Thoughts from a parent about the very sad Cincinnati zoo incident

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Last week I was laughing rather manically at the ‘Chewbacca Mom’. She rose to internet fame through, perfectly innocently, uploading a video of herself on social media wearing a Chewbacca mask and very endearingly giggling at how she looked. Little did she know the clip would go viral propelling her to worldwide stardom. She’s now enjoying free gifts, meets with celebrities and a trip to Disneyworld – and good for her I say!  That’s the power of social media and the Internet these days, stories can go viral, worldwide, totally at random at the touch of the button.

This week, like so many others, I’m devastated by the news of endangered gorilla, Harambe, who was shot dead by zoo officials after a small child fell into his enclosure. Again, a short clip taken and uploaded from a visitors mobile phone has made it possible for absolutely anyone to judge and pass comment on the difficult decision of what to do in this situation. The story has gone colossal, the hashtags #Harambe #RIPHarambe are trending like crazy. A change.org petition is wracking up signatures from people who criticise the zoo and want the little boys parents to be accountable for the silverbacks death, and endangering their child. Animal protection charities are mourning the loss of Harambe and it gives them further ammunition for their argument against wild animals in captivity.  Read more

Birthday Boys’ Celebrations!

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So, my son, my firstborn baby, is one year old. One whole year old! There’s a bittersweet poignancy to this – on one hand I can’t believe it, the time has gone so fast, he has grown so quick and I literally can’t remember him being a tiny baby. But on the other hand, I’m so incredibly proud of all he’s achieved, I just can’t imagine my life before he existed and can’t wait for him to grow more and learn more and all the other ‘firsts’. Sentimentality behind, this momentous occasion needed big celebrations – and celebrate we did!

We decided early on that we were going to have a joint first birthday and christening party, being born in May surely the weather would be nice and as my other half is from Lincolnshire is meant his family only had one journey to make. I’m not particularly religious but I still wanted felt I wanted him to be christened and whatever he believes religion wise when he’s older is entirely up to him. We bought little man a very smart trouser, shirt and waistcoat combo with little bow tie from Next and he looked very dapper indeed! Unlike me who 20 minutes before we had to leave pulled my only pair of tights on and low and behold my nail-less fingers managed to rip a huge ladder in them! Great – scabby legs on show then! The service was lovely and he was extremely well behaved, it was a double christening and when the first baby (a teeny little girl) got pretty soaked my heart sank, there’s no way he’s going to be having this I thought, but actually he wasn’t bothered at all and just extremely perplexed by the whole situation!

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My tips to cope with returning to work after maternity leave

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When maternity leave comes to an end its a very stressful time for parents. When I left work on maternity leave I opted to take 9 months, waiting as long as possible until my due date so I’d have as much time as I could with my baby, then I left fully intending to return soon after Christmas. I hadn’t even dreamt of not going back, I left my cup in my locker, papers in my tray and didn’t return any keys… But things change in a way you can’t really comprehend when you have a baby. Your plans come secondary, and often go out of the window, instead of putting yourself first and morning this new little addition to the family rules the roost. Pre-baby my focus was money, how can I make lots and lots of money to buy nice clothes, cool ‘stuff’, and go on holidays, I worked long hours on a 7 day week pattern including weekends, bank holidays and late nights if it meant I was racking up the overtime.

After having a baby and began contemplating returning to work I soon realised there was more to life than money. I’d invested so much physically and emotionally into my child that I didn’t want to go back to work, and I didn’t really mind that that meant I’d be financially worse off. My little boy HATED nursery, we went through the visits and the longest I could leave him was 7 minutes before I was called to come back to my sobbing child. I already knew this would be the case and thankfully had just waited in the car. It broke my heart. So much so that I couldn’t do it and I was very lucky in that I job I was interested in came up, I was successful at interview and crucially it meant I just work weekend mornings, so still have all week with my boy and he has important daddy time for 14 hours a week.

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Baby Trapped!!

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I love my son incredibly. My life is so much richer with him in it and he’s helped me fight those under confident demons in my head. But sometimes, occasionally and selfishly, I feel baby trapped! I think (and hope) other mothers out there can relate to this. Baby trapped is when you really want to do something or go somewhere but you can’t for fear of how they will react or how it will affect vital routines like their sleep or eat patterns. I am baby trapped most mornings until I’ve got the morning nap out of the way – my son goes down for his nap, I grab a quick shower then we can get on with the day. I daren’t have it any other way as without this sleep I know he will be horrible for the rest of the day! Read more

Reflections on my first year as a Mother

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This is a rather indulgent post, I hope mothers out there will find it as something they can relate to, and prospective mothers may find it reassuring! As my son has just turned 11 months and we’re preparing for his very first birthday, I’m feeling very reflective about the past year and how much me and my husbands lives have changed.

When you’re pregnant fear mongers like to remind you that you’ll never have a proper nights sleep again; or a lie in, or a night out! Make the most of it they say because everything is going to change. And they’re right. Everything has changed. The cliches are true – time does go past so fast, you can’t prepare for how much a child will change you. But what no-one mentions is that actually you won’t mind! Getting up at 6am on holiday is fine, sure I’m tired but I get to watch my son playing in his pjs exploring the new environment, I enjoy and appreciate every moment with my son. Nights outs are a thing of the past, don’t get me wrong I definitely miss going to the cinema whenever I want to see the new release, but given the choice i’d much prefer sleepy cuddles and watching my little creation sleep so soundly than a night out getting drunk in a crowded bar. Entertainment isn’t watching TV, entertainment is watching my boy play with his toys, the concentration on his face as he discovers how they work and what he can achieve.  Read more