How going from being a working mum to a stay at home mum has affected me.

How going from being a working mum to a stay at home mum has affected me.

I never thought in a million years I’d give up work. I’ve always been a driven woman wanting to do my bit for the community but also get paid and have a ok living from it. That was until I had a child and even then I wanted to work. I wanted to be a good roll model I wanted to show I could do it, I could work and be a mum but it became impossible.

Childcare was difficult I had to rely on nursery two days a week as childcare and if Elijah was unwell I still had to pay the bill and take unpaid leave from work. It seemed he was always getting ill and with no alternative childcare I had to take unpaid or it was lucky I was on annual leave while he was ill. I had to keep taking leave as I had no flexibility to rearrange childcare to work different days so. In the end the pay wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t worth the stress of the job and the guilt of working for so little. I left mainly because of the stress and how it effected my mental health and I have to say it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.

I’m not saying run out there and quit your job because that would be silly. If it’s something you want to think about and discuss with your partner then do so but it’s not a decision to make lightly. We had always said one day I would stop working and it just came at a good time really.

James is self employed so he can go out and earn more money. As I left work James was in the process of taking on a lot of work and because I stopped working that meant James could start and finish earlier getting more jobs and more money. He was no longer doing the nursery run and was also visibly less stressed from not having to sit a car for a hour and half a day. We are financially better off. James has full flexibility now as I’m home to watch Elijah and it’s made such a big impact.

My mental health is miles better. I’m no longer on the edge waiting for something to push me off. I still have down days but they’re nothing like they used to be. I don’t stress about made up situations and scenarios in my head about work. I don’t worry about money. I don’t worry I’ll get fired if I or my son feels ill and can be there for my family when they are ill. I don’t have too much to worry about.

My relationships are better. I have more time to see my friends and too talk and I also communicate through texts more. My friendships are stronger than ever and I’ve even made more friends. My conversations are no longer me staring off into distance as I’m stressed wanting to leave because I’m exhausted and don’t have the mental strength to maintain or care about anything said to me. I’m able to fully input into a conversation and have some positive things to add into a situation. My family ties are stronger as I’m not so stressed, I’m not uptight as much and enjoy being in my family’s presence and making more time for it.

My family life is better. I feel like a mother. Not a part time care giver. I spend everyday with him now and have gone from sometimes not seeing him for 24 hours to not missing a thing. I’m not exhausted from work anymore so I have the energy to chase Elijah around, to play and teach him. I take him out more and it’s positive for both of us. It’s now we bond and learn together having fun every step of the way. Me and James’s relationship grows stronger everyday. For some reason I’ve found James is less stressed with me home. I thought it would be the opposite but he tells me it’s better and he doesn’t want me to work as he likes it. The house is tidy when he comes home now or little bits need doing so we have more us time. When Elijah goes to bed at 7 we have all night so we have more time to relax. We will watch a movie or tv series and cuddle on sofa, play a game or James will do work stuff at the table and I’ll read my kindle talking every now and then. Where was before we’d normally zone out and do our own stuff as I’d get home at 8 sometimes earlier and have to still do the clean up and cook and shower. I’d be exhausted and just flop onto the sofa with my phone and spend my perhaps hour of rest before bed ignoring life. We had breakfast together which used to be nice but it turned into a hulk it down so I could get ready for work while James got Elijah ready. Now we have time to be a family and sit down together it’s rare we don’t eat together now. James gets to come home and relax and we relax together. He still helps here and there but I try to get most of the work done and if we’re both exhausted I’ll offer to wash up the next day. The nicest thing is we talk more and on his days off have family time where we are all present in the moment not exhausted and thinking of other things.

The households more maintained. I have time to keep the house tidy and not just clean. I have time and energy to do decorating with James when we want to. The thought before of using my crucial time of to paint a wall made me feel physically sick. I cook more nutritious meals from scratch. I plan ahead and I’m now organised. We enjoy our home more than we used too. We also go out more too and have more guests over as I’m not embarrassed by my house.

My health is improved as I look after myself more. I don’t binge eat at work on lunch breaks from the chippy or Chinese with a dessert of chocolate every time I’ve had a shit day. I take time to look after myself. I have time to exercise. To take my tablets on time, to eat right and to be able to have time to relax and have a self care/ skin care regime too.

I do however miss my work. I miss colleagues and having a laugh with the girls. I miss having a career. I miss having somewhat a important role. I miss learning and adapting to change. I miss having me time on the way home from work and my lunch breaks. I miss being Charlie when everyone didn’t just ask about Elijah, they asked about me. I miss feeling proud to be a mum making her own money.

I don’t like asking for money. Christmas is going to be hard for me as I don’t want to ask for money to buy James his own presents. I feel degraded and I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. James doesn’t mind but I hate relying on someone else and it gets me quite uptight. I also get defensive if I’m told no because I can’t just get it with my own money now. Rarely I’m told no btw and I’m not a gold digger so calm down If that’s what you where thinking.

My tired is a different tired. I’m exhausted from a child that takes every inch of my energy. He’s demanding as hell and although I love the time we spend together he can’t half be a pain in the ass.

I get lonely. If I don’t have plans for a few days in a row I get lonely. Even with Elijah I feel alone and like I have no friends even though I know I do. I also get bored easily and want to do something different all the time.

I hate the stigma that comes with being a stay at home mum. It’s like all the years of working have been for nothing. It’s like your worthless because you’ve decided to stay at home and look after your family. People don’t respect you. They think your lazy and have life easy. Having done both, working and staying at home I can say working was easier sometimes and work stops motherhood doesn’t. There’s no home Time when things get tough or calling in sick because you’re having a bad mental health day or chucking your guts up. There’s no lunch break and nobody to help.

Overall I am lucky to be given the opportunity to stay at home and to have such a loving, hard working husband to provide this life for us all. Sometimes I miss working, sometimes I don’t but for now it’s been the best decision we’ve made.

Keeping organised.

Keeping organised.

Being a mum there’s nothing more stressful than trying to retain things like what day it is and your availability of the top of your head. I’ve found since having a kid I’m a bit more organised and able to structure my life a bit better without planning to see someone and forgetting. I owe it all down to my new organisation.

My favourite thing is my diary. Until a few months ago I was rechecking texts to remember when I was seeing people and getting mixed up stressing myself out in the process. I brought myself a lovely diary which has lots of space. I have a big part for each day and then 4 small boxes on the next page to write things I could be doing or have planned also. What I do is write my day and evening plans and then in a box sometimes cleaning jobs I need to do and then in a box meal prep and what’s for dinner. My diary also has a convenient reminders check list at the side of each week so I can write what I need to do each week and tick it off. Very handy when needing to call doctors, run an Errand or a reminder to pick something up in town. The diary also comes with a month overview so I can write clearly where I am so I don’t have to look through weeks to find the dates which I think is so handy. My diary makes me feel safe. It shows me I’m actually quite busy and have friends and am loved. It shows me I do a lot around the house when I think I’ve done none.

I also have a large quantity of notebooks. My favourites are magnetic ones I keep on fridge for writing shopping lists and quick reminders. I love my menu planner which I think is really good for reminding me what meat to get out, what to buy for shopping and have a routine that is not the same grub every night .

Having a family Callander can be good too. If one of us want to do something we write on diary that way if one of us want to go out with friends childcare’s left with the other person so no arguements. However James forgets to read and has several times booked to do things on days I’ve got a paid for show or reunion to attend that’s been planned for months.

I really find that keeping organised has really helped me and my life to stay on track recently and gives me a lot of comfort when organising. I feel on top of myself and writing to do lists can really help my mind and make me stop being anxious and focus on a task. I get satisfaction crossing things I’ve done out and adding new things to my diary and note books makes me feel as though I have a life when sometimes I feel I don’t.

A introduction to me.

A introduction to me.

Hello, for the benefit of you very lovely people on my blog/Wordpress I thought I’d introduce myself. The face behind my blog and life with the Hazelwoods! My name is Charlie-Jane and I am 24, I live in Suffolk with my little family. My son Elijah and his dad, my husband James. I’ve worked in healthcare and community care for many years and learnt a lot of things. I like to think one of those things is to try and be a good human being no mater how hard that may be. I’ve recently decided (with James wanting it too) to become a stay at home mum. James has very kindly decided he will be the working parent while I raise our son at home. While I miss working and the excitement my job brought me sometimes I do truly love being a stay at home mum and house wife. Since staying at home I’ve really been able to find my hobby which is blogging and I am really starting to enjoy it. My blog is about anything that pops into my head really from recipes to being completely honest with how parenting has changed my life and things like my mental health. I feel things shouldn’t be filtered and people should be able to see more of the real life that other mums and people go through too. From my struggle with some of my illnesses too things we get up to everyday I’ll be blogging and I hope you’ll be joining, reading and getting involved as I’d love to meet other like minded individuals like me that have had enough of these blogs that have one specific genre and only show the perfect side of life. So stay tuned and click the follow button for more!

It is called co-parenting not baby sitting.

It is called co-parenting not baby sitting.

One thing i find quite often since having a child is the gender roles women and men are placed into. The man goes out to work and is the one with the least responsibilities for the child while the woman is expected to not only look after the child but the dad/ house and entire world all of the sudden. Don’t get me wrong there are dads out there that are not hands on dads, who see it as the mothers job to look after the child/ them and that may work for some family’s. But i feel it is a awful amount of stress to put on someone.

When we planned having Elijah we always knew we would be a team. I have always said we are team and so has James. When he was born we have always been equal in what we do as much as we can. Ever since the early days James spending time with his son would be referred to as baby sitting. People would say to me when i was at work ” oh is the dad baby sitting?” or if James took Elijah out just them two for some bonding time the comments ” i see your baby sitting” or “i see you got left with the baby” is said. Why is the world still so sexist? I’m still a big believer in the fact that mum and dads should be equal.

I didn’t have a dad growing up until i was about 9 so having just one parent i missed out and longed for so much growing up. I was jealous of people spending time with their dads or people being walked to school by their dads. It was just the little things like when my brothers were born hearing them having dad (stepdad) read to them at night reminded me on how much i missed out on. So i guess that is why now its really important to me and to James that we do things together and make memories together aswell as having our own time with our son and specific jobs.

One thing i find is such a touchy subject is nappy changing. For some reason people make such a big deal about it. Its poop and pee clean it and get over it. Nobody bats a eyelid if the mum changes the nappy and immediately hands the baby to the mum to change a dirty nappy even if the dad is in front of them. We have had comments made about how James changes his nappy like it’s my job to change every nappy he ever fills. I just want to put it out there that yes a man can change a nappy. It is not weird. It is not for girls. It is taking care of your child. I also have found numerous times when we have gone out and James has offered to change Elijah nappy that he cannot do it because toilets in public are not always accessible to men changing a nappy. This means that there is no where to change a baby other that inside a womans changing room and that is the womans job. James has had to come home early once when he took Elijah to a play centre because there was no mens nappy changing facility so Elijah had to sit in a soiled nappy. This is so wrong on so many levels i can’t even comprehend why all places don’t just pay the few quid for a extra table in a mens toilet or disabled toilet. I always think as well what about those poor dads that have lost their partner/ or in a relationship with a man and cannot change their baby it must be absolutely terrible for them.

Taking time to do things like bath time, reading, playing games, dressing should be done by both parents so that they get to enjoy both of your company at different times or together.I cannot ever be more proud of James than when he is looking after Elijah. It is so lovely to see him and Elijah doing things together and Elijah really enjoys it. James is so hands on and i couldn’t imagine him not being. It’s nice that Elijah goes to daddy for things as much as mummy and can be soothed by the both of us.

Maybe one day we will live in a world where men are thought as much as a parent as the mum but for now we don’t. Hopefully things will change a bit more one day and dads will step up a bit more when they don’t if there wasn’t so much stigma around it. I want to raise Elijah to know its okay to be a man and look after a child and develop good relationships with his kids when they’re older if he chooses to have them. With that i’m off to go quietly sob at the fact that James came home from work early and Elijah screaming yeah that he woke him up from his nap not me and its the cutest thing ever while i type this out proving my point that daddys you mater!

The importance of adventuring the world with my toddler.

The importance of adventuring the world with my toddler.

Once they learn to walk there is nothing mote toddlers love to do more than explore. If you’re noticing your child getting increasingly more grouchy sometimes a trip out can be fun for everyone. One thing i find my toddler loves to do is explore. He loves to now pick up sticks and throw them and look for and point out all the animals. He also loves kicking around and throwing leaves in the air under a tree which has started to loose their leaves ready for the winter. Autumn is definitely my favourite time of the year and not just because of the return of gingerbread syrups and eating lots of comfort food. No i love autumn because of the temperature its cool enough you’re not hot or cold when going for a walk. You enjoy having a cup of tea after to enjoy where you’re warmed up and have that cosy warm inside feeling instead of being a hot sweaty mess. You get to wear cosy boots and wellies where you don’t get dirt under your toes of the sandels that look great on but have no practicality at all.

I always like to take my little boy for walks because that’s what me and his dad do. We always have loved walks and i want to teach him to love the world we are in. I like to go out and show him trees and wildlife. I like to point out pretty plants and views and tell him what they are. I want him to have a active life where we can instead of sitting around which we sometimes have no choice to do. I like to go to different places so we don’t get bored off the same view all the time.

Elijah loves running so we like to go and take him somewhere he can run loose and of course we chase as fast as we can to keep up with him. We normally take his trike with us so that if he is tired we can push him in his trike which he loves. We are quite lucky for where we live as there are lots of parks, nature walks, lakes, meadows and beaches short drives or walks away so we get to travel to new exciting places.

Walks are good for the well being and mind. Not only will you destress you’ll also feel more healthy. Its a activity of exercise for your toddler and you wont even know it! Talking toddlers through walks and pointing out things and chatting as you walk through is a great chance to learn. They’ll learn what things are and also chat to you as they go through with no distractions. It’s the perfect place for learning and taking in the full magnitude of the worlds beauty.

Sometimes we like going for walks to parks or places with play areas as there is nothing more our little guy likes more than completely going nuts. He loves climbing and going down the slide shouting “WEE” as loud as he possibly can. He giggles at high he goes on a slide and does a lot of exciting faces as he gets too excited using a toy stearing wheel on a model bike/ car or boat. We have one behind our house we try to go to regularly when hes good to have a run about and yes i mean behind my house i could jump my fence and be on the park. We like to spice things up tho we like to go to different parks so its different and the adventure is new. We like to try new places so it feels more like a day out and we will go with friends or weekends with daddy. The best thing about going for a walk is its a great bonding experience and memory making activity. Something ill always remember from my childhood is spending time in parks going for walks with friends and family. The fact that its free is just a plus!

A bit of self indulgent shopping can be therapeutic!

A bit of self indulgent shopping can be therapeutic!

In a bid to try and relax I went to catch up with a old friend and ended up splurging a little too much in town but who cares. Retail therapy is good for the soul sometimes! There’s nothing better than looking around shops choosing what you like and don’t and trying something new.

So today I brought my usual indulgement which is my shampoo and conditioner from the body shop. I love this range and it REALLY has made a difference to my hair it’s thicker and less greasy and smells great. It’s also softer and I could even say perhaps even a little less frizzy! I also buy the garnier ultimate blends masks in banana and coconut and shear and mix them up so I don’t get bored and hair feels so clean and bouncy when I have used it. It’s a little more pricey than a bottle of Asda’s own head and shoulders but I love the stuff! While in body shop I got carried away and brought a strawberry gift set on sale for myself and have already used 3 of the items and smell glorious!

A trip to boots where I probably should be banned from was next. I always end up buying a ridiculous amount of make up or skincare from there and guess what today was the skincare day. My most recent buy of some natural face scrub had been scratching my skin so I needed to buy something a bit better. I brought an old favourite I hadn’t used since perhaps high school so I thought I’d give the range ago again so I brought their grapefruit daily face scrub and their face wash from the same range. I also got their spot defence toner for when my toner runs out which is imminent (not really it’s full). I also saw two face peel masks on sale so I obviously had too buy two. Obviously.

After I’d come home we popped to shops to collect Elijahs Halloween costume we’d ordered in so required me buying chocolate and some new pjs. They’re very cosy and required me to pamper myself in bath using my new products and use some body lotion I found at the back of my cupboard that I’d cleared to make way for more crap I really didn’t need.

It definitely makes me feel better when I’ve brought new things and I get excited to try them so whenever I feel down I buy myself a little something. From a Fredo at the corner shop to a new outfit it can make you feel good and excited to use what you’ve brought!

What to feed a fussy toddler for lunch so they eat!

What to feed a fussy toddler for lunch so they eat!

As a mother I love talking to other mothers and getting advice on things, one of the most important things for me is what do you feed your fussy child? Every child eats different of course but sometimes you can pick up on what others eat and try and change it around to fit you and your child.

I try not to put to much pressure on meals as if he doesn’t eat or isn’t hungry I don’t want him to associate food with negativity when I want him to be a foody like his mummy and daddy! So today’s lunch was a dunker box. Breadsticks or crackers with spreadable cheese is always a favourite as he loves to dip! A cheese string. For little mouths cut up! A yogurt which is good for dairy needs! Hand full of raspberries and chopped mango. A glass of water to teach him we drink at meal times to get more fluid intake! And a slice of teddy bear ham he gobbled up earlier!

Some things I give at lunch time he enjoys.

  • Wraps.
  • Wrap pizza (outing tomato paste and cheese on a wrap and putting in over for three minuites to melt the cheese).
  • Toast
  • Toastier.
  • Pasta.
  • Rice.
  • Cous cous.
  • Shredded chicken.
  • Food that looks like things.
  • Breadsticks.
  • Cheese crackers.
  • Cheese straws.
  • Beans on toast or spaghetti.
  • Jam sandwiches.

We try to change it up everyday so he doesn’t get bored of what he’s eating which he seems to enjoy we do same for dinner times too!

Super quick and healthy Bolognese

Super quick and healthy Bolognese

Something everyone in my family loves is a bolognese so if we’re cooking for just us three or quite a few it’s a sure crowd pleaser. I make everything from scratch that goes into it so I can have it for little babies that done round ours and my son loved when weaning!

What goes in it?

  • Peppers 3 different colours a yellow, green and red.
  • Onion.
  • Mushrooms.
  • 2 garlic cloves.
  • Tinned tomato’s.
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato purée.
  • Oregano a table spoon.
  • Basil a tablespoon.
  • Sprinkle of chilli flakes or more if you like spicy.
  • Chives a sprinkle or one diced stick.
  • Mince 250 grams for saucy or 500 for little sauce or quorn.
  • Garlic granules a sprinkle.
  • Vegetable oil or 1 cal spray which I use.

Method:

Cut all your veg, the smaller the better especially the mushroom if you dice it picky eaters who don’t eat mushroom (but aren’t allergic).Shove everything in pan then oil or spray on top and mix in. Add your mince ( I use 5% as it’s healthier and tastes so much better). Stir and heat on high till browned then drain juices. When juices are drained shove in your tinned tomato’s. Add purée and seasoning. Stir around until fully spread and keep on high stirring every few minutes. If you’re making pasta with this the time to do is now and when then pastas done the mince is too! The mince and sauce will combine and everything will mix nicely and it should be done in ten minutes. Simply serve and anything you don’t eat can be frozen and defrosted and reheated later! Perfect way to get toddlers to eat there vegetables as they can’t see the coloured veg as well covered in a tomatoey sauce! The meal is quite cheep and all veg and mince can be brought for about a fiver in aldi except the spices but they’re cheep enough and last many different meals!

Trip to Jimmy’s farm!

Trip to Jimmy’s farm!

We’re quite lucky to leave in a countryside town. They’re no shortages of beautiful countryside walks, farms and animals if you have a look about nature. We’re also very lucky to live quite near by (ten minute drive) to Jimmy’s farm! If you live in the uk it’s probably one of the most famous little farms there is. Jimmy the owner is friends with Jamie Oliver and has had a few tv shows.

It’s a lovely little farm that’s spread out. The animals all seem as happy as they can be at a farm and there is plenty to see and do. I would rate this probably one of the most toddler friendly places to go as there is so much for them and children to do. It’s not overly expensive either and there’s plenty of homey shops and cafes. The restaurant sells the best sausage and mash I have ever had! The pens are quite spaced out so lots of room to run around and no crowding on busy days. There’s lots of different pens with different animals. You can tell the farmers really look after their animals and clean up constantly as it doesn’t have that horrible farm smell you get when you go to a farm and you’re not having to watch your feet for animal poop!

The play areas are quite nice there’s a sandpit with a pirateship, sandcastle equipment, tires and a massive bouncy pillow for kids to jump on aswell as little slides. There’s also a really big play frame for kids too and more play equipment. There’s a little snack shed next door to play bits so can buy little bits for sitting round watching kiddos play. There’s also a little animal trail where you look for statues of animals and make dens with sticks. There’s a hobbit house complete with toy utensils perfect for little ones. The place is very inclusive aswell and has BSL signs for each animal to teach children the signs too aswell as hell those who are deaf! Plenty of space to run round too! There’s a little picnic area with pretend cars and tractors kids can get in and pretend to drive.

Some of the animals that we could see!

  • Ponys
  • Donkeys
  • Ducks
  • Chickens
  • Tortoises
  • Birds
  • Emus
  • Ostrich
  • Goats
  • Sheep
  • Wallabies
  • Pigs
  • Cows
  • Butterfly house
  • Lizards
  • Snakes
  • Crocodiles
  • Reindeer
  • Llamas
  • Bunny’s
  • Meerkats
  • Camels

Overall a lovely day out and somewhere we go again and again. If you’re ever in Suffolk and want to see a farm this is for you!

A letter to my little guy at 22 months.

A letter to my little guy at 22 months.

Sitting here in bed with you watching hey duggee for the millionth time I feel so lucky to be able to spend my mornings with you. I love that you insist on cuddling close or putting a foot or hand on me to let me know that you are still there when your lost in the tv world. I love how kind you are becoming, I love that you love to spend time with friends and family and share your toys without any prompt. I love that you are so eager to share your knowledge and show other children and people what you have found and learnt yourself. I so love watching how your mind grows everyday, how everyday you say new words and I am so proud of you for even trying. You’re favourite thing to do is play with yours jungle animals and include mummy and daddy in the play. I love how you throw your head back and shout roar and we have a animal noise shout off even at 6 am when you’ve just woken up (not even sorry neighbours).

I love that you tell me if you’d like to go out and tell me you would like to go in a car or a bus which means go out. I love that when we go out you’re always so happy just to if left the house even if just to go to the shops. You tell me what you can see and get so excited even by the fat ginger cat that try’s to steal your buggy when we walk. You’re totally crazy and full of energy when we go soft okay or the park but you never want to be too far from me and I watch you look for me and happily shout mummy and run for me smiling when you get lonely.

Watching films and tv series something I’ve always do with my own finally happens. You will let me cuddle you for more than a second and my heart feels full once more while we watch the lion king AGAIN or something else. I enjoy how you play with toys differently. We used to just hold and look at cars but now we race them and push them and their buttons. We colour together now and use stickers and different colours now too! We play with okay dough and you will make shapes and play with the tools and not get bored and want to run around holding a blue ball for a hour screaming if taken off you. We use your toy kitchen and make fake food together and then you share with your guests when the come over and show them how to cook too. Animals are now given voices and people and not just something to run and hold now.

Even now as I lay here planning you and your best friends joint birthday party for two months time I’m still in shock you will be two. You may be already exhibiting the signs of the terrible twos but even when you have rolled around screaming all day over a toy, I will always miss you the second I put you to bed and check on you several times just to watch you sleep and kiss your sleepy head. How I wish time would slow down so I could enjoy you a little more.