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

There are lots of things I didn’t think I would do as a parent which inevitably now I do. Before having children I’ll admit I didn’t realise how hard parenthood really is. You only really ever see a snapshot of a parents daily life. There is so much that happens when no one else is watching.

You never know how much sleep the parent had the night before. Whether they had to endure a massive temper tantrum just getting shoes on. Or if they haven’t even had a chance to grab a coffee that morning.

Things I didn’t think I would do as a parent

Let them watch TV

Watching TV face

Before kids I assumed that I would greatly limit the amount of TV my children watch. I had vaguely heard of the channel CBeebies but hadn’t yet appreciated how important it would become in my life.

CBeebies has been a life saver at times. Especially this year during the early days of bringing a baby home, to a house with a toddler. TV became the only way to pacify my toddler so I was able to spend thirty minutes with the baby.

I do try to limit the amount my children watch, but in these winter month’s it’s not always easy. You’ve been up since six, fed them, taken them out, fed them again, put them down for a nap, done an activity at home….tv becomes a very helpful friend to occupy them for an hr or so while you get jobs done.

After all my efforts I probably haven’t succeeded in limiting TV as much as I hoped As at ten months old my baby’s first word was Peppa Pig!

 

Eat anything apart from healthy snacks

With my first-born I was very strict on only feeding healthy snacks. Until her first birthday she had never tasted any chocolate, crisps or biscuits. Snacks included vegetable sticks, rice cakes and fruit.

Move on two years and my ten month old has already pinched crisps from plates, had buttons shoved in her mouth from sister and devoured a biscuit on first sight.

It becomes an impossible task to keep a second child away from ‘treats’ if their siblings are exposed to them. Unhealthy snacks are everywhere and always attract young eyes.

During the Christmas season its harder than ever. To counter balance the treats I try to feed them healthy balanced meals. In the hope that they understand that treats, are treats, and balance is best.

Listen to children’s music all the time

My daughters love listening to children’s music. Everything from nursery rhymes for the baby to pop songs sung by Justin Fletcher (aka Mr Tumble).

Whilst pregnant with my first born, I remember saying to my own mother ‘I won’t be spending all my time listening to children’s music’. She likes to remind me of this, when we have had ‘Head Shoulders Knees and Toes’ on repeat for thirty minutes.

Parenthood is full of choices and decisions, some big and small. Now I am a parent I try not to judge anyone’s individual choices for their family. We all go down different paths and as long as the child is safe, cared for and happy, there are no rights and wrongs.

 

Is there anything you didn’t think you would do as a parent?
It would be great to get your comments, so please share below.

Saving for university is something all parents might want to think about. The cost of attending university in the U.K. went up to max of £9,250 per year. Across an average three-year degree total fees equate to a whooping £27,750. That isn’t even accounting for the cost of living, rent and travel costs.

My eldest daughter is only in her toddler years but it’s a scary thought for the future. She may not even want to go to university but I would like her to have a choice when she gets there.

It took me over 10 years to pay back my degree and I didn’t have the large loans my daughters might require.

Saving for university

Consider your child may work part-time to cover some living costs, how much would you need to save to pay for their fees.

Total yearly tuition costs (assume current highest rate) – £9,250

Average cost of three-year degree – £27,750

Age at which child attends university – 18 (total number of years to save if starting from baby)

Amount required to save each year ( £27,750 / 18 ) – £1,542

Amount required to save each month from birth ( £1,542 / 12 ) – £128.50!!!

This is for one child and I have two, so we are looking at a total monthly amount of £257 to help saving for university. The FT wrote an article on saving for university. They calculated the total fees based on a four degree so this equates to even more every month.

It is a significant amount of money to regularly put aside now for 18 years time. If you are similar to me and my family, it is just impossible with all the other costs of living. Therefore I have to come to the conclusion that unless we win the lottery, we won’t be able to raise the upfront cost of university fees.

Now whilst we might not be able to save all their fees, what I hope to be able to do is put aside a much smaller amount each month. I know this won’t cover all of the cost of university, but I hope it gives them enough so there is a choice to make when they get old enough. Then they can weigh up whether university is right for them and their careers.

I am happy as long as my daughters are happy, I just want to provide them with freedom to pursue the path they want. Surely that’s what we all want as parents in the end.

Across the world there is one thing that stays true, that parenting is both joyful but hard for everyone. We all have coping mechanisms to get us through our daily lives. Parenting is all about learning and trying different things and we should be doing more to learn from each other. Scandinavian countries consistently deliver some of the highest scores for childhood happiness. As I spent the first few years of my life in Norway, I am intrigued to see what I can learn to improve my children’s happiness. I have done some research to dig out some of the most fascinating parenting tips from Scandinavia.

Parenting tips from Scandinavia

Daily Outdoor Time

In all Scandinavian countries is it the norm for children to get outdoor exposure everyday. Even in the mist of winter children and even babies are encouraged to wrap up and get outside. Babies will often be left to nap outside in their prams. Parents believe that getting outside daily is good for your health.

Hands-off Parenting

Freedom and independence are key pillars of parenting in the Nordic’s. Children are encouraged to explore, play and learn themselves. Scandinavian countries are some of the safest in the world, so parents are more relaxed about letting their children go free.

Close Connections

In Iceland as most people live in areas that have a village feel, connections with family and friends are paramount. In Sweden the government helps new mums connect with other mums in their local area. Parenting is seen as a role for the whole community.

Childcare

Most children in Scandinavian countries attend child care. The government heavily subsidises childcare from one, so parents can work without worry of the cost. They encourage free play and don’t push any academics until they are a lot older.

 

Hopefully you are able to use some of these tips Scandinavia parents and they are of use on your parenting journey.

 

Tammymum