We did it!
We had a simple idea: to ask the parents of SE London and beyond to share their funny, embarrassing, Gin-inducing, less-than-perfect parenting moments with the world, using the hashtag #parentinglikeitis.
Who better to support us with our campaign than the team at Digital Mums. Luckily for us, our help came in the form of lovely Gretta Schifano, award-winning blogger and travel writer at Mums Do Travel. With all the crew in place, we set out to find a sponsor for our campaign. This brief was soon enthusiastically filled by our very own Gin Fund member, Richard Foord-Joseph from South East Builders and Decorators Ltd. Not only does he have a great reputation for high quality work in the homes of the Gin Territory, he also very generously agreed to pay £1 for every use, share, tweet or retweet of our hashtag, up to £1000.
And so the campaign started. We knew our Gin Mums and Dads would tell it like it is. But, we didn’t realise how much of this parenting lark they were wiling to share with the world wide web. We had brilliantly funny photos, toe curling stories of toddler antics and some real insight into the daily struggles that we face, mostly behind closed doors.
Now, the MGF-HQ kids are pretty funny, but it turns out that the kids of the Gin Fund are hysterical! Many an hour was lost by us all as we gleefully skipped through pages and pages of babies shoving things down toilets, toddlers smearing themselves with various muck and filth and (I’m sorry/not sorry to say) parents with ‘sad faces’ as they posed beside their child’s latest misdemeanour.
Some of our favourites are in the #parentinglikeitis gallery. If you’ve got a few minutes, get yourself comfy (and maybe a Tena lady) and check them out. They’re pretty funny!
We’ve been absolutely delighted with the number of people who’ve given us all a laugh over the last month; our hashtag had over 1200 uses and shares, meaning that Richard will have to dig to the bottom of his pockets to pay out, something he is happy to do: “We at South East Builders & Decorators are so pleased to be able to sponsor the Mummy’s Gin Fund #parentinglikeitis campaign supporting Bliss, an amazing charity. During the campaign we had our 2nd baby, 4 weeks early and in NICU for 5 days. We can only imagine how important Bliss must be for the families of babies needing longer term special care.”
Choosing Bliss as our charity was the easiest decision of the campaign. As a parenting community, our group is full of families who have benefited from the crucial support provided by Bliss’s staff, volunteers, help-line, resources and chat forums. Our very own MGF-HQ baby was born at 32 weeks and the support of Bliss was vital in keeping us sane and hopeful. Our story is shared by so many Gin Families, with many keen to share their experiences with us:
“I had a textbook pregnancy, I was well throughout, and all my checks and scans seemed normal. My contractions started on my due date, I laboured for almost 48 hours at home, before arriving at hospital fully dilated and ready to push. A quick listen to the babies heart rate turned everything on its head. I was loaded onto a trolley and rushed to the labour ward. There were about 15 people in the room, and 30 mins later G was here. I didn’t see her straight away as she was given immediate medical attention. One quick cuddle and then she was taken off to NICU, a tiny 4lb, full term baby. At some point my placenta had stopped working correctly – it was half the size it should have been and the cord was so brittle it snapped when the midwife tried to deliver it. The midwife told us we were lucky that G had made it at all. There was no “golden hour” of skin to skin immediately after her birth. It was two hours before I was allowed to go and visit G on the NICU. There, G was in an incubator, on oxygen and an IV drip of fluids and antibiotics. They were concerned she might have inhaled or swallowed meconium. The NICU staff were amazing, but it was so hard leaving her on the ward to go home (I was discharged after 4 hours). I had to be peeled off the walls every time. The guilt and heartbreak of leaving your newborn alone can be very difficult. Plus, you feel pretty exhausted from the birth and then being up every few hours to express milk for your little one – I was so exhausted that at 3am I knocked over my entire bottle of newly expressed milk – there was definitely crying over spilt milk then!” Vicki.
“Our son, Caleb, was born 8 weeks prematurely in January 2016, arriving naturally the day after I lost some amniotic fluid. As we started introducing breast / bottle feeding it became apparent that Caleb was suffering from silent reflux, causing significant dips in his oxygen levels as well as pauses in his breathing. This prolonged his stay in hospital as he returned to neonatal intensive care (NICU) from special care (SCBU) while his oxygen levels were stabilised. Over the following weeks we celebrated as each tube or wire was removed, and while we knew that Caleb was in the best place, we were so desperate for home to be the best place for him! Although it was a difficult time for my husband and I, dividing our time between our toddler at home, work and the hospital, we felt massively supported by all the medical professionals caring for our son and we were confident with the care he was receiving each night when we had to leave him. After 5 weeks we were able to bring our bundle of joy home and now, nearly 4 months on, our toddler is still so excited, exclaiming daily “Caleb’s home”!” Rachel.
“Ben was born 4 ½ years ago weighing 2lbs 12oz. We knew from early on, that if we could maintain the pregnancy (my placenta was only working at about 50% functionality, so, far from ideal) that we wouldn’t be able to go full term. At 32+1, we had a scan that showed that baby’s heart was beginning to struggle and medical advice was that, now was the time to deliver. So at 32+2, Ben was born. Fortunately, so very, very fortunately, he was perfectly formed (tiny yes, but perfectly formed) and perfectly healthy. From the start we were looked after wonderfully by the whole staff at Queen Elizabeth Hospital NICU in Woolwich where we stayed for 5 weeks until Ben weighed in at a mighty 4lbs. At that stage he was able (just) to take a feed from a bottle (rather than being tube fed), and was allowed home, just in time for Mothers Day.” Clair.
The team at Bliss are delighted with our campaign. Caroline Davey, Chief Executive of Bliss, said: “Thank you to Mummy’s Gin Fund for organising the hilarious #parentinglikeitis campaign, and to South East Builders and Decorators for kindly donating £1,000 to Bliss. As well as being great fun, the campaign has raised vital funds and awareness of Bliss, helping us make a real difference to babies born premature or sick in the UK each year.”
A huge thank you to everyone who has got involved, shared their stories and images and retweeted our tweets. Thank you also to those of you who have shared the harder parts of parenting with us; thank you for your honesty and your strength. We salute you and stand with you.
The fun doesn’t stop here. We’re sticking with our little hashtag, #parentinglikeitis, and asking you all to keep sharing your poignant, funny, embarrassing, head-in-hands parenting moments with the whole world.
We’re all in the parenting lark together; let’s celebrate the brilliant bits, laugh at the funny bits and hold each other’s hands through the rough bits. We may not have our marbles, but we have each other and that is more than enough.
p.s Gretta had a great time working with us: “I’m delighted to have been able to help raise funds for Bliss through the #ParentingLikeItIs campaign, and it’s been great working with Mummy’s Gin Fund. I’ve loved seeing everyone’s stories and photos, and it’s fantastic that so many people joined in. I’ve been training with Digital Mums to be a freelance Social Media Manager, and the campaign is part of my course. I’ve learnt loads and am proud to have been a part of it.” We’re always on the look out for people to share our staff room with (when I say staff room, I actually mean the settee in MGF-HQ). Please get in touch at [email protected] if you’d like to get involved with our brilliant community.