Tag: Q & A

May Chat with a Mum: Tamsin of Chasing Esme

I admit I only feature bloggers whom I really read and follow over at Chats with Mums and Dads, so when the lovely Tamsin of Chasing Esme got in touch early this year, it was actually refreshing to say yes!  After all, I’ve never featured a young mum before (no offence meant to the past chats with mums, and it’s stimulating to hear the fresh voice of a young mum compared to ehem a mum in her 40s like me 😉  And like I keep saying, I do love discovering new bloggers especially when they turn out to be a wonderful read.

Grab a coffee or tea, and let’s find out more about this lovely young mum:

Tell us something about yourself and your family.

My name is Tamsin Mathias, and I’m a 20-year-old mum of one, living in sunny Pembrokeshire in West Wales.

By day, I work as a journalist for a newspaper entitled The Pembrokeshire Herald, and a news reader for a radio station called Herald Radio. By night, I’m a lifestyle blogger for Chasing Esme!

I’m the other half of a punk-rocker called Al, who is lead singer and guitarist in Trunk Shot, and we’re lucky enough to have a beautiful 1-year-old daughter called Esme, who is the inspiration for my blog and many other things!

What was your birth story like?

I ran into some complications near the end of my pregnancy after having none at all. My due date was February 1, 2015, and that night I started having Braxton Hicks. I thought I was going into labour, but as morning came the contractions went away.

This repeated for two more nights, and I realised that my waters had started leaking. After contacting the midwife, I was booked in to be checked over at the hospital.

It was confirmed that my waters were leaking, and I was booked to be induced at 8am on Thursday, February 5. However, Esme had other plans, and at 2am, my waters broke. I felt, and I swear I heard, a definite ‘pop’. After running to the toilet, I realised there was meconium in my waters (baby’s first poo).

I didn’t realise that your waters leaked continuously, so when we arrived at the hospital, I walked around with Al, stopping after a few paces due to contractions, leaving behind me a little yellow trail of amniotic fluid. I felt like Hansel and Grettel!

After writing in my birth plan I wanted gas and air and pethidine only, I demanded an epidural at 3cm dilated. I managed to get a few hours kip during labour, and gave birth to my beautiful brown-eyed girl at 17.44 on February 5, 2015.

What do you wish you knew about being a mother before becoming one?

I wish someone had told me all of the grotty things that happen once baby arrives rather than sugar coating it. Not with the baby, but with your own body.

For starters, I didn’t realise that your belly didn’t go back right away. People had told me that I’d “snap right back”, and that they managed to give birth and “skip out of the hospital in my size 8 jeans.” I thought this would be possible for me, so felt a real shock when I looked down and saw what looked like a sagging, deflated balloon.

I wish that someone had told me how sore you would be “down there.” It felt like I was sitting on shards of glass every time my behind touched any kind of surface, and I was devastated at what I saw when I took a look with a mirror!

In terms of babies, I wish someone had told me that sometimes they just like to cry all day, whether they’ve been fed, changed and winded or not!

How do you manage your “me” time?

I’m very lucky to have such a wonderful mother-in-law called Nanny Jill, who looks after Esme in the day. Esme also stays at Nanny Jill’s every Wednesday night, so that Al and I can have a bit of time away from parenting, and more time spent playing on the PS4 together.

Normally, Esme goes to bed between 7pm and 8pm, so we manage to watch a few episodes of our favourite TV shows, topped off with playing either Grand Theft Auto V or Destiny: The Taken King on PS4!

Do you have a favourite anecdote of your children?

We realised when Esme was born that she was tongue tied, and after much research, decided to get it snipped when she was two weeks old.

A few seconds and it was over. Esme handled it extremely well, whereas I found it difficult not to shed a tear!

After the procedure we were put into a side room, and had to stay for half an hour to give her a bottle to make sure she was feeding okay. As I was feeding her, I noticed she was damp. Now, I have no idea when this happened, because she seemed to be clean one minute and filthy the next, but she was plastered in muck from her waist down.

But it wasn’t everywhere, it was in splodges! A bit on a toe, some on a knee, and absolutely filling the nappy she had on.

I thought I’d better tackle it quickly, however I hadn’t packed a spare change of clothes. I undressed her, and stared at her for about 30 seconds in utter shock, because I had no idea where to start! In the end, I armed myself with a load of baby wipes and went for it.

Al drove off to Tesco (which is quite a way from the hospital) to buy her some new clothes, while I tried to clean up the never ending stink coming from Esme!

It wasn’t very funny at the time, but now I look back and giggle at my naive self. Who travells 45 minutes away with a baby and doesn’t bring everything except the kitchen sink?

What it is about motherhood that you absolutely love?

Feeling loved! Esme brings with her huge amounts of cuddles, kisses and laughter, and she brings me so much joy! I love being part of a family and watching her play with Al. She’s a complete Daddy’s girl!

She learns something new every day, and never fails to make me laugh. She makes me proud to be her mum.

On the other hand, is there anything about motherhood you dislike?

Judgy people! I don’t understand why mums like to judge other mums. I don’t always dress Esme in what’s deemed to be girly clothes, mainly because I’m not girly, and I like to dress her like me!

Esme’s typical outfit is jeans, paired with either a superhero top, a Thomas and Friends t-shirt or something to do with music. Someone had the cheek to say that if I’d had a boy, I would be looking at dresses.

It’s not just clothes – people will judge you on just about anything.

What’s a typical day like for you and your little one?

If it’s a weekday, we’ll all be up and out of bed around 7am and out the door for 8am. I’ll drop Al off to work before continuing on to Nanny Jill’s house, where Esme will have her breakfast while I get ready for work.

I’ll be off out the door for 9am, and I won’t see her again until 5.30pm.

However, if it’s the weekend, we’ll be up around 7am as usual, and have breakfast for around 8.30am, followed by a bath, bottle and morning nap. She normally sleeps for around 45 minutes, and depending on the weather, we’ll either have a lazy day playing with her favourite bear, or we’ll go out to visit family members (with bear in tow).

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about motherhood?

When I started weaning Esme, I was told: “Watch the baby, not the clock.” I was always worried about how much Esme should be eating, and was concerned that it was taking a long time to get food down her.

However, after lots of patience and persistence, Esme gobbled down her food! I stopped looking at how long it took to feed her, and instead looked to her to tell me whether she wanted more or had had enough.

If you could give yourself advice about becoming a mother, what would it be?

It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to feel like things are all a bit much and that you’re struggling, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help.

There will be bad days, and there will be good. And, there will be days where you feel so happy that you could burst. Parenting is a fantastic experience, even if we do put ourselves through hell! We need to remember to look after ourselves, as well as our little ones.

It’s easy to forget about yourself when all you can think about is your little bundle of joy!

How do you manage your time, blogging/workwise and time with your family and other activities as well?

I’m not quite sure! Most of my blogging is done very late at night, leading into the early hours of the morning, whilst sat on the sofa in the living room. I should probably invest in a desk or something.

Family time is mostly had on the weekends. I don’t think that Esme misses out at all, because she stays with family 24/7! Any activities we do, such as going to the beach or the park is done on a Saturday or Sunday, weather permitting!

Thank  you so much Tamsin!

Do check out this young mum’s blog.

You can also connect with her over at twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

And if you haven’t had the chance to read last month’s chat with a dad, come and have a read here.

June Chat with a Dad: Ah Dad

I’m pleased to share June’s Chat with a Dad with you folks.  Here is a man who writes with his heart, especially when talking about his lovely family.   A man who also is funny as well as heart-warming.  There are many men who happen to be dads who blog out there, but not all of them I find as moving as his.

This one is aptly called  Ah Dad …

Tell us something about yourself and your little one(s).

I blog. And I’m a Dad. And most of the time I try to make the latter my priority.

Ok, seriously. I blog because I’m a Dad. A father to two of the most amazing creatures alive. I know every Dad says that, but if you know them you’ll most definitely agree. I find myself often wondering what the hell I did in a previous life to deserve this blessing. I must have been Ghandi or something.

There’s Son who’s 13, whom I call Dude, as I am the cool parent, and Princess who’s 11. And I call her Princess for obvious reasons.

The secret to their amazingness is they get most of their genes from their Mother, whom is my greatest confidant, best friend, soul mate, life partner and the air I breathe. Fortunately for them they look like her too.

What was your little one(s) birth story(ies) like?

Well, it was tough. There were bucket loads of anxiety, uncontrolled sobbing, a lot of pushing and shoving and a few frustrated confrontations.

And the wife had to go through labour, as well.

I didn’t pass out. Not once, and even cut the umbilical cord of Princess, as Son refused to come out of the warm, comfortable swimming pool in Mom’s tummy. He was born via emergency caesarean.

The birth of your child changes everything about who you think you are. In that moment when they place the screaming infant in your arms, emotion floods your system. A mixed cocktail of love and compassion and pride and fear…

What you wish you knew about being a Dad before becoming one?

How tough natural birth would be on a Dad. Some things cannot be un-seen.

Other than that, I didn’t expect to fall instantly in love with a new born human. And maybe I would have paid better attention to my own Father, who at the time of me growing up, seemed totally insane in most of the advice he was dishing out.

How do you balance your time between work and fatherhood?

It’s the hardest thing to do and I’m not even sure I’m doing it properly. I don’t have a physical demanding job, but travel extensively abroad. I’ve always enjoyed doing arbitrary things with them.

For me, the most important thing about being a Father is not what you do that matter, it just spending time doing it. It’s managing a different relationship, and like all relationships, takes commitment from both sides.

I do think that as the adult in this specific relationship, we should always make the first move.

How do you manage child-free time with your wife? Do you have date-nights?

Our kids are older, so we do more things together as a family without having to fall within the boundaries of feeding and nap times.

The wife and I seldom feel the need to spend time alone, as we normally talk, reminisce and do other things we love when the kids go to bed. I suppose as they get older, and go to bed later; we might require specific arrangements to get away from them.

Nonetheless we usually have a date weekend at least once a year.

Any favourite anecdotes of your little one(s)?

The fact that I call my son, Dude and he reverts with Dad, which might seem pretty obvious, but English not being our native language, makes this form of greeting quite special. We also tend to quote “Whatchadoin?” from Phineas and Ferb, which is our favourite show.

Princess thinks I’m her hero. What more could a father ask for? She likes sitting on my lap, even though she might be technically too big for that sort of thing. I’m not complaining.

What is it about fatherhood you love about?

Having kids.
Having someone love you unconditionally.
Having someone whom I love unconditionally.
Having someone teach me more about myself every day.
Having someone who makes me want to be a better version of myself.

If there is anything about fatherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

Not being able to own a Ferrari, because some consider it impractical for a family of four. I don’t think a Ferrari with a roof rack, with two kids strapped on it, will fly with the authorities.

But being away from them, and feeling that gigantic hole in my heart as I sit on a plane, that is the one thing crappy thing about being a dad. You know those moments when you realise part of your essence is missing.

If you were given the chance to be a stay-at-home-Dad would you take it?

This one is easy. No. Never. Not in a million years. Not if they paid me a gazillion dollars. (Wait that might persuade me… Any takers?)

I’m a Dad, which is the male form of a parent. And we all know men cannot multi-task. If I had to manage everything that happens in the daily life of my kids, I’ll go insane and probably murder someone in the process.

There is a total misconception of the “idle” life that stay-at-home parents have. And in our house, the wife is the glue that keeps everything together. The fact that she’s a teacher as well, only emphasise the statement I made in question 1.

Besides I don’t like hard work. And looking after kids for the whole day; seems like very hard work. I do love them though…

Best Advice you’ve ever received about Fatherhood?

Don’t kill your children, it’s considered a crime.

Kids are just small humans, waiting to grow into adults, so as parents we should learn to listen to them. Allow them to have a voice, an opinion, so that you have the opportunity to guide them in forming a better one.

And love your wife. (For she might be reading this.)

If you could give yourself advice before becoming a Dad, what would it be?

 Don’t stop at 2. Have more kids. And have patience, sh!t loads of it.

Thank you so much Ah Dad!

Now head over to his blog, it definitely is worth a read!

And certainly worth a follow over at twitter too.

I’ve linked this post-up with #PoCoLo

March Chat with a Mum: 3 Children and It

I’m glad this little section of Chat with Mums and Dads is getting a bit of attention from my fellow-bloggers.  I especially feel really honoured when bloggers I read actually want to participate in our little chats.

When I first started this little section, it was really just a means for me to reach out to other mothers, maybe get a few tips on how they manage this whole parenting business which can be really tough.  Like I’ve mentioned I started it with people I personally know before reaching out to bloggers.  I love what these little chats have taught me about being a mother/parent and I hope you get some good insights too.

For this month’s chat with a mum, meet Suzanne, the lovely mother behind the very-much-read blog:

 Tell us something about yourself and your little ones (age & sex).

My husband and I have 3 children – 2 girls and a boy.  The girls are 13 and 12, the boy is 9.

I was a SAHM when my children were little, mainly because we chose to have 3 very close together (my eldest was 4.5 when the youngest was born). I always knew that this is what I wanted to do but often struggled with being at home and just having children (and CBeebies!) for company.

 When my eldest two children were both in full-time school and the youngest started nursery, I began a part-time job, joined the school PTA and got my brain working again – it took a while!

 What was your little ones birth stories like?

The first one was horrendous and a very long story which I won’t bore you with.  In short, I was induced after going 2 weeks overdue, was in labour for 23 hours and ended up having an emergency c-section when they realized that she wasn’t budging.  It was traumatic at the time but 9 months later I found myself pregnant again, so it can’t have been all bad!

Early on in my second pregnancy, I was advised to go for an elective section if the baby was likely to weigh anything more than 7 lbs.  Thankfully I took the advice as she was 8lb 2ozs, born 10 days early!

My last baby was a surprise boy. We had chosen not to find out the sex, knowing that the likelihood was, another little girl. We were obviously thrilled when a little boy was born by elective caesarean 1 week early, weighing in at 7lb 8ozs – my smallest!

 What do you wish you knew about being a mother, before becoming one?

 That ‘free’ time will be a thing of the past, so make the most of it now!

 How do you manage your “me-time”?

 Now that my children are older and all at school, I feel that my ‘me time’ is during the day.  I work two days but even then, driving to the office with my own music playing is a treat and I savour every moment!

 After school and at weekends, my time is really dedicated to driving the children around to their activities and various social events.

 Do you have a favourite anecdote of your little one?

Having 3 children, this question is a little tricky for me.  I also find it incredibly difficult to remember things from the early days (see my blog post about my lack of memory, here!). However, I do remember more about my son’s early years (he is now 9) than the girls, as so much of that was a blur! When he started nursery school at the age of 2.5, I found it difficult to let go.  He was my last one and always such great company to have around, being so placid.  I asked him one day what he liked to do at playtime (assuming he would talk about the see saw or the sandpit) and he replied: “I like to play with my friend Holly”.  Sounds fairly standard but his “friend” was actually his 5 year old sister who was allowed to play with the nursery children at break time!  That really did warm my heart, knowing that of all the children there, he chose his sister to play with. Cute.

 What is it about Motherhood you absolutely love? 

I won’t lie to you, I find parenting a baffling minefield much of the time! But being someone who loves a challenge, I still decided to have 3 of them!  I love watching my children change and grow into their own personalities, knowing that I’ve had a part to play in the person that they are becoming. As they get older and you begin to see the fruits of your labour, it’s incredibly rewarding.

 If there is anything about Motherhood you dislike, what would it be?  

The worry. Oh my days, this never stops! And I know people with adult children who say that the worrying doesn’t stop then, either.

What’s a typical day like for you and your little ones?

The alarm goes off at 6.40am. No little ones to wake me up any more, it’s all about me dragging them out of bed!  We try to have breakfast together (one child in particular is not a morning person so this is very hit and miss!) then my husband drops the girls at Secondary School on his way to work and I take our youngest to his Primary School.

Once they are at school, on days when I am not working, I walk the dog straight after drop off and the rest of the day is for me! Obviously there are always jobs to be done around the home but being someone who thrives on the company of others, I try to make sure that I book in at least once ‘catch up’ with a friend per week.

The post school hours are usually pretty hectic for us. I have limited their activities to 3 per week each (despite pleas for more!).  I think it’s important to explore hobbies and attend groups such as Guides and Cubs but it is difficult to get the balance right.  I wrote a blog post on this subject a little while back.

When they were young, I was a stickler for bed times, with everyone being in bed by 7pm.  Now I am lucky if I have them all quiet at 9.30pm and by then I’m pretty pooped!

 Best advice you’ve ever received about Motherhood?  

Pick your battles.  I have control-freak tendencies which if I don’t keep in check, could send our home life into a frenzy! That’s why choosing which battles to pick and being purposeful about this, is something that I try to do on a daily basis.  Does it really matter if their bedroom is a tip during the week?  No, they can tidy it at the weekend and I will count to 10 on entering Monday-Friday!

 If you could give yourself advice about motherhood before becoming one, what would it be? 

 Treasure each moment when they are young. I know that parents with older children told me this when I had babies/toddlers and I always just thought “yeah, yeah, you’ve just forgotten what hard work they are” –  now I know it’s true!

 How do you manage your time or blogging between work and your little ones?

Ok this is tricky.  Blogging isn’t just about writing a post and then hoping someone reads it (not if you want to progress anyway). I have realized that it’s vital to spend time developing a community of readers, communicating via Social Media and socializing (virtually and in real life sometimes!) with other bloggers.

I try to spend my daytime doing this but it does sometimes encroach into the afternoon/early evening if I have a deadline or commitment.  I tend not to blog or spend very much time on Social Media at weekends, especially on Sundays.  For me, that time is for the family and I need to be strict on myself – it’s very addictive!

Thank you so much Suzanne!

Click here to visit 3 Children and It.

Have a lovely weekend everyone!