Why I need to stop talking

I talk a lot.chicken-talk-2-1443909-640x480

It is in my nature, I like to chat.  I also like to talk to myself (in my head), which involves reliving embarrassing moments, worrying about work, worrying about family, worrying about whether I’ve paid the window cleaner.

Talking to myself is fine, I can manage that, and whilst it probably isn’t entirely helpful for my mental health, I’m in control.

So what is the problem?

The problem is when I talk too much to my daughter.

Yes, she has a decent vocabulary for a three year old, but she has also been bombarded by a rabbiting Mother who finds it hard to say things once (without explanation).

I’ve read many articles about the benefits of explaining and reasoning with a child, but I think I may have just taken it a little too far.  Most of my questions are three or four questions rolled into one. Honestly.

“What would you like for breakfast? Would you like toast? How about some Ready Brek? Toast and marmite? Are you sure?”

The poor child barely has a chance to answer before I’m giving her more multiple choices.  If I had just asked her what she wanted for breakfast, and left it for a few minutes, she would probably answer me with “toast with marmite and peanut butter please”.

I should accept that.

If it isn’t quite what I want to give her, then I shouldn’t have asked her what she wanted in the first place, I should have just told her what she was having.

Why do we give young children a choice and then try and change their mind?

I can understand why we do it to our husbands and partners – to make it seem like they have a choice before coercing them into our takeaway or film perference, which we had decided on well before asking them.

But for our children? To me, it isn’t fair and it is confusing for them.

Tomorrow I will make a conscious effort to ask one open question about their breakfast and about their day.  I will answer the questions that they ask, with all the detail they want, but I will be quiet when they’re quiet and will give them a chance to answer me before asking another question.  **

** Note: This will exclude ‘getting dressed’ and ‘getting pyjamas on’ activities, which may involve asking the same questions multiple times.

 
 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
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5 regretful first child purchases

shopping-center-1507250-640x480I’ve been thinking about this for a while, as everyone has regretful first child purchases. When you’re pregnant with your first child, it is a whirlwind of tracking growth of baby, discussing maternity leave, attending antenatal classes and regular trips to any shop that has a baby section.

The online shopping and browsing fits in amongst the work, the overnight sleeps and the planned and unplanned naps.

When you’ve had baby and in those first couple of months, it’s a whirlwind that I don’t feel I need to explain. Sleep, feed, poo, repeat – that basically goes for both baby and Mummy, only we’re also doing cleaning, cooking and maternity socialising too.

Now I’m well and truly through the baby and toddler stage, I can reflect on the umpteen purchases we made and have selected a choice 5 that, if I had the time again, I would have saved the money and spent it on more babysitting.

  • The baby massage classes

I signed up for these classes to go along with my other NCT mummy-friends, who are a little more earth-motherish than me.  I wish I could say that I ‘got it’, but most sessions were spent changing nappies, trying to stop baby crying, or trying to feed in the corner (a challenge in itself if you’ve read my breast-feeding post).

I listened intently to the truly lovely teacher, and gently smoothed my oiled hands up and down my baby’s flailing legs, arms and tummy and I’m not sure either of us got anything out of it. I tried to embrace it, but it wasn’t me and the highlight of the baby massage day was the group stroll into town for maternity mums lunch afterwards.

  • The matching Winnie-the-pooh cot set, complete with bed coverlet

Ok, so we still use the cot-bed sheets. However, the coverlet was a complete waste of money.  It does nothing but make the bedroom look incredibly cute….. before baby arrives.

Once baby has arrived the coverlet gets tossed aside, replaced by the cellular blankets and then closely followed by the most brilliant gro-bags, which our daughter was in until she moved to a proper duvet set at around 2.5.

  • The pregnancy and young family portraits

We were warned.  People said, get the free image but don’t pay through the nose for much more, because as soon as baby arrives, you’ll want professional ones of you as a family and the pregnancy ones become almost obsolete.

Thankfully, we didn’t go crazy with the pregnancy ones, and only bought an extra one or two I think (which still sit on the window sill).  However, we went crazy on the family portrait shoot – spending a silly amount of  money on some really lovely (and rather large in some cases) pictures.

Our daughter had just turned 1 and we have some stunning pictures which are dotted around the house (on walls large enough to put them).  In the photographer’s studio, they have a lot of space, and a nice coffee machine.  You drink coffee and browse all the images (over 100) and then downselect to a few (in our case 9) that you love and can’t possibly do without.

Don’t get me wrong, I love them.  However, now our daughter is 3 they aren’t really very current anymore.  Given how much they cost, we won’t be taking them down anytime soon, but I do sometimes wonder what we could have done with the money we would have saved if we hadn’t got so lost in the ‘post-shoot viewing’ moment.

  • New packs of vests and sleepsuits in the same size

I’m sure this must have happened on days when I was a little behind with the washing. I would be shopping and whilst in the baby section decide that I didn’t have enough vests and sleepsuits currently, so I’d buy a few more packs.

They would get put to one side, as the just-washed ones were now dry and it is ‘frugal’ to just keep putting them in the ones that only have one small stain on.

However, these babies grow. And fast.

Before you know it, the new packs you bought just a  few weeks ago no longer fit baby.  They are too small.  You didn’t need them after all. Plus, you will no longer have the receipt or the energy to return them.

  • The make-do furniture

Knowing I was going to be on maternity leave and therefore have little cash, we bought a few mismatched pieces of furniture from the local bric-a-brac/antiques shop like a large chest of drawers for all the baby clothes, then subsequently a huge mahogany vintage wardrobe.  These are both in our daughter’s room.

The wardrobe houses some of our clothes.

They have served a purpose, but it has meant that the bedroom has never looked like the lovely childrens’ bedrooms that you see in the catalogues or round friends’ houses.

Now she’s older we would like to buy her a proper furniture set but the idea of trying to manoeuvre  said pieces out of the bedroom and down the stairs isn’t very appealing.

We should have gone for either even cheaper non-offensive mdf/canvas bedroom furniture that is easily dismantle-able, or splashed out initially on long-term, nice children’s furniture that will last until she is 10.

These 5 purchases alone probably cost us well over £1500.  That is a lot of money and a lot of £10 an hour babysitting.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. 

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The Second Child Dilemma part 2

** Note this could be distressing to some readers**

So, part 1 of the second child dilemma discussed our pros and cons of adding to our family.  This is part 2. I’m not even going to include images to ‘liven’ it up.

Over Christmas 2015 we took a risk in the bedroom.  The likelihood of pregnancy was extremely low – I was at the end of my period and certainly not ovulating.

In January, I took a pregnancy test. I was 3 days late, which is unlike me, and even though I googled every site and they all said it would be highly unlikely, I thought I’d better be sure.

Guess what – I got a positive result in seconds.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. The points on the track had been switched and suddenly we’re on our original path again.

It was a shock and with every tiny initial twinge of excitement, there was a massive twinge of worry and unhappiness.  Financially we would be in disarray.  Just as we had established a good routine, had a child settled happily in her new private pre-school, ordered a new car (whilst we still could) and basically defined ourselves as the career-focused, ‘family of three’, we had been gifted the opportunity of a second child.  An opportunity that I know so many many people out there are waiting for month after month, with never-ending disappointment.

At that time in our lives, just two months ago, we couldn’t do it.

It was wrong.

In every way.

I was angry, emotional and felt nothing towards the cells. I was taking it out on my work, my colleagues (I put the phone down on one), and worst of all my daughter, who I had no energy for and even less patience for.

When you’re pregnant and it’s wanted, the joy helps you deal with the tiredness and the emotional upheaval.  There was no joy, no sense of immediate bond and essentially, I was on the edge, as was my other half.

We discussed our situation for 3 weeks before deciding that we were in no position to continue.  We categorically would not cope at this moment.

We made a choice, had a consultation and got booked in.

After the event, I felt nothing but elation.  No regrets.

It was a very positive experience for us and 100% the right thing for our family at that time.

Any sadness that I feel is not for what could have been, but for our circumstances that have meant that something I know was a gift, couldn’t be accepted. I feel for my friends, family and everyone who is unable at this time to be gifted  – I am so sorry.

I do wish I could give my daughter a sibling. Both of us know that it would probably be a good thing for her, but our current situation means it just wouldn’t work.  One day, this may change and my feelings may change, but for now, no more ‘risks’, however low.

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My ‘choosing primary school’ experience

classmates-snack-time-1465989-639x625In September my daughter starts school.  When we first moved to the area, there was a general unspoken decision that she would attend the local new school.  There was nothing more to be said, until we started having conversations with other parents with other ideas. This is my ‘choosing primary school’ experience.

For the last year, here are the questions I’ve asked, worried about and analysed for hours and hours, driving both myself, my other half and no doubt my friends mad. Before you say it, no, I’m not even going to mention the ‘O’ word, their reports are not the be all and end all.

  •  What is the wraparound care provision? – With us both working full-time and no family locally, this became a serious issue.  We ideally need 8-6 and, it turned out that the local school only had limited places, and only lasted until 5:30.  Just not quite long enough.
  • Will my child make friends? – It turns out that whilst nursery is less than a 5 minute drive from the local school, quite a few of our daughter’s current nursery friends haven’t put it as first choice due to siblings elsewhere already, catchment area issues or general preference on others. I had this bizarre idea that every one at pre-school would just migrate into the new school. The idea that they wouldn’t led me to start questioning our own judgement and wondering whether we should consider other schools.
  • How long will it take me to do the school run and is there time to walk? – Like many of my friends, I walked to both my primary school and my secondary school in the 80s and 90s.  I think, in my head, I had assumed that if we got our first choice, I would walk my child to school and mingle at the school gates for a few minutes before walking home and getting in the car to go to work.  Wrong! Even though it is only a 5-10 minute walk, if I’m honest, I know I will get myself, my daughter and all manner of bags, coats, and other kit in the car, dash off to school, run in and run out again and dash to work.  It won’t be like my childhood and I have to accept that.  It also flags that there actually isn’t too much of a benefit to sending her to the geographically closest school.  I don’t have a 4×4 yet, but I’m considering it!
  • What pastoral care and clubs are offered? – I’m big on experiences and trying out new hobbies.  Whilst the core subjects are important, we really wanted a school that could offer a plethora of new things to try.  It is incredibly important that there is strong ethos of individuality and desire to get the best out of the child by giving them the chance to find out what it is that makes them truly tick.  When you go to the open days, you see how different schools are and it can be quite surprising. One of our preferred schools has music playing in the foyet all day, which I love.
  • Will my child get in with a ‘bad’ crowd? – Now, this is the most ridiculous of them all.  Our daughter is 3, she’ll have just turned 4 when she starts school, and has at least 10 years to wait until she hits that pubescent stage that I am DREADING.  However, with her stubbornness, cheeky and headstrong ways, there is a chance she could end up ‘hanging-out’ with the children that don’t want to learn.  I found myself checking out the uniform of any children who were out playing really late at night, or mucking about walking home, trying to use some kind of warped logic to decide which schools had the ‘model’ children and which didn’t.

In the end, our third choice was a small village school – to try and negate the last question.  Our first choice is the closest and newest school, and our second choice is a school in a completely different area that has a fantastic ethos and plenty of opportunity.

Roll on 18th April.

Or not.

At the risk of alienating some of my readers, I have to admit that we also put her down for a private school too. The private school is the optimum for wraparound and pastoral care (but with a hefty price tag), so come April it will be make or break to compare our offered school against this one and decide once and for all.

We went from local school no questions asked, to putting her name down for an expensive private school in a matter of months, all because of my obsession with research.

Will my daughter be ok wherever she goes? Probably, because a major part is down to the supportive parenting and the home life, where parents get involved with helping their child to learn and to love to learn.

Do I regret worrying and researching so much?  A little. I feel slightly embarrassed to have looked towards private education as state school was good enough for both me and my other half. However, our options are still open and in April we will make that decision, stand by it, and shed a tear of pride with a tinge of sadness as our daughter poses for the customary first day of school smartphone picture.

 

 

 

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

 

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The Liebster Award

Liebster-Award-LargeYesterday I was over the moon to be nominated by Breakfast Club Mum for a Liebster Award and to be honest, I had no idea what it was.  After having a read of @brekkieclubmum’s post I was even more thrilled to have a chance to give readers a bit of an insight into me and it was great to read more about fellow bloggers who have been around far longer.

The Liebster Award is given from one blogger to another to find out more about new blogs and the people behind them.

And the rules are:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and post a link to their blog in your post.
  • Show the award on your blog or in your post.
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  • Write 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5-11 bloggers that you feel deserve the award.
  • Create a list of new questions for your nominees to answer.

Once your blog is published, let your nominees know that they have been nominated and link them to your post for more details.

Here are my answers to @brekkieclubmum’s questions (and by the way her answer’s to Ellen’s questions 1, 4, 9 and 11 are the exact same one’s that I would have given!)

How would you sum up your blog in fewer than 10 words?

Sharing the struggles/joys of a working Mum of one.

How do you come up with blogging ideas?

Just by living life and realising that I have something I want to say.

Who is your secret celebrity crush?

Gabriel Macht from the U.S series Suits.

What has surprised you the most about the blogging world?

How much reach your posts can get, especially when you use other forms of social media such as Twitter.

What really annoys you?

Bad grammar and spelling.  Incompetence in the workplace – especially now I am far more intolerant and impatient since having my daughter.

What was the last purchase you made?

A food shop at the supermarket.  Dull as dishwater but I have splashed out on cauliflower cheese as an ‘extra’ side with tonight’s dinner.

Favourite joke?

taking-a-break-1483588-640x480What do you call an aardvark with a machine gun?  A well-aardvark.

You’ve just won the lottery. What do you do next?

Start crying when I realise we now have choices and I can work only because I want to and not because I have to.

Which superhero would you be and why?

Wonder Woman.  I had the outfit as a child, so it would only be right to achieve that pinnacle in adulthood.

How would your friends describe you in three words?

Crazy, strong, loyal.

What’s your weirdest obsession?

That I can obsess about anything.  A holiday, school choices, illness, development stages, books, console games, you name it. If I’m currently interested in it or have a decision to make, I will be researching it online or undertaking the activity to within an inch of its life (or mine).  I’ll miss meals for it – which DOES NOT come lightly.

11 random facts about me

  1. I’m 38 and had my daughter at 34 – later than planned
  2. I used to coach trampolining to children
  3. I cry at anything on tv that is remotely happy or sad
  4. I’m a bit of a petrolhead
  5. I graze on sweets and biscuits at work almost continuously
  6. I can’t bring myself to smell milk that may have gone off
  7. I have quite long toes – people have said I should have gloves rather than socks.  Gee, thanks.
  8. I wanted Angela Lansbury to be my Nan when I was growing up
  9. I’ve never quite got into The Sopranos, or Game of Thrones
  10. I’m part Danish
  11. I refuse to buy a kindle. I just love proper books.

Now here are my nominees for The Liebster Award:

Dads Do

Not a PTA Mum

MrsMumNZ

Theverybusymummy

Mommy Maneuvers

Here are my 11 questions:

  1. What did you last laugh at?
  2. What did you last cry at?
  3. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
  4. What inspired you to start blogging?
  5. What is your favourite music genre?
  6. Where would be your ideal holiday destination?
  7. Crisps, chocolate, or neither?
  8. What was the last gift you received?
  9. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
  10. Where do you do the majority of your blogging?
  11. What is your favourite book genre?

Thanks again to Breakfast Club Mum for the nomination.  Check out her blog.  I love the post on Why working Mums make great leaders – it really strikes a chord.

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5 things that get easier when your child turns 3

happy-child-1254255-639x520There are some things that do get easier once your child turns into the threenager.  Ok, some things get tougher – and I’ll come to that shortly.  For now though, here is some positive news.

  1.  You don’t need to carry copious changes of clothes, wipes, bibs anymore.  By 3, your son or daughter is getting much better with their fine motor skills and therefore can usually eat a standard dinner without getting too messy.  I’m still wary of spag bol, but most other foodstuffs are mess-free.
  2. They tell you what is wrong.  Rather than worry constantly about whether your child is ill or unhappy because they can’t speak, by 3 the extent of vocabulary is such that they will normally be able to tell you when they feel poorly or are hurting, or indeed, if they have pushed an object up their nose.
  3. Independence. By 3, your child is beginning to take a bit more control and can be trusted to be in a room (or preferably garden) without you being a metre or so away.  Their interest is expanding and they will trot around investigating things but this no longer involves the ‘I need to put this is my mouth to work out what it is’ activity. Cue less paranoid Mum. Note, still be careful of pens around walls and doors.
  4. Toileting.  Yes, finally, by 3 children are beginning to show desire to discard the nappy in favour of the potty or toilet.  This in itself is a mammoth achievement and one that means you no longer need to worry about whether the toddler is likely to let out something stinky whilst you are eating lunch, or whether the location that you are going to has sufficient baby-changing facilities. Your freedom has returned.
  5. More walking, less carrying.  The threenager is finally able to walk a fair distance without asking to be carried.  This is such a great feeling when your back, hip or shoulders no longer ache from having to carry your child all the way round the park, garden centre, shops etc. and you also don’t need to navigate through crowds with a buggy.

Now for the not so great things that threenagers bring.

  1. Defiance
  2. Rudeness
  3. Impromptu tantrums
  4. Night terrors
  5. Challenges with listening

However, the insatiable need for questioning, and the developing sense of humour can’t help but make me smile and forgive my own threenager daughter for her spirited nature. Overall this is a very enjoyable stage that needs to be embraced.

 
 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
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10 handy hints for the ‘don’t get it’ Dad

desperado-here-1507747-639x1342Here are 10 hints, statements, bits of advice for the Daddies that ‘don’t get it’.  You know who you are.  The Dads who actually did think that a new baby wouldn’t change much of their life, the Dads who have a set unwavering view on how it should be.  The Dads who seem to think that they are the only ones struggling with this new parenthood lark.

Based on what I’ve read, what I’ve experienced and what I’ve heard from friends, colleagues and acquaintances, here are some statements of truth that aren’t coming from the mouth of the rather crazy, incoherent Mother.  This is honesty and not nagging – sometimes we just need to tell it like it is.

We know that in the majority of cases you really do love your family with all your heart, it’s just that maybe you aren’t always right. A big ‘high five’ to the Dads who do ‘get it’ though! 🙂

  1.  When your wife/girlfriend/partner calls down to you for help in the evening, chances are, she could really do with some help.  She isn’t trying to deliberately ruin your evening of chilling with a beer, gaming, or watching the match. More likely is that your child has had a major vomiting episode, has had a poo-explosion or has a slight temperature.  During these times, Mums need support.
  2. If the child has been unwell during the night, it is usually not allowed for them to carry on as normal the following day.  Standard diarrhoea and/or vomiting is a nursery-exclusion for 48 hours from the last episode. Tough luck.
  3. A crying episode usually happens when a child is unhappy.  This could be for all manner of reasons, from hungry through to just feeling a little bit p*ssed off.  Hell, we all feel like that sometimes.  Telling your child to be quiet, or indeed, grow up, won’t help. They just need a bit of love and patience……..a lot of patience. Trust me.
  4. Women are all different, some love receiving romantic gestures like chocolates and flowers, some just like a cuddle (with no strings attached), some want you to just get out the house.  More than likely, the way to the Mother’s heart is to offer to  help with anything.  Anything. Unloading the dishwasher, making a cup of tea, taking the child for a drive in the car so Mummy can have a bath, are all far more likely to lead to some bedroom action than a box of reduced chocolates from the supermarket.
  5. Tights are not leggings.
  6. The slightly stained plain long-sleeved t-shirt should go under the pretty new t-shirt, not over it.  I know, usually the smaller vest is the under garment, but in this case, it’s the other way round.
  7. If you’ve been out and about all morning, are a little late for lunch, and your child is crying and whinging, it’s because you’ve been out and about and lunch is late.  Do not take this out on your child.  It isn’t their fault. It’s yours.
  8. If your child is climbing all over you whilst you’re watching tv and you keep having to tell them to be quiet or not lean on you, it’s likely to be because you’re watching some tv.  Turn it off and pay them some attention.
  9. When a young child knocks something off the table or spills their drink, it’s probably an accident.  Telling them to use their eyes, stop being so clumsy or generally just scolding them for the accident isn’t fair.  They have 18 years to learn how to be an adult.  Give them time to learn – it takes an age.
  10. When you feel like you’ve made an awful mistake becoming a parent as your life is just non-existent now, chances are the Mother has felt like that occasionally too.  She may not show it in front of her child, or you, but trust me, it is just as daddy-loves-me-1435409-639x577hard if not harder for her.

These years will pass like a flash, so take the rough with the smooth and enjoy this precious life you helped to create.

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A letter to the Terminator

Pregnancy Test - PositiveThe other day I read a lovely blog which contained a letter from a SAHM to working mothers and a letter from a working mum to the SAHM and it got me thinking about other people’s circumstances, where they are made to feel guilty and are judged on their decisions by society or even by themselves.

This is my letter to the Terminator, whoever they may be.

Dear Terminator,

Please don’t think that I judge you for deciding to terminate your pregnancy.  How can I for one second know what is going through your head during a time when emotions are  already running riot as your body starts a mammoth physical and mental change?

I do not know whether you already have a child with severe learning difficulties, who takes up the majority of your precious energy, love and time.

I do not know whether you suffered with serious PND the first time round.

I do not know whether you’re only 16 and are no way in a position to raise a child, as you are still a child yourself.

I do not know whether a previous birthing experience left you incontinent at both ends, gave you multiple stitches and left you in hospital for a week barely able to hold your firstborn.

I do not know whether your birth control failed and actually you weren’t being ‘irresponsible’.

I do not know whether you are in an abusive relationship.

I do not know whether you were forced into terminating this pregnancy by other family members.

I do not know whether you are about to finish your PhD that you have been working towards for the last 3 years.

I do not know whether you’re currently on anti-depressant medication because you’ve been going through a really low period in your already full life.

I do not know whether you have financial worries and can barely afford to feed yourself let alone another.

I do not know whether your family has a high risk of genetic abnormalities that you are too scared to pass onto offspring.

I do not know anything about you.

I do know however, that the decision you have made has probably caused weeks of angst, sadness and dilemma, and that you only want to make the best decision for everyone concerned.

Terminator, I salute you for making a decision and for accepting any emotional repercussions that may bring to yourself. I want you to know that it’s ok and that society doesn’t know your circumstances and so is wrong to judge.

Don’t ever let society make you feel guilty for trying to make the right decision for you at a particular point in time.

It takes a very strong person to make a decision like that.  You are strong and be proud of it.

Sending love and courage,

Mum of One.

 

 

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The Invasion of the Lifestyle Boxes

IMG_1012It started with Graze.

Little snacks? Four surprise boxes delivered every week?  Healthy-ish? This sounded like heaven from the postman.  I signed up.

It has been really…… nice.  When working full-time, getting something in the post that is for me and edible was just a pleasurable experience. The pretzels and peanut butter, chocolate cookies, flapjacks, it was such a novel thing and pretty reasonably priced. I loved it.

Now, 8 months on, I must admit I do get disappointed with another box of seeds, or heaven forbid more salt and pepper popcorn, but it’s my own fault for not going online to update my preferences. Graze – I don’t blame you. Note to self – go online and bin the popcorn.

Sometimes the boxes start seemingly multiplying on my desk.  The snacks that I don’t quite fancy just sit there, not eaten, but I can’t bring myself to cancel or postpone this piece of post that is a present for me and me alone.

I couldn’t stop there though.  After Graze came the ToucanBox.

This is more for my daughter than me, but it is our ‘thing’, the crafty thing that we do together once every couple of weeks.

As a non-crafty person, these little boxes of individual craft tasks such as making an African bowl, or a windsock, or, would you believe it, a pretend gingerbread house complete with windows is truly amazing.  The best part is that nearly all the materials required come in the box with the instructions and a bit of educational spiel too.  I think it is only scissors that you have to provide – understandable.IMG_1013

I love it when the ToucanBox arrives. On the whole there isn’t much mess and at the end, the craft item is pretty impressive and clever. Both my daughter and I feel accomplished after it has been done and the box can go in the recycling or refuse along with a small amount of surplus crepe paper and a few unused sequins.

For a parent who has limited time to engage in messy play activities and who thinks that a trip to the park is a proper outing, ToucanBox is the way forward.

So, now I’m a bit addicted.

This new rage of boxes containing items of foodstuffs, beauty items, crafts etc. is really taking off.

When you don’t have time to potter around shopping for yourself and online shopping isn’t quite as exciting as it used to be, getting a box through your front door full of surprises is enchanting.

I’ve now signed up to MyLittleBox.  I’m waiting patiently for my first one to be delivered.  Slightly more expensive that the other boxes, but it promises to take me back to my feminine side. I might get a lipstick.  I’m hoping for a mascara. I don’t really care as it is the element of surprise that I love the most.

In the words of Will Smith it is “a little escape from the monotony”.

If you’re short of time, or short of mental capacity, I’d highly recommend these boxes.  Food, Fun or Fashion – I’m sure there is a box suitable for everyone.

Lifestyle boxes are the new #lifestylehack.

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The Second Child Dilemma part 1

kids-1437472-640x480After the birth of our daughter at 34, we were adamant that we would have two children.  We had discussed the second child dilemma and had ideas about when we might consider trying for our second.

That was the first year.

During years 2 and 3, through a combination of struggling to juggle work and home life, family and friend bereavements, little local support and a rather aggressive and challenging toddler, all of a sudden, the idea of adding a second child into the mix became a sheer terrifying prospect.

The ‘one and done’ motto became a reality and actually, we went so far as to decide to pay for private education for our precious only child.  The reasoning was that, if I was to spend so much time working to earn money, it would be far more rewarding to spend that money on her education rather than just whittling it away on a nice car or nice holidays.  It’s a sensible decision, isn’t it?

This tact has helped to negate the guilt I felt for working full-time and not being the SAHM that my own Mother was. **I’m such a bad parent**

I had researched and researched having a second child. It remains firmly in my mind.  I have questioned myself, my partner, friends, relatives, colleagues, websites, anyone that will talk to me about it really.  I would ask questions such as:

  • What is the age gap between your children?
  • How did you cope with 2,3,4 children?
  • Do you think our daughter’s aggression is because she doesn’t see her Mummy as much as some of her other friends see theirs?
  • Is it selfish to not give her a sibling?
  • Do you get on with your siblings?
  • How did you feel growing up as an only child?
  • Is our daughter’s obsession with dolls because she doesn’t have a sibling?
  • How could we ever afford to have another?
  • How did you afford more than one child?
  • Is it easier the second time around?
  • How many of her friends have siblings?
  • Is her reluctance to play by herself at home due to the fact that she loves other people?
  • Is 38 too old to have a second?
  • Do people think she’s spoilt?
  • Will she fit in at a private school?
  • Shall we get rid of all the newborn and toddlers clothes and toys now?
  • Shall we just keep a few of the nice toys and clothes, just in case?

It has been relentless.

Of our reasonably small circle of good friends, we have several who are popping out children like rabbits, others that have desperately wanted more but are struggling, and some who, like us, think they could be content with just one.

There is no right answer.  There is also, no wrong answer.

For a long time, I felt very resentful of those that could have two children or more because of their support network.  Those whose parents lived round the corner and regularly helped with childcare, babysitting, being on-call for sudden nursery illness. Even just providing a nice local place to pop round for a Sunday lunch where the parents could relax a bit and the children would just run around happily, getting attention from their devoted in-laws.

In emergencies, like the dreaded pox, I did make a mercy call to my parents and funded their journey up for a couple of days to help out. However, those have been few and far between and actually when we’ve asked to be relieved of our parenting duties for a night or two, occasionally it has been met with disappointment. How could we actually want to forgo our precious weekend time with our daughter for a couples-only jolly?

The more I deliberated over things, the worse I felt and the worse our relationship became.  The clear path of parenthood from the first year had well and truly disappeared and all of a sudden we were on a different trajectory.  We worked to pay bills, we joined a wine club,  booked a holiday, bought cute school uniform and just accepted what we thought was the right thing to do for our family even though in the back of my mind, the question of having a second child still remained.

Part 2 of this blog post will be separate.  If you want to read it, be warned that it could be upsetting for you, but it is my honest account and may resonate with someone out there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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