Finding your Tribe.

Find your Tribe

When I was pregnant I spent a lot of time perusing pinterest devouring everything I could find about parenting, coping with a newborn, survival tips, etc… Seriously, any blog post entitled “top 10 things no one tells you about becoming a mother” or “The secret to surviving with a newborn” was bookmarked and read over an over again whenever a moment of panic came over me. I frequently found myself wondering how I would cope, especially without my Mum to turn to for sage advice.

A lot of the blog posts were repetitive and fairly obvious, but occasionally I came across a gem of advice that stuck with me. One such piece of advice was “Find your tribe”… Let me explain.

There are literally thousands of different parenting styles, breast vs bottle, attachment parenting, tiger moms, baby wearing, cloth nappies, SAHM vs working, baby-led vs routines… Everyone has their own style that works for them and as this video I saw on facebook today shows, things can get cliquey and even sort of aggressive…(WARNING; ends with all the feels)



… But at the end of the day we all want whats best for our babies, and despite our own preferences we all are the same deep down.

With this in mind I wanted to share my experiences in finding my tribe, groups of women without whom I could not have coped half as well in those early days of motherhood.

Facebook; I have always been a fan of online friendships, you don’t necessarily have to meet someone face to face to have a connection and my birth group on facebook is a prime example of this. When I was pregnant I downloaded the Babycentre app which included a forum with groups for each month you are due. So I joined the November forum and enjoyed sharing my experiences of morning sickness and worries over lack of symptoms etc…. It was invaluable in those early weeks when we weren’t telling people. However, the danger with open online forums is trolls and drama, so a private facebook group was set up and I can honestly say they are the loveliest bunch of women in the world. It is brilliant having a tribe of 200 mothers to connect with during night feeds, people to share experiences with, share and seek advice and most importantly have a laugh with.

Instagram; I’ve always been a fan of instagram, but since having Zoe I have discovered a whole new side to it. When posting all the initial newborn baby spam I came across a tribe of mums and dads, all full of advice and eager to share their own lives. Also when you are sleep deprived the picture-based social media is much easier to take in.

Classes and clubs; I have signed up for a few classes in the last few weeks, I went to my first one last week (actually with a couple of ladies I met through the above facebook group) and loved getting out and socialising, and seeing Zoe socialise with other babies. I have also been along to a “sling meet” to try out different slings, and meet other baby-wearers. Getting out of the house is important for my sanity, and meeting up with adults and having proper two sided conversations; priceless.

Existing friends with kids; Once you become a mother you gain a new found respect for your friends with kids. I am lucky enough to have some wonderful mummy friends who have imparted their wisdom and helped me more than they know.

I suppose this post is part advice, find a group of parents you connect with, either online or at local groups and utilise their wisdom; afterall it does take a village. It is also part HUGE GREAT BIG THANK YOUS! to all of the wonderful mothers (and fathers) who have reached out to me and helped me come to terms with this life changing event.

Oh, and if you are a parent (or chronic insomniac) feel free to reach out to me, I can usually be found on instagram and twitter during night feeds, desperate for something to keep my eyes open.

Meal Planning Monday – 26th January.

MMM

Well meal planning Monday with a new born is harder then anticipated. Zoe has been going through a bit of a growth spurt which basically means she hates being anywhere but in my arms and is a feeding machine! So last week there was a take-away and lots of improvised freezer meals.

I still want to give meal planning a try though, having a plan helps me feel in control and efficient. Also, it means I plan my shopping list and save money, rather than just buying cheddar biscuits and bags of giant cadbury’s buttons.

So here we go…

Monday
I’m going to Asda with my sister after work to do my weekly shop, so I won’t have lots of time to cook, I will probably just

pick something up that is easy like a fresh pizza and salad.

Tuesday
Twice baked potatoes with corned beef and salad.

Wednesday
Midweek Roast Chicken – because I am a rebel.

Thursday
Leftover Roast Chicken Pie.

Friday
Chilli and brown rice

Saturday
Paprika Chicken with risotto (its a packet risotto from Aldi which we love)

Sunday
Epic bacon sandwiches – Paul makes the best bacon sandwiches in the world, we tend to have them at midday and then they fill us up until tea time.

We have quite a few plans this week, meeting with friends for cake, taster sessions of baby classes, baby and toddler group but I am hopeful that having plans and structure to my day will help me be more organised. Wish me luck!

I have carefully planned my shopping list and according to Asda online, if I stick to my list it will be £45.05 (If only I could curb my Dolce Gusto addiction it would be £35.05.)

I have linked my plan with Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday linky, which has lots of great plans and recipes for inspiration!

Meal Planning Monday – 12th January

Cute picture of Zoe, just because…

I started back with the meal plan last week, which went well for 3 days, then I had a take away or 2 out of tiredness and not wanting to cook. With this in mind I have decided to make extra of meals and freeze portions, to make sure I have options on hand for those tired/lazy nights.

Without further ado, on with the show!

Breakfast for me will either be porridge, toast or fruit, and lunch will be either leftovers, pasta or soup.

Monday
Homemade soup and crusty bread (2 x portions for the freezer)

Tuesday
Tuna pasta bake (leftovers for lunches)

Wednesday
Toad in the hole with mashed potato and carrots. (leftover for lunches)

Thursday
Gammon steak with homemade wedges and a fried egg.

Friday
Cottage pie (2 x portions for the freezer)

Quite a simple winter warming meal plan, with meals that can be prepared in stages throughout the day, as the baby has been a bit clingy and grumpy over the weekend, although I am hoping that doesn’t continue.

I have linked my plan with Mrs M’s linky, which has lots of great plans and recipes for inspiration!

Leftover Roast Chicken Pie

Pie

Part of my 2015 plan of action was to be more frugal and meal plan. This is one of my favourite frugal recipes, and is a really simple way to use leftover roast chicken and veggies. We tend to have a roast chicken dinner on a Sunday evening, so this is the ideal Monday night meal.

I always have butter and flour in my kitchen so whipping up a simple shortcrust takes 10 minutes.

This is the perfect recipe to do in stages throughout the day, inbetween feeding the baby, nappy changes, cuddles etc…

It is really adaptable too, you can throw in any veggies you have to use up, I usually just go with carrots, turnip and peas as those are the veggies we like, but I have also tried leeks, onions, sweetcorn and butternut squash.

I am not going to share my shortcrust recipe again, as I have blogged it many times before, click on the link if you need the pastry recipe, but any shortcrust will do, even shop bought.

print recipe
Leftover Roast Chicken Pie
Ingredients
  • 60g Butter
  • 60g Flour
  • 1 pint Chicken Stock
  • Leftover Roast Chicken, shreaded
  • 2 Carrots, diced
  • 1/4 Turnip, diced
  • a handful or two Peas
  • A pinch Salt, pepper, mustard poweder (to taste)
Instructions
Melt the butter in a large saucepan or skillet.Once melted add the flour, and stir until it comes together into a clump/paste, cook off for 3-5 minutes.Add chicken stock a bit at a time and stir to incorporate. It will look a little lumpy at first but keep stirring and adding until fully incorporated into a nice smooth sauce.Add the diced carrot and turnip to the stock and cook on a gentle simmer for 10 minutes until the veggies are tender.Once the vegetables are tender add the shreaded roast chicken and peas.Take the filling off the heat and cool, ready for assembling the pie.

This pie lasts us one evening meal and lunch the next day, it is one of our favourite meals. It may not be the healthiest but its one of the few meals with vegetables that Paul will eat, so I chalk it up to a win!

I’d love to see any frugal, family friendly recipes you love, feel free to share them below!

One Month in the World.

Zoe Jean 1

One Month in the world, where on earth has that time gone?!

In the last 4 weeks Zoe has gone from a squashy little newborn to a slightly bigger squashy little 4 week old. She is starting to hold her head up on her own, she is making different facial expressions (although no smiles yet), and she is getting so much bigger! She no longer fits into her newborn sleepsuits! (WAH!).

One Month

I am looking forward to seeing her grow and develop, but I also want her to be this small and wonderful forever. I’m planning on doing one of these posts every month for her first year, I think it will be a lovely little record of her development. Seeing how quick this first month has gone has made me realise that its going to be very easy to forget the little things, so these “In the World” posts will act as a reminder for how far Zoe has come and how much she has grown each month.

Newborn essentials.

The second you announce your pregnancy you get inundated with advice from anyone and everyone, everyone has their tips and tricks for coping with a newborn, and while each baby is different, I loved reading everyones experiences and enjoyed figuring out what worked for Zoe.

I bought a lot of things people recommended, and to be honest alot of it didn’t work for us, but it helped to have options and things to try. So, with this in mind I thought I would share what worked for us.

1. Moses basket and rocking stand – Cribs, cots, baskets, co-sleeping… Oh my! So many options. A lot of Mums I spoke to told me their babies hated moses baskets, so I was worried we would be wasting our money, but I wanted something that could go next to our bed to make middle of the night feeds easier and keep her close by. Cribs and things are pretty pricey and not as easy to move around, we carry the moses basket downstairs through the day.
luckily she absolutely loves it and at this very moment is fast asleep next to me in her basket. I opted for the rocking stand, despite lots of people telling me their baby hated it, or they became reliant on being rocked etc… Zoe liked being rocked but isn’t dependant on it to fall asleep, plus it looks really nice.

2. Munchkin Pour and Strain Whales – Zoe loves a bath, we have started having one every night as it really chills her out at her fussiest time of day and I find she tends to fall asleep after a bath. The first couple of baths we struggled to hold her and wash her, so when we were bought these whales they were a godsend. They act like little shower heads, so we can easily rinse her hair and wash her little body. I can’t wait until she is old enough to play with them too.

3. Sleeping Bags – When we first brought Zoe home we were using blankets in the moses basket as she was too small for the sleeping bags I had bought. She never liked the blankets and kicked them off constantly. Since we started using the sleeping bags she is much easier to settle after a night feed, as I keep her in the bag to feed, so there is no loss of warmth when she goes back to her basket. An absolute lifesaver for getting back to sleep quickly (her and me).

4. Nursing Pillow – We are breastfeeding Zoe on demand. So some days I spend hours with a baby attached to my boob. After a while this can take its toll on your back. I have found my nursing pillow a necessity, it makes the whole experience much more comfortable for both of us. If you plan on breastfeeding for any length of time, its worth the investment.

5. Lansinoh – The most recommended product by a mile, every single mum I met when pregnant mentioned this dream cream and now I am one of them. The benefit of this product is that it is safe for baby to feed when using it. My over-used nips are eternally grateful for this little purple tube.

6. H&M Nursing Vests – Finding fashionable and affordable nursing clothes is a challenge, so I am eternally grateful to H&M for their Mama range. Their vests are great, they have the clips for easy access and come in a nice range of colours and patterns. If anyone has any other nursing clothing recommendations, please shout!

7. Dolce Gusto Latte – A no brainer for any sleep deprived parents, a lovely latte in the morning helps wake me up and feel human.

8. Muslins – Puke, milky dribbles, leaky boobs… Motherhood is glamorous! I always have a muslin to hand wherever I am.

9. Sleepsuits – Repeat after me… Integral scratch mits. Seriously, why don’t all newborn sleepsuits have this? I have 7-8 sleepsuits with integral mits, and 35 without, guess which ones Zoe lives in? Newborn fingernails are sharp little suckers and separate mittens will fall off approximately 65,000 times a day.

10. Benefit They’re Real – I have not even thought about make-up since Zoe was born, I am lucky if I get a shower and can blowdry my hair! But sometimes you need a little something to make you feel like you made an effort. This mascara is a winner for me, lovely long thick lashes and a dash of lip gloss = One glamorous mamma.

So there you have it, my top 10 things to help you cope with those first 4-6 weeks of motherhood. There is one more item I wanted to add but I decided to dedicate an entire post to it, as its something I love using and I want to really harp on about it. So there is something for you to look forward to…

Hope you are enjoying these baby posts, as always, I love to hear your opinions and comments below.