Wednesday, 27 May 2015

My baby is growing up.

I'm not a mum who uses an instruction manual.  Nothing against other mums who read books on what happens when,  and how to do such and such, and what baby 'should' be doing etc... I guess my philosophy is that babies do things when they're ready and you should just be there to support them and enable them to do things safely,  securely and in a loving environment.

Oscar is almost 14 months and has increasingly been fighting me at nappy changes. Since he found his running away skills he practices them at every opportunity.  I can be regularly seen chasing a semi naked baby with a nappy in his hand around the house while he giggles like a loon.

More recently he's been coming up to me and then squatting down. This has been followed by the well known Eau de Pooh. Since he's started communicating when he's doing this I decided to introduce the concept of a potty.

Obviously I have no idea how anyone else does this, and it doesn't matter,  I'm working on the basis of what works for us.

My thinking was that I would just let him see the potty and take it into the bathroom while I use the loo and give him opportunity to copy.  On a whim last night as I got him ready for bed I showed him the potty and pretended to sit on it. He immediately wanted to do the same. So I stripped him and let him sit down. He happily sat and played with his toys. Within a minute the smell arrived. It's very sad how excited I was,  ha ha!

A little later I said to D that actually as much as I'm proud of him,  I'm so sad my baby is growing up. This morning,  on reflection, I've realised that this is just one of many things he will do on his life and rather than 'miss' my baby I need to focus on enjoying the experience and watching the boy he is becoming.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

The reality of a working mum

When I returned to work I was frequently asked how I was coping with someone else looking after Oscar.  I found this a little strange to be honest.  Before I returned to work we had researched our local childcare options,  visited establishments,  talked to staff,  looked at Ofsted reports and asked all the questions we could think of that mattered. We chose a nursery that felt like a home,  like a family and that I considered to be safe,  supportive and best for developing Oscar in the way that I would do if I had that luxury.

So the answer to the question is that I have no worries about his care.  Am I happy with someone else looking after him?  Well that's a completely different question.

I wish that I could afford to spend more time with him. I've already reduced my hours and condensed them across 4 days in order that I get a whole day in the middle of the week with him.  It's not enough though.  I want to be spending time with him when he's not tired,  when he doesn't just want me for my boobs ha ha! I want to be able to catch those milestones.  It doesn't seem fair to me that I grew him for 9 months,  nurtured him, gave birth to him,  kept him alive and developed him this far into the cheeky character that he is,  for someone else to then see him take his first steps,  say his first words and give other people who are paid to care for him those hugs and kisses when he wakes from his nap.

I do feel resentful, but what alternative is there?  It's not reasonable to expect an employer to fund my desire to be a mum, and I can't expect the Government or the tax payer to pay for my choice to have a family. But I do think employers could do more to allow parents to find that balance between family and work.

I know I'm lucky in that my employer has a decent maternity package, allowed me to change my working pattern and has flexible working hours. But that's a rarity. I count my blessings I'm able to leave work early when I need to, that I can get a tax break in my childcare, but,  if I'm honest,  I'm pinning my hopes on a big lottery win :-D

Friday, 24 April 2015

I'm still alive

I've been back to work now since 26 January and it's had a massive impact on my life. In some ways the impact has been harder than the impact of Oscar entering our world.

When I thought about returning to work I always knew it would mean I'd need to be organised but I thought I'd manage it quite well.

Honestly? I've not managed it half as well as I hoped to. I had uhhmed and ahhed about how many hours a week I should work and decided to only lose 3 hours a week but manage to have every Wednesday off by working 0830-1730 on the other days. Sounds good right?

Hmm this means I have to have little legs at nursery by 0810 at the latest. Some days he doesn't like to wake up before 0745, which means there's barely enough time to change his nappy and dress him, never mind give him a feed and breakfast and clean his teeth. Definitely no time to brush his hair. That's pointless anyway as short of washing it, I'll never get it to stay down.

The reality is that he gets woken up about 0715, he whines and grumbles while I get ready and then I do what I can with him before we have to go. I'm pretty good at finishing work on time and I collect him from my mum's house. She's usually done a pretty good job of entertaining/distracting him until I get there. But by the time I get to him, he's knackered.

Since he has his tea at half 3 at nursery and it's 6pm by the time we get home, it's a mad rush to give him some supper, bath and get him ready for bed. It's especially hard when he doesn't want to go to bed as he hasn't seen me all day and just wants to feed, cuddle and play. It's all I want to do too, but it can't happen. Initially I wasn't getting him to sleep until after 9 and he refused to use his cot. Now I can get him down for about half 8 and on a good day I get a couple of hours out of him before he wakes demanding my company.

I often find my thoughts drifting to how I'd love a second child.  I honestly would but I know in my heart of hearts it won't happen by choice.

I enjoy going to work and couldn't imagine not going to work at least three times a day.  Childcare is expensive but I'd be worse off financially if I had a second child.  Either the childcare bills would cripple us, or I'd have to give up work and the outcome would be the same.

Some days I'm fairly OK with my lot  but a lot of the time I miss little legs and I'm sad that I miss out on his milestones and don't get to be the one to say, "he's started doing xyz today ".

He's now walking (and falling), trying to talk to us all the time and I get so little time with him to really appreciate it.  The short time I do get with him though is so precious, some nights I sit and stare at him as he drifts to sleep and I'm amazed. He's such a cheeky character and so inquisitive.

As I left work tonight I resolved to really enjoy my weekend amd just do what I can. Sod tj housework. Little legs are only little for such a short time.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

D-Day -1

Today should be a lazy Sunday,  chilling out with my family, enjoying a visit from Nanny and cooking a scrumptious Sunday dinner and enjoying time with my baby.

Today however is not that day

Today I feel sad, I feel cross and I feel very, very crappy.

Today I need to tackle the mountain of washing and actually hoover for the first time in a time that is too long to be respectable. Today I need to iron clothes and hang them up. Today I need to plan ahead mine and Oscar's outfits for tomorrow.  Today I need to prep my lunch and my evening meal for the next day.

Today is the day before I return to work.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Tough times

As I stop and think on how tough this week has been, I also realise just how lucky I am.

This week I've barely left the house, I've physically spoken to very few people. There are a number of reasons for this, but the most stressful part has been a very grumpy, whingey, unsettled, hard to please 9 month old.

I can honestly count on one hand how many days I have felt I wanted a do over since he came into our world.  But this week I have wanted bedtime to arrive within an hour of waking up every single day. Every single day.

It's definitely been a shit week, with tiny moments of joy brought about from the wonderful humorous messages received from friends and the rare toothy grins and kisses from the wrigglebum.

But, despite the shittiness (yes that is a real word), I'm incredibly lucky. He's 9 and a half months old and it's taken this long to have a week like this.  I don't know why he's been like this, and I never will, but it's wonderful to have made it this far with a sunny smiley and content baby with no health problems who brings joy to my day, every single day.  Every single day.  That's amazing.

He's moving on to a whole new chapter in his life soon,  a chapter which will see him become even more independent, which will see him go from strength to strength.  I will miss seeing him do this as I need to return to work.  It makes me sad that I may miss out on so many 'firsts'. But... I remind myself during this tough time...

I'M SO LUCKY.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Panic!

I woke up on Monday morning with an honest to God freak out. In three weeks I return to work after nearly 11 months off work. Jeez Louise where has that time gone?

I remember before I went on maternity leave I had ideas about what I would do during my time off and how when I returned to work I would be in such a great routine that everything would run seamlessly.

Er.. No. Quite the opposite, I have a baby who hates naps, unless he sleeps on you and doesn't particularly like sleeping at night. I somehow manage to fit in (just about) mealtimes, and attending appts and play sessions. Housework? Don't be ridiculous,  my son is incredibly lucky, and I'm incredibly surprised that he has clean clothes to wear every day. There have been occasions where I realised I was dressing him in his last set of clean clothes and the panic washing and drying without a tumble dryer has begun.

When I return to work in 2 and a half weeks I'm either going to fall apart or become super efficient.

Place your bets!

One thing I have decided to do is try and focus on quick, easy and healthy meals. So the slow cooker is going to see some action, but as my other half isn't a fan of casseroles etc, I also need to look at quick meals that I can do on the stove and under the grill.  Man cannot live on sandwiches and omelette. Well he could but I wouldn't be very happy.

Got to.go, another baby appointment to get to!

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Ladies wot shop

Further to my last post where I decided not to be a frumpy mum, today I ventured into a personal shopper experience in Debenhams.  It's a fantastic service and I wish I'd discovered it sooner.  It was so easy to book an appointment.  The website asks for very straightforward information.  I do wish it asked for a little bit more info though such as your dress size, style preference, height etc as this could come in useful for your shopper later.

Screenshots of the booking process:
  


I was 5 minutes early for my appointment and the girls at the paydesk called for my shopper to come down.  The lovely Sammy arrived about 10 minutes later. Sammy was lovely and welcoming and I immediately felt at ease.  The only thing that puzzled me at this point was being asked if I had booked my appointment.  I had in mind that they would be aware of all the bookings and know who they would be working with and when.  Very odd.

Despite the lack of awareness of my appointment Sammy was straight into business.  She asked me a few questions about the purpose of my appointment and what I was looking for.  Before leaving me to go trawling the racks, she made sure I had a coffee in my hands.



While Sammy was looking for clothes for me to try I decided to make Oscar and I comfy.  The dressing room had two very large cubicles, seating, mirrors and magazines.  The dressing room served as the perfect playpen for the wrigglebum.


Sammy brought back a good selection of clothes, some of which hit the mark straightaway, others either didn't fit me that well,or were just not to my taste.  Some of the things she picked for me I really didn't think I would like, but the minute I put them on I loved them.  The personal shopper experience is great for encouraging you to be a bit braver and try things you'd normally leave on the rack.

Now that Sammy had a better idea of what I liked, and what worked for my body shape she disappeared again to get more things for me to try.  I decided to take advantage of the privacy and feed the wee man.

Sam, clearly knows her way around the store as it didn't take too long for her to return with another good bundle of clothes.  

Again, there were things I loved, and things I hated.  After this I decided to take a wander around the store and try picking up some things myself that I wouldn't ordinarily choose.  While waiting in a rather long queue, for a standard changing room, with a pram, and a lot of clothes, Sammy collared me and invited back up to the dressing room.  I was very grateful!

After trying on the last lot of clothes, the 2 hours were nearly up and I had the very difficult task of narrowing down the items I liked to the items I could afford to take home.

I really enjoyed this way of shopping and will definitely be doing it again. There's absolutely no pressure to buy anything at all, and you get good honest and constructive feedback.  Sammy was great at talking me through how to finish off an outfit how I could mix and match items, dress them up and dress them down etc.  Of course it's even better if you've got a little one you need to entertain while shopping.

8 out of 10, could be improved by taking more information at booking and perhaps having a number of items ready to browse through upon arrival.