Mama Guilt, Freddie and George

I cried in the little kitchen in my office the other day while making a cup of tea. A woman asked me how I was feeling about coming back to work. This was not the first time anyone has asked this, I still get it a couple of times a week, and I use to say I feel ‘liberated,’or ‘going back to work makes me a better mother,’ but this time I just said ‘guilty’ and started to cry. And luckily the woman who asked me knew just what to do- she gave me a hug, tissue and told me from experience how well it worked out for her family. But if I am being really honest with myself, guilt is still all I feel when I walk out the door at 7 in the morning. Normally Freddie is crying, its dark and its raining because it’s England. Maybe if I had fairy godmothers and talking animals throwing glitter and cheering me on saying something like ‘work it girl,’ I would feel differently. It’s not getting easier, it’s getting more difficult so I don’t know what to say to those of you who tell me it gets easier. That’s just not happening for me.

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But I do want to thank each and every one of you who have offered me a hug, a story and a shoulder about going back to work and just motherhood in general. I had so many women reach out after my last post about my worries of going back to work, it made me realise that the sisterhood is real. We may all decide to parent differently, but when it comes to loving on our kids and leaving them, well in that respect, we are all the same.

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So besides feeling this deep and damning sense of guilt, what else is happening?

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Freddie turned one. We’ve decided that this milestone is one that is more exciting for us than it is for him. We figure we can get away with another year of not making a big deal out of his birthday, so we got the kid a balloon, made a cake and called it a day. We won’t celebrate his birthday until the year he can say sing the birthday song. We may not be in the running for parents of the year, but we are helping him have realistic expectations of his January birthday. Everyone knows January birthday kids have it rough, being just after Christmas and in the middle of cold and flu season, generally kids January birthday parties are underwhelming with everyone cancelling at the last minute. When you grow up it gets even worse, everyone is skint after Christmas and there is buzz kill called ‘dry January,’ created by your liver, which ruins any amount of fun you may have in January. So while we may be the first people to give him a low key birthday party, we definitely won’t be the last.
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Freddie had his naming and it was the most beautiful thing we have ever done. No truly. We might suck at birthdays, but I am so glad we gave the boy a proper naming (think Christianing or Baptism, but in Judaism it is when you receive your Jewish name).Freddie loves a platform and he thought the entire congregation was there for his naming. He said things like ‘ow’ when they handed him a teddy bear and tried to give the Rabbi a cuddle. He was the best and most sweetest baby there ever was, and I read the most beautiful words about creation and prayers for him. After his monologue, the kids played in the lobby of the synagogue while services continued, and every once in a while you would hear Freddie yelp with excitement and the Rabbi would comment. Afterwards we drank wine and went to a local Chinese to celebrate Freddie ‘Solomon’ Simmons Durrant. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and we are very lucky with our village people. Our village spoilt and loves on Freddie hard, and I hope one day he realises how lucky he is. Seriously, Freddie’s naming was one of the best evenings of my life.

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And finally, we started a new project. Abe part II, aka George. This one is a doozy, it is smack in the middle of Canterbury, was built in 1795 and most likely hasn’t really been renovated since then. In some ways this is great, it still has the original panelling and fireplaces, in others it’s not so great- every room needs replastering, every ceiling needs taking down before it falls down. Did I mention the leaky roof? It is messy, but when the mess gets cleared and they start putting it back together I am going to fluff this Georgian up. I’m going bigger and bolder with colours, because why not- I think you can get away with more with age, and since George is over 200 years old, he can get away with almost anything (just not crocs). Move in date is set for the 7th of March- I have every faith in Will and the dream team, not much faith in the leaky roof, and still upset he did’t let me ride that lift. IMG_7058

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Four Months of the Fredster

In so many ways Mama life is better than the one I had. My little man is over 4 months old now and he is just starting to get a personality. He giggles, wants cuddles and loves to play. All of these things make him less of a boob sucking creature and more human (well a human, boob sucking creature…. basically a man). And I love this little man more than words can describe.

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This new life requires flexibility and the willingness to learn. I am a rookie at this, but so far there are a couple of things I would suggest to my friends without babies, just little titbits that I’ve realised over the past 4 months.

1). Mom Jeans

They shouldn’t be called maternity jeans; they should be called new mom jeans. You don’t just wear them when pregnant. In fact, spandex, fat pants and maternity jeans were the only thing I could fit in for ages.

2). Magnificent Baby Makers 

The appreciation you have for your body. Your body gave you the best gift ever, and then it’s also able to feed that baby and help it grow. It’s bloody amazing. I have this new respect for my body, despites it’s new bumps and curves. The media is whack, a woman’s body is beautiful not because of how it looks, but because of what it does.

3). Business of Babies

There is a whole business around babies that will try to convince you, you are doing things wrong if not using their product. Some moms can be like this to.  If you are not spending your days speaking in 3 different languages to your baby, whilst Beethoven plays in the background, there is no hope for your little one. The products are unbelievable, like the baby wipe warmer, so your little ones bum stays warm during the nappy change. And even if you do buy this ridiculous use of plastic, the earth mother will say you shouldn’t be using baby wipes, the chemicals in them will permanently damage your baby’s turd cutter. It’s shitty for everyone.

4). My Way, Is Better Than Yours

Hippies are everywhere- tromping around with no shoes and children named after spices, food or flowers. Watch out. For being a peaceful bunch, they judge hard.

5). Make New Friends

Fellow parent friends are where it’s at. You know how when you go to college and the people who are in your dorm become your friends for life, you might not have much in common with them besides being petrified of your new environment and a shared need for someone to sit with at the lunch table- but one crazy night playing beer pong and you are friends for life? We have been lucky enough to have friends going through the baby business with and this would be really hard without them. Coffee and play dates are the new beer pong for making mom friends.

6). But Keep the Old

Old friends and family are priceless. I keep telling Freddie how lucky he is to already have an army of fans and people who love him. Our friends and family have been unbelievable, from making us meals to showering Freddie in gifts and love. I can’t tell you how much it means to us to have such wonderful people to share Freddie with and who remember who we are, before we became parents.


That’s all I’ve got. The rest is a madness. You think you’ve figured something out, like how to get him to nap, and it works for 3 days, then it doesn’t and you’re back where you started. You know the saying ‘the only sure thing in life is death and taxes.’ Well that was written by a man who was not that involved in childcare and didn’t know enough about off-shore accounts. If a woman wrote it, it would be ‘the only sure thing in life is your baby will cry, your baby will love you and eventually yes, your baby will nap.’

Teething has just started so if anyone has advice on that, we could use some!

Eviction Notice and Labor Mix Tape

It’s been the longest 9 months of my life. Not because the pregnancy has been tough, I’ve been really lucky with good health throughout  (unless Will farts, that stench sends me over the edge). No it’s been a long 9 months because I’m an incredibly impatient human and having to wait 9 months to meet this little squatter has been grueling. We are at last in the final stretch, bags are packed, baby clothes are washed and folded away and family hybrid car is bought (poor Will). We feel as ready as we will ever be. Can you ever be ready?

More unbelievable than the fact that we have packed our bags with time to spare is that Dobble was able to finish a hallway, kitchen and nursery over the past 2 months! Nothing gets you moving quicker than a baby deadline and this boy has been on fire.

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I will upload more pictures later of the progress on Abe.

So for now we are just waiting for the squatter to make its arrival. And oohh I can not wait any longer. I want to be able to hold it in my arms instead of balancing a glass on top of it.

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To keep myself busy, I’ve been going through a suggestion list on pinterest titled something like ‘what you need to do before the baby comes.’ One of the items on the list is to make a playlist with music to listen to during labor. I’m not sure if this is suppose to be monks chanting, whales calling or something else suggested by my fellow hippies, but Will and I have been coming up with our own list. Below is what we’ve got so far, anyone else have ideas on what to add?

Labor Mix Tape

  • Push it- Salt n Pepa
  • Living on a Prayer- Bonjovi
  • 525,600 minutes- Rent
  • I Feel the Earth Move- Carol King
  • Push it Along- Tribe Called Quest
  • My Humps- Black Eyed Peas
  • Break Down and Let it All Out- Nina Simone
  • Born to be Wild- Steppenwolf
  • Come to Mama- Etta James
  • Here I am Baby- Al Green
  • Ice Ice Baby- Vanilla Ice
  • A Natural Women- Aretha Franklin
  • Breath, Stretch, Shake- Mase
  • I Wanna Be Sedated- The Ramones

Wish us luck- my mix tape is only 2 hours long so far and if my labor is anything like some of the ones I have been hearing about, it currently looks like we will have to listen to this on repeat about 15 times.