Sorry Santa…..

For those of you who are eagle eyed I’ve been a bit AWOL this week. 100% thanks to the little munchkin sharing her sickness bug with me, her dad and then unfortunately her grandparents. Frankly, this week’s been a write off.

I had planned to spruce up the house (hahaha see what I I’d there) but have settled for the artificial tree and have literally just plonked it in the corner and shoved the decorations on it. I may return at a later date and fix it but regardless it is up.

This Christmas shopping has been kind of finished. I know two days before I will be running around thinking I need a little something more for this person or I’ll have totally though I bought something and won’t have.

This Christmas spirit is…….lacking. We have watched some films. We’ve been to see Santa and the poor guy got screamed at – safe to say she’s not a fan this year. Christmas crafts have been attempted. Oranges have been dried out. Garlands have been wrapped around Bannister’s. However, the festive feels are yet to arrive. I’ve written some cards and posted some but I’ve cut back this year. In fact I think every area of Christmas this year’s has been cut back a little because of the move and the plan was too do more christmassy things like crafts or visits to glowing woods with sparkly lights. Everything I suppose is just a bit off kilter. Funny how moving house can just throw your off a little bit.

My hope is that over the next week or so we will get some festive cheer ramping up in the house. Charlotte has her nursery Christmas party which mummy is fairly excited about, we have our secret santa exchange at work and we have some family visiting which is also lovely.

I definitely think I need to do some organising, reshuffling and decorating to feel the Christmas spirit so that’s the plan…..let’s see how it goes.

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags

We moved house…..

So it’s been a month since the big move. It already feels like this is home. I remember my mum saying that when they walked into the house they bought when they got married they just both knew. Weirdly I think I felt the same when we bought this house. Gary made a comment about Charlotte learning to ride her bike on the little extra bit of driveway and it was clear we both saw forever here.Anyway I digress.

Things I’ve learnt about moving with a one year old….

  • Packing is double as hard because they want to ‘help’ aka one thing in, everything out.
  • Throwing stuff out is so cathartic.
  • Going through all your stuff can be very emotional.
  • You question your decision daily
  • You can live with a lot less than you think.
  • The final clean will make you question your cleaning schedule.
  • It’s best if your children aren’t actually their on actual moving day (Charlotte was at nursery).
  • Try to remember you family are their to help, you can’t do it all (even if you are superwoman).
  • Pre-order an online food delivery – the last place you wanna go is the supermarket for a food shop after lugging boxes for hours.
  • Make sure that the child’s room is a priority then normal routine can be kept as close as possible.
  • Hide empty boxes, poly styrene (yes I googled the spelling), plastic – basically anything your small child can play with that they shouldn’t or will make a mess.
  • Don’t expect miracles, just be happy that you can close your new door knowing everything is in.

There are so many different ideas swishing through both mine and Gary’s heads about how we would like rooms to look or colours to paint. I think Christmas is going to be a great distraction as we are in a new build so pairing is still some time off. Getting used to the space didn’t take long but some rooms still feel a bit out of sorts which will take time for use to figure out what needs to go where.

For now we are so incredibly happy to have been able to move into what is a dream house for us. But most of all to Gary’s Aunt, Uncle and they’re girls for coming round on the first night with a chinese takeaway – including all the plates, cutlery and glasses for juice then taking the whole lot away leaving us with no dishes. You guys were the cherry on the top of our cake.

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags

Time for some self care…..

Yesterday for the first time in more than 6 months I went and got my hair cut. I’ve been putting it off unable to justify a) the time and b) the cost. The reality it’s not that expensive and I forgot just how nice it is to have someone else wash your hair.

Self care comes in all different shapes and sizes. As a mum it’s hard to prioritize yourself. Every time I buy something for me I think about what I could have bought for her or her dad. In reality they need me to be on top form 24/7 so taking time out shouldn’t be a guilt trip – but it is. Having done a whole block with a personal trainer for myself over the summer I had claimed back a little bit of me, however, with the build up to moving house then actually moving to a new area the gym has gone out the window – in fact my membership has lapsed.

Apart from cleaning (well hinching), the vast majority of things I do for fun (yes I know it’s weird to enjoy cleaning) have slowly stopped. I can’t remember the last time I got my eyebrows waxed, it’s been a very long time since I had a massage and we’ll my hair had been forgotten til yesterday.

Now that we are begining to get settled in our new house it’s definitely time to prioritize a bit of me. Be it a face mask and an early night or re-joining a local gym, at the moment I’m not sure.It’s so difficult when life gets busy to give yourself a break. I’m very lucky that my partner is mega supportive in making sure I still get a bit of time for me which is lovely although I’m definitely my own stumbling block.

When we moved he kindly bought me Mrs Hinches activity journal which not only looks amazing but will definitely give me a bit of a kick up the bum to take 5 minutes out and sit down. Realistically my priorities will not change but realising I need a bit of me time is a start.

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags

Wanna grab a coffee…..

With moving on the horizon and after putting myself well and truly out of my comfort zone this week, it got me thinking about making friends. Yes,I’m no longer 5 on my first day of school but making new friends is still important.

Since having Charlotte the balance has most definitely shifted in terms of my ability to put myself out there. Those who know me would say I don’t lack the confidence but I definitely do. This week alone I’ve lost sleep over the prospect of people not liking me, just for being me. Silly in hindsight but anxiety is not rational.

So making new friends?

In your late teens, early twenties, it was enough to buy someone a drink, spare them a ciggie and before you knew it your were dancing the night away. In your career you can end up with a mixed bag of really good friends and acquaintances. In motherhood you can find those who will know more about you in a 5 minute conversation than your best friend knows after 20 years.

So the reality is as I get older it’s more difficult. The confidence has taken a knock. Friends who just wanna have a weekend bender Thursday to sunday (don’t get me wrong I’d love the chance occasional) every week no longer feel quite right. Those true lifelong friends don’t care where you live they will travel. Jobs change. People drift. So how do you go out ther and grab yourself a bunch of newbies. Your checklist is now excessive as you have no time for those who don’t fill you with joy. How do you enter the mate date pool?

I have decided with our move that I’m going to make an effort in my new surroundings. I will speak to our neighbors – to at least learn their names. I’m going to join at least one local class with Charlotte to meet mums in the area. One day I may even ask someone to go for coffee….. Ground breaking I know. As hard as it may be I know the only person stopping me – well it’s me really. So I’m just gonna pull on my Bridget joneses and do it. Put myself out there and hope that someone will take pity on me or maybe even think I’m alright.

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags

My brain has hit capacity…..

The phased return is now over. I’m back to work completely. Well for 3 days a week. The nursery runs are becoming the norm. All sounds pretty standard for any mum returning to work after MAT leave.

The truth. My emotions are flying about all over the place like a crazy women. I feel like a duck – above the water all is calm but underneath I’m paddling for my life. Throw in the imminent house move and well I’m sure you can imagine. My head feels like there is no switch off button. To be honest I’m pretty sure there actually isn’t a switch off button.

I was pretty excited about the prospect of getting a bit of me back when I went to work on that first day. In fact most days when I go in I am filled with joy about just doing my job. I do still love my job. I wasn’t ready to feel emotions about leaving my child. She’s fine at nursery, with her dad, with her grandparents. She’s probably having way more fun than a standard day of chores and food shopping with her mum. She’s learning new things and coming on leaps and bounds. But nothing feels quite like picking her up from nursery on a Friday and wanting to cry because i left her, She doesn’t cry. Often she would happily stay with her new little friends. Don’t get me wrong she’s never been upset (yet) about being in nursery. In fact it’s almost been too easy which may be why I’m feeling like I do. I think I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m pre preparing for her to one day get upset. This day may never come but my emotional brain is saying it will. No matter how much I think I’ll be fine the truth is I won’t be. The mummy bear will come out and I will want to do whatever it takes to make it better. The reality is that I will have tell her it’s all ok and then leave her to be consoled by the nursery staff. I will then go and cry in my car. Bloody emotions!

As for the house move…..well. It wasn’t planned. Let’s go look turned into let’s see if we can afford it. Then we did it. It’s scary. We have went all out to get a forever home. We are lucky to have a supportive family who have made getting to this point easier. With potentially only 4 weeks to go til we get the keys it’s safe to say the list in my head has never been longer. Between doing more maths than I’ve done for a long while, to plannig what can be packed now, my noggin is full. There are no vacancies for new information. I now can’t wait to be in. We have been fortunate that we’ve not actually had to wait for too long before we will be moving. It’s a new build and was on the later stages when we bought it but how people can buy from plan and wait almost years is beyond me. A couple of month almost has me full to capacity on the stress meter never mind any longer.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when life throws everything at you all at once. If I had a magic wand life would be a fairytale with songs about feelings and dances which convey emotion. Unfortunately it is not. Coping mechanisms are not one size fits all an frankly I’m not expert as I definitely creep into bad habits when I’m stressed and anxious. At least for now it’s only temporary and then we can all just get back to normality – whatever that is.

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags

One Whole Year of Motherhood…..

Well she is One….. actually she was one a fortnight ago but actually sitting down with 5 mins free to write about this adventure has taken those whole two weeks. All I can say really is where did my baby go? One minute they are a teeny tiny helpless soul and the next they are toddling about all independent and feisty.

My little bundle of toddling fun definitely knows her own mind and so do the rest of us. She cracks me up daily with her antics. She has pushed me to the edge of reason. She makes me emotional, irrational and irritable. She makes me happier than I could every imagined being. She makes me proud of her and myself. She is my whole world (well her and her daddy).

This crazy year of motherhood has taught me more about myself than I ever imagined it would. I’ve learned to be patient – I mean I’m not Saint but it’s definitely better than it was. I’ve learned that I can function on very little sleep. I’ve learnt to accept my body and how amazing it is – let’s face it growing a baby, giving birth and then looking after them takes its toll. I learnt happiness, contentment and exactly what family means.

It’s going to sound cheesy but I definitely have found more of a purpose. Don’t get me wrong I love my job and have always felt purpose in terms of career after putting in the graft at college, however, I don’t think i realised I was missing anything outwirh this until I became a mum. Nothing makes you get up and face the day quite like an awake baby who wants milk and wants it now.

As I look back over how the last year has gone I know in hindsight I would have on occasion made different choices, been firmer about decisions as a parent and been less swayed by others. It’s easy to say these things now that I know my little girl better but as a first time parent your willingness to make everything right all of the time definitely steers your on all directions at once.

Being a parent is all its cracked up to be and more. Yes, some days are ghastly and there isn’t enough wine in the world but most days are amazing. Everything can truly be made better by a giggle, a smile and a cuddle.

From the exhausted mummy and her eyes

Work, life, balance….

My biggest fear about returning to work has been getting the balance right. Being a first time mum throws up all sorts of challenges you never knew you’d encounter. For the most part you find a way but when planning your return to work it’s hard to know what will work and what won’t.

I considered a while back what I thought of going back full-time versus part-time. I’ve never considered being a stay at home mum. Kudos to those who do it but I couldn’t. I love my daughter but the thought of getting a little bit of myself back by being in work is calling me.

For many I think the hours you go back to work are entirely worked out based on finances. The age old childcare costs versus earnings debate comes in to play. Don’t get me wrong if I had a bottomless pit of money I’m sure I would feel differently about going back to work.

I’ve been incredibly lucky and have the chance to do a phased return so not only will it not be a shock for Peanut when she sees less of me but also I will get time to adjust to being back slowly.

I started back on my phased return on Friday. Work was quite honestly a doddle in comparison to some days I’ve had a home. I will be eventually working 3 days a week but will get to that gradually over the next 4 weeks. This is on part due to my choice but also childcare requirements while my on laws are on holiday.

Me working part-time is the right balance for us. I’m pretty sure though if my other half could get away with it too he’d be off reducing his hours to be at home. We are in a very fortunate position that with family close by Peanut will mainly be looked after by me, her dad and grandparents. She will be going into nursery one day as I think it’s important she gets the social interaction with other children.

I’m sure after a few weeks back to work I’ll be wishing I could have another year off but here’s to all the juggling mum’s and dad’s.

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags

Clumsier than a clown on stilts……

So our little Peanut had recently decided to just get up and walk everywhere. The buggy is no longer somewhere she is happy to be and on her feet toddling is where it’s at. With this has come many a fall – mainly just onto her bum bum.

No where is safe now. Our previously almost baby friendly flat is now no longer that. She wants to climb. She can now reach shelves she couldn’t before. The kitchen cupboards can now be opened. The bin lid is fun to just click open because she can. I love that she is exploring her world but when do I get the eyes on the back of my head because I could be doing with them pronto.

There have been a few interesting tumbles here and there. She fell in her toy box at her grans desperately trying to reach for a toy. She’s got stuck under the side table and tried to stand up. The one however that found us on our first trip to the kids a&e was when her little head met the corner of the couch. Nothing makes you move faster than seeing your child fall in slow mo. My hands just couldn’t get there. The egg popped up within seconds and a smashing bruise to boot.

After consoling her and seeking some advice from some more experienced adults – aka the grandparents and an aunt. I decided to pop to a&e. She was totally fine in herself but it’s better to be safe. Well what an adverture she must have thought she was on. A&E was very exciting for her, running about not a care in the world and clearly not bothered by her bump. She was checked out and as suspected was totally fine. On return home she proceed to walk into the TV unit. Her dad suggest a scrum cap for this stage as clearly this was her first big bump of many to come.

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags

KIT day – Am I ready to go back to work?

In recent weeks i’ve done some keep on touch days at my work. When your on maternity leave you can do up to 10 in order to prepare you for the reality of going back. You get paid for these days which can be a bonus if you’re in the final stretch of leave when your bank balance is baron.

The first one to be honest was like a day out. Peanuts dad was on day off so I didn’t have to worry about anyone but myself. I got up, got ready and left. I listened to a podcast on the way to work that was not child appropriate. I made a hot cuppa when I got there – then drank it still hot. I chatted with my work mates. I ate my lunch without someone trying to steal it. Overall, it was bloody brilliant. I realised that my fear of forgetting everything was in fact not true. It was just like riding a bike. I just knew what I was doing. At the end of this day I thought – this going back malarkey is going to be easy. Then I got home and saw my little girl. I didn’t realise how much is missed her til she snuggles into me and wouldn’t let go. She’d been fine all day too with her dad, laughing and playing. Then she saw me too and realised I hadn’t been there. It burst my little I can do this bubble.

My second one was definitely more challenging. I had to figure out a routine to drop her off with her grandparents on route to work – which meant driving a whole different way to work. Somehow I managed to get me up and ready without waking her up, pack her bag then wake her up, feed her and change her in less than an hour. Off we trundled to Grandma and Grandads for the drop – which went smoothly and found me with extra time on my hands. After filling the car with diesel I just headed to work – super early. Again my day at work was completely fine. I was now happy that I wasn’t going to be a burden when I got back. Peanuts dad has picked her up from her grandparents so I just drove home – got stuck in mountains of traffic. When I got in she was obviously happy to see me but not as clingy as the first time. It’s no doubt she will have been spoiled rotten by her grandparents. She just took it in her stride being away from us.

All in all, I’m glad I did the KIT days. It was not only important that I felt I could do my job when I got back but also that Peanut doesn’t freak out the first day her dad and I aren’t with her. I’m weirdly looking forward to going back to work. I love my job and wouldn’t want to do anything else. Peanut will be mainly looked after by family when I go back part-time but she is going to have a day at nursery. So with settling in days booked for the next month I’m hoping that my comfort with going back doesn’t change. After all this mama gotta work.

From the exhausted mummy and her eye bags