Baby Day

As the second child (of two) I always maintained you get a raw deal, no matter how much my mother tried to convince me that you love your children the same (I never felt un-loved!) and they both have certain qualities that the other doesn't and are completely individual etc etc. But I still doubted this even as I was pregnant with what would be my second son. How could I love anyone as much as Ned who is so incredibly funny and clever? Then Jim arrived and as the hormones flooded through my body I was worried that this new tiny person was going to replace Ned who was so big and self-sufficient, not small and sweet-smelling and needy like Jim.

What I actually realise is that we were both right. I do love my boys the same, my heart did expand and make room for Jim as everyone said it would (I hate that expression but it works) but my god I don't feel the same wonder I did with Ned. Jim gets moved from room to room, house to pram depending on what Ned is up to and then, when he's at nursery, depending on what I am frantically trying to get done. My two and a half year old and insomnia made sleeping while he napped an impossibility and the fact that I work for myself made me feel pressure to get as much work stuff done as soon as I could after giving birth.

As the weeks passed and I realised Jim was not getting any tummy time, hadn't really smiled (had he?) and I was grinding my teeth through my terrible sub-concious anxiety (related to my depression, often exacerbated by having a baby) and I thought 'the only person who is going to give you time off is you'. It's true. If I say I'm ok to work, then everyone around me will go with it and the older Jim gets the less likely I am to be told to put my feet up. And it's not really about me, yes I love Jim but I definitely feel less bonded to him than I did with Ned at this age, and that's because we never spend that much time together. Because he's nice and quiet when awake and undemanding of me, he wasn't getting the time he deserved.

So two weeks ago I decided that Wednesdays would be me and Jim days. We would hang out together. Yes the odd thing may come up and we need to take Ned to nursery and pick him up but apart from that we are not leaving Chiswick. We'll look at books, chat, cuddle, walk round the shops and in the afternoon we'll nod off together in front of an ITV drama. In a couple of weeks he'll start being left at the gym creche for an hour while I go to the gym and at the beginning of next year we'll start doing swimming lessons but apart from that Wednesdays are ours and so far the difference is already noticable. He smiles a lot and I am calmer and have a day that I really look forward to. This sounds mean, there are lots of days usually but being a self-employed mother-of-two married to a workaholic means that the weeks can merge and everything is a rush.

Because I have named Wednesday's Jim day, I don't try and work, I don't battle against the mountains of laundry and tidying, I don't do face charts and brush cleaning (for those of you who don't know I'm a make-up artist). Instead we look at little toes, blow hot potatoes on his tummy and sing and dance (mostly to First Aid Kit).

I don't want this to sound smug. I just suddenly realised that he was nine weeks and carted around like a bloody heavy handbag and all the time I was marvelling at how the time had flown with Ned. I was so caught up in trying to get everything done and be a working mum that I was neglecting the actual mum-stuff and I can never get that back... Take your time, I think a lot of mum's nowadays are too hard on themselves. Put your feet up and have a good old cuddle.


I used to sing this to Jim a lot when he was a couple of weeks old and feeding every hour or so round the clock - should have listened to what I was mindlessly singing.

UPDATE: The lovely people at the Counselling Directory have asked me to include a link here and in case you need it click here for the specific page on depression. Please, please go and check it out if you need support in some way - it is set up by people who have seen the gaps in the support of mental health.

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