Why we’re addicted to parenting forums

From the minute we find out we’re expecting a baby, we find ourselves turning to the internet for all manner of uncertainties (is this feeling normal?) parenting forums

This continues when we approach labour (what should I expect?), through the early days of parenthood (I’m clueless) and (I can only imagine) throughout your child’s whole life (she’s sick, she’s troublesome, she’s quiet…)

I admit that I have never actually posted anything on a forum, but I am a bit of a serial browser (or rather frantic scanner) as I trawl through the comment threads on Babycentre looking for the ‘answers’ to my daily queries about motherhood. The truth is, I don’t necessarily want answers, just confirmation that my inclinations are right. Unlike my health visitor, midwife and GP, forums provide me with thousands of answers to choose from and I will keep on searching until I find one that I like and agree with. Any answers that don’t back up what I already thought before I typed my query into Google just get swiped past – what do they know anyhow?

More often than not, I don’t find any answers at all. Just hundreds of parents who are all experiencing the same problems and facing the same challenges. This in itself is enough for me – it makes me feel better knowing that there are thousands of others out there having just as hard a time of it. It’s reassuring to know that I’m not being over-dramatic and that another parent who has experienced the same challenges as me thought that it warranted signing up and posting a comment about it.

I started to understand very early on this journey of motherhood that nobody really knows better than yourself. Forums serve this mindset nicely, allowing us to self-diagnose any problems and take and leave advice as we see fit. I’ve had no end of conversations with my parent friends who have tried to obtain advice from their health visitors/ GPs but have been disappointed (or darn right pissed off) by text book responses that leave no room for individual circumstances. My health visitor is actually pretty easy going about ‘just do what works for you’, but even I find myself just asking for advice for the sake of it, already knowing beforehand what I’m going to do regardless of her response (I already Googled it).

So here’s to another 18 years of stalking parenting forums. What would I do without you?

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Review: Afternoon tea at the Catwalk Café in Knowle

One of the perks of being on maternity leave is being able to go out for lunch during the week without being limited to a one-hour lunch break. The novelty of this still hasn’t worn off for me and I intend to carry on taking full advantage.

Catwalk cafe review

However, finding local places that do a lunch worth spending money on is not always easy and trips into town centres are not that appealing when you have a little one in tow and a needy dog waiting at home.

So I was delighted when a friend suggested that we meet at the Catwalk Café in Knowle, Solihull for afternoon tea. I’d never been here before and I had no idea that they did afternoon tea. Nothing makes me more content than scones, clotted cream and copious amounts of tea; I take great delight in realising that the sandwich layer is finished and it’s time to move onto the cakes, and I love pouring my own tea from my own tea pot. It makes me feel Royal. Or at least a little bit spoilt.Gillian Wesley Catwalk cafe Knowle

And the Catwalk Café didn’t disappoint. The interior of the fashion themed café takes on a Parisian style with vintage furniture, black and white floor tiles and an exposed shop front that give the impression that you’re dining al Fresco on a street in Paris. The attention to detail continues at your table with lace table cloths, silver tea pots, sugar bowls and china tea cups. The staff all wear traditional black and white uniforms, all adding to the feel of a traditional tea house.

afternoon tea catwalk café

We booked in advance so our afternoon tea was brought straight out to us on arrival. The dainty sandwiches were lovely with typical fillings including salmon and cream cheese, cucumber, cheese and pickle, and there was a great selection of cakes. Not to mention the scones which came with ample amounts of clotted cream and jam – a must since I hate it when you have to start scraping around the bottom of the jar and eyeing up how much the other person at the table is having (is that just me??)

Despite the pride that has clearly gone into this place, the atmosphere is very relaxed and informal. We stayed for three hours and didn’t at all feel like we’d outstayed our welcome, despite our babies crying from time to time. The staff were very friendly and attentive and provided us with unlimited amounts of tea.

The afternoon tea costs £25 for two people and is worth every penny. A definite must-do for those living in and around Solihull.

25% off Debenhams Mother’s Day flowers – she won’t be disappointed!

Mr M is the type of husband who wake’s up on Valentine’s Day/ our anniversary/ my birthday and declares that he’s planning to take me shopping. This actually means that he completely forgot to get me anything and results in a day of me stomping around Birmingham as “I’m not just buying something for the bloody sake of it!” I’m not sure how many times I need to say it…

“I JUST WANTED SOME FLOWERS!!!”

Mother's Day flowers

Lucky for me (not so lucky for Mr M), the lovely team at Debenhams Flowers have beaten him to it in time for Mother’s Day. This year will be my first Mother’s Day being a mum, so when I got an email from them offering to send me a flower delivery from their Mother’s Day range it made me feel all mushy inside.Debenhams flower delivery

As a daughter I’ve had many a bouquet delivered to my mum on Mother’s Day. Unfortunately a lot of those bouquets weren’t quite as large, or the flowers as fresh as I’d imagined, which has left me feeling a little disappointed. So I was looking forward to seeing how Debenhams’ Mother’s Day flowers would compare.

I received their Pink Rose and White Freesia bouquet which is available to buy online for £34.99. The bouquet was delivered boxed by my postman who seemed very pleased with himself to be delivering them: “hopefully I’ve made your day”, he grinned. I didn’t have the heart to tell him they weren’t a surprise from my husband or my super advanced 11 week-old daughter.

Nevertheless, they did make my day. Inside the box was a bouquet wrapped in pretty green paper and red ribbons. The fuchsia roses had blossomed on arrival and smelt divine. Instead of a cellophane bag, the flowers were kept moist with a foamy wet paper which meant that I didn’t  have to worry about getting water everywhere (I can be rather haphazard!) and flower food was included which I always appreciate.

The flowers look lovely in my lounge and are still so fresh as I write this four days after delivery (they actually offer a money-back guarantee that their flowers will stay fresh for 7 days).

Debenhams Flowers have kindly offered an exclusive 25% discount on their bouquets to readers of my blog.  Simply enter the code DFBLOG25 at the checkout. Only the Flowers by Post range is exempt from the offer. The bouquets can also be ordered for next day delivery which is ideal if, like me, you are a bit of a last-minute person (is it really that time of year again??).

Perhaps my lovely husband might even read this post and think to surprise me for Mother’s Day. Or more likely he’s waiting for Taylor to leap out of her bouncer and walk to the florist…

Have a fantastic Mother’s Day all of you lovely mums – you deserve it x

Debenhams Flowers

Disclosure: Debenhams Flowers sent me these flowers in return for an honest review

Parenting fails

Being a new parent is no easy feat. Despite getting by on four hours’ sleep a night and having to adjust to a whole new way of life, there’s an expectation that because you are now a mother/father you should all of a sudden become the most organised, responsible and capable person overnight.

parenting fails

Alongside this, there are also those ‘rules’set out by the healthcare professionals that put the fear of god in you from day one – if you don’t abide by them you are a very bad parent. Not to mention your baby eyeing your every move with suspicion and wailing whenever you don’t quite understand her needs – ‘seriously, what kind of mother are you?’And to top it all off, there seems to be a whole host of very organised, responsible and capable parents everywhere you go – the ones with four kids in tow who don’t seem in the slightest bit flustered and smile at you with pity for not knowing that your pushchair wouldn’t quite fit in the lift.

So here is my list of those times (so far) I’ve been very aware of my ‘newbie mum’ status:

1) I realise baby has been in her car seat for a whole 2 hours and 10 minutes. I’m not quite sure what’s happened to baby during those extra ten minutes, but I know it’s really bad.

2) Baby wakes up from her nap early and I realise I haven’t even sterilised the bottles, let alone boiled the kettle and waited for the water to cool down. Shit, shit, shit!parenting fails

3) Those pesky vests are sooo difficult to put on, especially when baby’s screaming and throwing her arms and legs all over the place. After a particularly stressful episode, I finally get it on. Only to realise it’s on BACK TO FRONT.

4) I forgot the red book – again. The health visitor, nurse, doctor asks encouragingly, ‘has it been a bit of a stressful morning?’ No it hasn’t actually, I’m just a terrible mother.

5) I’ve been winding baby for at least 20 minutes now and she hasn’t burped yet. I convince myself that I must have just missed it and put her back in her crib and crawl back into bed. She’s immediately sick all over herself.

6) I was sure I tucked baby’s blankets into the mattress but wake up to find that she’s pulled them up over her face. I’ve been lead to believe that she will die if this happens. Luckily she’s alive and smiling.

7) I decide to go out for a nice walk. Half way through it starts to piss it down and I didn’t bring the rain cover for the pram. Baby is not happy.

8) I momentarily forget I have a baby and plan a night out…

The List