Welcome to The Mini Edit! A series dedicated to parents where we’ll be sharing how to navigate healthy living as a family. We really want our content to start catering for people who happen to have children so consider this our first foray into the world of parenthood! Kicking things off is our founder, Sadie Reid, who shares an amazingly honest snapshot of her life as a parent and the 7 things she knows to be true as a working mum.
Before we had kids, my husband and I spent our weekends on long runs that ended up at cool little brunch spots. We use to chat about what family life would be like as we pounded the pavement together saying things like “when we have kids lets make sure that we don’t stop doing the things we love together” or “because I love health so much – how great is it that our kids will too” or even “we love staying in so having kids is going to fit so easily into our lives”. How wrong we were. Firstly, our long runs were the first thing to get dropped as soon as our first son Max (now 4) arrived. Secondly, Max will not touch a vegetable. Won’t. Even. Lick. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly as this I think is where my sanity was lost, staying in is not fun when you spend the night rocking/shushing/feeding your child to sleep on more than one occasion between the hours of 8-10pm.
A couple of months after Max was born I started working again. When you run your own business, being a working mum is a non-negotiable thing. It is also a double-edged sword. On the plus side, I have the flexibility to be with them for their doctor appointments, plays and school tours. On the downside, I don’t get to take maternity leave or the business just might not survive! I am still navigating what it means to be a working mum and I think it is something that changes often. But I was not prepared for the fine balancing act that being a working parent would bring, and I use that term purposefully as it really is an ‘act’; as on the rare occasion that I feel like I am nailing it I often realise that is because I haven’t caught up with a single friend in months or haven’t exercised in weeks. So, in actual fact, I am not even close to nailing it.
Here are just some of the things I have learned since becoming a working mum…
1. A Bowl of Cereal is an Acceptable Supper
When I get in from work, my elation to see the kids is closely followed by a list of seemingly impossible tasks that need to take place in order to get them into bed within the following hour. And I assure you – I am resisted at every turn. Snack time, which always goes on way too long and we NEVER have the snack requested – but I don’t know many parents that would stock up on smoked salmon for their four year old – is then followed by bath time. You’d think kids love splashing around in the water – I mean they only bloody do it at every other opportunity – but asking my son to get in the bath is often met with a series of negotiations that end with bribery. After PJs are on and milk is all drunk – then comes bedtime – which should be more appropriately named “bed hour”. It takes my son an HOUR to actually go to bed. The younger one has normally given up by this stage and is snoozing happily away by 7pm. But for Max it can be 8.30, even 9pm, before I make it back downstairs (because he makes me hug him to sleep!!). And during this time the emails have been pouring in. So it’s a bowl of Dorset Cereal (got to go for the good stuff in the evening) with oat milk, some berries and if I am feeling particularly low in energy – honey too – that makes up my supper. AND I AM OK WITH THAT.
2. Buying Gifts on Ocado is a Thing
A bit like how Macdonalds worked out that they were in the business of real estate rather than restaurants, Ocado, I am sure, will one day realise it is in the business of giving time! Long gone are the weekend 3 hour round trips to the supermarket (thank gahhhd). I now buy my weekly groceries on the tube on my phone. But the goodies from Ocado don’t just stop at the fridge – I can also purchase all of my son’s friends birthday presents on it, even my husband gets the odd Ocado gift. As do I. I heart Ocado!
3. I still waste time on Instagram
No matter how much I complain about how little time I have, I still find myself scrolling the gram at completely unacceptable times. What is it about the social media app that sucks us in? I often find myself putting the little one down for a nap with grand ideas of how much work I will get done in the hour he is sleeping only to find myself 30 minutes in looking at someone’s aunt’s new cat dressed up as a piece of sushi.
4. 111 becomes a “favourite” in your contacts
For me, one of the hardest thing about being away from the kids for most the week is I constantly worry about their health. Booking their out of hours doctors appointments when one of them does come down with something makes life as a working mum that bit easier knowing that 111 has my back.
5. Sleep is everything
I once read that Alicia Silverstone co-slept with her son for the first year of his life – my immediate reaction was – Gosh that sounds hard! There is no way I am letting my children sleep in my bed for that long. Fast-forward to now and my husband and I have got ourselves into a routine where I sleep in bed with the littlest one and he gets into bed with our 4 year old as we have found it is the only way they don’t spend the majority of the night screaming. Crazy? Maybe. Not good in the long term? Definitely. Does it mean we get a better night’s sleep? ABSAFUCKINGLOUTELY. Lesson learned. When it comes to sleep you do what you can to get by so never judge or assume anything… ever. Now I just need Alicia to please tell me how the hell she managed to get her bed back to herself!
6. Antibac gel becomes a handbag staple
When the kids get sick the whole system breaks down. Sleep goes out the window. You argue with your partner over who has the most important meeting that can’t be missed. The grandparents don’t want to step in for fear they’ll get sick too. Some might say my obsession with antibacterial gel, which I insist they basically bathe in every time we step out the house, is unhealthy. But when you’re on your fourth kiddy cold of the season you don’t care what anyone else thinks. Sorry, not sorry.
7. Your office wardrobe takes a serious dive (and is often accessorised with stickers)
I used to love dressing up for the office. But now that I have kids which equals no actual money and no energy – I basically just wear activewear every day. On the plus side it means that when one of them vomits, spills food, sneezes, draws, wipes their nose or dribbles on me, I don’t have a meltdown. On the downside, most days I look like a homeless keep-fit fanatic.
words by Sadie Reid, Founder & Director of Hip & Healthy
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