Tag: Q&A

October Chat with a Dad: Simon of Man VS Pink

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

I’m a stay-at-home dad to a 4-year-old girl. I’ve been home with her since she was 6- months old when her mother returned to work. I mainly blog about gender stereotypes in relation to girls. As a Star Wars & superhero fan-dad, I was frustrated at how all merchandise was being overtly categorised & labelled for boys. I wanted to call this out, as well as demonstrating how girls such as my daughter engaged with these characters and stories too. I also blog about being a stay-at-home dad, as fathers also fall prey to lazy gender stereotypes.

What was her birth story like?

The birth went well – my wife’s waters broke in middle of night, but she waited until morning when I woke to tell me and go to hospital. Our daughter was born about 12 hours later. My wife’s comment after giving birth was “Well, that was easier than I thought it was going to be…”

Post-Birth, my wife had very high blood pressure, so I took daughter home a couple of nights to give wife a chance to sleep and help bring it down. After 5 nights both were home, but less than 24 hours later my wife was rushed to hospital with complications related to her blood pressure. It was a horribly unreal experience as my wife was in a great deal of pain – we went to hospital separately, and let’s just say I was more than half expecting to be told my wife had died. Thankfully that wasn’t the case

But my wife did stay in hospital for anther week and I took our baby mosts nights. Memories of that time are bittersweet – while the stress and upheaval of what my wife was going through was awful, in hindsight there was another aspect – I had an intense period of one-on-one bonding with our baby. Perhaps that was a key moment in subsequent decision to become a stay-at-home dad?

Eventually, all came good and my wife was back home. One thing we decided on was to give up on breastfeeding, as it removed an element of stress that helped bring her blood pressure down.

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

I guess one thing, which has partly motivated my blogging, is my assumptions about girls – I’m embarrassed to say I assumed they were pre-disposed to like pink, princesses, etc. I’m not sure when this opinion changed, but reading the likes of Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein (a book I highly recommend to anyone having/with a daughter) made me question that in a positive way.

How do you balance your time between work/blogging and fatherhood?

In the early days, I would blog at weekends. I would be craving time to myself after a long week home with our child and blogging was something I did for me. The luxury of having an idea and being able to follow it through to the end was immensely satisfying after a week of half finished tasks. When she started at pre-school, then nursery, this became another important blogging time. My daughter has just started school, so that has freed up a lot of time for me blog and pursue more writing gigs. I’m also an early riser – anything past 5am is a lie in!

Any favourite anecdotes of your kid?

I shared one recently on the blog. Our daughter gets quizzed a lot by men (dads) when wearing superhero or Star Wars stuff – I think these men don’t believe a girl really can be into this stuff. It’s known as the Fake Geek Girl syndrome. Anyway, she was dressed as Rey from The Force Awakens and a guy started quizzing her about her lightsaber – but she answered every question he threw at her including how they’re built, what powers them, etc. The guy was pretty shocked she knew so much.

What is it about fatherhood you love about?

It’s hard to pin it down. I love helping her grow. I love introducing her to new ideas and experiences. I love cuddles with her. I love what she teaches me. Being a father is something I have wanted to be for as long as I can remember, and I love being one.

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

The main thing I dislike about fatherhood is the way it is perceived by many. I think there is often a default in parenting to the mother. In fact, often the term parenthood and motherhood are used interchangeably. But many aspects of what people perceive as the preserve of motherhood are important aspects of my parenting and that of many other fathers.

 Best Advice you’ve received about Fatherhood?

To be honest, I can’t think of any.

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

Don’t worry. You’ll get better at it.

Thank you so much Simon!

If you haven’t visited Man VS Pink, please do so now.  And you can also stay in touch with more of his musing through FB, Twitter and Instagram.

Have you read last month’s chat with a mum yet?  Do check her out here.

September Chat with a Mum: Laura of Five Little Doves

Laura of Five Little Doves Blog

Tell us something about yourself, your little ones and your blog.

My name is Laura, I’m a 36 year old Mum of five, married to Gareth and together we live in Lancashire. I am a stay at home Mum to Lewis, 12, from my first marriage, Eva 4, Megan 3 and Harrison 2. My second son Joseph would have been 10 this July but was sadly stillborn in 2006. He is a huge part of our family and we feel his absence daily.

I started my blog last year during a time when I was struggling with ongoing health issues, battling fibromyalgia, ME, and undergoing neurological investigations that were, quite frankly, terrifying for my family and I. I felt that I needed something else to focus on, something to keep my mind ticking over, and writing has always been therapeutic for me, something I enjoy and in some ways, the only thing that, other than being a Mother, has ever come naturally to me.

What were your children’s birth stories like?

In a word – FAST!! Lewis was born very quickly, just eleven minutes of established labour, and for a first labour, I realise that I was very lucky!  Joseph was an induction and a long, gruelling, emotional one at that, but again, when I got to four centimetres he was born in just a couple of minutes. Eva, Megan and Harry were induced at 35 weeks due to being such high risk pregnancies and with all three, once I reached four centimetres they were born in under two minutes. Megan developed an infection at birth and was in NICU for the first two weeks and again, Harry needed resuscitating at birth and spent two long weeks, very poorly in NICU.

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

That it is the hardest job in the whole world, one which will push you to your limits, test your patience and your sanity. That there will be days when you feel you are failing, that you aren’t the parent you had hoped you would be, when as much as you love your children, you would give just about anything for ONE moment to yourself before you lose the plot entirely. But despite all that, no matter how bad things get or how hard the struggle, it will absolutely be worth it.

How do you manage your “me” time?

Me time?? Remind me what that is again? I don’t think I’ve had a moment to myself since 2012! Having three under three was a huge shock to the system and now I consider myself lucky if I get to shower in peace, let alone use the toilet.

I do try to claw back some me time back when the children are in bed, working on my blog, writing, reading, watching trashy reality TV and eating way too much chocolate.

Do you have any favorite anecdote of your little ones?

Far too many to tell you about but one that happened most recently, during a disastrous shopping trip with the three youngest, was Megan pointing over at a rather large gentleman and shouting, “He’s got a big fat tummy like daddy pig!!”. Definitely a ground swallow me up kind of moment!


What is it about motherhood you absolutely love about?

Gosh what a difficult question, and one which I could answer in a million different ways. I think my favourite thing is when the children are all together, with their little heads bowed over a game or a book, when they are snuggled up on the couch with their bodies touching, holding hands, sharing a kiss or a cuddle. It’s those moments when I look over, or I spot them from a distance, and I can’t quite believe that they are all mine. After everything we went through, all those losses and all of that sadness, to know that they are all mine, that we have the family we never dared to dream of, that has got to be the thing I love the most.

On the other hand, if there is anything about motherhood you dislike what would it be?

Absolutely!! The sleep deprivation, the screeching, the incessant whining, the days when they just don’t listen to a single word I say? The mountains of laundry that they relentlessly produce, crayon marks on my walls, the fact that it’s a military operation just to leave the house most days.

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

In short, hard work!! Four children was never going to be easy, but three children in three consecutive years sometimes feels impossible! We try very hard to stick to a routine as that makes life much easier, but anything can throw it, a late night, a cancellation, a last minute change of plans. We do playgroups twice a week, the girls have nursery three times a week and in between we try and get out as much as possible if the weather is fine, if not we stay home and bake, play dress up and watch Frozen back to back, whatever it takes to get through the day. When I’m not refereeing another argument or being forced to sing my part of the Anna-Elsa duet, I try to keep on top of the housework, taxi Lewis to and from the many places he needs to be, and fit in coffee and cake with friends whenever possible!

Best advice you’ve ever received about motherhood/parenthood?

Nobody cares but you. It’s my favourite saying and something I remind myself of often. When the kids are playing up in public and I’m dying of shame inside, when my house is a complete bomb site and I’m cowering at the door, mortified that someone will step foot into the aftermath of a day without cleaning, I remind myself that nobody cares but me. Everyone is far too busy going about their own lives, and dealing with their own kids, to notice that my hair is un-brushed, that my kids have bean juice down their t-shirts or my carpets haven’t seen a hoover all week.

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

Trust your instinct. With my first I was so concerned with doing everything “right”. I read every book, every baby manual, hung on every word the Health Visitor spouted, and I actually ended up with severe post natal depression because of the pressure I put on myself. I wish I had known that my gut instinct was right, that nobody knew my child in the same way that I did, that the best thing I could do was simply go with the flow and find our own path, one that was best for the two of us.

How do you manage your time, blogging and time with your family and other activities?

I try to blog when the kids are in bed, or on the rare occasion when I finally get an hour to myself. I struggle with the hypocrisy of palming off the kids so I can write about being a parent, I would much rather spend my time being a parent than writing about it. During the times when I feel that blogging is taking away from that, I take my foot of the pedal a little, sit back, re-assess my priorities and remind myself that as a stay at home Mum, the children will always come first. In that way, as much as I love to write, it is still very much a hobby.

Gaz and I spend very little time together on our own as a couple, something which we constantly promise to make more of an effort with, but in all honesty we are usually too tired, or too skint, when the opportunity arises! We tend to save up our babysitting offers for occasions we really don’t want to miss such as weddings, birthdays and anniversaries and remind ourselves that one day, when the children are grown, we will have all the time in the world!

Thank you so much Laura!

For more of Laura’s stories, do head over to her blog and don’t forget to connect with her too over at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

And click here if you’ve missed last month’s Chat with a Dad.

June Chat with a Dad: Grant of Looking for the Postman

Tell us something about yourself, your blog and your little ones:

Historically, I’ve been involved mostly with the music industry. I worked with bands and artists doing remixes. I also worth with MTV, New Line Cinema, Electronic Arts and toured / DJ’d with countless bands. I still dabble with music, writing original tunes and soundtracks for short film.
In recent years, I started blogging. Initially, it was observations about online competitions. It eventually expanded into a blog on family life, told with tongue firmly in cheek. If you’re looking for advice on how to be a better person while nurturing your family, then I’m probably not the best place to visit. If, however, you are interested in humorous views on things that Dads encounter on a daily basis, you should drop by.

My family blog pieces are inspired by my Mrs, Emma, and our combined total of four kids. Rachel (my step-daughter) is about to turn 18. Jack is 13 and lives with his mum. Jenny & Eve are 4 and 3 and could power a blog by themselves with their antics.

What were their birth stories like?

I’ve written in depth about the births of Jenny, Eve & Jack. (Given that Rachel was born eleven years before I knew Emma, it would have been extremely awkward if I had been there!)

 Jack was born C-section. He went breach at the last possible moment and has been just as contrary for his entire life!

 Jenny went back-to-back and the docs were hanging around with an emergency C-section kit but didn’t get to use it. Emma got two horrible cuts and out she came.

Eve was trouble. Emma’s waters broke after 30 weeks. She was hospitalised because of risk of infection, but managed to hold on for another 5 weeks. Trooper. Eve was 5lb 5oz and wouldn’t eat. She dropped down to 5lbs and went to a specialised ward before she changed her mind and decided to eat after all. She was a long baby. Purple and not an ounce of fat on her.

What you wish about being a dad before becoming one?

I wish I’d been better with money before I had kids. I also wish I had learned about woodworking and suchlike so I could have made things for my kids – cots, beds etc. I didn’t appreciate things like that when I was young. Nevermind. There’s still time to make them things as they grow up!

How do you manage your time between work, blogging and fatherhood?

I try my best to write blog posts when the kids aren’t there. I’ve got to be in a particular mood to write. When I get into the zone, I can write quickly, but that level of concentration just isn’t possible with the kids around, nor is it fair to expect them to be quiet so I can blog!

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

We cook for each other all the time. We do try, on a Saturday, to wait until the kids have gone to bed and then we cook something special. Even better is a date night where we go out for a meal. It’s all about sharing good food with the person you love!

Any favourite anecdotes of your kids?

Jenny’s comments have me in stitches. She just waffles on and comes out with gems. Age 3, when talking about her little sister, she said “Eve is just an egg with shoes on”. When she saw a black and white cow, she described it as a “horse panda”.

What is it about fatherhood you love about?

The best things about fatherhood are the relationships you develop. Watching my kids grow, and sharing that with my wife. Experiencing things through their eyes and watching as they discover new experiences. I spent almost all my time at Disneyland Paris watching my kids, wide-eyed, and loving it.

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

I dislike:
- being woken during the night.
- when the kids finish their dinner and it’s something I like so I can’t have the leftovers.
- arguments & having to put a child on the naughty spot.
- when a child hurts themselves, falls or cries.
- discovering that one of the girls has shoved nappy pants in with the laundry but only after its been through the wash and exploded.
- nits.

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

Yes! I’ve been self-employed and worked from home before. If I could be a combination of a self-employed writer / composed and stay at home dad, then that would suit me perfectly.

Best advice you’ve received about fatherhood?

Not advice, per se, but I do take inspiration from other parents. Everybody remembers their own parents and makes their own judgements on what they remember. So, there’ll be things you want to retain from your own parents and some things you want to do differently.
 Out with that, my role model would be Emma’s father, Ray. He’s so patient with the children, self-less and generous. He just immediately says ‘yes’ whenever anything is asked of him and always says the right thing.

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

 Um, don’t worry about your kid’s behaviour too much. At a young age, everything is a phase.
 Be patient. If something is stressing you out, that’s your reaction to a situation. Since the reaction is yours, you can control it. Take a moment, a deep breath and then re-evaluate. 
Remember that your kids only get one childhood. Do everything to make it the best that you can.

Thank you so much Grant!

If you enjoyed getting to know more about the dad behind the blog Looking for the Postman, do check out his blog for more of his musings.

You can also follow him over at Facebook, twitter, G+ and Youtube

And if you’ve missed last month’s chat wit a mum, do come and have a read.

July Chat with a Mum: Carie of Space for the Butterflies

I adore Carie’s blog Space for the Buttefiles and I have serious envy over the beautiful things she can make.  I think she has magic hands! 🙂

Carie makes the most beautiful quilts for her children and  I swear she’s also a knitting goddess.  When I grow-up (as if I’m not! 😉  I want to be like her.  And I honestly think she should’ve won in the BiB Awards for the Crafts Category.  As if that’s not enough, she also takes beautiful photographs.

I know I’m gushing, so before I end up embarrassing myself any further, do come and meet her lovely family:

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

I’m Carie and I’m Mum to Kitty age 4, Elma who’s 2 and our little Pip Squeak has just turned 10 months.

What were your children’s birth stories like?

Wildly different! Kitty was born at 42 weeks 1 day after an induction on top of early labour. My whole labour start to finish was about 48 hours and at one stage I was utterly convinced that I was going to be in labour for the rest of forever!

Elma on the other hand was just a smidgen quicker; I turned up on the labour ward having done a good few hours at home only to be told I was only 4 cm, “but you’re a second time mum, we’ll just keep you in for an hour to see if things pick up” That was about 4.15, at about 5 o’clock my waters broke with a force that knocked my breath away and Elma was born at 5.11 having narrowly avoided being born in the bathroom of the assessment ward.

And Pip was different again, my waters broke before labour had started and as there was a smidgen of meconium and I was showing no signs of going into labour any time soon I was induced again, but it was a lot easier – and shorter – than the first time.

My birth plan with Kitty said that I’d really like to use the birthing pool for labour and possibly delivery – three children later and the nearest I’ve got is being in the room next to it!

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

Quite how fierce a mother’s love is for her children. I look at my three and the rush of feeling that I have for them is overwhelming. My family is my whole world.

How do you manage your “me” time?

I don’t sleep! With three little ones there isn’t much time for me time in our everyday until they’ve gone to sleep and I’m terrible for staying up later than I should just to have that mental space. I’m sometimes tired but mostly happier if my day has ended with a bit of creativity.

Do you have any favorite anecdote of your little ones?

Oh this is so hard to choose. I think one of my favourites of all time I’ve actually only seen on video; my husband took Kitty and Elma to the Natural History Museum when I was at BritMums last year and we were a bit worried that she’d be frightened by the animatronic dinosaurs because as a rule Kitty hates puppets and things of that ilk. But instead I have a clip of a tiny little girl striding up to an enormous T-Rex and shouting “Talk to me dinosaur! Talk to me!”

What is it about motherhood you absolutely love about?

It’s true unconditional love, in both directions. That feeling when you realise that you are the one person in the world that your baby wants, that no one else will do,and that only you can bring them comfort and happiness; that’s a pretty powerful feeling.

On the one hand, if there’s anything about motherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

Honestly, it sounds silly, but accidents/nappysplosions on the sofa. I sort it out serene and calm on the surface but inside my head is saying “Nooooooooooo!”

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

At the moment I’m on maternity leave so I’m home full time with all three. Kitty goes to preschool two days a week but other than we have a little rhythm of the week at home; getting the housework done, reading stories, going shopping, having lunch, and then most afternoons we head up to the park or play out in the back garden. I’m a huge fan of spending as much time as possible outside, especially in the summer, and the side effect is that the house stays quite tidy too!

Best advice you’ve ever received about motherhood/parenthood?

Never take all of the credit or all of the blame.

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

If everyone is fractious you need to get outside or sing, or both. It works a treat and it took me a while to work it out!

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

I don’t generally blog during the day. I might nip in and out if I’m reading my phone while trying to get Pip to take a rare nap not in the sling but we try to be as screen free as possible with the children and that generally means leading by example. So blogging and reading blogs all happens in the evening. Occasionally I’ll knit or plan some sewing during the day but mostly the days are about the house and the children and the evenings are about spending time with my husband and pursing our hobbies. And see above comment about not enough sleep – I have definitely not got this figured out!

Thank you so much Carie!

If you haven’t taken a peek at her blog yet, do so now 🙂

And if you’ve missed last month’s chat with a dad, you can head over now and have a read.

June Chat with a Dad: Darren of One Dad 3 Girls

If you are a British blogger or at least familiar with parent British bloggers, Darren of One Dad 3 Girls needs no introduction at all. Aside from the fact that he hosts the lovely #MySundayPhoto linky, he has won and has been a finalist in so many British Blogging awards that I’ve actually lost count!  So if you’re wondering what all the fuss is all about, read on and head over to his blog after:

Tell us something about yourself and your little ones.

Hi, my name is Darren and I have two beautiful daughters. My eldest is 7 and her name is Aly, and Mia is 4 years old and about to start Primary School in September.

What were your little ones birth stories like?

Both of the births were different. Aly was a long drawn out affair where we were at the hospital for 36 hours before she was born. Mia on the other hand was super quick, so quick in fact that we almost had it in the hospital car park.

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

Honestly I don’t think there was anything I wish I knew. No one goes into parenthood totally prepared and that’s part of the joys of it.

How do you balance your time between work and fatherhood?

I’m very lucky with my work life and have a great job that means I’m home at 5pm ever weekday and have all weekends off. This is something I have always tried to do so that we enjoy time together.

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

Honestly we hardly have any free time. We have the odd day out here and there but it’s only about once a week. We’d rather spend the time with our children.

Any favourite anecdotes of your little ones?

Everyday seems to be an anecdote with my two. It’s so beautiful and nice to see them playing together and you’ll often hear them playing schools together and pretending to be the teachers with their cuddly toys.

What is it about fatherhood you love about?

I enjoy how each day is different. They are always coming out with new things that they’ve learnt during the day. Plus they are always so happy to see you, each and ever ytime.

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

In the beginning it was probably the feeding during the nights or the nappies but it’s those times when you really bond with your children so I wouldn’t change them or anything about fatherhood.

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

If I could afford it then possibly yes. The age my girls are now it would be a pretty lonely time as the house would be empty all day long.

Best Advice you’ve ever received about Fatherhood?

Before they were born I read a few books and social media wasn’t really around but someone told me to take photos as before you know it they’ve grown up.

If you can give yourself advice before becoming a Dad, what would it be? Just to simply enjoy every moment as they don’t stay little for long.

Thank you so much Darren!

Do head over to One Dad and 3 Girls

Click here to connect with him over at Twitter.

And if you’ve missed last month’s chat with a mum, do come and have a read too.

May Chat with a Mum: Lindsay of Solo Mama

It’s the first of May and time for another lovely chat with a mum.

Long before meeting my husband, my fellow single-friends and I used to talk a lot about how we could all be single mothers by choice and that all we needed to do was find sperm donors.  It was all talk, none of us followed-through, though two of us did end up mothers, but did it the traditional way.  Our featured mother for this month’s Chat with a Mum, did it all on her own.

I am in awe of women who parent on their own whether it’s by choice or because of circumstances.  Let’s hear more from this solo mama and how she did it:

Tell us something about yourself and your little one.

I am a lesbian single mom by choice to my daughter, Evelyn, who just turned 2 in February. We live in Toronto, Canada. I work as a Communications Specialist (fancy term for writer!) at a University, and Evelyn spends her weekdays at preschool. Together, we enjoy reading books, colouring, throwing dance parties in our livingroom, playing outside and eating macaroni & cheese.

What was your child’s birth story like?

Having planned a homebirth, Evelyn was born in the bedroom in our former home, here in Toronto. We were surrounded by my midwives, best friend and mom when Evelyn joined us at 1:11 am. Her birth was truly the most incredible moment of my life, and if I could, I’d go back and live it again and again, to re-experience that rush of love and pure bliss.

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

There is so much I can wish I had known, but honestly, pre-motherhood, I probably wouldn’t have believed it or listened. I had so many notions of what I thought motherhood was, what it would be like, what it should feel like. And most of those ideas were just plain wrong! I thought I knew how all-encompassing maternal love was, but what I thought it wasn’t hadn’t even scratched the surface of what it truly is.

If I could know one thing about motherhood before embarking on it, I wish someone had told me that sleep issues can extend well beyond infancy. My toddler still wakes up in the middle of the night. I had no idea this could happen – I honestly thought children slept. How naïve!

How do you manage your “me-time”?

Poorly – haha. As a single mom, my “me time” is quite rare. I walk to and from work (20 minutes each way), so that is a guaranteed “me” time each day. When I feel desperate for a break, I’ll hire a babysitter to come play with Evelyn while I go out and run errands/write in a coffee shop/walk around the city. I find myself continually wishing I had more time for myself, while also knowing the time during which Evelyn is this little and needs me so intensely is going to fly by, and some day, I’ll long for just one more moment that we’re living now. When Evelyn goes to bed for the night, I knit & write – my two cheap therapies!

Do you have a favourite anecdote of your little one?

I have so many stories about Evelyn, and here I am drawing a blank now that I’m being asked! Life with a child is always providing opportunities for laughter, even through the exhaustion. Now that Evelyn is starting to speak a little more, she cracks me up on a daily basis, mostly because the way she pronounces things is so funny. I remember for the longest time, I was having a hard time figuring out what she meant when she was asking for a “cock”. Turns out, she was talking about socks!

The thing I love the most about Evelyn is her sensitivity – she is so in tune with the way I and others around her are feeling. She often approaches people if they’re sad and strokes their cheek saying, “‘kay?” Heart melting.

What is it about motherhood you absolutely love about?

It sounds so cliché, but here it is: the love. The love a mother feels for her child is unrivaled, and it’s incredible. Just when I think I can’t love her more, I do.

I also really love rediscovering the world through my daughter’s eyes. Life really slows down when you go at a toddler’s pace, and that is sometimes frustrating. But when I really take a moment to see things the way she does, life feels more exciting somehow, I can see and appreciate the beauty in the little things.

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

The lack of sleep! Also, the lack of freedom. I sometimes daydream about what it would be like to have an entire day to myself. I’d lay in my bed until I felt like getting up (past 7 am!), go have a leisurely brunch, lay in the park and read a book, maybe go out for a drink or two with friends. I miss my freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want.

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

Weekdays and weekends vary. Weekdays, we’re up by 6 am and out the door for daycare and work by 7:30. I work 8-4, and pick Evelyn up from preschool/daycare by 4:30. Come out, have dinner, and play outside until it’s time to come in for bed around 7 pm.

Our weekends are full of adventures and never predictable. Evelyn played soccer for a while, she’s in gymnastics. We visit the multitude of parks in our neighbourhood, visit the farm in the city, have play dates – lots of fun things!

Best advice you’ve ever received about Motherhood?

Listen to your intuition. The best advice anyone gave me wasn’t a piece of “wisdom” that worked for them. It was them telling me – reminding me – that I know best. My intuition will never steer me wrong, and when I listen to it in life & motherhood, I never regret it.

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

Build that village – it really does take a village to raise a child. Build your village. Cultivate it. Make friends with other moms, or moms to be. These are your people, even if they aren’t right now – they are going to become your people. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I struggle a lot with asking for assistance from friends and family. If I could go back to new mom me, I’d tell her to reach out and say “Hey – I need help,” more often.

How do you manage your time between work and your little one?

Work never, ever comes home with me. Work time is work time, and family time is family time. Work will never be important enough to cut into my precious family time. 40 hours of my week is plenty enough. Balancing a full-time job with motherhood and managing everyone on my own as a single mom is absolutely exhausting. But it has shown me just how strong I am, and I’m damn proud of myself, if I do say so myself!

Thank you so much Lindsay!

Now head over to her blog for more of this lovely solo Mama and her beautiful darling daughter.

Click here to read if you’ve missed last month’s Chat with a Dad.

March Chat with a Mum: Reneé of Mummy Tries

I can’t believe it’s March already, spring is definitely just around the corner.  It’s unbelievable that winter is finally almost over – thank goodness for that!

Here at Chats with Mums, I’m excited to introduce to you guys (for those who haven’t heard or read her blog yet), the lovely woman behind the blog Mummy Tries … she really does (love her blog name!), if that alone doesn’t get you hooked, I don’t know what will 😉 … So without further ado, sit back, preferably with a cup of tea or coffee, come and have a read:

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

I’m Reneé, wife to Andy and mummy to Polly (5), Clara (3) and Freddy (1). I’m also a blogger, part time PA, real food lover/wannabe chef and published author of self-help book Become the Best You.

What was your children’s birth story like?

Polly’s birth was pretty horrendous it has to be said. We wanted a natural home birth, but it didn’t work out that way. After five days in early labour and 12 hours in established labour she got stuck and we were blue lighted to the hospital. She was delivered a few hours later by forceps, and I ended up with thirty odd stitches. I was so in love with her and glad she was here at last that it didn’t strike me until much later how awful her birth was. Hats off to the amazing home birth midwife who faught the hospital to ensure I received an epidural once we arrived, even though I was 9cm dilated! It allowed me enough respite to be able to push for two hours. Without it I’m convinced I would have had an emergency c-section.

Second time around I fared up much better, and Clara was delivered naturally in the midwife led birthing unit at our local hospital after a 12 hour labour. Although I still had to push for an hour and a half. Freddy came into the world within three hours of arriving at the birthing centre, and after just 20 minutes of pushing. My husband joked that it was a shame we were stopping at three because I’d got so good at giving birth!

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

In my humble opinion absolutely nothing can prepare a woman for motherhood. I had a lot of friends who had babies already when I was pregnant with Polly, and I’d worked out a lot of things I wanted to do and didn’t want to do with her. I had a great first time experience but once Clara came along life became much more challenging, and some things that worked with one child just didn’t work with two. This intensified again when Freddy came along. I don’t have a set formula or rule book. I just take each day as it comes and always try my very best. It’s all anyone can do really.

How do you manage your “me-time”?

When the girls were little we’d take annual leave from work, send them to nursery, and have nice lunches, spa days, watch a film. Do all the things it becomes impossible to do once you have kids and no babysitters on hand. I’ve not had much in the way of me time since having Freddy, but that will change now that he’s one and not quite so attached to the boob.

Last year I had two little snippets of me time: my hubby watched the kids while I had a colonic hydrotherapy treatment (not everyone’s idea of fun!), and I also had a fab long lunch with one of my besties just before Xmas. Hubby and I have been talking about a spa weekend at some point this year, and leaving the kids with his parents overnight for the first time ever.

Do you have a favourite anecdote of your little ones?

During Xmas 2013 Clara, who wasn’t quite two at the time, referred to it as ‘pippis’, and as you can imagine that got quite a few chuckles over the festive season. Mine are still a bit small to have funny stories to embarrass them with when they’re teenagers, but I’m sure there will be a fair few by then.

What is it about Motherhood you absolutely love about?

I love the fact that my husband and I have created a family. I’m completely estranged from my side, and we have physical distance separating us from hubby’s side. The five of us will always have each other though, and that is a pretty amazing thing.

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

I really dislike it when pushy parents make everything a competition, as it takes all the fun out of childhood. It can be quite inescapable once they start school, but I try and avoid it as much as I can.

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

Our days are really varied to be honest. They’re a mixture of school, nursery, two days of work which is mostly from home but sometimes entails going into the office in London. Mornings can be quite hectic in our house, but we have been working hard to stop shouting, and eradicate negative parenting behaviours though, which makes them less stressful than they used to be.

There’s always lots to do in the kitchen throughout the day, as we eat a diet consisting entirely of natural foods. This means I have to be organised, as there’s never the option to just open a packet or jar of something for a quick bite. It’s great though, because the girls already know where their food comes from, as they see real food all the time and are often involved in the preparation of it.

I’ve just got myself on Instagram, so tend to share bits about the kids and food throughout the day. My blogging time is while Freddy is having his last feed after the girls go to bed.

Best advice you’ve ever received about Motherhood?

Expect one hideous day per week at least. My friend had a baby the year I was pregnant first time round, and passed on this gem. I remember holding on tight to those words in the early days and not feeling so bad about the tough ones.

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

My advice would be don’t compare your kids to anyone else’s, and don’t compare siblings to each other. We are all different and this includes children. People should be treated according to their own individual personalities.

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

I’m fortunate that I only work two days a week, and have a flexible working arrangement in place enabling me to work from home mostly. I travel into London once a month for an office day, and they can get rather hairy! Working from home means I don’t have to worry about the stress and additional time constraints commuting adds to the mix. Things might change in the future, but for now it’s an ideal solution.

Thank you so much Reneé!

Click here to view her blog.

and of course, don’t forget to follow her tweets,

Lastly, click here to purchase her book! 🙂

For those of you who have missed February’s Chat with a Dad, do head over and have a read.

February Chat with a Dad: Laurence of Chasing Wilderness

January is finally over.  Sadly, winter isn’t.  Thank goodness February only has 28 days!  Spring will be here soon and hopefully more brighter days which will mean more chances to do outdoor fun and activities for the little ones.

Laurence the dad behind the blog Chasing Wilderness, certainly knows about outdoor adventures in nature.  Come and have a little read:

Tell us something about yourself and your little ones.

My name is Laurence and I live in Bristol with my wife Adele and my two girls Ophelia who is nearly 1 and Talitha who is 3 and a half.

What was your little ones birth stories like?

Gosh. That could be an essay. Two very different births. One hospital. One at home which went much more smoothly and was more how we wanted it. Suffice to say I now know that if your first birth doesn’t go according to plan, there is no reason why the second one can’t.

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

It’s not all about the birth. I was too focused on that and not enough on the rest of my life after that.

How do you balance your time between work and fatherhood?

I recently became freelance with the aim of not having to work all the time to earn the necessary bacon. We’re trying to live on the minimum we need so that I can spend time with the family here and there. Sometimes it’s enforced when the work doesn’t come in, but I try and stay relaxed and enjoy time with the family.

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

We go through spurts of doing this for a few weeks, then it falls by the way side. So the answer is no, but we ought to.

Any favourite anecdotes of your little ones?

I’m not great with anecdotes. The almost one-year-old is going through a huge developmental spurt right now and it’s amazing how relatable she’s becoming. Every morning she shuffles over to the door to wave me goodbye as I leave for work.

What is it about fatherhood you love about?

Discovering new things about these little people I have in my care. Teaching them things. I really want to impart an outdoorsy spirit, love of nature, the land, origins of food, active lifestyle and love seeing them start their journey in this. I love it when the older one wants to re-examince a plant we were looking at even a few weeks back.

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

Not having enough time to do pastimes and sports. I’ve not been surfing in ages, which is criminal.

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

No way. Far too much like hard work.

Best Advice you’ve ever received about Fatherhood?

I can’t really think of any. I guess I’m trying to enjoy it as much as I can now. Not work too hard and find time to be with the kids. Everyone always says it goes by too fast, it just always seems to coincide with peak moments in people’s careers. Balancing work ambition and fatherhood ambitions is what I’d like to try and do.

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

Don’t do it! No, do do it! It’s a strange thing… it’s such a roller coaster of good things, amazing cuddles and play fights, laughter and joy at seeing first steps etc, coupled with immense frustration at them not sleeping, crying and pouring salt everywhere in cafes while I’m trying to enjoy a coffee.

Thank you so much Laurence!

To read more about this lovely family’s outdoor fun and adventure, do head over to Chasing Wilderness.  You can also follow him over at twitter here.

Click here, if you’ve missed January’s Chat with a Mum, she also happens to be the wife of February’s Chat with a Dad 🙂

The Year that was – 2014

I’ve been tagged by the lovely Louise aptly called “A New Year’s Tag”.  Admittedly I’m a bit late for this, but hey, better late than never right?  So here goes …

What was your highlight of 2014?

The road trip to France and a quick dash to Belgium, made even more special when two members of my family from the Phil were able to join us.  We also managed to take little T to Disneyland, and of course, Paris.  It was a lovely ten-day holiday, even though it rained really hard on the first few days, and it was scorching hot in Paris!

This was also the year Little T started “big school” 🙂

What are you excited for in 2015?

There are a couple of things I am excited about, but I don’t really want to jinx it, so I’m afraid I’m going to have to keep this one a bit of a secret.  Will share it with you guys, when I absolutely know that it’s certainly going to happen 😉  For now, I shall be mum about it.

Any New Year’s Resolutions?

Don’t believe in making them.  Used to write a long list when I was younger, but always failed to tick it off.  What’s the point?  I’m a great believe in Nike’s old slogan “Just do it!”, so if there’s really something you want to do in your life, you don’t need to wait till the year is over and the New Year has come to do it, just do it!

Blogging high?

Don’t really have a blogging high, because I don’t really pay much attention to stats and other stuff.  I love to blog, this is my “me” time.  I guess my blogging high is when bloggers I admire and really like also visit my blog and comment.  Now that gives me a real high 😉

Picture of the year?

Loads!  But if I have to pick one, it would have to be little T’s first day of school photo.

 What about you?

What was the highlight of your 2014?

Do share.

I’m tagging the following lovely ladies, no pressure to do it too, I know how you all must be so busy!  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the names below, do go and visit their blogs – they are so worth a read 🙂

Jocelyn of The Reading Residence

Suzanne of 3 Children of It

Annie of Montgomery Fest

Carrie of Space for the Butterflies

Sophie of Sophie is

January Chat with a Mum: Adele of Circus Queen

It’s 2015 folks!  Hope everyone has had a lovely New Year’s Eve celebration and not suffering from a hang-over.  As always, I like to begin the new year at Chat with Mums with the best and the next blogger is certainly one of them.  She’s also one of the few mothers out there whom I personally agree with when it comes to parenting, so without further ado here’s Adele of the very informative blog Circus Queen.

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

I’m originally from Trinidad and Tobago but now live in Bristol. I moved to the UK as an undergrad, ended up marrying a British guy and stayed here. We have two daughters, Talitha (three-and-a-half) and Ophelia (10-months-old).

What were your children’s birth stories like?

Talitha was born thirteen days after my due date. I’d planned a home birth but after a long pre-labour, I lost my confidence and ended up being induced in hospital. It was difficult but there was so much to be thankful for.

Ophelia was born three days after her due date. I was caught off-guard, having expected her to be as late as her big sister. It was a long but beautiful (healing!) labour and we had the calm home birth we’d hoped for.

She met the world in a birth pool in our living room. I caught her myself and her father burned the cord. The midwives got there in the nick of time, just a half-hour before she was born.

Both experiences have made me passionate about the need to improve maternity services and about the “birth rights” of women and babies.

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

I wish I’d known how to listen to my instinct. I realize this isn’t something you can really plug into until you become a parent but I feel like I’ve spent my life before having children distracted by what should be background noise. I’ve only recently stopped caring so much about what others think and started listening more to what my gut is telling me.

How do you manage your “me” time?

Not very well at all! I end up staying up into the wee hours, partly because I have work to finish but mostly because it’s my only child-free time. I need to stop doing it, though. Being tired makes parenting unnecessarily difficult.

Do you have any favorite anecdote of your little ones?

A recent one: We were walking to the Nativity service at our church and my three-year-old was dressed as Tigger (what – your Bible doesn’t show Tigger visiting baby Jesus?!) and it was windy. She exclaimed: “The wind is blowing away my stripes!”

What is it about motherhood you absolutely love?

I love the quiet moments alone with each child when we melt into each other. With my baby, this is usually while I’m breastfeeding her or carrying her in a sling. With my three-year-old it’s when we’re cuddling at bedtime or just because she needs some “Mummy-time” on my lap. I’m all too aware that these moments will pass before I’m ready for them to go.

On the one hand, if there were anything about motherhood you dislike, what would it be?

I dislike not having enough time: time to be present with my children and time to follow my own pursuits. It’s hard to accept that I can’t have it all at once. Some things need to be deferred.

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

A typical weekday involves getting up around seven or eight, getting the three of us ready and out of the house to a group, then home in the afternoon for some chill time, maybe play with learning to read and count, do some baking or craft then start the supper and bedtime routine.

On a bad day, it all goes out of the window. I am flexible about it all but I find having a plan helps us. Sometimes we have to accept that the baby just needs a home day.

On the average week we go to drama, home education group, pre-ballet, breastfeeding group (where I volunteer), baby sign, toddler group and a women’s Bible study. Once a month, the older one goes to a horse riding class. We also meet up with friends in between. It’s pretty busy (it especially looks that way now that I’ve written it down!).

Best advice you’ve ever received about motherhood/parenthood?

“This too shall pass” is one of the most useful phrases I’ve been told, as well as, “The days are long but the years are short”. So much feels unmanageable when you’re going through it but it always helps to keep it in perspective. It will change, things will get easier, other issues will crop up, you will all grow and you will all survive.

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

I’d tell myself not to think too far ahead and not to worry so much. Take one day at a time, one night at a time, one breastfeed at a time, one tantrum at a time, one sickness at a time, one decision at a time. Life is made of lots of little steps. You can’t skip any so you might as well focus on the one you’re on before you move on to the next one.

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

As I said, I don’t manage it very well! I do most of my blogging (which is my me time and part of my work) and any other paid or voluntary work in the evenings, which is tough because I’m tired then. But I count myself blessed to be able to do work which is creative, enjoyable and flexible enough to fit around staying at home with my children.

Thank you so much Adele!

To read more about her, click here.

You can also her on FB and of course, twitter.

 Click here if you’ve missed last month’s chat with a dad.