You know you’re a mum when…

Apologies as I know there are lots of these doing the rounds but it has occurred to me how much my life has changed recently and I wanted to add my own:

  1. Songs stuck in your head are now Row Row Row your boat
  2. You can’t name any of the current top 10 songs
  3. You know the Bing Bong song from Peppa Pig, it’s now in your head
  4. A late night is staying up till 10pm
  5. A lie in is sleeping past 7am
  6. Piles have now become a regular and acceptable topic of conversation
  7. You compare nappy brands and actually have an opinion on them
  8. You no longer make trips to the toilet alone
  9. A hot cup of tea is a novelty, or a dream
  10. Finger foods are no longer a buffet treat found at parties but have become a major part of your life
  11. You can’t spoon feed your baby without opening your mouth at the same time
  12. You have become a Facebook bore that constantly posts pictures of your baby (very guilty)
  13. You are sorry you ever said you were tired before you had children, you weren’t
  14. You have to eat when they’re not looking, and quickly
  15. You take note of another person’s bowel movements, frequency and consistency
  16. You get to work to realise you have snot on the shoulder of your cardigan, or in your hair
  17. You curse the postman for knocking during nap time
  18. You can name the characters from In The Night Garden
  19. You have random conversations with strangers in Aldi because your baby won’t stop staring at them
  20. You sob, uncontrollably, at DIY SOS or any programme with children in it, or pets, or old people, sometimes even at the adverts.
  21. When someone else matters so much more than you do.

It’s over! (Maternity leave)

At some point, I blinked and six months of my life disappeared. I return to work on Monday. How is it that time already?

I have made a lot of internet friends during this time and the return to work has always been a big discussion subject. When do you return to work? If at all. Part time? Full time? It’s a decision many mums have to face.

In the UK you are entitled to a whole year of maternity leave if you want it. 9 months paid (at various rates) and then the rest unpaid. Some, then, are able to use holiday entitlement incurred while on maternity leave to take more time still. I think that makes us very lucky indeed. When I compare this to other countries, some of which only get a few weeks or months, I feel privileged that I have been allowed this time with my baby. Time to bond, to recover and to adapt to being a parent.

I feel sad that my husband only hot to have two measly weeks off with us, many of which were spent in hospital for various reasons or housebound recovering after my c-section. But again, this is more than many people have and certainly more than my parents had. He had no choice but to return to work and just got on with it, muddling through the sleepless nights and then working all day. While many men get stick at this time in their life, I feel admiration for him that he got on with it without complaint.

Now, my turn to return to work has arrived. This time has been coming for a while but now it is here. I feel a mixture of emotions about this: sad that maternity leave is over, worried to leave my baby, anxious to meet new people (I had to get a new job) but also part of me is excited to be an adult again. I might actually get to have adult conversation that isn’t about dirty nappies, teething, reflux or sleep patterns. I might get to have a hot cup of tea that I made and didn’t have to microwave several times.

It is mainly my choice to return to work after 6 months rather than 12. Firstly, the money doesn’t cover the bills at the minute but, more importantly, I need to have this challenge in my life again. Part of me wonders whether this is the right decision. Am I turning my nose up at paid time off with my baby? Well, yes, but everyone has to decide what is best for them and their situation. Of course, for a second I considered being a stay at home mum (SAHM), but that was about as long as that thought lasted. I have a new respect for SAHM’s. I don’t know how they do it.

My previous job was temporary so I had to look for a new job and when I found the ideal role, they wanted me to start a little earlier than I had hoped. However, I thought long and hard about it and came to the decision that this was the best option in the long run for us all. J is still too little to really miss me so will hopefully adapt easier and I have only been out of work for 6 months so hope that I shouldn’t find the return so daunting.

When I look back at the last 6 months, I count myself as extremely lucky. I have had some lovely times with my son, met up with friends and family and made new ‘mummy’ friends. I am also fortunate that I have found a childminder that J seems to really like and that I trust. Luckier still that we can just about afford for me to return to work part-time. I feel for those mothers who have no choice but to work full-time. Obviously, some choose to, and that is fine but for others it is not an option.

While I mourn the end of this mini era, I look forward to the new challenges that lay ahead. I will, of course, share how my return goes.

I am already counting down to 4.30 when I can collect my son from the childminders and give him the biggest cuddle.

My 6 month old grown up.

Today, as I watched my son ‘planking’ in an attempt to crawl, I realised that I no longer have a tiny baby, but a little boy who is eager to grow up and get on the move.

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Two weeks ago, he learnt to roll – the first step towards mobility. Now, he spends all his time on his tummy trying to get to things. I, of course, encourage him and try to help him to learn but part of me desperately wants to pick him up, cuddle him in close and pretend he is a teeny weeny baby again.

When he isn’t tummy down, he tries to sit up on his own and can hold himself steady for a few seconds before wobbling and trying (with varied success) to balance himself.

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For breakfast, he now eats toast or crumpets like a grown person and, along with his milk, he drinks water from a tippee cup.

As much as I love watching him change, it all seems to be happening at once. He is becoming his own little person.

With crawling on the horizon, I really need to start to baby proof my house.