Journal, Mama

Mama vs Teacher

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When I was preparing to leave to go on maternity leave just before Christmas, I had a lot of teaching colleagues make a lot of envious noises about how lucky I was to go for my ‘year off’. If I were doing any other job, I would have been incensed by the implication that having a baby – and maternity leave in general – is a doddle, a break, a holiday.  However, as a teacher, I found it hard to get annoyed.

I am now 7 weeks into being a mum for the second time and even with the night feeds and the long cluster feeding evening sessions that seem to last forever, I can still say that I am less tired and more emotionally balanced than I was when I was teaching. Instead of being constantly aware of all the ways I am failing (as a teacher, this is something I was always feeling), I feel like a success. I have a thriving baby that is proof of my success – he is still alive! He is smiling! He is feeding! He is sleeping (sometimes)! I did that. And people are telling me all the time what a great job I’m doing, how well I am looking, how brilliant I am at being a mum. Compared to how I feel as a teacher, my confidence is through the roof. My oh my, the power of positive feedback! Fancy that!

It has left me to reflect on how I was feeling as I stepped out of the classroom: relieved for the ‘break’, disillusioned, lacking confidence in my ability to teach and unvalued. Despite having a fantastic team around me – my department are just superb – I constantly felt like I was falling short of expectations.

However.

Now I am at home, spending large amounts of time sitting and thinking (breastfeeding is special but tedious too), I am feeling energised to get back into the classroom. I want to use the time I have to get on top of the new course content and exam specs. I want to take back some control by going back over the theories of teaching that were explored during my training (but then largely pushed out of mind in the whirr of the real-life teaching environment). I want to stop feeling like a failure and remember I have the ability to succeed.

I just have to get past Nicky Morgan’s speech which is still reverberating around my skull.

Mama

A New Name

Austin will be three weeks old tomorrow so I thought it was high time I introduced him. This, however, gave me a dilemma. I had written all Evelina’s updates on Raising Evelina but I have struggled to rename that blog to accommodate her little brother. I have also been very slow to update that blog at all lately so I decided I would combine all my blogging and rename my Mulberry Wall blog reflect this change in focus.

I will still be blogging about all those things that interest me here but I will also be posting all the children updates here too under the Mama category. I have also renamed most of my other social media to tie in with the blog.

Mama

Introducing Austin James Matthew

Austin James Matthew was born on 6th February at 11.19pm. I was induced at Warwick Hospital at midday and although it took a while to get going, it was VERY quick at the end. After having some lasting negative feelings about Evelina’s birth, I definitely feel better about everything now that Austin is born.

He was a healthy 8lbs 13ozs and everything went well although we still have an ongoing issue with his renal pelves being dilated. Despite our general anxiety about this and our concern for him being on antibiotics longterm, the medical professionals all seem very relaxed about this issue and it appears to be a relatively common issue.

Evelina is thoroughly enjoying being a big sister and our home is definitely fuller and complete with Austin here. My heart is bursting.

 

Journal, Mama

Adjusting

  
My emotions have been a little bit all over the place with wonderful, excited highs and snappy, grouchy lows. Going from an all-consuming job to having so much spare time (and so little energy to use it) is an adjustment. 

I am now 37 weeks pregnant which is classed as full-term. I could do with having this weekend to get Baby Boy’s room a bit more sorted although his clothing and bedding is all washed and folded which is satisfying. But otherwise I’m ready to get this show on the road.

Mama

5 Songs for Welcoming Baby Playlist

I need to get this made and I’m not sure what kind of thing I’ll feel like listening to so I’ll start with songs that I can lose myself in:

  1. Just Breathe – Pearl Jam
  2. Falling – The Civil Wars 
  3. Disarm – The Smashing Pumpkins
  4. The Day I Tried to Live – Soundgarden
  5. State of Love and Trust – Pearl Jam
Mama

The Hospital Bag(s)

So naturally it starts with a list. I am using  modified version of the one I used last time.

For baby

  • 3 sleepsuits plus one for going home
  • 3 short-sleeved vests
  • 3 long-sleeved vests
  • hat
  • snowsuit
  • 3 muslins plus one giant muslin
  • 10 new baby nappies
  • nappy disposal bags
  • new born baby wipes
  • blanket
  • cotton wool pads
  • Bethanthen cream
  • 2 Aptamil baby formula (in case the breastfeeding doesn’t work out)

And then for my bag:

Inside this huge bag, are smaller bags to make it easier to find things.

In the flat spotty bag:

  • Notepad and pencil
  • Headphones
  • Phone charger
  • Charging unit
  • Purse (will be packed last minute)
  • Maternity notes (will be packed last minute)
  • Phone (will be packed last minute)

In the large spotty bag:

All my clothes for during the labour and afterwards including:

  • Nursing nightwear
  • Dressing gown
  • Slippers
  • Going home clothes
  • The nightie I wore when Evelina was born
  • Bed socks

In the red toiletry bag:

  • Shampoo / conditioner / shower cream
  • Moisturiser
  • Lip balm
  • Water spray
  • Hair brush / grips / bobble
  • Deodorant
  • Make-up (yeah right!)
  • Toothbrush and paste

And at the bottom of the bag is a pillow from home as the ones in hospital are not great especially with the waterproof covers.

If you would like a copy of the list, you can click here to download.

Journal, Mama, Simple Life

Nurture – My Word for 2016

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I haven’t had a proper think about New Year’s Resolutions yet. I might. But I haven’t yet. They seem to follow the same tune each year so it seems somewhat pointless to rehash the same old wistful optimism that This Year will the year where I eat better, read more, write more, watch less TV and generally make better use of Time.

This year, though, I have an imminent arrival of a new human to care for and as such, I do not feel inclined to load myself with the usual expectations. This doesn’t stop me from wanting to do things differently; I just am not sure I am ready to commit those wants to the screen.

I have decided what my Word will be for 2016. Last year, I wanted to be Positive, the year before, Tough. This year, I will focus on the word Nurture. This will apply to our new baby, our daughter, my husband, my parents, all my other relationships and, not to be forgotten, myself. I am only a good mother if I remember to take care of myself too.

One of the best things about blogging, which I hadn’t realised I’d been missing until I started up again this year, is that it gives me time to reflect properly on what is happening around me. The fog of teaching often means that you are too tired or busy to be properly present in your life and I am so looking forward to rediscovering what it is like to live in a more simple, intentional way. I don’t even care how ridiculous that sounds! I will be able to make this blog be part of my nurturing as I take time to just think.

 

Mama

A Day of Appointments

Our peace lily

My first day of maternity leave has entailed a lot of waiting around in waiting rooms with a scan, a clinic appointment and a separate midwife appointment. The scan was fine – still showing an issue with Baby Boy’s kidney (which *should* be easily resolved after the birth) but otherwise A-OK; I found out I will not be allowed to go overdue because I am OLD (wahh); We saw that the boy is still a fair good size (now about 7lbs 6ozs with 4 weeks still to go); I realised how anxious I am about the birth in general.

Last time, I was totally calm about the birth but worried about the ‘caring for a tiny human’ bit afterwards. This time I know how horrible the birth was last time but am feeling pretty easy breezy about the afterwards bit (the bit that last 18 years 0r so). I rarely manage to find the right thing to focus my anxiety on, though, so I am right just this second getting anxious about all of it!!! Time for some chocolate…

 

Journal, Mama

An End and a Beginning

   

Today was my last day at work before starting my maternity leave. It was a teacher training day which was actually pretty useful with a particularly uplifting and interesting session with our behaviour consultant Victor Allen who is a complete legend. He has such a calming presence and he also reminds us that above all, it’s kindness that these kids need.  I also had a chance to hand over my classes to the supply teacher who will be taking my classes, at least to start with. I was of course elated to be finishing work for a year especially because it means my baby is coming and I really am very excited to meet him. 

But I also left with a strange sadness: I was leaving behind this place which was my place of belonging. I was giving up my classroom. I was leaving my friends. I was leaving a part of my identity which I didn’t even realise I valued like I apparently do. So this is an end (for now).

But it is also a beginning. The beginning of our next adventure as a family. I can’t wait.