"In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony."

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Been a very busy girl

What a busy couple of months.  I have gone from mum on maternity leave to 'antenatal educator', 'event organiser' and 'caterer'.

I spent 6 days in Ipswich away from my lovely children but enjoying the delights of a hotel cleaning fairy.  I just wish I could have met her because I may have packed her in my suitcase and taken her home to sort out my house.  It was such a luxury to leave the room in a small mess and come back to find it immaculate.

But I managed to achieve the status of 'Antenatal Educator'.  Which was fabulous news as I already had ladies booked in for my first course.  I have now taught 3 weeks of classes in two venues and it feels brilliant.  I am loving every minute of it.  Can't wait to hear some positive birth stories now from the ladies in the classes.  And as my first mum is due in 6 weeks time, I may not have too long to wait.

I also, with the help of my husband, children and two lovely friends, ran my first Baby and Children's Market, with 21 stalls and 120 visitors on the day.  Everyone seemed happy and I was just so relieved that it all came together and worked.  A lot of hard work but worth it on the day.  Next one is just over a month away and I have started working on the advertising and promoting this week.

The other development is that I now have my own website up and running.   It has taken a bit longer than I wanted as I started it in August but having practically scrapped the original and started again, I have now published it.  Got to work out how to get up the Google rankings now and get some links to the site.  On my New Year to-do list!  If you fancy a look, the website address is www.yourbabyandyou.co.uk

I have also had my five minutes of fame with a lovely article in the local paper (http://www.thisisexeter.co.uk/Busy-mum-finds-time-businesses/story-14143559-detail/story.html) which should (hopefully) generate some interest in both business ventures.

I can't believe how my life has changed so much and how lucky that I am to be running businesses that I totally believe in as I can help people to have positive births and provide a way to sell and buy baby goods.  I just have lots more ideas so we will see how 2012 pans out :)

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


I have always had ideas of where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do.  And I have always had the thinking that if you want it, and you work hard enough at it, you can achieve it.  Those who know me, will know that I have always driven myself on with these beliefs.

But, things have recently changed.  Why?  Because for the first time, I can't have see how I can achieve what I want, no matter how much I work at it, and that is incredibly frustrating.

As you know, I am currently on maternity leave from my teaching job and have decided to start a couple of businesses while I have been off - 'Daisy Birthing' and 'Baby and Children's Markets'.  I am also going to be adding 'Daisy Baby' to the list in April 2012.  But the training that I am doing to teach 'Daisy Birthing' antenatal classes has sparked off so many other ideas that I am so excited and passionate about.  So what are these ideas?  Well, here are some:

  • Birth doula
  • Postnatal doula
  • New Mum's support group/network
  • Pregnancy support group/network
  • Cafe for mums to meet
  • Independent baby shop
  • Hire shop
  • Local magazine for mums
  • Business mums network
You see my problem?  All of these involve time and money yet I am going back to work for 4 days a week and we have no savings.  These ideas are all so interlinked that one venue could house most (including my birthing classes) but, having looked at rental prices, it is way out of our reach and that's without pricing in gas, electric, water etc.  So there is the money factor.  Then there is the time factor - I couldn't do all of this and do employed work, yet need the employed work to pay the mortgage until the rest took off.

So, after going through all of the possibilities and options, I simply can't see a way around it and that is what is frustrating me.  Despite knowing in my heart that I could make these things work, help mums in Exeter and provide something so needed, it won't happen.  At least, not from me.  Probably someone with less passion and drive but money in the bank will make it happen.  

But, there again, being the forever optimist, maybe I will see a way to overcome the problems, that I haven't yet seen.  So, maybe one day....In the meantime, my Daisy Birthing training continues next week so that is something to smile about.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Routine update...

Five days in and I think we may be getting somewhere.  I have managed to extend his feeds from 3 hourly to (mostly) 4 hourly, and he has stopped catnapping and now sleeps for around 1.5-2 hours at a stretch (as per routine below).  So two successes there.

What is still being worked on is the self-settling but he has not used the breast to go to sleep for 3 days now.  Not that I can't say I haven't been tempted to let him have a little feed when he is screaming very loudly in objection at being put to bed.  The longest he has gone is 1 hour - quite a few times - but this morning it was 30 minutes and this afternoon it was 15 minutes.  I do not believe in controlled crying at this age so am trying a mixture of ssshhhhhing while patting and picking up if he gets really distressed but putting him back down still awake, which usually results in crying again but I am trying to break a habit not create a new one, so am sticking with him going into bed awake even if it takes me an hour sat there each time.  Am hoping that today's reduction in the time it has taken for Nathaniel to go to sleep is a turning point and he will be completely self-settling by next weekend.

The other difficulty that I have found with the routine is sticking to the times, which isn't the end of the world as he is mostly in a 4 hourly EASY (Baby Whisperer) routine but the problem is that I also need to be able to fit a toddler and her activities/clubs into the day, which is why timings are very helpful.  However, I am hopeful that once Nathaniel is sleeping as soon as he is put down and being more consistent in his feed times, the actual timings of the day can be more easily predicted and organised around activities of the day.  Give me a little longer (1-2 weeks) and we will be there.

In the meantime, I have another busy week but all in a good way - meeting friends and going to new baby/toddler groups - loving maternity leave!!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Time for a routine

The 'Back to School' day arrives and I have decided that after all the chaos (and fun) of the last six weeks, we now need to get back to the routine.  I am used to the working routine and getting the kids to all their various places on time, but I am currently a SAHM (Stay At Home Mum) and need a new routine.   More importantly, Nathaniel needs a routine as he is nearly 4 months old now.  Unfortunately, over the last 6 weeks, he (like the rest of us) has got used to the go-with-the-flow of the holidays, so it might come of a bit of a shock when nasty Mummy puts him into a routine.

I'm happy just as things are, thank you, Mummy

Where to start with the routine?  Well, for the first morning in quite a while, I had to set the alarm clock to ensure that my girls were up and ready to get to school on time, so I decided that Nathaniel could also get up with the alarm and that was my starting point.  I have since written a routine for him (and Hannah and I) and we will see how it fits in with daily life.  The great thing is that I can adapt it if it doesn't work but the essential thing is to have a routine so that we all know what we are doing when.

So this is what I have come up with and tomorrow we will see how it works (or doesn't!):

Nathaniel and Hannah up and feed
Nathaniel and Hannah dressed and have playtime
Girls go to school.  Housework
Nathaniel down for a sleep.  Playtime with Hannah.
Nathaniel awake and feed
Go out to baby clubs, friends, park etc
Nathaniel down for a sleep.  Hannah has lunch and play
Nathaniel awake and feed
Go out if weather good or playtime inside
Nathaniel short sleep.  Cook dinner
Nathaniel awake and feed
Dinner for everyone
Nathaniel and Hannah have bath
Hannah in bed
Nathaniel feed and down for night sleep
Janette does 2-3 hours work

On top of this, I have really got to get Nathaniel to self-settle to sleep quite quickly as I will be away from my little boy for three days next month while I am on a training course, and I don't think that any babysitter will want him chewing on their breast!  Going to be a tough week (at least) I think but so worth it in the long run.  Will let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011


Right, let's talk about writing!

I have always loved writing and had ambitions of being a writer.  A grand ambition?  Well, I suppose that depends on how you define a writer.  My personal ambition of being a writer isn't to be the author of a bestseller but to have something out there for others to read.  I always imagined this path to be full of rejection letters and years (if not decades) of frustration.  But, things look as if they are changing with the emergence of the kindle and my ambition of being a writer may not be as far away as I thought.

Years ago I wrote half of a novel in a month while working full time.   I have often thought about completing that story but after ten years, I am a different person and also a different writer.  I would have to almost re-write it to make it what I would be happy with so, for now, it can sit on my hard drive.

My new plot for a novel came to me back in March.  I wrote down my ideas, my characters and in my head it all started to come alive and it was so exhilarating.  Then, Ofsted arrived, my daughter was in hospital, I went into labour at work and generally, life has got in the way since.  But, this week, I realised that life will always be in the way if I let it and if I was going to write, it would have to be now.

I am on courses to get qualified for my new business in October to November and am starting the business in December. I also finish my maternity leave in April and go back to teaching.  So, if I am going to write, it has to be now!  Right this minute really!  I have 40 days and nights before my course and am aiming for 100,000 words ish, so need to write 2500 a day.  But not sure how realistic that is so have also calculated that I could do 1000 words a day for 100 days, which would mean that it would be completed before the business starts.

Right, I had better get cracking then.  Might be a bit busy for a while so if I am quiet, you know why.

Monday, 29 August 2011

August 25th - GCSE results day!!!

Four days ago was a major day in the Davey household.  For the last two years, Michael has been studying for his GCSEs and the 25th of August was verdict day.  I have spent the last two years watching (and nagging) Michael to complete his coursework, to meet the deadlines and do some studying.  In the weeks of the exams, I would remind him to revise instead of playing the XBox and was generally met with comments, such as "It's alright, if I don't know it by know, I never will, so there's no point in revising."

It was a worrying time.  Especially when, as a teacher, you know how hard GCSEs.  I know they say they are getting easier each year, but I honestly don't think they are.  When I did my English GCSE, it was 100% coursework and no exam.  Now students have to know at least 24 poems and a novel (without notes) plus be able to analyse unseen texts.  When I did my Drama GCSE, there was no exam - you just had to act.  Now they have to analyse a range of plays and their own abilities.  And that is just two examples.  It was definitely easier in my day.

I think I was more worried than Michael especially as there was so much riding on him getting a 'B' grade in English, when he was only predicted a C/D.  Fortunately, I am an English teacher and examiner, so I was able to help him at home on a one to one basis in the last few days - any more than helping in the last few days would have been too much for the mother/son relationship which I have always tried to separate from being a teacher.

So, the day came and off we drove to school.  Neither of us spoke on the way.  Opening the envelope, we were both a bag of nerves but we didn't need to be, for Michael surpassed my predictions and got 4 Bs (including the necessary English) and 6 Cs.  He was a little disappointed not to get an A grade in PE or RE but then he did better in other subjects than predicted and 10 GCSE passes for a child with dyslexia who needed a scribe for his exams was brilliant.

The following day, Michael went to college to enrol but found out that he was one point short of what was needed to do all 4 A Levels, so he has dropped Psychology but still going to do A Levels in Law, Philosophy and Media Studies.  That should keep him busy for a while!

So one year of nervous waiting for results done.  Just next year (for AS Level results) to do, the following year (for A Level results) to get through and then the following year, we will be awaiting Natasha's GCSE results and so it will continue.  Augusts are going to be very stressful for the next 7 years!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

35 today!

Eeeek. A birthday.  And a round number - 35.  For some reason, I am not a fan of birthdays.  Not sure why but if I could get away with ignoring it, I would.  Of course, I am grateful to those who have sent cards and presents but I just dread it each year.  Still, it is only for 24 hours and then it is over for another 364 days - thank goodness.

So, I am now 35 and apparently middle-aged.  I certainly don't feel it though.  Look like it maybe!  More like 21 most of the time.  Certainly don't feel mature enough to be responsible for five children and a mortgage.  Oh, and the cats (and husband).  Maybe one day, I will feel my age.  But then the older I get, the quicker time goes, so perhaps I will never catch it up.

I wonder what this year will bring?  Well, the first thing will be my son's GCSE exam results tomorrow.  I am not sure who is more worried - him or me.   And it only seems like yesterday that I was getting my own exam results.  Keeping everything crossed that he will be pleased and that it is enough to get onto the college courses that he wants to do.  If not, I am not sure what he will do (or what I can do to sort it out).

Other things this year?  Well, no more pregnancies, that is for sure.  I think five children is more than enough although I do enjoy being pregnant.  So, I am going to distract myself by throwing myself into running my own business and working hard in my employed status, as well as running around after my children and supporting them in their hobbies and interests.

I am also really hoping to write a book but that is on the back burner for now as I keep changing my mind about the topic and don't have the time at present anyway.  But I will do it!  I think the way forward is to make a decision, set the alarm for 5am every morning and just do it.  I have 7 months left of maternity leave so 1 month to decide and 6 months to write it.  Okay, realistically, maybe another couple of years but I might actually start this year.

I also would like to take up some form of fitness.  After all, I am middle-aged now and will need to start working at keeping myself trim.  Not sure what to do though.  I have never stepped into a gym in my life and don't fancy starting now with all of those fit and healthy 20 year olds.  Running is free but I am useless at it.  Maybe going back to dance classes is the answer, although I need a babysitter so that is also problematic.  The simple answer is to keep doing what I have been doing - nothing!

So halfway to retirement (well, I think it will be at least 70 by the time I get there) and am I happy in work?  Actually, yes. I wouldn't change my job although I wouldn't mind cutting the hours a little to have a bit more time for other interests in the week but wouldn't we all?  Unfortunately, the pay isn't the same for part-time as full-time and my mortgage is a long way to being paid off.  Still, I am in a job that I enjoy and not everyone can say that.

I also have a lot to be grateful for - friends in particular.  I am blessed by good friends and I don't know what I would do without them.  I also have five beautiful and healthy children.  They may not be angels (and no children or adult is) but I am proud of them all.  Well, I am today.  Ask me tomorrow when Michael gets his exam results and the answer might be different, but today they are all fantastic in my eyes.

Only two hours left and that will be another birthday over for another year and I have to remember another age.  Thirty-five.  When I was 15 years old, that seemed like an ancient age.  Now I have reached it and it seems far less ancient.  How our perspectives change with age.  I wonder what else will change before my next birthday?