Pound of flesh

Last night (or rather, in the wee hours of this morning) I had a disturbingly vivid dream that I was slicing a huge strip of flesh off my leg.

In this dream, I said out loud to someone near me (I have no idea who) that the initial cutting hurt but once you got underneath to the fat, it was pretty easy.

Then I proceeded to show them and I could feel it. I can feel it now … the pain of the slice of the blade across the top of my thigh then the numbness setting in and not feeling a thing as I watched myself slice under the flap and downwards towards the knee (although, weirdly, it looked like the view someone else would have watching me do it).

The fat was pure white and not as thick as I would have expected. It actually all looked like a piece of pork belly roast you buy at the butchers – pink and smooth.

Recalling it makes me feel slightly ill and I wonder what on earth kind of game my subconscious brain is playing at.

The toddler is not sleeping and I wonder if that’s got something to do with it. She goes down ok but after a few hours she’s awake and into our bed. If we move her back and settle her, it’s not long until she’s up again and crawling back in.

We wouldn’t mind co-sleeping but she is so restless, kicking off the sheets and blankets or kicking us, that we’re all sleep-deprived as a result – although she seems way chirpier in the mornings than we do.

Last night it took me 2 hours to get her to go to sleep. Then she was awake not long after I went to bed so I once again mentally steeled myself, took her back in and lay down beside her. At 3am, I tried coming back into my own bed but just lay there in despair, not being able to fall back into sweet unconsciousness.

As it turned out, it wasn’t long until she was in with us.

I lay there on my side sobbing silently with exhaustion until finally falling into that disturbing dream.

It’s been 3 years since I had regular, decent sleep.

I feel like this is my sleep life forever.

I don’t know if people at work understand what I really mean when I say I’m tired.

I don’t view going to bed as rest and revitalisation but rather the beginning of an 8 hour battle for survival.

In actual fact, I kind of dread it.

I’m not sure how much more I can take.

Habit Forming

Sorry guys.

I’ve been struggling for weeks to write the second part of my career path and it’s still not suitable for broadcast. I’m onto edit number 4, trying vainly to cut out all the self-serving, woe-is-me-life-was-super-hard-back-then stuff whilst still retaining some sort of context that would explain the positively crazy off-shoots into other work dimensions.

I’ll get there, I promise.

As an interlude, here’s my latest venture: a mandala a day. And here’s why I’m:

  1. Doing it
  2. Telling you
Day 1 … and not a lot to show for it.

Whilst awaiting my latest credit on Audible (this is not a sponsored post [HA! As if!] – I’m just an addict), I was browsing the list of freebies today on my lunchtime walk and came across an intriguing little podcast called “In the habit: introduction to changing our behaviour“.

Having a whole day to wait til I can get me some more ear candy, I downloaded it and started listening and very soon realised it’s the answer I’ve been looking for lately with regards to staying sane in a stressful period of life.

Yesterday we went to the Annual Pirongia Craft Markets – a truly cool event that we stumbled upon our first year here and have made a traditional pilgrimage to ever since. There were some truly amazing and beautiful handiworks from just regular shmoes like me, which got me thinking about my creativity or lack thereof so when we came home I tried in vain to do something mildly original and creative using my graphic design programs.

Rather than satisfy my longing, it just frustrated me no end. I couldn’t do what I wanted – it would have to be hand-drawn. But ah, dear readers – am I skilled at drawing? About as much as I am at keeping my mouth shut and opinions to myself.

Of course, it takes practice and dedication. It takes setting aside regular time to perfect and hone existing skills. It takes … a habit.

According to scientific studies, it takes on average 66 days to create a new habit, not the usual 21 that’s regularly trotted out. And whilst it is proven to be harder to create good habits than bad ones, there are a few tips and tricks that can help.

You can try linking your prospective new habit to something you already do regularly, such as mealtimes. For instance, I started my lunchtime walks as a way of counteracting the desire to punch someone in the face when I had 5 different jobs on and no way of getting them all done in the given timeframes. I’d go for a good 45 minute walk, calm the F**K down then eat my lunch at my desk whilst getting back into all of the things.

Now I just do it because it makes me feel good. And, I must confess, so I can listen to my latest audiobook – which nicely segues into the next tip: Temptation Bundling.

It’s a nerdy way of saying “Combine something you love with something you should be doing but don’t really want to because you don’t love it”. Like watching that trashy movie you know is a waste of time whilst you fold the mountain of washing. It’s a win=win! You get your trash fulfilment and the family has clothes in the cupboard instead of on the floor/couch/spare bed/spare room.

Another useful tip for successfully creating a good habit is by making it public knowledge, which explains this blog post.

A final tip was to put some money on it – there’s even commitment platforms like stickK that can help you reach your goals … or pay the consequences. Literally.

I’m not going that far as we are currently like the proverbial church mice.

And because it’s now 9.30pm on the first Monday after Daylight Saving started, I think I’m already going to fail my “one a day” challenge as I’m buggered … but at least I’ve made a start. I’ll keep you updated … hopefully this won’t go the same way as my Part 2 ūüėõ

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

It would be fair to say I get around job-wise. Throughout my illustrious working career I have had the opportunity to experience so many roles – some wonderful; some not so much. The following has turned into a bit of a novel so I’ve split it into two: BCH (Before Crap Happened) and ACH (think you can figure what that stands for). Brace yourselves.

I find myself on yet another “step-to-the-right” in the dance laughingly called my ‘career path’ (more like drunken stagger) – still at the same workplace but using a different, more technical skill-set to the administrative/marketing role I’ve been filling for the past 18 months. I’m a little nervous but mainly excited about it but if you look at the experiences I’ve had over the past *cough* wee while, there’s many things I’ve already done that should help me pick it up and run with it fairly quickly.

My working career (outside of the usual after-school shenanigans) started way back in 1991 as a Coles Deli Assistant, working my way up to 2IC (which just meant I got the lucky task of coming in super-early on a Monday morning to get the rotisserie chickens cranking and set up the cabinet for the week and do the scale report to make sure we weren’t diddling the customers). Then we moved to Sydney, added a second baby to the family and I began my library studies, which led to the first twist in my path.

Had a lady haughtily demand EXACTLY 1kg of sausages “No more; no less, young lady!”. My face probs looked like his.

After moving all over the country, we landed in a small town in WA, where (on the second attempt) I became Library Officer at the Primary School two of my three kids attended (yep, quite a gap there between paid jobs). I loved this job dearly and it’s still the longest stint in one workplace in the same role (4 years). It was pretty perfect – school hours and school holidays but none of the responsibilities of a teacher (poor sods – I have so much respect for teachers from my time working with them in schools) as well as the pleasure of scouring through reviews to pick all the books.

I vividly recall reading the review for “Harry Potter and the Philosophers’ Stone” and knew it would be a hit but was unsure if it would be too hard for the kids (poor town; struggling/itinerant families; lots of behavioural issues). I ordered two copies, thinking if nothing else it would be perfect for teachers to read aloud and ended up having a waiting list of kids clamouring to read it and having to buy a few extra copies to keep up with demand. The second time I remember purchasing a book as part of my role and thinking “This is gonna be HUGE” and being proven right was for – you may know it – the first in a 4 part series called “Twilight”.

The cover in the review I read for “Twilight”. Weird, huh.

During this time I also was a casual Woolworths Cash Office Administrator on weekends. I scratch my head at this memory, wondering why on earth I did this, with three kids and already working five days a week – then I remember the expectations and mindset I was living under at the time and it makes sense. Taught me to count money real fast and honed my OCD for all notes facing the same way in neat and tidy bundles.

New town in a new state, and of course the school system was different – I had to be a teacher to work in a school library – and the local Public Library was not going to be hiring any time soon. After a brief and terrible stint as a Learning Coordinator for a state government funded adult learning centre (which didn’t actually have a building for the centre – just a room in another state government funded centre which just made it all sorts of awkward and complicated), I got lucky, scoring a job as a part-time Typesetter/Graphic Designer at the local newspaper, with no prior experience apart from the fact I was comfortable with computers, could spell and had done a module of study in my library technician’s diploma on colour design and basic formatting of promotional collateral.

We hid a coworkers’ Bionicle that sat on his computer and sent him ransom notes with accompanying Bionicle parts as part of regular newspaper office shenanigans. He was most displeased with us.

After a time I did manage to get a position as a casual Library Officer at the local library, covering shifts on Saturdays and sometimes their one late opening night per week. It was a good gig. I was studying for my Bachelor of Library Science at the time (while still working at the newspaper cause apparently I had 35 hours in a day back then), so it gave me great opportunities to put theory into practice and vice versa.

I almost blanked out the three years I spent as Library Technician for the local TAFE college after leaving the newspaper to do some full-time (but short-lived) study for a teaching degree (that’s a whole other post in itself). TAFE was a great learning experience as my manager was a great mentor willing to share her years of experience with me. Sure, she was the quintessential cranky librarian and scared the bejesus out of most people but she treated me very well … and she was so nice to my kids (as well as being a complete push-over with her own. Softie at heart.) that I couldn’t not like her. But working for State Government was a long, slow death and I did not want to slowly evolve into the quintessential cranky librarian.

How I imagine I’d look now if I’d stayed …

So I left full-time employment at a very decent government pay rate and moved onto the local Catholic High School as a part-time Library Officer … not sure how I passed the interview with regards to religious beliefs for that one but somehow I did. It was ridiculously low pay for a fully qualified librarian at $15 an hour but I loved the school ethos – they really cared about their students – and of course, the kids were great to work with.

But then … the “eccentric” (i.e. batshit crazy) … library manager at the Public Library left, which led to my next big break.

As Library Manager in a regional library service – one main branch, one teeny-tiny little room in a very interested area known as the Gemfields – I had the responsibility of managing staff for the first time as well as being accountable for a substantial budget. Exciting, scary and very difficult at times but I loved every minute of it … ok, not the minutes I had to ‘have a talk’ with certain persons for upsetting the applecart every time they walked into the place … but the rest of it was great. Honestly, after the last manager’s crazy antics and passive-aggressive management style, I did not have to do much to look fantastic – and I thank her for that, wherever she is.

Then Peter Beatty did his thing and ruined my perfect little life in more ways than one. This career sidetrack led me straight up Poop Creek and onto Poop city …

That’s not how you flip an entire state the bird, Pete.

After March 15 2008 (yep, I still remember the date), the council I was working for was amalgamated with three other surrounding shires into one giant mega-council. It covered an area of roughly 60,000 sq. kilometres with offices spread out at roughly one-hour-drive intervals from each other. That and the fact each office had its own unique culture made it seriously dysfunctional Due to the necessary restructure, I was offered the role of Manager Community Services. To this day, I’m not sure why. I guess I’d proved myself capable of management to a degree in the previous 8 months as Library Manager.

Just managing the shenanigans of the library service growing from 2 branches to 10 would have been enough challenge. But instead I had to take on Community Services, a portfolio which included libraries, pools (dear god, I shudder just thinking about pools), halls, art galleries, aged care facilities, youth facilities and – best of all – community groups. I want to say it was THE WORST decision I ever made but circumstances being what they were at the time, I felt I had no choice but to accept. Nine months later, I had what you could nicely refer to as “a spiritual awakening” but what most people would call a nervous breakdown. Even though my heart knew I really shouldn’t have taken that job, the advantage of hindsight shows that I actually learnt a lot and grew so very much from that complete and utter personal and professional smackdown of an experience. Let’s just call it a Turning Point and leave it at that.

#Accurate

While I was recovering sufficiently to be able to deal with the stresses of a ‘normal life’ again, Lady Luck smiled upon me and I found myself working from home as a Freelance Proofreader for a friend, proofing advertising collateral for various big name companies. Not a huge amount but enough to give me ‘pin’ money and help my severely battered self-esteem compose itself. It also gave me a taste for the freelance life and I really liked it.

But life was about to deal a few shockers and I was going to need more regular work … (to be continued)

Letting my hair down …

Last Thursday evening I finally treated myself to a slightly belated “F*&k it, I’m 50” hair overhaul, getting the length chopped off to just under the chin and a warm reddish brown recolour that included little red slashes here and there for dramatic effect.

I haven’t actually had a hair pampering since we left Australia 3.5 years ago, instead “surviving” on the $30 walk-in; walk-out hairdresser at The Warehouse and grocery-bought DIY hair dye kits. Needless to say I really soaked up the 2 hours of chatting with the hairdresser, reading a mag, sipping on wine and generally just enjoying the “me” time.

There’s a couple of reasons I haven’t done the usual 6 – 8 weekly proper hairdresser cut/dye visit:

  1. Money
  2. Busy
  3. The pain of finding a decent hairdresser

Of all of them, it’s probably Number 3 that has truly kept me away this long. I have learnt from bitter experience that it’s pretty tough finding a new hairdresser that doesn’t cost the earth; who actually listens to what you want AND knows how to cut your hair so you’re not praying for it to grow overnight or for hats to suddenly come into fashion.

The Warehouse lady has usually been sufficient but the last two visits … I dunno .. it’s like she’s lost her touch. The last visit in particular I asked to keep the length so I could have the option of an ‘up-do’ for the Princess’s wedding (yes, my eldest child is now a married woman! But that’s another blog post altogether …) and just put a few layers in there to lighten it up and give a bit of movement to it.

I may be slightly exaggerating here but the end result kinda felt like this …

Thankfully, I don’t feel like I’m channeling Joe Dirt or Warwick Capper anymore. But now I’ve found a lovely hairdresser, that’s it. I’m committed to a regular relationship every 2 – 3 months (depending on how long I can push it out for/finance levels/time restraints).

Lucky I did well in my recent performance review at work …

Time and Space for Creativity

Bottom half of a boho dreamcatcher with flowers and feathers
The last time I was really creative …

I haven’t posted an update for so long as its finally dawned on me that you need time and space to be creative. And I just don’t have it. Or at least what precious little I do have, I’m busy numbing myself to cope with the time and space I don’t have.

Let me explain …

I was going to actually total up all the time I spend working at a full time job plus the daily commute plus home duties (thankfully assisted greatly by NIH where Little Miss is concerned) then add in the night-time shenanigans of putting her back to bed from midnight til 3am on average but that is just too bloody depressing.

Let’s just say a full time job plus a toddler who doesn’t sleep leaves me with precious little mental ‘space’ for creativity.

I starting thinking about this post a few weeks ago – then the shit hit the proverbial with illness on the home front and whatever small space I was going to allow myself to try crafted a halfway intelligent post vanished.

So here I am (waiting for AA to come and reboot our car battery because life wasn’t finished being a complete and utter bitch obviously) trying to spew out what is *really* bothering me about not being creative for the last 6 months or so. And it all boils down to this: Joy.

Creativity brings you joy. And life at the moment feels rather bereft of it.

Work is a bit of a mess of three different role responsibilities that have me trying valiantly to make sure I don’t drop any balls whilst surviving on broken sleep for I can’t even fucking remember how long. I can see the mistakes popping up and it breaks my perfectionist little heart and I just pray that workmates don’t think I’m a complete idiot but in all honesty, I don’t know where I am or what I’m doing most days.

Home is fine except for the fact that a toddler is always going to be an emotional stretch … but I can feel the physical and spiritual effects of not sleeping an uninterrupted 8 hours – damn, I would settle for even a 6 hour block – for over 2 years taking its toll on me.

Money is real tight, thanks to having a mortgage back home still to pay while we hope and pray the house will finally sell. Rent here is much higher than Australia and pay rates are so much lower so that puts us even more behind the 8-ball. I mean, we still manage to pay our bills on time and buy groceries and have leftover cash for a breakfast out each weekend so it’s not completely dire … it’s just extra stress on top of an already stressed-out mind.

Whatever time and space I do have, I play puzzle games on my phone.

I know, right?

I was trying to figure out why I do that the other day and something Brene Brown said in her Netflix appearance helped me understand. (Yes, I have become a convert. Yes, I have downloaded and listened to her book “Daring Greatly”, which I think is why I’m doing all this self-analysis again. Yes, I am probably going to mention her frequently from here on out.)

She was talking about how her first TED talk went viral and she found it so hard to handle that she spent a day at home with the peanut butter jar and a spoon, watching the complete series of “Downton Abbey” (if I didn’t love her for making sense of courage and vulnerability, I would have loved her for that alone). And after it was over, she started googling facts and figures from that era and hit on Teddy Roosevelt’s famous speech about the man in the arena and the rest, as they say, is history.

She asked the audience something along the lines of :

“Who-all [cause she’s from Texas] has done that?”

“You’re numbing yourself with a show or a movie and you’re not ready to step back into the real world when it’s over so you start searching for related stuff on the internet?”

Ahh.

I play the games to numb myself. To just switch off and ignore the stresses in my life – of which I do acknowledge there could be far more and perhaps I’m just tired and a tad whiny today. Someone should put me to bed.

And because of the numbing plus the stresses, I just don’t have the time/space/energy to be creative anymore.

If I really want some more joy in my life, I think this needs to stop.

The Flop Factor

I know it’s smart to start getting regular mammograms done once you turn 45 but what with getting teenage boys over the finish line to adulthood, getting remarried, getting IVF, getting pregnant then having a baby (what seemed like) permanently attached to the ‘girls’ for 18 months, I found it hard to find the time … until last Friday.

Despite having a close friend who had a brush with breast cancer and knowing all the stats, I didn’t actively seek out a mammogram once all my excuses had dried up (so to speak). However, a simple throat infection and a visit to the doctor about a month ago saw me put firmly on the Breast Screening list and lined up for an appointment.

Now I’d heard a few reviews regarding mammograms, particularly with the words “extreme discomfort” and “mashed boobs” featuring regularly so I was prepared for a bit of pain. Imagine my surprise when it was all over bar the shouting in a few minutes with the only discomfort coming from trying to hold my breath AND my stomach in at the same time.

Which has me wondering … is there a Flop Factor at play here? I can imagine if your fun bags are nice and firm and well adhered to your chest area that it might be a little harder to get them in between the two panels and the pressure may be more easily felt than say if your boobs, once let loose of their wire-reinforced hammocks, kinda oozed onto the bottom panel and obligingly made squishy under the top one so the radiologist could snap a clear shot with ease.

Or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve experienced REAL breast-related pain – those first few weeks of breastfeeding where I truly feared my nipples would just drop off due to struggles with latching then the last few weeks of breastfeeding where I truly feared my nipples would be clean bitten off due to an overzealous, teething toddler.

After that, a little clamping between two plates is more like a walk in the park … just with your shirt off.

End of an era

For the first time in almost 2 years, I wore a non-maternity bra to work today.

It feels a little sad …

She’s not happy about it but the fact of the matter is the stress of working full time and feeding less during the day has taken its toll and no amount of night time snacking is going to fix that.

Add to that a diet change and voila – what little milk supply was there has pretty much gone.

She’s nearly 17 months. It’s the longest I’ve breastfed a baby for.

We’ve had a good innings but I can see the end in sight and whilst part of me rejoices at having my body back (and part of NIH rejoices at the prospect of having HIS particular area of amusement back), part of me weeps.

It’s truly the end of an era.

Baby knows what she wants

We’ve been learning then teaching Little Miss some sign language in the hopes that it would make it easier for us and her to communicate better. You know, because she’s a baby who can’t talk yet but by gum, she certainly has a mind of her own and it’s handy to know what she wants at times!

It’s been an interesting experiment and after what seemed like forever, she just started doing the “More” sign one day.

Since that miraculous moment (triggered, I believe, by a hot chip on my plate), we’ve all learnt a few more useful signs, such as:

“All Done” (very popular with her when she doesn’t want to eat any more veges)

“Change” “Nappy” (not as popular with her)

“Milk” (her personal favourite)

Now that the terrible two’s are fast approaching, we’ve learnt “Yes” and “No” to try and develop structure and guidelines.

Ha.

Which is why in the early hours of the morning a few weeks ago, I found myself having a “silent” argument with a very headstrong 16 month old that went like this:

Baby: [sign] “milk”
Mummy: [sign] “no”
Baby: [sign VERY FORCEFULLY] “YES”

via GIPHY

Mummy laughed
Baby won.

It’s been an age …

Time gets away from me so fast, especially now I’ve started back at work. I can’t believe my last post was in January and it’s now May – Mother’s Day (NZ/AUS) to be exact.

Since I last wrote, a few significant changes have happened and I did document a few of them on good ol’ Facebook¬† ’cause it’s easily accessible (especially in the middle of the night … or middle of the drama) and suitable for short and sweet posts.¬† Here’s a catch-up of happenings from January and February, dear dedicated reader:

January 24th:
I spent a good 10 minutes yesterday on the floor of the kitchen on hands and knees, right arm outstretched, index finger tip coated with vanilla icing wiggling suggestively at the baby, cooing “Come on bubba. You can do it. Mmmm yummy icing! Come and get it!”
It’s not that she can’t get around yet – she can. It’s a series of rolls; push up to sitting; take stock of direction; readjust position then forward onto hands and knees before flopping on her belly and rolling onwards again.
The problem is she backs herself into a corner and can’t get herself out so I thought I’d give her some motivation to try forward motion.
She wasn’t buying it. She sat and flapped her arms and gabbled at me, clearly indicating that I should be ashamed of myself for my feeble attempt at blackmail and just give her the damn icing.
But I persisted.
In the end we compromised. She got up on all fours and stretched her head forward turtle-style. I complied to her request and stretched my finger out to meet her little mouth to give her a lick.
It was about then I took a good long look at the situation and thought to myself “Yep. It’s definitely time you went back to work.”

She started crawling the week before I went back to work and now she’s pulling herself up and shuffling along if she’s got a handhold.

January 26th:
This cheeky little monkey is 10 months old today. That means she’s been ‘outside’ longer than she was ‘inside’ and the freedom is starting to show.
No longer does she sit quietly and play with her toys on the lounge room floor. Instead she has become a forward crawl-shuffling, sideways-rolling demolition derby keen on doing harm to herself and everything within reach of her cute little mitts.
All with this look on her face. How can you resist that?

You can’t. I’ve tried.

February 4th:
It’s T minus 8 sleeps to Daycare so after a visit to the centre on Friday, I’ve realised Little Miss is going to need more rough-around clothes or else I’ll be washing every damn night.
As a result, we spent yesterday morning trawling the Op Shops for shorts and tshirts (Aunty Kimmy would be proud!) and for the bargain basement price of 50c – $1 each, scored a good stash of clothes for her.
I used to do this when we lived in Western Australia and had 3 kiddies with no respect¬†for clothing to dress. Twice a year we’d head from Carnarvon down to Geraldton for the weekend and gorge ourselves on junk food whilst getting supplies for the next 6 months, including clothes for growing kids.
There’s something so satisfying about getting a bargain. The cheapest I could buy shorts and tshirts for her brand new would be around $5 from Kmart (gotta love Kmart!).
But the best thing is I don’t worry about her wrecking them. She can dig in the sandpit and rub various foods into them and I won’t care.
There’s just one teeny tiny hiccup …
After weeks of very warm (for NZ) weather, we’ve woken to 13 degrees this morning and checking the weather report, it seems we’re back to 14 – 22 degrees for the foreseeable future. Perhaps we didn’t need so many shorts and short sleeve shirts after all.
Or maybe I need to do some more Op Shopping!

LOVE OP SHOPPING FOR BABY CLOTHES! It is now my new hobby.

February 7th:
Now that I’m back knee-deep in babyland (where nobody sleeps and food is for smushing), I’m rediscovering old storybook favourites as well as happening upon some new ones.
Little Miss received some great additions to her personal library at Christmas, including Hairy Maclary, Australian Animals and The Wonky Donkey.
If you’re not familiar with that last one, it actually comes with a CD of the song but in this day and age, who needs that when you have YouTube?
She was particularly miserable last night (bloody teeth) so I thought I’d cheer her up with The Wonky Donkey (plus the music might help drown out her grumbling).
The plan worked like a charm … then the next video came up on autoplay and I thought “Why not?”.
I absolutely love children’s stories but I especially have a soft spot for those that are a little bit irreverent and have a good injection of humour.
And so I present to you my new favourite – The Duck Song.
Enjoy!

I still get the giggles with this song. A friend at work recently asked me what music she should play to cheer me up – I showed her this. It’s now our go-to.

February 12th:
Today was supposed to be my first day back in the office but one power-spew later and I’m still here checking in via email and Skype while the tiny tyrant calls the shots.
I’d built myself up to be ready to let her go today. I was super-prepped and everything. When she upchucked, I had a brief flash of frustration … but then she cried and what can you do?
You call in sick and recalibrate for a day at home with a potential next star of The Exorcist Reloaded.
Mind you, she seems fine now.
When my now-grown kids were school-age, I used to call this phenomenon The 9am Miracle.
They were officially dying … until just after 9am and then suddenly they felt much much better. But you can’t pack them off to school, can you?
I can’t believe she knows that trick already …

Kids, man.

February 19th:
We survived our first week back at work/at daycare in true form – by the skin of our teeth.
Little Miss was off to a shaky start with a tummy bug that had her home with either mummy or daddy for two days (completely fine after one spew but you know, 48 hr daycare rule and all that) but then she hit the ground running.
No tears at drop-off … from her, anyway … and her teachers said she just slotted right in as if she’d always been there.
That, more than anything else, made it so much easier for me to not only go back to work but actually enjoy it as well.
It’s hard to put into words why going back to work makes me feel good.
Money is naturally a biggie. It’s been a tight 11 months but we’ve managed to make it through and still have a bit of fun. It is a welcome relief though, to know that we can start building up a safety net again. I really don’t like skating so close to the edge.
The workplace is another big tick. I love this company and all it stands for. The people are a wonderful bunch with awesome attitudes and smarts to boot. The work I’m involved with really interests me and I feel I can make a valuable contribution to the areas I’m now focused on (although I do miss handling the ins and outs of domains).
Being home with a young child definitely has its rewards but there’s also an awful lot of repetition. It’s also hard to give them the socialization skills they’ll need to get along with other kids when it’s pretty much a certainty that they’re going to grow up as an only child. Sure, she has 3 adult siblings but she won’t be learning about pecking orders and sharing (the easy OR hard way) from them.
This is my first go at being a working mum with a baby and I have to say it’s a little easier than I thought it would be. But then I think the chilled out, laid-back attitude Little Miss has always possessed has made it so … and for that, I am grateful.

Three months in and still loving it – even more so now we’ve got ourselves into a routine.

February 22nd:
When we got home from work/daycare yesterday I put the washing on, fed the grumbler fruit, yogurt and a baby banana biscotti (fanceee), prepped dinner, took the garbage out, hung the washing out, served dinner then finally sat down to eat. Meanwhile she’d taken a two-hour nap on Dad, so was cheerfully rejecting anything we put forward as a dining suggestion.
It was then I noted she had a slightly different air about her. Tougher. More determined. Definitely more vocal.
And I¬†realised … I missed her.
She’s spending all day with other people and when I finally do get her back, there’s still stuff to be done that takes me away from her.
A wave of sadness washed over me and I cried, right there at the dinner table.

Adjusting to a new chapter in your life is always tough. I believe in the 6 WEEK RULE – tough anything out for 6 weeks and you’ll find it starts to get easier … and if it doesn’t, then for god’s sake make a change. Life’s too short to be miserable.

Fortunately, it has gotten better and the whole working/daycare thing has become part of our daily life – despite some curve balls, as the next compilation covering March and April will reveal.