Tag Archives: family

New arrivals

I saw my lovely sister in law yesterday, who is due her first baby on Friday.  She is one of those who has been glowing all the way through pregnancy – yes, one of those!  With a lovely bump (not too small, not too big – just right, which we all know is the only type of bump), she has taken pregnancy in her stride.

My brother and her are obviously very excited about their new arrival and I am very impatient to meet this new little munchkin.  I have three beautiful nieces and three gorgeous nephews already, but the excitement of having a new family member is just the same each time – maybe a bit more this time as I know I will never have another baby, so can enjoy this one even more!

They are in the beautiful bliss of first time parents, with no clue what to expect and no knowledge of what life is really going to be like when this beautiful baby arrives.  They have heard plenty of stories from me of course, (too many I’m sure) and have been hands on auntie and uncle to my boys, but nothing can prepare you for being a parent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  They have all the gear, have worked out how to use it and have prepared themselves as much as they can – now they are playing the waiting game.

Seeing them yesterday just reminded me what being a parent is really about – love.  How wonderfully overwhelming it is to know how loved this baby is before it has even arrived in the world.  How many people love it without even meeting him or her, how many lovely clothes and toys he/she has waiting for them, a wonderful home and room patiently awaiting to welcome them, and how fiercely protective we will be when they arrive.  I know it isn’t like this for every child in this world – I am very blessed that I have a wonderful family and that I and my brother have both married into equally wonderful families.  How blessed we are that we have multiple grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends fighting to look after our children and I know many of you reading this will be in the same position.  I know not every child has a big house, a wardrobe full of clothes, too many toys to play with all at once, fresh water and food on the table and I know these actually aren’t the important things – having parents who love you is something I take for granted, but is really the only important thing.

Being a parent is the hardest job in the world and many of us will face challenges we never imagined or wanted.  But we also get to experience the most amazing of things – unconditional love.  Whether we are here on earth for just one day or for 90 years, we are loved unconditionally and what could be more wonderful than that?

To all of you who are or have been parents – here is a virtual high five to being so lucky to experience the most wonderful thing this world has to offer.

To all expectant parents and parents of the future – there are so many blessings coming your way!  Embrace them with both hands.

Let’s never forget the most important thing – love.

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Turning one…

A month on, I think I’ve just about got over the shock of the twins turning one. I can’t believe we have survived a whole year of life with twins and a toddler! And I’m happy to report that things have started to get easier – they are sleeping for longer (most of the time!), they are eating better and are almost on the move.

We are starting to see their lovely little personalities! Ruben is always happy – he always has smiles for everyone and will eat whatever we give him! He’s really easy going but makes us laugh because he always wants what Finn has and usually manages to take it! Finn will shout at him in his baby noises and Ruben ignores him whilst playing with his new toy…

Finn is a bit more demanding – he always has smiles for me, Chris, Max and Ruben but others have to work harder! He is a bit more serious and thinks about things more thoroughly. He takes everything in and makes his own decisions – quietly determined and focused. He is a fussy eater. which drives us mad, but also shows his knows what he wants and knows his own mind – I can’t be annoyed, as he gets that from me :O)

It’s lovely to see them turning into little boys, with their own personalities, and with so much love for each other and their big brother Max of course! Their first year was truly the hardest thing I have ever done, but now we are through it and on to the next year and the next chapters for them, the memories are slowly starting to fade and we are starting to feel like life can return to some kind of normality – a crazy normality, but that’s okay by us.

Split personality

I’m starting to feel like I have a split personality – I don’t mean to joke about a serious disorder, merely that I’m feeling like I am three different people. When I’m with the kids, I’m ‘Mummy’ – rushing around, pandering to the needs of my three energetic boys – I rarely sit down and feel like I’m constantly feeding/preparing food for at least one of them.

When I’m at work, I’m Ceris – Fundraising Manager for Macmillan – and I take my role very seriously! I’m a professional and want to do a fantastic job and somehow this means that I don’t act like a mum, if that makes any sense. I am calm and I sit still and drink hot coffee. I try to be neat and tidy and professionally dressed, avoiding grubby hands as best I can before I leave the house and hiding dribble/bogey stains that I can’t avoid!

Then there is Ceris with my friends, who is neither of the above. Someone who tries to be young, free and carefree like ‘the old days’ and fails terribly. The great things is, my best friends are trying to do the same things so I’m in good company!

It’s quite exhausting trying to fulfil all these roles and remembering who I’m supposed to be each day, especially when you have to fulfil three roles in a day – I need a ten minute change over between each one to get into character… But playing these roles (I say playing, it’s very serious), you get to learn more about yourself and develop your character. Being a mum, you are taught about love, patience, sacrifice, heartbreak, real, true hard-work, resilience, strength. Being a working mum, in a job I love, you learn to appreciate working in a way you never could before, learn how work is an escape, an excuse to use your brain again and learn how it feels to be valued in a different way from ‘mum value’. And only having time for your real, true friends (however little or often I see/speak to you!) means you appreciate them so much more, you value the time you have together and you tell them how much they mean to you. You become more giving in your relationship because you have found true value in your friendship.

Being all these different Ceris’ may be exhausting – this last year has truly worn me out – but it’s when life asks so much of you, that you can get so much back.

Progress

We are being teased by progress… Chris and I have tried to be optimistic over the last 11 months, that we will start to make progress with the twins and that they will finally start to sleep through the night – it’s hard to stay optimistic for this long but we are clinging onto hope!

We’ve had some good nights, not many, but some – Ruben is sleeping all night in his cot now which may not sound like a big deal, but the mums and dads reading this will know how good this feels! He’s not sleeping through, but we’re nearly there. Finn is a different beast entirely – he just likes it in our bed and likes to chat in the middle of the night…

We are getting to the stage where things are starting to change from the baby phase to the toddler phase and it’s so hard not to try and rush them. They are still so tiny (on the 0.4th percentile for those that know what that is) so everything is taking longer, which is testing my patience no end! I want rid of the massive baby items cluttering up our home, and no I won’t miss these things when they are gone! Try tripping over two car seats, two bouncer chairs, two jumperoos and two highchairs every day and washing three million bibs!

Chris and I had a day off together last weekend and we had chance to talk and reflect over the last year. It’s definitely been a whirlwind and I think honestly that we are still both in shock! We both have a ‘just get on with it’ attitude, which is good, but is also hard because we never actually talk about how we are – we’re too busy with the daily tasks that come with being parents of three children. I had a bit of a meltdown last week, a combination of factors – being exhausted, trying to get too much done around the house, money worries, feeling emotional about my best friend getting married last weekend, and the feeling of making progress but not quite – and I think it made me reflect on what has actually happened over the last few years and think about what life is going to be like for the next few. Since Chris and I met, we have had something major happen every year – getting engaged, getting married and moving to London, getting pregnant with our first child, having our first child, buying our first home, having twins, and me starting a new job this year. All of these things were things I had wanted and planned for and now I am here, life is harder than I ever imagined! That is a lot to process and I am now at the point where I haven’t planned for what’s next – for someone who plans everything, this is a hard place to be!

When you are in survival mode, which we have been in for a year now, it’s hard to think about anything other than getting through the day. Now, I’ve been back at work for three months and so we have to think about more than just today – we have to plan for the week and month ahead and who would have thought how complicated childcare can be! Especially when Chris and I have nights away with work – that’s interesting when no-one else can fit all three children in their car… But aside from the ‘daily grind’ as we call it, surely there is more to life than that? I do tend to think about things too much, which I get from my mother, and I’m definitely in reflection mode this month – I think because we are heading towards the twins first birthday in 2 weeks time (where has that time gone?!) and also because we preparing for their next stage, both of which I am very relieved about! I’m trying to stay patient but I think I am running on empty now – any tips on how to give that a boost, let me know!

So I’ve made it through another week, which means we are another week closer to life getting easier in some ways and harder in others (crawling twins and a 3 year old who climbs on everything – figure that one out) and we are another week closer to being able to think about the next few years and what we want to achieve in those – always being hopeful that our major events are good ones and always being optimistic that tonight, we might actually get some sleep…

Inspirational women

This post was prompted by two things – I’m afraid the first thing was a Gary Barlow song (This House). I was listening to it on my way to work and two lines got me thinking (it doesn’t take much) – ‘What makes your heart ache?’ and ‘What makes you thankful for every day?’
Of course, you can guess, the first people I thought of were my kids and Chris and the rest of my family. Nothing can make your heart ache like the love for your kids. Then I thought about all the people in my life who I’m thankful for, and there are many.

I seem to have adopted the name ‘Supermum’ – it’s lovely that people call me that and it makes me smile that they think that, when I’m just doing what I have to do! But it has made me think a lot about how many of the women in my life are an inspiration to me. (There are men too but this one is just about the women!) We are all just doing what we have to every day, but life throws challenges our way to test our strength and to push us into being better people. The women in my life who lost their dad a little over a year ago and have their battles to deal with it; the women who have lost close family members and have to support the rest of their family whilst they themselves deal with it; the women who visit their family in hospital so they’re not alone; the women who are raising family alone; the women who are juggling work and raising families; the women who stay home to raise their children; the women raising children with special needs; the women who are working long hours just to do a good job; the women who have successful careers and are supporting their families.

And then there is my mum, who has been most of the women I have written about above. 22 years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, just a few years older than I am now. I remember my dad coming into my room to tell me and I remember visiting her in hospital after her surgery. I don’t remember much else, because my mum did what she does best – she just got on with it. I think my mum knows how much she means to me, but I don’t tell her enough. She inspires me because she stayed home to raise me and my brother, even though I know we drove her crazy sometimes! She did it because she wanted to do the right thing for us. She inspires me because she re-trained as a teacher when we went to school and then juggled her work, the home and her family. She inspires me because she had the strength to protect us during her cancer treatment from what she was going through, even when she sadly lost her own dad, my lovely Grandad, to cancer during that same year.

So the second reason for my post – she has inspired us both to run the Race for Life this year, raising money for Cancer Research. It’s only 5k, which wouldn’t be much to many of you, but for a 59 year old (sorry mum!) and for me, still recovering from my c-section, it will be a challenge for us. It’s actually not just about running a 5k but having the chance to actually think about why we are doing it – a time for reflecting about life so far, as cheesy as that sounds. I have put the link to our fundraising page below if you feel you would like to donate – but don’t donate just because we are doing a 5k. Donate because of the journey my mum has been on; because of the person she has become and the inspiration she has been to me and many others. For the support she gives me daily because thankfully we didn’t lose her to cancer. Donate because there are 2.5 million others living with cancer in the UK right now and this is a chance to try and make a difference. My mum might not be here today without the work people like Cancer Research do.

This post isn’t just to ask you to support us and donate – hopefully it will make you think about those people who inspire you. And to let you know that you are inspiring others, even if you’re not aware of it! I’m not going to name names, but all of my friends are one of those women above! And maybe this post will inspire you to challenge yourself this year, to do something different, to try something that is difficult for you and to be an inspiration to yourself!

For all the inspirational women in my life – you are amazing! I hope that as my sons grow up, I can inspire them to be good people and that they in turn will inspire others too.

Keep on trucking along, doing what we do – we’re doing a great job :O)

http://www.justgiving.com/cerisandbobbie

Lessons of right and wrong

Having children makes us think so much about life, about ourselves and about the choices we make every day. If you want to be a good parent, we have to make choices for our children that we believe to be the right ones and then we have to live with the consequences – wow, no pressure! From the minute they are born, we are responsible for the path they take.
Daily I wonder if I’m doing the right things, making the right choices for my kids – especially with Max as he now wants to make his own choices and they often don’t match up with mine!
I think most parents will battle with themselves when they want to make the right choice but know that sometimes the right choice will take so much more time and effort, and sometimes we just want the easy option at the end of a long day.

Don’t let them have chocolate for breakfast, even though they will now scream and throw things for 15 minutes. Don’t let them fall asleep in your bed even though you actually would love a cuddle after a crappy day. Don’t let them wear pyjamas to nursery, even though spending 20 minutes trying to dress a child having a tantrum is like attempting a physical challenge on the Crystal Maze. Don’t let them spend all day watching the ipad, even though they would sit still and you could have some peace and quiet. We’ve all spent an hour trying to get them to sleep at nap time, even though neither of you want to do this but you know they will be the devil child come 5pm if they don’t have a nap. Don’t call Daddy a plonker in front of your children, even if he has forgotten to do all of the three things you asked him to, because you are trying, so hard, to be a good role model.

I know we won’t always make the right choices, nobody’s perfect, but we’ll try. Here’s to the battles we’ll have this weekend over Easter eggs. I’d like to eat three in a row but I have to be a good role model…

Totally acceptable mum behaviour

If you’d have told me before I had kids that I would leave the house with baby sick in my hair, I would have smugly laughed thinking, I will never do that, I have some standards. Well now I’m a mum, I realise that we are the smug ones – we have been through it, have made our peace with it and can laugh at those who are innocently heading towards the craziness of motherhood.

I thought I would draw up a list of completely acceptable mum behaviours, just so we know we are all on the same page:

1. Leaving the house with vomit, snot or baby food in our hair.
2. Wiping into our trousers the yoghurt, snot, milk etc that has landed there.
3. Wiping your child’s nose with whatever is closest, as you simply cannot walk to the bathroom one more time to get tissue.
4. Wearing the same pair of leggings for weeks on end.
5. Wearing maternity trousers when we definitely not pregnant – they are just too comfortable!
6. Wearing your big pants indefinitely.
7. Drinking wine at any time of the day – it is our right.
8. Eating whatever is closest at lunch time – a pack of pom bear with a petit filous, a crisp sandwich, a dairy lea dunker…
9. Finishing off your child’s dinner – it’s for small people so there are no calories.
10. Kicking your husband in the middle of the night to stop him snoring/to make him get up and deal with the children.
11. Blaming said husband for getting you into this situation in the first place.
12. Going on a night out that you have planned for months and then leaving early because you’re exhausted and really just want to put your pyjamas on.
13. Allowing your children to wear pyjamas all weekend because it’s just too much effort to get them dressed.
14. Pretending you need something from the shop so you can have five minutes alone in the car.
15. Not shaving unless you have to put a swimsuit on (ha, swimsuit – yeah right!)
16. Chewing gum as you forgot to brush your teeth.
17. Having a baby wipe wash as there is no time for a shower.
18. Dressing your babies in funny clothes just for your amusement (some might call it revenge but whatever).
19. Eating cereal for dinner.
20. Having a secret chocolate stash – some things are not for sharing.

I could go on but I don’t want the non-mums to think we’re having all the fun…