My current life

Here is a background post I started working on a while ago, I hope it makes sense!

I am fortunate enough at the moment to be at home with my two kids. I was working fulltime prior to going on maternity leave to have Little L from mid last year. Once we found out we were to be posted we decided I would take this year off to support the Big D (starting a demanding new job) and settle the kids into a new posting location.

It was our first move with the kids in tow and wow, what an exponential difference they made! Prior to this move Big D and I had moved in one form or another each year for the previous five years. As a team we had a pretty slick routine down, but that all went out the window with the kids. When we got to our last post we were lucky to be there five years, so both kids were born there. The move from here will be conducted so differently to getting here! Admittedly Little L was only four months old so that was tricky. Just as he was getting settled into the world we had significant upheaval packing our place, going to an apartment prior to departure then once getting here another two weeks in an apartment. It was tough, especially in the thick of summer.

Settling the kids took some time, for Little L we did whatever was required to get him to sleep and so his routine got completely messed up. The move pretty much took three and a half weeks and so he was a mess by the time we got here. Prior to all the upheaval we had pretty much been able to put him in bed to self settle for each sleep. I had to re-teach him that and try to get the formal routine worked out, it took me the best part of three months. Over the course of the year he is now sleeping through the night and I finished breast feeding about ten weeks ago (how liberating to be able to wear a real bra!).

My daughter was four for the move and was really happy to get to a daycare centre to be with other kids. Unfortunately, many of the kids had known each other since they were babies so it took a long time to make good friends. In our old place we would have probably five or six birthday parties in the second half of the year, whereas here we only had one all year. I think she was a bit devastated with that, but we tried to do other special things for her instead. She will start primary school next year and I can’t wait to see her flourish. I think it is exactly what she needs.

For me? I have found the year to be pretty challenging. I never appreciated how much stay at home Mum’s did. I used to have a neighbour with three kids at home, I was always puzzled why her place was in such a state – well now I know. Your time is sucked out from underneath you by the kids. I had so many things I wanted to achieve this year (including getting the weight off) and here it is Dec and I have barely touched the surface! I need another year off!

There was one time this year when the Little L was being particularly challenging, then as I tried to do something I tripped and fell really hard on my knee. I was ok, but it provided a great excuse for a good cry. I bawled and I think scared the Big D. His work hours means he is out of here just after seven in the morning and at that time he wasn’t getting home until after the kids were in bed. He’d have his dinner and then be off to the study until after midnight. I think just having so little adult conversation and time out of the kids space was doing my head in. He has been much better at coming home a little earlier since then, which has been really great.

Strangely, it has taken me most of the year to come to terms with being at home. Having been a strong independent woman my whole adult life, it feels weird to not be earning my own money, being seen as me and validated. On all our previous postings I have been me, in uniform and validated by my job. This time I came as the other half without that additional identifier, very weird. When you are home with the kids, your work is NEVER recognised, no one tells you that you are doing a good job, It is just expected that all will be taken care of because you have nothing else to do! I am sure there will be more on this in future posts.

So my year off will finish when the school year starts. Then I will once again don the uniform and try to get back in the groove, maintaining the same family responsibilities but with three days less to do it, plus the new stress of a part-time job with fulltime responsibilities. Sounds awesome I know!

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