Mid Life Crisis

This seems to be a bit of a rambley piece but its weighing on my mind a lot lately.

It seems a bit redundant to have a mid life crisis at the grand old age of 22. I could potentially go ahead and decide that its a quarter life crisis, thus giving me an extra 44 years to play with in the hopes of getting it somewhat right, but for dramatic effect (my ex-drama student self loving it, of course), we’ll stick with mid life crisis. 

I’m half way through my maternity leave, my baby is 12 weeks old and I’ve started looking into going back to work. Started looking into who will be minding my baby while I deal with the day to day things my job offers me (and I’ve even heard legend of uninterrupted cups of coffee! With a biscuit!). I never doubted that I would be going back to work after having him, it wasn’t something that entered my head while pregnant, that I’d become a stay at home mammy. My own mother did it after having my youngest brother for three years, so I do have memories of having Mammy at home from the age of five to eight or so. But it isn’t something that appealed to me. Having taken a basically extended maternity leave as it is, having been signed off work from 22 weeks, by the time I was en route to the labour ward I was chomping at the bit to get back to work. And facing into six months off, to get to know the tiny tyrant and to recover from his creation process. Not exactly the mixture I was hoping for. This makes me sound like a work-crazy fiend, I’m not, I just don’t deal very well with staring at the walls of the house all day. My job is something I’m good at, not something I wish to do for the rest of my days, but for the most part is something I enjoy. 

I fear the Mammy hormones, and the money matters, have kicked in, and made me doubt everything. I like to have well laid out plans (not that they get stuck to) to work with, a framework to bounce off of in my day to day life. It is for this reason that in final year of college I decided to become an accountant, and scored an interview with the partners of one of the “Big Four” finance companies. They were offering me a five year plan and I was jumping at it, despite the fact that I abhorred accounting, had stopped doing it after Junior Cert and still am bitter about it being the one test I failed in school barring Higher Level Maths (damn you Profit and Loss account). None of this seemed to matter to me, as long as they gave me my lovely five year plan and it was all set out. Jesus, what was I thinking. I did of course receive the rather lovely PFO letter from them once they realised how not made out for a career in auditing I was in interview, and for that, I am truly thankful. However, this did leave me without a five year plan, and I ambled on anyway and wound up to where I am today, working in the same job for the last year and a half in something that wasn’t my field of study in college. This all seemed fine and dandy until I’ve had time off to think, and now have to assess what my next move is, and honestly, what my next five year plan is aiming towards. It’s now not all about me anymore, I don’t have the freedoms of being able to up and leave a job and hope for the best. I’ve got rent and bills to pay, nappies and formula to buy, and to fund all of this while still making sure that I am the one E is calling “Mama”, not a childminder. It’s giving me a serious case of the Mammy Guilts and I’ve not even left the room he’s in yet. If I’m leaving him I want it to be for something that I love, or at least, will want to leave the house to do it in the morning. Unfortunately it seems that my degree isn’t much use for me there, unless I go back and top it up. I’m eligible for graduate schemes, much like my lovely five year plan for becoming an accountant, but given the feedback from others who have pursued them, it is unlikely that I will be able to devote the long hours and dedication to the role in order to succeed when he is this young, without complete neglect of the Mammy duties. 

And so I am faced with a crisis, which would likely be solved by a lovely lotto win or a rich benefactor deciding to make me their pet project. Understandably, this is a crisis which I’m likely better off having at 22 than 44, because I’m still at the very very start of my career. That opinion piece by Kirstie Allsopp two weeks ago, about how we should be having our babies younger and then going back for the career got me thinking. Yes, it is fantastic that when my baby goes to school in four/five years time I will still be in my late twenties and able to start picking up on proper career work, and that by the time I turn 40, he will hopefully be heading off to college. However, I don’t think she’s being realistic about how much more of a struggle it is to get established while balancing everything else with your career. My mam was an absolute hero and went back to study when my littlest brother started school (he’s just finished his Leaving Cert today), and for years worked and studied by night as well as minding us, her three kids under the age of 10. Until I went through university myself, I never realised how much of a struggle it must have been to be that dedicated to studying while everything else was going on at the same time. It was done with a lot of support from family members, but still, the dedication required is something I’m not sure Kirstie takes into account in her piece. Last time I checked, “My three year old was up all night crying so its not completed” doesn’t get you bonus marks in any college essay. 

I need to decide what to do with my life all over again. With everything else balanced in. Wish me luck…

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10 Things I’ve Learned as a New Mammy

Going from LearnerMama’s Blog Linky, “Ten things I’ve learned as a Mother”, I’ve decided to add my list of discoveries of the last eight weeks to the pile. Its certainly been a journey of discovery, and while I’m fully aware this is only the beginning, I feel like its been a hell of an education so far.

 

  1. Sleep Deprivation is a form of torture, and a way of life, all at the same time. I could do college all over again, all nighters followed by gloriously long sleeps after exams, or 9am lectures when I’ve hit bed at 3.30/4am. Easy peasy. Old me didn’t realize that I’d have to cope on less than that, and be a fully functional human looking after another human at the same time. That said, I have started going to bed at 9pm when its not my turn to mind him – having a reserve of a few hours before it becomes my turn is all important – because he rarely sleeps when it is my turn.
  2. When the baby is asleep on you, you have two options. Stay under them, perfectly still until they naturally wake, or the more realistic option, needing to eat/pee/get on with your day so adopting the approach of that guy from 127 Hours. You can live without an arm or a leg. Could you really live with waking the baby?
  3. Breastfeeding is all natural, but not everyone is a natural at it. It can be a tough skill to learn – I know we started out really well and it all fell apart four days in when he decided to stop eating completely. The addition of nipple shields proved a fix but we’re now in the tough stage of weaning him off them as they’re messy, finicky and don’t let you get all of the milk out. You have to have support and determination and nobody tells you that beforehand so it can present as quite a shock.
  4. Getting out of the house is all important. I can generally be found rescuing my sanity by wandering around the same shops most days just to get away from the four walls of the house.
  5. The sling is incredible. Before having baby, I would never have put myself down as a babywearing, breastfeeding attachment parent. Necessity has proven me wrong. My little man screams if you put him down and don’t pay him attention, so the sling has afforded me my arms while he’s feeling safe and secure. I definitely recommend them!
  6. Mammy Guilt is very real. Leaving him for even a few minutes with someone else, for a well deserved break even when he is perfectly safe comes with a layer of guilt. Speaking in a harsh tone to him when I’m exhausted and he’s screaming. Not exclusively breastfeeding is a major one, not much aided by the breastapo, in particular a healthcare professional who when telling me he wasn’t gaining enough weight and I’d have to feed him some formula, told me it wouldn’t do him “too much” harm. As if it were poison. Even when breastfeeding, if I’ve eaten something that hasn’t agreed with him, or had a caffeinated coffee, the mammy guilt kicks in. Pointless but true.
  7. The fan in the bathroom contains his cries, or at least my paranoia has it that way. He will be asleep, I will run to get the worlds fastest shower, throw shampoo into my hair and bam, hes roaring. Hop out of the shower, shampoo still in half the hair, and he’s sleeping like an angel. Typical.
  8. Clothes sizes for little babies vary ridiculous amounts. As the mammy of a “tiny baby”, 5 lb 8 when he was born, finding clothes that aren’t swimming on him has been a task and a half. Very few lines do “Tiny Baby”, and even so, some of them have a very strange idea of what a tiny baby is. Generally the brands with MASSIVE newborn sizes (10lb) have their premature line of “Up to 7.5 lb” – which is newborn in some others. Mothercare and Pumpkin Patch are liable to this one. Generally Tesco has proven to be the best for sizes, if only they’d consistently stock the sizes and more than three little outfits J
  9. Baby sick is the most disgusting feeling. The consistency and volume of it. He has one sip too many without being burped and up comes anything he’s eaten this week. Nasty nasty.
  10. Despite all of this, all he has to do is look at me with those big brown eyes, smile in his sleep or grab my finger with his little hand and I melt to mush. I blame the sleep deprivation for how sappy I have become since motherhood has hit me.

So thats that – follow the link below to the rest of the 10 things posts people have done! Comment if you’ve found anything similar or have anything to add!

Learnermama