Friday, 17 August 2018

What to do with a two month old?

What do you do with a two month old? Out of curiosity I typed the question in online and a search led me to a day-in-the-life type blog post by a mother with a two month old. Great! I thought.

The blogger's day starts with a crack of dawn feed. So far, so similar. Sol wakes up at 4am, feeds for about fifteen minutes then falls asleep until 7 or 8am. It's pretty relaxed and there's a lot of snoozing by both of us.

At 6.30am the blogger is inexplicably trying to have a shower.

What's the rush? I wonder. I aim to have a shower at some point during the day and so far have a 100% success rate. Set your goals low and you shall achieve them!

7am and the mother appears to be getting ready to go somewhere. Bit eager, I think. If she's going for an early morning walk then she must be a masochist. I don't know what it's like in her neck of the woods, but in mine, it's so hot the earliest I leave the house with the baby is 7pm.  

Now she appears to be leaving the baby with a relative... wait, she's going to work? Oh! From 8am to 6pm!   

In that moment, I realise two things. One, that this post is a fat lot of good if you want to observe a FULL day with a two month old. Two, that the blogger has to be American. Their maternity leave is famously rubbish.  A poxy 12 weeks, I believe, compared to UK's 26 basic leave. And if you think included in that 12 weeks is the time you take off before birth, then of course by two months your time's up.

You know that whole "Make America Great Again" slogan - did they have decent maternity leave before? If not, then it can't have been that great. I think a humane maternity leave is so important. It's about reducing stress for the people bringing up the next generation. And the way things are in the world, we really need the next generations to be alright. 

I delve into the blog and stumble on information about how hard it was for this woman to have the baby in the first place. She mentions countless rounds of fertility treatment. And I can't help it. For a moment I think, all that and she's back to work after less than two months? What's the point of it all?

But then I also think, ah, it's in America, so she's probably steeped in debt after all that treatment and now has to work at a meth lab all day to pay it back. I often think how many TV plots wouldn't be possible if America had a free national healthcare service. Okay, so in the UK it's not free either, but you do get one free chance and after that, it's only a fraction of what it costs in the States. 

I finish reading the blog post. It ends pretty much the same as my day ends, with a little baby tanking up on milk for a couple of hours before collapsing at the breast, then carefully being carried, her arms and legs heavy with sleep, to her cot beside our bed.

I'm not sure whether to feel admiration for the woman, or sad that her daily life has to be such a struggle. If only there was more flexibility in all societies to accommodate the realities of bringing up children. Trying to fit babies into a tidy military schedule is unnatural and stresses everyone out.   

Meanwhile I've been making notes of my own first week home alone with Sol... eat, sing, sleep, eat, POO... you'll be on the edge of your seat when you read it.

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