How I handle being a mum and working full-time

Working full-time and being a parent was never something I had planned on doing. It was my intention when I got pregnant with Harry was to stay home for a year after he was born and then to work part-time while he got some socialisation at a nursery, but plans don't always work out the way you think they will.
Going back to work full-time is what worked out best for me and my family. This doesn't mean that all parents should work full-time after having a baby, different things work better for different people. But for my own sanity, full-time work is what worked out best.
Having not planned for me working full-time, Sam and I had no idea how we were going to make it work with the shifts he works. Because I don't drive we needed to work out how we were going to get Harry to nursery and me to work on time when Sam wasn't there to do drop offs. We are so incredibly lucky to have the support of family around.
Our typical work morning, when it's just me and Sam goes a little something like this;
Harry normally wakes up around 5am (not my favourite time for him to wake. I miss the time that he used to get into bed with me and go back to sleep) Sam's usually still at home at this point so he gets a cuddle for half an hour while I get to wake up slowly, and then Sam gets ready for work and I get up and start getting Harry ready. Once Harry is dressed he goes into his room and plays with his toys (his room is more like a playroom with a bed, to be honest) while I get myself ready. Usually, by this point, Sam has left and we have about an hour before Harry is picked up and I have to leave for work. We are really lucky with Harry's nursery that he gets all of his meals provided so I don't give him breakfast during the week because it messes with his routine at nursery so we normally sit either in mine and Sams room or in the living room watching TV(Usually Mr Tumble, even though I really hate it) and I finish getting ready and if I have time do a quick spruce up of the downstairs if its needed. The Harry is picked up, usually by Sam's dad as he works on the same site as Harry's nursery and I go to work.
If its a weekend and I need to work its usually the same sort of routine, and Harry will go to either Sam's parents house or my dad's until one of us is finished work. He LOVES nursery or going to his grandparents. He gets spoilt ridiculously and it feels like a treat to him.
I wouldn't be able to work full-time without the support we get from our family. I know I haven't mentioned my mum in this but she helps as much as she can living over a hundred miles away. Whenever she visits she will wake with Harry, take him if we need it and give us a break even if its so I can have a glass of wine without feeling guilty. We are forever grateful for all the help and support we have from our family, not only with picking Harry up when we have no way to get him to or from his nursery, but giving us a break when things are overwhelming us and being there to talk to when we need it. I don't think we could have ever done this without them all! So shout out to Harry's grandparents who are literal god sends!!

Why we chose Nursery for Harry

Something I always said before we had Harry was I didn't want him going into childcare. My view was 'I'm not having children for someone else to raise them' It was something that had been drilled into me, mum's stayed home while dad's earned the money, however, life just isn't like that anymore.
I have never been the type of person who is happy to stay at home all day every day, relying on Sam to bring in the money, feeling like I have to ask for every little thing that isn't essential because he earns all of the money. And if I'm being honest Sam has never been comfortable with that either, from the very beginning we have been equals and its never been a case of 'his' and 'mine', it has always been 'ours'.
So while I was on maternity leave and bored out of my mind before Harry was born, I was desperate to get back to work. I hated being home while all of my friends were working. I must have watched pretty much everything Netflix had to offer at the time and still was bored. Sam would have a day off and I would demand to do something, anything to get me out of the rut I felt I was in.
Once Harry was born, and especially in the three weeks he spent in NICU, I couldn't imagine leaving him. He was tiny and so precious, and he needed me, but a couple of months after we finally got to bring him home, I was itching to get out there. I had gotten to a point with my PND that I rarely got dressed, the curtains very rarely got opened and poor Harry was getting very little stimulation from me. Sam knew something had to change, and so in the August after Harry was born, I got back in touch with work and told them I was coming back in October when my maternity pay ran out. Thankfully I had four weeks holiday to use before the December and so we arranged for me to take those at the end of my maternity meaning I didn't actually have to go back until the November. 
After that phone call, I got myself to the doctors, was diagnosed with depression and started my tablets to try and help me get my head straight.
Sam and I had had a long conversation about whether I would be returning to work full or part time. This was difficult for me as I had felt, and still do, that I had missed out on so much time with Harry when I had let my depression get so bad. I wanted to do part-time, but financially with childcare costs on top of everything else we needed to pay out for, we just couldn't see how we would make it work so I agreed to return to work full-time.
Then we needed to decide on childcare for Harry who at the time was only six months old, and i was concerned that, with his 'special needs' we needed somewhere they had experience with children with special needs. We used a childminder for a while but Harry didn't seem to be getting on there and so we decided to change to a nursery.
Looking at nursery's were scary. We didn't know what we needed to be looking for, what questions we needed to ask, what was a good price and things like that.
We looked at a few that were ridiculously expensive and with both of us on a decent wage we weren't going to get much help with paying for it, so those were out.
Then we found THE ONE. It wasn't too expensive, was perfectly located and had everything we were looking for. So we bit the bullet and went for it.
Harry's first full day with out us i must have checked my phone a million and one times before lunch but when we picked him up and saw the smile on his face we knew we had done the right thing and if I'm being honest we have never looked back. He moves from the baby room to toddlers in September and i could cry thinking about leaving the girls behind that have helped him. I have always said without them Harry wouldn't be where he is now. They have taken everything in their stride with him and he is now such a confident, happy little boy now.
I am thankful I needed to go back to work. It has given me time to be Kat and not just mummy. It has meant Harry has friends and i know he's safe. It means he gets the support he needs to develop. And we love it.

Packing for and surviving labour!

It has been more than two years since I packed my hospital bag, but I was thinking about it the other day and how hard it was finding what I should put into it! So I decided to write this post for all the first time mum's out there about to pack their hospital bag and wondering what the heck they should put in it.

The first thing I would say about putting in your hospital bag is food. After 6 days of being in slow labour and food making me throw up and almost 10 hours in active labour kitchen in my hospital was closed and once I was taken to the ward, Sam was sent home and all they had to give me to eat was an egg and cress sandwich. Safe to say I was not impressed. In the slightest. So make sure you have plenty of food with you! No matter what it is TAKE FOOD!

Next, I would suggest getting yourself down to your nearest Primark and get what I call a granny nighty. I practically lived in mine for the week I was in the hospital after giving birth. They look hideous but my gosh are they comfy when you are all stretched out and sore!

Obviously, you need the normal things that will be on every list. Maternity pads and breast pads. I used Tesco's own for mine and they were great.

Huge knickers are also a must!!

Take a flannel to keep yourself cool whilst in labour. No matter what time of the year it is that you will be giving birth because giving birth makes you HOT!

Phone chargers are important not just for you but for your birthing partner too. It could be a LONG TIME. I would also suggest packing food and something for your birthing partner to do. I didn't want Sam near me and he got a little bit bored (which lead to his phone dying). Also, you will get a million and one texts asking if there is any news. Do not feel that you need to answer these. You are in labour. You will tell them when there is news.

Loose clothing is a good idea for after birth as you have no idea how sore you will be. Again I went to Primark for these and paid £2.50 for a pair of black leggings. Lifesavers!

I wouldn't go overboard with packing your bag though. Most women are home the same day as giving birth as long as there are no issues!

Good luck!

Where It All Started

Birth Story

Harry's birth story seemed like a fitting first post on here. Bear with me because it was written months ago. More posts to follow ever...