Do you ever feel like you’re the world’s worse mum?

I do.

Not everyday but some days. It’s usually on the days when I’ve shouted at one or both of the kids. When the house looks like we’ve had a party last month and we haven’t tidied up yet…
Messy kitchen

The days when the baby falls off a slide I thought she was too young to climb…

Spiderbaby

The days when I hurry the toddler 50 times in a short stretch of pavement. Or when I find the baby eating out of the food recycling bin. The days when I have a play date and I pay literally no attention to playing with the kids. The days when I feel happier, the closer bedtime approaches.

Sometimes it gets the better of me and as soon as they’re asleep I crash on the bed in a pile of tears. Sometimes I can’t even wait that long and I will be talking to them through tears which I hope they cannot see. And yes, on those days I feel like the world’s worse mum.

However, I know deep down that I’m not the world’s worse mum (and nor are you). Sometimes it’s much easier to look at what we’re doing wrong instead of what we’re doing right. And there’s plenty we’re doing that actually make us great mums. Here’s how I know that I’m not actually the world’s worse mum:

I have two seriously happy kids. Sure sometimes the baby is grumpy as hell, and sometimes the toddler will have a tantrum if I give her milk very warm when she only wants it “A LITTLE BIT WARM!!!” But overall my kids are extremely happy

FloEden5

Also I need to remember that I never ever set out to do a bad job, none of us do (that would just be weird). I’m doing my best everyday and even if that’s not always amazing, it’s my best that day.

The fact that my house is a mess is evidence that I play A LOT, maybe too much. But I never make a tidy house a priority.

(Disclaimer: If your house is tidy I’m not suggesting you’re wrong. You, in my opinion are a hero.)

When my baby falls off the slide it also means that I’m raising a pretty fearless baby, and that is a good thing. I don’t want her to be afraid, I want her to learn. She may get hurt sometimes but that’s what babies and toddlers do: they fall and then they get back on with doing it again.

I’m becoming a better mum everyday. I’m not getting worse, I’m learning. And you know the main thing that helps me to be a better mum:

TELLING THE TRUTH. That means when I’m finding it hard I admit it. When I’ve made a mistake I tell the hubby, I even tell the kids. By telling the truth I remember it, I see where I went wrong and what I could do differently. And I also get to see that despite my mistake my kids and husband don’t pack up and leave me, therefore I can’t possibly be the world’s worse mum.

So here’s to all us mums who think we’re the worlds worse. We are not. We are making mistakes but we are the only ones capable of doing our job and loving our kids the way we do. Everyday we do our very best job and even on some days if that’s crap, I guarantee the next day will be better.

Let’s keep telling the truth about our screw ups, our fears, our inner thoughts. Because only then can we realise that they are complete and utter bull.

Me&Girls

(If you don’t feel like you can reveal your warts to anyone, feel free to reveal them to me: kerry@unconditionalmama.co.uk)

The true impact of iPhone addiction

FullSizeRender (4)I will admit, I do have a teeny tiny addiction to my phone, the internet and Facebook. It’s been an escape for me, an escape from constant toddler questions such as: “why?” and “who is that?” An escape from my messy house. A place I can go and feel like an adult, where I’m not needed by anyone, where I can read articles and interesting posts be nosy. But there are serious down sides. This week I reduced my phone time by about half (especially during the day) and I got to see what a difference a phone makes. Here’s what I noticed:

To begin with I missed it

For the first 2 or 3 days I found myself thinking about my phone a lot, wondering if I had any messages, if I was ‘missing’ anything. What could I possibly be missing that was more important that what was standing in front of me right now: my two beauties? I’m so glad I got to see that.

Being on my phone makes parenting HARDER work

Playing ALL day, cooking, cleaning, disciplining, planning and shopping is hard, but it’s actually harder when I’m distracted (by my phone). When I’m serving dinner, answering “why” questions and browsing the internet it’s really stressful. I’m trying to do too much. Spending time online is another thing to do, another thing to add to our busy-ness. I’m actually less stressed without my phone and I feel happier.

I have more energy

This one was surprising but I seemed to have more energy and more fun with the kids. Is it possible that the internet drains our energy? Perhaps it’s all the reading we do, perhaps the comparing, perhaps the strain on our eyes. Who knows? But I definitely had more energy when I used my phone less.

I have more time

Similarly I have more time, I actually brushed my hair everyday this week (house is still a tip but I wasn’t expecting miracles…)

I am less worried about my parenting skills

This was a huge realisation. I found that the content I read would seriously affect me. I tend to read a lot of parenting articles (even worse I sometimes just read the comments). For some unknown reason I would read articles about breastfeeding when I’m not breastfeeding. Blogs about attachment parenting when I’m not that kind of mum at all. Every time I read an article on one or more of the subjects that don’t apply to me, I find ‘evidence’ that I’m a bad mum, when this isn’t true. Whenever I’ve read an article not really aimed at me, within minutes I’m completely empty and I have nothing to give my kids. All because I’ve read something on the internet that was even written for me. When I cut down my phone usage I’m not reading any articles on how to parent my child, I just do it! Why do we concern ourselves with other methods and techniques? None of them matter. What matters is that we are doing the very best that we can for our children.

So there it is. By cutting my phone usage in half I was more connected to my children, had more energy and felt like a good mum. Plus I haven’t missed anything important from less phone time, surely that’s why we have voicemail? Don’t get me wrong I do love technology, I just know I don’t need it to be a better, more loving mum.

After all, life is for living not for browsing. It’s for seeking happiness in every moment, not trying to escape from them. Being a mum is about trusting you are doing your best, not reading ‘evidence’ that you are not.

Will you cut down your phone, internet and social media usage? Do it for a week, I would love to hear your learning’s.

Stay cool.

A Mum’s Biggest Enemy: Guilt

FullSizeRender (2)Mum Guilt begins (I think) during pregnancy. It did for me anyway. I felt guilty for not taking pregnancy supplements. I felt guilty for not eating enough fish, for constantly forgetting my folic acid, for eating too much sugar, and for not being active enough.

Then there was labour, and guilt for not being able to bring her into the world all by myself. I felt guilty that I couldn’t take care of her physically and that we didn’t have skin to skin.

I hear stories of Mum Guilt all of the time: Child fell down the stairs, didn’t want to sleep in their own bed, swallowed detergent, had a bad day at pre-school. Stories of mums being told they’re not liked by their kids. As mums we often feel the need to take the blame for just about everything. Our children are our responsibility sure, but feeling and carrying guilt is pointless and sometimes a little stupid.

Here are just a sample of things I’ve felt guilty about recently:

  • Constantly rushing my toddler
  • Sometimes forgetting I have a second baby… Then remembering but forgetting her name
  • Raising my voice
  • Crying after a bad day
  • Missing my old life
  • Viewing work as a break
  • Not having the energy to play non-stop all day, 365 days a year
  • Giving my toddler too many treats
  • Not giving my toddler any treats
  • The baby crawling around our dirty kitchen floor
  • Not cleaning the bathroom as often as I should
  • Not loving them as much as I think I should
  • Craving adult company
  • Wishing the day away

I don’t feel these things every day but I’ve spent a lot of my motherhood feeling guilt. And it’s a killer!

All of the things we feel guilty about are either out of our control or a mistake. Feeling guilty about them not only makes them seem worse than they were, but it keeps the event right with us today, even though it may have happened weeks, months or years ago.

If we’re feeling guilty about anything we simply cannot be loving. Guilt is selfish, it is never about our children, it is only ever about us. The things we feel guilty about our kids have absolutely no idea of, nor care about. My toddler doesn’t know that I ‘failed’ during labour, she doesn’t know how I feel about work and she doesn’t need to. Right now, all she needs to know is that I love her. I know for a fact that children would never want us to feel guilty because as soon as we do, we’re pretty grumpy and completely unavailable; when we feel guilty we are not focused on them, which is about all they do care about.

Guilt keeps us trapped. If we feel guilty then we are focusing on something bad and when we do that it’s very hard for us to shake it off and think of the good things that we do. Of which there are many! I am not a bad mum, neither are you. We are always doing our best.

So next time we feel guilty, let’s be honest and remember that guilt is about us and only us. Let’s not spend one more minute in the past (which we cannot change) but focus on the moment we are in right now. Let’s remember that we must let go of the guilt to be better mummies, feeling guilty only hinders us. Let’s spend more time focusing on all the good things we do, all the grateful feelings we have. Let’s put a stop to feeling guilty. Right now. Are you with me?

When you don’t bond with your baby

Me, pregnantI believe that when we’re pregnant, we know expect we are going to bond with our baby. We love them when they are in our tummies so we can’t imagine how much we’re going to love them when we have them in our arms. This expectation is natural, and not always met.

When I had my first baby, my mind and body was pretty shocked. I didn’t feel the rush of hormones when a baby comes out naturally. I didn’t have skin to skin, I was drugged up, in stirrups and exhausted. When I looked at her I remember thinking “you don’t look like my baby”. It wasn’t what I was expecting to think or feel.

When we got home from the hospital I expected us to bond because I would be in familiar surroundings, we would be alone, a family. We didn’t. My healing was slow and painful. I couldn’t breastfeed. I could barely walk so taking care of her physically and emotionally was almost impossible. I was desperate to feel a bond that just wasn’t there. So I pretended – lied – to the people around me, petrified of what they might think if they knew how I felt. And then there was the guilt. The guilt which kept me trapped; trapped in the past and trapped in fear.

I don’t even remember when or how the bond started to develop and I know we’ve still got a way to go. I love her more now than I ever have but there are a few things I know I need to do in order to really bond connect with loving her as I know I can. Perhaps you might take something from this too…

Firstly, I need to forgive myself. What happened during and post-labour wasn’t my fault. She’s healthy, she’s happy, everything’s OK. I didn’t ‘get it wrong’ or ‘let her down’. Feeling guilty or afraid won’t help me to be a better mum, in fact it will stand in the way of me being the best mum I can be.

Secondly, I need to focus on the now. I have to stop dwelling on the past and what I could or should have done and I need to stop worrying about our relationship in the future. This doesn’t help her and it doesn’t help me. I will love her today and right now that’s the only thing that matters.

So, if like me, the initial bond with your baby isn’t (or wasn’t) there, don’t be afraid. They don’t need a ‘bond’, they need a mum (or dad) who is absolutely determined to love them in spite of everything. A mum (or dad) who is dedicated to learning how to better love them everyday. A mum who doesn’t care so much about bonding with their children, but cares only for their happiness. That’s real love.

Don’t judge me, I won’t judge you

Dont judge me2 I do it. You do it. We all do it.

As we listen and we watch… we judge.

Let’s stop.

There are no two mums the same. Even me and my sister who were raised by the same two parents and had children just a month apart take an entirely different approach to parenting. None of us know what’s best, we all do what we think is best for our child and for us. Some mums make decisions based on what’s right for their baby, and some make decisions based on what’s right for them. Some of us co-sleep while others put the baby in their own room at a few days old. Some mums breastfeed while others turn to the bottle (milk bottle). There are so many differences, in fact I even parent my second baby slightly differently to my first because I have changed so much in two years. I am not the same as I was two years ago, I am not the same as you.

We all have a different approach based on our upbringing, our personalities, our families, our personal preference, our experiences as people and as mums.

I read blogs that are written with humour, attacked by readers for appearing to be ungrateful parents. I read Twitter debates about Breastfeeding, peoples opinions being slated, a mum photographing another for doing something ‘wrong’.

It’s sad… and pretty pointless don’t you think?

Lets stop.

We all do what’s best for us, for our families and for our babies. We don’t know what another mum has gone through in her life, what she’s going through now. So how can we judge? We must simply accept that we are doing it differently.

I recently told someone of my decision not to breastfeed. She looked at me as though I had told her that I feed my kids chicken feet for breakfast. She probably did so without thinking, reacted without regard for how I might feel. And I realise I probably do the same thing too: react, judge, make another woman feel ‘less than’ when she’s doing what she feels is best. That’s why I’m writing this post. To remind us mums that what we think and feel, we show, and what we show, often hurts. We need to remember that our differences do not make any of us wrong, they make us unique. They gives us the opportunity to learn.

Let’s stop judging those who do things differently from us, let’s not silently criticise. Instead let’s accept each others decisions, learn from one another, let’s observe, let’s support.

So if you see me carrying a smelly baby in one hand and a crying toddler in the other, don’t judge me. If you see me making up my formula bottle, don’t judge me. If you see me in a stare, looking like I’m on (or wishing I was on) another planet, don’t judge me. Because when I see you doing something that’s different to me, when I see you having a bad day, I won’t judge you.

Deal?

 

The advantages of being a working mummy

Working mummyReturning to work is a tricky decision for us mums. Some find it harder than others obviously. For me, I can’t seem to not work.

I started my own business in 2008 – it was a massive failure, yet I got hooked all the same. I fell in love with building something, earning money, meeting other business owners, learning, failing, succeeding and so on. Basically I enjoyed it. When I became I mum I knew that I didn’t want to work full-time, but I knew I wanted to do something. Something for me, something aside from being a mum.

So now I work part-time alongside my husband, I’m working on creating something for new mums, and I also write… therapeutic stuff like this.

I’ve found benefits of working, mainly for me but some benefits for my kids as well. Here they are, all 8 of them:

1. It gives me more energy. When I haven’t worked, by a Friday I’m craving a break, something that requires my brain to think creatively – and not just “what shall we make our den from?”

When I have worked during the week, I’m more grateful for the time I spend with my girls and I have tonnes more energy when I’m with them.

2. By working I am showing my girls that they too are capable of many things. They can be a decent mum and have outside interests. They can work and still be around for their children.

3. It’s a part of who I am, what I enjoy. I love working and if I deny that side of myself, will I be a better mum? Nope. Being true to who I am is important to me – and how I am as a mum.

4. It gives my husband the opportunity to spend time with the children by himself (without my all-knowing interference). This also helps him to understand why the house is nearly always a mess and why sometimes we have cheese and crackers for dinner.

5. I have something other than the children to talk about with the hubby. Not that children aren’t an interesting topic, I re-tell him every story, every amazing moment and every tricky one each evening, but I also get to share the other side of me, the working one.

6. I get to teach my kids that love isn’t always physically being there. They get to learn that I love them when I am in the house and when I am out of the house. They learn that they are important to me, but not all that I am.

7. I get to bring an extra income into the house. This means we get to buy the occasional t-shirt or a day trip to Puxton. It’s not much but in the wise words of Tesco: Every little helps.

8. When our children grow up and leave for school, university, work, marriage or a cult, I will still have skills that allow me to work.

Disclaimer: I have spent six months being a full time mummy and I’ve absolutely loved it. I do believe there are advantages of being a full-time mum for the children and for us parents. I don’t think either way is better or worse, I only speak of what is best for me (and I’m sure other working mums too).

I’m not a mum who is good at making things, I don’t have bags of physical energy. I am not the world’s best mum. I do my best (as do you) and for me that means being a mum who learns about parenting – and being loving. It means accepting my children always. And for me it means occasionally – and always – working.

For those who have pooed your pants

Delilah pooIt’s a given that once you’ve had a baby your pelvic floor can be severely affected. In fact almost all mums have much less control of their bladder post-baby. I’ve heard several confessions of mums who wee when they sneeze, run, jump, cough, bend over (that one is me) but I rarely hear confessions of when mums poo in their pants. And I know some have – and that’s OK. Here’s my confession:

When I had my first baby, it was traumatic. There were forceps, gaping holes and infections. My recovery (or lack of) was so difficult that when a midwife told me I had black rotting skin on my wotsit, I went downstairs and pooed my pants. I cleaned myself up [not true. My mum cleaned me up as I cried like a baby] then I called the hospital to book a review of the rotting wotsit and yep, I poo’d again. In fact I had trouble stopping.

It continued for a few weeks and although a nurse told me I had urinary and foecal incontinence it turns out it was stress incontinence and went away as my nerves eventually calmed.

This was probably one of the worst times of my life. I had a new baby who was unfamiliar to me, a failing bladder and bowel, and really sh*tty pants. I was convinced I was the most vile person on the planet and felt completely betrayed by my body.

Ever so slowly with the support of some amazing people in my life I started to heal physically and emotionally. I’m not completely healed and I still plan trips around my bowel but I’ve accepted that this is yet another consequence of having children.

Weeing in your pants is widely accepted and can be amusing to talk about, but pooing feels more shameful, more dirty, when really it’s just the same. It has absolutely no impact on how worthy you are, how special you are.

So for all you amazing mums who have pooed your pants: you are not alone. You have nothing to be ashamed of. You are just as beautiful as the lovely mums who wee.

#changemindsnotbodies

What’s wrong with being wrong?

Delilah2As mums we all want to do a good job – of course. But there’s more to it than that; for many of us there’s also a fear of failing, of getting it wrong, of seriously screwing up our kids. And we probably will… My parents were amazing, perfect? No (sorry mum). They made mistakes which created behaviours and fears in me that I don’t particularly like. But they did the best they could, just like I am, just like you are.

I think we should embrace being wrong, talk freely about our mistakes, our fears, our true feelings. Let’s face it we’re all making mistakes, is it better to hide them away or share them? Hiding them won’t make you feel better, believe me I’ve tried. There’s a pretty good chance that other mums are making the exact same mistakes as you (or worse) and I feel much more connected to an honest mum, someone who trusts me with her ‘dark side’. Let’s not hide our mistakes, let’s own up and really connect. What’s wrong with being wrong? A cliché I know but getting it wrong is how we learn, how our children learn.

Here then are some of the mistakes I’ve made during my parenting (mainly with baby number one… poor thing):

  1. I was so afraid she might die without me in the room that I took her around the house with me: into the kitchen to make a cuppa, into the bathroom to have a wee… Everywhere. And guess what? She’s almost 3 and she hates being in a room on her own.
  2. At around 6 months I finally left her while I cleaned my teeth just once, and she fell off the bed
  3. I was much less afraid to leave baby number 2 but didn’t think not to leave the baby and the toddler alone… Toddler fed her a crisp at 2 weeks old and pulled her out of her bumbo and dropped her at 5 months.
  4. I once put baby 1 “safely” down in her car seat outside… right next to my sisters car exhaust while the car was running…
  5. I returned to work when baby 1 was three months old because I was “ready”. This is perfectly fine for some mums, there’s no judgement here. But I wasn’t really ready, I hadn’t yet adjusted to being a mum so no way was I ready to jiggle this and work. It didn’t go well.
  6. I was convinced that a ‘good mum’ was a fun mum therefore I played with baby 1 constantly and now I can’t go to the toilet without her asking when I’m coming back and what we will play
  7. I may have once or twice used the commonly used term: “Huh?” when I haven’t quite heard what someone has said and now the toddler says this same word after every single sentence… Sometimes before I’ve even finished the sentence.

I could go on… and on…

Some of my mistakes and wrong-doings were made out of fear (some just stupidity). And when I’m in fear of being wrong or causing my kids harm what am I teaching them? That I can’t be trusted to look after them, that they cannot be trusted to ‘survive’ or manage things by themselves, that being wrong is bad. Rubbish. I want to teach my girls courage, I want them to be (relatively) fearless, I want them to know that it doesn’t matter one bit if they make mistakes, get it wrong or in some way fail at anything.

Some of the things I’ve done wrong I can laugh at now (cried at the time) and others have had an impact on who my girls are becoming. Their behaviours and characters are being shaped by what I have done and said, what I continue to do… And you know what? No matter how wrong I get this, how badly I screw up at times it won’t make any difference to how much I love them. And I love them exactly as they are, odd habits and all. This means that no matter how wrong I get it, it can’t change how I feel about them. And that’s all they really need to know. My kids don’t need me to flawless, just to love them exactly as they are.

So I ask again, what’s wrong with being wrong? Huh? 😉

A Baby Weight Loss Program With a Difference

Weight lossBefore I had my first baby I was a size 8/10. Quite hard to imagine now, two babies and two dress sizes later. Since then I have tried (albeit quite feebly) to get some of what I had before: a tighter, less lumpy, less bumpy body.

I know I’m not alone, that mums have a baby and weeks later join Slimming World. That some mums get fixated on ‘getting their bodies back’ like a stranger had previously ran off with it. I’ve done that too.

I’ve read other mummy blogs from mum’s who chart their weight loss as a way of inspiring other mums. They don’t inspire me. Those who do inspire me are mums who accept and love their bodies after giving birth. People like Taryn Brumfitt who wants to change women’s attitudes towards their bodies.

I don’t want to change my body, but I do want to change how I view it. Therefore I don’t really need a baby weight loss program. Instead I need a plan which allows me to embrace my body. Here goes:

Acceptance

First off I need to accept that I have changed. My body was simply different before but it wasn’t necessarily better. When you grow a baby in your tummy and then give birth, how on earth do we expect it to spring back to the way it was?!

I need to accept that just as I have changed since being a mum, so my body shape – and some of its functions – have also changed.

Taking responsibility

It’s also important for me to take responsibility for choices I made during pregnancy (to enjoy pregnancy I made a conscious decision to eat whatever I liked, which at the time seemed like a really fun idea). Plus, I continue to make the same choices two years on only now I don’t use being pregnant as an excuse. Yep, I still eat whatever I like but I justify it by saying such things as: “Well I don’t go out much, so I may as well enjoy my food”.

Trusting the hubby

My other half is many things, but a liar he is not. When he tells me he loves me I need to trust that he loves me instead of asking in my head “how could you love this?” When he grabs my bottom I need to start trusting it’s because he can’t keep his hands off me, rather than assuming he must need a big stress ball. And when he gives me those ‘come to bed eyes’ I need to trust that he’s looking right at me and not picturing some size 8 bombshell. He loves me as I am, not as I was.

Remember I am loved

How I look is unimportant. What’s important is remembering that no matter how many bumps I have, I am still loved. I am not loved for my body, just simply for being me.

I don’t want my girls to know that their body size and shape matters. Because it really doesn’t. Not for them, not for me, not for you. Each body is different: Nobody has a body like theirs, nor mine, nor yours.

And above all else, what matters is that whether we are underweight, overweight or practically perfect, we can look in the mirror and see someone worthy of love. We were worthy before babies and we are worthy after. Worthy whether thin or fat.

So here’s my challenge to you if you see fat fit:

Don’t make a weight loss target. Make your target to accept your body as it is. Let’s not change our bodies but change our minds.

Think of the impact this will have on our children.

#fatterdontmatter

#Changemindsnotbodies

(If you are unable to look in the mirror and feel worthy of love then please read a copy of Real Love which has helped me and my family beyond almost anything else).

Why don’t you ask for help?

help2I believe people are generally quite terrible at asking for help. Especially us mum’s. Think about the number of times you’ve said one of these: “It’s OK I can do it”, “No thanks, I’m on it”, “It’s fine, I’ve done it loads of times”. Now compare that with how many times you’ve said: “Can you help me?”.

Yes, mum’s are amazing, we multitask like nobody else on the planet, we give, we play, we love, we feed, we plan, we clean, we work, we listen. We don’t however like to ask for help or accept it when it’s offered, and we don’t always tell the truth when we’re finding things really tiring, difficult, stressful or depressing.

Only tonight I burnt three of my knuckles on the oven – ouch! It hurt so much my face and body went hot, I ran it under the cold tap until my hand went numb but as soon as I turned the water off it was agony. So what did I do next..? Well I put both kids to bed. I read to Florence whilst feeding Eden with a cold flannel wrapped around my fingers. I was in pain the entire time and constantly telling myself “almost done, don’t think of the pain” when what I really should have said was: “Hey Ben can you take over?” He would have done it in a flash, but it seems asking for help is actually more difficult than putting two young kids to bed single-handedly (literally).

What’s so wrong with asking for help anyway?

We somehow think it makes us weak or seem like failures. I don’t know about you but for me it might have something to do with how my mum was. She told me time and time again that my Dad worked away a lot when we were little, that her mum didn’t help her with us and that she raised us pretty much alone. What I would have heard is: “I did it, so you can do it”. My mum didn’t mean to give me this message, but it’s what I came to believe. I forget that my mum didn’t work, that she was 10 years younger than I was when I started a family. Nutrition and diet planning wasn’t as important to her and she didn’t have the distractions of email, WhattsApp and social media. Times have changed. And yet our willingness to ask for help hasn’t.

And what effect is this having on our children?

I’m only seeing it now. When Florence needs help, she doesn’t ask; she cries, moans or get’s irritated. I haven’t properly taught her that she gets to ask for help whenever she likes. I haven’t displayed in my actions how this might look. So how can I change this? I’ll keep reminding her that when she asks for help I will listen. I will make sure that when she does ask for help I do in fact listen! I won’t help her when she cries without asking and most importantly I will make sure she see’s me asking for help when I need it.

Why is it so important to ask for help?

It will make us more loving and here is why: I know when I’m running on empty; I’m pretty irritable and I usually have a vacant ‘here but not here’ look about me. I’m no fun for Florence or Eden and I can feel myself watching the clock for bedtime. How loving am I being in those moments? Not very! This afternoon I asked Ben to play with Florence so that I could go for a walk with the buggy as Eden slept. I took a slow and quiet trip to Sainsbury’s where I bought some essentials – nappies and chocolate. When I came home I was a different person. I was happy, full of energy and grateful. What a difference a walk makes! In doing this I can see that me asking for help doesn’t make me weak, it makes me strong when I’m having a moment of weakness. It doesn’t make me a failure, it makes me a success for the rest of the day.

Asking for help can make us feel vulnerable, but let’s see this as a good thing. Sharing our vulnerability with others can make us feel really connected, and give others permission to do the same.

What if you don’t have a partner who’s around as much as mine, or parents who live as close? You can ask friends, siblings or trusty neighbours. You may be surprised to see how people love to help. How good do you feel when you help someone who needs a hand?

Despite our reluctance to ask for help, our ability to give it is pretty special. So when a friend or fellow mummy offers you help, don’t say “it’s OK”, grab it with both hands and run. Let’s get better at asking for (or accepting) help and show our children that when they need help, all they have to do is ask.