Persephone: Parent

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Operation Yummy Mummy: Only 0.3kg to go!!!

Whoop whoop! So last week, I had apparently lost no weight, but I didn’t let that get me down as I was happier within myself. But something stirred myself to do a mid-week weigh (I try to only weigh once a week to stop from becoming obsessive) and I had lost weight! With my 0.4kg drop today, I am now only 0.3kg from my first weight goal! I am so excited. I’ve never been good at losing weight so I am finding this a real accomplishment. During some of my decluttering acts, I have been looking through my old photos as I explained the other day and I seem to have pinpointed my weight gain. Besides pregnancies of course! In March 2012, I had a laparoscopy to check out why I wasn’t conceiving, just to see if there was an issue with my uterus. Somehow, that surgery really took it out of me, in ways that seem far worse than either of my c-sections. Well, maybe not my second. I really seemed to struggle after that one. After the laparoscopy, it really hit me and I ate a lot of junk food. We went on holiday in the May of 2012, we walked a gorge and in all of the pictures I have a tummy that despite me always seeing, wasn’t in any of the other photos I looked at the other day. I think I stopped being as active after the surgery and whilst I did stop being so active after my c-sections, there were a lot of other body changes going on at the same time so I went in to my first pregnancy carrying more weight than usual as I never attempted to try and shift it. I’m not sure that I ever realised it was fully there.

So, to have actively worked at losing weight and thinking that I can do it, that I can get further, it feels amazing to me. Okay, after the next 0.3kg, my next goal is 10kg away and gets me to that first pre pregnancy weight, which was bumped up by post-surgery laziness. Do you know what though, I can do it!

I know I can.

Not only have I done a once through of the photos and emptied one whole album, I have also fully decluttered the bathroom. I sorted out old medicines, bath washes that I have had for years and am never going to use, done an all around tidy and checked my sun creams for this year! I am finished with the first round of clothes sorting. I even found all of my pyjama tops which was good as I no longer need to wear nursing tops to bed. My clothes will need another sort through, but I need to wait and see what my body is like when I feel happy with the weight loss and once I’m back at work wearing normal clothes! Haha. I’ve also gone through all of my cookbooks and added over half to the pile. Maybe one day I’ll go back to trying to cook from scratch and actually cooking rather than just throwing meat and veg in a slow cooker with a random jar of sauce, but not today! I’m also going to start going through some of my books and deciding if I am ever actually going to read them. I think I might donate books I’ve read rather than keeping them because I like the book and/or the author. Apart from my GRRM, Harry Potter, etc sets. Those I’m keeping.

I’m not touching all of my Star Trek books yet though. If I do decide to get rid of them, I need to investigate if there’s somewhere I can maybe sell them on because there are a lot of them and I just don’t think they’d sell well in any of my local charity shops. Plus they’re up in the loft so not a top priority. Yet. I don’t think there’s much that I can do decluttering wise until I get rid of everything in the back room that is waiting for me to sell at the next Little Pickles market, the thought of which is quite exciting. I mean, two hours of trying to sell all of my baby stuff with nanny babysitting so it could be considered a date with hubby! We’ve already decided that any clothes left are going straight to charity. There’s also the excitement that I might then have a clear back room! And I might have more space in my bedroom (where the sit in walker currently lives). Then there’s the excitment that with space in the back room, I can start decluttering that room! And using it for space to help declutter the conservatory, the shed and eventually the loft. I feel a bit stuck until I clear out the back room so next Saturday could be the start of lots of change.

On my social side, I had a mum date last weekend which was fantastic and I have a few plans in the pipe works for other mum dates. I had made lots of plans to meet up for lots of playdates this week, but Elvis was off nursery 3 days out of the 4 so they all got cancelled. Being stuck at home with both kids was pretty awful for me. It’s the biggest trigger. I just feel down, tired, bored and I still can’t figure out which tool is the best to help me sort it. Luckily, I didn’t get too low and I think I quickly realised that it would be done by today and then back to normal. Theoretically it’s the last time that it could happen as well, I’ll be back to work in a month and then any illness from the kids means that I get to actually spend time with them at home. I might enjoy it!

And I booked Elvis’ birthday entertainment this week! I guess, despite the really low mood that I suffered with being trapped at home, I still had a good week and made it to the end of it.

Now, next Saturday will I be posting about how lovely and clear my house is and how I reached my first weight goal?

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The Blame Game

And how to get over it?

With only a few weeks before my return to work, I think I’ve realised why I really don’t want to go back. Rewind almost three years ago to when my maternity leave with Elvis was almost up and work errors meant I didn’t get paid. Then I got paid too much. Then they took back my overpayment leaving me with nothing that month. No warnings, no explanations until I questioned, no communication at all and still no real explanation as to why I was penalised for their error.

I was given assurances that it wouldn’t happen this time.

Rewind to a year ago when I recieved a letter telling me you’ll be surprised to learn that you’re not entitled to maternity pay. Replace surprised with fucking fuming.

Rewind to the beginning of this tax year when, 4 months into it, I discover that someone hit a reset switch at work and started paying me. I never realised. I didn’t get payslips. I told them, the payments stopped and I heard nothing else from them. So I owe them money. A lot. I have no idea how much. And I was technically claiming benefits because I knew I’d have to pay back the overpay. (And the benefits are because I wasn’t entitled to maternity pay, which they could have told me before I went on maternity leave, but didn’t because they’re incompetent).

So I fully expect to either not be paid this month or to receive a huge bill. And if they don’t pay me, will my nursery fees be paid? Nope.

And I blame work. I blame work for every second of stress the pay issues have ever caused me. I blame work for not being able to pay my mortgage when I returned. Most of all, I blame work for how my daughter was born.

The letter about my pay, or lack thereof, came 14 hours before my waters broke and over a week into my maternity leave. 36 hours later I had the choice of induction or emergency surgery. I spent two nights away from son. Two whole days and Robin was born only about 36 hours before my planned surgery in which I might not have visibly been away from home at all due to nursery.

I could have gone in to labour at any inconvenient time but that’s out of everyone’s hands. That’s nature.

Instead I seem to firmly believe that the waters going was from the surprise at not being entitled to pay. I was fuming. I was so angry at their incompetence, not to mention the fact that I had no idea if we could afford no income from me after about 6 weeks. I blame them for not having figured this all out earlier, giving me extra time to fill in the paperwork and find my payslips. As it was, I filled it all in, had a baby and had to redo the forms because the forms were invalid. If we hadn’t have changed management, I might have been told earlier. I might have been calmer. And I blame them for all of that pain, for sobbing on the second night away that I just wanted to see my son. I blame them for rushing home to see my son and having a longer recovery.

The drugs played a part in me sobbing hysterically to just get my baby out because I wanted to go home to see my son. The hormones, lack of sleep and pain definitely played a part when I was alone in the hospital so Daddy could put Elvis to bed and sobbed every time I heard a newborn cry because I wanted my son. But the reason, I believe, in my irrational head, is that my waters only went because I was stressed by the fear and anger that letter provoked within me and if the waters hadn’t have gone, would contractions have even started? Because the doctors only made me stay in due to potential issues with my scar tissue.

Perhaps I can take ownership of some of it, but not all of it. Their incompetence caused so much stress and so much pain. It is their fault that I had emergency surgery and their fault that I spent so long away from my son. I blame them for the stress of trying to fill in paperwork within days of my daughter being born. I hate them for having the nerve to call me twice in the week after I gave birth, the first time less than 24 hours later, to discuss my complaint. And management knew I’d had my baby as I’d had a congratulations from them, an email promising that we’d discuss my complaint, but to forget it for a while to focus on my family. Well, the other guy who was ringing me, clearly didn’t want me to focus on my family.

Meanwhile, no one has kept in any form of contact. None of the admin people even still work there. I randomly bump into people and hear about the redundancies, hear about who’s walked out, moved to another school. I used to work in a team of 12, now I think we might be about 10, maybe 11, but I only really know 3, maybe 4. I think it is compounded by the fact that I was only back for a short time in between maternities. I think I made about 5 months. My job is pretty physically active. I’m on my feet all the time, rushing from lab to lab to prepare things, lifting and carrying things constantly whether they’re heavy or not. I couldn’t do that during my 5 months back. I couldn’t even sit in the usual work room due to the chairs being too high. So, really, I’ve spent over 3 years not doing my job and I don’t know what to do to. Because of all of the departmental changes (we became an academy during my first maternity leave), I don’t think I even know the people I work with.

So, I don’t know how to do my job, I’m the new person walking in to a department almost, I probably won’t get paid properly for a good half year and, yeah, I’m anxious, desperately trying to put the steps I’ve learnt in therapy into use to not completely lose it.

And I don’t know how I’m supposed to walk into work and not hate everything and everyone I see. I hate the very thought of it.

And I truly don’t know how to let that go.

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Irresponsible Mothers

On the 10th January, I took Elvis to a birthday party and the next day I was informed that someone at the party now had chicken pox. About 19 days later, Elvis got them and about 17 days after that so did Robin. From my understanding you’re contagious the few days before spots come and maybe whilst you have the spots. So for those 19 and then 17 days neither child was contagious until maybe day 16 and 13.

How was I supposed to know that?

The moment Elvis came into contact with pox, should I have kept him at home just in case?

Should I have kept him at home for those 19 days and then a further ten for the spots to clear? Should I have taken a month off work?

Just in case he had it and could pass it on at nursery?

Should I then have not allowed Robin out of the house, just in case, and despite medical professionals telling me she’s was protected against it?

Was I irresponsible in both cases?

I rang the nursery immediately to tell them. I cancelled all plans for both of them in the week they each got pox. I rang/contacted everyone that had visited/seen Robin.

Was that irresponsible?

Yet I then get told by a friend that a bunch of work colleagues were unhappy that I was joining them for a lunch. Because of Robin and her pox. Uhhh, except I’d already cancelled. Despite how she probably wouldn’t be contagious by that point, I’d already cancelled.

Was that irresponsible of me?

It’s really upset me. Mainly because I was already upset that I’d let people, babies, come into contact with Robin at her contagious times. I feel awful about it. We’re not talking the toddlers at nursery, we’re talking babies – some under a month old. And I feel awful that I could be responsible for making those babies ill. I really don’t need someone making me feel worse.

Especially not a mother so irresponsible that they can make another mother feel so awful.

It’s made me paranoid that the group I went to, allowing Robin to potentially infect other babies, will never allow me back because of my irresponsibility. That they will make me feel awful and unwanted, too.

The mother in question might just simply have been worried about her own child but perhaps she should have spoken directly to me rather than make me feel like crap and irresponsible.

~ P

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Toddler Proofing A Toddler Proof Home

You’d think it’s  easy, right, having toddler play dates in your home when you have a toddler already. We have safety gates, door catches, plug covers, no exposed wires, radiator turned down/off, etc, etc. Yet it really isn’t that easy. Or I’m too much of a control freak.

In the week after Christmas, Elvis was off nursery for the week so I thought it would be good to have some toddler playdates (and mummy catch ups). I feel bad during a normal  week that I put Elvis’ naps (and rest time for me) before him socialising. But he socialises at nursery. I miss out on seeing him interact with children though. And I wonder how he will be with children in his home.

We had 3 in total in that week — I was 38 weeks pregnant so everyone happily came to me! And I learnt quickly after the first. Just because I have the safety issues covered, it does not mean that toys are safe. We have a fireplace in our living room (never turned on but has edges that could hurt a child). Elvis knows not to touch it, that it’s hot so I don’t think about it. Elvis has a play desk that he knows not to climb and he knows not to take the chalks and crayons away from the desk. He has jigsaws that  he knows not to chew.

I’m not saying these things to say “my son is perfect” these are simply my house rules and I’ve taught him them. Sometimes he’s cheeky and disobeys one. We have had to take away a few pop up books as he wasn’t careful enough with them (that’s what library books are for!) That’s our rules. There is nothing wrong, nothing right about our rules, friends’ rules or anyone’s rules.

But I do need to chill out when guests come around. Or, as I quickly learnt, tidy up and hide questionable toys. I now hide the chalks and crayons, the bouncy horse that can be climbed on, the wooden jigsaws that can have their picture chewed off, the books that could be damaged by toddler hands, the more delicate pieces of train track. I considered hiding the garage with extra track that took hours to figure out a configuration, but then realised no toddler could damage it, only break it up so Daddy and I would have to spend hours refitting it all!

I was much calmer on the second playdate. And there were two toddler guests! I didn’t even mind the mess – some toddlers play with everything all at once, others tidy as they play. Just like some toddlers happily play alone, others need someone to interact with. As with all things there is no right or wrong. There are pros and cons to both. The first playdate saw Elvis share brilliantly (except his Santa hat that no one else can touch ) which is my primary concern for an only child. The second playdate saw Elvis throw a mini fit whenever I passed a toy to another child (what’s mummy’s is mummy’s which doesn’t bode well for the baby!) And saw him push another child over.

Elvis isn’t at the stage yet where punishments work. Normally when he’s naughty he gets a time out to stop crying and then has to cuddle whoever he disobeyed/hurt/upset. Well, he was never going to cuddle his friend. I really need to work on “telling off” and discipline when it comes to others! He did then play brilliantly with both boys – they were giggling and playing away and we had no idea what they were doing!

I love seeing him play with other children! But I also need to figure which are his toys – toys that he just won’t share. Which I’m fine with. Everyone has a few things or one special thing that is theirs and I don’t think they should be forced to share everything. During the week of playdates, Elvis’ special toys were his bouncy horse and Leeds Santa Hat. Fair enough. Now, when he refused to share his cars (he has 7), that is not fair and I will make him share.

And those toys that he refuses to share (because they’re special to him) will be removed from the room so no one can play! Along with the chalks, crayons, jigsaws and other delicate/damageable toys!

Here’s to more sharing and more playdates!

~ P

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VBAC Agreement

I had my final VBAC midwife appointment and had the consultant sign off my plans – c-section at term +12 if I haven’t already had a baby of course!

And I just feel so tired. Physically, mentally. I have no fight left even though I haven’t had to fight any medical people. Yet (I worry that I will as I reach term). Somehow I still feel like I’m too tired to fight. Maybe I’m too tired to keep juggling everything – work, pregnancy, mother to a toddler, being a person. Maybe I’m tired. Maybe I’m finally succumbing to the awful cold that has plagued my house. Being pregnant, doing what’s right for my health, Elvis and Robin is draining.

Maybe I just want February to hurry up and get here.

I physically ache. One hour of shopping leads to agony. A night of recuperative sleep is no longer a fix all remedy to my aches and pains. Sometimes I feel like becoming a mum has cost me so much. Sometimes I feel like being pregnant this time has cost me so much.

Other than at work, I don’t socialise. I don’t let Elvis socialise (he does get it at nursery of course). This pregnancy is so much harder than my first. I spend a huge chunk of my night, my time, sitting on a gym ball. It makes me unproductive. It makes me unsociable.

I wonder if anything will change when Robin arrives. The exhaustion and pain makes me snappy, makes me lazy and I fear for my parenting. It makes me fear if I can recover from this laziness once Robin’s here. Will the newborn exhaustion stop me being a good parent still?

Then I question my social life. I enjoyed my year with Elvis. The new friends I made and saw all the time who all slipped away when I went back to work because of my juggling acts – a ball had to drop. The existing people in my life who were also a ball too many. Will I be able to pick up a ball in a few months?

And will there be any point when a year later I’ll go back to work and potentially have to drop one again (although will I have the pregnant ball again? Doubtful). I guess I’m just feeling really down and know that I still have 3 weeks until I reach term and then another 5 until it will be over. 8 weeks of back pain, of pelvic discomfort so bad it’s physically draining.

And then a new period of exhaustion and pain.

~ P x

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Can I give up Now?

For anyone’s information, this entire blog is now censored and amended to no longer be accurate to my thoughts and feelings for the sake of everyone else in the world as I am not deemed important enough to have feelings. So feel free to simply laugh at the post below.

The pains and aches are too much. It hurts to walk, not my pelvis anymore, my lower back. And my upper back aches when I try and relax my lower back. My bump has just got harder, like, overnight and it’s uncomfortable to lean forward. I’m tired all the time. 15 months ago, I was yearning for a time that Elvis would have an actual bedtime and when I would get a bit of time after he was asleep before I would go to bed. Now? Now, I would happily go to bed before him.

I can’t get a straight answer out of my bosses about my annual leave and I’m really worried that I’m going to lose a whole load of leave or be refused it. Meanwhile I’m trying to cling on until Christmas holidays. I’m beginning to doubt myself and the ability to last that long. I’ve already brought forward my help me date — I can’t deal with the 80 minutes of solid walking and hubby is happy to take his lunch ferrying Elvis and I around. I was hoping to not take advantage of his lunch hour, but now am hoping to at least the end of November before giving up.

Meanwhile, after a few pay cock-ups and a house move, money has become tight. We’re still paying the mortgage and bills at an old address, but no bills at the new house yet. We need to finish and sell the old house. I need that mortgage money to pay the nursery — especially with my impending maternity pay. I have never felt money be this tight and at least last time I had savings to help me out. Until we sell our old house, I do not have that financial security. But there’s nothing I can do to speed that up. I can’t shift the few boxes remaining. I can’t drive there and back, emptying the house. And I can’t paint the one damn wall that needs painting!

And I would really like all of these things sorted before Robin comes along (obviously the pain and feeling uncomfortable will).

I would really like to fast forward time!

~ P x

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Moving Home: Things To Worry About

Since I was about 4 months pregnant with Elvis, hubby and I have lived in a house that I only bought as an investment to rent out. I never really paid much attention to the pros and cons of whoever was going to live there. Wish I had when it ended up being us for almost 2 years. Earlier this year, I bought a new house for my mum so that she and I can do a house swap – she will downsize into a new house, I will upsize into her house (my childhood home) and then my current house will be sold (because sod the renting out thing again).

I wanted to compile a little list of the pros and cons of each house and immortalise why I will miss some features, and won’t miss others.

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Changing The Routine: An Update

I thought it had been ages since I last posted, but it’s only really been 8 days. But that was a standard post that had been sitting in my drafts for ages.

I think it’s fair to say that I’ve become quite complacent about blogging. I did write a few poems the other weekend and set up scheduled posts on my original blog to see it through to Christmas! I also have an idea about a photography series on here.

What I really need to do is find the motivation to post!

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Mummy Moment: Day Away #LFCC

After 13 months of just being a mum (which has nothing wrong with it, but is not for me), in the past 3 weeks I have returned to working a 12 hour week and am now sitting at a train station at 0720 in the morning, about to head off to one of my conventions.

It’s daunting.

I mean, I am not one who gets soppy at leaving my son, but I have never, ever, ever left him alone ALL day. I didn’t even see him before I left. I might not see him when I get in.

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Aaagggghhhh!

Okay, I’m dressed, teeth cleaned and bags all ready.

I’m off to work in about 15 minutes. First time since April 2014, I think.

Elvis’ first two mornings at nursery went perfectly. The staff love him – he keeps his hat on outside, doesn’t squirm for sun cream, eats all of his food and fell asleep in the cot without needing to be rocked or held! My little superstar!

Now, I have to go to work. Aaarrggghhh!

So scared and nervous. No idea why.

~ P

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