braindribbles

Posts Tagged ‘motherhood

I started thinking about this last night, but I was too dog-tired to do anything about it.

Story of my life.

Up until having babies, I was pretty short on stamina anyway… I suspect it to be a lingering after-effect of having had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – albeit mildly – at age 20.   Not that I’m complaining.  I knew people who had the same condition and just didn’t get better.  Small mercies and all.  Anyhow, the long and the short of it is, I wear out quicker than most, even when I’m reasonably fit.

(Right now, of course, I’m not reasonably fit.  My weekly gym sessions have been suspended due to needing to house-hunt, and half the time hubby isn’t around for me to escape to a Pilates session.)

Anyhow, pre-babies, all I had to worry about was me.  Might explain why I never bothered tidying up after myself (well, maybe not, but I never had much energy to do anything, including tidying up).

After having babies, suddenly there’s a whole load more of everything to do.  First of all you are carrying round a baby the whole time (unless your baby has reached the age where they are reasonably safe  in their own company and will play nicely in their own room for a while, or better still go to school.  Secondly you have a heap more laundry to catch up on, a heap more tidying up to do, a heap more meal preparation (because ready meals will no longer suffice), and a heap more cleaning.

There are superhuman stay-at-home Mums who somehow manage to bake cakes and suchlike on top of all this. How they do it I just don’t know.  Surely they must collapse in a heap on the floor by teatime?

Speaking of which, that’s pretty much what happens to me every day.  After getting up at the crack of dawn trying to feed, clean and dress the whole family before going to school, getting back from the school run to do the laundry and clean up in the kitchen, get on with the ironing – mood of baby permitting, feed the baby, squeeze in some lunch, go out grocery shopping or to a toddler group, pick up the kids from school, get home and flop.

That’s right, flop.  At 4pm.  My stamina just can’t get me through to bedtime.

Invariably I am then late getting the kids’ tea, and I have no energy to get them bathed and into bed.  And if homework is involved, well, let’s just say they’re really late to bed on homework nights.

If the loved one gets home from work at a reasonable hour, which translates as any time before the children are in bed, he just has to take over as I’m completely wiped.  If he’s lucky we’ll have saved him some dinner, but it doesn’t always work out that way and he’ll have to fend for himself pretty often.

Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This would be me if I were trying to do a paid job too

I adore my children.  I wouldn’t trade, even for a bit more stamina.  But it’s amazing how anybody copes.  If I think I have it bad, I should spare a thought for all those mums who do a full day’s work on top of all this.

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This morning I was nursing my smallest one, and the chewing gum I had in my mouth had lost all flavour.  In fact, I am fairly sure that if I had done a direct comparison, it would have been hard to distinguish between the gum and wallpaper paste.

I therefore took the chewing gum out of my mouth, found a random bit of paper to wrap it up in, and left it beside me on the sofa while I finished nursing.  I then forgot all about it.

Big mistake.

Next thing I know, smallest one has chewing gum all over her and is milliseconds away from getting it on me.

Thin strands of incredibly sticky chewing gum stretched from hand to hand.  She was fascinated.   Couldn’t work out why I was less than impressed (though Resolution No. 2 is still intact – hooray).  I would post photographic evidence but clearly my bloggers instinct is not yet fully functional. Sorry.  To be honest I’d only have got the camera covered in ick.

Instead I held smallest one at arms length whilst I went up the stairs to fetch the baby wipes before it got even worse.

And here is where I came a cropper.  I needed a free hand to get to the baby wipes.  And she, being a smart cookie, got me.  Just the slightest brush of a hand on my newish top, and those thin strands attached themselves happily to their new home.

Bits of them are still there.  And I have this sneaking suspicion that the washing machine may not have the answer.  Oh well.  I might think twice about chewing gum before a feed next time.

Or at least taking it out before I have somewhere safe to dispose it.  The bin will do for now, until she starts to walk and the bin becomes reachable…and that’s a horror blog for the future.

The Law of Babies states that if you have two items within grabbing reach, one of which is a carefully selected, well-thought-out, safe and educational toy, and the other is both unclean and a choking hazard, the baby will immediately grab the inappropriate item and put it in his or her mouth.

I have keys that go on a lanyard round my neck.  The car key itself is is paticularly long and unnerving. So, of course, my smallest one loves it to bits and will happily play, impale herself on and try to choke herself with it for hours on end.

Of course I offer her more suitable baby toys as an alternative. They last for about ten seconds, if that, before she drops them and either returns to the keys, or finds something even more dangerous to play with.

For instance, she has just this minute lunged for the cable of the fan heater and tried to stick it in her mouth.   And that was definitely NOT within grabbing distance.  The cable is not even detectable to the normal human eye.

How is it that we manage to keep babies alive?  It is truly amazing that so many of us survive to adulthood.

And the keys are the favourite.  Again.

Hazardous, unclean keys being swooshed around at high speed on the left. Sensible octopus being ignored on the right.

See what I mean?

Well, let me introduce you to the guilt fairy.

She pops into existence the moment you conceive your first child.  And she never goes away again until you die.

She sits on your shoulder.  She watches everything that you do, every decision you make about your child, and makes you feel guilt for doing something wrong.

Even if you didn’t do anything wrong, she still makes you feel guilty somehow.  This is her special power.

Nobody tells you about this before you have children.

But I’ll let you in on a secret.  If you want her to go away, just drink vast amounts of alcohol.  You’ll be guilt-free for an entire night.

But she’ll be back with a vengeance in the morning…

I prefer the tooth fairy myself.

 

Next time – the House Fairy!

Ask any vaguely environmentally conscious mother about nappies and she’ll either launch into a tirade about how horrendous disposable nappies are and how wonderful cloth nappies are…

Or she’ll go quiet and quickly change the subject.

You see, we pretty much all know that disposable nappies are probably the most environmentally unfriendly things out there. Well, with the possible exception of concrete.  Anyway, what nobody seems to talk about is the FEAR.

 

Disposable nappies

Disposables. Both the semi-friendly and unfriendly varieties.

Every mum will tell you how hard it is to even think straight after having just had a baby.  New mums tend to go for disposables because that’s what they know, and it’s there. In the supermarket.  Mums of more than one tend to do whatever they did before to save complicating things unnecessarily.  And everyone knows disposables. Everyone can use one without needing to be told how to do it.

Though incidentally, there’s an ancient episode of 90210 where the humour hinges on Jason Priestley’s inability to change a disposable nappy. Sorry, it’s been etched on my brain since 1992.

People don’t KNOW about cloth nappies.  They have no experience of it unless they have either sought out information on them or have a friend who’s taken the plunge.  So they are ignorant.  And, as many wise people have said many times, ignorance leads to fear.  And in my own experience, fear leads to procrastination at best, and avoidance at worst.

Not to mention the counter-argument that washing cloth nappies actually leaves just as much of a carbon footprint as disposable nappies.  (I don’t know who put that argument forward, but I bet the big nappy companies are particularly pleased.)

I do think, though, that there are loads of interesting pockets of information about this subject that people don’t realise. Let me tell you about two of them.

Firstly, the argument about the carbon footprint being roughly the same?  Only true if you wash your nappies at home, at 90 degrees (celsius), and tumble dry them.  If you wash them at 60 degrees, and/or you hang them on the line to dry, all of a sudden cloth nappies are edging ahead.  If you use a nappy laundry service, even better, though the fuel the delivery van uses doesn’t make this an obvious option.

Secondly, let’s stuff the environment for a moment and think selfishly instead.  What people don’t realise is how much money can be saved by using cloth nappies.  Apart from the early days when you can get through up to a dozen nappies in a twenty-four hour period, you generally get through one small pack of nappies a week.   Which can be around £4.00 for a supermarket own brand and £6.00 for a premium brand.  Assuming you are unlikely to potty train before the age of two, you will spend a minimum of £416 on disposable nappies for that baby, and the £600 threshold is easily reached.

Now, ultimately all you need for cloth nappies are some terry squares, some wraps, some liners, some boosters, a bucket to put them in and nappy nippas if safety pins scare you as much as they do me.  If you shop around you can get these for around £60 all in (yes, new ones).  The cost of washing these nappies (ideally once every two to three days for a full load) at about 60p per wash including powder, over the same two years, costs around £175, making it cost around £235 in total.

So the minimum saving is£176, probably more.   And if you’ve just dropped from two salaries to one, that’s a lot.  Especially if you have more than one child and don’t have the outlay of more nappies.

Cloth nappy

The surprisingly cheap ingredients for a cloth nappy

Realistically though, cloth nappies can be a real drag if you’re out and about.  My nappy bag is quite full enough without trying to squeeze in space for cloth nappies, though I know some impressive mums who do manage this.

So I compromise.  If I’m at home, we use cloth.  If I’m out for the day, we don’t.  If I’m shopping at the right supermarket I choose the eco brand.  If I’m not, I don’t beat myself up about it.

And I’ll let you in on a secret.

I, too, had the FEAR.

It took me three months to psych myself into using cloth nappies at all.

And I know all this stuff already and have no excuse.

Yes it’s easy.

No, it’s not quite as easy as disposables.

And I’m not going to jump down anyone’s throat if they don’t do cloth.  It’s quite hard enough being a mum already without the guilt fairy pouncing on you about this.

Next post – more on the guilt fairy….watch this space.

Only two more days to go. The kids are no longer bouncing downstairs on the dot of seven. Instead they show up at the breakfast table at twenty past, half past, quarter to eight, with bags under their eyes that would rival those of a new mum.

Not helped by the multitude of activities in the school calendar. This term in particular always goes nuts – it’s the December phenomenon. You know, school play (twice), carols for the local villagers, carol service, pantomime, christmas lunch, visit from Santa, Christmas craft fair, not to mention how many kiddie birthday parties.

So we are all lacking a bit of get up and go this morning.

Only about thirty-six hours and twenty-five minutes to go till it’s all done for the year.

Not that I’m counting or anything…