Tag Archives: mum

An insomniacs finest hour: The battle for sleep.

No, this title is not the next follow on to a Hollywood blockbuster, it’s my current fight each night, and I’m not on the winning team. Insomnia, it can and will, drive you insane.

I’ve been thinking as I lay awake about what to share with you bunch next. I want to expose myself to others and open up through my writing. I’m not good at public speaking or even chatting aloud to strangers and so I find it much easier to interact and socialise with others through the use of my writing and online sharing.

Let’s talk insomnia,shall we? I haven’t really ventured into sharing with you the lack of sleep that I face each night lately. It’s 11.19PM and once again, I can’t seem to get to sleep. To make use of the passing time, I thought I could post a short blog. My mind seems to be in over drive lately and I’m suffering with a spell of insomnia, deprived of any chance of a good nights sleep.

I can only describe this as gruelling, it’s horrible. I go to bed at 10 PM each night and I see every hour or there about. It’s not through choice, believe me, I try to sleep. My body fights to get to sleep but the more I fight, the more alert and awake I become.

I lay awake each night, tossing, turning, thinking. I think a little, I think a lot, sometimes I don’t even think, I just lay as still as can be in the hope that sleep comes. It never does and I’m lucky to catch a solid three hours. I get by during the day but my mind is elsewhere, a place that I don’t seem to recognise and a place I can’t quite comprehend or put into words.

I’m unsure wether the insomnia is due to the fact that  my anxiety seems to be at an all time high. I struggle very much lately with the increasing demands of a baby and keeping on top of the daily grind. From trying to complete one task to the next all while tending to a baby and ensuring that I spend enough time each day to interact and play with her can be challenging.

If I dare spend too much time on the house work or catching up with online reading for my own career, making the dinners etc, I fear that I’ve not given Eleanor as much of my attention as she deserves and the Mum guilt kicks in. It creeps up and I feel terrible if I notably leave her alone for any time period. I must add, just in case any of you wonder, I always leave her secure and safe, wether it be strapped into her baby bouncer or on her play mat away from anything that she may get her hands on and could cause harm and she is never left for over ten minutes without being checked on.

However, no matter how little or how long I leave her for some alone time, I feel bad. Eleanor is my baby and it should be my responsibility to be with her and teach her every step of the day. Or at least that’s what my mind tells me, being a Mother really is a full time job. Lot’s of love to all of you parents out there doing your best. I’m beginning to wonder who depends on who, it seems where Eleanor is fine to be left alone and rather happy to be so, I can’t seem to deal with being apart from her.. ONE ROOM APART. God damn that Mum guilt.

My mind is in over drive, I have a lot going on, with a holiday next month I seem to be planning and thinking about this a lot. It is always at a bed time that my mind begins to start springing out ideas and organising. It’s 11.33PM now and I’m thinking about holiday outfits, what to pack, what shoes I should bring, how much shoes I need to bring? (for one week). Can I bring Dr Martens to Cyrpus?

Surely such thoughts can be put on hold until the morning when I wake rather than torment me as I try to drift of and catch even just a solid hour. Give me a break. Heaven knows I need one right about now. This sleep issue can be harrowing and I often feel alone, me against the world as I lay awake in silence through the early hours.

I often wonder, is the insomnia part of the post partum finest? Hell, I’ve already got the whole Mum pouch, the hair loss, the breastfeeding sweats, the body aches and pains. I’m sure the insomnia is just another perk of Motherhood? Have any other Mum’s out there suffered with insomnia post baby?

I find that with the mix of anxiety, the whole rush of Motherhood and busy days.. busy weeks, months, can lead to my mind setting itself in over drive. A place quite tough to crawl back from.  I’m going crazy trying to stay on top of the whole balance of Family life. I am trying to plan a holiday, plan my Wedding day, stressing about my return to work after my leave, trying to spend as much time as I can with my family yet keep on top of all the daily activities and chores. I can’t do it all but I feel like I am expected to right now. My baby needs me and I don’t like to put her second. Ever.

Everyone wants more and more from me and I don’t have the ability to meet all of the demands I’m faced with daily and try to get some time for myself too. I mean, at least it feels like everyone wants, however, this is just what my mind feeds me. Nobody expects anything from me in reality and the only challenge that I face is dealing with the balance and fighting the fact that I am not Superwoman and I can’t do it all. At least not on my own.

Since having Eleanor, I don’t think I’ve had as much as six hours sleep, never mind alone time. I’ve been out with Euan on cinema trips away from Eleanor and Motherhood duties for no more than four hours at a time. I crave some alone time yet when I have it, it doesn’t feel right and I feel like I should be with my family rather than taking time out for a break. I chose to become a Mother after all, I don’t really have the audacity to request a break. Do I?

I must add, I am now six months post partum and I believe I feel and look worse than I did at two weeks after giving birth. Motherhood is not glamorous, I am tired, I live in the same over washed joggers and knitted jumper, I over heat, I break out in spells on acne, my hair is so thin it’s falling out all around me and my body has unexplained aches and pains every single day. My knees burn, my back hurts, my body doesn’t actually feel like it belongs to me. I don’t feel as though I am in my own skin, yet I seem to not remember myself in any other form.

As if I didn’t need more on my plate to content with, throw insomnia and a six month old teething into the mix and you have one twenty five year old ready for the grave. It’s tough, and it can be very testing. Some days all I want to do is lock myself away and take a nap, but then I remember that I am not fifteen anymore, I have a child and I hold a great deal of responsibility.

11.41PM, I have rapidly swapped the thought process from holiday packing to self esteem. See what I me, my mind races, it’s in over drive and at the worst as I try to sleep. My mind is now working to be little what self esteem I have left right now, I tell myself I am too skinny and have to gain weight as I’m stare at my frail legs and being knees. I wonder about my hair and hope that it won’t begin to fall out in clumps, I can’t take losing much more and now I feel sad that I cut my locks so short, I long for a full and shiny mane once more. The more tired I become, the more I notice myself to criticize and note my every flaw.

I just want sleep to come, it doesn’t and I know long after I stop with this post, I will still be laying here in silence. So here I find myself ask for advice for sleeping aids, have any of you had sleep issues that can recommend some products or routine to help?

I have tried hot showers and face masks, tried no caffeine past six, I would read or play music but it only stimulates my mind further and brings provoking thoughts.

I don’t do well with yoga but I have tried the whole yoga breathing, th counting of sheep classics  to help ease my mind before drifting off, only this can bring me to more thinking, my mind just wonders. There is little I can do with Eleanor in the bed so, I am working to get her into her own bed only teething seems to be a bit of a big issue right now and comfort feeding next to me is all that will settle her tears.

I’m afraid to take any sleep aids as with Eleanor next to me, I would be too concerned for her safety and never forgive myself if I fell Into a deep sleep and rolled onto her or any sort of freak accident were to occur. Are there any herbal remedies that can aid sleep? I am planning to try with the lavender and get some sleep scent spray for the room after doing some research.

Please feel free to add your comments, recommendations, requests. I’m happy to receive any tips and feedback. In fact, it is nice to hear from others from time to time, it’s not often that I venture out of my comfort zone and chat with strangers. A mixture of an introverted personality and what can be over bearing, I want to crawl under a rock type anxiety.

Better get back to trying to sleep and laying patiently awake, dwelling into the thoughts in my mind. Goodnight all, thanks for reading.

Keren.

 

 

Appreciating family. A Valentine ode to my Mother.

I am thankful of many things in my life and all that I am blessed with but most of all, above anything, I am so grateful and thankful to my Mother.

I am dedicating this post to my Mum as having some time to reflect on pregnancy and recent months since having Eleanor, my Mum has become a huge factor in my life and her support, wisdom and friendship has filled me with gratitude and her kindness has filled me with love.

Growing up, from a stroppy child to a gruesome teenager, you could say that my relationship with my Mum was somewhat strained. We pushed one anothers buttons and we fought like cat and dog. Don’t get me wrong, our relationship was never bad, but I was acting out as a spoiled teen and didn’t take enough time to thank my Mother for all she would do for me and the care that she provided each day.

I wish that I would have said thank you more and taken more quality time to spend with her. Perhaps had I listened to her more and took notice when she told me things such as “do not dare dye your hair that ridiculous blue”, I’d have made less bad choices (and had hair in better condition).

However, let’s not dwell on the past,  I do not wish for this post to be negativen Rather, I want to express my thanks the best way I know how, in writing. Sometimes writing can express more than words, I hope to express my love and thanks through this post, something that I don’t think I can summarise with words out loud.

Some times, it takes some time apart or a life changing experience before you begin to see and appreciate a person for all that they are. Good or bad. In this case, I have nothing but good to report.

It was not until moving out and beginning my own family journey that I have truly come to appreciate my Mother and see her for the true soul that she is. A woman who would offer you the world and is worth her weight in gold. I can only hope that as I grow, I will become as kind of a soul as my Mother is and have the ability to shine some light to each person I meet, much in the way that she does. I would hope to pass this trait of kindness on to my daughter, it is important for me to raise Eleanor to be kind and honest.

I’m not going to gloat about my Mum as that is not necessary, all that you need to know is she is a kind hearted, hard worker who raised four children and has the soul of an angel. A realist who through her own struggles never fails to remain optimistic. Something which i find quite inspirational. Mum has fast become my best friend, the first person I call for advice and my first choice to hang out with. A day out with my Mum is no longer cringeworthy, it is exciting and a day to look forward to.

I’d not have dreamed of hanging with my Mum a decade ago, and now here I am, twenty five and craving her company almost each day. I can’t thank my Mum enough for the running around she does for not just me, but the whole family. She goes above and beyond come rain or shine just to drag my butt out. The help she provides is the help that only a Mother can provide and her love is unconditional.

From the beginning of maternity leave, my Mum has worked so hard to provide me with company, comfort and a dose of good old fresh air along with her wit, wisdom and a helping hand. You wouldn’t believe just how much help changing a nappy can be, or having a cup of coffee made for you, to rock my baby as she cries so that i can run to take a wee. It really is the little things, the things we all too often take for granted.

As Valentines day approaches and I’m half way through my spell of maternity leave, i deemed it appropriate to send a little love out in the direction of my best friend and biggest support, my Mum. Someone who is always on hand and has helped me tremendously over the years, knowingly or not.

I’m so thankful for my Mum and the help she provides each day, the love she has for my wee Eleanor, the magic she can bring to the day. My Mum has taught me that life is about the little things, kindness goes a long way. Smalls gestures tower over grand gestures and to be kind, to love, is one of lifes greatest pleasure.

It has not been until recently and beginning a family of my own that I have fully come to appreciate my Mother and take on board all of the lessons that she has taught me over the years. I am proud to call my Mum, Mother and will forever cherish this time we spend together.

I am looking forward to many more trips out and the stories that Eleanor brings to me from her days out with Grandma too. We can all learn something from someone and our Mothers are very wise women. Let’s show them the thanks that they deserve. Happy (early) Valentines day, to my light and inspiration, my Mum.

 

Keren.

 

 

 

 

Mum guilt; The real deal.

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It’s a funny old thing, you become a parent and all of a sudden you are no longer your own person, you are a Mother, a Father. You lose a sense of identity but gain a whole new realm of responsibility and love that you didn’t even know was capable.

The love for your baby, your child, is like no other. I have not experienced so much love nor emotions prior to the birth of my wee Eleanor. The best and the worst of myself has been put to light and I see the world from a whole new perspective.

I am not as easy going and care free as I once was and the world is now a scary place through the eyes of this over protective parent. I would like to focus this post on something that I have recently began to notice creep up on shopping trips or days out. A feeling that has rised from within and hits like a tonne of bricks ,a feeling that all you Mothers are well aware of.

Mum guilt. No matter what you do, it simply does not feel good enough. It is a losing battle where we are the sole contender.

Guilt, we all feel it, with the exclusion of active sociopaths, add a baby or child to the mix and guilt is suddenly intensified. What exactly is Mum guilt and where does it come from? It has seemed to appear out of the blue for myself and has prevented me from doing the things that I love and taking some time out for myself. Wether that be a half hour shut away to read, getting out for a lone walk or even (god forbid) having a day of pampering.

No matter what my intention lately, I always have a terrible feeling of guilt hang over my head, ready to exploit my mind with shameful thoughts whenever I dare put myself first. I feel that I have lost a sense of freedom and self worth since becoming a Mum, something which is quite hard to adapt to and take control of.

I no longer deem it acceptable to treat myself, not without fear that I should have treated my baby over myself. Do I need this? I ask myself this often. A shopping trip is short lived, and rather than taking items I pick out to the till, I return them to the rack or shelf which I plucked them from. I feel guilty for wasting money on myself no matter the sum. I could have utilised any spenditure on Eleanor rather than myself.

I find myself anxious of time and feeling bad for dragging my baby out just so I can pick up a carton of milk for myself or browse the stores when I could be at home, holding her, giving my undivided attention. I tend to get out but feel panic and pushed for time, I can’t relax for fear that she will want a feed or begin to get uncomfortable and cry.

Crying is perfectly normal for a baby to get attention and I know I have the security that she is always changed and fed before I take her out, I can’t help but feel unsettled at the thought of her crying in public. I always feel that it’s my fault for dragging her out and that I have led her to be unhappy for my own pleasure. Mum guilt.

I no longer indulge in any alcohol or nights out as I feel that my baby could need me at any time when I am apart from her. I just can’t leave her behind knowing that she is my responsibility and could need me at any time. I have reluctantly left her for no more than four hours with my Mother so that Euan and I can catch a screening at the cinema. This has only ever been around four separate occasions, a month apart at least.

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I can’t bring myself to leave her no matter who with or how capable they are. Knowing that Eleanor is so tiny and may need me at any time. I know that my baby is loved and nurtured and with that understanding , I must implicate healthy changes for the benefit of my own health.

I am not just a Mother, I am my own person with interests and needs that I need to fulfill every once in a while. It is important to take time for myself and my own sanity, i owe it to myself to give myself a break without feeling the need to explain and justify my actions.

With that in mind, I am off to the hairdresser next Saturday on a solo outing for a bit of me time and pampering. I am after a fresh dye job and cut, both much needed and long overdue. Oops, blame Motherhood on that one. Free time does not come freely.  A trip to the salon may not seem a big deal to many of you, I’d previously not have thought anything of it either but these days a little time out to spoil myself is a rare occasion.

Following this, we are going to see Stereophonics at the end of the month for a parents night out. How dare we? I’m absolutely looking forward to this and an evening out with my love, I fully plan to make the most of being child free, let my hair down and have fun. I have plans to go all out with a glass of wine in a plastic cup and greasy gig chips.

The last time we went to a gig together was back in July and I was heavily pregnant and spent most of the gig nursing a sore back. This time, I can make a better go at it and not retire early. I got this.

I’m sure that my Mum guilt will be in full swing but im going to really try to get myself into a good mindset and forget Mum duties for the night. It will be time for my partner and I to enjoy. Eleanor will be in capable, loving hands, I just need to let go, chill and live a little. If I can push the Mum guilt aside for even just one night, it will be a milestone itself.

I feel that as Mothers and Fathers, we put so much pressure on ourselves to be the best parents we can be, we get ourselves down when something doesnt go to plan or work out as we had hoped and we hold ourselves responsible for any setbacks, the guilt can be too much to take some days.It’s time to start pushing that unnecessary guilt trips that we love to drive down aside and putting ourselves first once in a while.

Book a pamper day, take yourself out for a coffee, set a date for a night out (and follow plans through) and for God sakes, buy the dress. Life is too short to spend it consumed with guilt, we all deserve a break once in a while.

Parenthood is hard, it is testing, it is wonderful. Let’s not be so hard on ourselves, our babies will still love us after a few hours without our company.

Keren x

Yes, babies cry. Deal with it (and love them hard)

I am writing this post having been inspired by a recent trip to the GP for concerns over the health of our baby daughter, Eleanor. A baby who has always been, in my opinion very vocal and dependent. I believe this to stem from her connection with me due to breastfeeding. I could be wrong.

My partner had suggested that we call the GP to make an appointment regarding an issue with our baby who seems to cry constantly and wriggle around in pain. Eleanor has reflux which is currently controlled by medication, however, some days not even medication seems to help.

I called the doctor to make an appointment for as soon as possible. I didn’t want Eleanor to be in pain but nor did I expect much was up. She was after all, just being her usual self.  Euan arrived home to attend the appointment, I discovered that we were taking the car to the GP which is a short distance from home, I became upset and wound up.

You see, this sounds silly but it’s tough for me to get out alone. I spend much of my time alone with her and a lot of this is spent indoors as it’s just too tricky to get out, especially with being in a first floor flat. If I want to go anywhere, there is a whole battle with the Pram getting down stairs and out the door before we even get moving.

Some days it isn’t worth the fight with Eleanor if she is in a particularly sleepy or in a grumpy mood. I find I don’t have the fight in me to battle through the cries very often, blame it on the lack of sleep.

It’s easier for me to simply just return home than to deal with the stares of strangers passing judgment as I still past with my baby screaming out from her Pram. I’m not cut out for public judgement, it brings a great deal of anxiety. So, with that mental image and sound of a babies cry echo through your eardrums, forgive me for getting upset having had my dream of five minutes in the fresh air, shattered.

What might not seem a big deal to some, can be a huge deal for others. Something which I have recently learned. We all handle things differently and lately, I feel like I can barely handle things at all. I spend most days alone and some times I feel as though I am losing my mind. Perhaps I am. Perhaps I lack social interaction.

I understand that my partner has work commitments but a five minute walk is not really going to make such a big difference to the working day when  opposed to three minutes in the car? I feel alone much of the time right now and the inability to get out can lead me to feel like I’m stuck in these four walls, all I wished for was my partner to take a short walk to the GP clinic with me. I was once very active and I crave to lead an active life again.

A life that has more challenging excercise to it than the constant bending to change nappies or emptying the tumble dryer. I need to walk, I need to have fresh air. Without it, I go crazy. I’ve given up on my fitbit for the moment as the step count became so pitiful, I felt ashamed to even track and document it.

Back to the GP, the reasoning of this post, I had a feeling that I knew what the doctor would say, having been in this position before. I’m usually lucky to get an appointment as its normally an automated phone service. Nonetheless, the story never changes and the outcome is always “babies cry, it’s a phase” or something along those lines.

I’m never taken seriously with the GPS and feel as though my worries are over looked and brushed off as though I am a mere hypochondriac. Even if I were, I would expect better care and time in the hands of the professionals than what they tend to give.

There was no answer. Babies cry and that’s just how it is. Some are more vocal than others yes, but it doesn’t mean that anything is wrong. It were suggested that we try control crying.. as if this would help with her round the clock cries. I wasn’t looking for answers of how to get my baby into a night sleep routine, and I didn’t want advice for control crying, I’d get more information from a book to be frank.

I wasn’t looking for anything actually,  I knew all too well how the appointment would go and knew that I would leave feeling stupid. My partner wanted this appointment as he was certain something was up. I merely booked it to prove a point and to show him that what I tell him when I call the GP each time is not a lie. I wanted him to see for himself how it goes. I wanted to prove my point and stamp my feet at the same time. My inner diva was out to play. I fear you not.

Some babies cry more so than others and they want held. This I know to be true with Eleanor. We were told that she was on the top dose for her reflux medication and to keep with this. When solid food becomes more frequent, her reflux should improve. Other than that, deal with the crying and just get on. If I felt it necessary, I could make an appointment to see the Health Visitor for advice on control crying but there was no cause for concern.

This was all said as I sat there choked up and crying spontaneously myself. I was crying because I was mad to have taken the car when I had hopes of fresh air. I was crying because I was drained, physically and emotionally. I was crying because this was the first outing of the week that involved human interaction  and it was now Wednesday afternoon.

I was mad at my partner, Euan for making me book an appointment to which I knew the outcome. I was told that he would get answers and yet here we are, no further than I have ever got before, Eleanor still crying.

I feel an element of guilt. Guilt that I can’t help my crying baby, I can’t take away her reflux and stop the back arching pain soar through her tiny body. I feel guilty that I want so desperately to have a break from her, even just for five minutes of peace. I feel guilty that I feel the need to have a break from her. As her Mother, I shouldn’t want a break from her. Should I?

I often can feel a whole lot of guilt and it seems that my best is never nor ever will be good enough. I ponder over thoughts about my parenting and I wonder if I’m a good Mother. I wonder if my Daughter knows how much I love her and I worry that I am incapable of the around the clock care she requires.

The Gp, I assume was left wondering who the appointment was initially made for. The sobbing mess of a Mother that I presented to her, or the baby sleeping in her car seat as though butter would not melt? Typical.

The thing is, the GP was correct, babies cry and all that we can do is hold them close and love them harder. It’s hard, it’s real tough, especially when you feel so hopeless and can’t help them take the discomfort of reflux away. Or even know the reason behind the cries. Is it reflux, teething, ear ache?

The guilt you feel along with the pain can be overbearing and overwhelming and I forget that as parents, we too are only human and we need to give ourselves a break and cut some slack or we will lose our minds. Its hard to always remain on top on situations and it’s hard to mimic what a baby wants at all times. Some days, there is just no pleasing these tiny humans.

I guess, I should be both grateful and thankful of Eleanor’s super dependent personality. I am lucky that I have my baby to hold and come time, I will look back and miss the cuddles and the closeness of my baby girl.

The days when I’m back at work and wish I could be curled up with her lovingly by my side at home, when she is a stroppy pre teen and I’m no longer cool enough to cuddle. I should take these moments to appreciate my ‘needy and vocal’ baby and love her as hard as I can all while embracing her before it’s too late and she no longer cares for the comfort of my company.

I hope that through weaning, the reflux will ease off. Our journey with food has only just began and we are still on select puree foods. I hope that when we venture into more tastes and textures, introduce baby led weaning her reflux will slowly disappear and we can forget about the difficulties that it has brought. Until then, I will continue to monitor and control it as best as I can with medication and a whole lot of baby cuddles. I hope that as she grows, she will become more independent and less reliant on myself, with this, the tears will stop too.

If you too have the struggle of a very vocal baby, don’t feel so alone. There’s always someone going through the same and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

We as parents are often too hard on ourselves and can be our own worst enemy, let’s be a little more appreciative of our efforts. After all, we are only doing our best and there are days that push the limits but we have to see past this. Take the good with the bad.

So here I am, sat on the sofa, same spot as always with a lukewarm cup of coffee, staring at a blank screen with a numb buttom from lack of movement,  preaching to all you parents out there, to take your baby and love them hard.

Keren x

Searching for baby day care as I prepare to ‘let go’.

The time has come for me to let go of that ever precious newborn stage and begin to shop around local nurseries to utilise when my maternity leave comes to an end. This is not something that I carry lightly as obviously, I wish for my baby to be in the best hands possible. If I didn’t have to return to work and could spend my time dedicated solemnly for her, I would.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury of being a stay at home Mum, I have to go out to work to earn money and continue to lead a comfortable lifestyle and offer the best that I can for my baby.

Besides, as much as I would love to stay in my baby bubble forever, in order for Eleanor to grow and become independent and strong I need to get over myself and get back to it. To regain a healthy work/life balance.

Plus, I think I need to regain some sanity soon as spending my days alone and chatting to my baby has let this young mind get a little hazy and lost. Even more so than previously. I swear mum brain is a thing, a really bad thing.

My memory is not the same as it once were and I struggle to out sentences together some days. Wether this is a lack of a social life outside of those four walls or sleep deprivation, I don’t know. Regardless, I must return to work and live my life again. Come four months time, my spell of nine months maternity leave will be over and reality has to kick start. Staring with returning to work and having Eleanor into a care routine.

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I’m well aware that Eleanor needs to start living her life and interact with other babies of her age to learn from them. I can’t offer her everything that she needs on my own and I feel that interaction with other babies and children can only benefit her development and personal growth. I can imagine she will come on leaps and bounds from the day she steps into her first nursery session.

With starting back to work in the pending months, I thought it best to get stuck in early and begin the search for a local nursery that will cater to our needs. I wanted some place close to home and close to my Mum’s all the same, a care centre that provided healthy and home made meals, introduced plenty of play and interactive activities with support from staff around the clock.

I hope to be return to work for three days per week. My Mother will care for Eleanor some of those days and the other days, she will be on the care of a private nursery. I’d happily have my Mother watch her each day I work but I deem it unfair for my Mum as she too works and I would hate for her to struggle with Eleanor on a bad day then have to get ready to go to work in the evening for a twelve hour shift. That isn’t fair.

With that thought, I decided to look local and check out a nursery in Cove Bay. Close by and handy for my Mum should she do the pick up run for whatever reason. I went to view the nursery and meet with staff to get a better idea of the daily running of the centre and the care that the children receive. I must say, I left really pleased with what I seen and the information I received.

There are several rooms for the children, three outdoor play areas all of which were spacious and there were staff around wherever you looked. The manager met with myself and gave the walk around tour with the appropriate information and answered any questions I had. There is a kitchen on site where both a vegetarian and meat option of meals were cooked and snacks were home baked goods with limited salt, sugar and fat content.

I was really pleased with the whole home made food consensus and with Eleanor going to raised as a vegetarian, this too was perfect as it would suit her dietary requirements and I could be at ease knowing she was getting a healthy meal provided. I can’t stress just how important healthy eating is to me and I want my baby to be well catered for with a wide variety of healthy and nutritional foods.

I actually caught feeding time during my visit and it was good to see that the staff were at large and sat with the children, helping to feed when necessary. I also discovered that if Eleanor is still taking her milk, I can provide the nursery with breast milk for her and they would store a supply to give her as she wanted. It was really nice to see how the staff cared for the children and that the meal times were well organised and ran smoothly.

The nursery also has an online journal that is updated daily and gives parents the opportunity to check on what their child has been up to each day and of any news that is new to the nursery. There are day trips out to the local community and local parks and the children are encouraged to go out and play together.

Getting out is something which I too find very important and part of a healthy and active lifestyle. I’d hate to return to work and think that my baby was couped up inside all day, I do not feel that would provide a full release of energy and I imagine come time, Eleanor will be full of plenty of energy!

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I felt really content with the nursery and the whole running of it. I liked that healthy food was provided with plenty to choose from, there were staff at hand and the children can play outdoors and get on trips. It makes the day a bit more exciting and offers a little fun for Eleanor. The opportunity to meet and play with other babies will be real great for her and help with learning life lessons and her personal development,  such as sharing and kindness.

I have opted to register Eleanor for this Cove Bay nursery for the days in which she is not at the care of my Mum. I looked online for reviews and input from Mum’s for many nurseries, Clive included and this certainly came out near enough the top of my searches. I’m unsure where I will return back to work, the days of work I will be offered and what days my Mother can care for Eleanor but I’m happy and feeling a little more settled now that I have found a nursery for her to register with and attend for some sessions each month.

The nursery offers morning and afternoon sessions as well as full days, I think that to begin with, I may opt to have her attend for around three afternoon sessions per month. This will give a better idea of how it will all pan out before committing to any set plans and full days or weeks of care.

I will get to know how she is coming on with her sessions and if they are worthy for her development. If I were to think that her development was being hindered, I’d have to then rethink my plans and look to find a new replacement nursery.  However, I think that this could be a great day care centre for her and I felt really happy with my insight of the building and staff.

I’m thinking of it more as a taster right now, before devulgung in and going for full days right from the get go. I’d like to break her in easy, if not just for Eleanor, but for myself. I imagine waving her off to her day care will be a very upsetting experience. My baby will be growing up, drifting a little further from me to allow herself room to grow and mature into her own person.

Before attending her first session, parents are encouraged to meet with the staff and create a personalised profile for their child. This means that the staff will try to cater to your child’s needs and each child is seen as an individual with their own choices, strengths and weaknesses. The nursery work on the strengths and weaknesses of your child and allow them dedicated time to do the things which they favour. Your child isn’t seen as just a number, they are allowed to be their own person and encouraged to be the best version of themselves.

I think it is something quite powerful yet saddening when you send your first born off to nursery care. I know I will feel an element of guilt that I can’t be there with her each day forever and I will definitely see tears but it will be a proud moment all the same and I can’t wait to watch her grow into the most perfect little human.

I know that I still have time to cherish and treasure with Eleanor for now as she is only just five and a half months or twenty two weeks if you’d rather. I’m due to be back to work for mid May but will stretch it out to June if possible through use to annual leave. I’m desperate to hold onto the time that I have with her. I don’t want to let go. This is the first time and only time I will ever have with her to myself for such a long period and I’m not ready to wave goodbye just yet.

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Waving goodbye to baby will be tough and finding routine again – another new routine will take time. My return to work will be such an emotional rollercoaster. I will be once again, stepping into the unknown and I won’t have my daily companion by my side, she will be in day care or with her Grandmother and I don’t know how I will cope being at work and not at home raising her by myself.

It’s a daunting feeling that will hang above my head until the end of my leave period but I am certain that I have found the right day care for her and knowing she will be well cared for puts me at ease (a little). I’ll have to stop myself from calling my Mum or the nursery every few hours to check up on her,i just know it. With time, I’ll adapt as she will and it will get easier.

Until then, I’ll just hold her close for as long as I can. Unwilling to say goodbye to the newborn stage and those first months, those first moments that are, oh so precious.

Has anyone recently went back to work after having a baby? Any coping mechanisms for this new Mum who is afraid to let go? I feel guilty and fear to be leaving her,  I don’t know how I can work to get over this fear and just embrace this whole new and ever changing lifestyle that I have taken on?

This family life. My family life. My family.

Keren x

 

Maternity leave and Motherhood. Where dreamy expectations meet reality.

The illusion of Motherhood.

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Call me naive but I had great hopes for my spell off work on maternity leave. Maybe, I am just too new at this whole baby game and Motherhood to understand exactly how much work a newborn entails and how little time there is left for leisure.

Perhaps if I had been more in the know and more accepting of a new lifestyle change I’d have not been hit with such a harsh reality and have my illusion of maternity leave shattered. Perhaps if I were wiser, I’d have foreseen that with Motherhood and maternity leave, there are no dreamy illusions.

Let’s get to the point, with a spell of maternity leave from work, I had such great expectations and ideas.

For a start, I believed that I would still be able to get up and get dressed each morning, to pick out a pretty outfit and to do my make up and my hair real nice. I believed I would have the time and then some to feel like myself all while nursing a newborn. My baby would sleep and I would have all the time in the world to take a hot shower and get myself ready each and every day. Yeah right. I was met with a harsh reality. A reality that is now every day life. A reality that is now me.

I’m afraid to say that maternity leave is not all I expected it to be, at least not at this  initial first stage. I lack the time to shower and get myself ready, I don’t have time to bake homely goods and make the dinner that I’ve been perfecting out of the dozens of recipe books I own and I certainly don’t have time to be heading out on leisurely shopping and coffee trips. The only escape I have from my reality is through writing my blog and even with that, I’m still plugged into Motherhood. There’s no escape. I am completely consumed.

I am lucky if I have ten minutes to myself to have a cup of coffee and settle down to one of the books I bought myself as a treat for maternity leave. I cannot watch a TV show without the interruptions of a hungry baby demanding to be fed and I certainly don’t have the opportunity to work on my culinary skills.

In fact, I lack so much time that dinner is a slap up meal that’s come straight out of the oven, or in my case, a bowl of cereal which I dribble all down myself and my baby as I nurse her while I eat with one hand. My fiance has been living on beans and various forms of supermarket frozen meats. The occasional vegetable thrown into the mix for good measure. I swear I will make a good wife yet..

Baking? Well, you can forget that, I can barely make it out to the supermarket alone to collect baking supplies, never mind start the baking in question. I did once love to bake and I wanted to try to improve on this while I have time off to do so.I could becoke and frequent baker and teach my daughter the skills but I have found that i lack the time, the energy and the motivation for any form of creativity right now. The carrot cake has been put on hold. Baking can wait.

Yes, maternity leave was full of high and mighty expectations. I had so much plans. I could join all of the mum and baby clubs, I could have coffee dates daily, go out and take a shopping trip each week – one that wasn’t met with a dose of anxiety as I waited for my baby to kick off and begin to cry and fuss in public. Hell, maybe I could even join the gym and go to some classes in the day time. Meet some new people. Make some new friends.

Friends are something that I lack, and always have. In primary school and even into secondary school I found I never really fitted in to any friendship groups or any clubs. I’ve always been a it of a lone wolf. It’s not that I don’t try to make friends, it’s just I’m a bit socially awkward and as an introvert, I really struggle in a social setting and meeting new people is a very big deal. I also don’t do touching..

Let me elaborate. You know that friendly hug that people do? That friendly peck on the cheek? The type that you never know which way to turn or wether you are meant to return that peck? Yeah? Well, you can guarantee I’m shying away and half way out the door before anyone is touching me. I don’t do hugs.

Shudder.

Let me mention that I’m also a bag of nerves when I’m out alone. Especially these days. I didn’t quite come to imagine this is how life would be spent with my newborn on our maternity leave. I certainly haven’t signed up to any baby clubs and I don’t know if I will. I don’t think it’s for me and I don’t feel I will fit in to the local mum clubs. Does that make me a bad mum?

Most days I spend at home with Eleanor and meet her demands as and when required. Around the clock nappy changes and feeds met with the household tasks in between and whatever I can catch of a TV show. I have become nothing more than a Mother.

The best job in the world some might say and sure, I love being a Mother. I love having my baby and feeling such a string bond with her, a bond I haven’t experienced with any other. I love that I have someone who depends on me, who needs me. I have someone I am responsible for and someone who gives me a reason to be the best I can be. However, I fear that I may be losing my identity at the same time as I find my feet in the journey of  parenthood. I am not really myself anymore, I’m in a mum zone and can only relate to all things baby. My mind doesn’t see past baby and I lose concentration easily.

No, maternity leave is not as creative or as fun as I had hoped. It can be lonely, days can be long and it can be grueling. You get some days when you fail to function. If it weren’t for auto pilot kicking in, I fear I’d not be able to move from my spot on the sofa to see to my baby. That’s the extreme days though and no, not each day is like that.

If and when I enter the outside world, I prefer to have my mum or Euan with me, I can’t stand to be out alone with Eleanor. It’s much easier to take her out with company. I feel less alone and have help at hand if I need it.

I know that I shouldn’t worry if she does fuss while in public, she is after all a baby and it is expected. A great anxiety builds within me each time I leave the home and If I’m alone, all I want to do is run back home before I begin to cry. I feel myself well up and have to try hold back from crying whenever I step out alone. That sounds crazy. I know.

Wait, have I gone crazy?!

Even just nipping five minutes down the road and queuing in the local shop to buy a sandwich and a tin of juice for lunch has my body twitching with nerves. I never used to be so anxious but since having Eleanor, I’ve definitely noticed I have become a bit of a nervous wreck. I can’t pin point why. It’s perhaps just a phase which will pass, I’m sure if I asked any health professional that’s what they would tell me anyway. It seems to be all they tell me.

I had planned to look the part of the stay at home mum, all while making the home look nice and stay that way. I wanted to work on my culinary skills, to bake lots. I wanted to still take the time to look good, not only for myself but for my fiance to admire each time he walked in the door. I didn’t want to have my baby and let myself go.

Yep, I set the standards high for myself and I expected to meet them. It’s safe to say, any standards I has set for myself are regularly not met. I’m on a losing streak.

In honesty, yes I shower every day but I don’t often have the time to dry my hair, make up is either half done or not at all and I don’t have the time to pick out one of the many pretty dresses I own. I live in a £2 Primark bra that kind of fits my swollen breastfeeding breasts, jogging bottoms and a dressing gown with slippers that are too small and squish my toes. Real glamorous.

You can often find me changing from one over worn t shirt to the next in between baby naps due to excessive sweating as a result of breastfeeding and my hormones. Maternity leave will be so much fun she said..

I don’t get the time to sit and read a book with a hot drink, I don’t watch the TV, sure it’s on as background noise but that’s all that it is. I certainly don’t cook and the most nutrition I get is from my daily dose of vitamins – which I swear by, by the way.

I wanted to be the picture of a stay at home mum. The type of mum who plays an active part on the local baby clubs and the mum community. The type which I have come to realise that you only find on those far fetched American TV shows. The TV shows aren’t true to form, trust me. It’s all an illusion and Motherhood is not glamorous.

I wanted to be the type of mum that you see on adverts and wonder how she does it. Wonder how her home can be so clean, her meals so wholesome and her face immaculately painted all with the happy baby in the fresh white baby grow and the smug smile to match. The bitch.

Maternity leave is nothing like I had imagined and I find it quite difficult to adapt to having the time off but failing to meet any of my expectations of this time. I get out with the help from my Mother, I have no friends near by that I can simply just meet up with and even if I could getting out the house is a big effort which leaves me a little drained.

I’ve even began to do the weekly food shop online because getting out to do it was too much of a challenge and it stressed me out to the point that I’d end up in a bad mood and feeling upset.

Maternity leave is like nothing I had imagined. It isn’t glamorous, I don’t get to look nice I often feel like a bit of a hag with terrible eye bags and a headache that does not leave me. I’m tired, nervous and a bit behind on the household tasks.

However,what I have learned during this stage of maternity leave is that I love my baby. I love her so much that almost none of the above matters, what matters is caring for my child,not how good I look or how good I smell as I care for her. What matters is that I raise my baby well and do the best that I can along the way.

Perhaps right now we aren’t fine dining, I’m not in the best shape I have been and the house is a bit dusty. Perhaps I am not top of the mum committee’s and perhaps I am missing out on a good old shopping and lunch trip but this is only right now. It’s just the beginning. Maybe someday I will get it right and I will be able to find the balance. Is there ever a happy balance post baby?

Someday, I’ll be that mum from the adverts and I’ll be able to provide good meals, fresh bakes all while looking good and having the home sparkle. Yeah right…

One can dream, the reality is that life is not how I expected post natal and I didn’t expect to spend my time on maternity leave slumming it but that’s how it is and this is my reality. My baby is happy and my fiance never goes hungry so I suppose I’m winning in my own way. It’s not picture perfect but I am learning to deal with the fact it never will be.

I can’t do it all, no matter how much I would love to. Shout out to all of the mum’s out there doing the best that they can. If your reading this, you are probably most definitely doing better than me.

 

Keren x