To Return To Work Or Not To Return To Work, That Is The Question

To Return To Work Or Not To Return To Work, That Is The Question

I am halfway through my maternity leave and the time has come to decide what I want to do at the end of my leave.

I really am torn. I love my job and the small amount of independence it gives me but I am missing so much of my beautiful children’s first few years.

My job is quite complicated. I have been at the same company for a long time yet, as it is entirely male dominated (engineering), I have failed to progress. I’m sure the fact that I have a family has not helped matters either. I really love what I do. I just don’t enjoy the company! I have worked hard and racked up an awful lot of debt to get my job and feel incredibly proud that I have a career job.

At the end of my first maternity leave, I was devastated about going back to work. I’d spent every waking minute of the last 9 months with my little man and the thought of suddenly not having him was awful. I only went back to work part-time but I cried for the first few days as it felt like a piece of me was missing. After the first few days, I realised this wasn’t so bad. I suddenly had a new found sense of freedom. I could turn my music in the car up really loud, I could go to the toilet without being followed and I managed to drink hot cups of tea. My little man was also having a fantastic time with Nanna and Grandad doing things he wouldn’t normally do with me and being spoilt rotten!

The drawback to my return to work was that I missed my first born taking his first unaided steps. I was absolutely heartbroken and wish my parents hadn’t said anything but I can’t change that now.

I’m wondering if now is the time for a career break and change. I would get to see my children grow up through their baby years and be able to go and qualify in something I have always wanted to do.

When I left university, I had accepted a place on a teacher training course. When I went for my interview, I left feeling really worried that I wasn’t ready ‘life experience’ wise. I was at least 10 years younger than everybody else there and it frightened me. I turned down my place a week before term began and took my job instead. I think I credit this as one of my biggest mistakes in life.

Over the last 8 years, I have mentioned non-stop about going to do my teacher training and keep searching for courses but we have never been in the financial situation for me to be able to leave my job. I have channelled my inner frustrated teacher by volunteering with the Brownies and educating my children.

My Mum always stayed at home while we were young and I always felt so privileged that I got to stay home all the time with her and not sent off to a childminder like my friends. I loved my time with my Mum and it became even more special once I started school. She was always there for all our special assemblies and concerts throughout school. My return to work would mean I would miss a lot of these important events.

It’s such a massive decision to make and one I’m nervous about making. I’m worried I will lose a part of me and just be seen as a Mummy and nothing else. I’m worried about not having any time away from my children. I love them to pieces but I’ll admit that it can be suffocating at times. I’m also worried that if I go back to work, my children will grow up so quickly and I’ll miss it all. I just don’t know what to do for the best.

Mummascribbles

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Couch25k Week 3 – Completed

Couch25k Week 3 – Completed

It’s been a really hectic few weeks hence why there was no update last week.

I began week 3 of the programme, did 2 of the 3 runs and then with weekends away and my pilates restarting, run 3 kept getting put off.

My first 2 runs went great. I actually managed the 3 minute running sessions and didn’t feel too bad after them. Although, I think I did swear at the podcast lady on my final 3 minute run when she happily told me to begin my run just as I reached the bottom of a hill!

My 3rd run was delayed by several days. I have just returned to my pilates class and I couldn’t manage a run for a few days after my first class! I was a little bit broken and didn’t think it was wise. When I did go out for my 3rd run, I binned the podcast and went solo.

We live on a big circular estate so I did a few laps of it. After my 5 minute warm up I went for it. I ran and pushed myself for as long as I could. I kept setting myself goals like “I’ll get to the next lamppost and see how I feel” or “I’ll get to the corner of the next road”. I managed to run just over half the estate (including uphill sections) and I felt very proud of myself. I felt like I’d pushed myself harder than the podcast would have done.

I’ve done 1 more run since and managed 2 good, continuous 5 minute runnning blocks which is a massive improvement for me. I set out with the intention of running as much as I could, only slowing down for the minimum amount of time to catch my breath back. It seemed to work and when I got home I noticed I had taken 30 seconds off my pace time!

I’m really enjoying running which I never thought I would say. I fully intend to keep it up and my next goal is to be able to run a full lap of our estate. It doesn’t seem an enormous goal but we’re going with baby steps so I feel like I am achieving something.

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Our First Family Holiday – The Planning

Our First Family Holiday – The Planning

We’re going on holiday!

This may seem like a really stupid idea but we are going to fly half way around the world with 4 small children and an amount of luggage that could rival the Beckhams having a weekend away!

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This is a holiday we have been forced into going on as a very close family member is getting married but, it is the perfect opportunity for us to go away and have lots of extra pairs of hands.

We will be travelling with grandparents and Uncles plus lots of family friends so we are hoping to have lots of different people to distract our children on the flight.

We have 14 months until we travel yet, I can already feel the panic setting in about being stuck in a tin tube for 10 hours with my kids! I have bought 2 Trunkis for our trip in the hope of filling them with distraction methods.

I am not so worried about the boys as they will be 5 and 3 by the time we travel. They are usually easily pleased by a movie or some games and at least they have their own seat. My biggest worry is the twins. They will be 20 months and I know they are going to be full of energy and hard to amuse.

I think am still scarred by our holiday several years ago when we thought it would be a great idea to take a 12 month old on a 2 and a half hour flight to Spain. I have been on long haul flights before but they felt short in comparison! It’s a wonder we have more than 1 child to be honest, as B spent the entire flight jumping up and down on Daddy’s lap! No amount of toys or snacks or distraction by grandparents would calm him down.

We’ve been hit by the curse of the large family and haven’t been able to get a room large enough to sleep us all. If this was a normal holiday it wouldn’t be a problem as we would just find a different hotel but, we needed to be staying in the hotel they’re getting married at. We have had to offload 2 of our children into the grandparents room! They say it’s not a problem now but, when they’ve been woken up at 6am for the 10th day in a row, I can imagine the novelty will wear off!

For the next 14 months you will have holiday updates to look forward to. I’m sure there will be lots of stresses to come as we try and get 2 adults, 4 children, 125kg of luggage and 175 nappies to the other side of the planet!

So, what are your top tips for travelling with small children? No suggestions about sending them in the cargo hold. Apparently that’s frowned upon!

Running in Lavender
One Lovely Blog Award

One Lovely Blog Award

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Lucky me has been nominated twice for this award so thank you very much to the lovely Wee Maw and ModerateMum for this. Here are my 7 facts about me.

1. I’m a vegetarian and have been since I was 10. My husband and all my children eat meat. It’s up to my kids what they decide to eat and not my decision to make.

2. My second son was born on my living room floor, completely unplanned and, was minutes away from being delivered by my husband. Read what happened here.

3. I met my husband on our first day at secondary school but we didn’t become a couple until a few weeks before we left sixth form.

4. I am cack-handed. I am very dominantly right handed but I cannot pour a kettle or drain a pan with my right hand at all!

5. I am a born and bred London girl who chose to go to university on a farm and now lives in The Fens. All the hustle of the city was just not for me.

6. I have a GCSE in Latin. It’s a grade E but it’s my proudest achievement. The teacher was so convinced I had a U coming my way and I actually got a grade!

7. I am a qualified scuba diver but I am terrified of water! We were in Egypt, hubby was diving, I was bored so I thought what the hell! Never dived since!

So, now the hard part – nominating some other blogs for this lovely award. Therefore I nominate:

Charliejamesmum
Laura_babykicks
Austerityknocks
Mummystylist
Meandmebabber
Maminwonderland
Life_asweknow
Irishmammyblog
Soundinglike
Gemma_mummybio

Apologies if you’ve already been nominated. I did look while having a nose at your blogs. I’m looking forward to reading your 7 facts.

Girls Day Out – Fairfield Hall, Bedfordshire

Girls Day Out – Fairfield Hall, Bedfordshire

My best friend was 30 back in December and I had absolutely no idea what to buy her. We have known each other since we were 2 years old so I wanted to get her something special and something that she wouldn’t buy for herself. I also wanted it to be something she would remember so, I booked her a spa day. I thought it would be rude to send her on her own so I booked myself a spa day too! We are both hard working Mummies so I think we deserve it.

I looked at several spas before I booked and decided on Fairfield Hall in Bedfordshire. The photos on the website looked beautiful and they had a good choice of spa packages to suit every budget.

We arrived late morning and were shown straight into the spa where we had to fill in all our paperwork for the treatments we were having later. We were also given our spa bags containing a robe, towel and slippers (additional £3 charge).

After a quick tour of the facilities we headed straight for the pool. Although completely underground with no natural light, it looked amazing.

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I am a massive wimp when it comes to getting into water and I will make a massive drama if it’s cold! This pool was so warm and for the first time ever in my life, I got straight under the water. We had a lovely swim and a natter before deciding to head off to get some lunch.

The Orchard is the on site restaurant which can be used by both members and anybody who walks in off the street. We arrived for lunch in our robes and slippers (which apparently is fine in a spa) but, felt very out of place amongst everyone else who was dressed. Certainly an experience to be lunching in public in your robe!

There is a really good lunch menu with plenty of choice and all very reasonably priced. We both opted for a 2 filling omelette with salad and coleslaw which were £6.50 each.

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The food tasted lovely and there was plenty there for lunch. The staff were very attentive and there was a good atmosphere which meant we could chat without feeling we had to keep quiet.

Our treatments were booked for 1pm so we went back to the spa as soon as we had finished lunch. We took a seat on an amazing hot stone bed while we waited to be called.

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These were so comfortable and gave me a lovely warm bottom and back!

We had booked a Swedish back, neck and shoulder massage plus a facial. Our therapists, Stacey and Shelley, came and collected us and took us into a double treatment room presumably so we could talk but, neither of us uttered a word for a whole hour!

When they had finished we were so chilled out and relaxed that neither of us wanted to get up from the bed! I was a bit worried about having a Swedish as I’ve always thought they were a bit brutal but it was actually really nice. It certainly got the stress knots out my shoulders.

I had to take a few photos of the spa area as it was amazing.

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After our treatments, we headed back down to the pool and had another swim. We also tried out the jacuzzi and sauna. It was so lovely spending time with my bestie. We both have children and since their arrival we very rarely get a chance to have a good chat. One of us is usually chasing after a child at soft play so we snatch a quick chat in between! Lazing around in the jacuzzi gave us the perfect opportunity to catch up and realise how much we’ve missed each other.

We finished our day off with a very healthy bowl of chips and some drinks back in the restaurant. We have decided that we will definitely be doing this again. It’s a beautiful spa and we had such a great day.

Packing my Suitcase
Beautwins
Girls Day Out – Fairfield Hall, Bedfordshire

Girls Day Out – Fairfield Hall, Bedfordshire

My best friend was 30 back in December and I had absolutely no idea what to buy her. We have known each other since we were 4 years old so I wanted to get her something special and something that she wouldn’t buy for herself. I also wanted it to be something she would remember so, I booked her a spa day. I thought it would be rude to send her on her own so I booked myself a spa day too! We are both hard working Mummies so I think we deserve it.

I looked at several spas before I booked and decided on Fairfield Hall in Bedfordshire. The photos on the website looked beautiful and they had a good choice of spa packages to suit every budget.

We arrived late morning and were shown straight into the spa where we had to fill in all our paperwork for the treatments we were having later. We were also given our spa bags containing a robe, towel and slippers (additional £3 charge).

After a quick tour of the facilities we headed straight for the pool. Although completely underground with no natural light, it looked amazing.

image

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I am a massive wimp when it comes to getting into water and I will make a massive drama if it’s cold! This pool was so warm and for the first time ever in my life, I got straight under the water. We had a lovely swim and a natter before deciding to head off to get some lunch.

The Orchard is the on site restaurant which can be used by both members and anybody who walks in off the street. We arrived for lunch in our robes and slippers (which apparently is fine in a spa) but, felt very out of place amongst everyone else who was dressed. Certainly an experience to be lunching in public in your robe!

There is a really good lunch menu with plenty of choice and all very reasonably priced. We both opted for a 2 filling omelette with salad and coleslaw which were £6.50 each.

image

The food tasted lovely and there was plenty there for lunch. The staff were very attentive and there was a good atmosphere which meant we could chat without feeling we had to keep quiet.

Our treatments were booked for 1pm so we went back to the spa as soon as we had finished lunch. We took a seat on an amazing hot stone bed while we waited to be called.

image

These were so comfortable and gave me a lovely warm bottom and back!

We had booked a Swedish back, neck and shoulder massage plus a facial. Our therapists, Stacey and Shelley, came and collected us and took us into a double treatment room presumably so we could talk but, neither of us uttered a word for a whole hour!

When they had finished we were so chilled out and relaxed that neither of us wanted to get up from the bed! I was a bit worried about having a Swedish as I’ve always thought they were a bit brutal but it was actually really nice. It certainly got the stress knots out my shoulders.

I had to take a few photos of the spa area as it was amazing.

image

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After our treatments, we headed back down to the pool and had another swim. We also tried out the jacuzzi and sauna. It was so lovely spending time with my bestie. We both have children and since their arrival we very rarely get a chance to have a good chat. One of us is usually chasing after a child at soft play so we snatch a quick chat in between! Lazing around in the jacuzzi gave us the perfect opportunity to catch up and realise how much we’ve missed each other.

We finished our day off with a very healthy bowl of chips and some drinks back in the restaurant. We have decided that we will definitely be doing this again. It’s a beautiful spa and we had such a great day.

Beautwins
5 Great Things About My March

5 Great Things About My March

1. A spa day
My best friend was 30 before Christmas so I decided to spoil her with a voucher for a spa day. I thought it would be rude for her to go on her own so I booked myself in too! We don’t see each other nearly enough now we have children so I’m really looking forward to our day together.

2. Restarting my pilates class
I love pilates even though I’m not very good at it! I enjoy an hour of total silence and relaxation. It’s been 6 months since my c-section now so, I feel ready to go back and hopefully get my waist back again.

3. Mothers Day
I’m a complete sucker for a hand crafted card from my children. I cannot wait for this year’s creation. I’m hoping we might be able to manage a nice family day out somewhere. The children keep nagging us for a trip to the beach.

4. British Summer Time starting
I know we lose an hour in bed, which is critical when you’re a parent, but I’m so looking forward to the lighter days. I can’t wait to get out in the garden and go to the park more often.

5. The twins first swim
We finally have a weekend free to take the kids swimming. Both of our boys went swimming from about 4 weeks old and we had planned to do the same with the girls. But, firstly we couldn’t find a pool that would let us take all 4 children in and when we did, the girls were too poorly to go. Really looking forward to introducing them to the water and hoping for not too many tears!

A Day In The Life Of A Mum To 4

A Day In The Life Of A Mum To 4

I’ve never really been one for strict routines. When the boys were babies, we used to go with the flow and most of the time it worked really well. It meant we could go out and about without it interfering with nap or feed time too much. I have friends with very strict routines and they allow themselves almost no freedom. They cannot come out at certain times of the day and I didn’t want to become like that.

When the twins came along, we decided that things had to change. No longer could we use a baby led approach as there were now far too many babies in the house! So, we adopted a routine and it has been working pretty well. The routine does have flexibility so we are not completely housebound and the routine is relaxing slightly as everyone gets older. Here is a day in my life.

Our days usually start about the same time and if we go out for the day we try to travel at nap time.

7.30 am – wakey, wakey, rise and shine. Anybody who is not already awake gets woken. First job of the day is a production line of nappy changes!

8.00 am – feeding of the masses. It’s breakfast time for the boys while I make the girls bottles.

8.30 am – baby feeding time. I’ve mastered the art of feeding both at the same time so this has halved the amount of time taken. The boys tend to watch a bit of Cbeebies while I do this.

9.00 am – activity time or off to nursery on a Thursday and Friday. I try and set an activity up for the boys so I can grab a few minutes to do something like tummy time with the girls. On a Tuesday my lovely Home Start volunteer comes around this time and entertains the boys. They love having someone different to play with.

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10.00 am – twin nap time. Parenting suddenly gets so much easier when there’s only 2! I realise how easy life was with just 2! I’ll try and play a game with the boys while their sisters are asleep so they get a little bit more of Mummy’s attention.

12.00 noon – lunch time for the biggest ones and around the time the twins usually wake. I feed the biggest ones and myself first while the girls have a kick around on the floor (it’s the safest time).

12.30 pm – solid food time for the girls. Before I clear up too much I let them add to the decoration on the floor!

1.00 pm – clear away lunch items and load the dishwasher. Make bottles for the girls and carry on feeding. After lunch is quiet hour for the boys. We try to watch a film and have a few minutes peace, quiet and rest.

2.00 pm – it’s girlie nap time again so once they are asleep I have time to play with the boys. We tend to try do something active like put on music and dance around like nutters or go play in the garden. One afternoon, a few weeks ago, we played in the snow and last week we planted all our spring bulbs.

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3.30 pm – the twins are usually awake by now. I’ll get them out their cot and bring them down to play with the boys. They love playing with their sisters and can often be found waving a rattle in their face or kissing them. That’s probably how the girls get poorly so often!

4.00 pm – it’s bottle time again. Sometimes the boys like to help otherwise they are left to their own devices for half an hour while I feed. We’ll probably have Cbeebies on or they’ll play their new favourite game, supermarkets.

5.00 pm – it’s time to start thinking about dinner and battling to keep O awake. He dropped his nap around his 1st birthday and refuses to have it even though he needs it. This means that from late afternoon, if we have been busy, he gets very sleepy. If he naps we wouldn’t be able to get him to bed at night so have to keep him awake!

5.45 pm – dinner time. Feeding time at the zoo begins all over again!

6.30 pm – Daddy is home just in time for bath and bed. The boys have to tidy up all their toys before they go up to bed. Luckily O is a bit of a clean freak and loves a good tidy!

7.00 pm – I change and feed the girls while Daddy does the boys bedtime story. Usually everyone is sound asleep by 7.30 and I collapse in a heap, satisfied that I did a fairly good job keeping everyone alive! Actually, scrap the collapsing in a heap. I start the household chores otherwise they would never get done.

Our IVF Journey: All the fun of living life with twins
Couch25k Week 2 – Complete

Couch25k Week 2 – Complete

Another week of my Couch25k complete and yet again I am incredibly proud of myself. This week has consisted of 90 seconds of running followed by 2 minutes of walking for 20 minutes.

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At the start of the week I wasn’t sure if I would be able to manage the extra 30 seconds of running but my first 90 second run passed really quickly once I got my head down and started concentrating on my music. It also helped that I was going downhill! By the end of my first longer run, I didn’t feel too bad. It gave me real confidence and made me think I’m not quite as unfit as I thought!

On my second run of the week I ventured a bit further and headed for the main road. I’ve been avoiding inflicting my running on the general public too much as I think I run a little bit like Phoebe from Friends! If you’re a Friends fan, you’ll know the episode and why I’ve mainly been running around our dark estate! But, my confidence is growing and I thought I’d go for it.

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My final run of the week was hard. Much harder than it has been all week as I had a head on wind for the homeward stretch and it really took it out of me. I admit that I did have to end 2 of the running sections slightly early but I still managed to take nearly 20 seconds/km off my best pace. I must have been flying!

This week I have signed myself up for my first 5k race. It’s in July so I have plenty of time to prepare for it and it’s the Cancer Research Race For Life so hardly competitive. I wanted to set myself a goal so I had something to work towards and feel like my all my hard work isn’t for nothing.

Next week is going to be really hard. This isn’t meant to be easy so I’m sure I’m probably going to say that every week! Next week is repetitions of 90 seconds running, 90 seconds walking, 3 minutes running and 3 minutes walking. Those 3 minutes of running are really going to test me as it’s doubling my running time! I also need some new music for next week as I’m getting a bit bored of the same old 30 minute continuous mix. If anyone has any suggestions, I’d be grateful.

Flashback To My Childhood

Flashback To My Childhood

While doing the regular clearing of my belongings to make way for child rubbish, I stumbled across a throwback to my childhood.

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These are evidence that I was a good girl growing up! The brown sash is from Brownies, and the blue one, Guides. I was clearly a much better Guide as the badges go down the back too! I was also obviously very geeky as I even had the aircraft badge!

I have been all the way through Girl Guiding from Brownies, to leading my own pack. I have stopped since having my family as I just don’t have the spare time at the moment. Maybe, once the children are bigger, I’ll go back to running my own pack.

I am really looking forward to all my children being old enough to join Girl Guiding and Scouts. I had so many amazing experiences and met lots of fantastic people. That is something I really want my little people to have as well.