Finally! I’m blogging for a living

Well sort of…

I’ve managed to convince my boss that an Intranet would be hugely beneficial for the Company because it would a) be informative b) be fun and c) would encourage improved communication. And, per the norm here, if you stick your neck out – you’re it. RESULT! It’s my baby and after weeks of chasing the developer, the structure is ready for population.

The ‘look and feel’ presently leaves a lot to be desired, but I’m not complaining. For the last 6 working days I have been like the proverbial pig, or if you prefer, the cheshire cat. Head down, iPod on, typing away. HR procedures, project processes and hours on end spent writing blogs about this and that. And even more hours trawling the internet for fun stuff to “enthuse” my colleagues and boost morale.

It takes me back to when I was a graduate trainee and my 3rd placement was with the IT Intranet department. I learned basic HTML and spent weeks ‘being creative’ buidling pages upon pages of Intranet info for our Graduate Team and jazzing them up with animated GIFs.

In reality, I was avoiding what I was supposed to be doing as this was far more fun.

And here I am, 10 years later, doing it all over again!

Not that I care. It is a good initiative and just because it’s fun doesn’t mean it’s not work. This must be what it’s like to do a job you love. (Actually, I already know what that’s like, thanks to my baby girl – yes, I’m a sap, I know).

I’m genuinely excited about this little venture… I just hope everyone else gets excited by it too. Because if it falls on it’s face I may just have to face the fact that I was not born to blog and I may even have to give up blogging for good!

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Sleep, Glorious Sleep

Phew! What a week!

I had my first really “critical” day at work on Monday with back to back “important” meetings – all the time feeling quite flu-ey and run down. I was set my first short, highly visible and business critical deadline since my return and I was nervous about colleagues thinking I couldn’t cut it anymore.

Then on Monday night the brothers grimm showed up for a 24 hour visit (I came down with a tummy bug), which completely wiped me out. On Tuesday night, my little Strawbug hardly slept because she was really miserable (and therefore, neither did we). We couldn’t work out what was wrong with her, poor wee scone.

On Wednesday I was playing catch up to hit my close of business deadline but pushed myself so hard I passed out about 2pm then was awoken by the nursery calling to say Strawbug still wasn’t right and could I come pick her up. Well, that was my deadline out of the window and down the lane!

On Wednesday night Strawbug and I slept in the big bed whilst my beloved slept on the sofa. He had to be up at silly o’clock on Thursday for a gargantuan round trip drive to the shortest meeting in history… (honestly, some Company decisions really do not make any sense at all.) And we weren’t really sleeping, more just cuddling all night because she just wouldn’t let go of me. Still miserable. Still couldn’t work out what was up.

Yesterday, we both felt a bit brighter in the morning, so off she went to nursery and off I went to work. Still playing catch up… but managed to get all my actions completed only half a day late. Go me!!

Strawbug on the other hand, decided yesterday was a day of rest and slept for nearly 4.5 hours at nursery. I wasn’t holding out much hope for last night I can tell you. And then the strangest thing happened…

My beloved got home about 9:30pm. “How has she been?” he asked. “Well”, I said… “she had lots of sleep today and then fell asleep at 7″… I wasn’t even sure I wanted to say the next bit out loud for fear of jinxing the situation but I did… “She hasn’t stirred once. I haven’t even had to put her dummy in”. Highly unusual.

So we lay there, each of us with one eye open, waiting… And nothing. She didn’t stir. Not once. Until 1am, for some milk. After which she promptly went back to sleep. And we lay there for a bit, each of us with one eye open, waiting… And nothing. She didn’t stir. Not once. Until 6:45, when she woke up singing and talking away to her teddy bears.

I can’ stop smiling. I feel like a whole new woman! I’m sure it was a fluke, a one off, a blip on the monitor. But I have to say it was a blip I needed this week. Sleep, Glorious Sleep, how I’ve missed you!

An Oasis In The Desert

Today, I am spending the day with my little Strawbug 🙂 Just the two of us. Like old times. I can’t believe it’s been only 6 weeks since we spent our days together like this. Feels like a lifetime.

It already feels a little strange to be taking the afternoon walk and to have the time to read books and sing rhymes. And the fact that it feels a little strange makes me sad. But not in a helpless way, like I felt before I went back to work and was dreading it. In a motivational way.

A few weeks ago I sat down and worked out a “plan” to get us to a place, financially mainly but with a few life choices thrown in, where I could reduce the number of hours I work. The end game takes the plan a few steps further… But, I figure, one step at a time is best.

Worst case, the plan will take a year to come to fruition. A year I don’t want to miss. But, better one year than two, three or more.

So, today has been like a little oasis in the desert. Harbouring in the joy of spending precious time with my baby girl and a taste of things to come.

Wish me luck?! Although, I’m not sure I’ll need it. This time, I’m pretty sure this is one thing I CAN stick to!

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!

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!

The Bucket List

Inspired by Brooke Burke’s twitter post (her bucket list) yesterday and spurred on by snowballing thoughts of what I’d rather be doing… I took some time to come up with a list of my own…

You’ll find a theme or two running through the list… but what does your list say about you? Send me what’s on your list and we’ll see if one day we’ll all be <spoiler alert!> taking a trip on the Orient Express together one day!

My Bucket List*
– Own a house in the South of France, with lots of outside space for kids to run around and not too far from the sea
– Have kids… for the running around outside of the house!
– Spend weeks at a time at said SoF house
– Work from home with flexible hours (i.e. I say when I work, maybe blog for a living!)
– See Tigers in India
– Dance at Pineapple Dance Studios (Anyone else loving Louis on Sky1?)
– Go on a mega-luxury blow out holiday somewhere hot – just once – just the two of us
– Go skiing, complete with log cabin and roaring log fire (will also need to add ski lessons here!)
– Celebrate my birthday at the Carnival in Rio de Janiero
– Win Strictly Come Dancing (OK, I know you have to be a celeb to get in in the first place, but I might get spotted at Pineapple, you never know!)
– Visit Japan – bullet train, Tokyo, Kyoto (staying in a traditional Ryokan, see a Geisha show and Sumo)
– Go to Paris for the weekend on EuroStar (yes, even though I might spend half my trip sub Channel – as long as it’s 1st class sweetie!)
– Buy something from Cartier
– Own ruby shoes (real ones… rubies, I mean, not shoes… well shoes as well obviously!)
– Charter a yacht and spend a week sailing round the med
– See the Grand Prix at Monaco
– Take a trip on the Orient Express
– Always be in love (OK, pinched that one form Brooke, but how lovely would that be?!)
– Have happy kids that get what they want out of their lives

*Version 1. I wonder how often or how soon the list will change…

The Green Green Grass

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about work/life balance (again!). The outcome of my ruminations, mostly, seem to be that I need less (or no) work and more life. I watched Revolutionary Road over the weekend and it struck me that the main character in that story was seeking the exact opposite.

So is it a case of the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence? Or, is it that what we need to do is follow the advice of many psychologists and learn to be happy with what we have? What is it that keeps us wanting more?

I read a quote once that said something about loving what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life. I don’t love what I do. I know of only 2 of my friends who do love their jobs. The rest of us do it to pay the bills and support the lifestyle that we want to live… Well, sort of. I’m sure that there’s a negative impact on that lifestyle from the burden of the jobs that grind us down.

Maybe I need a change of career. I’m looking for flexible working hours, preferably working from home/anywhere I happen to be. A job that’s interesting and varied and presents the oportunity for creativity, a daily sense if achievement, not too much stress and a good dose of smiling and laughter.

Anyone got any suggestions? Oh, and if it paid enough to allow me to live in a nice warm place near a beach that would be a bonus!