When I imagined maternity leave, I thought I'd be hopping all over London to visit the museums, galleries, and restaurants that I'd always wanted to go to but never had the time whilst working full-time. The reality is a bit different.
Peeling down to your sexy underwear on a naughty weekend break before drunkenly deciding 'Let's make a baby!' is exciting. It was being exciting that got you into this mess. Being boring might be tedious but it rarely ends in childbirth.
If you've been there you'll know that life with a newborn can be damn hard work. If not, I'm about to save you from seeing your friend turn into satan in a fluffy dressing gown.
Now as a mother of two, I can appreciate how utterly under-prepared I was as I began this crazy journey. I certainly don't claim to have all the answers (not even close) but I'd like to offer a helping hand, for what it is worth, to anyone else waddling uncomfortably down the path to motherhood.
Why, despite experience and common sense and despite what women themselves say, is there this absolute continued blind faith among so many people that a significant number of women revel in the excuse of breastfeeding to expose themselves in public?
Sometimes babies wake, and it's not because they "need" something. They're just awake, that's all. It might be frustrating to have fed them, changed them, soothed them and find that they still won't settle, but sometimes they just wake up- it's as simple and as difficult as that.
My own children are pretty close in age and in rooms right next to each other. If daddy is working late, I often do bedtime by myself and so have developed our own 'natural flow' that works well for us as a family. Hopefully, with my tips, you'll soon find your sleep routine is flowing more smoothly for your young family too!
Every week I hear from exhausted mums (and dads) who are concerned that everything they've done or didn't do as a parent is somehow going to irreversibly damage their child forevermore. From the moment you bring a child into the world, the rush of emotions can be overwhelming, and unfortunately guilt is often one of the strongest.
I loved my pregnant body. I felt absolutely wonderful and embraced my growing bump during both of my pregnancies. But my post-baby body is proving a little harder to love.
Pick up 10kg of flour from the supermarket. Don't put it down for 12 hours. Whilst carrying it, continue normal tasks, including paying for the rest of your shopping, smiling tightly when strangers poke your flour and ask its gender, travelling home, and unpacking your shopping.
For all you mums out there who are sick of being bombarded with pics of flawless and toned celebrity mums just a few weeks after giving birth. And for all you mums sick of all the post baby workout videos hosted by instructors who look too small to do push ups let alone push a baby out of their body, then this is for you!
Six months passed and the cot was reassembled in my son's bedroom. I was ready to stop breast feeding at and wanted to move onto a night bottle. I thought it was going to be perfect. I was wrong.
Sometimes it's so refreshing to be upfront, open with emotion and then swiftly move on to the next thing with a sense of ease! Not holding on to tension, frustration and hiding opinions. What you see is what you get.
Working with babies and new mums for ten years at Babyblooms, it still never ceases to amaze me how nature and nurture plays its part on crafting our personalities and how our traits can be evident as early as the baby stage.
I wanted everyone to know I was a mum. In hindsight the bags under my eyes and slightly deranged swaying from side to side, was a dead giveaway. However it sparked a conversation about other badges parents need.
I am passionate that a text book baby or family simply doesn't exist, that there isn't a one size fits all solution and we are all beautifully unique! What will work for one baby and family may not work for another.