Happy Birthday?

IMG_20170409_063438A week ago today, my baby turned 1. That’s one whole year of having him and being a mum. I wanted to write something last weekend but, I have to admit, I found myself too emotional!

Ted’s birthday stirred up a whole load of different emotions I wasn’t expecting. I felt guilty at the fact he is only just 1 but has been at full time nursery since Christmas; this then led to sadness at what I have been missing for a quarter of his little life. That being said, I am also proud of the confident little boy he is becoming and proud of us for giving him the best we can. Confusing eh?

Weirdly though, it also stirred up some of the feelings of regret I still have from when he was born. This isn’t something I have really ever talked about; partly because I know it is daft compared to what some people experience but also because it does still break my heart a little.

I actually had a pretty easy labour complete with the TV style waters breaking! Everything was all very relaxed and I spent most of it in a birthing pool with only gas and air. Overall, I was only in active labour for 8 hours (not bad for a first baby I thought) but Ted decided to cause a little drama by getting stuck at the last minute and wrapping the cord around his neck. The ending happened very quickly as the midwife hit a buzzer and other people rushed in just as I pushed him out. All I remember is him on my chest for a few seconds and then he was gone. Those few minutes were the scariest of my life. The staff were brilliant and a NICU doctor was by my side in minutes to explain that they had to take him. She let me have a quick cuddle until an incubator arrived and then he was gone again.

I know we are so lucky, Ted was fine and he didn’t even need any oxygen after all, but it was 2 hours before I got to cuddle him properly. At the time I was very rational about it all, it has hit me more as he has grown and realise how fleeting these moments are. It breaks my heart that I can’t regain his first minutes, I can’t ever get back his first 2 hours of life which were spent away from me. I can’t ever relive his first week, month, year; time is going by far too fast!

I know that all sounds very sombre but it does inspires me to make the most of everything and capture all I can on film. It’s why my Instagram is full of pictures of him and my phone storage is gradually dwindling. I know I can’t regain these moments but immortalising these memories is so important to me. His birthday was an amazing weekend (despite my mixed feelings) with gorgeous weather and we took more photos than ever! Something I will love looking back on.

I guess my feelings are ones I will never totally get over but, for now, here’s to another year of Ted. I vow to fill it with all the cuddles, love and fun he could possibly want and need!

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I survived!

Yep, that’s right! I survived my first whole term back teaching full time! It feels like a massive achievement proving to myself that I can be a mum and still maintain my career.

However, that doesn’t mean that it has been easy. The Spring term is always crazy but this one seems to have been more nuts than ever for a variety of reasons;

1. I didn’t get the easy timetable I had hoped for. I smugly thought I would get away with taking back the small GCSE group I had left. Unfortunately, another member of staff left suddenly at Christmas leaving me with his two Yr 11 classes: that meant 64 students instead of 10!

2) Progress review evening followed by another followed by another!

3) Mock exam season. 1 language paper x 1 literature paper x 64 students… Yeah, you catch my drift!

4) And the day they were finally marked, we get the 24hr OFSTED notice. Argh! Thankfully they came and went with minimum stress 🙂

5) This last half term was a 7 seeker – the most dreaded length for all teachers! Exhausted.com!

So, needless to say, I am so ready for this Easter!

However, most people still seem surprised at my decision to return full time and also keep on my responsibility as KS3 English Leader; for me, it has worked and I feel I have had the most successful term I could have hoped for.

If you’re in this situation, please know that it is your decision and yours alone. Ignore what others say and do what is best for you and your family. For me, these are some of the things that have helped;

1) Finding a good nursery. In fact we have an outstanding nursery! I have never felt bad leaving Ted there as he loves it so much. This certainly eases my mum guilt!

2) Sending Ted to nursery for longer. He attends 8-5.30 which means he gets all his meals there. I am then able to do all my work at school and, when we get home, it is purely playtime and weekends are completely free of work! Much better than rushing and stressing over marking and making tea!

3) Putting your foot down. I only do what I am willing to do and I refuse to be told otherwise. Saying no is so important now that my priorities have changed.

I still love my job and still aim to be a Head of Department; having a baby hasn’t changed that. But it is certainly a relief to prove that i an still in track!

Ted’s bedroom

It may have taken till he was 10 months old, but Ted is finally in his own room! He didn’t stay in with us out of choice, we sold our house when he was 4 weeks old and hoped to move in August with plenty of time to decorate…We eventually moved in December!

To add to this, the room we chose for him was a hideous pink colour (not a nice pastel pink a disgusting, blamange pink!) and needed a good amount of work to make it habitable!

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I was quite disappointed to not get to sort a proper nursery for when Ted was born. We gave it a lick of paint but we didn’t ever intend to stay in the house so it wasn’t worth it. After 2 months, I am genuinely proud of how Iain has turned it into a lovely room that I hope Ted will love for years!

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…after.

I love the colours we chose. Yellow, blue and grey are timeless and neither too babyish or too grown up. IKEA has been our furniture staple and I love the blanket and light fitting from there: perfect to dim the lights and cuddle up for a bedtime story.

I also love these decorations I got off Etsy. The pictures are gorgeous and the garland from The Bear and The Bird matches perfectly! The dinosaur lamp came from a shop in Cumbria. I have loved it since before Ted was born and am so pleased to have it up now!

International Women’s Day!

Today is International Women’s Day; a day where women across the world are recognised for their achievements; a day where past struggles are remembered; a day where women are recognised as strong individuals. Women’s rights in the Western world have changed so much over the last century and we should actively applaud that and appreciate it. There are still many countries where women’s rights are still an issue.

In the UK, women can vote, drive, become Prime Minister and do whatever job they like. We have that equality. But that doesn’t mean the old attitudes are gone.

I have never felt the divide more keenly then since I became a mum. The traditional expectations you feel placed upon you are intense. I’m not sure society even realises the pressures that are still placed upon women. The worst of these seems to be attitudes towards motherhood and work.

Since I returned to work, I have become frustrated and shocked by the amount of negative comments I have received; “Are you really back full time?”, “So you took your responsibilities back?! That was brave!”, ” I bet you’ll want to drop a day next year.”. The saddest part is that most of these comments have come from women! Surely if we want to achieve equality we have to start leading it ourselves first! Working mums have enough mum guilt to deal with; the last thing we need is for other women to not trust us to do our jobs well just because we are now mothers.

Working full-time is tough! But there are hundreds of us out there keeping the plates spinning all the time.

To all those mums doing it, thank you. Thank you for grinning through the sleep deprivation; thank you for meeting your deadlines and targets; thank you for making the right choice for you. At the end of the day, that is what women’s rights are about: having the right to make a choice. My choice is to be a full-time teacher, yours might be to work from home. Today is about applauding us all!

Keep up the good work ladies! Happy International Women’s Day!

 

 

Life with Ted

Today, I have been suffering with a teacher’s most dreaded illness: laryngitis. It is possible to fight through a day of teaching with most ailments but this one really throws a spanner in the works! So I have been resigned to a day of voice rest at home.

Thankfully, Ted goes to nursery so I have been able to rest properly on my own today. What I hadn’t realised was how weird it would feel to be alone. Ted will be one next month and today was the longest time I have been on my own at home since he was born. I should consider this a luxury; it has been like a strange insight into the past before life with Ted. I’ve watched rubbish TV all day, lay on the sofa in peace, drunk hot drinks, ate food without having to share, got some work done (I might be off ill but the marking never goes away!), went for a wee when I felt like it and my house is actually tidy! I feel better for it; but I just felt something was missing. All of these are everyday things I claim to miss but, in reality, I much prefer life with Ted.

After all, life with Ted means running round after him, getting up at 4am, cleaning up snot/dribble/crumbs/juice/toys/books etc. But life with Ted also means lots of cuddles; life with Ted means I get to be silly as much as I like; life with Ted means guaranteed smiles; life with Ted means learning something new everyday. These are things that I now value far more.

So, as much as I enjoyed that warm cup of tea and whole biscuit, I’m glad that I now have life with Ted. I wouldn’t go back if you paid me!

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My mischievous monkey!

The Half Term Lurgy

It’s nothing new, especially for a teacher. I’ve spent many weeks off full of snot, lying on the sofa, treating myself to dreadful food to make myself feel better. Usually, it’s a relief to not be ill during term time as setting cover is such a pain! Not anymore…

Not now I have Ted. Having returned to work full-time in January, I have been counting down to spending a week with my boy. Time for days out, trips to the park, playdates; just like on maternity leave! Then, boom, I’m struck down with a bug – sore throat, mouth, head etc. Etc. Urgh!

In the old days I’d cope fine! When I was 32 weeks pregnant I had a chest infection so spent 3 days with my feet up watching rubbish daytime TV whilst my husband took care of me: I won’t lie, despite coughing up green phlegm and taking antibiotics, it was utter bliss! But this week has introduced me to the joys of being ill with children…it is not one of the ‘firsts’ I have relished! Chasing a lively 10 month old, who has no concept of fear or danger, does nothing to help achy muscles, nor does Cbeebies help a headache. I found myself bribing him with rice cakes (thank the lord for rice cakes in our house!) just to keep him still! Not to mention the fact that he gave me the bug so was still grouchy as he was recovering from it. Needless to say, it has not been the happiest of half terms!

I am grateful for a few things though;

1) My husband – when I was a quivering mess on Thursday morning, he used up a holiday day to stay home with us. I may not have got much more rest but it meant Ted had a fully functioning adult around!

2) Not having to set cover – I still maintain being ill in half term is preferable to this!

So, here we are on Sunday night and half term is over. I guess we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed for Easter! If anyone has any suggestions on ways to cope please send them my way! I’m sure I’ll be experiencing this again!

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My staple food for the week