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Cigarettes and Calpol

Attempting to make sense of parenthood, life, love, and my own mind.

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Parenting

‘If You Can’t Afford to Feed Your Child…’

The days leading up to and following an election are always strange, tense, and full of arguments. This time is no different, in fact this time nobody is really sure whether to celebrate, mourn, or just keep drinking.

Today I was asked on a Facebook discussion about benefits, food banks, and tax brackets ‘why did you have a child if you can’t afford to feed it?’. Obviously the lovely Max Off Of Facebook did say ‘not to cause offence’ first. So I’m not offended…

Well, Max Off Of Facebook, do you want to know how I found myself two years ago crying in a doctor’s office as he signed a piece of paper that meant I was entitled to a food bank voucher two years ago?

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Hospital Bag

Packing a hospital bag is something that websites, baby books, midwives, and friends start mentioning as soon as you hit the 30 week mark. That obviously doesn’t mean you start packing it then. Not if you’re me. Instead you leave it another 6 weeks and realise when the midwife informs you that you are nearly term and considering the constant braxton hicks it might be worth throwing some things in a bag.

But what do you actually need to take with you? There are lists and guidelines everywhere online, but a lot of them seem a bit excessive to me. So here’s what’s in my hospital bag, not that I ever advise following in my footsteps…

(I’m planning on breastfeeding, if you are planning to bottle feed you’ll obviously need to pack all the equipment that goes with that.)

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Push Presents

I know as an English woman I’m supposed to reject all traditions rooted in American capitalism. But I happen to be an English woman who loves me a present, so really, any excuse.

The idea of a push present is something I’m majorly on board with. You’ve just watched the woman you love grow your child inside her for over 9 months, probably not very comfortably, then you’ve either seen her push said child out of a very small hole or be sliced in half and had it pulled out. Either way, I’d say girl’s earned a present.

Not to mention your house is about to be filled with gifts and admirers, none of them for her. Having a newborn can be seriously isolating, even when you’re surrounded by people who love you they are often more focussed on the new tiny person and don’t really think to ask about you.

I shouldn’t need to justify this, buy her a damn present! I’ve compiled a list of some things that would definitely have you on the front cover of Good Daddy Weekly.

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Fear of Breastfeeding

When I had my daughter I was unsure about many aspects of parenting. Would I cosleep? Would I let her cry it out? Would I have any fucking idea of how to do any of it (spoiler – I didn’t)? But one thing I was sure of, without a shadow of a doubt, was that I would breastfeed.

I knew all the benefits – for health, for bonding, for my wallet. Who wouldn’t be sold on that?! And I was sure I wasn’t ‘blessed’ (*slow look to camera*) with these H cups for nothing.

Turns out breastfeeding wasn’t as easy or as blissful as I was sure it would be.

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Maternal Mental Health

[Trigger warning for suicidal thoughts]

If, like me, your social media feeds have been full of ‘shouty selfies’ (my opinion on selfies for ‘awareness’ is for another post, another day) and incredible stories of brave women overcoming PND you’ll be aware that this week is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week. Something that I (obviously) feel very strongly about and am 100% behind.

However when it came to sitting down and thinking about my own input into the conversation I found myself a bit lost. I didn’t know at all where to start.

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Kids Come With

The more parents I connect with online and in real life the more I realise something I’ve been doing for years without even noticing it. I see people posting about their child-free friends and how much they love their children, how their favourite days are when they all hang out together, and how their friends are an extension of their family – aunties and uncles to their kids.

And I realise I’ve been keeping my social life and my parent life completely separate for nearly six years.

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The Guilt of Not Feeling Guilty

Mum Guilt is not a new phenomenon, nor is it one that is being quietly ignored from all corners. Recently there has been a trend of mother’s yelling from every platform about how utterly shite it is that we feel guilty at every turn. Nothing we do is ever enough and the guilt that is felt for that very reason is horrid.

For me there’s been a new reason for Mum Guilt recently though – not feeling guilty…

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World Book Day Defence

Today is World Book Day. A day that for some parents fills them with absolute dread while other’s can’t wait.
I fall somewhere in the middle. I am a big fan of any day designed to get children excited about books. I love seeing my social media filled with smiling faces holding up their favourite book all dressed up as their favourite character. I love seeing what the Tiny Idiot decides to go as, and frantically trying to fabric glue things together. I love seeing what the parents who are actually crafty create.

And then the negative comments come…
People moaning about kids dressed as Disney Princesses, people moaning about kids dressed as superheroes, people moaning about kids dressed as Chase from Paw Patrol.
‘Go as a proper character from a proper book!’ people who didn’t have to get a child in fancy dress at 8am this morning yell, ‘It’s just lazy!’ 

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Child-free and Full of Questions – Pregnancy

When I shared my post about the first trimester I had a lot of women who hadn’t had children messaging me with comments and questions and ‘oh my god is it really that bad?!’s. I realised that I have a lot of readers who aren’t parents, so I decided to start a new mini series of questions they want to know the answers to – the weirder, grosser, and more intrusive – the better!

First up we’re talking pregnancy!

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