The twenty-something mom

Juggling life and motherhood as a twenty-something year old

Dusting Off The Cobwebs

Two years on from my last blog post I felt it was time to dust off the cobwebs and rather than bore you with the details of the last twenty-four months of my life – discuss a topic which is central to what has been going on in my day-to-day anyway.

How to get the working-parent balance right.  I say right when really there is no way to get it right at all it’s all about finding the.. best way to get through the day.  I often find myself contemplating my ‘title’.  Am I full-time woman of business part-time mum now?  Am I truly dedicated to one version of me or are there many different ‘Kims’ throughout the course of my day?  Presently, I think the most fitting description would be full-time frazzled part-time fried.  If I wore hats, I would take mine off to any mother who commits to full time employment and cleans the house, cooks what may or may not resemble a meal and still finds a spare moment to devote love and attention to their precious offspring.  When I first returned to the land of employment Harry was the grand-old age of 10 months old and I brushed off everyone and anyone who may have even mentioned that going back to work might be hard.  I was totally naive to the difficulties of giving yourself fully to your job whilst nurturing and loving a growing child.  So how have I managed to (sort of) survive?  Here are three pro-tips from a not-so-pro working-hard-or-hardly-working mother:

Get ready the night before

Blatantly obvious but so often ignored (well, in my house anyway) the age-old concept of being organised.  Roll your eyes at me if you will but it is true (shocker!) that laying out your clothes the night before will in fact save you time, and floor space, in the morning.  If like me, it takes ten outfit changes before you settle on the same black attire you wore last Monday then this simple before bed task can save you precious minutes which would be better spent painting your face on in the morning.  The same rule applies for children.  Choose their creche clobber in advance and you may just get away with one less temper tantrum over tutus (or grubby dinosaur t-shirts in my case) on a wet and traffic ridden Tuesday.  I wish I could extend this practice into pre-making my lunches, but alas, I admit defeat and shamefully succumb to the fact this is one step too far.

Get sleep- and lots of it

There is only so far in life that caffeine can take you and if you would like to avoid developing a co-dependency on stimulated hot beverages, I suggest at least 8 hours of shut-eye a night.  Yes, it can seem impossible to find time to ‘live’ when you’re going to bed at 10pm only to rise again at 6.  Where will I fit in my latest Netflix binge, I hear you cry!  No Netflix does not have to take a back seat you just might have to watch a whole series of The Sinner over the space of a week rather than one night.  Trust me you, your boss (and the rest of your friends and family) will thank me… 

Treasure your time off

I started off in a trap of feeling guilty for not feeling guilty for being in work rather than at home baking cookies and colouring in all day, but the reality was that, for a time, going to work was easier than being a stay at home mum.  I could discuss developments all day (property ones that is) but ask me to endure another episode of Peppa Pig and I’d be climbing the walls.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy being a mum – don’t get me wrong.  I just need the break (yes I did just refer to work as a break) in order for me to really be present and give all of my attention to my son when we do get to spend time together.  The phrase quality over quantity should probably never be used in relation to parenting but having less time together during the week has made hours we do spend together even more precious.

And if all or any of the above fails (which let’s face it – in raising offspring there are no fool proof methods) take a deep breath and try your best to ‘Keep Calm & Carry On…’

From 6 months to 18 and everything in between 

When the memory of a photo came up on my Facebook timeline of Harry at six months old last week I really did have to take a moment to pause and think.  A year couldn’t possibly have passed.. could it? It’s true what they say that you’ll blink and they’re 30 and at the rate we’re going I won’t have had a full night’s sleep before I’m planning 21st birthdays. However, enough of the wistful nostalgia; it’s time for some brutal honesty.

From the moment Harry was born everyone said it would get easier.  Oh how I look back and chuckle at nieve little old me thinking that life was so hard to have Harry sitting pretty in his pram whilst I ate my lunch with my mother in Dundrum and passer bys cooed and smiled at my adorable (unable to wriggle free or move) bundle of joy.   Alas, the sweetened smiles are now substituted by harderned stares whilst I grapple with a one and a half year old who is throwing everything but the table itself accross the floor.  But it’s not just in restaurants that I endure this carry on. Oh no. It’s at home too.  The hoover is used so often I now seldom put it away.  The beautiful (very expensive) ornamental vase I so proudly purchased last year now resides in my mothers downstairs toilet.  I’ve had Jo Malone candles thrown and smashed before my very eyes.  And we won’t even discuss my White Company bedspread.  I often used to complain that I couldn’t get a photo of Harry because he wasn’t interactive enough with the camera.  Now I’m lucky if he will sit still for long enough for me to get one at all.  My car is Harry’s personal rubbish site and my once immaculate Mulberry has dedicated itself to a life of crushed crackers and spare nappies.

But in-between the superficial are the delights.  The stolen kiss before bedtime.  The early morning cuddles on the sofa.  The first few tentative steps taken accross the living room.  These are the times I pause and remember where I am, will time to stop and leave us in peace for a moment.  Because really, right now, there is no place I’d rather be. (Nyawww)

Return of the Mum

With the volume of bloggers and Instagrams around the globe growing at an alarming rate it probably (no, definitely) went entirely unnoticed that I hadn’t updated my blog in quite some time.  There was no particular reason for this other than I hadn’t felt the need to upload my every living moment to the internet on a regular basis. Although I still managed to annoy a few of you with a regular (carefully thought out) Instagram post.

In the meantime I’ve managed to; re-enter a relationship, move country, return to work, re-exit said relationship, leave full time employment and remigrate to where I started. Not a lot for six months eh? I’ve done a full 360 in less than the length of an entire pregnancy. That said, I’m not complaining.  Much has happened in the last half year which could have been “the straw that broke the camel’s back” as it were, but I’m still here, still fighting, and looking forward to updating you all on mine and Harry’s lives, one (hopefully) not so irritating post at a time ❤

Almost 20 things I learned before the age of 23

Following on from 10 things I learned in the last 10 months and with a 23rd birthday looming I decided it would be the perfect time to share my (not so wisdomous) wisdom that I had accumulated in my short twenty three years on earth. At the risk of sounding like an over-counselled institutionalised weirdo I’ve included some not-so-serious claims in an effort to lighten my list. Considering it the length of time it took me to write this sorry account I’m going to go now and get a head start on 30 before 30.

1. Don’t have sex. Because you will get pregnant and die. No I’m totally joking just make sure you use adequate prevention methods. If you’re not ready for early evenings on the sofa and even earlier mornings spent there, it’s time to use protection kiddos.

2. Boundaries. Have them, respect them and establish them early on in all relationships in life. When you say no to someone, mean it. Don’t give into something just because it might be “easier”.

3. Forgive and forget. Life’s far too short to hold grudges. You never know what’s around the corner for you, or for someone else.

4. Don’t go to sleep without saying sorry. You’ll sleep a zzzz-Illion times better. Trust me.

5. Fruit tastes nice in salads. Gone are the days that I sieved the pomegranate pips from my fourth superfood salad of the working week I now have a newfound appreciation for all things sweet amongst my savoury. Strawberries and feta? Divine.

6. Always say thank you. If someone doesn’t thank you for even the most menial of tasks it leaves you constantly trying to “make it up to them”.

7. Say “no” more often. If you find yourself saying “yes” to every party invite, work outing and coffee date that comes your way and you’re often ending up racing and frazzled, it’s probably time to politely decline. Over selling yourself will not only lead to sleepless nights but it’s also not fair on the people you are scrambling to meet. Instead of a half-listened, overly rushed brunch date and a last-minute-let-down other friend, meet people less often for longer.

8. Expect nothing. Not everyone you meet in life will hold the same standards as you do.  If you don’t expect anything from anyone anything above is an added bonus.

9. Accept what you cannot change. Live in the here and now. Make the most of every moment. Be present.

10. Why be moody when you can shake your booty.

11. Hangovers do get worst with age. Gone are the days where I could drink my own body weight in my parents “borrowed” Bacardi day after day in a vacant field in the suburbs of Dublin. The day after the night before now mostly consists of a litre of diorolyte, four aspirin and at least two takeaways.

12. People always ask do I have many friends with babies. And while the answer is yes I do have some friends with children (and I love them all to pieces and have a huge amount of respect and admiration for them) I have more friends who don’t. And I love it. Because we all need a break from talking about things that are milk and poo related.

13. I tried mum and baby classes and I hated them. The idea of baby yoga was a great novelty. I had visions of me and Harry falling asleep together in an obscure convoluted position during the “relaxation” portion of the hour only to be met with constant whinging and a few near misses with feet and my eyes.

14. Being a mum doesn’t mean you need to lose your identity. Go back to work. Get your hair done. Go for dinner. Do all the things you used to do. (well maybe not all of them)

15. There are no songs about being 23. I took this as a sign that I was getting old-er.

16. Dress to impress. I can honestly say that one thing that majorly helped me through my first six months as a mother was getting dressed and putting my face on. It is so true that if you look amazing you will feel amazing. Never underestimate the ability of a mid-heeled shoe.

17. Know your limits. Stress, alcohol, money, friendships. While we all would like to go above and beyond in the work place, drink that sixth glass of Merlot  buy that new pair of shoes instead of paying our rent.. Remember that if you stretch yourself too thinly there are bound to be (widespread) consequences. Living within your limits is a sure fire way to lessen anxiety. (To be followed 75% of the time.. Otherwise life would be far too boring)

18. Just. Breath.


10 things I’ve learned in the last 10 months

As Harry nears his ten month birthday (yes, I count every month as a birthday and no, I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon) I thought it was fitting to compile a list of things I have learnt in this time.

1. Drink wine. Lots of it. If I thought I was partial to a glass of red (or six) before I became a mother, boy did I fall in love after. Wine is the universal medicine of mothers. It relieves aches and pains, shuts down any feelings of stress and anxiety and cures all symptoms of a tough and testing day. I recommend one glass a day, minimum, for anyone with a child under the age of (at least) ten.
2. You will try wake up every day before your child and you will fail, miserably. There is no task like trying to get ready for the day with a naughty-nearly-one year old. Friends must allow at least half an hour leeway when arranging meetings as there is certain to be one more nappy change before you leave the house.
3. Now is not the time to grow out your hair. I chose possibly the worst time in my life to let my hair grow long again. How I have any left attached to my head at this stage I’m really not sure. A tangle teezer and copious amounts of conditioner are a must.
4. Get iPhone insurance. Now. Your phone will be smashed multiple times in the foreseeable future. If you can keep your child’s mucky mits away from it, I implore you.
5. Peppa Pig is Gods gift to parents. If you can get through the day without the Bing Bong song repeating itself in your head. If you haven’t yet discovered it and it’s many glorious qualities, like at least half an hour of silence, I suggest you start now. Plus the piggies are really cute.
6. Jaffa cakes are acceptable dinner items. For children and starving parents. I think almost every mum and dad I know has started out with the good intentions of raising a sugar-free, gluten-free, (fun-free) vegan, raw juice drinking child only to realise (very) quickly that when your pride and joy hasn’t eaten a thing for the last three days you will give them almost anything to stop their gorgeous chubby leg rolls from fading away. Popular snacks in my cupboard include rich tea biscuits, Pom bears and blueberry flavoured rice cakes.
7. Poo, glorious poo. When you become a mother you will (probably at some point) eat, breath and sleep the stuff. It’s a topic never far from your mind and one you are constantly telling your  friends, who don’t want to hear it, about. You will also learn in this time that your child will get to an age where he can remove his own nappy and poo on your sofa.
8. There will be tears. From both parties. Babies cry. It’s a fact of life. They can’t express themselves any other way. I’ve been quite lucky up until now that I have had a mostly happy and content baby but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t had his moments. He’s also now learning that if he cries enough he 9/10 times will get what it is he wants. Queue tears. Lots of them. And not just from him. I’ve learnt that if Harry cries enough, 9/10 times I will join him. Someone pass the waterproof mascara..
9. Moving country alone with a baby is very hard work. And I’m not sure there are many people mad enough (apart from myself) to do it. This is explains my (not very) noticeable absence from social media and general life.
10. People say being a mother is the most rewarding job, and they’re right. To get one smile a day amongst a thousand tears is enough to make it worth it! Aww.

6 quick tips to help banish the baby (burrito) bump

Disclaimer: I am NOT a health professional. Take everything I say with a pinch of salt.

It’s also probably a good thing to note that I wrote this after consuming a very large portion of cheesy chilli nachos.

And a gin and tonic.

Basically the way I see it losing weight is not rocket science. (Get it?) Three years ago after a trip to my GP moaning about a two stone weight gain he gave me some very simple and easy to follow advice: Eat less, move more. His delivery was sharp and it stung a little, but deep down I knew he was right. I had moved to London and immersed myself in city life. I had four months off to divulge in more than just the vibrant cities culture. Gourmet fast food and ice cream parlours surrounded me, coupled with an increasing taste for alcohol and a boyfriend who drove me everywhere, it was a recipe for disaster. Within that time, I piled on the pounds and when I shot up to nearly ten stone I knew something had to be done. A (small) part of the problem was I’d thrown out my weighing scales in fear of the numbers staring back at me and so it wasn’t until I saw a photo of myself at the zoo that I decided to take action. I could have easily blended into the pig pen without a second glance! Eight months later and twenty-six pounds down, I vowed to never re gain it. However, not long after and a new boyfriend later I was, as Bridget Jones put it, mit bebe, and inevitably I regained all the weight in the same time I lost it. Granted my bump was petite through the duration of my pregnancy and believe me I ate whatever I wanted but I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about losing it all afterwards nearly every day. So as before I followed the steps you definitely already know below and it wasn’t long before I was back in my size.. Don’t be silly I’m not going to tell you what size jeans I wear 😉

1. Rid the bump before the bump: It is 100% accurate that if you are a healthy weight before you are pregnant you will be on a much quicker route to losing it once your bambino is born. Having a healthy BMI during pregnancy also significantly decreases risk of pregnancy induced illnesses such as pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes.

2. Be active: I don’t come with total lack of knowledge I did study midwifery once upon a time and the fitter you are the easier your labour will be. The tighter and stronger your stomach muscles are avant bump the higher the likelyness they will return.

3. 80% diet 20% fitness: I think a lot of people forget this rule. Unless you are an Olympic weight lifter or a personal trainer it is entirely true. Just because you ran half an hour on the treadmill and burned 300 calories doesn’t mean you can then go eat a burger and chips for lunch. (Which is 1,536 calories from Gourmet Burger by the way.) Saying that I think the opposite is also true, if you have indulged and eaten the cake, a nice long walk or an evening trip to the gym will help rid the extra fat.

4. Man with a plan: Eating healthily is enough for some people, although if you’re like me and you have a taste for all foods, good and bad, this probably won’t work. Just because you know avocados are good for you, doesn’t mean you should consume so many you’re shitting guacamole. Eat everything in moderation. Counting calories or following a plan like weight watchers is a good way to keep you on track.

5. Write everything down before you eat it: My mum writes it all down at the end of the day.. I don’t need to explain why this doesn’t work.

6. Always drink responsibly: Let’s be honest, when you’re a mum, nights out are few and far between. But when you do decide you need a night out to be young, wild and free stick to drinks with fewer calories and a lower sugar content. I’m a sucker for a gin and slim (50 calories) or a vodka-soda-lime (also aptly known as a skinny bitch) but if you are partial to a glass of red wine, as I am, remember it’s 228 calories a glass and skip the post night out kebab.

Wish you were(nt) here

Having escaped to the sunshine and left my baby and all responsibilities at home, I’ve taken the expression “enjoy yourself” a little too literally and after another heavy night of drinking I arose sometime mid-afternoon to a rather interesting email..

The issue at hand is the amount of early morning decibels emanating from the current guests. There was a live and thunderous, if less than melodious, concert in your varanda at 3am, featuring the guests themselves. Concurrently, there were what sounded like reenactments of epic olympic events in your lounge.

I understand you have no immediate control over how guests behave, hence this contact to give you an opportunity to make them aware of their impact on others. Should they repeat the shenanigans at ungodly hours, we will be forced to call the authorities, which would be regrettable.

So yes, maybe rapping an entire Nikki Minaj song at 4am wasn’t the best idea but hey, I’m only young once. Sure it’s probably not the most appropriate behaviour for a respectful mum-of-one but can you really blame me? It’s rare I sit down before 11pm at home so who says I can’t transform into a big-bootied global superstar once in a while? The neighbours apparently..

Twenty-something mom

A close friend once told me that if she hadn’t met her current boyfriend she would be roaming the streets looking for someone to impregnate her. After a good five minutes of giggling it really got me thinking. When does your biological clock really start ticking? Why do people’s inner alarms go off at different times? I always said I wanted children in my younger years and my wish was Gods command. Other women wait until their forties to start their families. There will always be pros and cons to both arguments. Clearly I sway towards team young mum but I see the positives and negatives on both sides. As much as I love my son to bits I often think about how different life would be without him. I would still be in London with a blossoming career and there are at least 185 countries I haven’t visited. That doesn’t mean I’ll never get to them or reach my full potential, he’s just delayed things slightly. I have to work that little bit harder. Equally I could have climbed the career ladder and sailed the seven seas and then had my children. The choice was mine. I took one path but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t another. But that little clock was tick, tick, ticking. The pendulum was swinging and I couldn’t deny the (now very loud) voice inside my head screaming at me “what if I never get the chance again”. I know many do not feel this way, especially in their early twenties. What is it in our biological makeup that makes some women love children and others loath them? I guess until I make it past the first semester of university I’ll never arrive at my eureka moment so until then I’ll just have to rely on Google for the answers.

Sun, sea and a G&T

Rewind to London, summer 2014. The weather is hot and sticky, (As were my underarms), the air is hazy and wavy from the heat and everything seems groovy. I could mostly be found somewhere riverside sipping on a cool, refreshing pimms or an ice cold gin and slim. Life was simple, everything was easy.

Fast forward to June 2015 and the weather is again warm, and this time my whole body is sweltering and soggy, not just my underarms. I rocked the beach whale look that year. My summer months were drier than the Sahara as not a drop of alcohol was consumed. (Unless you count the sneaky white wine spritzer that I hoovered up in the Mitre.)

But alas, here we are again, summer is coming. The sun is heating up and day time drinking is edging on acceptable. But there’s a problem. Life ain’t so free and breezy anymore. There’s a side of milk coming with my gin. Responsibilities have crept up on me and I can no longer structure my days around jugs of pimms. However, I am a firm believer that life doesn’t end when you become a mum and therefore I have made it my mission to seek out “child friendly pubs” (if there ever was such a thing). Yes your children still have to be in bed by 8 o clock but who says you can’t have some (moderate) fun in the meantime?

With the brood

The Magpie Inn, Dalkey

Probably more of a cosy, winter spot but this place always makes you feel welcome, with or without the kids. They making a banging fish and chips plus they have an extensive ale and cider list. Winning!

The Bluebird Cafe, Kings Road

Definitely more up market than the above but there is no where I’d rather be for a lazy Sunday brunch. Great place to sit and watch the world go by with a bottle of bubbly to hand. There’s always children here early in the day.. Just make sure to take them home before you continue into Embargoes!

Without them

Chelsea Drugstore, Dublin

It’s possible I love this bar so much because it reminds me of somewhere I used to go in London. The music is mellow, the lighting is cool and it’s just upmarket enough to be trendy without leaving you with that uncomfortable, overwhelmed feeling. You can also sneak through the back door into Market Bar if you’ve got their naughty nachos on your mind.

The Ship, Wandsworth

Ah, the ship. If you haven’t experienced ship Sunday’s you are seriously missing out. Until you’ve lived through it you won’t understand. Needs to be seen to be believed, I have no other way to explain it! Worth hiring a babysitter for.

Let’s talk about sex

When you first have a baby sex is the furthest thing from your mind. It’s what got you into this mind-numbingly painful situation in the first place so why would you possibly want to repeat it. (I mean seriously – I couldn’t sit down for days.) You know it’s off the cards for the next six weeks, what’s another six months.. or years..? When the public health nurse broaches the subject of birth control on her final visit you brush it off like she just asked you where you bought your new Zara coat. I think I (definitely not) casually flicked my hair, threw my eyes to heaven and swore myself abstinent for the foreseeable future. She responded with raised eyebrows and a knowing look. Because she was right. Believe it or not, the day will come when you’re ready to get back up on that saddle, and really,  isn’t it better to be prepared?

  1. Most would think step 1 involves a trip to your beautician for a em, tidy up down there or an attempt at it yourself with your leg in an obscure position in the shower. But no. Before you even contemplate getting your lady bits ready you need to get your lady bits ready! Yes, I’m talking about birth control. However much you love your little bundle of joy imagine having two under the age of one and suddenly it’s not so joyous anymore. Get to your GP and have it sorted ASAP or your mom will be like the one in Mean Girls who fainted when she got the results from Planned Parenthood.
  2. Now you can consider the tidy up. Invest in some new lingerie. Buy a tube of Veet. Make yourself feel pretty! Pretty means different things to different people. Leave it long. Cut it short. Do whatever you want. As long as you are comfortable that is all that matters. There are no rules when it comes to sex.
  3. Choose your partner wisely. You’re bound to feel a bit nervous doing the deed again for the first time in a long time. Whether you’ve been together for years or it’s someone who knows you a little less well, make sure it is with someone you trust. Make it a moment you don’t want to forget, not one filled with regret.

Most importantly: breath. Don’t over think it. Bask in the moment. Enjoy yourself. Being a mom is a full-time job, you never know when you will get the chance again!

5 products to make it look like you didn’t get up 6 times last night

As every new (and old) mom knows; new baby = no sleep. Heck, you could be one year in and still on permanent night duty! So I have decided to compile a list of five beauty products to help mask the symptoms of a non-alcohol related sleepless night.

  1. Eye cream – Often an expensive item but in my opinion most definitely worth the investment. I couldn’t survive without it. (Well I could but then I would look like I’d done a few rounds with Conor McGregor every morning.) A quick slick takes you from zombified-panda to wide-eyed cheerleader in an instant. At the moment I’m loving this one: –
  2. Concealer – If you don’t have time for any other product this should be your number one. A pink-based concealer will mask dark circles while a yellow-base will brighten around the eye area. In other words – go into MAC and ask for a NW shade to shake the panda look and an NC colour to bring you back to life. You wont regret it.
  3.  Coffee – Technically not a beauty product but definitely deserves its place on this list. The elixir of life for moms worldwide. I am the epiphany of the slogan “instant human just add coffee” and so I have visited an extensive number of coffee shops and jaunts across Dublin and London. I’ll write a post soon on my top ones to visit but in the meantime I’ve linked below a couple I would recommend to obtain your daily fix.                                                                                
  4. Beauty Balm – I was sceptical at first to see if any of these products actually worked. I had tried plenty of variations of BB and CC creams in the past and was suitably unimpressed so when products without any coverage or pigment became popular I required some encouragement. Once I tried one though I was hooked. Instantly my face was refreshed and I gained back some of my long forgotten “pregnancy glow”. Use alone to fake the fresh faced look or under make-up for added radiance.
  5. Highlighter – Contouring and highlighting is all the rage right now but if beautifying time is limited, which it almost always is when you have a young child, you need to skip the sculpting and go straight to the good stuff. Mac’s strobe cream is my secret weapon. Start with a generous layer of this super-light moisturiser and you’re sure to have a great day. Next I highlight my cheekbones, arches of my eyebrows and corners of my eyes with Benefit’s “Girl Meets Pearl” luminzer.

And hey presto – I am transformed to a cheery, glimmering goddess in five easy steps! (Well, not quite. But at least by now hopefully I look like I haven’t left half my face on the pillow.)

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