Monday, 29 April 2013

Sleep, and the related Hullabaloo - #pbloggers Party 28th April 2013


If theres one topic of conversation which gets parents talking, its definitely sleep. How well our children sleep, how well we sleep (if at all), and we how we all cope with the inevitable sleep depravation of parenthood. 

"I love talking about my lack of sleep! The moaning keeps me going!"

This week's chat focused on sharing individual experiences and tips to help our little ones nod off, and it was great to see many new parent bloggers join in to swap ideas.

Sleep depravation: A common experience

One thing's clear, You're Not Alone!
The majority of parents suffer or have suffered from a lack of sleep at some stage, particularly in the early weeks, and no one finds this easy.

  • "I have a love/hate relationship with sleep. I love it but hate the fact I never get enough!"
  • "We were pretty desperate in the early days."
  • "I try to remind myself of two things. 1. This time will pass.  2. They will be teenagers one day and I can get my revenge."
  • "I do love my children but the sound of the door opening first thing in the morning actually makes my heart sink sometimes!"
  • "Last time I slept through? Around April 2009."

Even once babies start to sleep for longer periods, or even all night, many parents complained of not being able to sleep due to fears for the child's safety... or puzzlement that they hadn't woken up!

  • "Anyone else just become an incredibly light sleeper after having children? I've never been the same since"
  • "The tiniest sound wakes me"

All babies are different...

Despite some common ground, the chat showed just how different our experiences are as parents, and how some of us struggle for years with sleepless children, whilst others are blessed with great sleepers once the newborn stage passes.

  • "Sleep was good in my house till we hit the 5 month mark and since then it's been a crazy roller coaster"
  • "T is 4 and K is 2. Both sleep very well now, 12 hours solid, but it wasn't always so. We are fortunate."
  • "Our eldest didn't start to sleep through until around 18m & even then getting him to sleep took an hour - longest was 2.5hrs"
  • "J sleeps through the night but can't remember the last time I wasn't up at 6/7am."
  • "I have been so lucky with Elsa. She has slept 12hrs since 10 weeks. Think I'd've gone out of my mid with a baby that didn't sleep."

... and its not a competition

As with many aspects of parenting, the amount a child sleeps is often a hot topic for competition.
  • "Don't get sucked into my baby sleeps through the night competitions with other parents. They are all different."
  • "I don't think there's a rule. Some kids do (sleep well), and some take a little longer to get the hang of it."

Ignore the books!

Most of us prefer to make up our own rules when it comes to dealing with our children's sleep habits, or at least refer to the advice or tips of other parents rather than so-called experts
  • "Best sleep tips? Don't believe the books, the so-called experts or other parents. Do what works best for you & your children."
  • "No one size fits all solution when it comes to sleep. The books make it sound easier than it is." 
  • "I wish I knew about this chat sooner. So much better talking to other mummys about problems rather than silly books"

Factors which affect children sleeping

One thing we definitely agreed on were certain triggers for a bad night's sleep.

  • "Both my children are/were high-needs. Everything about them & their sleep made so much more sense when I read the description!"
  • "I find if she afternoon naps it buggers her sleep pattern"
  • "A very exhausting day makes my kids sleep right through the night, lots of fun in the sun!!"

Breastfeeding, general hunger and teething pains play a significant part;

  • "Sleep! I wish. LO is 2 in a few weeks and still wakes in the night for milk "
  • "With breast feeding I feel like I'm up 5 minutes after I have fallen asleep, it's exhausting"
  • "Thomas is worst when hes teething"
  • "Lilys sleep was upset by teething mosty which seems like its been constant for 18 months"

What are our best tried tips?

Despite acknowledging that there are no hard and fast rules to it, most of us were able to share some tips which had worked at some point for us, although - again - there was much debate and contrasting opinions...

Sleep training and controlled crying
  • "Don't run straight in if they cry! Obvs do if there's a problem if they're upset. But they HAVE to learn to settle"
  • "I find it difficult to cope with listening to baby cry. I can't last long before going in."
Noise vs. Quiet
  • "My 4 month old prefers the hairdryer to me.. "
  • "My baby cries louder if I put on music or noise lol! he prefers it quiet"
  • "Mine always preferred noise. Joshua used to go to sleep with an iPhone in his hand listening to the Cars soundtrack."
  • "We put her mobile on the rainforest noise setting. She associates the sound with bed & sleep. Useful if we're away"
  • "White noise and swaddling helped when mine were tiny. It was the only way they would settle"
Own room vs. Co sleeping
  • "I co-slept with my daughter an absolutely hated it, I find I get more sleep with my son being in other room"
  • "We also kicked both ours out of our room around 6 months. That made a BIG difference. We all slept better."
  • "Some nights its easier for us both if we co sleep he gets a full night and i get semi sleep"


  • "Start a routine early! Bath, book, milk and a song!"
  • "A routine really helped. I also did a dream feed at the same time each night until he refused"
  • "We found Max always slept in his buggy in the afternoons. We normally walked to the park, played and then he slept "

Sleeping aids

  • "Always thought that if someone invented a product that really helped wee ones sleep they would be very rich indeed" 
  • "We used Ewan from day 1 & Elsa has been a brilliant sleeper. Don't know if was him or she would've done it anyway."
  • "I tried one of those when she was about 6 months old but thought it actually kept her awake even longer!"

How do you cope with little/no sleep as parents?

": What are your best tips for getting a peaceful night?" Not having children!"

We also wanted to know how parents cope without sleep. Obviously its not just about the children - normally babies will make up for lost sleep during day time naps but its often much harder for the parents to catch up - if not impossible. How do you cope?
  • "Go to bed at the same time as them so you can catch up on sleep"
  • "Coffee, coffee, coffee"
  • "If we have had a bad sleep during the night me and my fiancĂ© will do shift work during the day"
  • "Get showered, dressed and made up, always makes me feel better"
  • "A good bike ride to work, fresh air, getting the blood pumping around the system. And coffee. Buckets of it"

To end on a positive note, many commented how the lack of sleep was worth it, and how beautiful our babies look when sleeping. Plus there's the added bonus of never needing to set an alarm again...

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Are you an anonymous blogger or do you let it all hang out?

Do you blog incognito?
There's no doubt about it: there is a divide amongst the blogging community for those who wish to stay anonymous and those who are happy to bare all.

What materialised from last Sunday's discussion was that there is a range of anonymity varying between bloggers; there is a difference between anonymity online and in amongst our everyday lives amid the people we know.

Some bloggers choose complete anonymity for reasons of being able to express themselves more freely without fear of reprisals from people they know. Some even kept it secret from their partners.

"At the moment our blog is anonymous. Our family or friends don't know about it :) ...There's no real reason for it, just the fact we just don't want them knowing about it"

"I decided to blog anonymously as I felt I could be more honest. I have some really blunt blogs lined up too"

"I try to be anonymous about personal details in my life, like I wouldn't splash my address/job/when I go to the toilet etc"

For many, blogging started anonymously and then, as they gained confidence, told more and more people and 'came out':

"My blog started out anonymous but as I went on I really wanted to share. Now even some work colleagues know about it"

"Recently been really tempted to "come out". I don't like keeping this a secret from my wife and want to share"

Some felt that it was important to maintain the privacy of their families by not posting names or pictures of the faces of their partners or children.  Many of these bloggers adopt pseudonymous identities and give other names to their children and other family members.

"I want to keep my blog anonymous, not from my friends or family but from people I don't know. Joint decision with hubby"

Some bloggers are wary of who may be lurking on the internet and are very protective of their family members:

"I wouldn't ever put up an identifiable photo of our son on my blog. Want to protect him. Hubby feels v strongly about this too"

"Absolutely agree re not putting up pics of kids. Hubby v adamant too. Sometimes wish could share more but safety first"

Whereas others don't share this concern:

"My kids are all over my blog. It's about them, why would I possibly keep them out of it? :) They're the blogging fuel!"

"Doubt anyone's interested in my photos. They are pretty shite. Haha!"

In contrast, this point was made:

"Does anyone worry that our kids may hate what you've written about them when they're older? I write vague stuff about him because of this"

Another point to question anonymity:

"Is anyone else going to Britmumslive. If u r anonymous what will u do about introducing yourself there?"

So what do you think?  Come and add to the discussion and let us know your opinions.  Please comment below!

Monday, 15 April 2013

Parental Guilt: What gets you in a twist?

Source: via Casey on Pinterest
It seems that most parents feel guilty about something or, in some cases, everything:
"Guilt is one of the main things I think all parents feel - we can make ourselves feel guilty about almost anything"
"I feel guilt all the time ... For almost every decision I make!"
"Guilt is like a parent's shadow, it follows you wherever you go"
That's a lot of guilt running through our veins, isn't it. The weight of parenthood guilt hangs heavy for some for a wide variety of reasons.  Here's a selection from last night's discussion:

Wanting time to ourselves
Some of us feel guilty about wanting to have some 'Me Time'.  This is seen as essential by some but impossible for others: 
"I feel guilty for wanting alone time. S is 1 now and I've had precious little time to myself - just odd hours here & there"
"I feel guilty for looking forward to nap time or bed time, then I miss them when they're asleep"
Not spending enough time with the kids 
This old chestnut of guilt is familiar to quite a lot of those taking part in the discussion last night for a range of reasons.  Many working parents feel that the time spent at work or study is time spent away from their children. This seems to make a lot of people feel very guilty.
"I felt really bad last year. Me and MR were at uni, Max was at nursery and we were both working. I hardly slept"
"The thing I get most guilty about is not seeing my son enough. I'm working he's at nursery, I feel like they know he better than me"
The amount of guilt felt may be dependent on the different temperaments of the children as one mother suggested:
"I don't feel hugely guilty about working part time as my son is such a happy soul and skips on into the childminder's. If he was clingy or more needy, I would probably feel dreadful" 
Some felt that they were unable to spend time with their children as they would like.  This was either because of age differences, multiple siblings, children with special needs or just that there's too much to do to keep the ship afloat:
"Not enough days out makes me feel bad, hard to do with two with autism"
"I feel guilty sometimes. Having four kids I feel I don't always share my time equally between them all" 
"I often feel guilty for not playing with my LO's enough, I always seem to have to do something else"
Toughing it out as a single parent
The life of a single parent is tough, not only because of the continuous workload, but also for other more complicated reasons:
"What makes me feel guilty is the kids asking if I can have them on days they're with their mum & I can't do it"
Losing your temper
Ever snapped at the pestering child and instantly regretted it? I bet most of us can answer yes to that question! 
"Oh my where do I begin? I feel guilty when I lose it over something quite insignificant, and my son meekly says Sowwy Mummy"
Food refusal
That sinking feeling as your child again refuses to eat his or her dinner and worrying that they will wake up in the night, ravenous and beside themselves. Is there something wrong? Are they ill?  Or are they fussy eaters surviving on Quavers and Cheerios alone? Either way, it's a one-way street to Guilt.
"I feel terrible when he's gone to bed after refusing dinner - I feel I should be able to give him something he wants"
Change in circumstances
A change in circumstances at home can be difficult for everyone.  Whether you are moving house, moving in with your parents or in-laws or have just brought a baby home, there seems to be something to feel guilty about for the existing child(ren).
"I've definitely been suffering a few bouts of guilt since having baby no 2. last week!"
Those Baby Manuals
One topic that sparked quite a bit of pitchfork anger was the baby manuals read in those first few weeks of the first child and just how guilty they made you feel.  Your confidence is at an all-time low and people are telling you to trust your instincts when you don't know what your instincts are.  So in desperation you reach for the baby manual to see how things should be working out. Applying this advice to the situation with your child and it does not fit so you are to blame for getting it wrong: Hello Guilt, come on in!
"Want to know who made me feel REALLY guilty in those first few weeks? Gina Ford and Baby Whisperer books. Reality was different!"
"One of the best things my husband ever did was throw out the baby guides! They we're no help and exacerbated my PND"
"At the time I was convinced that I was the problem, not the books"
Accidents have us all in a spin!
"I'll never forget bumping babies head for very first time. I cried my eyes out, felt like I was worlds worst mum"
"Oooh no. I once accidentally gave my daughter some too hot food - I cried I felt so awful!"
Not Guilty Your Honour 
Not all parents feel guilty though. Here's what you had to say:  
 "I actually don't feel much parental guilt. I only feel bad on those times where I've really shouted"
"One thing I don't feel guilty about is CBeebies! I'd like to kiss the person who came up with Night Garden!"
"I'm pretty much a guilt free parent! I do wish I could give my kids more though"
 "It's about not being consumed by the guilt, we all make mistakes-learn and move on!In the grand scheme of things I'm sure it's ok"
"I'm a guilt free parent and proud of it. My kids are healthy and happy & that's all that matters. Lets just see how they turn out!" 
Another question asked was whether feeling guilty as a parent was a fashionable thing to do; are we feeling guilty because everyone else says they are?  This received a mixed response:
"I'm not a slave to fashion and can't imagine it feeling different just because it wasn't articulated in that way"
"No. I think its a very natural and common occurrence because you want to do the best you can and sometimes being human means you can't"
"I sometimes feel guilty about not feeling guilty when I drop P off at nursery & go to work ... Everyone needs a break sometimes"
"Nope! Just checked in with my emotions and they confirm guilt is real! Especially as I'm currently 3000 miles from family!"
"Hmmmm, I think there's a lot of pressure on parents, and comparing ourselves to others doesn't help, though we all do"
"I get so frustrated with parents criticising each other"
Can we spin a different twist to stop us all feeling so bad?
With all this guilt bounding around, perhaps we need to look at things slightly differently:
"I think parents spend a lot of time feeling guilty about what they're not doing instead of acknowledging what they do!"
"My philosophy on parenting is less about "perfect" and more about "good enough". I find this approach takes pressure off" ..."I think that's very sensible! Children don't look for perfection do they?  Just love"
So is there a positive to all this guilt?  Two Tweeters put it like this?
"Does feeling guilty really achieve anything though?" ... "Not in itself but it keeps us striving to be better parents I think"
What do you think?  Do you feel guilty about every decision you make or are you skipping off happily into the a guilt-free sunset?  Please add your comments here!

Monday, 8 April 2013

How do you fit blogging around everything else? #pbloggers Party 6th April 2013

There is quite a variance in how much we all blog.  Some write once or twice a month whereas others post several times a week or every day.  So how do you fit writing for your blog around everything else in your life?  Here's how you manage it:

Finding the time
Most people said they blog around family life, finding time to write whilst their children are napping, feeding (especially during the night feeds), at school or in the evenings once they're in bed. These times change as the needs of the children change. 

The general consensus was that you can't blog when your kids are around, either because you want to give them your undivided attention, you need to give them your undivided attention, or they just come and whack sticky fingers on the lap top making it impossible anyway! 

Some write on their phones snatching spare moments wherever they happen to be, whereas others prefer to sit at the computer and write in a bigger session. Days off, lunch time or other breaks at work were also sited as windows to blog.

A partner's view
The long suffering blog partners have a mixed view on this topic.  Some people have very supportive partners who encourage our writing and take delight in it.  Others are less supportive and don't like the time blogging takes.  Some reported that they get 'in trouble' if they are caught blogging or networking when there are other things that need doing and others said that they agree with this and feel guilty about it.  Some people said that they blogged when their partners fell asleep on the sofa! All this sparked a discussion about blogging in secret and keeping your blog private from friends and family, but this is a good discussion theme for the future, so I won't go into this now.

Achieving a blog/life balance 
It seems important to us all to achieve a balance between wanting to write our blogs and spending time with our loved ones so that blogging doesn't impinge too much on family life.  Here's what some of you do to achieve this:
  • Make the time: Some people organise their family's routine to enable blogging time at a particular point in the week.  
  • Scheduling posts: Others write several posts all at once when they have the time and schedule them to publish at more regular intervals. 
  • Notes, notes, notes: Some of you fill your homes, cars and work places with notebooks that you write your blog post ideas in.  People reported having blog inspiration whilst driving, in the shower or right before going to sleep.  Notebooks seemed to be the answer to this, either in paper form or on your phones.  Apps such as Evernote (see Mum in a Hurry's post here to find out more about Evernote) and Chrome were mentioned. 
  • Slow blogging: "Slow blogging has been around since 2006, and is based on the very simple idea that blogging is better for everyone involved if we all just take a deep breath, pause, and give ourselves time and space to be creative. Just as the slow food movement argues that fast food and consumer culture are spoiling our enjoyment of great food, the slow blog movement argues that daily blog posts and frantic updates are spoiling our enjoyment of blogging.  Slow Blogging is all about rejecting the idea that blogging should happen to a timescale, that you must blog a certain number of times a week, and that blogging is a pursuit that should always be “improved” and “honed”..." (Tots100, 5th April 2013).  Perhaps we could all do to slow down a bit in these high speed instantaneous times...? 
  • Wait for the football season: Some people found it good to wait for a decent time to write when the family are otherwise engaged, such as during the football season or perhaps the Great British Bake Off...?

Feedback Please!
Do you have any other ways to fit blogging around family life?  If so, leave a comment and add yourself to our linky!

See you all next week!  x

Friday, 5 April 2013

This Sunday's Theme: Fitting it all in

The votes are in and this Sunday's #pbloggers theme is:

How do you manage to blog whilst doing everything else? 

You know: parenting, working, shopping, hoovering, picking up toys, cleaning up mess of all types, reading stories, running the bath, playing in the garden, keeping on top of the bills, remembering to put fuel in the car, taking pets to the vet, swimming (not at the vets), social networking, ringing your parents, catching the bus, doing the school run ... the list is endless.

How do we fit it all in?  When do you find time to write?

Answers on a Twitter-based postcard 9pm this Sunday.

See you there!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Where do you blog? #pbloggers Party: 31st March 2013

Where do you blog...?
This week's discussion was all about where you host your blog whether it be on Blogger, Wordpress another blogging platform or self hosted.  Here's what you all thought:

To Blogger or to Wordpress? That is the question...
When asked if you preferred one or the other, answers seem pretty split down the middle between Blogger and Wordpress; they both seem very easy to use for both new and experienced bloggers.  Some thought that Blogger is the more basic platform of the two, but you could still customise your blog to be more-or-less how you want it.  Others thought Wordpress had more freedom and functionality.  Blogger and Wordpress are, of course, completely free of charge.

It seems that more and more people are deciding to self-host their blog as this allows complete freedom when it comes to design and other functions such as plugins and widgets.  You also thought that being self-hosted enhanced your stats in that your site is more accessible with improved SEO.

Most of us on the #pbloggers team were surprised to learn from you all that going self-hosted is relatively cheap. Prices are under £5 from sites such as GoDaddy or 123reg to buy your own domain name.  Once you have your own domain name, you then need to acquire hosting.  This is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their site accessible via the web. This is again relatively cheap and depends on how much your hosting site charges.  Some of you pay a monthly charge of around £5 a month and others paid a one off charge of under £10 for the year. A couple of recommended hosting sites are One and One and Hostgator (Hostgator is US based but Mum in a Hurry has so far had extremely good customer service from them and can recommend them).

Another very useful site for new bloggers is Blogging with Amy who has a whole series of posts on Wordpress and self-hosting. Check out her site and use her search bar to find what you need.

Please add any comments you may have and if we missed you off the list of favourite bloggers last week, please don't be shy, add your blog to the linky below which we have set up so that you can share your blog and find other #pbloggers.  Thanks everyone for taking part and we'll see you next Sunday!