Feeding · Sleeping

It’s not ideal but just roll with it…

Apparently, I say this quite often. I’m considering having the phrase tattooed somewhere on my person – perhaps in mirror image on my forehead…

My kid keeps lulling me into a false sense of security. Last week, after coming back from holiday she slept for 6-7 hours straight at night, waking only once. This was a miracle. Then she did it the next night too and the idiot that I am thought this was the start of a new normal. Well, she called bullsh*t on that and for the past few nights I’ve been up with her between 3-5 times. Last night she was up almost every two hours. It’s not ideal, but just roll with it, everything’s a phase.

Then there’s naptime. There I was thinking we were getting in the habit of having one midday nap in her cot but no… lately I’ve had to hold her, keep her on me. That’s why there hasn’t been a new blog post in a week.  In fact, in the last few days, the only time she’s napped elsewhere was when she was in the pram and even then she wouldn’t go to sleep unless she was holding my phone. It’s not ideal, but just roll with it, it’ll be different next week.

The constant feeling of “I’m doing this all wrong” which normally sits in the back of my mind has been creeping forward, presumably because of the lack of sleep. And just because the universe is REALLY FUNNY, it chose this time to send me the latest Baby Centre email entitled “Milestones: is your child on track?”

The functioning part of my brain said “don’t open it,” – after all, nothing good ever comes of reading such emails but clearly the communication pathways between brain and hands were malfunctioning and I clicked on the link anyway. I know, I’ve only myself to blame when I read that by 20 months most children have mastered the following skills:

  1. Can use a spoon and fork – weeellll…. I suppose technically sometimes she manages to scoop a little onto a utensil and maybe that will find its way to her mouth, but generally no, no she does not use a spoon and fork.
  2. Can run – Yup.
  3. Can throw a ball underarm – she manages to launch a ball using her hands, whether it would be considered underarm or overarm, I’m not sure…
  4. Will pretend to feed a doll – fairly sure that she saw a doll for the first time last week and was entirely puzzled by it.
  5. Can take off own clothes with help – sort of….
  6. Will throw away on object such as rubbish, in imitation – yes, I guess? I can’t think of a situation when the above has occurred…

One out of six – not ideal but just roll with it. Of course my brain has fixated on the above instead of thinking of all the other milestones she has reached, like jumping, kicking a ball, fairly clear speech, making a tower of 4 blocks (oddly specific  ) and naming several body parts. Might have shot myself in the foot with the latter as I discovered that singing Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes would stave off changing table tantrums caused by those evil buggers – sleeves…. Only as a joke I added “and bum” after toes and now she shouts “AND BUM” if I don’t add it myself when singing the song.

Am now concerned that mine will be the first kid to be thrown out of pre-school when she insists on singing her own version of said beloved childhood song. Or if not that, she will be thrown out for not using a spoon and fork. Got a year to work on it all – not ideal but I’ll roll with it….

 

Breastfeeding

Today is a rant… sorry…

I was in two minds about posting this. I didn’t want to rant but I’m kind of reeling. Also am terrified of the people in question ever reading this but here goes… 

We’ve all read the stories about women being shamed for breastfeeding their babies in public. We’ve seen the photo of the mum, when asked to cover up, she covered her own face instead of her baby and boobs and I’ve considered myself very lucky that in my 20 month breastfeeding career I have not received any backlash in public. In fact most of the, at best, passive-aggressive commentary has come from those closest.

This afternoon was a gem.

Sitting in a posh restaurant waiting for some relatives and I thought I’d timed everything right and we may get through a meal without the kid asking for “mook*” – well of course not…. she started persistently asking and getting agitated and as we were just waiting at the table I figure a quick feed would be fine. And it was. The waiter that came to take a drinks order didn’t bat an eyelid, but then the family showed up:

Relative 1: “Are you sure you’re allowed to do that in here?”

Me: [stunned into momentary silence] Well, yes given it’s not illegal”

Relative 1: It may not be illegal but morally…. I mean…. at least cover up…**

Thankfully we were interrupted by Relative 2:

“Doesn’t she bite you with all her teeth? Or does she know better?”

Me: “Yes she knows better”

Here’s how I should have replied, and maybe one day, if I ever grow out of being so soft I might actually say:

“No, fuck off!”

And:

“If the latch is correct there is no way she can actually bite. The tongue covers the lower teeth and the angle of her head means she’s not in a position to bring her top jaw down with any force”***

I’m sorry to say that later in the meal the kid asked for “mook” again but I felt shamed into telling her she’d have to wait. She was upset and it hurt my heart but she’s getting pretty good at picking up on social cues (for a toddler) and didn’t have a fit. Instead she waited patiently until we were on the train home. Incidentally, a train full of zombie commuters staring at their phones is probably the easiest/best place I’ve found to publicly feed the baby given it IS in fact illegal to make eye contact on London public transport. 

I don’t breastfeed in public to make any sort of statement. I’m not purposely trying to make people feel uncomfortable. At this stage in the game, if I’m breastfeeding in public it’s because we’ve either been out and about all day or the child is upset about something and allowing her to breastfeed is the quickest and easiest way to soothe her. What would you prefer? A screaming banshee child or the possible risk that I might expose some boob flesh? Which, by the way, I got to an effort to minimise (thank god for the B Shirt – wish I’d found them sooner). I am looking forward to the day when I don’t have to think about ease of access to the “mook” when I get dressed but until that day comes I will continue to take care of my kid the best way I know how and if that means having to breastfeed in public I will do so discreetly. If that’s still not good enough… you know where you can go…. 
* My kid’s apparent thought process: Milk/Boob = Mook
**I was wearing a BelleBelly band under my top and was exposing far less skin than Relative 1 in her halter top with bra straps on show.
***My thanks to a local breastfeeding support volunteer for that explanation when I sought advice during a biting phase.

Relationships

In this together 

Sometimes – quite a lot of the time – my husband drives me mad. Shortly after our daughter was born he decided he would stop using half of his senses, you know like his eyesight or hearing. I have no idea why, as far as I know they are all in perfect working order. 

Anyway, his busy job means that the bulk of the day to day parenting is left to me. So when school holidays roll round and he’s able to do more with our daughter I feel like I’m supervising a hapless intern. You know what I’m talking about: asking for specific instructions and not following them when provided; having to repeat yourself cos he was too busy talking over me; requiring geographical coordinates should I ask them to retrieve an object…. that kind of thing. 

I mean the guy has a Bachelor’s, a Master’s and a PhD but when it comes to dressing the kid I still have to lay out the clothes in the order in which they go her body. If not laid out just so the kid ends up staying in her pyjamas until I change her. 

The lack of common sense can be astounding and yet he assures me that he’s not really trying to break my spirit. Apparently that’s an unintended side effect. But just as I’m really losing the will, I get a small glimmer of hope.

The latest was last week on holiday….there I was, really wanting to punch him in the face (over what I can’t remember but I do remember the rage) and I caught a whiff of something. I was 98% sure that the kid hadn’t just massively shat herself in her best dress but I picked her up and angled her bum towards the husband’s nose anyway. 

Me: Do you smell that? Has she done cacca? 

Him (sniffing daughter’s butt): No I don’t think so….. [brief pause]…. in any case that smell didn’t smell like hers…. 

Me: [somewhat stunned – stares unblinking at husband]

It had never occurred to me that the man who can’t tell the difference between a bodysuit and a sleepsuit would be able to recognise the smell of our daughters shit at a distance. That’s when I knew that when it hits the fan he’ll be beside me and able to smell it from 10 paces.

Travel

We’re all going on a summer holiday…. 

We’re off to France for a week and have booked a villa. Slightly concerned that the villa owner hasn’t replied to any message left in the last 10 days (neither emails nor voicemails left in my husband’s ‘excellent’ French). God knows if he’ll be there. Have no idea how to get the keys. Decide all will be well so we get to Heathrow with plenty of time. So much time that we can’t think of a reason why we shouldn’t take the kid to the soft play area. Can’t believe that even Heathrow has a 7th circle of hell! The child, dutifully spends 20 minutes clambering over the soft blocks, all the while giving me the side eye as is obviously unimpressed by the mini slide.

Flight is delayed by an oddly specific 39 minutes. I kid you not, the board says the new departure time is 1654 (?!?!). Flight is obviously delayed by a lot longer but only after we’ve boarded. Child goes to sleep on boob.  In the meantime we’ve sent more emails to villa owner to tell him of delays. Radio silence continues. 

Arrive in Nice, the jetty isn’t working. Finally get off plane but it appears passport control isn’t staffed and an angry mob is forming. Have child in sling. Child does not like me standing still when she is in sling. Child starts losing her shit as crowd gathers. Nearby adults shoot dirty looks. I start singing in an attempt to get child to calm down. Finally hit upon a song that she is happy to entertain and repeat “again, again, again!” More dirty looks from nearby adults. 

Finally catch a break and get the one passport control guy that couldn’t care less if your face matches the picture in your passport. Onto baggage claim. Nice airport very cleverly has the cashpoint next to a change machine to facilitate the extraction of the 1 Euro coin that you need to get a trolley. Bags comes out on the belt furthest away from the oversized baggage area. Traipse up and down baggage hall periodically with toddler waiting for stroller and car seat to come out. Car seat hastily packed at the last second as car rental confirmation states car seat is available “subject to availability!” (WTF?!) Thankfully, the villa owner finally answers the phone and says that he will wait for us. Or at least that’s what my husband THINKS he said (😳)! 

Get to car rental desk at 9.45pm. We’re informed that the desk is closing at 10pm so the man in front of us in the queue will be the last customer. We’re to take out bags, stroller and car seat and take a shuttle bus to another terminal. Now it’s my husband’s turn to lose his shit but he does so in his own specific way. He takes the lady’s name and will write a strongly worded email to Avis later. 

Get to bus stop. A different angry mob has gathered. See signs for a pedestrian route to the other terminal. No sign of bus. Have a feeling that the child will once again lose her shit. Start walking. Twenty minutes later and the baggage has fallen off the cart three times but we arrive at the other Avis desk. Thankfully we arrive 15 seconds everyone that waited for the bus so I don’t feel too bad about making the idiotic decision to walk. Besides, that walk built up a huge sweat so I can have chocolate for dinner right? 

Finally leave the airport in our shiny Volvo at around 11.30pm. Villa owner is indeed waiting for us. Rock up to the villa at midnight, a full 5 hours after we had planned. Spend a further half hour trotting out our best French trying to understand where all the switches are etc. – meanwhile child is asking for “mook” and I keep telling her to wait. Child is a trooper and patiently waits. We all fall asleep together just after 1am.

Holiday has barely started…. I wonder what the rest of the week has in store…. ? 

General thoughts · Technology

We need to talk about Paw Patrol… 

A few months ago, I realised the only way to make dinner or do some exercise without a baby swinging round my ankles (or climbing on my back) would be to plant her in front of a cartoon (or two).

I can’t remember why I chose Paw Patrol, probably a recommendation from another mum, but now it can’t be anything else. No CBeebies, no Ben & Holly, just “Pups!”

Now I’ve watched PLENTY of episodes alongside the munchkin and there are a few thoughts that have come to mind (mostly in the shower this morning) :

1. Firstly, the obvious – 6 pups and only one girl? Please….. The random introduction of Everest in season 2 hardly makes up for it….

2. The adults are ridiculous… Mayor Goodway, I’m looking at you… 

3. Is there some untold tragic backstory to the children of Adventure Bay? Are the main kids all orphaned? Where are Ryder’s parents? Alex lives with his Grandpa and what about Katie? She runs her own business to support herself and her cat instead of going to school! Wikipedia calls Ryder a 10 year old genius inventor – so that explains why he doesn’t go to school….. 

4. Who pays for the Paw Patrol? I mean, they have some serious equipment – a fully kitted out HGV and plane. And maintaining the Lookout can’t be cheap. So is that all funded by Adventure Bay tax dollars or is Ryder like a young billionaire Bruce Wayne? I guess that would make Robodog his Alfred…

Sorry, rambling – I have a point, let me try make it. When I started Buggyfit, the instructor repeatedly stated that the British Medical Journal says that all babies need at least 20 minutes of daylight regardless of the weather. Obviously if this does not happen your baby will grow up to be anaemic, will never grow to their full height and you will be a total failure of a mum – add it to the list….. 

I guess I’m concerned about the amount of time my baby spends in front of a screen and how much she asks for it, literally from  the minute she wakes up until bedtime. I’ve taken to hiding all devices or, if she does find them, I tell her they’re broken – or in her words “uh oh bow-ken!” We’ve also started negotiating, which isn’t a bad thing. “Two episodes of Pups and then…”… fill in the blank. To date, it’s worked like a charm and she and I both stick to our ends of the bargain. 

Last week I had to take the baby to the doctor and to prevent an all out tantrum I gave her my phone. He noted how good she was at navigating between photos, music and other apps and told me not to worry, because screens and technology are just another language that she needs to learn that weren’t even present when I was a child. 

So I guess it’s inevitable… babies today are going to be instinctively curious about technology. There’s no point in trying to stop them – all we can do is try and strike a balance. In the meantime, I’ll try and get the kid to expand her viewing portfolio, if only for my own sanity. Maybe it’s me that needs to step away from the Pups…. 

Diet · Exercise

Breastfeed and the weight will fall off, they said…. 

My mother warned me years ago that if I ever were to get pregnant I’d be the kind that would get huge, the kind of huge that would inhibit my ability to drive a car. With those words ringing in my ears during my pregnancy I made sure to continue with my weekly Pilates class, I started swimming every other day, I even took a pregnancy yoga class with a psychotic yoga teacher (apparently there’s no such thing as pain, only pressure – 🙄). So, I was fairly proud of my ability to still drive myself to work at 8 months pregnant.

And then, with 6 weeks to go I developed PUPPS (Pruritic Uticarial Papules and Plaque of pregnancy – at least I think it was that, I wasn’t ever actually diagnosed, just monitored weekly). Itching constantly, hives everywhere. I had to bathe in oatmeal, sleep sitting up and swimming felt like I was being stung by 100 jellyfish. I felt truly sorry for myself. I stopped moving as much and the reasonable diet went by the wayside.

Fast forward to having the baby and I lose 10kg instantly. Then I spend hours sitting on my backside feeding my baby, supposedly burning 500 calories a day but the weight started creeping back up and a few months later I’m wondering why I weighed more then than the day I gave birth. Actually, I know very well why. Kit Kats. Did you know they come in packs of 21? #diedandgonetoheaven

So I decided to do something about this situation and I signed up to the local Buggyfit class. This involved driving 25 minutes to a park, meeting up with other mums and being led through a circuit around the park by a trainer. The premise was great, strength exercises interspersed with some speed walking around a lake, brilliant. Someone forgot to tell my kid this was a good thing. She was like a ticking time bomb. Would I get 10 minutes or 20 of her sitting in the pram before she lost her shit? And let me tell you, my kid doesn’t just whimper discontentedly. Nor does she give any prior warning before turning into a screaming banshee. One that would only be appeased if I got a boob out on a park bench and then carried her in a sling. This obviously hindered my ability to participate, although it was possible to do squats… So many squats.

And this happened every.single.week. Every single week, I would be told “just sort her out and catch up when you can.” So disheartening. And still I went, from April until June. Each week hoping this would be the week baby would give me an hour and stay in the pram. What is it they say about people doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome?

In the summer I decided I could do without the public humiliation, googled “how to lose baby weight” and found the Fit Mommy Trainer. A 15 day programme which I did several times over and finally started seeing some results. Maybe I would have seen more if I’d followed the accompanying diet… Hmm…..

So I exercise most days of the week, but I still need to get to grips with my diet. I know what I’m supposed to do. Biscuits, chocolate, ice cream – bad; kale, spinach, quinoa – good. Every day I wake up and tell myself I’m going to eat better and I do try… But the very fact that I’m eating a chocolate chip cookie as I write this shows you how often I succeed. That said, I haven’t had a Kit Kat in ages but can we talk about Yorkie Mansize buttons…?

Breastfeeding

World Breastfeeding Week

Before my daughter was born, in that time when my brain worked at almost full capacity, I read a book about being a first time parent and decided that it would be nice if I breastfed her for six months. No biggie if that didn’t happen though because there were TV ads telling me that there was formula and follow on milk which would help my child achieve her dreams. Bonus!

Here’s what actually happened. Kid arrives and I stay in hospital for two days. I have a nurse oversee our latch and I’ve seemingly got the technique down so they let me go home. That’s when it all went to hell. I’m not sure when the bleeding and the cracking started but it was kind of alarming that a tiny creature with no teeth could almost split a nipple down the middle. I called my midwife for help and she said I needed to see Jane. Jane was a saviour, a lactation consultant that ran weekly clinics in the area, with a band of volunteers. I went to see her and showed me how to hold the baby so feeding would hurt less for me and be easier for the baby, (the evolutionary baby feeding position). She told me to feed from one side at a time to allow the other side to heal (nipple skin heals quickly). She told me to allow as much air as possible to my boobs to assist in the healing (my mother who was staying with me at the time was somewhat disturbed at my refusal to wear a top).

It wasn’t a quick fix, I was in agony and I would cry whenever my baby cried for a feed because I knew the pain that was about to come. And then I cried some more out of guilt. So why didn’t I just give up and give her formula? Three reasons:

  1. I’m stubborn.
  2. I read the (very confusing) instructions for the bottle steriliser (six times) and decided that I’d rather endure the pain of breastfeeding than the guilt if I were to give my kid an improperly sterilised bottle.
  3. Also, I’m lazy.

Two days later my midwife sees I’m still in pain and she schedules me a visit with Sonya, another midwife that runs an advisory clinic on a SUNDAY at the hospital. I spent two hours with Sonya. She gave me plastic shells to keep my clothes away from my skin (it was January, I couldn’t not wear a top really) and confidence. I can’t remember exactly what she said but I remember leaving the hospital feeling like an Amazonian Warrior Goddess (that’d be the oxytocin at work, hormones are great eh?)

I can’t remember when it stopped hurting. It felt like months but it must have been less than two weeks as that’s when my sister visited and by then I was feeding baby without wincing.

So what’s this got to do with anything? Well I decided to tell this story now in celebration of the 25th annual World Breastfeeding Week. World Breastfeeding Week is coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), a global network whose members include the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF and La Leche League.

I found this on the UNICEF website :

“The targets, set by the World Health Assembly, call for at least a 50% rate of exclusive breastfeeding by 2025. The Collective’s mission is to rally political, legal, financial and public support for breastfeeding.”

Without wanting to go full on lactivist,* the key word is SUPPORT. New mums need support from their families, healthcare professionals and employers (among others) if they choose to breastfeed their babies. I chose to breastfeed because I’m inherently lazy. I continued to breastfeed beyond 6 months because by then I had come to realise the following:

  1. Breastmilk is 80% water and 20% magic. Seriously, it cleared up my baby’s weird gunky eye thing within an hour.
  2. Breastmilk sends my daughter to sleep faster than any lullaby or any amount of shushing or rocking.
  3. Breastfeeding gives me a legitimate excuse to sit down several times a day and cuddle my kid. 

I was one of the lucky ones, I had heaps of support and that’s why 20 months later we’re still going strong. 

 

*Lactation + Activist = Lactivist

I have been reliably informed that, despite my soft nature, I am by default a lactivist for having gone against the majority and continued to breastfeed my daughter beyond a year. Right on!

 

 

 

Sleeping

My first post about sleep…it won’t be the last….

I’m trying to write a post about sleep. In fact I started writing the post over three months ago. It’s too long, the middle drags. Hey – maybe I should read it to my kid at bedtime, she might sleep better.

Sleep and feeding, the two subjects on which I find EVERYONE has an opinion. Have you noticed how people will ask you if you have a “good” baby and will then immediately ask if they “sleep through the night?” By that measure, my kid must be a total jerk. As it happens, it’s just that she is not always able to connect her sleep cycles, thereby needing help from me – and by help I mean boob (gasp!).

Sleep is one of those very contentious topics and I’m too soft to properly take it on. I did however come across this article which I think sums up the matter perfectly*. I don’t feel remotely qualified to discuss the matter other than to state facts about my own experience.

My daughter’s sleep in her short lifetime has gone from “pretty reasonable actually” (being one stretch of at least 4-6 hours at night) to “oh my god, why does she hate me” bad (that would be waking every 1-2 hours) and back again. Three nights ago, I was awake with her from 2-5am. I was breastfeeding her most of the time, because that’s our go-to comfort object/sleep aid but she also threw in a tantrum when I didn’t go get my phone so she could listen to music. Of course – as you do.

One of the best pieces of advice I received before my daughter was born was that everything is a phase – both the good times and the bad – everything comes to an end or changes. I do my best to remember that when I’m up at 3am.

*Incidentally the author of this article, Emily Writes, has written a brilliant book called Rants in the Dark. I read it in the dark, once baby is asleep and let me tell you, it’s really hard to laugh silently.

General thoughts

“We thought we’d need to hire you a nanny”

Many years ago I was at home with my parents and we were watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding. There’s a scene in the movie where the main character is depicted spending her evening sitting between her two parents watching TV. It didn’t take a second for both my parents to turn, point, laugh and announce that I was their Toula. I was supposed to be the one left behind. My mother often quotes her mother who had warned her to be nice to me as I’d be the only one left to take care of her when she’s old. Well, like Toula, I didn’t stick to the script. I didn’t exactly find myself a John Corbett, but the husband is American, so there’s at least one similarity.

As a child I would find whatever excuse I could to join in with as few chores as possible. In my early 20s I wasn’t even sure I wanted a family. Why would you do that when you can have a career, earn money and spend it on yourself? Besides, other people would have children. If I felt the need I could spend time with one of them and then GIVE THEM BACK. I wasn’t even very house proud. In fact, I hardly spent any time at home – I was always out with my friends. As far as I was concerned, having no responsibilities was a bonus.

But then my big sister had her first child. As all good Indian families do, as soon as she went into labour we piled into two cars and the whole gang went down to the hospital. She had asked me to be with her when things got messy. Can’t say I was much use. It was so hot – birth partners should know that delivery rooms are really hot – dress accordingly. And I felt dizzy had the most awful cramps. Obviously nothing compared to what my sister was feeling…. Anyway, my niece finally arrived and I’d never felt a rush of emotion like it. I left the room and sobbed in the hallway for what felt like three hours. It might have actually been about 7 minutes, I’m not sure. But it was then I realised that the life that I’d mapped out for myself was very lonely and I’d totally missed the point. It took me 24 years to learn that lesson.

Fast forward 10 years or so. My daughter is a few months old and I’m with my mum and she says: “You know, when you said you were pregnant I looked at your Dad and we got worried. We thought we’d need to hire you a nanny. I didn’t think you would be able to cope, I mean it’s you – I wasn’t even sure you could manage changing a nappy. But you can, I’m proud of you.”

So to all nervous expectant mothers out there, if I can do this, so can you. Everything’s going to be ok.

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.