Monthly Archives: February 2011

A Working Mother

My wee man is almost four months old. In 4 days I go back to work, and I’m dreading it. It’s only one 10-hour shift a week, but I’m dreading it.

I’m going back to a job that I don’t love, because I worked too bloody hard and spent too many years at university to give it away now. If I keep my foot in the door going back to full-time work in 2012 will be so much easier. Perhaps not a good reason, but somehow I feel it’s what I should do.

I worry that I’m not going to be terribly committed to my work (hell, I wasn’t that committed even before wee man came along) and the control freak part of me is anxious about someone else looking after my guy for 10 hours straight. I felt more comfortable with the idea when H was going to be looking after Will, but a recent change in job situation means he will only be able to do that for the first two weeks or so.  Finding a place in a child care centre on this short notice is impossible (Will is on a waiting list that is about a year long). Finding a private nanny who was happy with only one day of work seemed daunting – and while I’m comfortable having Will cared for by friends or family I don’t like the idea of stranger looking after my guy. We have no family here, so unfortunately there isn’t a grandmother available to care for him while I’m at work.  We’re lucky that a family friend with three teenage children was considering returning to work one day a week. She loves Will and was thrilled when I asked if she would like to care for him. But to be totally honest I still don’t love the idea.

I don’t NEED to go back. My pay will only cover child care and some pocket-money (now that we will be paying for childcare the financial benefit of returning to work is almost nil). For some reason though, I feel like people will be disappointed in me if I choose to be 100% a SAHM. And part of me wonders if I might not enjoy that day of adulthood… but I get teary just thinking about it.

I have to admit, I’m a little stressed about this transition – there just seem to be so many unknowns. I’m comfortable in my current situation; Will and I have our routine and we cope really well and have a great time (mostly!). Ten hours is a long time to be away from my precious fellow – how will I cope? I’m worried that there might be an impact on my breast milk supply. I’m not sure how I am going to fit three pumping session into my work day – and I have no idea where I’m going to do it. I’m worried that my performance at work will be sub-par, and the effect this would have on my career aspirations. I worry that the change in routine might adversely effect Will’s behaviour. How will he cope with someone else putting him down for naps, for example?

I know that the likelihood is that in a few weeks we will have settled into a new routine and going to work will not seem such a big deal. But until then I reserve the right to be anxious!

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Tragedy

A terrible tragedy in unfolding in my home country of New Zealand. An earthquake has struck Christchurch with multiple collpased buildings during a busy working day. Many people have died and many more are trapped.

Please send your thoughts to the people of this stricken city.

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The Mummy Effect

I felt really good the first 5 or 6 weeks after Will was born. Okay, I was exhausted,  but I felt good about myself and about the way I looked.

I still had the lustrous hair and clear skin from pregnancy. My tummy – while certainly not flat – lost it’s pregnant look a lot sooner than I expected. I recovered remarkably quickly from the c-section and the pain I’d been experiencing from months of pelvic instability disappeared almost instantly. I was able to fit into my cargo pants and the most forgiving of my many pairs of jeans. I had more energy each day.

But then things changed – or rather they stopped changing. My weight loss bottomed out; my energy levels plateaud. Breastfeeding and carrying a baby wreaked havoc with my posture.

Worse still as we approached the three-month mark my hair and skin became greasy and dull. I started getting spots again (for a long time the bane of my adult life – why should I be forced to endure wrinkles and pimples simultaneously?); my hair required frequent washing and it always looked either greasy or frizzy – the silken look and feel was gone. My hair started falling out like it was abandoning a sinking ship.

All this has led to me feeling out-of-place in my own skin. I open the wardrobe and have to sift through clothing I can’t fit into; I walk around the house feeling my moulting hair tickling my back like little insects crawling on my skin; my joints ache and creak.

I feel frumpy.

The Mummy Effect isn’t just physical; my mind is susceptible too. I spend all day loving my son; he is in my every thought. I am primarily a mother, and at the end of the day I find it difficult to take my mother hat off and remember that I am also a wife, a woman, an individual.

As you can imagine, this all leaves me feeling less than sexy, and as my husband recently pointed out, our relationship is suffering.

The solution? Probably only time will truly remedy the situation, but there are a few things we can do in the meantime. I have a haircut booked for next week. H is going to make an effort to do things that will make me feel good about myself. I will stand up tall and put my shoulders back – it’s amazing what good posture can do to minimise a tummy!

I may not ever be able to entirely wash away the layers of baby vomit and drool, but I’ve always thought that confidence is  based on feelings and thoughts rather than looks, so that seems a good place to start.

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