Seventeen, Soup and Slimming

In between listening to Ed Sheeran’s new album (precisely 34565756434249 plays thus far) on the daily drive to nursery and work I like to flick on the radio. The morning banter of Big John on the local station never fails to make me smile.

However, there is one thing that’s really getting on my nerves on the radio at the moment. A bloody Mother’s Day advert that quotes mum’s get an average of 17 minutes to themselves a day. 17 minutes. Who the hell are these lucky bitches mums that manage 17 whole blissful minutes of ‘me’ time a day?

Yesterday lunch time is a perfect example of exactly why this isn’t true. I sat down to watch a programme I’d recorded while I waited for my jacket potato to crisp up. Two minutes elapsed. The dinger went for my jacket. And right on cue, E started bawling his eyes out. Awake from his nap.

The hubby (already fed and watered) was pottering in the garden so I retrieved E, turned the oven right down and made him his dinner. Incase you had ever wondered, tomato soup and a mardy toddler who is determined to control the spoon is not a mess-free lunch option. Lesson learned.

Once E had finished (and by finished I mean eaten the one spoonful of soup he deemed worthy not to throw at me or rub all over his face like orange moisturiser) hubby declared he was running a bath for him. Off upstairs he disappeared leaving E in the highchair with a bit of chocolate to keep him quiet and me finally tucking into my spud.

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Five minutes later and less than half way into my lunch I was summoned.

“Can you bring him upstairs? It’s readyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful that I have a hubby who takes the initiative to run a bath for E. But the problem with having such a good one is you always want them to be that little bit better. So a little peeved I stomped up the stairs, mumbled something mardy about my lunch getting cold, had he broken his legs and marched back down the stairs again.

Cold lunch finally eaten I decided to treat myself to a rare, child-free wee. I’d like to pretend I had something more exciting planned for my alone time but surprisingly toilet breaks where someone isn’t waving the toilet brush at you like a light sabre or running away with the loo roll like an Andrex puppy are few and far between. Before I’d even unbuttoned my jeans I was summoned again.

“Mummy, we need a towel!”

And so this continues. Throughout the day. Between the hubby, the dog and the baby 17 minutes to myself is not achievable. So naturally, the advert makes me want to put my fist through the radio everytime I hear it. I’d kill for 17 bloody minutes.

Even once the little man is tucked up in bed for the night the military operation to have everything in place for when he wakes up begins. Packed lunches prepped, bottles washed and assembled, breakfast laid out, hair washed (me), beards banished (wish I could pretend it was only the hubby that had a beard to attend to) etc etc. No sooner than all that is complete and it’s time to climb into bed for the night.

And even after all the pre-match preparation there is simply no preparing for the fact that come morning you’ll be wearing a freshly cleaned outfit for work and feeling cocky about running to time just seconds before your toddler decides to pick up his bowl of porridge, wield it like a clown with a comedy cream pie and throw it at you. Oh and laugh. Well, not even just laugh. Pee himself giggling. Then, to add insult to injury, once you return from a quick clean up, your own breakfast has disappeared from your plate and your son, whilst acting casual, has it all over his face.

But, despite the (little) moan, tonight is Monday night. And Monday night is awesome. Because I’ve started Slimming World. And I get a whole hour out of the house, sans baby, to do something that is completely and totally for me. If you divide that hour by seven days it makes my grand total of ‘me time’ more like an average of 8.5 minutes per day, but I’ll take that. Because let’s face it, I wouldn’t swap the little man (or his dad) for any one of the additional 8.5 minutes that would make me average. Who wants average?

Happy Monday!

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Tantrums, tiredness and turning it around

A few weeks ago Mark and I reached a zombie like state of sleep deprivation. Ethan developed a hatred for his cot so furious that even if he was fast asleep and snoring in our arms all the way up the stairs, as soon as we approached his bedroom door, ping! The eyes were open and all hell broke loose. It led to another occasion of something we said we’d never do as parents. Co-sleeping.

Mark and I share a double bed. When I think back to the days we squeezed into a single just so we could spend the night cuddled up together at university our bed feels like a super king. Chuck a wriggly baby into the equation and add the fact that he likes to spin 90 degrees at random moments through the night and suddenly it’s like trying to sleep in a single all over again. Co-sleeping seems like the ideal solution to get some shut eye when your baby will snooze cuddled into your skin but nowhere else. The reality of trying to do it in a “three in a bed” type situation is much less co-sleeping and more he-sleeps-while-we-lose-our-temper.

In our sleepy state it took us perhaps a week – maybe two – and Mark getting poorly (Mark never gets poorly!) to realise that it wasn’t working. We both had chronic back ache from tiny limbs prodding us into awkward sleeping positions and worst of all, even when he was sleeping (starfished) between us, we were largely just awake and tutting at each other or ready to fall out of the bed.

It felt like we had tried everything. An upgrade on his Sleepyhead Deluxe, various teething pain remedies, soft toys, music, night lights, glow in the dark dummies, a warmer room, a cooler room, a bigger supper before bed. Finally, exhausted, I decided to read a sleeping guide that a friend had emailed and nearly cried when I realised our only remaining option. Another thing we said we’d never do. Letting him cry.

I don’t know why I’m sounding so defensive about it. Skip forward a week and I’m wondering why we didn’t do it sooner. Admittedly the first night was hard. Listening to my baby cry – even just for a short while – and doing nothing about it (even if I do know he has everything he needs) physically pained me. But every week we’ve had another improvement. From the crying stopping, to him actually wanting to go to bed and even – the last two weeks or so – him actually sleeping through! So, I’m proud (and only a little defensive) when I say, it’s worked for us. For now anyway.

The changes in him over the last few weeks have been phenomenal. I’d like to attribute it to his new found love of getting his 12 hours of sleep but perhaps that’s going a little too far. But he’s confidently walking, he’s started trying to chat (even if “mumma” is still his ‘go to’ word!), he has us racing up and down the stairs and running lengths of the house pointing at things he wants to look at or play with and the giggles and feedback you get from him when initiating play are off the charts adorable.

We strolled into nursery today to be greeted by a member of staff (not one I even recognise from his baby room) cheering “ETHAN! There’s that lovely smile.”

At the handover point we no longer have tears about leaving mummy, instead we throw ourselves at the lovely lady who greets us with an enthusiasm I’ve only ever seen Ethan show for our dog before. Although, if I’m honest, I think the crying at goodbye hurt mummy less than the new found excitement at being handed over.

It pains me to say that it appears his cheeriness and newly well rested state are being noticed elsewhere too. Yes. You heard it here first. Ethan has a girlfriend. His keyworker broke the news to me, along with his girlfriend’s mum, one evening at pick up. His dad seemed proud. I am heartbroken! Where on Earth has my new born gone? Next week he turns one. And I am simultaneously super excited to celebrate his first birthday and slightly emotional that a year has disappeared from under us in the blink of an eye.

He’ll be packing his bags and wanting to move out before I know it, wahhhhhhhh!

Rebooting brain…

I’m on week three of life back at work and a blog title with my usual alliteration is currently out of reach for my poor, tired brain.

If I thought life as a stay at home mum had been hard work then I was completely unprepared for the reality of trying to juggle everything I used to do at home with working full time and still managing to enjoy a bit of fun with our little guy.

On maternity leave our day involved a sleep until at least 8am (keeping mummy awake all night means that at least E enjoyed a lie in!), breakfast and the post breakfast clean up, play, nap and as many chores as I could manage, play, lunch and the post lunch clean up, play, nap and more chores, play and then handover to dad so I could make tea and maybe squeeze in a few more chores. Often with at least one baby group or play date per day thrown in for good measure and some sanity saving adult company.

Life at work means we’re now up at 6.30am (and neither of us are pleased about that!), nappy changed, baby dressed, mum showered and dressed, baby fed, dog fed, reptiles fed, mum fed (still last on the list!), lunch packed, bags packed and out the house by 8.15am. Then work until 5pm, pick up baby, get home, play, make tea, play some more, bath and bed for baby and approximately two hours to myself (assuming baby stays in bed!) during which I should really be doing some chores but – if I’m being honest – I am actually spending collapsed in a heap on the sofa.

It doesn’t help that Ethan throws in his own curve ball each day to add a new challenge. Some days it’s the old favourite ‘put me down and I’ll scream’ trick. Which is fine on maternity leave but a little more difficult when trying to get dressed for work or straighten my hair with a baby on one hip. Sometimes he has a try with the ‘keep you awake all night and see if you can still face work’ game. Other days it’s the more complex emotional manipulation (more screaming) when handing him over at nursery that means I have to sit in the car park outside for 10 minutes to make sure I’m not going to cry myself – but also to see that as soon as I’m out of sight he’ll play quite happily. (Little $^£%!) And then there’s the odd day where he just decides that he’s exhausted all other shenanigans and surrendering to illness is the answer to keep mummy at home.

Yup, adjusting to life back in the real world is taking its toll. And not just on my poor tired body. My mind is struggling to readjust.

On maternity leave it was perfectly acceptable to go to a baby group or meet a baby momma and talk about the lack of sleep, baby’s toilet activity or coo over their latest new skill. Back in the real world people look at you funny when you talk about your baby’s green, snotty eyes (conjunctivitis) and, weirdly, don’t want to hear about that time your husband wiped poo on his face mid-nappy change. I completely respect their lack of interest. But, verbal diarrhoea is now also a genuine concern. After a year of it being a novelty to talk to someone (that isn’t a dog or a baby and who can actually reply) once I find somebody willing to chat I can’t stop myself sharing my life story. Oh, and I have no filter. I said “big fingers” out loud on a serious phone call last week. Just because I read it in a message (NB: the message was about E) and I was trying to reply to the person on the other end of the line. So, I may as well add, can no longer multitask to the ever growing list of fails….

I have essentially forgotten how to interact with normal people to a level where it could be considered cringeworthy, if I had the energy to feel embarrassment.

So my apologies if you plan on visiting my house in the next few weeks (it is and will remain a shit tip), or if you want any sense out of me outside of the hours I have the energy and inclination to ensure my brain is functioning (9am to 5pm) and an even bigger apology if I act like I’ve never met humans before when we speak. I’ll wrap my head around this thing you call normal conversation before you know it…

Stony broke and baby proofing

It’s little ones nap time and so begins the (pointless) daily task of tidying his toys. I’m not sure why I bother given that as soon as he wakes they will be thrown to the far reaches of the living room once again until the time comes for him to choose sleep again and I crawl around recovering it for the 67548762th time that day. And so the cycle continues…

However, I have found some entertainment recently in tidying his things away. It cheers me up. Not just because of the calming effect of being able to walk from A to B without worrying about what I’m standing on but because – since he has become mobile – I find all sorts squirrelled away in his toy stash and it makes me giggle wondering what on earth is going through his mind as he cruises round the living room collecting these gems.

For example – tissues. Why are babies fascinated by tissues? Not just the emptying of the box it would seem. No, that’s not inconvenient enough for mummy to clear up. Instead E likes to empty the box and then make confetti with the contents. It’s some kind of beautiful. I suppose. He’ll be a star at helping me do fake snow at Christmas…

Anything that is left within reaching or stretching distance is now fair game for his toy collection. I’ve collected candles, spoons, coasters, place mats, soggy/chewed bank statements that I thought I’d managed to hide from myself, photo frames, the TV remote, my mobile, odd socks (mine and his?!), some of the contents of daddy’s gym bag and I’m sure there’ll be much more that I have yet to stumble across. It fascinates me that he can choose the most mundane thing in the room and think it is worth playing with (bodes well for us doing Christmas gifts on a budget!) It fascinates me more that he is never left by himself for longer than it takes me to pour a drink yet still manages to collect all these little trinkets unnoticed. Which brings me onto baby proofing…

I should preface this with the fact that we are stony broke and thus the requirement to buy anything to baby proof has been delayed as long as humanly possible. What with cars failing to start, washing machines dying a death, maternity pay coming to an end and the general expense of daily life, the bank seems to disagree with me when I insist that we are billionaires.

It’s not just the money though. Next week Ethan is 8 months old. I remember (like it was yesterday) him being 8 days old. So I’m clinging (desperately) to his baby status by refusing to acknowledge that we need to baby proof. Or I have been. Until now.

E has got a lot braver recently. Whether it’s going from the old one handed to no handed lean, or just throwing both arms in the air and hoping for the best he’s plucking up the courage (and strength) to try and stand without needing to lean against things. A nice, cushioned nappy bum is ideal for this. Or it was. Until he started throwing in the odd, acrobatic, mid-air swivel and face planting the floor. Luckily his foam mat has more than proved its worth. Unluckily – mostly for our bank balance and our ‘free’ time – I no longer trust that he can be left alone for the duration of my brew making without turning the living room into a padded cell. So bank balance significantly lighter and half our weekend now accounted for I have reluctantly ordered the necessary supplies to make all of our furniture baby safe and (apparently) ugly as hell.

If  installing baby proofing is anything like assembling flat pack furniture I expect the hubby and I are in for a whale of a time! Wish us luck…

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When ‘me’ time becomes ‘we’ time…

You’ve heard it all before. Being a mum is tough. But unless you are one its hard to appreciate how tough. Yes it’s rewarding. Love in bucket loads. Best job in the world. Wouldn’t change a thing. But then nothing worth having comes easy… (And that’s me all out of clichés but that’s probably still a record for an opener).

‘Me’ time seems like such a selfish thing to want as a mum but, a hot brew and a good night’s sleep aside, its the thing I’m most desperate for. And right on cue there’s the good old mum guilt for even daring to dream about being alone for twenty minutes…

“You shouldn’t have had a baby if you want me time” seems to be the general consensus. But um, there’s two people involved in making a baby and I don’t hear anyone telling dads  they should skip the gym or leave work bang on five and drive straight home avoiding any sembelence of time to themselves.

Hell, just driving the commute would be ‘me’ time enough for this mummy some days. Although the choice between blissful silence for half an hour or turning the radio up high and singing my heart out for thirty minutes is already too much for me to make.

My ‘me’ time has become ‘we’ time. A drink downed while my mini human tries to scale the sofa to join me in a sip. A shower rushed because my baby is screaming in his cot. Toast hurriedly buttered and tea left unsugared because someone has lost sight of mummy and is screaming and rattling at the baby gate. Films paused every five minutes to run upstairs and pop a dummy back in. A hair appointment where he cries until I cave and sit him on my knee. A toilet trip that ends in baby crawling off with the loo roll before mummy has managed to use it. Breakfast eaten at lunch time because between feeding baby, dog, tortoise and bearded dragon there is somehow no time left to feed mummy. An attempt at a cuddled up nap interrupted by a baby grabbing chunks of my face. I could go on…

I am never alone. I am no longer a ‘me’. I come as a package. I only do ‘we’ time and while I love every second of it, it is also bloody exhausting.

So here is my desperate plea to dads, partners and husbands everywhere. I’m not asking a lot. I’m not even asking for an hour. But give your baby mummy a break. A few minutes a few times a week. Run her a (baby-toy-free) bath. Make her a brew or pour her a big glass of wine and send her off upstairs for ten minutes peace. Send her out to get herself a big bar of chocolate (your treat) or to meet a friend for coffee. 

Baby and me time is worth more than solid gold platinum diamonds, but just ‘me’ time is sanity-saving silver. Chances are it will be spent writing about, talking about or thinking about little one anyway (trust me on that!) but then that’s just the infuriating beauty of being a mum…

The BIGGEST ever hat tip to single parents the world over. You guys are actual gods.

Zzzzzzzzzzz…

…because no-one has the energy to think of clever blog titles on three hours sleep.

Every time I make the, ridiculously naive, assumption that the lack of sleep can’t get any worse, it does. Hence the several peaceful weeks of radio (blog) silence you’ve enjoyed.

Our little man got crawling at the beginning of August. He spent weeks in a permanent downward dog, keen to get moving but lacking the strength. Then one Friday afternoon something just clicked and off he went. It is somewhat surprising that he carried on going given that my immediate reaction (jumping up off the sofa and cheering/shouting) scared the life out of him. My cheering was misguided. I was made up that his determination and perseverance had paid off but I was actually cheering at the prospect of sleep. Everyone had promised me that once he got moving it would make him sleep better. Everyone lied.

Instead of burning all his energy crawling the length and breadth of the house he has become some kind of super human who can function perfectly with no shut eye.

The crawling was hastily followed by an unstoppable desire to get up on his feet. This crazy determination means he is now doing pull ups on every piece of furniture we own and starting to cruise around the living room clinging on for dear life, which brings a whole new set of baby proofing problems due to the number of breakables on our coffee table…

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So while I chase him aimlessly around the living room (which I keep saying we desperately need to baby proof but am far too tired to actually baby proof) I burn what little energy I do have from an hour or two of sleep snatched here and there and he just keeps on going. By the time his dad gets in from work I’m laid out on the living room floor resigned to the fact I have become a baby climbing frame. Like the living comparison between the bunny powered by Duracell (him) and the bog standard Tesco’s own brand battery (me).

Speaking of which, I’ve managed to contain him temporarily in his Jumperoo, which even sounds like it’s struggling to keep up with him. In reality the batteries are running out but its usually bouncy tune sounds exactly how I feel. Like it’s running out of juice and desperate for a rest.

I am desperately clinging to three bulging white dots in his upper gum, trying to convince myself that as soon as these new teeth manage to cut through the gum he will, by some miracle, start sleeping through the night. Or even just go back to letting me manage more than half an hour sleep at a time.

When I do maybe you’ll get a more easily readable blog post. Or at least a jazzier title…

The ‘S’ word

Whether you’re having too much (ha!), not enough or trying to find the balance, the ‘s’ word has suddenly become a big deal. Bigger than when I was a hormone fuelled teenager, alcohol filled student or even newly wed…

Nearly six months in this role as mum, and sleep is the only ‘s’ word on my mind. So much so that its becoming a tradeable commodity in our house. I find myself offering Mark the world for a lie in. I’ve tried bartering with Ethan too but he drives a much harder bargain than a sausage sarnie.

Our (not so little) little man is now in his own room. An achievement that, for three nights, I was pretty pleased with. Then night four brought a new torturous requirement of at least one feed an hour. You say hungry baby. I say sleep torture. Literally every time I’d completed the – feed, cuddle, back in his cot, back in my bed, close my eyes – routine the monitor buzzed back to life with a new little whine. By 4am, with less than an hour of sleep under my belt, I had to enlist the hubby’s help.

Waking up I had that familiar feeling. What was it? Ah yes, a hangover like I’d been hit by a bus. Minus the enjoyable bit that comes pre-hangover. My eyes felt like they’d been sandpapered, my head stomped on and my body incapable of moving from bed. I can see why sleep deprivation may be used as a torture technique. If there was information I could have surrendered for a snooze, believe me, I’d have given it up happily.

Yet, as we dealt with the morning nappy change, I discovered that (despite feeling like I had it worse than the nappy I was removing) being a mum has given me magic powers. Powers that mean I still can laugh and smile with my baby. Magic that has me crawling around on the floor with him or flinging him up in the air. Powers that overcome the tiredness of less than three hours sleep to make tasty food for us all. This mum thing is a bloody miracle if you ask me.

It’s just a shame the patience that comes with these magic powers doesn’t extend to the dog. Especially when he rips Ethan’s foam floor squares to shreds when left downstairs alone for the time it takes me to change a nappy…

Why am I not sleeping too?

Sickly sweet success

A mum is knelt over her baby who is laying on his playmat in the middle of the living room giggling up at her blowing raspberries in his face.

Such a lovely, tender, picture perfect moment. Until you look closer…

As mum leans a bit too close to raspberry at her perfect, cooing little bundle he decides to projectile vomit. Into mum’s mouth. Then laughs harder, you know, just to rub salt into the wound. 

I am that mum. And how did I react? Well I took less than half a second to cringe, wiped my little boy’s face and carried on playing.

This is pretty much how I’m discovering parenting is. It’s not the lovely, photoshopped version that your friends present to you before you become a mum. It’s the reality that you can only ever discover when you have your own baby. The projectile sick straight into your mouth when you’re just trying to make your little one giggle. Your husband accidentally wiping poo on his cheek after changing a particularly explosive nappy. That permanent damp feeling from baby drool that lurks around your shoulder, or your chest, or even on your skin. And of course, the vomit stained clothes that you don’t have the time or inclination to change out of, because let’s face it they’ll only be vomit stained again after ten minutes or so…

Pre-baby I was so squeamish I couldn’t even clean the bits of food out of the sink after we’d done the washing up. Now I’m elbow deep in baby sick and dribble on the daily. Or diving in slow motion to intercept a pooey baby hand as my son tries to grab a handful of his dirty nappy in a moment of childlike, and somewhat morbid, curiosity. (I know, I know, one day he’ll hate me for this blog…) 

The strangest thing though is not realising how gross it all is until you’re sat in your friend’s immaculate living room and your baby won’t stop being sick. On her. On her husband. On her carpet. We’ve become so desensitised to the bodily fluids that at home we barely notice their appearance. On clothes they are left to air dry or half heartedly scrubbed with a muslin. On carpets and surfaces they are whipped up with a wet wipe. On the dog… Well he doesn’t seem to mind. 

It seems that there’s no such thing as being “in polite company” when there’s a puking baby around. If he’s not being sick he’s trumping away. He is basically the poster baby for honest child rearing that you should never trot out in front of your childless friends!

But here’s squeamish old me, not thinking anything of the sudden influx of bodily fluid. Just dealing with it on the daily. Until of course I see the look of terror in a civilian’s eyes when he throws up on their clean jeans. But even this makes me secretly proud of myself for manning the eff up. The bits in the sink are no longer my Everest. 

It’s only taken 29 years and a baby!

The trouble with teething…

Baby teeth. Milk teeth. It all sounds fairly harmless until you’re responsible for a baby who’s trying to get them out. A baby who decides to let you know that’s what’s causing his anguish by biting down on your nipple mid-feed so you can feel the sharp slither of tooth that’s cut through his gum. Milk daggers would be a more accurate description. Why the hell does a baby need such sharp teeth?

Ethan has been dribbling like a new foundland, throwing up on anything he can reach (including the dog), gnawing on everything (up to and including my face!), bawling his eyes out every time I put him down and fighting, clawing and punching us both into submission at bedtime for a week or two now.  

We have tried just about everything. Teething powders, teething gel, calpol, Amber jewellery (didn’t take long for mark to call that ‘bullshit’ and find an excuse to remove it). Is there actually a remedy out there that works? 

He’s lost the ability to fall asleep without me wrapped around him and is no longer that chilled out child who doesn’t mind if I put him down to get a brew. He’s gone from being a fairly solid little sleeper to wanting to wake up every few hours for a mummy cuddle and I am exhausted. 

Don’t get me wrong, he is my little sunshine. The apple of my eye. My world revolves around him. I can’t think of any more cliches to illustrate how much I love that little guy but you get the picture. That insane amount of love aside, being a parent to a teething baby is hard, painful (my poor nipples) work. Some days I dream of going back to work for a rest. And then the obligatory mum guilt kicks in for thinking like that…

Last week at a baby group our teacher (?) set us a challenge. Pick a day, any day, and keep a log of what you do. How many times you wake up in the night, how many hours sleep you get, what you manage to eat, what you do with your day etc. 

The results wouldn’t normally have surprised me. I know we’ve been lucky with Ethan’s chilled out attitude. But taking the challenge mid-teething I was quite shocked. If I get two hours of sleep in a row it’s an achievement. I learned that the closest thing I get to ‘me time’  (apart from scribbling hurried blogs while he naps on me) is cooking tea on my own while Mark plays with Ethan. When Mark is at work during this horrid phase I don’t even have the luxury of peeing alone (who am I kidding with a dog as well I never have that luxury!) All housework has been abandoned in favour of cuddles (woe is me!) I now eat breakfast one handed and lunch is at tea time. Tea time is at bedtime. God knows when bedtime is but it certainly doesn’t mean sleep time anymore. But even at 3am all is forgiven when I get up to a flash of that cheeky little smile! Manipulative little so and so…

One tooth down. How many do we have left to go?

We were the perfect parents…

…until we had a child!

Admit it, you’re guilty of it too.

You’re about to get on a plane and you see those parents with a baby… “A baby on a plane? I hope they’re not sat near us. No holidays abroad for us when we have young kids. Why would you be so selfish?” you whisper to your significant other.

While eating in a restaurant a baby starts blubbing and you mutter (not so quietly) to your date… “Urgh my meal is ruined. Why would you bring a baby here?”

You even become critical of people you know and their parenting style…  “They’re cosleeping! Can you imagine? She’s nearly three. And she has a dummy, she is constantly sucking on that damn dummy.”

Essentially, pre-baby we were the best damn parents that ever graced God’s good earth. We were going to raise a baby that would sleep through in his own bed from day one without even a dummy to comfort him, never use the TV as a babysitter, never leave the UK and suffer the wrath of irate mile high travellers, in fact never even leave our house – who needs nice meals or nights out? Yet despite all of this we’d still see our friends have time to be a couple and, you know, nail it all.

The only thing we forgot was to account for was the fact that – other than judging what (we thought) other people were doing wrong – we had no idea what it was like to be parents. And unless you’ve had a child, trust me, neither do you.

I know mummies who formula feed, breastfeed, combi feed, baby wear, pram push, co-sleep, cot sleep, puree wean, baby led wean, go out and party or stay in and cuddle and the list of different parenting choices goes on. But what one thing do all these mummies have in common? They’re doing what is best for them and for their babies. And do you know what? Their babies are all happier, healthier and thriving because of it. Despite all the differences they all have one thing in common. They are all mums who love their little ones.

So, to the babyless parents, next time you’re out and your meal is “rudely interrupted” by a crying baby lose the attitude and buy that mum a bloody BIG drink. Why? Because I guarantee she’s more stressed out (and embarrassed!) having people tut at her while she tries to enjoy the first hot meal she’s had in weeks than you are by having to listen to a baby whinge for a few short minutes.

Doesn’t cost much to be kind.