Family time, Life of a Mum

West Lodge Farm Park- post lockdown family day out

For our ‘first’ day out we decided to head to West Lodge- I’d been ‘watching from afar’ and concluded they had the whole ‘social distsncing’ thing well managed. I wanted our day to feel safe but fun.

It turns out I wasn’t far wrong. Although our ‘normal’ day out at west lodge would include indoor play, coffee and chats with friends- we all admit life is much different now. A degree of isolation and fresh air feels so safe- and that’s what west lodge offers.

We booked an afternoon session; it was expectedly busy on our arrival- no one in the busy queue seemed to be wearing masks or caring much about distancing; so (having been shielding for 16 weeks) I felt a little wary. But the staff managed the queue quickly, effectively and safely; with hand gel and advice leaflets given- and once inside the farm park felt incredible spacious and distancing from others was easy.

As we arrived at lunchtime we headed straight to the picnic/den building area- and enjoyed the space- no one was around (in fact 8 picnic benches around us) Dot enjoyed the pre built dens and cute toad stool seats.

We then headed over to the animals when Dot (and Nanna, to be fair) enjoyed feeding and petting the incredibly tame, cute and often bouncy goats. We also took our dog Woody; despite being a total plonker, he was incredibly well behaved and enjoyed watching the goats and pigs!

Dogs are surprisingly welcome at West Lodge Farm Park- a blessing to doggy families- of course they cannot cuddle the bunnies or try the swings (that would just be weird) but there’s a multitude of walks to wear them (and their chatty sidekicks) out.

Talking of walks- we then snuck off to an old memory of Mummy’s- the witches house (I remember bring my nephews here 18-20yrs ago- and not much has changed). Dot and Nanna loved spotting the super cute fairy doors, toadstools and the badgers crossing- making a 4km walk a breeze.

There’s a fairy trail and a dinosaur trail for those with older kids; you get a worksheet and a reward if you find them all.

Dot found the witches house, but she was out. A little girl we saw shortly before told us the witch had gone to mend a poorly deer with her magic potions! Dot liked this idea, and although her legs were tired, her imagination carried her up the many steps and back to the farm for an ice cream.

Visiting, what you think is going to a busy family attraction post lockdown was very anxiety inducing for me, but after a hour I felt incredible safe. West lodge have obviously got this all in hand; staff regularly spraying down areas of high use, very clear signage, great leaflets, hand washing facilities, one way paths marked out, and enough space to very safely distance.

Seeing your child’s face enter a play park for the first time in 16 ish weeks was pretty epic, Dot was so happy, so full of energy and she literally loved every minute. She’s keen to go back- so hopefully we can make it a weekly trip.

Dots favourite bits:

– the incredibly tame and friendly goats

– a beautiful walk to the witches house and spying all the fairy doors

– the maze; so impressed with herself that she found the way out

– her first whippy ice cream with flake

– being ‘king of the castle’ in the outdoor play area

Mums top tips:

– take a picnic; there’s so many great picnicking spots

– you have to book your visit online(don’t disappoint the the kids)

– pre book your tractor your online (we didn’t know this and missed out)

– buy some animal food on arrival so the little ones get a hands on experience

– a few quid for the shop is a good idea; they’re beautifully stocked including Lanka kade and cute wellies

– grandparents will also love the on-site garden centre (we left with a huge olive tree!)

– if you live local-ish then membership is a must have (costs 14p a day!)

West Lodge Farm Park is just outside Desborough in Northamptonshire

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International Women’s Day and Motherhood (guest blog)

Keira is a 30 year old married mum of one from Leicester. Keira has a blog and is an active ‘insta mum’ – little Thea is two! (Links below)

Motherhood, Me and My Mum

As it was international women’s day. I decided to look at the main woman in my life and what Motherhood was like for her. Without her I wouldn’t be who I am today, I asked my lovely mum Jo about what it was like raising me and my brother, and what Motherhood means to her. I wanted to compare it to what motherhood is like for me and if there are any similarities.

Here is the list of questions I asked and both of our answers:

Did you see yourself being a mother when you were young? 

Jo: No, because I didn’t have the best upbringing and I thought this was the same for all children.

Keira: Yes, I always knew I wanted children. I grew up with lots of children and I was one of the oldest.

How old were you when you found out you were pregnant? 

Jo: With Alan I was 23 and with Keira 28.

Keira: I was 27.

Describe your parenting style? 

Jo: Kind, Calm and very patient. I didn’t have any patience before having children.

Keira: I would say I’m firm but fair, I think I’m a firmer than my mum was. We were never spoilt but I think we could get away with more.

Did your upbringing reflect on the way you were a parent? 

Jo: It made me a better parent; I was determined not to emulate the past.

Keira: definitely, I had an incredible childhood, if I can do half the things my parents did and still do for me, I know that I’m doing good.

Did you have any discussions about starting a family? 

Jo: Yes, we knew we wanted children after we were married but didn’t want to wait too long, so we started trying straight away.

Keira: Yes, I think we spoke about it quite early on. we both wanted to wait until we were married as that was our preference and it came up in conversation quite a lot.

How were your pregnancies? What was the best and worst thing about them? Any cravings? 

Jo: With Alan I was big, I had morning sickness and sciatica, I craved my husband’s homemade curry sauce. we didn’t find out his gender at the scan (I had 1 scan). With Keira I had a tiny bump, Extreme sickness and was sensitive to smells. no particular cravings. I also didn’t find out her gender at the scan (also 1 scan)

Keira: My pregnancy with Thea was actually very good at the beginning. I wasn’t really sick, I just had quite bad nausea. Everything went really smooth. I had quite a large bump with Thea and around the 7 month mark I was diagnosed with SPD. It was very painful and I struggled to do day to day tasks. It was so bad I was signed off work and basically spent the last few months in the bath. I didn’t really have any cravings. I absolutely loved feeling her kick, we also didn’t find out her gender and had around 5 scans.

What was your decision when it came to breastfeeding or bottle feeding and why did you choose this? 

Jo: I bottle fed both of mine, there wasn’t a lot of information when I was pregnant and bottle feeding was the done thing then. I didn’t feel the compulsion to breastfeed.

Keira: I always wanted to give breastfeeding a try, I had bought bottles and a steriliser just in case, but Thea latched straight away and have managed to breastfeed for 2 years.

Nap or Shower? 

Jo: Nap!

Keira: Definitely Nap

What advice would you give the next generation?

Jo: Put your phones down and spend time with your little ones as they are learning and growing. Remember every day with your child is a new day for both of you so enjoy every moment. Don’t forget to tell your children you love them.

Keira: Go outside and play! Get wet and muddy. Do what you think is right for you and your children. If you need help ask for it.

Favourite part of motherhood? 

Jo: Watching my daughter go through motherhood herself.

Keira: Every day Thea calling me mummy and giving me great big hugs and kisses.

So, there it is, it was actually really eye-opening sitting down and having a chat with my mum about being a mum. Before I was pregnant the word Motherhood was just another word that got thrown around, I didn’t really understand it. It wasn’t until I had Thea that I realised that Motherhood was so much more, for example: 

I didn’t realise that I would have a whole new identity, I would be called mummy from now on and I would be wiping up sick, snot, poop… you name it I have wiped it! 

My priorities changed. As soon as I found out I was pregnant my old priorities changed, in fact I can’t even remember what they were?

I have a whole new group of friends that I haven’t known for long, but I went through some tough times with, and are fully there to support me. I think this is generally true for most. You could also lose friends because you just don’t have time now that you have a tiny baby.

Also, you form opinions on parenting and all the different things that come with it like breastfeeding, bottle feeding, disposable nappies, washable nappies. The list goes on.

To me, Motherhood is unconditional love. It’s about putting someone else before myself. It’s about two mums looking at each other and not even having to speak, but just knowing what the other is going through. It’s about messy hair and sleepless nights, tea and coffee going cold and constant worry. 

Motherhood has been kind to me, I’m so blessed to have Thea, I have made some amazing friends through my journey and I would agree that it takes a village to raise a child.

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