Transporting a kid

I’ve been meaning to write for a while about the rabbit hole that is…

(Cue spooky music, it is Halloween after all!)

Transporting a child.

Now, before I had a baby I had not given much thought to it. I assumed I would get a pram (or stroller as Americans call them, or buggy or pushchair as British people call them… so many names).

We went to the baby shows and we decided only the best for our unborn child!!!

Which was the eye-wateringly expensive Stokke Scoot. Now, almost two years on I still love Stokke. There’s some good old Scandinavian engineering there.

And the £700ish worth of pushchair has sat in our hallway for a year and a half and I estimate we have used it about 5 times.

Why? I hear you ask. (I mean, it’s such a tasteful shade of muted grey! I remember obsessing for ages about getting all the matching accessories!)

Well, we started out living in a one bedroom flat on the second floor (double height) which meant we had to walk up and down eight flights of stairs. And I had an emergency c section so I couldn’t really lift this 8kg thing in and out of the car boot very easily. And babies as it turns out are really small and very portable.

In that first shipment from the designer baby shop I thought I might as well chuck in a sling. That was mainly because it was grey with stars on, and that was kind of our motif.

First day we got back home and I went out to our local M&S food hall (because dammit mama needed soft rinded unpasteurised cheese!) and took baby B in the sling.

And it stuck.

Wore it for like three months and everyone commented how he was a dream baby, always sleeping on his mama. Because as it turns out, babies like to sleep on their mama. And I unexpectedly turned out to have one thing my defective body could actually do and that was breastfeeding. And breastfeeding is easier in a sling than a pushchair. And I live in London where everyone uses public transport and who wants to be lugging a giant pram on and off a bus or down steps and escalators to the tube?

We had months of freedom and we loved it. And my initial perception of slings as limited to hippy earth mothers turned into a slight feeling of – eek! Maybe I’m one of those!

At three-ish months he was getting a bit big and my shoulder was getting a bit sore so I decided to try a wrap. Wraps are just long pieces of material you tie to carry your baby. It’s easier as it moulds to your and your baby’s body and you can carry two shouldered, and they are super comfortable.

So I got my first wrap.

And then I discovered… high end babywearing.

Oh dear lord, if there isn’t a whole world of craziness. Turns out people will pay loads to get hold of pieces of material. And yet… they’re so pretty!

Reader, I fell down that rabbit hole.

Behold a phenomenon called “stash shot Saturday” – if you ever see #sss on social media and a pile of material, it’ll most probably be babywearing stuff.

And yet… it’s so pretty!

(Kid loves it too.)

The high end babywearing world is a completely other world. What you’re about to see is not even considered a big stash! It kind of is a bit of a phenomenon. Wrap manufactures do small releases and people have to bid for the chance to buy them. You might not even “win” an invoice! (A chance to pay hundreds for a piece of material!) People trade used wraps and they can even fetch retail or above retail prices (though the bottom has fallen out of the market in the last couple of years). It’s the only market I can think of where second hand stuff can potentially fetch what you paid for it. (I do think it’s a bit Emperor’s New Clothes at times but I only buy wraps that I can afford and that I like, so am potentially fine not getting any money back on them.)

So… #sss!

My pretties (bottom to top):

  1. My first wrap, Kokadi Diorite Stars size 6 (a common base size – it means you can do most carries with it). It wasn’t “High end” which means it wasn’t expensive. But I loved it. It’s 100% cotton and I learned to wrap with it.
  2. Kokoro mini ren Nero 6 – my second wrap. They’re quite rare. At that point I really wanted an entirely mono stash. But as you can see, things changed!
  3. Omnifera Heart Rock Montmartre 4 – I was desperate for this. For ages they only had one Heart Rock pattern. It is geometric mountains and it’s really gorgeous. This was limited to the Paris babywearing show. I couldn’t go but a friend bought it for me after I PayPal-ed her the money! Crazy. Was going down the rabbit hole at this point. Haha.
  4. Omnifera Heart Rock Aoraki 5 – this is the same pattern but different blend for summer and is very light blue. Most wraps have an inverted colour pattern on the other side.
  5. Woven Wings Eeyore RS (ring sling) – once B got to walking it turns out he prefers to be in and out a lot, and up and down. So RS are easier. This is my latest RS but I arranged the stash according to manufacturer! Woven Wings are a british brand and very big in the babywearing world. Their followers are called Winglets! They get a little fanatical!
  6. Woven Wings London RS – My first RS and not my last. Very early release. I think it’s cool.
  7. Kenhuru Valentine’s Sky Wedmid RS – I absolutely love this one. I was a fan of Kenhuru from the beginning as they’ve only been going about a year. I had a tester and got the bug. I loved this one but missed the release as I didn’t have funds. Then I got it in a mystery bag (where you pay a lot less but don’t know what you’re going to get). It’s a gorgeous deep red on one side and blue on the other. My favourite colours. The geometric pattern converges to make little bear icons which are really cool.
  8. Kenhuru Rok Starlight RS – I got this in a mystery bag when I already had Rok Starlight which was one of Kenhuru’s first releases. It was sort of a shame to get the same blend but I ended up using the RS a lot more than the wrap.
  9. Kenhuru Rok Starlight 4 – My first go at a shorter wrap. It’s a great workhorse and I didn’t worry about it too much as it wasn’t as expensive as the other high end wraps, so I actually ended up using it more.

B absolutely loves being carried and it’s a huge thing for me. Super healing I guess for things I didn’t even think I needed to heal from. (Infertility… loss… but also adoption. Giving birth to a biological child as an adoptee brings up a lot of emotions.)

It’s been a fun journey. I realised I have carried him pretty much every day since he was born. The only exceptions being the time I went on a work trip for a few days, and I really missed him. It’s a great thing and I like to think that and breastfeeding is giving us a good foundation for our future relationship. (Of course he may become one of those sulky teenagers but that’s almost a given, considering what a moody cow I am!)

When we went to see my bff overseas a few months ago, we finally realised we needed an alternative to babywearing. Babywearing is amazing and wonderful but when it’s 35 degrees C it can be a touch sweaty.

B has been a stroller refuser forever but even he agreed. I got him a horrendous cheap lime green extremely distasteful cheapie from the nearest baby shop, and he tolerated it! He always screamed the place down in the very expensive Stokke and demanded to be out and held. But in the sweltering heat, he decided he preferred to have his own air circulating rather than his mother’s sweat.

So the hunt was on for a decent occasional stroller!

Now I’m kind of a crazy obsessive when it comes to traveling light. I don’t really end up doing it but I have a love for compactness and one bag travel. I’m literally obsessed with rucksacks. (You lot call them backpacks.) I buy so many of them in the search for the perfect one. So of course I wanted to find a lightweight compact stroller for traveling and when we were somewhere hot and babywearing wasn’t practical. And for public transport etc in London where massive prams are just a pain.

Reader, I found it.

Behold… the gb (goodbaby) Pockit+. This is the new improved compact foldable buggy that is slightly bigger / heavier but has better features than the original Pockit.

Pretty much everyone in London either uses the Bugaboo Bee or the Babyzen Yoyo for their lightweight stroller. Which are both £300+ prams. It just didn’t appeal to me, partly because I don’t want to pay that much for something I won’t use very often and partly because I like to kid myself that I’m different.

Anyway, it’s great. Here it is next to my handbag so you can see it folds super compact.

My handbag is a small cross body bag so if you have a big handbag you could more or less fit it in there! Although it has its own bag (which also folds down into a little wallet size, which appeals to my sense of small travel stuff).

Here it is next to the Babyzen Yoyo. It doesn’t look like it because of the angle (it was at nursery) but it’s smaller than the Yoyo when folded. The Yoyo doesn’t have a carry bag and it just looks messier to me. But it does have a much larger basket underneath. It’s heavier too but most people aren’t obsessed with saving weight.

Anyway my point is that if you are in the market for a Yoyo or a Bee then you might consider a Pockit+. It comes with a rain cover too and bizarrely the kid – who hated the Stokke – loves to ride around in it and will climb into it by himself. It’s also easily washable as you just take the material off and shove it in the wash. I’m happy with it and it’s a lot cheaper than the Yoyo which is just as well as I spent like £1000 on the initial Stokke pram, car seat and bundle! (I guess it’s time to sell the barely used Stokke.)

So there you have it, my review of transporting my kid about. Caveat: There’s no right way. It’s just what works for you and your lifestyle. I’m a lazy mama who prefers to travel light rather than weigh myself down with everything that I might possibly need. I have friends who travel like pack horses. The plus being that they usually have what we need if we ever need it! (Uppababy devotees. Couldn’t fit through a single door but on the plus side they could probably camp out at short notice if they had to!)

I also have far too many thoughts on rucksacks but those will have to wait for another post. Believe me, I know you’re on the edge of your seat just waiting to hear about those! 😂

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Why are all celebs so bloody fertile?!

Congratulations to Prince Harry and Meghan! I am really happy for them.

BUT…

Why are all celebs so bloody fertile?!

As if it wasn’t enough that all friends seem to get up the duff as soon as the ink is dried on the marriage certificate, the slew of celebs in their late 30s who seem to have no problems getting pregnant is kind of a kick in the teeth reminder that everyone else’s body seems to work normally.

And don’t get me wrong. I’m super happy and grateful to have had our miracle baby. And I know it’s 1000 times worse for my IF friends still in the trenches. It’s why I can be happy for the new royal baby and not really sad and jealous that it isn’t me. (Not the royal bit… No jealousy there!)

But seriously! Why does everyone get pregnant on their honeymoon?!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-45861683

How to eat vegetarian on holiday

So I may not have mentioned but I ended up going full veggie a few months ago. I’d been sort of mainly vegetarian but then decided it was hypocritical to continue eating meat when B doesn’t eat meat. (T does but I wanted B to make his own decision about meat. As a child I was very upset to hear about where meat came from and wished I’d have been able to be vegetarian but my mother wouldn’t let me! Even when I ate meat, I didn’t really eat meat that looked like meat, so it was just processed rubbish mainly.)

In case anyone is wondering, I checked with the doc who confirmed B is completely healthy at 20 months never having eaten meat. He is quite small but then I am small so he’s not really expected to be tall (although T is convinced that it may be stunting his growth – doc says otherwise). T still eats a bit of meat but we don’t cook it at home any more. B eats a lot of beans, grains and eggs for protein.

The thing I’ve found hard is how easy it is to eat meat thoughtlessly. It’s in everything for easy protein. So you do have to make some conscious choices when you are choosing what to eat when you are out for lunch or dinner. Also my favourite food group is probably junk food and it turns out veggie junk food isn’t really as nice. Although that does make me feel slightly better as maybe it just means veggies aren’t junk!

We went for our first ever summer holiday so put it to the test. We had half board so lots of dining options. I thought I might end up eating meat but with a bit of thought I managed not to! And it was totally fine and it was nice (for me) to relax and not feel bad that I was eating dead animals.

I’m not a hardcore vegan although I do think that’s the logical conclusion. And I’m aware the dairy industry is problematic, but it’s baby steps right now. I think at least I have reduced the animal products I’m eating and I’m not consciously consuming dead animals. And we try and shop for organic / free range stuff so there’s that.

Anyway for a holiday, aside from the weather being a bit of a washout we had a total eating fest! There were loads of restaurants and we tried a lot of them. It turns out it is possible to be veggie on holiday! It did get a touch repetitive but luckily it was mainly stuff I like.

A small sample:

Reblog: It turns out I have more to say.

Taming the inner parental tiger

We are on holiday. It’s B’s first ever summer holiday, at 20 months. He had seen a beach before, but it was in Wales and it was freezing so I don’t think it counts.

Of course for our first week (thankfully, I guess, only half a week) we had some pretty bad weather. It’s a total first world problem but was a bit frustrating when we have waited the whole year almost to have a proper holiday! We did go to see my best friend but this is our first one as a family. But the place we are staying is very child friendly – we found it after it was marketed as a child friendly holiday. It could be worse.

One thing I found funny is how I spotted a mixed race couple early on. I suppose we always identify with others. I clocked them early on and they’re the same races we are. Although she is totally skinny and doesn’t look like she could have had a baby, and their baby is younger than our toddler! I also realised this holiday how I need to lose a bit of chub, but half board food isn’t conducive to that!

Anyway I noticed they are always out without the baby! And I just thought that seemed a bit sad. She’s posing by the pool in her bikini and it just struck me as odd because I’ve seen them more times without the baby than with the baby. As it’s a child friendly resort there’s a crèche and lots of kid activities, but their kid isn’t even a toddler yet from what I can see. Each to their own but I can’t imagine why you’d come on holiday with the baby and then not spend time with the baby, but maybe some people just don’t really want or like spending time with their kids.

It got me to thinking also because there is a friend of a friend who lives where we do. Our mutual friends introduced us but I just didn’t get a good feeling about them and I didn’t really try and befriend them or anything. It turns out they spend every night in the pub getting drunk and their kid just has to sit in the pushchair (and he’s old enough to walk, older than B) and they shout at him to shut up if he ever wants to get out. I saw her dragging him along the road the other morning and it just seems like she hates being a parent. She told our mutual friend he wasn’t planned and she’s depressed being a mother and they didn’t want a kid. It makes me sad and it makes me wonder how bad something has to be or appear before someone intervenes.

And then we are on holiday and to make up for the bad weather they put on a kids disco. And it’s just so cute – B was shy the first time but he got into it and then when we went back again he was straight in there, dancing his little heart out.

B is tiny for his age. I’m kind of short so maybe it’s me. For a while he was first percentile and then last time we went to the doctor I asked if he was okay and the doctor said he was absolutely fine, just small overall (though the child has a monster sized head!). He’s 20 months now and wears size 9-12 months a lot of the time.

So during the dancing all the little kids and B are following the dancers at the front, and it’s just really cute. But there’s this one kid who’s been there every time. I am not a good judge of age but I think he’s maybe 7 or 8. The kids dancing are mainly 1-5 or 6 I’d say. He’s like double the size of them and much larger than B.

The little sh*t (as I took to referring to him as) was running around at high speed weaving in and out of the toddlers dancing. It was just so annoying and disrespectful especially as the guides (grown ups who work in the crèche I think) were showing them the moves at the front. He just kept running at high speed in and out of them and right by all the toddlers.

His parents didn’t give a toss. They were too busy fussing over his little sister. And I thought, wow. This event has been put on specifically to entertain kids and this little idiot is running in and out and then ended up recruiting other bigger boys to do the same, so there’s a little disco of toddlers with big boys running in and out of it in a dangerous (in my opinion) way. And the parents do nothing to stop it.

This all makes me realise that there are such different types of parents. Maybe we are overly attentive. (But then he is our one and only after infertility/loss and he’s still a tiny toddler.) Some parents just take it for granted and I guess if you haven’t been through a struggle to have kids maybe you do. Some, like our local mum, seem to hate having kids. And some, like the parents of the little sh*t, don’t care what their kids are doing. Some, like the bikini poser, come on holiday to NOT spend time with their baby.

I don’t really know what I’m trying to say here. Maybe I just think it’s sad that some kids aren’t cherished like I believe all kids should be. I am definitely not perfect and I’m not trying to be judgy but I guess I am. It’s hard when you struggled to have a child to see people who don’t seem to show their child love, who neglect their kids or who raise them to be inconsiderate little sh*ts.

Of course the little sh*t on our third visit to the disco actually ran directly into B and knocked him over. Cue two fierce looking adults bearing down on the boy (who is really just a little boy… I get that, which is why I didn’t push him over myself). T asked him if he realised he had knocked over the baby and that he should apologise. And I said to him to please not run near the babies. He looked scared, and stopped for a bit, and then resumed.

His mother didn’t even look up. (T and I debated whether you can even say something to other parents and we decided you can’t.)

On the plus side, B absolutely loved the kids disco. We got some decent weather this week and we’ve had a busy week of swimming, beach, even mountain biking. It’s been fun. And in infertility and baby loss awareness month, I’m aware of how lucky we are. Just need to work on making sure B always knows how much he is loved, and raise him not to be a little sh*t!

To all the Childless Mums

Let's talk

We don’t know each other, but I expect I know more about the inner workings of your mind than your closest family and friends.

I know about the times you have quietly cried yourself to sleep, when you’ve sobbed in the supermarket buying sanitary products because your period’s arrived again or the time you feigned illness because you just couldn’t face the world.

More than anything I know about the loneliness you carry in your heart.

And I wanted to say that I am sorry.

I am sorry that something that is so easy for most, is so hard for you.

I am sorry that your sex life has turned into a military operation with scheduled appointments. That something so intimate and private between you and your partner has turned into a clinical process with medical professionals dictating what you can and can’t do, invading your body and criticising you.

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Zumba!

Don’t worry, I haven’t turned into an exercise nut. My local friend was a member and we realised if we went in on a joint membership we could save a bunch of money. So I joined the local club which is pretty much the only one I’m ever likely to go to, because it’s right by my house (well, like five minutes walk).

As far as I can tell, Zumba is like aerobics but with more Latin American music… and some slightly sexier dance moves (none of which I can actually do).

The thing is, it’s really quite fun! I’m terrible at it. I used to do some dancing as a kid and I was bad at it then. Turns out I’m just as bad at it now. But the fun thing is, nobody cares! You just keep moving and laugh a bit and sweat a lot. It’s all good.

I feel like it helps my friend, who’s the one recovering from cancer, because she put on a lot of weight during treatment and she has to try and lose it before they’ll operate further. (She needs a double mastectomy – pretty gruelling surgery.) It motivates me to go with someone else. And she’s a good friend so we laugh at each other.

The ongoing joke is about ACTIVEWEAR. If you haven’t seen this video you should take a watch.

It makes us a bit hysterical and is a long running joke between the local ladies I’m friends with. I feel lucky I’m finally in a position where I have a bunch of lovely local friends to joke around with! I used to feel really lonely and now somehow it’s worked out that I have mates who live nearby. It’s pretty cool.

I haven’t lost any weight but it does make me feel like I’m doing something at least! Maybe I need to stop eating so much cake! But that would be sad.

I actually have unlimited classes through my membership so that’s really cool. However they fall at 7 or 8 in the evening and that is nursery pickup / childcare time. I’ve always done way more of the pickups and historically B wanted me as we were still breastfeeding. We still are, but he’s now 20 months and he is less bothered about having it instantly (he’s still a boob monster though) so I’m thinking I could probably delay it a bit. It’s more whether T can get back from work on time. And also I still feel like I want to spend every part of my day that’s not at work, with B! But I think it’s good for mums to have something they do and it’s not for very long. With walking there and back plus a little bit of chat, it’s only just over an hour, which doesn’t seem that bad.

Anyway to demonstrate my commitment to activewear here’s a photo I took the other night of my Zumba outfit…

I think that pretty much sums up my attitude to exercise! 😂

Oh and here’s what I ate afterwards:

Maybe that’s where I’m going wrong?

Oh well, life’s too short!

We are off on holiday next week. Greece! A five star resort. I’m very excited. Don’t think I’ve been to Greece or a five star resort in like forever. We usually do more self catering or city breaks so it’s very exciting. I can’t wait to be off work for a while. We will have just over a week and it feels GREAT.

At least if I’m gonna be chubby, I may as well be brown and chubby, amirite?!

Post natal weight gain

Firstly, may I offer the usual apologies for not blogging and being A Very Bad Person At Keeping In Touch. I just seem not to get round to it lately. And sometimes I just think I have nothing to say. I’m happy. I’m leading my own happy little mediocre life. Nothing too exciting or blogworthy.

Here’s something I’ve been wondering a while: Have any of you breastfeeding mothers actually put on weight whilst breastfeeding?

Everyone goes on about how it burns All The Calories and “the weight just dropped off!”

See, that happened to me when I first gave birth. (I had a lot of fluid and an entire human I got rid of, weight wise.)

But now, 20 months on I find myself thinking I feel a bit stodgy. I didn’t weigh myself for ages – like I stopped with the obsessive weighing whilst pregnant and then I only restarted through curiosity a few months or so ago.

And I am feeling not my fighting weight.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m happy. Maybe it’s happy weight. But honestly I feel like I’d like to drop some and then I’d be totally happy, rather than happy and fat.

I’m a whole 20kg+ from my low weight. And maybe 15ish from my ideal weight. I could even cope with losing 10-12 kg. Right now I just feel a bit blubbery. I would rather not feel the overhang (though I guess the c section may leave a perma-shelf) and I would just feel better in myself if I could drop a dress size. I don’t need to be skinny. I’d just like to be more myself and less “chubby mum”.

Right now I’m about a UK dress size 12, which isn’t awful – which is why I don’t spend my time hiding away and I still enjoy eating. But I’m short (160cm / 5’2″ and a bit) so really that’s a bit chubby for a shorty. Yes a lot of it is boobage which will maybe go when B weans (20 months and counting) but a fair amount is stomach and I used to have a waist. I used to have arms I didn’t mind getting out!

Another thing I’ve been wondering is that I was told to take an asthma inhaler every day. It’s steroids – Fostair – a preventer as I had really bad hayfever and kept wheezing. I feel fine now, but they want me to take it. I finally connected the dots when I read about Jameela Jamil saying how she put on 20 pounds with asthma meds. And I realised I took steroids for immune therapy and put on a load of weight too.

The internet is kind of in disagreement about whether steroids actually make you put on weight. And I’ve found breastfeeding gives me a bigger appetite anyway. And… I’m happy and haven’t been watching my weight or doing a lot of exercise. And my recent vegetarianism maybe hasn’t helped, as I probably had some high protein low carb meals when I ate meat. (I wasn’t a particularly healthy meat eater anyway – I only liked processed meat you couldn’t tell was meat.)

So I did a few things. I took up Zumba. (It’s ridiculous but one of my very good friends, the one recovering from cancer, is a fan and we go together). I have tried (and probably failed) not to give myself such a free pass on eating. And I stopped taking the steroid inhaler, which I’ll probably get in trouble for but I know I’ve actually put on like 2 kg since I was told to take it every day a couple of months ago. And I haven’t had any asthma symptoms after hayfever season.

I won’t do any crash dieting at least until B weans. Right now we don’t have any immediate plans. We’d like to go until 2, and fortunately T is super supportive of bf and cosleeping, otherwise we probably wouldn’t have any sleep!

Anyway, I know my worth isn’t measured in kg. I feel generally fine about myself, and very happy and grateful for the life I have, and the chance to be a mother. I’d do it all over again even if you told me I could never be thin again. It’s more of a musing really. I hope I can lose a bit of the chub, but if it doesn’t happen I’m not going to hate myself for it. That would only drive me to chocolate, anyway!

A cow I met recently. Confirmed my decision not to eat them!

On motherhood and happiness

Had one of my decompression nights last night – dinner with a few girlfriends. Three of us have one child; one has two, and the other two with one are trying for another. So naturally on mum’s night out the kids were a topic of conversation. (And bikini waxes, but that’s another story!)

We got onto the subject of “onlies” and the conversation didn’t go the way I expected…

It started the way I expected with the whole, “We want another so he won’t be on his own when we die.” (We all agreed that this probably wouldn’t happen!)

Then our friend with two said: It’s actually very hard with two. (She’s a single parent who co-parents with her ex.)

Then our friend with one said: We are actually really happy with our one, and if it doesn’t happen then we won’t be upset.

I said, we are happy and we don’t want another because we feel so very lucky with the one we have, and because I thought I’d never be a mother.

Then our friend who lost her first baby (tragically stillborn) said: We’d love to have another but we will just see what happens. It’s not the same as when we were trying to have our baby after our first died. We are happy.

Then she said something else: She said, “You know, I’ve never seen you become frustrated with him. You are so patient! I don’t think you’ve ever even raised your voice to him.”

And the funny thing is, I don’t think of myself as a patient person. I’m a hothead. But I think she’s right.

I’ve never had to shout at him. I don’t think I feel frustrated with him because – well, he’s a baby, and he can’t fully express himself and that must be frustrating for him, but also – I can’t tell you how much I wanted this.

Ten years. More than ten, depending on how you count it. A decade of barrenness. Operations, IVF, miscarriage, immune therapy. Thinking of a life where I would have to learn to be happily childfree. (And I think we would have been, but we needed to know we had tried everything first.)

I genuinely don’t feel that frustration because I think he’s the best thing that ever happened to me. And I’m lucky because a lot of good things have happened, and it almost fades the lonely and sad years of infertility and despair out of existence.

But not quite. I remember what it was like to be always the aunt, always the “fun childless friend”. I don’t take this – motherhood – for granted. I will relish all the days.

So – yes – I can be patient. But I’m not a saint. I’m just someone who knows how bloody lucky I am.

running

Can working mothers have it all?

My friend sent me this article in the Times about how working mothers can’t seem to have it all. You can read it here. (You have to register but you don’t have to pay anything.)

So I’m torn between: Yes, it’s hard being a working parent and – Seriously women, get a f&*$ing grip!!!!! I think most of these women having meltdowns seem like they are probably the kind of women who get stressed at having more than one project on at work. And I think those who struggled to have a much-wanted child ultimately have a different take on parenthood than those who take it for granted.

I think the key things are:

  1. Have one child, not multiple children, if you think you can’t cope with more than one thing at once, or will have difficulty affording it, or it will compromise your time management. (We have one because it would be extremely difficult to have another and I never wanted more than one, precisely because I don’t want to have to divide my time between multiples!)
  2. Set boundaries with your work and make sure that you aren’t working late / at home every night. I used to do a lot of out of hours work and now I don’t. And I started doing that way before I had a baby. I just stopped allowing people to expect I would be online at all times. If it’s out of hours and urgent then people have to call me. I do work late / out of hours on occasion but day to day I don’t. In my old job I’d answer emails on holiday. Two jobs ago I stopped doing that. I put an out of office on and I say unless you SMS me then it’s not urgent and I’ll respond when I return, and you can expect a delayed response because I’m literally not going to check my work phone more than once a day when I’m on holiday.

I agree that school hours and working hours don’t really seem to coincide. We’ve not reached that stage yet but I imagine you have to sort out some sort of wrap around care. Also I think it makes sense for one partner (doesn’t have to be the mother) to be slightly less driven in their career. I guess women are used to being that one. But there needs to be someone who can leave work if the kid gets sick etc. I think actually men can be more penalised than women for leaving at contracted times. I think women overall have a tougher time in the workplace but they are actually expected to be the caregivers etc. Swings and roundabouts.

Since becoming a mother I’ve definitely noticed that there seem to be different “types”… A lot of the women aren’t at a particularly senior level when they leave to have kids, and they take a lot of time off, and they aren’t that into the job when they come back. It’s annoying when people make assumptions about you when you have kids – that you won’t be interested in progression – but also it’s true for a lot of women, so I dunno what the answer is.

Really I think what would be most sensible would be to reset everyone’s expectations around what constitutes a normal working day. Corporations have gotten used to workers doing about 20% – 200% of their contracted hours for the same amount of pay. That’s what needs to stop. You need to be able to work your contracted hours: 9-5 or 9-6 with a full one hour lunchbreak and for that not to be considered slacking.

I went to a talk a while back by the European VP for Twitter, who wrote a new manifesto for work. I think it’s really good (and realised I already ascribed to most of it, hurrah!).

Source: Eat Sleep Work Repeat

We all – whether mothers or not – need to stop putting up with being treated like $%£& for work, and start being happier! Easier said than done maybe, but just turning off your work phone at the weekends is a start…