Thursday, 20 January 2011

Things to consider BEFORE starting a family (Part 2 - SAHM-ness)

Part Two of my mini-feature on 'things to consider BEFORE starting a family'... 

work/life balance... do you or your partner work away from home a lot? If you do, is that something you would like to continue once you become parents? If not, what can you do to make plans for changing it...?

can you afford the lifestyle that you want to have as a ‘yummy mummy’ (I’m assuming here that no-one intends to become a ‘frumpy mummy’)...

If you want to be a SAHM ('stay at home Mum' to the uninitiated) who drinks coffee, eats muffins and arranges craft sessions for your kiddies, do you have enough savings to be one income down? For how long? If the answer is no/not sure, is your partner happy to work enough hours to pay for your coffee, muffins and craft materials and other really exciting things that you get to do when you're a SAHM?!  Are you happy to see your partner less so that he can pay for your bits and pieces? I guess this is related to finances and definitely something to think about BEFOREhand. I think that checking out your company's and country's rules for maternity pay/leave is a useful thing to do. Better to know in advance right, and then you can prepare for it a bit... 

- are you ready to commit to being a SAHM? Just about everyone I know who doesn't have kids tells me that they want to be a SAHM. They say they want to spend as much time as possible enjoying their kid's formative years. I would have told you exactly the same thing 4 years ago. Speaking as a Mum, its  (much) harder to stay home all day every day than being at work - and I'm yet to meet a Mum - SAHM or working mum who disagrees with me. Being a SAHM means being a mum, nanny, wife, daycarer, cleaner, cooker - all in one, 24/7. If you're not 100% sure that being a SAHM is for you then consider ways to keep your foot in the employment door should you decide to work (dare I say it) 'part time' or even return to work 'full-time' (blasphemy!). keep your skills up-to-date, keep in contact with your clients, visit work, know what is going that if you decide you do want to go back at some point, you still have a 'place'...

I think that's all for now, but of course, as I live and learn, I will add to these musings.

I'd love to know what others' experiences of being a SAHM are, just in case next time around I decide to do just that...!

Mrs O

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Things to consider BEFORE starting a family (Part 1 - Proximity to your beloved Family)

When a dear friend, Mrs J, asked:

'when you had your first child how did it affect you financially? Were you ready?' 

I sniggered to myself and thought ‘how long have you got?!’  

The way I see it, you will always figure out a way to house, feed and clothe your child, but that's just the bare bones of parenting. The issue of being 'ready' is so much bigger than money. Of course she knows this, but I just had to break it down for her..and where better than little space on the web?

Whilst I don't believe that there is a ‘right’ time to start a family, I do think that when you become a parent you learn to take things in your stride. God wouldn’t have it any other way.

Now that my disclaimer is out of the way, I can say that I feel that we, as grown folk, have got to have some sort of plans in place. Sure, our 'plans' may not be transformed into reality (I can testify to that!), but 'plans' help to stabilise the journey, and make us feel less anxious about what is a major series of life and lifestyle changes - parenthood.

Goodness - that is one heck of an intro. I hope you're still with me Mrs J! 

Mr O and I discussed this post together and our first thing to consider is proximity to family and core support network.

Did you grow up close to your aunts, uncles, cousins? Would you want your child to have a similar or different experience of family life? How important do you think your extended family will be in your life once you have a baby(ies)? Are they accessible when you need them? If not, are you prepared for a simple night at the cinema to cost £40 upwards!?! 

[3hr babysitter (£15) + movie tickets (£15) + popcorn/other overpriced movie snacks (£10) = £40]

We're lucky that we have a few members of my extended family nearby but the majority of our family live hundreds of miles away and we really do notice the distance of our family life. Let's face it, there are just some things that you'd only trust/want/ask your sibling/parents/bestest friend to do...  Also, even though we're lucky to have a few members of 'my' family around, we don't have a lot of 'Mr O's' family around - and that is something to consider. There will be 4 parts to your you want to be able to see them all?

I feel this especially important when you're in a mixed culture relationship - if you want your kids to experience all sides of their culture(s)/language(s) etc, they're gonna need to be hearing it on the regular.  Just something to think about - not anything to freak out about!

I'm hoping that our little run-through of 'things to consider' isn't looking too bleak.. but I just found myself on a roll... and these are just things that I wish someone had told me 3 -4 years ago/ thing I wish I had taken seriously...and clearly, this is something that Mr O and I talk about a lot. So, simply talking about this post and me writing about this topic is helping us to further realign our thoughts and set out our priorities... so thanks for reading!

Still to come...

- Work/life balance!
- The cost of being a Yummy-Mummy! 
- The commitment of being a SAHM?  
- Working Mum - doe it mean what you think it means? 
- The cost of daycare! 
- Ideal sibling age gaps?!!! 

In the meantime, how close (distance) are you to your family and support network? How does it affect you and your household?

Mrs O

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Natural hair and professionalism

I've just taken out 6 weeks worth of twists and have spent the last day or two looking at hair styles etc to do with my current 2 inches of afro hair. In my youtube-fest, I came across this video of a US news anchor, Rochelle Ritchie - she big chopped her hair - and ratings have gone up!

In a professional job, it's important to look 'professional' and often this mean long/slick/smooth/straight hair, possibly with a bit of wave/curl. To most of us though, when we picture a professional woman, we probably don't see a a woman in a suit with 'kinky' or 'coily' hair.

Well, Rochelle Ritchie has shown that if your own hair is suffering from constant weaves/braids/relaxers and you wish to, then yes, you can wear your hair naturally and still look professional. 

I love her story. 

I'm inspired. 

I had to share.

Mrs O

Saturday, 15 January 2011

These are a few of my favourite things...

Mr O: 'here you go'

[He hands over an unexpected really cute box of pink champagne truffles from hotel chocolat]

Me: 'aww thank you baby - why did you buy me these?!'

Mr O: 'Well, they're chocolates, they're pink and they've got champagne in, so I thought you'd like them!'

Whoever said it was the big things - lied. It's all about the teeny tiny weeny things.

Love you baby, you know me so well - 'chocolate', 'pink' and 'champagne' are three of my favourite things!!!!

Mrs O

Monday, 10 January 2011

Then and Now - Mrs O Update

Before we got married, we had lots of people wishing us 'well' and saying things like 'good luck'...

Everyone aged 30 and younger was excited - in their heads it was paaarty time! Everyone who had been through it themselves gave us the 'hmmm, are these kids sure they know what they're letting themselves in for..' eyes. Some people decided to tell use exactly what we were in for. In fact, in each of the 5/6 weddings that we attended the year before our own, there was always some sort of reference to how hard marriage would be and how we should be prepared for that. I know that life isn't a bed of roses, but why was everyone trying to rain on my parade?! I was a 'bride2b', why couldn't they just be excited! Married folk we know shared (sometimes graphic) stories about their lives and how it nearly broke their marriages and we were sat thinking -

'ummm are we doing the right thing here?'

I mean, we already lived together, we had already started a family; what could marriage change for the good when people felt the need to wish us 'luck'.

'things are good now, why change them?'

Over the past 6 years we've been through some major life events already - the kind of life events that drive couples apart - married or not. I'm talking family *ish*, nosey parkers, unemployment, illness, becoming parents, moving house, death of people close to us and then there were a couple of decades of bad habits that we both had to overcome in order simply to 'get on' with each other, whilst living under the same roof...

As though our relationship had not already been tested enough, we had yet another curve-ball thrown painfully at us in the midst of our wedding planning.

It was crunch time; time to decide properly - were we really ready to be married and not just get married? *Big difference*

We discussed our problem and realised that as a couple, we wanted to take this step. Then and there, we made a pre-marital pact  -

'to be together forever - regardless'. 

Following our curveball, we made things 'good' again - better than before. The best yet, actually.

We worked through our *ish* because we wanted to. We never gave up on our relationship and as of last year, we have made an official, legal, and most importantly spiritual commitment to each other -

'to be together, forever - regardless'

I don't know about Mr O, but that''s the biggest promise I've ever made. I feel that this post just can't do justice to the feelings and emotion that surround of marriage, but trust me - its there.

So one year on and counting - where are we? Well, so far, marriage has not been any of those horrific things that 'marrieds' told us about. Sure, it's been a challenging year, but nothing that love couldn't conquer. I think we've already had our fair share major curve-balls anyway...and if there is more to come, I know that with Mr O by my side, we can overcome anything!

Love for me is what I imagine heroin to be like. Now that I've gotten my fix (of love), I feel that everyone else should join me...I believe that love is a beautiful thing and that everyone should fall in love...

Me? Well, I get to do it (fall in love!) over and over again with Mr O - can't get better than that!

Mrs O

Friday, 7 January 2011

One year and counting - Our First Anniversary

Wow - so officially, we made it... we've been married for a year! ONE WHOLE YEAR!  Plenty of people don't make it this far, I can think of at least 10 celebrity couples off the top of my head, so I am so so so thankful that my boo and I are still going strong - in fact stronger than ever. There was never any doubt, but we've still got to be thankful right! Can I get an Amen? And can I get a wooo hooo? Is it that obvious that I'm excited?!

Over the festive season, we spent a lot of time with family and friends, watched our wedding video on two separate occasions (with 2 different sets of people I should point out!)... we also received our final wedding album and a gorgeous calendar of photos (thank you rouge amour) which has now replaced a christmas wreath on our dining area wall (its funny because that wreath also featured at the top table of our wedding, so it feels lovely and symbolic to be replacing it with our personalised calendar for 2011!)

Looking at our photos and watching ourselves making promises to one another, in front of all our nearest and dearest was, well, moving really. On our actual anniversary, we found ourselves playing 'this time last year...' and kept recalling memories and sharing how we each felt on the day. It was such fun and really got us thinking, reflecting and talking.

One year on, how do I feel? How does Mr O feel? How has marriage differed from what we thought it would be like, what has changed? what hasn't changed? What have we learnt and what will be we do differently this year? Are we still newlyweds even? Hmmm...I could go on forever and I almost feel like I couldn't even begin to address these question in just one post, so I wont even try. I like writing this blog because I know I can look back at how I felt at a certain point in time and compare it to how I feel now, so I don't want to just skim over things... who knows, in a years time, I may want to look back at how I feel right now...

So, I think I'm not going to address every detail of marriage thus far in one vague post... instead, I'll probably write a few...we'll see how it flows I guess. Hopefully, well, maybe 10 years from now, I might look back and think - 'awww' or perhaps I'll think 'oh please' or maybe even, 'oh I thought I knew'...

First up has to be 'Then and Now'. I'll be working through what we thought 'marriage' would be like and how it's changed our relationship - for the better!    

(an annoying loved up)
Mrs O

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Our First Family Christmas - photo update!

Sigh...I feel like I have so much to write about, there are countless moments, stories, memories that I could share with you all. But, because I'm not sure exactly where to start, I've decided to do a snapshot of Our Family Christmas - with a little bit of commentary! : ) We started by heading out to church, to thank God for the joyous occasion. The service reminded us that the greatest gift of all was Jesus. Amen. Luckily, Our Pastor understood that we all had turkeys in the oven and that the kids wanted to show off their pressies! : ) So, the service was only an hour long, instead of the usual 2+ hour straight after, we bounced home to check that my dinner was all going to plan....

Our starter - prawns, salmon mousse, various types of tomatoes and mozzarella! : )

 Our main course: Don't panic the turkey wasn't burnt. We decided to do a jerk turkey to add some extra flavour! It was DELISH complete with the usual sprouts, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, stuffing, yorkshire pudding (mmm) and cranberry sauce...

Me about to tuck into my starter!

My dashing Mr O!

Our dessert: No, it wasn't the cheeseboard but apple crumble. Unfortunately, by this point, Mr O's enthusiasm for taking pictures of food was lost somewhere between chomping a potato and a turkey thigh! So, you can only just make out the crumble on the far right of this photo (in between the biscuit tin and kitchen roll)! : )p I served this with the options of custard, whipped cream or ice-cream. Well actually, Mum and sis served themselves as I had a little too much of my ginger beer/rum/cranberry juice punch and forgot that I was hosting them! oOoops...

 Panto! A few days later, Mum and I took little Miss O to see the pantomine of Sleeping Beauty at our local theatre. We weren't allowed to take pics during the show (booo!) but we did manage this sneaky picture during the interval!

Girls just wanna have fun: Three of my favourite ladies having fun together...

Little Miss O and I sipping a coffee and babyccino before trekking back home from London...

So, that was our Our Family Christmas, our first Christmas as Husband and Wife! Hooray! Sadly, the festive season is over... bleugh! But lucky for us, after Christmas came New Years and luckily for Mr O and I, after New Years came our First Anniversary... more later...

Mrs O

Saturday, 1 January 2011

It's a new day...

Happy new year to you all!

Here's wishing that 2011 is the happiest, healthiest, and most successful year yet. As always, may we continue to have the serenity to accept the things we cant change, the courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference : ) Last year was somewhat of an emotional/spiritual rollercoaster for me- getting married (woop woop), finishing my PhD, starting a new job, having to redo part of my thesis, trying to find ways to balance motherhood with wifeyhood, studying and career.

Basically, I had a eureka moment and decided that this whole 'pursuit of perfection' is not something that I wanted to keep doing- so I haven't done! ; )p I also really struggled with surrendering my life to Christ and submitting to his word and Mr O's. I'm a control freak by nature, so letting go was tough! All in all, it was a positive year. I learned a lot about myself and am definitely in a good place today! : ) I have let go and am so much better off for it! Thanks be to God!

I have a great feeling about 2011, so look forward to seeing the blessings be showered upon us all xxx lots of love, hugs and light - Mr n Mrs n Little Miss O - est 02/01/10 : ) xxxx
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...