Saturday, 29 March 2014

When Mother's Day is a Hard Day

Every year, there is a big build up to Mother's Day. TV adverts, magazine features, online competitions and general mummy mushiness. Generally, I'm not a massive fan of commercial celebratory days, but hey it's Mother's Day. A day to say Thank You, I Love You and 'what you do doesn't go unnoticed.' 

I have no doubt Sunday will be a lovely day spent with my husband and my boy, our last Mother's Day as a unit of three before Baby Two joins the fold.

But is is also a thoughtful day. And my thoughts will be with everyone for whom the Mother's Day message leaves a slightly knotty tummy, or raises a tearful moment, or prompts nostalgic but sad memories. 

Parents who have lost children. A battle you should never have to face and I am so very sorry if you have. I will be thinking of you.

Children who have lost parents. You don't have the chance to say Thank You or I Love You on any day of the year, and Sunday makes this heartbreakingly obvious. I will be thinking of you.

People who could never have children. The day serves as a reminder of what you always wanted but never got. I will be thinking of you.

People who have difficult relationships with their parents or their children. There may not be any cards or flowers and you may spend the day wishing things were so very different. I will be thinking of you.

On the happiest of days I will be sparing a thought for those who are not able to feel at their happiest. And above all, I will be thinking of my Mum, who I would have spoilt rotten were she still here.

The Unmumsy Mum

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Full Time Toddler (Permanent Contract) - Job Description

How the job description would read if being a toddler were considered a profession...

We are currently looking to recruit an experienced toddler to join our team. 

Person Specification
The ideal candidate will be a professional whinger, ideally with previous experience of planning and executing public tantrums. Fluent in the art of saying No, you are likely to have a proven track record of Food Refusal and Unhealthy Snack Manipulation. You will need to possess the strongest of wills and a fiery temper. Nap-takers need not apply.

Primary Duties
- Delaying all excursions from the house by at least 30 minutes.
- Following assigned caregiver to the toilet. And watching. 
- Demanding Peppa Pig on repeat.
- Regularly collapsing in a fit of unexplained rage.
- Asking for something and then changing your mind (then changing it back again).
- Managing the sleep cycle for the whole family (5am Parent Bed Invasions may be required).

Hours: Full time (distinction between night and day not always made).
Contract: Permanent. They can't fire you.

The Unmumsy Mum

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Lesson 16: More Than Just My Bump

Well, 14 weeks pregnant and I still haven't spread the news to all interested parties. 

Immediate family - check. 
Close friends - check
Line manager - check.

The Others. Not so much. 

When people say 'is it public knowledge yet?!' what they really mean is:

Have you posted it on Facebook. Ideally with a due date announcement and a scan picture?

Well no, I haven't. I'm not being disrespectful to excited FB baby news posts (I did one first time round, and watched happily as 'likes' and comments came in from people we barely know).

The truth is, I don't like the fact that pregnancy takes over as your defining characteristic.

'Have you heard from Sarah lately?'
'No, but see she's pregnant again!' 

As if being pregnant is all I have been up to lately. Forget achievements at work, the ongoing house renovation and day to day LIFE. From this point forth my single purpose on this planet is to grow a foetus

Don't get me wrong, it is of course all terribly exciting. But forgive me if I'm not content to put ALL OTHER CONVERSATION on hold for 9 months. 

At work, a high proportion of colleagues I probably should have told don't know yet, purely because I quite like being asked for my input at planning/strategy/update meetings based on the job they pay me to do. 

I'm all up for the 'congrats, when are you due?' chat, but experience informs me that people actually stop asking you about ANYTHING else. 

Sure I am pregnant.
I am also a young woman. An employee. A Rape Crisis volunteer. A mother. A wife. A lover of antique furniture waging a war against cats shitting in my garden. 

Be excited for me - I appreciate your kind words. Please just remember that my very existence is greater than the sum of my pregnant parts.

The Unmumsy Mum

Monday, 3 March 2014

Lesson 15: 'Having Another One'

'So when are you having another one?'

It's like the unwritten rule in our family. You have two. Because, well, because that is just what you do. I'm one of two, the husband is one of two, our respective siblings each have two of their own.  
One is lonely. 
Three is too many. 
Two is just right. Normal.
It's the gospel
From the moment Baby One arrived, I was quite clear I didn't want another one. I regularly told anybody who would listen that we had no plans for a second. GOD NO! We would stick at one. I had no desire to do it again, thank you very much...
'Oh you'll change your mind!'

Well, Baby One has hit the terrible twos and...(drumroll please):
I am thirteen weeks pregnant.
Baby Two is in the oven, and once again I have spent most mealtimes with my head stuck down the toilet and most daytimes with a slightly greyish skin tone (on really special days the gift of acne has presented itself, always a pleasure).

On the one hand, I suppose they (the 'others', the Two Children Enforcers) were right - I am, after all, once again With Child.
But on the other hand, I fear I haven't really changed my mind at all.
Deep down *whispers* I still have little desire to do it all again.

So why did we get back on the babycoaster? This was, in fact, all planned.

I could bore you with The Complete Works of Second Child Reasoning but ultimately it comes down to The Vision.

What is it that you see when you picture your life in five or ten years time?

For me, there have always been two children in this picture. Two children in the back of the car, two children on holiday, two children at the dinner table...a happy family of four (plus our smelly cat).

I never have a Vision involving babies, simply because (and I'm not even sure if it's excusable to say this) I don't really like babies all that much. Needless to say I haven't been longing for another maternity leave, or deliberating names, or feeling broody watching One Born Every Minute.

But I have been content in our decision that we should start the completion of our family now. LET'S DO THIS.

Said Bun in Said Oven
You see, the ups and downs of those baby years are what shape The Vision of my complete family. Already with my toddler I look back at what has been the steepest ever learning curve of my life so far and I don't regret it.

I just find it all so HARD. Super bloody difficult...*Starts shaking at memory of zero sleep, problems breastfeeding and a loss of all meaningful conversation*...

So have I changed my mind about wanting another baby? Well no, not exactly.

Am I excited at the prospect of this new Being who is currently straining my top button?
Well YES actually. I am excited. This is the start of our new chapter as the family I'd always imagined - and I am going in with Oh So Realistic expectations this time.

Lesson 15: Despite what people tell you, there is no hard and fast rule about Having Another One. Perhaps keep in mind the 'end game' and where you see your family further down the line (had I focused on the whole baby bit, I'm not sure I would ever have done it all again).

The Unmumsy Mum