Sometimes when reflecting on a year it’s easy to think about the things that haven’t quite gone to plan and all the things we want to set out to achieve in the new year. Yet, I have so much to be thankful for….family, friends, health, our lovely home by the sea, family holidays and lots of fun and laughter along the way! Happy new year mummies and daddies – if you’re out celebrating tonight, have fun! If like me, you are putting your little one to bed and praying they stay asleep so you can have a glass of fizz in peace…. then good luck! Xxx
If you read my recent post – I get by with a little help from my family – you will know that Fraser, Madeline and I joined my family last week in Benahavis, a Spanish mountain village between Marbella, Estepona, and Ronda.
As a family, we’ve been travelling to this village on and off for the last 15 years and never tire of the exquisite scenery. Just take a look at the stunning Puerto Banus harbour and beautiful beaches at San Pedro de Alcántara.
This long weekend break was absolute bliss and the perfect way to spend time off work enjoying quality family time…
A friend of mine sent me a message last week saying that she had enjoyed a lovely holiday away and thank goodness for grandparents! After a lovely long weekend away in Spain with my family, I completely understand where she was coming from – I feel refreshed, relaxed and ready for what life has to throw at us (and that’s even after a late night flight home with only a few hours sleep!!)
Before returning to work last June, I thought it would be nice to have a holiday just the three of us, mummy, daddy and Madeline. The perfect end to an incredible 11 months off work. We stayed at a beautiful villa in Burgau, Portugal. It was just off the sea front, with our own private pool just a few feet away from our patio area. It was absolute bliss. Yet, it was so different to any of our pre-baby holidays.
Our usual routine would have been a lazy morning, leisurely getting ready, having a chilled-out breakfast in the sunshine before packing a small bag of essentials for a long day at the beach, sunbathing and reading our books. We would have a paddle in the sea, eat our picnic and maybe play a game of bat and ball, before returning ‘home’ to get ready for a night out. Not that I would change life as we currently know it, but I wish I’d fully appreciated how bloody brilliant that really was!
We did, however, have a fabulous holiday and it was lovely spending time together as a family – Fraser off work and the three of us just hanging out together for two whole weeks. Madeline loved the attention of having both mummy and daddy around and we quickly learned what a little diva she really could be in the sunshine!
Obviously, things have changed and as parents we have to adapt. This holiday was all about walks down the harbour, visiting Zoo Marine (a sealife tourist attraction that was absolutely fantastic and you have to stop by if ever in the area) and stopping off for child-friendly lunches. We would grab an hour by the pool while Madeline napped and that was enough (well, maybe just ten minutes more would have done the job!). Our evenings were spent in the comfort of the villa, enjoying a lovely evening in with delicious food and drink. We did venture out into the quaint little village one night in the fist week and decided it was just easier not to again – a story for another time.
We had a lovely time and it really was the perfect end to maternity leave. If you get the chance, I would recommend a family holiday to anyone soon to be returning to work. However, we quickly realised the benefits of travelling with the wider family.
So, when my dad phoned me up recently and asked whether we would like to join my parents, brother and sister for a few days in Espana, we jumped at the chance! Last week, we stayed at a beautiful apartment at Monte Halcones, Benehavis (close to San Pedro, Marbella and Puerto Banus) with stunning views to ponder upon each day. Madeline certainly loved the morning sunrise…
Each morning her grandparents, auntie and uncle would fight over who got to look after her while mummy and daddy had a little lie in (only until 8am, but when you’re usually used to a 6am start, this was just the best). Her nana would ask to feed Madeline her milk, change her nappy, get her ready (like she had to ask!). Grandad would offer to prepare her breakfast, lunch and dinner. Auntie and uncle would play with her in the pool and help entertain her whilst out. They just couldn’t do enough for my little pickle and mummy got plenty of time to sit by the pool and relax or spend some quality time with daddy for a change!
I just loved watching Madeline bond with her family. Her face so happy as they played with her, tickled her, sang songs to her, took selfies with her. She would wave frantically and reach out to each of them for cuddles as soon as they walked into the room. It just proved to me how many people it really takes to raise a child. We don’t have to go it alone…
Fraser and I are truly blessed with wonderful families on both sides, who are always there for us and ready to offer us a helping hand whenever we need it. I know this isn’t true for everyone, so for that I am grateful. Yet, I often feel bad for ‘palming Madeline off’ to others, so that mummy can have a little break. But, who can do a good job at anything when they are exhausted?! It’s not a #fail to ask for help.
When Madeline was very little I found it difficult to let her leave my side and often kept her all to myself. But, I now feel it’s important for babies to spend time with their wider family too and really get to know them. I have the most treasured memories of days spent with my grandparents when little and want the same for Madeline. It also seems that family (and friends) will jump at the chance to help look after your little one. So, let them.
Win win! 😎☀️
A lovely family day with my in-laws at the Isle of Wight. What a beautiful summer’s day. This was just a little taster before our holiday in March next year. Got to love precious family days and time off work! 😊☀️
I’d been back at work for two months and had been guiltily enjoying being back in adult company, sat at my desk with a warm cup of earl grey tea (or two, or even three) and achieving a page full of to-dos each day, instead of my usual routine of changing half a dozen nappies, sorting the laundry and building duplo houses.
It’s always been important to me to lead a balanced lifestyle with both a good career and loving family and it seemed I had hit the jackpot, working for an award winning full-service marketing firm on the south coast whilst also boasting a beautiful daughter and doting husband.
Not going back to work just wasn’t an option for me. I knew that in the long run, it was best for our family as well as my career. Plus, I was only going back part-time to begin with – the best of both worlds, right? But, after a year of maternity leave, spending the most treasured moments with my little girl (and some bloody stressful times too, of course!), I was dreading the moment I left Madeline for the day to pursue my own ambitions.
Mummy guilt. There is simply no other way to describe it. It eats at you and torments you, especially as you wear a brave face venturing into the boardroom on a Monday morning after the dreaded child-care drop off, leaving your little one sobbing and reaching out for you as you simply walk away.
The silly thing is, while you are having some well needed time out from being a mummy, your bubba is having an absolute whale of a time once they’ve settled (usually as soon as the door closes!). Whether they be at nursery developing their social skills with lots of other precious munchkins (proof that you are not alone in ‘abandoning’ your children for the day!) or on fun day trips with their grandparents or childminders, they always have a really lovely day.
But, on this occasion I was feeling especially guilty. I’d been planning for a client meeting in Manchester for the last month, had worked extremely hard for it and secretly was looking forward to a quiet plane journey, with a nice cup of tea and a good book (The unmumsy mum – such a good read!). Our previous trip to Portugal with our little Maddie Moo had been stressful to say the least, so I was certainly going to make the most of being child-free for this journey!
At 4am I crept into Madeline’s room, where she was so angelicly sleeping, and gave her a big kiss on her cheek before setting off. It was very rare that I was leaving the house before she woke but I knew that Daddy would be greeted with her usual big cheeky grin when she woke and she would be absolutely fine.
My client meeting went well and I must admit, I was feeling pretty proud of myself. I could do something other than being a mummy and there was no need for that self doubt I had built up inside me before returning to work. I had done what I set out to achieve and now I could make my way back to the airport and get home to my little girl for the usual bed time routine and give her a big cuddle for leaving her all day.
However, I got back to the airport to see that my flight had been delayed for over two hours. I knew it couldn’t be helped but I couldn’t believe it and literally broke down in the middle of the airport – how embarassing!! I just couldn’t handle the guilt that I would not see my daughter awake at all that day, and more to the point I really missed her!
Life is hard as a working mum. But life can be equally as tough when you are at home looking after a tiny person all day. There really is no right or wrong way and I think mummy guilt will come into play whatever route you take. So, I guess we just have to learn to deal with it.
I was so pleased to get home that evening to find that Madeline’s grandparents had kept her awake for me. And, there are no words to describe the reaction you receive as you walk through the door to be greeted by a smiling baby reaching out for a cuddle. I got to tuck my little girl into bed that night and for that (as well as a successful meeting!), the day was good 💗
Keep going mummies… We are all doing the best we can! X