It's been a tough few weeks in our house as our eldest has been settling into 'big' school. She'd been in her nursery since she was 4 and a half months old, so leaving her group of friends, and going somewhere she didn't know anybody, was understandably daunting. I hadn't anticipated the emotional toll it would take on the rest of us. Safe to say things have been more than a little fraught at times. Thankfully, she now trots into class quite happily and is full of stories when she comes home.
Over these last couple of weeks I've reflected a lot on my decision to take voluntary redundancy. Admittedly our finances will probably never be so healthy as they were, but on an everyday basis life is so much easier! My husband and I both worked for a family-friendly employer only a 15 minute journey from our home, and our daughter's nursery was on the same site. It really doesn't get much better than that for families; but none the less we were rushed and stressed.
Children get sick. Deciding which of you should leave that important meeting, or call in for another unplanned day's leave is stressful. You are letting people down. They've already been sick twice this year. No matter how flexible a company is they cannot account for the pressure we put on ourselves.
Things only get worse when they move to school and you can no longer rely on the extended hours care provided by a private nursery. While many schools offer before and after school clubs they are often over-subscribed and come at a cost - not to mention the guilt you feel thinking of your child at school while all their friends skip merrily home.
So anyway, fingers crossed we can keep this going a little while longer. And good luck to everybody juggling work and childcare - you're doing great!
Few us of us could imagine our baby undergoing open heart surgery at just two weeks old. That was the reality for Katy and her family, when her son was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. Six years, and three heart surgeries later there story is one of strength, courage and determination. So I was delighted when Katy suggested a pendant necklace made using the trace of Jack's heart beat. It's a beautiful reminder of the challenges he's already had to overcome just to run around and play like his friends.
Sadly, not every journey is happy. In those first few days it would have been easy to miss the signs that something wasn't right, in fact Katy was told by numerous professionals that everything was fine. Congenital heart defects kill more children each year than any other defect or illness combined and a third of cases are only diagnosed when a baby falls ill or dies. The UK National Screening Committee is consulting on including tests in newborn exams to identify critical heart defects - disappointingly the current advice from the NHS is against carrying out the tests. You can register your views on this life-saving test here.
I am pleased to donate £1 from every Heart Trace Necklace and Heart Pendant to Little Hearts Matter - a charity that has supported Katy and many families like hers.
My name is Sarah. I live in Warrington, UK, with my husband, two daughters and dog.