Tuesday, 18 November 2014

ALL mums are full-time mums

I've ummed and ahhed about writing this post for a long time. Part of me felt that, as a stay-at-home mum, I didn't really have a right to rant about this issue. But then it occurred to me that maybe I'm the right person to rant about it, to show that nobody wants this stupid label, not even the mums to whom it supposedly applies.

The label I'm referring to is "full-time mum."

It's a label I've been given a fair bit when I've said that I 'stay at home' with my daughter. (That's also problematic as I don't actually stay at home with her, believe it or not we leave the house on a regular basis. But it's the lesser of two evils.) I've never been comfortable with this label, and have always been careful to avoid using it myself.

Why? Because by calling me a full-time mum, you are implying that working mums are part-time mums. Which is absolute nonsense. There is no such thing as a part-time mum.

I'm willing to wager that a woman who leaves her children in childcare or with another relative in order to go to work thinks about those children all day. In many cases, working mums will be going out earning money that is essential to give their children the upbringing they wish for them. I fail to see how a woman who spends however many hours and days away from her children in order to pay for the roof over their heads, the food on their plates, the clothes on their bodies and maybe even a nice holiday or two for them, is any less of a mother than one who stays at home.

Not that I'm saying that the only reason a mother should go back to work is financial necessity. There are lots of reasons why a woman would want to go back to work - perhaps she has a highly rewarding career, and so will serve as a fantastic role model to her child. Perhaps she needs the mental stimulation of being elsewhere and doing 'non-mum' things in order to be the best possible mum she can be when she is with her children. And there are probably countless reasons I haven't even thought of too.

Whatever the reason, you don't stop being a mum at nursery drop-off. Before I had Eleanor, I went to work five days a week, and for all that time spent in the office I was still a wife. How is this any different?

I suppose next time I'm called a full-time mum I should say this:

Yes, I'm a full-time mum. As is the mum who works three days a week. As is the mum who works five days a week. As is the mum whose children are in school now. As is the mum whose children are adults and have long since left the family nest. Once you become a mum, you never stop being one, not even for a minute. Whatever you do career-wise, it's as full-time as you can get.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Night weaning - the saga continues

In my last post for the Breastfeeding Diaries, I was considering night weaning. I thought at the time that Eleanor was showing signs of wanting to night wean ... nup, wrong about that one!! The problem now is that she's almost dry at night now, but the night feeds tip her over the edge from time to time.

So this week we decided to try night weaning. It was half term so my husband was off work, theoretically meaning I'd be able to catch up on lost sleep during the day. I looked up this guide to gently night weaning by Dr Jay Gordon, which I'd read months before but had never got round to trying. If you don't have time to read it, it basically goes something like this:

Night 1 - Feed child when they wake for a feed, but put them back in bed awake and settle by patting/stroking etc.
Night 2 - Repeat.
Night 3 - Repeat.
Night 4 - Pick up and cuddle child, but do not feed. Put back in bed awake and again settle by patting/stroking etc.
Night 5 - Repeat.
Night 6 - Repeat.
Night 7 - Do not pick up child, settle in bed with patting/stroking etc.
Night 8 - Repeat.
Night 9 - Repeat.
Night 10 - Repeat.

And continue until child stops waking up. Great! Night weaning in just 10 nights! Sign me up!

Except, when I tried it, it looked something like this:

Night 1 - Feed child, but as she instantly closes her eyes, have no clue of whether she's properly asleep or not and end up putting her back to bed asleep by accident.
Night 2 - Feed child, catch her just about on the cusp of sleep so a little back rub suffices. Feel like all is not lost, ignoring fact that she's getting a bit of a cold.
Night 3 - Repeat.
Night 4 - Pick up child and cuddle for a bit, then get confused over whether Night 1 really counted so end up feeding her anyway. Get her to bed just before she falls asleep, again a back rub suffices.
Night 5 - Pick up child and cuddle, but by now the 'bit of a cold' has descended into a full-blown snot-and-cough-fest. Feel guilty. Feed her but still console self with the fact that she goes to sleep in her bed. Just.
Night 6 - Snot-and-cough-fest continues. Abandon night weaning attempts altogether.

So either night weaning in 10 nights is not really realistic as life (and snot) gets in the way, or ... I'm just a bit rubbish at night weaning.