How would it ever work?

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Yesterday was a game of two halves for me, a bit of a rollercoaster. I woke up early enough to have a decent length shower, wash my hair, dry it (shock) and put on a full face of makeup. All before the little man demanded breakfast. I got him off to nursery with a day planned that consisted of looking at a property, some last minute research, an informal conference call interview, a trip to the shops to buy some birthday gifts. So a productive day was planned.

I was a little nervous about the ‘informal interview’ it’s been a while and it’s for a weighty role in the big smoke. It’s for a company that has always been on my ‘ I’d love to work for them’ list. I’m feeling pretty good about it as they found me, so whichever way it goes I can be thankful that I still look like a good proposition on paper!

I drop the Rockstar at nursery, whizz home to pop some washing in and the phone goes – I see the name of the nursery pop up. Whenever this happens I always fear the worst – He’s been expelled at 2 and a half!

Chicken Pox has been all over nursery and although I have been quietly bragging that we’ve not caught it I knew our time was up. But WHY today! I got back in the car to collect him. I can cancel the property viewing but the interview with a poorly two year old in the  background, never gonna work. Worst still when I collected him he only has 3 spots and is full of beans.

I quickly call my mum and tell her we’re decamping at her house so she can entertain the boy whilst I pretend to be the professional I once was. Just as well they couldn’t see me from the waist down in my tracksuit! It went well and I hope it goes further.

Although one question that keeps cropping up ‘ How could it work? take days like today when Mr S has to go in to the office, I was the one that collected the little man. If we were both working full time as employees to someone else, how do you make this work. Which one takes the day off? what if there is no support around for someone else to collect the boy? (luckily for us this is a very unlikely situation)

So following my 40 mins of professionalism I went back to being mummy, full of cuddles and Bing. When nap time finally arrived I was back on my lap top trying to work out potential budgets and movements should this come off, a bit premature but may mean I do want to give it a go, if I get the chance.

Then an email pings in to my account from a local recruitment agency asking if I am looking for work. The role is reasonable enough, not as challenging as the Big Smoke one, probably wouldn’t offer me any career progression (Another question – at 46 should I still expect that?) and half the money but it is on the doorstep.

Yes it would be easier for the family but is that enough for me?

I didn’t think having a baby as late as I did would fill me with such emotion in every area of my life. The career bit has raised it’s ugly head a lot lately, most of the time I think I need it back in my life. I enjoy working for someone else, I’m good at what I do and if that means we have to make some changes as a family I’m happy to do so but the question is will Mr S and the Rockstar go with those changes.

Anyway I better go back to searching for a new work wardrobe and a little mid week apartment in London……in reality that was cuddle a spotty baby while convincing him he didn’t need his third lolly of the day. How will that ever work??!

 

Friendship Groups – where do you fit?

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I spent the evening with some girlie mates on Saturday, we’re a mixed bag which is why we compliment each other so well. We have one that will listen, one that gives an honest opinion, one that you can call from anywhere in the world and she will help, the list goes on but it’s comforting to know we all offer something different.

During a chat a friend of mine admitted she was upset that she’d be described as ‘the career one’.
1. Why was she upset to be described as that? It’s a fab compliment
2. Once upon a time it was me that would have been described that way

This made me ask – where do I fit now? I don’t need to be pigeon holed/ranked amongst the group but we  do have friends that have an obvious fit.

* The ‘Dater‘ who enjoys coasting not seeming to be rushing to make plans for the future. She’s out a lot and has a good social life.
* We have the ‘Mumsy‘ who has raised two kids on her own and done remarkably well but doesn’t want her girls to grow up so will staying mumsy of a while yet. We think its time she finds herself the gorgeous man and has fun. That said she is studying for a degree so once the kids are gone she can enhance her career.
* The ‘Fit One‘ the MILF of the gang. The less said about her the better!
* That ‘Career Girl‘ she’s worked hard and will be a Director soon, she doesn’t have a huge amount of luck on the man front, she’s a tad fussy! I also admire her skill in having different pockets of mates that enhance her social life to the point of over doing it sometimes. She likes to keep everyone happy, while maintaining a really good job.
* Then me – I used to be the career one, working hard and playing hard. I moved to the Big Smoke and had a fab working life but craved a personal life too so came back to the mighty West Country to gain some control. I met and married Mr S and had a baby all within 2 years.
For a while I was the ‘One that had it all‘ a family and great job. I practically worked through maternity and went back to work after 5 months, so I guess I did have it all. Then circumstances changed I was made redundant and I become the ‘stay at home mum with a bit of freelance thrown in‘. I’m not sure that’s where I want to sit.
On a personal level I am the one that organises the fun stuff we do as a group, the one that instigates us getting together, sometimes I’m not sure why I bother as everyone is always busy, which just cements my place in the group as the stay at home mum with time on her hands, I wish the latter was true.

I have another set of friends ‘The Witches‘ I’ve been friends with them a long time, we’ve always worked but I couldn’t bring myself to call this set the ‘working girls!’.  We get together for a good old gossip but recently I’ve felt a little out of the loop. They all have older kids now and all work full time.
Our kids aren’t going through the same thing – mines in nappies, they are looking at Senior Schools and Unis. We did have work in common for a long time but that’s out of the equation at the moment for me, so I found myself bailing out of meeting them for dinner. I didn’t feel I had anything to bring to the table.

I try to think about the times when they were going through potty training and school runs and I was on a beach in Barbados or schmoozing with Johnny Depp. Right now I don’t have anything exciting to add so I step away. Don’t get me wrong I love hearing about their work and families, I love them all dearly but I guess part of me is a bit jealous.

I want to be a bit of everything – that mum that cooks and cleans, works full time and looks amazing. Not sure that is even possible, there always has to be a compromise.

The Career girl works hard and doesn’t put the time in to meet the man of her dreams has probably chosen her path (I envied her as she could go home to lay on the sofa nursing her hangover), the mumsy works hard enough to get by with her priority being her kids, the mates that have older kids and work full-time – they do this to sustain the lives they lead. All of which are commendable in their own way.

I’ve realised I need to stop looking for a label and enjoy this time. We survive financially, still have great holidays, the little man goes to nursery a few days a week so I can work and still have some amazing adventures with him. I may not be that career girl anymore with an amazing wardrobe and I’m certainly not that full on bake at home mum, I hope I fit somewhere in-between and am there for any of my crazy friends if they need me.

That’ll do for me. For now.

Get those Trainers on

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This week I have started a new journey to ‘Get healthy’. I have had enough time feeling sorry for myself, watching my body shape change in the wrong direction, questioning whether it would be this shape if I hadn’t got pregnant at 44 years old.

I’ve gone through phases in my life of getting fit; embarking on residential Boot camps which are the best fix for me. I return home rejuvenated ready to keep the weight off and I have. Twice! But they aren’t cheap.

In my past life I have been a member of a gym and attended at least 3 classes in a week so I know I can do it. But my life has changed now. I have a 2 year old and a husband. When the boy is at nursery I have work to do or look for, a house to tidy, shopping to buy, washing to do and an episode of Billions to catch up on.

I am mad at myself for not using the time I have had whilst looking after the baby and freelancing to actually get the baby weight gone and get fit. What a waste of time. So now I am embarking on the task in hand.

My sister is a great motivator and is steering me in the right direction, along with a fab Whats App group of mates, some of whom are in my position, others are a size 8 or 14 and happy with that.

I’ve read up on lots of protein powders and have decided on Herbal Life as my first try. I am not organised enough to work on a points system diet, I want to be able to eat the same food with my husband at night although a smaller portion.
It wasn’t too expensive and actually tastes nice.

The powder is mixed with milk and you can take it for once or twice a day. I’m opting for twice where I can, mixing the Vanilla powder with banana, strawberry or coffee. Not sure coffee is the suggested option but it was yummy. It’s hard not to pick when you’re making lunch for the little man but it’s not proving as hard as I thought.

I’m a bit hung up on not earning as much money as I used to, so I’m not rushing to fork out for gym membership, so I’ve dug out those Davina DVD’s and found some exercise workouts on Amazon Prime. I am determined to work out on the 2 days the little man is at nursery and I have dug out my tap shoes and enrolled on a tap class. Toying with Barre Ballet but until I can’t even see my toes let alone touch them so that may have to wait!

This new challenge isn’t about getting a ‘insta ready’ body, it’s to feel comfortable in my skin, in my clothes and with myself, oh and maybe with the hubby.

I need to be fit and healthy for my son. I’m an older mum and have a tendency to worry about how old I will be when he needs me for the emotional and physical times in his life, I want to be able to carry those boxes in to his first home, I don’t want to be a burden on him if I get sick because I didn’t take care of myself.

Until then it’d be good to be able to chase him in the park when he runs away, without feeling like I need a hit of oxygen.

Bring it on.

If I could turn back time

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I don’t mean I want to forget about that guy I once dated or that job I hated, although there’s been a few of those. I’m talking about my life just 4 years ago.

Please don’t get me wrong I love Mr S and the Rockstar but some days, usually when I’m sleep deprived or searching for work, I do find myself thinking about my life before them. More often or not imagining my life with just Mr S.

We didn’t have much time as a two, we were pretty swift in becoming three and I don’t regret that for a minute. At my age it was a gift, which is why I feel guilty having these thoughts of my life before them.

I find myself thinking about how I’d plan my weekend after a really busy week at work, where I’ve only eaten bar snacks with drinks after work, hit the gym a few times and attended more meetings that I care to mention. My weekend would consist of a lie in, breakfast out reading the papers, shopping for an outfit to wear out with the girls followed by a lazy Sunday and a roast in a fab gastro or an afternoon in front of the TV. Yes, I admit it I miss those days.

We were looking for a holiday last week for the 3 of us and we’re lucky enough that Rockstar is at an age where we don’t have to go to ‘kidtastic’ so we can still stay in a reasonably grownup hotel, but we do have to think about the flight time. I would love to jet off to Thailand and reminisce over the holiday where I met Mr S or suggest we fly to my favourite family holiday destination of Barbados but things have changed. Maybe Vegas for the weekend or just a weekend at The Pig.

If we didn’t have the Rockstar then Mr S and I could jet off, he’d take some encouragement to be spontaneous but he’d go with it – we’d be living the DINKY life (Double Income No Kids Yet).

I had to take the car to the garage this morning during rush hour, I sat in traffic imagining myself driving to the office for a full days work, sitting at a desk, drinking hot coffee, being challenged and creative. I miss that. I guess I am still adapting to my challenges, the 2 year old gives you many, not working full time takes away you’re independents. I constantly question ‘ who am I now?’.

I’ve got a few girls nights and lunches in the diary over the next month – outings are a bit like buses, you have none for ages then they all come at once. I feel bad about leaving Mr S with the boy but I think I need it.

This Friday went to a talk with Giovanna Fletcher – you know that fab couple (she’s married to Tom Fletcher) who seem to have it sussed holding down two very successful careers and two kids. I went on my own which I was looking forward too, to just sit and listen to someone else talk about life experiences and feelings.

On Saturday I had a sleep over at my sisters, no kids and going out out! I’d rather we were cashing in those Virgin Atlantic miles I have stored up from my days of far away holidays and we were jetting off on a little weekend away with her somewhere sunny. Maybe next month if I can convince Mr S!

Is it wrong that I crave being at an airport? sat at the bar having a drink and a magazine that I know I will get to read from cover to cover, not worrying about whether we have enough toys to entertain the boy on the flight and being anxious about him screaming for 4 hours.

Is it wrong I crave to lay in the bath? with a glass of wine not listening out for the little man to wake or to organise more than 1 night away for some sight seeing and wine drinking.

Just to sit on the sofa and watch some crap tv WITHOUT the guilt would be great!

I do have a lot to be thankful for in my life, a great husband, a gorgeous child and a lovely home, in fact my gorgeous boy has just woken up and told me he loves me. One day he will be grown up so I will be free to do the things I occassionaly crave but as an older parent I will be so much older so will it even be possible.

So for now I will I just let myself be transported back and allow myself a sliding door moment.

 

 

 

 

Does he think I am ‘just’ a stay at home mum?

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Before everyone jumps down my throat – there is nothing wrong with being a stay at home mum, I am for most of the time. I have posted before about the pros and cons to stay at home vs work. I just worry about the effect it may have on my son.

I am really keen for my son to be a nice boy. I’m not saying a mummies boy just a nice, kind caring lad. As a family we have good values and morals, we help each other, we love each other and we all muck in when we need too so I think we will be ok on that front.

I worry that two year old has come out with some comments that have made me think about how I teach him about equality. He questioned why daddy was using ‘mummy’s hoover’, I asked the same question!

If he could write a diary of our day I worry it would go something like this.

I woke up in the night and mummy came in to see me, she stays until I went back to sleep. Daddy stayed in bed as he has work today although mummy did say she was super tired too.

When we all got up daddy went for a shower, mummy just got dressed, I don’t really see mummy in the shower much, she says she has one when I’m asleep or at nursery, which is just as well as I’m hungry and need my breakfast. Mummy rushes around in the kitchen making me three types of breakfast as I can’t decide what I want, I sit next to daddy while he eats his breakfast and watches Peppa Pig with me. Mummy is crashing around in the kitchen emptying the dishwasher and clearing up after daddy and me. She always nags daddy about wiping up the crumbs.

I cry again this morning when daddy goes to work, I don’t want daddy to go and sob for 10 minutes. Mummy looks sad that I cry for daddy and tries to make me feel better by saying we’re going to do fun things today. 

We go back downstairs, mummy said she just needs to have a quick tidy up and gets the hoover out. I rarely see daddy with this noisy toy, mummy whizzes around me. She’s good at not running over my feet or my cars.

We get ready to go out and jump in mummy’s big car. Daddy’s car only has 2 seats I love going in that car. I think mummy had a sporty car before I came along.

While we’re in the car, mummy calls daddy to ask him what he wants for tea and talk about Christmas shopping. Mummy said something about doing it on Saturday while daddy is at the rugby. I know daddy can hear me so I start shouting daddy at work, daddy at work.  Mummy gets a bit grumpy she asks me nicely to be quiet for a bit.

Mummy was right we do have fun today, we go to my swimming lesson, there is a girl with her daddy and I wish my daddy could come sometimes. Then we play at Mamma and Papa’s house I got all the toys out, mummy was pleased when Mamma said she would put them away. Mummy sat on the sofa and drank a warm drink. I don’t see her doing this much.

We had to pop home, as I needed some lunch. I was tired so mum had to feed me like a baby. I started to get a bit grumpy so mum popped me to bed. She said she was just popping downstairs; she looked tired so I hope she had a little nap. (She didn’t, she did some online Christmas shopping)

When mummy woke me up, she said we were going to the farm, it was cool, she said we both needed some fresh air. After that we had to go to the supermarket so mummy could buy our food. She let me have a treat as soon as we walk in to the super market; I knew we were going to be in here along time. Mummy made me practice my songs for the nursery Christmas concert while we did the shopping, she didn’t seem to mind that she looked silly doing all the actions.

We stopped to talk to a lady she knows, the lady asked if mummy was working at the moment – ‘of course she’s not, she’s looking after me’. Oh, maybe that’s what mummy does when I go to nursery. I thought it was just daddy that went to work. I never see mummy in smart clothes, we wear jeans and trainers everyday.

When we get home I decide to get every toy I own out on to the floor, I didn’t want mummy to do the washing or sit at her computer, so I ask her to sit on the floor and play with me. She does. She checks her phone sometimes and takes pictures of me playing.

After we’d played cars, trains and hide n seek mummy makes me some food and pops it on my table. She comes and sits with me with a cup of coffee. I eat it up like a good boy for her.

It’s getting dark outside and mummy starts to put all the toys away. She puts something quiet on the TV and tells me to get a book for a story. We sit on the sofa for a cuddle. I think I might be tired.

Then I hear the front door open and I hear ‘ Hello anyone home’, Hurrah it’s daddy, time to play. I jump off mum’s lap as Daddy comes running in. The room gets noisy. I watch mummy make dad a cup of tea, gives him a quick kiss and say she’s going for a wee. I don’t follow her and stand at the door as I usually do; I carry on playing with dad.

When mummy comes back, daddy and I have made a mess again; she walks through the lounge and starts cooking tea. Mummy keeps warning daddy that it’s bath time and bed soon, so we should calm down.

Mummy runs the bath and gets my pj’s ready. Daddy is the one that plays with me in the bath, mummy sometimes sits and watches, telling daddy about our day, there’s lots of things she tells him that I must have missed – she’s called the doctor, changed my nursery days, organised her birthday lunch. She always tells him I’ve been a good boy, I expect she tells him about my little tantrums later.

Mummy gets me dry and dressed in my pj’s, daddy doesn’t do it as well as mummy. He tries to play a game while he dresses me but gets in a bit of a mess. Mummy says it’s quicker if she does it.

Daddy asks if I want a story or to watch one episode of Bing. I go for the TV option the three of us lay on the bed and watch. Mum gets up to fetch my milk and comes back to take me to my room. I start to scream that I want daddy to do my milk, I want a cuddle from him. So mummy says good night and leaves us to it. 

I can hear mummy ask daddy some questions about food so she must be off to cook his tea. Daddy joked and said ‘ I’ll do it when I come down darling’. I look across my bedroom, my duvet is new and my clothes for tomorrow are all ready, when did mummy do that?

I remember all the toys are still out all over the floor. Poor mummy! I drift off to sleep.

Thinking he sees me as the stay at home mum already worries me, he doesn’t see my sitting at the laptop as working. I need my son to know that I do work, just like daddy. I’m not in an office and the hours aren’t as long hours as before he was born but I do work, he just doesn’t know it!

I also run the house, making sure everyone is fed, watered and clothed whilst organising all the fun stuff too. Maybe I need daddy to do a bit more cooking and tiding up in front of Rocco!

I want him to know that mummy thrives to be the best mummy and teach him how to cook, clean and use the dishwasher! I want him to know that working hard is a good thing but I will also teach him to be caring and loving while taking the knocks that life will throw at him.

Rocco doesn’t remember the days when I worked full time in an office, as he was only 4 months when I returned back to work before being made redundant. He doesn’t remember how I sacrificed spending days with him, for a job that gave me independence. I know our current lifestyle isn’t forever, there will be days where mummy does go out to work, daddy does more at home and Rocco goes to nursery more often – how will he see our family makeup then?

Social Media – As parents do we share too much?

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This week I posted a picture of my dad in hospital, he asked me to. It was after an emergency heart procedure, I think he was pushing for sympathy and comments – he got them by the bucket load. They helped him and us feel a lot better, knowing we had support from his friends and my friends. It felt strange to post something so personal but it felt good in the long run.

It got me thinking about how much I share online? I play around with my blog, just to ‘vent’ but I happily express my feelings and issues on parenting. On Facebook I try to be cryptic sometimes, it doesn’t always work. I vowed never to be that parent that posted pictures of my child, it didn’t work, I am that person.

How will Rocco feel about me letting the world see him in fancy dress outfits, covered in ice cream, looking super cute in a santa baby grow? On Insta I try and be more arty, it doesn’t work, the extent of me being creative is turning the image into black and white.

I don’t post pictures or topics that would encourage debate or be controversial. Some people post about how bad their week is, how much they hate their job or how their kids are driving them mad. Others write one liner cryptic messages, awaiting the sympathy comments.

If the status offers advice or knowledge then go ahead and post it, if you’re telling me what you’ve done today, what you had for lunch and what you watched on TV then I’m not sure I need to know.

The trouble is I know I do it and I hate it.

The parents I know tend to post about milestones in their child’s life – She rolled over, he walked, she used the potty. Sometimes it can sound a bit competitive or I tend to take it that way. I sometimes question my parenting skills or my son’s development just because of something I’ve read on social media. Ridiculous.

Around my son’s birthday I always get nostalgic about him being premature and super tiny when he was born, so found myself re-posting pics of him when he was born and how lucky I feel. I can hear my followers say ‘ oh no not again’, ‘I had a tiny baby and don’t go on about it every year’. Why would I share that journey? I was told we would regress and re-live that time of our lives, not sure it needs to be shared though. I hope sometimes that it helps anyone that is going through the same thing.

This week I spotted a ‘celeb’ posted a pic of her breast feeding her baby whilst playing with her niece. It was a super cute picture, they had matching outfits on but she got backlash she got from posting a picture of her breast feeding. She’s been an advocate for breast feeding in public but I wondered why she feels the need to do it.

Then another blogger has been ridiculed for posting pictures of her son wearing really cool unisex clothes. Personally I think he looks great but again she got backlash for it.

Product Endorsement is another really annoying social media gripe of mine. I understand how product endorsement works on social media. But I think the celebs should be honest and say they’ve been given the teeth whitening kit for free. Don’t set up the shot, people aren’t stupid. If you’ve been lucky enough to be sent product, as I have in the past, and you like it then by all means promote it on social media. Word of mouth is the best advertising.

I feel like a mass contradiction to be honest, social media is addictive: it sells, it allows people to communicate, you can share happy times with friends, you can gloat that you’re in sunnier climes by posting those gorgeous beach photos.

That said, maybe think twice before you post a status and before you comment. I am going to remember that not everyone wants to know my son has learnt to drive his go kart around a circuit at the age of 3 (here’s hoping) Social Media is real, you can hurt someones feelings and once it’s written or posted that it is it, it’s done.

Also published;

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/tamara-spurway/social-media-as-parents-d_b_13208644.html

 

Losing a parent

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This really isn’t something I’ve ever wanted to think about, I’ve still got a 96 year old Grandma – we’re made of stern stuff. Until this week when my old dad (not so old actually) was admitted to hospital for emergency heart surgery. He’d had a few pains and had some tests with inconclusive results, in hindsight for too long. Last week he was advised not to fly to Barbados on holiday in 2 days time and was booked into see a consultant instead. I did ask whether the fact he was flying Upper Class and could sleep all the way would help, ah no!

Consultant one day, heart op the next. Yesterday my mum, sister and I sat in his room waiting for his return from the op, we were all anxious and chatted about nothing, whilst all thinking the same thing. I worried about the outcome for mum but also for me and my sister, life without dad – we’re not ready to give the grumpy legend up yet. The surgeon said it would have been catastrophic if he hadn’t operated, no child needs to hear that.

I’m 46 soon and would obviously cope without my dad not through choice but it did make me think about how Rockstar would cope without me or his daddy.

When I am my dad’s age Rocco will be in his early twenties, he could be just out of Uni, finding his feet, house hunting, girlfriend issues, having all those wonderful experiences that I will want to be part of; whether he likes it or not. How would he cope with parents that aren’t fit and well? If I’d had him when I was 20 at least he’d be an adult when I’m in my ‘later years’.

I wouldn’t want him to have the burden of worrying about us if we got sick. He’s not here to look after us, we are too look after him. My parents have always been there for us, poorly or not.

This week I have had my sister to lean on, cry and whinge too, work out a plan to look after the folks and support mum. Rocco wouldn’t have that, so it made me re-question the whole ‘one child’ question, how would he cope in situations like this?

So Mr S and I are going to work a bit harder at getting fitter and eating better. We don’t know why my dad’s heart has given him this scare but I know it’s been a wake up call to us all.

Starting on Sunday I’m on a juice diet and digging out those trainers, after I have cried my way through Children in Need tonight and drank a bottle of mulled wine.

Thanks to The Spire for looking after all of us yesterday.

My fave wedding pic from Marcus Dodridge Photography