Is a Stay At Home Parent a Real Job?

When I was growing up, I always thought that I would be one of those mothers that would have it all figured out. I would graduate, get a job, get married and then have children. The truth is my life didn’t happen that way. I fell pregnant at 19 and didn’t it half take me by surprise.

I can’t lie and tell you all that everything in my life has planned out exactly as it would have done if I hadn’t of fell pregnant. But I am glad. I am glad that I am a mother. I am glad that I mean so much to someone so little and vulnerable.

I have been choosing GCSE’s, A-Levels and Degrees accordingly, since I was 16, to pursue my career choice as being a special needs teacher. Falling pregnant at 19 did not stop me, I finished university and I even went on to do my Masters in the Theory of Education.

We as a family have been through so much over this last 3 years. We have a little boy with a rare chromosomal abnormality that has a huge impact on our life. They barely know anything about it and sometimes it feels like they are using our son as a guinea pig. I struggle to hold a job down because of the amount of hospital and doctor’s appointments we have every month for our son. I have been battling with depression over everything that has been going on and I have recently been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

Things out of my control have stopped me from working. I am a driven person and I would love to be out working but at the moment, it is virtually impossible. To be honest, I do not need an explanation as to why I am not working because its our choice. People are quick to judge stay-at-home parents for being too lazy but working parents too have a lot of judgement for leaving their children all day with childminders. You can’t do right for doing wrong. So my advice would be to do what makes you happy.

Quite a lot of people think that being a stay-at-home parent is an easy option for parents that can’t be bothered too work. And i’ll be honest, so did I before I had a child. Being a stay-at-home parent is many things but easy isn’t one of them. It is the most rewarding job in the world but it can be frustrating, challenging and even hard work. Yes I said work. Just remember being a full-time parent is a job. It’s the same as being a childminder, nursery nurse, or even a teacher. We too are helping children develop and grow and be the best they can be- just in the comfort of our own home with our own children. So yes I am living my dream job after all. I am a teacher to my own child every single day.  

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Why Being a Young Mum Didn’t Ruin My Life

‘Being a mother is not about what you gave up to have a child, but what you gained from having one’
 
I’ve had my fair share of comments these last few years. “you have a child?” “OMG, is he yours? but… you are so young?” even friends would say things like “I want to do things in the right order you know like… graduate, then get married and then maybe start to think about children”.
 
I would be lying if I started rambling on about how easy parenting is; how well-behaved my little boy is at all times and how perfect our life is. Yes, I do change a large amount of nappies, yes I do spend some time pretending to be the hulk for my sons entertainment and yes, I have once had to say “yes son, you are right that is mummies boobies” in a lift full of people. But you know what, I wouldn’t change a single high or low moment of parenthood for the world. I have made many mistakes already these last few years but all honest parents, whatever their age will admit they have made many mistakes, more than they care to admit.
 
Once my father said to me;
 
“we always did for you what we thought was best at the time, whether or not that was the best thing, who knows. But you children can learn from our mistakes, and again you will make your own mistakes that your children will then learn from and so on… that’s life”
 
And he couldn’t be more right, whether I was a 15 or 35 year old mother. I would still make mistakes and that’s just life. 
 
There is a big misconception that all young parents have made a careless mistake and have thrown their life away.
 
Let me just get one thing straight. Being a young mother is not a ‘careless mistake’. I would’t be where I am today without my son, cliche I know but very true. My outlook on life is very different to what it used to be. With everything our little family has faced, we have come out stronger than ever. I’ve learnt many things about my self, some things that I love and somethings I dislike. Falling pregnant at 19 did not mean my life was over. My life had only just began, I just didn’t realise it yet. 
 
Yes being a young mother is a huge responsibility and an on-going challenge but so is being a parent in general. But it’s given me a purpose and a belonging. A purpose to be a mother. A belonging to someone who loves me dearly. And most importantly, it is a challenge that I will never regret entering.

Bronchiolitis in Babies: Our story

After bringing our son home from the neo-natal unit at just 11 days old, our son became much more alert and was continuously gaining a healthy amount of weight.

After just a few weeks, he started becoming very uncomfortable during and after his feeds. He developed a rash on his neck and was extremely constipated. I spoke to the GP about this, and they suggested to try Infacol as it is most likely colic. We tried Infacol for a couple of weeks but his feeding gradually just got worse. He started to vomit after all his feeds and began losing weight. He developed a persistent cough and his breathing became rapid which was beginning to have an effect on his sleep. He became restless and extremely irritable.

We decided to take him to children’s A&E. We wanted to ask the doctor for their advice about this, as he was now becoming very reluctant to taking any feeds. The doctor sent us away and told us to try some warm water between each feed, which we tried for 5 days, making no difference at all.

A few days later, we noticed that he started to struggle breathing. He seemed to be having to put a lot of effort into each breathe. We knew something was not right. Due to this, we went back to the hospital to find out what exactly is going on.

As the evening went on, his breathing became extremely wheezy and heavy. The paediatric nurse was useless, she carried out very few observations and told us that it is probably just a cold due to the change in weather. We waited hours after hours in an empty children’s ward. He was still only weighing just over 4 pounds at this point as he was born with low birth weight, temperature and sugars.

We waited 3 and a half hours in total for the A&E doctor to come. The doctor claimed that our son was 100% fine and he suggested that because he was born 3 weeks early, he must just have immature lungs and bowels. The doctor even had the cheek to say that we are being paranoid ‘young’ parents. He assured us that we could go home and not have any worries. We were sent home at 3am in the strong winds early hours of the morning. We were very sceptical as we just felt that something wasn’t quite right but again we trusted the doctor because what else can you do.

Our son did not get better when we were home, his breathing just got progressively heavier and heavier. We were driving ourselves mad over this but again decided to take our son back for another opinion the next day. The doctor was brilliant and within 5 minutes after carrying out all her observations, she knew our son needed immediate attention. Our son was diagnosed with bronchiolitis.

Bronchiolitis is a lung infection among infants. It can cause coughing, wheezing, and a hard time with breathing. In severe cases if left untreated, Bronchiolitis can cause death.

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Our son was emitted onto the children’s ward and placed onto a CPAP machine to help him breathe. During this time, we were not able to touch or hold him. It was absolutely devastating.

Every time I saw how fragile he looked just broke my heart. I find it difficult even looking back at photographs as this was such a difficult time for our family. But, we felt so relieved that he finally got the help we knew he needed.

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He had to learn how to feed again. It just felt like one step forward and three steps back. But, of course our litter fighter did it. In fact, he made a full recovery and was able to come home with us a week later. The doctor also picked up that our son was lactose intolerant which explains the vomiting and unusual rashes- he now drinks prescribed Nutramigen milk.

It was a shame that these symptoms were not picked up sooner considering our son showed almost every symptom of bronchiolitis.

Unfortunately our son now has a very weak chest and lungs due to the bronchiolitis and has recently been diagnosed with asthma (aged 2) but otherwise doing incredibly well. But things could have been very different.