CJ @ 8 months


Eight months is such a fun age – well, for the most part anyway! I marvel every day at the wonderful boy our son is becoming. I did wonder whether I would miss the “baby” stage as he approached toddlerhood but it’s quite the opposite. I can’t wait to see CJ grow and become even more of his wonderful self! So what’s going on at 8 months?

  • Two teeth and he appears to be growing a fang! Not the usual order of things but we know by now that babies don’t read the rule book
  • He loves eating ANYTHING that I’m eating – totally calling this the baby diet. The most random thing he has eaten so far has to be tomato with balsamic vinegar from J’s salad – and despite pulling some funny faces he liked it
  • He HATES getting changed and the only thing that seems to help when he gets worked up is yelling out “Despite all my rage I’m still just a rat in a cage”! I have no idea why this works, but like most parenting things you don’t knock it if it’s working.
  • He is trying so damn hard to crawl but just hasn’t managed to get up on his knees yet. It’s pretty hilarious to watch, his arms and legs are going absolutely mental and then he just freezes in what we call his skydiving pose:


  • We’re starting to plan for my return to part-time work next year and will be interviewing carers for CJ within the next month. Part of me wishes that I could just stay home with him always but I know that’s not the best move for our family
  • He is confidently sitting unsupported – it was like one day he just realized that he could do it and there he was. There’s always the occasional tumble when he gets distracted by something across the room but he handles falling over a lot better too.
  • He’s just started holding himself up against furniture but is pretty unsteady on it – I’m secretly grateful that he’s not showing signs of being an early walker
  • He decided overnight that he wasn’t having a bar of swaddling at all. I’d admittedly begun to worry that we’d still be loosely wrapping him when he was three, but it turned out that he was quite happy to tell us when he was ready
  • On the downside, getting him to sleep is an absolute mare at the moment – there’s so much going on in that brain of his that he is finding it hard to switch off. He thinks that any lying down is crawling practice time. We have to rock him (thank goodness for the rocking chair) and I’ll sing to him until he is relaxed and drowsy. Gone are the days where we could just pop him in the cot and leave
  • He can be very verbal – when he’s happy, he’ll keep repeating “Eaggy! Eaggy! Eaggy!” which clearly means something to him. The only thing we can think of is that he’s copying me saying “It’s good!” but who knows…
  • He met up with Corrine’s lovely wee girl Charlie for the first time since Charlie has been outside the womb – yay for blogger babies
  • We spent the better part of a day at my old (and soon to be new again) workplace, hanging out with teachers and students. My little charmer had them all cooing madly over him – that boy is going to be a worry when he’s older

We’re definitely starting to get a little more flexible and have started to take him to BBQs and get togethers that don’t specifically pivot around parents with kids. We do get a few sideways looks from some of the childless people – “Who brought the baby?” – but for the most part the events are really enjoyable and our wee social butterfly loves hanging out with all the people! It’s good to have a little buddy who is willing to tag along on our adventures.

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Mama M Tries: NZSale online shopping

Mama M Tries is a collection of posts in which I (or we) try new things! Click here to see other posts in the series and here to suggest something we should try.

A short time ago, an offer was kindly extended to us to trial the NZSale online shopping website. Founded in 2007, NZSale brings discounted retail prices on fashion items of up to 80%. If you know me well, you know I LOVE a bargain. I also desperately needed to spice up my wardrobe so I was all in! It was made a lot easier for me by the fact that you can browse through an iOS app, ideal for when I was feeding or (to be honest) when I struggled to move my rear off the couch after a difficult day with CJ. It’s also great for catching sales of items you are after as each sale only lasts for a limited time. Items do take up to a month to arrive as they ship directly from suppliers who may be overseas. So what did I get in my stash?


Infinity scarves

I’m in desperate need of something to make my outfits look more polished and I can’t always go with fine necklaces as CJ loves to yank on them! These infinity scarves totally fit the bill, one in neutral tones and one in cherry and pink tones. I’ve been wearing one or the other almost non-stop since they arrived, and CJ thinks that they are pretty tops too, especially seeing as we can play hide-the-baby in them too. They are soft and light-weight, making them the perfect inter-seasonal piece.


Worship dress in Cobalt

Having had dresses in a similar style before, I know that this faux wrap style is a good look on me. Made from jersey, it will be ideal for no-fuss summer party wear. While it’s currently a little bit on the tight side (something which can always happen when buying online), I know it will be great as I start to get in better shape!


Jack & Lily Mocs

While my initial intention was to just focus on myself, I could not go past these adorable little leather shoes for CJ at less than half of what they would cost us in the shops. As he gets more and more keen to be on his feet, I need to start thinking about shoes. These have great soft but grippy soles and the designs are to die for! While they are still a bit big on his feet, he’s loved trying them on and I think they will be well-used over the next nine or so months!

Everything arrived within the expected time scale and I was very happy with the quality of items. I would definitely use NZSale to look for fashion items again in future. Mama M Tried and Approved!

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What makes life valuable is that it doesn’t last forever

Yes, I just used a Spiderman movie quote in a post about death… that’s how I roll.

Death has been on my mind a lot lately. That sounds far more sinister than it is… I haven’t been thinking about my death in particular, just how finite our time on this planet is. Dr Jared Noel, an amazing father and human being, passed away last week after an incredible battle with bowel cancer. I got to know Jared through Twitter as we had children at around the same time. His beautiful daughter was born the month before CJ and I was so happy that he was still alive to meet her. We had our faith in common, though I fear that he bore through the challenges to his with much more strength than I have with mine. And of course, we could tweet about the rough stuff, the end-stage cancer stuff and I’d like to think that I helped him a bit with explaining how mum had coped as things started to go downhill fast. As much as it was clear that the end was coming, I’ll openly admit to the tears falling when I found out about his passing, for someone that I only ever virtually met. He was so strong and so open about fighting for every single moment that he could spend with his wife and daughter, it was really inspiring.

Then there was this video that has been doing the rounds of social media:

Brittany Maynard is my age and she’s choosing to die in less than a month’s time. Would I do the same in her position? I don’t know. If you’d asked me before I’d had CJ, the answer would almost certainly have been yes. Seeing my mother decline so quickly from her body going into septic shock will be something that stays with me forever, and I certainly wouldn’t have wished her the alternative as her liver slowly poisoned the rest of her body. Choosing a time to slip away peacefully, once it was certain that there was no hope of a cure, sounds far better than both the other options. But now I have a son, and I’m not sure that I could take away a day of my life that I could be spending with him, regardless of the pain. He grows and changes so much day to day and, god willing, I want to be there to see him as a grown man.

I know that I think about death probably more than the average person. Every time I put CJ to bed, the last thing I tell him is that I love him very much because if he were to die, I would want that to be the last thing I ever said to him. I have worried about SIDS/SUDI probably far more than is healthy because I know that you can do everything right and people still die. As a Christian I believe that this mortal plain is not our only form of existence but loving Papa M and having CJ feels like my heart is walking round outside my body and I’d struggle to move on with life if they weren’t here. That’s why I treasure that Spiderman quote so much – knowing that none of us will be around forever makes me value the moments that we do have together and never take anything for granted.

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Currently: The October Edition


Liking our new foam mat from Small Small World. CJ is a spilly baby and this has been made even worse by his recent attempts to crawl. No one particularly wants to spend their days wiping up baby vomit but it’s a heck of a lot easier to wipe off a foam mat than off beige rental carpet. I love the grey chevron and how it works in with our lounge decor.

Eating a Twinkie for the first time… they’re not widely available in New Zealand but we grew up hearing about them in books like The Baby-Sitters Club series. I picked up a pack to share at the supermarket and… overrated! Blech. So chemical-ly and processed. I swear it was like my tongue was tingling with shock afterwards.

Laughing at the way that CJ has a “what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine” attitude to food. He can’t even chew properly yet but he gives serious puppy dog eyes (and grabby hands, when possible) whenever you are rude enough to eat in front of him

Feeling absolutely knackered. Blood tests last week showed I’m severely Vitamin D deficient so hopefully taking a supplement will help with this.

Trying to be active for 30 minutes each day – on crappy weather days this is sometimes crawling around on the floor with CJ or having dance parties in the kitchen but every bit of activity counts.

Longing for some decent clothes; it’s hard to find any spare money in the budget to spend on myself. Mum priorities, am I right?

Worrying about returning to work next year and how the heck I’m going condense our morning routine down into something that allows me to get out of the house on time. Papa M leaves pretty early in the mornings so I can’t rely on his assistance. I guess I just have to let tomorrow’s problems be tomorrow’s problems – CJ will be that little bit older so hopefully it will be that little bit easier (let me have my fantasies)!

Wishing for clarity about the best way for our family to move forward – I feel like there’s no clear answers for what is best for us right now and I’m waiting for that lightning bolt of inspiration.

Watching the backlog of DVRed shows and movies I taped from earlier in the year. It’s actually ridiculous how relevant American Pie Reunion is to our lives right now. We’re so old!

Writing guest posts galore, so excited to be stretching the old brain muscles by writing to fit other blog themes.

Loving my two dudes, who make me smile even when the outlook is looking pretty grey.

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The end of an era…

No more breast-feeding here.

On the 28th of September, somewhat unexpectedly, CJ decided he had had enough of feeding from the breast. He’d had a couple of days of mucking around on one of his two feeds but that’s nothing new for us. Sunday night I settled down in the armchair for his dinner feed, lifted up my top, got the nipple shield on and… he laughed. Roared with laughter and then grabbed me by the nipple and twisted. Yup, got given a purple-nurple by my wee cheeky boy. Talk about rubbing salt in the wound. After battling for about ten minutes, I gave him a bottle which he absolutely wolfed down.

Rinse and repeat the scenario (down to the purple-nurple) on Monday morning.

I know that many a mother has battled through a nursing strike and continued to have a strong breast-feeding relationship. To be honest, I just didn’t have it in me. Breast-feeding, for us, has been way harder than I ever imagined. The only thing that has kept me going at some points was sheer stubbornness and that stubbornness has run out. I don’t want to fight yet another feeding battle. CJ loves his solids SO much, he was never going to be a kid that wanted an extended breast-feeding relationship anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not having second thoughts about stopping breast-feeding. I don’t think that anyone should have to justify the choices that they make in feeding their babies, whether that is bottle-feeding from birth or extended breastfeeding until the child self-weans. I’m really chuffed that we made it past seven months with all the issues that we have faced. I even understand why CJ would decide against breast-feeding. It’s always been harder for him to breast-feed and with a head cold and teething it is even less pleasant!

There are a couple of things that I’ll openly admit to finding a bit rough. Firstly, this sudden stop was not MY plan. Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I am the planner. I’m the one who has already planned out large family vacations for fourteen years from now. I’m a total control freak. I’d planned on weaning him off his dinner breast-feed after his 8-month birthday and finish breast-feeding completely between his 9-month birthday and Christmas. And I didn’t get to choose. He did. That side of motherhood is a big challenge to my nature. The other thing is that my hormones are completely up the chute as my milk dries up and I am one sulky bitch right now. I’ve visited the GP and had some tests run to see if there’s anything I need to supplement my diet with; hopefully that will provide me with something I can do to pick myself up.

For now I’m going to pat myself on the back that I managed seven months of breastfeeding. I’m going to remind myself how hard I tried and that, at least for a while, we made it work. I’m going to let go of the fact that stopping breast-feeding didn’t go according to my plans and I’m going to enjoy the freedom (sleep-ins! wine!) that ceasing nursing allows. Most of all I’m going to enjoy looking in those sweet little eyes as he feeds without my giant bosom in the way!

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Out & About: Shore City, Takapuna

Enjoy our series, Out & About, focusing on accessibility and suitability of various public places in Auckland for babies and small children.

Home to the lovely Bruce Mason Theatre (side fact: where my first ever graduation ceremony was held) and a host of gorgeous boutiques, Takapuna is a gorgeous wee suburb that serves as a gateway to many of the northern bays and the Devonport Peninsula. It’s also home to the Shore City Shopping Centre. There is heaps to explore every day of the week, as well as a vibrant Saturday market opposite the mall that is definitely worth taking in. Situated on the corner of Lake Rd and Como St, it’s easily accessible from Auckland’s Northern Motorway. I have to admit that I hadn’t really explored the mall that much before becoming a mum. I think that I may have shot in there once to quickly grab something from Farmers department store before heading further afield to visit friends. It was a great opportunity to view the place with fresh eyes and explore what it had to offer for families.

Parking can be somewhat interesting if you are unfamiliar with the area. I entered the parking structure from Anzac St placing me in in the open air carpark. On a wet day, I’d definitely recommend entering from Como St so that you and your little ones can stay under cover. There are parents with prams car parks near the mall entrance levels but elevators make access pretty simple from wherever you park.


I met my friend in the food court, easy to find and centrally located. I was impressed at the number of high chairs that they had, very sensibly located near the internal playground. My friend and I discussed how great it was to have a playground option that wasn’t tied to a fast food joint. We both have active little ones (hers is a bit older than mine) and it’s good to have options where they can thrash out a bit of energy, while we can provide them with some healthier meal options from some of the food court vendors. There is also apparently a small playhouse usually located at the other end of the lower level, however this may have been moved at the time of our visit due to the Art Of Cake competition.

One of the parent-friendly features of the mall I like most is a ramp between the two shopping levels. So often in multilevel shopping centres, you are relegated to using elevators to get your strollers between levels. Not only does a ramp relieve the “stroller congestion” around these lifts, but it allows this mama to burn a few more incidental calories – something I am definitely in favor of! There are also elevators available if you don’t quite have the energy that day!


I was impressed by the location of the parent rooms on each floor; the one on the ground floor was down in the food court end, most useful for the bathroom trips during and after lunch. The parents’ room on the upper floor are centrally located and easy to find.  The parent rooms are slightly smaller in comparison to other shopping malls but I would imagine that this would be due to the age of the facility (40 years compared to the comparatively youthful Sylvia Park and Botany Downs), although this old dame certainly holds her own! My only niggle would be that the parent and child toilets in both parent rooms are a bit hard to negotiate with a pram. Other than this, they are well-equipped with change stations (with disposable liners, big fan!), feeding cubicles and televisions that are able to be switched on to entertain wee children if necessary. The ground floor parent room has some entertainment for other children within the feeding cubicles, the upper level parent room has a secure play area within the parent room.


Shore City is a great jump-off point for families wanting to access the shops and restaurants in the area but is also a good destination in its own right, even if you aren’t wanting to spend up large at the shops. It’s particularly ideal on a rainy day when you want to let your wee ones work off a bit of steam while you sit and down a coffee and a pack of sushi! It’s definitely worth checking out this little gem if you are in the area.

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Mama M Tries: Kiinde Twist Feeding System

I was lucky enough to meet up with the Kiinde team at the Baby Show earlier this year. I had seen their product on some international websites that I follow and was pleased to know that they had made an appearance in the New Zealand market. Kiinde is a unique breast milk pumping, storage and feeding system that ensures that the milk is stored and fed from a sterile environment without the fuss of washing.

As you can see in the picture above, you pump directly into the bag – through the clever use of adaptors, this system can fit most pumps. The bags are then able to be stored flat in the freezer, with the shelves making the product easily locatable for the person who will feed your baby. Once the frozen breast milk is defrosted (either in their warmer or in a warm water bath) you simply plug the bag into the feeding case, pop the teat in the top and you’re away!

I used this system when I was working on Election Day and needed to be gone by the time that my wee boy was awake. While CJ is mixed-fed, he is still breastfed in the morning and I didn’t want to jeopardise my supply by missing that feed. It was great to be able to pump straight into the bag – the rigid neck of the bag was really easy to connect to the pump adaptor and it was actually more comfortable than pumping directly into a bottle. The lid easily screwed on the top of the bag to allow for storage. As Papa M was feeding him shortly after, the milk was just stored in the fridge before use so we didn’t need to defrost it. When CJ was ready, it was incredibly simple for Papa M to just pop the bag in the case and exchange the lid for the teat. Due to the rigid neck of the bag, the teat with cover can just be pushed directly onto the bottle, no turning or tightening required.

This product is ideal for anyone who is wishing to provide their child with expressed breast milk but I think it would be particularly ideal for working mothers who still want their children to enjoy the benefits of breast milk. I would certainly feel more confident about transporting expressed milk thanks to the twist-top storage bags and feeding from the bag means far less washing up – I think every bottle-feeding parent has probably had a moment where they are caught short without any clean bottles! The one negative point I can see is that the bags are not reusable due to their loss of sterile environment but that will be the same with any pumping situation, plus you would still have to waste water washing up.

The full range is available through EnnoBaby and the Kiinde Australasia website.

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*PR sample, but as usual – if I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t recommend it xox

Boys & Bodies

A fellow kiwi blogger, Meagan of This is Meagan Kerr, had a feature in the Sunday Star Times last Sunday on plus-sized fashion and body acceptance. You might have seen my picture of the magazine cover on my Instagram but the articles are also circulated on local news site Stuff. Checking this out yesterday, it was unfortunate to see quite a few negative comments that (in my opinion) actually missed the point entirely. It got me thinking, however, about my own body journey and how that affects me as a mum.


I too am fat. Not in a “carrying a couple of extra pounds” or a “just need to lose the baby weight” sort of way. I’m fat in the way that I have been since age 19, when I injured myself in an accident and then ate my feelings when my grandmother died and we had additional family drama. I’m fat in the way that my hormones did loopy things and my cycles went crazy – I’m not completely sold on my PCOS diagnosis and so I don’t want to blame that. I’m fat in the way that my spine and pelvis were sprained for years and it was uncomfortable to exercise and so I didn’t really bother.

I also don’t love what pregnancy has done to my body. While I used to be able to “hide” my fat on my ample bosom and behind, being the “right” kind of fat person, I have fat on my tummy now that makes me look similar to how I did at about 16 weeks pregnant. My hair is falling out and I can no longer use it to frame my face else my son ends up with handfuls of it as he pulls it out of my head. My “tiger stripes” don’t remind me of the miracle of bringing my son into the world – they just depress me when I look in the mirror.

So why don’t you do something about it, I hear you say. And the answer is that I am. No more “But I’m breast-feeding…” binges; while I do need extra calories I’m not going to kid myself that getting them from a king-sized bar of chocolate is a sensible idea. I walk every day that I can with my son. We can’t really afford a gym membership and additional creche fees right now – my husband works long hours outside of the home – so the walking and other incidental exercise I get when playing with my son will have to do for now. I hope to lose the weight that I want to lose and get back to a happier, healthier size for me.

But that really is the crux of the matter. For me. Not for my husband, not for my family or friends or the stranger that feels the need to yell out the car window about my “fat ass” as I walk down the street.
As an aside: seriously, car-caller, what the actual eff?
Women are already under so much pressure in society to conform to a body ideal. I will never have the tiny bust for a string bikini – these breasts need industrial strength scaffolding to look their best. I will never be the girl wearing skinny jeans and showing off her little thigh gap. I could be anorexic and my giant pelvis will never fit into a pair of Size 10 jeans. I’m never going to be the media world’s idea of slender, never going to be slim enough for that stranger that called me names. My body and its shape is my business, not yours and certainly not some random weirdo who thinks he has the right to judge me.

As a mum, this concerns me. I know that parents of girls have it so much worse; my ass put me out of contention in the world of professional ballet and my gymnastics career was over when I grew what’s referred to in my family as the “Jones Boobs” or a rather sizable bust. As a mother of a boy, I’m not going to have to deal with explaining to my daughter why she’s being marketed push-up bras and makeup as a tween. But my body image affects him none the less.

If I’m continually spouting off about how uncomfortable I feel in this body, if I keep labeling my fat as negative (as those commenters on that article insisted on doing), if I’m continually telling CJ that my body is “less than”, what is to stop him from having the perception that all people with those bodies are less than? What if instead he learnt to respect all bodies – fat, thin, with bulky muscle or with lean – for what those people can do with their bodies? What if he learnt that it was fine to be happy in his own skin, however that skin was shaped? What if he grew up with a healthy relationship with food – that it was neither “good” nor “bad” but about finding the best fuel for his body? What if he respected a girl like me for getting out there and improving her health rather than cowardly berate her for not fitting an impossible ideal? What if he realized that the way that other people liked their body shape was none of his damn business?

In this battle of body image, we need to build up our young women – that is a fact. But teaching young men that the way someone looks is one of the least important parts of the package is important too. I really hope that CJ grows up to admire both men and women for more than just the way they look; the “outer packaging” should never be the part of the wonderful gift of people that you love the most.

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CJ @ 7 months


A picture with lots of CJ’s favorite things – talking, eating, Ellie Phant & being out and about. CJ has just turned seven months and my head is already full of ideas for his first birthday! We’ve decided that “big” parties in our house will only be for 1st, 5th, 10th, 13th & 18th birthdays so I really want this birthday to be special. Five months to plan it anyway!

  • He’s gone from hating tummy time to spending time on his tummy in preference to anything else. He does his cute little push-ups, trying to build up the strength to crawl, sweet boy!
  • Someone asked me the other day what CJ likes to eat and my answer was “Food!” – I swear, that boy will eat anything. Papa M was feeding him breakfast one morning and asked if the sounds he was making meant he was having a reaction… no, he just gets that excited about oats with fig and sultanas!
  • He had his first day where he didn’t see mummy at all. I worked at a voting place for the New Zealand government elections and was gone before he rose and back much, much later than when he went to sleep. He transitioned from having his daddy look after him during the day to his Aunty S look after him in the evening like a total pro. That’s definitely the upside of having such a social little dude and makes me feel much better about putting him into care two days a week next year.
  • We’re finally transitioning out of the swaddle but it’s the slowest process ever! He still loves to feel snug so we need to make sure he’s loosely wrapped when putting him to bed.
  • We have teeth! One fully through and one halfway through – CJ loves to brush his teeth morning and night and I’m rapt that it’s becoming a habit for him.
  • He has seen two movies so far! We go to the Mums & Bubs sessions at Hoyts and so far have seen If I Stay and The Giver. I’m making the most of it now because I think I’ll be plum out of luck once this wrigglebutt is on the move!
  • We took him out to dinner for the first time! Our little night owl doesn’t go to bed until 8:30 so a relatively early dinner is actually doable for us. We took him out to Mexicali and he was really fantastic. It’s certainly not something that we’ll do all the time, but it’s nice to know we can.
  • Another first was CJ’s first time at the beach. We’d actually intended on going to Takapuna Beach as we had to run an errand over on the North Shore but we couldn’t get a park anywhere near! We decided to head back across the harbor bridge and ended up at St Helier’s Bay which turned out to be just perfect.
  • CJ also had his first swing and slide experience on Father’s Day and it was great fun! It’ll be a little bit of time before he’s rattling away around the playground by himself but I think that he’s going to be one of those kids that just loves burning through that energy in the fresh air.
  • We went for a road trip to Hamilton (the next city over, for you non-Kiwi folk) and he got to meet both Tara and Greer – he really loved Tara’s tattoos! I guess mummy’s boring, ordinary arms just can’t compare.

I feel like we’re really getting into the swing of things around here and it feels good. I love going for walks with him and picking fresh lavender for him to smell and I’m starting to savor the slower pace of life we have at the moment, even if the year seems to fly by so fast!

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“All the mamas who profit dollas…”

Throw your hands up at me… Haha, I can safely say that when I bring in money, it won’t be by being the next Beyonce.

Recently I’ve had to make the decision about whether I will return to my teaching job. It certainly hasn’t been an easy one. There’s a few factors that impact on the decision – financial, professional, social and emotional – and it took a couple of “evening summits” before we came up with a solution that we were happy with.

We’ve absolutely gnawed down our savings during the seven-odd months I’ve been on maternity leave, although thankfully we’ve managed to leave our investments untouched. Admittedly we’ve been a little bit cavalier with our spending given that we only have one income coming in; skyrocketing power bills, unexpected dental work and rent increases have been surprises we could have done without. On the other hand, having this time at home has been such a blessing. We know of others who simply haven’t been able to make it work and the reality is that we can, just not in the manner to which we had become accustomed. Papa M’s salary covers the basics and while we can’t save for our major goals of international travel and home purchases, we can afford to save for Christmas gifts and enjoy some entertainment. But how long to put those big financial goals on the back burner?

Professionally I already feel like I’m a little bit out of the loop – CJ and I went to visit my former workplace recently and it was bizarre to hear them talking about new policies and processes that have been introduced while I’ve been on leave. Despite teaching being a vocation as old as time, the curriculum and best practice is changing constantly and too much time out could leave me completely lost should I wish to return full-time. And I do enjoy teaching, despite the average pay and bureaucracy – it’s not something I want to close the door on completely. Yet I am enjoying having the time (albeit squished around naps and at night time) to explore my writing. Working full-time as a teacher and growing a person completely sapped me of my energy and creativity at the end of last year. I worry that working full-time and raising a child would do the same thing.

One of our coffee group mums is returning to work this week and I already feel like it is the end of an era. I like the “in the trenches” collegiality of our coffee group time. I love that CJ and I are getting out and exploring so many different parts of Auckland. I enjoy taking him to Wriggle & Rhyme and seeing how much he loves both the music and the other babies. It does make me wonder, though, that if he loves being around people so much whether he would be happier in some sort of day care. He certainly does put his grumpy pants on if we have a row of days where we stay at home. Socially, staying at home is great for me but I don’t know whether it’s great for him.

Emotionally, I’m all over the place. There are days where I am hideously jealous of Papa M for his baby-free commute where he can just enjoy the quiet and the mental space to think about whatever he likes. There are days where I think how blessed I am to have a little buddy to always hang out with. I like being able to focus on my home. I hate not earning “my half” of the salary. I miss my students. I don’t want to have a carer see all his firsts. Damn hormones – they do not make this decision easy.

So after much discussion and soul-searching, I’m extending my maternity leave from my full-time position for another year. We’ll be spending November finding an at-home carer for CJ and he’ll be having lots of lovely adventures with them while I work a couple of days a week as a substitute teacher. Working as a sub will mean that I get to keep my feet in the pool of education without the ridiculous amounts of after-hours paperwork. The occasional day where I have no CJ and no call-in for work will mean that I can write to my hearts’ content. And in the interests of keeping it real, the extra money isn’t going to hurt either. The decision to work or not to work is so deeply personal, but it’s a bit of a weight off my shoulders that this decision for us is now made.

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