I have just completed my first week back as a working parent since having my youngest daughter. This is my second return to the world of work. I was back in the office for a year between my two maternity’s. I wrote a post just before going back about my reasons for returning to work.

As we enter a new year there seems to me that there has been a growing debate about working parents and children attending day nursery. This is on the back of the Royal Princess starting her nursery journey and a case of a child being lost whilst attending a nursery in the UK (article here).

In my opinion is seems strange that there is still a debate to be had. Each family will have their own priorities, pressures, opportunities and considerations for work and the family. There is never one option that fits all. Some families it makes more financial and emotional sense for a parent to stay at home. For others it makes so much more sense for one/two parents to work either full or part-time.

We should all be able to respect that all parents make the right choice for their family. In light of this I have written two poems one for the stay at home parent and one for a working parent.

Stay at Home Parent

Endless cuddles,
Trips to the park,
Looking after the kids,
From light till dark.

Home with the children,
There are so many games to play,
Painting, sticking, reading.
Having fun throughout the day.

But the work is all-consuming,
You never gets a break.
So keep up your energy levels,
You have to stay awake.

Peace for maybe an hour,
When the baby has a sleep,
But that hour goes by quickly,
And the toys are still in a heap.

Unpaid and overworked,
You have the hardest job of all,
But also lucky and so privileged,
To look children whilst they’re small.

Working Parent

Mornings are a rush,
As everyone needs to get ready,
It’s nine o’clock in the morning,
And your exhausted already.

Work is exciting but stressful,
It’s full of highs and lows.
Sometimes you will love it,
Everyday you have to see how to goes.

Using your skills,
Challenging your mind.
Can help build your confidence,
And give you some balance you find.

You of course miss the kids,
But maybe not the mess.
The whingeing and the whining,
Work is a chance to compress.

If a home is filled with love,
And happiness is apparent.
Be proud of yourself,
For being a working parent.

Working parent, juggling home, time with the children and work

Me and Rose when I went back to work after first maternity

Thanks for reading my post. If you enjoyed these please see some of my other poems here:

Toddler obsessions
Tired mum needs a break
Daddy’s home

This post is my tips based on personal experience of baby led weaning. Before having children I didn’t realise there was different ways to introduce your child onto solids. The process of introducing solids is known as weaning (in the UK), you can find more information here from the NHS.

The NHS recommend waiting till six months before introducing any food. As all babies are different its important to look for these three signs if wanting to start earlier:

  1. They can stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady.
  2. They can co-ordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so they can look at the food, pick it up and put it in their mouth, all by themselves.
  3. They can swallow food. Babies who are not ready will push their food back out with their tongue So they get more round their face than they do in their mouths.

I quickly found out there are two different methods for weaning your baby onto solid food. The first is using purees to introduce your baby to new flavours. The other is baby led weaning, which is the method I choose for both my daughters.

What is Baby Led Weaning?

The Baby Centre defines baby led weaning (BLW) as “forgetting purees and weaning spoons, and simply letting your baby feed himself.” Rather than pureeing lots of different foods you give the baby the skills to eat whole food from the beginning.

Why Choose Baby Led Weaning?

There are lots of benefits of choosing to using BLW.

  1. Your baby gets introduced to lots of textures straight away
  2. Your baby will get to explore food at their own pace
  3. Your baby feeds themselves so you can eat your own food
  4. You don’t have to make additional food for baby within household so will save time
  5. You can easily buy food for them on the go, as they are more happy to eat regular food

It’s worth noting that some families may find BLW isn’t for them as the baby has digestion issues or feeding concerns. There are also some downsides vs. purees. It takes babies slightly longer for babies to start filling their tummies as first. It can also be messy as lots of foods tend to go on the floor!

Some families find that they do a combination of the two weaning methods. Feeding the baby purees but also offering finger foods to them. The knack is finding what works best within your family and for the baby.

Baby led weaning can get messy!

Baby led weaning can get messy!

How to start Baby Led Weaning?

It’s best to start BLW with foods that are easy to handle as they are still perfecting their grip. When starting introduce one food at a time so they can explore the texture and flavour of the food. You will only need to offer food once a day at first alongside their milk. When they start eating more you can build up to two meals, three meals and eventually add in healthy snacks.

First foods

  • Raw vegetable sticks – cucumber without skin, avocado sticks and
  • Par boiled vegetable sticks – par boiled so they are easier to chew including carrots, green beans and peppers
  • Cooked vegetable sticks – sweet potato wedges, butternut squash and brocoli
  • Fruit – softer fruits work best such as raspberries, banana, melon, mango and pears cut into strips
  • Toast/bread sticks – add a little bit of butter to bread to make a bit softer
  • Porridge fingers – make you own really quickly in the microwave, see recipe ideas here
  • Mashed potato – best if a bit lumpy and thick so baby can pick up
  • Pasta – fusilli is best as baby can grip it
  • Meat/fish (if not vegetarian) – softer meat is best to start such as strips of chicken or fish
First finger food for baby led weaning

First finger food for baby led weaning

Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post, check out Best nursery rhymes for babies and Best products for babies.

My two-year old daughter is absolutely obsessed with films. She switches between each one and becomes completely obsessed. I didn’t realise that toddler obsessions was a thing until I had a toddler myself.

Parenting.com writes about how obsessions are a way of them seeking routine and security which is very normal. The hard thing is monitoring how much you allow your child to indulge in their obsessions.

My daughter would watch some films on repeat all day if I let her. So screen time definitely has to be monitored. Before I had any babies I thought I would let them watch less TV than they do. I wrote about it in my post here.

Current film favourites

The one that is her current number favourite, is the film Trolls. She loves it so much she would watch the film every single day. She prefers the Trolls Holiday version but can quite happily sit through the full film.

Before Trolls the obsession was Moana and before that Frozen. This is my poem for my two-year old toddler.

Toddler Obsessions (a poem)

We’ve been out today,
So at home we will stay,
Its time to make a decision,
What do you want to watch on television.

Lets watch a flick,
You can choose one quick.
Moana you cry,
Ok one more time I sigh.

All the songs we know,
How far I’ll go.
Eyes glued to the screen,
Don’t try to interveen.

Sometimes we turn to Frozen,
So with the dvd it goes in.
A world of ice and snow.
We all know Let it go.

You changed the film somehow.
Trolls is a favourite now.
With colour, sparkles and glitter.
It gives Mum a break to check out Twitter.

Toddler obsessions watching films

If you enjoyed this poem see some others I’ve written;

Snowy Days
Tired mum needs a break
Daddy’s Home

Thanks for reading.

My birthday is coming up next week in January, I’m turning 35. Woo hoo! I am perfectly comfortable with my age. However it has made me think is there anything else I want to achieve before I hit my 40s. So I have decided to create my own before 40 bucket list as motivation.

Why create a Bucket List

If I think back over the last five years I realise I have completed a hell of a lot. Having my two children and getting married for a starter are absolutely at the top of my list. These were all huge, life changing events. So as I look forward now to my hopes for the second half of this decade, I want to focus on just living and enjoying life as a family of four.Bucket list - under 30 running London marathon

Having a bucket list gives me focus on what I hope to achieve and ambition to succeed. I only choose things which are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) as I know that goals with these attributes are far more likely to happen.

On my bucket list before I turned 30 there was only one goal to run the London Marathon. This was a SMART goal because it was:

  • Very specific to a place and distance.
  • Measurable as it was completed once run.
  • Attainable as I had run three half marathons before this.
  • Realistic as I gained a place through the ballot.
  • Timely as I had a place secured when I was 29 years old.

Before 40 Bucket List

  • Have afternoon tea at the Ritz (just me and hubby) – this has been something I have wanted to do for ages. This is likely to be achievable as we have already booked it for hubby’s birthday later on this year. If you would like to go, see their website.Bucket List - afternoon tea
  • Get a grown up kitchen – this is a big one for me. We moved into our house and renovated before having children. The only room we didn’t touch was the kitchen, before I reach 40 I would love to have a kitchen of my choice. We hope to start work this year so is an attainable goal.
  • Take the girls to Disney Paris – I would love to go to Disney World Florida but I’m not sure that’s likely in the next five years. Especially with us hoping to invest in our kitchen! However I would love to do a smaller trip of Disney Paris with the girls so they can get a taste of the magic.
  • Start reading again – Having children has definitely taken away any leisure time I had for reading. I would love to get back into reading a handful of books each year.
  • Take longer video recordings of the family – Smart phones have made it so easy to take short videos of the family. However I want to capture longer video recordings. Then in the future and really visualise what our lives were like. This is attainable as I have a camcorder, I just need to get it out more.
  • Grow my blog – Mumversation is still in its infancy, I hope that over the next five years I can grow my blog much further. From my first post in November 2017 I hope to continue building my content and community. My overall goal is to create a place where it’s ok to speak about all the things that make us mums.

Here’s to the next five years

This is my current bucket list. I’m sure it will evolve regularly over the next five years.

I hope you enjoyed reading my bucket list, if you have any comments you can add them below or look me up on my Contact me page.

Today my youngest daughter started nursery for the first time at eleven months old. It was the day that I started the letting go process. Since she was born a year ago she has been fully my responsibility. Today, she has to learn to be without me and I have to learn to share my little girl with the world. The reason she is starting nursery so young is I am returning to work after my second maternity. As a family we had lengthy discussions about how me working would fit our family life and the reasons for returning to work. With two pre-school children our childcare costs are excessive so this decision did not come lightly.

My main reasons for returning to work are:

  • Getting back me – being a mum is everything I have wanted in life, but I do feel like I’m losing some of me being at home. Having returned to work once before between babies I know that work can be a break! This inspired my mum needs a break poem.
  • Financial reasons – you can’t get away from the fact that life is expensive and working helps us our family manage overall finances now and in the future. As a family we have ambitions for our home and life and money will definitely help us get there.
  • Nursery opportunities – my eldest daughter has been at nursery for two years now and I have seen the wonderful things a good nursery can teach children. Having the patience and energy to complete projects and tasks with small children takes great skill. After having my toddler at home more the last year I truly appreciate the work nursery staff do everyday.

Even though I have multiple reasons for going back to work, it doesn’t make the transition process any easier. Walking away after dropping her in today broke my heart a little bit. Having gone through this before, I know it gets easier but it needs time. At the moment she is refusing to eat there, so this is my main concern, but I’ve read that the change in environments can make this happen.

As a parent I think you are predisposed to worry and feel guilt about every decision we make. I just need to remind myself that we are making the best decision based on our circumstances.

If your thinking about going back The Guardian wrote this article offering advice on going back to work after children.