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Babies cost you money!

1 CommentWednesday, 7 August 2013  | 

A few weeks ago, when I was in my miserable hormonal stage, my Mum and I had a long conversation about money and how I was going to afford being a single parent. It all got a bit heated and ended with me saying that I was going to give up work and live on the benefit system, I then went home and watched clips of "Cathy Come Home" on YouTube and cried myself to sleep. If you've never seen "Cathy Come Home" it's about a women who gets pregnant, whose partner leaves her, has no income coming in and ends up living on the streets and losing her children. You've probably guessed, its not a comedy.
I woke up the next day, still worried and haunted by sight of Cathy moving into a Mother & Baby home and immediately got on the phone to nurseries to find out how much they cost. It was one of those moments were I was so grateful I live in Lincoln. It turns out nurseries fees in Lincoln are minimal compared to London and to pop my baby into one costs only double it would cost to put the dog into doggie day care! A sense of relief washed over me and I called my mother to share the news/gloat! Work have given me an idea of what I'll be paid on my Maternity Leave and explained how the voucher system works and I've worked out I should be able to take 4 months off as long as I put some aside between now and then. This works out perfectly for me as I would never have taken longer than 4 months anyway. So once that panic was over with, a new one developed in my head. When I called the nurseries they all said they were filling up and I needed to get my name down as soon as possible. So desperate to get organised and not spend my precious 4 months off stressing over child care I booked in to visit the nearest one and off my sister and I went today.
The nursery is a 5 minute walk from the office and my office is a 10 minute walk from my house so it couldn't be better situated. Before we set off from the office Debs (my sister) asked if I checked the Ofsted Report....... Ofsted Report? I asked. I knew that they did these reports on nurseries but hadn't thought anyone took them seriously. My only requirement when it came to a nursery was that it was clean, it fed my child regularly, wiped its bum and most importantly there was somewhere to tie the dog up when I dropped it off on a morning. I was so worried about the last part that I woke up at 2 last night and stressed about what to do with the dog on a morning, that I didn't get back to sleep again till 4! So, so, sooooo naive!
We got there and it didn't look too good on the outside (it's in the part of town where nice starts to turn into rough) but we got inside and it was huge. The nice nursery lady (everyone who works with kids and babies are really lovely I think) went over loads of stuff, what they'd need from me, what they do if my child has any special requirements, what they do when it came to feeding, who they contact in emergencies, how they teach children about the world, how they improve development and I was totally out of my depth. I could have cried there and then, I was stupidly ill prepared and didn't have a clue. Luckily my sister asked all the right questions, well I think she did, they could have been rubbish but I wouldn't have known. I just nodded along, wide eyed and smiling and stroking my ever growing bump and looking like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a 22 tonne truck! I wish I could have seen the look on my face when she explained to me that they change the nappies as and when they needed changing, it must have been confounded as she went on to explain that some nurseries only change them at set times and baby just has to wait till then. Another requirement quickly got added to the list! I would like the chosen nursery to change nappies when they need changing, it's got plenty of time when it's older to spend hanging around in wee-filled knickers (and if it's got my families genes it probably will).
It seemed like a nice enough place, there was even somewhere to tie up Henry where he wouldn't get stolen but we decided to look around a few more places so I could compare and weigh up all my options. My sister and I chatted as we went back to the office and I said I would get some more booked in, to which she replied that I was being too hasty and had plenty of time and I was turning into "one of those mothers" I replied that "as I'm on my own I'm panicking and want to get everything sorted" she went on to ask how often I was going to drag that one up and I thought "you've not even heard the half of it yet". It's becoming increasingly obvious that my family are sick of hearing about me bang on about the pregnancy and becoming a single mother and I've only been talking about it for 7 weeks, god knows how they are going to be when it's 3 years old. Probably all moved away by then no doubt, and it suddenly clicked into one of those times where I wished I had someone to do this with. Someone who was as nervous and green as I was, who was as concerned about getting it right and excited about the future. Not someone who'd been through it twice before and thought I was an idiot for doing all this when I'm not even 4 months gone! (thinking about it a partner would be acting the way my sister is as I am only 15 weeks and probably am being too keen).
But this made me think of Mr A.
When I write this blog I basically curl up with Henry, turn Emmerdale (Rhona's prescription habit is getting serious) or Big Brother (Gina to win!) on mute and type out whatever's in my head at the time. I send it off to the lovely ladies at Mummy and Little Me, when it goes live I post it on my Facebook and Twitter and I get on with the rest of my day. I totally forget that anyone reads it to be honest. I know some of my friends do because they tell me, and I know some don't as they tell me too but they send me messages of support and I carry on. So when I got a message saying that I was treating Mr A unfairly I was a slightly taken by surprise. Now as I write this as honestly as I do I can't be angry or upset about the feedback I get, if anything I'm chuffed that people, other than my friends, read it and I honestly welcome any comments and advice people have. I was more surprised as I've tried very hard not to paint Mr A in a bad light so was concerned that I may have come across like that.
This person felt I hadn't involved him the Decision Making Process. I thought about this particular comment for a few days, about this "process" and when it occurred and I realised that my decision to go ahead with this pregnancy was taken during the doctors visits and early scan, neither of which Mr A attended or offered to attend and it's very hard to involve someone in a decision when they arent there or want to be involved.
They felt that he was just foolish and that he would want to be there for his child in time. The problem is, I don't want him back. As far as I'm concerned, he's already left his child and just because it's not born yet that doesn't make that abandonment any less than if he'd walked away when it was 6 months old BUT I really don't mind that he's gone. This way I get to do it all on my own, all the worry and stress, all the night feeds, all the nappy changes, the teaching the time and making sure it wears a bicycle helmet are all my responsibility, I can call it what I want and not after his Great Aunt Gertrude and the worry that the nursery isn't changing its nappy are down to me. YES he is unbelievably foolish as all those cuddles, first words, first steps, first smiles, laughs about family and teachers, holidays, learning to swim, walking the dog and splashing in puddles, well I'll get them all too. All those I Love You's will be for me or the baby and you have to be foolish to turn your back on so much love as you don't feel ready yet.
Mr A isn't a bad man, I wouldn't have gone out with him if he was. He's a foolish, blinkered, selfish man but not bad. I would hate anyone to think that I thought that. I don't want him back but he had lots of qualities that I want my baby to inherit, his height for example and his ambition. He's very clean, and can be very kind, my kitchen and garden were never better when we were going out. I also really hope it gets his ability to cook, Mr A is a fabulous cook and I miss his breakfast more than I miss him. From me I hope it gets my sense of humour, optimism and my legs, I like my legs. But most of all I pray it doesn't inherit our lack of responsibility or partiality to red wine as if it does then really is in trouble.


Jo
Wednesday, 7 August 2013  |  11:44

Sarah
I am loving your blog and remember so well what a steep learning curve it all is! I'm certain I became a baby bore with all my friends and family - nothing wrong with it - it's just your mind processing the huge responsibility you are about to take on!
You will view the world in a different light - especially as you are going solo. Your baby will have a wonderful life with you, your family and friends - enjoying and sharing both the good and tough times.
Relax and enjoy and keep the blogs coming!
xxxxx

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