Transcript of MumDeeDoes video #10:
Hello my Darlings and welcome to Mum Dee Does. I am Dee, a mum who does it all and today I am taking part in the #MumChallenge. I kept meaning to film this video on Happy Homestead channel but now that I have a channel of my own I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to recap on the last couple of years and summarise my experience as a new mum.
Question number one is what is your favorite mum hack. My favorite hack number one will have to be breast milk. And I continue to yap on about how important breastfeeding has been for us but I since looked at the dictionary definition of a hack and here's one that anybody can use: when Ron was a little baby he used to get nappy rash and we used all sorts of powders and creams but I since discovered that the reason for the nappy rash is the moisture that's left over from giving him a wash so what I decided to do (and is going to sound really strange) is use a hair dryer to make sure his skin was really dry before putting a new nappy on. So as I say it sounds a little bit strange but therefore it's a good hack and it really helped us. There was no more rappy nashes. Rappy nashes? Rappy nashes! As I said he's only just a baby, although he would disagree with me: Are you a baby? No, you're a big boy! I'm a passionate advocate for breastfeeding and I've always wanted to do it and I'm very grateful that we've been able to do it. Yes, that's my mum hack. What is your favorite parenting hack? Please let me know in the comments down below.
Okay, most embarrassing moment... Hmm… (Is it you falling off the bike, is it?) Okay, a day after Ronnie was born I was so out of it that I mistakenly... (I don't know which camera to look at!) ...I mistakenly thought that the cleaner in the hospital had taken the bag of clothes that I had prepared for my baby and so I… I ended up accusing her of stealing our belongings. Luckily, the maternity ward had a stash of baby clothes that we were able to take with us and once we got back home and I found the bag of baby clothes stashed deep within our day bags, I was really embarrassed because I realised I accused this person falsely and and so then we organised a return of all these baby clothes… But yes, that's probably the most embarrassing thing I've done as a mum. I put it down to 15 hours in labour. I would love to hear what your most embarrassing parenting moment was - go on, share it with the rest of us!
Number three: what part of the day do you love the most? My favorite time of the day is lunch time and that's because the mornings are really busy, we are all getting ready and Ron is usually full of energy which... which is fantastic but <it used to be uh> it's usually quite hard to keep up, to be honest and... and so we spend the morning trying to get him to expel that energy and trying to do something fun and active but then once we come back home and we have some lunch is that golden time when Ronnie is nice and calm and so he's able to concentrate and we can do something really creative or focus on some puzzles, or building projects and... and he's nice and calm and that is really my favorite most creative time of the day and I can write a few blog posts and do work of my own.
What part of the day do you like the least? ...But my least favorite part of the day is actually just before bedtime because that's where Ron is at his most tired and nearing that mental breakdown of the exhaustion of the day and that is also when I am most tired and so, therefore, my willpower reserves are depleted. That is the time when a lot of stubborn headbutting is taking place until, of course, my superpower comes out and breast milk makes everything better for all of us.
The worst thing someone said to you when you were pregnant? I have to admit, I am really lucky in that I have not heard any negative or derogatory comments when I was pregnant. It's probably something to do with the fact that we live on a very small island where everyone knows everyone, so there isn't that anonymity of meeting in Tesco's... ...anonymity of meeting someone… (I don't like a ball in my face. I don't even know what I'm saying) ...of meeting someone in Tesco’s, and rolling their eyes, and saying something under your breath. I think if people have a real problem they speak to you and if they don't there's just no sniggering comments, so I haven't heard any anything… But my Nan was very instrumental in informing me on all the superstitions that she has acquired in her lifetime. She told me that I should not be raising my arms when I'm pregnant. She told me that I should not be looking at cows: “don’t look at cows” so it's not really a bad thing it's just strange, and old-fashioned and even my midwives were laughing at some of the things she came out with.
Number six: baby name you didn't agree on? James and I were very clear from the start the names that we wanted which is quite interesting because we've never really discussed baby names before. But when we found out we were pregnant it sort of just clicked and we both agreed on our favorite names. And so, if it's a boy it was always going to be Ronald Simon and for a girl we had Abigail Lillian in mind. Fun fact: Ronald, our son, is named after James's Dad. We thought it's the easiest name in the world to spell and he would never have any problems with it. Only a minute after he was born the midwife was filling in some forms and she asked us “how do we spell Ronald?” and I remember James and I looked at each other: ”is there another way of spelling Ronald?” It turns out that there is. There is an Orcadian name which is pronounced exactly the same but is spelled as R-O-N... R-O-G-N-A-V-A-L-D (or is there a H in there somewhere?) Anyway, it's very complicated and it still says “Ronald” so we had to... we had to say that “No, no, it's actually Ronald - just... just, just Ronald!”
My least favorite names are those that denote a place name or a virtue: Paris, Morocco, Peace… I also really dislike female names that are derived from changing the boy’s names: Nicolette, Pauline, Josefina - things like that. I just… I just think parents did not have enough of an imagination to come up with a girly name for a girl, or they secretly were hoping for a boy? Those are my least favorite type of names. Are there any baby names that you dislike? What's your favorite baby name? Please let me know in the comments.
Question number seven is: do you co-sleep? Yes, we do. We bought a cot because that's what all the internet guides and the midwives had suggested we do and the minute I brought Ron home and I put him in the cot it just felt very wrong. He was making baby sounds as though he wasn't content and it was niggling at my mummy instincts, and I really wanted him close. And so, that first night I put him next to me in bed and we both slept really soundly and I kind of feel like it's because of it. He was able to breastfeed easily and I was able to get more sleep that way, I did not have to jump up and go check on him as often and after a few days it just became the way it is. He was cozy, I was cozy, we both felt safe. I guess we were used to dogs sharing our bed before, so it did not feel such an invasion of “oh, there's someone else here!”. He's coming up to two years old now and, although I do think it's nearly time for him to learn to sleep in his own space, we still do co-sleep... and I don't think I would change that - I think it happened for a reason, it benefits us all and... and I would not change it! So yes, yes - yes, we do!
Question number eight is: something you bought but never used? So I already mentioned the cot - we used it once and never again. It now serves as a chicken nursery out in the garden, so that was an expensive garden investment.
We used the baby bath once and then realised that it's just as easy, if not easier, to wash the baby in the big bath or the sink.
Mattress protectors! I was adamant to James that we needed mattress protectors. I was under the impression that the babies would be leaking and spewing, and there’d be liquids everywhere, and so I bought two or three mattress protectors. And I've never actually used them because, as I said, Ron was co-sleeping in our bed and we've never had any problems with... with that side of babyish behavior. So yes, luckily they were not as expensive as a cot, but still… I still bought them and I still never used them.
Three hospital bag must-haves? Okay, so apart from all the usuals: clothes for yourself, clothes for your baby, the hygiene kit bag, whatever, towels... So, an extra thing I would recommend to myself if I could talk to myself back then is an eye mask for sleeping, because it was really hard for me to get any shut-eye in the hospital. It was too bright, both from the city lights outside, and also the ward lights that they leave on for safety reasons. Because we're so used to the pitch dark of Eday it was quite difficult for me to sleep. So yeah, so the face mask.
Also, because we were so excited and we live in a digital age we took a gazillion photographs when he was born - and we ran out of a memory card, so there's a bit of a saga of James having to traipse around the shops in Kirkwall trying to find a memory card, and then trying to find the reader for the memory card, and etc - it was... it was a headache that could have been avoided if we had an extra memory card.
Yoghurt. We were really lucky that we found a whole bunch of yoghurt in the hospital kitchen and James managed to get the nurses to bring in more and more, but to be honest I don't think I would have gone through my labour without access to yoghurt. Yoghurt is sweet and therefore has lots of energy, it's very easy to eat when you're not feeling like eating at all - it's just really good to keep your energy up and it's pretty tasty, so lots and lots of yoghurt! You may not be as lucky as I was and may not find a stash there ready to use (or pinch, as it might have been in James's case - I don't really know, I was so out of it). But I would say if I was preparing for a second run, which I'm not, I would bring some yoghurt.
Are you a routine mum or a go-with-the-flow mum and what does bedtime look like? Ii was going to say that I am a routine mum, because generally speaking I am a routine person, I like structure to my day. I am not a strict routine person, let's put it that way. There is... there is an order of our day and there is an order to bedtime but it does... it does not have to be at the same time, it does not really have to follow exact steps as such - it's just something that we got used to and so we're sort of trying to maintain that, but I'm not very strict in actually enforcing it. We try to exhaust the boy during the day as much as we can, so he's really tired and ready for bed and then we have a calming bath with some calm music and some lavender oil in the bath, we have a lovely splash and then it ends up being a calm splash and once he's out the bath, and dried, nappied and dressed we have breast milk which calms him right down and that usually sends him to sleep fairly effortlessly. Sometimes it doesn't go to plan, sometimes Ron is extra clingy, extra needy or he is frustrated, or he’s teething and, therefore in pain, and so that process takes a little bit longer. And Ron is actually a really good sleeper, we're very lucky that he sleeps through the night most nights. And that is our bedtime routine.
What type of labour did you have? What pain relief did you choose? We actually wanted to have a home birth but that didn't happen: we were called into a hospital and we were waiting for Ron's arrival at the hospital, and it was the most frustrating time ever! We have a video and blog posts that I'll link down below so you can have a little read if you're interested. We had a natural normal - spontaneous vaginal birth (is what they call it) where I spent 14 hours in labour and as for pain relief, I had paracetamol, then codeine, and once it really got going I was on entonox which I really don't think I could have done without - it was... it was what got me in the zone. Pregnancy and labour were such unique experiences in my life that I actually kept a detailed blog and we filmed some videos so you can check those out if it's something you're interested in. I have to admit, I haven't revisited them yet. I'm sort of afraid of all the cringe that I've recorded but, uh it's accurate, it's... it's how and what happened and now we have a baby boy, so it was all worth it!
Have you ever been mum shamed? As I said before, we live on a small island so the conversations that people have are either way behind your back and so you don't know about them or right in front of your face without that cloud of anonymity. You would never meet someone just in Tesco's who would say something to you, and you would never see that person, and so they feel safe in saying whatever it is - so I've never been shamed, not, not publicly - I don't know what people are talking about behind my back. But to be honest, I don't even think there were any instances where I could have been mum shamed, because Ron is a brilliant baby and I think I'm doing fairly well as a mum. I have lots of self-doubt and we still sort of make things up as we go along. Everyone does, I'm sure. Nobody is a perfect parent, but… But I cannot think of an instance where anyone blatantly shamed me for a tactic of a parenting decision. Not yet - but seeing as I've publicly announced that I'm going to homeschool my child, watch this space: I'm sure there's going to be plenty of people mum shaming me for that. But you know what? I don't really care, I think it's what is best for my child and as a parent I have that right to make these decisions.
The biggest challenge you faced since becoming a parent? I guess the self-doubt that I was just talking about. I never had a, what I'd consider, a good example of what a mother should be, I'm just making it up as I go along. Mostly, I'm just following my instinct, common sense, trying to be kind and courteous to my child. I'm being quite self-conscious about trying not to inflict any long-lasting damage to Ron in any way. It's not easy: a lot of the challenges that did creep up I think stemmed from that insecurity as a parent. Self-doubt. Stress. Hormones. Lack of sunlight. Resulted in me not making the healthiest food choices, hence the weight gain, and really exaggerated my mental health problems. And so I have a long-term depression that flared just after Ron was born. Yes, they were the challenges. I think I'm muddling through, I'm giving myself the benefit of the doubt. I look around and they think “well, my child is healthy, he's happy, he's active and so I must be doing something right.”
The best advice you've been given or the biggest piece of advice you could give to a new mum? I will answer both. The best piece of advice I've been given is to “be kind to myself”, to stop with the negative judgmental voice, to stop judging myself for not achieving perfection. The image of motherhood that I had in my mind is far from what the reality is and the reality is that it's... it's hard work, and it's exhausting, and it's stressful, and as I say we're just making it up as we go along and so it's very easy to keep judging yourself based on that perfect example - so “be kind to yourself” is the best advice I've been given.
My piece of advice, though - and that's kind of the best thing that I did - is if... “if you're struggling, it's okay to seek help”. We sort of been told and conditioned that us 21st century women are strong and independent, and capable, and we... we can totally do it all on our own but I think that's also a double-edged sword because when things don't go too well it's quite hard to swallow that pride and to ask for help. But actually it's probably what saved my family. Don't be afraid to ask for help, it does not make you a failure, it's actually a step to finding the new normal, and finding the new routine, and figuring out what works and what doesn't work. Because it's not easy, it really isn't. Not easy…
So the best piece of advice I've been given is “to be kind to yourself” and the best piece of advice that I'm passing on is “it's okay to ask for help, if you're struggling”. It's okay to struggle. It's okay not to be perfect. And it's okay to ask for help. It's true...
I really admire all the ladies who have raised their children on small remote islands, just... just like Eday and my biggest inspiration are the ladies who are raising their children on my island at the moment, and whose children are Ronnie's best friends. They really inspire me and they just validate my choices of coming here to Eday to raise a little boy. So I really admire all the women who've done it before and who’re currently doing it.
I watched Emily Norris's vlog and I have to say, Emily Norris is this inspirational woman - um, someone that I could never even begin to replicate. I mean, just have you seen her house? She's always very tidy, very pretty, very prepared… It's just not something I could do, but that's why I admire her so much.
And I've also watched Sophie’s Best. That is where I got the video idea from and I think she's a really sweet lady, she's very calm and very happy and I enjoy watching her vlogs.
I also regularly watch the Neave Family Vlogs. I know Rachel has done a similar questionnaire before but I would still like to tag them down in the description - check them out, if you haven't. She's really really good. She's the sort of mum who's organised, she has three kids all doing different things, she's just a great mum.
Thank you very much for watching this video, subscribe down below to find out what Mum Dee Does next week. It's been my pleasure, ta ta for now!