A New Year, A New Focus

Happy New Year to all my followers. My word, 2017 went like a flash. And what a year it was for us as a family. I wanted to write a little note to start the new year on the blog and explain a few things that will be happening with the blog going forward and some changes that will be happening and some that have started and will be continuing. 

Those of you who are regular readers will have already noticed these changes happening, but I thought it would be good to explain the changes to those who dip in and out of the blog, or for any new readers. I also thought it would be good to explain my reasons behind the changes to my regulars.

Firstly, you’ll have noticed my blog header and social media avatars have changed quite a bit in the latter quarter of 2017. Gone is the scientist header below:

and it has been replaced by this:

Rebrand BattleMum header blog

The reason is simple. As of March 2017, I no longer work as a scientist and felt it was time to change the blog accordingly. I gave up my much-loved job as a scientist in readiness for our move to Portugal. We made the decision a year ago to sell up lock, stock and barrel, and move our family to Portugal for a number of reasons. Being close to my parents was top of the list. 

They bought a retirement home late in 2016 in Portugal, and we thought it might be good to move to be closer to them. The advantages far outweighed the disadvantages. For one, BattleKid would be able to spend much more time with his grandparents. And for times when BattleDad is travelling for work, I’d have a support network there that I didn’t have in Wales.

Secondly, the sunshine. There really has been no comparison where that is concerned. We quickly realised as we were discussing the possibility of moving that BattleKid had spent more than two thirds of his life indoors, mainly down to the cold, wet weather of the UK. Most times, when he’d ask to go out on his bike, we’d have to say no because it was either too cold or raining. Moving to Portugal would mean more time outdoors.

We also thought it would be a great opportunity for BattleKid to become bilingual and that at three and a half, it would be the right time to make the move as he would most likely pick up the language quite easily. 

The other reason for changing my blog header is that BattleKid is growing up and I felt the baby no longer represented where we were in terms of his age. And while I am still a biker underneath, I haven’t been on one since I was four months pregnant with BattleKid, and I’m unlikely to be on the back of one for some time to come.

The new header is a much better representation of our family as it stands. We’re a family who love to travel and I thought it was time to bring that into the header. It also shows how the blog is changing. My blog started as a parenting blog during the last few months of my maternity leave. While I enjoyed writing about BattleKid growing up, I came to realise last year that I don’t really want to continue with the parenting theme. 

There are hundreds of great parenting blogs out there, and loads of great parenting resource websites, and really I didn’t think I had anything more to share beyond what everyone else was sharing. I also didn’t really want to be writing about dealing with tantrums, or potty training, or how to deal with night wakings after toilet training. It didn’t feel right and it was no longer for me.

I still enjoy reading about other people’s experiences but I didn’t really feel like I wanted to share ours anymore. However, the one thing that gets my fingers typing fast and the words flowing easily is writing about our travels. Be it our Holiday Diaries, or posts about our Dragon Hunting adventures, these are the posts that come much easier to me and are the ones I enjoy writing so much more than general stuff.

I still enjoy the odd review but in the latter half of the year, I became pickier, if you will, about what things I wanted to review on the blog. And I started to focus on things that could have a travel aspect to them. Things like the Cabin Zero bag, of which I now own two as I love them that much, and the Adventure Belt, a great new edition to our travelling arsenal with BattleKid.

And as a result of all of that, our blog is now focused on family travel more than anything else. There may be one or two posts which are not wholly travel-related and it is for that reason I call my blog a Family Travel and Lifestyle Blog. The main focus of the blog has been changing over the last few months, with more travel-related posts being published than anything else and this will continue going forward.

I will continue to write our Holiday Diaries, mainly as a diary for BattleKid to look back on in later years, but also so that people can see what sort of things we get up to on our holidays. They used to be quite boring, if I’m honest, particularly when we were on package holidays, but as of last year, our travels have taken a different turn (which I’ve written about recently). They have become much more about discovery and adventure rather than sitting by a pool doing nothing. And I want to share those tales with everyone.

Out of our travels will come guides or information posts too, which I hope will be of benefit to others. Posts such as my 5 Things to Do in New York with a Toddler in Tow. That series will continue as we visit more and more places. I also plan to write other types of posts about travelling which may provide helpful hints and tips to others embarking on travel with their little ones. And if there is anything in particular you’d like to see on the blog then let me know!

So there you go, BattleMum is becoming a more travel-focused blog. I know the title of my blog doesn’t quite reflect the niche, but I’m still a BattleMum, battling my way through life, albeit a life vastly different to when the blog first started. 

Cath x

5 Relationships that Change when You become a Parent

It is inevitable that certain relationships in your life will and do change when you have a baby. You as a person change and so does the life around you. Some people appreciate those changes and support you through them. Others don’t quite get it, or wonder why things do and have to change, and this can have a knock on effect on your relationship with them. Some relationships change in a positive way and others are negatively affected. Here are the five relationships I believe change in a big way when you become a parent and why.

  1. You and your partner. Simply put, how can your relationship with your partner not change. Together you have brought another human being into the world, one that was made from you both and that alone is a big deal. I fell in love with BattleDad the evening I met him and over the years I didn’t think I could love him more. I was wrong. From the minute BattleKid was born I’ve continued to fall more in love with BattleDad as I watch a father love, cherish, play and grow with his son. Being a parent is a rollercoaster of a journey and one you share with your partner. So how can your relationship not change? Our relationship as parents, and as husband and wife, has changed immeasurably and for the better since our son came along 2 years ago.BattleDad and BattleKid
  2. You and your own parents. We all love our parents, even if they did drive us crazy as we were growing up (and even a little now) but I don’t think you can really appreciate your parents fully until you become one yourself. Suddenly things start falling into place and your understanding about the reason behind a lot of the decisions they made for or about you become clearer. When I became a mum I had my own parents with me for the first week and it meant the world to me. Even now I appreciate all they do for us (from across the Irish Sea) so much more than before BattleKid came along. I appreciate what they’ve done for us, now and in the past, and I understand everything they went through while we were growing up, putting their needs last, always putting us girls first and going without so we could have more. I understand the sacrifices they made and I love them even more now than I thought I would.

    My mum and dad meeting BattleKid for the first time
    My mum and dad meeting BattleKid for the first time
  3. You and your work. I thought when I fell pregnant that I could have my baby, have a year off and jump back into full-time work and things would be like before BattleKid came into the picture. I was very, very wrong. I didn’t realise how much my priorities would change once I had my son. I knew I did want to go back to work but I’ve found full-time very, very hard, particularly as my son gets older and more aware of us and himself. I also had to change my work hours to better suit nursery hours. I’ve done a year of full-time work and it’s only getting harder. In hindsight I should have gone back part-time but I didn’t know at the time how much my feelings towards work would change. I enjoy my work as a scientist and love having daily adult conversation and interaction but I want more time with my son. It’s a very hard act to balance. Watch this space.
  4. You and your childless friends. This is the one area of your life that can change the most and often for the worst. You, and your partner, suddenly go from being carefree, easy-going socialites to stay-at-home, tired and often sober parents of a baby. And friends without children don’t get why you a) can’t go out like you used to or b) why you don’t want to go out like you used to. Firstly, you as a mum have lost your tolerance for alcohol having abstained while pregnant (and while breastfeeding) so to even contemplate wine, cocktails and shots is terrifying. Secondly, to go out, have a few drinks too many and have to get up at 6am with a hangover and deal with a young baby is the thing horror stories are made from. I did it once and it was hell on earth. I gave up alcohol entirely shortly afterwards and I’ve never once regretted my decision. When you have a baby you also cannot go away at the drop of a hat like you used to. Even lunch outside the house is a military operation and childless friends don’t get it. They don’t understand how a weekend in the house is a much more appealing thought than a drive in the country, stopping off at a pub for lunch. And it’s too hard to explain why it’s so much hassle so you often don’t try. When you put all of this together it’s easy to see why these relationships can often be the ones most adversely effected by you becoming a parent. 9 times out of 10 these friends drift away and may or may not return after they themselves become parents. I’m not saying all of these relationships change negatively but they are the ones most likely to.
  5. You and friends with children. In my experience these relationships can be positively effected and you can become closer as friends as a result of the birth of your child, especially your first. You join the elite club that is parenthood and there are things you appreciate about one another without having to utter a word! You see each other in the same light, having gone through the same or similar experiences and you appreciate each others roles as parents more. You can rely on each other for a helping hand and can hand each other your babies without batting an eyelid if you need to run to the bathroom or eat your lunch in peace. We have friends (W & S, of the Bluestone Holiday Diaries) whose little boy is less than a year younger than BattleKid and we love being in their company. We all appreciate why we may want to drink tea instead of wine and why 11pm is a very acceptable time to go to bed on a Friday or Saturday night. We can understand what “I’m tired”means to one another and we’re more than happy to help each other out where we can. It is these relationships which have changed for the better for BattleDad and I and we treasure them.

Have you experienced positive or negative changes to certain relationships in your life since having a baby?

Thanks for reading.

Cath x