Wednesday, 15 February 2017
Monday, 13 February 2017
It seems to be that there's a new trend dominating social media where motherhood is concerned. The so called "honest parenting" group. Those people who have decided to bare all for social media, and post pictures of themselves labelled 'scummy mummies' when they've not showered, with their children half naked at lunchtime, in a house which hasn't seen a hoover for a couple of weeks and the caption, "but this is reality. This is motherhood."
Look a little further and you will see whole blogs dedicated to the subject, and books published which comply with the new rules that your portrayal of your life can only be complete with a glass of wine in your hand, a few swear words in your post and your vomit stained PJs on.
When we had Oskar people directed us to these blogs, and bought us books, the Unmumsy Mum, and Hurrah for Gin, to name but two. We sold them on eBay.
Yes, we are well aware that these posts are majoritively 'tongue in cheek', jokes or comic relief. But there's something that makes us personally feel a bit uncomfortable about whole blogs, books and twitter feeds dedicated to almost bragging about how awful you find being a mother. We starting reading The Unmumsy Mum, and didn't finish it, because we just found it a bit..well..sad. Time being a mum to a tiny one is so fleeting, it seems such a shame to spend it complaining about how much you hate it. It's almost uncool to say "actually, I enjoy being a mum, and I try my best to be a really good one." As we said, a lot of people obviously love the trend, but we think there should maybe be a bit more balance to it.
You see for us, we have absolutely no desire to portray our lives with Oskar as being something which means we have to open a bottle of wine and call him a few names just to get through the day. This is some people's motherhood - and that's fine. It's not ours, and that doesn't make us any less 'honest'. Yes, we are mothers, yes we are real parents, but that doesn't mean that in order to be seen as being a true parent we need to change the way we get through a hard day, or how we post on social media.
Mums need support, but they also need to remember the positive, beautiful moments that motherhood brings, and that's what social media is about. It's about preserving memories, and aspiring to be a better version of yourself. It's about showing that one moment in the day that your child did sit quietly with a book, before they spent all of the rest of the day screaming. Because when Oskar is 26 and doesn't need us as much anymore, I want to look back and remember all of those wonderful quiet moments, sharing a book with my son.
Personally I don't need to be reminded that sometimes when you're a new mum you can't have a shower that easily, or often can't make yourself some food, and spend the best part of a few months constantly covered in vomit, crying at how hard motherhood is - we know. It's a given that parenting is really hard. I understand that some mums may feel consolation or understanding from seeing social media images of women going through the same and that's great for them, but as we said, a bit of balance would be nice. Plus, the biggest part of our social media, is not portraying a perfect image, but preserving our own memories.
On the days when motherhood is hard, when our boy has cried all night, or been sick in someone's hair, or needs a nappy change right as we're about to leave, we can log on to Instagram or Twitter and see a stream of reminders that most of the time, motherhood is magical. We can look back and see our boy a few moments after birth, us holding him as a newborn, his first smiles, that wonderful night he first slept through, beautiful autumn leaf filled family walks, him meeting santa, playing with cousins, moments we were just holding him, looking at him, not quite believing he is ours. That is how we get through our hard times - not by swearing or gulping down gin. Why can you only be honest about parenting, if your parenting involves those things? Why is it suddenly uncool to actually like being a mum, and to want to do more than sticking your baby in front of an iPad all day?
Because ultimately, we know how much a privilege this is, and even in those really hard moments, when we are exhausted, sleep deprived, he is crying, we are hungry, we never ever forget just how lucky we are. We remember watching thousands leave our bank account, then watching that second pink line on a pregnancy test fail to appear. We remember more money - for IVF, the mandatory counselling, the numerous blood tests, the uncomfortable scans, the thrice daily injections, the silent, tangible hope. Watching others, paying their thousands, going through their treatments, seeing their heartbreak. We are so lucky to be here. We also know how fast this time goes. In twelve short weeks our son will be one year old and we will look back over the first year with our precious boy and want more than anything to do it all over again. To hold him as a tiny newborn just one more time, to be able to watch him in amazement as he claps for the first time just once more, to relive every beautiful second with our precious son.
So no, we won't subscribe to the hashtag honest parenting, exclaim we are only coping with a glass or five of wine, or call our little boy names for being, well, a baby, and yes, we will still keep posting beautiful pictures that capture special moments in our son's life. This is how we parent, and how we get through the hard times, no gin required. If, like us, you don't pretend that every day is baking and laughter, but get through those days without drinking or swearing at your baby - it's ok. Honest.
Tuesday, 7 February 2017
I often see posts on Instagram or Facebook asking for new, nutritious recipe ideas for during the weaning phase. Lots of "but what do I give to the baby?" and "can I have some breakfast ideas please" etc. Probably the thing I love most about baby led weaning is that Oskar can literally eat what we eat. I mean of course there are times we are sat watching TV and he's in bed and we crack open the oreos but every meal I eat, he eats too. But to share some of the ideas that we have, here are a small collection of ideas that Oskar has really loved.
Oskar wakes anywhere between 8-9am, and immediately wants a good, long breastfeed. He must be hungry, after all, he only wakes approximately 6 times a night for milk!! So I tend to wait about 90 minutes following this milk feed before offering breakfast. His favourite things are:
* Toast. With a variety of toppings. His favourite ones are avocado, or almond and coconut butter. He also enjoys mashed banana, fruit spread, and cheese on toast.
*Pancakes. I usually make the two ingredient ones - mashed banana, 1 egg, fry in coconut oil. But they are also super easy to make with leftover cooked porridge, and sometimes I just make a simple crepe batter.
*Fruit roll ups. So easy, like filled French toast. You roll a slice of bread to thin it, fill with fruit puree, roll, coat in egg and fry gently in coconut oil. So yummy!
* Fruit and natural yoghurt. We only give plain, full fat natural or Greek yoghurt, with any variety or fresh, stewed or defrosted frozen fruits, and it is always a hit with our tiny boy.
The only thing he will absolutely not eat is porridge, or cereal including weetabix etc. Even made with expressed breast milk. So we have to be a little more creative!
We eat lunch together anytime between 1-2pm depending on nap times etc. My favourite kind of lunch for us both is a kind of picnic platter, which consists of whatever we have in the house that day. So anything from crackers and cheese, bagels, veg sticks, houmous, falafel, olives, fruit, quorn mini sausages, a bit of quiche etc. It's an easy way to offer a bit variety of foods in an easy way, and we both just eat as much or as little as we fancy. Other easy lunches include:
* Leftovers. Probably the easiest meal on the planet! I literally just warm up a bit of whatever we all are the night before.
* Soup and bread. He loves chunky soup with pieces he can fish out with his fingers, and chunky bread to dip in and soak up all the moisture.
* Pin wheels. Easy. Ready made puff pastry, filled, sliced and baked.
*Lentil and cheese wegdes. One from the baby led weaning cookbook. So tasty!
*Veggie bakes / patties / fritters etc.
One of my concerns with baby led weaning was making sure we were able to offer enough different vegetables so that he got the flavour and texture right from the start. As well as offering veggie sticks along side main meals, these have been an invaluable way of getting goodness in to Oskar while he is learning how to feed himself. There are lots of options available online, on Pinterest etc, Oskar's favourites have been spinach muffins and carrot and butternut squash bakes!
We sit down together to eat when Sarah is home from work, usually around 7pm. Oskar eats a smaller portion of whatever we are having, but often with a few more sticks of soft veg on the side for taste and texture. He has had a whole range of different foods, I love to cook and so cook from scratch every night. We like flavours, different cuisines and a lot of different meals each week, but there are a few that we regularly eat as we all really enjoy them.
*Satay tofu, noodles and veg. Oskar loves tofu! He takes after his Mommy in this respect. The satay sauce is a mix of olive oil, soy sauce, peanut butter and chilli, served with noodles and steamed veggies.
*Homemade pizza. The base is equal parts natural yoghurt and flour. Topped with tomato puree or homemade tomato and veg sauce, lots of veg like mushrooms, peppers, sweet corn etc, and cheese. This is so simple and so delicious!
*Curry, daal and rice. We love Indian food in this house! Most weekends we make a curry with paneer or quorn chicken and serve it with rice and Chapatti or naan. But lentil and spinach daal and homemade bread is often a meal during the week too.
*Lasagne. So messy but we all love it! We literally just put it on the tray of the highchair and Oskar helps himself.
*Risotto. Our favourites are butternut squash and courgette and aubergine. If you save leftovers then the sticky rice can be made it to balls, covered in breadcrumbs and baked the next day for another easy lunch!
Hopefully as time goes on and we find more meals we all enjoy I will post a few more posts on this. Feel free to share with us any of your favourites, we love trying new things!
Friday, 3 February 2017
Monday, 30 January 2017
And we didn't think this would happen for a while...!