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Category: Family

The Worst Things you can Say to a Stay at Home Mum

The Worst Things you can Say to a Stay at Home Mum

Skipping back a few hundred blog posts, for those of you that don’t know. In 2015 I gave up my business to become a stay at home mum. It was always my intention and I didn’t hesitate to hang up my scissors once our eldest was born. There have been a few ups and downs since then, sometimes I want to work, as well as bring up our girls. I go around in circles on a regular basis, trying to work out what the best plan of action is. I suppose though, even as a blogger which very few people accept as ‘work’ – I beg to differ by the way – I am first and foremost a stay at home mum.

Ever since becoming a parent and homemaker I have come across many different reactions. Some would love to be in my position, some think I’m lazy and some think my husband must be some sort of millionaire – he’s not I can assure you.  There have been comments that I’ve laughed at and others that have cut me a little bit. You see no one really knows another person’s situation, so even though comments aren’t made maliciously they sometimes come across that way.

So just in case you were wondering, here are the worst things you can say to a stay at home mum;

‘You don’t do anything during the week do you?’ – 

This was one that really got to me. It was assumed that because I still have one child at home full-time that I can’t possibly be doing anything during the week. Actually I do a hell of a lot. Once I’ve watched Jeremy Kyle and Loose Women that is.

‘I wish I didn’t have to go to work’ – 

This often comes with being told I’m really lucky and that I don’t realise how good my situation is. I do realise that this isn’t an option for everyone, but I don’t think that makes me lucky. It’s just our situation and it works for us. It has its downfalls too, just like being a working parent does. It’s all swings and roundabouts.

‘It must be so nice to have a lie-in each day’ – 

I haven’t had a lie in since 2015.

‘You still have time to make your mark’ – 

These exact words were kindly spouted in my direction, by an ageing professional. With. No. Kids. Need I say more?

‘When will you go back to work? – 

Well actually I do work. I earn a decent wage, from home, whilst looking after my children.

‘I would hate to look after kids all day’ – 

I’m not going to tell you every single day is a walk in the park, because it’s not. I just don’t think it’s a good idea to berate another person’s long-term situation, especially when your main point is that all they do is ‘look after kids all day‘. Just doesn’t seem like a nice thing to say, does it?

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Family Law – Knowing Where you Stand

Family Law – Knowing Where you Stand

*This post was written in collaboration with DPP Solicitors. 

 

Having a family is by far one of the most amazing things you will ever do. Building a life with another person is exciting and fun. There are so many good times to be had and they do have to be enjoyed. Sometimes though, family life doesn’t always turn out quite how we’d imagined. Sometimes, often of no fault of our own, things can take a turn for the worse. That’s when it’s good to be familiar with family law, so that you know where you stand during difficult times.

DPP solicitors – Criminal Defence have over 30 years experience in dealing with family law, so I’ve teamed up with these guys to help you understand why it’s so important to familiarise yourself with family law. To make sure you know where to turn to when times get tough and to make sure you understand that there is always someone there to help you, with professional advice, at the most difficult of times.

When seeking professional advice can be helpful –

Even if you are the most loved up of couples, sometimes things just don’t work out. As much as you think that you can work things out in the most adult of ways, it’s always a good idea to take legal advice regarding your situation. The thing is, it’s always possible for things to turn sour during a separation. It’s human nature to get caught up in the mixture of emotions that come with a break up and this can cloud your vision when it comes to making important decisions about your future.

Maybe you’re part of a cohabiting couple on the verge of a break up, or maybe you’re thinking about getting a divorce. Whatever your situation, don’t make any drastic decisions without seeking a little counsel first. Even if things to end up going smoothly, at least you knew where you stood from the outset. The point is, that you need to be in the driving seat when it comes to the rest of your life. So making lucid decisions from the word go, with the help of a professional can only aid you in starting your next chapter positively.

Children matter –

Often disagreements within families, centre around the well being of the children. It’s common for separating parents to have opposing ideas when it comes to what is best for their children. If you find yourself in this scenario, then seeking professional advice and finding out where you stand is essential. Seeking counsel will help you to come to an effective solution for all of the people involved.

It’s good to know where you stand if you’re going through the adoption or surrogacy process too. These situations can be very complicated and difficult to navigate through alone. Seeking help from those in the know, those who are experts in dealing with adoption agencies and social services, will stop you from entering into this situation on the back foot. Forewarned is always forearmed and knowing where you stand, to get the best for your children is paramount in giving them the best life you possibly can.

 

 

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Five Things you Need to Know Before you Stay in a Hotel with Toddlers

Five Things you Need to Know Before you Stay in a Hotel with Toddlers

Earlier on this year, Hubs and I were invited to The Deep in Hull. We were so excited to take the kids on a day trip, so excited in fact that somewhere along the way we decided it would be a good idea to make a weekend out of it. It went something along the lines of ‘Hey let’s get a hotel and go to the beach too, the kids will love it’. Oh the naivety! OK, so it wasn’t all bad. The kids did love it and The Deep was amazing. The whole weekend was definitely a learning curve though, so much so that I won’t be staying in a hotel with toddlers again any time soon!

 

 

Here are five things you need to know, before you decide to stay in a hotel with toddlers;

 

It will only be novel for the first ten minutes –

We got in the car with smiles right across our faces. The weather was fine, we were going to seaside and we were going to eat fish and chips on the beach. I bought DVD players for the car, it was the easiest long car journey we’ve EVER had. Things were going good, we’d totally cracked this parenting thing. We had a really good day on the beach, the kids were so happy and completely tired themselves out. All we had to do now was head back to the hotel, grab some dinner and settle down for the night, simple!

My first mistake? Letting the kids have a 15 minute nap in the car on the way to the hotel. My second? Believing that the novelty of the hotel would surely keep them entertained for one whole evening. Well, after ten minutes we were well into the witching hour, the hotel stopped being fun and turned into a prison cell! The kids didn’t want to be cooped up in one room and whatever we did to try to settle them down failed miserably. Bedtime came and went, with no sign of any sleepers in the room.

Forget the idea that you’re going to get a good nights sleep –

When it got to one hour after their normal bedtime, we assumed that this wakefulness couldn’t go on for much longer. They must have been tired, they hadn’t stopped all day. Two hours over bedtime and they were still going strong. Three hours, you guessed it, we’d still not slept a wink. Finally, FIVE hours after their normal bedtime and they crashed! Who needs sleep anyway?

You need to be mindful of the snacks you give the kids –

We’d had fish and chips for lunch, so we decided that the best thing to get for dinner was a picnic. One that we could eat in the hotel room whilst watching the CBeebies Bedtime Hour. This one we really didn’t think through. Crisps, crackers, blackcurrant Fruit Shoots and cookies are not good hotel room food. We’d been there less than an hour and the floor looked like we’d been squatting there for weeks.

Don’t underestimate the power of electronic entertainment –

Our girls like a bit of TV, but they soon get bored. When they’re at home they can move on to the many toys we have dotted around or head out into the garden. When you’re in a hotel room, you don’t have the luxury of five cupboards jam-packed with toys. I realised that night that I’d made a vital mistake in not buying our girls iPads. Adamant that they’re too young for things like that, I’ve not given in to technology for them. I take it all back. iPads can be the best babysitters, I only wish I’d known it before!

Don’t spend a fortune on fancy toddler beds –

In my excitement on the run up to our trip, I decided it would make life much easier if we didn’t have to cart travel cots around. So I bought two ReadyBeds, which look fabulous for the littles and they are a great buy. However, unlike the travel cot they allow the kids to get out of bed whenever they like. It was a free for all, trying to get them into bed and to sleep was an impossible task. The moral of the story? Keep them sleeping in cots as long as you can!

 

 

 

 

 

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Days Out: Hornsea Beach and The Deep, Hull

Days Out: Hornsea Beach and The Deep, Hull

*We were gifted a family pass to The Deep, Hull for the purpose of this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

 

Ever since our girls stepped foot on a beach for the first time, they have loved being by the seaside! They could spend all day on the beach of we let them, it’s definitely one of their favourite things to do. That’s why, when we had a day trip planned to The Deep in Hull, we decided to make a weekend of it and head to Hornsea beach too. We managed to book ourselves into a little hotel nearby, packed up the car and headed off on our first weekend away as a family!

 

Hornsea Beach –

As far as beaches go, Hornsea does what it says on the tin. It’s a stoney beach, that also has plenty of sandy patches for the kids to dig holes and build sand castles. We went on a Sunday in late Spring, when the weather was pleasant and it wasn’t too busy. There was plenty of room for everyone, which is ideal when the kids want to run around and burn some energy off. The shops, cafe’s and toilets are really close to the beach too, which makes seaside life with littles much easier!

We had a really fun afternoon at Hornsea, it’s the ideal spot for a day trip and there’s plenty of free parking nearby. This coast doesn’t have the clearest water I’ve ever seen, but other than that you’re sure to have a blast here. We’ll definitely be back!

 

 

 

The Deep, Hull –

 

The Deep has been on our must visit list ever since we had children. Hubs and I went many years ago and absolutely loved it, so we knew when the girls were old enough they would too. Our hotel was just a stones throw away from the Deep, so we got there when it opened to make the most of our day. All of the staff were really friendly on arrival, they even gave our girls their own activity book and cuddly penguin as a momento of our visit!

 

 

As soon as our girls entered the exhibition, they were awestruck! There’s so much for them to do and see, even our littlest who was two at the time loved getting involved. When we got to the first large tank both girls were amazed by the all of the sea life. There are some beautifully fascinating species to see and to learn about, we spent a lot of time watching the fish in this huge tank!

 

 

The Deep has an area with smaller tanks too, where a member of staff gives a talk on the sea life in them. It’s also possible for the kids to touch the animals, which our eldest couldn’t wait to do. As soon as she heard the lady giving her talk, she ran over to listen and was the first to touch a sea urchin when she was asked!  This added a great element to our experience at The Deep and was a lovely learning opportunity for our girls. The penguins at The Deep are such funny characters and were a real highlight for our girls too. They have specific feeding times, so if you want to see the them in their full glory you can find out when they are fed HERE!

 

 

Overall, we had the best weekend at Hornsea beach and at The Deep, Hull. It was one of the best weekends we’ve enjoyed since becoming a family of four and it’s something we’ll definitely do again in the future. Make sure you have plenty of time to explore The Deep though, you’re going to need it!

 

 

The Deep, the best bits –

 

  • The Cool Seas exhibition – this area was great for the kids, it’s so much like a sensory room and they were mesmerised by it!
  • Touch pool sessions – getting up close and personal with the sea life.
  • The tank lift and the tunnel!
  • The Dive Show – at 2pm everyday.
  • Penguin feeding.
  • Soft play at the end of the exhibition – our girls loved this!
  • The cafe – a vast menu and very reasonably priced.

 

 

 

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A Year of Forest School – Book Review & Giveaway

A Year of Forest School – Book Review & Giveaway

* I was sent a copy of A Year Forest School and Play the Forest School Way for the purpose of this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions of my own. 

 

If you’ve been following us on Instagram, you’ll know that as a family we love to spend time outdoors. Our eldest daughter especially, loves nothing more than to get her wellies on and head out to explore. So when we were asked to review A Year of Forest School and Play the Forest School way, I knew they would go down a treat! On writing this, we’re just heading into Spring, the days are getting longer and the weather warmer, so it’s the perfect time for the kids to have some fun, the forest school way!

 

Creating a forest school from home –

 

A Year of Forest School is the second book written by Jane Worroll and Peter Houghton, after Play the Forest School Way which sold 10,000 copies in its first year! Both of these books are packed full with outdoor activities that can be completed rain or shine and are ideal for getting the littles out into the fresh air.

A Year of Forest School is written in the order of seasons. It has an array of different activities, some that are perfect for Winter fun and others that can be enjoyed in the warmth of Summer. One of the things that I love most about this book is that each activity has a little information box, containing the most important details about the project. This box contains a run down of what you’ll need, how many people can take part and what age range it suits best. This makes it really easy to flick through the book to find an appropriate task that the kids will love!

Each of the activities in A Year of Forest School aren’t only fun for the kids, they also teach them so many life skills along the way. Many of the tasks require focus, teamwork, fine motor and communication skills to complete, When they’re having fun though, they don’t see this learning as a chore. They jump right in and love every single minute of it!

 

 

 

There’s more to come –

 

Watkins Publishing are also putting together forest school packs which include a poster, reward sheet and stickers. As well as two activities from the books!  All of this material will be available online and there will be a limited amount of physical packs they’re able to send out.  What better way to enjoy the holidays with you littles, than getting them involved in the forest schools movement!

 

 

There’s a copy of A Year of Forest School and Play the Forest School Way, up for grabs for one lucky reader! All you have to do to be in for a chance of winning is to enter using the form below. Please do check out the terms and conditions…good luck! 

 

Win Two Forest School Books!

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Johnson’s Baby Ambassador Academy – A Brand we Trust

Johnson’s Baby Ambassador Academy – A Brand we Trust

 

You may have noticed from my Instagram feed, that this year I’m part of the Johnson’s Baby Ambassador Academy team. It’s been an incredible journey so far. Not only have I met so many fantastic bloggers who are on board, I’ve also had the opportunity to indulge my inner geek and get to grips with the science behind the brand!

Johnson’s products have been our go-to baby essentials ever since our first daughter was born.  They were recommended to us by so many people, including my own mother and grandmother, who have used their products on the rest of my family for years. The classics collection, including the baby shampoo from Johnson’s, is my favourite range; it’s so easily recognisable, they’re comforting to use and they smell amazing!

I believe it’s so important to be able to trust the brands, whose products we bring into our homes. As parents, we want to know that our children are being cared for to the best of our ability and that includes what we’re using on their skin. That’s why I’m so excited to be working with Johnson’s Baby this year. They have been there for our family from day one and it’s an honour to get to share the ins and outs of the brand with you all!

 

 

Meeting the Johnson’s Baby Team

 

Our first Ambassador Academy meeting was held in London earlier this year. It was such an exciting day, not only because I got to meet all of the other bloggers in the team, but also because it was the start of an incredible learning journey for me. Johnson’s had bought in the creme de la creme of the science world, the level of knowledge they have in their field is astonishing and I was so ready to listen to everything they had to say.

Unfortunately, there are many common misconceptions where Johnson’s Baby products are concerned. Somewhere along the way, a lot of misconstrued information surfaced and in consequence many facts were blurred and passed from person to person incorrectly. We hear so much scaremongering on the news, in the papers and across social media. It’s often a case of Chinese whispers and all of a sudden, the original story has been blown epically out of proportion.

At our first meeting though, we were given the cold hard facts. Scientific knowledge that can’t be argued with and insight that served to cement my trust in the Johnson’s brand further. Take the issue of parabens for example; they’re an ingredient that so many people are terrified of and one that they actively try to avoid. David Mays of J & J was the main speaker at our meeting and a scientist, he swiftly put to bed these ill-founded ideas about parabens by pointing out that ‘you eat more parabens everyday, than you could ever absorb through your skin’.

Isn’t it ironic that consumers have been avoiding using parabens by discontinuing their use of Johnson’s products, but they have actually been taking in more on a daily basis by just living life. These days Johnson’s Baby products don’t contain parabens. This isn’t because they are harmful, in fact they’re quite the opposite. It’s because consumers have been led to believe they are so dangerous. The lack of parabens in Johnson’s products is purely to address the concerns of the consumer. It seems they’re looking after us in more ways than one.

The most important thing that I took away from my time with the Johnson’s Baby team, is that they spend a great deal of time, money and effort making sure that our children are looked after. They care about the consumer and they want to make sure they’re doing the best they possibly can for our families.

 

 

There’s More to Come!

 

Even though I’ve learnt so much in my short time working with Johnson’s Baby, I also feel like we’ve only just scratched the surface. With more meetings to come, you can be sure that I’ll be back to pass on a few more pearls of wisdom – straight from the horse’s mouth as it were!

 

Are you a Johnson’s Baby family?

 

#ad

 

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Knowledge is Power – Learning to Inspire the Next Generation

Knowledge is Power – Learning to Inspire the Next Generation

I’ve always found it difficult to switch my brain off. As far back as I can remember I have loved to read and learn about the world around us. We’ve always been an outdoorsy family too, learning about nature and wildlife is still one of my favourite things to do. In my early twenties, prior to having children, I went from one course to another, as my interests changed and grew. My thirst for knowledge always being the driving force behind my endeavours.

I fell rapidly out of learning when I got pregnant with our eldest daughter. As is the case with many mothers, pregnancy takes its toll and everything else in our lives often gets put on the back-burner. I had hyperemesis, so getting through each minute was a task, never mind each day. Picking up a book was just impossible. Especially the second time around when I had a two month old baby to take care of too.

Fast forward two years and two children later, life seems to be back on an even keel. We have two children that sleep at night and we have a good routine during the day. Now I’m finding that my thirst for knowledge has never been stronger. I struggle to watch naff television or read books that aren’t teaching me something. Mostly because I feel that I should be filling my free time with as much work as possible. I feel that if I am going to do something other than looking after the children or work, it has to be something that I’m going to benefit and learn from.

 

Photo credit

 

Getting back on track –

One thing that really bothered me is that until recently, I hadn’t picked up a book for over two years. Not only did I feel like my brain needed a workout, but I find that reading is a great way to escape from everyday life. With two toddlers in the house, it’s often a welcome distraction. So, although I’m not a huge fan of New Years Resolutions, this year I vowed to read more. To nourish my mind and get back into the swing of learning.

I kick started the year with A History of Britain in 21 Women by Jenni Murray. When I first picked up this book there were two things that struck me. One was that I only knew about 4 of the women who were included in this book. Secondly I’m bringing up two future strong women, how am I supposed to do this if I’m not able to teach them about the strong women of our past. I need to be able to educate them on the women that paved the way to the opportunities that are available to them today.

This book marked the beginning of my mission to educate myself further, so that I’m able to inspire the next generation. Hopefully instigating a thirst for knowledge in them too. I think it’s so important for the next generation to appreciate that there’s so much that can be achieved, even when it may appear that the odds aren’t in their favour. I’m not saying I’m going to push our girls too far, that would only saturate their minds beyond their years. There’s an amazing world out there though, with so much experience to gain down whichever path they choose to take. I just want to be able to enrich their lives. To give them the privilege of an education and ultimately, to give them the power of knowledge.

 

Photo Credit

 

A final word –

Not only do I want to empower my girls, I also want to empower myself. Having children makes you see the world in a whole new light. I’m only too aware that nothing is set in stone. There are no certainties in this life and I don’t want to waste a minute of it. I want a wealth of knowledge that I can can draw on at any point. When I look back over my life I want it to have been enriched with history and culture. I want to look back on an education to be proud of. 

 

Photo Credit

 

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Transform Your Garden with Decorative Gravel

Transform Your Garden with Decorative Gravel

It can be so difficult to keep up with gardening when you’re a parent; sometimes our garden tends to get overlooked when we’re busy with the girls and keeping the house organised. However, the garden can be such a lovely space for the whole family to enjoy, so it’s great to get things sorted before the summer months come along. Luckily, in many ways gravel and other aggregates can really jazz up the garden and make it easier to maintain too!

Whether you’re looking for understated Cotswold gravel or gorgeous plum slate chippings, Gravel4You is a huge decorative aggregates supplier with a range of bulk bags on offer. I’ve teamed up with them to give you some great ideas on what you can achieve with gravel in your garden:

Using Decorative Aggregates in Your Garden

Gravel isn’t just for mulching (though it is useful for this and many other practical applications!) There are plenty of ways you can use decorative aggregates to transform your garden space. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Pathways

Decorative aggregates can help you update your garden with magical winding paths, making your outdoor space great for a stroll or for enticing children’s imaginations to run wild as they run around. Using a mixture of gravel and stepping stones creates a lovely path for children to play on. Good decorative aggregates for paths include pea gravel and golden flint gravel (anything smaller than 10mm may get stuck underfoot!)

Gravel Gardens

Looking for relaxation in your garden? Creating a gravel garden with a variety of chippings and stones can provide even the smallest gardens with a peaceful space to maintain and enjoy, as well as the perfect environment for low-maintenance, hardy Mediterranean plants.

Cosy Fire Pits

Another great way to use gravel in the garden is for creating a fire pit where you can relax by the fire on long evenings. You’ll need plenty of gravel to surround the pit and for drainage in the pit – plonk some chairs around the pit and you’re set for cosy outdoor relaxation! Of course, this will require supervision when the kids are about.

Getting the Kids into the Garden

In the age of screen entertainment, sometimes it can be a struggle to get kids outside to play and enjoy the fresh air – this goes for adults too! I love anything that encourages my girls to get outside and exploring. Gravel4You have that covered too – their play-safe range of bark chippings and play pit sand are great additions to the garden for children’s areas.

 

 

*This is a collaborative post.

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Creating Magic in Childhood – An Enchanted Upbringing

Creating Magic in Childhood – An Enchanted Upbringing

I remember being a child and having the wildest imagination. I loved make believe and fairy tales, engrossing myself in tales of magical lives was my favourite thing to do. That’s why when I had our girls, I made it my mission to make sure they had an enchanted upbringing just like I did. I firmly believe that our children can learn so much through the encouragement of an active imagination. Not only that, a childhood just wouldn’t be made without a touch of magic to make it sparkle!

Now that our girls are a little older, they are showing more and more interest in fairy tales and everything that they stand for. They each have fairy doors in their rooms and have named their own fairies themselves. I adore that they believe in their fairies, but I want to make their rooms even more of a haven away from every day life. Somewhere that they can disappear to and enjoy losing themselves in their own little worlds.

 

A room to remember –

Since the girls love their fairy doors so much. I decided that it would be a great idea to give each of their rooms an enchanted forest theme. I’ve seen so many wall murals available on the internet that look great. The trouble is, they often arrive as individual stickers. I’m just not creative enough to be able to make them look as good as they do on the packet! So i was a little stumped, I really wanted to make their rooms into a space they will always remember.

Then I came across wallsauce.com! They have an amazing range of wall murals that are actually wallpaper, this means I don’t have to worry about getting the stickers from standard murals in the right place! I’m so impressed with the range of murals they have too. They have a theme to suit everyone and amazingly, they also allow you to use your own images.

It goes without saying that I was immediately drawn in by the enchanted forest murals. They are so magical and exactly what I had it mind for making our girls’ rooms as special as possible. Now Hubs and i can’t wait to get started, we know they’ll absolutely love their new rooms!

 

Photo Credit

 

*This post was written in collaboration with wallsauce.com.

 

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#MumisBest Guest Post – Vicky from The Mummy Bubble Blog

#MumisBest Guest Post – Vicky from The Mummy Bubble Blog

Welcome to another instalment of my new guest series #MumisBest!  #MumisBest is all about the ever-growing SAHM/working mum debate.  I really want this series to highlight that there’s no right or wrong way, but whatever works for you and you family.  If you’d like to take part do get in touch, I’d love to hear from you!  For now, I will leave you in the hands of Vicky from The Mummy Bubble Blog!

When hubby and I were first discussing if it was the right time to start a family one of my biggest worries was a work-life balance.

When I’m not dashing around as the cook, cleaner, drink-pourer, bum-wiper and all-round dogsbody for my kids, I work as a journalist for a tabloid newspaper.

I work from home, but my job can be extremely demanding, involves a lot of driving and drops extra hours in my lap at short notice.

I’ve also been asked to travel abroad at the last minute to cover a story with no guarantee of when I will be back home. I’ve known colleagues who have been stuck abroad for weeks on a job, it’s just the nature of what we do.

And don’t get me wrong, it is a very exciting career, but my big worry was when you bring kids into the mix, how can I possibly do both?

I want to work. It’s a valuable break, it makes me feel good to do a job I can take pride in and, let’s face it, one income doesn’t cut it these days.

However I also do not want to be a mum who isn’t there for bedtime. I don’t want long chunks of time away from my children where I don’t see them for more than a week.

A couple of nights away from my kids every now and then is the maximum I’m prepared to do when they’re this young, that’s just how I feel about that.

Every mum is different I know and some are happy to concentrate solely on work in the week and then find time for their kids at the weekend.

We all have to find our own way, but this really wasn’t for me. How could I have the best of both worlds?

In the end we decided that we couldn’t let this worry influence when we start a family. You can get too bogged down in perfect situations for when you should have your first baby.

There is no right time.

So I got pregnant, suffered terrible morning sickness which disrupted my work days hugely, and finally had our first child.

As my year of maternity leave went on, we discussed what we would do next.

There were a few factors in play here. We couldn’t afford for me not to work, we wanted a second child and soon, and how would things like the nursery run work?

I was very lucky to have supportive managers who were willing to discuss my concerns and offer me the chance to return to work full-time with hours that would work for me.

My daughter was put into nursery four days a week and spent one day with my mum. My hours were adjusted so I could always pick my daughter up from nursery on time.

This meant never missing a bedtime.

But after all that,  just two days before I was due to return to work I found out I was pregnant again.

When we started trying for our second baby I had no idea it would happen so quickly, but there you go!

I now faced a huge amount of guilt as I went back to work with improved hours, knowing that soon I would be buggering off again.

When I did come to tell my manager, he was nothing but supportive. Phew.

I went back to work for just seven months. In that time we got in a good routine that I felt really happy with.

I dropped my daughter off in the morning, then went home to work and before I knew it, it was time to pick her up again. What really helped was that she loved going to nursery.

And now I’m back in that return to work situation once again.

Except this time the nursery bill will be doubled. To put both kids in to nursery four days a week would cost more than my monthly take home pay.

So, why work? Because I want to. But I also want to be a mum. Can I achieve the holy grail of “having it all”.

The answer is no, I don’t think we can have it all. You can’t be a full-time mum and have a full-time career. But we can find a balance.

My balance is my children will be with my mum one day a week and I will work Sundays in exchange for taking Fridays off to be with the kids.

This means both are in nursery for three days. It’s still going to cost more than a monthly mortgage payment to send them but it’s more manageable.

Also my eldest will get some free childcare hours from April next year and this will help.

I return to work in January, so that’s when we will find out if I have managed to get the balance right.

So after rambling through my story, I thought I would share some tips with you from what I’ve learned over the last three years of trying to find a good work-life balance:

Talk about it with your other half. Having a discussion and deciding what the ideal solution for both of you would be is a good start. Then you can go into the practicalities of how it would work.

Do the math. How much as your bills and how much would childcare cost? Can you afford it with your salary? Would it be more affordable if you worked just three days a week? Can a relative help out one day a week so you can save a bit of money?

Be honest with your boss. If you can be upfront with your manager from the start about what your concerns are then you can hopefully meet in the middle. Most good employers will offer flexible hours as an option. Remember just because you’ve had a child doesn’t mean you’re not a valuable asset. If anything you’re more of an asset now as you can juggle like a total boss after having kids.

Let go of the guilt. Just because you have a job you love, doesn’t mean you can’t have a life outside of that. Having a child is no reason to feel guilty.

 

 

Bio:

I’m Vicky, a mum of two gorgeous girls – aged two and eight months. I live in the South East with my hubby. I love food, travel, a good walk, a decent movie and a compelling TV show to get hooked on. I’m on maternity leave at the moment but work as a journalist when not chasing around after little people.

I blog about all aspects of parenting young children – it’s  what I do all day every day after all. I like to write about the funnier side of having kids, because you’ve got to laugh sometimes! I’ve also been known to get a bit soppy about my kids. I love to share my parenting SOS tips, highlight my favourite child and baby products, and big up fun and fabulous places to visit with the family. News is a big part of my life so I’m also bringing you the latest news for parents with young children.

You can see more from Vicky here:
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