Gosh, that heading leaves a lot to the imagination doesn’t it.

I’ve written about my experience as being a stay at home mum back in November 2015, 3 months after Baxter was born. It wasn’t for me as horrible as that sounds. I wasn’t coping and I missed the adult interaction. I loved my child to bits but it really wasn’t healthy for me. Baxter ended up coming to work with my until he was 8 months old and then we made the decision that Reuben would stay home. It was an adjustment for all but Reuben really loved (and still loves) being a stay at Dad. It’s a conversation thats for sure and I feel like I am judged a lot because our situation may not be the norm but it works for us.

Being a stay at home Mum is tough, people often what you do and assume its an easy role. It’s not, I may have only done it for a short period of time but I know how tough it can be. How the days can feel so long and lonely.

Being a working Mum is really tough too I tell you. I think some people think (and joke) that I get to leave in the morning and just walk away from the drama and work almost acts as a hiding place. While some days, the break may be nice – I miss them all like crazy. I know what I am doing and I know the reasons behind why I am doing it. I know that by being at work I am able to provide a better future for my family but it doesn’t make the decision any easier. Last night Baxter ended up in our bed and Reuben went and slept in his bed, it’s not something that we make a habit of but he generally only does it when he is unwell. I woke up about 1am to him vomiting through our bed – goodie. He was sick again a few hours later.

Getting up in the morning was not only difficult because I was tired but it was tugging my heart strings because I knew I had to leave him when he was feeling his worst. I knew that all he wanted was me and that I couldn’t be there because I had meetings I really needed to be at. While I knew that he would have been fine with Reuben, it still ate away at me all morning. I kept messaging Reuben for updates and couldn’t wait to get home to him.

As a Mother you’re going to get judged no matter what you do. Whether you stay at home, go to work, put your kid in daycare or feed them with a bottle. Do you know what though? Every single decision you make it tough, cos being a parent is tough.

I find being a Mum who cares about her job and career is often skoffed at, like I value that more my children – bullshit. I just have a strong desire to do well and I am bloody good at what I do. Being out each and every day working my ass off actually makes me a better Mum. Now please don’t look into this and assume that if you’re a stay at home that you don’t care – that is not the case at all and I honestly, whole-heartedly take a bow to you because I couldn’t do it. Some don’t have the choice and that breaks my heart too.

Coming home each night at the end of a long stressful day only to have 1 hour with your kids before they need to go to bed is tough.

Today I really struggled, today I felt like I failed as a Mum. Seeing your kid/s is one of the most difficult things as all you want to do is help to fix them but 9/10 you can’t and it hurts.

Every Mum is walking a different path, struggling in different ways. Lets ease up on the assumptions and just be kind x

It’s so common these days that there’s a term for this negative phenomenon: mum-shaming, and I am fucking sick of it.

I am talking about mums shaming other mums. Don’t even get me started on the judgemental people who DON’T EVEN HAVE KIDS! I see it almost every day. Out in public and most commonly, online. We’ve all been guilty of it at one point or another, pre or post baby. We’ve judged another mum in the mall or the in the playground and it needs to stop.

We’re all in this together you know, this crazy roller coaster we call parenting. Nothing can make you question your abilities and decisions as a parent like a death stare in the local food court, a rude old lady coming up to you in the supermarket and telling you “that kid shouldn’t be out without a warm hat on” or “that child should be in bed”. Hey, Doris – go shove your opinions up your as$.

Get stared at for feeding your kid with a bottle (god forbid if that’s formula!)
Get stared at for getting your boob out in public.

Get judged for feeding your child packaged food.
Get judged for using non-organic ingredients.

Get judged for allowing your child to sleep with you.
Get judged for having them alone in another room.

Get judged for letting your child have a dummy.
Get judged for letting your child scream in need of comfort.

Get judged for buying your kid expensive toys.
Get judged for not stimulating your child enough.

Getting judged for choosing to front face your child after 2 years.
Get judged for still rear facing them.

Getting judged for going back to work ‘too early’.
Getting judged for choosing to be a stay at home mum.
Getting judged for enrolling your child into a daycare centre so you can provide a better future.

It many of the above cases, it’s a no-win situation.

I came across a great article which outlined why we might be doing this.

  1. You’re bored
  2. You’re angry
  3. You’re jealous
  4. You’re overwhelmed
  5. You’re exhausted
  6. You’re not sure of your own identity
  7. You’re dying to be recognised

Being a mum is fucking hard and having somebody question your decisions makes it even harder. Mum shaming is not always direct. It can be a criticism, unsolicited advice (generally with an ulterior motive), dubious facial expressions and general negativity (directly or indirectly) at another mum regarding her parenting choices or even worse, a personal dig.

I suffer from anxiety and depression and know too well how hard it is to hear that somebody thinks you’re not a good mother. Putting myself out there like this has led me to receive some truly awful comments and it really is disgusting that people think it’s OK.

If you have a few moments, watch this.

I think in order to fix a problem we need to recognise that there is one and collectively, do our bit to combat this nasty, rising habit.

MumShaming_NewMumClub

 

 

JessBio

I often get asked why I decided to start this blog so I thought I would do a post to share a little bit about who I am and what prompted me to start writing.

When I was pregnant I started keeping a log each week so I could document the experience and changes, I did this via a private blog, not viewable by anybody else. I decided to share it with a few close friends and work colleagues who really enjoyed it and thought others may also find it useful, if not entertaining. So I published it to the world, with the expectation that nobody would read it. Why on earth would people care are my pregnancy, how shit I felt and how much chocolate I’d eaten?

Here we are now – 30,000+ hits and over 3600 followers on Facebook. Baxter is 9 months old and this wee community has really helped me in my times of need. I’ve received numerous messages from people who have expressed a certain post of mine has really helped them or something I’ve said was exactly what they needed to hear at that moment.

I always like to remind people that I’m just a normal person, I’m no expert and I only know what I know from my own personal experience & perspective. Just because something has worked for me, doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. I’ve always taken the no bullshit approach in life and will say things how they are. There is no point sugar coating things and very rarely will people benefit from it. I wish I had found a blog similar to mine while I was pregnant that really told me just how hard those first few weeks are. They all tell you how you feel this overwhelming sense of love (which you do) but they fail to tell you that your vagina will burn like the fiery pits of hell and you won’t sleep like you used to until the kid has moved out of the home. For some, true realities are too much, but for others, it’s comforting and reassuring that they’re not dealing with these emotions on their own.

My goal is to be real and share MY experience. If I help one person with something I write then it’s all been worth it. On the same note, if you don’t like it – don’t read it.

So, me? I’m 29 (months off 30 – ew), and I live in Wellington with my partner, my cat Tinker and our cute little ginger addition – Baxter. I work full time managing a social media agency,  I have been a Photographer for about 10 years and I’m the master of side projects – I always have stuff on the go, like this blog. I’ve cut back a lot since having Baxter because I really do want to embrace this time while he’s little. I’m super lucky to be able to take Baxter into the office with me so he’s with me while I work which is great but it can definitely be difficult at times, I wrote a bit about it in more detail here.

Due to the nature of my job, I am rather active on social media – I need to be. But there is a line you need to draw in the online world so you don’t become too consumed. I only share what I am comfortable with and obviously, I’m okay with sharing quite a bit as I believe honesty is the best policy. My partner and I have had multiple conversations about what we share online in regards to ourselves & Baxter. There are certain things we will not talk about or post. This is a decision only you can make for you and your family. You may not understand others decisions but it’s not your place to pass judgement.

Becoming a mum has been the toughest and most rewarding experience of my life. It’s one that’s very difficult to explain to someone but once you go through it – time stops, life gets all fucked up and you have this beautiful little human that just radiates so much joy and all the bad stuff is totally worth it. It’s an experience that’s not only changed my life, but it’s changed me – for the better. I currently suffer from PND and this is something that took me a while to come to terms with but I am now at a place where it is what it is, I am dealing with it and it’s not running my life.

I am an open book, feel free to ask me anything. People benefit from honesty and talking openly so I would like to think I am providing a safe place to do so.

Before I get too sidetracked, I’ll wrap it up. Thanks so much for following our journey and my blog. We appreciate each and every one of you.

 

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Baxter & I on our first Mother’s Day – Anna Munro Photography

 

You know, I get a little frustrated by the people who think ‘I have it easy’ taking my son to work with me. Whilst I am extremely lucky and grateful, easy is far from the realities of my day to day life. I have been presented with some fantastic opportunities in my lifetime, but don’t be fooled – I’ve worked my fucking ass off and I have also had my fair share of let-downs and not so great situations.

Babies are so unpredictable, if you’re a parent you will know exactly what I mean, no two days are the same. Some days Baxter is a dream, other days it is like a demon has taken over my child’s body. So take that, and throw work into the mix – easy? Yeah, nah.

I love the fact that I can have the best of both worlds, spend quality time with my son in these extremely important first few months of his life, while also being back at work. It’s not all the cute pictures you see on my Snapchat story, trust me. Some days it’s pure fucking chaos. My employer is amazing and the staff are equally amazing. I have my own office and thankfully the soundproofing is amazing so if Master B decides to exercise those epic lungs of his, not everybody has to deal with, but I do – and it can be really stressful. I don’t want sympathy, hell, it’s the path I chose. I am just saying, be weary, things aren’t always what they seem and everybody’s situations are so different. Don’t judge, and don’t make assumptions. What works for one won’t necessarily work for others.

I work in Social Media so I am lucky that so long as I have access to my computer/mobile and WIFI, I am good to go so if we’ve had a rough night, we’ll generally work from home. I also have all my other side projects. I’m a Photographer, I have this blog, I run several FB groups and have my fingers in lots of pies (ugh, that seriously is the worst saying ever). Often I am up working late when Baxter goes to sleep and any other available moment I have. Keeping in mind, I am a normal person just like everybody else, I cook (ha), I clean, I like to enjoy time with my friends and family etc.

What advice would I give to others from my own experience? As I take him with me I can’t comment on the flipside, ie. having him in care or similar but from what I do know and what I think would apply to most situations:

  • Be kind to yourself – reevaluate personal habits and your lifestyle, a lot of these things can you to feel a lack of balance. Poor sleep, shitty eating habits etc. There is only one of you so look after yourself.
  • Be productive – use the time you have wisely.
  • Preparation is key – I have everything ready the night before so I am not fucking around in the morning. Once he is awake, I make him a bottle, he drinks it while I get dressed, I change him, then boom – we out.
  • Make lists – I’m a huge planner, it drives my partner INSANE. But it helps, I swear by it. If you prioritise things and make lists then it’s more likely to get done, plus, it feels great ticking things off!
  • Don’t forget to make time for you – drop the babe at your parents or friends, you need your time to recharge.
  • Don’t overdo it – Ha, coming from me this is a funny one. I am terrible for trying to do like 10 things one, focus on one thing at a time and you’re more likely to get it done.
  • Ask for help – I am terrible at this one but I’m slowly getting better. It’s OK to ask for help and sometimes support will make all the difference especially when you’re trying to implement a good work-life balance.
  • Say no – I suck at this one too but trust me, you can only do so much. Stress is no good for anybody and remember, happy mum = happy baby.
  • Limit your screen time after hours – Uh, if only it was that easy, ALL of my work is online based so its a hard one for me but learning to switch off is so important in this day and age. Social Media can consume SO much time its ridiculous, image what productive things you could be doing with that time.
  • Manage chores/housework – I seen an idea on Pinterest, set aside 1 chore for each night of the week and by the weekend – it’s all done! Not always doable13076705_1011647542204688_3716470232168043536_n but certainly a good idea so then you have more family focused time on the weekend.

The biggest key for me is work smater. I am currently sitting here smashing this post out with Baxter next to me sitting in his bassinet which I’ve made into a comfy seat for when I’m at the computer and he’s getting scratchy. I am dancing around in my seat like a maniac to Sia’s ‘Cheap Thrills’ and he’s giggling away. Yeah yeah, cue the “he shouldn’t be looking at the computer”. Be gone, perfect parent, its 2016. He’s also playing with his new toy iPhone I got him – burn me at the stake.

So there, that’s my bit on work-life balance. I haven’t got it on lock down but I am slowly getting there. I know I would have forgotten something, but feel free to add your tips below!

I’m just going to come right out and say it – it’s not for me and I don’t enjoy it. I love my son with all of my being but I am not cut out to be a stay at home mum. I know those who are unable to do so for various reasons will most likely get pissed off by this post but as I’ve said a million times, this is my blog, my thoughts and feelings. Don’t like it – don’t read it.

I am not choosing to go back to work for financial reasons, I am choosing to return to work for me, so I am able to provide an even better future for my child. Yes, I worry I will miss important milestones but I try not to think about it while coming to terms with the decision I’ve recently made.

The intention never was to not return but I kept my plans lose so I could see how I felt about being a SAHM. I went on maternity leave back in July, my boy was due in August. He is only 11 weeks old now and I’ve already made my decision – does that make me a bad parent? No, but after reading various articles online people sure act like it. There seems to be a lot of guilt associated with making the decision to put your children into some form of care, especially when they’re under 12 months old.

I am going to admit, before I became a parent I used to always wonder what SAHM’s did, I used to think they had it easy. Um, they don’t. Caring for a small human day/night is fucking hard work. My decision to return to work is not because I can’t hack it, I know many don’t have a choice and simply have to return to work because they financially can’t afford to stay home. In the industry I am in, I am lucky to be able to work 1-2 days from home and will look to find suitable care for my child 3 days per week. This is going to be hard for me, due to the guilt I feel from others responses such as “oh wow, you’re going back to work?”, “but he will only be 6 months old”, “what if you miss his first steps?”. Yes, thank you captain obvious.

I am doing what long term is the best option for me and my child. I need adult conversations, I need to be challenged and I want to continue building my career whilst providing for my family.  For some people, like me, being at home all the time can get really lonely, yes – you have your wee one there but if you’re accustomed to the camaraderie of being around other adults, the drastic change can lead to bad feelings. Endless dirty nappies and washing becomes frustrating and its hard to find a sense of accomplishment.

I know I have a few close friends who have found themselves in similar situations. We’re good mums and our children will thank us one day. If you’re facing the tough decision and are weighing up your options, do what feels right, if you enjoy being a SAHM – I take my hat off to you, do whatever possible to stay home with your little one, look into work that you can from home. If you aren’t enjoying it, it’s OK to return to work, your child isn’t going to love you any less.