The 10 Month Itch

This is going to be a very honest post and I would love you to share your opinions and experiences on the subject in the comments section. I know that I’m opening myself up to criticism and some people just won’t get where I’m coming from, still I doubt I am alone…So I’m going to cut to the chase and admit it: I’m bored of being a stay at home mum. I’m not skilled at all this baby stuff and need more.

I think we are both the same, A is now 10 months old and needs more stimulation too. This morning I went to a baby group and realised I’m just not great at playing with babies, it was lovely to see her happy but I had to push myself to make an effort for two reasons: time alone with her is running out and I am aware of this and secondly I didn’t want other parents to look at me and think “she’s not doing anything, she’s just watching her baby play on her own”. However A is very independent and loves new things so she was quite happy climbing on the dolls house for example:

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She also loves to keep an eye on what’s going on and is mesmerized by other children you can see by her staring below!

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My husband told me the other day that’s it’s not my personality to get down on the floor and play with her but it suits him (so she wont be so deprived after all!). I think I’m more of a “teacher” than a “player”, I really look forward to her reading, painting, cooking with me etc over the coming years. Building blocks and rattles just don’t do it for me. Don’t get me wrong, I do play with her but I really have to make an effort and don’t always really know what to do – I’m not in my element.

Does she feel it? does it impact on her negatively? Is this one of the reasons she whines quite a lot? Who knows…Some women have “working mum” guilt, I have “mum at home” guilt. This only started in the past month or 2, up until then I was OK but recently I’ve had enough and think the fact that she starts settling in to nursery soon is a very good thing. I have not wanted to go back to work early but I think 24/7 for 10 months is slightly too much.I know I need a break because the other day, I was in a shop alone (rare thing) and the cashier asked if I needed a bag and I very nearly replied “No thanks, I’ll just put it in the buggy”… A little caveat here: I am super stressed about the whole nursery run etc, I’m not in a dream world imagining its going to be rosy once I’m back at work, if anything I’ll probably be more stressed and tired!  I’ve not had enough time alone for various reasons and so I am very very excited about the last 2 weeks of October because she will be in nursery full time and I will not be working!

I had actually started to resent mums that seemed to be having the time of their life looking after their babies, it actually made me angry and guilty those feelings were really getting to me. After some soul searching good old Adele style analysis, I have come to the conclusion and accepted that I’m just not one of those women who “loves it” or who wants 4 children or who can’t imagine going back to work. I recently got asked if I was “enjoying it”, I half heartedly replied “yes” (I must stress than I’m enjoying it a lot more than the first month but less than months 2-6) In reality I love her more than anything and think she’s amazing and have enjoyed having a break from work and having the freedom to do lots of different things but it’s all a bit “Groundhog Day” and there are things about looking after a baby that I really don’t enjoy such as the whole weaning thing and the mess that ensues, fights over naps (I’ve been writing this whilst my baby has been in her bed refusing to nap, that’s the reality and how anybody can enjoy that I don’t know…), never ending nappy changes etc. Also I’m not really a big routine person, so the fact you do end up doing lots of the same things at the same time every day just doesn’t suit me (and we have a very loose routine). Add sleep deprivation on top of that (nope she doesn’t sleep through the night, no advice wanted thanks!) and you end up with a slightly frustrated tired bored mum.

Of course I can’t predict how I will feel once back at work, I might want to resign and be back at home after a week, who knows but for now, I need some “me time”, a lot more “me time”, even if this time is spent in front of a screen working with financial data…

When did you get the “itch”? Did you wish you had gone back to work earlier or later? Do you resent mums that LOVE it? How much of it came naturally to you? I would love to know!

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24 Hours Pre-Baby Versus Now

On Saturday we went to the Grillstock Festival down the road from us, they had given away tons of free tickets for local residents so it was a great opportunity to go and listen to some music and eat some BBQ! My husband being American, this was right up his street. However 15 mins in, I basically said “This is when you wish you didn’t have children ( I don’t mean wish they didn’t exist but wish somebody else would look after them for a day!) and could just sit here and drink all day and not have to get up tomorrow morning”. So it got me thinking how does 24 hours in a pre-baby life (PB) compare to now?

Friday 5PM

PB: Have a look around the office and ask: “Can we leave work and go to the pub now?”

Friday Feeling= it’s the weekend! We get to sleep in!

Now: Put baby in the high chair with finger foods and try to shove as much puree in to her mouth in the hope this will help her sleep.

Friday Feeling = it’s the weekend! Daddy will be here to help to look after the baby!

Friday 5.30PM:

PB: Drinking in the pub or on the way home wondering where we can for dinner

Now: Check time, 90 mins to go (until 7 PM, which is BED TIME!)… Clean high chair, clean baby and wonder if you have to bath her or if she’s “not that dirty”

Friday 6.30PM:

PB: Still drinking in the pub or on the way somewhere for dinner.

Now: Check time, 30 mins to go… whilst breastfeeding baby and reading stuff on the iPhone

Friday 9PM:

PB: nice dinner out somewhere

Now: TV and start contemplating going to bed

Friday 11PM:

PB: Go to bed or have one last drink somewhere

Now: Asleep

Saturday 3AM:

PB: Asleep

Now: get up to deal with baby (sometimes for the first time in the night, sometimes not…)

Saturday 7AM

PB: Asleep

Now: wake up to the sound of a baby moaning, feed baby in bed and put her in between us with plenty of toys and hope she will play quietly so we can snooze, what actually happen is she “attacks “ us, pulls our hair, screams (happy scramming but still screaming!), tries to leap off the bed etc.

Saturday 9AM:

PB: Asleep

Now: Go to your Osteo appointment because giving birth has wrecked your body and having your bones cracked now counts as “me time”. It’s raining and the streets are empty and the peace and quiet alone feels so nice!

Saturday 10AM:

PB: Wake up, have a leisurely peaceful breakfast

Now: Make your way home from the Osteo to find the Baby has had a 90 mins nap, this only happens when daddy is in charge.

Saturday 12PM:

PB: Put on a coat and your shoes and make your way to the festival

Now: Feed baby in the high chair, clean high chair and clean baby. Spend 15 mins getting “ready” and loading the buggy with water, snacks, toys, rain cover etc etc. Pray baby falls asleep in the buggy on the way there.

Saturday 3PM:

PB: relax listening to music, eating delicious food and drinking

Now: listen to music but not too close for fear of damaging baby’s ears, play “pass the baby” so one of you can eat whilst the other tries to entertain the baby and stop them from eating grass
Saturday 5PM:

PB: have another drink and keep enjoying the festival

Now: Home! Time for dinner. Feed the baby, clean the high chair, and clean the baby. You could have fed the baby in the buggy at the festival but you forgot to bring food and everybody was getting tired.

Saturday 7PM

PB: now you’re really having a good time and loving the music

Now: now you’re really happy as baby is asleep

Saturday 9PM:

PB: head home from the festival pretty drunk!

Now: think about going to bed and then remember it’s Saturday night so stay up until 10PM.

In summary:

PB: lots of sleep, drinking, relaxing and peace

Now: lots of work, cleaning, not so much sleeping but so much love and pure happiness

The end

An Open Letter To Marissa Mayer

For those of you, who don’t know, Marissa is the CEO of Yahoo and recently announced this

Dear Marissa,

First, congratulations on your latest pregnancy! Secondly, I don’t actually expect you to ever read this, you clearly have other things to do. Finally I really admire you for being so successful in business, it’s a real achievement and inspiring for other women.

Since becoming a mum, I’ve learnt not to judge other parents so I’m not going to judge you but I do have some questions for you following your announcement that “My maternity leave will be a few weeks long and I’ll work throughout it.” Indeed I don’t understand a few things and was wondering if you could explain yourself?

  1. I’m sure you realise twins are often born premature (you’ve already quoted the likelihood of being pregnant with twins so I’m sure you’re clued up on all things scientifically twin-related) and might arrive months before you are due. Would this affect the length of your maternity leave as you may not give birth in December as planned?
  2. If they are indeed premature (which I sincerely hope they aren’t, my brothers were and it’s horrible to see them so tiny alone in incubators, I don’t wish that on anybody) and have to stay in hospital for while, how often will you visit them? would you still go back to work after 2 weeks and only see them in the evening?
  3. I assume you’re not even considering breastfeeding? Even the first week when the colostrum and first milk can have amazing benefits for newborns?
  4. What time will you be finishing work when you go back? Apologies for the detailed questions but I’m trying to get my head around all this.
  5. Why don’t you take a month off? Surely if Yahoo can survive 2 weeks without you, it can survive a month? especially if they are born when planned around December, surely things slow down around Christmas and it’s a nice time to be hoe with family?

It clearly isn’t easy for you whatever length of maternity leave you choose to take, you’re going to be judged harshly for it because you are a powerful, successful woman in the public eye. I think it’s a shame your announcement didn’t say anything about other working women, including your own employees and their choices around maternity leave.

Didn’t you think that other women working for Yahoo might think that, despite you having increased the paid maternity leave to 16 weeks since joining the company, you actually don’t think women should take that long? Maybe you wish to take longer but fear it may negatively impact the company too much? Is that more important than  newborn twins hardly seeing their mother? Didn’t you think clarifying that you do/or don’t expect any of your employees to do the same would be helpful?

You had the opportunity to to address a big issue that matters to millions of women and you just made it sound like you couldn’t take more than 2 weeks because the company needs you more. Maybe this is a misunderstanding, maybe not. I know you once said that you wanted to take 6 months maternity leave but then you were just about to start the new job at Yahoo so it was impossible, is it really impossible to take more than 2 weeks off this time?

Maybe you simply don’t want to take longer off and that is totally fine and respectable but then why didn’t you say “I find looking after newborns boring and tiring and would rather be in the office, qualified nannies would probably look after them better than me anyway”, if you said that, I think people would really respect you for being honest, instead you’ve just been vague. Given how bad the law around maternity leave in the US is, its a shame you didn’t use this opportunity to make a stand. I guess you’re not a politician and you don’t have to justify anything to anyone but with great success, comes great responsibility and it’s a missed opportunity to further working women’s rights.

It’s not easy for working mums and I don’t feel like you are helping anybody, on the contrary, I think it puts even more pressure on working mums to come back to work quickly, especially women in senior positions.

Lots of commentators have been saying “if she were a man , we wouldn’t be having this discussion”, no we wouldn’t but I doubt there are many male CEOs, whose wives give birth and then within 2 weeks, they are both back to work full time. I don’t imagine your husband is going to stay home, is he? So the babies will not have either parent at home, I think that’s sad.

I respect your choice and you are VERY lucky to be able to choose to go back to work so quickly despite being a millionaire and obviously not doing it for financial reasons, lots of women, don’t have a choice and have to go back to work to earn money.

I respect but can’t understand your choice (I’m not a CEO so clearly can’t imagine your professional life) and I can’t understand why you didn’t just add a few sentences to your announcement that said something along the lines of ” I am not trying to set an example to other Yahoo mothers, they are fully entitled to use the 16 weeks of maternity leave that is our policy, they should be supported in their choice. I do not see it in a negative light to take the full allowance and it should not have a detrimental effect on any woman’s career”.

I wish you all the best with the rest of your pregnancy and just hope that in the future the US government dramatically improves the maternity leave situation and no woman working for Yahoo or another company feels guilty about taking longer than 2 weeks off after giving birth.

You can respond to this in the comments below 🙂

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Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

 

Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me

In the summer of 2002 I did an internship at the Cabinet Office and visited Number 10, I didn’t realise where we were until we walked down a stair case with pictures of all the Prime Ministers (you may know this from Love Actually 🙂 ).

Interesting things have happened to me in New York City:

  1. Monica Lewinsky was on my flight to New York once, I recognised the “hair” at the baggage carousel. After passport control, her luggage had fallen off her trolley so I went over and asked if she needed help. She declined politely. She was then picked up by a driver who had a sign with a totally different name on it, at that moment I felt for her.
  2. That same day, once I had arrived at my hotel, I asked Jonah Hill the actor where the hotel reception was, he looked very confused.
  3. I was stuck in that same hotel during Hurricane Sandy

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This picture was obviously not taken during the hurricane!

Other celebrities I have met (by met I mean actually exchange words) include:
  1. Goldie Hawn
  2. Peter Gabriel
  3. Jamie Dornan
  4. Michel Roux Junior
  5. Fergie from the Black eyed peas

I’ve been to New Foundland (not many people have!), we had to make an emergency landing there once on our way to the US.

Travel disasters follow me, indeed once I was stuck on the Eurostar for 9 hours. I also had food positioning on a Singapore-London flight…

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I’m the eldest of 8 children (1 sister, 1 half sister, 5 half brothers).

I lived in France for 11 years.

I’m a big rugby fan and have seen England beat France twice at Twickenham.

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My grandmother is one of the world’s experts on fans.