Lifestyle, Parenting

Dear Harry and Meghan

Two days in to being parents, congratulations! The adrenalin is still running, hormones flowing, body aching and heart bursting. You are besotted with your beautiful boy and cannot bear to take your eyes of him for fear of missing something. Netflix has nothing on watching a newborn sleep.

Any parent will tell you that raising children is the most exhilarating and exhausting, beautiful yet bewildering role they have ever had. Being a mother was, and still is, my greatest ambition and my greatest achievement. But it has not been without its challenges, namely around maternal mental health, which was overcome with a lot of love, faith, prayer and communication.

I want to encourage you both that you have a winning formula to start your new role as parents. When we watch you in public, we see warmth, love and respect, a genuine affection for one another that overrides the world around you. This love, this bond is your greatest source of strength as you navigate your new normal.

To any new parents I say this; keep checking in on each other. Sleepless nights can strain solid marriages, teething tests a mother’s bond to breaking point and tantrums can make the most patient parent tear their hair out. These seasons of motherhood are messy and miraculous.

It’s normal to find the days long and the nights longer. It’s natural to go into survival mode as the days blur from one to another in the early weeks and months. My advice to all new parents is to keep looking at one another. Keep locking your gaze and speaking words of love, encouragement and understanding through your eyes in the way that only couples can. Talk often and openly about everything and anything.

Be patient with each other, hold hands, hold your tongue and hold on for the ride. And above all, trust God as you embark on the best role there is.

Enjoy every minute.

R x

Photo Credit: Chris Allerton ©️SussexRoyal
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Fashion, Lifestyle, Parenting

Back to school for a new season

Okay, so the children are FINALLY going back to school (YAY) but this mama’s not willing to embrace the change all over again. The reason? My baby boy (yes I know he is four but still) is going to be joining his brother at school. ALL. DAY. So this should be an incentive right? Wrong. My middle child is my side kick, my helper, my buddy, my live-in baby entertainer. I mean, who is going to keep the little one happy while I hang the washing out now???

Jokes aside, I do feel more than a tad emotional about him starting school. He, on the other hand, seems to be taking it all in his stride, despite the fact I keep saying that he doesn’t legally have to go to school every day until he is five. His response? “Mommy, you just have to accept that I am growing up.”

His response? “Mommy, you just have to accept that I am growing up.”

No son, I don’t. I can’t, I won’t.

Fortunately, I am not going to be home alone, thanks to my little lady limpet who would be permanently attached to my hip if she had half the chance. Lord knows what I’ll be like when she goes to school. *shudders*

In the meantime, I have decided to take my mind off the impending life change and embrace the new season with an updated style. As the kids go back to school in their shiny new shoes and crisp white shirts, it is only fair that the parents get to update their wardrobe too, right?!

Autumn is hands-down my favourite season. I love the vibrant, rich colours, the sweet warm smell of conkers and falling leaves, and I simply adore autumn fashion. A self-confessed scarf addict, I am all about the patterned print pashminas, chunky knits and my beloved ankle boots. These are the items I am currently dreaming of on my wish list. Swoon. After my wonderful hubby bought item number one, the super soft and stunningly gorgeous Rosa saddle bag from Monsoon as a surprise, I clearly need the other items to go with it……

 

Aren’t they divine? I love the jewel tones of mustard, teal and aubergine popping up everywhere in the new season and the Georgia Scarf from FatFace ticks every colour box. Now to get back to work to try and earn some pennies to pay for them all! Bye for now!

R x

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Faith, Parenting

Testing the barriers

Parenting.

They say its the most rewarding job of your life. They remind you they don’t stay small forever. They whisper don’t wish the years away because they’ll be gone before you know it.

And yet they don’t tell you that its the most heart wrenching, headache inducing, life changing challenge that you will ever face.

I loved to love when I was a child. An avid stuffed toy collector and baby doll carrier, I would spend hours lavishing love, care and attention on to my little audience, and longed for the day when I could care for a child of my own. Fast forward twenty years or so and there I was in the delivery room, a tired, red faced girl of 26, holding a slippery baby boy who loudly protested his arrival in to the world. As he was placed in my arms it was like my world tilted on its axis. My perspective shifted, my eyes widened and my heart enlarged. This little boy was going to grow to be a great man, and I had been given the immense responsibility of raising him.

As we grew together we faced more than our fair share of challenges, and my fair faced little baby proved to be as strong willed as he was sweet. It seemed the more I lavished him with love the more he would test me and push me, and when his little brother arrived his outrage at sharing his mother was clearly evident. I felt challenged in every way by the torrent that came from my eldest, who obviously felt so unwanted, disregarded or pushed aside in some way despite my constant reassurance. I read book after book, attended multiple classes and sought advice from teachers, and although they gave many welcomed methods and approaches in parenting, my little pocket rocket still challenges me to this day.

Only very recently I listened to a brilliant clip about how to handle teenagers. I have always joked that having had a threenager perhaps I would get away with a well behaved teen, but nevertheless, I  had time to kill while scrolling Facebook one day so I decided to watch the clip. The script went a little something like this:

Raising teenagers is a lot like riding on a rollercoaster. As a rider on a rollercoaster, you can’t wait for the ride to begin, you are excited and nervous all at the same time. As you sit in your seat and the barrier comes down and locks in to place, what is the first thing you do? Test the barrier.

Boom. The answer to my parenting struggles over the past six years right there.

Your child is testing the barrier, the safety mechanism in their lives. They are about to embark on the craziest journey with twists, turn and loop the loops, and they want to know that the barrier isn’t going to fail and release them in to the unknown. And so they push, pull, poke, prod and rattle that barrier until they are satisfied that it is going to hold them in place.

When they test your boundaries and push your buttons,
your child wants to know that he or she is safe.

I know that this isn’t always the case, of course, and there will be many times when they simply want to go against the grain for arguments sake. BUT I urge you, as I urge myself, that when they start pushing, pulling, poking and prodding you, please take a minute to step back and look at your child. Think twice before taking offence, before raising your voice or inflicting punishment, and remember that maybe, just maybe they are pushing back on their safety barrier to check that you won’t move. They need to know that you won’t be shaken by their tantrums, you won’t be pushed over the edge by their whining, you won’t resort to flaring your temper when they flair theirs.

But how can you remain calm in the face of such anger? Because your Heavenly Father can.

He knows what it is like to watch His sons and daughters go against His will for their lives, ignore His advice and choose the guidance of others over His, and all this in spite of the unconditional love He offers out to them over and over and over again. God loves. The Bible says He is love, and we are created in His image, so He knows emotion. God gave us free will so that we could choose to love Him back and not simply be robots programmed to do what He wants. God knows what it is like to be hurt by words that wound, and to see His beloved children make bad decision after bad decision, choosing to go their own way and not the way He had planned. He knows how hard it is when a child just won’t listen, when they answer back or worse, when they choose to ignore.

But God never changes. He never moves an inch, He never compromises on His values or His instruction, on who He is or who He has called His children to be. Yet He loves them completely any way.

And He never stops loving them.

Now age 6 and 3, my boys are growing closer and closer by the day. Their personalities are forming and they make me cry with laughter and burst with pride as I watch them grow in to young men. They continue to challenge me, they can reduce me to tears after a particularly trying day, or they can spontaneously shower me with kisses and cuddles, filling my heart with such joy like I have never known.

Parenting is not easy, it is certainly not for the fainthearted, but it is God breathed and God ordained, and I for one am so blessed to be on this journey.

R x

 

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Parenting

From a princess’s perspective

Being a very girly girl, I have always fancied myself as a princess.

Like most girls I know, I dreamed of being swept off my feet by Prince Charming and becoming the mother of little princes and princesses, living in a beautiful palace with hardly a care in the world. (I did achieve the Prince Charming bit of my fairy tale!)

A recent conversation about the Royal Family however got me thinking whether or not life in the monarchy is really as glamorous and wonderful as we make out. Discussing the Duchess of Cambridge, a friend was saying how easy it must be for her to raise her children Prince George and Princess Charlotte with no money worries, a live in nanny, someone to do the housework and cooking and someone else to keep her fit. In principal I dare say that the privileged lifestyle that Kate Middleton has become part of provides a wonderfully comfortable start to the world of parenthood, however I wondered would it really be ‘easier’?

Like any mother, Kate has had to battle the sleepless nights of a newborn, the tribulations of teething and the challenges of tantrumming toddlers, however the difference is that she has to negotiate all these things with the eyes of the world watching her. She must complete all motherly duties whilst looking impeccable and greeting her waiting public at various engagements across the world, on less than four hours sleep. Royals are rarely ‘off-duty’, and to be so eagerly observed by millions of people, some fans who wish them well and some who are just waiting for them to make a wrong move must be so incredibly upsetting, especially when finding your way as new parents for the very first time.

William and Kate are probably the most famous couple on the planet, and the media circus that surrounds their every move is quite surreal, and I imagine it must be incredibly frightening to try and raise children in the harsh and constant glare of the spotlights. I understand why the Royals retreat to sprawling estates of Balmoral and Sandringham to escape the prying eyes of the media and enjoy some level of freedom. The Duchess of Cambridge will never be able to freely walk her son and daughter to and from school like I can, she may never be able to attend local toddler groups in Kensington to meet regular mums going through the same stages as her for fear of letting her guard down and becoming vulnerable to individual who would manipulate or threaten her young family.

Yes Kate may have the most amazing play room that my children can only dream about, and yes she may have every designer brand beating her door down to dress her, but I am blessed to be able to enjoy being a daughter of the King whilst treasuring the precious day to day moments of my children’s lives without fear of paparazzi intrusion and global scrutiny.

R

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