I know we should brush our teeth and not eat multi coloured ice cream. I know we should always wear a seatbelt, we should say please, thank you and excuse me, we should not hit, bite, kick or push, we should be kind to the cat, eat our vegetables, drink lots of water, wear a hat. I don't just know best, as far as my kids are concerned, I am, in fact the boss.

Did I sound confident there? I have had to explain the whole boss thing many a time to Holly. Her conclusion is that mummy is the boss, but Holly's in charge. Perhaps I'm not as in control as I think...

'Mum's the word' was another option. Mum's the word, means keeping something a secret, and hey, here's my big secret, when it comes to the big things, I'm not sure I know what what I'm doing at all!

Let's get back to the beginning. I had no idea how to breast feed. It all came together by about 3 months, but I think it was a joint effort on the learning front. Dad did the first bath, because, let's face it, I didn't have a clue, and this baby was so small and so fragile. I certainly didn't know how to get Holly to sleep through the night and even when I got that one sorted, the same approach didn't work for number 2. I didn't know whether my baby would like solid food, and can still picture my hand shaking with that first mouthful of baby rice. I still don't know how to get Holly to go to bed after the final story without a drama, I don't know the best way to help her confidence, or teach her to be less rough with her brother. I don't know whether they have too many treats, too much television, enough exercise, enough one on one time. I don't know how to avoid so many tantrums (theirs and mine!) and how to help them make friends and have fun.

So maybe Mother doesn't know best. Or maybe it's a hindsight thing... Who do I go to for advice? My sister (another mum) and my Mum. Do they know best? Maybe. After all they've been there, done that. I went to a seminar with a friend last week to talk about issues with our pre-schoolers. My friend was after some suggestions to help with bedtime for her 3 year old, and at the end, she reckoned her mum would be very pleased to see her trying all those little things the mum herself had suggested. So, maybe mother does know best. We just don't always want her to.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

PMT or Post Natal Depression

When we got home on Thursday, Holly sat down to take her shoes and socks off. I asked her to keep her socks on, as on cold days, our wooden floor boards are freezing and their feet become little ice packs pretty quickly. Holly ignored me and removed her socks and then removed her brother's as well. Normally, I would be fairly calm about this, I would tell her I asked her to keep her socks on and explain why. I wouldn't force them back on, but I'd tell her to come back if her feet get cold and put them on. She's not one to be in discomfort in any way without complaining! And I would put Mikey's socks back on, as he can't necessarily judge or tell me the condition of his feet.

This Thursday however, was PMT Thursday and I got mad. I yelled. Nothing particularly offensive or constructive, just HOLLY. WHEN I ASK YOU TO DO SOMETHING, YOU SHOULD DO IT. But inside I was seething. This child was completely ignoring me and I could not find the words I needed to express myself. Words that she would listen to. I don't ask her to do something just for the hell of it. There is generally a logical reason and when mummy says to do (or not do) something, mummy should be obeyed. I felt so mad at her, I wanted to squeeze her till she hurt. Instead she went upstairs sockless and Mikey was so shocked at the tone (or volume) of my voice that he came and sat down and his socks went straight back on.

The point is, for maybe 26 days or so of the month, I can be patient, calm, think things through, try to explain and give some leeway, but when the hormones are raging, I feel grumpy and touchy and get annoyed more easily and cannot cope as well with the minor disasters kids throw at you everyday.

It made me think, this is what it was like every day for a year when Michael was about 3 months and Holly was in her terrible 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 phase. So were my hormones all over the place? Was I on permanent PMT or was it Post Natal Depression, or was I just tired all the time? I get tired now and I don't generally want to squeeze my children till they hurt, but in that year, there were regular evenings when I can safely say they pissed me off something chronic. 'Will you just SHUT UP' became the way I'd react. Not meeting my own standards for parenting, but needing in some way to outwardly express my inward anger.

I sought help on a number of occasions, but I'm not very good at asking for it directly, so I wanted people - the midwife, the doctor, my friends, to notice and let me know it was ok. In hindsight, how I can expect these busy people, to notice my frame of mind, I don't know. A fault I've always been guilty of I think. Like the time I went home for a week before I got married, hoping someone would ask me if I was doing the right thing, so I could say 'no', but not having the guts to bring it up myself, as it would be admitting a failure in some way. (I ended up getting married and divorced within a year, but that's another story....)

Anyway, I am not good at admitting I need help, or even knowing that perhaps I should get it. Eventually at Mikey's one year check up, the midwife suggested a visit to Tresillian would be beneficial to get Mikey's sleeping pattern sorted and maybe address some terrible two behaviour. Unfortunately I'd left it a bit late. One place I called didn't take babies over one, another wouldn't take siblings, and leaving Holly at home for a week would have exacerbated the problem, not helped with it. So we didn't get any outside help.

But, when I stopped breastfeeding Michael at about 14 months (he was a real booby baby..) and he finally started sleeping through on a reasonably regular basis, things gradually improved. I got my energy back and a bit more sleep and began enjoying my kids more.

I still think, was that PND, or just tiredness? I have a friend who definitely had post natal depression. She couldn't get out of bed in the morning and felt physically ill with it. Compared with that, this was nothing, but maybe there are different degrees of depression. If there was a next time (which there's not going to be!) then hopefully I would do things differently and get more help.

As it is, on PMT days, a couple of hours alone is a good option. Not always possible, but at least I know why I feel like I feel and that it won't last long...

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