8 August 2013

Waving bye bye to my baby and saying hello to a little boy [one from the vault]

Toddler hood springs itself upon you like Christmas. You spend all year waiting for it and then suddenly, bam, it's been and gone.

It's with a sense of melancholic sadness that I find myself waving goodbye to my baby (who I'm sure I just gave birth to.. Right?) and saying hello to a toddler. Children are time thieves at the best of times but I'm sure when my son was 364 days old he was still firmly a baby. 24 hours later and someone seemingly turned on a switch inside of him. Suddenly, and a little too speedily for my liking, he was awoken. And a little boy was born. Out from this gorgeous baby sprung an adventurous, loving, bright and outdoorsy kinda kid. He's boisterous, strong but affectionate and so so so kissable.

I'm so amazed and proud at the beautiful developments in my son that I've hardly had time to dwell on being sad about him growing up. He's just utterly devine, even if he has decided that kicking me (with his exceedingly strong legs) while having his butt changed, is his new favourite past time.. A problem that appears to be resolved with my rendition of 'the wheels on the bus'.. He's so easily disarmed.


31 July 2013

Dear blog,

       I'm so sorry that our correspondence seems to have diminished to all-but silence. I feel terrible for abandoning you. I hope you don't feel too neglected. I can assure you that while I have been very quiet lately, I have been thinking about you. Although I've done a poor job lately of documenting our families life with you, I have been very been ensuring that our days are full. 

We have been oh-so-busy basking in the hottest summer the UK has seen in 7 years with many-a-day spent splashing around in paddling pools full of dried out leaves and floating spiders. We've been busy relocating all the pebbles in the back garden [mostly to inside the kitchen], taking trips to the seaside [not enough of them] and enjoyed weeks on end of wearing shorts and sleeping with the windows open. We have enjoyed endless conversations and new words, staring at wonderment at doggies in the park or squealing with delight at goats that live in the garden behind ours. We've been forging new friendships and nurturing existing ones. We've been bonding, learning and loving.

This summer has been a total treat. Not only because of the weather but also because our little family is embracing each and every day. Our little boy is growing at a speed yet to be determined by the world's greatest time lords and I've been terribly busy falling more and more in love with him every day.

Our world is so different these days and seeing our little boy grow and develop, so quickly, into a charismatic little man has been fulfilling to say the least. Sometimes I find myself marvelling at him and wishing I could freeze time and keep him like this forever but then I remember that this is not the role I am supposed to play. I am here to lead, guard and love. To make sure he is safe, happy and confident as he hops onto the next stepping stone of life. It can be bittersweet letting go of stages of your child's life that were just so heartwarming but I've come to accept that life is not to be lived in the past or the future; it is here and it is now and it is to be embraced and cherished. I have been trying to enjoy these moments as I am in them, rather than looking at my life through a lens. I have many a photo and video footage to share too, after all, a camera is never far from hand but I'd like to strike a healthier balance between enjoying the real and the now and live a little less retrospectively. Today is just as good today as it will be tomorrow.

I hope you know you are never too far from my thoughts and I will continue to come to you to share and document our lives. Just know that in my absence we are living and we are happy and we are very, very busy.

Much love, your lifelong friend,

17 June 2013

The best things in life are free

Ain't that the truth. It took being blessed with a gorgeous-creature-of-a-child for my husband and I realise this..but we have. And we ain't gonna forget in a hurry. It was Father's day yesterday. My husband's 2nd ever day of celebration as life as a father. Our boy is celebration enough of this but to help seal the last, blissful 13 months as life as parents in our memory banks, I created a wee video. My first ever attempt at shooting film and video editing. It's safe to say, we're both hooked and our poor child will now suffer a life permanently on camera.

Father's Day 2013 from Stephanie Barker on Vimeo.

Sorry Chuck. It's your own fault for being so darned cute! I hope you enjoy our little video.

22 May 2013

Feelings of inadequacy; part II

Feelings of inadequacy have followed me around like a bad smell since I was little. For some reason I have always felt inadequate, never really having confidence in myself or my skills. I don't know where this stems from. Whether it is born from circumstance or events I don't - or can't - recall, or whether this is inbuilt in me. Like a strand of my DNA. Was I born to second guess myself..?

I had two great friends while in high school, and as part of an awesome threesome I always felt like the outsider. They never gave me reason to think this but I was convinced that they liked me the least and that they would much rather hang out with each other, without me there. This is just one example of my inferiority complex.

I convince myself, time and time again, that people don't like me. As much as I know most of this is paranoia, I really do feel that most of them don't. I seem to struggle to make long-lasting connections with people and I don't know why, but a lot of the people I meet just don't seem to have the time or space for a little bit of 'Stephanie' in their lives.

As you can imagine, this makes me pretty sad if I dwell on the matter. Thankfully I have someone in my life now who does like me and who only really has time and space in his life for me. Hurrah. But I say this with a sense of sadness too because I know my son can't be my 'best friend' forever. An ex boyfriend of mine once said to me, 

"Your only friends are me and your mum."

He was a cock. But is words stayed with me and now his words are morphing with the words running through my mind...

"Your only friends are your husband and your son."


That statement fills me with a melancholy sense of completion. How lucky I am to call these boys my best friends but how lonely it is to not have any other friends to call upon. Friends seem to slip through my fingers like grains of sand, despite my best efforts, and the ones I am lucky enough to call forever-friends are not on hand, living their own busy lives in other countries.

But the point of this piteous post is that, as a mother, it is more important now (more than ever) to be making firm friends. To be joining in on the community that is motherhood and finding some friends for my boy. I can live with my sadness of not having very many friends, but to tie my son to the same fate without helping him along the way is a thought that doesn't sit comfortably at all. Every parent wants for their child, what they did not have for themselves. And I'd like my boy to have some solid friends, from an early age, for life. He deserves it.

And as such I'm putting myself out there. I'm forcing myself to get involved with local groups, as uncomfortable as that feels. There are a few groups around here that I've managed become part of virtually, now I'm going to try and get stuck in physically. I only hope that once they meet 'us', they'll be happy to have us again. And again. And again. 


8 May 2013

{Self inflicted} pressures of being a mama..

I'm a terrible house wife. Fact.

Every day my mind heaves with the torment of self-inflicted* pressure. Pressure to do more chores; pressure to be a better mama; pressure to look better; pressure to be a better person. Suffice it to say, I don't get a whole lot of this stuff done. I barely scrape through the day, some days, and that's ok.... to an extent.

When Chuck naps, I walk from room to room assessing the amount of chores to do in each room and set about trying to tackle the mountainous amount of work required to get our house 'in order'. I fail each and every day. The little things take SO. LONG. I swear I spend 95% of my available time wiping food from the floor, folding clothes and making [another] coffee. And then he's awake again, and we go back to the beginning of the list. Again.

I'm not complaining. Far from it. I just wish I was better, more efficient. Useful in fact.

I dont want to be one of those clean-freak moms [fat chance of that ever happening really] but I dont want my boy growing up in chaos either. I want us all to be able to enjoy our limited space better, and lord knows living a clutter-free life can be cathartic. I still have aspirations of a minimalist lifestyle - one day. Or at least, one day I'll have enough cupboard space to make it look like we live a life of minimalism.

I'd like to make some headway though. I just don't know where to start. Or really how to get there.

Being a mama is supposed to make you organised so how come I still cant figure out enough time in my day to wash my hair?


*It is self-inflicted but I really should do better, right? I mean, I just should iron when I'm exhausted, right? That's what other mothers do, right?

6 May 2013

A moment alone

A moment alone to sit on back back-doorstep, sip a decaf coffee and munch my breakfast while soaking up the first offering of UV this country has had to offer this year is a rarity these days. As a mother, moments alone don't really exist. Unless you class sleeping as moments alone, and lord knows there isn't a lot of that going on these days either.

So to be sat here, alone - soaking in my fair share of vitamin D - is a pure and fleeting treat. You learn to accept these small moments as precious when you have children. They're like a mega-quick-power-up and they leave you pumped and ready. Ready for when that adventurous,curious and energetic baby wakes from his nap. They leave you ready and able to give and receive the love and fun that bursts from every seam of your child.

These moments don't last long. But when I'm lucky enough get one, I sit and let my brain stop. Stop for a moment to rest and reflect. Reflect upon how fabulously lucky I am to be in this position. To have this sweet and amazing boy. To be his mummy. It lets you put those tired, grumpy and irritable moments, that can sometimes make being a mamma so difficult, to bed. To remember how utterly blessed I am to be the person who gets to raise this boy. To watch him grow and smile each day.

When you're a mama, moments alone are rarely moments alone because the first thing that springs to mind is that little person who made you crave this moment alone in the first place. This is the beauty of being a mama; this ain't no part-time gig. And I love it.


26 April 2013

365 days, 52 weeks, 12 months....1 year

My baby is one year old. Today.

We had grand plans for intimate celebrations including great friends, balloons and a baby let loose with 3 dozen donuts. The day didn't pan out as planned and a nasty bout of severe teething sidelined all of our planned activities. A pretty sad ending to what has been a terrifically chilled week away with our two besties and our best-boy.

We've tried to not dwell on it though, vowing to 'try-again' tomorrow. And the day wasn't a complete disaster. After all, Chuck got to play in a playground this morning in his pyjamas at 8am and, after our we got over the day's first teething hump, we spent a bit of time at a local butterfly/animal park which Chuck seemed to enjoy very much. The day was not totally lost.

I can hardly believe that this time last year I was cosying down in my hospital bed with an 11-hour-old baby nestled atop of my chest. This year that same baby is soundly asleep in his own bed. He has grown so very much since the day I gave birth. He has learned and accomplished so much in that short space of time. But his biggest accomplishment so far has to be his ability to continually make my capacity to love him grow with each day. I'm a mum, so yeah, I love that boy like hell, but his little face and expanding personality makes me fall deeper and harder for him every day.

This sweet, fun, energetic and loving boy - who has so much joy in his eyes - is a blessing to my life. He is a privilege and I'm so excited to celebrate each coming year with him, even if I do wish I could keep him my sweet baby forever.

Happy first birthday, Charles Henry Buddy Barker. You make my world go round.



15 March 2013

Counting my blessings {while Spring-cleaning my Drafts folder}

I'm a prolific blogger. That is, if you count the amount of saved drafts in my drafts folder. I regularly write a post in a flurry with a view to coming back to it to edit and publish. I never, ever, do. Until now. One post a week until that draft folder is empty. At the time I wrote the post below I felt it needed more. More substance, more heart, more words. But actually, after reading it back tonight, I can see that the rawness is all that matters. I should have posted this immediately after writing it....


Becoming a mother has changed me. Sounds obvious right? Well, yeah, but becoming a mother has fundamentally changed me, irrevocably, permanently.

I've felt for a long time that I wanted to do something meaningful with my life and when I became pregnant I knew that this wish had become even more important because I want my children to have a mother to be proud of. Being a mother is massively meaningful and very very satisfying, but it isn't enough to make my son proud.I need to do more.

Tonight is Red Nose Day and I'm sat watching Comic Relief as i have for many years prior to 2013. It's always a tough watch. Seeing children in severe poverty and distress is never going to be a comfortable watch but this year I have a totally new perspective. Now I'm a mother. I have a child of my own and suddenly I can feel, share and practically touch their pain. It just takes one second of hearing a child with malaria or pneumonia crying out for help to know I absolutely MUST do something.

I've donated money but its not enough. I do not feel comfortable knowing that this amount of pain is rife in the world. My money helps. God does it help. The money I have donated will provide enough vaccinations to protect at least a handful of children and that is amazing beyond words. Anything any of us can give is incredible and its worth the uncomfortable viewing and many-a-tear shed but still I feel I should be doing more. I just don't know what. There's only so much money I personally can donate but I feel totally compelled to do something to make a difference. I need to put some serious time and effort into thinking about how I can make a long-lasting difference to this cause.

But one thing I can be certain of, and that is that I can count, and count again my blessings. For they are plentiful. To be blessed with this life and this supremely awesome (and pretty privileged) child of mine is my life made whole. To know that the extent of our complaints reaches to "I'm exhausted" and "I wish we had a bigger house"..well, they're hardly complaints at all.

Time to count my blessings and crack on with finding a real, and tangible way to help.


28 February 2013

Failings of a blogger

When I started this blog my main goal was to share and document our journey into parenthood and beyond. So far, I've completely failed. I want to write great, emotive posts about how I feel about my son so badly. The huge amounts of pressure I've put on myself to write 'well' has meant that I've scared myself into writing nothing at all and while I have experienced many-a-beautiful-moment like the one in the picture above, that's indelibly etched on my heart, there are thousands more sat dormant on a memory card. Gathering virtual dust. How terribly sad.

This is an injustice to my son and to my family. And so, I should post no matter how many words I can, or cannot, string together. Because, y'know what..sometimes words just aren't necessary. I'd rather take a silent walk down memory lane, than take none at all.

I haven't be able to do the love I have for my baby justice with words. But hopefully I do an okay enough job of showing him with my actions each day. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to capture one of those moments, and when I do, I'll be sure to do better at sharing them here.

I love you dear boy. Now, more than ever - you completely crazy-cute-ass-tiger-scamp.

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