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34/52

Linking up with Jodi for The 52 Project: A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014.

Last week we took a trip to my mother’s cottage by the sea near Rye. There is a lovely long stretch of beach close by and we revelled in a sunny afternoon sitting on one of my grandmother’s quilts on the sand, paddling in little shallow pools and collecting shells upon shells.

33/52

Joining in with Jodi for The 52 Project: A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014.

I’m playing catch up for the last couple of weeks. Week 33 was a cosy affair as the weather in London cooled right down and we dug out the autumn overalls and wooly cardigans knitted by my mother.

These two, both starting to look so alike it’s uncanny. I love them so!

Dear Raff,

it’s hard to believe you’re 2 and a half today! Time has literally swooshed by since you came along and my life has changed in the very best of ways.
You were the one who made me a mother and for that I will always be grateful because a mama I was made to be. I learnt all I know about parenting from you; yours was the first nappy I changed, your tiny body the first I’d bathed. It is through you I experience all the milestones of childhood for the first time… the smiles, the giggles, the rolling over, the weaning, the sitting up, the crawling, those first wobbly steps. Beyond all those mammouth firsts are the more complex developments from 1-2. When you learn to communicate, to express yourself, to fight for your independence.
I’ve loved every minute of your growth. Watching you become this delightful little boy, one who loves to cuddle, who feels everything intensely, who finds funny little things so entertaining, who has mad half hours at 4.30pm every day has been a delight.
I’ve watched you sleep a hundred hours, I’ve told you you’re loved every day, I’ve wiped your tears when you’ve fallen, kissed it better, cleaned sticky fingers and snotty noses. 
I’d do anything for you my sweet, sweet boy because you did everything for me when you came along.
Now 2.5, you’re your best yet. Full of beans, full of love, you shower your daddy, Elsie and I with hugs and kisses all the day long. You love storytime and recite the words as I speak them because you’ve memorised them from the number of times they’ve been told. You say “song mummy” as I turn out the light each night and I sing to you as you get snug under the covers.
You are beautiful Rafferty, inside and outside, through and through. I could not be prouder of the person you are and more excited about all that your future holds.
One day you’ll become a man and then I’ll be mum, not the centre of your universe anymore. And that’s ok. I want that for you because if I do my job right as mum then you’ll feel secure in the world and you’ll find your own path.
Know this though my darling, no matter what you do or how old you are, I will always, always love you so very much. You were the one that made me ‘mum’ and I’ll always cherish your life because it is so precious.
Happy 2.5 my darling.
Love Mama xxxx

Dear Raff,

it’s hard to believe you’re 2 and a half today! Time has literally swooshed by since you came along and my life has changed in the very best of ways.

You were the one who made me a mother and for that I will always be grateful because a mama I was made to be. I learnt all I know about parenting from you; yours was the first nappy I changed, your tiny body the first I’d bathed. It is through you I experience all the milestones of childhood for the first time… the smiles, the giggles, the rolling over, the weaning, the sitting up, the crawling, those first wobbly steps. Beyond all those mammouth firsts are the more complex developments from 1-2. When you learn to communicate, to express yourself, to fight for your independence.

I’ve loved every minute of your growth. Watching you become this delightful little boy, one who loves to cuddle, who feels everything intensely, who finds funny little things so entertaining, who has mad half hours at 4.30pm every day has been a delight.

I’ve watched you sleep a hundred hours, I’ve told you you’re loved every day, I’ve wiped your tears when you’ve fallen, kissed it better, cleaned sticky fingers and snotty noses.

I’d do anything for you my sweet, sweet boy because you did everything for me when you came along.

Now 2.5, you’re your best yet. Full of beans, full of love, you shower your daddy, Elsie and I with hugs and kisses all the day long. You love storytime and recite the words as I speak them because you’ve memorised them from the number of times they’ve been told. You say “song mummy” as I turn out the light each night and I sing to you as you get snug under the covers.

You are beautiful Rafferty, inside and outside, through and through. I could not be prouder of the person you are and more excited about all that your future holds.

One day you’ll become a man and then I’ll be mum, not the centre of your universe anymore. And that’s ok. I want that for you because if I do my job right as mum then you’ll feel secure in the world and you’ll find your own path.

Know this though my darling, no matter what you do or how old you are, I will always, always love you so very much. You were the one that made me ‘mum’ and I’ll always cherish your life because it is so precious.

Happy 2.5 my darling.

Love Mama xxxx

Tired just thinking about it…

This post has been rattling around inside my head the past few days and I’ve finally found a moment to sit and write.

I was talking to a friend in the park this week while our kids were playing. We were talking about how important it is for mothers to thrive and how ironic it is that we always come bottom of the pile. The thing is, I’ve no idea how to help myself thrive anymore because there is so little left of me for me by the end of my day.

It’s now 9pm and I’ve just finished my evening of sorting and restoring order. I still have one feed to do before I can go to bed and my third baby, my little business is now calling me. I’m exhausted.

To most people who don’t have children it’s probably hard to comprehend just how all consuming motherhood can be. I am sure it is irritating how we often talk of the tiredness, the lack of time and the effort that goes into every little outing. But I’m just gonna put it out there, I feel drained at the moment. 6 months into mothering two children and my mind is a blur, my body aches. I know this exhaustion is impacting on my ability to be a good mother too but I can’t seem to claw my way out of it. I’m not depressed or down, I’m just bloody shattered.

I go through the same motions day in, day out, and it is this repetition, as well as the tasks themselves, that have led to my sense of weariness. The day begins with one or both of my children calling out to me. As soon as they’re out of their cots, the demands begin - milk mummy, porridge mummy, downstairs mummy, why mummy, stir it mummy, help mummy, poop mummy. And that’s just my toddler! All the while I have this little bird, 6 months old, totally and utterly dependent on me for her survival. Every nappy change, every morsel that enters her mouth, every drop of milk and every cry is my duty to attend to. Mothers to young children will know just how much work goes into each day caring for little ones. At 2.5 my son still can’t dress himself, wash himself, use a potty or help himself to things. I have to do pretty much everything for my kids.

Our house seems to go through a cycle each day too - one of order to chaos to order again. A trail of destruction left in the wake of my children. Toys strewn here, there and everywhere, food on the floor, sticky finger prints all over every surface, crumbs down the sofa, cushions thrown off the sofa, nappy bags piling up. By about 5.30pm I feel sick at the thought of restoring order to our home, but somehow I manage it because it is important to me that there is a little distinction between the day and the evening.

Then there’s the cooking, feeding and clearing away. It’s a real kick in the teeth when the food gets left but it’s all part of the day. I often wonder how many times I do the washing up, how many times I wipe the surface, how many times I clean the bottles, how many muslins I wash in a week. Which brings me to the laundry - how on earth four people can produce so much washing I don’t know, but there are piles of it lurking behind every door in our house, tormenting me.

The constant demands are limitless. The bath is too hot, the bath is too cold, I want bubbles, too many bubbles, where is my man, my car, my duck? Someone needs feeding again. Another poop to be changed, another bottle to be washed, and another load of laundry successfully piled up.

Some days I go to bed and wonder what life used to be like when every day was different. When I could choose when to have breakfast. When I was able to enjoy a hot cup of tea before someone screamed in my face. Its not that I don’t love my life or my children, I do, so very much, and that is why I do this. But I feel drained some days, and week in week out of the same can feel like hitting the wall in a marathon - you’ve got to keep going but you’re just . so . tired…*

To conclude on this cheery post, the life of a mother to young children is an utterly selfless one. No one looks after you, feeds you or puts you down for a nap, not even yourself and there’s something wrong with that isn’t there? If we are to be the best we can be for our kids, we do need to ensure we also thrive too. Maybe it’s asking for a little help from friends or family sometimes, maybe it’s taking 5 minutes out of the day to sit and be still while the chaos continues around you. I don’t have the answer yet (and if I find it I’ll certainly share), but whatever it takes, it’s vital to carve out a little bit of your life for you, and you alone. I do believe there is more to my life than being a mother, and I don’t believe that the ‘more’ makes me any less a good mother.

*I never have, and I never will run a marathon

A snapshot of the last couple of weeks, as I haven’t posted one of these for a while.

We’re in full swing of Raff’s summer break from preschool and enjoying every minute of what the summer has to offer.

Last week I took Raff and Elsie fruit picking. We walked through the sunflower patches and stocked up on lots of sweet juicy raspberries.

This weekend was cooler than it’s been for a while so we snuggled indoors as a family, made jigsaw puzzles, ate sausage and eggs for lunch and watched Winnie The Pooh.

This week has been a lazy one. We did a nature walk on MOnday and collected leaves, nut pods and feathers to draw when we got back home. We’ve hung out in our jammies, played cars, read lots of stories, had a playdate with friends in the park and pottered about at home. Some weeks I love a slower pace and I think the kids do too.

32/52

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014. Linking up with Jodi for The 52 Project.

32/52’s portrait is one of the most precious images I’ve taken. Whenever I look at this picture my heart swells with a mixture of love and pride.

Here are our children sharing a moment of pure tenderness. A big brother proudly feeding his baby sister her bottle. He’s concentrating hard, trying to get the angle just right so the milk fills the bottle’s teat. And just in the bottom right corner his lovely daddy’s hand is gently guiding him. I have so few images of my children together, but this one will be cherished for all my days.

I can’t believe you’re 6 months old already little bird. Seems like only yesterday Roo was kissing my bump. I was looking over old photos from when you were a tiny newborn in the hospital last night and tears rolled down my cheeks. You’ve bought us so much love and light and happiness, we can’t imagine our life without you in it.

At 6 months you are a total cutie. You’ve developed some baby rolls to be proud of, have sweet rosy cheeks and the most beautiful mouth. Your eyes are a blue as could be and almond shaped - they’re the sort of eyes you get lost in. You are quite a chatty baby and very content, it’s rare to hear you cry. You love to roll over, chew on your toys, watch your big brother being silly. You’re a pretty good eater and devoured the first foods like there was no tomorrow. I can’t believe you’ve gone from the newest of new to our bouncing bonny 6 month old, time seems to have gone in an instant.

Love you to the moon and back sweet girl.

Mama xxx

30/52

Joining in with Jodi for The 52 project. A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014.

Elsie: always rolling onto your front and chewing on bunny’s ears. You haven’t worked out how to roll back yet but you will sweet bird and then things will be easier

Raff: growing in confidence each day and loving this long hot summer we’ve been blessed with and all the opportunities to play outdoors and get those knees grubby

Musings

I’ve been keeping this little blog of mine for two and a half years now. Sometimes I wonder what my motivations for blogging are, and I always come back to the same things…

I love to keep a journal of our family life, to be able to look back through the years and remember moments in time. To document my children’s childhood, their growth. This blog is a storybook with pictures of our family life. I blog for us and I know we cherish this little record of our life.

I wish I knew more about my childhood - beyond the distant blurry memories. I wish I knew more about my grandparent’s and their parents before them. All I have of these people are a few old black and white photographs, there is nothing to give me an idea of the life they lived or the things they did. Blogging is a way to keep a hold of our everyday moments and look back with fondness. It is also a legacy I leave for my children and their children. Who knows what the future holds for blogs or technology. The world of social media is booming and transforming all the time, but this little space will always be out there for Raff and Elsie to keep.

Why do you blog? What do you love about it?

Image source: pinterest

28/52

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014, linking up with Jodi for The 52 Project

Sibling love is blossoming over here as Rafferty starts to feel more secure and, in turn, protective of his baby sister. He likes to help feed her, brings her toys she dropped on the floor and tries to make her giggle - more often than not, successfully. It warms my heart to see their relationship flourish this way. She clearly adores him, always looking to find his face in a room and he dotes on her. The first thing he says when he wakes form his nap is “Where’s Elsie mummy?” and whenever she’s taking her nap he says “Elsie wake up!” over and over again.

I’m as pleased as punch to have launched my photography website this week. It’s been an incredible journey getting to this point and I feel so proud when I see how much my work has grown over the past few months. I’m open for bookings from August and beyond and am offering a 10% discount for any booking made before Monday 14th July. Would love you to visit the site, take a look around, and let me know what you think. Do get in touch if you’re interested in having a session with me. I have great hopes for this little venture and am excited about all the families I will meet in the process.