baby J

Motherhood…

motherhood

In light of the recent celebrations surrounding Mother’s Day, I felt like I wanted to read through a handful of blogs and articles and posts from other mamas about things they’re learning or have experienced while on their own motherhood journey. While I was reading these, I was touched and inspired; I laughed and I related to their stories. Then I thought, what’s my story…in this moment, in this space, in this month of 2017?

It’s this –

There are myriad of things that I could write about to express what I’ve discovered about motherhood, myself, my relationships and my life since I became a parent…but what about this?

What about the fact that I have learnt to fully love The Wiggles? Like – I mean l o v e them! I would put that CD on all day if I could! “Do the propeller, do the propeller…!”

What about the fact that kid clothes shopping is quite literally a trap and I have to consciously tell myself that my daughter does not need anything more! But it’s all so cute! Waaahh! Why doesn’t that little jacket come in adult sizes?!

What about the fact that I can actually live off half-eaten pieces of cheese and pretzels, some leftover grapes and room temp coffee for lunch? Sometimes I get the tail end of a boiled egg too – talk about spoilt!

What about the fact that I now pay a ridiculously close amount of attention to trucks, motorbikes, busses and trains so that I can participate in the excitement that Little E shows when we come across any one of them? It’s the highlight of any outing!

What about the fact that my love of stationary is showing up in my daughter and we now spend quite some time immersed in notebooks, pencil cases, crayon boxes and sticker sheets and I sort of feel like I’m in heaven! *sigh* YES!

What about the fact that, for someone who will almost never bust a move in a public setting, I now end up (quite happily too I might add) dancing around the house to various tunes and copying the steps of a 1-and-a-bit year old…not a day goes by where I’m not being told to get up and dance!

What about the fact that I love seeing our Little E getting know each of her Titas and Titos in different ways? Music, song, games, food…the connections that I get to witness are pretty special and it’s interesting to see a part of yourself experiencing things afresh through this mini person.

So I guess what I’m saying is that while I’ve learnt some serious, important, self-discovery things on this short parenthood path, I have also learnt some fun, random stuff that just makes each day bright with giggles and memories!

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baby J

Tiny Hearts

tiny hearts

First Aid.
Two little words can bring such an uncofmortable sense of fear to a person’s mind, am I right? The very thought of having someone near me need First Aid is terrifying, let alone it be MY responsibility to administer it! *instert the emoji with his hands on his cheeks*

I’ve always done the minimum requirement for First Aid training for my jobs – you know the one where you turn up for a slog of a day, wrap a couple of bandages in a way you’ll never ever remember, practice CPR on a creepy dummy (while consistently screwing up how many breathes to pumps and which beat you’re meant to be doing it too) and try to distinguish between the different techniques for treating different kinds of bites. Pass me a coffee. I’m tired already.

So when my Little E started to get her move on – swinging from light fixtures and hanging off the backs of chairs – (ok, not quite that drastic, but she was definitely not a sweet pile of baby just plonked on the carpet anymore!) I decided that I should know a little more about how to help her should she get herself into strife. I was at the Pregnancy, Babies and Children’s expo this year and wandered past the Tiny Hearts First Aid stand and its nurses dressed in pink and I was instantly a fan. They were cute. They were sweet. They were friendly. They were professional. They were knowledgeable. I was in. I signed up for a course in July and last Sunday, I did it.

I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, other than First Aid that was specific to children and babies…but man I wasn’t ready to be engaged as well! Ha! Imagine, learning how to potentially save a life and actually enjoying it! Shiverrrrssss……

Anyway, massive props to Rachel (who happened to be one of the founders of Tiny Hearts) who delivered our course – she was so knowledgeable about First Aid I wondered whether she just lived, breathed and ate her job! She was also friendly, well-paced and answered any question – no matter how silly it might have felt to ask it – from us parents and parents-to-be and grandparents. What a gem! I could not recommend the course enough afterwards either! I felt truly equipped to jump in and help my Little E should the need ever arise (hopefully not!). They also have the only nationally recognised paediatric First Aid kit available which is on my list to keep at home.

first aid kit

If you have kids anywhere in your life, I would so so encourage you to jump into a Tiny Hearts First Aid sesh and skill yourself up…you could save a life.

#proactiveparents
#tinyheartsfirstaid

save a life

(images courtesy of the Tiny Hearts Facebook page – hit it up!)

baby J

You ARE…

  

The pressure we face as mothers is undeniably huge…there are thousands upon thousands of blogs, magazines, shows, gurus and books dedicated solely to navigating the extremely deep waters mothers find themselves swimming about in, placed there by society and themselves.
Trust me – I’ve looked. 
To be not only mother, but to be wife is a big job in itself. Add on top of that those mothers who work full time or part time; mothers who do the family finances; cook and clean and show up to every music class and swimming lesson and playgroup there is. Mothers who serve in church communities; mothers of multiples; mothers who care for elderly family members and mothers who are doing it solo. 
The pressure to BE something screams like a banshee in a megaphone…BE more on time. BE available to your friends. BE showered and dressed. BE your before-baby weight. BE present at events even if you’ve had 2 hours sleep and your kids nose is running like the Nile. BE a beautiful homemaker and don’t forget to post it on social media while you’re at it. BE BE BE. 
So stop for a moment, coz I’d like to call out all us mothers who are drowning in the sea of Trying To Be. I’m calling you out and saying YOU ALREADY ARE. Mama, you already ARE on time. Your kid eats and sleeps – you’re already on time for them. You already ARE available to friends, but the ones who know that availability might be via a text, are the ones who deserve it. You already ARE dressed – trackies and a jumper are just as much clothing as Kim Kardashian’s skin coloured bandage dress…possibly more so. You already ARE the right weight for where you are in life. There’s nothing wrong with working towards a goal weight post-baby, but never forget the insanely incredible feat your body was intricately designed to do in carrying a human out into the world. You already ARE present. Present where it counts – at the edge of the cot when bub wakes, at the counter cutting up fruit and at the playground pushing your kid as high as they want to go. You already ARE a homemaker because your family unit – whatever that looks like – IS a home.
Mama, I’m talking to you. I’m talking to myself. I’m talking to all the mothers who feel like they’re drowning in the sea of pressure to constantly BE something to so many … STOP! Stop and look at your baby, your 2 year old, your pre-schooler, your teenager and really LOOK. Are they judging you? Are they determining your value and worth? Are they deciding whether you’re enough of a woman to be their mother? No. Because you ARE their mother. You. Already. ARE.
“Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Accept my teachings and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives. The burden that I ask you to accept is easy; the load I give you to carry is light.” <Matt 11:28-30>

baby J

Not a size 10 anymore

(Courtesy of Pinterest)
(Courtesy of Pinterest)

Type ‘post baby body’ into just about any search engine and you’ll get a ridiculous number of images, articles, blogs and opinions. Typing it into Google alone brings up 220,000,000 results in 0.4 seconds..! Type the same 3 words into Pinterest and you get all kinds of goodies – everything from ‘Diary of a Fit Mommy’ with an image of a giant belly next to an image of a 6 pack to ‘Best Foods for Weightloss While Breastfeeding’ to ‘Stay-At-Home SKinny’. There are so many voices telling mums – mums like me – that the ‘post baby body’ needs to be extensively worked on to get back to the before baby body that we once had.

First of all, my ‘before baby body’ wasn’t a 6 pack – so I can skip over that blog with ease (buh-bye!) and my ‘before baby body’ wasn’t due to a vegan non-GMO diet either, so what does that mean for me? How do I ‘deal with’ this post baby body? Like this:

(Courtesy of Pinterest)
(Courtesy of Pinterest)

Don’t get me wrong here – I don’t have a perfect, healthy, well-rounded view of my body – I never have. I used to hardly ever eat when I was in school. I’d throw lunches away, suck in my non-existent stomach and claim I was full from my tiny muesli bar at recess time. In Uni, I would make salad and tuna lunches almost every day and wouldn’t snack if people were around. I never thought I was ‘fat’ per se, but I definitely wanted to control what I looked like.

When I was pregnant, everything swelled – and I mean everything! Not only did my stomach grow due to the tiny human being created inside, my ankles doubled, my fingers doubled, my face puffed up and my thighs touched like they’d been separated at birth and missed each other terribly…and for most of those loooong months, I was ok with that. There was a small, new life being formed and that was why my body was looking the way it was. By the end I was over not being ale to wear anything but one pair of maternity leggings and one flowy dress with flip-flops, but over all – I’d been ok with how the person in the mirror had changed.

Now, it’s been 11 weeks since my Little E joined our team and I’ve been asked twice when my baby is due. Can I get a face palm here please? Little E, swimming in excess amniotic fluid, came into this world via a c-section, so not only does my body have months and months of settling down to do, it had recovery from major surgery to deal with too. So yes – I’m still wearing those maternity leggings and those maternity jeans and those flowy tops. So yes – my stomach sticks out and I do look 5 months pregnant still. So yes – my thighs are still loving on each other and my engagement ring still doesn’t fit back on my left hand…BUT one look at my Little E and all that disappears because she’s gurgling and smiling and grabbing her toys and that little body was housed in mine! My body was used to bring that little one into this world and of course I won’t have my ‘before baby body’!

In fact I’ve recently been thinking about it this way – I’ll never be 18 years old again. I’ll never be a high school student again. I’ll never be 21 again, I’ll never have my first driving lesson again, I’ll never travel on a plane for the first time again…so why should I get so hung up on the fact that I’ll never be like I used to be again? My life is forever different – my Little E has changed that without a doubt – so the desire for a before baby body for me (and granted, this isn’t for everyone, I get that) isn’t high on my prioroties list. I want to be healthy, I want to enjoy where we are in life and set good examples and rhythms for this little life that doesn’t care what I look like or that I don’t fit a size 10 anymore. To her, I’m just her Mama – her ‘Ima’ – and that’s enough for her, so I’m learning that it will be enough for me too. For me there has to be no ‘before’ or ‘post’ when it comes to my body, it has to just be the next stage, the next journey…just me.

baby J

We laugh but it’s true

  
So I thought instead of keeping all the ‘lol’ slash ‘face palm’ moments to myself, I’d share some! Here are some of my experiences and musings from our baby journey so far…legit. 😉

• you’re actually getting out of the house! *high five* you change out of your size-too-large leggings and sicked-on tshirt and you think your outfit is on point…only to realise that yes, you STILL have baby sick on you in places you didn’t realise you’d held your baby in clothes you’ve only just put on…

• your baby is an absolute angel for your friends and relatives, but the second you’re alone together and one-on-one, she transforms into the single loudest human being ever

• pushing a pram uphill makes you feel like you’re on The Biggest Loser and Michelle Bridges is screaming at you…from within the pram 

• I wasn’t guna be one of ‘those’ weird parents, but yep – I tasted breast milk

• a baby farting with absolutely no shame or understanding of what’s just happened can actually be the funniest thing ever

• the ability to spend long enough in the shower to wash your hair is like receiving an Oscar – you just wanna stand there, holding that shampoo bottle and thanking everyone who made it happen

• there’s no such thing as breakfast, lunch and dinner anymore – they’re all now lovingly referred to as ‘babyisasleepruntothekitchen

• you’d better make sure you have a huge house and some kind of industrial sized shed when you have a baby, coz for small things they come with a big pile of crap…prams, change tables, bouncers, clothes clothes and more clothes; nappies, oodles of wipes, toys, wraps, blankets; carriers, car seats, ‘accessories’ (what the heck? Is my baby a Nokia 3315 that needs a glittery dingle-dangle and multiple cover choices with do-it-yourself sticker art?), sun shades, wind protectors and rain coats (oh yes we’re all about shoving that baby out into nature…), oh and did I mention nappies?

• forcing mini-baby-friendships on your baby is really fun NOW but I have no doubt I’ll probably cop it in 18 years when she’s whining to me about her embarrassing naked bath photos with this forced-friend…like mother like daughter

• finding an empty pram park at the supermarket is like finding the lost world of Atlantis…

• ‘one size fits all’ only works with baby clothes if you’re dressing a cabbage patch doll…

(Image courtesy of pinterest)

baby J

I have just met you…

image1 (1)

(Courtesy of Pinterest)

It’s been 6 weeks since our team grew by one – SIX WEEKS! I can distinctly remember 6 weeks before she was born – I was well and truly over being pregnant. 1000% done with that period, that ‘waiting game’…and now we’re 12 weeks on from THERE! I can’t tell you how the days go by…it’s not as if we actually do a great deal, realistically…the first few weeks were purely feeding, nappy changes, sleeping, burping and learning that anything more than about 5 hours in a row of sleep is a rare gem! 😉 But as the days have rolled on, we have gotten to know our little teamster – some of her likes, her patterns and her little quirks and in the last couple of weeks, we’ve even seen that gorgeous little grin get bigger and brighter!

For those who know me, they’ll atest to the fact that I’ve not ever really been a clucky person…a friend handed me her new baby once and I remember thinking “well…what now? what do you do with it now?” So it’s been such a random experience with my own new baby because – and wait for it now – I just literally met her and I already can’t really picture our family without her! In the words of Doug from ‘Up’

“I have just met you and I love you!”

There’s a deepness to that love that extends beyond the fact that she might be screaming in my ear at 3am…or pooping all over her onesie that I just changed her into…or clawing at my face with her needle-like fingernails…there’s a love that comes from somewhere else, somewhere bigger and greater than I am, that overrides any of the anxious or depressed or overwhelmed feelings I have.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s far from smooth sailing! I still struggle to truly distinguish between her different cries and teaching her to self-settle isn’t as straight-forward as books led me to believe. Breastfeeding is a b*%$# sometimes and the photos I saw in blogs or articles of ethereal women whipping the boob out with a placid little bub sucking away, now just make me laugh! I still haven’t got the whole nappy-change-new-onesie routine down and yes, it’s hard to remember to have tummy time AND read to her AND play with her AND go outside AND feed AND sleep AND burp AND everything else all the books and advice are telling you that you MUST MUST do in a day…!

BUT -> 6 weeks ago our lives changed dramatically and we are both still in awe of how this little person – complete with her own DNA, thoughts, emotions and personality – has weaved her way into our hearts! The fact that those gangly arms and legs, thick head of dark hair and sweet little smile was inside me not that long ago continues to blow my mind! 😉

Every day is filled with new or different experiences – new milestones or new challenges, but at the end of each day when we’re all climbing into our respective beds and bassinets, there’s not really any other way we’d have it!

baby J

Screaming

image

She screams, I scream, we all scream…but there’s no ice cream involved. It might be 2:45am, it might be 11:15am or it might be 7pm – the time doesn’t matter, she’s hungry or hot or cold or has a wet nappy and she NEEDS our attention and she needs it NOW!

Adjusting to life with a little one is like nothing else. You can read all the books, all the blogs; watch all the clips, pin all the pins & have thousands of conversations…and still, nothing truly makes you feel ‘ready’ for caring for 110% of another human being’s needs.

So much has to change now that duckie is in our world – everything from when we eat and sleep to when we can go out of the house or even simply check the mailbox. Neither of us was oblivious to these huge shifts, but of course when reality is actually upon you it still feels surreal.

This week, there were two major stand-outs in my adjustment to our new journey:

1) I have a long way to travel in developing my patience. If I can’t fix her needs, I get frustrated too quickly. If I can’t stop the cries or settle her down, my initial reaction is to pull the plug and pass her over to my other half who (somehow!) has endless patience and a repertoire of songs to sing as he works out what she’s trying to tell us. Thank you God for that man – he keeps me sane, helps me breath & is somewhat of a baby-whisperer!

2) I have to learn how to be a different kind of friend. I can’t hold the friendships I have in the same way as I did before. My priority has to be my family unit & the daughter who relies on us for everything. This means that yes, catch-ups will be different, attending events will be different & generally being ‘around’ will be different. However, instead of wallowing in this shift & feeling guilty, remembering that change is the only constant in our lives is important. If friendships were strong before duckie arrived, they’ll be different – but they’ll be strong with her addition to them too.

There are moments when I feel like throwing in the towel, but if I can pause…take a breath…and look at her little hands and lion’s eyes, I can know that God wouldn’t bring us TO this if He wasn’t going to walk with us THROUGH it too.