It’s February 2016 and I’ve been back at work after Maternity Leave for about three weeks. One of the female managers who I don’t really know asks me how I’m getting on. I’m honest and say it’s good to be back but it’s a bit of a shock to the system and I’m still finding my way. She nods empathetically and then says to me “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t have it all. You can. I’ve never met any group of people more productive than working mothers.”. It was meant with a helpful and supportive sentiment and it was a positive thing to hear. However, I’m not sure if it was necessarily the right thing for me to here. You see, in the last 14 months I have pondered a lot on life and balance. And on that phrase that gets thrown at all new mothers:
“You can have it all.”
I have kept a Gratitude Journal since the start of 2016. Over that year it made a MASSIVE difference to my mental attitude; I now more naturally see the positive in things. My blog is a place to share thoughts and opinions. But more than that, it’s a place I record life so I can look back in the future and remember how things were. Whilst I will always have my private journals, I also decided to take a leaf out the books of other bloggers and create a monthly gratitude feature.
This month has been another challenging one with yet more illness and various breakages costing us money (including the microwave, the handheld hoover and, worst of all, the 16 month old BOILER, argh!). So focusing on the little things really has been necessary. Here’s what I am grateful for this month:
Little H is splashing around in the bath after a busy day at nursery. I come in to get her out and my Mum-Senses are immediately drawn to some spots on her shoulders, lower tummy and back. Much to her annoyance I proceed to examine them. I’ve convinced myself Little H has chicken pox on several occasions that turned out to be nothing. This time though, my instincts tell me this was the real deal. Without a doubt the spots are blistery. There just aren’t many of them which leaves me doubting myself.
Bedtime complete and Little H all tucked up, I consult the trusty NHS site. The pictures of chicken pox look exactly like what I had seen. That night I can’t settle to sleep and feel really anxious. I have a strong feeling I’ll be staying at home in the morning. But knowing I’ll have to get up and get ready like normal before I can get Little H up to confirm one-way or the other makes me bizarrely unsettled!
Welcome to my monthly feature in which I share some of my favourite online articles for the month. I read a lot of blog posts and articles online and whilst I share a lot of them through tweets, it’s easy to miss them and hard to come back to them at another time. This is a list of my top ten reads for the month, a mixture of formal news articles and blog posts. Enjoy!
I have kept a Gratitude Journal since the start of 2016. Over that year it made a MASSIVE difference to my mental attitude; I now more naturally see the positive in things. My blog is a place to share thoughts and opinions. But more than that, it’s a place I record life so I can look back in the future and remember how things were. Whilst I will always have my private journals, in January 2017 I also decided to take a leaf out the books of other bloggers and create a monthly gratitude feature. Here’s what I am grateful for this month:
Whilst there is nothing stopping me from doing things in the garden throughout the year, let’s face it – from the end of October through until the first signs of spring it’s not that nice out there. I’m not a hermit through the winter. I’m outside all the time and Little H and I love going on walks on our mummy-H days. But going out in the garden is generally a depressing and muddy experience. I don’t want to churn up my lawn and I can’t do much to the shrubs and flower beds at the time of year. But then suddenly the weather will change slightly and without even noticing I’ll have my secateurs out and I’ll be pruning something. When that day arrives, I swear I feel my soul lift! Because nothing is better for my physical and mental health than some fresh air, sunshine and a bit of time with my plants.
The first time I ever heard the term ‘Pelvic Floor’ was when I was about 15 years old. During my teens I made some rather feeble attempts to get fit and one of those was doing a Lorraine Kelly exercise video my mum had. Part way through was an abs section and the trainer, Jenni, started by getting us to do some pelvic floor exercises. Her instructions were to contract the muscles you’d use to stop weeing mid-flow. I just tried to do as I was told and from that point onwards I would always do a set of pelvic floor contractions before doing any abdominal exercises. Over all the years since that first lesson in pelvic floor care, I confess I never really did any research into what my pelvic floor actually was. I knew it was a muscle. I knew it had something to do with my bladder. But that was it. Until I got pregnant…
Sitting watching TV yesterday evening, I realised it had been over a week since my last blog post. I’m not one of these people who strives to blog to a schedule but I do try and write something new each week. However, over the last week, during the little free time I’ve had, my brain has struggled to function. Fueled on tea I have had a very productive working week, but that followed by Mummy Duties at home have meant that now the week is at it’s end I have used up all energy reserves.
It’s official – I am longer the Mum of a baby but of a toddler! Little H has been walking for a good couple of months but always with help, cruising around furniture or, at best, just covering a small number of steps when set off in the right direction. For several weeks it’s been clear she had “the skills” to walk alone but had not developed the confidence. Then, suddenly, after nursery on Thursday she just…went. She let go of the side and walked back-and-forth and round-and-round. Sam and I just sat and watched in amazement. She was so incredibly proud of herself and quite rightly so. It’s only have watched H learn to walk that I really re-appreciated how amazing it is!
Back at the end of March I was keen to start getting fit again. For a couple of months I managed to exercise routinely and my fitness started to improve. However, as the summer wore on and we started trying to sell the house I just lost my motivation and broke my, already fairly loose, routine. Now we’ve moved and the new house feels like home, I’m really feeling the physical and emotional effects of not exercising (and by that I mean some proper cardio work) every day. I’ve decided it’s time to sort that out.