THAT Decision!

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From the start of this post I’ll be totally honest. Until I had children, I was very judgemental of people who chose to stay at home and be a full time mum. I thought they were ‘wasting’ themselves. I thought it was a lazy decision… The easy way out!

Now, at 32… A bit older, a bit fatter and a mother of two with a little more life experience. I respect and admire people for making a decision and sticking to it. For doing something they want to do and fundamentally knowing what they want. There’s no judgement here and the time has come (again) for me to decide whether or not to return to work.

I think, like most women, once I had children I had a shift in my state of mind. Not only did I become a bit forgetful, lose all knowledge of vocabulary and possibly, at times, a little over emotional… I also became more tolerant! More tolerant to other people’s lives, decisions and beliefs.
I don’t presume to know how all women think (I’ll leave that to the men of this world!) but I can’t be alone in these changes!

After I had my eldest daughter, Lexie, I returned to work full time; determined that having children wouldn’t change me or my career. But it already had! I changed the moment I was pregnant and was fighting a losing, internal, battle. However, I did return to work full time and experienced all of those emotions of being torn between my original ‘baby’ (my career) and my daughter.

My decision this time round is to go back to work part-time. 3 days a week. I thought it would have been an easy decision to make, especially as it is the second time round, but it wasn’t. Once again my career is going to have to take a back seat. That baby, my first baby, the first thing that I really, really cared about, that I nurtured and put everything into for years, is going to have to take second place to my real children. It’s a hard pill to swallow.

Don’t get me wrong I’m as conscientious, hard working and ambitious as I’ve always been. I’m also determined (once again) to return to work better, with more ideas, refreshed from my time away from the office and with new goals in mind. But, I now only have 3 days a week to fulfill those goals and my time out of the office is somewhat, shall we say… Unavailable.

It’s this ‘unavailability’ I’m not used to. Learning to draw a line between work and home and separate the two. For a journalist I don’t believe that ever really happens. My mind is always aware of what is going on around me, the good things and the negative things… But I have to accept that in order not to have to ‘share’ my beautiful children; I’m going to have to share my job!

There will be times when my show, my work, is in someone else’s hands. Two days every week someone else will be taking over something that is very dear to me. That is a decision I have made and have to adapt to. It’s also one I am confident I won’t regret. Especially, when I look back at these amazing years watching my little ones grow up. I don’t want to miss those first steps, or first words or the hilarious things toddlers say and do.

But like with children… Nothing lasts forever… Everything is temporary! The crying in the night, the dirty nappies, the nursery bills and the part-time working! I do believe we can have it all and I will. I just need my children to be a bit older first! (I think!)

Is my motivation hiding under the bed?

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In June 2013 I completed my biggest physical challenge. I did the UK’s Official Ironman 70.3. Since then I haven’t done anything.

I have lost all motivation. Lost it! I can’t find it anywhere. Not in my salad bowl, my pasta bowl, not in my gym bag and not in my head! Call it post Ironman blues or post race depression… Whatever it is I have it and it’s been going on now for around 18 months.

Everyone says I should sign up for another challenge but I just can’t bring myself to do it! I don’t want to run in the cold or go to the gym late in the evening or get up early. But, and this is a big problem for me and my self-esteem, I feel chubby and unfit.
So where has it gone? Is my motivation hiding under the bed?

Stealing Sadness

When is it ok to cry at some one else’s bad news?

If a stranger, an acquaintance, a colleague, a friend or family member tells you something sad… Is it ok for you to take ownership of that sadness and cry? Or is it selfish?

An acquaintance of mine is having a very tough time (that’s an understatement!) We get on well and over the next year or so we could become friends. When she told me the situation she is in, with 2 very small children, I started crying. I felt so deeply sad for her and so helpless. But I instantly felt selfish! It’s not for me to cry. It’s not my sadness.

So it got me thinking… Does crying at someone else’s bad news take something away from them? To trivialise it… Is it like wearing a white dress to a wedding? For want of a better phrase: are you ‘stealing their thunder’? What’s more, does it make the situation worse for them?

When I got home that night I couldn’t stop thinking about my acquaintance. How will she cope? How can I help? Is there anything I can do? Ultimately the answer to some of those questions is very little. She has close friends and family around her, supporting her and whom I’m sure are stronger than I am and don’t cry at her sad news.

But what is the correct reaction to someone else’s sad news that you feel touched by? Is it ok to cry or are you stealing their sadness?

It’s the Little Things…

At the moment, I’m on maternity leave and a lot of my day is taken up with cleaning dirty bums, washing the high chair, cleaning up spilled milk and the occasional cuddle!

After I’ve cleaned up a little pooey bum I never think ‘great job Mummy you did well!’ But, a few days ago I did something I’m SO proud of.

I figured out how to put a pop up tent back in its bag!!! (I think this warrants 3 exclamation marks).

I was going to say you have no idea how much of a thrill that was… But maybe you do? Happy doesn’t cover it. I couldn’t wipe the grin of my face. I have to say my husband was pretty impressed too. The happiness and pride I took from this somewhat small achievement has kept me going for about a week.

I often find there’s not a lot to feel particularly ‘clever’ about whilst on maternity leave. During the day-to-day grind of running the house and looking after the children there isn’t a lot of time for deep and meaningful thoughts; at times my day feels like it’s filled with domestic trivia. So, it’s the little things that remind you of your abilities.