Working Mum

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It’s hard to believe time is ticking down to the end of my maternity leave. At the end of November I’ll be back to work full time, and until then I’m working 1-2 days a week as ‘keep in touch’ days.

And so we’ve had to address the issue that all working parents face – who is going to care for our beloved little ones whilst we’re at work?

Whilst we’ve used nurseries in the past we’re lucky enough to have an awesome childminder for G, and I knew all along I wanted C to go to her when I went back to work. So over the past few weeks we’ve reached another milestone in C’s development – her first days with the childminder!

The picture shows the result of one of her first settling in sessions – her very first artwork and a baby fast asleep when I went to collect her, so despite her tears and protestations at me leaving she can’t have had too bad a time!

And of course there were tears, but to be fair at the moment we get ‘are you leaving me forever?’ tears if I go to the toilet or just close the car door so I can walk round to the drivers side.

There’s a big part of me that’s looking forward to going back to work, and my keep in touch days so far have reassured me that I do still have a brain, albeit one which hasn’t stretched its legs for a while. But at the same time I’m nervous of many aspects of it, not least the practicality of being a full time working mum and physically fitting everything into the week, particularly as C currently isn’t sleeping through at night.

I guess I also had the idea that by having a year off on maternity leave, I would have seen lots of the ‘first’ milestones before going back to work. Yet C is still not crawling, let alone walking (lazybones!), has no discernible words, hasn’t yet learnt to clap or point, and decided to use two of her settling in sessions to learn to wave and stand up (aided of course).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in the slightest bit concerned about her development, I guess she just still feels like a little baby to me. I’ll miss seeing those little developments when I’m working full time, when five days out of the week disappear in a blur of getting everyone up, dressed, out; and home, bathed and to bed.

But needs must, and I’m secure in my decision to go back to work full time being the best decision for our family. And I know both G and C will thrive and be happy with their childminder, as well as being glad they can play together before and after school.

And the one thing that will definitely be happy about me going back to work will be our bank balance, that’s for sure.

I’d love to hear how others have managed the return to work, especially any hints and tips on how to make the transition easier and to keep the week running smoothly!

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Bad Day, Good Day

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Nothing is predictable when you have kids, and especially so, it seems, when you have two. You would think the easiest days are when you have activities planned to entertain them and someone around to share responsibilities with, right?

Apparently not. This is how two days this week panned out for us:

The Bad Day

Baby wakes three times in the night for feeding.
Eldest wakes up early (on a weekend) demanding playtime.
Can’t find ballet cardigan. Hunt the house and eventually find it in ballet bag (hiding in plain view).
Hustle kids into the car and off to pick up eldest’s friend for ballet.
Running late, negotiate toilet trips and getting both kids ready to go into ballet with baby in sling.
Both kids promptly get upset by number of people in ballet class. Have to join in with ‘butterfly feet’ and ‘dancing arms’ (with baby still in sling). Remember I was never very good at ballet even as a kid.
Reverse the process of getting kids dressed again, this time with baby starting to cry. Alternate zipping coats with jiggling and ‘shh’ing baby.
Get back to car to find it won’t start. Phone full range of car literate mates to find nobody is answering the phone (probably still in bed!). Give in and phone breakdown company, husband and G’s friend’s Dad to pick up kids.
Baby’s simpering turns to wailing. Distinct aroma of dirty nappy.
Friend’s dad turns out to be a car whizz, huzzah! And husband has jump leads, double huzzah!
Send husband to football with eldest, drive wailing baby back home.
Leave car running on drive to charge up battery. Nip inside to change nappy. Discover pooplosion. Full change of clothes.
Baby hungry, sit in front window feeding with blinds open to keep an eye on car.
Husband returns with G. Turns out I’d misread an email which meant they’d missed the class.
Consider opening bottle of gin (it’s only 12 noon).

The Good Day
Wake up just before alarm. Baby has slept 5 hours straight. Feel like a new woman.
Nappy changed, baby fed, milk expressed for later.
G up bang on time, gets herself dressed (mostly).
Breakfast.
Bags packed for school, G collected by childminder.
Baby playtime.
Baby asleep.
Washing up done. Dishwasher unloaded and loaded.
Kitchen cleaned.
Lounge tidied.
Me fed, showered, dressed, make up on, even managed to cut my nails! Baby awake and contentedly gurgling in bouncer.
Feed baby again. Do some crochet whilst feeding.
All before 11am.
Pat self on back and wait for it all to go pear shaped.
Doesn’t go pear shaped.
Eat cake.
WIN.

So other than fluke, what makes the difference? I’m going with three things – sleep, childminder and cake.

Can’t really do anything about the first.

Second is officially a star (how does she do it every day?!).

Third – now that’s something I can get on board with!