The decision to stay at home.

Leaving your job, that you love, is not an easy decision to make. As a new mum, people will make assumptions and judgements on whatever choice you make. Stay at home or return to work? A choice that many working mums are faced with. When I got pregnant, there was no such thought in my mind. I wanted to return to work. My job was a constant for me, an achievement and most of all something that gave me a great deal of confidence and pleasure. Leaving was not an option.

However, nothing could prepare me for the feelings I had when my daughter came into this world. I had not expected to feel so overwhelmed with love and be distraught at the thought of leaving her with somebody else. In fact the very notion of it haunted me for the first few months of her life.

We researched many options for child care, shocked at the cost and left in despair at how we, two full time working people, could not afford to put our little girl into a day nursery for the week. The only other choice was for me to return part-time and for my daughter to be placed in a much less costly environment at a childminders’.

Sadly, even the few we visited left me feeling a little sick. Not because they were bad in any way but simply because I had to deal with my separation anxiety and not hers. She seemed to adapt well to one particular childminder, surprising us all (as babies often do) and both my husband and I felt happier instantly.

It seemed to be all sorted at work too as I was to return for two days a week while my little one was at her childminders’. Unfortunately we were dealt a little shock as we didn’t realise childminders charge something called a “retainer fee” to keep a child’s place free until they are due to start. In our case, her place needed to be retained for 6 months which would cost us an un-refundable bomb. We just couldn’t stand to lose that money thus putting us in a very difficult position.

I now had to consider leaving my job.

I read an article at the start of the year about more working mums in Britain, having to leave their jobs as they could not afford expensive childcare. London seems to be the most costly of places and sadly that is where I am. Other European countries seem to have this base covered a little better or a lot better should I say.

In Sweden, the state subsidizes the child care cost so the parents do not have to pay more than the equivalent of £113 a month.

£113.

The fee for our local, well known nursery per month is £1600. Yes that’s right – £1600!!!!! Fourteen times more than Sweden. It’s ridiculous.

I could have easily gone back to work part-time/full-time if childcare in this country cost an average of £113 a month! Instead, I have had to leave work to be at home with my daughter. Undoubtedly, there are positives to this decision. I get to do what sadly, a lot of mums cannot – look after my daughter daily and spend these precious moments with her. I am thankful that I can do that. I only wish I had more of a choice.

On the job front I will be registering as self-employed in the near future and starting a career that fits around my new job of being a mummy 🙂

After all, it is one of the hardest jobs out there and certainly one of the most rewarding.

The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children.

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The Big Move.

We’ve been living with my mum for just under two years now. It’s not always been the easiest of rides as my mother and I bare many similarities especially emotionally and tend to clash tremendously. This leads to quite upsetting arguments and usually an attack on someone’s personality. We do make up relatively quickly although my mum is much better at holding a grudge than me.

This doesn’t reflect on our time with her though. Many have commented how it is time for me to make the big move away from my mother due to my age, marriage and ‘lack’ of independence. However, our situation isn’t as ‘normal’ as they assume.

I chose to live with my father, my abuser, after the divorce. Even as my mum pleaded with me to leave him and offered up a much better life, I stuck by the man who tortured me daily, too frightened to go and too scared to be without him. He had become a horribly important part of my life. He was all I had known. The abuse was all I had known. The timing was never right. My sister was a prominent feature who too had the power of emotional control and influence over our mother. The battle that faced me wasn’t worth leaving the battle I endured every day.

I craved a time where I would be with my mum, whatever age. To be with her and feel like someone’s daughter. It came two years ago. I am ready to leave and set up a new home with my hubby and baby but my mother is part of that family now and always will be. It is not ‘unhealthy’ nor it is ‘dependant’ as some people have said. It is a testament to the love we feel as a family.

My husband loves my mother very much. He is very honest with me about our future and none of it includes abandoning or not including my mum. He sees her as a valid member of our family.

I went to visit a place outside of London yesterday. We now have a big decision to make………

To leave London or not to leave London..

Or ultimately, to leave my mum.

The dilemma.

I am currently on my maternity leave from work. I am now in my fourth month of it and am not entirely sure of where the time has gone.

My husband and I have been researching nurseries for the little one for when I return to work and I have to admit (even knowing that it would always cost more than I could ever afford) I never fully realised just how expensive nurseries in London are. Overpriced is a word that stands out. Some that we’ve looked at are more than my monthly wage for one month! It’s ridiculous.

So what are working mums, with a salary under 30k meant to do?

My combined income with my husband does not provide me with enough money to pay off a mortgage and nursery fees. So what do I do? Here is the dilemma.

Many ignorant people will comment that I should not have had a child in my circumstance. However, this is a stupid thing to say as I am not on state benefits. I am a working woman. My husband also works full time. We enjoy our careers. We have ambition and want to get somewhere in our jobs. This doesn’t mean I do not enjoy motherhood. I love being a mother and I dote on my amazing thriving daughter.

We as a society should be encouraging mothers back into work not depriving them of returning or continuing when nursery fees are through the roof.

I do not have a young mother who can look after her grand child nor do I have a large family base. I only have the option of a nanny or nursery when I return to work. When these options become unaffordable, what is one to do?

One thing is clear. My husband and I are going to have to spend a lot of time researching over the next couple of months to find somewhere of high standard and somewhere that fits comfortably into our budget for the little one.

 

2014 A Look Back: September – December.

September.

September was a very busy month for me. I had just gone back to work after a six week school break for summer and was really feeling the long days compared to my usual chilled and lazy ones. I hadn’t imagined going back to work six months pregnant in the heat would be so difficult. After all, it was not so hard before. However, as I hit my third trimester, all matter of things pregnancy related started to change. I felt more tired, more achy. Feelings of sickness had returned. I truly felt pregnant.

I only blogged three times this month. One was a post I had written last year that I decided to re-blog. After the decision to leave wordpress in August, I began blogging key posts that had a big impact on me or others. “Revenge” was one of these posts where a former colleague of mine questioned my motives to why I was writing about the past. It upset me that she felt it was necessary to be so heartless and give her opinions on a matter she could never understand.

The most significant moment of my life happened on the 23rd of this month. My wonderful daughter Ivy-Wren was born. A lot of people have asked about her unusual name. I picked Ivy as I like the nature side of it. Also, Ivy is a strong plant that withstands all conditions. I found Wren whilst searching through endless name lists on-line. It actually came up as a boy’s name but I loved that it is a little bird. My mum calls me “Tuni” which is a little Indian bird. We felt that adding Wren to Ivy’s name would be a suitable tribute to my mother. No doubt Ivy-Wren dotes on her loving grandma.

October.

Ivy-Wren was born premature by 7 weeks. Her actual due date was November 9th so we were growing used to having her with us so early. I mourned the fact I was no longer pregnant. I had looked forward to seeing the whole pregnancy through. She had spent the beginning of this month in hospital under special care. She was a tiny little thing. So very small and fragile. My heart ached to leave her every day surrounded by beeping monitors, endless strangers, wailing babies and lonely in her isolated cot. On the 6th October we were able to take our little button home after two weeks in hospital and although it has been unbelievably overwhelming and we have felt massively under-prepared, nothing can take away the fact that our little girl brings us joy every single day.

In October, I blogged about the lead up to my labour as it wasn’t at all straightforward!

November.

I was appalled to discover that there was a man claiming to hold all knowledge on how to seduce women this month. Not only that, but this awful human being advocated violence and harassment in order to do it! Julien Blanc was thankfully denied entry into the UK. The real horror however is the number of men who signed up to see him on tour. It truly is worrying that some men would consider these derogatory and abusive tactics acceptable.

December.

Well here we are on the final day of December in England (I’m sure many of you have already celebrated New Years’!). My husband and I aren’t planning to stay up. We have to embrace sleep when we can get it! Ivy-Wren has come on leaps and bounds putting on a massive six pounds since she came home. She is a delight, making us proud of her every day.

I look forward to 2015 and the journey we as a family will take together.

I am not going to draw on the negatives of this month too much. Many issues have occurred within the family and relationships have been tested but I continue to be positive when I look at my beautiful daughter.

Happy New Year to all my WordPress friends. May 2015 bring you inner peace, support and a determination to survive. You are all in my thoughts.

See you next year!!

Ros xxxxx

Here’s a little photo of me and my jewel 🙂

cropped-roo.jpg

 

Friday 19th September – No sign of baby.

By Friday 19th September I had developed cabin fever in hospital. I had been lucky to receive a bigger than average cubicle so my husband David could stay comfortably with me for my duration on the ward. Two days may not seem long, but for a pregnant lady whose waters had broken and was surrounded by other pregnant women about to go into or enduring the beginning of labour, it was a little overwhelming to say the least.

For the most part and especially at night, I just listened to the groaning and wailing of these poor women. It didn’t bode well for my future. Not only did it freak me out but the lack of sleep was highly annoying. Every few hours, a nurse or midwife would appear to monitor baby and me. I would be strapped up to a machine for many minutes sometimes hours. God forbid I needed the toilet which I often did! I was pregnant after all.

monitored

I was undoubtedly ready to go home on Friday. It was very clear that baby was not appearing at that point and I just wanted to be in my own space. The doctors agreed that I should go home. Baby’s lungs were now matured with the help of that horribly painful injection so I didn’t need to worry. At the morning walk round, the consultant decided that I could return home.

I was so relieved.

They told me that as I was nowhere near dilated and there were no signs that baby was coming immediately, it made sense and was safe to go home. It had been planned that I would return to hospital on the 29th to be induced. Any longer than that could cause harm to baby and nobody wanted that.

Little did I know then that baby had no intention of waiting another twelve days to appear…………

Wednesday 17th September – Just a normal day at work……….right?

This day began the same as any other. Yes, I was 32 weeks pregnant and still at work but I had made the decision to work through my pregnancy. Partially to keep me sane and active and also because my husband and I couldn’t afford to lose my wage for the next two months before baby’s expected arrival.

I woke up in the morning having had a satisfying, full sleep the previous night. However, shortly after rising I began to suffer from a deep headache. It came on very suddenly. I wondered if because I had been unwell the previous two days and had spent time at home resting and recuperating, that my body was unable to cope with the shock of waking up so early and heading out to work. It was the only explanation I could muster.

Once at work and after eating an unhealthy McDonald’s breakfast, I sat in the staff room being greeted and welcomed back. I felt fine if not a little tired. As I began my working day, supporting a colleague with a class for the morning, I felt eager to get back into my working routine. I sat supporting a group of children I regularly worked with for the first hour of the day. At 10 am and as we prepared to go to morning assembly, I suddenly felt odd.

Strangely and almost worryingly, I felt an urgent need to pass wind! Embarrassed at the thought I might “let one go” in the middle of the classroom, I sat tight in a fit of panic. Within seconds, my insides cramped and I was certain I had lost control of my bladder. I quickly realised that I couldn’t keep whatever was about to come out – inside. I immediately excused myself to the bathroom and hurried down to the staff bathrooms. Along the way, nothing could keep it from flowing out. I had no idea what was happening as I bolted down the stairs. I was convinced I was wetting myself.

Thankfully, no one crossed my path as I finally made it to a toilet. I locked myself in, pulled down my drenched trousers and attempted to use the toilet. Nothing came out. I was confused. Had I emptied my entire bladder on the way there? How mortifying! I stood up. Within moments, water began pouring out of me.

“Are my waters breaking?” The obvious question and answer finally hit my mind. I did the only thing I knew you could do to check if this was the case. Please look away now if you are easily disgusted…….
I smelled my trousers to sense the smell of urine. Of course, that would be the most obvious sign of a bladder problem. If the smell however was odourless, then it was definitely a sign of waters breaking. Mine smelt of the latter. NOTHING.

SHIT.

My waters had broken. At work. In class. WAY too early.

I was only 32 weeks pregnant and seriously panicking.

I waited and held my trousers underneath the dryer so that I would have some dignity when I could eventually leave the bathroom.

I managed to find the same colleague to help me after a half hour. She was surprised but her along with three other women, helped me through the nerves and stress of this sudden revelation. Well wishes and good lucks flew at me as I made my way to my hospital.

There, as my husband and mother met me, I was told baby needed some monitoring over the following days. So I was admitted into hospital. My waters were still coming out thick and fast annoyingly so I had to wear towels to stop the leaking. It was very strange. I was given an essential steroid injection to mature baby’s lungs in case it decided to appear sooner than we wanted. It bloody hurt! I’ve never felt pain like that before but unfortunately, it would not be long before I would.

After a few hours, I was placed in the care of the Antenatal Unit. David, my husband, stayed with me as I nervously waited to be told what was next in store for me.

It would be the start of my little adventure to the day I gave birth to Ivy-Wren.

Bad Hair Day? The Worst.

My Lord………..man alive……………yesterday was NOT what I had expected it to be. On Wednesday, I booked a long overdue hair appointment on a website that gives offers on high end salons in the city. I have done something like this before and had a very positive experience. Last September, I used another of these websites to do my hair. It was a success and one the best haircuts I’ve ever had.

Yesterday however, was an entirely different story.

On arrival, a friendly welcoming receptionist greeted me. All good. I only had to wait a few moments before my ‘stylist’ (I use this term very lightly) appeared. She ushered me over to the chair without a ‘Hello’ or ‘Pleased to meet you’. There was no introduction nor did she ask me for my name. I just sat down in my allocated chair.

“What do you want then?” she asked abruptly.

Taken aback by her rudeness and lack of decency, I showed her some printed photos I’d taken from Google of Rose Byrne – my hair idol.

 

She had no clue who this beautiful woman was which was clearly a bad start. In her broken English, she proceeded to argue and shout that my hair cannot be cut in this way.

Baring in my that my hair was to my shoulder blades and almost one length with long layers running through, her argument held no strength. It was clear that perhaps she was not capable of such a cut and I was receiving a barrage of excuses. I couldn’t believe that I was having an argument with my so-called hairdresser! I had booked this appointment, thankfully on discount, hoping for a relaxing and well deserved treatment. Instead, I felt like walking straight out of the door. Sadly, through these websites, you have to pay in advance so it was obvious that I was stuck with her.

The idiotic stylist began making exasperating looks at her fellow co-worker, like I was the problem. She particularly didn’t like it when I called her “aggressive” but that is truly what she was.

After coming to a basic agreement, the hairdresser seemed to understand my request. Well how wrong was I?

I absolutely detest the final result.

She has given me the worst haircut I’ve ever had in my life, far surpassing the time when my father gave me a lop-sided bob aged seven. Thank god I only asked for a trim and my hair grows quickly as I won’t be taking it out of a ponytail for at least a month!

Unbelievable.

Shallow as this rant may be, as a sufferer of BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder) my hair was the sole thing that I ever liked about myself so this is bound to knock what little confidence I have left.

Do NOT visit BURLINGTON’S BOUTIQUE in Oxford Circus, London. Unless you want someone to insult you for an hour and ruin your hair (!)