Month: December 2011

New Mums given DVD instead of Midwife chat…

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New Mums DVD

How did you find your hospital’s post-birth care before you were discharged?  Did you have a nice chat with a friendly midwife who ensured you had a good understanding of the needs of your baby and the possible challenges to come?  Did you find that you left hospital armed with all the information and advice you were going to need?

I had a brilliant birth experience, but the brief stay in hospital after the birth left something to be desired. Granted, I was pretty knackered and I don’t remember every moment and every chat, but even in this state, I can safely say that all my knowledge about what was to come once I had left the hospital and we were our own little family came from the NCT course that I had attended whilst pregnant.  They even discharged me with a notes saying the breastfeeding was “established” when no one had seen me feed and Munchkin and I were back in 24 hours later because she wouldn’t…

Long gone are the times of my parents, where new mothers were kept in for over a week, and taught how to feed, wash, change and generally care for their new baby.  Not that I really fancy spending more time than necessary in a noisy, hot hospital ward, but I would like to think that someone has a duty of care over new babies and their families.

So, when I saw a BBC news story entitled “Leicester hospital’s new mothers DVD attracts NHS interest“, I read it with mixed feelings.  Leicester General Hospital has created a DVD for new parents and apparently other trusts are very interested in it.  It appears from the BBC report, that new mums are given the DVD on a laptop prior to being discharged and that this DVD gives helpful advice and information about how to feed and care for your new baby.  The report then states that parents are also able to ask other questions if they wish.

On one hand this seems like an impersonal way of interacting with new mums.  I have an image of being shattered and bemused, newborn in arms, whilst a midwife sets up a laptop, presses play and says, “I’ll be back in 15 minutes”.  Alone with a small potentially screaming bundle and a laptop spouting information-overload may not be the most useful learning environment!

…and yet if a DVD means that you are given access to information, rather than just packed off home to make space then perhaps it is a good thing.  Perhaps a short DVD that you can watch and then consider the sorts of questions you might like to ask is a useful idea.  Perhaps a DVD which can be paused or fast-forwarded depending on prior knowledge, rather than the brisk chat from a midwife who has a hundred other things she needs to be doing is in fact a good thing.

I am in two minds.  I don’t think that this impersonal should replace the personal, but is the impersonal better than nothing when it comes to ensuring you are well informed about looking after your child?

R

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New Year’s resolutions for children?

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The New Year means new beginnings for many and an opportunity to start again, set some goals and make some changes.  These very often take the form of New Year’s resolutions for adults.  But what about children?  Is it a good idea or even healthy for children to have a set of New Year’s resolutions?

I must admit, personally I change my mind from year to year with regards to resolutions.  In some ways I think they can set you up for inevitable failure, in other ways I think it is good to have something to aim for.  I guess as long as you don’t beat yourself up about it if you don’t reach your goals than they can be helpful guidelines.

Anyway, I came across an interesting American article about New Year’s resolutions for children.  It quotes American pediatric psychologist, Stacy Flowers.  She says, “The New Year is a fresh start and it’s a great time for families to take a look at the past year and see where they can make improvement. For children and teens, making resolutions helps with self-discipline, goal setting and, when they are successful, improves self-esteem.”

I was skeptical at first but as I read on I felt Flowers had some interesting and helpful points.  According to Flowers, parents can play an important role in helping their children decide on goals and successfully meet those goals in the coming year:  “The first step is knowing your children. What areas can they work on? Where can they improve? Where will they see the biggest benefit?”

The key, according to Flowers, is to come up with manageable accomplishments that are personally meaningful to your child. These accomplishments will vary greatly with age.

However it’s all very well setting goals but how on earth do you get children to keep them?  Flowers suggests,

“Young children might benefit from charts and stickers to document their progress and accomplishments. Older children and teens can utilise calendars or electronic documentation of their achievements. Parents can also use age-appropriate rewards to recognise their children’s successes.  No matter how old you are, it feels so good to get something crossed off your list, and the absolutely best way to change behavior is to reward it instead of punish it.”

We, as parents, don’t get let off the hook in the article either.  Flowers says if children are making resolutions, their parents should be as well.  She says, “Those goals should be shared with the children so they are aware of what their parents are hoping to achieve. That actually makes it fun for the children. They get really excited when they can point out something their parent isn’t doing right.”

Flowers concludes that, “Everybody has something they need to work on, so resolutions can become a family tradition.”

After reading the article I felt that if nothing else it would give me a chance to approach and tackle some of the ‘difficult’ behaviour my son has made a habit of over the last year and I can set some goals that I know he’ll relish keeping me accountable to.  It could actually be fun! What do you think?

L

Father Christmas

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Well, I don’t know about you, but I have one excited Munchkin this year.  Christmas is coming, and we are definitely aware that that’s a good thing!  Last year when asked what she wanted for Christmas, Munchkin (whose life was still measured in months, rather than years!) simply requested cake!  This year we wrote to Father Christmas and asked for face paints and a new, singing Charlie mouse (still a girl of simple tastes at 2 and 3/4!). She now understands that there are going to be presents.  She is also fascinated by the big F.C. Father Christmas.

Being 2, Munchkin also has “the whys” as I like to call that irritating habit of asking, “Why?” about everything, incessantly.  The problem is that as a pretty poor fibber, “the whys” coupled with the big F.C. really rather frightens me.  What if I can’t answer a question convincingly. What if I let the cat out of the bag about Santa Claus?

My mother was (and is) a very poor liar.  Whilst I see this as a good trait, it did mean that aged 3, I told her that Father Christmas couldn’t be real as we had two solid fuel fires and he’d get burnt if he came down the chimney.  Mum thought she was fast thinking enough and apparently told me that he came through the window. My disbelief continued and I informed her that he would not fit… and then said, “It’s you and Daddy, isn’t it Mummy?”.  Mum could not lie and said that I was right.

The conceit continued, however, and it was only two years ago when the Munchkin came along, that I stopped receiving a stocking. (By the time I was in late primary school I had started giving my parents a stocking too – cunningly forcing my parents to keep the tradition going!) I am fairly certain I was not negatively effected by the early wane of the Father Christmas story, but I don’t want to spoil the fun for my daughter.

So if you have a little one who is keen on Father Christmas, but asks a few too many questions, may I recommend the North American Aerospace Defense Command…. I know that sounds weird, but it’s a great system.  Every year, NORAD uses all its technology bring you live data about the progress of Father Christmas (or Santa as they call him) around the globe. There are games and even a section entitled “Is Santa Real”.  This year you can even track him in 3D on google earth through NORAD.  If his progress is there on the internet for all to see, he’s got to be real, right?

Have a very Merry Christmas from Loretta and Ruth at More than a Mum.  🙂

High on Heels

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Having just read Caitlin Moran’s ‘How to be a Woman’ (don’t worry I won’t spoil it for you book clubbers who haven’t finished it yet!) I now know how impossibly silly it is being a woman.  Moran has a brilliant way of showing us how idiotic we can be while allowing us to laugh at ourselves at the same time – all in the name of being a woman!

One such thing is the whole notion of high-heeled shoes! Ooooh how we love them, covet them, crave them, save for them, buy them…..and then not wear them!  Not just because we have no occasion to wear them to (though this is a strong and poignant factor) but ultimately due to the fact that basically we can’t walk in them!  I had to laugh out loud as I absorbed the ridiculousness of some of the shoes I have worn and tortured my feet, back, knees and pride in!!  I have many shoes, which you basically need to be transported to a spot in them and then stay there all night.  Forget walking, let alone dancing.  I’m posting this now as the Christmas season of parties and get-togethers is a common excuse for indulging in a bit of shoe purchasing.

Oh but we love them so much and as Moran pointed out, we firmly believe they make our legs look slimmer and longer.  However, Moran also remarks that the real effect is actually more like a pigs trotter than a supermodels limb – and I’m afraid I have to agree!

Then there is the waste:  The shoes worn once or not at all.  I believe this is, like many unworn items of clothing, us women stowing away for the fictitious woman we will one day be (or want to be i.e. same thing) when we have more time, when we lose more weight, when the kids are older, when that fashion comes round again.  We know deep down that day will probably never come but, it’s nonetheless a reminder of the woman we believe we can be.  She is powerful, sexy, not tired and without baby sick or a child’s dinner down her dress. Ah, how wonderful she is *sigh*

Right ladies, if we are ‘More than a Mum’ which indeed we are – then let’s start wearing those shoes.  Even if it’s to surprise hubby when he arrives home from work, or under your desk in the office, or while you’re doing your housework – Why?  Because we can, and that woman does not need to be fictitious, neither does she need to be skinny, childless, young or anything else you may sometimes wish you were.  It may at least make you feel good and bring a smile to your face – that is before the pain kicks in of course.

High heels are one of the things that intrinsically makes us feel ‘Woman’ and to me that is all good.

You are more than a Mum!

L

Harlington Locomotive Society

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If you’ve been trying since yesterday’s Silent Sunday (billed as a trailer for today’s post!) to work out what I’m posting about today, you need wait no longer! I know that we want to ensure that More Than A Mum doesn’t become too London-centric, but I have to tell you about an amazing local place today.

Today, munchkin, Daddy and I visited a hidden gem.  We went with friends to the Harlington Locomotive Society’s Mince Pie Run.

I’d not been to the Harlington Locomotive Society  before, but the website promised mincepies and Santa, and what more could you want on the last Sunday before Christmas?

Excitement riding high

It turned out that this visit was one of the best child friendly days out that we could have asked for.  For 40p a ride (toddlers are free but have to be accompanied), we tootled round a track pulled by minature steam and diesel trains, reaching a giddy 6mph.

6mph on a minature train, is quite fast!

Trains pulled between 1 and 3 carriages behind them and each carried three or four people.  Each train had a driver and a guard and it really was good fun powering round the track with your feet dangling a few feet from ground.

Daddy and munchkin on the train

The trains are  cared for by a team of chaps who obviously love their trains and love introducing them to the public. Judging by the number of people there, they are definitely doing a good job.

Train maintenance

And, what of Santa?  Well, he was there too.  He arrived, went on a quick journey round the track ringing a bell and then sat in the tearoom. Munchkin and her friend popped to see him and let him know what they would like for Christmas. He promised to see what he could do and gave them each a sweetie.

Santa

Altogether (including tea/coffee for the adults and biccies for all round  as well as 2 rides each and Santa) we spent less that a fiver and we spent two hours enjoying ourselves, in spite of the cold.  There were all ages there, from babes in buggies  to older primary aged children with Mums, Dads and Grandparents.

Crowd at track
The crowd viewed from the train

All in all, I’d highly recommend a day out at Harlington Locomotive Society.  Unfortunately, there are no more mince pie runs, but there will be open days through out 2012 and you can organise children’s parties there too.

R

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Silent Sunday #10

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Signals

R

All I want for Christmas (that money can’t buy)

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Firstly I would like to apologise to Not Just a Mummy for our tardiness in addressing this very worthwhile post.  The idea of this post is to list the things that you’d like for Christmas, that money can’t buy and it’s a tough one to do without sounding trite or hackneyed, but here is my attempt.

1) Smiles.  The thing that I am most looking forward to this year is the smile on munchkin’s face on Christmas morning when she finds the full stocking in her bed.  She is 2.5 and this is the first year that she has really been excited and had a full understanding of Christmas and her face lights up with a huge grin whenever we talk about it.

2)Family and friends.  I am very lucky to have a wonderful network of family and friends around me. It is they who keep me sane, who boost me when I’m down, help me to achieve and support my hopes and dreams. These people don’t just make Christmas, they make everything.  I am really looking forward to being surrounded by my nearest and dearest over the Christmas period.

3)Laughter. There is nothing better than laughing.  Laughing long and hard with people who you love and care about. Laughing about nothing in particular.  Laughing about poor cracker jokes. Laughing about silly Christmas TV.  Laughing is really important, so much so there are entire exercise and wellbeing groups set up in its honour (just google ‘laughter yoga’!)

4)Time. This is something there is never enough of. Whether it’s time to get all those little tasks done, time to play with munchkin, time to be with darling husband, time to get my work done, time to write a blog post, time just for me…time, time, time. Hubby asked me what I wanted for my birthday earlier this year and in an exasperated moment I old him “TIME!” He’s a genius and gave me a spa voucher, saying “here’s a little time, just for you.” 🙂 There’s never enough time, but we all need to try to make time for the important things. This Christmas I intend to ensure that I take time just to watch things going on, rather than spending the whole time buzzing around.

So those are my three things I’d like for Christmas that money can’t buy and I’m tagging the following people to give it a go as well.

Yes We Do Have A TV

Margot and Barbara

Older Single Mum

R

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