For those of you that don’t know me, I have a very hectic job. Work life balance is the long talked about rarely achieved goal.
Before I had a baby an average day would be 8am until 7pm (9 – 5.15 are my contracted hours). During busy season that became 8-9pm, at least. The funny thing about that is I was so accustomed to it that it doesn’t sound that bad. WHAT WAS I THINKING!
An added blessing of having a child is perspective. If I get home late and I look at him peacefully sleeping I regret having missed a day of playing with him. He is growing so fast that there are not many of these days in the grand scheme of things.
Coming back from leave was hard. The guilt I had about walking out the door at 4.30 was awful! Despite arriving in before 8 and working most of my lunch break. A year in and I am finally used to walking out. I start at 7.30 and run out the door at about 4.30 each day. I am also a much more efficient worker as I just have to be. No chatting in the kitchens, just head down for the day.
If things are hectic I work during my evenings too and to be fair, probably more evenings than I should work. I wouldn’t say it’s a great work life balance. More work less balance. But it’s so much better than before.
I will keep trying to find a better balance as I keep telling myself:
Work to live, don’t live to Work!
And the minute I see my little one, all guilt just floats away! 😍
I used to run. Before we had our little one I actually ran at least 3 times a week. Along with doing a lot of other workouts too. I was averaging about 55 minutes for a 10km and probably at the height if my fitness.
My little one is now almost 2 (21 months). Add to that about 5 months of not running in pregnancy and you have just over 2 years of not running. I have tried to get back into running several times after pregnancy but I have had a real stop-start with it. Partially because I can no longer run in the morning, which was my best time to run. And partially because raising a toddler is exhausting and my motivation to work out at night is very low.
My father in law told us about a Halloween dress up run that was coming up. And given I had plenty if time to get my distance up I decided this would be my first run since baby arrived. Another critical factor was that it had a nice finishers medal! 😂
I started to build up my distance over a 3 month period, following a training plan. And was delighted to see my mileage peak above a 10km 2 weeks ago (thanks to my motivating husband). So I went into the race knowing I could do the distance.
The race was hard. It was 2 loops of a 5km course, which is always more difficult. It involved running on sand, some of which was quite soft. To add to that, most people seemed to drop out after the 5km. To the point where there were not many runners left by the time we finished.
I finished with a time if 70 minutes 17 seconds. Well off my pre-baby time. But that’s ok. The main thing is I was out and back in the running game. Now I just have to keep at it so I build on my fitness.
To anyome like myself, struggling to find motivation, book yourself into a race, give yourself a tangible goal, fijd yourself a running partner and just keep moving…..🏃
Our little one is about 20 months now, the reason I still use months is the rate of development at that age is phenomenal.
He is now full of chatter, and starting to use phrases and not just stand alone words. The development is fascinating to watch. At this age kids are sponges and just seem to take everything in. This is both good and bad. It has really highlighted to me what phrases I use. And the funny thing is he uses them in an identical way, so you can really see yourself being reflected back.
There are two phrases that I hadn’t realised I use so much that always make me smile. The first is the word “now”. I hadn’t realised how Irish it is. “Now there’s your water”, “now there’s your dinner” or in it’s simplest form “now” to signify I have completed whatever I was doing. When our little one puts my glasses on the table to protect them while playing all I hear is “now mammy, all better”. 😂
The other phrase I use is “see ya” when I say goodbye to anyone. I got a great video yesterday of my little one saying see ya.
It’s so strange to hear your own phrases mirrored back at you. It certainly is making me think a bit more about what words I use. But it is equally the most proud moment as I see him take everything in and learn.
I actually started writing this blog 4 months ago, and only now am I finally getting to finish it. It’s been a busy few months.
Taking our little one on his first adventure was so exciting, and terrifying all at once! Well I exaggerate a little, while we had been away before, we had never ventured outside of Ireland out of fear of taking our little one on a plane. However it was coming up to my Erasmus reunion, which I really wanted to go to. I didn’t like the idea of leaving my husband at home with the little one as we are doing far less things together in general. We debated not going but eventually on a brave day, I just booked us flights and acommodation saying let’s just try. 🙂
My bravery didn’t last long, I spent the week before the holiday in fear, cursing my bravery and wondering why we didn’t just decide to stay at home.
Our flight was a 7.30am flight, meaning we were up at 4 to get out in time. We felt so cruel waking our little one up so early. We planned a quick nappy change and transfer to the car in the hopes he would fall asleep again. But he was wide awake. We had the buggy for him and also a sling. I carried him around in the sling through security, which was great. We didn’t have to take him out of the sling and were aloud to walk right through the metal detector together.
He loved the airport and ran around the place until our flight was boarding. Thankfully this meant he was tired on the plane. Taking off was exiting for him and he loved exploring the plane. But very quickly got tired and fell fast asleep in my arms for about an hour of the flight, which we were so happy about, especially as he had not slept in my arms in 6 months!
The holiday as a whole was a huge success, he loved being somewhere new and playing with mummy and daddy every day. We were so happy we just bit the bullet and went as it all went so well.
If your contemplating an abroad trip, be brave and just go for it…… 😊
I feel like the luckiest person in the world to be a mum to my amazing little one. Most days he is a very happy baby (or should I say toddler now!), full of smiles, giggles and chats. But, like everyone, he also has his grumpy days, which are often as a result of teething, sickness or more recently mummy leaving.
You would think that a baby crying is fine, just let him cry it out and it will all be grand. But the reality of it is very different. If you are trying to do even the simplest task with a crying child, everything gets instantly more stressful. Even more so when you have no idea what’s wrong (and it’s out of character).
This is typically the time that snapping happens, if anyone is trying to help me at the time. Rational thinking goes out the window. These are the moments we feel super stressed and totally not ourselves.
Like everything, this moment of crying will soon pass, and rational thinking will return, I promise! But in the midst of it, all we can really do is take a deep breath and keep on going.
If any mum or dad snaps at you while trying to calm a crazy baby, don’t take it personally, they just need a few minutes. Things will be back to normal shortly. They just need a minute to take a deep breath 🙂
I have talked previously about poo explosions (poonamis) and I am sure you think that this is an exaggeration, so I thought I would share one of our messier incidents.
When my little one was born he was the king of frequent Poos, roughly every 2 hours (but typically the minute he had a fresh nappy on). So I had no idea what people were talking about when referring to poo explosions.
But oh did I find out! As our little one got bigger, his poos became less frequent and much bigger!!
I was in a local shopping centre in Butlers one morning. It was packed and I stupidly bought a tea and scone. I spent over 10 minutes with a tray in one hand, pushing a buggy in the other trying to find a seat (in a very cramped cafe!).
Eventually a seat became free so I manoverd the buggy into place and sat down. I put the little one on my lap for a change of scenery for him. I had just buttered my scone when I heard a big rumble from his nappy and I just knew it was a big one.
So I sat there contemplating what should I do. Do I leave the tea and scone I so longed for and go straight to the baby room or do I take 5 minutes to eat the scone, have some tea and then go. 5 minutes won’t make much of a difference I am sure. So I popped some tissues behind his top to protect it (just in case) and took my 5 minute break.
Once I was done, I carried the little one in one hand, pushed the buggy in the other to get him upstairs to the baby room. I couldn’t put him down as everyone knows the biggest no no in poonami’s is pressure on the nappy!
In the short 2 minutes it took me to get to the changing room, not only did I discover we did infact have the biggest poonami ever, but this had spread up his back and leaked into my top! I have plenty of emergency clothes for the little one, but none for me! 🙈🙈
So I tried by best to wash my top and had to walked around the shops with a big wet patch on my top before starting my 30 minute walk home.
Lesson of the day, in the realm of poonami’s, 5 minutes makes all the difference!
For those of you that heard, the beast from the east collided with storm Emma last week to wreak havoc on Ireland. I have never seen snow like this in my lifetime. We had over 40 cm of snow, the roads were impassable for days, the airports closed, public transport ground to a halt, ferries stopped running and suddenly I was very aware that we are on an island.
While most Irish people were bedding down for their snow days, I was trying desperately to get to a family wedding in the UK. With 3 cancelled flights and 2 cancelled ferries, we decided to try one more time and head up to Belfast to get a flight. Thankfully while the roads were very poor at times, we made it up safely and our flight took off the morning of the wedding.
Knowing how bad the drive could potentially be, there was no way I could take the baby, so my little one and hubby stayed at home. As I kissed them both goodbye I got quite emotional. All of a sudden I had visions of crashes in the snow and not making it back home. I looked at them and had this horrible feeling, how would they cope if I wasn’t around? I have to get to MY baby’s wedding some day.
I was really surprised by my reaction as I am someone who has had a few less than sensible adventures in the past. But I realised how important it is to look after myself from now on. Be a more sensible person. As there are so many exciting times to look forward to that I don’t want to miss.
1) I called my baby the wrong name for a good few weeks
Naming your baby is so much pressure. We spent weeks ruling out names due to sound, or negative associations, or because you are pregnant and you just don’t like it. 🙂 We narrowed it down to a short list of 3 names and we waited to see our little boy, to make sure the name suited him. When he arrived, that was it, the name matched, we were happy and announced his name to the families. We proceeded to call him by his cousin’s name (born 6 months earlier) for a few weeks….. oops!
2) Baby’s have an ability to poo at the worst time
It is incredible how babies have this built in awareness of the worst timing to do a poo. You are running late and rushing to leave the house and then you smell it……poo! You are just nipping to the shops quickly, no need to bring the nappy bag. You arrive and then you smell it…….poo! You just change his nappy, which is a battle at the best of times and next thing you smell it…… poo!
All you can do is laugh at his cutie face and get out the changing mat again.
3) Mums are meant to have all the answers
I had this realisation the first time our little one was sick. His temperature had spiked and wouldn’t come down. My husband looked at me with concern, what will we do, and I thought I have no idea. Let me ring mum and there it was. My first instinct, ring MY mum. And now I am the mum, I am somehow meant to magically know the answers. Luckily I have great support from two amazing mums in my life, which is great, as I have a lot to learn! I feel like I should have mummy L-plates on half the time so at least people will know not to expect all the answers, I might just have to ring my mum!
4) The nights are long but the years are short
I heard this phrase recently and I think it’s so appropriate. When you are up in the middle of the night trying to settle a hysterical baby, the nights are long. When you are up feeding for the third time that night while you hear your other half fast asleep beside you, the nights are long. When your little one decides they want to wake every 45 minutes throughout the night, the nights are long.
But you have to remember that this too shall pass. Many people told me things only get harder, which I don’t really believe. They are different, but not harder. Instead of exhausted from lack of sleep you are exhausted from running around after your little one. Nothing is harder than being terribly sleep deprived. But remember, it will pass.
When I look back on the last year, it really does fly by and I have a feeling the years will just get quicker. We gotta make the most of it while we can.
5) It takes a village to raise a baby
I have no idea how people live far away from their families or move to new places with newborns. Whether its friends or family, we all need support. Especially in those early years. Having someone around to watch your little one while you nip out to the shops, grab a shower or just have a night out to unwind is so important. Having those sanity breaks is so important for our own mental health and wellbeing. So it really does take a village to raise a baby. Remember happy parents mean happy babies!
The most scary part if weaning is the fear that your baby will have an allergy. And how you will respond to that. If your baby has eczema, you should be more wary of allergies as they are often related.
When weaning your baby the advice is to keep a good diary. I downloaded an app called baby tracker to keep track of what I was feeding my little one. It meant that I could update the record on the run which was very useful.
The most common allergies are dairy, eggs, peanuts, treenuts and kiwi. So do keep an eye on things when you introduce those. You are recommended to only introduce one new food item every 3 days but sticking to that is hard as there are so many things you want to get your baby on. So I never had more than one new thing per meal. I introduced new foods at lunch. That way if there was an allergy, doctors would be open.
Unfortunately the pharmacy will not sell you any antihistamines for a child under 1. So there is nothing you can have on hand just in case.
Typically a child will have a very mild reaction the first time they eat something they are allergic to. But a much more severe reaction the second time. Things to look out for:
Redness around the mouth
Redness around the eyes
Swollen lips or tongue
A hive like rash on the body
Shortness of breath
If your baby has more than one of these symptoms, I would advise going straight to your doctor or a&e.
Our little one has an allergy to kiwi and the second reaction he ever had was to a piece of melon I gave him out of my fruit salad. So I thought it was an allergy to melon. It never dawned on me that the fruit salad had kiwi juice in there too.
The first time he had kiwi, he had redness around his mouth, which faded in a few hours. I didn’t think much about it, as he had a similar reaction to milk until he built up a tolerance.
The second time he had kiwi was kiwi juice on the melon in my fruit salad. It was Saturday morning and he had a moderate reaction, redness near his eyes and a lot around his mouth. We took him to a&e but luckily it didn’t get worse. At this point we were convinced it was a melon alleegy.
Then the third time he had it, he had half a kiwi and had a pretty scary reaction. He had redness around his mouth, swollen lips, hives everywhere and redness around his eyes. We luckily had been prescribed antihistamines so gave him that. And our GP referred us to a children’s allergy clinic.
My advice, always consider whether there could be cross contamination with your babies new foods and always get things checked if in doubt.
We are lucky our little one doesnt have a peanut allergy. But we have been advised that it’s common to develop one and as such we should give him peanut butter at least 3 times a week. He loves it! 😁
I can’t believe Christmas has come and gone. It was such a busy period. But it really was one of our best Christmases yet.
While this Christmas was our little ones second official Christmas, it felt like his first as last year he was admitted to hospital on Christmas eve due to low blood sugar. So that really disrupted our plans last year.
This year we felt like we were starting all our family traditions, and it was so much fun.
We got ourselves matching pj’s, had a lovely relaxing Christmas eve walk, made sure a mince pie and coke was left out for Santa and read a Christmas book before bed time.
Over Christmas we managed to fit in a visit to both families, which was very special!
There was so much excitement for both our families having babies around at Christmas.
While I know our little one won’t remember this Christmas, it was still important to us to do things right. Start as we mean to go on. It was so strange being “santa” and setting up the toys as We know our parents did for us for years! So I felt super grown up doing all the mummy jobs. Well not quite all of them, we were extremely lucky to be given two wonderful Christmas dinners over the holidays with each of our families, so no cooking for me thank god. I fear the day I have to cook a full Christmas dinner!