Failing Working Mummy

You can have it all, they said. A fulfilling career, a loving family and a beautiful home. You can be a successful woman. They lied!

Juggling. Balancing. Trying. Failing.

That is probably the best way to describe how I feel at the moment. I’ve never been in the running for Mum and wife of the year and I’ve definitely never been able to call myself a domestic goddess but my children have been happy and Mr K has been safe in the knowledge that the house, if messy, has not been harbouring a deadly disease under a pile of washing. Since returning to work however, my just about balanced life has tumbled over, my spinning plates have come crashing down and my life raft has deserted me (it was probably eaten by the large stuffed animal shark that baby boy has developed a new attachment to). I am sinking.

Of course I can handle a job as well as raise 2 young children and keep the house in a liveable condition! Those infamous last thoughts when I accepted the full time teaching role have played on my mind every day. Well fair play to you life, the joke is on me. Was I being too cocky? Did I need bringing down a peg or two?  Whatever the reason, you have certainly done your best to knock me off balance. Well played, life, well played!

On a typical week day at the moment I probably see my children for a grand total of an hour and half. It’s not quality time. That hour and a half is spent getting them up and dressed, giving them breakfast whilst preparing their packed lunch, driving them to the childminder, picking them up from the childminder, giving them a bath and putting them (with firm opposition from baby boy) to bed. Not exactly the fun family life I dreamed of. The weekend is slightly better. I at least get a day with my family, amidst trying to get semi on top of the housework, before spending Sunday doing planning and marking ready for another week at school. I am missing out on so much. I am missing out of the fun and laughter, on trips to the park, on collecting conkers, on jumping in muddy puddles, on learning to wave, on kicking leaves and countless other small things. Don’t get me wrong, my children are still doing all of these things. They are doing them on a daily basis but with a bunch of lovely ladies who look after them with fantastic care and love. I know that my children are doing these things because I get to read about them on the information sheet that comes home when I pick my children up each evening. My relationship with my children has become an hour and a half of necessary tasks and a daily log!

At least I have a great job, right? Well maybe I’m the most ungrateful person in the world but I am really starting to resent spending more time with other people’s children than my own. Teaching was my dream job and maybe my dreams have changed or the reality of staying up past midnight every single night to complete the necessary marking and paperwork is just unfeasible since the children arrived but I am feeling the love slowly dissipate. The daily stresses and insane workload that a career in education bring seem to have trebled since I qualified just 6 years ago and I am just not sure that I am cut out for the totally life consuming dedication that is required and expected from today’s teachers.  The bills still need to be paid though and despite regularly applying for jobs in other sectors, it seems that I am now only qualified to teach. I just don’t know how to escape!

Life has a way of throwing everything at you all at once and then adding in that extra little kick whilst you are down. It happens to all of us but that doesn’t make it easier. In fact, the knowledge that others around us have their own problems just pushes us to keep our own struggles to ourselves. Not wanting to burden our loved ones we push on through the daily grind, burying our true feelings. It’s just the way it is. Ok, so maybe I am generalising and that is not true for everyone. Maybe there are people out there who openly admit that they need support and not let themselves be bogged down. I applaud those people and if I’m honest, I’m a little jealous of them. I myself, just try to plod on through with a fake smile and a nod of my head when asked if everything is well. I’m just not sure how long I can keep it up this time.

Image credit – http://www.thebackoffice.eu/lisas-top-tips-for-working-mums/

 

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Car Seats – know the law!


There are certain topics that are always sure to start a debate (or argument) amongst parents. Forward facing car seats is one of those hot topics. Now I am a keen advocate of extended rear facing car seats (my first post on the subject). Baby boy has a car seat that will keep him rear facing until roughly the age of 5 and baby girl will have the same. These car seats have been shown to be 5x safer in the event of an accident and the crash test footage, for me, just confirms my choice. That being said, if a parent chooses to move their child to a forward facing seat at a younger age then that is up to them. No one should judge or condemn them as it is a valid parenting choice – AS LONG AS IT IS LEGAL!

Over the past year I have heard so many parents say that they don’t understand which car seat to use. There are countless posts on social media and parenting forums asking for car seat advice and twice as many answers giving bad advice! I am shocked at how many parents don’t know the law with regards to car seats!

On 1st April 2015, i-Size (a European safety standard – ECE R129) became official UK legislation. I personally don’t feel that this law has been properly explained to parents and it certainly hasn’t had the media coverage that it needed. There are far too many people who either have no idea of its existence or just don’t fully understand it. The i-Size law means that children using a height based car seat (i-Size car seat) must stay rear facing in this seat until they are at least 15 months old. At the moment this only applies to i-Size car seats so don’t start to worry if your 12 month old is forward facing in a non i-Size seat. However, if you do have an i-Size car seat and your child is facing forward earlier than 15 months old then you are breaking the law.

Some i-size car seats:

Maxi Cosi Two Way Pearl, Maxi Cosi Axissfix, BeSafe iZi iSize, BeSafe Modular, Joie iAnchor, Nuna Rebl, Concord Reverso.

http://www.goodeggcarsafety.com

If you don’t have an i-Size car seat then the ECE R44/04 law still applies. This law allows your child to use a forward facing car seat once they weigh at least 9kg. If your child is in a forward facing car seat below this weight limit then you are breaking the law!

It really is that simple. If you have an i-Size seat your child stays rear facing until 15 months and if you don’t have an i-Size seat then they  must rear face until they weigh at 9kg.

Now as I said, I am a firm believer in children rear facing until at least age 4 and if you want your child to stay rear facing for longer that’s great. There are some fantastic extended rear facing car seats on the market now and they are becoming increasingly budget friendly! However, if you choose to have your child forward face that’s fine. It is completely your decision. Just know and follow the law!

Image credit – http://www.mylittlecar.fr/lhistoire-hallucinante-du-siege-bebe/

Mummy Guilt


Where have the past 8 (nearly 9) months gone? Seriously, how have they passed so quickly? It honestly doesn’t seem that long ago since baby girl was born and now she is growing up with frightening speed!

Over the past month and a half she has started to pull herself up to standing and can now crawl at the speed of light. Come on now child, slow down! Please!

I love that she is learning new things and I am incredibly proud of her when she masters a hard practised skill. It just scares me if I am honest. It scares me that these days, when my children are young and need me, are flying by and I worry that I am not making the most of them. I am not making the most of the time I get to play with my children, or cuddle my children, or read with my children. Instead I get frustrated that baby boy wants me to do a jigsaw with him when I am trying (and failing) to clean the kitchen. I get annoyed when baby girl won’t stop crying and just wants to be held when I am trying (and failing) to hang the washing out. Instead of revelling in the time I have with my babies and making the most of every single second, new skill and milestone, I am stressing about things that need to be done and aren’t getting done. In short I am missing out on my gorgeous children.

The funny thing is that I haven’t even gone back to work yet. I am still at home full time and yet I feel like I am missing out! That obviously then sets off a new worry about being a full time working mum and missing out on even more things. My god, the guilt is everywhere!

The next few weeks before I start my job are going to be hectic but I really need to slow down and spend some quality time with my beautiful, perfect children. They deserve my time and full attention whilst we have the opportunity. Things are going to be very different soon and I can’t help but feel sad and slightly resentful that someone else is going to spend the majority of time with my babies.

Mummy guilt is hard!

Weeeeeeee in the potty


For over a week now we have been attempting to encourage baby boy to use the potty. We have had some success yet I am constantly feeling that it is a 1 step forward and 2 steps back process! I have reached the point now where I can honestly say that I hate potty training with a passion! Right now, at this point in time, I don’t care if he wears a nappy for the rest of his life (the very small still rational part of me is screaming ‘you don’t mean that’ but I am ignoring her).

We have had a degree of success, like I said though. Baby boy will happily use the potty as long as he is not wearing any pants. As long as his bottom half is naked he will sit himself down and then proudly tell all and sundry that he has done a big wee or poo. He then gets a little sweet (I am not above bribery). Brilliant! Put some underwear on him however and he doesn’t even try. He just goes in his pants. Arggggghhh! It’s great that we have made some progress but seriously, he can’t just walk around naked forever! We do actually have to leave the house.

One of the worst parts of this whole process is that baby boy has discovered that he can wee on purpose if he wants to and he finds it hilarious. I call it revenge weeing and it goes like this: ‘Stop hitting your sister’ = wee on the floor. ‘No, you can’t have the bricks out until the cars have been tidied away’ = wee on the floor. ‘Eat your lunch before you have a biscuit’ = wee on the floor. I am sick to death of cleaning up wee and poo!

It’s at times like these in your child’s life that everyone around you seems to have done a better job than you. ‘My child was potty trained by 12 months’ or ‘my child potty trained in 3 days’. Well good for you and your exceptional toileting child! I know that it will get easier and that one day it will just click but my god it feels like this hell will never end! 

How did you go about potty training your child? Any tips?

Not in the least bit ready

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Just look at those faces. Those sweet, adorable, butter wouldn’t melt faces. Those drive me crazy, make me want to tear my hair out yet I love them unconditionally faces. Now tell me how I am supposed to leave them for up to 9 hours a day.

My maternity allowance runs out in just over a months time and I am faced with the unenviable task of finding a job. I don’t want to find a job. I want nothing less. And before anyone starts to moan at me and tell me that I’m lazy and a scrounger, it’s not that I don’t want to work per se, I just don’t want to leave my children. The thought of leaving them is tearing me up inside and some days I feel physically sick. I look at my children and despite some days just wishing that the Goblin King would come and whisk them away (it would have to be the David Bowie version obviously), the thought of leaving them in a stranger’s care is eating away at me.

I didn’t feel this way when I returned to work when baby boy was only 9 months old. In fact it felt like a sort of relief to leave the house, converse with other adults and have a bit of ‘me’ time. This time is different however. It’s the polar opposite! I honestly don’t know how I’m going to do it. Everyday I tell myself that I need to start looking for a job and everyday I procrastinate and put it off until tomorrow.

I don’t know if it’s because baby girl just seems so little still or if it’s because I am just so used to the 3 of us being wrapped up in our little bubble everyday (4 of us at weekends). I detest the idea of having to pay for somebody to look after my children for me. I imagine all of the things that I am going to miss. All of the firsts. What if baby girl takes her first steps or says her first words for somebody other than me. What if I miss baby boy recognising his numbers or pedalling a trike for the first time.

Baby girl has started to eat food now and we are still getting to grips with her allergies (cows milk protein being the main one). The thought of her being looked after by someone who doesn’t know her and her accidentally eating something that she shouldn’t frightens me to death. I run through scenarios in my head of all of the things that could go wrong. I know that it is ridiculous and that nurseries and childminders have procedures in place to protect against such incidents but I just can’t stop my mind from over-thinking.

The problem is though is that I have no choice. Whether I am ready or not, my money will soon run out and I will need to go to work. We have bills to pay and food to put on the table and the deadline is looming.

Oh what I would give to just be financially comfortable enough to stay at home and raise my children myself.