From spreadsheets to sing-a-longs

Author: Joanna Edge

“Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep and doesn’t know where to find them...”

Little Bo Peep may have lost her sheep but I as sang the words I felt like I’d lost my identity and the familiar life I knew and loved.

It was Monday morning at 12noon. I was sitting, completely makeup less (I didn’t have the chance to put it on if I wanted to get to the class on time), wearing massive cotton knickers from Primark (bought for my hospital bag but somehow having become a permanent fixture in my knicker drawer) and slightly greying, extremely baggy, maternity leggings, in the local library surrounded by babies, toddlers and their mums (and some dads!).

As we sat singing and acting nursery rhymes which I vaguely recalled from my childhood (why hasn’t anyone written any new ones in the last 40 years?!) but couldn’t remember the words of, I thought back to how my life had changed.

Four weeks ago, I was sitting in a meeting room in my central London office discussing the implications of new legislation regarding data. I was knowledgeable. I could add value to the conversation. People listened to me. And, when I went home, I had something to talk to my husband about and could even discuss the impact on his organisation.

Was this my life now? Spending my days wiggling my fingers in a way which was meant to represent Incy Wincy Spider (I still can’t work out how people make this look easy!)? How could I spend the next 12 months filling 8 hours a day with Baa Baa Black Sheep? Surely, I’d be bored? Where would I find any sense of satisfaction, of self-worth, of achievement?

Fast forward 11 weeks and I’ve got home from a day which involved coffee with my NCT friends, a Baby Bells class (during which both myself and my baby wore matching pink bow headbands and thus breaking 2 of my ‘pre-baby’ rules: 1. My baby wearing any kind of headband. 2. My baby wearing the stereotypical colour for her gender - my ‘gender neutral’ parenting was meant to avoid pink going anywhere near her - unfortunately I now think pink rather suits her!) and lunch which lasted 3 hours.

My days revolve around baby classes, feeds, changes and sleeps. Most days I have no idea what I am doing and whether it is right or wrong and I go home and talk to my husband about the latest baby product I’ve heard about, the new cafe I’ve discovered or how many pooey nappies I’ve changed that day. But, every cuddle, smile and giggle, every yawn, sneeze or hiccup, every development milestone makes it all worth it. I may be making it up as I go along and some days achieve nothing more than managing to get up and have some cereal but it’s the most rewarding and satisfying job I’ve ever done. And you know what, suddenly Little Bo Peep and her lost sheep seem a lot more fun and entertaining than new data protection regulations.

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