The Real Parenting Awards

Real parenting awards cover photo

I wrote a post previously, The Alternative Mum Awards, detailing a few of my epic, award worthy #mumfails. Not to lead you down the path of misconception this is not one of those posts. Apologies. This is however an important post with an important message, so please do bear with.

Before you have a baby you cannot possibly imagine how your world will change. You know it will but you don’t know . People harp on about the sleepless coming your way. ‘Yes I know babies don’t sleep I’m not stupid’. I actually thought that. I was a little stupid, or at best naive. ‘Yes I know everything will change, yes I know life will be different, I will be different blah blah blah’ some more of my genius unknowing pre baby monologue for you. I thought I knew. I didn’t.

Baby 1 hit me like a steam train. Initially it felt like the most natural and amazing thing in the world. I fed my child every two hours, I lovingly changed her nappies – I swear, at one point I actually thought mid nappy change, this was meant for me, this is exactly what I should be doing, I love being a mum, I want a football team of babies. Have you been sick yet? Well don’t worry because that’s where it ends. As the post natal hormones started to overrun, sleep deprivation started to kick in, ongoing breast feeding problems didn’t ease up and Mr Tammy went back to work the supermum glow started to fade. The tiredness was incomprehensible.

Newborn Zara

The forever awake, baby Zara.

I  became exhausted at the two hourly feeds, which continued until 12 weeks, at which point she went three hours. Great.  It wasn’t just the frequency of the feeds either. I was expressing breast milk. I would feed my child with expressed milk, wind and settle back in bed. I then expressed more milk and crawled into bed to be woken up an hour later for the next cycle. This went on and on for what felt like an eternity, in reality 4 months when I finally gave up expressing milk after every feed and slowly went about decreasing my supply. I was shattered in the day and struggled to motivate myself to go out. I also lived in a town that wasn’t my home and away from family and friends. I hadn’t made any mummy friends by this point so the days felt as lonely and as long as the nights. About 6 weeks in my superstar Nan came to help visit. She did the night shift and ordered me to bed and to ‘not worry about my bloody milk supply for one night’ so I did. She allowed me to feel remotely human again and was there for company in the day. Her first visit will be forever ingrained in my memory. It was lifeline to me in what was becoming a dark time.

My Nan is a very matter of fact woman, doesn’t do huge amounts of sympathy and has a very ‘just get on with it’ attitude. It is a philosophy she lives by. I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but for me it worked. I stopped my mopping and started to just get on with it. It was after all, just another phase. We went out in the days, started attending mother and baby groups and My daughter and I started regular trips to my home town (where Nan was always on hand to give me sleep and a helping hand), Mr Tammy and I even got the odd out of the house date night too.

Me and Zara.

Me, tired but ‘getting on with it’ on a mini break to the coast 6 weeks in.

She was a constant in my first year as a mum. On the phone, in person, in spirit.

Her brilliance doesn’t end there. I had a second baby some 11 months after my first. He was two months early and rather poorly. Once again, Nanny Pat was there. Boarded her two hour train to the midlands to be on hand when we brought our little boy home from the hospital, some 5 weeks after he was born. I was again expressing milk. She did the night shifts, helped me with a busy walking one year old and a tiny premie poorly baby. She gave me confidence to get out the house with them and to get through the days and nights

Nanny pat and Toby

Nanny Pat and Toby, when we were finally able to bring him home.

Even a year later she is still helping out. If I phone her at the end of my tether, she’s on the next train. She babysits, helps around the house, takes a baby out, cooks dinner. She is a godsend to me and my kids. In fact we are all off on our holidays as I write this, my Nan, 4 of her 9 grandchild and her two great grandchildren. Clearly I am not the only one who thinks she is fab.

It goes without saying my Nan has been an infinite help to me during my two years of motherhood. Even just knowing that her visit is pending helps get me through. It is people like this that this post is about. People who have without question provided help, love and encouragement in whatever form that may be. My Nan fits this bill tenfold. There is so much I could write about her that I haven’t included.

This post isn’t just about friends or family who have been there but health professionals too. For us this is without doubt the stag at Queens Hospital Burton  Neo Natal unit. I have so much love and respect for doctors, nurses and health care assistants. They do a vital and tough job day in day out.

The doctors quite honestly saved my sons life. Without their expertise he would not be the one year old he is today. I know they were doing their job but I will be forever indebted to Dr Omar and the job he does. His kind face will stay with me forever.

Toby in hospital - the real parenting awards

All the staff were amazing. They are caring and compassionate people who I got to know during my sons 5 weeks stay. One sister in particular will stay with me. Her name was Anne. She was so kind and gentle. I met her when my son was three days old. I had just had my first of many breakdowns about palming my daughter off to be with my son and broke down in front of his incubator and Anne. She put her arms around me and said, ‘you’re now 3 days post birth, those hormones are really kicking in now, I had the day three melt down with all three of my children’. She instantly put me at ease.

I saw Anne most days, she helped me to learn to feed Toby, to understand the needs of a premature baby, she sympathised with me when I was finding it hard juggling both my children. She talked to me, kept me sane, never judged me and looked after my baby  I felt truly close to this woman and believe I will always have an affinity with her. She retired a few days before Toby was discharged. It was an emotional day for all the staff, their love for her was obvious. She had worked at the hospital for 40 years and it was clear she would be so sorely missed. I have such fond memories of Anne, she helped me through an immeseably hard time in my life and I wish her nothing but the best for her retirement.

So here it is the Real World Parenting awards. They are awards to recognise people like my Nan and people like Anne. They are an award ceremony that recognise the work, love and commitment of people who help mothers during the most tumultuous time of their life. There is an award ceremony for health professionals and non health professionals.

The awards will take place in November in London. The winner of the health professional award will receive an educational grant of £1000 from The Primary Care Society for Gastroenterology and Infacol, who are supporting the awards,  to further their career or chosen area of research. Those who nominate a health professional will be entered into a prize draw to win a short stay at Knoll House, Britains original family friendly hotel.

Entry criteria? Simple. An individual who has demonstrated the ability to go above and beyond. Email their name, workplace (if applicable) and why you are nominating them to competitions@satellitepr.com.  

The deadline for nominations is the 31st August 2016. So if you know of anyone who deserves recognition or a special nod for the impact they have had on you, this truly is a fab a way to show your appreciation.

The Pramshed
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
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28 Comments

  1. August 13, 2016 / 8:28 am

    Gorgeous post: everyone needs someone who will go the extra mile for them at the most difficult of times ( ie having a baby) #fortheloveofblog

  2. August 13, 2016 / 12:11 pm

    Your nan sounds linke a very special lady. I am glad you had such nice people to help you with your son. My son was premature and I know how hard it is.
    #fortheloveofBLOG

  3. August 13, 2016 / 10:23 pm

    It’s wonderful you have family that offer you support and advice.

    I’ve always believed the staff in the maternity and neo natal wards are some of the best in the health services.

    Anne sounds like such a wonderful lady. I hope she gets the recognition she deserves.

    Great post.

    #KCACOLS

  4. August 13, 2016 / 10:29 pm

    Such a beautiful post! I have to share it… Your nan is a saint! and people who helped you at the hospital as well. You need some guts to do their jobs, I am telling you what! #KCACOLS

  5. August 13, 2016 / 11:43 pm

    What a beautiful post. Thank goodness for all of the amazing people who helped you and your family at the hospital and for your Nan who sounds like a fabulous woman! #KCACOLS

  6. August 14, 2016 / 7:36 am

    I wasn’t sure where this was going but a great post! I enjoyed reading and the awards are a great idea x #KCACOLS

  7. August 14, 2016 / 10:54 am

    Fab post, do not know how you managed 2 babies so close together, you’ve done so well. And your nan sounds like a real life fairy godmother, she really must be a very special lady and you’re lucky to have her in your life. I’m a midwife and I agree that NNU nurses are a special breed, the love and care they have for those teeny tiny babies is so wonderful. #KCACOLS

  8. August 14, 2016 / 11:09 am

    Great post. People like your nan and Anne are so special. My mum is my saviour day to day and there was that one special nurse, who calmed me and showed me how to feed my oldest when he was in intensive care as a baby. It’s great that people can nominate those who help them to receive an award! #kcacols

  9. August 14, 2016 / 11:44 am

    Aww this is so lovely, two very special ladies! It’s so important to have someone like that as a new mum, I was very lucky to have some wonderful ladies around me to help me through those crazy first months, and even now, years down the line. #KCACOLS

  10. August 14, 2016 / 1:48 pm

    Love this. We have four girls – the last two being identical twins. When the twins were born they ended up in TWO different hospitals at one point. With the help of my mom I doubt we ever would have made it.

  11. August 14, 2016 / 1:51 pm

    What a beautiful idea to honour these people who help us out. My sons were both ill after their births and spent time in special care and I remember all the incredibly kind doctors and nurses there who made it easier to cope. And it is such a wonderful thing that your nan was able to come and support you. She sounds an amazing woman! #KCACOLS

  12. August 14, 2016 / 2:31 pm

    What an amazing person your nan is. Also Anne. I love to read blog posts like this. I would never be able to cope with 2 babies so close together. You are an awesome mum! xx

    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday

  13. August 14, 2016 / 6:56 pm

    Lovely story. People like this rarely get any recognition for what they do. Angels, each and every one! #KCACOLS

  14. August 14, 2016 / 7:04 pm

    I love the idea of these awards! What a lovely tribute to your Nan and Anne – we do as much as we can as parents, but we all need help from others to help us get through those early days in particular. My mum was a big help – even though she lives an ocean away, she was here when she was born and now visits every few months to help with childcare and give me a break. I wish she lived closer! #fortheloveof BLOG

  15. August 15, 2016 / 12:27 am

    What a beautiful post! Your Nan sounds incredible. It’s difficult to put into words how much you appreciate someone coming to help out in the early days! #kcacols

  16. August 15, 2016 / 8:37 pm

    What a lovely idea for an awards ceremony! And how amazing that you’ve got such supportive people in your life. x #KCACOLS

  17. August 17, 2016 / 12:03 am

    Such a beautiful post! A lovely tribute! Being thankful for those special people in our lives is so important! #KCACOLS

  18. August 17, 2016 / 9:32 pm

    Really lovely to read this and Nan sounds like a trooper of the best kind. Anne too. Very special people. #KCACOLS

  19. August 18, 2016 / 7:32 am

    What a beautiful post. Your nan in incredible some people would just say she’s being a nan that’s it but lately I’ve learnt that what sounds obvious for some are not for others… #stayclassymama

  20. Mud cakes and wine
    August 18, 2016 / 8:03 am

    What a beautiful post about three amazing women, your nan sounds amazing lady and wow what an amazing help for you at two hard times. And Anne wow wonderful. Also sounds like you have coped so well in a very hard situation xxx #stayclassymama

  21. August 18, 2016 / 3:56 pm

    Your nan, as ever, sounds fab. These sounds like brilliant awards, thank you for highlighting them and also for telling your story and showing your appreciation to Anne as well. People can deeply touch us emotionally at these times and if it’s positivity and support they bring then they will stay with us forever. #ablogginggoodtime

  22. August 18, 2016 / 4:27 pm

    Before I gave birth I am this person who doesnt need help in anything. I am so proud and wont accept defeat. But when I gave birth I knew that I really need help and it took me awhile to started accepting it from family and friends and its just the best decision that I made. Life got better! #ablogginggoodtime

  23. August 18, 2016 / 5:15 pm

    What a brilliant idea for an award so much more worthy than the rear of the year or whatever the latest fad is… An actual worthy person. I loved hearing about your nan Pat because she reminded me so much of my late nana. Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime ????

  24. August 18, 2016 / 6:18 pm

    Your babies are BEAUTIFUL! ! Love these pics. What a lovely post x saying it like it is. It ain’t all flowers. Even though they are the best things in our lives.

  25. August 18, 2016 / 9:15 pm

    What a beautiful post. Your Nan sounds like one very amazing lady. I think we could all do with a Nanny Pat x
    #ablogginggoodtime

  26. August 19, 2016 / 10:52 am

    Beautiful post. I got very tearful reading this. Your Nan and all the staff sound amazing. Thank you for sharing. I’m so glad you’ve has the support and well done for the strength you have shown and raising two babies so close in age. It’s difficult living away from family. I can relate to that. X #kcacols

  27. August 22, 2016 / 6:22 am

    This is my favorite post of yours! I teared up a few times. I wish I had someone like your Nan to help me in the bringing. My mom still lives in San Francisco and if she could she would be here but she can’t. My son was a surprise so there wasn’t enough time to plan a move back to America and I am happy here with my career and boyfriend BUT when I read a story like yours it makes me sad that I didn’t have that help. Maybe for the next one?! I can imagine how hard it must be with your second one, Ann really does sound like a savour. They both really do deserve the parenting awards! Thanks for such a lovely post and sharing with #StayClassyMama!

    • tammymum
      August 22, 2016 / 6:30 am

      Ah thank you. Yes my nan really was invaluable. She lives 2 hours away and doesn’t drive so she wasn’t on hand all the time but it’s absolutely nothing compared to how it must have been for you having an ocean between you and your mum. I don’t think you realise just how vital family are until a time like this and they are so far away. I take my hat off to you. Thank you so much for your lovely comment xx