The Motherhood Penalty

It has come to my attention that The Motherhood Penalty is an actual thing.

There was me thinking I was the only one struggling with being made redundant on maternity leave and struggling to find a career to suit me now. The thing is, it isn’t just me. The Motherhood Penalty is REAL. We’re talking real pay gaps for mums in comparison to a non- parent counter parts, less promotion opportunities, held to higher punctuality standards than others. We are less likely to be suggested for hire than a less qualified woman without children. Just have a read at a few stats here (http://gap.hks.harvard.edu/getting-job-there-motherhood-penalty). Before you start, I know this article is full of American stats; but it is applicable for the UK and most likely a bunch of other countries too. There are plenty of other articles on the subject too. Read them, I implore you.

The last time I was made redundant I was in a new role within two weeks. This time, I’m 3 years more experienced. This time, I’m a mum. This time, it’s almost been a month already. As a society, it is our job to change this. As a mother who wants it all, it’s my job to hunt what I want down. Why should we settle for less than our counter parts? Those who choose to be dog owners are not penalised for their life choice, yet you have a child and that’s it. You certainly can’t have a career AND a family. You most certainly can’t do them both at the same time, let alone do them well. You must pick. You must pick one or the other. You can only be good at one thing – Family OR work.

That’s where I’m saying it needs to change. We are stuck in an archaic time. The stay at home mum suffers prejudice. It can be seen as old fashioned, lazy, and unattractive. “Gain a baby, lose a brain” this attitude spills out on to the mother who wants or needs to work, making it increasingly difficult to get back in to work. On the other hand, mothers who choose to have a career are classified as uncaring, lacking maternal instinct and cold. Working mothers have it hard. The guilt of having to pay someone else to help raise their child. Then there is the pay gap between them and their childfree counterparts, not to mention the problem of sourcing reliable and trustworthy childcare.

We have come so far with equality yet we are still stuck with The Motherhood Penalty. For some reason the work world thinks that us mum’s supposedly stray from competency after birthing a child. In actual fact we gain a whole lot more than we ‘lose’ (the only think I lost is my size 6-8 waist). We go through the most incredible process of carrying, giving birth, feeding and caring for a new born infant that relies on us for everything. There are sleepless nights and long busy days that follow including numerous visitors who want to put their grubby hands all over that precious new born, which you in turn have to politely but firmly warn off (which is a new skill gained for a start).

Mums are the most amazing creatures on this planet; and it’s about time that companies realise that if we choose a child adorned life, we probably have more to offer after having our child/children than we did before. We are peacekeepers, cooks, cleaners, mediators, matriarchs, admin assistants, PA’s, nurses (in the most relaxed sense of the word), transportation co-ordinators, activity planners, risk assessors, the photographer, the personal shopper and stylist, the confidante, the politician, the dietician, the CEO and the fucking skivvy. We are the whole god damn package, and some of us even stay up late to work on our passions too.

So keep up work world; we’re ready for equality amongst mothers in the work place. Let’s hope my new role (whatever it maybe) is up to speed.

Confident Kisses,

XOXO, L

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A Flicker of A Sweet Memory

It’s funny what you remember when you miss someone.

My Nana passed away sometime ago, while I was still at university studying (fat lot of good that venture did, but that’s another story). My dad’s mum, my nana was a larger than life character. Mum of boys, larger drinker, lipstick wearer and experimental cook. I knew I got my attitiute for cooking from someone, and I’m so giving my nana some of the credit.

I can’t even tell you what made my mind wonder to her sausages and flying saucer eggs today, but I found myself laughing as I remember dinner times at her flat. It was a smokey affair, she chain smoked when she chatted but because she had the window open as she did it, of course it wasn’t that bad (we would cringe now). Anyway, I digress. She owned a George Forman Grilling Machine. Or, in her words “George Formby Grilling Machine” she loved the thing, and it got used a hell of a lot.

My brother and I were always fussy with what we ate at nanas house, mainly as the older she got the more interesting the combinations became and the more the food tasted like smoke. She was however, a fabulous cook in her hay day. We ended up having chip pan chips, homemade of course or pancakes, finished off with crisps, chocolate and yogurt. All healthy stuff! My dad was subjected to actual real dinner, and this particular night was rather spectacular. I remember her wafting through the living room with dad’s plate in hand before plonking it down on the table. On the blue and white crockery was a breakfast for dinner. A staple of her household and very much enjoyed.

On dad’s plate there was a fried egg (sunnyside up), tomato, beans, bacon and what looked like two burgers. My dad stabbed one the burgers and held it in the air asking what it was. My nana asked him what the hell he was playing at waving that sausage about. We were hysterical, well all apart from my nana who was completely confused about the laughing. Dad asked why it was so flat, so she demonstrated her Formby Grilling skills in the air at the table.

She’d only gone and put butchers style (the really chunky, fat kind) sausages in the grill and squashed it down until the machine cliped shut. She returned to the kitchen to put her own meal together.

In the meantime there was the fried egg. Same meal, same day. Dad struggled to cut the white of the fried egg so picked it up to see what was going on. Turns out this egg had been fried to with an inch of it’s edible life. It stayed perfectly flat as he picked it up. He starts making his idea of UFO noises as the yolk balances on it’s white plate like shelf with a slight yellow wobble. Again, both me and my brother fell about laughing while dad tried to put back on a straight face as nana came to the table with her own dinner.

I still remember the smell of her pressed powder, the shade of her lipstick, her choice in skirts and how she always wore a pinny over them. Her kindness and patience. Her spoiling us and caving to our every request for sweets as children. I remember having to watch the snooker when it was on because she loved it but then she’d let us watch the Simpsons over dinner time and let us sit of the sofa instead of at the table with our food. I miss her, her accidental funny anecdotes and the liverpudlian twang that still remained from her younger years in her voice. The raspy cough and the way she would order herself two halfs of larger instead of a pint just because it wasn’t lady like to order a pint (but it was okay to sit with two drinks).

I miss her – photo from my 18th birthday meal. A day of mixed emotions, I lost a dear friend that exact day.

What sweet memories do you hold of a missed love one? I’d love to hear a story or two.

Xoxo, L

Plateau

I’ve reached an empass. I’ve got to a point in my ‘kick the additional weight’ journey where my body is just like NOPE. The scales have barely moved this month and the fact that I’ve been well and truly on it is driving me nuts.

I’m drinking plenty of water on a daily basis, working out 5-7 days a week for between 30 and 60 mins not including any walking I do. I’m eating so well, all clean no processed foods, no additional sugar or salt. I don’t understand. So yeah, that’s where I am with that. Supper disappointed that my body is refusing to respond.

In a rebellion against my non-responsive body I’ve been looking up workout on Pinterest. This one move, particularly the picture to show it, made me laugh out. I think there might be something wrong with me because this tiny little picture, was to me, hilarious! I like how the woman is just like exactly the same with her ponytail is slightly skewed to one side, and she’s higher up in the little blank box she resides in. Like I said, pretty sure I should have found it that funny.

Delilah and I spent the day with my brother and Ems. We spent it walking in the sunshine, letting the girls splash in the water table and playing with the two huge dogue de bordeaux that live with Ollie and Ems. Here is a douge nose, a very lovely nose it is too.

Delilah took her hat off at every opportunity, and then threw it in the water and ate the grand total of 5 mouthful of dinner. Poor kid seems to have got my immunity for pollen. She was streaming, and of course the chemist wouldn’t sell anything to me as she is too young. So off to the doctors we go so they can prescribe something for my little lady bug.

Despite the hayfever, hopefully we will see more of this beautiful weather!

Xoxo, L

Sit Still

Have you ever tried to take a photograph of a nine month old child? Yes? How much of a workout is that?

Heads up, it’s a picture dump post…

I had the brilliant idea when walking back from the village. I bought Dela a bubble wand, sensory play and all that. Yeah I’m down with baby sensory. Love the stuff in fact. ‘Wouldn’t it be cute’ I thought ‘to get a picture of her with bubbles around when she’s looking up at them’.

Optimistic me.

We started in our dark and (currently) shabbily decorated living room. Dela didn’t have a huge reaction to the actual bubbles, she was more interested in the wand so kept crawling straight to me to grab it. And I’ll tell you for nowt (Yorkshire term) it’s really difficult to take a picture, blow bubbles and fend off a child with grabby hands. As you can see from this picture of the first batch (oh there were many), the backdrop is awful and the baby isn’t even paying attention to the glossy bubbles falling around her.

‘I know’ my inner monologue piped up again ‘let’s go in Dela’s room and try with a nice, bright backdrop’. Tucking the baby under arm and doing a light jog up the stairs (she finds this hilarious), pop her on the rug in her room and we are joined by the menagerie. Yep, all three cats and the demon dog followed. So we’re sat (all of us) in a white and pink room and I’m blowing bubbles and trying to keep the baby in one place and the dog and cats out of shot. And breath.

Ushered the dog back down the stairs. Cats revert to basking in the sun on the window sill. Dela wanted to be everywhere but where I plonked her. In a wise moment I though the standing fan would make a great bubble blower, I’d still have to hold the wand but it would do the blowing.

No. Just no.

The fan blew the bubbles in an upward frenzy and popped against the walls. Sigh. Still no nice photo.

Dogs pushed his nose through Dela’s bedroom door, cats sat hissing at him, Dela is chasing the cats round on her hands and knees. ‘Maybe an outfit change’ inner Lotty chimes into the chaos. The bubbles now lost in the mix.

I westle with the baby to change her outfit. For every item of clothing I took off her she made a dash for a cat. “DAT” she’s shouting them. “No Delilah sit still, let mummy just… urgh” she’s pinned India to the floor and started to ‘pat pat the cat’. I’m so pleased India is the softest kitty ever, I’m afraid any other cat would have swiped out for this treatment. Lucky, lucky Dela. I shuffle my backdrop as she’s distracted by the purry furry, grab her and set her down and start snapping.

As you can see it went really well!

She got adventurous and crawled between her wardrobe and cot, but then she got stuck so had a melt down. “Delilah will you sit still!” I felt like I was going to follow suit with the melt down front.

She gave me the run around, but apart from the ‘I got stuck’ melt down we were pretty happy. A fidget but happy all the same. Finally, finally I got a couple of okay shots. Some are a little hazy, but I liked them anyway and no bubbles in sight.

Im no photographer as you can very much see, but we got there in the end. The best bit was she crashed out for a nap as soon as I put her down. All that run around really helped.

Star cushion was from Next (last year). Rug from Ikea and Delilah’s all-in-one from George @ Asda.

Now I’m going to fall in a heap on the sofa and enjoy a glass of wine. Happy Friday Lovers.

Xoxo, L.

Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself!

In the world of positivity, plenty of people say “don’t be so hard on yourself”. I’m guilty of saying it to others myself, but I find myself question the logic behind this.

Being ones own worst critic, is something that I believe to be a positive. Holding yourself accountable because you haven’t done good enough to your own standards is a powerful thing. A self motivational and powerful thing. After all you are in control of your own journey.

To be confident, we are told to master not caring what other think of us. Their opinions, next to ours shouldn’t have an impact on what we do or how we proceed on our own path within reason. If this is so and advice to be followed, which is what I see as true, should we not be relying on ourselves to be our own critics and cheerleaders?

When we encourage someone to “not be too hard” on themselves, are we encouraging some to slack off? Are we asking them to stop listening to their own inner critic? The very same inner critic that will push them to do better?

Food for thought indeed. I’d love to know what you think on the matter.

Life update: Today was not sunny. It started last night about 11ish. The temperature dropped and the wind picked up. When it’s a sweet and warm evening we often sleep with the window open, last night was one of these nights. Man got up twice because his blood sugars where monstrously high (diabetic type 1) so he needed to pee constantly. Then the wind kept making the curtains do this wild dance, hitting the footboard of the bed. Talk about disturbed sleep. Once the window was shut, man settled and I finally caught some Z’s.

Man gets up relatively early, but my plan was to beat him to the finish line and squeeze a run in before he went to work. I’ve been thinking of running again for a while. I was so cream crackered (nackered), that I couldn’t bring myself to get up on the 6am alarm. So here’s hoping tomorrow will be a better start.

Delilah and I got up, worked out, showered, dressed and painted my face ready for the day. It still looked like it was going to absolutely bounce it down, so we threw on out rain coats and got out anyway.

It did rain, but only lightly and we missed the most of it because we were in a village shop. Any which way it was a good day. A positive one, with smiles from every angle from Dela.

An update from yesterday’s news flash. Both women in the accident are okay. In hospital, with injuries but I believe from what I’ve read nothing overly serious. The crash wasn’t because of a police chase with a drug deal, police confirmed this with a local news hound. Im glad they’re okay, this was and will remain the main thing.

The situation in the village is somewhat quieter than it has been in previous months, but this morning a local drug addict was seen walking on the school route barely able to stand up. What logic that is! Get absolutely high on drugs and apear at the same time and on the same walk children take to school. I’m no-one to tell folk how to live their lives, but when it starts to impact young children enough is enough. It’s never going to be cut out completely, and that’s the sad truth as far as drug are concerned but we can make it harder for dealers to deal in our village. I urge you, if you see a deal being completed, get the car reg and report it!

Happy Wednesday Lovers.

Xoxo, L.

Peppermint Crispy Crunch & Village News

I’m in to preparing snacks at the moment, and following my recipe for energy balls yesterday I gave another couple of recipes the once over this morning. I managed to stock up my freezer and fridge with low cal snacks.

One of our faves at the moment is a peppermint crispy crunch bar. So easy to make and low calorie to boot. I used a loaf tin to make my crispy crunch in, but use what ever is good for you. I’m all about the improv here!

Ingredients (7 serves at 80 cals per serve)

50g Dark Chocoalte (I used 72%)

1 Table Spoon of Coconut Oil

1 Table Spoon of Honey

1 & 1/4 Cups of Puffed Rice

2 Table Spoons of Desiccated Coconut

Method

Melt the coconut oil, chocolate and honey together in a bowl over a simmering pan of water (bain marie).

Mix together the desiccated coconut and puffed rice, then pour over the glossy chocolate combo. Coat all the dry ingredients thoroughly with the chocolate combo. Once mixed, put in to your choice of pan. For this I used a loaf tin lined with cling film with enough over hang to cover the top of the mixture. Press the mix down into the tin till the rice puffs crush slightly, this will ensure that it all sticks together. Set for a few hours in the fridge and cut in to 7 bars/chunks/shapes of your choosing and enjoy with a cuppa.

Thank me later.

In other news, we’ve just had a riot of sirens all around us and an air ambulance over head.

Source’s say that there has been a head on collision close to where we live. I believe it was a police chase with drug dealers. An entire section of road has been taped off. Ambulance, police and fire services are all at the scene attempting to cut a young woman out of a car. I’m hoping that no-one is seriously hurt, especially the victim. There’s another load of victims from what started out as a petty crime in our village. (Picture not my own).

The impact on the families surrounding this incident will be immense. Sending warm and well wishes to anyone involved.

Xoxo, L.

Milk

I’m avoiding milk.

Monday is my weighing day, and although I’ve lost inches my weight was the same as last week. I highly doubt that it is the same. I was bloated and have been all day and the only thing I can attribute this to is the hot chocolate I had last night which was made with cow’s milk rather than almond milk. So I’m disregarding cow’s milk from my diet in hope to resolve the issue. I hate being bloated.

The after math of no number shift on the scales was a bad mood. I’m truly behaving. I’m not eating anything processed or high cal, I’m drinking tons of water and herbal tea over anything caffeinated. So bloating can do one. I really don’t there are too many benefits from cows mill anyway. The more I read, the more I think it’s best to kick it to the curb. So here goes.

Under a mountain of washing and a building aneixty (family interferences), Delilah and I survived the day. I’m wishing those teeth of hers make an appearance and stop disrupting my happy go lucky girl. She’s being a right grump. Napping more than normal, off her food but drinking more milk again and just more difficult in general. Come on teeth, where are you?!

Here’s Aro, being a little angel. Daft pup. He is such a gentle soul.

I have to prep some snacks for the rest of the week. My choice is mint choc crunch and energy balls.

Energy Balls

50grams of Oats

50g of shredded coconut

180g of pitted dried dates

Add everything to a food processor and blitz. The mixture will be crumbly but tacky enough to hold together when pressed in to balls. Divide the mix in to 6 balls, one ball is approx 185 cals.

Enjoy!

Xoxo, L.