Thursday, February 14, 2019

Working mother guilt

I was planning a post on whether it's possible for women to "have it all" and about the balance between motherhood and working but instead I can't help thinking about guilt. It's my impression that the majority of working mothers feel guilty to some extent. We know logically we are doing the right thing for our family by continuing to work whether it's due to financial or personal reasons but it still doesn't make it less hard leaving your child and hoping they are managing fine without you. I like my job and it has taken me a long time to get to where I am and I also don't feel like being a stay at home mum is for me. There was a stage where, I felt like I was losing myself in motherhood. Right now working part time gives me the best of both worlds in many ways - I can have some time to be "me" again and still retain that part of myself while also having more patience and appreciation for the time at home with my daughter.

Sometimes it feels like it is going perfectly too! I have my office days where I concentrate on work and the other days where I can go to various play groups with my daughter and enjoy family time. However there have also been some weeks where it feels like a total fail. Lately work has been extra stressful and I often have to do overtime then I can't shut it off easily once I get home. I feel guilt at work when there is lots to do and I don't want to leave colleagues in the lurch so I end up staying late to support my team. However when I make that choice then my daughter is missing out on the time with me which I feel guilty and sad about.

Recently some potential opportunities at work have been mentioned but they would mean trips away for conferences or evenings/weekends spent doing further training. Mini still seems so young and I am struggling with what to do. In a few weeks my husband will be going back to work himself and she'll be going to KITA here (daycare). My plan has been to increase my hours at work. The trouble is that I already feel like it's hard managing the work life balance lately and I wonder how it will be when I am working longer and spending less time at home. I hate the thought of barely seeing her all day during the week. However, I know I am very lucky that my company supports a part time working arrangement! Recently I read that quality of time spent with children is more important than quantity and it helps me to think of it that way.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

First Christmas with Mini

Flying with a baby went much better than last time. We choose an earlier flight and made sure she got her naps. On the plane before take off she started getting cranky and hubby and I were worried about how the flight would go but I managed to get her to sleep soon after. She breastfed a little but then stopped and then I cuddled and stroked her head until she nodded off. She then slept through the entire flight to Ireland which was perfect!

She still wasn't a big fan of car journies unfortunately so those were difficult but it wasn't as bad as last time. I ended up often having to let her watch youtube videos on my phone so she wouldn't get upset (Wheels on the Bus / Five Little Ducks / Old Mac Donald). We tried to make sure she got one or two naps each day depending on what was on the agenda and she was generally good humoured. Occasionally she got a bit overstimulated by the end of the day and she was also teething pretty bad so a few evenings she was a bit grumpy and took longer to go to sleep!

Mini is 10 months now and still too young to really appreciate or understand Christmas. We took her to meet Santa at my local shopping centre and she cried when I put her on his lap. Oh dear! However, she loved seeing the Christmas trees everywhere ( I would hold her up to one so she could feel the tinsel and lights) and going new places.

I just loved everyone getting to spend time with her again. She is such a fun little person already. She can say "mama" and "dada", wave and clap. She also already understands a few phases I say a lot such as "let's look out the WINDOW" and "would you like some MILK?" and "open the door!"

For my birthday I got a spa voucher and enjoyed a massage, facial and manicure. It was so relaxing. I celebrated the day by going for afternoon tea with my family. It was the perfect low key birthday for how I was feeling but maybe next year I'll try to organize something bigger. Having a birthday around Christmas always makes it really difficult to plan something as it's such a busy time for everyone!

There were just two things that didn't go so well on the trip. Hubby and I had a fight on Christmas day. I think it was the stress getting to us both. I do some baby led weaning with Mini and she started gagging/chocking on some turkey and hubby freaked out and lost his temper at me. It was scary and upsetting but she's fine thankfully. She had fallen earlier that day and I'd gotten cross at him for not watching her which had bothered him. We have both made new year resolutions to be kinder to one another and more of a parenting team again.

The other thing that bugged me was all the unwanted advice about our parenting we kept getting! People compliment Mini for being a very happy baby but then constantly tell us things like "you'll need to get her used to sleeping in her cot" when they hear we bedshare and that it's a "bad habit" that we usually lie next to her for naps. It made me feel defensive and frustrated as we are doing our best. Mini is a contact loving baby and my husband and I are fine with the situation - it works for our family- so why does it bother other people so much?

It was fun for me to spend time with family and relations again on the trip and the friends who were able to meet me. Unfortunately since the holidays are such a busy time, there were several people I didn't get to see. We're planning another trip back to Dublin in the Summer though. I felt a bit homesick when we were leaving. It's a pity I live so far away but my life is very much in Germany now and I can't see us moving. It was a lovely Christmas and I'm looking forward to when we travel over again to Dublin in the Summer and Mini can experience even more of Ireland and its culture.