Please Can I Be Tired?!

Today I made a mistake. I told two mums that I was shattered. Clearly there can only be one reason for this. It’s nothing to do with 5 mile uphill school runs, choirs, swimming, ballet, toddler groups, nonstop housework, not sitting down or anything else. It can only be because  I am lazy. Given that my daughter is at school all day, and my son goes to pre-school once a week, giving me a child free day and that I even do my food shopping online, all I can possibly do every day is sit at home and relax.

I’ve done the working mum thing. I was tired then too. I didn’t hate what I was doing, but towards the end, I found myself resenting it. Some people made me feel guilty about working.

“Those early years are such a special time, they disappear all too quickly.”

“You’ll look back and regret not spending that time with your children.”

“There’s more important things than money.” (Er, yeah try telling that one to the mortgage company).

To a certain extent, I’m right with what I said in my first line. I am lazy, it’s my default setting. I’ve never been one of those people who get cabin fever if they don’t leave the house for a day. I don’t find myself craving exercise if I don’t do any for a few days, and I think I’m possibly alone when I say that I don’t even feel better for doing exercise. I do it because I’ve heard it’s good for me, but the only thing it generally makes me feel better about is eating cake.

I am tired, but I used to get a lot more respect from people when I was working. Apparently being a teacher is a much more noble thing to do than looking after and educating your own children. If I said I was tired, people would nod in agreement, and offer me sympathy. I may have been tired from a night out and have just had a day where I only taught for one or two hours, had a full lunch break and solitary wees, but if I said I was tired, people were with me.

Now however, it doesn’t matter why I’m tired, because I don’t go to a place of work. Therefore, my tiredness is either in my head or a bare faced lie? The work I’m doing now might not bring in an income, or exercise my brain in the same way, but it does exercise my patience, pays out well below the minimum wage, and fails to give me breaks every 6 hours which I seem to think is a legal requirement!

So why aren’t I allowed to be tired?! Why am I not justified in saying that I’m tired just because I don’t bring home an income any more? I swear I’m more tired after days with the children than I ever was at work! Oh well, I guess I’ll just sit on the sofa, drink some more coffee and ponder this thought…!

One Water Birth or Two?!

I’ve joined in the Tweeting every week, getting all broody and googly at the cute little newborns on One Born Every Minute, but it wasn’t until prompted last week that I thought about adding my own birth story and joining in on the Netmums Parent Bloggers Network!

I’m someone that mums who suffered long and horrendous labours will want to hate, because I’ve had two children, and in total, I’ve been in labour for less than 6 hours. I’ve never had any pain relief, not even gas and air, and just 25 minutes before my son was born, I was sat at home feeding my daughter her breakfast.

But before you totally hate me, it did hurt, and I needed stitches, LOADS of stitches!

I knew giving birth would be the most painful experience of my life, but I’d accepted that, and I always in labour, focussed on getting the baby out, not how much it hurt. For me, that worked. When my invitation to antenatal classes came through, I never went. I just felt incredibly uncomfortable about the whole thing. I didn’t want to know what might happen, because it might not happen! I just wanted to deal with what happened when it happened. I had no birth plan. I decided how to play things when I was in labour. The last thing I wanted during the most painful experience of my life was someone telling me that I didn’t really want this or that because it said so in my birth plan!

My first child was due May 4th 2007. When I went to bed on May 1st, something didn’t feel right. I’d been getting a few cramps so I thought I’d while away the time by counting the time between each cramp to practice for when I was in labour (this is probably the point where you’re thinking those antenatal classes may’ve come in handy!). They were coming about every 7 minutes, then 5, then 4. How funny, I thought, that’s just like what labour contractions do! It was about 4:30am and suddenly I felt a tiny pop inside me. It was so slight I honestly thought it was an air bubble, until I got out of bed. At this point I phoned maternity and they told me they’d send a midwife round at 8:30am, to assess me. I was fine with that and decided to have a shower, which they’d told me was fine to do. As I was about to get in, maternity called to say they were quiet, so did I want to go in. I had my shower, did my make up and straightened my hair (hey if I was in labour, I didn’t want those first photos of me to be looking any worse than I had to!) which as you’ll see from the photos was pretty pointless!
I got to the hospital at 5:30am and the first time the midwife checked me out I was fully dilated. After establishing that I quite fancied a waterbirth, my husband distinctly remembers the midwife turning to the assistant with quite a frenzied look saying “Get that pool running NOW!” Then it was all pretty straightforward. I got in the water at about 6:30am, and at 7:24am we welcomed our beautiful daughter, Evie Mae into the world!
My second baby was due on April 10th 2009. Evie was slightly early, so everyone was telling me to be prepared, second babies come earlier, second babies come quick etc. but due date arrived, and baby hadn’t.
Then on Easter Saturday we were sat watching Britain’s Got Talent and I started to wonder if that was a twinge I just felt. I decided it wasn’t, but was feeling tired so decided to go to bed. I woke up at about 5am and thought I was getting twinges so I phoned the hospital. My waters hadn’t broken, so they told me to phone back when the contractions were bearable but only just, or if my waters broke. I got up, and Evie woke up about 6:30 so I got her up and dressed, and checked to see if the Easter Bunny had been (he had)! I phoned the hospital back at about 9am to say the contractions had got stronger, so they told me to get my mother-in-law round to look after Evie and to phone when I was on my way in. At 9:40am I phoned the hospital which was only 5 minutes up the road. 9:45am I walked into the foyer of the hospital where my waters broke (great timing). The poor boy who worked in the WHSmith there who thought he’d have a quiet time on double time because it was Easter Sunday sure got a surprise when I got down on all fours and told him I was going to give birth there! My husband phoned up to maternity and within seconds, this (amazing) lady came running down the stairs with a blanket and a pair of scissors! She realised I wasn’t going to make it upstairs so they got me into the toilets. I didn’t realise it at the time just how quick it was but my notes which were written retrospectively say it all: 9:48am: Michelle’s husband calls to say birth is imminent. 9:54am: Birth of live male infant! Hello Harry Joe!

I’m sure you can imagine the comments we’ve had when people hear how our gorgeous little man arrived into the world, but we ignored all suggestions to call him Louis or even Armitage!
So there we are, two babies, two water births (sort of!), no pain relief, lots of stitches and two VERY proud parents! That is all!

Whose Game is it Anyway?

What was I thinking when I calmly asked my children to go and get ready for bed?! They’re four and two, clearly I’m just making the process take twice as long. I heard the giggling and the word ‘trick’ and was waiting to find out which small hole my daughter would be trying to squish my son into, but I was pleasantly surprised until I looked closely at what was going on…

My children are oblivious to the concept of gender specific toys and I have no problem with this whatsoever. If nothing else, it gives me so much ammunition for when they’re older in terms of photographic evidence which can come back to haunt them!

Does it matter that this is my son?

Or that this is my daughter?

My daughter has always been a girly girl. She loves her Disney Princesses and pretty pink things. My son is very similar. He also loves pretty pink things and he can name more Disney Princesses than he can trains from Thomas the Tank Engine. Having a bossy sister leaves him with very little choice on what he should play with!

The fact that I had a girl first, and the fact that of course I was one once, has made me a lot more knowledgable about toys targeted at girls. Our collection of ‘boys’ toys’ is growing, thanks to the inevitable Thomas the Tank Engine products he always gets given, but he’s never shown a particularly great interest in them… until his sister did!

When we moved, my daughter quickly became very good friends with one of the boys in her class, and as I became very good friends with his mum, they now see a lot of each other outside of school too. He came round for tea at our house, and is clearly very patient, because he had no problems playing ‘tooth fairies,’ princesses or being a ‘pupil’ in my daughter’s ‘school!’ I felt for him slightly, and suggested other activities that perhaps her guest may prefer, but to no avail!

A few days later, my daughter went round to his house after school. He is the eldest of three boys, so their house is very well stocked with a lot of completely different toys to what my daughter has shown an interest in. She had a great time, and when she came back, she told us all about her time, how she played football and dinosaurs, then finished with “And I learnt a great new game too, it’s called Killing!”

Since meeting this boy, all of her games seem to involve pirates and swords. Suddenly, her brother’s toys are far more interesting to her, and they go off together and play with his cars or his Batcave. Her most asked for item on her Christmas list was a Knight’s Castle! As a result of my daughter’s interest in his toys, my son suddenly wants to play with them too – he hasn’t worn heels for a good few weeks now!

But I needn’t worry just yet that my daughter is losing all her pink girliness, after stabbing me with a sword because my car finished first in the Grand Prix this morning, she reminded me it’s only one more week until she gets her pink leotard and tutu for ballet and that I wasn’t to touch a thing in her bedroom as she’s getting it ready for a Princess’ tea party, meanwhile, my son was getting ready to make some pink bunting for said tea party! We don’t care as long as we’re all having fun!

The Gallery: Eyes

My children look completely different. They neither look related to each other, or to me, in fact sometimes I wonder if I got at least one of them muddled up in the hospital! People are always trying to notice likenesses and similarities, and they always manage to, but everyone says different things, it’s almost like they feel they’re not being polite unless they tell me that my offspring resemble me in some way!

I’ve looked and looked, and the only thing I’ve ever managed to try and console myself with is that their eyes are quite similar, so I thought I’d milk it for all it was worth on this week’s Gallery! This photo is taken from the one at the top of my blog, and I think it’s pretty much the only similarity between them, and the fact they both like jumping on me full pelt with no warning of course!

 

 

Check out the other Gallery posts this week over on Tara’s blog at Sticky Fingers.

 

Kindle Tastic!

I love my Kindle to bits! So much so that when it plopped through my letterbox just before Christmas, I dedicated an entire blog post to it! I was very lucky and got lots of fab Christmas presents, but my mother in law getting me a Kindle voucher is probably one of the best presents she has ever bought me! I’ve always been someone who has enjoyed reading, but having young children has made me much more keen to watch some trashy tv in an evening rather than use my brain (well that’s my excuse anyway!) but in the last two months, I’ve read more than I’ve read in the last two years.

So when I read posts from the lovely Emily at MTJAM and Mother.Wife.Me about making blogs available on the Kindle store, I decided I had nothing to lose, so took the plunge! That’s where you guys come in though, because I can’t really subscribe to my own blog on the Kindle store, I have a pretty good idea what it’s going to say already! However, I do know from personal experience how convenient blog reading has become when it’s just delivered to you, I read so many more blogs because of it.

So here’s the link, and don’t forget, you can get Kindle apps for iPhone and Android if you don’t have a Kindle reader (though you should because they’re amazing and I’m not just saying that because I want you to download my blog)! And thank you to anyone who stops by even occasionally, I love to receive your comments and feedback. Often it’s you guys that keep me sane!

What is This Feeling?

This was the day my life changed. Admittedly it was a few hours after this picture was taken, when this arrived…

It was the happiest day of my life without doubt, the day little Evie came into our world, but it was also the day when sleep became a luxury, and time to myself became a thing of the past. You don’t realise how rubbish the tv is at 3am until you’re stuck there watching it while this small but very loud being attaches itself to your nipple! However all too soon that phase was over, and I was back at work, but with a school of teenagers knowing that all they had to do to get out of a few minutes of a lesson was ask about Evie – of course I’d oblige and tell them. My life as a teacher, that part of me that was still ‘me’ wasn’t the same either, because it revolved around my precious bundle. I couldn’t stay late or get in early to clear work, and didn’t want to either.

Thankfully I had a secret up my sleeve so I knew it would be okay, because 23 short months later, this happened…

and three became four (this was literally minutes after birth, so please don’t look at my hair, puffy face, lack of make up…!)! Queue round two, a continued lack of sleep and me time! Then again, all too quickly, came the going back to work.

Finally, in September last year, I was able to do what I’ve always wanted to do, and become a stay at home mum, and boy have I loved it. Spending time with my boy has been really special, for both of us, and also made me wonder how on earth I had time to hold down a job with quite a lot of responsibility (obviously the fact that I was paying someone else over half of my salary to look after them while I was at work explain quite a bit but still!)!

Then this happened…

but today, I’m feeling quite emotional because this happened…

Yes, one hour ago, I dropped off my boy for his first ever pre-school session, and I’ve got some me time back. It’s not the fact that this is a milestone for him, which perhaps makes me sound slightly harsh, but he’s been to nursery before, he’s had lots of regular childcare when I was a working mum, in fact, he loved it so much, that I cried when he had his last day at his nursery before we moved to Wiltshire, and this morning he was so excited, and showed his lunchbox to anyone who’d look and listen (not a euphemism I promise!). Today, the emotion that I’m feeling is guilt. Guilt that I’ve wanted to be a stay at home mum, for so long, yet today, I am at home, childless. Guilt that my husband is working stupidly long hours to support his family, while I’m sat at home, not doing the job that I supposedly gave up work to do. He said to me this morning that this was a luxury for me, and perhaps I should be paying the pre-school fees, and while I know it’s tongue in cheek, we both know that our boy really loves the activities and independence that pre-school offer, it still makes me feel guilty that I’m on my own for four hours a week. Obviously I’m not going to stop during these four hours and they will fly by, but for now, drinking a cup of coffee while it is still hot or going for an uninterrupted wee are feeling quite strange and I’m not sure that I deserve such luxuries!

So I’m not quite sure why I feel this emotion, perhaps it’s actually quite a selfish way to feel, and that I should be thinking more about how my son is getting on, on his first full day. Maybe I’m feeling guilty because there’s no actual reason why I shouldn’t be looking after my son right now, whereas whenever they’ve been in childcare before, it’s been because circumstances have made it necessary and now they’re not. Maybe I’m feeling guilty because when I’m not looking after my children, the job role of ‘stay at home mum’ becomes a little redundant!

I’m not sure, maybe somebody else out there has felt a similar way to me at some point, or maybe I’m just a freak, who knows! I guess for now I’ll just have to prescribe the same medicine I’d prescribe to anyone else who was feeling slightly emotional – coffee and cake’s the way to go right?!

‘How to Succeed in Life’ by A 4 Year Old

On getting the lead role in the Nativity:

“I think I’m just the right size to wear the Mary costume, and I’m very good at holding babies!”

On learning the art of modesty:

Teacher: “How was your first ever ballet lesson?”

Evie: “I was brilliant. In fact, if you gather everyone round I will do a show for you all!”

At a birthday party: “Now we’re going to play musical statues.”

Evie: “I’m great at musical statues, I will probably win!”

On getting a free meal:

After pushing my friend’s son back to their house when her buggy got a puncture…

“Well, seeing as I’m here, I might as well come in for a play and some tea!”

When my daughter was smaller, my concern was that she would be overshadowed by other children. I’d notice that if we went somewhere, she’d always take a back seat. At a birthday party, she’d hover at the back and be reluctant to join in, she’d let other children tell her she couldn’t join in with things, and she would take it to heart.

I knew that moving to a different county, leaving behind friends, family, home, preschool, and oh yeah, pretty much everything she’d ever known, 2 days before starting school would be daunting, so was fully expecting a few tears, and definitely more of my shrinking violet. That girl who would stand at the back, and know the answer to the questions but not dare to put her hand up to tell anyone.

I was naturally anxious, as any parent is when their first born starts school, and for the first couple of weeks I never went far from home, half anticipating a phone call, but nothing. About a month into school, it was the turn of the Reception class to do their assembly. This was my first real chance to be able to observe my daughter in her new school surroundings, without her being fully aware that I was there i.e. acting how she typically would at school. If it hadn’t been for my son letting out the belch of all belches half way through their celebration prayer followed by “Mummy, I done big burp!” clearly for all to hear, she would have probably been unaware of our presence at all!

I didn’t think anything of it when several of her class got up and stood at the front ready to show some pictures they had drawn, to the rest of the school, and my daughter wasn’t among them. That would be daunting for a lot of adults, let alone a four year old. What did surprise me though was when the next lot of children came out, and my daughter was among them. Not only was she holding her picture, but she then proceeded to explain, clearly and calmly what her picture was, and why she had chosen to do it that way. On her own, and looking directly at her audience. She even projected her voice! I was a little too shocked to be proud at the time, although pride definitely came later!

Since then, there just seems to be a daily occurrence of her growing confidence, so much so, that my concern now is that she gets perceived as slightly overconfident! I’d far rather it be this way, but I’m going to start thinking about some lessons in modesty! I just don’t know where my shrinking violet has gone, although given that my daughter has an answer for everything, I guess maybe I should ask her. I can’t believe I haven’t thought to do that before! 😉

However, when it comes to losing, she’s definitely inherited her father’s sense of dignity…

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