braindribbles

Posts Tagged ‘parenthood

I write this on the eve of a work-based trip to Manchester. A colleague is doing the driving; all I have to do is take in the sights – mostly of traffic jams on the M6 – and I get around 40 hours away from small people and loved one.

It’s at times like this that I have to remember who I am without all that other baggage.  If I don’t identify myself as a mum, or as a wife, what I have left is music (not what the trip is about) and my training (entirely what the trip is about).  I am going to spend two whole days behaving like an adult, or at least, behaving as if I were the most important person that I have to deal with on a regular basis.

an NCT antenatal class

Image courtesy of the NCT

If I have music and antenatal teaching to outwardly define me when I’m out on my own, what does that mean? I am using the words as if they were labels. I feel strongly that they are not, but nevertheless they are the two most important things in my life after family.

Since this trip is all about antenatal teaching – a study day and a national forum – perhaps I should try to work out why that in particular is so important to me. Earning money as an antenatal teacher is a bit of a joke; unless you compromise on family life, it’s very difficult to work for more than sixteen hours a month or thereabouts, and it’s quite difficult to manage even that much with the current bookings system.  So, it couldn’t possibly be about the money.

an NCT class

Image courtesy of the NCT

What teaching antenatal classes means to me is the opportunity to help people find their way through such a special time in their lives. They come to the first class anxious, scared, knowing very little, and by the time they leave to have their babies, they feel revved up and ready to face the challenges and wonders that make up childbirth and becoming a parent.  It’s amazing to be able to give people the tools to help themselves through what can sometimes be a very difficult period, and to see them make friends for life through the classes.

Nevertheless, when I go to these big forums or conferences, I do feel very intimidated. I, a mere student in a sea of qualified teachers, unused to the hustle and bustle, and not entirely sure I belong at times.  Particularly on this occasion, when events have caused me to question things in a way I wouldn’t have dreamed of a year ago.

So, I’ll go, and I’ll feel small and insignificant, but at the same time I will revel in doing something that means a lot to me, and that has nothing to do with family.

I say that, of course, but…I would never have been inspired to teach if it hadn’t been for my family.  Funny how these things come full circle, isn’t it?

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growing roots

Thanks to Filomena Scalese for allowing me to use her photo.

You will gather correctly from the title that we are finally intending to move house after the many, many abortive attempts over the last nine years.  We’ve wanted to for some time, but my man’s job has always geographically prevented us from doing so.  But now said job is in a different direction, nearer the beloved in-laws, which means our long-term ambition is a possibility now.  So I am once again beginning the process I have only done once before, nearly ten years ago.

I vowed then that the next house move would be the last; that wherever we moved next we would stay put till we became old and wrinkly.  And that’s the plan  this year.  Indeed it has been the plan for many years – and at long last this year looks like the year it might finally happen.

However, I am reminded now why I never want to move house again after this.  I’ll update you over the course of the year of the planned move – this is, after all, not a speedy process.

The first point I want to make is something some of you hard-core workers may not relate to so easily, since I was one not all that long ago…however, today I will try and explain about roots, and how I seem to have grown some.

In my pre-parenthood years, I had literally no roots.  I thought of myself as a nomadic spirit.  Having been a boarder through my teenage years, then spent time at university, roots seemed like a slightly backward thing that only simple people needed.

How wrong was I?

As a mum who spends most of her time at home, I can tell you it can be very lonely.  You crave adult company, and when you find it, through toddler groups, the school playground and the like, you make some very good friends.

All those years in the past you have managed to keep those roots to yourself with ease, and you don’t care where you live because you never see it in daylight anyway…you know you’ll move within a couple of years, and you won’t miss anyone or anything.  In years to come you’ll have a fond, hazy recollection of the good times, and put the bad times to the back of your mind.

But once you give up your job to look after the children, you really can’t help yourself.  Unless you deliberately set out to become a hermit, you’re pulled into the vortex of chaos and delight that is the life surrounding your children.  And your life is full again – you are no longer lonely.

So, even though we have wanted to do this for literally years, the idea of moving house is still a wrench.

Don’t get me started on how the children feel about the possibility of leaving all their friends and their lovely school life.

I’d better stop before I start sobbing into the keyboard…

I am typing this sitting in front of the Christmas tree.  Which, since lunchtime today, has sprouted an inordinate quantity of presents.

Indeed.  I have been wrapping solidly all afternoon.

However, in spite of making great progress and listening to some fab new Christmas tunes, I am starting to lose the will to live…. Getting snappy, headachey and generally heading towards a more Grinch-like attitude.  (If we had a chimney, I might well have stuffed all the presents up there by now.)

The thing is, I actually like wrapping presents.  I get excited about ribbons and tags and making stuff look pretty.  Over the years my wrapping ability has slowly graduated from creative-but-messy to creative-and-actually-rather-nice, if I may say so myself.

So why the negativity?  I reckon the reasons are twofold.

Firstly, It’s a bit closer to Christmas than I’d like.  In my ideal world I’d buy presents from early November onwards, then wrap them as soon as I got them home, thus only having one or two to do at a time.  Right now I know if they aren’t done by tomorrow lunchtime I’ll turn into a pumpkin.  So there’s pressure to perform.

Secondly, as our family grows, so the number of presents grows exponentially.  We don’t just need one more present from the baby, we need four more from each member of the family to her, and four for her to give to everyone.  That’s eight more presents than last year, and that’s before we help Father Christmas out with any stocking fillers.

So what can I learn from this?  Obviously I don’t want to become Mr Scrooge and give up on presents altogether.  Gifts say so much more than anything else could.  I will not go down the gift voucher route. Ever.  A soulless way to give at Christmas; you might as well cut your heart out at the same time…though ironically I never mind receiving them‼

After an afternoon’s frustrated musings, I reckon the answer is to just buy presents through the year as I see them and have a place to stash them where I won’t forget I’ve got them.  I’ll wrap them as and when I get them, and I’ll enjoy each individual wrapping session as much as I did before.

Well, that’s the plan anyway.  Better than no plan…

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By the way this will be my last post before Christmas, so season’s greetings to you all and I’ll be back next week.  Merry Christmas!