Love/Hate

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One of the things I don’t like about being back at work is meal planning. I love to cook and research recipes and try new foods but I do not love having to plan and prepare meals for the whole week ahead of time. It feels like drudgery. It’s boring.

I spent most of yesterday prepping lunches for work and (semi) healthy snacks and figuring out how to use what I tossed into the trolley at Lidl in such a way as to produce edible meals for the family. I love being organised and knowing my evenings this week won’t be filled with stress. I hate knowing exactly what I’ll be eating for pretty much every single meal until Friday.

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Love/Hate

My Motherhood, Myself

I re-entered the working world this week. I had a lot of mixed emotions, but off I went to work. It wasn’t an awful few days. I had time to myself with coffee, I was able to nip to Hodges Figgis for a copy of The Testaments (I decided given my place way down the waiting list for it in the library I would treat myself), I managed to squeeze in some baking (and used the pears from the tree in our garden to perk up some gingerbread) and I was able to get my hands on a free copy of Once, Twice, Three Times an Aisling.

My time management is better when I’m juggling. That’s not to say I love the juggling but when I have to tick about 25 boxes on the to-do list every morning before I leave the house faffing about on my phone is a lot less appealing. I like the balance of mothering and having a space and time in my life that has no connection whatsoever to anything else.

My Motherhood, Myself

A Good Weekend.

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This weekend was a good one. We’ve realised we enjoy the weekends a lot more when we get out and do stuff instead of staying at home and doing boring but necessary stuff so we made firm plans. We had a birthday, a trip to Dublinia, lunch in Chez Max near Dublin Castle (yay for mussels and delicious fries and yummy desserts) and a little walk around an area of our city we don’t visit all that often. It was just what we needed.

A Good Weekend.

Things I No Longer Buy.

 

 

  1. Shampoo in bottles. Going water only didn’t work for me. I gave it six months and tried all the various suggestions which abound, but my hair looked awful. The grease was hard to bear and I just hated the way it looked, in particular never being able to wear it down. So I used up a couple of random half used bottles I had stashed in our bathroom cupboard and then switched to this Lush bar shampoo. I have rebought it several times and while it isn’t quite as good as some of the bottles I have used, it’s good enough that I’ll keep using it because the payoff is reducing the number of empties we need to dispose of.
  2. Cut flowers. I love flowers. My husband loves buying me flowers. When we first lived together he would often stop at the lovely local independent florist in the village on his way home from work and pick a bouquet with which to surprise me. No more. I don’t buy them myself and have instead looked to our garden when I want some flowers to brighten up the dinner table. This rose is a glorious colour and has a beautiful scent.
  3. Disposable wipes. We use cloth nappies and wipes almost all of the time. We’ve used up the disposable wipes we bought in France and I cut up an old towel instead of buying more. One large bath towel makes a LOT of wipes. I’ve been advised that the lemon essential oil I added to the water in which they’re soaking isn’t suitable for skin so I’ll stop doing that and go water only.

I’m not perfect, we still produce more waste than I’d like. These are small and perhaps insignificant changes in the grand scheme of things but I feel like I have to do something to ease my fears about what we’re doing to this planet.

Things I No Longer Buy.

Maternity Leave

img_20190905_101455I enjoyed a peaceful, child free morning as I left Baby Orchid for a few hours to adjust to me returning to work next week. I’m incredibly fortunate to have been able to take almost a full year off to stay at home with him. I’m also incredibly fortunate to have been able to keep employing our lovely child minder during the entire time, so the transition is a bit easier than might otherwise have been the case.

It’s called maternity leave, but that phrase doesn’t make sense to me because maternity is the reason for the leave. If anything, I’m starting my real maternity leave next week. I have mixed emotions. This will be the third time I’ve returned to work after having been at home for an extended period with a baby. Each time I’ve toyed with the possibility of staying at home a little longer, or taking a career break, or changing jobs, or somehow otherwise mixing it up a little.

Quite honestly, I’m returning to work because I want to and because I don’t want to lose too much of whatever of my identity has already been consumed by parenting and pregnancy. I don’t want to be known solely as Baby Orchid’s mum. I want to have a side of my life that has nothing to do with parenting whatsoever. I want to do work which isn’t for my family.

I’m reflecting on the privilege of making this decision too. I am so lucky; this is an active choice, one I was able to reach all by myself. I will feel a wrench, particularly because I’m still breastfeeding and have no plans to stop so I will have a physical reminder that I’m not with my baby as much as I used to be. I’m not looking forward to the morning scramble and all the logistics of working outside the home.

I am looking forward to people using my name. And being able to finish a coffee before it gets cold. And the smiles I’ve been getting this week when I’ve returned after a few hours away. I don’t leave all of myself at home, but I can leave some. And that can feel like a good balance.

Maternity Leave

Tiny Sparks of Joy

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Getting the computer working again so I can write. I’ve missed it. A lot.

Working on more photobooks. And recycling all the art because the photos will last a lot longer and won’t fall apart as easily as most of the projects.

A final few days before I’m back to the work treadmill.

Being organised enough to have planned several small treats for myself well in advance.

New books from the library. I can’t say it enough, I ADORE our library.

Tiny Sparks of Joy

Monica, and being 22.

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I remember the Monica Lewinsky “scandal” very well. I say “scandal” because with 20 years in between then and now I’ve revised a lot of my thoughts about her, and Bill Clinton, and that time, and how I feel about it all. I was about 14 when it all kicked off and Monica seemed like a glamorous, go-getting woman in her 20s to me, someone who had her life together and was going places and knew what she wanted and how to get it.

Obviously the age gap hasn’t changed but now I feel much closer in age to her, which is the usual feeling you get as you grow older. I’ve been the new college graduate, unsure of myself and trying to figure out the working world and my place in it after the security of years spent in full-time education. I’ve navigated the world of older men in my workplace, and walked the tightrope of years spent being polite and never quite being sure if something is what you think it is or if its something you probably shouldn’t have to put up with.

I’ve been thinking about being 22 and being around people in power, and being around one of the most powerful people in the world. I’ve been thinking about sex, and what I regarded as sex, and what other people, mostly men at least twice my age, think about sex and consent and right and wrong. It’s uncomfortable to look back at 22 year old me, and think about 22 year old Monica, and the choices we made and the things which happened which weren’t really choices at all.

I’ve listened to  season 2 of Slow Burn and what other people said about Monica and how she navigated all that pressure and how, shamefully, she became the punchline of so many jokes about sex and power and men and what they do and who they do it to. I thought about my clothes when I was 22, and how I probably would have considered a navy dress from Gap as the ideal choice for working in an office.

I think about the working world now and my place in it and if things have changed and if a 22 year old in my workplace would be treated like Monica, regardless of how many people proclaim #metoo and talk about consent and condemn the actions of men in power who take what they want. I think about the current man in the White House, and the 22 year olds who work in that building, wearing the Gap dresses and figuring out their place in the world and I hope their world is better than mine was when I was 22 and when Monica was 22.

But I don’t know if it is, or if it can be, knowing what we know about everything that’s happened since Monica was 22.

Monica, and being 22.