So World Breastfeeding Week has been and gone for another year, amid its usual storm of social media posts, news reports on the UK’s low, low feeding rates, frayed nerves, narky comments, judgement, perceived judgement, mums speaking out, others afraid to say what they want or mean, women wanting to support each other and in doing so offending others.
Whatever you say on the matter, you won’t please everyone. I have been thinking all week whether to wade in with my two cents’ worth. Sometimes I am all fired up about it and wish more people used their boobs as nature intended and sometimes I wonder if it all matters in the grand scheme of things.
So I am just going to tell my story. Make of it what you will.
I have two children, and two completely different feeding experiences. My almost five year old is still formula fed and my almost two year old is still boobing.
This week’s blog is a little late as I have just come back from holiday and mentally I am still in hot, sunny Ibiza. Don’t go imagining it was all hot-dog-legs selfies, falling asleep on the beach and drinking cocktails by the pool, though. We were with small children.
That said, it was brilliant fun and I could easily have done another week (thanks in no small part to the family members and carers who came too and helped dilute the difficulties of being away with my food throwing, pool resisting, inappropriate nap-time mini humans).
There’s something magical about being on holiday. Is it the sun, the lack of routine, no work to go to or stress over, new foods to try, new places to visit…? All of it and more, probably. Whatever it is, I always come back feeling ready for a change, a new start, a new path. A bit like New Year but somehow more doable and less forced. Maybe because it’s not all about deprivation, which many New Year’s resolutions hinge on, its more to do with reinvention.
August is here; a new month seems like a good time to start anew with a fresh attitude, so I thought I would start by putting forward my ideas about creating happy habits.
OK, so I don’t hate mindfulness. But I do admit to doing a tiny cringe when I hear the word. I love the concept: pay closer attention to whatever you are doing, it silences your mind so you feel less stressed and more joyful, I mean who doesn’t want that?
But I do believe it’s easy to think that mindfulness is just too worthy to bother with. It can seem like a chore, you know? The last thing any mum needs is another bloody chore.
Nope, I’m not telling you not to swear (anyone who knows me would think that was a bit of fucking liberty), but I would like to talk to you about the power of words.
Back in the mists of time – about five years ago but the sleep deprivation makes it feel much longer – I was a sub editor on a glossy magazine and a freelance writer. I’ve always always loved language. Words are important, they are powerful, they can stay with you forever. It’s not just the written word that has this impact though. What you say to others and, more importantly, what you tell yourself will shape your self-esteem and therefore your happiness.
How often have you heard someone say ‘nobody’s perfect’? You probably accept that about your partner and your children, your parents, your best friends, your work colleagues… Everyone has their faults and they can drive you bonkers sometimes, but that’s life, right?
So do you apply the ’nobody’s perfect’ rule to yourself and your life, happily accepting your faults and being satisfied with ‘good enough’? Or do you find yourself striving for a level of perfection that you just wouldn’t expect from anyone else? You may think that wanting to be the best and have everything ‘just so’ is annoying but admirable, especially if you have come to motherhood from a competitive career. But wanting that level of perfect may just be your biggest saboteur. It can stop you getting things done and it eats away at your happiness. That’s the voice of experience speaking, by the way.
Hi there! Welcome to the blog for the Happy Mums Club. Don’t worry if you came here looking for joy boosters – you don’t have to be permanently happy to join in, but hopefully you will be feeling a bit more upbeat once you’ve hung around for a while.
I’m Emma, founder of the HMC. I’ve been a mum since 2012 and have two children (who are four and one). Mothering can be the best, funniest, happiest, most life-affirming role you’ll ever take on, BUT (spoiler alert for all the preggos out there) it’s hands-down the hardest thing, too.
Yup, parenting is a tough gig. Bodily fluids need constant mopping up, there are tears and tantrums and bedtime never comes soon enough – and I haven’t even started on the kids yet. LOLZ. As soon as that baby arrives, the mum guilt sets in. You feel terrible about absolutely everything and wonder how you can be getting it so wrong while all the other mums have their shit together and are nailing it. (They’re not, in case you haven’t realised that yet.)