Motherhood v Work

I’ve been promising myself that I would write this blog post for some time. But finding a moment to sit in front of the computer when I have the mental agility, free hands and sheer will to get it down on screen has been nigh on impossible. Boy 2.0 is now six weeks old and it has been all I have been able to do to survive. Perhaps I had forgotten how tough it can be, perhaps it is the fact that there are two to look after, perhaps I am older and perhaps boy 2.0 is more ornery. But I am surprised – stupidly perhaps – to find that it’s not easier the second time around.

It’s exhausting, relentless, and utterly absorbing. All things other than food in and food out fall by the wayside. I found breastfeeding pretty tough to start with last time, but this time around it has been all consuming (literally), and at this moment seems like the hardest thing I have ever done. Going back to work will be a doddle compared to the last six weeks.

I have renewed sympathy and admiration for those mothers who make it to court first thing in the morning with tiny babies, or who manage to make appointments with their solicitors in between managing the competing demands of several children. I was impressed with my client recently who travelled miles by train and then bus only a few weeks after delivering by c-section, bringing baby with her and managing him all day at court whilst also giving instructions to me. Now, in hindsight, I am in massively impressed. If I do manage to get out of the door it is local, by car and only several hours after I had originally planned to leave. Engaging with court proceedings when you are adapting to the arrival of a new child is a monumental task and I think sometimes we don’t appreciate that.

Similarly, when making arrangements for contact between where there is a new arrival, we would do well to remember not only how restricting breastfeeding is to mobility and the impact demand feeding can have on punctuality, but also the sheer effort and military organisation that is required to simply get to a prearranged location by a prearranged time. Sometimes mums make excuses to frustrate contact and aren’t prepared to make the effort to promote it, but I think in our profession one can sometimes become too cynical about mum’s resistance to contact – I am making a mental note to myself to remember just how bloody hard it is in the early days.

6 thoughts on “Motherhood v Work

  1. Hi, Loo,

    To begin with, allow me to offer my INCREDIBLY belated congratulations on the birth of son 2, and, speaking as a midwife how happy I was to see that you gave birth at home!

    To say that motherhood is tough is something of an understatement; after the coos of relatives and friends immediately following the birth, the visit of the midwife and then the health visitor, 6 weeks later suddenly its just you, the mum, and the kids relying on your expriences to date and finding out that what worked for child one doesnt necessarily work for child two, coupled to the physical demands of breastfeeding even whilst contemplating a return to work seems to me a positvely HERCULEAN task that women accomplish with considerable aplomb, and in ways that would send most men screaming into the sunset.

    These demands, coupled to those of a working barrister, must seem positvely overwhelming at times when there is fear of bieng forgotten if any length of time is taken out and therefore having to work twice as hard to retain solicitor clients and other contacts , and at the same time a bit of guilt for returning to work because of this.

    In all these respects you have my absolute admiration. Multitasking doesn’t even begin to describe what you’re doing, but I know, as does baby 2 , that all will be well!

    • Thanks for the good wishes from lawminx and others. I’m lucky to have an excellent other half who will be at home to look after the little’uns while I’m at work. Not everyone is so lucky and I am in awe of those who do it alone, or who have to rely 100% on professional childcare instead. Only fair to give credit to Mr Pinktape, who makes it slightly less of a herculean task to return to work. 🙂

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  3. Congratulations and enjoy your baby as much as you can! I planned to have my baby on 31 August last year and was in court on 4th and 5th of November. The induction was not a success and the baby arrived on 2nd November! I recommend a doula nanny – nanny and baby came with me. Life is more difficult to organise now but I do believe that babies are transportable and practical resistance to contact can be overcome.

  4. melizza moore

    I am a mother of four. I was a teenage single mother who against negative comments raised my boys, (the first two) to the best of my ability. I married ten years ago and had two more with my husband. This was the first real stability and love I have ever had in my life if I am honest. Up to 2008 we were a very happy family.
    I am thirty five on Saturday. My eldest son is now sixteen.
    Nobody gives you a manual to do what to do. People give advice on how to rear children. But it is not always the best advice. I grew up in foster care. Some might say it was a better life for me. On the surface maybe. On paper. But not in my heart. Descisions were made about me. Nobody asked my oppinion. The state were my “parents as well as my carers”. My own birth mother was “locked out of the equation” as a bad mother. I watched T.V shows and watched other people bringing up their kids. As my foster parents and I were were never “close” it fell to “experts” to be able to work me out.

    I found parenthood exciting, tough. Rewarding. The love I get from my boys instead of fear and terror tells me something. If I was a “bad parent” as it is claimed by “professionals”- why do my sons be able to reflect ANYTHING that troubles them still. They have trust, love and respect for their mother.
    I have had my struggles with parenthood of course a few times in sixteen years. But I sailed through it. I asked my friends in comfy chats over a cuppa if I needed too. I did not need much support from “other people”. I have learned how to eke out money to feed my boys on next to nothing. They have never complained that it is “poor week menu”.
    Running for the bus with children and bags of shopping, collapsing buggies to get on the bus, that is DIFFICULT. I did not find motherhood particularly difficult in the slightest. I JUST DID IT. Now my children have been removed from this life they know because “I might emotionally harm my children in the future”. “Tommorrow I might win the LOTTERY”

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