Saturday, 26 July 2014

Friday Round Up

new clock - lincolnshire traffic jam - jessie knows she's going to the vet
reading peter rabbit to forrest - smily jessie - view from my new office
sad jessie - red cabbage about to go into the aga - happy tabby

instagram - madeupoflittlethings

I wanted to do a Friday Round Up last week but I was in the midst of quite a hectic time ....

Jessie had surgery on the Tuesday and came home very unwell on Wednesday evening. I made her comfortable and went to bed but awoke at 1am to loud howls coming from the kitchen, which was terrifying - not least because Jessie is pretty much mute most of the time, I've only heard her howl once before, after she'd been spayed. I stayed up all night with her while she laid crying in her bed, breaking my heart. In the morning I called the vet and got extra painkillers for her but it soon became apparent that she was steadily declining. I whizzed her back to the vet and it turned out that her wound was breaking down and leaking fluid. I've never seen her so distressed and I don't mind admitting that I broke down and cried like a child in the consulting room with the vet and the nurses while they cleaned her up. They sedated her (I think they considered doing the same to me!) and kept her in overnight again. I drove home with an empty van and continued sobbing all night, giving myself a shocking headache. After having seen her in that state I felt there was a good chance that she might not be coming home again and I felt absolutely sick at the prospect. The vet reluctantly released her on Friday night as she was highly stressed in the hospital and wasn't doing herself any good, so she came home with five different types of medication and a warning that I was in for a difficult weekend of cleaning her wound and trying to keep her comfortable

Which would have been fine except that Forrest had been keeping me busy too. He'd been a bit off colour on Thursday, I'd had to take him to hospital for an X ray on Friday morning (for something unrelated) and he spent the weekend being a typical poorly baby - clingy, crying and off his food. He woke up in the night on Sunday for the first time since he was about five months old and he scared me witless, he was raging hot, coughing madly and struggling to breathe. I stayed with him for two hours, hanging over his cot because he sobbed if I tried to leave. In the end I kicked Matt out of bed and put Forrest in with me and we managed three hours sleep together before he awoke needing more Calpol and a drink of warm water for his sore little throat

So you see, I've been kind of pre-occupied. Luckily Jessie started to pick up on Sunday and is now  back to her old self again, which is a huge relief. I never want to see a dog of mine in that state again, it was truly awful. Forrest had a trip to the doctor on Monday and was diagnosed with a chest infection (he must take after his mama) so he is having vile fluorescent medicine three times a day, which he hates

Unsurprisingly, Matt and I came down with Forrest's illness too so we were truly a house of plague. The amazing thing is how you just keep going. I was absolutely exhausted, feeling horrendously ill and constantly on the go but I just powered through - cleaning up sick, cleaning Jessie's wound, washing, cooking, making up bottles, walking Jessie, doling out medicines - I even worked late at the garage a couple of evenings (although I wasn't much use if I'm honest)

Thankfully, things are on the up now. Jessie is better, Matt and I are better and Forrest is getting there slowly. The little fella has two teeth peeping through his bottom gums and they're making their presence felt, poor little thing. He's going to look so cute with two little tushypegs in situ ('just like Prince George', as Matt proudly pointed out!)

In other news, I was ID'd whilst buying a bottle of wine last week! I whipped out my driving licence for the chap's inspection and he said 'oh my God - I didn't think you were THAT old!' Gee thanks. He'd thought I was 'about 22 or something'. I didn't know whether to be pleased or offended!

On Friday we took Forrest to Harrogate for the day with a half hearted plan to do some shopping but a more realistic aim of wandering around in the sunshine and perhaps getting some lunch. We did indeed have a lovely Italian lunch but our shopping was completely nonexistent - not a new phenomenon for me (see here)

Today I've been trying to get the house shipshape around Forrest's naps because while he's been awake he's wanted to be held constantly and has cried at the drop of a hat. I blame those pesky teeth. Tomorrow we have a third viewing on the cottage by a couple who have already put in an offer (which we refused) Fingers crossed they will increase their offer, it would be one less thing for us to worry about - the cottage has quite a big garden which takes lots of looking after at this time of year. I've also got my family coming round for Sunday lunch - I've already made my apple sauce, the red cabbage is braising in the Aga and I'll be roasting an enormous loin of pork tomorrow - I can't wait!

What have you been up to this weekend?

Saturday, 12 July 2014

All Change on The Work Front

It's been a bit quiet around here of late, there's been a lot happening in my Real World which has been taking up a lot of my time and energy, so that when I do have a minute to catch my breath I can't summon the energy to do anything that requires any brainpower

The transition to motherhood has been quite a rollercoaster and it's affected me in many ways, some expected and some not so expected. The most unexpected effect has been the difficulty I'm finding in being away from Forrest for any length of time. That appears to be getting worse rather than better and it's something I need to work on for both our sakes

Another has been the physical discomfort I'm still experiencing. Despite being told that SPD spontaneously resolves after the birth in 99% of cases, I'm still experiencing symptoms (I know, I should definitely have guessed that I would fall into that awkward 1% - I bet you did) and the pain in my coccyx from the birth is still there, meaning that I have to be very careful about what I do and how I do it

These two things were pretty crucial in my decision-making process when it came to going back to work. My employer had agreed to let me work three days a week, which was great. The nature of the job though and the volume of work meant that those three days were likely to contain five days work in reality and would involve early mornings and late nights plus lots of travelling and overnight stays. Not ideal when you struggle to drive any distance and can't bear to be away from your baby

My return to work was hanging over me like a storm cloud, silently stealing up on me, getting inexorably closer and I started to feel sick and teary every time I thought about it. We discussed childcare, looked at nannies and nurseries, worked out the finances and logistics but my feeling of unease grew. I realised that it was ruining my maternity leave, the precious time I did have with Forrest because I was constantly worrying about the ins and outs of being a working mum. How would I cope with asking for time off from such a high pressure job because my son was ill? I'd been one of the people who'd joined in with lambasting those women - if someone had cancelled a meeting with me because their child was ill then they wouldn't get a second chance. I know it's wrong but in the world of business those attitudes do exist - I inherited mine from my boss but they exist because everyone is under pressure to perform and it's cut-throat out there. I always felt bad that it affected mostly women and not men but like it or not, that's the way it still is, and I had a department to run, targets to meet and a board to answer to

I discussed it at length with Matt and we decided that the best result for us as a family would be for me to become a part of his expanding business. I could work flexible hours, bring work home if I needed to and have time off to be with Forrest if he was ill. So now Forrest goes to nursery for two afternoons a week. On those days Matt collects him and takes him home, gives him his tea and bath and puts him to bed while I work on until late. It's only been a couple of weeks but it's working brilliantly so far 

It has meant that I'm having to learn a completely new skill set but I'm loving it! I'm really feeling the benefit of less travelling too, I used to have a new company car every 10,000 miles and I was changing cars three or four times per year - that's an awful lot of driving. These days it takes me ten minutes to get to work and Forrest's nursery is only five minutes up the road so drop offs are quick and easy and I'm always on hand if there's a problem

There will be things I'll miss about my old job of course - I'm far less important at work than I used to be for a start! I worked for an FT250 company, a multi national plc, it goes without saying that there were great perks as well as the stress and pressure. I'll miss the good bits of course but I'm a different person now, with different priorities and I'm just not the best person for that role anymore. My qualifications and transferrable skills will stand me in good stead and eight years with my employer will look fantastic on my CV should I ever want to return to my old career. And I'm grateful - I had eight great years with that company and I got a lot out of it

But now I'm focussing on my two new jobs - being a good mum and being part of what is now the family business!

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