Pregnancy & Motherhood

Its never ok to bring your children to work

Baby Office

I have to admit, before having my son, I was not maternal. Kids were grand, but unless I had some family or emotional connection to them, I could take them or leave them. I didn’t find them all so cute. I didn’t like looking at pictures of them, and unless the story of your kid has a funny punch line, I didn’t want to hear it.

Some of that is still true, but I have softened a bit now that I have my own boring stories and pictures to retaliate with.

When I worked in a large office, every so often somebody who was out on maternity leave would stop in to show off their baby. The office would stop for ten minutes and we would all look and congratulate the new mom, but then we would go back to work, and she would understand that it was time for her to get on with the business that brought her to the office in the first place – usually it was to meet her manager to confirm her return date and then go for lunch with her work friends so they could fill her in on the gossip she had missed.

At no other time did babies or children attend the office.

So I was horrified when Nicola Cassidy of in guest blog on said she brought her baby with her to new job’s strategy meeting. Either that mom has a very different baby from mine, or she attends very different meetings.

For me, outside of work, my son comes everywhere with me. He is put in the car seat and we run errands, meet friends, whatever. He is a docile and easily amused young soul. But even when I meet friends now with him, it’s not the same as when I do without.

When he is there he demands attention, whether he means to or not. I’ll be chatting and he will suddenly need changing, so I will have to leave the table to do that. Or we will be getting to a good part of a story and he will bang the table with a toy and the train of thought will be lost. Babies demand attention, and, for most people, it is in our hard-wiring to give it.

So bringing a baby to a business meeting is a big no-no for me. You are not getting the best from the meeting, and nor can the people you are meeting. So unless the meeting is to sign the baby up to a modelling agency where the agent has to look the young tot in the eye, why have them there?

Perhaps it’s because I was raised by a working Mom, who was raised by a working Mom, I have these opinions. They very clearly separated home life from work life. My Mum and Grandma were different in work than they were at home. In work my Mum was a forthright decision maker, organised and focused on detail; management material. These qualities would have been quickly undermined if any of her employers witnessed her squabble with a four year old who just poured jam all over her baby sister to see if she would taste any better.

So for me it’s important the two remain separate. I have no doubt that my son will grow to be a productive member of the corporate world, but until it’s time for him to get his work experience, he will be staying home for now.

When are you having the next


If there was such thing as Maternity Ward bingo* this would be the big winning square in the middle – that is, how soon a mother is asked “When are you having the next?” after giving birth.

The baby is almost fresh from the womb, being cleaned and the family notified, when some idiot pipes up “oh you can’t leave them on their own – you’ll have to get them a little brother or sister, a little friend.” As if you can pop down to Argos and order one over the counter.

Right now, I would rather buy my son friends than have to grow him one. I would rather spoil him rotten, buy him every crazy gimmick, every overpriced toy that comes along, so all the other kids with several siblings want to play with his new toys and hopefully by extension him (in this plan I’m hoping he won’t be that bright, so it might take him several years to figure out that these are not real friends).

I have a friend who has three under the age of five, and before I had mine I had no idea what a feat of human resilience she was exhibiting on a daily basis by not hiding under her bed and hoping they would all go away. Watching her with those kids is like watching someone walk a tightrope – it’s amazing, it’s death-defying and I am definitely not having a go.

Every so often I think, maybe we could have another when my son is out of nappies, or maybe when he starts school, or maybe after he does his communion or confirmation. And then I realise that I will be too old at that stage to be even worrying about it. Worrying about how I would survive if I got a second non-sleeper, or how would I keep track of an energetic toddler while lugging around a big pregnant belly, or how would I survive another mind-numbing maternity leave?

And then I look at my son, curled up asleep, and think ‘ahhhhh aren’t babies so cute …..’

*Maternity Ward Bingo – if it’s not a thing, I’m going to invent it – a million dollar idea if ever I’ve heard one!

This article originally appeared on

Baptism: What to Expect on the Day


Army Recruitment Officers often patrol shopping malls and teen hangouts hoping to round up lost souls promising then a new adventure and a brighter tomorrow. In the Baptism scenario my mother was the ARO and my son’s soul was the one at risk. She encouraged us to sign up for a tour of duty promising several fun days out and salvation in the final days.

In hindsight she was very sketchy about the actual details. It had been over two decades since she had been in the trenches, so she told me to toddle into the community centre after Mass, where someone would show me the ropes.

If any of you have ever seen any army recruitment film you know that this is the part where the unsuspecting newbie gets an earful from a ruthless Staff Sergeant.   That didn’t actually happen to me, but only because I happened to meet a very nice lady down in the church who helped me with everything. As far as my mams help was concerned I could have met Platoons Staff Sergeant Barnes, and had a very different outcome.

Just in case the personnel at your local church are a little on the psychotic unhelpful side of religious leaders, here is a little information to help you find your way.

The process is as follows

  1. Ring up the baptism committee (number is on the parish website usually) – they will arrange a meeting to meet you and the baby and get some details from you (like the birth cert). Both parents can attend, but are not required. Godparents do not go.
  2. The baptism committee arrange a welcome meeting for you and the other babies getting christened that month. It’s a meet & greet with a prayer. Both parents can attend, but are not required. Godparents do not go.
  3. The Christening is scheduled at a date and time, and the Welcoming is scheduled at a date and time.
  4. The Welcoming is where you introduce the baby at a regular mass to the rest of the congregation (because the baptisms these days are just the families). This is usually the Sunday before the Christening.
  5. Day of the Christening:
    1. What you need: 1 white candle, 1 white shawl, 1 baby
    2. Show up to the church early – the baptism committee will explain how things go that morning, so being there early helps that
    3. The parents and godparents sit together with the baby up at the front, the rest of the family sit together further back
    4. Priest welcomes everyone and does a bit of mass. The only things you need to watch for are
      1. Priest puts oil on the baby’s head and chest
      2. Godfathers are required to light a candle
  • Priest calls the parents to the baptismal font for the christening
  1. Godmothers drape the Christening shawl afterwards
  1. It’s totally fine to feed the baby, amuse the baby, change the baby during the ceremony (the facilities are usually around the bathrooms). Anyone who thinks otherwise has clearly never met a baby – they don’t wait for service.
  2. Delegate photography duties to somebody sensible. You do not want someone who thinks this is their chance to create that abstract portfolio they always wanted, or someone whose finger will be in every photo. You also don’t want someone who will get in the priest’s way, or who has other duties to preform (such as being the parent, godparent or grandparent).
  1. Afterwards one parent has to fill out a book giving the details of the baby, parents and godparents. This is usually the time a ‘voluntary donation’ is given – going rate seems to be between €50 – €100.

This articles originally appeared on

Baptism 101: The ‘What to Wear’ Part


The baptism is usually the first formal outing for Mammy and Baby after the birth. The urge to go old-school and get the hair did, nails polished, face painted is understandable, that’s how you always got ready for an event in those hazy lazy pre-baby days. But now there is a severe lack of time, interest and energy on your side, plus a baby for organise to the event too. So here are a few things to consider as you plan the outfits.

Clothes for junior

In my opinion the baby should wear some actual clothes. Babygrows are fine, but it’s a big day out, you will probably get a new guna, so it’s nice to get baby spruced up into some actual clothes. Nothing too adventurous but a jumper and trousers or cardigan and skirt could be cute.

White is traditionally what babies wear. There is no rule or restriction, just a guideline, which you can break if you like, but most people don’t. At our son’s christening one little girl had pale pink tights under a white dress with a white cardigan and a pink bow in her ‘hair’, super cute!

However, what shocked me at our son’s christening was the number of babies sporting flouncy satin numbers which would rival a wedding dress for the amount of lace and sparkle – and these were on the boys. I know they sell them for boys, I know Prince George wore something similar, but seriously, no boy-child will thank you for this in the future. A jumper and a pair of trousers are fine.

If you happen to be in Dublin christening outfits are sold in Freckles, 1 Liffey Street, D2. Behind the communion dresses and satin hazmat suits are some cute little options for boys and girls.

One thing to bear in mind while choosing the outfit is that it has to be something that you can keep a tight hold of. Your baby is dangled over a stone christening font for several minutes and there is a certain amount of wriggling when the water is poured, make sure there is nothing restricting your grip. With the whole family watching, this is not the time for a mishap.

Also, the priest needs access to the child’s chest and head to put oils on them, so make sure access is possible.

You will also need a white christening gown or shawl. This is a glorified white blanket that goes around the baby after the actual baptism. Ours was meant to be a family heirloom that has been passed down through the generations, but we couldn’t find it on the day (typical) so I used a knitted blanket instead. It was perfect.

Clothes for you

It’s nice to get dressed up, and it’s nice to look pretty, but keep in mind that you will spend most of the day standing and holding the baby, so make sure whatever you choose allows you to do this freely.

During the ceremony you are required to bring the baby to the font (up and down steps) and to stand holding the baby. So although it is tempting to return to your former fashions (particular if you have lost the baby weight) on this day you may have to stay in Yummy-Mummy mode.

The idea is to impress without having to put in too much effort while being comfortable all day. My body shape changed entirely after having my son. I am much bigger than I was before, I have boobs, a belly and junk in my trunk. Styles that were nice on me before now don’t suit me at all. So give yourself plenty of time to try things on when shopping. I found that if I went to shops in the middle of the week, early in the morning, they were quiet enough to drag the buggy to the cubicle with me, blocking several cubicles around me. I would never have tried this on a busy Saturday.

Also I was not shy about asking shop assistants for help. They know their stock and they can see your shape, sometimes they have great suggestions. Plus on a dull mid-week morning they are happy to do anything to kill time to their next break. I would recommend making an appointment with a personal shopper, but I would have found it difficult to arrive on time on any given day in those early months, so sometimes it’s just about keeping it simple and getting the help you can when you eventually get to the shops.

As a side note, unless you are extremely confident in heels this is not a time for stilettos. You will be required to walk on all sorts of surfaces with a wriggling baby throwing you off balance. Why add the further complication of walking on your tippy-toes.

This article first appeared on

An existentialist crisis for a non-believer


I envy both true atheists and believers alike. They know where they stand and they are not for turning. It’s a little harder for us fuzzy fakers on the fence of religion.

I like to think of myself as a ‘spiritual being’ but a little like ‘conscious uncoupling’ – it’s just a just a fancy way of saying ‘God seems like he might be a bit of alright, but I can’t commit to hanging out every Sunday.’ Also, these days, I think he is getting a few things wrong, but chastising your deity regularly is probably not the way to endear yourself to them. Nobody likes a nag who always knows better, and I don’t need a pissed-off God working against me right now.

Having being dragged up Catholic, for me going to mass is a little like visiting an elderly relative who repeats the same stories over and over again. However, I recognise the reality of the world I live in, and while it’s fine for me to be ambivalent towards religion, my ambivalence is not okay for my son. The good school in my area is Catholic and their enrollment policy requires a baptism certificate. Sure, I could argue against the discrimination with an army of solicitors, but it is cheaper to just get him Christened.

There are a few advantages to this religious flip-flop:

  • The Grandparents who are true believers will be trilled as their grandson’s immortal soul is no longer going to hell.
  • My son gets to do those other rites of passage, such as communion and confirmation, and I can’t wait to see him in a cute little suit.
  • Each rite of passage comes with a day out – and an excuse for the extended family to get together.
  • My son gets Godparents, traditionally the unfortunate sods who gets custody of my son should the husband and I get knocked over by a bus, but who also give enhanced presents at Birthdays and Christmas.

However, these side benefits are not my main reason for choosing a religious upbringing for him, my main reason for choosing it is to bore him to death by it. I feel that he is less likely to be hypnotised by the lure of a cult if somewhere in the back of his mind he knows ALL religions eventually involve a boring repetitive ceremony that has to be endured, when you’d rather be doing something more exciting. Nothing demystifies a charismatic spiritual leader quicker than realising he has a faint whiff of Catholicism about him, but one would need a certain familiarity with Catholicism to recognise this before you hand over your life savings.

Now comes the hard part – does this mean I will actually have to drag myself to church on a Sunday so he becomes familiar with the ritual? Do I have to learn the new words for mass and acknowledge that Vatican II happened? Or can I wait until he is four or five (or maybe six or seven) before I start – it’s not like he is going to remember the early years anyway, and it’s not like the Catholic Church are closing for business any time soon. Or will he become strangely intrigued by the sacraments if it’s something we start later in his life?

True believers and atheists don’t have to contend with these sorts of questions.

This article originally appeared on

Six Signs Your Son Is Plotting Against You


For the most part, it’s me and him against the world. We are Winnie the Poo’s Kanga and Roo (wherever Kanga goes, Roo goes too). However, like a newly rich billionaire still married to his high-school sweet-heart, I get the impression that, although he is currently satisfied with his set-up, he is only biding his time until he can upgrade his Mammy-Model.

There are a few little tell-tale signs that he is plotting his way out of this family and into another:

1. Plans to lure in another

No lady can pass us, anywhere, without my son beaming up at her, gurgling sweet-nothings. If the lady happens to be blond, then all the tricks come out – clapping hands, coughing for attention, handing over his half eaten sticky rusk (at ten months his repertoire is limited). It’s as though he has figured out he wants a Mamma in his life, but maybe a blond one would better suit his lifestyle.

2. Plans to ditch the current model

It’s an old trick but a reliable one, if he stays awake for several consecutive nights, Mammy eventually breaks and call in reinforcements; the Grandmothers, at which point he will sleep the whole night through. This is a two prong approach because not only does it cause the Grandmothers to give unsolicited sleep advice to the Mammy which makes her want to kill people because she is so tired, it also makes Mammy question if she is a little crazy and was maybe doing something wrong.

3. Closing the door behind Mammy

My son is a speedy crawler and loves to be playing on the ground, so as I do housework, he crawls around with his toys and generally amuses himself. However lately he has found a new way to amuse himself; he will wait until I leave the room then quickly crawl over to close the door behind me, and then jam his fingers under the door so I can’t open it again. This can amuse him for hours, especially if I get stuck climbing in the window to rescue him – that slapstick is a level even Mr Bean couldn’t reach.

4. Wild hysteria when the hairdryer is switched on

This is a plot to keep me indoors, because this hysteria only ever seems to coincide with a planned night out – there aren’t enough nights out to test this theory fully, but I think I have seen a correlation. I think there is a level of subterfuge here which borders on genius (evil genius obviously, but genius nonetheless), because on one level it appears as though he loves me and doesn’t want me to leave, but on another level it’s almost as if he can smell the crazy and thinks ‘if I keep her locked in this house for just one day more, I think she will actually crack’.

5. Pushing wheeled objects through the banisters onto the stairs as I am carrying bundles of laundry

This, I feel, lacks the panache of some of his other tactics, but it is nonetheless effective, efficient, and it has the added benefit of ‘looking like an accident’. Touché son.

6. Playing up for the Health Nurse

My son can crawl, stand and is starting to take some steps. He won’t eat solid foods and he can’t sleep properly, but forward motion is not one of our difficulties, until of course we are called somewhere official for assessment, then it’s as though he is made of jelly. He rolls his head around my shoulder and wails at the top of his lungs while snots and tears merge in a river of destitute agony. He looks like an advertisement for Barnardos and in his head he has got to be thinking ‘no health worker can ignore this, I’m outta this family, smell ya later Mammy!’. Unfortunately for him our lovely Health Nurse has seen it all before – she gives me an encouraging talk and tells me to come back next week when everything will be fine. I swear there was a look of sheer disbelief in my son’s eyes as I was allowed leave that office with him still in tow.

This article originally appeared on

Working Mum’s Guilty Pleasure

working mom

I returned to work the last week in January, when my son was just 7 months old, and like every parent my feelings about it were mixed.

On one hand, I was delighted to be back in the corporate world. I have a good job which I enjoy. I don’t save lives or improve the environment, I don’t save whales or better mankind, but it is a useful job, and I am good at it. It brings me a sense of achievement and accomplishment. I get done what others struggle to do, and I do it with style. I’m not defined by it, but I like my job.

Then the other side of the coin swings around to punch me in the gut. As a new Mum, when I say those things out loud I think ‘that is selfish me talking’. That is me talking about what I need to feel like a happy human in the world, and really I should be thinking what my son needs to be a happy human in the world, and the guilt starts.

I feel guilty that I enjoy talking to adults, moving things along, helping on projects, more than I enjoy singing the Wheels on the Bus to my son for the hundredth time that week. I enjoy getting a lunch hour where I can walk the dog, listen to my podcast, chat to a friend or have some alone-time, and I feel guilty enjoying that time without him. I enjoy challenging my mind, stretching for solutions and I feel guilty because I know I was getting bored as a stay-at-home mom.

But is all this guilt fair? When I look at my son and ask – does he really miss me for the eight hours I am without him? Does he feel abandoned without his Mama around him 24/7? The answer comes back; probably not. In fact, as crushing as it is to admit, he seems totally happy without me.

Sometimes I’m a little put-out that he seems so happy without me! – but really it’s not surprising. He is a happy, healthy little wobbler. He is not a helpless newborn, I think I would feel very differently if he was, but he is at a stage where he is playing independently, is getting social with others, and so long as he has someone giving him love and attention, it really does not matter that it’s not his Mum.

So, because he seems happy as he ever did, I put the guilt in a box labelled ‘unhelpful feelings caused by outside pressure’ and allow myself be happy to be back at work.

I know this is not most people’s reaction to returning to work. Most people say that they hate being back away from their children. And for people who have to commute for long hours and for whom returning to work means that they will not see their baby awake during the week, I can understand how this separation is gut wrenching. But I think a lot of new Mums feel compelled to say they feel bad being back in work, because if they say they are delighted to be back it sounds like don’t enjoy motherhood, or worse, don’t love their baby as much as all the other mums who are distraught to be back.

Also, and I am going to say this plainly despite the controversy it might cause, but I also think a lot of women would rather not be in the corporate world. They have reached a stage in their life where they do not get a sense of fulfilment from their jobs, it is not where they want to be and they would rather be at home with their children. Unfortunately however they have bills to pay and they need to work, and so they do, but it is not where their heart is, and so this adds to the pain of leaving their children for the working day. Even if I could afford not to work, I think I would anyway. I do not think that is true of every woman (or indeed man) in the workplace.

Now, before I get a series of angry responses to this post, I want to raise one point: most Dads, if they are lucky, get two weeks paternity leave, and then they go back to work because someone has to pay the bills. Are they bad Dad’s for doing so? Aren’t they ‘leaving someone else to raise their kids’? Aren’t they ‘abandoning their children to baby-farms’? Most of people would say no, because they are leaving the baby with someone loving and safe while, as a responsible father, they are going out to the workplace to ensure they can provide the best possible for their family. So why is the same standard not applied to mothers?

Working Mums spend hours researching, interviewing, testing, comparing childcare options to find the best. Not just the ‘best for them’ (whatever that patronising phrase means), they find what they believe to be The. Best. Very few Mums (or Dad’s!) compromise when the safety or happiness of their children is in the offering. They go to work knowing that they have left their baby somewhere safe and loving (otherwise they would not leave them there), and now they are going to do their best in the workplace to ensure their family reap the rewards, just like the Dad’s. So why the double standard?

The New ‘Wheels on the Bus’

wheels on bus

Lullabies have long been used to prepare children for the world outside their nurseries. ‘Oh dear what can the matter be’ is not just about the inevitable confusion that arises from sending a young man ill prepared into a haberdashers store – it’s about young men been taken against their will to fight in the American Civil War. Ring-a-ring-a-rosy is a prime example of society’s way of remembering an awful event in history (the Black Death) and passing this memory on to our children through the hive mind.

Ring a ring a rosy (the red swellings that were the first sign you got it)
A pocket full of posy (a perfumed handkerchief people carried to ward off the dying stench of their loved ones)
A tis-shoo, a tis-shoo (you are getting sick now)
We all fall down (dead)

Knowing the meaning brings new horror when you hear bands of school children singing it at the top of their voices with glee.

With this in mind, while singing (butchering) The Wheels On The Bus I thought I would take the opportunity to prepare my son for his inevitable bus going journeys. As a veteran of the public transport service I feel I have a lot of life advice to hand on to the next generation.

We did the first three verses that everyone does – wheels on the bus going around, the wipers on the bus going swish, swish, swish and the horn on the bus going beep, beep, beep. At this point my technical knowledge of bus mechanics ran out, and if I am honest, my son’s genes mean that the odds are stacked greatly against him being a practical mechanically minded person, so we moved inside for a look in there.

The crazys on the bus mutter ‘get outta that garden’, ‘get outta that garden’, ‘get outta that garden’.
The crazys on the bus mutter ‘get outta that garden’ so we avoid them if we can.

The drunks on the bus smell really bad, smell really bad, smell really bad,
The drunks on the bus smell really bad, so we open a window if we can.

The hoilligans on the bus tear up the seats, graffiti their names, try and burn the lino,
The hoilligans on the bus tear up the seats, that’s why they’re the undesirables.

Junkies on the bus usually sit down the back, sit down the back, sit down the back,
Junkies on the bus usually sit down the back, so we don’t sit there.

Babies on the bus cry wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah,
Babies on the bus cry wah, wah, wah, and the Mammies pretend they can’t hear them.

The school kids on the bus shout and scream, shout and scream, shout and scream,
The school kids on the bus shout and scream, all day long

The teachers with the kids say at least there’s a pension, least there’s a pension, least there’s a pension,
The teachers with the kids say at least there’s a pension, all day long

Commuters on the bus don’t talk at all, avoid all eye contact, try not to touch,
Commuters on the bus don’t talk at all, and wish they were somewhere else

Mean old ladies try and hit you with their stick, hit you with their stick, hit you with their stick,
Mean old ladies try and hit you with their stick, so don’t sit downstairs at the front

Criminals on the bus try and pick your pockets, pick your pockets, pick your pockets,
Criminals on the bus try and pick your pockets, so make sure your wallet is safe.

Kids mitching school always get caught, always get caught, always get caught,
Kids mitching school always get caught, so make sure you don’t do it.
{This is more of a life lesson that a bus story, but it cannot be repeated enough}

In the middle up stairs is the safest place to sit, near the window, where it is not too hot,
In the middle up stairs is the safest place to sit, so try to go there.

If the bus is packed you will have to stand, try and find a pole, or sit on the stairs,
If the bus is packed you will have to stand, and that’s the worst journey of all.

Now that I think about it, maybe I’ll drive him to school when the time comes.

Love is ……. 17 years later

This Moment    +  17 years
This Moment + 17 years…

Public displays of affection are for those incapable of expressing love privately. Without exception my only reaction to having a bouquet of flowers delivered to my office is thinking ‘how will I get that lot home on the bus’ followed by ‘I wonder if it would be inappropriate to just leave them here’.

There was a period of time when my now husband would send me flowers after a fight, not to make up, but just so that I would have to carry them from the bus stop up our 4 flights of stairs. There is nothing quite like floral revenge.

I dread when it rolls around to valentines. After dating my husband for 17 years, a plastic covered rose or a sentimentally challenged card is not my idea of romance. For the first decade it was fine, I treasured cards and presents in a shoe box of memories. But then we moved house for the umpteenth time and I lost the box somewhere on the N3. So now I have 3 real and about 10 replica cards (showing what I think he might have written on the cards, from memory) just in case he ever looks. Or in case I need to prove that what a loving and sentimental wife I am. Although the only time I can think when I would need to prove that would be in a divorce court where some sort of payment was being worked out. So basically I am collecting loving memories from him to me so I can shove them up his ass later. Love isn’t dead, it’s busy collecting Exhibit A for a jury of its peers.

A box of chocolates doesn’t cut it either. This is not wartime Germany. If I want chocolates, I’ll add them to the supermarket shop, and a nice man with a van will deliver them to my door and then leave so I can eat them. No sharing. As Charlie Sheen says you pay the pros to leave.

It’s not that easy in the other direction either. I can’t imagine my husband real wants another aftershave that could melt through metal. Or my other go-to a CD (do they even make them anymore?!).

The last time I offered him :

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue,

Here is a free album, it’s from U2

He came back with

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue,

There is nothing as romantic as a day without you (two)

(he isn’t as good at rhyming as I am, but then I’ve got mad skills)

Now, I can see you thinking that we are veering back towards the divorce court here, but let me put this into context: we have a child.

Really if you are a parent it’s all I have to say on the matter for you to get it, but if you are not let me explain. Since our son was born the one commodity neither of us can procure for ourselves is time alone. Like blood, it cannot be borrowed or stolen, it has to be given. If one of us wants to be alone, the other has to agree to mind our son.

These days nobody seems as privileged to me as someone who causally mentions that they rolled out of bed around 12pm on Saturday and went into town for some breakfast and then to a movie. Forget the Porsche driving twats, or rings the size of tumors, the only status envy I have is for people who haven’t noticed that they spent 10 hours alone this week re-watching West Wing.

The other day my mother gave us both the most generous gift that we can receive right now – she offered to take our son overnight. We went out for dinner to a fancy restaurant at night, for the first time in seven months. This simple act we had taken so much for granted when we were just a two, was so precious to us now. We drank, we laughed, we were reminded that we are still very much in love, and on top of that nobody had to do the night feed. For us at the moment this is a gift beyond compare.

So now, as it rolls around to Valentines, and then into my birthday, and my husband inevitably asks ‘Oh love of my life, oh star that lights my sky, what thing can I bestow upon you as evidence of my eternal love and devotion’ (yup, he really talks like this) I have my answer ready: ‘Time, my sweet, a little bit of time’.

The New ‘If You Are Happy And You Know It’

clap handsI have what can only be described as a first world problem. My beautiful, adorable son loves to be sang to sleep. Awwhh. He likes to drink his bottle or suck a soother, lie in my arms and drift off to sleep. So cute.

A beautiful idyllic image, until you zoom a little closer to the situation and realise that (1) I cannot sing AT ALL so am probably turning him tone deaf with every passing nap-time and (2) he takes about a half hour to get into a really deep sleep from which he won’t wake when transferred to his cot.

(2) is the real problem area. I don’t know the words of many songs and those that I do are either have a banging beat making them unsuitable for lullabies or the modern lyrics about love-making make them unsuitable for my six-month old boy. That leaves me by and large with nursery rhymes which for the most part are about 6 or 10 lines long and take about two minutes to sing, so that is the same verse every two minutes for a half an hour until he goes to sleep. In some countries this could be used as a form of torture, and that fact that it comes in my off-key, occasionally squeaky voice adds a new level of horror. After six-months of this I am willing to tell anyone anything they want to know just to make it stop.

So I started to improvise. With the view that ‘every day should be a school day’ and knowing that nursery rhymes in the past have been used to prepare children for the world ahead of them I started to prepare my son for some of the appropriate actions to express emotion:

If you are happy and you know it clap your hands.

If you are happy and you know it clap your hands.

If you are happy and you know it, and you really want to show it.

If you are happy and you know it clap your hands.

So far so good. The next verse his singing dog told him was ‘If you are excited and you know it wag your tail’. Now I have an awful image of him at that weird pre-puberty age, seeing a girl that he likes and frantically waving his hips and arse from side to side, because he is excited to see her. Not a great start for any young man, so we changed it.

If you are excited and you know it give a big smile.

If you are excited and you know it give a big smile.

If you are excited and you know, and you really want to show it,

If you are excited and you know it give a big smile.

Then I thought this might also work out as a subtle sign language between us, so that he will be able to tell me what is going on with him in company, without actually having to say the words.

If you are confused and you know it scratch your head.

If you are confused and you know it scratch your head.

If you are confused and you know, and you really want to show it,

If you are confused and you know it scratch your head.


Then I thought, this might be an ideal time for a safety lesson (can never have enough of them subtly planted throughout his childhood).

If you are lost and you know it shout and scream.

If you are lost and you know it shout and scream.

If you are lost and you know, and you really want to show it,

If you are lost and you know it shout and scream.

And then I thought I could put in a few actions that would be important later in life.

If you are sad and you know it call your Mam.

If you are sad and you know it call your Mam.

If you are sad and you know, and you really want to show it,

If you are sad and you know it call your Mam.

And his Dad interjected with a little advice from the family firm

If your products are kinda crap, just rebrand,

If your products are kinda crap, just rebrand,

If they’re crap and you know it and you really want to show it,

If your products are kinda crap, just rebrand,

But I thought let’s not make his whole childhood a bit of a downer, let’s focus back on happier times.

If you are cheerful and you know it tell a joke,

If you are cheerful and you know it tell a joke,

If you are cheerful and you know, and you really want to show it

If you are cheerful and you know it tell a joke,

If you are joyful and you know it have a skip,

If you are joyful and you know it have a skip,

If you are joyful and you know, and you really want to show it

If you are joyful and you know it have a skip,

But remembering we are trying to put him to sleep I usually go back to:

If you are tired and you know it rub your eyes,

If you are tired and you know it rub your eyes,

If you are tired and you know, and you really want to show it

If you are tired and you know it rub your eyes,


If you are exhausted and you know if give a yawn,

If you are exhausted and you know if give a yawn,

If you are exhausted and you know, and you really want to show it

If you are exhausted and you know if give a yawn,

But as these sleepy times are never without their little moments

If you are over-tired and you know it arch your back uncomfortably and yell,

If you are over-tired and you know it arch your back uncomfortably and yell,

If you are over-tired and you know, and you really want to show it

If you are over-tired and you know it arch your back uncomfortably and yell,

If you are cross and you know it stamp your foot, really hard,

If you are cross and you know it stamp your foot, twice for emphasise

If you are cross and you know, and you really want to show it

If you are cross and you know it stamp your foot.

But as we always get there in the end

If you are conked out asleep lie very still,

If you are conked out asleep lie very still,

If you are conked out asleep, and no one better wake ya,

If you are conked out asleep lie very still,



At this point I lie him down in his cot, put on the monitor, creep out of the room and search for wine. It’s 12 o’clock somewhere, right?

Facts about First Time Motherhood

first time mother

A thesis on some of the finer points of first time motherhood. 

  1. The first 6 weeks are hell

There is no pretty way to dress it up, or tell it another way. And like Nam, you don’t know unless you were there.

Nobody talks about it. Nobody warns you. But for 6 weeks you might as well be living in Guantanamo Bay – there is sleep deprivation, the food is awful and you live in constant fear. Fear you will drop the baby. Fear they will stop breathing. Fear they will never stop crying. Fear your in-laws will never leave. Fear you will never want your in-laws to leave.

Some days it feels like your love for your baby is closer to Stockholm Syndrome – you love him, you know he doesn’t mean to hurt you, and yet, if you could hide him under the bushes without Social Services getting involved you might. Like Bosco’s magic door, people have no idea what is going on behind your front door, but just assume it’s likely to resemble a zoo.

But then it passes. Like dawn arriving, it’s silent and you don’t realise it’s happening until the darkness lifts and brightness returns. And then you forget it ever happened, like a horrific event your mind blocks it out and supressed it to your subconscious, which is the reason the world has middle and youngest children.

  1. It’s no longer creepy to watch somebody sleep

And to add to that – now watching someone sleep is a completely acceptable group activity.

Forget the TV, you and your partner will pass many a happy moment just lying on the couch or bed watching your little one sleep. Some of this is joy they are no longer crying, some of it is to watch that they keep breathing, but mostly it’s because you are too tired to do anything else. Anyone who drops by during this moment will probably just sit down beside you and join in the staring.

  1. You realise Queen Bey, Christina Aguilera, Britters, Lily Allen, Pink – all your pop icon Mums lied to you

Ladies who have sung about all the heartbreak and hardship in life. Ladies who have taken on everyone and everything, declared what was womanhood, and said it how it was. They have sang about cheating, lying, orgasms, drinking, going to work, watching other people going to work, being back-stabbed, going on a night out, sleeping around, traveling, everything and anything and sometimes about nothing at all. You name it – they have a tune about it, and how you will overcome it. But another human gets ripped from your Ya-Ya ….. nothing – just an empty space on the record.

You would think somewhere along the way they might have dropped a hint. Somewhere between waxing lyrical about how much they love their kids and declaring war on any challengers in their absence, you think they might have mentioned, oh by the way, getting pregnant is great and all, but childbirth is hell, and after that, your body looks like a deflated balloon and your spirit, well best not talk about it really, but we made it through somehow and you will too. Nowhere in their songs of motherhood is there the mention of cracked nipples, tracking the ratio of wet:dirty nappies, or the elation felt when the baby finally burps.

  1. You become strangely competitive

Milestone check-ups and Mother/Baby groups seem to bring out the crazy in the most stable of people. Mothers morph from the Relaxed Mom “ah-he-has-ten-fingers-and-ten-toes-sure-he-is-a-grand-little-baby” to Stepford Mom “my-baby-can-lunge-at-10-weeks-clearly-he-is-Mensa-material-and-Harvard-would-be-lucky-to-have-him”.

Parents know in their right minds that very few grown adults are incapable of lifting their head, or moving it to both sides, and yet, coming up to that milestone check, they are training those babies like they are trying out for the Olympics. There is a daily schedule of practice time and rest time to be strictly followed. And once the baby passes the test? well, books back in the bag until it’s time to cram for the next one.

  1. Dirty nappies are no longer totally gross

You become very comfortable with a little baby sitting on your knee filling that nappy practically to the brim, because you know if it is coming out, there is enough going in the other end. Plus there will be less chance of colic and the sleepless nights of crying it brings with it, if everything is passing through the clearing house. Shit never smelt so good.

  1. Previous faults can now be disguised as enthusiastic mothering

All previous irritating habits and faux pas can now be twisted so that it does not appear that you are an annoying twat, rather you are An Awesome Mum:

Previously: OCD Clean Freak disinfecting everyone and thing in a 10 mile radius

Now: An Awesome Mum working fearlessly against the invasion of germs in any disguise

Previously: Social bore telling tedious stories that may be a reflection of her son’s genius or may be him passing wind.

Now: An awesome Mum of a possible over achiever

Previously: Over demanding pushy bitch

Now: An Awesome Mum just trying to get the best start from life for her kids

Previously: Self-obsessed narcissist only waiting for you to finish your dull story about skydiving from a speeding train while being tracked by international spies, so that she can tell the story of her kid’s dirty diaper again

Now: An awesome Mum concerned about her son’s health

  1. No matter what you are doing, someone will make you feel like you are doing the whole thing wrong.

Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding, gave birth vaginally or by C-section, have decided to conduct social experiments on your children by raising them with wolves or have opted for the more traditional route, everywhere you go someone will have an opinion.

My particular favourite is that something you are doing makes you ‘less of a Mom’. Now last time I checked the only criteria to being a Mom was having kids. There is no grey area. Either you have kids and are a Mom, or you do not have kids and are not. I can imagine that there is many a mother out there who has had to drive down to the police station to discuss her kids anti-social behaviour who would love to say to the arresting officer “Actually, I didn’t breastfeed him until he was three, so there is that possibility I am not 100% his Mom, and so therefore may not actually be liable for this fine.” I could imagine the officer’s response would not be open to that theoretical debate.

  1. “Well…. did you miss him?”

Leave your child for more than two seconds and this question will be asked. However, a little like the question “When did you stop beating your wife” there is really no correct answer. Say yes and you are an over-bearing possessive mother raising a clingy child. Say no and you are a callous bey-atch that does not deserve a child.

The real question should be what self-indulgent naughty thing do you get up to without them? Did you go into shops in old-fashioned cramped buildings with steps at the entrance and a windy staircase to the other level? Did you wander around expensive designer stores without worrying if you would have to buy something because it was now covered in puke? Did you sit in the cinema to watch the loudest action film you could find and stuff your face with noisy foods around nap time? Or did you just crawl back to bed and lie there, with a book and maybe a cup of tea, with no reason to get back out of it for hours. Paradise.

Post Baby Diet

baby weight

The post-baby diet has begun.

My maternity wardrobe was too big (finally!) and my old wardrobe was too small. All I was left with was underwear even your granny would think was a bit prudish. I was in need of new clothes if I were to break out of this house and re-join civilisation.

I have to admit, post-baby clothes shopping was not the fun trip I was expecting.

Maternity clothes shopping had lulled me into a false sense of security. There is no such thing as fat when you are pregnant. You are supposed to ‘look big in this’, you’re pregnant and it’s a sign that you are growing a great big healthy baby, claps on the back all round. For almost a year it was like shopping for a school uniform again, you wanted to leave plenty of growing room, something that just fit would never do. And trying to squeeze into the smaller size was unheard of.

On the other side of the birth, things were looking a bit different again. I was expecting that once the baby was ejected a lot of the weight would leave with him. I had heard that once you gave birth you should be able to fit into the maternity clothes that you wore at four or five months. I could get these clothes over my mummy tummy, but not over my mummy thighs. Naively I put this down to water retention, so I waited patiently for the fluid to dissipate. And waited. A little did, but even two months later I still could not squeeze into the smaller maternity clothes. I had to face facts. If I wanted to leave the house wearing clothes, I needed to go shopping. I found solace in the fact that I was smaller than I was at nine months pregnant, put on a brave face and hoped for the best.

The outcome was not pretty. I wandered into changing rooms with clothes in one size, and several minutes of squeezing later, the fitting room’s assistant had to swap them for clothes four sizes up. My confidence was not at an all-time high. I decided to buy a cheap and cheerful temporary wardrobe from Penneys while I got my body back to its normal size.

If I am honest, I may have been unrealistic about my ‘before’ figure. In my mind, before this all began, I was a slender, slim, size 8. In some ways that is true: back when I was 16 before I met my husband and before we even started thinking about babies, I was a size 8. But in more ways, it is a complete lie. As soon as we decided that we were going to try for babies I started eating cake. And bread. And pasta. And just about anything else calorific I could get my grubby little hands on. I figured if I was going to get pregnant I was going to get fat so what was the point of watching what I was eating. I would lose the excess when I was losing the baby weight.

I am now on the other side of that thought process and I now realise that it is going to be no easy feat shifting all this additional weight.

My first step is to admit where I am. If you don’t know where you are, you can’t know how long it will take to get to your destination. I can safely say, I am definitely not a size 8 now. Nor am I a 10. I am much closer to a squeeze-into-it, thank-god-this-is-stretch-material, I-don’t think-all-the-buttons-are-supposed-to-be-able-to-close, is-it-a-Moo-Moo-if-you-buy-it-in-Brown-Thomas, I-have-seen-people-camp-in-tents-smaller-than-this size. Not big in the grand scale of things, but big for me.

My next step is to devise a plan. I’m a sucker for celebrity endorsed fitness products, so I have the Anna Richardson’s Body Blitz Diet and Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. I also have some strong advice from Ruth Whelan: don’t wait until Monday, start today. So here we go. Out with the take away in with the nutrients. I’ll keep you posted on how I do.

Long Read: Women Against Pregnant Women

women against pregnant women

This post was conceived as an impassioned plea on behalf of new fathers to receive more assistance from society (via the government) to allow them the time to bond with their children. But after an incident in a local hair salon* it has become a rant against women.

(*As a side note – any politician who wants to know what the pressing issues are for their female constituents needs to get their arse into a hair dressers or beautician’s chair. I don’t care if your hair is only an inch long and in perfect condition, this is where women talk to women, and where women chatter, issues are aired.)

Let me take a step back and set the scene. I was sitting in a hairdressers chair flicking thought the latest OK Magazine, gossiping about Kate Middleton’s maternity style (ok, sometimes when women chatter nothing meaningful is discussed, but stick with me) when the girl dying my hair told me she was pregnant. I was so excited for her I think I may have squealed aloud. I don’t know what it is about pregnancies and engagements – they just excite and delight everyone even if they are random strangers – or so I thought. However the girl (perhaps a little overwhelmed by my excitement wondering if I thought I was going to be made godmother or something) informed me that no, in fact not everyone was excited about pregnancies, and proceeded to tell me that she had told several of her regular clients that she was pregnant, and far from congratulating her, they were actually very put out. The manners their Mamma taught them made them grind out an ‘Oh how wonderful for you’ through gritted teeth and then straight away ask ‘when will you be gone and more importantly when will you be back’ – words which if said in an office would evoke the same sort of shocked silence a racist slur would arouse, so absolutely known is it that that is not the correct response to happy news.

But not here. Everyone surrounding waits for this young girls reply. She hesitantly admits (admits!) that she is due December 23rd, so she is finishing up December 8th, two weeks before her due date as set out in the legislation, (bearing in mind that her profession requires her to stand all day long, when I know that at 8 months it was a problem for me to sit all day long, so as far as I’m concerned she is cutting it fine, but there you have it.) ‘So you will be gone for Christmas? So I’ll need to find someone else to do my hair?’ is spat back at her with a scowl that could sour milk ‘Can you not work until Christmas, surely that would be better, a little cash for you going into Christmas.’

At this point I would like to interject with a little context. This is a conversation between two women, two women who know each other, albeit casually, for more than five years. One is an older lady with children, the client, and the other is a younger first time mother who relies on repeat regular clients for her livelihood. In essence this is a conversation between an employer and employee.

And I would like to take this one step further. Let’s take the words of the client and put them into a balding, sweating, middle-aged male business owner and replay the situation; girl tells boss that she is pregnant – boss aggressively questions her plans for leave during the busy season and implies there will be no job for her when she returns to work …. And let it percolate… And now let’s speculate how long (and I mean in terms of minutes) do you think it would take that girl to find a solicitor ready to sue that boss for unfair dismissal on grounds of pregnancy. Not only would the case not take long, and her success guaranteed, but so protected are pregnant women in employment law that I assume she would win big. Even if only a supervisor or colleague had said it I assume that there would be more than pregnancy weight filling out her back pocket.

Now let’s step back into the salon. Is the hairdresser able to sue? No, she is self-employed talking to a customer whose business she needs. Is she able to say she is unhappy with the client’s reaction and that it is upsetting to her? Again, no, because she is self-employed talking to a customer whose business she needs, who knows that she is about to lose a lot of regular customers because she dared have a personal life and a family life. So instead she has to try and laugh it off, pray that she doesn’t go into labour early and try to imply without committing that actually she will probably be only gone for a short period of time, and will probably be back to work on Saturdays really quickly, probably within the month.

The double standard at play here is mind boggling to me. How some women safe in regulated office jobs are treated so completely different to those who dared branch out on their own to be self-employed, not by the law, but by the women that surround them.

When I sat down to write this post I was thinking about the Dads. I was thinking how unfair it is that women get several months paid maternity leave and Dads are not even entitled to one day. I was looking to the Danish and Swedish models and thinking why can’t we be more like them? But actually, after the above incident, I have realised that we are actually much further apart than I could have realised. Far from supporting fathers (who are important and I’ll cover that again) we need to start supporting mothers.

Pregnancy, particularly unexpected pregnancies, can cause huge dramatic changes in a person’s life. We as a society need to be assuring young women that of all the things that will change, one thing that will remain secure is their employment. This is not something that a government can change or a law can change, we need to change. We need to stop being so selfish and self-centred and look beyond a minor inconvenience to see the bigger picture, a miracle growing before your eyes. There is going to be a new life, a new person in the world, who will fundamentally change all those around them. And although you might be only witnessing this as a stranger on the outside, the very least you can do is cause no harm. Don’t stress a young mother unnecessarily. Don’t be nasty and let her hear the branch creak below her. Support her. Say honestly and openly ‘Oh how wonderful for you’ – no strings attached. When she is gone, make other arrangements and when she is ready, and her child is ready, and her family are ready, for her to return to work, let her do so, in the same way as is afforded every other woman in the state.

What bothered me most about this incident is that it was woman to woman; mother to mother. As a society we have already decided that it is in our combined interest to protect women and allow them to have children and then return to the workplace. That is why we have such strong laws in the area. But as individuals we have somehow forgotten why our predecessors fought so hard for those laws. It’s not the male dominated culture of the board room, or the non-family-friendly policies of faceless big business, or any of the other excuses that are trotted out by HR journals, at work here. It’s just plain stupidity, ignorance and selfishness. Sometimes that’s more toxic.

Please note the details of this post have been altered to protect the identities of those involved.

Pilates for Preggos

Pilates for Preggos

I announced to my parents that I was pregnant and after the big hugs and excitement calmed down, my mother turned to me and in a stern voice said “Don’t eat too many sweets and start exercising now or the birth will split you in two”.

I wish I could say that I stuck to the first part, but to be honest I got an inverted version of morning sickness, rather than losing my appetite I had an insatiable hunger, right before the Christmas season, sweeties were inevitable. But I did listen to the second part and began to look around for the possibilities.

Having no affiliation to any sport, and having never exercised regularly, I was warned that now was not the time to discover my inner Katie Taylor. I could walk, swim or do pregnancy yoga pilates (for a long time I did not realise that these were two separate things). I love swimming, but between the driving to a pool, getting undressed before and dressed again afterwards, and sorting out long wet hair in freezing Irish winter, it was really more effort than I was willing to put in. Walking is fine, but I already walk about two hours with the dog every second day, and after a while it just gets boring, I couldn’t do anymore of it. So that left Yoga-lates (again didn’t realise that this was different again than either yoga or pilates).

I signed up for the yoga first, and I have to admit I was very sceptical. I am not one for searching for my inner serenity or spending too long sitting still, so the idea of being trapped in a room smelling vaguely of farts and tofu, listening to an earth mother with a fake American accent waffle on while searching in vain for my inner goddess was not appealing, but I had my Mum’s wise words “split you in two” ringing in my ears, so I borrowed a yoga mat and got down to the class.

Well, I could not have been more wrong. What greeted me was the fragrance of clean clothes from the laundrette downstairs, a class of very normal ladies and an instructor with a broad Dublin accent who was more concerned with breathing through labour than finding inner peace. I was already beginning to relax. I have to admit there was still some nonsense about picturing your child’s love and your love for your child, which at 30+ weeks might be very desirable thing to do when you can feel the baby kick and move, but, at my mere 18 weeks, when I was not really feeling any different to my pre-pregnancy self, it felt very cloud-dancer-ish. Plus while we are never still, always moving from one position to another, I still thought I could do with something a little more energetic. That is when I stumbled onto aqua-pilates.

I have to admit, I did picture snorkels, 80’s music and preggos in spandex, and what greeted me was not much different. There was no music or breathing apparatus, but there were preggos in swimsuits with floats – which were used to give your body the sort of stretch that is only otherwise achieved on a medieval rack. It felt awesome. So much so that I was twitching like a junkie to get back in the pool and do it again. But while various knots and kinks were being worked out of muscles, there was a different sort of talk here, less about birthing and more about the times around that – the before and after; who was going to mind the other kids (or in our case animals) while you were in the hospital? Who was allowed visit in the first weeks? Would your partner get parental leave and if so for how long? I must have looked at the poor instructor like a rabbit caught in the headlights – we hadn’t discussed any of this stuff out loud! I got home and did the infamous “we need to talk” to my husband. As it turns out we didn’t really need to talk, although we had not discussed it out loud, we were both on the same page on all topics.

So Pilates and Yoga, would I recommend them to a pregnant friend? Are they worth the investment at a time when you are trying to save for cribs and prams and bottles and clothes? As a first time mother I am going to say yes. I was expecting to choose one over the other after giving both a try, but actually they do two different, although complimentary, things. I haven’t gotten to the birth part, so I cannot say if they will help the passing any, but in terms of good advice and building up a network of women in a similar situation, I think they are worth the couple of quid a week. Plus as every week goes on and the pregnancy feels more real, I hope I will begin to feel my love for the child and the child’s love for me and my love for the world and the worlds ….

If you are interested you should check out


Pros and Cons about being pregnant


People tell you that being pregnant is the most wonderful and fulfilling experience of your life, and that really you are not a whole being unless you have gone through the joys of child birth. Now while I try not to vomit in my mouth when I hear these sorts of statements, at the same time I did spend a considerable length of time hoping and praying and trying to become pregnant. While thoroughly enjoying the getting pregnant process, as I look back on it now, heavily pregnant, I never actually stopped to do a thorough analysis on the Pro’s and Con’s of achieving my goals.

So I thought I would do one today.


This list is shorter than I thought it would be, and trust me, I researched this article thoroughly, this is still all I could find:
1. At the end of it you get a baby, and that’s always nice.

2. You get to play the pregnancy card and nobody can claim that you are faking it (because that would be insensitive and likely to make a very hormonal you wail).
This will get you out of lifting, walking, carrying, traveling, in fact anything that does not involve just sitting and breathing.

3. Your boobs get bigger, and almost look like you had some work done on them.
They become full bouncing cushions of loveliness. [Although at the back of your mind you know that one day they will start leaking – probably at the least opportune moment – so maybe this is a con in disguise?]

4. Without debate you get the last slice of cake.


1. The scary things people expect you to read.
Forget The Shining, forget IT the scariest book I ever tried to read was “What to Expect When You Are Expecting”. Apparently what you should expect is disaster and ruination at every turn; a fish tail, wings and scales are apparently the least weird things your baby could be growing.

2. Random advice you get given.
The advice always appears to come from a reputable source, and yet still, when you hear it, you know you won’t be following it.
Example; EUMums: “Week 17: Borrow a baby to see how you feel with one in your arms.”
It is possible that following this advice is illegal, and probably the reason that babies have to be fitted with alarms in the hospital. Also, at Week 17, if you decide “Actually, I’m not really sure I fancy this anymore.” There is sod-all you can do about it now; you are giving birth one way or the other.
Which brings me to Point 3.

3. At some point in your future something is going to not only try, but succeed, in crawling out of you.
I don’t think I will ever watch Alien with the same enthusiasm again.

4. Everything that your parents had for you as a baby is now banned.
It’s a whole new horrifying world of danger out there, where cot bumpers, cribs with drop sides and seat belts can …. KILL. So you better go out and buy the latest stuff brand new. Oh and did we forget to mention, everything pre-1980 might be made of lead paint and arsenic so whatever you do, don’t upcycle.

5. The unexpected appearance of baby brain
Where similar sounding words get interchanged in your mind, and you don’t notice for several minutes you have said the wrong one.
Some real life examples:
Saying if something had more swastikas on it, it would be more girly. I meant swarovskies, obviously, as in the crystals. Nazi symbolism not known for it’s girly appeal.
Ordering Durex when I wanted Duracell batteries. How did I get pregnant again?
Forgetting the word for Shamrock, and saying Leprechaun repeatedly instead. And then getting annoyed when nobody understood what the hell I was on about.

6. Your expectations lower dramatically.
Fuck getting it to Harvard, or having it play piano, if it is still the same shape at the end of the day as it was at the start (plus or minus 10%) you consider yourself an AWESOME parent.

7. You realise before getting pregnant, it is possible you were a boarderline/functioning alcoholic
I miss wine. I really do. That one glass of wine on the couch after a long day in the office. That delicious glass of wine that accentuates an expensive meal. That first glass of wine when you are on a night out with your girls. That well-earned glass after a difficult project is completed. That afternoon cool sip of happiness as you watch the world go by.

8. Modern Medicine Abandons you
Get a dose of flu: No Lemsip, No Uni-flu, No Neuofen. You may take hot water, lemon juice and honey, a mixture which was so effective against the Black Death. (and, yes, it is the same concoction they prescribe to balding men to encourage hair-regrowth, for all the good that does).
Twist an ankle or need painkillers desperately – you may have Paracetamol, which is as much use as throwing buns at an elephant. You might as well throw back a packet of skittles for all the good they will do you.

9. Your tastes change
The lifesaving cup of tea at three o’clock tastes sour, alcohol has a strange metallic flavour and when it comes to chocolate, you would rather not (after frantic research this is not a sign you are about to die, but actually a normal reaction to pregnancy). But Brussels sprouts – you can’t get enough of those little suckers.

10. Your hands get very dry
While pregnant you embrace your inner germaphobe and wash your hands ten thousand times a day. You also have to pee ten thousand times a day, so that adds another ten thousand hand washes. By the time you are finished your hands are cracked and sore, and if anyone casually comments on this fact, you cry, because you are still also very hormonal.

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