Mummy guilt

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We all have it. I’d guess a lot of women start feeling the mummy guilt during pregnancy – How many beers did they have not knowing they were pregnant?,forbidden treats they can’t resist, sleeping on the wrong side, a few too many lbs gained.

I’ve had some serious mummy guilt over the years. Our 1st child Poppy was born with a genetic condition. She wasn’t really in the medical system until 15 months – why hadn’t we noticed sooner?? Did I do something during the pregnancy?? Were we having a 2nd child too soon? Why do I keep losing my temper with a teething baby?? Why can’t I leave the house without 1 or 2 kids crying about it?? Etc etc.

It doesn’t go away but it does change and there are definitely ways to squash it, even if it is momentarily 😉

Firstly, allow breaks where you can.

I use the gym a few days a week and during summer break the kids go in the creche. They are not overly keen but the time I get to myself does wonders for my mental well being! Working out reduces my stress levels. The afternoons are then all about the kids.

If I find myself with a few hours kid free I’ll generally run errands, clean, fold laundry but every few weeks I treat myself.

Today is a prime example. I went to the beach with some mummy friends whilst the kids were at Vacation Bible School. Got 3 hours of peace and a nice mimosa (bucks fizz!)
This was a break for me but also time with my girlfriends which all mummy’s need!

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Choose your battles. At 1 point I had 3 children 4 and under. I felt like I was shouting all day long, being referee for 3 little beings. I would cry nightly once the children were asleep about how guilty I felt for shouting when 1 threw a dummy (pacifier) out the pram or a bowl of cereal over the highchair. I was exhausted. I had to figure a way of not getting myself so run down.

I started to choose my battles. For example if 1 kid was having a tantrum about the fact I’d gave them grapes not apples I’d stand firm. Let them have their tantrum and not shout or distract or molly coddle. My days actually became calmer because I wasn’t reacting constantly- less telling off, less guilt.

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Allow for time with your partner. I/ we were bad at this in the first few years of parenting. Various reasons but we basically didn’t do enough us time. Being alone with your partner allows an opportunity to discuss the children. I was often surprised to find we shared the same guilt! Also I’d be reassured that I wasn’t a terrible mummy and no he wasn’t bothered if I forgot to bath them for 2 nights 😂
Alternatively you can decide to not discuss children at all and allow yourself that break you both so need!

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If you are a working mummy, don’t feel bad about it! I loved going to work but at the end of each maternity leave i would get that feeling of dread and the guilt. However we chose well with our childcare options and all 3 kids had great experiences. I got to use the bathroom without 3 sets of eyes watching me and I’d get a whole hour to eat a sandwich!
I used to work with lone parents. Either looking voluntarily for work or because they were required to look by the government. I always told them what an amazing example they would be setting for their children. Going out earning their own money and being independent.

Sometimes you have to just apologise and explain. My kids are at the ages now (almost 5, 8 & 9) where if I lose my s*$t they look at me like I’m mental 😀 I take a minute to calm down then apologise and speak to them about why I got angry and how they can stop that from happening again, not that they often chose to do that! It helps me feel less guilty and I see it helping at least 1 of the 3 understand me and my mummy role a little better.

It’s fine to have your own guilty pleasure. Your trash tv shows,facebook overload, blogs, pinterest everyone needs an escape from reality occasionally (or daily 😉)

When all this fails I console myself with the fact that they won’t remember much before the age of around 5 so all that shouting I may have done, accidents I didn’t stop from happening, outings I didn’t take them on – it won’t be remembered anyway!!

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Expats

Moving to a new country is so exciting but with the excitement comes nerves and anxiety.

I know when we moved it was actually a bit of a culture shock. England to America we expected to be an easy transition. However, we were wrong. I’d say it took a good 6 months to adjust to our new surroundings.

New weather, new vocabulary, new beliefs, new products, different mannerisms and personalities. Not to mention the place and everything in it is huge!

So to be sat at the pool and hear a familiar twang, an accent you can immediately locate, well its exciting! There is an instant familiarity meeting another British person. Honestly most of my first conversations with other expats normally involve discussing a love of greggs, chip butties, pie & gravy and of course the weather!

When we moved out here I was lucky enough to have an English lady (now friend) reach out to me and arrange playdates for our kids. We’d sit and talk about the area, good shops and restaurants – tips I needed! A love of Primark would often come up to!

The longer we’ve been here the more British people we’ve met and we all enjoy each others company. We’ve even set up a Facebook group for expats in the local area.

Nights out have been arranged and enjoyed. We get to relax and say all our english words (including swear words 😁) as much as we like!

Today we watched the England v Panama world cup match together. I was so pleased the dads did exactly what they would have in our local back home- cheered, shouted, jumped up & down patting each other on the back! The kids all got to feel the atmosphere.

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Immigrant’s from all different countries seek out their own countrymen. Its not because we don’t want to make new friends, I have plenty that I love and learn from. We just want that familiarity every now and then.

I hope my recent and future blogs can help an expat or immigrant to America. I’ll share tips and reviews but mainly I hope it shows that moving can be a great experience and to make the most of your new country!

Birthdays – Florida style

 

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8. How did she turn 8 already??

Our Izzy, middle child, but so graciuoscly the big girl.

I was terrified being pregnant with Izzy, we had a toddler that was way behind in development and with a 15 month age gap I was not looking forward to what lay ahead.
Obviously the second she was born I was in love with her. She actually looked just like my mom and sister!

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Izzy has and will be our saviour on many occasions. She helped drag Poppy up onto her feet, encouraged her to talk and supports her every way she can. I know sisters have a special bond but this is different. Izzy is like Poppy’s 2nd and more patient mum 🙂
She also dotes on Leo and makes a great playmate even with his boy games or her barbie dolls!

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☝️ posing till closing 😂

Anyway enough of the soppy stuff, onto how we celebrated 8.

To start off presents, obviously at 6.20am. A good amount of gifts from justice and marshalls, a few $ tree and five below thrown in (I’m still working on a shopping blog!)

Onto huge Publix cupcake – our visitors know all about about the publix bakery. Crazy grandad in particular 😉

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Next hop on the golf cart to meet some friends and our #culdesaccrew at the pool. Swimming and floating around for a few hours.

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After a quick lunch the kids all met up again in the cul de sac to play. These kids can’t resist each other and the mommas are happy they’re all occupied!

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Then true Florida style a thunderstorm rolled in, expected as the ‘feels like’ temperature was 39.4c! We had a few hours inside the house. Izzy and leo playing on Izzy’s new tablet and Poppy unfortunately walking around panic stricken in ear defenders due to the incredibly loud thunder.

Luckily the storm left in time for us to head north for some dinner. We sat on the intracoastal at jax beach – safe harbour, then hopped over to a brewery- Engine 15. I will review both venues next week.

We then headed across the street for the kids to enjoy sunset on the beach. I told them they could paddle….

Obviously Izzy was still looking perfect!

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All in all a pretty bloody good day 😁

Poppy

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I’ve had a bad day with Poppy today. A sentence I’ve been using for the last few weeks, months, years.

Through the newborn feeding, the toddler tantrums and still now at 9 years old.

I mentioned when I introduced our kids that I would write about Poppy and today feels like the right day.

Poppy has a gene mutation. At conception what should have been a circle came out as a square but on a microscopic scale. One small, fluke change in her DNA.
PPP2R5D is the effected gene. Less than 100 known cases worldwide.

Poppy was diagnosed with this in the spring of 2015 at 6 years old through the Deciphering Development Delays research.
Previous to the diagnosis she went through lots of testing, assessments and therapies but we were left with no answer.

The result of a mutation on this gene varies slightly but in Poppy’s case –
Global development delay – means a delay in all areas. Poppy was almost 3 before she walked and around 4 before we were hearing recognisable words.
Hypertonia – low muscle tone, meant for a floppy baby and a toddler who’s legs could not hold their own body.
Sensory issues – Poppy’s biggest sense problem is noise always has been. Alongside tactile sensory needs – touch
Low intellect – Poppy has been in the education system for 6 years. With lots of support she achieves things but she is still learning to read and write at a pre school level.
Sleep problems – A 9 year old creeping into our room every night. Enough said.
Behaviour issues – A combination of the above and Poppys senses being out of whack result in tantrums. Normally long, noisy ones.

Other children also have seizures and their physical and mental disabilities vary.

Izzy and leo are what we call typically developing kids and are along for the journey with us. They look after Poppy, play with her, cuddle her, involve her, love on her and watch out for her. I hope we are bringing them up to always do this out of love for Poppy. They are certainly very caring and sensitive because of their sister.

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Poppy has something about her that lights her up, I can’t quite describe the effect she has on people but if you know our Poppy you’ll understand. Rob and I always say her super power is empathy. She is so intune with people’s emotions she’ll know without a physical clue that your sad, happy or mad! She is silly, her tongue has a mind of its own and her favourite phrases are “don’t you know it” and “buy me a baby please” (Even though she has around 20 already!)

I’ve wrote this post so people who know us, see us around or just follow my blogs can get a little understanding of our life. Social media and edited photos don’t show the full picture.

If anyone would like more information on PPP2R5D mutation – now called Jordans syndrome there are pages on both Facebook and Instagram. Featuring lots of other kiddos just like Poppy and all the achievements they make and the research going into this syndrome.

https://www.instagram.com/jordanssyndrome/

https://www.facebook.com/PPP2R5D/

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Beach days – Why I love & hate them

Ok, don’t get me wrong I love living a 15 minute drive to the beach. Coming from land locked Birmingham it’s a dream and a different league to Brean or Weston Super Mare!

However a family trip to the beach kinda fills me with dread.

3 kids plus sand & choppy, salty waves turns the idyllic beach time into a nightmare!

For starters just getting to the beach is a pain. So much stuff!! Umbrella, chairs, boogie boards etc etc. Digging it out of the garage and packing it into the car then carrying it onto the sand and emptying it all again once home. It’s also 30 degrees and humid so this job produces a bucket load of sweat.

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I do carry things too, most of the time 😉

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Once on the beach the kids are happiest when covered in as much sand as possible. Preferably in a big hole that Rob digs for them the second we set up camp. That is until Poppy decides she doesn’t like sand and will do anything to get it off her including stripping!

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With this being Florida summer your also likely to get caught in a rain shower that pops up out of nowhere 5 hours before its forecast.

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Now, the reasons I love the beach. Well obviously its beautiful and you can’t beat the sound of the ocean plus there’s a breeze that keeps us cool on these hot sticky days.

My kids are happy, I watch them running care free in and out of the waves laughing and jumping – see some parts are idyllic!

However the main reason I love the beach is Rob takes over. He can’t sit still so he’s up digging, running, kicking a football or swimming. Me? I can sit, preferably with a book and a beer.

Over the last 2 years I have found ways of making the beach trips a little easier

1) Be organised with packing – use freezer bags for lotions & toiletries so they don’t get sandy
2) Pack lots of drinks and lots of snacks but be wise about snack choice. Nothing that could melt or even just go a bit squishy in the heat. Take bowls so sandy hands aren’t digging in to bags every few minutes!
3) Pack a freezer bag with clean clothes which can then be used to hold wet clothes
4) Take an empty plastic bag for rubbish
5) Take a sandwich bag for each child to hold any treasures they find
6) Leave a gallon bottle of water in the car to get the last bits of sand off toes. Talcum powder also works for this
7) Don’t forget your book & beer!

Discovering Country

I’ve mentioned in my intro that I love country music and if you follow my instagram there’s often references to my/ our country love on there. Now why would an English person love country?? Not a genre of music often found in Blighty’s top 40 so I get asked a lot why country is my top listening choice!

I’ve been looking at buying tickets to see a big country artist (My country crush) here in Jacksonville – Luke Bryan (Uk peeps may know him from the recent American Idol) my Uk friends and family will know him because I bombard them with his music 🙂 sorry, not sorry!

So I thought todays blog could be about discovering my love for country ❤

Florida is big and spaced out, we spend a lot of time driving. I’ve put more miles on my car in 4 months than I used to do in a year in England. I’m a music person, always have been so whilst I’m happily cruising along I sing, loudly with no shame! When we first arrived 2 years ago I was listening to the same old songs that had been played in England for the last 6 months. Our new (old) car came equipped with satellite radio and 100s of stations so I began to flick and stumbled on The Highway channel 64.

My first country song was William Michael Morgan, Vinyl. Have a listen….

Swiftly followed by Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Chris Young…
All artists and songs I’d never heard but loved instantly. This was something new and interesting. Songs about the things I now saw around me – pick ups, dirt roads and tractors 😁

I made Rob listen to these songs while googling the artists and stalking their glamorous lifestyles on social media. The kids began to sing along and before I knew it I’d got a pair of my own boots and a ticket to my 1st country show. Chris Lane supported by Morgan Wallen – coincidentally now moved on to be Luke Bryans opener!

2 years later Rob and I have had some great date nights watching country artists in various venues. From the nose bleeds to the pit and we’ve loved every one of them! The kids request their favourites from Alexa and sing all the words in the car. Leo actually wants to be Jason Aldean when he grows up 😂

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I still listen to all my other music, old UK garage cruising down the highways here is always a fun option but country definitely has a big place in my heart now. Give it a go, you never know until you try!

Free, ish fun!

So I mentioned in my previous blog how the children and I plan summer activities then I go through ideas trying to stick to a budget ie. As close to free as possible!

Well we have had 2 packed days of fun for around $20, all relatively local fun too.

We live in a community where golf carts are a form of transport. I initally did not want to live here in a holiday park and did not want a golf cart. Now however we have a cart and love it! It is a simple way of filling time. Go for a ride to some playgrounds or make a quick trip to the shop a bit longer because we have nothing better to do!

Yesterday was a golf cart day. We used it to get a haircut (free, ish as it went on daddy’s credit card) bought a Dunkin donuts coffee (with a coupon), cashed in the girls free frozen beverage coupons at dailys and finally got a yobe frozen yoghurt(half price mondays)

For dinner I made a taco bar which gets the kids involved in making their own dinner. Generally guarantees they’ll eat a bit more of it!
We watched an old movie with popcorn then finished the day off with a dog walk and bike ride.

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Today we did some park hopping in the morning and a stop at the library to cool off in the a/c. Friends joined us and all the kids had a blast.

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Finished the day off with a trip to ikea – 2 out of 3 kids took advantage of the free supervised play area and then we ate dinner (kids eat free Tuesdays)

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Organising free fun means looking out for coupons, researching where and when kids eat free or offers that are on, trying out local parks or beaches and occasionally using daddy’s credit card 😁 I’ve mentioned before the sites I use – jaxmomsblog and firstcoastforkids. I know these exist in a lot of other areas too.

I’m grateful the kids are still at the age they are happy with free fun Izzy actually said “could this day get any better??” When i offered a yobe and Leo said going to ikea “was like being in a great dream” 😂
Lets hope another few weeks into #12weeksofsummer they are still satisfied with the free fun.

#12weeksofsummer

We are 1 week exactly into the 12 week school summer holiday.

The “I’m bored” started at 1.19pm yesterday and hasn’t stopped since. Children used to a full packed day of learning are left to follow mom or dad around whilst they go to the gym or run errands! No wonder they’re bored!

So, as a UK native this was a shock to us (Children attend school year round with breaks spaced out there)

I’ve tried to find the reason for such a long break thinking maybe Google will tell me it’s to do with the weather or summer vacations even. I found a few articles about the history of the long break, seems it is just a tradition. There are very few school districts that attend school year round.

Our first summer here started 4/30/16 until 8/10/16. We had no friends, no clue of where we were and I was scared to drive anywhere! Not a hard one to beat now we are going into our 3rd summer.

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Accepting I have the 3 children 24/7 for the next 12 weeks is the first step to a successful summer break 🙂

Next figure out how to fill that time. Swiftly followed by amending ideas to stick to a budget!

I talked to my children about what they would like to do and Izzy created a lovely poster full of ideas. We added plenty of simple cheap time filling activities. For example swimming, feed ducks, painting, help mummy with dinner etc and trips they would like to take the beach,museums,markets.

I then trawl the internet looking for activities. My go to sites for this area are jaxmomsblog and firstcoastforkids also the local library site. Not forgetting local facebook groups and events or simply sharing ideas with other mum friends.

My last thing for a successful summer break is to allow myself a break in routine without freaking out!! Realise my house will be messier and louder. We probably won’t eat 7 healthy dinners a week and my laundry will pile up. It’s all temporary, repeat, it’s all temporary. I got this. I think.

Follow along to see how our summer goes!

Family Visits

So 2016 we packed up and moved to Florida. Approximately 4500 miles away from the town I’d pretty much lived in my whole life.

Leaving behind family and friends who were as good as family. The 1 constant negative in our move then and still now.

Communicating by messages, video calls and watching each others social media is not what anyone of us thought we’d be doing a few years ago. Facebook, messenger, whatsapp, Instagram we’re grateful for them all as can’t imagine how we’d cope without!

We’ve landed in a pretty good spot here in Florida. Nocatee, Ponte Vedra to be precise. The north east corner of Florida where we have scorching summers but being 45 minutes from the Florida Georgia line we also get seasons. It makes a great spot for a holiday year round!

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We’ve had numerous family visits. My parents had actually booked to visit before we even left England and had no clue where we would be living at the time.

Most recently Robs sister and family crossed the pond for a visit despite battling a flying fear and dragging a toddler along.

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We love our visitors, especially the children. For them nothing beats grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins! There is always a buzz of excitement in our house waiting for our next set of visitors.

What happens when they leave though? Well for starters the emotions never get easier but we all find ways of coping with them better each time. For the sake of the children we try to make goodbyes quick and painless, as simple as if we were seeing them the next day. It’s a coping technique and we’re sticking to it.

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It’s the ultimate bittersweet feeling. Weeks of excitement and fun followed by a lull and a sadness that never really goes away until the next visitors.

Thank you family for visiting and continuing to book repeat visits. For those of you who haven’t made it here yet book, your always welcome! (You know who you are 😉)

Written whilst counting down the 30 days to family arriving.