Nurserycam is the new Twitter

Today marks the close of week number 3 back at work. And I have never been so glad that it’s Friday!

I knew going back to work would be difficult. It’s a major gear change having a baby but you get used to it very quickly and I, for one, didn’t want to shift back into work mode.

So, I set a handful of days to go into the office and some to put Strawbug into daycare as a practice run for both of us. I’d been warned that I’d cry every day for approximately 3 weeks when I went back and had to leave her every day. I was advised to keep a big box of tissues and a make up bag in the car to clean myself up before going into the office.

The “practice” days were extremely hard. I honestly felt a dull ache in the middle of my chest as if someone had reached in and ripped my heart out. It was a physical feeling as well as a deep emotional sadness. And there was me thinking it was the baby who was supposed to suffer from separation anxiety!

The first “real” day at work was awful. I cried the minute I got in the car after dropping her off. I thought I just might throw up. I cried all the way to work and thought of nothing but Strawbug until I picked her up at 5:30pm.

I’d returned to a new, slower paced role and to get started I had some learning to do. So, I spent most of my day reading. I say reading. What I was actually doing was looking at a book with my iPhone hidden inside constantly logged into the Nursery Webcam watching my baby girl. I’d been warned to avoid this specific activity for some weeks also, for obvious reasons. But instead of making my pain worse, it strangely made me feel better. After all, I’d spent the last 6 months just looking at her constantly. Marvelling in her beauty. Amazed at her presence. Obsessive, maybe. But I didn’t care. I still don’t. And now, through the magic of the internet, I could still look at her. I could see that she was still breathing, still alive, crying but alive, so she was OK…’ish.

I started to write this blog 2 weeks into returning to work, my iPhone lay between my arms still permanently logged into the Nurserycam watching Strawbug playing around on a playmat. I’d stopped crying every morning after dropping her off. Although I was still extremely sad to say goodbye. And it hurt like hell.

This week, we’ve both been a little under the weather. I’m not sure if it’s that or if it was destined to be a bit of a rollercoaster ride, in any event. But, it’s been hell. There have been tears again most days. I’m completely shattered both physically and emotionally. To the extent that I’ve been in bed by 8pm every night this week.

I’m not the only mum in this position. Almost 30% of Mothers work full time (Office for National Statistics). Whether it’s because they want to or they need to is another blog entirely. For me, it’s definitely purely a financial need and I would stay at home with Strawbug in a heartbeat if I could.

And as I update the post now, I’m still not doing much work. And I still think of nothing but Strawbug 24/7/365.  And I can’t help thinking, which will go first… nurserycam or my job. After all, something has probably got to give!

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Is it good to share?

1 week to D-Day.

I still think it will be longer and I’m trying not to fixate on the date… but I can totally understand why women get to the home stretch and “just want it out!!!”. I feel really good today and managed to have a reasonably good night’s sleep last night but the 2 nights/days before that were pretty challenging. But I’m not here to complain about my pregnancy woes, nope. Today’s post is about how much information should I put online about our baby?

I know I said that this wouldn’t become a mummy blog… but what else can I write about, when my every waking thought is consumed by Strawbug?

I’ve been thinking about this blog subject for quite a while. Ever since I announced my happy news actually.

Putting details of your life online whether it be a blog, Facebook or Twitter can be risky for anyone. I myself, don’t even share my own name on this blog or my Twitter account and I try very hard to disguise anyone in my life that I write about (unless they have already set the precedent of “going public” with who they are online). Some might say that I’m copping out but I do it because whilst I enjoy the process and the experience of writing and sharing, I find it much easier to share feelings anonymously. I also do it out of respect for others in my life. I don’t feel I have the right to publish details of their lives online without their permission. After all, its possible that these details could be read by millions of people across the world (not that my readership is anywhere near that high, but it’s out there, it’s accessible and it is possible).

On the other hand, it is the acceptable convention of social networking to share personal information, photos etc. of yourself and others online. And the internet provides a useful tool to enable today’s distributed families to share these things in almost real-time. It provides support systems and information to many who feel isolated because of the fact that we no longer live in local family units. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s free.

The downside of the internet is that it can be accessed by anyone, and by that I mean unsavoury types. Parents spend many hours worrying about who their kids are chatting to online, putting security software in place to try to prevent them accessing the types of sites where they could be harmed and (hopefully) educating their children about the dangers of the internet and how to avoid them.

So then is it fair, or safe, to then post photos of those kids on Facebook? or a blog? and share details of who their kids are and what they did today with, potentially, the entire world?

I’ve googled (as is my want) and searched for any studies or theories that may answer my question (in whatever way). But all that I have been able to find is thoughts, research and advice about kids using the internet and online safety software or education.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging any proud parent who puts photos of their kids on Facebook. Heck, I’ve already done it here on my blog before my baby is born! I’m just generally struggling with the idea, and I’m not sure what the right thing to do is for Strawbug. I genuinely wouldn’t want her or him to come to any harm as a result of something I had done.

So, what do you think? Is it risky? Am I being over sensitive or should I employ the same rule as I do with others in my life and assume I don’t have the right to openly disclose such personal details?

Leave a comment… I’d love to know what you think.

All Change

So, today was my last day in work before Strawbug arrives. It was a strange day. I’ve been looking forward to it for so long but in the end it felt kind of weird. Kind of sad. It’s been a long long time since I haven’t worked and my job, my ‘career’, has been (for the best part of the last 15 years) a large part of the definition of ‘Me’.

Now, I know that I’m about to change that definition forever. And I have wanted nothing more than to have a family with my Beloved for quite some time now. But, it’s still a massive change for a very independent girl (OK I’m clutching at straws with ‘girl’!).

It’s ironic that my job is (was) all about the management of change. And I’ve never been change averse. In fact, I’m the complete opposite of change averse. I get bored easily and have spent large periods of my life changing jobs, cities and homes every six months. And because of this I find it very difficult to understand why (some) people are really quite terrified at the prospect of change. I’ve always (well mostly) seen it as an opportunity (the exception being when I’ve been dumped, and in which case I’m not sure it was the ‘change’ that was bothering me).

So anyway, back to me not working… I guess maybe the way to look at it is that I’m on secondment for personal development purposes. Because I’m fairly certain that once Strawbug arrives, daily life will return to good old hard graft, although I expect that job satisfaction will be off the scale in relation to what I’ve been doing for the last 15 years.

And although I’m excited, I still can’t really imagine what life will be like once the baby is here. But then, when you haven’t had kids before, can anyone?

For the next couple of weeks though, I’ll be taking the view that I’m on holiday. Which is fine, I can get my head around that. I’ve had staycations before. And just think of all the time I’ll have for blogging and Twitter!

A Child of the 80’s

This weekend my Beloved and I are heading south to visit his family, my in-laws. I was going to write a blog on the subject of in-laws but I hold my hands up, I bottled it. For fear of getting myself into hot water, I decided instead to share my passion for 80’s music inspired by hearing Human League on the radio just now.

I’m in my 30’s (I won’t tell you how far into my 30’s!). A child of the 80’s. When I grew up I wanted to be either Madonna (who didn’t have a pair of lace gloves?) or Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink (quirky, edgy, creative and an all round good egg – or maybe it’s now that I wish I had been more like her growing up).

Strangely, I wasn’t overly interested in music when I was younger.  Particularly around this era, I was pre and early teens and didn’t really start listening to music until I was 17 and life “got hard” (i.e. i didn’t get to do what i wanted – aka go to the pub, no-one understood me and boys didn’t know i was alive!!!) 

But hearing 80’s music now conjures feelings and images of youth, of innocence maybe. Memories of a time when I was convinced that my life was going to be one big brat pack movie (come to think of it, that thought didn’t entirely leave me until relatively recently…)

Is that why nostalgia is so prevalent nowadays? Or is it just me (and most of my friends as well as Soleil Moonfrye, I follow her on Twitter, she’s a major 80’s music fan!). If I remember I think it arrived with the cards I received on my Big 3-Oh Birthday.  Do we all yearn for a life less complicated?

But I suggest to you, if life were less complicated, wouldn’t it be boring? Where’s the reward without the challenge? Do we really want to be children again? Apart from the fact that being a child today is far different from being a child in the 80’s (which is an entire blog subject on it’s own, complete with rose tinted glasses paragraph!), just think of all the things you’d be missing out on… choosing your own bedtime, watching Shaun of the Dead, driving country roads (faster than you’re supposed to), drinking apple martini’s (not at the same time as driving the country roads, obviously!)

I don’t think we’re yearning to regress to 12 years old. I think we’re just staying in touch with our inner child. Keeping connected to our true selves. Grabbing opportunities to experience joy when they present themselves. So, stick on your old tape mixes, turn it up to 11 and bop around that living room and live it up – 80’s style!!!

Instruction #1128 – Write some poetry

As part of my continuous self improvement process, using my Life’s Little Instruction Book as a guide, I set myself a challenge to write some poetry. I know nothing about poetry, knew  nothing about poetry… although I wouldn’t profess to know much more now! I’ve spent the last week (some of it at least) researching the basics of poetry. I’ve asked for help, hints and tips from friends, family and twitter buddies alike. And everyone was very helpful.

There are a lot of resources out there for the budding poet. To learn the basics though, I was restricted to learning exercises for children. That, or just take a pencil and some paper, observe, feel and write…. I got as far as feel and then nothing. I needed structure. So, back to the elementary lesson plans I went….

There are also a lot of different types of poems, and did you know that sonnets are highly technical… with their iambic pentameters, quatrains and stanza, ABAB CDCD EFEF GG… and that’s just a basic one! Think I’ll leave those to Shakespeare. So, I decided on an Acrostic Poem. Simple yet effective. Don’t get me wrong, by simple I don’t mean easy. I was genuinely surprised at how difficult rhyming can be. Well, meaningful rhyming. Making sentences that made sense was hard enough, but to make them interesting and compelling was even more difficult.

I have to say though, I enjoyed the process. Getting all the words down on paper, exploring vocabulary and shaping my creative chaos into something, hopefully, quite entertaining. It was a little bit like blogging, but harder!

So, without further ado, here’s how I got on…

Henry is my cat
Ever playful
No dingbat!
Running around splash and splat!

You would like my Henry cat
In the garden and in the park
Searching for birdies, mice and sprat
Making mischief from this and that

You could play with Henry cat
Chase the cork, climb the wall
A box, a bag, a ball, a hat
They’re all fun games for a cat thereat!

OK, OK, so it’s a little immature. But, you’ve got to start somewhere! And I will keep trying. Keep learning. Keep improving. Keep your eyes peeled for greater poems to come…

Life’s Little Instruction Book

One of my good Twitter buddies @Stephen_OConnor referenced an intriguing book in one of his tweets about a month ago – “Using my “life’s little instruction book” for my tweets today” . Now being, as I am, an interested party in the meaning of life as well as the continuous improvement of myself, I thought – this could be a useful tool, or at the very least an interesting read. So, I promptly navigated to Amazon and bought a copy.

The book arrived 2 days later, complete with 2 volumes of hints and tips to live a good life… 1,560 of them! Not so little, I thought. But having skimmed a few pages, I started to think, hey! this isn’t such a bad idea… It may not earn me a Sainthood, but it might just help me to expand my horizons a little and I may well learn a few things. After all is learning not what this blog is all about for me?

So I’m going to give it a try – I’m going to try out some of Life’s Little Instructions and I’ll let you know what happens.

Instruction #1 – Compliment 3 people every day.

Heaven or Hell? The Gym

I’m writing this in dread… very soon my other half will come bounding through the door full of energy and, in true Dr. Awesome fashion, cajole me into going to the gym. That’s partly a lie…  he won’t be full of energy, he’ll have had a long and hard day but he’ll be determined that a good workout is what we both need.

So my question is this; the gym… heaven or hell?

For me it’s hell… give me a dance floor (or even a rug in a living room) and some cheesy pop music or happy house and I’ll fling myself around with wild abandon for hours on end. But “the gym”… man! it’s worse than house work, which itself only gets done to avoid doing homework (or at least it used to when I was 15). I don’t know what it is about those machines. Even with the distraction of TMF videos in front of me and the cheery sound of the latest Ibiza “choons” compilation bouncing all around me I feel like I’m wading through mud… up a hill… with a gradient of 1:6.

Having said that, once I reach the top of that hill and even before I start the long meander home I feel like I’m in heaven. I feel like a Super Hero. Like I could do anything. Yeah man! I feel amazing!

Maybe that’s the point… no pain, no gain. Still… I’m sitting here quietly praying for a reprieve. Just for tonight. Honest!?