Breastfeeding · Sleeping · Working

How will I know? 

I couldn’t sleep properly last night . Amazingly, the baby could – but the husband decided to put on a nocturnal nasal symphony… how thoughtful….

So here’s my brain activity from approximately 3.30am today:

How will I know when and how to stop breastfeeding?

How will I know when will be the right time to potty train? 

How will I know when to move her into her own room? 

How will I know when will be the right time to start her in pre-school?

How will I know when will be the right time to go back to work? 

Lying in the semi-dark thinking of these things and wondering what the timeline may be and also about the fact that in the last week I’ve heard the phrase “you’ll just know” at least five times from five different people.  Now, my intuition is pretty good (I’m a Pisces, so really, what d’you expect) but I had hoped there’d be a more scientific basis for figuring these things out. 

The first is really the least of my troubles. I don’t actually care when she stops breastfeeding. I know my life would be a whole heap easier if I did, but I’m still puzzled as to how I will get her to sleep at night with any efficiency without it. 

I had pencilled in Christmas as the time to potty train but she’s showing some signs of readiness now. But you don’t want to do it if you’re going away soon, which we are next month so… Christmas it is… sorted.

When to move her into her own room… hmmm… the other night she woke whenever I rustled the sheets in my bed. So I figured I must be disturbing her – time to move? The night after, didn’t follow the same pattern at all, so keep things the way they are? Last night she slept really soundly but we were at my mum’s and her cot was 6 paces from my bed (same room) Her room in our house is 12 paces from my bed (I have actually measured). So again, time to move? I don’t want to dismantle the cot and rebuild it only to find I’ve made a mistake…. I think this one requires further data collection… that might mean a few more bad nights… or at least a few nights where I try not to move a muscle… awesome, can’t wait! 🙄

Pre-school. She’s signed up to go from next September, just after turning 2.5. Judging from the way she’s really starting to enjoy other kids’ company I’m fairly happy with that decision but it sort of ties into the last question. 

Returning to work. This and the breastfeeding have quite easily been the two topics on which I receive the most outside pressure.  I will literally scream in the face of the next person that tells me my daughter, at this age – which is less than 21 months – doesn’t need me. I need to go back to work. I’m wasting my brain by spending my day looking after a child (a brat addicted to Paw Patrol and music on the iPad). That I’m being a stay at home mum for my sake, not hers – after all, she doesn’t need me. Children of working parents are self sufficient and marvellous whereas children of stay at home mums are indulged, entitled brats… and so it goes….. on and on and on… 

I will go back to work at some point (if anyone will hire me). I want a job that I’m passionate about but one that also allows me to be present for my kid, just on the off chance she needs me at some future date. So whether it takes a week, a year or three years to find that holy grail of employment, I’ll continue to enjoy the time I have with my little one…. Because once this time is gone, it’s never coming back and I’m never going to regret taking a few years away from the hamster wheel.

Breastfeeding · General thoughts · Sleeping · Working

If I knew then what I know now…

It won’t come as any surprise that my intentions for maternity leave and life as a mother differed wildly from reality. I intended to breastfeed my child for 6 months. I intended to switch to a bottle thereafter (cos that’s what you normally do, right?).  I intended to have a freezer perpetually stocked with delicious Annabel Karmel approved food. I intended for my child to only ever sleep in her cot, preferably in the beautifully decorated nursery after the age of 6 months. I intended to go back to work after 8 months. I intended to be able to leave her for a weekend by 9 months. I intended to be creative and constructive during my maternity leave – starting an incredibly witty blog was of course number one on that list.

What a muppet!

In fact, of all the intentions and promises I made to myself before my bundle of joy arrived, the only one I’ve stuck to was to have a shower each day. [Pats self on back]

An NCT friend of mine once said “we were all perfect parents before we had the babies.” No truer words were ever spoken. The information available to expectant and new parents is vast and often overwhelming. If you’re anything like me, then reading and gathering information provided comfort. I felt armed, I thought I was prepared, I thought I had a clue.

What I hadn’t foreseen, that in my case at least, the ability to make decisions based on reason and informed judgement would be replaced by emotion and intuition.

Here’s the reality, my daughter is 19 months old and continues to breastfeed up to 5 times a day (and that doesn’t include when she wakes at night).

She does eat homemade food most days of the week but I also have an entire shelf in my pantry that holds pouches and other pre-packaged baby food. Convenient for when out and about and for those evenings when you just. can’t. be. bothered.

There is a nursery, it is tastefully decorated with a “fly me to the moon” theme complete with glow in the dark star curtains. My daughter does not sleep there. She does however sleep in her cot… mostly. I took the side off and attached it to our bed, a recent development after months of co-sleeping (more on that in another post).

I loved my job, I loved my colleagues and the camaraderie, but I have a secret. Before I became mama I never expected to like being at home with the baby. I didn’t think there would be much to enjoy. I’ve always worked and before now I’ve never not wanted to. I thought I would be lonely. I’m also fairly sure I’m not supposed to admit that out loud. But I do enjoy it, I love it. Not every minute of every day, I’m not a bottomless pit of patience but this is probably the biggest surprise of all. So when the husband got offered a new job which would leave me no choice but to quit mine, I was relieved and elated that the new job also afforded us the amazing opportunity for me to not have to go back to work. Looking back, I know that I would have spent every minute at work wishing I was with my baby but I’m not sure that I would have spent every minute at home wishing I was at work.

I haven’t been apart from my daughter for more than 4 hours. Partly because of the breastfeeding… partly because it breaks my heart.

As for creativity? I’m an accountant, I’m a scientist.. It was always going to be a big ask…. But here I am, having a go – better late than never….

So the take away from all this? Read, plan – go ahead. But plan on being surprised.