All in Motherhood

8 "Must Have" Baby Products We Didn't Buy or Use Much

In addition to all the many others, one thing new mums or parents hope for is that the baby products they buy absolutely do what it says on the tin! It’s one thing figuring out what exact products to buy out of the myriad, it’s another to see it actually work for your baby and give you peace of mind. Because if it doesn’t that’s just sad: the time wasted, the money down the drain and worst of all – the space it just takes up in your home. I don’t think there are any new parents whose houses remain the same after having a baby - no matter how you try.

I recall once after we had popped into a baby store to pick up some large ticket items – the boot of the car was stuffed, and some products at the back seat slightly obstructed the windshield. It was a good thing the house was just under five minutes because we couldn’t have driven that way for much longer. When we got home, I said to the husband “well I hope this kid really likes these gadgets and takes to them”. His response “Of course he had better, what choice does he have. He should be thankful he got all this. You know how many kids don’t have this choice”?

A Time-Stamped Diary on My Last Day of Maternity Leave

I had such great plans for maternity leave. Although I wasn’t certain how long I wanted to be off for, I had assumed somewhere around the 6-month mark. Actually, to be honest, I had considered going back to work at about 3-4 months post baby. And that’s because the up-to-one year maternity leave that new mothers in the UK are entitled to, seemed a bit strange to me. An entire year at home! 

It was definitely a culture shock because coming from Nigeria most people clearly returned to work within three months. And that was the mindset I had. But hey, things change... So after actually having the baby and knowing that I was in the UK where no one would really frown and at a one-year maternity leave the top of my CV, I decided to be open to it.

Seven Tips to Help Children Enjoy Reading

Would you like to help your children enjoy reading? Is raising readers important to you? It should be!

There’s not enough space to list the benefits of reading with/to children even while in-utero, but there’s a lot of research to back up the talk. Reading to children is important for their neurological development. It builds empathy, strengthens their ability to listen and improves their vocabulary.

Most importantly though, it creates a strong bond between parents and children and as children grow, books can be a great launch point for having otherwise uncomfortable conversations.

So, what can you do if you’d like to help your children enjoy reading? Number one below is the most important step - and the other six are incredibly helpful too.

The Kind of Diaper Bag Every Mum Needs (+ essentials to have in it)

For some reason, a diaper bag was one of the last things I bought and eventually struck out from my baby list. But then I realised I wasn’t alone; my friend and I were pretty torn on which to go for. I had so many requirements I wanted it to tick. 

First it had to be quite spacious. I’d made up my mind that contrary to the understandable actions of many first time mums, I wasn’t going to lug the whole kitchen sink into a diaper bag and risk hurting my arms and shoulders (which meant the diaper bag on its own had to be pretty light weight).  But at the same time, we know that with a baby –  the little necessities add up. Asides being spacious, it also had to help keep me organised. I won’t lay claim to being the most organised person (and anything to help as a new mum was a plus). So it would have been utterly useless to have a really spacious deep holed bag with no compartments which help keep things in place. Separate storage was important - baby food had no business being in the same space with soiled diapers.

10 (+1) Diverse Children's Books With Characters of Colour

As a parent and as a teacher, it’s been my aim for the young people in my life to absolutely love reading and books. Being a British born Nigerian and having taught in Nigeria for a number of years, diverse books have become very important to me. This is because I believe that books aren’t just about “others”, But when we see people like ourselves in the media, including in fiction, we get a glimpse of who we might become, we feel validated and we feel relevant. 

I totally recommend these diverse reads in no particular order and I hope you enjoy this list too.

The New Baby Essentials We Absolutely Loved

My friend thinks that like the wedding industry with all its charm, the baby product industry is such a danger zone - particularly for first-time mums.  I have to agree. Everything is so bright and shiny and perfect. And the gorgeous photos of the products. Lets not even talk about the little baby clothes too: everything is cuter in baby size. But then you fall for it, buy everything and realIse two things (i) you know longer have space in your home and (ii) you actually didn't use or need half. 

But I was aware of this trap and tried to avoid falling in. So first, I didn’t start shopping too early. Because once you start, it’s hard to stop. Second I was armed with an excel spreadsheet and detailed list. Finally, I read reviews and relied on first-hand information - a lot of which was so helpful.

I’ve often shared my thoughts on products via Instagram. People have agreed with me saying “we’re product twins!”, some have gone off to purchase the items and some have asked for more info!

As much as I tried, not all items were perfect or worked for us.

I Asked 8 Young Mums What's it's Like Raising Two Boys

When my friend casually mentioned that she'd love to be a soccer mum and have three boys, I began to wonder what it'd be like to be a mum of boys. At the time, we had found out we were having a boy, and it seemed like every other pregnant woman around us were also having boys!  Our midwife actually mentioned that boy births seemed to be on a record high last year. 

And then, I began to notice just how many young mums around me are boy mums! I could very easily have featured over a dozen of such women  in the post, but I tried to limit it to 7 of them who each have two little boys. 

They all share their experiences as #mumofboys -  picking boy names, resources and parenting tips, being outnumbered, learning from them and desire (or not) for a girl!

One Mummy Guilt I've Been Feeling Lately

Are you even a mum if you don’t have some kind of "mummy guilt"? Obviously before I became a mum, I used to look at that word strangely. I probably still do, and I can’t even pretend I know the full implications.

So although I typed the title of this post first, I decided to check the meaning before I proceed. The urban dictionary defines it as “Guilt a mother feels anytime she takes time to do something for herself, outside of work, that does not involve her children". And I agree that’s the most common one I had seen. Like mums taking a solo holiday or taking time off for girls trip. But that’s not my guilt – not in the least. I’ve pretty much spent the last 7 months with the little kiddo and not a night away!  

So I dug deeper – and it seems mums guilt is really anything in relation to parenting that you feel isn’t good enough or not your best. So there’s a lot – what you feed them, leaving them with nannies, watching too much TV, parenting style, yelling - whatever.

And I don’t generally have any form of guilt. I know I’m doing my best, I’m a great mum (you gotta blow your trumpet hunnay) and the kid is generally happy! So why has this little thing been on my mind a bit. 

Ok – here it comes. 

16 Women on "The Best Thing Mum Ever Did For Me"

I think as we grow older and in most cases, we come into better relationships with our mothers. Hindsight vision becomes a 10/10 and you realise that they're probably not the dreadful -forever-stepping-on-your-toes -wanting-to-be-in-your-business person you thought they were particularly in your teenage or early adolescent years. As you grow older, you begin to perhaps look back on them with the childlike eyes of admiration and "oh my goodness I need my mum for this!" And when you become a mother yourself, you wonder how on earth they did all they did. 

Ahead of Mothers Day, 16 women share the best things their mum ever did for them - some of which include life changing advice, support, finance and uhm one episode of hysterical laughter. But all of which undoubtedly came from the depths of a mother's love for her daughter. 

Our Birth Story

I've found that in my case, the notion that once you give birth, you forget the intensity of the pain is somewhat true. That's perhaps the reason why this post has taken 6 months to be written. Or maybe I just didn’t think I could ever put it into words. 

As I've mentioned in my pregnancy tag, my preference was for our little one to arrive at 38 weeks. So by 37 weeks I had most of my hospital bag items ready. My friend who was also supposed to have a baby around the same time as me had hers early - at 37 weeks!
Another friend had earlier suggested a drink that I could take if I was keen to have my baby at about 38 weeks. I did a bit of research and found that while the drink mix appeared to initiate labour for some, it did nothing for others. Of course there was also the typical recommendations of pineapple and spicy foods like curry. But 38 weeks came and I got rather indifferent - what was the rush really?