Yet Another Parenting Blog

The goings on of one more (mostly!) ordinary family

Parenting: a very honest post about expectation vs reality

I haven’t blogged for a while, mostly because I haven’t had much to say. But on Good Friday, a bank holiday in the UK, when I’ve arranged activities for the boys to do on my own with them once again as my husband works, I found myself staring into nothingness whilst standing at the kitchen sink earlier, and my mind wandered. It wandered to that place where I remembered what my expectations were of becoming a parent, before I fell pregnant.

I never looked at pregnancy or having a baby through rose-tinted lenses. I was aware that pregnancy was hard, and growing a small person took a lot from you. However, that didn’t prepare me for the reality of an entire pregnancy of hyperemesis gravidarum. (Which isn’t just severe morning sickness. It’s all day, all night sickness, amongst other things! But that’s for a different discussion!) It also didn’t prepare me for recovery from an emergency c-section, following a traumatic failed induction, caring for my firstborn, a 10lb 8oz hunk of a child, whilst my husband had no paternity leave whatsoever.

That’s where I first went wrong. I’d anticipated a couple of weeks of the three of us, getting familiar with this parenting malarky. Not being thrown in at the deep end, coping, for the most part, alone.

Some other assumptions I’d made, included if I ended up bottle feeding, that I’d not have to do every single goddamn night feed myself. Wrong.

Or maybe, I wouldn’t have to change every single nappy? Wrong. (His sensory issues mean he finds it very difficult…)

I might even get a lie in, perhaps once a week, when husband could get up with the baby instead? Wrong.

Now, I’m not saying my husband isn’t a great father, because he is, and he does the best he can in the ways he knows how, by providing for us all.

Although, this leads me on to my next point.

If someone had told me, before I got pregnant, that I would have to: give up my career, sacrifice my body, never for it to return to anything like what it was before I was pregnant the first time, and also sacrifice my mental health, that I would have to do every single school run myself, go to almost every medical and school appointment myself, I may not have been so desperately broody as I was for so long. Perhaps it was also no surprise that I ended up with postnatal depression.

First child got to the age of 2.5, and had a couple of mornings a week at preschool, and I felt some resemblance of normality return. At 3, he got his 15 free hours a week, and I felt ok again. I had my body back, and I had some time for me, because I wasn’t going to get that time any other way.

Then I fell pregnant again. And you know what? I was hoping that this time around, my husband might have some paternity leave. And if I bottle fed, he’d help out with some night feeds. And he might help with nappy changes. And I might get the odd lie in. Maybe even just once a month.


Then our eldest had his ASD diagnosis. Which wasn’t a shock, but I thought knowing that was the case for sure, having it in black and white, would mean perhaps I’d have a few more helping hands every now and again?

You guessed it; I was wrong again.

So, here I am, with youngest at 2.5 years old, doing a couple of mornings a week at preschool. And I am completely unapologetic that I am counting down the days until he starts his 15 hours at preschool once he’s 3, and then school full time after his 4th birthday, because I need some hope that I might be able to recover my body and my mental health.

My expectations of having someone helping out with the parenting duties regularly, cooking a meal once in a while, coming out on family days with us, were completely and utterly wrong.

I don’t have any regrets, because that’s just not how I roll. I know that a decision made was the right one at the time, not to be regretted later. But if someone had told me exactly what my life would be like as a mother, I’m not sure I’d be writing this very blog post today.

Parenting isn’t all roses; it’s not all fun and games. It also doesn’t mean I love my boys any less. But it is REALLY hard. It changes you. Physically. Mentally. It really changes you.

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A hair-dryer kid in a toaster world?!

A friend shared this link to an autism parent’s blog with me, and it really resonated.

I think it’s a great way to explain autism.

Admittedly, I did have a tear in my eye when I read it, but I think it was mostly happiness from more proof about how accepting and forgiving children are of each other, regardless of any differences!

Anyway, I felt it was worth sharing 🙂

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An apology to all those concerned with my children’s oral health

Let me start by saying sorry. Sorry to all dentists, hygienists, speech and language therapists, health visitors, and anyone else concerned with my children’s oral health.

I know all about the best cups to use; free-flowing if they have a lid, or even better, ordinary open-top cups. Water throughout the day. Squash/juice at mealtimes only etc etc.

But my mental health can no longer cope with mopping up spilt drink, after spilt drink, after spilt drink.

Whoever said, “Don’t cry over spilt milk!” clearly didn’t have a two year old and a six year old who frequently knock over cups of milk (or water. Which, incidentally, seems to travel a lot further than milk, although definitely leaves a non-sticky residue. Unlike milk.). The most frustrating instance of this is when you’ve just cleared up one drink, and a second goes flying across the floor in exactly the same place you’ve just cleaned up. I’m not exaggerating when I say not a day goes by without at least one spilt drink.

So, sorry, but these children are having non-spill cups for the foreseeable!

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I’m done!

Do you ever have those days when you just think, “I’m done! I have nothing more to give!”?

I suspect the fact it’s the end of the half term break has a lot to do with how I’m feeling, but I really do feel like I’ve had enough.

This week has been hectic, with a few unexpected bits thrown in. Typical of any half term break, then, really!

And I’m feeling nit-picked and hen-pecked. I load the dishwasher – it’s loaded wrong. I wash and dry the clothes – they don’t smell right/still have creases. I tidy up – it still looks like a pigsty. I prepare meals – yuck/boring.

So, yeah. I’m done!

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Think I have my sh*t together?


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This tiny little aeroplane came in our eldest son’s Lego advent calendar, and his younger brother took ownership of it, taking it absolutely everywhere with him – even to bed.

Last month, after Saturday club, during a tantrum in the car park, our youngest son dropped it and it broke apart, and one of the blue pieces (not an easy-to-replace piece, either!) travelled so far under a car I couldn’t retrieve it. I wasn’t expecting to ever get it back again, but there was a part of me that was hoping we might just find it there when we returned today.

Today, I pulled up in the car park, and was absolutely delighted – and surprised – when I opened my car door, and by my feet was laying the very piece of Lego we lost a month ago! Slightly worse for wear, but still attaches perfectly to other Lego pieces.

So here it is, against the odds, the tiny Lego plane, once again complete!

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Sugar Doughnut Muffins


Today’s baking efforts are these doughnut muffins!

I’ve seen them around, but never tried them myself. Thought I’d give them a go having found this recipe here, and I’m rather pleased with the results. Surprisingly easy to make, and closer in taste to a real fried sugar doughnut than I thought they would be. A yummy treat indeed!

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Chocolate Banana Bread

If there’s one thing my eldest enjoys doing, it’s baking.

Since he was very young, he’s always taken an interest in baking, and it was a great way to help him learn to both read and understand numbers.

If ever he’s stressed or anxious, and all else has failed, baking always seems to ground him.

We often make banana bread in order to use up bananas that are just too ripe to consume otherwise. This time, we tried something different!

So this short but sweet blog post, is recommending this chocolate banana bread recipe as tried and tested!

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An overstretched NHS?

You don’t have to look very far amongst the daily headlines at the moment to see something about the NHS, usually reported in a negative light.

Our family as a whole have had various dealings with a few different local NHS services over the past few years. It’s safe to say, I’ve not visited a local hospital quite as much as since we started a family!

Today was one of those instances where I was at the local hospital with my eldest, for a routine appointment in the ENT department (or, as it appears it is now known, according to the rather posh looking new sign, the “ENT clinic” in the “Head & Neck Department”).

A few things really struck me today. It’s always seemed quite a busy department, though in my experience to date, Children’s A&E has always been busiest by quite a margin! Today, however, it was incredibly busy. Staff were rushed off their feet. I counted approximately 50 seats in the waiting room and all were taken, plus some patients in hospital wheelchairs, and a couple of people standing. Staff were trying to get people seen without too much delay. At one point, a nurse came out to apologise and explain there was a 45 minute delay as it had, unfortunately, been a particularly hectic morning.

Some patients were asking receptionists how much longer they needed to wait. They didn’t sound particularly rude, but needed to know for getting (back) to work on time, and similar reasons. The receptionists maintained their polite, cheerful, calm attitude.

One patient was complaining rather loudly about how it was “a disgrace” to have such a long delay, and other such exclamations. She tried to engage the person sitting next to her in conversation, but her complaints were met with brief grunts, before she directed her moans generally to anyone who may be listening. (No-one was, it seems; or, at least, no-one wanted to acknowledge her!)

Nurses and porters were dealing with many elderly and frail patients, and a rather fraught toddler, who all needed extra time and patience. All the time maintaining a calm, caring approach.

We were, indeed, called in 45 minutes after our appointment time, but each member of staff who dealt with us apologised. The doctor gave my son the time he needed to answer his questions (if you’re going to ask an autistic child, “So, how big is your school?” [not clarifying you’re referring to number of children rather than the building itself] you’re going to have to expect him to have a long think and a demonstration of physical size with his hands, before refining the question, “How many people are in your class, then?!”).

What can I conclude from today?

No-one likes to be delayed, particularly not when waiting in a busy, warm hospital waiting room. But the staff really were doing the best they could, giving patients the time each and every one of them deserved. Is the NHS overstretched? Maybe. But today demonstrated to us that the staff are not letting that affect the quality of care provided, and they’re doing an amazing job under a great deal of pressure, whilst maintaining a free-at-point-of-use service. I think that’s incredible!

I can’t help but wish that other lady in the waiting room could have cut them just a bit of slack, though!

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Parents in Pyjamas

Today, amongst all the more serious goings on in the world, one headline caught my eye. This one, about parents and carers being asked not to wear their pyjamas and slippers on the school run.

My first reaction was one of shock; I’ve never left the house in my nightwear, let alone for a school run. Part of the reason for this, is that I’d be far too embarrassed, and I’d rather not reveal myself in my pyjamas to anyone who isn’t my nearest and dearest. It would give them an awful fright, I’m sure!

My knee-jerk response was one of, if I can get myself, our autistic six year old and our two year old out of the house and to his (out-of-catchment) school early, with us all clean and fully dressed, why can’t anyone else?

Of course, like anything in life, it’s not that simple.

Having been mulling it over, there are a few things that occurred to me. For one, it’s a positive that, particularly in some deprived areas (as I’ve got no doubt this occurs all over the country), some of these children are even at school, regardless who brings them and what their attire.

What about those people who, for whatever reason, are about to snap under life pressures, and the fact they even got out of bed, let alone out of the house, is a massive achievement?

What about the mum who’s in an abusive relationship she feels she can’t leave, having just had a new baby, has no additional support, and is just trying to do right by her children getting them into school?

Of course, this is not excusing downright laziness, and if it’s a parent who has remained in their pyjamas for the sake of a few extra minutes in bed without good reason, then I find that harder to accept.

This is different to those who really cannot do anything other than get themselves out of the house in their pyjamas. I’ve been there; I’ve been that mum who is at the end of her tether, suffering with depression, who is living breath by breath and struggling just to keep myself alive. I know how difficult that is.

But at the end of the day, we’re all parents, doing what can be considered the toughest job in the world, and to some, wearing their pyjamas on the school run really isn’t a huge problem in the grand scheme of things.

That doesn’t mean you’ll see me in my pyjamas any time soon, though!

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