When Ebony was little, I realised I couldn’t go back to work. The commute was too long, work was too far away, and I hated the idea of being away from Ebony for so much of the week. It wasn’t an easy decision to make because I loved my job and really felt like I was making a difference in the world. But, when I became a mama, my world got smaller, and that little baby girl was really all that mattered.
Shortly after I made that decision, Ebony got pneumonia. It wasn’t really that serious, but it was pretty scary, and I felt really glad that I was home with her and not stuck on the other side of Manchester. I’m really appreciative that I can stay home with Ebony when she’s poorly, that I don’t have to give her a quick kiss before running out of the door. And it wasn’t an easy and obvious solution for me to stay home, we had to make sacrifices financially in order for me to stay home. But it’s always been worth it. Even when all of my DINKY friends (double income, no kids yet) were going on amazing holidays, perfecting their homes and showcasing new dresses each time we met up.
I started working as a pregnancy and parenting writer and have now been happily doing that for three years. I love what I do. I am fascinated by pregnancy, birth and parenting, and love nothing more than hearing about other women’s experiences. I love the gentle parenting site I write for. I love the ease of working from home, and the fact I never, ever have to fight for a seat on a sweaty, miserable commuter train. I love that I control how much work I do each month and that I can easily take a day off to get to the beach or play in the snow.
And, most importantly, I love that I can be there for Ebony when she needs me. If she’s ill, I don’t have to ring work and try and negotiate a day off, I can just stay home with her (and feel only moderately stressed about the work I should really be doing). It doesn’t happen often because she only ever seems to catch colds, but when it does, it’s nice to spend a day on the sofa with her.
A couple of Saturdays ago, Laurie took Ebony to a birthday party. I was in the bath when they got back (I am always in the bath. It is a side effect of the pregnancy), and Ebony came straight in and puked up a lot of chocolate into the toilet. I thought this was because Laurie had let her eat two packets of chocolate buttons and a cake (what sort of person doesn’t think this is an excessive amount of sugar for a four year old?!), and she seemed fine for the rest of the night.
The next day, Laurie took Ebony to Dunelm Mill. The lovely folks over at Ocean Finance sent me a £50 voucher for Dunelm Mill so I could treat my house to a little bit of love this Valentine’s Day. Our house is a funny place, I love the kitchen but it’s still not really finished. It’s just finishing touches left to do, but we just haven’t got round to them yet (see above for the bit about making financial sacrifices for me to stay home. One of those sacrifices came in the form of a new kettle and toaster to match my beautiful kitchen. Sob).
The rest of the house still has a long way to go, and I know it will take us years to get it all done. I’m really hoping we’ll be able to sort out our bedroom before the baby arrives in August. It’s definitely the worst room in the house (think 1970s built in wardrobes), and I really don’t want to be stuck breastfeeding all night staring at those magnolia walls. As a step in the right direction, I decided to spend the voucher on something for the bedroom, to take us just a little bit closer to my dream of having a nicer room. We decided to get some wooden blinds, I know, that’s not massively exciting, but it really is if you could see what we were using before (I can’t tell you here, because it will make you all feel too sad for me, but, erm, it wasn’t wooden blinds).
So, Laurie and Ebony headed down to Dunelm Mill to pick up some white hardwood blinds for our bedroom window. Ebony said her legs were tired, so Laurie picked her up to carry her through the shop. And then she threw up down his jumper. Like, not down the front of the jumper, which would have been bad enough, but down the neck hole. When he came home, he had a necklace of encrusted vomit. She also threw up on the floor a bit (you’re welcome, Dunelm Mill). So, Laurie brought her home, where she immediately fell asleep in my lap. There is a 48 hour rule at nursery, and Ebony managed to throw up again on Tuesday so ended up having four whole days off thanks to this sickness bug.
I was having pretty bad morning sickness at the time, so we spent our days watching each other vomit into the toilet. Ebony likes to provide a running commentary to my sickness and sometimes leans so far over the toilet to peek in that I can no longer be sick into it without spraying her head.
I was probably feeling the worse I have felt this pregnancy, so it wasn’t exactly an ideal time to have Ebony want extra attention. I mostly tried to convince her to nap during the day with me,and encouraged her to play alone when she was awake. We also played a lot of boardgames. So, I probably wasn’t the best caregiver, but I’m still glad I got to be there. Even if it means I’m now four days behind on my work. Aaaand breathe.