mums

The power of Hope

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I’ve been reflecting on the word ‘hope’ and the power of it lately.  It’s easy to think that hope is a weak emotion – a desperate clutching onto something we desire but are not sure will happen – it’s simply a wish.  However, the definition states hope is; a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.  Still sound a bit flimsy?  Well maybe but, without that very simple notion nothing will happen in life.

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How bond with mother in first 18 months can shape your love life

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So I came across another article yesterday that basically blamed mothers for any messed up adults (again!) the headline being – ‘How bond with mother in first 18 months can shape our love life!’ I should probably say it was in the Daily Mail which helped me not to take it too seriously.  However, the article was based on research done by a team of psychologists and university professors (The study is published in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science) which again doesn’t particularly mean it’s any more true – but nevertheless made it appear slightly more official.  The researchers found ‘those children with a secure bond with their mothers were likely to have more successful relationships later on in life’.  This much I agree with and I know there has been extensive research that the first years are of huge significance to a person’s life course.  There has also been extensive research on how physical touch and love have a massive effect on the brain development of children – see a brilliant book on this called ‘The Science of Parenting’.  However, the research in this article goes a step further claiming:

‘Your interpersonal experiences with your mother during the first 12 to 18 months of life predict your behaviour in romantic relationships 20 years later.’

Apparently the ability to ‘trust, love and work through arguments’ is developed early on in these crucial stages.  I don’t think a single person could read the article and not end up analysing whether there is a correlation between their mother’s love and the success or failure of their relationships.  My problem with this is whether it gives adults an excuse for poor behaviour and encourages a lack of responsibility for one’s actions.

The article does go on to say, ‘Old patterns can be overcome. A betrayed baby can become loyal. An unloved infant can learn to love.’ Which suggests we are not a slave to our upbringing though even this was put in a particularly harsh way.

It is not new news that our childhood affects who we are as adults but when it comes to romantic relationships I would have thought we were more influenced by the opposite sex parent to a larger extent and surely at a much later stage in life?  As with most sweeping statements it ignores the multitudes of other factors that influence a persons conduct in a relationship.

If this study is to be trusted then where does that leave every mother who has suffered with post natal depression and was unable to bond with her child during that crucial first year?  Feeling pretty crap I would think!

I’m a firm believer that most things can be turned around with a big, and consistent, dose of love and that we have the power to change ourselves, break the mould and decide who we want to be!

L

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

Our fancy new banner and logo

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Well we do hope you’ve all noticed our fancy new banner and logo…have you?  We like it a lot! And it’s all thanks to a lovely and very talented lady called Rachael Jane (@rachinald).  She’s a textile designer, photographer, graphic designer, vlogger, blogger, poet and overall creative thinker.  Talk about an inspiring lady!!!

We found out about Rachael when we noticed that MishMashMum (@MishMashMum) was sporting a lovely logo so we asked her who created it.  We were then introduced to Rachael who promptly offered to do us a logo at an extremely reasonable price.  Initially we gave poor Rachael no direction whatsoever but she still came up with three brilliant designs.  It was only after seeing them that we realised more of what we didn’t want and therefore steered us in the right direction and we finally gave Rachael a half decent brief.   Rachael patiently went back to the drawing board and came up with another 3 new designs that were exactly what we were after (even though we didn’t know it to start with).  And that is how we came to have the beautiful design you now see on our Blog, on Twitter and soon to be on our new website which is currently being created much to our excitement 🙂
We decided on the buttefly design as we felt it represented what we want to achieve through More than a Mum.  Afterall butterflies represent change and growing into the true you!
We can’t reccommend @rachinald enough. She is professional, fast, friendly, creative and basically brilliant at what she does.  Do check out her website http://www.rachinald.com

More Than A Mum Kindle Edition

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Yes, the title is correct, More Than a Mum has branched out and is now available to download via Amazon! This is a very exciting time for us, as we both draft on pen and paper and are keen on nice pens and stationery, but really we felt we ought to get ourselves into the technological era with a bit more panache!  So, click here and you can be the proud owner (for the bargin price of 99p a month) of a Kindle edition of More Than a Mum Blog.

This is all thanks to MTJAM who posted a few blogs at the beginning of last month detailing just how she has gone about publishing her own blog on Kindle.  It all seemed fairly simple (and it was) so we thought we’d have a go.  Whether or not anyone will pay for the priviledge of being able to download our blog remains to be seen, but it amuses me that I can go onto Amazon, seach More Than A Mum and find our blog – so the majority of page hits will no doubt be me clicking and smiling to myself!

Anyway, if any of you lovely people who read our blog do own Kindles, or iPads/phones with Kindle apps, or get any of the above for Christmas, make Ruth and Loretta’s day and download our blog. 🙂  Thank you!

R

First time mothers and home births

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At least once a week a report is published, and taken out of context by the media, on parenting, child birth or children that really annoys me.  Last week it was championing Ceasareans rejoicing in the fact that all women should be able to have one if they ‘want’ one – obviously they have not spoken to any women who have had one before phrasing this like it’s a luxury must-have accessory!!!  And this week it’s the ‘warning’ to first time mums against having home births!

The study claims that ‘First-time mothers who opt for a home-birth are almost three times more likely to suffer complications than if they go to hospital.’ It went on to state that ‘up to half of first time mothers were transferred to hospital while in labour from home and third from a midwifery unit’. Arrgh! This is yet again the ‘medical brigade’ forcing out women’s choices with that oh so powerful vehicle of fear!  I am aware not every woman will be with me on this one and perhaps it is reassuring for many to give birth in a hospital. I however, was adamant from the moment I was pregnant that I was not ‘ill’ and had never had a stay in hospital in my life so therefore why should I go now while I’m performing something that trillions of women have done through the ages and continue to do so every second of the day around the world which I believe is called ‘natural’ childbirth??!!  BearCub was meant to be a home-birth and I had my entire labour at home when the mid wife ‘thought’ his heart slowed so they took me in (during the transistion phase) when I arrived I was 10 cm and ready to push so I could have stayed hoem after all!

But what I really hate about this research, as with most statistics shoved in our face by the media that we for some reason feel unable to question, is that they only tell half the picture.  In fact way down near the bottom of each article on this paper the researchers stressed that ‘giving birth is generally very safe as 250 babies suffered complications from the 64,538 births in the study’.

Hospitals want us to have medical intervention during child-birth as it is quicker, safer (for them), and quieter.  Yes really! Ask any NCT teacher and they’ll tell you that hospitals don’t like the grunting, groaning, screaming and general animalistic noises that help us pop out our offspring.  We are hassle wanting to be mobile, upright, on all fours or have scented candles and Bob Dylan playing in the background!!! In short it is much preferable to them if they are in control of your birth experience rather than you.

I think it’s worth noting that only 58 per cent of women in hospital had a natural birth without any intervention, compared to 88 per cent of women who opted for a birth at home and 76 per cent to 83 per cent of women who chose a midwife-led unit.

Professor Peter Brocklehurst, who led the study at Oxford, but has since moved to University College London (UCL), himself said adverse events are very uncommon.

“For every 1,000 women, 995 babies would have a completely normal outcome,” he said.

In contrast to the study, Maureen Treadwell, of the Birth Trauma Association, said: “These findings are useful but are based on a study of only 5,000 women in each type of midwifery unit and do not tell us how many babies died or were brain damaged in each group.”

Could it possibly be a strong argument that the number of first time births have more complications because they are first time births whether at home or in hospital?  The experience is entirely new to the mother, things generally move slower and first-time mums do not know what to expect.  That sounds logical doesn’t it? And we are allowed to use our brains and our mouths right?

I’d love to, along side this, see a study publish the results and recovery time of women who have had a natural birth and those who have suffered medical intervention.  What can seem like the best option because it is the fastest can sometimes have the longer and more adverse affect which leads me on to another rant….. ok well I’ll leave that one for another post!!! 😉

L

Mums ‘me-time’ is just 26 minutes!!

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The ‘Changing Face of Motherhood’ is a major research project undertaken by P&G in conjunction with the SIRC (Social Issues Research Centre). The research covered a range of topics including how today’s mums feel they’re valued by society and about raising their children compared to previous generations.

Amongst some other really interesting findings (see here) the research found that the average Mums ‘me-time’ is just 26 minutes!!  They found that the majority of mums have 3-4 hours to themselves a week – the equivalent to 26 minutes a day.  64% of mums put this down to the demands of having to go out to work, while 29% say that the pressure to be a perfect mother means they feel they have less ‘me-time’.

Here at More than a Mum you’ll know by now our dual aim is to support, encourage and inspire you to be a brilliant mum AND to rediscover your identity as a woman at the same time.  In order to even have a hope of fulfilling the latter goal, me-time is essential, imperative, vital etc.

Mums are so organised in so many respects because we have to be.  Even if you think you’re not good at it – just take a look at your week so far… You’ve somehow managed to dress, cook for, ferry around, smile at , engage with, stimulate, love, discipline your little people all while possibly being  an employee, spouse, friend, relative, lover, gardener, dog-walker at the same time!

So why don’t we schedule in time for ourselves???? Because we don’t think it’s important enough.  Because we don’t think we can afford to.  Because we don’t think it’s a priority.  All in all, because we don’t think we’re worth it!!! Not good ladies, not good!

More than a Mum has said time and again that if we want our children to be happy and fulfilled then we need to model that for them ourselves.

We put out the challenge a few weeks back and we haven’t been checking up on you (LOL!) so here it is again – what can you plan for yourself this weekend or for this next week to remind yourself that you are ‘More than a Mum’?

Answers on a postcard – well on here and on Twitter anyway 😉

L

Snap Slappers

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I just saw this meme and had to have a go (no I do not have anything better to do with my evenings!). Thanks to Five Go Blogging for thinking this one up and motherventing for showing me hers first! This meme is a great fun idea about pimping your photos, just for fun!

Five Go Blogging Snap Slappers

Apologies in advance to @lor_fenton as I haven’t checked with her first about pimping this photo of us, but… here goes!

More than a Mum Lor and Ruth
Here's us before...
More than a Mum Lor and Ruth
Here's us all classy
More than a Mum Lor and Ruth
...and here's us in our true colours!

Warning: This meme could seriously affect your time perception!

Original Photo by Emma (the super-mum photographer who snaps with her baby in a sling!) Find her at EB Children’s Portraits

Pelvic Floor Exercises (or… You must have pissed yourself laughing…)

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I am going to share a little more about me than I ought to in this post.  (I’ve had a few glasses of wine!) This evening I have realised that the phrase, “you must have pissed yourself laughing” can only have come from a woman…

Yes, I am talking about the lack of pelvic floor muscles I have post baby.  Yes, I do mean that post child an irritating cough or a mis-timed sneeze can have rather worse consequences than it used to, and yes, I am insinuating that “piss yourself laughing” could be rather more literal than it used to be!

To anyone reading this who may be pregnant, or considering becoming so for the first time, please follow the antenatal teacher’s advice and do those rather odd exercises to tense your pelvic floor muscles, it might just make the difference between being able to go to a comedy gig post- child and not!

I recently met up with 3 mates who I used to live with at university. We were once young and carefree, enjoying our late teens and early twenties in pubs, bars and clubs… Now, our discussion as 30 (plus) year olds is rather changed. 3 out of 4 of us have kids and the 3 who do were fervently persuading the 1 without to do pelvic floor exercises right now to save embarrassment later.

When I tweeted about my hate of coughing-fits with post child pelvic floor muscles I received support (I won’t embarrass anyone by saying who this came from!).  In fact, one person suggested that it was a conspiracy – who bothered to do the pelvic floor exercises and therefore who can tell you if they work or not?!

So the question I pose is this – what one thing would you tell a friend who had just become pregnant and why? I would definitely say “for goodness sake do those pelvic-floor exercises, no matter how ridiculous you feel.”  What’s your best piece of advice?

BritMums blogging prompt: WHO are you?

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So the BritMums blogging prompt this week is:  In 100-200 words WHO are we? (Really got to cut the waffle for this one!)

We are More than a Mum. We want to support women in being brilliant Mums, AND help them to rediscover their own identity.

We are Loretta and Ruth, two Mums who love being parents, but don’t want to lose our own identities or stop thinking intellectually. We both work part-time, to varying degrees; we both love a good socio-political debate; we both love sharing the hints, tips and traumas of motherhood and that’s what our blog is about.

Our posts range from the trials and tribulations of our own motherhood, to discussion of news stories that have a family resonance. We are going to blog about recipes (just sorting out my Sloe Gin one now!), craft ideas, and kid-friendly activities as well as parental concerns, me-time ideas and our own experiences. We also want to create a forum for other Mums (and Dads) to discuss some of the big debates surrounding childhood and parenthood.

We fancy being the Marie Claire of Mummy Blogs…We like to aim high!

187 words – done it!

R

http://www.britmumsblog.com/2011/10/britmums-blogging-prompts-defining-moments/