A Mum in Need

That motherly bond we have, the strong protective urge, the love, the momma bear; these affect how we react to situations. Situations that were previously OK for us, are no longer OK when you add your baby into the mix. Although most of us experience these things when it comes to trying to go outside after baby has come, or even to a restaurant, some of us experience these from the get go, at home.

Relationships are hard, and never more so than when your first tot arrives. Tempers fire easily and the foundation is completely shook. What’s more is you don’t necessarily see where things are falling apart, don’t realise what situation you’re in, until that little person is added in and you see everything for what it is: Dangerous.

This is where I found a woman last week. Her partner had always been a fly off the handle type and, although there had been no punches pulled, there was some shoving and flying objects in the heat of the moment. She really loved him and felt the good times outweighed the outbursts, so she stayed. Unexpectedly, they got pregnant. Every precaution was taken and she STILL got pregnant. He stood by her and helped prepare for the baby. She went back to her home country to give birth and stayed there until she was two months old. He came for a visit just after she was born.

Motherhood is scary and doing it in a foreign land is even more so, so she asked that her husband consider moving to her country in a few years. She’d come back to his country for now, and then in a few years they’d move back to her country to give her some contact with friends and family, of which she had none in his country. He agreed. She came back. And if went downhill from there.

He had lied. He had no intention of going there. He insisted that he must be able to have a job as well paid and life as luxurious as he had made it in his country, and he wanted it like that from the start. Any reasonable person knows that’s not possible. She protested, at which point he suggested she could return to her home country… Without her baby girl.

She was horrified, terrified, at a loss. He had her passport and she had no income or anywhere to go. He followed that bombshell with a refusal to renew her soon to expire spousal visa. She started to panic. It’s at this point her Mama senses kicked in and she reached out. I was among those who stepped in to support her.

We started by trying to secure her the option of renewing her visa, and then I let her talk out her options. You can’t tell someone in this situation what to do. They must decide. I could never hope to understand the full relationship they had in the short time I knew her. She told me her fears and I told her her options. It was clear from the beginning that she was preparing to run.

There is a law that prevents parents from running overseas with children when the other parent hasn’t consented. She was VERY lucky to have a loophole. Her child had not yet lived in the country a week. She did not have a passport for that country. She could argue easily that her child was yet to count as resident because she hadn’t lived there longer than her mother’s home country. This fact played a MASSIVE role in her escape.

Through clever lies she had gained her daughter’s passport, but learnt that her husband wanted to cancel the tourist visa the following day. Time up. There was no way to be sure if that would hinder an exit after that date. Forced into a corner she told him that she was going to a friend’s to stay the night and think things through, while actually going to a woman’s shelter. That the previous day’s conversion, in which he repeatedly suggested she return home alone, had made her question things.

From here on it became a rollercoaster. Because she had turned off the location on her phone, which he usually tracked her with, he flew into a rage and said he was going to the police to report them as missing persons. We had discussed how she should report the domestic violence to secure her legal position, and so she hightailed it to the nearest police station and told them everything.

To my complete surprise, the police escorted her to the airport and arranged airport security to watch over her until she was safely on the flight. In this Mums hour of need she was given every bit of support from the people in power. It meant she was able to safely return to her home country.

It has been an unbelievable ordeal and the shock of it all has really taken its toll. But here’s what changed: Quite apart from the violence which was triggered by anything, she realised she wanted to set an example for her daughter. If she had stayed, it would be demonstrating to her daughter that it is normal to be treated like that, and it would effect her future relationships. She didn’t want that. For herself, she could put up with the occasional outburst for his love, but it took her daughter to realise just how unaceptable the situation was.

I’m so glad I got to help this mother in need, even just a little, but more than that, I’m proud to have met such a remarkably strong women who gave up all her possessions, her love and her home, for the sake of her daughter. I hope that she can grow stronger and heal now she’s with her relatives in her home town.

Enough of the judgemental crap!

Ok… The dream job that I started last year, started trying to kill me pretty quick. It’s honestly like working in high school some days. Bickering and backchatting… be clear, it’s not ALL the staff, it’s just one. And that’s all you need for a dream to become a nightmare.

Just like highschool, my mind is spinning with all the stuff I should have said or done, and with all the scenarios of future problems that may arise due to actions that were insufficient or overzealous. In tackling this one woman I spend an inordinate amount of time holding my tongue, trying to rise above it… But I can’t anymore. She’s rude, confrontational, condescending and downright judgemental.

One day while chatting to this co-worker, I mentioned how my son had had pasta the night before. It wasn’t even what we were talking about, but before I could continue our conversation she looked at me surprised and said “pasta?” Before scoffing and rolling her eyes. The idea I’d given my then 14 month old pasta for dinner was met with the judgemental tone of “you fed your baby pasta? such bad parenting, so unhealthy.” I was so shocked that I ended up justifying my choice of dinner! It’s not the first time she has been judgemental over what I feed my boy. At daycare he requested the bread snack as well as his rice and vegetable snack, in the afternoon. I didn’t give him much, but I joked about how much bigger he had gotten lately and called him “chubby”. Without looking at me she muttered “well, yeah, it’s because you give him two snacks”. Quite apart from that being the first and only time he had asked for both, that comment was unnecessary. He isn’t fat. He is normal sized. Perfectly proportioned. Bigger than Japanese boys his age, but normal by Western standards.

On another occasion, I came in one morning and his temperature was 37.4 when we arrived. At 37.5 children get sent home. A different daycare worker said we should check it regularly, say every half an hour, until it was either up or down. So as I was free, I took his temperature at the time we needed and again I get a scoff and some audible back chat about me to a coworker: “if he’s so sick she’s taking his temperature again, she shouldn’t have brought him in”. Forget rude and unnecessary, that was unprofessional. If she’d had asked “hey, why are you taking his temperature again?” Then I would have told her, but she scoffed about me and implied that I’m either a bad mother for bringing in a sick son, or a hypochondriac, overly panicky about her son.

She’ll tell me how something being where it is, is dangerous. I’m thinking about how it needs to be moved just as she says it, but she tells me like my child didn’t survive the last 15 months in my care without her. I’ll have her tell me that he shouldn’t be having formula anymore or should be breastfeeding less; That I hug him too much or should be stricter on him when he’s being loud and babbling excitedly while other kids are sleeping. He doesn’t get it! He’s 14 months old and excited about life! I’ve got a better chance of getting down 3 dress sizes in the next month than he does of being quiet when told. We’re even working on that now, but he thinks that you need to scream first and then say “shush” after…. His daddy played a game and now we’re fighting uphill. As for breastfeeding, she can shove it.

She’s a daycare worker with years of experience with all kinds of kids, but she is, herself, childless. Now when I was younger and I gave unwarranted advice to mothers, they’d say “you don’t have any children so you wouldn’t know/understand”. I always thought that they just didn’t like that I was right. Now I know I was an arrogant **** that didn’t know jack. You can train all you like with as many children as you like, but unless you are with your child all hours, have experienced pressures of work and children and sleep, and everything else being a parent entails, such as knowing your child; then you shouldn’t be giving advice. You should keep your thoughts, opinions and musings, and all that crap to yourself because you don’t know ANYTHING about the child, the parent, the home life, the background to the situation, temperaments, usual responses to stimuli etc etc. Even other mother’s will only give advice with a “based on my experience this *might* work”. They’d never condescend to the way you raise your child because they know better. So now I spend my time fielding off crap like this, I keep trying to think of how to make this ***** know better. Do I tell her to shut it? Do I calmly tell her her opinions are not wanted?

I’ve tried taking the high road and talking calmly, ignoring stuff she’s saying when it’s clearly to get a rise, but it does get to me. It’s unbelievably sucky to go away and have a PERFECT come back pop into your head, or after preparing mentally for a fight you know that’s coming, but choking on all those words you wanna say when the time comes. That woman has had me so stressed, but you can bet I’m not gonna let this lie.

If you are mumming it and getting the judgemental condescension from someone, you don’t have to take it. You are doing GREAT. Silence, as I’ve found out the hard way, only encourages them to talk more. They think they’re helping. They think that whatever experience they have, is somehow equal. It’s not. Not even close. We don’t have to take this with a smile, it is NOT appropriate to do this and you should stick up for yourself. But whatever you do, remember there are other mother’s dealing with the same crap, and you can always lean on us when you’re need to.

Beware of working alongside your offspring!

Ok. It’s not going great at work, I’m not gonna lie. I love it, but … Yeah. Due to a lovely sickness that has spread around the daycare, we are now short staffed. Short staffed enough that the office staff occasionally need to help. Because of this, all of the staff available were helping with nap time. In just under an hour we had all but two asleep; and yes… One of them was my son.

With no other alternative, the area manager (also helping out) gives us the staff meeting in the middle of the children’s nap area. Within a few minutes the other child nods off, realising the ensuing conversation is going to be excessively dull. My son, 8 months old, remains the last and most chipper of all of us, sat in his cot playing.

As the meeting starts, he gets enamoured with a big multicoloured ball. I’m talking screeching, clapping, banging, giggling, kinda crazy enamoured. So between all the screeching and banging, and now shushing from me, we are hanging onto the manager’s every word. This is important. One staff member is sick, another has vanished and seems to have quit. Another is taking a well earned day off. We’re down to the last few and how we go forward under such pressure is important.

But then he does it. He makes a noise. Not the obvious fart, poo grunting or squealing; a new noise. One we’ve never heard him do before. Curiosity gets the better of us and myself and one other glance over.

During this deeply serious meeting, under trying circumstances, my son has managed to wrap his WHOLE mouth around the cot barrier and blow on it to create an odd and flat note, simalar to a deflating balloon though somewhat more melancholy, and although the sound was amusing, it was NOTHING compared to his face. Stretched round the bar so much that he looked like he’d had a face lift. Even his eyebrows looked surprised to be where they were! I kick myself I didn’t take a picture, but… Serious meeting and all.

So that’s two of us. We’ve looked. We’ve seen. We can’t take it. We’re stifling giggles and feigning serious scowls. Nodding in agreement to hide the giggles that simply CANNOT be contained. This of course prompts the other two to look. Same result. More strained serious faces, facing an increasingly impatient boss – who didn’t look.

We held it in. The noise continued and we knew what we’d see if we looked and knew we couldn’t survive a second glance, tempting though it was, and we persevered until the area manager finished and returned to the office. The second that he got round the corner, even before he closed the door, we lost it. We looked, laughed and pointed.

I just got word that the area manager won’t be in as our regular boss is feeling much better. I can’t tell you how relieved I am because I’m pretty sure he’s irritated, thinking we didn’t listen or take him seriously.

Children provide daily amusement and trouble without them coming to work with you. With them at work you leave yourself open to a wondering mind and, like in this case, a complete loss of professionalism in the face of crisis. Despite the peace of mind it brings, I can’t help but wonder when he’ll do something like that again. Cos let’s face it. He will.


So, it’s been at least 3 weeks since my last post and holy hell what a horror. So what happened?

Well, you know I’m at a new job (which is wonderful btw), but it’s currently a very long way from my house. An hour and a half by bike, 2 trains AND a 15 minute walk with a baby in a baby carrier AND a backpack, is brutal. I have barely any time to rest each day. It’s a good thing this job is awesome!

But we’ve decided this can’t go on. It has done wonders for losing baby weight (fyi for those looking for ideas). But in this heat it’s getting more and more exhausting. So we’re moving house on Sunday!

The new house is really close to work and exactly what we need in every respect. I know this sounds good but… What about the move? My baby is 8 months old. Crawling and exploring, putting anything and everything he can find in his mouth. Dangerous or benign, packing with a danger magnet is beyond exhausting. (Props to mums with more than one tiny person, and to single mums. Can’t imagine doing it with more than one kid or without help). Now, all this means that one of us babysits and one of us packs. This obviously slows things down considerably and thankfully we enlisted two friends to babysit while we packed half the house. But tomorrow is the final day… And we’re not finished packing.

So what are we gonna do?

I have no idea.

There’s no friends available this weekend and still a considerable amount to pack. With a baby around this will get very difficult. Seasoned migrator I may be, but this is a whole new level of hell.

I’m a beginner at this, but I know that as a mum, no matter what the problem, you find a way. Why? Because you have to! This isn’t a hobby you can give up when the going gets tough; this is 24/7. I have no idea how I’m gonna get through the next few days, but I have to… So I will.

See you on the other side!

Aaaaaarrrrgggghhhh! Another day Mumming.

(DH = Dearest husband, DS = Dearest Son)

Today DH and I decided we wanted to move house. DS decided today was the day to practice being an asshat. This made the whole process SO much more delightful.

Let’s start with asshat, excuse me, DS. Adorable though he is HE, like all babies, can be very demanding at certain times. DS LOVES trains so you can keep him occupied watching the scenery… But if you stop at a station it becomes trouble. He stops watching and now you’re the focus and he remembers he’s in the baby car and not being carried by Mummy! It is usually possible to distract him back to looking outside, but that wasn’t possible today… I’ll explain more later. Then when we finally get to the housing agency, he becomes the fussiest baby he’s EVER been. More than newborn cos he moves more. He punched me in the face, and made my lip bleed; he also kicked me everywhere and grasped hands full of muscle and skin wherever he could find it and dug his freshly cut nails in. I have so many bruises just from this morning, it looks like my husband is violent. Thankfully he starts fussing for something I can identify and I change his nappy – (but not before losing my cool and punching a big pole because the station toilets were unbelievably inaccessible, and after an exhausting battle to get there, I had to give up when faced with YET MORE stairs. And then I burst into tears when DH suggested we walk further than necessary to find a baby change room, because I was so frustrated)…. Breathes a calming breath
When I finally got him into a baby change room, it was a poo. Not bad, but it became a nightmare. I had prepared as usual, but after cleaning him half up, he kicked the dirty nappy onto the floor. ‘butter side down’. I started to clean this up and was just about to put the new nappy on him when he peed. Twice. Everywhere. He got all his clothes, the door, the floor, the changing table, all of his body AND me. I called for DH at this point. We cleaned up and washed him best we could before redressing him. It was thankfully the worst of him for the day, but you see why I punched the pole.

Ok, so DS was a douche, but he wasn’t the main reason I was getting so irritated, though he didn’t help matters.

He’s cute… Really cute. Not just ‘I’m his mum’ cute, like 15 grown women screaming “kyaaaaaaaa” like they’ve just seen their favourite boy band topless, in person. That wasn’t today, that was outside his daycare and rather funny, today it was old ladies. Now they’re not entirely at fault. DS is a flirt. But when the HELL did I say you can come up and squeeze his legs, arms and cheeks?!?! I mean I kept having to go outside and walk him because he wouldn’t settle in the housing agency, and on EVERY walk a new batch of old ladies would swarm me and DS to coo, ask the same old questions about his age and crap and then feel him up!!! I mean seriously?! I know it’s not flu season but have some boundaries! One lady even interrupted our dinner and serious discussion to play with him! THAT’S why I punched the pole… Cos it was gonna be an old biddies face at the rate they were coming. How they had the courage to approach me I’ll never know. I was wearing ‘resting bitch face’ with a side of ‘your relatives will never find you’!

Am I the only one who doesn’t like people poking, squeezing and prodding their kids? I mean, at least ASK!

DH counted 15 that approached while we were together (not counting distant cooers, like on the train who distracted him from looking outside), and I counted 22, from when I started counting. This can’t be a normal level of fussing. Do I need to up my game and get a tear drop tattoo?!

Finally we get to looking at apartments. They’re good, DS falls asleep. They kept telling us that places were no longer available though, so we thought they might be lying, because they were all still online. We went through a different agency, ours heard and contacted us. They’d caved. They showed us it. Apparently another couple said they wanted it but hadn’t put up any money yet. We could steal by giving money first. We looked at the place and loved it. We’ve put the down payment on it too. It’s really close to both our work places, very close to the centre of Osaka and extremely reasonably priced. It’s gonna be a bit of a rush organising everything and we still have the tiny problem of getting confirmation that we can give one month’s notice at this place without problems. But as long as that works out it should be ok.

If you’ve read this far, thank you and I hope you got a laugh or two. Reading back it sounds almost like a slapstick comedy XD I feel much better…

How to kill negativity as a working mum

About a month ago I went for a job interview and failed miserably. For the sake of my family I needed it, and by failing I thought I simply wasn’t worth it anymore, being a mum. Skills I may have, but having a baby is a full time job. But it’s only recognised as such if it’s detrimental. Usually we hear “it’s not as hard as if you had to…” And “what’s wrong? you get to lie around all day!” But when you want a job it’s “aren’t you too busy to take on a full time job?” It’s. All. Bull. (Excuse the expression).

We ARE worth it, and any company who can’t see that you’re amazing being able to take on both mothering AND a job, doesn’t deserve you. It took me a long time to realise this, but I finally have and got a job with a GREAT company.

It’s as an English teacher in a daycare, where I’ll work 9 hours a day, including a one hour lunch break. I get full benefits, training towards a childcare qualification, a great wage, it’s not far from home and the clincher? My baby can come too! Though this is not usually a good thing, as it pulls your focus, my planned daycare suddenly said there was no space. Knowing he could definitely go, made things much easier.

I was actually offered TWO jobs, which was manic. Both excellent and exciting, though both slightly different, but both in excellent companies. It was hard to decide and, at one point, I was leaning towards the other job, which was closer to home. The job I eventually took did everything it could to help.

If a company is willing to do this, I’m obviously not worthless. We need to remember that being mums ADDS to our list of qualifications and worth. It in no way detracts. If you haven’t found the job yet, remember you’re worth it and it’s out there.

Oh!… And the one that turned me down is still looking. 😉

Milestones on a schedule

Now that it’s April I’m working full steam. It’s a slow month, but I still have to be AT work sadly. But we’ve moved Kyouya onto solids.

What does this mean for me then? Well, besides having to strictly supervise my husband’s feeding frenzies, in which he gives him WAY too much unless I’m breathing down his neck, it also means that my little one’s tummy is having a rough time, and needs mummy to help relieve gas and other delights from the land down under.

So far this has meant he has woken up for winding a few times, but otherwise he has been sleeping better. The only thing is that, so that he can relieve his wind before bedtime, I need to get back home earlier. Not only this, I don’t want to miss out on the horrified grimaces and joyful smiles as new flavours are introduced!

He tried carrots yesterday, but daddy didn’t wait for mummy to get home… Mummy was very angry. Especially because, despite the video showing it, I wasn’t there to witness my son experiencing a new flavour. I would have loved to see it LIVE, as my son decided carrots are not for him! Instead I get the video version.

Because of my firm determination not to miss anymore feeding times, I have started altering my work schedule. I’m lucky my job allows for this, which means I will have to be careful when deciding on a future job, in order to avoid missing more special moments than are necessary.

Everything centres around my boy and all the thoughts and concerns swirl around constantly in my head, creating a nonsensical soup of words.

I hope this soup didn’t give you a headache!

First food!

We fed him his first solids today! We went for watery, mushy rice and he LOVED it. He was extremely confused at first but eventually became very sad there wasn’t anymore food. Naturally we have him a single spoon today, but in stages and he eventually got the hang of it. He even cried for more.

We spent a month deciding which food to make him first, and eventually decided we’d start bland and work to yummier foods. I’m looking forward to finding out his likes and don’t likes, especially since it’ll be dominating my time from now on.

I’ll let you know how it goes! Kyouya is almost 5 months but is super big at over 20lbs, so nearly twice his birth weight. Comment on how old your little one was when you moved to solids and what you chose as the first food!

Working Mummy worries 2

I didn’t get the job. It sucks. I clammed up in the interview and my answers were AWFUL. Seriously… They couldn’t script a worse one. And now I’m stuck in two minds: I want to be at home with my baby, so this is good, but I want to help support my husband.

Since I got the rejection my mind has been rocking from “yay!” To “oh my god, what have I done”. My husband has no problem with the outcome, and says he’ll support whichever way forward I choose, be it work or stay at home mum. This is where it gets hard. Working mothers are not always doing it just to stay afloat financially; we also do it because we like it. I’m a go getter, I’ve had a part time job since I was 13 and haven’t stopped working. I love it, the challenge, and it’s part of me.

You give up so much of yourself when you become a mum… Everything comes second at the very least. So to give up work if you’re a worker bee, is like giving up another side of your identity. So while the idea of being able to watch Kyouya go through these milestones is wonderful, I’m really raring to go to a job I love. Not to mention the continuing desire to help my husband. It’s a real weight, so for the next month I’m going to be trying my best to find a job that I would be satisfied to do full time, that I’d love enough that I wouldn’t feel so guilty leaving my little boy; and if I can’t find it by that time… I’m going to have to make peace with not working.

Wish me luck!

Working Mummy worries

I had my job interview today. I have high hopes. It’s a great job and in a great place. Considering how difficult it is to leave your child in the care of someone else, I couldn’t do it for anything other than the best job that I loved.

But I worry. What am I gonna miss if I get this job? He’s extremely attached recently as I’ve tried to go to my current job more, and often cries for ‘Mama’ when I’m not there. I’m terrified that leaving him with others will cause him damage in the long run. That this is heartless. I mean, is it really necessary to do this?

We’re getting by, sure it’s tight and kinda paycheck to paycheck, but we’re ok.

Truthfully I don’t wanna leave my baby right now, but I know that this would help us all and take some pressure off daddy. I’m not the only mum to work nowadays. I just need to make my peace with it.

Tomorrow I’ll get the call about the job, and if I get it I’m gonna go at it full throttle and then make the most out of my time with Kyouya. It’s going to be heart-wrenching but there are so many good things to be said about the position and the benefits for the family. Especially since my outgoings are minimal and they pay all expenses. My entire wage packet would go to family savings! Not to mention bonuses and weekends off with the family. I’ve just gotta keep positive, and give all the love I can to my baby when I see him.

It’s so hard… I love him so much.