Tag Archives: work

How far I’ve come…

Last night I sat breast feeding my four week old and watching The Devil Wears Prada.

I had been feeling pretty good – I’d managed a shower that morning and was wearing my Hollister trackies and hoodie, smug that they fit again. Yeah. That smugness was short-lived.

I trained and worked as a journalist, and while I never worked on a fashion mag, this movie had always struck a chord. The deadlines, the networking, the desire to exceed everyone’s expectations and try to look glamorous while doing it. Now here I was, mum of two, off work, looking forward to getting back into my exercise plan and shifting a stone of baby weight. “Andy”, the main character, was a sharp reminder of how far I had to go.

But as she had to bend further and further backwards to please her cruel boss, I found myself smiling. I was so far past that eager-to-please stage. I’d been there aged 26. I’d made myself ill over it. Eventually I’d snapped. handed in my notice and scared the shit out of my boss, who was left with two magazines editor-less. I’d set up my own business, gone on to have two beautiful children and was now a much wiser 32 year old. I may be a bit squishy round the middle but, in the words of Cheryl, “I don’t care”.

Coincidentally, I had also just popped in to the office to show off KD to my co-workers. They had been lovely; excited to meet him, complimentary and genuinely interested. The conversation had turned to when I was coming back and the projects that were waiting. They were nothing but supportive, so I didn’t have any guilt about taking the time away from work or feel any pressure to rush back. I know the time will come when I’ll want to get back to work – but for now I’m happy to relax into motherhood which, by the way, is a much harder job.

I can look forward to the time when fashion will matter again, when I’ll get a buzz from networking and hitting deadlines and exceeding expectations – but I know it will be on my terms. Just figuring that out has given me confidence. I can appreciate how much I’ve learned since those miserable days just before I handed in my notice. The challenge is to remember all this when I’m sleep-deprived, frizzy, trying to keep my patience with a truculent three year old while the baby cries and wondering how the hell I’m going to organise dinner…

Maybe I’ll just read this blog.

Figuring out what's really important...

Figuring out what’s really important…

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Filed under Aberdeen, fashion, Newborn

No room for the muse…

The muse has temporarily deserted me.

I used to really look forward to writing a new mum blog post, those days something funny happened or life taught me a valuable lesson. It would be a treat to open the laptop, upload the photos and indulge my creative writing hobby while the wee man slept.

Maybe that’s been the problem – the lack of sleep.

The naps – those wonderful oases in our crazy days – are long gone, and this summer the 12-hour-straight slumbers from 7.30pm have also disappeared. Some nights it’s been 9pm before he’s finally conked out, only to be up again three hours later. Those nights there’s just time to eat something before passing out ourselves.

But something else pretty big and important has taken over my life recently, and it’s no exaggeration to say it has totally floored me. Pregnancy.

It’s been a totally different experience from first time round. I haven’t enjoyed it at all. I’ve felt generally under the weather the whole time – bone tired, over-emotional, nauseous, achey and completely lacking in energy. I’ve fought it, of course. I’ve taken the supplements, eaten healthily, drunk lots of water, tried to stay active (even though my pelvis has had to be realigned and I’m doing physio every day) and clung to my perspectacles. I’ve made huge efforts to stay rational, to count my blessings that the baby’s been growing healthily, to control the tears and rages, and to continue to be a good mum to the wee man. It’s been a huge effort, especially for a woman with no energy.

Filming for the local business news broadcast - and hiding the bump!

Filming for the local business news broadcast – and hiding the bump!

My business, meanwhile, has taken off. It’s been the best trading year yet. It’s been my escape, living three days a week in a world where success can be measured and to do lists can be achieved. I’ve formulated and delivered effective strategies, returned to some proper journalism, met interesting new contacts and received praise for jobs well done. I’ve felt in control and successful, a nice contrast to toddler battles and a body that challenges me in some new way every day.

mummykimmy press call

Now though, I am four weeks away from my due date. I have finally, and reluctantly, gone on mat leave. The wee man has moved up a class at nursery and now goes three and a half days, which are more evenly spread out during the week. We have found a second babysitter – a trainee paediatric nurse who lives locally – and who the wee man loves. The sleeping has improved – though he is still up once or twice through the night – and even I have to admit that the headspace freed up by not working has allowed me to relax a bit.

Four weeks to go...

Four weeks to go…

I’ve bought myself a new notebook, glued the scan pictures into the first pages and started writing lists. Baby names, suggestions from other mums, things to organise before the wee one arrives… and I’m excited! I’m looking forward to having time alone at home to nest. I can’t wait to go through all the wee man’s old baby clothes and wash anything white, yellow or green. I’m delighted the joiner is coming to build a fitted wardrobe in the baby’s room and paint the whole place white. I’m even up for the challenge of scrubbing the pram and car seat.

I feel a sense of achievement already. And maybe the muse is returning…

 

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Filed under Aberdeen, health, pregnancy, pregnancy & health, pregnancy & work, sleep

Self-help

Mum bought me a self-help book for Christmas. We all got one. I think she worries I worry too much (wonder where I get that from?) I’m not normally into that kind of stuff but I don’t have a book on the go right now so I’ve put it on my bedside table and I dip in and out. It’s well written, the tone is light and it’s not patronising. In fact, it’s quite funny in places and it’s written by a Brit, so it’s not too schmaltzy.

Last night I got quite engrossed in the chapter about how we all live in a prison we build for ourselves – Cell Block A is self-doubt, Cell Block B is fear and so on. I was surprised to discover that one of the ‘cell blocks’ was seriousness. Hmmm. I didn’t know that was something to avoid. It’s definitely something I’m guilty of though. Apparently we’re being slowly squashed by the weight of public health messages and government advice; eat well, exercise, work hard, recycle, be a good neighbour, save money… The result is that we care too much about too many things.

That’s why you’re working too hard to keep the whole show on the road; that’s why you’re stressing so much about bits of the show breaking down.

You know when you read something that just strikes a chord? I put the book down and repeated this to myself. I am so stressed about bits of the show breaking down. Yesterday I had to ask mum to keep the wee man overnight so I could work right through til bedtime. There just aren’t enough hours in my day to run my business, keep on top of the housework and look after a toddler. I mean, how do single parents do it?! Thank God Rod’s back tonight and we have a day off tomorrow. I knew I wouldn’t be able to relax unless I had my two big projects completed and I knew my pride wouldn’t allow my husband to come back to a messy, dirty house.

Yes, I am my own jailer.

The book’s solution to this state of affairs? It’s very simple and very effective. It’s the title of the book. F**k it.

Isn’t that brilliant? I’ve said it out loud a few times today and it’s made me smile. I need to care less about things that don’t matter that much. So it’s taken me half a day instead of half a minute to reply to an email. F**k it. So my hair is a bit flat and there’s a photographer coming because I’ve agreed to contribute to a feature last minute. Dry shampoo. F**k it. So the wee man’s not eating his fruit and I have to give him another yogurt. F**k it. He’ll survive. So the move in date on our Aberdeen pad has been put back ten days. It’s a pain in my ass but f**k it, we’ll go up anyway and stay in the serviced apartments for a while.

It’s so liberating – try it!

So the house is a mess... F**k it, he's having a blast!

So the house is a mess… F**k it, he’s having a blast!

So he's trying to drink beer... Actually, wait, is there really beer in there?

So he’s trying to drink beer… Actually, wait, is there really beer in there?

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Filed under home, work

The lesson of the Big Blue Sack

We don’t have a laundry basket, we have a big, blue Ikea sack that sits on the floor of a walk-in cupboard in the bedroom.

When we’re tired and lazy we fling our dirty washing at the bag and don’t much care if it goes in. If one of us has put a towel in the sack we don’t even aim. The pile annoys me for a few days until I finally get round to hauling it out, hunting for all the socks and pants and separating the whites from the darks.

Rod likes his work shirts washed separately and there are usually those towels and bits of handwashing left over, but occasionally the bag is empty and I see blue. I open it out as far as it will go and put it back in the cupboard, wondering if this time we’ll keep it all tidy.

Going to bed with the knowledge there’s an empty sack in the cupboard is a good feeling.

When the fridge is empty and I’m tired, I do a small shop at the local Spar, knowing that eventually I’ll need to sit at my computer and order the big online grocery shop. When my car gets messier and filled with more stuff, I grab a few empty water bottles on my way out and make a mental note to hoover it at the weekend. When business is busy and childcare is limited, I hit the deadlines and answer the emails knowing that one day I’m going to have to organize those receipts, file those papers and get back to the business plan.

The joy of the full fridge, spotless car mat and organized office is sweet and brief because I know, soon, it’s going to start up all over again. I’ve decided that’s OK.

Short cuts are supposed to be hard. If they weren’t, they’d just be The Way. And as we all know, it’s not about the destination, it’s the journey.

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2012 and the Turning Point

I was on my first walk with the pram joyously uncovered by plastic today, when I passed the beautician, stopped, reversed and made an appointment for a Saturday morning pedicure.

I can’t remember the last time I did something so impulsive for myself – I’ve been my own lowest priority for a year now. That sounds pathetic – I don’t mean it like that – I just wondered why I was so excited about booking a pedi, and that’s what occurred to me. I’ve realised that 2011 really was the year when my body and I took a break from each other.

January to March were the last – and most uncomfortable- months of my pregnancy. I just rotated the same seven outfits and accepted I couldn’t rush around as usual. The wee man’s appearance on March 28 was actually a wonderful experience and gave me real respect for my body,  but for the next five months I was breast feeding – and all the kerfuffle that entails.

Then it was September, I was back to work and trying to figure out how the hell to balance it all. Buggy Bootcamp began at the end of October and then, mid-December, I had The Weigh-In.

I suppose it wasn’t until January 3rd, the day of the Great Wardrobe Clearout, that I realised my body and I were reunited. The defining moment was slipping into my pre-pregnancy skinny jeans. I say slipping because the zipper actually fastened easier than it had in June 2010. I’m not ashamed to tell you I jumped on the bed then bounced down the stairs to squeak at Rod that I was back! I have managed to hold off the Christmas/New Year poundage and I can begin the new year with the beautiful cliché of a new me.

 

 

 

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8 months today!

Chilling after a big day

The wee man is eight whole months old today. I like to celebrate these little milestones (on his 7 month ‘birthday’ we all had a fabulous lunch in a cliff-top restaurant in Tenerife) but today I was working and Rod was working away overnight. We both felt guilty, which is ridiculous, but I did manage to squeeze in a treat this morning – I took him to Baby Sensory.

Normally these kinds of baby activities are really not my cup of tea – I always end up feeling like a bit of a tit – but today was all about the wee man. It only took us ten minutes to walk there and one of the first mums I met was a woman I knew from my antenatal classes. We were really pleased to see each other again and swapped birth stories, which sounds like a weird thing to do, but given we did our training together it would be odd not to discuss the race!  She had a pretty horrible time of it so I was careful not to make mine sound too wonderful (although I kind of think it was) and we compared notes on motherhood. Her son is two days younger but he is really advanced – he’s sitting really well all by himself and stands too. I hope he inspires my wee guy!

As for the class – the wee man absolutely loved it! He giggled his head off and was fascinated by everything. The idea is to stimulate all the baby’s senses and promote all kinds of development, so we were singing, dancing, playing with coloured ribbons, shaking maracas and bouncing on balls. There was a bubble machine, some flashing coloured lights and loads of new toys to explore. Actually it was probably all a bit too much for him because ten minutes from the end the thumb went in and he snuggled down and slept almost instantly. Other mums told me their babies had been the same and it takes a few sessions for them to settle. Every class is different – apparently we can look forward to baby massage, baby signing and all sorts, so I’ve signed up til Christmas. It’s £6 a session and it’s totally worth it to see his delighted wee face. Plus he can clap now (thanks to Grammy’s training) and he was chuffed to bits to have an audience for his new party trick!

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Filed under birth, health, hello World

Dear green places

Don't worry, the brake is on!

My life used to have two speeds: stressed and bored.

I set up my business after walking away from a job after months in which the petty politics had stressed me to breaking point. Finding clients and building my reputation in my new role was both exhilirating and exhausting. When I ever gave myself time off, I’d get restless and worry that I should be working. When I was in work mode I crammed my days full of meetings, research, work and networking. Even when I was pregnant I didn’t really slow down and worked on projects until 11 days before my due date.

Now that I’m “off” the pace of my life has slowed dramatically. I walk everywhere, I haven’t set my alarm for weeks, I rarely plan beyond tomorrow and I have rediscovered my love of parks.

Glasgow means ‘dear green place’ and the place is full of them. It helps that the weather has been Mediterranean for the past fortnight. The blossom has burst out, the trees are suddenly dripping with acid green leaves and the sky is as blue as the wee man’s eyes. I have been absolutely loving having the freedom – and the time – to enjoy the great outdoors in the middle of the city. I have even learned the muslin-over-the-shoulder trick so that I can subtly feed little F in public. I’ve been doing that American thing of saying hi to everyone I pass and feeling lucky as I push F by the workers scoffing their sandwiches on benches. That used to be me. But mostly I’ve been loving discovering a new speed for my life: peace.

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Filed under hello World, work