Thursday, 17 September 2009

Loving the List; Drowning in the Detail; Reconnecting with Reality

This week I've been on a quest to get organized and attend to some baby admin. I keep saying I want to gradually get the ball rolling with making baby purchases, arranging refurbishments at home and sorting out admin like my Health in Pregnancy Grant and official MAT B1 notice at work. Armed with my handy, dandy but lengthy list, my quest for progress began.

Things started on a high note. At my midwife appointment last Friday the nice midwife agreed to pass on my Health in Pregnancy Grant form at our next appointment since I'll then be over 25 weeks pregnant. This one-off, £190 tax-free payment is a "gift" from the Government to help mom's to be with the costs of preparing for a baby. She also gave me my MAT B1 form, which I've now submitted to HR at work in order claim my statutory maternity pay. Statutory UK maternity leave and pay policies for working moms are much more extensive than the narrow and limited American maternity support policies available. In fact, earlier this week the BBC ran a quickie article on a new proposed policy for extending paternity leave, another testament to the flexible support options available in the UK. Catch up USA - for all the talk we ladies receive about education, pursuing our dreams and equality of opportunity, the Government doesn't make it an easy ride for professional moms that want to start a family.

But I digress. I put a big fat CHECK next to "Health in Pregnancy Grant" and "Submit MAT B1 form" on my list.

Next I called the window people, who quoted us earlier this year to redo 3 single glazed windows in our house. This is a necessary job before baby arrives being that last winter our thin windows grew a beautiful green/brown mold and our window sills developed pools of condensation that regularly soaked through hand towels. Yes, we need new windows. Anyway, this company provided a good quote earlier this year so I told the window man I wanted the same price or better, and that we were expecting our first baby and would be getting the job done by his company at the right price, or someone else. So I secured a date for new windows, and a good deal. CHECK next to "Book in window guys!"

Then things took a turn for the worse as the inevitably do when I start to delve into the pits of baby retail therapy. The next items on my ambitious list included "see if bugaboo carrycot fits other Moses Basket stands," "look for a mattress and bedding to fit cot/bed," "look into breast pumps and associated paraphernalia," "decide what items to buy on trip to USA....." and so on. I should have anticipated this would be too wide a net to cast all at once because before I knew it, I was tangled in information overload and struggling to make sense of the myriad of options in all of the above departments. It made me tired and it made my head hurt. There are just so many options when all I want is a simple check list of "what's I NEED and what's the BEST to buy." Forget different strokes for different folks - I want a manual to baby shopping enlightenment!

.....Advent, Madela, electric, manual, cheap, pricey...breast pumps. Should I buy, should I rent, do I need one if I'm planning on breast feeding but want to express milk from time to time? Cot bed mattresses.......why are there like 20 kinds that range in price from £40 to over £200?! Since Lansinoh nipple cream gets rave reviews on both sides of the pond and costs the same in ££ and $$, should I stock up on it while in the USA....should I throw in breast pads while I'm at it?!........

Am I boring you? I was boring and winding up myself. Finally I had to shut the Internet down and step away from all online baby retail options. Since I spread my attentions in so many different directions, I was confused and not able to make any more CHECKs off my list.

I'm like a wind up toy - wind me up and watch me go, then I collapse and then later I'm still and sane again. In the wake of my retail research I had a comforting chat with pregnant B (who is less than a week away now!) and Chris who both let me vent and helped bring me back to reality. Now I feel fine. Yet another ebb and flow of this pregnancy roller coaster. I think my error is that I tend to take on too many things all at once, short circuiting in the process. I think I need to do my research one step at a time, and maybe strike a few "to dos" off my list for the time being. Ayeyeye......
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