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maternity leave

Being Mommy, Love Ireland, mixed culture family

Maternity Leave Bucket List (Up-date)

November 8, 2013

At the beginning of the summer I wrote about my maternity leave and how I had every intention of making the most of my time off since I am so lucky to get so much of it.

My mat leave is officially over, and I am now on un-paid leave for the next little while.  I wish I could be taking the full 4 months I am allowed but it’s not in the cards and I’ll be heading back at the end of January.

Since things haven’t turned out how I expected/hoped during my time off I wanted to look back and think about the positives and the highlights of my time off so far because there have been many.  And I hope that revisiting our bucket list might inspire me to make the most of what’s left.  I know the holidays will be hard for me this year.  But it’s still our first holiday season as a family of five.  I figure we have a limited number of Christmases when the kids are really young and I just am not willing to let a single one slip past without joy.

So it’s time to remind myself what we wanted to do and to either continue with that plan or adjust.

Our Maternity Leave Bucket List

√  1.Pick strawberries.  While fresh strawberries are abundant in Ireland there are few places to pick your own, however I hear The Apple Farm in Tipp will have pick your own in a few weeks. Strawberry Picking for my birthday was an absolute highlight of the summer!

2.  Manis or Pedis with the Princesses now that there are two men in the house it’s time us girls start sticking together.  While we’ve done the at home kind I have been keeping this for the winter since it is not weather dependent. 

3.  Lunch at The Pink Elephant on a sunny day.  With a nice beach walk and shell/rock hunt after. I had really hoped for this to be a summer day with a walk on the beach but we never did make it.  We were however lucky enough and blessed with the sunshine to make it to the beach lots this summer. 

√4.  Paint Rocks  We spent an entire summer painting and selling rocks when I was small.  My dear Princess M loves painting rocks!

√5.  Homemade popsicles/ice lolls

√6.  Visit Dublin Zoo and FOTA Wildlife Park in Cork.  Well FOTA at least anyway. But we did TWO zoos while we were home in NY over the summer so I think we are all had our fill of animals, I am sure we will make it to Dublin some day.

√7.  Have a sleepover with Princess M on the futon in the play room.

√8.  Splash in muddy puddles….this is Ireland after all

√9.  Eat chocolate/vanilla twist soft serve ice-cream in NY. Twice…and also in Canada.

10. Swim in a lake in NY. we never did make it to the lake, we opted to take the kids up to Niagara Falls instead so the only swimming there was the hotel pool!

11.  Have a fondue party.  My sister and her family gave us a fondue set and we don’t use it enough.

12.  Picnic in Fitzgerald Park, Cork.  We love picnics and Fitzgerald’s Park in Cork is a special place. How did we miss this one?  We picnicked A LOT this summer but it was mostly at the beach because the weather was THAT warm. 

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√13.  Wash cars with Princess M.

14.  Visit the M.O.S.T. in Syracuse.

√15.  Visit a farm.

16.  Spend the day in Cobh, Co Cork when a cruise liner comes in. The cruise season might be over but Cobh is pretty in the Christmas so maybe we will still get down there. 

√17.  Participate in World Social Media Day.

√18.  Have an indoor picnic on a rainy day.

√19. Water gun fight.

20.  Fly kites.

√21. Take family photos. We did this in NY and if you are in the Syracuse area there is no one as talented as Lisa Rossi Photography for maternity, new-born, and family shots. I swear.

22. Visit the Ewe Sculpture Garden

23. Afternoon tea with the princesses.  This is one of my favorite treats that I do with my girlie friends and it will be a nice treat to introduce the girls to. I’m waiting for the Christmas decorations to go up around here because Princess M will love it.  The King actually took Princess B for afternoon tea.  He didn’t get it.  She loved it.  

√24. Library story time.

√25.  Enroll Princess M in a class.

√24.  Try a new park.

25.  Go to the drive in

√26. Go to a concert with the King…like Bruce in July!!!!!  If I actually had a real bucket list seeing Bruce live would be on it.  We were so lucky that he came to Cork this summer and the King and I had a great date night!!!

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√27.   Plant flowers

√28. Take a road trip somewhere new.

√29.  Make sundaes

√30.  Have a make your own pizza party. Is it possible to do this TOO much? I like to think this is making pizza a ‘healthy dinner’ since we are making it at home….I’m not so sure our Make Your Own Nacho Parties are remotely healthy though.

So that’s where we’re at.  All things considered I think we did a good few Irish and American things on our list.  We’ve done so much more over the past few months and I am really looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving  and the month-long celebration that is Christmas over here!  I love Christmas in Cork and I can’t wait to talk about it all through December!  Our first Christmas party is actually the day after Thanksgiving.  That whole weekend we are doing Christmasy things and I can’t wait!!!!!

Being Mommy, Living Abroad

The Days are Long…..

October 23, 2013

20131023-110755.jpg picture:quotespictures.com

This quote by Gretchen Rubin has come to mean so much to me in the past few weeks.

My maternity leave is fast coming to an end and while I am gracious for the time I have had, the thought of returning to work in January weighs heavily on me.

I am dreading returning to a two parent in full time work household and am worried how we will stay on top of family, work and house commitments… which one will suffer?

For me one of the top reasons for living and raising the kids in Ireland is because I feel I maintain a better work life balance here than in the US. That balance made the trade-off of being far from home worthwhile. Now I am worried if that balance will remain.

And yet I have to return to work. There is the obvious financial reasons, but I know in my heart I will always need some sort of a career, something for me.

It took me 6 years and a lot of hard work to become a qualified speech and language pathologist. I’m proud of my career and I’m good at it.

The truth is, as much as I have loved these past few months there have been days where I knew going to work would have been easier. Days like yesterday when my independent Princess challenged me on every single decision….I didn’t butter the bread on the right side….She “SAID” she wanted to wear a different jumper (even though the words never passed her lips).

Yesterday was a long day for sure, but then at night she wanted to read me a bedtime story, and I remembered….the years are short.

I just hope I can find a balance and enjoy it while I can.

Living Abroad, Missing Home

4th of July

June 26, 2013

It’s the end of June and the 4th of July is right around the corner next week.

The King likely has to work and since I’m off for the summer the day has the potential to drag if it goes poorly.

Usually when I am working I don’t take the day off but rather force my colleagues to endure all things American for the day. They are always good to indulge me and the day usually flies without much feeling of homesickness. But this year I’m off on maternity leave and will have to find my own distractions.

The day will go one of two ways for me…

It could be a glorious sunny day allowing for BBQs and I’ll delight in successfully merging American traditions to my Irish life and I’ll happily toast my husband and Irish babies while FaceTiming home. Although I will miss old friends and fire works, I’ll crawl into bed at night feeling all is as it should be in my life.

or….

It will be rainy and cold and the Prince will be up all night setting my postpartum hormones into over drive and I will spend the day longing to give Prince and the Princesses all the hot summer, poolside memories with fireworks that I grew up with. I’ll avoid any communication with home which is likely to only bring tears & I’ll go to bed once again questioning if I’m making the right decisions to stay in Ireland.

Do all expats experience this heightened range of emotions around their homelands holidays?

Being Mommy, Love Ireland

Maternity Leave Bucket List

June 21, 2013

The Prince is just over a month old and already I am panicking at the thought of having to go back to work full time.  With Princess M I didn’t have this strong urge to drastically change my professional life (as in lessen it).

The truth is I love my job.  I worked and studied hard to qualify in my profession.  I work with some great people, my mind is challenged and I like to think I make a difference.  I love my job, I do want to go back and continue to work hard there, ideally I would however wish I didn’t have to do it so much.

So until I win the lotto or come up with a grand idea that will allow me the financial freedom to work less, play more.  I am intending to make the most out of every day of my maternity leave.

Our Maternity Leave Bucket List

1.  Pick strawberries.  While fresh strawberries are abundant in Ireland there are few places to pick your own, however I hearThe Apple Farm in Tipp will have pick your own in a few weeks.

2.  Manis or Pedis with the Princesses now that there are two men in the house it’s time us girls start sticking together.

3.  Lunch at The Pink Elephant on a sunny day.  With a nice beach walk and shell/rock hunt after.

4.  Paint Rocks  We spent an entire summer painting and selling rocks when I was small.

5.  Homemade popsicles/ice lolls

6.  Visit Dublin Zoo and FOTA Wildlife Park in Cork.

7.  Have a sleepover with Princess M on the futon in the play room.

8.  Splash in muddy puddles….this is Ireland afterall

9.  Eat chocolate/vanilla twist soft serve ice-cream in NY.

10. Swim in a lake in NY.

11.  Have a fondue party.  My sister and her family gave us a fondue set and we don’t use it enough.

12.  Picnic in Fitzgerald Park, Cork.  We love picnics and Fitzgerald’s Park in Cork is a special place.

13.  Wash cars with Princess M.

14.  Visit the M.O.S.T. in Syracuse.

15.  Visit a farm.

16.  Spend the day in Cobh, Co Cork when a cruise liner comes in.

17.  Participate in World Social Media Day.

18.  Have an indoor picnic on a rainy day.

19. Water gun fight.

20.  Fly kites.

21. Take family photos.

22. Visit the Ewe Sculpture Garden

23. Afternoon tea with the princesses.  This is one of my favorite treats that I do with my girlie friends and it will be a nice treat to introduce the girls to.

24. Library story time.

25.  Enroll Princess M in a class.

24.  Try a new park.

25.  Go to the drive in

26. Go to a concert with the King…like Bruce in July!!!!!  ( on life’s bucket list)

27.   Plant flowers

28. Take a road trip somewhere new.

29.  Make sundaes

30.  Have a make your own pizza party.

Living Abroad, Love Ireland

Starting today….maternity leave!!!!

May 1, 2013

Every once in a while (alright more often than I would like it to happen) a family member or friend will give me the “well you should more back to the US” comment.

This usually happens when I am at home diving head first into my favorite wings, or when I am complaining about the weather in Ireland…so it’s a pretty fair to expect certain loved ones to seize the opportunity to remind me it’s not to late too come back.

…as if Syracuse gets more sun than Cork!

Besides talking about the weather is a cultural pastime for the Irish.

I know it all comes from a good place but I like to think of it as bullying tactics…sure bullying is the buzz word these days, right?!?

Anyway, I often feel the need to remind them of one of the million reasons I choose every day to stay in Ireland (& there are a million) but today it is this……

6 months PAID maternity leave!!!!! You heard me….6 MONTHS PAID!!

Starting today I am on a 6 month paid holiday (because surely baby number 2 will be a breeze right?!)

Before I go any further I have to explain that while I am incredibly fortunate that my work “tops up” what the government Maternity Benefit gives me weekly, there are certainly a lot of Irish women who don’t actually get their full salary while on maternity leave.

But like I said I am incredibly fortunate.

A lot of Irish and Europeans feel maternity benefits could be much improved across the board.

However, coming from one of only FIVE countries in the world that still have ZERO national paid maternity leave benefit for new moms I am pretty damn happy.

So surely, maternity benefit alone is reason enough for me to remain on the island throughout my childbearing years don’t you think?

But in all honesty it’s just one example of the far better work/life balance I find over here.
And that is really one of the biggest (of the million) reasons I love living in Ireland.

** apologies if this post causes any undue upset to my American friends who are facing much less (non-existent maternity leave) I don’t mean to gloat. OK maybe I do…..no really, I don’t.