My Full-Time Working Mum Holiday Without Tots Groups

Welcome to my post for Day 1 of #12daysofparenting, so lovely to have you from Lady Bug Home & Designs. Complete your giveaway entries through the rafflecopter at the end of this post, for a chance to win some top parenting goodies.

It’s holiday time in a week and I can’t wait. 😁The school holidays are one of the things I really like about my job, but this upcoming one is different from the rest.

  • It’s the cold end of the year
  • The days are much shorter
  • It gets dark quicker
  • There will be more traffic on the roads
  • Shops will be more jam-packed

I’m alright with all these; it’s the end of the longest school term in the academic year and I’m definitely ready for a rest, and some catch-up.

But wait a minute … I have a child … a toddler … a moving and very active little one.

Unlike my pre-motherhood days, this holiday is like no other in the school year. It’s the one where both babes and tots’ groups close for a break, and children’s activities pause.

I was especially gutted to find out that Precious Sparkle’s swimming lessons wouldn’t be taking place during this holiday. I enjoyed taking him swimming during the half term, and I was really looking forward to taking him again, but it’s not to be. 🙁 I mean, don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge his swimming instructors their time off. They deserve their holiday, and it is right that they have a break.

It just that this is the only time of the year where there are so many adults and children around with limited daylight and space. Local parks and play areas gets filled up through the day, and the children activity centres that stay open tend to be very busy.

Staying indoors all day, whilst appealing to someone like me with so much catch-up to do, is not an option with a toddler. My house is definitely not big enough for my little person to run around and stretch his body and mind for long periods of time.

So, what I’m I going to do?

My Full Time Mum Holiday Without Tots Groups

Working full-time means that I feel very isolated from the mummy groups world. I used to enjoy hanging out with other mums every week, at my local ‘babes and bumps’ group, then later at my church’s ‘mother’s and toddlers’ group. My monthly breastfeeding group is also really fab.

However, work and life has made these lovely and meaningful pastimes a distant memory. I can’t even remember when last I made it to my monthly group which happens on Saturdays when I don’t have to go to work (though I do sometimes).

So, what do I do?

I can’t go to the mums and tots groups because they’re closed, tots activities are on a break, and I haven’t planned well in advance to meet up with my mummy friends and their children?

Tots groups in all their varieties are fantastic ‘day breakers’. They help to carve out the day into manageable chunks, and support play, eat, sleep routines (however lax) which are essential for parental sanity. I find that my little one and I are more in tune with how our body rhythm works when we have some sort of daily structure to work with.

I mean, I’m happy to work without structure in my day for periods of time during my holidays, but I question whether that’s the best for my little one. It would be so easy to get caught up with all my catch-ups, and I tell you, there are lots of them, spanning my relationships with family and friends, housework, my paid job, and blogging.

It’s crazy really; I seem to have this bottomless list of what needs doing with such a limited time to work my way through them. And whilst ticking them off, more are added. 😓

Another perk of tots groups is that they take me away from what needs doing around me, to especially focusing on my little one, my mothering / our parenting, and building lovely memories outdoors. I’m an indoor kinda girl, but I also love the outdoors. Tots groups definitely help me to engage with it in a ‘belly full of laughter’ kinda way. There is so much pleasure in watching one’s child interact with others and the world around them.

So, it’s back to the drawing table for me, and I hope I draw good. This time last year, my little one was just finding his feet, and I could get away with going with the flow more. He is a year older, and I have to woman up and find ways for us to thrive in this holiday without tots groups.

So, I’m setting myself a challenge …. yeah, I’m giving myself the opportunity, despite the challenges I think this holiday poses for me, to plan for meaningful days during this break for my little one and us. Whatever we do, it wouldn’t involve any reference to the chimney, our #12daysofparenting code word, because we have none at our house for starters. 🙂

Thanks for dropping by; happy holiday and all the best in the new year.

Hop over to Surban Mum for more 12 Days of Parenting first day theme: ‘surviving the holiday without tots groups’, and to gain more entries into the grand prize draw. Be sure to check the giveaway’s full terms and conditions.

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My Excruciating Breastfeeding Pain of the Bleb Variety

“Bi iya nla ba ngbe ni sanle, kekere a maa gori eni”; this is a Yoruba proverb that sometimes comes to mind when the going gets tough. It basically translates as, ‘if a great adversity strikes you down, smaller ones follow suit’.

Life has been full of tupsy turvy waves, and irregular high and low tides seem to be the regular over here. It’s been a fab opportunity to have a ‘transform lemon into lemonade’ perspective. But my, how hard the change can be when the lemons taste really sharp and sour.

One of my recent lemons was this transparent creamish looking tiny blob, in the middle of my right nipple. Talk about a stirring up of horrible memories from the dark starting months of my breastfeeding journey. It was also on the boob that produces the most and works the longest! Seriously, this was yet another thing I didn’t need to go wrong; not that we ever need anything to go wrong.

It all started on my first day back at work, at the start of this term. I had quite a number of concerns about facing work again, after a work triggered long absence. Breastfeeding wasn’t one of them; after all, I’ve learnt a lot about making it work, with work. As I have done since for months, I planned to use my lunch breaks to return home and feed Precious Sparkle. He is older, and now feeds quicker at lunch times. This meant that I could look forward to having enough time to walk back to work, instead of my usual running back.

Bleb

When I got home that Thursday, I was way fuller than I’d been in months; it was quite a sight. My lopsidedness was accentuated beyond my imagination, and I couldn’t help but laugh at my chest. My little one didn’t mind though; food was ready to flow and he was more than happy to gulp. Time wasn’t on my side and so we quickly got on with feeding. I can’t quite remember whether I felt any pain as he fed but I do remember knowing something was wrong when I fed him again after work.

I felt boobie pain like I haven’t felt in well over a year! O my word, I thought I was done with boobie pain on this breastfeeding journey.

I was shocked to see the likely cause of the pain; it was so tiny, and my, so unwanted. ‘How did it get there?’, ‘Where did it come from?’, ‘How do I get rid of it?’ … so many questions tumbled through my mind.

The pain was acutely sharp and unbearable … it was soooooooooooo painfullllllllllll … words can’t quite convey how painful it was. Feeding times became dread-full times; but quitting wasn’t an option.

If there’s something I’ve learnt about breastfeeding over these almost 20 months, it’s that you’ve got to keep the milk flowing to maintain your milk supply. This means you feed (or pump)  through rain and shine … ups and downs … in comfort and in pain. You’ve just got to feed and so I fed inspite of the pain.

However, unlike the beginning, there was no way I was going to suffer in silence or through ignorance. I vaguely remember coming across a cause of breastfeeding pain called pleb, and milk blisters in one or more of my breastfeeding Facebook groups a while ago. Armed with this recollection, I called my La Leche League leader for help. It felt strange calling; I still remember the first time I called her for help, when I started my rise from what felt like breastfeeding hell at the time.

She felt it seemed like bleb (I still thought it was pleb until I googled it a while after), possibly caused by a bad latch. She gave me some tips on how to deal with it; but beyond this, I found our conversation reassuring. She also reminded me about the importance of listening to my body, and resting.

My older babies breastfeeding group happened soon after this and I once again asked for advice. It was helpful to know that others had successfully dealt with blebs, and I suppose the discussion gave me some hope that the pain wasn’t forever.

I then went to Google for more help and I was not disappointed. It further helped me grow in my understanding, and this made me feel somewhat more empowered about dealing with the pain I felt.

I learnt that a bleb or milk / nipple blister is the result of a layer of skin growing over a nipple pore / milk duct opening. The overgrown skin then traps milk behind it. It looks like a restricted milk drop, and I found it painful when I pressed on it with my finger. I did this because I was trying to figure why I felt so much pain when breastfeeding.

The potential cause of mine  seems to have been a poor latch but I struggle to see how this could have happened. You see, Precious Sparkle has been latching himself for over a year, how could he get it so wrong. However, I was told that it only takes one improper latch for milk blisters to occur.

IT IS PAINFUL feeding with a bleb! For some reason, I was very slow to act on advice from my Kellymom and Medela and google finds on how to treat a milk blister. They reflected the tips I’d been given by my LLL leader and breastfeeding group.

Soaking the affected nipple in epsom-salt is supposed to help soften the overgrown skin and end blister. However, I was hesitant about this because it has a warning on it about consulting your doctor if you’re breastfeeding or so.

In the end, I soaked the affected breast in a bowl of hot water (as hot as I could bear it) and tried to rub the blister with the edge of a towel in order to clear the skin. I even tried to use my finger nail, but my attempts were unsuccessful. I hated the pain, but kept feeding and hoping.

I was (and still am) surprised at how slow and inconsistent I was in trying out what could have helped me get rid of the blister. It was helpful to know that it was milk and not pus in it; one less worry about the blister bursting whilst Precious Sparkle breastfed.

2 weeks after it appeared, it burst and the pain stopped. I just noticed that our feed wasn’t painful anymore, and when I looked, I saw that the trapped milk drop was gone. I can’t tell you how relieved I felt.

In the last week, I’ve sometimes found myself surprised that the clear cream coloured bob isn’t there anymore, and it looks and feels normal again. I suppose pain becomes the norm sometimes, and we get used to it.

I wonder who came up with the name, bleb; it sounds horrible, doesn’t it.

I am so thankful this unwelcome bleb has gone and I sure do hope it doesn’t ever return again!

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What’s one of the worst physical pains you’ve had in your life and what did you do to make it stop?
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A Dread-Full Teacher Mummy: My Back-to-Work Feelings

Sunday Night …

I am sitting here with feelings I can’t quite capture. I’m trying to keep it together … to stay focused for the day ahead. I’m hoping my little boy doesn’t wake up for a feed yet because I’m not sure how I’m feeling right now. I’ve tried not to think about it; I’ve shied away from the inevitable but I think I’ve got to face it now.

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Tree & Work

On Sunday, I noticed this tree as I walked to our car to drop something off. There was something about it that caught my attention: its dryness, its fragile looking twigs, its funny shape, and its beauty. I noticed how much it stood out amidst the concrete structures around it and in contrast to the other green plants.

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NCT Shared Parental Leave Session

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