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?

She makes time for the little things

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I returned to work today after being signed off for a week with an injury I sustained at work. 

Back to leaving the house early, just after little man has woken up and returning with just a short time before his bedtime.

The weekdays allow only very limited amounts of time with him. Returning home carrying the weight of a workday on my shoulders and wanting to just collapse onto the sofa and have a bit of headspace and quiet; versus arriving home fully present and making some moments however small.

Tonight I was greeted with a delighted squeal of ‘mummy!’ and a wide-armed bear hug that righted every wrong in the world.

  
We made coffee.

 
We played ‘pancakes’ 

 

We did some puzzles. 

  
We relaxed in the rocking chair.

We made some moments and we made them count.

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.

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.

5 things new mothers should know

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1. You will never take enough photos to satisfy yourself.
A strange thing happens when you have a baby, you suddenly become obsessed with photos and having records of every moment – remember that they are for you to enjoy – don’t miss them all hiding behind a lens!

2. Every baby is different.
No matter how many books you read, advice you listen to or experience of other babies you have, your baby will be different and that’s ok. You will become an expert in your own baby. It is completely normal to obsess about feeding, sleeping and nappies and despite what you think, you will.

3. Develop a thick skin.
Whether you breast feed, bottle feed, use disposable or cloth nappies, wear your baby, co sleep, put them in their own room, wean with a spoon or do baby led weaning, post photos or don’t post photos, you are going to upset somebody. Unfortunately, there will be plenty of comments that will smart a little, there may be some snarkiness and you will unintentionally touch nerves. Be prepared for this and build up a network of people you can discuss unhelpful comments with so they don’t take root.Choose your forums carefully, what’s app and FB private groups can be great places to vent and discuss intricate details out of the public domain.

4. Don’t do it alone and be honest.
You don’t have to do it all alone. There are plenty of groups, meet ups, baby classes, forums, social media communities, friends and family members who want to help you – let them and be honest. No one expects you to enjoy every second of motherhood and if anyone says they do they are lying. Be honest about things and ask questions!

5. You are doing a great job.
You won’t get it right all of the time. You won’t feel yourself all of the time but you are doing a great job. No one else can care for your baby like you – trust me you’re amazing.

The 'I'm not good enough' mantra

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I’m currently lying in bed attempting to sleep and failing miserably.

My issue is I have the ‘I’m not good enough’ mantra playing on repeat in my head. I have managed to pause it for a while but then that wave of sickness hits my stomach and off it goes again.

I have always had it, ever since I can remember and I spent years believing I was the only one.

The fact is, we all have it at some point. In some way, about a particular part of our life or perhaps all if it. Sometimes it quietens for a period but then it rears its head once again and traps us in a spiral of self doubt.

Being a new mother mine currently stems a lot from my belief that I’m not good enough at it. I replay my labour, the first days and weeks of my son’s life and mentally berate myself – the ‘should haves’ fly around and are slowly fought off with the realisation that all is well and all was well. Just because I don’t have a hundred photos of me in those first days doesn’t mean I have failed. I did in fact cuddle my son enough, I do interact with him enough and yes sometimes I take him out of the house in his pyjamas but why is that even an issue? Why is it something I feel I have to explain, as if it even matters?

Before motherhood became my all consuming ‘I’m not good enough’ it was work, marriage, family, friendships, faith. They still arise sometimes just so I don’t get too complacent.

There are a whole barrage of thoughts that I wade through on a daily basis that seek to wear me down and sometimes they do, if I leave them in my head.

This post is raw, it is unadulterated vulnerability and it is scary to write but I have to. Fear tells me not to. Fear says to keep quiet.

I write this to dispell the lies I tell myself about not being good enough and I write this for you.
I write this for every single one of you who is hindered each day by a sense of not good enough.

You are good enough.

Whatever is playing on your mind right now, whatever you are in secret turmoil about, whatever pulls you down.

It’s a lie. The mantra is a lie.

You are good enough.

Behind the scenes life… Living unedited

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I posted this image on my Facebook page recently –

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It seemed to resonate with many people and yet we all continue to do it.

It started me thinking about how I could live more of my behind the scenes life in the open. I don’t want people to think that they know me, or create a version of me from my highlight reel.

Truth be told much more of my behind the scenes life can be seen on Twitter rather than Facebook. This is partly because of the nature of the sites and also personal choice. I have made attempts to be more open by sharing my blog posts on Facebook, something I never would have done a year ago.

I also decided I needed to show more of my behind the scenes life day to day too. It’s scary and it makes you highly vulnerable but there is something really releasing in it. The realisation that there are people who accept you just as you are, exactly where you are.

I experienced this on Friday firstly with friends from our antenatal class – It had been a tough night with little man and my energy levels were at an all time low which in turn affected my conversational ability and a I felt a wreck but I walked to our baby sensory class and was met with hugs and support. We then had lunch and I could just sit and be, nothing was expected of me.

I then visited a friend, another mum, someone who doesn’t quite realise how brightly she shines in what can be a very grey world. Someone who despite feeling rough herself was happy to hang out ‘warts and all’ and who without knowing it reminds me who I am and can be every time I am around her. I truly live my behind the scenes life with her and it is when I am most alive.

I lived unedited, unfiltered. I need to do it more and I think you do too.

It scares me, it’s uncomfortable, it’s far easier just to hide.

But…

It becomes all consuming living a highlight reel. The desperation to post the beautiful photo, the clever status, to come across as the perfect mother, sister, wife, friend, worker, Christian. It’s tiring. It’s unsustainable.

It’s a waste, a waste of us.