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Returning to the Duck Pond

I enjoyed another lovely, sunny day again today with another trip to the duck pond, and a nice catch up with a mum-friend.

It is very strange to see another friend (especially the same age as me) with a baby. I know maybe seven or eight, and actually meet up with two. It is so nice to finally be able to talk about being a mother with someone who knows and understands and is going through the same thing.

I never looked at it this way before, but sharing similar life-changing experiences is quite a good basis for friendship, and it is nice to have the same views on being a young mother. It’s hard to meet other teen mums that work hard and don’t wear jogging bottoms with the word ‘juicy’ printed across the buttocks. And that’s not because they don’t exist. I am one of them. Rather, it’s because they seek like-minded young mums in all the wrong places. Specific ‘young mother’ groups and clubs tend to be of the ‘juicy bum’ variety, and it seems pointless in returning to a place filled with Vicky Pollards.

I hope that I don’t come across like that just because I became a mother at a younger age than seen in our society as ‘the norm’. But then I’m sure that older mothers suffer the same judgement and abuse at the hands of perfect strangers.

And if you do want to group me in the same crowd as those, then watch out, because soon enough there will be a whole army of hard-working, decent young mothers to change your mind.

And while I got to chat about all things mum, Henry enjoyed looking at the ducks, chewing on my finger and having a snooze. Successful day in my book.

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Night Out

It was one of my best friend’s birthday this week, so the plan was to go out Friday night. I put Henry to bed, left his daddy in charge, and set out for the pub. I haven’t been on a night out for so long now, well over a year. It was so lovely to go out without a nappy bag for once, and to see my friends and to have an adult conversation! It’s all the little things that you take for granted when you are young and carefree, pre-pregnancy and pre-responsibility. It was also very strange seeing people that I knew from school, but a couple of years below me. It’s almost as if time is playing tricks on me. The last time I went out, I was one of the youngest, and I used to know everyone in all the bars and clubs and in the street. But people move on, and I would much rather have Henry and the life I have now than a few good nights out. It’s a very small price to pay.

It was nice knowing that he was asleep and all safely tucked up in bed, not missing me at all. It gave me the chance to not be relied on for a few hours. He didn’t wake up until I had been home for quite a while, so it all went without a hitch. The other half got some alone time with the xbox, and had a little time off. Of course being a mother doesn’t change just because you are away from them, and I still really missed Henry, but it was so great to have the change and I really did enjoy myself.

I’m unbelievably tired this morning though – it’s funny how much it hits you when you’ve been in the same routine for so long and then to suddenly do something to interrupt it. It’s like going on a ‘refreshing’ holiday and coming back more tired than when you left.

I’m just glad I got the chance to go out, it means a lot to my friend that I managed to be there for her birthday night out, and I know she appreciates the extra effort it takes to arrange things when you have a young child!

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Being Prepared for Weaning

I like to think I’m an organised soul, the state of my wardrobe would tell you different, but I am very attached to my Filofax. I love it so much, and it is so exciting when they release the new year’s diary. Or when I treat myself to an extra map or some stickers or even a new pen! Anyway, I digress…

As Henry is about to take the plunge into the wonderful world of baby purees, I have decided to prepare for the event. I don’t have the money for pre-made baby jars and more importantly I don’t want to give them to Henry on a regular basis. Making them myself means I know exactly what goes into them.

I’ve breastfed him exclusively for four months now. I’ve given him the best start I possibly could have, and I want to continue giving him the best. I know what it is like to struggle with weight issues, diets and sometimes having quite an unhealthy relationship with food. I don’t want Henry to have to experience any of that, and if I can start him on the right track, I’m surely going to make the effort to prepare him a few purees.

Jars only on the odd occasion, like a takeaway treat.

I’ve ordered the Tommee Tippee Explora baby blender, bought some lidded ice cube trays and freezer bags, dusted off my steamer and arriving in my Tesco delivery this morning is a whole bunch of fresh fruit and vegetables. Carrots, apples, bananas, parsnips, spinach, and brocolli to name a few!

I am very excited. As you can keep them for up to a month as frozen cubes of baby puree, I an going to start preparing some now. He is going to learn to love healthy food, and there’s no better motivation for me to be a little more careful with my diet than having a baby to take care of.

Not just for the here and now, but because I want to live a happy and healthy life so I can be there for Henry as long as I possibly can be.

This is, of course, a benefit of having Henry young.

So, it will be time to start making Henry’s dinners just as soon as the blender arrives. I’m very excited.

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Lonely Seaside Stroll

It gets a little lonely sometimes, after the first few months. It is just around the time when you settle into your new role as a cleaner/carer/caterer and general handyperson. It has been a long time since the other half went back to work. A week off just doesn’t seem right when you have a new baby, but technically (even if not emotionally) it only takes one person to look after a baby, so that’s just the way it is.

When on maternity leave, it is lovely to not have any professional responsibility for the time being, while you get to grips with parenting in the early stages. It does, however, leave you on your own most of the time. The days go by quickly and slowly at the same time. It’s an odd feeling, not going to work. I, like a lot of other lucky people, have never been unemployed. It takes getting used to. Not because I have a lack of things to do, the list of chores is never-ending, but because it generally involves being on my own with Henry. I never really used to do anything alone.

While your life stops, almost as if time is standing still, everyone else carries going to work, and having busy social lives. Unfortunately most of these plans don’t include me anymore. I’m not interested in going clubbing anymore, unlike most people my age. I get bored, the music is the type you can only appreciate when very drunk and I would rather spend the time with Henry, or sleeping.

So today, I decided to put Henry in his pushchair and go for a nice, long walk by the sea. It was such a lovely day and it seemed a shame to waste it. This adds to the list of things I’ve only done on my own since Henry was born, like going to Costa for a coffee, going out for lunch, and going shopping. All these things previously felt like group tasks.

At least I’m not entirely on my own. Henry is brilliant company for a four-month-old, and when he giggles, it makes me feel so lucky to have this special time with him.

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Offended

So my better half was on Facebook this morning and came across yet another person who feels the need to generalise and stereotype young parents. This particular girl clearly watches far too much Jeremy Kyle and has started to believe that everyone is really like that.

Now I know I’m young to become a mum. I’m still only nineteen. But I would like to clear something up before too many people hear all the bad stories of young mothers and judge me too. I am not living on benefits. I have lived with my fiance before getting pregnant. We have set a date to marry next year because we love each other, not because we have a baby. We both have good jobs, work hard and don’t get anything given to us for free. We love our child, want the best for him and promise to raise him the best we can.

I wish that my age wouldn’t group me in with those who don’t have a clue. And anyway, a young, single parent can be a good mum or dad too. It’s the person that counts. I will never again judge someone on their circumstances until I know them.