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Returning to the Duck Pond

I enjoyed another lovely, sunny day again today with another trip to the duck pond, and a nice catch up with a mum-friend.

It is very strange to see another friend (especially the same age as me) with a baby. I know maybe seven or eight, and actually meet up with two. It is so nice to finally be able to talk about being a mother with someone who knows and understands and is going through the same thing.

I never looked at it this way before, but sharing similar life-changing experiences is quite a good basis for friendship, and it is nice to have the same views on being a young mother. It’s hard to meet other teen mums that work hard and don’t wear jogging bottoms with the word ‘juicy’ printed across the buttocks. And that’s not because they don’t exist. I am one of them. Rather, it’s because they seek like-minded young mums in all the wrong places. Specific ‘young mother’ groups and clubs tend to be of the ‘juicy bum’ variety, and it seems pointless in returning to a place filled with Vicky Pollards.

I hope that I don’t come across like that just because I became a mother at a younger age than seen in our society as ‘the norm’. But then I’m sure that older mothers suffer the same judgement and abuse at the hands of perfect strangers.

And if you do want to group me in the same crowd as those, then watch out, because soon enough there will be a whole army of hard-working, decent young mothers to change your mind.

And while I got to chat about all things mum, Henry enjoyed looking at the ducks, chewing on my finger and having a snooze. Successful day in my book.

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Lonely Seaside Stroll

It gets a little lonely sometimes, after the first few months. It is just around the time when you settle into your new role as a cleaner/carer/caterer and general handyperson. It has been a long time since the other half went back to work. A week off just doesn’t seem right when you have a new baby, but technically (even if not emotionally) it only takes one person to look after a baby, so that’s just the way it is.

When on maternity leave, it is lovely to not have any professional responsibility for the time being, while you get to grips with parenting in the early stages. It does, however, leave you on your own most of the time. The days go by quickly and slowly at the same time. It’s an odd feeling, not going to work. I, like a lot of other lucky people, have never been unemployed. It takes getting used to. Not because I have a lack of things to do, the list of chores is never-ending, but because it generally involves being on my own with Henry. I never really used to do anything alone.

While your life stops, almost as if time is standing still, everyone else carries going to work, and having busy social lives. Unfortunately most of these plans don’t include me anymore. I’m not interested in going clubbing anymore, unlike most people my age. I get bored, the music is the type you can only appreciate when very drunk and I would rather spend the time with Henry, or sleeping.

So today, I decided to put Henry in his pushchair and go for a nice, long walk by the sea. It was such a lovely day and it seemed a shame to waste it. This adds to the list of things I’ve only done on my own since Henry was born, like going to Costa for a coffee, going out for lunch, and going shopping. All these things previously felt like group tasks.

At least I’m not entirely on my own. Henry is brilliant company for a four-month-old, and when he giggles, it makes me feel so lucky to have this special time with him.

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Clingy Baby and the Difference Between Mummy and Daddy

He’s becoming more and more attached to me, and I love how special it makes me feel, and I love him more and more every day. It’s just that it is getting to a point where he doesn’t like being held by anyone else. I know he feels safe with me, but when his grandad can’t even hold him without him bursting into tears, is that too attached?

I was exactly the same as a baby. I would scream bloody murder as soon as my mum was out of my line of vision! It didn’t even matter to me if my dad was right there or not. It was my mum I always wanted.

I don’t know how Henry is going to cope when I go back to work. I know he’ll get used to it eventually: he has to! It doesn’t stop me worrying about him though, and I never want him to get upset like he does. I’m going to try and ease him into it gradually. One day a fortnight for a while, starting quite soon, and then when I go back it won’t be such a traumatic time because he will know that I’m coming home in the evening.

This way, he gets to spend the day with his dad for a while too, and he loves daddy playtimes. He feels safe with me, but he giggles the most with his daddy.

It was like that in the swimming pool. He cried when his daddy held him, but when I held him and his dad played with the toys he had the biggest smile on his face. He obviously needs both of us, but in very different ways. When we went to see Sarah Millican, she did this whole bit about the two types of people in life; bumper cars and dodgems. The analogy is quite self-explanatory; those who are risk-takers and those who are not. My fiancé is definitely a bumper car, and I am most certainly a dodgem, and I am happy that Henry is getting the best of both.

 

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Sunshine and Warm Weather Work

Henry was a winter baby. Ever since he was born, I have always been worrying about whether he is warm enough and if he needs an extra blanket or two. Today, for the first time since he was born, I went out without being loaded down by coats, gloves, blankets and hats. It was lovely and sunny: not bad for ‘just about March’ weather. I had bought a little pot of baby suncream (factor 50) to carry in the nappy bag for days out this summer. It was very odd worrying about sunburn rather than temperature.

I can’t wait until the weather allows for trips to the beach and days in the park. Although, with the warmer weather comes spring, and spring means I’m just that little bit closer to that time I have to go back to work. I want to go, for myself and for Henry and our family, but I don’t. It will be good for me to have time to pursue what I want in life. I still want a career and my own funds and a feeling of self-worth. But leaving Henry is going to be so hard. It makes me upset just thinking about it. I will never again have this much time to spend with Henry, and it’s sad. I just have to make the most of it.

On the plus side, a bit of adult conversation will be quite welcome. Also, it will make me appreciate just how much I love spending time with Henry.

He was so well-behaved today. I went for a coffee with friends and pottering around town in the shops. He only moaned a little, towards the end when he got tired. Other than that, he was fantastic. It makes it so much easier to go out when I know he’s going to be good for me. There’s nothing worse than pushing around a pushchair with a screaming baby in it. It’s so stressful when you want to make them comfortable straight away, but you’re in a queue or paying for something. Three-month-olds don’t understand the words ‘hang on a minute’. When hunger strikes…

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Pancake Day

We took a trip to the supermarket for pancake ingredients. I made mine with chocolate chips and fresh strawberries. The other half made his with honey and sugar.

I can’t wait for when Henry is old enough to get excited about cooking and baking with me, like I used to with my mother.

I remember all the times my brother and I fought over who would get to lick the bowl after baking a cake. I want Henry to remember good times he spent with me when he’s older too.

I’m going to make sure he looks back on his childhood with a smile.image

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Deadlines and Babies Don’t Mix

I have a lot of things to get done lately. This never really changes. I always have jobs to do and errands to run. It’s part of being an adult, only I am still left wondering when that happened because it didn’t seem long ago that all I had to worry about was what pencil case I wanted to put all my rubbers into that day.

I had just got the hang of such things as paperwork and long, endless but nevertheless necessary telephone calls to utility providers when along came baby. Henry not only created more appointments and legal requirements to get my head around, but made the whole process of ‘I just need to do this quickly’ a rather lengthy and, dare I say, chaotic affair. No longer do I ‘pop in’ to a shop for something non-essential and online supermarket shopping has become my best friend, and frankly, my saviour.

Being a mum is hard work, requires careful planning, and constant adaptation, but I love a challenge. My life would be so different without him, and I do feel sorry for the me in a parallel universe who doesn’t know the joy and pure, unconditional, overwhelming love that Henry brings with him.

I am so grateful for how my life has developed into one of meaning recently.

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Offended

So my better half was on Facebook this morning and came across yet another person who feels the need to generalise and stereotype young parents. This particular girl clearly watches far too much Jeremy Kyle and has started to believe that everyone is really like that.

Now I know I’m young to become a mum. I’m still only nineteen. But I would like to clear something up before too many people hear all the bad stories of young mothers and judge me too. I am not living on benefits. I have lived with my fiance before getting pregnant. We have set a date to marry next year because we love each other, not because we have a baby. We both have good jobs, work hard and don’t get anything given to us for free. We love our child, want the best for him and promise to raise him the best we can.

I wish that my age wouldn’t group me in with those who don’t have a clue. And anyway, a young, single parent can be a good mum or dad too. It’s the person that counts. I will never again judge someone on their circumstances until I know them.