Working Mother Guilt

I returned to work when my daughter was 9 months old. I had 10 months Maternity Leave, needing to finish work early because of Pelvic Girdle Pain (sometimes referred to as SPD). I was later diagnosed with Joint Hypermobility Syndrome which explained some of the difficulties I was having physically, but more about that in a later post.

When I went back, I was desperately sad that I would be spending far less time with my daughter but I knew I needed to return to work and having agreed to go back part time on three days a week, I felt I was doing the minimum. I was reassured knowing that I still had 4 days with her – I was fixated on the fact that she was with me over 50% of the time so it was fine.

At first, it went really well. Adrenaline saw me through the first couple of months and I felt like I was Super-Woman! I was being really efficient at work and then I was being fun-mommy on my days off and (sort of) keeping on top of the house. I felt brilliant! Then my spark went out. Good lord, I was tired.

I was working long hours Tuesday-Thursday to try to fit in 5 days worth of work into the 3 days I was in the office. I realised I had to do that as it is very difficult to work from home with a toddler who wants to press all the keys on the laptop and draw over all of your files! My husband works in retail so often works weekends so I was finding that I was doing 3 or 4 days of solo parenting after 3 exhausting days at work. Something had to change.

After a great deal of time deliberating, I decided I had to go up to 4 days. My work was suffering and I was so tired and stretched that I was getting super grumpy with Hubby and I didn’t have the energy to have exciting adventures with my daughter. It seemed daft to be doing all that extra work and not being paid for it too.

The first Monday was so tough. I sobbed in the shower. I sobbed when getting dressed. I sobbed into my cheerios. I felt so guilty. I felt like I chose Mondays for ME. I wasn’t strong enough to make 3 days work. I wasn’t strong enough to manage 3 days at work, 4 days with my daughter. I was choosing work over her.

The rational side of my brain said don’t be ridiculous. A happy mother is a happy child. However, the emotional side of my brain kept arguing back and making me doubt myself. I’ll keep fighting it. This is best for all of us. It’s best for all of us. It’s best for all of us. If I keep saying it, the rational part will win over the emotional part, right?

I honestly have so much respect for single parents! In fact, I just have respect for ALL parents. We are all just doing the best we can and no doubt will continue to feel guilty about everything!

My aim is to ensure that I keep to normal office hours on the 4 days I am in work so that I can make the most of the couple of hours in the evening before my daughter’s bedtime and for our 3 days together to be fun. Fingers crossed I make this work.

How are you balancing things?

My beautiful baby & fur-baby

My beautiful baby & fur-baby

Clare Signature

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Wedding Wednesday – what if you’re no good at DIY?

Hi folks, Happy Easter! We hope that you have had a lovely chocolate-filled Easter break.

Today’s Wedding Wednesday is all about DIY – or rather, what to do if you’re no good at DIY! I wish I was creative. I’d love to be one of those people who could make bunting or my very own seating plan. I was willing to give it a go but sadly my efforts always looked like those of a toddler’s! We have all seen the Pinterest boards for DIY Weddings that make us feel that we should be a dab hand at sewing and sticking but what happens if that’s just not right for you? What if you’re no good at it or simply don’t have time?

We decided after a couple of failed attempts at making stuff for the wedding that we needed some help. I had a dream of my wedding being something out of an Estee Lauder commercial and my tables looking like they’d been dressed and laid by The White Company and there’s no way anything I made could look like that.

So, I enlisted Ava Event Styling to help. I met the ladies from Ava Event Styling and The Boutique Baking Co. (more about Mrs Bou later) at the Designer Vintage Bridal Show. They were so kind and spoke to me at length about my early thoughts about my wedding and even followed up with mood boards by email to help inspire me.

Gary and I had a meeting with Amanda and Amy to discuss our thoughts about decor and flowers. I admitted early on that I was pretty useless and I really didn’t want to feel disappointed by my efforts on The Big Day. I decided to hand over creative vision to them. We set a budget, gave them the numbers and discussed the overall look we were after and then bravely said “go for it”. They were to be in charge of deciding on the room decor, table decorations and flowers and I would provide the stationery and little details like using my mother’s lace glove from her wedding around my bouquet. I also gave them access to my Pinterest boards so that they could keep under review the sort of things I was finding and loving in the build up to the big day.

Now, I know this won’t suit every Bride out there (we are often referred to as Bridezillas for a reason!) but I didn’t even want to see what they had chosen until the day itself. I wanted to see it fresh that day as if I was a guest at my own wedding and I’m so glad I did.

As a word of warning, I would say that you should only do this if you know the supplier well and you have seen their work and had recommendations! Goodness me, you wouldn’t want to be disappointed on the day! Ava Event Styling is often found in wedding blogs with photos of their gorgeous work and being a local business, I was able to see them when I wanted to and we stayed in contact regularly. Please make sure you trust your supplier before going ahead!

Below are some photos of our flowers and decorations (all photos taken by AE Wedding Photography) and I’m sure you’ll agree that they looked beautiful. I was thrilled. I wasn’t at all disappointed that I didn’t do it myself!!

One idea, if you must have some DIY elements, is to enlist the help of others. You’ll see at the bottom of the post a photo of our confetti cones – I asked a creative friend to make these for me as a wedding gift!

Let me know what you think.

Clare x

Clare's flowers

Table

 

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4. Meal514

4. Meal536

 

2. Ceremony326

Thank You!

Happy Half Birthday to us!!! We’ve been going for 6 months!

Team Blossom have had another positive get together today to discuss all things blog related (and a bit of gossip too!) and we can’t believe it’s been 6 months since we started on this adventure. It’s been a challenging and interesting process so far, and we are both immensely proud of what we have achieved since we started. That also includes our total fangirling moment when Myleene Klass liked and commented on our Instagram picture of her!

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From our first introductory posts (see here) back in October 2014, we’ve shared posts on baking, beauty, fashion and photography to name but a few. And there will be many more to come as we move forward in our blog adventure.

We wanted to say a huge thank you to all our followers, who have interacted with our blog in the last few months, we really appreciate your interest and support through our journey. You may notice today we’ve also split our twitter account into two, and you can follow us individually at @btfsuzy and @btfclare.

Today also marks the brave decision to start telling our friends and family about the blog! Whilst it’s not been kept a massive secret, we haven’t been actively promoting the blog on our personal social media accounts, but that is all set to change from today. So welcome to our loved ones, we hope you enjoy reading about our lives, and we’d love to hear your thoughts too.

Clare & Suzy xx

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

I don’t usually get excited about Valentine’s Day. I am one of those people who think that we should actively love each other every day. I don’t expect dinner or fancy gifts, although we do always buy each other a card. In the early days of dating, it was an opportunity to show each other how you felt and that was exciting but as the years go on, I believe that love should be shown and felt daily.
This year my thoughts on Valentine’s Day are different. This year I was excited! It has been 15 months since we became parents and our little daughter has had almost all of our attention. I knew that we would have less time for one another but I didn’t expect that becoming parents would test us as much as a couple. I’m pleased to say that we have settled into our routine as parents and we are able, with a little more sleep under our belt, to carve out time for one another. So, I was excited for Valentine’s Day because I’d gone over budget on a gift for my hubby and I’d written a card (a hilarious card – see below!) that I believe explained to him that I still love him, still get excited to see him and that he still gives me butterflies despite the fact that I don’t always communicate that to him. This Valentine’s Day was an opportunity to think of him, to think of a gift to make him smile and an opportunity to remind him how important he is to me.
Lucky me, he viewed the day in the same way!
How have you spent Valentine’s Day? Whatever you have been up to, I hope you have felt loved.
Clare xx
Image (c) Gin Bunny Prints

Image (c) Gin Bunny Prints

This is the card I got for my hubby – the whole range is hilarious! You can find the Etsy shop for Gin Bunny Prints here.