#MakingOverMotherhood

Next week is Maternal Mental Health Awareness week. Bit of a mouthful but nevertheless very important!

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I didn’t know anything about mental health issues after birth. I just thought, you have the baby and that’s it! You just have to cope. Anyway, how could you ever feel sad, down, depressed, angry, lost or just nothing while looking after your gorgeous baby? Oh, how I laugh now. I definitely had my fair share of all the above every now and again (and Lord knows sleep deprivation can do scary things to you) but I was lucky to not feel like this all of the time.

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So, when I saw that it is Maternal Mental Health Awareness week next week, I wanted to do something. A quick Google and I stumbled upon #MakingOverMotherhood. A social media challenge to raise awareness of Maternal Mental Health disorders and struggles. Everyday, for 5 days, post something that shows what motherhood is really like. The good, the bad and the ugly. It can be something light-hearted that might make someone chuckle or something serious and revealing. It’s up to you. The idea is to end the stigma of mental health issues for mothers.

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As Mothers, it’s very easy to feel like EVERYONE relies on you and therefore you don’t have time for yourself. You don’t have time to be weak because you’re so busy being strong for everyone else. You can’t be seen to be struggling because you might be seen as a bad Mum, a Mum who can’t cope, a lazy Mum, an incompetent Mum. You might not even notice you’re struggling because you don’t have time to take a step back and see that you are. Well, take that step. I cannot stress enough how important it is that you do. And if you notice you are, reach out. There is no shame. I truly believe that everybody struggles with something and I guarantee, you won’t be alone and you won’t be the only Mum who thinks the way you do.

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It’s so vital to get help when you need it because (as the old saying goes) you can’t pour from an empty cup. Basically, you can’t take care of others, without taking care of yourself too. Now, I don’t mean going to get your nails done every week or making sure your hair is perfect (unless that helps you feel better). I’m saying practise self care on the regular, be selfish when you need to be, reach out for help even if you think you aren’t desperate for it. Don’t feel guilty (and trust me, I am no stranger to Mum guilt) because fundamentally, you’re doing it for your kids.  You’re taking care of you so they can have the best Mother possible. A happy Mum, a calm Mum (most of the time, I mean, whistles, right?), a Mum who isn’t constantly emotionally and physically exhausted, a Mum they deserve.

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Now, I’m not saying every time you have an outburst and scream at your child about playing the baby shark song for 1098th time that day that you need to call the doctor. There are many ways you can reach out for help.
Obviously, during these times, it’s a little different. I can’t reach out to my Mum to watch Olivia for a few hours while I get some work done or just lay down in a dark room for a while. However:

  • Talk to your partner (if you have one). I cannot imagine how I would do this whole motherhood thing, without Steven by my side. I’m so lucky because he is such a good Dad and so supportive. So I know, if I ever need to, I can talk to him about my stress and if he’s home to help, I can ask him to give me a couple of hours. He will happily take Olivia and Cody (because sometimes, he causes me more stress than my human child) out for an hour long walk and give me the house to myself. I cannot tell you how blissful that is. Even if I just need to rant or cry or a cuddle or time he will give it to me. THAT is invaluable!
  • Reach out to family. I know not everyone is on par with their family but maybe you can meet some mummy friends and they can be your family. I am fortunate that my Mum absolutely adores my little girl and would do anything for her (or me). I honestly love having her one town away and I know that if I needed her, she would be here at the drop of a hat (she has done many times before). In the early days of my new adventure into motherhood, she took a week off work to come over everyday and help me with Olivia. Nothing major. She would watch Olivia while I had a shower (absolute heaven), bring me lunch everyday (I love her) and sit with me while we watched TV and chatted (priceless). She didn’t know it but all of these things meant the world to me. Especially when she made me cups of coffee, I could have cried!
  • Mummy friends. I couldn’t cope without my mummy friend, Lisa. It is so worthwhile to have that someone who gets it. Before lock down, we would grab a take away coffee and go for a walk with the babies every week and just talk. Talk about our struggles, our stresses and what crazy stuff the babies have got up to that week and it was so therapeutic. We would then laugh together at how messy our lives have become but how beautiful it all is too. I would come home and feel refreshed (not to mention caffeinated, which always helps) and like maybe I am a good Mum because I’m not alone in this, because someone else is thinking the exact same things as me!
  • Reach out to professionals. Reach out to your GP, midwife or Health Visitor. That’s what they’re there for! They are the superheroes equipped with all the resources and connections to get you the help you need!
  • Baby Buddy App is an NHS accredited app which offers evidence-based information and self-care tools to help parents during pregnancy and early stages of parenting. Best bit is it is absolutely FREE! Download in the app store or click here for more information.
  • If you are in need of immediate help or support call 999, go to A&E or call Samaritans 116 123 (free to call and it doesn’t show up on your phone bill)

Whatever you think you’re going through, whatever you think you’re struggling with, I can guarantee there’s a Mum out there going through the exact same thing. So do the right thing, reach out and talk. If not for you, for your kids.

For a pick-me-up read my Mum-tivation post!

Lock Down Help!
Lock Down Daily Routine For Toddlers
At Home Activities For Toddlers
Best Bedside Books
My Netflix List
Movies Made For Comfort

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Movies Made For Comfort

During this time, I want to help keep people’s spirits up as much as possible. Since we’re all stuck inside with more time on our hands, it’s easy to get wrapped up in this COVID-19 chaos, doom and gloom. We could all use a little mental escape and what better way than curling up on the sofa with a hot cuppa and a good movie. The type of movie that doesn’t require thought. The type of movie that transports you to a simpler time. Something that makes you smile, laugh a little and brings a little bit of light in the darkness.

I was born in the late 90s so most films I find comforting are from the 00s. They just take me back to a simpler time of watching movies on the sofa during rainy days or cinema trips with my Mum. Back when my world was a little smaller. So here are my top 10 comforting films.

1. Legally Blonde

I know, I know, super girly but this film was a constant favourite of mine as a child. Not only is the soundtrack upbeat and fun but the message is empowering. You can do anything you work hard at, despite what people say or think about you. If you keep going through all the struggles and backlash of other people, it will pay off even if no one is on your side. It’s also a good reminder to help people along your way. Elle Woods has lapses in confidence and sense of direction in her life but ,throughout it all, she is kind. She is nice to people who are continually cruel and helps anyone. I think we could all use this reminder right now.

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2. Cheaper By The Dozen

This is another one of my ‘regularly viewed’ from my childhood. I know Steve Martin can be a crowd divider but I just can’t help but love this movie. This also has an awesome soundtrack (can you tell I’m a sucker for musical montages?) and is upbeat and easy to watch. A family of 12 kids and their parents go on holiday together. What could go wrong? It’s filled with typical PG physical comedy (and some adorable kids) it will definitely give your mind a break.

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3. Bridesmaids

A CLASSIC! This film holds so many memories for me. I remember watching it in the cinema with Mum for the first time. We shared many a cinema date just us two and they were so special to me. We’d go while other kids were at school so the cinema was practically empty. It was those times it felt like we were the only people in the whole world. On our drives home we would reminisce about our favourite moments and laugh together all over again. 
I also remember watching this film after my first (and last) night out clubbing. My friends and I collapsed on my sofa and put this movie on. We kicked off our heels, got under blankets and giggled together. I’d take that over clubbing any day!

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4. Practical Magic

Another one of mine and my Mum’s favourites. I can’t remember the first time I watched this but I remember being about 7 or 8 and trying to get my spoon to stir in my cup or trying to get flower petals to fly in the wind. Maybe it was this movie that made me so wary of men? It definitely made me suspicious of a beetle’s squeak. It has everything I love wrapped up in one movie: witches, love stories, revenge, sisterhood and family. This is not just a Halloween movie. 

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5. Hocus Pocus

Staying on the witch theme. This movie is one I normally save for Halloween season but desperate times call for desperate measures. It is an absolute classic and I think I know this movie word for word. It’s one for the whole family and really puts me in a cosy mood. And, yes you guessed it, it has a musical number that I recreated in my bedroom when I was 8. As a kid, I wanted to be Sarah. The funny one, the one who wore purple and the one who all the boys liked, lol! Not sure that happened for me. Sorry 8 year old me!

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6. Christmas With The Coopers

From one holiday to the next. Yes! A Christmas film. Even though it’s spring, I see no harm in recreating the ambience of Christmas. Christmas just seems to be a happier time for me, a cosy time and I can’t help but feel safe in a way. I know that’s not the case for some but it’s a time I really treasure. This film in particular is humbling and beautiful. Not to mention it has an incredibly cute dog. It’s just one happy reminder to love your family, even if they drive you mental or aren’t perfect themselves. So if you’re in quarantine with your family and need a little convincing to love them, this is the movie for you.
P.S in other countries this movie is called ‘Love the Coopers’

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7. The Mask

My friends and I used to watch this round my house all the time. Jim Carrey is a true talent. This was the first movie I saw that combined live filming with animation. I think  this was my first Jim Carrey movie too and it sparked my love for his work. Like all good movies, it has an excellent dog in it too! Oh, and a musical dance number or two!

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8. Bad Moms

This is a perfect time for every Mother in isolation with their kids to watch this. This movie always reminds me that it is okay to not be the perfect parent. The most important things you can give to your kids are love and happy memories. Spend time with them, listen to them, teach them things they will need in life like how to apologise or take care of their mental health. Show them how to unwind, be a good person and just be kids. This movie also highlights the different types of Mothers out there and that it’s okay if you don’t iron your kids underwear like Becky down the road or have 15 million colour coded worksheets. If you’re a good person, you’re a good Mum.

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9. Wine Country

This is more of a recent discovery of mine. It’s about a group of friends going on a weekend break together for one of them is turning 50. They go on a girls trip and tour vineyards but it gets a little messy. They show getting older as something to look forward to and true friendship as something to treasure. I can only hope that my life looks a little like this when I turn 50.

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So there we go, they are the top 9 films I find comforting. I hope they give you some comfort too. Now, please remember this is personal opinion. You may not agree but please feel free to share some of your favourite and comforting movies!

Stay safe. Be kind.

 

 

GRL PWR

Hello Readers,

This Sunday is International Women’s Day and I thought I would express my appreciation for some of the women in my life and share some of my role models.

What is International Women’s Day? It is a global day celebrating the economic, social, political and cultural successes of women. What’s the point of it? The International Women’s Day website have launched a campaign called #EachforEqual to encourage us to collectively create change for a gender equal world. What can I do? The campaign runs all year long not just on International Women’s Day and you can help spread awareness. Post a picture of you with your arms out in an ‘equal’ shape and share your #EachforEqual pledges and messages.
Visit https://www.internationalwomensday.com/ for more information.

I am a feminist. I know, I know, that’s a scary word. You probably get an image of an angry woman with hairy armpits, protesting for women’s rights and hating men. This is not true. A feminist is anyone who supports equality of the sexes. So really, we should all be feminists regardless of gender, race or religion. It’s not about women wanting to conquer men because they are the superior sex. It’s about equality for all. The best visual representation I have seen of ‘double standards’ is in the music video for ‘The Man’ by Taylor Swift.

This brings me onto my first role model, Taylor Swift. Most of you reading this will probably be thinking “Really? A pop star?” and yes, she is a ‘pop star’ but through her art she raises awareness. In her most recent music video, ‘The Man’, she portrays many gender inequalities. Swift herself is ‘the man’ and we can see ‘Tyler’ getting praised for: doing the bare minimum of parenting, manspreading on public transport, urinating on ‘women’s work’ on a brick wall, throwing a hissy fit when he loses at tennis and doing the ‘walk of celebration’ after sex as opposed to the ‘walk of shame’ women experience. It was really eye-opening to see the parallels but also it felt reassuring and that, finally, someone gets it! She raises awareness through her music while also being an amazing girl boss herself. She fights for the right to own her music and create things that are completely hers, which is something I can only aspire to do. Not to mention, I love her music and think she’s absolutely gorgeous in everything she does (totally girl crushing).

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Role Model #2 is Zoe Sugg. I know “first a pop star now a YouTuber, ugh, grow up”. No. I have watched her videos for 8 years (wow!) and just admire what she has made for herself. She started with a blog, then did YouTube videos and now runs her own brand, has written fiction and non fiction books, released multiple beauty and life style ranges, worked with companies I can only dream of and even went on celebrity bake off! Through it all, she has the best smiley, positive attitude and kind-hearted approach to things. I just find her creativity inspirational and makes me want to continue doing things that I love. She also (like me) struggles with anxiety so I love the fact she’s so honest with her audience about anxiety and can still pick herself up and have a good mood. She encourages me to do the same.

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Role Model #3 is Melissa McCarthy. I have watched films with Melissa McCarthy in ever since I went to see Bridesmaids in the cinema with my Mum. I swear this woman has a direct line to my funny bone. Through her comedic roles, my Mum and I bonded in my teenage years and I will never forget watching Bridesmaids and Spy with her. Especially the moment my Mum (who is quite an introvert) forgot where she was and shouted “THERE’S A MOUSE ON HER TITS!” in the middle of a full cinema. I’m not even joking when I say, I nearly wet myself laughing. Not only are her movie roles genius but I love hearing her talk about her home life. The way I have heard her talk about her two daughters and two dogs on Ellen has me in stitches and I just love her outlook on life, even the everyday things. I like to remind myself to look at things through ‘McCarthy eyes’ sometimes and see the funny side of things.

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Role Model #4 is a personal one. It’s my Aunty Sandra. Since becoming a Mum myself, she has become a sort of ‘baby guru’ to me. My Aunty Sandra has had 4 children and since having her first, she has been a stay at home Mum and a great one at that. I guess she’s a role model of mine because she is always on the go and always doing things for others. Everywhere she goes, she’s a Mum (in a good way). I recently went to lunch with her and in the restaurant she was asking the waitress how she was, getting her life story and offering advice and someone to cuddle. When I was struggling being a first time Mum, she came to see me and helped me with my mood and struggles with breastfeeding. She was always at the other end of the phone when I was having a meltdown with Olivia (even while she’s getting her hair done). Every time I see her, she reassures me that I’m a good Mum and I’m doing the right thing which means the world because as a Mum you never know if you’re doing what’s best for your little ones. She also never lets me forget that this time with Olivia goes so quick and reminds me to soak up every moment. She’s just constantly putting her kids first and I seriously don’t know how she juggles everything and holds it altogether. I can only hope I can pull off motherhood like she does!

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Now that I’ve snotted everywhere, I hope you all take part in the #EachforEqual campaign or even just reach out to a loved one this Sunday and let them know you appreciate them.


Thanks for reading!

Some pictures were taken from Google Images.

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