Time Management

I moved jobs in January to be closer to home and be able to spend more time with my son. The good news is I do have more time with my cheeky monkey but time for anything else seems to be evaporating.

The main reason is my new job is full on, constant from the moment I walk in to when I set off to pick my son up. In my old job I had a proper lunch break in which I could pay some bills, plan a blog or just read my kindle. In my new job I’m lucky if I get 5 mins to turn my chair away from my desk and eat my lunch.

I’m more than thankful I’ve found a way to work and see my son more (still sadly full time) I just didn’t plan to then have to cram everything else in a few short hours during the week.

As I start work earlier in the morning I’m up with B before 6am but where as before I’d have time to wake up and enjoy a coffee and quick playtime I’m up, packing lunches and off. When I get back from work with B its a quick rush to make his tea then we can finally enjoy playtime before bath, milk, Daddy coming home and bed.

Then I prob have 2 hours before I’m ready to fall into bed. In which I’ll cook our tea and clean up and get an hour or so to collapse on the sofa and watch a bit of mindless TV.

So the housework is suffering a bit (if we had spare cash I’d so consider a cleaner), I’m usually comatose by Friday and I wonder if there are actually working mums that manage it all, although I reckon they would only survive off 4 hours sleep.

Things I’d like us to do at the weekend often get forgotten as we’re too tired from the past week. Luckily, B loves his childminder but he is kept so busy (like us) during the week he also seems to take longer naps at the weekend to catch up.

Although this morning despite having a poorly OH I’ve done breakfast and actually cleaned the kitchen straight after (this is rare) and the washing machine is on and house doesn’t look like a bombs hit it and I’ve actually wrote this while helping B put his shapes in learning bug.

Maybe what I really need to do is get better at time management and multi-tasking!!


The good side to having no money – yes really

Since having my little boy we have probably definitely been the poorest we have ever been for one reason or another (I won’t rant about them all as that would ruin the purpose of the post…and probably my day too). But we have also been, in the most part, the happiest.

When you are so tired from looking after a baby you can’t stay awake at night worrying as you’re too exhausted for all that. That being said that works for me but not my poor Mr. Although, we have now both started the “oh f**k it” method of dealing.

But, in all honesty, in a really weird kind of way, I’m quite glad I am experiencing this time. Odd and bizarre I know but I’ll try to explain.

It has shown me how much money I have previously wasted. I used to buy things for the sake of it and then wonder why I had no money for bigger purchases like car maintenance (which would go on the old credit card). I have lots of lipsticks (when I prob wear lipstick twice a year), I’d buy shoes that I’ve never actually worn outside the house. I’d buy clothes that I didn’t try on before I bought telling myself I’d return them if they didn’t fit…I never took them back as I get scared returning things unless they are faulty.

I used to spend far too much on my weekly shop. When I was single my weekly shop cost more than it does now and I’m buying for three. Now I am watching the pennies I price compare, choose the lowest price (but same taste) items and look at the reduced shelf and current offers. When I think of how long I bought the branded food stuffs thinking it was better as it had a familiar label now makes me shudder. It could have probably paid for a holiday abroad. The only food item I tend to splash out on is stock!

I actually cook proper meals now. Before I would buy low cal ready meals and just throw some salad on the side or have a few too many take aways and meals out. I now have reminded myself how to cook, I’ll make my own pasta sauce and not just buy a jar. I now make 90% of our meals (the other 10% will be a treat frozen pizza or such like which has been on offer). So even on a budget I think we actually eat better and that has really helped with losing the post baby weight. It has also made me more inventive with recipes and having to make a meal out of what ever is left in the cupboard. 

It makes you realise what is important. I admit it, a few years ago I thought that money influenced how successful you were viewed and that money equaled happiness. It doesn’t. What makes me happy is seeing my little boy smile and learn new things. It makes me happy when my Mr and I stay in on a cold winters night and watch bad TV. Money may might thing easier but not necessarily happier.

I search around for better deals. I always used to shop around for my car insurance, but now I shop around for my home insurance, gas and electric and do so through a cash back website so I get a little extra something back. Even though I do feel like I’m waiting for ages for the money to be confirmed and ready to transfer.

I no longer go crazy with gifts. Since earning a full-time wage I would treat family and friends at birthday’s and Christmas. With my friends as all our out goings started to go up we stopped presents long ago but would do a night out instead. Now its more likely a quick drink in the pub. But I would spend money I didn’t really have on the few I did buy for. Now I only buy for children and immediate family and we speak before hand to set limits on spends. If I can’t spend a lot on them I don’t want them to spend a lot on us.

I have stopped feeling obligated to go out. Now I love a good social gathering, but if it’s one I can’t afford I won’t enjoy it as I’ll be worrying about the bill at the end. Previously, I would have still gone to “save face” but now I just give my polite apologies and find another way to see the people involved. We have a run of friends birthdays coming up and typically its all the ones who have more disposable income so there are a lot of meals out and drinks. I have passed on the meals but will go out and meet them after. Do I miss not going to the nice restaurants? Of course I bloody do but I’d feel worse knowing I’d thrown money that could cover out weekly shop on one meal.

I guess we are lucky as we can see the light in the very distant tunnel and I know one day we will actually have a bit of money that isn’t just taken up just by living costs. I just hope that I remember what I have learnt this past year or so. I hope that I don’t waste money again as it’s sometimes the easy option. I also hope that I pass on my new-found knowledge to my son so he doesn’t make the same mistakes I have.

I guess in a perfect world I’ll remember this time and take on what I have learnt while counting my millions in a mansion. But somehow I doubt my life will take that turn…but you what? I’m ok with that.


Can’t he stay little forever??

I think this is normal…

The other night I was sat playing with my 10 month old son when I had one of those warm, gooey moments when you are reminded just how much you love your child.

I often chat to him and tell him how I’m going to teach him lots of good skills like cooking and cleaning so that when he grows up and settles down with a nice girl she’ll like me as I taught him how to look after himself and not look dopey when you hand him a potato and a peeler.

I was reeling off some of my daft “when you’re older” and I got a lump in my throat. One day he won’t look at me with a big goofy grin and he won’t rush over to me when I walk in the door. I won’t always be able to protect him and I’ll have to trust him to make his own decisions. He might decide to move out before I’m ready for him to go but I’ll have to smile and encourage him when all I’ll want to do is grab his leg and not let go.

My mum and dad were very good at giving me independence when I was younger (in a no doubt more controlled way than I realised) and I really appreciated it. Now I am a parent I am just hoping that I will be able to do the same…although I really fear I may be one of the over the top, controlling mums who wants to wrap their child in cotton wool and force them to wear a bobble hat as it will keep them warm…even if it is two sizes too big and bright yellow. Maybe it’s because he isn’t able to look after himself yet. Maybe when he learns the skills and has the knowledge to be independent it will be easier. Maybe.

But at the moment, even if I manage to teach him these skills and even with the skills he will learn without me, I think that when the day comes for him to not just stand on his own two feet to walk those first few steps but actually use them to make his place in the world, I’ll just see that gorgeous gooey smiley face looking back at me and not the confident, happy man I dream that he will become.


Are those my eyebrows???

As I was drying my hair this morning it dawned on me that now my little monkey is fast approaching the big ONE year old, I have more time to do certain things.

When he was a squiggly newborn I rarely bothered to wear make up, when I had a shower and actually bothered to wash my hair 9/10 it would be blasted dry (if at all) and then tied up in a pony.

I lived in leisure wear and if we did venture out the house it was maternity jeans (although granted they were nice) and jumper.

I forgot about basic maintenance like plucking eyebrows unless they started to look similar to Liam Gallagher’s and as for shaving my legs… I think the only shaving I truely maintained was underarms. 

I was shattered and all the beauty pampering I used to love to do seemed to go out the window. Good bye face masks and soft skin, hello breast pads and hair ties.

I don’t think it helped that my little boy was a boobie milk monster and often fed every hour and a half without fail in the first few weeks months.

But now he is bigger, on solids and bottles and can happily play with Daddy and ALL his toys and the fact he now actually sleeps at night I have some more me time.

My hair is clean and straight, eye brows are plucked, skin is scrubbed and has some make up on (although not as precisely applied as before baby), legs are shaved (most the time) and I look like me again in normal (non-maternity) clothes and the heels have started to reappear occasionally too.

I’m going to enjoy this phase for as long as it lasts…and treasure it before we decided when to add to the family again  ;)


New Job

So, it is early days but I think I’m going to like my new job.

Firstly, the hours are amazing. As I have to work full time at the moment I have found a job where I start earlier and finish earlier. I am also now working closer to home so I no longer have to commute a 2 hour round trip every day. This means that B has less time in childcare as the Mr can drop him off on his way to work (I’ll have already started) and I collect him as soon as I finish and I get some quality time with him. I am home early enough to give him his tea, have playtime, give him a bath without it being a rush and then it means when the Mr gets home he can have a bit of time with B without us both fighting for his attention before bedtime.

Before, we didn’t get B home til gone 6pm most days and then it was a mad rush to bath him and spend a quick half hour with him before he would be tired and in need of milk and bed.

I took the job mainly for the hours, location and lastly knowing that I would be able to do the job. The job came second to the extra time I would get with my son and the money it would save us in childcare. But there has been an added bonus. I really like the job.

The people are lovely, they are friendly, talkative and have spent so much time with me showing me the ropes of a sometimes very complicated job.

The job is an admin role but so much better than any I have previously done as you are allowed to just get on with your work. When something had gone wrong (luckily nothing to do with me) we solved it together…wait for it…as a team. This is amazing as I came from a place where no one seemed to want to work together and there was a strong divide between staff who should have been working together and a boss that just ignored all the problems as she wanted to be like rather than actually manage.

I am feeling very lucky to have found and actually been offered this job that works so wonderfully for my family and I. I am working full-time but feel as is I am part-time, it’s amazing.

I never wanted to return to work but I have to admit I think it has done all of us some good. B loves his childminder and the interaction with the other children, I appreciate him so much more and really value the time we have together and I got a bit of myself back which I never even realised I missed and the Mr has started to help around the house again.

Life is far from perfect (I mean who’s is) but at least it’s heading in the right direction.




The end of breastfeeding

On Friday night as I gave my 10 month old boy his bedtime feed, it was the last time I would breastfeed him.

As I had to return to work when he was 7 months old I began slowly introducing bottles during the day, so that when I did return to work he was on formula during the day and had breast milk morning, evening and if he woke in the night. It has been that way for the last 3 months.

I hated breastfeeding at first, he wouldn’t latch easily, my nipples were sore and cracked and I found it difficult being the only one who could feed him. Especially as he fed every hour and a half to 2 hours.  I expressed occasionally but it was hard work to get a few oz’s.

But then it clicked and I loved it. It was also easy when he woke in night to calm and feed him and it was in constant supply.

So why have I decided to stop? Many reasons. I have been considering it for a while but kept putting it off as it was just so easy in the early hours when he woke. I enjoyed the night-time cuddles and liked him getting the added benefits of breast milk, but I just feel now is the time, my little man now has a tooth and to be honest I was getting a bit nervous if he was going to bite down. It could be painful when he had no gums but with a tooth…double ouch. It also means that my Mr can also help with the early morning feed and I get that little bit extra freedom in the evening if I should want to pop out at 7pm. Also, I’m starting a new job which will start early so I’ll need to be out the house sooner and a long feed would now be tricky. Plus another deciding factor was that he has actually been sleeping through til 5.30-6am so the ease of breastfeeding wasn’t quite as important as it once was.

I was ready to stop but as that last feed approached I was getting a little teary eyed. It was the end of a big stage in my little man’s life. It was the end of a lovely thing that ensured cuddles throughout the day and night.

But now after a few days we are doing great. It’s not been as tough as I thought, he has just accepted the bottle morning and night with minimum fuss. All I have to do now is convince the Mr to do the morning feed…this might be the toughest bit!


The scary 2nd baby

Now I am not expecting baby number 2 yet, but the idea excites me and scares me in alarmingly equal measure.

I love my son and enjoyed my pregnancy (not so much the birth) and have really enjoyed becoming a mum and learning along the way. I know I want another baby, but as lovely as the idea is it also makes me a tad nervous. When you have number 2 that’s when the chaos starts. With one you just have them to worry about, look after, remember routines and play with. When you double your amount of children you have 2 different routines to plan for, twice as much washing, double the worry and double the play.

At the moment if B is having a strop you can give him all your attention and play him out of the grump. If he is teething you can pay him the attention he needs to fell better. When you have another child you struggle to find the same level of attention. You have to prioritise which child’s needs are more important at that moment.

I am sure that when this juggling act starts you just get on with it and it doesn’t seem such a big problem…I’m sure…it has too…right?

I have seen friends have their second child and you could feel the shift in pace when I first went round to meet the new little bundle. The elder child was gripping my leg and wouldn’t let go and both parents looked so tired (although I am sure I looked just as tired in the newborn stage).

Maybe your view changes when you have a child. I was looking at it back then as a happy, carefree single. I am now a happy but sleep deprived mummy!

The good news (for me) is that some more close friends are expecting their second baby. I have been cooing at her bump already and it has reminded me how much I enjoyed my growing bump. Their 1 st born is excited but doesn’t fully understand what it happening and I’ll get to watch the chaos unfold and see if it really is as chaotic as it seems.

Although, thinking about it, I probably thought the same when I was expecting my little boy and look how well that turned out. And really…do we really need sleep?


Happy New Year; lots to be thankful for!

Happy new year to all.

On this the 1st day of 2013, I was just checking on my gorgeous little boy who is fast asleep in his cot and I was reminded of how thankful I am for him.

I have always known I wanted children, but I never took it for granted that I would have them. I think it was a mixture of seeing close family friends unable to have children, my mum always brought us up not to expect everything will just fall into our laps and until I met my Mr my relationships had not been brilliant.

I often “prepared” myself for life without a baby. I could travel, do as I pleased and never be tied down. But I knew I really wanted a baby.

I thought I’d never find the right man to start a family.

I feared, without cause, that I might not be able to have children myself. It happens to many people, why would I be any different?

My Dad was adopted when he was a baby so I was always open to the idea of adoption if I couldn’t have my own children.

Reading this back I’m not sure if I was being very pessimistic or simply realistic.

But as I type this today I am happy in my relationship with my lovely Mr and my beautiful baby boy is sleeping soundly upstairs.

I am extremely thankful for both of my boys and as we enjoy the start of a new year with a bouncing baby boy to keep us entertained, I don’t think I could be anymore grateful. Not a bad way to start a new year hey!


Cancel Christmas??

Christmas is very close to being cancelled at our house at the moment, due to our 2 home dilemma with one failing to sell in the current market, we decided to try to rent out the other half’s flat and FINALLY move back to my house where one of our friends is currently keeping an eye on it for us and renting a room.

We were very excited when a woman wanted it but she needed it ASAP as was currently in temporary accommodation. It was going to be a struggle but we agreed to hot foot it out of there to ensure she could take it. We asked our friend if he wanted to move out and have a cost free 2 weeks living there or he could have a full months notice but he’d have to share with us three for the last 2 weeks. He obviously chose to move out before we moved back in with a noisy baby.

Then the woman changed her mind, which means we lose the rent money from our friend (who is ready to move) and have no one in the flat which means we’d have to choose between food and petrol or Christmas presents…bizarrely we have chosen food. So Christmas will be on a shoe string this year as a result. It will be B’s first Christmas but I’m not too bothered about spending money on him to be honest. He will be 10 months old at Christmas and have no idea what is going on, we already have a silly Christmas outfit for him to wear and he will have little things to open and then be more fascinated with the paper than the present.

I’m more upset that we won’t be able to get nice gifts for family and friends who have been so generous to B and so good to us by helping us out by watching him when he was ill so we could both go to work, or when they have babysat so we could go out on a couple of occasions. Or to B’s auntie who has given him lots of barely used toys that her kids have grown out of.

Instead, I’ll have to do some extreme bargain hunting and maybe look at getting little things using store points that I have built up. I am also looking at online offers and deals that might help and we’ll explain to all that we should do a frugal holiday season this year to ensure they don’t spend much on us either. If we can’t give much I do not want to receive.

But saying that I am still looking forward to the actual day, we are going to be at my mums with family and of course B and we’ll have a lovely meal all together which is the main point of Christmas. We may not be religious but I still enjoy celebrating as it is a lovely excuse to all be together and spend some quality time eating, drinking, being merry and playing the latest board game my mum has bought especially for the occasion. My Mum will be hiding the red wine from my uncle, I’ll be treating myself to a little tipple this year, my sister will be cooing over B and my OH will probably be sat checking on the next boxing day football fixtures. But it will be lovely to have a Christmas with my special little boy and watching him open that coal will be amazing! ;)


My new life as a working mummy

It has now been 2 whole months since I returned to work from maternity leave. Did I want to return to work? Hell no. Do I still want to be at home full-time? Um, actually no. The strangest thing has happened, from being a crying, whimpering wreck the whole week (actually make that month) before I returned to work and left my son in the care of a childminder I am now (relatively) happy about going to work. Yes, I miss my son and do wish I could have more time with him but working isn’t the devil and leaving him has probably been of benefit to both of us. He has other kids of all ages to play with during the day and he has already learnt so much. Yes, he is only 9 months old but his progress has suddenly leaped forward. I have realised I don’t have to be joined at the hip with my baby to be close to him. He still has a special smile that is just for me. He still needs me and I haven’t been forgotten now another nice lady looks after him during the working week.

It isn’t all plain sailing but I am coping far better than I ever imagined and, although I doubted it when people told me the following, I actually do enjoy talking to others about non-baby things and actually dressing up each day and concentrating on something that isn’t around a baby’s routine. The only problem I have found is that although I get to chat to my work colleagues I now have limited time for my actual friends.

As I am currently working full-time due to a failed flexible working request, I can no longer pop to see other part-time working friends during the week. I (as do all working parents) only have the weekend to do a food shop, wash all the clothes, clean the house, prepare the weeks meals for my son, spend time with my son and partner and dare I say it relax. After all that I am usually too tired to even move off the sofa. I have had one girls night out about a month ago and I can’t remember the last time him and I went out as a couple. It has also taken me many attempts to write this very blog as I always seem to get distracted or am so tired I can no longer see the keyboard as my head droops down trying to locate the nearest pillow.

There is one very positive aspect of having less time for friends and that is I no longer do the things I didn’t really want to do but did anyway. I can now happily say no to the boring requests with “friends” blaming work, baby or sleep deprivation. And I am getting better at staying in contact, even if only by phone or e-mail, with the friends who I actually like.

One surprising turn of events is a friend who has children has seemingly gotten annoyed with my distance over the last 2 months. Her kids are now a bit older and she never had to work when they were very little but I still thought she would gage how hard it must be working full time and being mum. Obviously not, and she was actually one of the friends I tried to make the effort to see. I am hoping this is just a blip and we’ll get through it. It would appear me my working full-time has affected more than just my immediate family!

The worst part of my working day is the dash from the childminders to work and then back again at the end of the day. I hate sitting in traffic anxious to get to work on time or to pick my son up on time. I hate the knot in my stomach that forms when I think I’ll be even one minute late collecting him.. This is for two reasons; 1) I HATE being late and 2) It cuts into my time with him after work before he collapses into his cot at 7pm.

Luckily, that will soon change as I have managed to get a job round the corner from home and the childminders. I can’t wait to hand my notice in and start my new job. *Hurry up CRB check* Plus, although it is again full-time (I struggled to find a 4 day week in the NHS) the hours are much better and as I won’t have commuting time I’ll have more than 2 extra hours with my son every day. #perfect

So, working full time and being a mummy might not be perfect and if money were not an option I’d probably not work or at least only do a couple of days a week. But life doesn’t always do what you’d like it to and you just have to get on with it the best you can. I might not have got the time management thing right outside of work yet but I’m sure we’ll get there eventually.


*finished as I eat my lunch at work – multi tasking ;)

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