Lean In: A Must-Read Book For Working Mums (Career Loving Parents)

Friday 25th November 2016


The time is vast approaching when I will be returning to work full time following nearly ten months maternity leave.

I’m not going to lie. I’ve really struggled being away from work for this amount of time.

Since I was sixteen, I’ve worked full time.

Half my life in fact.

So to go from that to being at home with a baby all day has been somewhat of a culture shock for me.

I’m used to being busy. I like being busy. I’m typing this as I try and cram some ‘me time’ in as Ella naps. I’ve blogged to keep me sane.

I’ve got a brain.

I want to use it not lose it.

And it’s helped massively.

But what has spurred me on even more to make the decision (to be a full time working mum) is Sheryl Sandberg’s book ‘Lean In’.

Missuswolf Lean In Sheryl Sandberg Kindle cover with baby shoes and wand

I’m choosing to go back full time. I want to stay in this rat race.

I know Ella will be fine at nursery – heck nursery will prep her for school, which in turn preps her for the world.

At her visit last week she was craning her neck to see what was going on. She was desperately trying to wriggle out of my arms to join in.

I’m not worried about her going to nursery in the slightest. It will be good for her development – better than what I could ever provide her.

I don’t want her to have flown the nest and I’ve sacrificed my ambitions when I had the opportunity to chase them.

Missuswolf Mother and daughter walking on a country lane

Ella’s not mine to keep.

She’s mine to teach.

One day she will have a life of her own.

And I’ve thought this practically from the day she was born.

I’ll do my job with her and always love her beyond belief.

But we are both human beings and want the best for ourselves out of life.

In the book, Sheryl mentions Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller foundation, and the subject of how women choose to leave the workforce.

It would make sense for me to cut my hours. In essence I’m working to pay for my child to go to nursery and the household bills with very little play money at the end.

Missuswolf piggybank

But I’ve chosen to do this.

I don’t want to give up my career now when I was at the peak of it prior to maternity leave.

I’ve worked too hard. I’ve put in too many hours to just hold my hands up and step down.

Because in a couple of years, Ella will be at pre-school. Then actual school.

What do I do then? If I’d chose to leave the workforce, I’d be back in a position where I could go full time and not have to pay the nursery fees.

After discussing this with my OH, we are both acutely aware that the next couple of years are going to be hard financially.

But it won’t last.

Plus, we’ve struggled and survived on my maternity pay this year. We can make it through the next couple of years.

If I look back to November last year when I was twenty weeks pregnant, the time has flown over. I now have an eight month old.

Next November, I’ll have a twenty month old. Nearing that gap to fifteen hours free nursery care. Which will certainly ease the burden.

So I know I can do this.

I think maternity leave is the hardest part. You’re left alone to deal with this baby day in, day out, with little help and lack of money.

But come weekends and trips away, with the OH, family and friends – I don’t feel the stress and burden anymore. And bizarrely, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my KIT days. They’ve been welcome breaks.

I’m not saying this is what everyone should do – far from it. Every family set-up and circumstance is different. This isn’t a bash at parents who stay at home or work part time. It’s simply what I’ve chosen to do and I’ve found a book that’s supported my thought process.

This post is in case there are any like minded people out there struggling to come to a decision. I want them to read this and know it’s OK.

Sheryl broaches the subject that us women are often the breadwinners in our generation. So we do have to go back full time. Which is good. However, we’re penalised with nursery fees.

This was my case but I’m actually taking a cut when I go back to my new role. However, it’s still a promotion – and a development opportunity. I’m still in the game.

Sheryl’s point though is that if there was more help with childcare, more women would go back full time. For some families, it’s just not cost efficient to do so.

And I get that.

But what if those women really wanted to go back to work? That they were clever, hard-working and had ambition and drive?

Missuswolf woman at laptop working

Not only is it them missing out on bettering themselves and in turn bettering their families, but businesses are missing a trick. They are effectively losing out. Losing a strong member of staff simply because they can’t afford the childcare.

This is something that the government needs to look into and help with funding nurseries. But that’s a different topic for a different day.

However, Sheryl’s stance on this is that women mistakenly drop out of the workforce as their salary barely covers childcare. She promotes a different way of thinking. That we should measure the cost against our future salary rather than our current.

And with that in mind, I’m more than happy to go full steam ahead of working full time.

Sheryl discusses childhood bossiness and the neighbourhood. Looking back, I had similar drive. As an eight year old, I used to dance on our driveway with my sister and our friends.

 

img_1480We would put on shows.

Our favourite song to dance to was Two Unlimited’s ‘Get Ready For This’. I know. How cool were we?

I went so far as to type up tickets (on a typewriter too – no computers in those days) on yellow or green paper. Then we would march around the neighbourhood and sell them to people. To come and watch six girls in crop tops and cycling shorts dance.

And people actually bought them.

Could you imagine if we did that in this day and age??

Suffice to say our parents marched us straight back to return the money.

But looking back, you could say it was the start of business thinking.

When I was ten years old, I bought jewellery making kits and pulled together some earrings, necklaces and bracelets.

I packaged them and marketed them as ‘GG’s Gems’ and sold them at fayre’s at the local community centre.

Why I’ve never pursued this little trait I’ll never know but my god I wish I’d gone to University and done English/Journalism or Business and Marketing.

Never mind. I suppose it’s never too late.

My point being is that Sheryl Sandberg had a similar streak and ‘bossiness’ about her. Now I am no way comparing myself to her at all (I wish!) but her point is that it’s not bossiness as a little girl. It’s leadership qualities coming through.

And I’ve never seen myself as a leader. But maybes at this point in my life, it’s time to become one. Especially through the eyes of my little girl.

Missuswolf little girls taking photo

I want her to look up to me. To see her mammy working hard but playing equally as hard. Show her independence and drive. That mammy enjoys using her brain and contributing financially. See her mammy happy as she has a healthy balance in life.

And lead her to strive for that same well-being.

Leadership is also a quality to look for and nurture in little girls of our own. Which I’m going to do with Little Miss E.

Missuswolf little girl in princess outfit

#GirlBoss

Sheryl points out that thriving marriages appear to be ones where both parents work full time and have careers as well as children. There’s less guilt and good mental health. Some data also suggests that two working parents outside the home are advantageous to a child’s development – especially girls.

Missuswolf little girl reading

I agree with this statement for my set up. I’m used to being extremely independent – working full time, having my own money and coming and going as I please.

 

To say this has been turned upside down this year is an understatement. I’ve had to be dependant on someone else, had very little money and my schedule is dictated by a small human.

Who wouldn’t look back on their former selves with envy? Of course parenthood and maternity has probably been the hardest year of our marriage. So I’ll be welcome of a level playing field come January.

Missuswolf couple on top of mountain

Like I said before, there’s no question about my love for my child. I just know exactly what I want out of life and Sheryl Sandberg has shown me I can get it. Being a mother does not prevent me.

In fact, it fuels me. I’ve discovered a drive I’ve never had before.

I’m more determined than ever.

Caroline O’Connor refers to herself as a career loving parent instead of a working mum.

And I love this title.

From now on, I will refer to myself as a career loving parent. A woman who loves business and works to better herself as well as her family.

Like Beyonce says:

Missuswolf woman with child on her back in working fields

 

Who Run The World.

Girls.

Where you can grab a copy of Lean In:

Love Missuswolf xxx

Please note this post contains affiliate links

Images from Unsplash

Baby-Led Weaning Essential: Tidy Tot All In One Bib and Tray

Wednesday 16th November 2016

Missuswolf Typewriter Compliments Disclosure

I received a Tidy Tot All In One Bib and Tray as part of this blog post. Please note this post also contains affiliate links

I managed to crack this Baby-Led Weaning lark and I’ve also found an essential along the way.

For those who’ve stuck with my ramblings over the past few months you’ll be well aware how daunting I found weaning (who could forget the episode of The Woes of Weaning huh?)

And I was very dubious – and super cautious – of Baby-Led Weaning.

But do you know what?

I prefer it.

Little Miss E is fiercely independent (always has been – she’s not one for sitting on her mama’s knee for snuggles).

When I started weaning, it was baby rice and porridge. We ventured into pouches but I’ll admit it. I don’t have the patience to sit and spoon feed (bad mother alert).

So I persevered with offering her finger food with her feeds.

And she loved it.

Baby-Led Weaning is actually my kind of weaning. Letting them crack on with feeding themselves means I get to eat at the same time. Brucey bonus!

But one thing I dislike about Baby-Led weaning is the mess.

My. God.

It gets everywhere; her hair, her chair, on her clothes, all over the tray and don’t even mention the poor floor! I even got a hoover specifically for the middle floor (I live in a Town House) that’s cordless to clear up all this mess.

So when I was offered the opportunity to try a Tidy Tot All In One Bib and Tray Kit I couldn’t say yes fast enough. I hadn’t heard of them and I was super intrigued.

Missuswolf Tidy Tot package

 

I felt like the OCD

clean freak in me

had been saved.

 

The bib and tray kit come in a rather small plastic wallet, which I was surprised with. I opened it and took the bib out first, followed by the tray.

Missuwolf Tidy Tot All In One Bib

I was like a magician – or better yet – Mary Poppins herself.

The tray looked deceivingly small.

But as I pulled it out of the wallet, it sprung into shape. A neat little trick – I’ll def be folding this away with the bib in the plastic wallet to take out with me.

It also has two suction pads underneath which easily attach to the high chair tray to keep it in place. It also has a line of velcro along the front.

Missuswolf Tidy Tot Tray

 

This line attaches to the line of velcro along the inside of the front of the bib.

Missuswolf All In One Bid velcro on front

I firstly put the tray around the high chair. Very easy, it just goes over and you feel for the suction pads and push these in place.

Then I attached the bib to the tray using the velcro.

Now comes the hard bit. Grabbing a wriggly baby and getting her to sit in her high chair. I don’t know why she protests so much. She should be well aware it’s feeding time at the zoo by now and happily slide into her chair.

Once said wriggly baby is in place, I sing to her (this is optional. Otherwise she kicks off. She hates having clothes put on her. Weirdo.) while I slide her arms in the bib and fasten the velcro at the nape of her neck.

Missuswolf baby in a high chair with Tidy Tot Tray and All In One Bib

Baby-Led Weaning Ready.

I then scatter her food along the green tray and voila!

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She can’t reach over the side and feed the floor.

Nor can she sneak pieces down the front of her dress.

Everything is caught either on the tray or on the bib.

Missuswolf Baby in a high chair eating food on a Tidy Tot tray

Nee Mess.

I can sit back and tuck into my own grub without freaking out about the carpet eating more food than Ella.

Look at my floor here! Nothing – zilch.

Missuswolf baby in a high chair using Tidy Tot

Plus the tray and bib are easily wipe able and the bib is machine washable. Hurrah!

It can also be used for messy play. A realm I’m yet to venture into. But now I have the tools what the heck.

Let’s get messy.

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

Guest Post: Park Life

Wednesday 9th November 2016

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Today’s Guest Post is by Cat from RockandRollPussyCat.co.uk

The North East is home to a great selection of parks which are perfect for toddlers. Since the birth of the little man I’ve pretty much worked my way round most of them. Here are some of my favourites : –

Saltwell Park

Missuswolf Saltwell Statue

With plenty of free parking around the perimeter of the park and a large free car park Saltwell Park is perfect for a free day out with the whole family. It’s my go to place for a short notice day out and always seems to be a hit with my toddler.

The park, set in the heart of Gateshead has picturesque grounds and is filled with lots of things to do.  There’s a small animal corner, two large well kept children’s play areas, a large lake that you can take boat trips on in the warmer months and a little train that drives round the park for just £1.50.

There’s plenty of space to walk with good ramps and flat paths for wheelchair and pushchair access. It’s a haven for wildlife and I’ve managed to capture some great photographs of both animals and flowers and it’s a great scenic backdrop for any photoshoots for little people.

There are facilities within the park, with toilets located in both Saltwell Towers and a block near the play parks. Saltwell Towers also has a reasonably priced cafe but you can also eat at one of the picnic benches outdoors or plonk a rug down on one of the large grassed areas.

If you haven’t visited Saltwell Park before I’d urge you to give it a go. It’s a beautiful space which is well worth a visit.

Barnes Park

Missuswolf picture of Barnes Park sculpture

Barnes Park is a recent rediscovery for me. I used to visit as a child but it became quite run down with very little to do, but in recent years it’s had a complete overhaul. It’s located just outside the centre of Sunderland and has free parking, though the car park is pretty small so parking isn’t always guaranteed, especially on sunny days.

Missuswolf Barnes Park

There are lots of walks which meander through the overhanging tree’s and along the lake edge, it’s a very pretty place to spend time when the weathers nice.

There are two modern play areas, one for little ones and one with climbing equipment and a huge slide for the older ones. There’s a beautiful sensory garden which is great for photographs, well used bowling greens and tennis courts and a small café with outside seating.

There are toilets are changing facilities right next to the children’s play are that are free to use, modern and clean. They even have adult changing facilities with a hoist which I think is a fantastic addition.

Herrington Country Park

Missuswolf Herrington Park picture

Herrington Park is a vast space in Penshaw, built on top of an old colliery site.  It’s overlooked by Penshaw Monument which at 70 foot high stands high on a hill and dominates the local landscape.

The park has plenty of open space for kicking a ball around or learning to ride a bike and with a large lake there’s plenty of opportunity to feed the ducks or watch the model boats being sailed.  There sculptures dotted round the park and lots of wildlife to see and a good sized BMX park for the more adventurous among us.

Penshaw nurseries and tearoom is located on the other side of the main road to Herrington Country Park and is worth a visit – their scones are delicious!

Do you have a favourite park?

Where you’ll find RockandRollPussyCat:

Twitter:@Catherine212

Facebook: Rockandrollpcat

Instagram: catherine212

 

Guest Post: Simple Autumn Recipe

Monday 7th November 2016

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Today’s Guest Post is from the lovely Ruth of Pretty Little Gym Addict sharing with us her yummy Autumn recipe.
Missuswolf Pretty Little Gym addict soup in a bowl with crusty bread and a drink
Such a simple recipe for a warm meal in the autumn months. It may not look very appealing but tastes lovely with a nice kick to warm you up.

Ingredients needed:

1/2 Pumpkin cubed
2 Sweet Potatoes cubed
2 Large Carrots cubed
1 Large White Onion
1 Litre of vegetable stock
1/2 red chilli
2 tsp. turmeric
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. mild chilli powder
1 tbsp. vegetable bouillon

Instruction:

Firstly chop up your root vegetables.
Missuswolf Pretty Little Gym Addict chooped veg
Place the pumpkin, sweet potato and carrot on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season.
Missuswolf Chopped veg drizzled with olive oil
Roast in the oven at 180 degrees for 35 minutes or until soft.
While the veg roasts in the oven, brown off the onions in a large saucepan, once golden add the chilli, turmeric, cumin and chilli powder, stir and let the onions soak in the spices. This should smell amazing.
After 2-3 minutes add the vegetable stock.
Missuswolf Veg in a pot with stock
Once the veg is roasted add it to the vegetable stock, with vegetable bouillon and let simmer for 30 minutes.
Blitz the soup with a hand blender and serve with some crusty bread.
Missuswolf blitzed veg and stock
Perfect on a cold afternoon!
You can find out more about Ruth here:
Facebook: Ruth Bracegirdle
Twitter: @PLGymAddict

Ellefluence: Urban Decay Masterclass Ready

Sunday 6th November 2016

Last Thursday I was super excited to be invited to Ellefluence’s first event, which only happened to be an Urban Decay Masterclass. Eeekkk!

Missuswolf Urban Decay Newcastle Ellefluence Spectrum pallette and chalkboard

Image Courtesy of Laura Pearman Photography

Before we get started on the uber fun of playing with make-up, here’s a little bit more about Ellefluence:

Missuswolf Ellefluence logo

Ellefluence by Elle Blonde is a brand new platform for connecting influencers and brands.

The lovely Laura Dawson of Elleblond with some delish sliders courtesy of Rub Smokehouse (The Gate)

The lovely Laura Dawson of Elle Blonde with some delish sliders courtesy of Rub Smokehouse (The Gate) Image Laura Pearman

Laura Dawson blogs at Elle Blonde and she is the lovely lady behind this exciting new venture.

And the crazy part?

The Urban Decay Masterclass is Ellefluence’s first event – and they don’t even launch until January 2017.

Super slick or what? My kind of organised.

Urban Decay Masterclass Ready

Well, as I harp on a lot these days, I sprogged a child back in March and my life has changed somewhat.

 

So getting ready to go out to the Urban Decay Masterclass felt like I was getting ready for a night on the town.

img_1303

 

I had me eyebrows freshly HD’d that afternoon, my sister had Ella so I could get ready in my own time and not on a small humans.

It was all about

the eyes.

Using my Naked 2 palette, I swept Bootycall all over my lids, blended Tease in the sockets and coloured in my eyelid with Busted. I then dampened my brush and used Blackout on my lower lashline.

Make-up on fleek.

Unlike my nails.

Let’s just say I had a fight with my UV gel machine the night before.

And it won. I ended up peeling (naughty) my gel nails off then ran out of time to paint them. I think there’s one photo on here of a scabby nail. Apologies.

There was a change in the original venue the night before the event. It was originally being held at Gusto on Newcastle Quayside, however with there being so much interest from bloggers looking to make purchases, it was moved to the restaurant on the top floor in Debenhams.

With this in mind I decided to ditch the automobile in favour of the bus with it being closer to the Haymarket.

I left the house in plenty of time and was at the bus stop early.

Unfortunately, the bus decided to be nearly fifteen minutes late. And it takes an hour to get into town. Ouch. I was going to be late.

I tried not to panic. I’m used to being late now I have that age old excuse of a baby.

But I don’t want that to creep into adult activities.

I’ve always been a stickler for time. So arriving nearly twenty minutes late was not what I envisaged and I was feeling pretty anxious as I power stomped my way from the bus station to Debenhams.

I was mortified at how late I was and gutted to have missed the start. The Urban Decay Team were in full swing when I arrived.

Luckily, I was met by the lovely Laura Pearman, who was the photograpther for the evening. I apologised for my tardiness and she was super sweet about the whole thing. Told me not to worry, grab a drink of fizz and find a seat. Thankfully there was one on the back row which I slid into, hopefully un-noticed.

Missuswolf Urban Decay make-up class Laura Pearman

Laura Pearman Photography

I joined in as the UD Team were taking the make-up from a day look to a night look on the model Emma.

Missuswolf UD Masterclass make-up model

Laura Pearman Photography

 

They show cased the new Spectrum Palette too, which had unreal eye-popping colours. I’m not sure it’s something I’d wear as I’m not that daring when it comes to eye colour. They’re bold, statement pieces where as I’m more earth, taupe and smoke.

Missuswolf Spectrum Palette Ellefluence

 

A product that caught my attention was the eye-shadow primer. In the past I’ve found that my eye-shadow tends to slide off (I must have oily lids. How glam.) Although since I’ve started using the Naked 2 palette, the eye-shadow does seem to stay on for much longer.

The team discussed a range of eye-shadow primers from Original to Eden – a nude matte and Minor Sin – a champagne shimmer. There’s also an Anti-ageing one too. Brill as I’m heading down that slope a bit quicker than I anticipated.

Missuswolf Urban Decay Eyeshadow primer

While the UD team were talking through their make-up, they passed products and make-up brushes around the audience so we could have a look at the packaging, test the products and get some super snazzy pics too.

Missuswolf Urban Decay All night foundation

All Nighter foundation Excuse the scabby nail

Another produce of note was the All Nighter foundation. Not only is this waterproof (may be ideal as if I’m not crying at some-point I’ve got the parental sweats) it gives full matte coverage and is beneficial to oily skin. Which mine has oily tendencies.

Plus it comes in an airtight container that pushes the foundation to the top. Brucey bonus! You can see how much you’ve used and don’t have to tip it upside down at the end.

Missuswolf Urban Decay lipsticks

The Urban Decay Team talked us through the lipsticks and how they’re enriched with an oil that nourishes the lip and therefore doesn’t dry them out. A product I need to try out as lipsticks usually dry and crumble on my lips. I do exfoliate and all the bumf but it really is an area I need to practice on.

Plus I’m still in search of 1993. I asked at the event if there was any in stock. Sadly there was not but my name is down on a list now woohoo! I’ve been looking for 1993 since – well – what feels like 1993.

Also new to the Urban Decay stock are the colour correcting fluids. The team talked about how the different colours can be used to correct different blemishes. For example, the green fluid is used to cover red patches and pimples. Ideal for me at this time of year. My skin is seasonal – as soon as I hit September I break out in spots until March. Excellent.

Missuswolf Urban Decay make-up brushes

And finally, another product of note was the All Nighter spray. This ‘sets’ your make-up and prevents it from basically sliding off your face. A testament to this is one of my really good friends used this when she got married in the blazing heat in Mexico.

A tip that they demonstrated was to spray in a t motion across your t-zone and then in an x form. This is much more effective that just a general spritz over the face.

As the team were talking to the audience, food appeared from Rub Smokehouse and was passed around the audience. There were chicken wings, sliders and nachos to name a few. I tried the wings, nachos and I think it was something called Texas Toast, which was like a garlic bread. All lovely and def somewhere I’d go with my hubby (anyone want to babysit?) as we both love that kind of food.

Once the demonstrations were over, there was general mingling, nibbling and photo-taking. I ended up having a delightful coughing fit while I was talking to Geordie Kisses (sorry!) and had to keep reaching for the orange juice. Apologies Laura it was me who drank all the orange as I had a serious frog in my throat!

Then off we trooped down to the Urban Decay shop floor to play some more and receive our goody bags. It was here I had a mooch with Geordie Kisses and Tales From A Geordie Goth

Missuswolf Urban Decay girls shopping

Mooching with Tales From A Geordie Goth. Image Laura Pearman

The goody bag had some samples in and – woohoo – there was the eye-shadow primer and the All Nighter spray. Hurrah! Can’t wait to test these bad boys out.

Missuswolf Urban Decay Goody Bag

A very successful evening, well done Ellefluence and thank you for allowing me to be a part of it.

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

My LushTums with Laura Journey: Yoga – Bump, Baby and Beyond

Wednesday 2nd November 2016

Pregnancy Yoga

A cold Saturday morning in January 2016; that’s when my LushTums yoga journey started.

Missuswolf blankets set up in circle in room for pregnancy yoga

A sneak peek at Postnatal Yoga for mamas and babas

Seven months pregnant and ploughing through a busy work schedule (my own doing – I felt like I had the energy to cope) this was my chance at ‘time out’.

To bond with the bump.

You see, for someone who likes to be organised and plan things,

I was pretty nonchalant about the whole baby thing.

Due in March, I flippantly put off doing anything remotely baby related until after Christmas. I think I was clinging on to whatever I had left of my old life.

Making the most of it.

I’d never considered going to any ante-natal classes (gasp) and pregnancy yoga hadn’t crossed my mind.

I went to they gym right up until I was twenty weeks pregnant. It’s here that I experienced round ligament pain in my lower abdomen and back as well as mild SPD.

So the gym stopped and that was the start of all the belts and bands.

Then I learnt a fellow friend was pregnant.

This fellow friend suggested that we go to pregnancy yoga together and she’d found one that had just started up. Unfortunately she wasn’t far enough on to join the group yet and I would only be able to get to a few before they broke up for Christmas.

A New Years Resolution was made there and then for us to both join Lush Tums with Laura Pregnancy Yoga in the January.

We rocked up that Saturday to a local gym in Blyth where we were met by the lovely Laura. This session was actually free as it was a taster session.

The room was set out with yoga mats, a block, a pillow and blanket each which were laid out in a semi-circle. Laura had her own set up in front of this, alongside a heater (the room was cold and it was mid-winter) relaxing music and a burning incense stick.

As soon as you walked in, there was on overall sense of calm – and camaraderie.

I didn’t really talk much about my pregnancy at work as I was always out of the office on a project. Plus it was a male dominated office. There was only so much (and so far!) I could talk about.

So this hour and a half on a Saturday morning was like the mother-ship; somewhere to retreat and immerse myself entirely in being pregnant. With no distractions.

The first part of the session started with Laura introducing herself, the housekeeping and what we should expect from the class.

To begin with, she went round in turn and asked:

  • How far along you were
  • What kind of week you’d had
  • Any specific aches or pains
  • Anything else you’d like to share

I honestly felt like I was at pregnancy therapy.

I’m not one to normally open up in group environments but I couldn’t help myself here.

Especially as the weeks went by and I had to come to terms with a breach baby and an inevitable section.

This was then followed by yoga stretches. These were catered towards specific areas of the body that people were having problems with. It was great for loosening up, my neck especially. It creaked really bad when we did the head rolling but my god it felt good.

It also helped ease my lower back pain.

The session involved meditation. We put one hand on our heart and the other on our bumps.

I enjoyed this as I probably went through most of my pregnancy in denial. Not in a bad way. I’ve always liked to be busy and on my feet and the bigger I got, the more I had to come to terms with my lack of movement.

I couldn’t race around anymore. I would get frustrated that I couldn’t do things . The meditation helped me connect with my bump and try to shift my focus.

The session then ended with a fifteen minute relaxation period. We all lay on our left hand sides, our heads on the pillows and I’d use the block to support my bump, with the blanket covering us.

Laura then played Steven Halpern Comfort Zone as she turned down the lights and guided us through meditation into relaxation.

This was delightful. And I nearly always fell asleep.

It was the perfect way to start the weekend.

As the weeks went by, you’d watch as the girls whose bumps you’d come to know, gradually disappeared.

The first one to go for me was Rachael.

Life has a funny way of making your paths cross and a whole new part of your life exploding.

I remember Rachael running late for one particular session as she had been taking a Tots and Tums class beforehand (see Tots and Tums).

My ears pricked up.

Life after birth.

I needed to find something to be part of to keep me sane.

Laura encouraged us to keep in touch by creating a Facebook page for the Lush Tums Bumps and Birth side and one for the Bumps, Births and Babies side.

I watched as Rachael left to have Evie. I heard about her groups and what she did through Laura.

So when I had Ella, there was an overwhelming sense of belonging when Laura invited me to the Bumps, Births and Babies. She announced Ella’s birth to everyone and welcomed us both to the group.

It’s here that I found my mammy tribe. It was slow in forming as we were all at different stages of pregnancy, but over the summer, there was a few births and out of that was born Cake Club.

We’d become Warriors.

And the lovely thing about it is that the mammies in the tribe, we weren’t all at pregnancy yoga at the same time. I’d left when some of the other girls joined. They’ve since had their babies and we’ve all met up at the Tots and Tums classes.

A nice little support network.

We swapped stories on how we had used pregnancy yoga in labour.

Missuswolf woman in mothering lotus

Nadia using pregnancy yoga during labour

 

Nadia’s waters had broken. She invited me over for a 1-2-1 and we had such a beautiful session. We did yoga as well as mothering lotus meditation mudrah.

My Birth Story

Again, I think I was in denial that I was in the very early stages of labour. I remember experiencing strong period-pain type cramps on the Wednesday night.

As a first time mother I didn’t know what to expect.

I stupidly carried on painting the hallway as I was in a ridiculous stage of nesting.

The cramps would come and go and did ease off so I just put them down to Braxton Hicks.

They woke me at four in the morning. So I went downstairs, had some peanut butter on toast and put on Grey’s Anatomy. I then got on all fours and did the figures of eight and breathing techniques. I figured if I could eat then I wasn’t that bad.

So off I went to work. In complete denial.

As the same happened that night. Up at four, eating toast, Grey’s Anatomy doing yoga stretches in between.

I timed the pain and there was about four minutes in between.

I’d even phoned the hospital who told me not to come in.

I went back to bed.

And woke at six to get ready for work.

Still experiencing the pain,I then had a bleed. Something that had never happened in the entire pregnancy.

I knew then that shit was about to get real.

Back on the phone to the hospital while standing circling my hips and doing the ‘grounded’ movements, they advised me to come in for a check-up.

Even they were quite laid back by it all. When I asked if I should bring my bags in they said only if I wanted too.

So I took them. Just in case.

With the hubby. Who was in his uniform ready to go to work after the ‘check up.’ Hell even I was intent on going to work afterwards to.

But the ride to the hospital had me concentrating solely on my breathing. Although i do remember us driving up the Laverock Hall Road in Blyth. The sun was out – the first time it really felt like Spring.

And I remember thinking

‘today would be a good day to have a baby.’

Once in the hospital room, I was on my feet the whole time, circling my hips, transferring my weight from one foot to another, practising keeping grounded. All the while concentrating on my breathing.

It was confirmed I was three cm dilated and baba was still breach so off for a section I went.

I just went into a zone.

And I believe that pregnancy yoga helped me get into that zone, that calm frame of mind.

Postnatal Yoga With Babies

Over the summer, Laura trained to do the postnatal side of the yoga.

Missuswolf Postnatal Yoga blankets on floor in circle in room

This was a little different in the fact that the bumps that were once in the way were now little humans who craved attention.

Laura held sessions at people’s houses and her own.

The class was exactly the same set-up with the same equipment.

But now instead of how many weeks pregnant, it’s how many weeks/months old is the baby. Yet it’s still a chance to talk about how you’re feeling as well.

This is where it came to light that some of the girls had been struggling with various forms of depression over the summer but no-one really knew.

It re-enforced the importance of talking to each other and supporting each other.

Postnatal yoga once again brought us all together and opened us up. People ask for help if they need it. They talk about things more openly.

And there was the relaxation part too. Ten minutes instead of fifteen as there were little distractions. But Laura took the babies off us and soothed them to allow us to get that time. Which is needed now more than ever.

Missuswolf woman holding two babies at postnatal yoga while sat on the floor

We even did one session in Ridley Park! That really helped us feel grounded; being out in the August sunshine, on the grass under the trees.

Missuswolf Mother and children lying in park doing yoga

Family affair! Rachael’s family loved it.

The relaxation part of that was probably the best I’ve experienced. There’s something about being outdoors in the sun relaxing on the grass.

The sounds, the smells, all very comforting.

Missuswolf woman lying doing yoga in the park holding baby

Laura took Ella while I did my relaxation – aaaah

 

I look back on that day with fondness.

Missuswolf woman doing yoga feeding baby in the park

Multi-tasking Mama

It was a good day.

Postnatal Yoga – For The Mams

And finally – postnatal yoga just for mamas.

I went to one at the Albion Centre in Blyth, which is where all the new classes are now being held.

It was a Friday night and we joked that it’s rare to be out the house past 7.30 on a Friday night anymore. I know. How my life has changed! Unheard of until July last year when that blue cross appeared!

This was weird. Good weird. No bump, no baby. Just full dedication to ourselves.

Again, there’s the chat at the start. This is now how far postpartum you are, as well as how you and baby are doing.

Then we get to experience full yoga.

And the fifteen minute relaxation period was back hurrah!

There was a strange feeling about the class. Three of us had done the pregnancy yoga together. I don’t think we realised but when we went to this postnatal class, we sat in the same places that we used to at pregnancy yoga. Creatures of habit.

The strange feeling though.

I can’t really describe it.

Like we had been on some incredible mission together. We’d been through each other’s ups and downs from pregnancy, birth and postnatal. And here we were.

We’d made it. We’d survived.

And we are stronger than ever.

We are Warriors.

Missuswolf Postnatal Yoga teacher in warrior pose in Ridley park

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

 

My Parent Hacks: No 2 – Poddle Pod

Tuesday 1st November 2016

Please note this post contains affiliate links.

My second Parent Hack is a Poddle Pod.

Missuswolf Baby Ella lying in a Poddle Pod

Oh my god so tiny!

I was introduced to this by some close friends when Ella was only a few  weeks old.

She was born a very tiny five pounds and everything she lay in – a moses basket, the Bednest, her crib – they all swamped her. We found that she didn’t really settle with all the space around her.

The PODDLE POD® is a naptime nest that gently snuggles little ones, giving them the feeling of being cuddled that they so desperately want.

I was a bit dubious to buy one at first as they cost about £50.

But it was the best £50 I’ve ever spent. Well, in baby land anyway.

The snuggle effect was exactly what our tiny baby needed. The Poddle Pod fit inside the moses basket, the Bednest and her crib.

Missuswolf Tiny baby Ella asleep on a Poddle Pod

And she slept. Hurrah! The key to all parent survival.

Although it doesn’t encourage you to let them sleep in them overnight, this was the only way tiny Ella would settle. The snuggle effect obviously comforted her. She slept in her Poddle Pod in the Bednest (another Parent Hack to come) next to me up until she was three and a half months.

Of course I was worried that she’d become accustomed to it and wouldn’t sleep without it.

So I made the decision to take the Bednest down and just have her in her moses basket next to me on the night-time. Without the Poddle Pod.

She’d obviously grown and her body filled more of the moses basket at this stage. The transition went smoothly and she found comfort in snuggling into the sides of the moses basket.

My point being here is that it’s all trial and error and you do what you need to do in order to survive. 

What works for one baby, may not work for another.

But the Poddle Pod has many other uses.

You can take it to friend’s houses and you have a portable place in which they can safely nap. We did this one Bank Holiday weekend where we rocked up to a friend’s house with the Poddle Pod. And the Perfect Prep (Hack no 1).

Missuswolf Baby Ella lying on a Poddle Pod

With a Poddle Pod, you have a dumping ground for when you want to take a shower/go to the toilet/get a cuppa or just to stare at them in disbelief that they’re yours.

We used ours every day up until she was about four months where she no longer fit it and was more mobile. Totally got our money’s worth.

So preggers ladies and new parents out there – if there’s anything that I would recommend you invest in, it’s definitely a Poddle Pod.

Love Missuswolf xxx