Motherhood, one year on

Just over a year a go I became a mum to twins. In December 2015 I found out I was pregnant and it was totally unplanned, in fact it was something I really didn’t want at that time in my life. So now, after a year’s experience of motherhood under my belt, how do I really feel about it?

People may expect me to say that I wouldn’t change a thing, I’m so glad everything worked out the way it did. And whilst that’s true to an extent… there is still a lot I would change. I believe that everything happens for a reason, that ultimately, the life of my two daughters was planned and purposed by God. But that doesn’t mean that I get why right now. I kinda thought that once I had the girls there would be this “ohhh” moment where suddenly it all clicked and I realised why God had chosen now to bless me with these two precious people but in all honesty I still don’t know. I wouldn’t change Dorothy and Margot for absolutely anything, they are completely perfect. But the timing? Yes, that I would still change. In my worldly view I ask myself why. Why now? Why not at a time when I had more money, not at university, a few more years of marriage under my belt. Why not at a time when I’m a bit older and not always the youngest mum in the room. Why not at a time when my siblings have children and my babies can grow up with their cousins.

But I choose to have faith, I choose to believe that the reason why will become clear to me with time. Maybe that’s in a few months or twenty years, I don’t know. I trust in God’s timing above anything.

Motherhood suits me, though. I actually love it more than I ever thought possible. Out of everything in my life I ever thought I’d be good at, being a mum was never one of them. But I have actually surprised myself so much, the way I love my babies is so fierce, so selfless, so tireless. I could literally endure anything for them and I never knew I could feel like that. I never knew I could deny myself again and again, I never knew I could be this patient and constant. In a strange way they have given me a new found confidence in myself and who I am just by being their mum. I feel stronger and more content in myself than I ever have done. 

I recently got accepted on to an MA at a university. Unfortunately I had to give it up for now because I couldn’t get childcare sorted… I felt like I had lost so much when I gave that up but over the last few weeks I have realised that I’venot lost anything but gained everything. I am my children’s main carer and influence and if that means I can’t start a career til I’m 27 then how much have I actually lost?! I have given a few short years of my life to my children to shape their future and I can’t see anything negative about that.

So what’s motherhood like after a year? Pretty sh*tty at times. But also wonderful, exhilarating, funny, silly, messy, crazy, loud, beautiful and so much more.

Can’t wait to see what the next few years hold. 

The twins turn 1!

Hey everyone!

I am really trying to get back in to the flow of blogging more regularly but life just seems so busy at the moment with moving house, visitors, weddings and everything else! It was the twins’ first birthday a couple of weeks a go so I wanted to share what we got up to on the day!

I can’t believe that the girls are now one year old, you can see the letters I wrote to Dotty and Margot for their first birthday by clicking the link on their names! The day wasn’t really what I had planned, originally I’d wanted to plan a lovely party with a teddy bear picnic theme out in the garden. I was going to invite a few new people that we have met whilst living here and Josh’s family were coming to visit. However, due to the building work we were unable to have guests come and stay as there was no spare rooms and we didn’t move in to our cottage until the night before. Also, because we couldn’t rely on the weather being nice and there was no bad weather alternative a party was out of the question! Needless to say I’m excited to plan their second birthday party now!

The day started with our usual routine, we bought them a number 1 helium balloon from Asda and I customised their vest with a floral “1” which I bought from Etsy shop craisymissdaisy and ironed them on. I really love how they turned out!

Our celebrations began with breakfast at the Duchy of Cornwall Nursery cafe. Its in Lostwithiel which is very local to us and is an absolutely lovely place. I’ve had afternoon tea there before which was lovely and the breakfast was great too. The girls had their first ever cooked breakfast which they really enjoyed!

Once we got home the girls opened their cards and presents. My sister, who had come up from London, bought them a slide which they loved! They got lots of other bits and pieces including a ball pit, clothes, vouchers and a seesaw but Josh and I personally didn’t really get them anything. We asked their close family (Grandparents, aunties and great grandparents) to write them a hand written letter as a keepsake. I just don’t really feel the need to spoil them and get them lots of presents for their birthday as I believe its important to teach them that presents aren’t the most important thing. They get everything they could possibly want or need throughout the year as and when they need it and I want their birthdays to be about making memories more than anything else! That said, I’m extremely grateful for the presents they did get!

We decided to do a cake smash for the girls. We baked individual sponges in a number 1 tin and then I iced them with pink icing, sprinkles and glitter! At first, the girls were quite overwhelmed and even cried a few times because everyone was looking at them and laughing! They both had different tactics when eating the cake, Dotty just went for it and Margot was going slow and steady, trying to eat as much as she could without us noticing! Of course we didn’t let them eat the whole cake – it was way too much sugar! If you know me you know I am quite keen to keep the girls as sugar and salt free as possible but for their first birthday I made an exception!

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Their main cake that everyone got to eat was made by yours truly. I absolutely love baking and I had a particular idea in mind of what I wanted their cake to look like. Naked cakes are actually pretty easy to make look good because you just shove a load of fruit and flowers on it and it makes it look fab! Their cake topper was from the Etsy store RachelEmmaStudio which I have kept for next year too!

I did a teddy bear themed afternoon tea but it wasn’t as much as I would have want. We cut out some teddy bear sandwiches for the girls and of course the classic pombears! Next up it was time to put the girls to bed with their new cushions from the Duchy!

Finally, the next day I took some pictures with the girls final age milestone card! We got these cards from mushymoments on amazon and absolutely love them!

 

I hope you enjoyed reading about the girls’ first birthday.

Kate-Sig-1

Dear Margot, on your first birthday.

For my girls on their first birthday I have decided to write them a letter in digital form. As they get absolutely everything together I thought I would write them individually. I’d like this to be a tradition but I don’t know if I’ll manage to write one each year. So I’ll start with year 1 and see how I go!

Dear Margot,

I can’t believe you are one year old! I can still clearly remember your birth, when they brought you round to me I could instantly see the similarities from your scan! Even in the womb you showed your personality, you were always cheeky and wiggling around so we couldn’t get a good picture! You kept moving the wrong way so we couldn’t see if you were a boy or a girl at one point!

Since birth, you’ve always been the more high maintenance baby. You were taken in to special care for the first day because you had trouble with your blood sugar being too low. Then you found it hard to feed and you lost nearly 10% of your birth weight! It took you ages to regain it but gradually you got the hang of feeding. After that you started wanting feeding up to 15 times a day! You cruised up centile after centile and it didn’t change when you started on solid food. You’re definitely a food lover and you’ll eat whenever, wherever, trying to shove as much as humanly possible in your mouth at any given time!

You’ve also been more needy and clingy to me, at first you always wanted to be held and then it was always wanting to be played and interacted with and you don’t really like being in your pram! Since you’ve learnt to crawl you’ve got a lot more independent and are enjoying exploring the world but you often look back to mum and dad for reassurance.

Sleep wise you struggled to begin with. One night about a week in, daddy had to take you out in the car and drive around to get you to settle. It was partly because you wouldn’t take a dummy for the first 5 months and we could only soothe you with white noise. You also began sleeping on your belly at 5 weeks which showed us a dramatic improvement in your sleep! It’s not recommended for young babies but it definitely worked for you! Now you can roll, you wiggle around and constantly in your sleep!

You are a loud, chatty baby and constantly jabbering. You love to hear the sound of your own voice. Because you’re loud, it may seem like you’re confident but you’re actually a fairly sensitive soul. When you were really little you used to cry at every loud noise! You don’t like being passed around to people and being held by people you don’t know and you are very shy in certain situations. Once you feel comfortable with someone you really open up and get really confident and chatty!

You are always on the move and constantly pulling yourself up on to different things. You always absolutely hated being laid down and you wouldn’t go in your pram without screaming. Things got a lot easier for me when you could sit up because you became a bit more independent and were happy to play on your own a lot more.

You’ve been quite an afflicted baby, for a while you always seemed grumpy and tired. So when we found out you had anaemia it all started to make sense and you became much more full of beans! You’ve also struggled with eczema which you scratch so much it makes you bleed. We’ve tried every remedy going and still so far nothing is working! But I must say it’s kind of cute in away to watch you scratch your back on stuff like Baloo from the jungle book!

Margot you bring everyone so much joy and I can’t wait to watch you grow and develop as the years go by!

All my love forever,

Mummy

Dear Dorothy, on your first birthday.

For my girls on their first birthday I have decided to write them a letter in digital form. As they get absolutely everything together I thought I would write them individually. I’d like this to be a tradition but I don’t know if I’ll manage to write one each year. So I’ll start with year 1 and see how I go!

Dear Dorothy,

Happy first birthday Dotty. I can’t believe you’re already one. It doesn’t feel like a year a go that I felt your tiny body in my arms for the first time, your brand new skin on my skin. I can still see the image of you being brought round to me during the surgery, you were wrapped in a towel all snug and warm and I could barely believe you were here.

We waited until we knew your weights until we named you as we wanted you, the smaller twin, to be our “little Dot”. As the first few weeks went by you grew bigger than your sister for a little while as she struggled to feed. However she soon surpassed you weight wise as you were our little dinky Dotty. Even now you’re a bit smaller and you have a much smaller appetite. Nevertheless, you have never fluctuated from your perfect growth line.

As babies go, you’ve always been extremely easy going. You only ever cry for a reason like you’re hungry or need a nappy change. You’ve always been content to just lie and play on your own, in the early days I’d pop you under your play gym for stimulation and you’d just fall asleep! Even though you’ve never been demanding for attention, you’ve always loved a cuddle and you used to remind me of a little baby koala bear snuggling in.

Sleep wise you’ve had your difficulties. I used to have to sit and bounce you to sleep in your car seat or bouncer because I couldn’t put you down in your cot. You really resisted having a bedtime at night too and it used to take us hours to settle you! Even now you often get very upset when we put you down in your cot. You also used to struggle a lot with wind and used to thrash around and get absolutely distraught because you had a bad tummy ache which was really upsetting!

Although you’re a bit quieter than Margot, you are way more fiesty! You get angry very easily and attempt to bite mummy and daddy if they do something that annoys you. You also have this sweet whispery language that you communicate in… I’ll be interested to see this time next year how much you’re talking because you don’t say much now!

You’re cheeky and mischievous and always getting up to something. You absolutely love read and flicking through a book is one of your favourite things! I often find you sat up in the morning flicking through a book.

You find Margot funny at a distance. However, if she comes too close or starts grabbing you, you get very cross! The tables are turned when you get your hands on her and she is very tolerant of you! You have the most gorgeous giggle and it takes a bit of work to get one out of you but it is just the most wonderful sound!

You are very active and love bouncing.  When you were 5 months we bought you both a jumperoo, at first you weren’t bothered but once you realised you could bounce you became obsessed with it! And whenever you were held in the arms of anyone you forced them to bounce you up and down!

You’ve been quite slow at getting moving! You’ve only been crawling a few weeks but you’re so quick now! Which only adds to the mischief you get up to! You’ve been behind Margot a little developmentally but you were the first to roll and to laugh! You’re so friendly and would sit and play with any adult but you’re not bothered by other babies. Mummy and daddy are by far your favourite though and daddy just constantly cracks you up!

You are just an absolute joy and delight to be around. Being your mum has been truly fantastic and I look forward to us being best friends in all the years to come.

All my love forever,

Mummy

Being mum: 6-9 months

So this post is a little bit late as the girls are now 11 months old as I write this but I wanted to have a bit of a record of this stage they were in as it was quite different to how they are now.

During this stage the girls have still been quite babyish and have been particularly slow with milestones. They were around 9 months old by the time they started to roll both ways which I think is quite late! They also didn’t learn to crawl during this stage which at first I was pretty panicky about but the health visitor told me that its more than likely because we have laminate flooring and they have nothing to grip on to (its funny because as soon as we moved somewhere with carpet they learnt to crawl!!). This stage had me feeling like I was coming out of the fog a little bit.. I started to feel like I could do a lot more and we got a routine down which meant I knew when I was coming and going which made things a lot easier! The girls also became a bit more independent because they were able to sit up on their own and play together which made things a whole heap easier for me!

Being their mum is just one enormous balancing act, one where I can never keep all the plates spinning at once. I think something I have learnt is to just breathe, take a step back and just realise that this isn’t forever. One day I will look back on this time with sadness, nostalgia and probably a few regrets. So its important to make the most of them at every stage!

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Hi, I’m 7 months old today! This month I have smiled lots and lots! I even recognise when people smile at me and smile back! She definitely knows how to charm mummy and daddy with her smile! She adores her mummy and daddy but is definitely a mummy’s girl still! She has found her feet and absolutely loves holding them and playing with them which Margot finds hilarious! She’s doing very well with sitting up and is eating a lot more now! Dotty loves going to sleep cuddling her rabbit and she is very content to just play on her own on the floor! She absolutely loves the jumperoo and bounces sooo hard in it! She’s got a lot more chatty this month too. She always wants whatever toy Margot has got in her hands! She falls asleep with her bunny rabbit comforter and a muslin cloth over her face! She also loves grabbing wipes out of the pack and eating them all! She struggles badly with wind which is pretty much the only time she’s hard work and she is just a complete joy to be around! Dotty you are simply wonderful ❤

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Happy 7 months Margot! Margot has suffered a lot this month with her eczema but is finally starting to get better! She has cut two teeth and is absolutely loving food -she will try and grab any food in your hands! She has found her belly laugh which thankfully we caught on camera… it picks you up whenever you feel down! Margot likes to settle herself and fall asleep on her back whilst playing with her little bunny rabbit but after a while she starts wiggling in her sleep and she needs to be flipped on her tummy like a burger on a bbq! She loves her little mouse rattle and shoves it in to her mouth. She is obsessed with blowing raspberries and getting spittle all over your face! She’s really good at sitting up now and is getting close to crawling! She laughs every time you say the word “dada” but whinges and cries every time she’s put down! Margot you are completely wonderful ❤

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8 MONTHS OLD! Dotty has grown in to the most cheeky and gorgeous wide-mouthed smile. She is constantly giggling and would be content to just lie on the floor and entertain herself, she’s so chilled! She has cut one tooth and another is cutting through so hopefully that’ll make eating easier! She has massive blue eyes which look at everything with wonder and amazement and she has a permenantly shocked expression with her little eyebrows raised! She has also started a little happy scream which is very loud! Her new favourite toy is a cushion which she seems to find hilarious for some reason! She loves rubbing her face on you affectionately and is doing dribbly open mouth kisses. She has a lot of issues with sleep and will cry every time you put her down in her cot no matter how tired she is which makes mummy very guilty! She also hates having her face wiped or touched too much in general. She loves TV especially the fresh prince of bel air theme tune. She always kicks her little legs about and likes rubbing her food all over her sister whilst they’re eating! She’s still a jumperoo queen and will force you to hold her up so she can bounce on your knee until your arms turn to jelly! She’s definitely a people person and will reward just about anyone with a big gummy smile. She’s an absolute delight! Delicious Dotty ❤

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8 MONTHS OLD! Wonderful Margot. Margot has now got two cute little teeth making a gorgeous toothy grin. She loves being tickled it makes her really chuckle. Her sense of humour is really developing and she finds so much funny. Everything in life brings something to laugh at. She still doesn’t particularly like being put down but she’s getting much better at sitting and entertaining herself. She’s started doing a little bum wiggle causing us to think she may be on the move soon (help!!!)! Her hair has grown quite a bit but still doesn’t show up in pictures! She loves her feet and jabbering away at them! If there’s any food in her reach it will be hers and nothing has put her off yet! She buried her face in Daddy’s milkshake this weekend! We think she may have said her first word the other day as she seemed to repeat “ehhhohhh” back to us! She gave us our first lie in the other day and woke up at 9.15am!!! She now says “mumumumumuma” and “bababababa” but they are just sounds at this stage. She is still wary of people so you’re doing well if you get a smile out of her! She sleeps brilliantly and will go down so easily. She gives massive sloppy kisses and even made mummy’s nose bleed with a particularly exuberant kiss! She loves grabbing faces, hair and pretty much anything and she finds hands hilarious for some reason! Margot you are amazing! We love you ❤

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9 months old! Where have the last few months gone?! This month Dotty has learned to roll over and she loves doing so, I often find her in random parts of the room getting in to mischief! She’s desperate to crawl but can’t quite do it, she ends up trying so hard that she gives up and lies on the floor crying! She absolutely loves picking toys up and playing with them and she especially loves having one toy in each hand and smacking them together! She’s always smiling and happy except when someone new comes up to her whilst she’s in the car for some reason! She now says dada and is constantly babbling away to herself. She definitely knows her name but she has also learnt the art of selective hearing! She’s a very, very slow eater and it can take her up to an hour to finish a meal! We often see bits of food in her mouth when the meal is long over. She absolutely loves drinking water and just chugs it down from her cup, she hasn’t quite got the hang of swallowing it though and often ends up coughing and spluttering having too much in her mouth! Dotty is quite intolerant of her brutish sister and will cry at the slightest touch but at other times she finds her really funny! She absolutely loves being thrown about and feeling a bit scared! She’s a delight as ever and we love her so much ❤

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Margot you are now three quarters of a year old! In the world now longer than you were in my tummy! Margot has begun to laugh a lot this past month and finds everything amusing! She can also roll but prefers to be sat up straight. She’s started climbing her cot a bit and using the bars to pull herself up! She’s on medication for her anaemia now which does seem to have made her more chirpy! She tries to drink out of stacking cups now as she’s learnt to drink from a proper cup! She says both “mama” and “dada” and is starting to get some sort of grasp on the meaning of the words! She demands food at meal times and if she wants to move on from a certain item of food she will certainly let you know! She is obsessed with grabbing faces much to Dotty’s disdain. She also tries to shove mummy’s fingers in to her eyeballs when she’s tired! She’s still more reserved with new people but strangers are starting to get more smiles out of her when out and about! She’s also desperate to crawl but not quite there yet. She’s just an absolute joy to be around and we love her so much! ❤

Hi I’m Kate, and I’m a stay at home mum.

“So what are your plans about going back to work?”

I hear this a lot. People don’t think anything of it and nor should they. But for me it’s actually not that simple. For me there’s no “going back” to work because I never actually started working! I mean, I’ve obviously had jobs before when I was at college and uni but as I finished my degree I got pregnant and by the time I’d finished I was already heavily pregnant and had no hope of gaining employment!

So in August the girls were born and the last 10 months have been unbelievably intense. Yes, they would have been sweeter with a bit of maternity pay but I wouldn’t swap our time together for anything. Now the girls are coming up for a year, this would be the time to start looking to go back to work.

I’ve barely left the girls up to now. Other breastfeeding mums out there can vouch for the fact that when you’re breastfeeding, leaving your baby is way more trouble than it’s worth usually (hello lots of pumping, engorgement and leaky boobs!). The thought of putting them in to nursery scares me as they still feel so young to me. However I know they’d thrive with it deep down but the simple fact is I’d have to earn a heck of a lot to even make it worth putting them in childcare. Furthermore, I’d probably want to go back to work part time so I still got lots of time with the girls. I guess flexible hours are a lot easier to negotiate when you’re already employed rather than seeking new employment.

I want to have a career. In fact I never dreamed of having children but I always dreamed of having a career. But I don’t want to put my career above the girls. Right now, though it may seem self involved, I know the girls need me more than anyone. When they’re three years old they’ll go in to funded nursery and when they’re 4 they’ll be in school. I can’t bear to be parted with them so it seems when I add all these factors together that there’s only one option. Being a stay at home mum. 

If I’m honest I used to kinda look down on stay at home mums. That was before I found out just how hard being a parent actually is. Doing it all day every day with no break is relentless, frustrating and monotonous. But it also unbelievably rewarding, enjoyable and fun. The hard times are really, really hard but there are also the really good times of being able to just go out for coffees with people or take your kids for a picnic. The kind of thing you’d miss if you were working. I’m sure if you’re reading this and you’re not a parent you probably think “what is so hard about being a mum?!” Lol, well you just wait! I used to feel the same as you! I used to think being a stay at home mum was such an unfeminist option, so many women fought for the right to work and not have to give it up when they had children. But I see now that feminism is all about having the option to go back to work if you want to, and not if you don’t.

The way I see it is that this time with the girls is so unbelievably precious. It comes around once in a lifetime. Because the girls are twins I already kind of feel like I have half the time with them as it is and I want to treasure the time with them so much! 

I am still only 23, even if I wait 4 years to start working I’ll still be pretty young starting out in my career. I want a proper career that I love and not just settle for something because it’s what fits around nursery schedules! At least this way I haven’t had to have a career break, instead I can start my career in a really good position, knowing my girls are happy and settled!

In the future I may have to miss out on school trips, sports days or class assemblies and that’s why I’ve resolved to drink in these moments with my babies because they won’t last forever.

So no, I’m not going “back to work”. At the moment it’s not what works for our family. But I’ll keep on making my girls’ worlds go round and leave changing the rest of it for a few more years! 

STAYCATION: Our stay-at-home holiday together

As many people who read my blog will know, we love to travel! Last week we had a trip to Berlin booked Monday-Thursday, however on the Friday before, Dorothy was taken in to hospital by ambulance. She ended up staying in there until Sunday afternoon and we were advised against taking the trip. We were obviously devastated but we didn’t want to risk taking her and things got worse with the plane pressure or Margot got ill too. As it was, Margot did get ill on Monday night and we were able to take her to the GP and get her sorted on Tuesday morning. So we ended up being quite thankful that we didn’t go against the doctors’ advice!

As Josh had the week off work anyway, we decided to make the most of it. On the Monday we just got stuck in to tidying and cleaning and getting jobs done so we were free for the week ahead.

On Tuesday, we decided to head to Manchester. We went for lunch at the Anchor Coffee House in Moss Side. I used to park right by there in my second year for uni and walk down Oxford road to campus so we were very familiar with it! The food is amazing and we both had a lovely coffee called a cuban coffee which is made with condensed milk. The girls, of course, attracted a lot of attention!

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We then headed down Oxford Road to Whitworth Park and art gallery.

After that we walked past my old uni and then headed to Starbucks to feed the girls. It was that very Starbucks that Josh and I used to meet after I finished uni and do work together! It was nice to take the girls back to our old haunts and show them another part of Manchester!

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The next day, we decided to visit Chester Zoo. It was a pretty hot day and we were slightly worried about how the girls would cope. Unfortunately we stupidly booked holiday during half term. It was absolutely heaving there and getting a double buggy around was difficult enough without having to work our way through crowds of people! Nevertheless we enjoyed ourselves, although the girls were thoroughly fed up by the end!

 

The next day was another quiet one, we just enjoyed the sunshine at our local park and got a coffee from a little coffee shop nearby. Then Daddy was sadly back to work! Thankfully he only has three weeks to go until we move!

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Obviously we were gutted not to be in Berlin but we still managed to have a lovely week together as a family.

Kate-Sig-1