RESPECT for the stay at home mums

Before I become a mother, I looked down on stay at home mums…and I gotta admit how wrong I was. I now have the up most of respect for stay at home mums, and while I'm often jealous of them being with their kids 24/7 I agree that they have one of the hardest jobs going!

I had no idea what a demanding job it is…society does not give stay at home mums the credit they deserve and I think they are due a bit of 'bigging up'.

The perception is that you all sit around drinking tea and eating cake while doing the odd bit of house work - its a seriously misjudged view.

So here I am saying sorry for being judgemental in the past and promise to support your cause from now on 😉

NCM

Friday 28th May Backchat…it’s been a crazy week

 

Whoa what a week…talk about action packed!


Veggies on toddler terror alert

Sadly the veggies we planted out last week have not all survived, they are officially on toddler terror alert after a poor courgette plant was beheaded from the soil surface upwards, the tomato plants are all thriving and the potatoes are sprouting – lets hope they don’t fall victim to the wayward toddler.
 
Baked in EdinburghIMG_1332

Last weekend hubby, DD and I jetted off to Edinburgh for the weekend, where it was baking hot – not a city that’s suited for high temperatures. And the hotel room had no air con with rubbish windows that would only open a small crack – so we were officially crispy round the edges by the end of our stay. Just to guarentee the occasion would stick in our minds for ever, the fire alarm also went off very late on Saturday night, which meant we had to evacuate onto the busiest drunk street of Edinburgh (the grass market).

Regardless of the conditions, we still had a great time, but learnt a hell of a lot about taking a toddler on a city break – i.e. think again and go somewhere more child friendly 😉
Work ranks up on the boredom scale

 

I also spent two long days in our UK office for a long dull sales meeting, an even duller appraisal…thank goodness its Friday.  It wasn’t all dull though, its always a good laugh with the sales team – they’re great for a good bit of dirty minded humour.
Carried away with sling success

 

I gotta tell ya how much I lurve my new babyhawk sling, it’s been worth its weight in gold over the last week, particularly in Edinburgh when catching taxis, in the busy airport and around the city. I am definitely a born again slinger, it’s still taking hubby sometime to see the light though, but he does seem to recognize the benefits now. So pleased I bought myself this for mother’s day rather than the Radley handbag I’ve been eying up for the last three months – which I might add was three times the price.

Yeah the weekend

So got a nice long weekend to look forward to as its May bank holiday, looking forward to going swimming, doing some clothes shopping (cause its getting desperate now) and generally catching up on dull stuff like selling old gear on eBay and cleaning the house.

Hope you have a nice weekend.

NCM

 

 

There’s a turd in the tub

Yesterday was one of those long days in the office packed with presentations, my annual appraisal and a long commute… I was pleased with how it had all gone, despite feeling absolutely knackered. So picture this, I was sat kneeing by the side of the bath singing and laughing as my DD happily played, letting the fish’n’chips that I’d just yomped down settle. Then I notice something brown floating up from behind the rubber duck….

Oh shit…literally – she’d crapped in the bath. I was in a mad dash then to haul her out with one arm while trying to salvage Fergal the frog from getting feced fins. I didn’t want another one of our bath toys dying that horrible dirty death.  Anyway, back to it…then I dashed over to the en-suite shower to hose the little babe down.

While sprinting back to the other bathroom to grab her towel I returned to find that she’d got her finger stuck in the detachable plug hole cover – luckily crisis averted, she got it off easily…phew.

So I rounded my busy day off by picking poo out of the plug hole – nice.

 I’ve got another long office in the day today – let’s hope she’s not planning any more delightful surprises when I get home this evening 😉

Camping with a baby

For many people the thought of camping with a baby is craziness. Many of my friends have questioned myIMG_0507 sanity when I've told them I'm off for a week's camping. Having coped for a solid two weeks last September when my daughter was 10 months old I can confidently say that its an amazing experience. The key is to prepare and do your homework and remember that its a whole different ball game to camping with just you and your partner.

Don't get me wrong, it can be very hard work. I'm afraid to bring out the cliches, but its definitely the case of – the more you put in the more you get out.    
 
From my own personal experience of my trip last September and one night away last June, these are my top five tips:

1) Choose your campsite carefully

Select family friendly sites with baby changing facilities and a microwave if you've got bottle sterilising to consider.

2) Get daddy used to single handedly putting up the tent

If you are taking care of babe, make sure daddy is capable of putting the tent up on his own – or with minimal help from you. I managed to help a bit by putting my babe in a Baby Bjorn carrier, but I might have been more of a hindrance than help – lol 😉

3) Don't expect to follow the same routines as at home

Everything takes longer when you're camping, simply making a cuppa is a whole job in its self. Babe may want to stay up later because of all the action going on around them and the excitement of the change of scene. So plan your day carefully. We personally found that going out for shorter days was more sustainable than staying out for long days. We usually went out from about 10am – 3pm - this gave us a leisurely start to the day and the early return meant we could bath late afternoon, cook tea, wash dishes and be ready for bedtime milk at about 7-8pm. While away last September we did make friends with a family with a baby of one year old and a toddler and they would go out first thing and come back around between 6-8pm. They did seem a bit fraught though…but I got the impression that they weren't that organised – but lovely people.

4) Be prepared for the rain and cold

Don't under estimate how cold it can get at night, take lots of blankets and layers of clothes. Even when we went camping for a night in June when babe was 6 months old, it was cold enough for hats and gloves – in fact I had no gloves, so she wore socks on her hands.

Be prepared for rainy weather anytime, if babe is on the move consider getting an all-in-one waterproof suit. We got a great one from Muddy Puddles, that babe would happily craw around outside the tent in while it was raining – rather her than me. We also got some thermal waterproof bootees to put over her feet.

5) Prepare for baby bathing

Not many babies like showers and its often not practical, and a good old soaking is often what is needed (particuarly with pooy sandy bums). I guess if you were going away for just a night or two a shower would do. If the campsite does not have a baby bath, take along a big flexible garden trug and fill it up with water (from the showers if needed) and then add lots of empty cartons and shampoo bottles to act as toys. My babe didn't like this at the start, but as soon as I found some temp toys she was a proper happy little bunny. I also found that it was best for me to put her in the bath while I had a shower.

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Above I've just covered a few pointers, if you have specific questions about any aspect of camping with a baby, I'm happy to share my experience…(as limited as it is) 🙂

What about you? What are your top tips?

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21st May Friday Back Chat – Getting back into the sling of things…

21st May 2010 7.40am

This week has been wonderfully uneventful, work has been ticking along just fine and for the first time in ages my DD has stayed fit and well for over a week….touch wood. I really shouldn’t speak too soon as we are off to Edinburgh for the weekend tomorrow morning and I really don’t want a sickly child on her first flight.

DD and I also had great fun planting our courgette, tomato and pepper seedlings for a summer vegi supply. Although she was determind to sit on all the plants once they had been planted, but a couple of days later and they seemed to have perked up and no longer show signs of giving up the ghost.Ava May 2010 Gardening Here she is gardening and cleaning tent pegs from camping the other week.

The best thing about this week was that I ordered and got my first proper baby/toddler sling. I used to have a BabyBjorn carrier for DD which I used daily until she was about 10 months – then she started to get a big heavy for it. After going to a local La Leche League meeting, I was inspired to get a proper sling – the mums recommended the ring Maya sling, but after some additional research and a chat to a lovely lady at Slumber-Roo.co.uk … I concluded that a Mei Tai would be better – that’s the asian style which basically is a big square of material with long strips of material that you wrap around your body to strap baby/toddler into place. My hubby was not best pleased though, he can’t understand why we need a sling now DD is walking, when we already have an off road buggy and walking rucksack and didn’t agree with me spending £50 on a sling. But he’s not the one having to carrier DD around when she is being clingy and doesn’t want to go in the buggy, or is tiered and wants to be held in the house while I am cooking or doing chores. He is determined not to like the Baby Hawk Mei Tai, but I’m sure that within a couple of weeks he’ll be wanting to give it a go. I am determined to make him a convert J but don’t tell him that or he’ll resist it even more.

 

Torn between work and being the mother you want to be

I don’t know about you, but I suffer from a constant guilty feeling of being torn between my work career and motherhood – trying to be the hands on mother that I want to be. I’m constantly reaching and trying to get the right balance, but momma’s arms were never made to be this elastic! I give them a good stretching through, at times near the limits of breaking point. Speaking to other full time working mums around, this is no surprise – many seemed to be burdened with this sinking feeling and constant conundrum of how we can manage to stay sanely afloat. And the emphasis there is on staying sane and not becoming an over tiered stressy bessy in the process.

Personally I find it really hard going at times, I can just about get by if there is no chink in the chain like the childminder falling ill or child getting the lurgy. Just the hint of possible infectious illness breaking out sends me into a secret mode of crisis management. What am I going to do about the product launch meeting I’m supposed to be joining tomorrow afternoon, what about my customer visit on Friday? And it’s always down to me to step into the breach and cover sickness duty, with hubby’s excuse being “my work doesn’t offer the flexibility to do that kind of thing and besides I’m got an important meeting on system integration blab la bla” – why are his work commitments always more important than mine…grrr! Then there’s the excuse that I work from home and it’s easier for me and I breastfeed so she’ll want me anyway – well there is some truth in the later part of that statement.

Everything being relative though, my situation is not as bad as many. I work from home with only fortnightly visits into the office, and have agreed a flexible working arrangement where I work a block of core hours and then fit the rest of my working hours in around after this. By getting up at the crack of dawn to start work before the rabble awakes, I can get a good couples of hours work done – then the rest I kind of fit in and around hubby being home to occupy the child. It’s a gruelling schedule, but it means that I get more quality time with my daughter a day. This does inevitably mean that she goes to bed later, because I let her sleep in to allow me to crack on with my work in the wee hours. It also means I need to go to bed earlier, which ultimately means less time for hubby and me on our own – this is a BIG gripe for him.

From my own personal experience, here are my top tips for staying sane while working full time:

  Build in some room for flexibility for when things go wrong (child illness etc)

  If you’ve got a partner, make sure they pull their weight when things go wrong – make it clear that other fathers have to take time off work to cope with family situations too

  Generally try and be honest and up front with your employer to build up trust and they are far more willing to be accommodating during those tough times

  If you’re in the UK make the most of the 13 weeks unpaid parental leave you can take within the first five years of your child’s life (note you need to give notice and they need to be in one week chunks)

What are your experiences? Do you have this constant dilema of balancing your commitment between work and your role as a mother – not to mention a wife/girlfriend?