This probably sounds a ridiculous thing to say. I’m 23 weeks with a massive bump. Three weeks of my earlier pregnancy were spent pretty much living in bathrooms making close acquaintances with various toilets. But today it hit me.
Two reasons for this;
1. A throw away comment from a friend we haven’t seen in a while. “Are you all set for the baby then?” Errr no. By 23 weeks with our first one we’d probably trawled every baby event going- and had stocked up on supplies to last us the first six months. This time we have done nothing. Partly because there’s a lot of hand me downs, and partly because of lack of time with a toddler…. but mainly because it hasn’t sunk in that in less than 4 months I’ll have another child.
2. We walked along the canal (so pretty flat) to the pub for lunch and back again. Less than 5 miles there and back, but ever since I’ve been recovering on the sofa with a hot water bottle on my lower back. I am in AGONY. What’s this about?! I’m a walker!!
I’ve not been setting out on long walks over the last couple of weeks, but actually the smaller walks are perhaps a bit too much too. I hate to admit this. I hate it even more because next weekend we’ve booked a cottage in the Dales to do some walks that I’m not sure we’ll be able to do now. We had worried that my husband might find it too hard to go too far with a nearly-three year old on his back… but actually it’s me that’s going to restrict the distances. But the way I feel tonight it’s not worth it. And I think I’ve got to do a better job at looking after me. So until this baby makes an appearance I’m saying bye to the long walks and hills (sob). But I can’t wait to get back to it- and will enjoy those summer walks even more!!
At work I’m a planner. I’m a doer. I look ahead at deadlines and make sure everything is in place to get things out. So why, for the second year in a row, am I so crap at organising my daughter’s birthday party?
I think the problem stems from it being early Feb. That makes it an after Christmas job. You’d think, with all the self-claimed ‘slummy mummies’ around, that others would share my thought process- and I’d be able to sweep in early New Year and take my pick of all those places who are clambering for my business. Well you’d be wrong. I was wrong. Last year I was wrong and this year I was wrong.
Last year was our first stab at toddler party organising. First off, after realising we should get our act together, we sent messages to our family and friends with kids to save the date. Family were keen, friends with kids already mostly booked up. Second job, decide on what kind of party. Hire a church hall, hire soft play. Job done. Soft play booked online in two minutes, feeling very proud, I set delivery to our little church hall, just needed to ring during church office hours, I’d do that at work in the morning. Ha. That was a hard lesson to learn- four days later and after speaking to half of Leeds only then did we actually find a local hall that didn’t advertise on the internet (and we could only talk to between 5pm and 6pm in an evening so no wonder they were free). And so 7 children (including Jess) and 107 adults piled in to enjoy two hours of screaming. We weren’t rehearsed in children’s parties- didn’t understand the time splits needed for play/food/games, but overall Jess seemed to have fun and was totally knackered so success all round.
This year I was determined to do better. Failed at the first hurdle (leaving it until after Christmas) but eventually found a soft play who organises everything and we were booked in by early Jan. This year Jess has nursery friends. Well I guess playmates? Luckily the nursery were happy to provide a list of 15 names to us to invite. Got the invitations out the next day…. and that night waited anxiously for RSVPs to my phone. Nothing. Nor the next night. I was TOTALLY panicking because Jess was asking me every two seconds who was coming and now all I could tell her was Mummy and Daddy. She wasn’t impressed. Finally a response came.. then another and another. We’re now up to 10 nursery friends… it’s a bit awkward isn’t it? The random text you get- ‘Hi, Ben would love to come to the party, thanks for the invite’. First of all who are you? Mum? Dad? A name would be good for when I meet you! Secondly who’s Ben? Every reply I get I’m now scrolling through observations to see if any children are tagged so I can happily greet Ben when you arrive. Thirdly, lets be honest, I doubt you’ve consulted him unless you’ve already decided that you’re coming. Let’s not lie and say anything about Ben’s feelings. If you’re anything like me a soft play party is an option when there is literally nothing else to do. I’m not sure how many parents really look forward to these things. But anyway I’m delighted that we’ve got actual guests- our daughter is a social butterfly wooohooo!
The final error has been telling Jess about said party. A month’s notice is simply too long. She asks everyone we see if they’re coming to her party (including nursery children who didn’t make the 15 cut). She asks every morning if it’s her birthday party. Everything we plan is in terms of whether it’s before or after her party. Handy tip; don’t tell them until absolutely necessary.
Next year I’ll know this. I’ll know to start looking for venues in November and get invites out nice and early. I’ll know how to structure the timeline of party events. I’ll know to pay better attention of who other children are at drop off and pick up so I know who’ll be coming. I’ll know not to expect replies from parents immediately. And I’ll know that I shouldn’t tell my daughter until I know exactly who is coming, and not to tell her until the week before.
As always, this year I made some New Year Resolutions. Most of the time I fail, so this year I dropped the standard lose weight (no point, I’m pregnant), eat healthy (I’ll eat what I like, I’m pregnant) and cut down on wine (already cut, I’m pregnant). Ok, so it was less of a choice and more recognition of reality, but, being forced to consider other options, these are what I came up with.
1. Put some effort into this blog malarkey. Mainly because it’ll help me stick to my maternity leave goals, but also, I recently took an assessment at work that told me I had below average emotional intelligence. The lowest scoring area was emotional reflection; I didn’t take time to consider how I felt at various moments in my day. Massively true, and in the follow up tutorial I came to the conclusion I don’t reflect on much in my life at all- least of all emotions. So, a blog is the perfect way to look back at some of the best/worst/emotionally indifferent moments that I have, to just reflect. So far, this is my fourth post since Christmas, so technically the best performing resolution 👍
2. Cut down on screen time. There is no need to watch TV and play on my phone. A big fat problem with this one is that here I am typing away on my ipad in full realisation this is in massive conflict with the first resolution. So maybe I’ll say cut down on playing Family Zoo/ Solitaire/ Bejewelled and make screen time productive. Stalking people I’ve met once 10 years ago on social media may class as productive if I am able to use it in conversation with my bestie ☺️
3. Walk more. Get into the habit before my maternity leave big walking push. I mean so far I’ve been pretty crap, other than a few small jaunts out I think I’ve got less miles in than before I made my resolutions. Tomorrow I’m committing to a buggy walk. If it’s not raining. And we are in January….
4. Well actually I only had three. But lying here in bed and chatting to hubby about what I’m writing makes me realise that he needs to be a focus too. With another child coming into our lives in a few months I want to make the most of evenings. Have at-home date nights once Jess is in bed. TV will be banned. Even as I’m writing I think this may be a non-starter. We’ll see.
So not a great start but I’ve considered (reflected!) how I’m doing and written down my thoughts. So maybe that’s a sign that there is better to come! Finger crossed!