I’ve been feeling a bit down in the dumps this week. I’ve had a really tough time at work and I feel that it has been really affecting everything else. My work/life balance, my sleep, my eating, motivation etc have all gone kaput. Working from 8:30 am till at least 10pm, sometimes even midnight with a few hours rest to pick Riley up from nursery, cook the dinner and get him off to bed, means that my mind just isn’t switching off and I can’t stop thinking about work related nonsense. I can’t keep up with the housework, with parenting, with going to the gym. Something always has to give and I hate that I can’t give my all to everything, or even half of it. The more I was thinking about it this weekend I wondered, why should work come first?

 

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Unfortunately, ever since accepting my promotion this seems to have been my life. Firefighting and struggling to keep on top of everything. I do feel that this job is nothing like what I expected and that it has been one career decision that I have actually regretted. I have a habit of making very bad decisions, usually due to me overthinking everything and being conflicted in knowing which the right decision to make even is anymore.

I have so many demands coming my way, for huge top business priorities to other smaller bits of work that also has to be done to allow the line of business to function. It is never-ending and I feel I have a mountain of work that I will never catch up on. Not even if I did have the right people to delegate to. I’ve been travelling for meetings a fair bit recently as well, which obviously doesn’t help with that drowning under workload, but certainly not helped when that comes in conjunction with bank holidays too.

Now the other side of this is of course home life. I’m struggling at work but deary me what a mess my house is in! When I work at night at home I’m lucky if I get a few minutes to do the dishes never mind clean the rest of the house. I do switch off at the weekends but last weekend I found myself sleeping it away from sheer exhaustion. I also spent last Sunday in discomfort in my arm where it felt like I was just about to get pins and needles all Saturday night and resulted in only 2 hours sleep. I ended up making a trip to out of hours, who didn’t have a clue what it was and sent me home.

Riley is another casualty of my work being so hectic. I’ve been travelling quite a lot recently which has resulted in Riley becoming very, very clingy towards me when I am home. Now as much as I love the cuddles and kisses, it gives me an extreme case of Mum guilt when I put him to bed and he says that he doesn’t want me to leave his side in case I’m not there the next morning.

Kevin says he pines after me at night, asking every time if Mummy will be there after bedtime. It breaks my heart to hear this. His behaviour is also awful after I’ve been away. It could be a coincidence but it really does seem to coincide with when I’m away.

I was recently approached by someone in another line of business who had been given my name as a recommendation as a good fit for their team. It was a bit out of the blue and not something I had been thinking about, but I had to turn the opportunity down as it would have involved weekly travel, which I am really kicking myself all the more now for that decision. A fresh start in a new role is probably what I need just now and I think something I probably will be looking into a bit more in the not so distant future.

But for now, I do think that stress is beginning to take its toll on me. My biggest worry is letting it go too far and reaching that point where my mental health takes a beating. I’ve been down that path before and I don’t ever want to go down there again. I had a rocky time since Riley’s birth and struggled with the crushing feeling of depression and anxiety for several years. I know the signs, and I know now that is not a place I ever want to go back to. I know that I need to start taking my work life back in control so tomorrow morning I am going to have to start my own prioritisation which is no doubt going to upset some people but my health is far too important to put work before it.

 

I’ve celebrated mother’s day for the fourth time this year. It’s a day that always makes me reflect on the rollercoaster ride I’ve been on since becoming a mother, the exciting highs and the extreme emotional lows.

A small tiny loud thing had just been thrust into my arms, it was the moment I became mum. I couldn’t believe he was mine. My own little human to look after and love for the rest of my days. I didn’t feel that overwhelming feeling of attachment, I thought I would right away. In fact I still remember in amongst the happiness that labour was finally over (why did no one tell me it could last over a day? 36 hours to be exact!), I felt an all over empty and slightly helpless feeling. He was here now and I suddenly realised I had no idea what I was doing. I naively believed everyone that said “It all comes naturally the second your baby is placed in your arms!”

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What a load of crap. I kept waiting for weeks after having him for it to naturally come to me. That I would just recognise which cry was a hungry cry, which cry was a tired cry. I kept beating myself up over the fact I still didn’t know what I was doing and made myself feel like such a failure and unfit to look after my baby boy.

I realise now that society places an unfair expectation on new mums. To be that perfect mum the second your baby is born; that knows instantly how to feed your child, knows exactly how to change a nappy. Even these simple things I didn’t have a clue. I was too scared to hold him the right way to wind him. He seemed far too small and delicate.  As a first time mum I beat myself up on a daily basis that I couldn’t get him to latch, that I had to use a bottle, that I couldn’t stop his reflux, that I couldn’t stop his crying.

It’s the hardest, toughest job I’ve ever had. I’ve wanted to throw the towel in at times, which is so not like me, I am not a quitter! However, motherhood is the most difficult, yet rewarding job, the most joyous but unforgiving role.

If anything motherhood has made me appreciate my mum all the more. She has done this three times over! For every time I felt I was falling apart my mum had been through the same thing, felt the same things and made me feel happier and better each time, all the things which she had gone through before I can ever remember. All the hardship and troubles we caused her and yet we all still turned out ok.

He makes me laugh with his crazy sense of humour, brings tears to my eyes with his cuteness, and makes my heart fill up with love and pride and that is when I realise there is no other job I would rather have.IMG_0837

So to all you mothers out there, who may be beating yourself up over not being the “perfect mum.’ Who cares, so what? You may not fit that mould, but you are doing a great job!

Have a wonderful mothers day! X

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I travel quite a lot with my job. Back before I had Riley it was common for me to be away weeks at a time and just stopping in at home for a quick day and a half before hopping back on a train for my next week away. Thankfully 2017 has only seen four trips from home for more than a day. Each time though, I still get wracked with that god awful “mum guilt.”

It’s been a routine part of my life as a mum ever since Riley was 7 months old. I was only back at work two weeks before I had to travel. The first time I felt the most crushing guilt and upset about leaving my little baby with dad for two days. Obviously not that I didn’t trust good old husband to take care of him properly, but it was the first time I had left him overnight. I sobbed in my hotel room for a good hour looking over pictures of my baby on my phone.

So when I met someone whilst I was away this week who was on their first trip away from their baby I felt I had to impart some of the awesome things she would learn to love after a few more times away.

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  1. Remembering that an alarm clock actually has a purpose!

I have lost count of the number of times I have crapped myself with Riley over my head looking intently at my face. Not being woken by a small child hovering over your face in the morning two hours earlier than you need to get up is a huge appeal to work travel.

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