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The Big “C”…. Again!

I’ve been having a semi break from blogging recently, just too much important stuff going on.

I mentioned a while ago in a post for Clic Sargent that my mother in law had beaten the odds and recovered from Colon cancer fifteen years ago. Two years ago, the day before our wedding, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and after a two-year haul through chemo and radiotherapy, she beat that too!

However, the demon that is the “Big C” is determined for her to lose the fight as it has reared its ugly head once more. Three times?! How unlucky can one woman be?!

After a well deserved trip to Liguria a few weeks ago, my in-laws returned home with my mother in law complaining of headaches. The man of the house surely sent her off to bed with an aspirin and a hot water bottle thinking it was the change of weather having an effect.

The next morning my mother in law couldn’t stand. She had lost the use of her legs and all sense of balance. The headaches had worsened.

Numerous tests and cat scans at the hospital ensued and then the phone rang. My father in law, through choked back tears, told the Italian that the doctors had found three, not one, but three tumours on his mothers brain. We were stunned! Again? All this, again?!

As soon as you hear the words cancer and brain in the same sentence you automatically think negatively. The Italian, in his panic, wanted to get on a flight straight away but what could he do?

He is in the fifth week of a new job, I’m seven months pregnant and we live in another country. The feeling of uselessness is incredible.

I can’t begin to imagine what my husband is going through right now. I can’t imagine what my mother in law is going through right now. She’s sorry for the grand children, she said. Sorry for the grand child that I hope and pray she gets to meet in a few months time.

But that’s it isn’t it, time. Time. Far more precious than we give credit for.

I pray for time to stand still while the doctors do their tests. I pray for the time to hurry up while the doctors get the results and do something . I pray for time so that my mother in law meets her newest grandchild and that Bambina gets to kiss her Nonna again. I pray for time that my husband gets to say goodbye to his mother properly, if that’s what it comes to.

I pray that time will heal her… Again.

Related Articles:

The C Word (Tea & Biscotti)

Stand Up to Cancer UK

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Posted by on October 18, 2012 in Italia

 

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The Gift

So, yesterday, D-Day, I met with the consultant from Kings College to discuss the options of non-Down Syndrome screening.

I didn’t really know what to expect from her. I probably expected her to try to fob me off with rubbish or excuses. She didn’t.

The Dr was extremely frank, woman to woman. She thought I was a drama queen. I probably have been. She thought I was right to create a fuss. I know I was. She said my odds of having a Down Syndrome child, without having any screening tests at all, were extremely low. Lower than with Bambina. Based, purely on my age group and the overall healthy growth of the new addition!

After a few shed tears of relief, I hugged the life almost out of her and said my thank you’s. She said “now go home, have a cuppa and a huge slice if cake because you’re going to be very busy after that…bonding with your new son or daughter”. As she reached out to hold one hand, she looked me in the eye reassuringly, “just like your first one, this child truly is a gift!”.

Let the bonding commence…

I would also like to end this post by saying a massive thank you to everyone who showed concern, offered support and gave truly kind words. I really do appreciate it from the bottom of my heart! Mwwah!

*Foto my own.

X-O-X

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Posted by on September 21, 2012 in London

 

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Quandary of a Working Mother

Today was my worst nightmare.

As I sat plugging away at gaping holes in my work schedule, my phone rang. The Italian, in a trying to stay calm tone, informed me that they were in the ambulance but all was ok.

Ambulance?? As he had reached for Bambina’s sippy cup, she had wriggled out of the high chair harness and went for an Olympic gold at floor diving, crashing her head into a marble floor. It took all of twenty seconds to happen but twenty seconds too long.

I gasped a breath. My daughter was in an ambulance on her way to hospital and I was on my way to an “appointment”. My mind raced. What should I do? I had always imagined my immediate reaction to such an incident would be to down tools and go straight home. To my surprise, I found myself in a quandary.

Go home, immediately my conscience told me. Yet, I reasoned with myself that this was the first of many falls and I can’t run home every time. So, I stayed put plugging away at my gaping holes of priority lists.

Then I had an attack of guilt. I had left my poor injured child to go it alone when she needed me!. Am I such a bad mother that I don’t put her at the top of my priority list?

I reasoned again that she wasn’t alone. She was perfectly fine, with her daddy. Perfectly safe, with her daddy. No, I’m not a bad mother for not rushing at every whim. Yet, I do wonder why I didn’t fall immediately into panic mode. Perhaps my motherly instinct told me that the Italian was right, all was actually ok. Bambina was alright, a minor bump to the head but still intact enough to give Dolly a finger-wagging telling off. It was probably Dolly’s fault anyway.

As a first time mum, a working mum, it’s difficult to find the right balance. What I came to accept today is that my decisions may not always be the right ones, that I need to let go of the control reigns a bit more and hand them over, without question or judgement, to the Italian.  That I can’t split myself into various forms in order to be everywhere and do everything that might be expected of me, or that I might expect of myself.

How do you do it? How do you find the balance between work and home? I’m sure the answer is practice and that’s what I’m intending to do.

It’s a topic that’s new to me and one that I’m sure I’ll always be in a quandary about.

X-O-X

*Credit

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2012 in London

 

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Having It All

Last year in Britain, just over 66% of mothers worked. This could be due to policy changes that have helped women return to work over the past 15 years as well as employment laws that have introduced much improved parental leave, pay and the right to flexible working arrangements.

currently, I am a bi-product of such flexible work arrangements and whilst I would prefer to be a work-at-home-mum, my circumstances, at the moment, don’t allow for that.  I was intrigued therefore when I read about a Working Mother’s seminar being held in my local area.  With Cherry Blair slamming stay at home mum’s recently claiming that “yummy mummies” hinder the child’s independence, I wanted to hear what other women thought of their work/family ethic.

I just got home from the seminar which by and large concentrated on the women of today and how we can have it all! What I came away with was a confused understanding of what “all” actually means. After thinking about it for a millisecond I came to the conclusion that my interpretation of “all” suits me just fine.

Having watched Sarah Jessica Parker run herself into the ground as city slicker Kate Reddy I Don’t Know How She Does It, I felt half sane for having felt a few times like I can’t cope. There are times when the “W” word gets too much, when the washing pile is so huge that it doesn’t fit in the basket anymore, when I don’t have time (or money) to go food shopping and for that last week of the month we are eating all the not so yummy things in the cupboards.

The truth is, I’m a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend and an employee. I often feel the pressure to be all things at once and end up feeling that I haven’t delivered on any of them. This is because sometimes I forget to dedicate time to being ME. Which, if I did, would make all of the above so much easier to balance.

Not wanting to dwell too much on my job other than the fact that I have one and I do it full-time, I do it more out of necessity than choice. My choice , if it were that easy, would be to work for myself part-time and work as a mother the rest if the time. That would be my choice. However, my current circumstances don’t allow me that benefit.  Does this mean that I don’t have it all? Is my cup half empty?

At the seminar I was surrounded by women who think that they do “have it all“; nannies, tutors, home helps, gardeners, cooks. One lady referred to it being difficult to organize the “staff” let alone the children! Her and others meaning of “all” is having everyone else to manage the daily living whilst they climb the professional ladder. This is fine, for them. I’m sure that if/when my circumstances are different, I too could afford “help” and may find myself falling into that trap.  I honestly think that life is not for me but still, there is some kind of competitiveness to send your child/ren to the ‘right’ school, shop in the ‘right’ shops, work hard and play harder.  I’m not convinced that women, other than Kate Reddy (and that’s debatable) manage it.  Surely we all buckle under the pressure of balancing work and family responsibilities? The seminar led me to believe it was just me, everyone else seemed to cope and balance perfectly fine!

However, as I sat there I listened to the humdrum of not there for homework, “had” to hire a tutor for Benedict, the nanny didn’t have the dinner ready, I mean, ugh. I felt gifted. Simply gifted.

I am there to play with my daughter when she wakes up in the morning. I am there to play with her in the evening. I am there to bathe her, read her a story, every night, and kiss her tiny lips before settling her to bed. I am there.  I don’t work late, I don’t work weekends and I appear to have managed a good balance without the help of nannies or housekeepers (oh to afford them!).  What I do have is an amazing husband who juggles just as much as I do and although the stress of it all takes its toll on him sometimes, we manage.  Together.

I cook all of Bambina’s food, a shop bought ready-made meal has never passed her lips. I iron the clothes that require it. I sing to her. I teach her animal noises. I make her laugh.

I cook. I clean. I shop. I’m a wife. I’m a daughter. I don’t see my mother or my friends half as much as I would like to. Sometimes that’s lack of effort or money on my part, sometimes theirs; life happens and before you know it, it got in the way.

Sometimes I feel a bit frayed at the edges, grumpy, over tired and suffering from a serious case of CBA (Can’t Be Arsed, to coin my mothers phrase!). The reality is that instead of complaining about it, I get on with it. I don’t blame the nanny or housekeeper, I don’t ‘get someone in’ to fix the problem.  I get on with it.

These women today live in a totally different world to me and I’m not sure that world suits my requirements. I want to be home for my daughter, to take her to school, pick her up, drop her off at ballet lessons.

My mum had three jobs when I was growing up and she has beaten herself up ever since because she feels like she wasn’t there for me enough. She was! I always remember her there to do homework with me, studying for exams, having mother and daughter time. We spent a lot of time shopping together, going out for lunch to china town and to the movies. Other children where I grew up had never tasted Chinese food let alone went to lunch in restaurants. My mum was amazing to me, she is still amazing to me. She did the best job she could with what we had.

I am university educated to Master level. I had one parent. I didn’t have a nanny, or a home help, or a cook. My mother held all of those jobs, brilliantly.

She is my role model. A mother who affords time with her child/ren. Time is the one thing we claim not to have, that we can’t buy, but it’s the most precious gift we can give. I want to make time for my child. In doing that, I can have it “all”.

What do you consider to be your “all”? How do you juggle the fine art of work and family?

I’m glad I went to the seminar. I didn’t agree with a lot of what was said but it got me thinking. Thinking about how lucky I am to have a supportive employer, how lucky I am to have time with my daughter and how lucky I am that I can afford to be a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend – I just need to remind myself to be a bit more often to remember to be ME!

Do you have it “all“? I’d love to know.

X-O-X

Related Article:

The Guardian: Working Mothers

Forbes: Working Mother Magazine

Credit: Forbes.com

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2012 in London

 

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Bambina’s Battles

Bambina had her first cat fight.

What actually happened was that she was attacked, right before my eyes.

We arrived at our local library just in time for nursery rhymes and found ourselves a comfortable spot close to the singer. I was sat on the floor with my legs crossed, Bambina perched in the well as though sat on her throne.

She was wearing a Hello Kitty! clip in her hair and it was this that I think attracted the attention of Lara.

Lara, an eighteen month old, was there with her twenty-something ‘im-more-interested-in-applying-a-billionth-stroke-of-mascara-to-my-fake-lashes’ mother. Lara was working her way through the baby crowd whilst her mummy titillated her face, paying no attention to her.

As Lara approached us I said hello as she stretched out a hand to stroke Bambina’s face. Yet, with one fell swoop, she hooked a finger in Bambina’s mouth and yanked her top lip! Bambina let out an almighty scream which startled Lara’s mummy into looking up from her compact mirror to see what the commotion was.

Lara, feeling the glare of her mummy’s eyes through the buckets of Rimmel weighing them down, turned to see what, if any, would be the consequence of her actions. None.

I was astounded! Before I had chance to beckon the mother to come constrain her child, Lara slapped Bambina across the face!!

With that, the Liverpudlian in me kicked in, the veins filled with venom and through gritted teeth and squinted eyes, I yelled at Lara’s mother from the across the room “I think you should put your make up bag down and come remove your unruly child!”.

Bambina, still screaming, clung on to my neck for dear life. Lara’s mother came over to view the damage and instead of apologising merely asked Lara in her mousiest voice possible “why did you do that baby?”.

I was half livid that someone, another baby, treat my daughter like that, and half aware of not to show myself up as a screaming fishwife in front of the other mummies who sat looking on in bewilderment at what had just happened.

The whole thing took about twenty seconds and then was over. I still don’t know if I was more astonished at Lara’s outburst or at her mothers refusal to acknowledge it.

Later as I was recounting the tale to the Italian, he told me “you’a jus’a wait till’a she’s start’a school’a!”.

That’s it. I’m going to have to enrol her in a martial arts class ASAP so that she can karate chop her way out of lip pulling and face slapping by the time she’s two!

That’s the moral of the story isn’t it – it will, without a doubt, happen again.

Has this happened to any of your children? How did you approach the culprits parent without looking and sounding like wailing banshee? How do you encourage your child to stick up for themselves without teaching them aggression?

I would love to hear your stories, drop me a line!

X-O-X

*Picture credit: www.parentreviewers.com

 
8 Comments

Posted by on June 12, 2012 in London

 

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Who’s the Daddy?

When I first start blogging, I didn’t have a clue about the acronyms but I’m slowly figuring out it out. It’s a language all of its own.

I figured out that my OH (Other Half) is a SAHD (Stay At Home Dad).  Only for a short while longer.  Hopefully.

Almost four years ago the Italian decided to change his career so that we could enjoy a better life.  I was eternally grateful that he was planning to go back to school and change everything he had ever known – for me!  He has graduated with amazing results from an education system that he wasn’t familiar with, studied in a language that isn’t his mother tongue and surround himself with students 15 years his junior.  This was no easy feat.

We stayed up late checking essays, correcting English.  Mentoring.  Motivating him to do just this last paragraph.  I know it wasn’t easy for him but he did it!  And I’m proud of him.

What we didn’t expect was for the country to be the way it is now – hard! No jobs.  No moral.  No support. No encouragement.  It’s not our situation of choice but at times when he’s feeling low and unmotivated and just totally fed up with the world, I reassure him of this one thing:

Cherish every moment you have with your daughter for these times are too precious.  She will never be this tiny again.  She’ll never utter her first words more than once. She’ll never do her first crawl more than once and she’ll never reach out and give you that first adorable mouth open baby kiss, more than once.

I should know. I met my dad for the first time when I was 24.  He missed out.  He missed out big time!  It was fine for a while but then he chose to opt out – again.  He’s missing out now – again.

So amidst the interviews and the CV’s,the frustration and the rants, I remind the Italian to be strong. To look at Bambina, our most treasured little gift.  To grab every single moment with both hands and never let it go. For these are the things that will pick you when you’re down – the joy that you were there, there to experience Bambina’s “firsts”.

When I look at them together my heart fills, mostly with happiness that they have each other, and a bit with sadness that I didn’t have what my daughter has.  I’m happy for her.   A mother always wants better for her child, right? I’m elated that Bambina has better, much much better, than I had.  I chose well chosing him because I could never have found a more loyal and dedicated man to his family. The Italian is an amazing father, I look at him with her and I get teary – teary with happiness.  I’m happy for him.  I’m happy he has had this time alone with her, without me.

It will all change soon. Hopefully.  But in the meantime, my husband, the Italian, the SAHD, has the best job in the whole world..  Who is he?

He’s the DADDY!!!!

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2012 in London

 

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La Festa della Mamma

Today is my first ever Mother’s Day and it has been wonderful because after several dodgy gift choices, my husband bought me a really gorgeous present on behalf of Bambina.

Mini pink roses

It’s not a secret that I love gardening.  No, I’m not a pensioner but I do love a bit of the old greenfingery.  I love my little patch of grass and hanging baskets. I love my matching plant pots either side of the front door.  So, he bought me a pink mini rose tree to plant in my garden – mini because I can take it with me which ever house we live in and pink because it’s a symbol of our beautiful little daughter and I can nurture it with her as she and it grow.He also did a little pink handprint inside my card, Bambina’s first ever signature (kind of..).

The guy did good!

Tiny Fingers

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2012 in London

 

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