EALING 135 GROUP - By families, for families
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Rachael Nolan

Rae is a mum of two boys and grew up in Ealing. She joined Ealing 135 when her eldest child was six months and, after serving on the committee in various guises, now helps with web formatting and the occasional blog.

We've managed to get guest blogs from a few of the local candidates. Want to know what the parties can offer local parents? Here's your chance to find out!

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It was tricky thinking of the first blog post for the new site. It was tricky until I realised it should be about the backbone of the group, parents.

When I joined Ealing 135, my son was six months old. My parents live abroad, my sisters were studying or working long hours and my inlaws all work full time too. I was alone a lot and, inevitably, lonely. In addition, I was full of self doubt. I had started out all dreams and aspirations, the natural birth, the oh so easy breastfeeding, the highly stimulating and educational activities I would complete. I managed the natural birth by luck, I mix fed for the first two weeks because I didn't produce enough milk at first and, after a few weeks of exhausted attempts at playing with what is, essentially, an eating, pooing and cuddle machine, I hit the DVD collection to watch in the background. 

I then, of course, felt horribly guilty about it all. Until I joined the group. The first time parents' group was a revelation. It turned out that everyone had doubts, worries and fears, slefishly, this was excellent!

When I posted on the Facebook page asking about what someone termed parenting 'guilty secrets' I didn't expect such a quick and witty set of responses. It turns out we've done it all, and I'm no exception. My children watch TV, they eat chocolate and I use food as a bribe; all things I swore I would never do before children. I will also admit to dropping half a Whopper on my firstborn when I attempted to breastfeed while enjoying a Burger King. I'm not alone, other parents told me they, too, have abandoned some of the ideals that they began parenthood with. Interestingly, a few also admitted, as do I, that I hide things from other parents. Even if it's a noncommittal, hmmmmmm, instead of 'Actually, my son ate chocolate laden cereal this morning and I feel like a failure'.

The real issue is why we even feel guilty. Who decided it was ok to judge our peers or feel judged ourselves? Ealing 135 has offered me a place where I feel free to air concerns, offer advice, take advice myself and just rant sometimes, without the judgement of others.

So join me, feel free to be less than perfect, laugh at the lows and celebrate the highs. Pick your battles and...

*What is that in your mouth? Did you get it off the floor? But is it food? It is? Ok then...*

Be happy.  

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