My first week as a working mom

22 January 2015

So last Thursday I ventured back into the working world.  I honestly didn't give it much thought until last week which I was surprised at because I tend to stew over things and get more and more anxious as the day approaches.

Friends were asking me how I was feeling and I wouldn't even flinch at the thought.  Maybe it was this that helped me to ease back in like I have.  I think the main reason I have been so relaxed about it is because Jack is settled at nursery now and is happy there.  So I can drop him off in the mornings and not have to worry about whether he is crying and hating every second.

My first day was more about clearing my inbox, saying hi to everyone, trying to remember stuff which I knew like the back of my hand just over a year ago and having the same conversation 20 million times.  After the first hour I felt like hanging a sign around my neck saying:

1. Yes, it is weird to be back.
2. No, not much has changed.
3. Yes, it does feel like I have never been gone.
4. Yes, I am thinking about Jack, but I know he is alright at nursery!
5. No, we are not having a second baby anytime soon!

By the time I got home I was exhausted and a bit drained but it was a VERY easy day and luckily my boss is super relaxed and so kind.  Plus all my colleagues seemed pretty chuffed to have me back which is nice.

My 13 months off was seriously the best gift a mother could ask for.  Being able to have all that time off allowed me to relax and enjoy my time with Jack.  I made friends and socialised, I enjoyed lazy days at home, I went for walks and I was able to find my place in the world as a new mom.  Becoming a mom for the first time, you almost have to start over in life and find the new you.  Your new identity and routine.  Having a child shifts your perspective, changes your priorities and makes you realise what is important.

Coming back to work, I am MUCH less stressed and little things that used to really piss me off just don't anymore.  I come to work to do my job, get paid, pay for nursery so Jack can learn, develop, play and socialise.  The end of the day I hop on my train and get excited to pick the nunu up.  I cant wait to see his little face and squeeze him tight.

Working 3 days a week is the perfect balance for me.  I can enjoy and really appreciate my time with Jack now and treasure every moment.  But I can also hop on a train, read a book, drink a cup of coffee, surf the net, answer emails, have adult conversations that aren't about kids, do some (kind of) stimulating work, go out for lunch and have time for myself.  It is wonderful.

So long may this balance of mom/work life continue.  I know there will be days where I wish a stay-at-home-mom but I know that this is for the best, for both myself and Jack now.


Jack's 1st Birthday Party

19 January 2015

On Saturday we celebrated Jack's 1st birthday with a party in the village hall.  It was SUCH fun.  There was a lot to do, organise, make and set up but thanks to wonderful family and friends it all went smoothly and without a hitch.

We made sandwiches, cheese scones, dream bars, rainbow fruit skewers (which were a hit!) and crudites and my lovely friend Jayne brought some cake and brownies too.  There were also sausage rolls and baby snacks and most importantly a cake.  I made a rainbow cake and looked amazing!  Much better than I expected and a lot easier than I thought too.  I used this recipe which is basically 6 victoria sponges, added the food colouring and just bought icing in tubs to make it simple.  I then decorated it with smarties and made a bunting banner with Jack's name on and stuck it on top using skewers and string.

I also made a paper bunting banner, some tissue paper pom poms and a big number one made out of photos of Jack from his first year.  I got some helium balloons and used the toys from the toddler group in the village as well as a mini jumping castle I borrowed from a friend.  It really was a relaxing, fun and enjoyable afternoon and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

A big thank you to all my family and friends who helped, baked and for all the AWESOME presents Jack was given.  He was thoroughly spoilt!  Jack enjoyed it too and by the end of it he was zooming up and down the hall on a walker and showing off his walking skills, giggling away.  Thank you too for everyone who came and travelled from near and far to help us celebrate our nunu's birthday and for making it through the first year!

What a fun afternoon.  All these photos are taken by my very talented friend Neil - thank you so much my friend, they are stunning photos and it means so much to us to be able to have photos to look back on from Jack's 1st birthday.


Jack: 12 months

14 January 2015

WE MADE IT!!!!!! One year of being parents, we are still alive and so is Jack.  WOOHOO!

Jack my boy, today you are ONE.  One whole year old.  It is going to take me a few weeks, maybe even months to come to terms with this.  It feels like yesterday you were born, and I was lying in my hospital bed just gazing at you and the miracle of life.

When I look back at this last year, I smile.  It has been so perfectly happy and amazing.  I am so grateful to have had this time with you.  To watch you grow, develop, learn, smile, chat, eat, crawl, sit up, giggle, play and just spend time with you day in and day out which some Moms can't do.  We are so lucky.

Some highlights which spring to mind are sitting in the garden in the sun, watching the butterflies on the Budleai bush, lying on the blanket on the grass watching the clouds in the sky, taking LOADS of photos, watching TV when I was tired, going to the village toddler group on a Friday morning, Grandad and Granny Chrissy meeting you for the first time, experimenting with food, falling asleep on the couch together, meeting lots of special friends at various groups, going on walks, gathering for my photos, having my mom and gran visit us, Aunty Amanda & uncle Jean coming over from South Africa,  trips to London, flying to Ireland to see my Dad, our awesome holiday in South Africa.  These are just a few of the precious memories I will treasure forever.

But let us also remember that this year has had its challenges.  Recovering from a c-section is tough, well I found it very hard anyways.  Breastfeeding is a HUGE challenge but once you get it down it is the most wonderful thing.  I genuinely enjoyed breastfeeding and would do it again and for longer next time too.  Then there was the colick, the reflux, the sleepless nights, the teething, the not eating, the tantrums, the dozens of exploding nappies, the tears, the bumps and falls, the first day at nursery, the sleep training and the endless bugs.  The hormones, the "how am I EVER going to cope?" moments.

But all of these challenges that come with being a parent seem SO insignificant and minute compared to the happy and awesome times we have had and that are still to come.  You are the most intelligent, gorgeous and happy baby any mom and dad could ask for and we love you to the moon and back.

We have had such a happy day today.  You decided to wake up at 4am and not go back to sleep so I got you up at 5am with your bottle and we played downstairs.  By 8am you were exhausted and ready for your first nap, as was I!  I think you were just so excited that it was your birthday!

Then we ate cake, we played with balloons, we took lots of photos, we went for a walk and then we met up with your friend Lucy for a play at Darcey Bear which you LOVED.  Oh it really has been such a fun!  And the perfect end to my maternity leave as I go back to work tomorrow.  JOYS!

Here is to the next year of your life and the MANY more to come.

Happy 1st Birthday Jack.

Christmas 2014

8 January 2015

So while December was the most awful month on record in the Choudhry household due to us all being ill and my Christmas festive feeling was around zero (and normally I tend to go a bit OTT on the Christmas front), we did try and have a fun time.  We headed to Ireland to spend a week with my Dad, Christine and Conor.  Honestly, I was a zombie for most of the visit and it wasn't fun for me or anyone to be honest but we were together and that is the main thing.

Conor was excited for Santa to come and visit and we watched The Polar Express (what a WONDERFUL film) about a zillion times and counting!  The spirit of Christmas really shines through when you have kiddies about, Conor had a trail of gold coins to follow down to the tree where he found Santa's footprints in front of the fireplace and his stocking filled to the brim with little gifts  I can't wait for when Jack is older and we can have our own traditions too! 

Before Christmas I also took some shots with Jack in his little santa suit in the lounge, I had such fun doing that and he loved playing with the lights, baubles and decorations.  I do wish I hadn't been so sick in December as I wanted to do more Christmas crafts with Jack and bake mince pies and just be more organised but such is life and there is always next year and the year after that etc.

So here is to a healthy, happy and AWESOME 2015!

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