A MONSTER ATE MY MUM
Written by Jen Faulkner
A children’s book, written in rhyme, looking at Post Natal Depression from a child’s perspective.
First Edition, published on 18th October 2013
Print version: £7.49
An important subject, and one that can be tricky to talk about, is Post Natal Depression, which affects between 10% and 15% of new mothers. To highlight this important issue and to facilitate its discussion comes the story ‘A Monster Ate my Mum’ by Jen Faulkner.
As a sufferer of Post-Natal depression herself, Jen knows how debilitating this illness can be and just how much it affects the whole family, especially siblings. Watching her older children see her suffer and finding it hard to find the right words to explain to them what was happening to their mum, Jen took to something she knows well, her love of writing.
She wrote a rhyming story talking about PND, as seen through the eyes of a child, to help her children understand what was happening to her. She hopes to help other families affected by the illness with the book. The central character, a young boy, goes on a hunt to look for the monsters that have taken different parts of his mum. He looks for her smile, her laugh, her spark.
“Excuse me but have you eaten my mum?
I want her back I want some fun.
I want to see her smile, my mum.
Is she in your big round tum?”
The boy learns that they didn’t mean to eat his mum and that in time, all of the things they have taken will be returned.
“No she’s not here I just ate her smile.
I’ll give it back after a while.
I’m sorry I was hungry you see.
I don’t know where your mum could be.”
Aimed at children across the age range from 2 right through to 12, the initial response from the first appearance of the story on her blog instinctivemum.com has been amazing, and included an invitation to read it aloud on BBC Radio Bristol during Dr Phil Hammond’s Saturday Surgery show. More information can be found on the blog: http://amonsteratemymum.wordpress.com
Currently available through this link: http://www.lulu.com/shop/jen-faulkner/a-monster-ate-my-mum/paperback/product-21257893.html
Jen Faulkner is available to discuss her PND journey and the story it helped to create.
For further information please contact Jen Faulkner: firstname.lastname@example.org or @MonsterAteMyMum
Last week I received an extremely exciting email letting me know that @BritaxUK would like to send me one of their new B-MOTION 3 strollers to review! I am ridiculously excited and hopefully it will arrive this week! It made me think about what you need to look for when choosing a pushchair and thankfully BRITAX have some very handy top tips…
SOME HANDY TIPS FROM BRITAX ON HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT PUSHCHAIR FOR YOUR FAMILY
From lightweight three-wheelers to travel systems and off-road strollers – there’s a huge array of pushchairs available to choose from, and it can be difficult for new parents to know where to start.
Ask any seasoned mum if she would fork out for the same first pram again and she is likely to say no. In fact, she is more than likely to have one or two more prams back at home in her quest to find the pushchair that satisfied all her and her baby’s needs.
BRITAX has been speaking and working with mums for decades, and, in the hope of helping new mums learn from other mum’s mistakes and save some serious time and money, we have developed a few simple tips to consider before splashing hard earned cash.
THINK ABOUT YOUR BABY’S NEEDS…
Think comfort. A comfy baby is a happy baby, so think seats that fully recline, are spacious and well padded. Think cosy footmuffs, smart raincovers and hoods that protect your little ones from the elements.
Think practically. Don’t forget, the needs of a baby and toddler are very different and they soon grow. Older toddlers will still need space for a comfortable snooze when their batteries run low.
A boisterous toddler (and tired mum) can be heavy handed and you need to look for a pushchair that has good quality features that can stand a good deal of wear and tear.
Also, think, will the pushchair be handed down to a new sibling in a couple of year’s time? Look for a hardwearing fabric that will work for both boys and girls.
THINK ABOUT YOUR LIFESTYLE…
Do you need something lightweight that you can easily get on and off buses, fold up quickly to put in the boot of your car? Carry up a flight of stairs? Do you need a heavy weight pram that you can pound the pavements with, with a large shopping basket for all your food shopping?
Considering your lifestyle requirements alongside the needs of your child are key in selecting the right pushchair for your family. With almost 50 years’ experience in manufacturing pushchairs and travel systems, BRITAX has something for every family and every lifestyle.
Consider the following points before you make your final decision…
*If you have a newborn baby, your pushchair should have a full lie-back seat unit. Not only is this the most comfortable position for your new arrival, it is also much safer and will help protect the soft bones in their neck whilst you’re on the move. Some models, such as our BRITAX affinity also come with fully reversible seat units so your baby can face you
*Those families with twins or small children close in age will need to find a pushchair to suit the needs of both siblings. Double side-by-side pushchairs such as the B-AGILE Double, or tandem options such as the B-DUAL offer fantastic features that will suit any family looking after two young children
*Inner city mums are likely to be looking for something lightweight, with good portability that’s easily collapsible (preferably with a one-handed pull fold mechanism), particularly if you’ll be using their pushchair on public transport or have steps leading to your house. For those looking for a great all rounder which works well in the park or at the shops, the B-MOTION family caters for children from birth up to approximately four years of age
*Alternatively, those living in the countryside might like to make the most of their surroundings with an all-terrain stroller such as the BOB Sport Utility Stroller – its textured tyres and superior suspension will ensure a smooth ride for your child on even the bumpiest terrains
*All of the BRITAX pushchairs can convert to what is known as a travel system – using very simple CLICK & GO adaptors, you can attach a host of carriers, sleepers and carrycots
THINK ABOUT YOUR BUDGET…
You don’t need to spend a fortune to get great quality practical features. You need a pushchair that reclines, is well padded, is safe and provides a comfortable experience for both mum and baby.
Think carefully about whether you will be passing the buggy down to a future sibling – in which case it may be worth spending a little bit more money to ensure it wears well.
Shop around for the best deals, as there are always great offers. BRITAX offers something for every family and for every budget.
Try before you buy – get a proper feel for how it folds, manoeuvres, how much storage space it offers, the height and feel of the handle bars…
Think about where you will be storing the pushchair – in your car, in the hallway, have you got the right amount of space?
Look and see which accessories are included in the price, there are always some great deals to be had.
And remember, it is possible to tick all the boxes; it just takes a little research and testing!
This post was brought to you as part of the BRITAX Mumbassador program of which I am extremely lucky to be a part of.
Holiday: A holiday is a day set aside by custom or by law in which normal activities, especially business or work, are to be suspended or reduced.
Having just arrived home after an eventful few days ‘holidaying’ in Wales, I am currently sat with a much needed hot cup of tea and a large mountain of chocolate beside me, looking at the photos of our few days away. After the success of our last family holiday in France I was looking forward to another break away, and another chance to build more memories. Which technically, we did…but not in quite the same way, as the weekend was more of a comedy of errors than a restful break away. I shall start at the very beginning, and I apologise for what is rather a long, and possibly at times, rather rambling post…but I needed to get it all out! (skip to the end for my profound response to it all if you choose! ;-))
So…my husband was supposed to have the whole week off work before we were due to got I Wales onThursday, but as always in his line of business, there was some sort of ‘deal’ happening and he annoyingly needed to go into work on both Monday and Wednesday. Now I have to admit to not being too amused by this, however as there wasn’t really anything I could do I (mostly) kept my mouth shut. It did mean however, that as I had all three children to myself my brain wasn’t completely focused on the packing and by Wednesday night it still wasn’t done and we were due to leave by Thursday lunchtime. I don’t know what it’s like in your household, but generally here…I do ALL of the packing, partly because I’m a total control freak, and partly because my husband wouldn’t have a clue what to pack even if I asked him. Normally I’m very organised and in control of the packing (I do love a list!)…..however this time, I did it very quickly and I didn’t do it very well. (not a list in sight)
It quickly became apparent that I’d forgotten quite a few things. Never has the phrase I uttered as we were driving down the M4 and across the bridge ‘I’m sure I’ve forgotten something’ been more apt, for I had forgotten some quite vital things as you will discover as you read on…
We arrived at the cottage and let ourselves in as we’d been told it was unlocked. Small and quaint, but perfect for what we needed we were quite pleased! There was as strong smell of air freshners which turned out to be those stick things you put in a jar of smelling liquid, it took about five minutes for us all to start sneezing so I hid the offending freshener in the downstairs toilet. The smell stopped, but the sneezing didn’t….all sodding weekend. Fresh air was in order and we were just around the corner from the ‘Mountain Cafe,’ where there were apparently amazing views of the Brecon Beacons. Not today however, as just as we got back into the car to drive there the heavens opened. We found the centre, surrounded by mist and rain clouds and not a single pleasant view, and all ran inside. It was about four o’clock by now so we went to the cafe for a cuppa and cake. There was a nice softplay there, yet as always, my 17month old wanted to wander where he shouldn’t, which was on this occasion around the tables that weren’t being used and had chairs upside down on top of them. I asked my husband to get him (he was closer!) as I could foresee a nasty chair falling incident and got the reply, ‘he’s alright he’s just walking,’ and then, yes, you guessed it, two seconds later and the boy decided to pull a chair in top of his beautiful little head. Cue screaming, cue looks from everyone judging us for letting him walk there in the first place, cue me shouting ‘I told you so,’ and everyone feeling slightly awkward. Thankfully the crying stopped and we could see there wasn’t much damage done to my little one, yet everyone else was left feeling a little bit tense.
We went back to the cottage where were discovered that it really isn’t set up for small people. There were no stair gates, no secure fire guards next to the log fire, no high chair, hard corners everywhere, cleaning products in kitchen cupboards where the doors could be easily opened….I could go on. I take it for granted that at home, and the majority of other homes I’m in, that there are things put in place to make life easy, to keep children safe without you having to follow them around every single second of every minute. The toddler jammed his fingers in drawers, picked up firewood and got splinters, changed the channels (to no channel) on the tv, ran up the stairs and all sorts of other mischievous things…and that was with two of us watching him constantly! It was not relaxing AT ALL!
Thankfully he goes to bed at six and it was then I discovered the first of my packing errors…I had not packed a bottle, not one single bottle and he will currently not go to sleep without one at night…so this resulted in me having to do a very quick dash into Brecon hoping that the local supermarket sold bottles, which thankfully they did. I raced back to find a very overtired little boy, a rather stressed out Dad and that the majority of the lounge had been moved or altered in some way to make it a bit safer…for everyone!
The boys went to bed and the second of my packing f*** ups became apparent…I hadn’t packed the four year old’s blow up sleeping bag bed. No bed. FFS. Why couldn’t I have forgotten socks or toothpaste or things that weren’t really, really important? After a frantic search and brainstorm we found some cushions that are meant for the sun loungers that were outside. We found a spare duvet cover to use as a sheet and a lovely blanket for a cover. Sorted.
Wine was now in order and then I cooked dinner (priorities!) We had a relaxing evening in front of the tv and then went to bed. Day 1 done.
Day 2 was ok, we discovered a lovely farm and spent hours there feeding lambs, holding rabbits and chinchillas and watching spooky shows. The only things that weren’t perfect were that even after we’d ordered our lunch it didn’t appear, and when we asked it turned out that they’d lost our order and had to start again from scratch, cue three very hungry and grumpy children. Then the 17 month old walked into a (unpadded!!) metal bar in the toddler soft play area and added another bruise to his already colourful little face. Poor little chap, he is so accident prone at the moment and every time he falls over and hurts himself I feel soooo guilty. We spent most of the day there and then after the older two had completed a challenge and collected two pumpkins on the way out, we left.
Back at the cottage the four year old suddenly went very pale and quiet and wasn’t himself at all. Thinking he was just worn out from the day we had early nights all round, however when he woke up on Saturday it was clear that he was poorly with a nasty high temperature. Turns out he picked a good day to make us all stay in as there was a storm outside. A massive, huge , horrible storm that was worse than we experienced last week in Bristol. Garden furniture was blown all over the place and the road outside became a river. Keeping our fingers crossed we didn’t have a power cut as there was only one candle in the cottage and no matches, we all huddled in the over crowded slightly unsafe lounge. I cooked a roast thinking that would cheer everyone up, but the toddler threw his on the floor and it wasn’t the happy family meal I’d envisaged with my husband and I having to take it in turns to look after him and eat our roast cold. I was in bed by seven that night as I was utterly exhausted.
And today, well today on the way home, we visited Caerphilly castle and froze our butts off walking around and exploring it for a few hours. Nice and fun…but freezing cold!!
I’m not entirely sure what the point, moral or message of this post is (I usually like to have one) but I guess writing about it has helped me as blogging usually does…putting the last few days in perspective has taught me not to expect anything when there are children around (and that I need to think carefully and write lists when packing!) I’d imagined us all walking up the mountains or around the beautiful reservoirs of the Brecon Beacons (which we couldn’t have done anyway because I’d forgot the blimmin sling) I’d imagined cosy nights in, laughter, rest and relaxation and I guess I came home slightly disappointed that there wasn’t really any of this, and that sadly, this weekend, the errors and mishaps didn’t make us share laughter, or rest, or relax….they just served to frustrate and exhaust my husband and I even more.
Yet ask the children if they’ve had a great time and the reply would be a resounding ‘YES!!’ For them there wasn’t a forgotten bed, but an opportunity for an exciting sleepover in big sister’s bedroom on a brand new bed! There wasn’t a dangerous storm, but a thrilling show through the window of magical moving furniture and blowing leaves. There weren’t banged heads, but adventures and places that had been explored. There were new experiences, new memories being stored, new things done; and even though my husband and I have come back exhausted, the children have come back energised (apart from the slightly ill one) A change for them it seems, really is as good as a rest….
Do you find family time away relaxing…or exhausting??
I’ve linked up with the lovely @PODcast ‘s What’s the Story? this week, luckily she let me tell this story with lots of photos! 😉