Wednesday, 29 February 2012

A Mother’s Work Meme

This meme was started by and as it's a subject I've been pondering recently I thought I'd chip in.

  1. Please post the rules
  2. Answer the questions in as much or as little detail as suits you
  3. Leave a comment on so we can keep track of the meme
  4. Tag 3 people and link to them on your blog
  5. Let them know you tagged them
  6. Tweet loudly about taking part (well ok, that isn’t a rule, but how about if we start a hashtag – #amothersworkmeme
Did you work before becoming a mum?

Yes. Before heading off on maternity leave I had worked in the IT industry for over a decade, building up technical skills, knowledge, a nice salary and a good reputation.

What is your current situation?

I am back working at the company I was at before my maternity leave. They have a good maternity policy so I was lucky enough to be able to take a full year's leave and return to my job.

Freestylin’ on Childcare Costs and Expectations

I work full time. I am lucky: my parents and my mother in law live locally so between them Baby Badger has two days a week with family. That's great for our bank balance, but more importantly great for her to grow up knowing her grandparents. The remaining three days are spent at the nursery on the business park where I work. It's a good nursery: the staff are engaged and enthusiastic, the standard of cleanliness is good enough without reaching obsessive levels, and the staff all know my daughter by name. I've made a point of observing out of view before I collect her and she seems to be genuinely enjoying her time. In this respect I have no qualms over our decision to use nursery time.

Standard day rate at the nursery is just over £50. Again I am lucky: I get a discount for working on the park, then I save almost 50% because I pay via salary sacrifice (saving tax and national insurance). Three days per week costs me approximately £300 per month.

Consider someone using the nursery that has to use it five days a week; someone whose employer is not forward-thinking enough to offer to offer the salary sacrifice option. That monthly bill comes in at around £1,000. That's a serious amount of money. What do you have left from your pay packet once the mortgage/rent and bills are paid? I'm guessing a lot of families wouldn't have that £1,000 available.

Father Badger and I are considering adding a second cub to the sett and I'm honestly wondering what we'll do when it comes to my career and childcare costs. We could perhaps come to an arrangement with the grandparents with regards extra help, but they're not getting any younger and it seems unfair to expect them to either give up extra days or contend with two children. I'm guessing that we're at least looking to double our childcare costs. We won't make a loss, but it's a big enough dent to wonder whether a change of approach is required.

It's ridiculous that at double the UK national average salary (2010 figure), and a household income of double that, I'm considering whether it's worth going back to work with two children in part-time childcare. Absolutely ridiculous.

And now to the second part of my rant: expectations.

Expectations of flexibility. I am writing this post from a hotel on the outskirts of Leeds, 200 miles from home. My husband and daughter are at home, 200 miles from me. It's not the end of the world, but I don't like it. I've reached the point in my career (ignoring the fact that I'm not sure what I'll do after baby number two) where I need to take on bigger projects, more responsibility, hence I'm travelling. It's not required of me, but it is expected. If I refused, it would be "ok" but I would struggle to progress any further with the remaining opportunities. Thank goodness for Skype and FaceTime - without being able to see the faces I love I don't think I could bear being away from home.

Expectations that I am no longer breastfeeding. That's probably not fair: it won't be a conscious expectation as it won't even cross their mind that I might be. I'm the first employee in a company of thousands to request somewhere to express when returning from maternity leave. I no longer need the facility but that doesn't mean I'm not feeding. I was also up in Leeds a few weeks ago when Baby Badger was so ill that she couldn't keep any food down. I literally was her only source of food but didn't feel as though I could give it as a reason to cancel my trip. Maybe I should have plucked up courage, but honestly - do you think an employer would have understood?

You're tagged!

End of rant. It's late and I should be in bed...

I am tagging:

  • Beth aka @plasticrosaries as I'm guessing she's got a lot to say on the subject of trying to juggle work and motherhood.
  • Menai aka @MenaiN for a different perspective as a working mum on a break as an ex-pat


Friday, 24 February 2012

Lesson of the Day - snot and mash should never meet

Warning: this gets gross. Read on at your peril...

Poor Baby Badger is in the wars at the moment. A couple of weeks ago she was a vomit factory, and as soon as she was over that she caught the latest cold from nursery. She's being producing snot by the gallon and earlier this week she managed to rub it into her eyes.

Result? Conjunctivitis and eye drops that are an absolute bugger to get in, mainly due to the flailing arms and eyes screwed shut (she's not daft).

Unsurprisingly the added liquid from her watering eyes is adding the volume of snot. More fluids. Nice...

Today's lesson: allowing your toddler to shovel mashed potato in on top of a belly full of snot results in a scene reminiscent of The Exorcist, with seemingly endless pints of foaming white stuff appearing around the fork. Gross (you were warned).

Image: Simon Howden /

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

52/366: banana pancakes

With bacon and maple syrup. I meant to take a photo before we ate them but they were too good.

Monday, 20 February 2012

51/366: red scarf

BB is chatting away, stringing words together. Bye bye Mummy, red scarf!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

49/366: finished!

I've finally finished decorating BB's bedroom only 20 months late!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

45/366: poorly bunny

So tired from being unwell, she keeps falling asleep wherever she lands!

Monday, 13 February 2012

How to feel useless

Last Thursday I was called by the nursery to pick up Baby Badger: she had a temperature of 40 and wasn't looking very happy. I rolled up with my scarcely used bottle of Calpol (we are not big on medication), got the staff to administer (yes, I wussed out) and took her home for cuddles. She perked up a bit (mainly due to repeated Igglepiggle), had some dinner and went to bed. It all went wdo so and keep an eye on her.ell until she woke up at 10pm, demanded milk then promptly threw up all her dinner.

The following day she stayed home with Father Badger, the vomiting episodes becoming more frequent until the point where not even water or breastmilk were staying in. NHS Direct advised waking every hour that night to get her to sip a little water, and Father Badger generously offered to sleep in the nursery to do so and keep an eye on her. What do you do when nothing stays in? Time to feel useless #1.

Saturday was the scary point: she would wake up, have a sip of water, then her eyes rolled up, her head slumped and she'd be asleep again. We knew she was dehydrated but couldn't get anything into her. Time to feel useless #2. We cracked and took her to the out of hours doctor who reassured us. The moment we arrived she demanded milk and spent the entire examination attached to my boob!

She's now on the mend. She's not eating much and has mainly had booby milk and water, but things are definitely improving. Time to feel useless #3... She's not eating much but happy to nurse and I'm in Leeds, 200 miles from home, for the next four nights. I want to be with my daughter and I'm stuck here with work when she needs me the most.

Being a working mum sucks sometimes.

Image: Sayan Samana /

44/366: my four walls

Back in Leeds again, though thankfully not in the log cabins again!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

42/366: the calm between the storms

A brief period of happiness between vomiting sessions! Bless her...

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