LOATHE - the first thing that springs to mind is 'poo flopping over the top of the nappy'. So gross. Especially when they start spreading it around...I'll stop now!
#PAYPARENTHOODFORWARD TIP - First one is to use the teat from your bottles to administer medicine if they don't want to take the syringe or spoon. They drink it likes it milk so it's a bit easier. Second is for any formula mummas out there - buy a tommie tippee perfect prep machine. I formula fed Joe from 10 months (it wasn't a choice thing) and I used to freak out about preparing the formula with the right water and temperature etc. Oh that was a stressful time. If you don't have a machine, here's a big tip: boil a fresh kettle every morning - put all of the boiled water into a container - each time you make up, say a 7oz bottle of formula, add 2oz of freshly boiled water, then the 7 scoops and shake it all around. Then add 5oz of cooled water from your container and voila. Much easier during the night feeds when you have no idea where your head is from your elbow!
Hi, I'm Lydia Mansi, mother of two boys, ex London magazine editor and now mama boss at my own eponymous digital marketing consultancy in Devon.
My husband and I decamped to Devon when we started procreating; it's where I was brought up and I always had an 'exit strategy' in mind through my 20s in London.
LOVE: I know its naff but I still stare incredulously at both my boys and think "I grew your eyelashes! Your fingernails! You lived INSIDE MY BODY!" Don't get me wrong they are exhausting but genuinely there are no two people I'd rather hang out with. I also love that whether they're happy or sad, I am the person they come to to share it with. They have the unwavering faith that I can 'fix' any problem and make it better. That responsibility makes my heart BOOM but also leads me on to...
LOATHE: The responsibility of not screwing them up. The pressure to raise two happy, healthy boys can sometimes feel overwhelming as parents. Are they getting enough vegetables? Sleep? Stimulation? Omega 3s? Am I raising them as kind, honest individuals?! At 3am I always think about the mothers of psychopaths who, when interviewed, always say in surprise: ' but he was such a good little boy.' How do you know if you're raising a psychopath?! I've kept them alive (and out of prison) thus far so I must be succeeding on some level and I'm slowly learning to try and focus on the fundamentals. Do they feel loved, secure, happy and supported? If they're watching a little bit too much CBeebies so I can finish a proposal, or eat one too many pizzas in a week (I blame the Italian husband), then that's okay. Ditch the mum guilt. No one has parenting sussed, whatever their Instagram squares may look like. Also a good friend pointed out, the fact that you are even worrying about these things means you're a good parent. Which I guess is true too.
#payparenthoodforward tip: My parents both died quite close together of cancer. I was 8 months pregnant with our youngest when I became an 'orphan'. Parenting without parents is beyond hard. There are hundreds of questions a day that I need to ask them when it comes to parenting - you miss that sounding board and reassurance that you are 'doing it right'. I try and reflect on the messages and values they instilled in me growing up when I don't know the answer. I think the resounding piece of advice is: 'praise the effort not the result'. They would always say 'we are proud of how hard you've worked, whatever the outcome' the night before GSCE/A-Level/Uni results. Knowing their love and pride in me wasn't based on my results but on the hard work I'd put in was a really powerful message. My husband says that I am forever coming out with phrases to the boys that my mum used to say: 'there's no such word as can't!' and 'only boring people are bored!', so perhaps my parents are influencing their grandsons' upbringing after all.