Where have I been?

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Hi it’s me : She Makes Moments.

6 months is a long time huh? So where have I been? If I said I’d been changing my life that would probably sound a bit sensationalist wouldn’t it? ¬†But, it’s the truth.

In April, I found out I was being made redundant from my teaching job. This was the second time this had happened and for me the final straw between me and teaching so I decided after 14 years to retire my whiteboard pens and walk away from my career, the only work I had known.

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You see, I had already been training with @digtitalmums to become a Freelance Social Media Manager and although I may not have chosen to forge my new career path so soon it seemed that everything was pointing that way.

So, in September I set up Louise Upchurch Social and am now working as a Social Media Manager and Consultant. If you are in need of any help in these areas don’t hesitate to contact me!

Oh and the other life changing thing? A second pregnancy, bump is due in February and we recently discovered we are Team Pink.

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My aim to get my blog back up and running and re-connect. Turns out She Make Moments was a real indicator of things to come.

So how are you and what has been going on with you in the last 6 months?

How not to blog – why I won't follow the rules

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I have been doing a lot of thinking lately (dangerous I know!) about my blog and its purpose.

You see, I was challenged to begin it as a way of telling my story and stories online. It is if you like, my life played out.

I know that I should attempt to find a niche, a topic, a neat little box to fit into and by doing so I could use numerous techniques to develop a following. The things is, that’s not going to work.

I write my blog about my life and my life doesn’t fit into neat categories or a niche. I am a wife, a mother, a teacher ( maybe ex?), Christian, book lover, product reviewer and occasional ‘Ooh an opportunity to blog’ type of person.

This isn’t a Christian blog but I will discuss my faith, this isn’t a mummy blog but I will talk about motherhood and baby products, this isn’t a book review blog but I will review books, this isn’t an educational blog but I will talk about teaching, students, young people.

This is my blog, about me, showing how my life is a number of different facets and aspects of a whole. I write from the heart and want to be me.

You are very welcome to join me in my journey, join me as I turn the pages and play out my story, but I won’t fit neatly into a category and I would love to apologise for that but I can’t.

What the future holds…

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As I sit and write this post I am jobless. I resigned my teaching post during my maternity leave as my request for part time hours could not be accommodated.

On 6th June my maternity pay ends and I am yet to find a new job.

You see, the thing is after nearly 12 years of being in the teaching profession I don’t know if it’s for me anymore.

I haven’t become old and jaded but I’m not sure I have the same passion that I used to for it. I am passionate about young people, about them feeling empowered and safe and nurtured but not about targets and grades and performance management. I am passionate about investing in the lives of young people but not about making them jump through hoops.

I have worked in mainstream, PRU, Alternative Education, SEN and within each it is only a matter of time before it becomes about everything else but quality time with the students and to be honest, that’s never what I signed up for.

I am torn, don’t get me wrong, this has been my vocation, my calling for 12 years, I have eaten, breathed, slept teaching for the majority of my adult life.

Right now, I question if it is where I am best used. I question if my heart is still in it, if I can inflame my passion for it again. It’s frightening.

I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know how everything is going to work out.

I do know that the world looks at me differently now I am a mother. I do know that many will question why I would sacrifice a career.

My perspective has changed, my faith has changed. I have been given skills, abilities and passions and I am called to use them to make a difference.

The question is where?

I haven’t ruled out teaching, it is almost synonymous with who I am but I don’t want to just go through the motions anymore.

So yes, I resigned without a new job to go to. Yes, I stuck to my guns about wanting to work part time and yes, despite the uncertainty of it all, I feel it is one of the most sensible decisions I have ever made.

I don’t know what the future holds but one day I will, for now, it’s about holding fast.

What a difference a day makes…

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So yesterday I struggled to even get out of bed. It all felt too much and I had hit my limit.

Today, I woke up after 8hrs uninterrupted sleep and felt perky yes, I said perky! I didn’t even need the caffeine in my coffee first thing but I had it anyway.

My mind could no longer comprehend any of yesterday, it was like a distant memory or bad nightmare that had dissipated into nothingness.

Bank Holiday Monday – seems to have crept up on me, maybe because the last one was not all that long ago!

We had planned to go out with life group up to London. Now really, this should be more of an ordeal with a 7mth old but it’s actually pretty easy. One train and we were at Blackfriars and then most of London is walkable – forget tubes and buses, it’s all about on foot!

Now, there is something important about going out together as a group – stronger bonds are formed and you develop a real sense of belonging! Being the only ones taking a baby could have added stress but it didn’t because our friends don’t make an issue out of it.

There is a great pub directly opposite Blackfriars Station – called The Blackfriars Family enough and that was our first stop for a coffee

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It’s got an amazing interior. We had started off sitting outside but the sun had decided to hide behind a cloud and there was a bit of a chill in the wind.

One day, I want to eat in the restaurant part!

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At this point my son was asleep, dropping off soon after we got off the train.

We continued on to The Punch Tavern.

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This felt a little like a railway station and was a stark contrast to the previous pub. If you are into Gin, they have their own Gin menu and you can sample a number of different flavours. We stuck to juice!

Lunch had been factored in at a Wetherspoons – 1. Cheap to eat in London. 2. Family friendly. 3. Decent facilities ( baby changing is kind of important!)

Unfortunately, the chosen pub was closed so we shall have to visit another day but we did find another Wetherspoons – The Moon on the Mall.

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Little man had woken up at this point and happily sat and ate his lunch in a high chair.

Being in London, we decided to visit a Nespresso Boutique to buy some more capsules and also to test out the new coffees at the tasting bar. There is a huge picture or George Clooney on the wall you can be photographed with too!

After this, a walk to The Red Lion but it was closed (again to save for another day) and so homeward bound we headed through St James Park to Victoria Station.

The great thing about London is you can walk for miles and not feel it as you are so taken in by your surroundings, the pubs we visited were all baby friendly and didn’t bat an eyelid or tut about us being there.

We walked and chatted, enjoyed the scenery and the sunshine.

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Another plus was our friend taking lovely photos and seeing little man so happy all day. He got tired towards the end and needed a little carry put of the buggy for a bit but it’s all do able.

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Having a baby does change your life but it doesn’t mean you can’t get out and do things. It takes a bit more planning (especially when they are weaning!) but there is no reason not to go for days out. I love that little man has been out exploring London on a few occasions now and I hope to make it many more.

Today I was in community and being in community is good for the soul and that’s something I want to make sure little man grows up knowing.

Ever had a 'should I have got out of bed?' day

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So today didn’t start well. Had a row with my husband before church and made him late for serving on PA ( am sure no one ele has ever done this, I realise I am a complete minority in this)

At this point, the day could have been a write off. Mainly due to my mind continually letting me know what a screw up I am and how I had ruined everything (my mind is a drama queen – anyone else’s?)

I managed to stop sobbing and text a few friends, telling them exactly what had happened and how I was.

I then partook in a bit of blowing raspberries therapy, which if you haven’t heard of it involves blowing raspberries at your small child to make them giggle. 15 minutes of this and I was semi normal again – enough to make it out of the front door and head to church.

I arrived and was happily greeted by a friend who chatted to me and gave me a hug. Got a bit teary again but then felt ok.

The thing is, the last place I wanted to go was church. I was feeling a bit broken and vulnerable and yet my natural reaction was to hide.

This is not a comment on my church or my church family. It is recognising the fact that there is something a little inherent in me, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this, that makes me feel I have to be perfect and smiley and raring to go on a Sunday and quite frankly that’s the biggest lie we can hold on to.

Jesus himself said he did not come for the righteous – so why do I aspire to be like that on a Sunday.

Church should be a place of refuge and yet today I was afraid of judgement of appearing a failure and that has nothing to do with anyone or anything said. It has to do with my own battle with perfection and owning up to the fact I struggle.

Right now, I don’t feel I am a good enough mother, wife, friend or family member. That’s my own journey and it’s ok for me to be on it, there isn’t a quick fix in all this.

I cancelled going to my son’s swimming lesson today ( Mum guilts kicked in big time) but some vindication came in the fact he napped for over 2hrs in the time we would have been. Sometimes, I really should trust my instincts and stop using the selfish word when I make these decisions.

Friends invited us for lunch, and I was nurtured and refreshed and offered a place of safety where I could be just as I am.

So, even though it was tough today, it was also important as I learned how to share those parts of myself that I would rather hide, I realised it’s not so bad saying it how it is and feel a little more confident in my messiness but still have a way to go – work in progress right?

Tonight is the church prayer
meeting and I am sat instead at home in my pyjamas. Another chance for my mind to tell me I have my priorities all wrong… at one point someone told me ‘Sometimes the most holy thing you can do is rest.’ and I am very good at saying this to other people but right now, I think I need to say it to myself, believe it and remember that there is no condemnation.

Baby Cups – an oxymoron?

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When my son was born, I made the decision to breast feed. At 8 weeks old we attempted to introduce to him a bottle with expressed milk This was unsuccessful.

I have had many ‘helpful’ comments explaining to me that if he was really hungry he would take a bottle no trouble.

This was not the case and I believe I am not the only mother who found themselves in this position, made to feel as though they had failed in some way, or that they had ‘spoilt’ their child by breast feeding.

I do not feel hard done by. I did not want to introduce a bottle as a substitute to feeding, I was always intending to continue but it was so that I could be away from my son for longer than two hours if I wanted to be.

We persevered, we didn’t just give up on the bottle but it became clear that it was not to be.

At that point, I discovered this was not an isolated case.

When my son was about five and a half months old, I stumbled across @babycuphello Twitter account.

Baby cups? Surely this was somewhat of an oxymoron? A small open cup for a baby to drink from themselves, this couldn’t work could it?

Babycup -Little cups for little people. Weaning and drinking 6mths-2.5yrs. Cup- feeding newborns including premature babies.

Find out more about babycup

I loved the concept, read the testimonials and decided we had to give them a go.

This is an honest, no holds barred, Mum trying a product review.

I write this in the hope that other mums who may have been made to feel that they have somehow ‘failed’ their child by being unsuccessful with a bottle will quash that idea and see there is an alternative.

When I first received the babycups, they reminded me somewhat of shot glasses.

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My son was intrigued by them, wanting to hold a babycup and explore it. I noticed, as I gave it to him just to look at for the first time that he almost insinstinctively put it to his mouth.

The first few times that we attempted it with a little water, I had to help him navigate holding it but he immediately made drinking motions and took liquid in.

This was a milestone moment for us. There was no turning of the head or flat refusal.

Within a week, my son was able to hold a babycup independently and drink from it.

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We had done little more than help him hold it initially and then slowly remove support. It took a week for him to become an independent drinker at 6 months old!

The cups come in a range of colours, are small enough to fit in your changing bag or even handbag and are endorsed as healthy choice for your baby.

This product has quite frankly been life changing for us as a family and have provided a solution and alternative to bottles.

Don’t just take my word for it, check out the @babycuphello Twitter account for plenty more pictures and testimonials of babycup being used by parents.

You can also check out my Twitter account @Loulou_Uberkirk to see my own tweets about the product prior to writing this review.

So, if you’re a parent feeling guilty or as if you have failed, if you are a parent looking for an alternative to sippy cups or bottles, or if you are weaning and want to try something new, try babycup.

Reasonably priced, in a range of colours, small and portable and promoting independence for your little one.

Further questions contact Sara hello@babycup.co.uk or on Twitter @babycuphello

Today I'm a mum and still in my pjs

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So, little man is 6 months and having a period of wakefulness at night.

The initial reaction is to Google and come up with 100 different explanations ranging from growth spurts to not following a sleep training method.

It can be a minefield and there are always plenty of smug ‘experts’ ready to tell you everything you are doing wrong and why you should buy into their particular methods.

Truth is, no-one knows the answer part from little man and he isn’t in a position to tell me.

I have developed my own coping mechanisms for these periods and they happen every so often.

At first, it was easy to beat myself up about it, to feel I had to put a brave face on it and just keep calm and carry on.

Before… I would have forced myself to get up, get dressed, face the world and even get a morning walk in to ensure little man napped. I was slightly crazed about just getting on.

Today… I posted in my secret mums group on Facebook about our shocker of an evening, whats app’d my post natal group and was hugely delighted to be presented with a cup of coffee by my husband before he left for work.

Instead of focussing on getting up and getting on, I sat on the bed with little man and played, enjoyed staying in my pyjamas and dressing gown. I can shower later – for now I just need to be.

I received plenty of words of encouragement from other mums who are experiencing similar and was spurred on by the knowledge that I am not alone!

I did the breakfast routine – weaning has begun. Mashed banana on toast – what a choice for a day when I’m living on coffee and prayer. It was fine, what are baby wipes for anyway?

Now, little man naps and I’m still in my pjs and you know what? I feel liberated. Liberated from the need to be up, showered, dressed out and facing the world.

I will be going out later but I’m not looking at the clock and fretting today.

Today, I am struggling to stay awake a little so I’m going to take my time. I’m not going to buy into questioning myself, or rushing to do everything.

I am leaving Google and forums alone.

Today, I’m a mum and I’m still in my pjs.